Calgary’s real estate market has roared back to life

by Neil Sharma on 24 Feb 2021

Seemingly nobody anticipated that Calgary’s real estate market would come back to life the way it has, but perhaps the reasons for its reemergence aren’t so surprising.

“The most obvious reason is all of the pent up demand we’ve had for years here. Our market has been through a lot of economic hardship going back to 2015, where we saw a dramatic drop in sales and never really recovered,” Brett Turner, broker and founder of Redline Real Estate Group Inc., told CREW. “Five years into it, sellers have more equity after paying down their mortgage balances, so they have more room in terms of mobility to get into new deals. That’s combined with interest rates that have come down considerably, and there’s also the relative affordability.”

The first indications that the market was roaring back to life were in autumn when buyer interest was higher than it typically is during that time of year. In Q4-2020, sales increased compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

“Not only were there more sales relative to the same period in 2019, there were fewer listings,” said Turner. “There were better months of the supply metric all the way through the fourth quarter of last year, which is typically the slowest time of year for Calgary.”

Market psychology is not to be underestimated. With the narrative around the COVID-19 pandemic taking a slightly more optimistic turn late last year with news that not only were there multiple vaccines ready for distribution, but that most Canadians would be inoculated before the end of 2021, Turners says that brought homebuyers in Calgary out of the woodwork.

The strong end to 2020 has spilled over into 2021. Last month, total residential sales increased by 41% year-over-year to 1,208, according to statistics from the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), while the benchmark price of a home in the city climbed by 2% to $424,000. To understand the “relative affordability” Turned is alluding to, consider that the average price of a home in the GTA was $967,885 last month and that the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board anticipates it to reach $1,025,000 this year.

Although Calgary’s economy has seen better days, housing affordability and low interest rates have conspired to renew interest in the city’s housing market.

“Discount lending rates are exceptionally low, which is likely attracting all types of buyers back into the market,” Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB’s chief economist, said in a Feb. 1 statement. “New listings in the market were also slightly higher than what was available over the past two months, which is providing more options to purchasers.”

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