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JANUARY 2024 HOUSING MARKET UPDATE

January sees strong sales fueled by boost in new listings

January sales rose to 1,650 units, a significant gain over last year's levels and long-term trends. The growth was possible thanks to a rise in new listings totalling 2,137 units in January. New listings rose for homes priced above $300,000, but the largest gains occurred for homes priced above $700,000. The rise in new listings relative to sales did little to change the low inventory situation in the city.  With 2,150 units in inventory, levels are near the January record lows set in 2006 and are nearly 49 per cent below the long-term average for the month.

"Supply challenges have been a persistent problem since last year. This month's gain in new listings has helped provide options to potential purchasers, supporting sales growth. However, the growth in sales prevented any significant adjustments in supply, keeping conditions tight and supporting further price growth," stated Ann-Marie Lurie, Chief Economist at CREB®.

The months of supply in January was 1.3 months, falling over last month's and last year's levels. The persistent tightness in the market contributed to further upward pressure on home prices. The unadjusted benchmark price in January reached $572,300, a gain over last month and ten per cent higher than levels reported last January.

Detached
A boost in new listings helped support stronger sales this month. However, with a sales-to-new-listings ratio of 77 per cent, there was minimal change in the low inventory situation reported in the detached sector. New listings rose for all homes priced above $500,000, but the largest gains occurred in the over $700,000 market segment. Low inventory levels compared to sales prevented any improvement in the months of supply, which at 1.4 months was lower than levels reported last month and last January. 

The exceptionally tight market conditions continued to drive further price growth. In January, the unadjusted detached price reached $702,200, nearly one per cent higher than last month and nearly 13 per cent higher than prices reported last year. Year-over-year price gains ranged from a low of 10 per cent in the City Centre and South East districts to a 27 per cent gain in the East district of the city.

Semi-Detached
With 223 new listings and 131 sales, the sales-to-new listings ratio fell to 59 per cent, the lowest level reported since 2020 and significantly improved over the 82 per cent average reported in 2023. The sudden shift did cause inventories to improve over the last month, but they remain well below long-term trends.

The unadjusted benchmark price in January was $625,000, slightly lower than last month but over 11 per cent higher than last January. The monthly decline was driven mainly by adjustments in the higher-priced districts of the West and City Centre.

Row
Like other property types, new listings and sales rose in January over levels reported last month and last year. However, with 322 new listings and 297 sales, the sales to new listings ratio remained exceptionally high at 92 per cent. This contributed to further reductions in inventory levels, and the months of supply once again fell below one month.

Limited supply and strong demand contributed to a rise in prices. In January, the unadjusted benchmark price reached $426,400, up over last month and nearly 20 per cent higher than levels reported in January 2023. While year-over-year prices are higher in every district, the West and City Centre districts saw unadjusted benchmark prices ease slightly over December.

Apartment/Condominium
Apartment-style properties continued to see the most significant gain in sales activity, rising to 488 sales in January, a year-over-year increase of 54 per cent. This was possible thanks to the growth in new listings. However, the gain in listings did little to supply levels; with 682 units, inventories were 40 per cent below long-term trends.

Tight market conditions continued to contribute to further price gains. In January, the unadjusted benchmark price reached $324,000, nearly one per cent higher than last month and 19 per cent higher than last January. Prices rose across all districts, with the largest year-over-year gains occurring in the most affordable districts of the North East and East.


 

REGIONAL MARKETS

COCHRANE
Eighty-three new listings and 70 sales occurred in January, keeping the sales to new listings relatively high at 84 per cent. This prevented any significant change in inventory levels compared to last month but caused the months of supply to fall below two months once again. The drop in the months of supply is a shift over the last four months, where the months of supply was over two months. 

Despite recent tightening, the unadjusted benchmark price did ease slightly over last month’s levels. Overall, the unadjusted benchmark prices across all property types remained over 10 per cent higher than last January. 

AIRDRIE
Stronger detached and row sales were enough to offset pullbacks in the semi-detached and apartment sectors, causing total residential sales to increase over levels reported last January. This, in part, was possible thanks to a boost in new listings. However, the boost in new listings and sales prevented any significant shift in inventory levels, which was half of the levels typically seen in the market. 

While conditions remained tight, the unadjusted benchmark price remained stable over the last month but was nearly 10 per cent higher than levels reported in January 2023. The most substantial price gains have occurred for apartment-style homes, which are the most affordable property type.

OKOTOKS
Both sales and new listings rose in January compared to last month's and last year’s levels. This caused the sales to new listings ratio to fall to 75 per cent, which was still relatively high but an improvement over the 86 per cent average reported last year. Nonetheless, the sudden gain in new listings was insufficient to cause material changes to the low inventory levels.

With just over one month of supply, conditions remain tight in Okotoks, driving prices up. In January, the benchmark price reached $589,600, higher than last month's and year’s levels. Year-over-year price growth occurred across all property types, with gains ranging from a high of 15 per cent for row properties to a low of six per cent for apartment-style homes.

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January 2024 Market Update

Strong migration and low supply drive Calgary housing prices in 2023

Sales in 2023 did ease relative to last year's peak, but with 27,416 sales, levels were still far higher than long-term trends and activity reported before the pandemic. While sales stayed relatively strong, there was a notable shift in activity toward more affordable apartment condominiums style homes. 

“Higher lending rates dampened housing demand this year, but thanks to strong migration levels, housing demand remained relatively strong, especially for affordable options in our market,” said CREB® Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “At the same time, supply levels were low compared to the demand throughout the year, resulting in stronger than expected price growth.”

Inventory levels were persistently below long-term trends for the city throughout most of the year, averaging a 44 per cent decline over the 10-year average. We also saw the months of supply remain well below two months throughout most of the year across homes priced below $1,000,000.

