Board forecasts 22 per cent drop in sales

House sales activity in Calgary could drop by 22 per cent, according to the latest report from the Calgary Real Estate Board, which shows a drop in housing demand as further job cuts are expected.

“These employment changes, combined with overall weakness and slower than anticipated recovery of oil prices, are expected to keep housing demand relatively weak for the rest of 2015,” said CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“However, with the initial shock of oil price declines having dissipated, the pullback in sales activity in the second half is not expected to be as dramatic as the first part of the year.”

Oil has fallen below US$50 a barrel and more than 12,000 full-time jobs have been lost since January – with more losses expected, detached home sales fell 25 per cent in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year.

Calgary’s residential benchmark price is expected to average $448,354 for 2015, a modest 0.20 per cent decline over the previous year and more than $8 million short of the CREB’s prediction earlier this year.

Overall, sales activity in Calgary is listed at 19,798 homes in 2015, which is a 22 per cent decline compared to last year, but just a six per cent drop compared to average activity over the past five years.

Uncertainty and other dramatic swings caused inventory levels to rise, but things are starting to regulate as inventory tends to come back down to earth in the fall and winter months.  

According to CREB’s report, housing supply levels are expected to remain relatively elevated due to improved selection in the rental markets, completion of projects under construction, and an easing in the rate of decline in resale new listings.

“Some buyers have the expectation that they will get significant price reductions in this market, but that’s not always the case,” said Corinne Lyall, president of CREB, in the report. “In some areas, supply levels are more balanced with demand and that creates price stability.

“On the other hand, in most situations, it will be the sellers who need to adjust expectations, particularly if they have to compete with a large amount of comparable product in the neighbourhood.” 

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