CREB May 1-compressed

The weather may be heating up, but the real estate market in Calgary is continuing to cool.

According to data released this week by the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), housing inventory in the city continued to climb in May, while sales declined. At 6,148 units, inventory levels were up 14 per cent over the same period in 2015. Meantime, total home sales for the month numbered 1,923, down 12.03 per cent over last May.

Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist at CREB, says in a press release that Calgary’s weak labour market is partially to blame for the lack of sales. “While recent oil price gains may have some feeling optimistic, weakness in the labour market continues to impact housing demand,” she notes.

Apartment sales in particular suffered in May, sinking 23.4 per cent from May 2015 levels. Detached sales sank 10.65 per cent, while attached sales declined 7.31 per cent.

CREB 2

Chart: CREB

Inventory gains were seen across all housing types, but were more elevated in the apartment and attached sectors. Attached inventory increased by 31.21 per cent year-over-year, while apartment inventory rose by 22.75 per cent. The rise in detached inventory was low in comparison at 3.25 per cent.

Illustrating just how high attached and apartment inventories are, CREB notes that they currently account for half of Calgary’s resale inventory. Apartment resale supply is particularly high at nearly six months.

“The resale apartment market has been the most difficult for sellers,” explains CREB President Cliff Stevenson in the release. “They are competing with improved selection in the lower price ranges of the detached and attached markets, and facing increased competition from the new home sector.”

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Chart: CREB

Unsurprisingly, low sales and high inventory levels combined to push benchmark prices in all home categories down in May. The benchmark price for apartments was $278,500, down 5.6 per cent year-over-year, while the benchmark detached price was $500,500 and the benchmark attached price was $332,100. Those are declines of 3.4 per cent and 4.3 per cent, respectively.

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