The persistently tight conditions contributed to our city's new record high price. While the average annual benchmark price growth did slow from 12 per cent in 2022 to nearly six per cent growth in 2023, the price growth was still relatively strong especially compared to some markets in the country.

Detached 

With an annual decline of nearly 20 per cent, the detached market saw the most significant decline in sales activity. While sales did improve for homes priced above $700,000, limited supply choices in the lower price ranges caused consumers to turn to alternative housing styles. Despite some recent gains in higher-priced new listings, inventories have remained near record lows, and the months of supply have remained relatively low throughout 2023.

The persistently tight market conditions have supported further price growth for detached homes, albeit at a slower pace than last year. On average, the benchmark price rose by nearly eight per cent in 2023, with the most significant gains occurring in the city's most affordable districts.

Semi-Detached 

Like the detached sector, year-over-year sales growth since May was not enough to offset the pullbacks at the beginning of the year, leaving 2023 sales down by 10 per cent. The decline in sales was driven by pullbacks for homes priced under $500,000, while sales improved for higher-priced properties. The decline in the lower range was primarily due to limited supply choices, preventing stronger sales.

Persistently tight market conditions this year caused prices to trend up throughout most of the year. On an annual basis, the benchmark price rose by seven per cent over last year—a slower gain than the 12 per cent reported in 2022, but still relatively strong. Price growth ranged from a low of six per cent in the city centre to over 16 per cent in the east district.

Row 

Limited supply choices in the lower price ranges contributed to the pullback in sales in 2023. Annual sales declined by over 11 per cent despite rising sales for homes priced above $400,000. While new listings did show signs of improving in the second half of the year, all of the gains were reported in the higher price ranges, causing relatively more balanced conditions in the upper price ranges versus the sellers’ market conditions in the lower price ranges. 

Conditions favoured the seller throughout the year, supporting an annual benchmark price gain of over 13 per cent. Prices improved across each district, ranging from a low of 11 per cent in the city centre to over 20 per cent price growth in both the North East and East districts.

Apartment Condominium 

Apartment-style properties were the only property type to report a gain in sales this year, resulting in a record high of 7,884. The growth in sales was possible thanks to the higher starting point for inventory levels and gains in new listings. However, conditions tightened throughout the year, favouring the seller and driving price growth.

Apartment condominium prices finally recovered from their 2014 high earlier this year and have pushed above those levels, reaching a new record high of $321,400 by December. On an annual basis, the 2023 benchmark price rose by over 13 per cent, a faster pace than the annual growth levels reported last year.

MARKET IN COCHRANE:

Both sales and new listings in Cochrane fell over last year’s levels. However, recent gains in new listings relative to sales did help support some inventory gains. While inventory levels have improved over the low levels reported last year, they remain over 40 per cent below what we traditionally see in the market.

The recent shifts in new listings relative to sales have helped the months of supply stay above two months since September. However, conditions are still relatively tight, and prices continue to rise. While the growth was stronger in the higher-density sectors of the market, the detached benchmark prices increased by four per cent in 2023 over last year.

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January Market Update - Calgary + Cochrane

Supply of lower-priced homes remains low for January

The level of new listings in January fell to the lowest levels seen since the late 90s. While new listings fell in nearly every price range, the pace of decline was higher for lower-priced properties.

At the same time, sales activity did slow compared to the high levels reported last year but remained consistent with long-term trends. However, there has been a shift in the composition of sales as detached homes only comprised 47 per cent of all sales.

“Higher lending rates are causing many buyers to seek out lower-priced products in our market,” said CREB® Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “However, the higher rates are likely also preventing some move-up activity in the market impacting supply growth for lower-priced homes. This is causing differing conditions in the housing market based on price range.”

With 2,451 units available in inventory, levels remain 43 per cent lower than long-term trends for the month. While overall inventory levels are slightly lower than last January, there is significant variation by price range. Homes priced under $500,000 reported year-over-year inventory declines of nearly 30 per cent while inventory levels improved for homes prices above that level. 

Although conditions are not as tight as last year, lower supply levels are preventing a significant shift toward balanced conditions and prices did trend up slightly over last month breaking the seven consecutive month slide. As of January, the benchmark price reached $520,900, 5 per cent higher than last January, but still well below the May 2022 high of $546,000.

Detached

Detached home sales saw the largest pullback despite the year-over-year rise in inventory levels. Higher lending rates are cooling demand for higher-priced homes which is supporting inventory gains. Meanwhile, a limited supply of lower-priced products is preventing stronger sales in the lower price ranges.

The variation within the market is likely causing divergent trends in pricing as prices have trended down in the higher-priced City Centre, while still reporting some modest gains in other districts of the city. Overall, the benchmark price reached $622,800 in January, slightly higher than levels reported in December, but still below the monthly high achieved in May 2022.

Semi-Detached

Sales in January slowed relative to last year’s levels but remained above levels achieved before the pandemic. At the same time, a pullback in new listings has left inventory levels below the already low levels reported last January. Like the detached sector, semi-detached homes have seen shifts where the demand remains strong for lower-priced product relative to the supply likely causing divergent trends in pricing.

In January, most districts reported a monthly benchmark price growth. However, prices did trend down in the higher-priced City Centre district causing Calgary’s semi-detached benchmark prices to ease slightly over levels seen in December 2022. Despite the monthly adjustment overall, prices remained nearly six per cent higher than levels reported in January 2022. 

Row

Row homes sales slowed over last year’s record high but remained well above long-term trends for the month. Sales would have likely been stronger if more listings came onto the market. In January, new listings dropped over the previous year and were over 20 per cent below long-term trends. The adjustments in both sales and new listings did little to change the low inventory scenario and the months of supply remained below two months in January. 

