Calgary Housing Market Sales Still Strong: September 2013

Rise in new listings prevents further tightening of resale housing market

Market Graph photo

October, 2013 – The Calgary Housing Market saw an increase in new listings inventory in September.

“The increase in new listings has given buyers more choice,” said Becky Walters, CREB® President.

Although Calgary’s market still remains in seller’s territory, a shift has occurred with new listings to market. While monthly levels of new listings have been declining since 2011, over the past three months the levels of new listings have improved. The inventory growth was not enough to cause any significant changes, but it has helped prevent further tightening in the market.

First-time home buyers are significantly affected in this housing market as the housing selection is limited in the lower price ranges for single family homes. However, choice has improved for the higher-priced homes.  Sales activity varies by community, property type and price. First-time home buyers searching for lower-priced single family homes often have to adjust expectations or consider alternative communities further out from the core, or property types such as condos.

While many buyers think the seller’s market conditions should lead to a significant price premium for their property, consumers remain price sensitive. “Tight market conditions have supported price growth in the Calgary market,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® chief economist. “But the pace of unadjusted monthly growth has eased in September.”

“While prices show strong year-over-year gains, if the level of new listings continues to improve relative to sales activity, prices should level off for the remainder of the year.”

“The impact of the floods likely boosted sales throughout July and August, and it appears as though some of that additional demand is starting to ease,” said Lurie. “Nonetheless, sales growth remains strong, in part because net migration has been stronger than anticipated and rental product is in short supply.”

Condominium apartment and townhouse sales totaled a respective 3,147 and 2,494 after the first three quarters of the year. Year-to-date sales growth is more than double the levels recorded in the single family sector.

“The condominium market offer affordable options for consumers in the city, and the growth reflect that,” said Walters. “But keep in mind condominiums still represent less than one-third of residential sales within city limits.” Single family sales totaled 13,006 units after the first three quarters of the year, a 6.7% increase over the previous year.

Single family sales increased in the third quarter, while the first two quarters were on pace with activity in 2012.

Condominium apartment prices totaled $272,900 in September, a 9.5% increase over 2012 and 0.9% higher than August figures.

Meanwhile, single family and condominium prices totaled a respective $463,700 and $299,100, similar to unadjusted levels recorded in August and more than seven% higher on a year-over-year basis.

The Calgary Housing Market Report with Sales Market Data from the Calgary Real Estate Board for Condominiums, Single Family, and Towns is available from our dropbox.

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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Calgary Housing Market Sales Stay Strong: August 2013

Seller’s market conditions persist, pushing up prices

Market Graph photo

Calgary, Sept. 3, 2013 – Summer Sales Stay Strong for the Calgary Housing Market in August.

Residential sales within city limits saw a 27.5% increase over 2012 and 8.7% on a year-to-date basis, well above long-term trends for the month, mostly due to improved activity in the single-family sector.

“The sales have been limited by the need for more resale listings,” said CREB® President Becky Walters. “However, August did see more new listings than last year, giving buyers more choice.” August new listings recorded a year-over-year improvement of 7.4%. While seller’s market conditions persist and total inventory levels keep falling, improvement in new listings helped prevent further tightening in the market despite the sales growth.

Single-family sales were 30% higher than the year before and year-to-date sales activity has grown by 5.4 %, slightly stronger than anticipated.

“Lack of choice, particularly in single-family homes, has limited single-family sales growth,” said Walters. “However, improved new listings in the higher end of the market have created an opportunity for those looking to upgrade.” Year-to-date condominium apartment sales totaled 2,823 units, a 13.7% increase over the previous year. Unlike the single-family market, new listings are declining, causing the market to become tighter than levels recorded in the previous month.

The condominium townhouse market, like the single family market, recorded strong sales growth and a rise in new listings, slightly helping to ease a tight market. “Housing demand has been supported by another year of strong migration levels, improving employment and wage growth,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® Chief Economist. “Last year’s mortgage rule changes did not reverse the sales growth in our city, but did redirect demand to more affordable product.

