By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald
Calgary’s residential real estate market saw an upswing in activity in September despite continued global economic turmoil, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board. Data released by the board Monday indicated sales and prices increased during the month compared with a year ago. There were 1,036 single-family MLS sales in September, up 8.25 per cent from September 2010. The average sale price was $466,167, an increase of 1.27 per cent from last year.
“Despite recent turmoil in the global economy, Calgarians are showing confidence in the long-term prospects for the city and are taking advantage of affordable and stable home prices,” said Bob Jablonski, president-elect of CREB. “Undoubtedly, there are a lot of unknowns in the world’s current financial situation, but Calgary and Alberta may be relatively safe havens amidst this uncertainty. Granted, gains in the housing market have been very gradual — but we are seeing signs of improvements. Our province’s growth is expected to outperform the national average, and this will help buoy consumer confidence in Calgary and Alberta.” Year-to-date after nine months, there have been 10,518 single-family home sales, up 9.78 per cent compared with the same period a year ago.
Tamara Pilipchuk, a realtor with Re/Max in Calgary, said the first half of 2011 saw a rise in MLS sales compared with 2010 and this caused a decline in listings, bringing down inventories to levels consistent with a balanced market. “However, there is no doubt that the turmoil in the U.S economy will have an impact on Alberta,” she said. “Downward pressure on commodities will limit some of the expected economic and employment growth in Alberta. We expect to see the housing market remain stable at or above levels recorded last year.
“Sale numbers are expected to level off for the remainder of the year as inventories … creep up adding some downward pressure on house prices. Consumers no longer have a sense of urgency and are looking for value, spending more time looking and exploring their options. The positive stimulus in the overall market is being fuelled by relatively low interest rates, she added.
“We are also seeing an improved range of single-family homes on the market, combined with relatively stable pricing, giving buyers opportunities to purchase in areas not open to them before,” said Pilipchuk. “More activity in the condominium market will also have a positive impact this fall in the market place.”
In the towns outside of Calgary MLS market, there were 314 sales in September, up 15.87 per cent from last year, and the average sale price jumped by 0.58 per cent to
$365,612. The country residential market, which includes acreages, had 70 MLS sales in September, an increase of 45.83 per cent from September 2010, while the average sale price rose by 4.04 per cent to $770,822. “It’s steady as she goes,” said Jablonski. “I think there’s a lot more building consumer confidence in Calgary . . . Calgary and Alberta are leading the way as far as the rest of the country goes and I think it’s going to be fine.
“Calgary continues to add full-time jobs to the economy, and migration is moving in the right direction. These are positive factors that will give momentum to our housing market and give winds to the sails of Calgary’s economy.”