The persistently tight conditions did also prevent any downward pressure on prices which posted a nearly one per cent gain over December levels. With a benchmark price of $361,400, levels are still over 12 per cent higher than last January, and only slightly lower than the $363,700 monthly high achieved in June 2022.

Apartment Condominium

Sales for apartment condominiums did not see the same pace of decline as other property types in January partly due to the level of new listings coming onto the market. Nonetheless, inventory levels remained well below long-term trends for the month and have not been this low in January since 2014.

The adjustments to both sales and inventory have left this sector with a months of supply that is lower than levels seen at the start of 2022. The shift to affordable options is also impacting prices within the apartment condominium sector. In January, prices trended up from December levels driven by strong gains in the lower priced district of the North East and East. Overall, apartment condominium prices in the city reached $277,600, one per cent higher than last month and a year-over-year gain of nearly 10 per cent, narrowing the spread from the record high prices set in 2014.

Cochrane

January sales eased over last year’s record high but remained comparable to long-term trends for the month. At the same time, new listings also slowed, but not at the same pace as sales. Inventory levels also rose from the near record lows reported last January. While improving inventories is likely welcome news to most buyers, inventory levels are still nearly 40 per cent below long-term trends. 

Shifts in both sales and inventory have caused the months of supply to rise to nearly three months. This has taken some of the pressure off home prices which have seen exceptional gains over the past two years. Overall, the benchmark price in January was $488,900, over one per cent lower than last month but still seven per cent higher than January 2022 levels.

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Cochrane
December sales eased, contributing to the year-to-date decline of eight percent. The annual pullback in sales was met with new listings comparable to last year. This has helped support some inventory growth in the market, but levels are still well below what is typically available in the resale market. While inventory levels remain low, the recent pullback in sales has resulted in more balanced conditions taking some of the pressure of price growth seen over the last four months of the year.

On an annual basis, the benchmark price reached $504,067 in the town, nearly 17 percent higher than last year’s prices. Price gains were the strongest in both the detached and semi-detached sectors, where prices rose by 19 percent, establishing 2022 as the new record-high price.

Airdrie
Sales in Airdrie have declined since April, mainly because of the significant drop in detached home sales. December was no exception, as sales slowed compared to last year’s levels. Despite recent declines, year-to-date total residential sales increased by seven percent and have set a new record-high of 2,469 units. Regional population growth combined with the relative affordability of homes in Airdrie compared to Calgary are some factors supporting the record sales in 2022.

While new listings trended down in December, 2022 saw a general rise in new listings in the market. This has helped support some recent year-over-year gains in inventory levels over last year’s exceptionally low levels. Recent adjustments in both sales and inventory levels have caused the months of supply to trend up from the strong seller’s market conditions reported earlier in the year. However, conditions remain relatively tight with less than two months of supply.

The December benchmark price in Airdrie has eased by over six percent from the April peak. However, this is still 12 percent higher than last year's level. Overall, the annual benchmark price in 2002 was $489,558, nearly 20 percent higher than last year's level.


Okotoks
Sales activity eased in December, but the year-over-year pullback over the past few months has not offset the gains reported earlier in the year, as year-to-date sales activity rose by nearly two percent. This growth in sales was met with additional new listings in the market, helping support higher inventory levels over last year’s record lows. Even with some inventory growth, conditions continue to remain tight with under two months of supply, placing limits on the price adjustments.

While prices have trended down from the high seen in May, on an annual basis, benchmark price growth in the town was nearly 16 percent. Price growth was strongest in the detached sector, which for the first time, pushed above $600,000 on an annual basis.

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December Market Update - Calgary

2022 saw record-high sales and double-digit price growth

December sales eased, however, slowing sales over the second half of 2022 were not enough to offset earlier gains as sales reached a record high of 29,672 units in 2022.

Over the past several months, the pullback in sales was also met with a significant pullback in new listings, causing further declines in inventory levels. As of December, there were 2,214 units available in Inventory, making it the lowest level of inventory reported for December in over a decade.

“Housing market conditions have changed significantly throughout the year, as sales activity slowed following steep rate gains throughout the later part of the year,” said CREB® Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “However, Calgary continues to report activity that is better than levels seen before the pandemic and higher than long-term trends for the city. At the same time, we have faced persistently low inventory levels, which have prevented a more significant adjustment in home prices this year.”

Benchmark prices eased to $518,800 in December, down nearly five percent from the peak price in May but almost eight percent higher than last December. While prices have trended down annually, they remain over 12 percent higher than last year’s levels.

The housing market in 2022 generally outperformed expectations both in terms of sales and price growth.

Detached

The detached market has felt most of the impact of higher rates as a pullback in sales in the year’s second half contributed to the year-to-date decline of over seven percent. While there have been some gains in new listings over the last quarter, much of the growth has occurred in the market's upper-end, supporting more balanced conditions. However, supply levels for lower-priced homes remain low relative to the sales activity, causing that market segment to continue favouring the seller. Overall, the detached market has seen activity shift away from the strong sellers’ conditions reported earlier in the year.

Prices in the detached market have trended down in the second half of the year, as the December benchmark price of $619,600 has eased by just over four percent from the June high. The recent adjustments have not erased all the earlier gains, as benchmark prices reported an annual gain of over 14 percent. Annual price growth has ranged from a high of 19 percent in the South East, North and North East districts to a low of nearly eight percent in the City Centre.

Semi-Detached

Further declines in sales this month contributed to the year-to-date sales decline of nearly three percent. While sales have eased relative to last year’s record levels, activity is still far stronger than long-term trends and levels reported prior to the pandemic. At the same time, new listings have been trending down for this property type, keeping the inventory and months of supply relatively low compared to historical levels. 