“While recent increases in lending rates may require purchasers to adjust their expectations, Calgary remains a relatively affordable Canadian city. Our affordability, combined with a positive economic outlook is expected to support demand growth for the remainder of the year.”

Single-family benchmark prices reached $464,700 in August, a 7.4% rise from the previous year and a 0.7% increase over July. Condominium apartment and townhouse prices totaled a respective $270,600 and $298,500 in August, increasing by more than 7% compared to the previous year.

“Price appreciation typically reflects the level of supply and demand in the market,” said Lurie. “Tight market conditions have supported stronger-than-expected price growth in the city, but this price appreciation needs to be taken into context.

“While citywide single-family benchmark prices have risen above unadjusted highs by $13,400, as of August both condominium apartment and townhouse units are a respective $26,400 and $32,300 below the unadjusted highs recorded in 2007.”

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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Calgary Housing Market Stats: Daily update

Calgary Real Estate Housing Market Stats: Daily updates

Daily Calgary Housing Market Stats from the Calgary Real Estate Board – CREB®. Total Sales, New Listings, Active Listings, Average and Median Prices

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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Calgary Housing Market Show Strong Sales Growth: July 2013

Calgary Housing Sales in July Strong

Market Graph photo

Calgary, Aug 1, 2013 – Tight Calgary housing market conditions support upward price trend

City of Calgary residential sales in July showed a 17% increase over 2012 and up more than 6% so far this year. According to Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® chief economist, “The flood that devastated the Calgary area on June 20 likely contributed to pulling forward sales activity. Some of this activity is related to the displaced renters and owners seeking other accommodation. But those consumers already searching for a home may have sped up their purchase decision, in response to concerns regarding the impact tight supply levels would have on prices.”

The Calgary resale housing market is firmly in sellers’ territory and price growth is expected. While citywide prices are nearly 7% higher than in July 2012, the unadjusted monthly gains have been easing. The benchmark price for the city of Calgary totalled $414,100 in July 2013.

According to CREB® President Becky Walters, “Some sellers have been waiting for prices to recover before listing their homes. Current market conditions have encouraged listing growth this month, for single-family homeowners.”

A total of 1,575 single-family homes sold in July, a 14 % increase over last year. Year-to-date, the growth is 2.5 per cent.  While year-over-year new listings increased in July to 1,958 units, it was not enough to ease supply pressures in the market. Overall, active listings declined to 2,917 units, nearly 20 % lower than the already declining levels recorded in 2012.

A total of 693 condominium apartments and townhouses sold in the month, a combined increase of 26 % from last year, and a year-to-date growth of 16%. Stronger sales growth in the condo market relative to the single-family market is in part related to availability in the affordable price ranges. Year-to-date, there have been more new listings priced under $400,000 in the condominium sector than in the single-family market.

According to Becky Walters, “Clients looking for affordable homes are considering community, product and price. While there are affordable single-family homes in some communities, some may prefer condominiums in the same price range so they can live in a preferred community or get a home that requires less renovation.”

The growing demand for condos has also led to a tightening of supply also. July active listings in the apartment and townhouse segment declined to 768 and 407 units respectively.

Tight market conditions supported price growth for all categories in July. However, unadjusted monthly gains were strongest in the apartment sector. Apartment prices totaled $267,600 in July, a 1.4% increase over last month and nearly 8% than 2012. The benchmark price for single-family and townhouses were a respective $461,600 and $294,500 for July.

According to Ann-Marie Lurie, “While the flooding will alter sales, listings and price trends in the affected areas, the impacts on the entire resale market will likely play out over the coming months. July sales growth has been stronger than year-to-date trends and long- term averages. However, if the level of new listings continues to rise, this could help ease tight market conditions.”

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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Calgary Housing Market Exceed Expectations: June 2013

June Housing Sales Exceed Growth Expectations in Calgary

Market Graph photo

Calgary, July 2, 2013 – The Calgary Housing Market favors Seller with a rise in sales and drop in listing inventory.

