Photo: Bill Longstaff/Flickr

Home sales surged in Calgary last month, likely a result of new mortgage rules that come into effect in the new year, says the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB).

A total of 1,411 homes changed hands in November, up 15 per cent from a year ago and comparable to long-term averages for the month, according to CREB’s latest data, published today.

“The combination of improved confidence and pending mortgage rule changes have likely contributed to the stronger sales activity this month,” says Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB chief economist, in a statement.

On January 1, a new mortgage qualification stress test will come into effect, requiring all uninsured mortgage borrowers to qualify at either the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or at their contract mortgage rate, plus an additional two per cent.

According to Lurie, Calgary’s improving economic conditions should help offset the impact to the housing market after the new rules come into action.

She adds that the last time Calgary sales activity spiked to long-term averages for the month was October 2016, coinciding with the announcement of the stress test for high-ratio loans.

In November, sales activity improved in each of the city’s housing segments, with most of the gains occurring in homes priced under $500,000.

Although sales rose last month, supply relative to demand remains elevated, which continues to weigh on prices, says CREB.

The benchmark price of a home in the city was $436,700, an uptick of 0.46 per cent above November 2016.

Here are 9 more facts that show how activity in Calgary picked up steam in November:

1. The increase in sales compared to new listings improved in November, with new listings totaling at 2,061 — roughly a 4 per cent increase from a year ago.

2. This allowed inventory levels to ease over the previous month. There were a total of 5,665 units in inventory, up roughly 14 per cent from a year ago.

3. A surge in sales also helped keep months of supply relatively stable at four months, down 1.3 per cent from months of supply in November 2016.

4. Detached home sales have improved across all districts in the city, except for the North East. But higher supply levels have been impacting price recovery in the detached market. Year-to-date benchmark prices are slightly higher from last year but remain over three per cent below recent highs seen in 2014.

5. The benchmark price of a detached home was $504,000, up one per cent from a year ago.

6. In the condo segment, rising sales have not offset the continued increase in new listings, which CREB says is contributing to the oversupply in the market. Last month, a total of 446 new condo listings hit the market, down roughly two per cent from November 2016.

7. With an abundance of condo listings on the market, prices continue to ease and reached $258,300 last month, down roughly 4 per cent year-over-year.

8. Condo prices were nearly 14 per cent lower than monthly highs seen in 2014.

9. In the attached segment, the benchmark price of a home reached $436,700, up 0.5 per cent from November 2016.

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