While conditions are not as tight as earlier in the year, there has been some downward pressure on prices. The monthly benchmark price peaked in May of this year and has eased by nearly four percent since then. However, on an annual basis, benchmark prices remain nearly 12 percent higher than in 2021. The North district reported a higher annual price gain of over 18 percent.


Row

Significant reductions in new listings weighed on sales over the last few months of the year. Despite recent shifts, annual sales in the city reached a new record high, with 5,153 sales in 2022. Not only was it a record year, but sales were nearly double long-term trends. Higher lending rates are driving more purchasers toward the more affordable row options. While new listings were still higher than last year’s levels on an annual basis, the recent pullback combined with relatively strong sales has caused inventory levels to fall.

As of December, inventory levels were at the lowest since 2013. This has ensured that this segment of the market continues to favour the seller. While prices have eased by just over one percent from the June peak, overall year-to-date prices are nearly 15 percent higher than last year.

Apartment Condominium

Unlike other property types, apartment condominium sales continue to rise above the previous year’s levels throughout the year. This caused year-to-date sales to rise by 50 percent to 6,221 units, a new record high. Demand for affordable product, along with renewed investor interest thanks to rental rate growth, helped support sales growth. Gains in this sector were also possible thanks to the growth in annual new listings. However, like other sectors, the increase in new listings was not enough to outweigh the sales growth, and inventory levels trended down to levels not seen since 2013.

After several years of being oversupplied, the shift to tighter conditions supported annual price gains of nearly nine percent. While price gains occurred across every district, city-wide prices remain well below the previous highs reached back in 2014.

Read

November Market Update - Calgary

Sales remain stronger than pre-covid levels

October sales eased compared to last year’s levels, mostly due to slower activity in the detached sector. However, with 1,857 sales this month, levels are still stronger than long-term trends and activity reported prior to the pandemic. Year-to-date sales have reached 26,823 and with only two months to go, 2022 will likely post a record year in terms of sales.

“Calgary hasn’t seen the same degree of pullback in housing sales like other parts of Canada, thanks to persistently strong demand for our higher density product,” said CREB® Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “While our city is not immune to the impact that inflation and higher rates are having, strong employment growth, positive migration flows and a stronger commodity market are helping offset some of that impact.”


New listings also trended down this month causing the sales-to-new-listings ratio to rise to 85 per cent and inventories to trend down. Much of the inventory decline has been driven by product priced below $500,000.


While conditions are not a tight as what was seen earlier in the year, with only two months of supply, conditions remain tighter than historical levels. We are also seeing divergent trends in the market with conditions continuing to favour the seller in the lower-price ranges and shifting to more balanced conditions in the upper-price ranges.


As of October, prices have eased by four per cent relative to the highs reached in May. This is considered a relatively small adjustment when considering price movements in other large cities. It is also important to note that the October benchmark price is still nearly 10 per cent higher than levels reported last year.


Detached

Sales growth in the over $700,000 price range this month were not enough to offset the declines in the lower-price ranges, causing detached sales to ease by over 29 per cent compared to last year. Limited supply growth in the lower-price ranges continue to keep conditions exceptionally tight for lower-priced detached homes.


In October, inventory levels for detached homes were under 2,000 units, nearly 35 per cent lower than typical levels reported for the month. Moreover, over 42 per cent of the inventory falls in the upper-price ranges of the market. This is likely creating a situation where pricing trends will vary depending on price range.


Overall, detached prices did trend down relative to last month and peak levels in May but remain nearly 12 per cent higher than levels reported last October. The strongest year-over-year price gains have occurred in the North and South East districts.


Semi-Detached

While sales remain lower than last year’s levels in October, recent pullbacks have not offset gains from earlier in the year and year-to-date sales improved by nearly three per cent. A pullback in new listings relative to sales caused the sales-to-new-listings ratio to push above 80 per cent this month and inventories to ease, leaving the months of supply just over two months.


The benchmark price, while easing slightly compared to last month, remained over nine per cent higher than last year’s levels. Year-over-year price gains have varied from a low of nearly eight per cent in the City Centre to a high of 16 per cent in the North district.


Row

Row sales continue to rise relative to last year supporting a year-to-date gain of nearly 42 per cent. At the same time, new listings this month eased ensuring that the sales-to-new-listings ratio remain exceptionally tight at 106 per cent. Falling inventories and improving sales have ensured this market continues to favour the seller with less than two months of supply. This has also prevented the same adjustment in price.


As of October, the benchmark price was $361,200, less than one per cent lower than the peak achieved in June of this year. Overall, prices remained nearly 15 per cent higher than last year’s levels. The strongest price gains occurred in the South East, North East and North districts.


Apartment Condominium

Apartment sales continue to rise over levels reported last year contributing to the year-to-date increase of over 56 per cent. Improving sales were also met with gains in new listings, but as the growth in sales outpaced the new listings activity, inventory levels continue to trend down. As of October, the months of supply remained just below three months, the lowest level recorded in October since 2013.


In October, the benchmark price was $277,800, similar to last month and nearly 11 per cent higher than last year’s levels. Some of the strongest price gains have occurred in areas outside of the City Centre. Despite persistent price growth, overall prices remain nine per cent below previous highs set back in 2014.


Read

November Market Update - Cochrane

Cochrane

A pullback in new listings relative to sales activity caused the sales-to-new-listings ratio to push up to 90 per cent once again, causing inventories to trend down relative to last month. While overall inventories still remain higher than the exceptionally low levels seen last year, levels are still well below what is typically seen in the market.