City of Calgary monthly residential sales of 2,317 reflected a 6% increase over June 2012 figures, and nearly 5% higher than in the first half of 2012. The impact of recent flooding in Calgary and area is expected to trickle into the housing statistics over coming months.

According to Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® chief economist, “While sales and prices continue to show improvement, the city and residents of communities impacted by the recent flooding will face significant remediation challenges over the coming months. Until the extent of the damage is known, it is difficult to accurately assess the full impact this will have on the city’s housing market.”

The rise in sales, combined with a drop in listing inventory, is keeping overall market balance in favour of the seller. New listings totaled 3,003 units in the city, a 9% drop over the previous year.  Of the 4,584 active listings in June, more than 660 units were listed in flood-affected areas. Active listings are nearly 20% less than last year.

According to Becky Walters, CREB® President, “In the coming months, flood victims, particularly those who were planning on selling their homes, will have some big decisions to make. Will they take a discounted price? Or will they stay and fully remediate the property? Either way, in the short term, housing supply will likely be relatively tight.”

Condominium sales growth outpaced gains in the single family sector, as less availability of single-family homes priced less than $500,000 have improved the demand for the relatively affordable condo market. After the first six months of the year, condo apartment sales showed a 9.5 per cent increase over 2012. Meanwhile, year-to-date condominium townhouse sales of 1,672 units were up from the 1,374 sales recorded in the first half of 2012.

“The tighter market conditions are placing upward pressure on pricing in all city sectors,” said Lurie. “While the areas affected by the flood may face some short-term impacts on pricing, any adjustments occurring are unlikely to outweigh the impacts on the overall city wide price growth.”

The benchmark price for condominium apartments and townhouses were a respective $264,000 and $295,000 for the month of June 2013. Prices for condos increased by more than 6% on a year-over-year basis, but remain below unadjusted peak levels.

Single-family sales activity totaled 1,638 units in June, a 2% increase over 2012. However, after the first two quarters, single-family sales totaled 8,573 units, a 1% increase over last year.

The single-family market moved into seller’s territory ahead of the condo market, supporting stronger price growth. As of June the single-family benchmark price reached $459,700, a 6.7% increase over last year.

“Prior to the events of the flood, our market was demonstrating tight supply levels, particularly for lower price product,” said Lurie.

The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®) says that it’s “Too soon to see impact of flood on resale statistics” but Economic indicators support the growing housing demand in the city and long-term economic prospects remain favorable for Calgary.

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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Calgary Housing Market Stats – May 2013

Calgary Home Sales Hold Momentum

Market Graph photo

Prices rise as resale market continues to favour sellers

Calgary, June 3, 2013 – City of Calgary residential monthly sales improved over the previous year, mostly driven by increased demand in the condominium market.

Sales activity in all categories totalled 2,544 units for the month, a seven per cent increase over May 2012 figures.

“We’re back to normal levels of activity,” said Becky Walters, president of CREB®’s board of directors.  “Last spring was the first time since the recession that we saw more typical levels of sales, and this spring sales recorded further growth.”

Sales growth in the city is exceeding expectations, although the rate of increase has slowed from 2012’s double digits.

There is downward pressure on inventory levels, because there are fewer than normal new listings at a time when sales volume is increasing. Inventory levels are 17 per cent lower than levels recorded in 2012.  These two factors are creating market conditions that favour the seller, causing stronger than expected price growth.

“Buyers need to have financing in place so they can act quickly when they see the right property,” Walters said.  She added that buyers also need to have a clear sense of what they can afford and what they are prepared to pay before entering negotiations.

But she noted that market conditions today are much different for sellers than the last time our market favoured them.  While properties are selling at a faster pace and at prices closer to list, buyers have a range of choice in various segments, communities and price ranges.  Furthermore, consumers today are more cautious than a few years ago.

Single-family sales totalled 1,766 units in May, three per cent higher than levels recorded in 2012.  While sales volumes are consistent with long-term averages, sales growth is hampered by the decline in new listings, especially in the lower price ranges.

The unadjusted benchmark single-family price totalled $456,900 in May, a seven per cent increase over 2012 and a one per cent increase over the previous month.

