Calgary real estate sets April record for sales

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Calgary’s real estate market continued on its blistering pace in April, but there are finally signs that it may start to cool off.

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After setting all-time records for sales in a month in March, the sector fell off that pace but still set a new mark for the month of April with 3,401 sales — a gain of six per cent year-over-year.

“We did expect to see some pretty strong conditions in the spring, just given the lack of supply going into the year,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, Calgary Real Estate Board’s chief economist. “But as we go forward and the interest rates get more aggressive, I do think that we will see the market return to … levels that are still strong, but maybe not quite at those record levels. That pace of growth should continue to ease as we move into the later part of the year.”

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Still driving the sellers’ market is the lack of inventory with 4,850 units available citywide at month’s end. The market is also partially being pushed by the increase in interest rates by the Bank of Canada, as people try to get in before the rates — as being widely forecasted — jump to two per cent or higher by the end of 2022.

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The conditions have pushed the benchmark price per unit to $526,700, up two per cent from March and 17 per cent from last year.

In the detached segment, year-over-year sales slowed for the first time since the spring of 2020, but there were still 1,815 units sold, which is still out-pacing long term trends. The decline is due in part to a lag in sales for homes under $600,000, which amounts to a supply issue. With the benchmark rising to $628,900 — 19 per cent above last April — there was still growth in sales over $600,000. There is currently only 1.3 months supply, creating a tight market. Inventories have not been this low in April in 15 years for detached homes.

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It’s a similar situation with semi-detached homes. A decline in new listings in April aided in slower sales than in March, but they were still up 30 per cent over April 2021. This led the benchmark price to rise to $487,900, up two per cent over the previous month and up 16 per cent over the last 12 months.

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Row house sales were down but a new April record was still set. The market was aided by 781 units being listed in April, a gain of 24 per cent and the highest level ever seen in April. It was not enough to bring balance to the sector but still helped keep prices more controlled as they were already being influenced by the lack of demand in other sectors. Prices were up two per cent since March and 17 per cent year over year.

Apartment condo sales continue to flourish, building off of momentum in previous months, bringing life to the segment not seen in years. There were 642 units sold in April, up 42 per cent over last year and set a record for the month. This was helped by 893 new units hitting the market, bringing supply up to almost two months.

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The gains are still below the record prices of 2014 for the segment, but the gains are important for owners who have been holding on to properties in a stagnant market for years.

“It’s really the last segment where we are waiting to see the price recovery start to play out,” said Lurie. “It has been a struggle for many years; it is a shift in this market that, especially for sellers, it’s nice to see.”

While interest rates should help cool the market later this year, Lurie said the biggest salve will be new housing starts, creating more stock for those cashing in on the selling of their homes in a hot market or those moving to Calgary looking to buy. The solution, however, is still years in the building.

“It’s going to take some time to see enough supply come on in the entire housing market before we see these conditions return to a more balanced level,” she said.

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There is not much relief for those looking for a deal outside of Calgary’s city limits. Airdrie, Cochrane and Okotoks remain tight markets with benchmark prices jumping in all three locations year-over-year. Airdrie is up 29 per cent to $480,600 with less than one month supply; Cochrane is up 21 per cent to $530,900; and Okotoks was up 13 per cent to $538,300 with less than a one month supply.

Twitter: @JoshAldrich03

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