While prices have eased off recent highs, at a benchmark price of $507,000, prices remain over 16 per cent higher than last years levels. Price growth has been mostly driven by the detached and semi-detached sector which have reported year-over-year gains exceeding 18 per cent.
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2021 record year for home sales

City of Calgary, Jan. 4, 2022 – Thanks to exceptionally high sales in December, 2021 was a record year for home sales. Calgary sales reached 27,686 units this year, nearly 72 per cent higher than last year and over 44 per cent higher than the 10-year average.

“Concerns over inflation and rising lending rates likely created more urgency with buyers over the past few months. However, as is the case in many other cities, the supply has not kept pace with the demand, causing strong price growth,” said CREB® Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

As of December, the unadjusted benchmark price rose by nearly one per cent over last month and was sitting over 10 per cent higher than last year’s figures. Overall, the 2021 benchmark price rose by more than eight per cent compared to last year for a total of $451,567, just shy of the annual record high set back in 2015.

We are entering 2022 with some of the tightest conditions seen in over a decade. As of December, inventory levels are nearly 25 per cent lower than long-term averages for the month. This will have an impact on our housing market as we move through 2022. More details on the housing market forecast for 2022 will be released on Jan. 25.

 

Detached

With 17,038 sales in 2021, home sales remained slightly lower than the record high set in 2005. While a new record was not set, sales are still over 40 per cent higher than long-term averages and supply challenges likely prevented stronger sales this year. New listings rose, but it was not enough to offset sales, causing inventories to ease. In the detached sector, average inventory levels were over 23 per cent lower than long-term trends. With only 898 units in inventory in December, we are entering 2022 with the lowest detached inventory on record.

Strong sales relative to inventory levels caused the months of supply to dip below one month, which is tighter than levels recorded in the spring market. Tightening conditions over the past several months once again weighed on prices. The detached benchmark price rose by nearly one per cent compared with last month and is nearly 12 per cent higher than last year’s levels. Overall, the detached sector has recorded the largest annual price gain at nearly 10 per cent, not only recovering from the 2015 annual high, but exceeding it by nearly three per cent.


Semi-Detached

In 2021, there were 2,571 semi-detached sales, an annual gain of 55 per cent and over 47 per cent higher than longer-term trends. Relative affordability and less supply choice in the detached sector caused many to consider semi-detached properties. However, like other property types, semi-detached sales growth outpaced new-listings growth, especially at the end of the year, causing significant declines in inventory levels and the months of supply, which has remained below two for the past three months.

Tight conditions have caused further price growth, as December prices were nearly 10 per cent higher than last year. Overall, on an annual basis, semi-detached home prices improved by eight per cent, reaching a new record high. However, prices have not recovered across all districts, as the City Centre, North East and South districts have not seen full price recovery,


Row

Over the past few months, row properties have increased in popularity, reporting strong sales growth that has outpaced the growth in new listings. This has created much tighter conditions and is supporting stronger price growth.

Inventories were not as much of a challenge earlier in the year, so the pace of price growth was not as high as the growth seen among some of the other property types during that time. However, benchmark prices rose by six per cent on an annual basis, supporting some price recovery. Despite the gains, prices remain nearly nine per cent lower than the previous high.


Apartment Condominium

Record sales in December were not enough to support annual record-high sales for this property type. Unlike the other property types, the apartment condominium sector has not experienced many supply challenges, as inventories this year generally remained above historical levels. However, the growth in sales was enough to help shift the market from one that favoured the buyer to one that was relatively balanced.

The balanced conditions did support modest annual price growth of just over two per cent. Each district saw some improvement in price this year, varying from less than one per cent growth in the City Centre to over six per cent growth in the West district. Despite these price gains, prices are still recovering across all districts and citywide prices remain 14 per cent lower than previous highs recorded in 2014.

 

REGIONAL MARKET FACTS

Airdrie

December sales reached record levels despite further reduction in new listings. The strong sales have caused inventory levels to drop to a mere 82 units, which is the lowest they’ve been since 2005. Overall, Airdrie recorded a record 2,299 sales this year. This is 78 per cent higher than activity recorded over the past 10 years and is 36 per cent higher than the previous record set in 2014.

Airdrie’s strong growth in housing demand could be related to the relative affordability of detached homes there compared to Calgary and less concern among consumers over commute times, as some companies shift toward hybrid work options. Bringing on new supply has been a challenge in Airdrie, and this has driven some significant price gains in the city. Overall, annual benchmark prices hit a new record at $380,867 in 2021, nearly 12 per cent higher than last year’s levels and two per cent higher than the previous annual record.


Cochrane

Despite persistently low levels of new listings relative to sales, Cochrane’s sales reached record levels in 2021. However, the sales-to-new-listings ratio has exceeded 100 per cent for four of the past six months, causing inventories to drop to the lowest levels seen in over a decade.

This has caused further tightening in the market, as the months of supply has remained below one month over the past two months. The exceptionally tight conditions, especially over the past few months, have caused further price gains. As of December, the benchmark price was nearly 10 per cent higher than levels reported last year. Overall, on an annual basis, the benchmark price has increased by seven per cent, reflecting a new record high for the town.


Okotoks

Despite persistent challenges with supply levels, sales in Okotoks reached record levels in 2021. However, the strong sales weighed on inventory levels, which on average eased by 41 per cent this year and remain over 50 per cent lower than what the market typically has available.

Easing inventory and strong sales left the months of supply at record-low levels in December with less than one month of supply. With sellers’ market conditions throughout the year, there have been some significant gains in prices. On an annual basis, the benchmark price hit a new record high at $474,842, which is an annual gain of nearly nine per cent.

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December Market Update

With December sales of 1,199, this is the highest December total since 2007.

