Calgary, April 1, 2014 – Residential sales activity improved across all sectors in March. However, declining new listings in the single family sector combined with further gains in sales activity decreased single family inventory to the lowest March level since 2006.
“There are several factors contributing to the growth in housing demand, including the inflow of people to our province over the past two years, strong gains in employment and tight rental conditions,” says CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “However, supply conditions vary amongst the different property segments, impacting the number of sales and price growth. If supply constraints persist in the single family sector, prices are expected to record further gains as we move into the spring market.”
Single family sales at the end of the first quarter totalled 3,901 units, a 9.5 per cent increase over the same period last year. Meanwhile, the amount of new listings declined by nearly five per cent. As sales growth outpaced the amount of new listings growth in the market, inventory levels dropped to just over 2,000 units.
Persistently tight market conditions prevented any relief in terms of price gains. The unadjusted single family benchmark price totalled $490,600 in March, a 9.9 per cent increase over the previous year and monthly increase of 1.6 per cent.
“With tight market conditions, particularly in the single family market, purchasers should ensure they have a clear understanding of what they can afford and what they are willing to pay for a home,” says Bill Kirk, CREB® president. “However, both sellers and buyers need to be aware that conditions are dependent on the community and price range that you are targeting.”
Condominium apartment sales totalled 1,062 after the first quarter. Sales growth was strongest in this sector due to the availability of listings. New listings after the first quarter totalled 1,722, an 18 per cent increase over the previous year. While demand continued to outpace listing growth, keeping market conditions relatively tight, inventory levels are similar to the previous year.
“Nearly 50 per cent of new listings in the apartment sector are priced in the range of $200,000 – $299,999, providing options for those looking for affordable product,” says Kirk. “However, there are far fewer options for those looking to spend less than $200,000. After the first quarter, apartment product priced below $200,000 has dropped from over 16 per cent of the market last year to 6.4 per cent.”
Condominium apartment and townhouse prices totalled a respective $287,200 and $313,100. Condominium apartment price recorded a year-over-year increase of 11.5 per cent and are the highest relative to the townhouse and single family sector. Despite strong price gains across all sectors, overall the condominium sector continues to record price levels below peak records.
“Some easing of the supply pressure in the condominium market is expected as new construction projects are completed,” says Lurie. “However, thanks to Calgary’s strong economy, it is expected that most new supply can be absorbed without risk of oversupply and condominium price correction.”