Nearly 32% hike from last year
By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald June 1, 2012
CALGARY — MLS sales in Calgary ballooned in May as residential transactions in the city were up by nearly 32 per cent compared with a year ago.
According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, total MLS sales during the month in the city reached 2,385, an increase of 31.77 per cent from May 2011, and the average sale price rose by 2.83 per cent to $445,334.
The housing market was buoyed by strong activity in the single-family home sector.
There were 1,710 single-family home sales during the month, up 30.73 per cent from last year, and the average sale price jumped by 2.70 per cent to $502,065.
That average price was only the second time it has topped half a million dollars and fell just short of the record of $505,920 set in July 2007.
In the condo apartment category, sales in May of 386 increased by 34.03 per cent from a year ago and the average sale price rose by 4.38 per cent to $280,029.
In the condo townhouse category, there were 289 transactions, an increase of 35.05 per cent from May 2011, and the average price was up by 5.29 per cent to $330,446.
“We started 2012 with over five months worth of inventory in metro Calgary, placing us in a buyers market,” said realtor Robyn Moser, of MaxWell South Star Realty. “By mid February, we saw our market strengthen up to three months of inventory, placing us in a balanced market and then by the beginning of March we saw absorption rates fall to 2.5 months and below of inventory, now placing us in a sellers market. We have sat at these levels since. This kind of change in the market is exciting to see especially after what we have been through since 2009, when we saw the average home price in metro Calgary fall 10 per cent from their peaks in 2008.”
Moser said the market should see “rational” growth and inflation for the rest of 2012.
“All these signs are showing us that hopefully the worst is now behind us and we can move forward in today’s new real estate normal,” she said.
A report released Friday by Robin Wiebe, senior economist with the Conference Board of Canada, described Calgary’s resale market as being balanced.
Wiebe said the short-term year-over-year price growth expectation for Calgary is five to 6.9 per cent.
The report said the seasonally-adjusted annual rate of sales for the city in April was 27,828, up 26.4 per cent from a year ago.
“We are seeing more interested buyers in the housing market looking for a home,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. “The economy has been improving, average prices have been stable and mortgage rates remain favourable. These are some of the factors encouraging prospective buyers to move ahead with their purchasing decision.
“The resale market in Calgary is more balanced compared to the previous year. Active listings are trending lower and the pace of sales has increased. As a result, we are seeing more pressure on prices.”