“Housing demand over the second half of 2020 was far stronger than anticipated and nearly offset the initial impact caused by the shutdowns in spring,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Even with the further restrictions imposed in December, it did not have the same negative impact on housing activity like we saw in the earlier part of the year.”

Attractive interest rates, along with prices that remain lower than several years ago, have likely supported some of the recovery in the second half of the year. However, it is important to note that annual sales activity declined by one per cent compared to last year and remains well below long-term averages.

New listings in December increased by 11 per cent. However, the number of sales exceeded the number of new listings in December, contributing to further declines in inventory.

Reductions in supply and improving demand in the second half of the year have contributed to some of the recent price improvements in the market. However, the recent gain in the benchmark price was not enough to offset earlier pullbacks, as the annual residential benchmark price in Calgary declined by one per cent over last year.

The pandemic has resulted in a significant shift in economic conditions, yet the housing market is entering 2021 in far more balanced conditions than we have seen in over five years. This will help provide some cushion for the market moving into 2021, but conditions will continue to vary depending on price range, location, and product type.


HOUSING MARKET FACTS

Detached

Stronger sales in the second half of the year were enough to offset earlier pullbacks, as detached sales totalled 9,950, just slightly higher than last year’s levels. Despite the modest gain, detached sales activity remains at the lower levels recorded since the stress test was introduced in 2018.

Supply adjustments is causing sellers’ market conditions for detached homes across all districts except the West and City Centre. This has helped support some price recovery in the market over the past several months.

Citywide prices remained relatively flat compared to last year, but there were notable annual gains in both the South and South East districts, which both recorded price gains of nearly two per cent. Despite some of the annual shifts seen, prices remain well below previous highs in all districts of the city.


Semi-Detached

Sales growth in the North East, North, West and South East districts were offset by declines in the City Centre, North West, South and East districts. This year’s sales total of 1,663 units is similar to levels recorded last year.

While sales did not improve across each district, there were reductions in supply across all districts, which is helping to reduce the months of supply.

These reductions are starting to impact prices, but it was not enough to offset earlier pullbacks. Citywide semi-detached prices eased by over one per cent in 2020, with the largest declines occurring in the City Centre, North West and West districts.


Row

Slower sales in the West district were not enough to offset the gains recorded in the rest of the city. Row sales totalled 2,145 in 2020, nearly two per cent higher than last year’s levels. Despite the gains, levels continue to remain below long-term averages for the city.

Rising sales were generally met with a reduction in supply. This is causing the months of supply to trend down, especially over the second half of the year.

The decline in the months of supply was enough to help support some stability in prices. However, the adjustment did not occur soon enough – annual prices eased by nearly two per cent compared to the previous year and remain nearly 14 per cent below previous highs.

Price adjustments did vary depending on location. The steepest decline occurred in the North East district, with a year-over-year decline of five per cent. The strongest gain occurred in the West district, which saw a two per cent increase.


Apartment Condominium

Sales this month marked the best December since 2014. However, it was not enough to offset earlier pullbacks, as apartment condominium sales eased by 10 per cent in 2020. This is the slowest year for apartment condo sales since 2001 and the only property type to record a significant annual decline in sales.

Unlike other property types, this segment remains oversupplied. Prices have trended down over the past two months due to excess supply. On an annual basis, the benchmark price declined by over two per cent this year and is over 16 per cent lower than the highs set in 2015.


REGIONAL MARKET FACTS

Airdrie

December sales reached a new record high for the month. Improving sales throughout the second half of the year contributed to the annual sales of 1,407, a year-over-year gain of 18 per cent.

New listings also rose in December, which is likely contributing to some of the monthly gains in sales. Overall, new listings have remained well below last year. Along with improving sales, this is causing inventories to decline.

Months of supply has remained below three months since June and prices have trended up. By December, the benchmark price had risen by nearly five per cent compared to last year.

On an annual basis, the gains in price were enough to offset the earlier pullbacks, creating stability in prices. However, this was not the case for all product types. Detached prices rose by nearly two per cent on an annual basis. Benchmark prices for row and apartment style product, however, eased by a seven and one per cent, respectively, compared to last year.


Cochrane

Record sales in December contributed to an annual gain of 16 per cent, making it the best year of sales in the past five years. New listings in 2020 also eased compared to last year. Rising sales and fewer new listings on the market caused inventories to ease to the lowest levels recorded since 2014.

With months of supply of only two months, prices continued to trend up. The December benchmark price was $419,900, a five per cent gain over last year. Prices have trended up over the past six months, but remain relatively stable compared to last year. This is due to easing prices for higher-density products offsetting gains in the detached sector.


Okotoks

Despite further declines in new listings, December sales improved. Year-to-date sales increased by nearly eight per cent. The lack of new listings, couple with stronger sales, caused inventories to drop to 63 homes in December, the lowest level for any month seen since 2006.

A combination of low inventory and high demand supported increasing prices in the second half of the year. As of December, the benchmark price was $434,700, nearly two per cent above last year’s levels. Despite the recent gains, 2020 benchmark prices remain over one per cent lower than last year’s levels.

However, this could be due to steeper price declines for semi-detached, row and apartment-style product.

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COVID-19 is boosting home sales in Calgary suburbs, surrounding areas – will that momentum last?

With many people trading in their downtown commute for a home office due to the COVID-19 pandemic, proximity to the city centre has been less of a priority for house hunters this year.


In fact, a new emphasis on creating comfortable, productive workspaces within the home and the reduced importance of living anywhere near the office have increased buyer interest in areas just outside Calgary’s city limits – where prices are lower and space is plentiful.