After the first five months of the year, condominium apartment sales totalled 1,672 units, a 10 per cent increase over the same time in the previous year.

“Tighter mortgage rules impacted what buyers could afford to purchase in the Calgary market,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB®’s chief economist.  “And while the majority of buyers are purchasing single-family homes, the attractive price point has improved demand for condominiums.”

With less supply relative to demand in resale, condominium prices are on a path to recovery.  In May, the benchmark price for condominium apartments totalled $263,600, a year-over-year increase of seven per cent.  Condominium townhomes reached a benchmark price of $292,100, a five per cent increase over the previous year.

“Improvements in Calgary’s resale housing sector are being fueled by the combination of employment gains, migration growth and tight rental market conditions,” Lurie said.  “However, resale price growths will likely moderate, as competition in the new-home sector and sluggish economic growth expectations will weigh on the housing market.”

Our DropBox: Calgary Housing Market Stats – May 2013 – Community Stats for Single Family, Condominium, and Town and Country.

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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Home Staging Tips – Sell your Home Faster for More Money

Home Staging photoA Real Estate Investment – possible 5% return in 23 days!

If you’re wondering what Home Staging is all about, please read our blog post on why you should stage your Calgary home before Listing it on the MLS® System.  In summary, research has shown that staging will make your home more desirable to potential buyers.  You will sell your home faster and may avoid a series of painful price reductions.

Tips for Staging Your Home

There are as many ways to stage a home as there are homes.  Some of the examples given below are for illustration purposes; your imagination can take it from there.

1.  Start Outside:  You know about the “drive-by” – you’ve probably done it yourself.  You drive by a home for sale to decide whether you want to see the inside or not.  Draw potential buyers in with real curb appeal.

  • Keep the lawn mowed and garden areas weeded.
  • Make sure the exterior of the home looks in good condition.  Fix any rotting boards or fading paint.
  • Power-wash the outside of the home, sidewalks, and patios.
  • If the weather allows, add potted plants or flowers in the garden beds and accent your front doorway on both sides with large potted plants.

2.  Keep It Clean:  It may seem like a small thing, but buyers are extremely discouraged when they see a dirty house.  Pretend your boss or your in-laws are coming to stay for a few days.  The house needs to be that clean on a consistent basis. Buyers will also look in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets so clean and declutter them.

3.  Depersonalize and Declutter:  It’s true that you love the family photos that line both sides of the stairway and the awards in your home office, but buyers won’t. Take yourself out of the picture.  It’s easier for buyers to imagine themselves in your home. If you love to cook, you find the numerous small appliances on the kitchen counters very handy, but buyers will see your kitchen as smaller and closed-in.

How can you possibly get rid of all the personalized clutter?  You don’t have to.  You are planning to move anyway, so take this opportunity to start packing!  Until the house is sold, you may need to use a whisk rather than your blender, but you’ll be in your new kitchen a lot sooner!

4.  Bring Out the Best in Each Room:  This may require removing furniture, rearranging furniture, or replacing furniture that is worn out.  If you can’t afford to replace that worn-out couch, you can rent furniture for the time period when your home is listed.

  • If the fireplace is the focal point of the living room, make sure the furniture doesn’t obstruct the view and provide attractive accents on either side.
  • If your king-size bed and large furniture make the bedroom look small, put some of the furniture in another room, in storage, or in your garage.
  • If the hardwood or the carpet in the dining room has seen better days, rejuvenate by refinishing or replacing. Flooring and Painting bring the biggest returns for your investment.
  • If a room is dark, make it more attractive and appealing with a lighter more neutral paint color.  Dark rooms make a home appear smaller.
  • Replace the chandelier in the dining room if it’s dated. Your eating areas are some of the most important features to highlight in a home when selling.
  • Make sure there is sufficient light in rooms by opening blinds and drapes.
  • Breath new life into a room by investing in some Artwork.
  • If possible, replace dated lighting fixtures, door hardware, light switches and outlets.

