In what BMO Senior Economist Sal Guatieri is calling a “good-news story,” Calgary home sales rose to 1,644 units last month. According to the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), that’s a year-over-year increase of nearly 16 per cent and the first time in two years that the city’s October sales activity has been at a normal level.
“The shift in sales activity this month is likely related to the new mortgage rule changes, inventory gains in the lower price ranges and further price adjustments,” said CREB Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie in a press release. “The combination of all these factors may have encouraged some purchases to take advantage of the market conditions, particularly in the lower price ranges.”
Sales of all types of homes increased last month, but the detached sector saw the biggest rise by far, with a year-over-year jump of 18.23 per cent. Attached sales saw a similar increase of 15.65 per cent, while apartment sales recorded a more modest uptick of 5.91 per cent.
Interestingly, in the detached sector, homes priced between $300,000 and $400,000 saw the biggest improvement in sales, while in the attached and apartment sectors sales growth was most significant for lower-priced homes.
Calgary home prices did not see the same recovery that sales did — prices for all types of homes saw year-over-year declines last month, with the city-wide unadjusted benchmark price falling 4 percent to come in at $438,900. That said, Guatieri notes that the median Calgary home price is down only 2 per cent year-over-year, and is flat year-to-date.
Despite those positive signals, it’s not hard to find reminders that the Calgary housing market isn’t out of the woods just yet. For one thing, year-to-date home sales activity in the city remains low — between January and October, all home types have seen sales activity that’s lower than last year and below long-term trends.
Acknowledging that uncertainty, Lurie commented that “the monthly shift in demand may be temporary and will need to be monitored over the next several months.” Similarly, CREB President Cliff Stevenson said, “[s]ales activity changed direction in October, but we need to see some consistency next month and the month after to call it a trend.”