While overall year-to-date home sales in Calgary are down compared to the same time in 2019, Airdrie, Cochrane and Okotoks have all recorded an uptick.


Resale activity grew by 12.5 per cent in Airdrie and 10 per cent in Cochrane, while Okotoks followed with a one per cent gain, according to data from CREB®.


Sales in these areas have been paced by the single-family segment, says Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB®’s chief economist.


In Airdrie, sales of detached homes, specifically, saw a 16 per cent increase during this time, while sales of detached homes in Cochrane grew by nine per cent.


Detached homes tend to have more square footage than other styles, a factor that has been top of mind for many recent homebuyers, says Tara Molina, a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Real Estate (Central).


“I’ve had clients where … the motivation was, ‘Now we are working from home, so we need a space where we can actually work from home,’” she said. “What I am finding from my buyers and sellers is they are looking to have a home that has multiple functions to it.”


Due to the government-mandated shutdown earlier this year, as well as the ongoing efforts many are making to keep their distance from others, homeowners are spending more time in their homes than ever before.

“Now your home is not just where you live, but also operates as your gym, office, school, restaurant and entertainment space,” said Molina.

“I think people are reacquainting themselves with the two-storey or bigger homes because you need to supplement the lack of space that we are able to get in the public now, with shutdowns and this new lifestyle that we are having to adjust to.”

“I feel there will be a bit of a shift in demand sometime down the road back to inner-city communities, once office spaces are back up and running and there’s a working vaccine that’s easily attainable and things like that.” – Jackson Cornelius, Urban Analytics

The quest for more living space without a higher price tag has made communities on Calgary’s edge a natural draw.

The year-to-date median price for homes of all types within the City of Calgary is $407,082. In comparison, the median price is $365,000 in Airdrie, $388,000 in Cochrane and $380,000 in Okotoks.


Looking at detached homes, specifically, the year-to-date median price in the City of Calgary is 17 per cent higher than in Airdrie for homes in this segment.


“Both Airdrie and Cochrane are more affordable, relative to what you can get in the city,” said Lurie. “And all of a sudden, if the concern over the commute isn’t as big anymore, because people aren’t commuting to downtown Calgary every day or that work schedule has changed, that also can influence how far people are willing to live from the (city) centre.”


Multi-family sales in the new-home market reflect elevated interest outside the city, as well.


There were 29 sales of multi-family units in Cochrane in the third quarter of this year, up 480 per cent from the previous quarter, according to Urban Analytics, a market research and advisory firm.


Airdrie, however, saw less traction in this segment, with its 19 multi-family sales last quarter marking a 49 per cent quarter-over-quarter decline.


“I think the attractiveness of a destination location has definitely picked up in response to COVID-19,” said Jackson Cornelius, consulting and advisory lead for Urban Analytics in Alberta.


“You see it a lot in Kelowna, (B.C.), and that’s why prices are increasing there. People are taking the stance that if they are going to be working from home, downsizing their office space, that they won’t need to be so close to the city centre.”


However, this is a pivot in consumer preference that might be short-lived.


“I feel like the office space will make a comeback,” said Cornelius. “I feel there will be a bit of a shift in demand sometime down the road back to inner-city communities, once office spaces are back up and running and there’s a working vaccine that’s easily attainable and things like that.” The strongest increase in activity Urban Analytics has seen this year has been in suburban communities on Calgary’s northern and southern edges, such as Seton and Evanston, he adds.


This reflects a broader trend of increased demand for resale homes in Calgary’s newer suburbs, located far from the inner-city and downtown core.


Leading the city in overall resale activity between Jan. 1 and the end of October were the southeast master-planned communities of Cranston (329 sales), Auburn Bay (282 sales) and McKenzie Towne (262 sales), according to CREB®.


Sales in Cranston represented a year-over-year increase of nine per cent, while the lake community of Auburn Bay posted a 17 per cent gain.

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For the sixth month in a row, sales in the Calgary market recorded a year-over-year gain.

Sales growth over the past several months has been the strongest seen in the past five years, but the activity has not been strong enough to offset the pullbacks from the spring. Year-to-date sales remain over three per cent lower than last year’s levels.

New listings continue to slow, reducing inventory in the market. On a year-to-date basis, new listings have eased by nearly ten per cent and are at the lowest level recorded since 2001. This has reduced the oversupply that has been impacting the market for nearly five years.

“The gains in sales in the latter part of this year have been a bit surprising considering the job losses and unemployment rate in our city,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“However, it is important to note that the shift to more balanced conditions has been mostly driven by the reduction of supply.”

Tighter conditions in the housing market have contributed to some of the recent gains in benchmark prices. As of November, the benchmark price was $423,600. This is nearly two per cent higher than last year’s levels.

However, conditions vary depending on price range. There is not a lot of supply for affordable homes in each product type because of high demand. This is likely causing differing price trends in the lower end of the market versus the higher end.


HOUSING MARKET FACTS

Detached

November sales activity improved across every district, contributing to a year-over-year citywide increase of 26 per cent. Improving sales over the past six months have helped offset some of the pullbacks from earlier in the year, as year-to-date sales were only two per cent lower than last year’s levels.

Like other sectors, inventory in the detached market has also eased due to the sharp decline in new listings. This has kept the months of supply below three months for the past three months. The tighter market conditions are supporting price gains. As of November, the detached benchmark price improved by nearly three per cent compared to last year for a total of $492,000. However, prices did not improve across all districts, as the City Centre continues to record prices that are one per cent lower than last year’s levels.

Activity for this product type does vary significantly depending on location and price range. The pullback in new listings relative to sales has caused significant reductions in inventory for homes priced below $500,000. Higher price ranges have also seen some declining inventory, but the degree of decline has not been as significant. In fact, the market is exhibiting sellers’ market conditions for homes priced below $500,000, while still favouring the buyer for homes priced above $700,000.


