Calgary, February 1, 2012 – Home sales in the City of Calgary are off to a slow start as buyers show continuing caution, according to figures released today by CREB®.
“Overall, the market is behaving as expected for the winter season,” says Bob Jablonski, president of CREB®.
The year-over-year volume of residential sales in the City of Calgary dropped, but the inventory of available homes declined even faster in January 2012.
The City of Calgary residential market recorded 1,078 sales in January, nearly one per cent below the same month in 2011. This is in part related to the drop in new listings, which declined by 8 per cent over January 2011, causing inventory levels to continue to contract over 2011.
“A lower number of sales is not uncommon for the month of January,” says Jablonski. “The number of sales is offset by the number of listings, ultimately pushing the housing market towards a balanced market territory.”
The single-family market recorded a one-per-cent drop in sales over last year levels, while the condominium market recorded a one-per-cent gain. However, the decline in new listings in the single-family market was much higher than the condominium market, with a year-over-year decline of 11 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.
“As presented in our housing forecast report, a slow start to the year is anticipated, as consumers continue to be cautiously optimistic regarding purchasing and/or listing their home,” says Jablonski.
The average price of single-family homes in January 2012 was $438,683, a 3-per-cent drop over last year, and over December 2011. Meanwhile, median prices in the single-family market remain relatively stable over last month at $395,000, while posting a 1-per-cent gain over the previous year.
“The price changes are related to the composition of what was sold. The rise in the median price was likely due to the increase in the number of homes sold in the $450,000-$549,999 category, as this category recorded a significant jump in activity in January. The decline in average price is due to the rise in sales in the under-$300,000 category, as well as the decline in the number of homes sold in the upper-price ranges,” Jablonski explains.
The condominium market continues to favor the buyer; however, this market is trending towards balance. The average and median price of condominiums for the month of January 2012 were $268,526 and $245,000, respectively. This corresponds to a 7-per-cent decline in average prices and a 4-per-cent decline in median prices.
“Last January, there was a significant jump in sales in both the $600,000+ price range and the under-$200,000 price range in condominiums. For January 2012, while sales under $200,000 remain strong, there has been an increase in activity in the $200,000-$299,999 price range, mostly at the expense of the condominiums priced above $400,000. This explains the significant decline in condominium prices,” Jablonski concludes.
Please note! CREB® will change the way it reports statistics with the February 6 release of the first MLS® Home Price Index (HPI). The HPI, years in development, provides a more accurate picture of the real estate market and how prices are affected by market factors. Average and median prices often misrepresent true price trends because they are affected by factors such as the change in the mix of homes sold, and the number of sales in different price categories.
The MLS® HPI was developed by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) in partnership with local boards from Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Compared to all other Canadian home price measures, the MLS® HPI identifies turning points sooner, is the most current, and is the most detailed and accurate gauge for Canadian home prices.