5.  Freshen with a New Paint Job:  Nothing brightens up the rooms of a home faster than fresh paint.  Take this opportunity to depersonalize your color choices.  Stick to neutral colors to help buyers envision their own decorating taste in the house.

  • Your kids love their bright blue and red rooms, but buyers will spend their time worrying about how much trouble it will be to repaint while they’re moving in.
  • You’re sure your dining room doesn’t need paint?  The walls are a nice eggshell color and that one red wall just makes the room look more cozy.  Or does it? It may look that way to you, but don’t assume that potential buyers for your home will share your color tastes.

6.  Make Repairs as Needed:  Oil squeaky doors.  Replace that light switch cover in the kitchen that you’ve had on your to do list for months.  Reattach the molding or baseboards you were going to replace but never did.

When you stage your home yourself, the time investment will pay large dividends in a very short time-frame. Is there another investment that could potentially net you 5% more in as little as 23 days on the market? Look through the list again and add up the items that relate to your home.  What is the most it could cost? The money you spend on staging your Calgary home and/or doing minor repairs and painting will not be more than the price reductions you might end up making if you don’t!

7. Ask your REALTOR® for Assistance:  Experienced Real Estate Professionals know what buyers are looking for and can advise you on what the highest return for your investment dollar is. Give us a call or send us an E-mail!

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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Home Staging: Is It Your Best Choice?

Calgary Home Staging Photo

Selling your home fast for the highest price possible.  Would home staging let you accomplish those goals?

Why Stage Your Home?

There are many reasons to stage your home.  One of the most important things staging accomplishes is that it shifts the focus away from the personal belongings that are in the house to the most positive features of the home itself.

Imagine a Calgary home for sale that has a pool table in the living room.  The family currently living in the home use the table a lot.  Overlooked is the fact that there is limited seating in the living room because playing pool is an activity the family uses to bring them all together.

When that home goes on the market, and a potential buyer walks into the living room, what would you imagine would be their first reaction?  Could it be something like “How would our furniture fit in this living room?”

Even without a pool table, it’s often very difficult for many people to look beyond the personal contents of a home to see the potential for moving their family into it.  When you stage your home, one of the goals is to “de-personalize” your living spaces to give a potential buyer the opportunity to think about how they will use the home.

Home Staging:  The Numbers Prove It Is Your Best Choice

According to the International Association of Home Staging Professionals and, on average, 95% of staged homes sell in 23 days or less. Statistics also show that home staging can increase a property’s value by 5-11% (RESA – Real Estate Staging Association), and that a home’s price is typically reduced by 1% for every month the home remains on the market (Zillow).  Using round numbers, let’s say a home was listed at $500,000 and took 4 months to sell.  The typical price reduction might be $20,000 or more for an unstaged home and a longer selling period versus a possible 5% increase in property value for a staged home which sells much faster. Moreover, the cost of maintaining an unstaged home on the market for longer may also be considerable if one factors in property taxes, mortgage payments, condo fees, etc.

Then you need to account for the fact that the longer the house is on the market, the harder it is to negotiate a selling price closer to listed price as buyers and their Agents will want to negotiate a much lower price so will often start lower than they normally would have for a home that was just newly listed. All this boils down to one fact: when a home doesn’t appear welcoming to buyers, it often sits on the market and goes through multiple price reductions.

As a seller, you have many choices available to maximize selling price, minimize selling time, and experience a more positive selling experience before you list your home so it’s important to consult with an experienced REALTOR® to explore the options available to you.  If you want to stage your home before it goes on the market to maximize selling price, your REALTOR® can recommend a home-stager for a complimentary consult. Some home-staging companies also have contractors available if your home needs some repairs or a quick paint job so that’s a huge benefit if you are too busy to coordinate all of this yourself.

Once you understand how beneficial staging is when you’re selling a home, you’ll find that home staging doesn’t have to be time-consuming or costly.

Look for the second blog next week about home staging – learn how to do your own home staging to maximize selling price. Our Feng Shui articles will also give you helpful tips in preparing your home for sale.

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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