Semi-Detached

Year-over-year gains in sales were met with slower new listings, resulting in inventory reductions and a month of supply of three months. While conditions are not as tight in the semi-detached market as they are in the detached market, the reductions in supply relative to demand were enough to support further monthly gains in the benchmark price.

As of November, the benchmark price was $395,100, which is one per cent higher than last year’s levels. Activity did vary depending on location, as price gains were the highest in the South East district, while prices remained just below last year’s levels in the City Centre.

There have also been notable differences within this market depending on price range. The months of supply has declined significantly for product priced below $400,000. This decline is likely contributing to some of the differing price trends throughout the districts of the city.


Row

Year-over-year gains in the row sector continued in November and were enough to cause year-to-date sales to remain at levels similar to last year. Bucking the trend from other sectors, new listings rose compared to last year, easing some of the downward pressure on inventory levels. The months of supply stayed above four months, higher than levels seen in both the detached and semi-detached sectors, but a significant improvement from the nearly six months of supply recorded last November.

Row prices also showed signs of stabilizing, as November prices remained comparable to last year’s levels. Despite some of the monthly gains, on a year-to-date basis, prices remain nearly two per cent lower than last year’s levels and have eased across all districts except the City Centre, West and East.


Apartment Condominium

Following seven months of year-over-year declines, apartment condo sales improved over last year’s levels. However, last November was an exceptionally weak month for apartment sales. Year-to-date apartment sales totalled 2,209, a 13 per cent decline from last year and nearly 30 per cent lower than longer-term averages.

New listings did ease slightly this month, placing some downward pressure on inventory that was missing earlier in the year. However, inventory remains higher than last year’s levels and the months of supply is still elevated at nearly eight months. The oversupply in this market continues to place downward pressure on prices, which not only eased relative to last month, but remain one per cent lower than last year’s prices. The only district to see some positive momentum is the North, where prices rose slightly compared to last year.


REGIONAL MARKET FACTS

Airdrie

Sales continue to record strong gains in November as year to date sales reached 1,318 a 15 per cent increase over last year. The rise in sales was also met with a pullback in new listings causing further declines in inventory levels and keeping the months of supply just over two months. This is the tightest months of supply figure recorded for November since 2014 where the months of supply was below two months.

Persistently low months of supply, especially in the detached sector of the market continue to place upward pressure on prices. In November the benchmark price was $342,900, trending up over last month and over two per cent above last year’s levels.


Cochrane

For the sixth consecutive month sales active rose over last year’s levels causing year-to-date sales to total 651, a 12 per cent increase over last year. However, unlike other areas the level of new listings in Cochrane also rose. The months of supply rose to nearly four months. However, this is still relatively low for November as the town has typically averaged seven months over the past five years.

With generally tighter market conditions in the town prices have trended up for the past six months. As of November, the benchmark price was $417,800, four per cent higher than last year.  Despite the recent gains year-to-date figures remain nearly one per cent below last year’s levels.


Okotoks

Despite the decline in new listings, sales continued to improve causing further inventory declines.  Inventory in November dropped to 95 units, nearly half the levels we typically see this time of year.  With a sale to new listings ratio above 100 per cent and a months of supply of just over two months, this is one of the tightest Novembers recorded since 2014.

The general tightness in the market has been driven by the detached sector. This is the only category that has seen year-over-year gains in prices. As of November, the detached benchmark price was $441,100, nearly two per cent higher than last November.

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Avoiding Mortgage Payout Penalties

How Mortgage Payment Penalties Work

What we find most surprising when dealing with Sellers is that they rarely know how a mortgage prepayment penalty works. Either it was never explained to them. By either the mortgage broker, their bank, or their lawyer. Or, they never took the time to understand this important factor of mortgage payout penalties, when they first mortgaged their property.


In today’s interest rate environment, our clients are seeing some very severe penalties. This is due to a little-known clause on prepayments. The mortgage penalty is  applied on the basis of the greater, of the payment of 3 months of mortgage interest. Or applied as the interest rate differential – the IRD.

Closed Mortgage

When you elect to have a closed mortgage there are limited prepayment privileges. Which range anywhere from 5% to 25% of the principal of the mortgage on an annual basis. Typically there is also the option to increase your mortgage payment by a maximum amount each year. If you go above these limits you will likely incur a mortgage penalty. We typically see mortgage penalties being incurred either from a sale or a refinancing of the property.

Interest Differential

Understanding 3 month interest is simple enough to do. However, the interest differential is a little more difficult and of greater concern. Essentially, this is the difference in the amount of interest you would be paying for between the balance of the term of your mortgage and the amount of interest you would be paying if the interest rate were equal to the bank’s current posted rate for the balance of that term.


Seems innocent enough, except for the fact that we have seen interest differential penalties in the tens of thousands of dollars. This can and will potentially affect your return on your property. In some cases has resulted in Sellers having to pay money in order to sell their properties.

What Can Be Done About Mortgage Penalties?

What can you do about mortgage penalties? First, understand what the mortgage penalties are for the mortgage product you are contemplating. Second, understand what your purpose of buying a property is. Are you intending to sell the property relatively soon or hold on to it for longer? Match your term and mortgage product to your intentions. Third, engage your banker or mortgage broker in a full and frank discussion of what your needs are and how prepayment costs can be minimized.


Maybe the best advice of all is to understand what your penalty might be BEFORE you decide to sell or refinance your home.


If you need advice about your mortgage please contact me and I will put you in touch with our amazing mortgage broker who is a wealth of knowledge and will provide guidance on your path forward.


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