Calgary MLS sales rise in August as prices and listings fall

MLS sales activity picked up in August in the Calgary real estate market, the amount of homes for sale fell and prices continued on a downward slide.

“Employment numbers have been improving, but mostly in industries that are traditionally lower paid,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, the Calgary Real Estate Board’s chief economist. “This is contributing to the shift that we are seeing in the housing market, with growth being limited to product priced below $500,000.”

Despite improving sales and reductions in inventory, housing market recovery will take time. Inventory levels remain elevated and sales activity is still well below historical norms. The market continues to favour the buyer, with over four months of supply, said CREB as it released this week its monthly MLS statistics.

Here are the key highlights of that report:

  • MLS sales in August of 1,584 were up 6.24 per cent compared to a year ago;
  • Total dollar volume of sales dropped by 0.27 per cent to $719.3 million;
  • New listings were down 8.93 per cent year-over-year to 2,784;
  • The overall inventory of listings at the end of the month was 7,044 which was off by 13.45 per cent from a year ago;
  • The months of supply, which indicates how long it would take for all the inventory to be sold given the current demand, has fallen to 4.45 months, down 18.54 per cent from last year;
  • The benchmark price, which CREB classifies as the typical home in the Calgary market, fell by 2.61 per cent from a year ago to $426,000;
  •  The median price dropped by 4.51 per cent to $407,750; 
  •  The average sale price was down 6.13 per cent from last year to $454,114;
  • The sales to new listings ratio of 56.9 per cent was up 8.12 per cent;
  • The sales to list price ratio was down 0.07 per cent to 96.59 per cent; and 
  • The average days on market to sell a home rose by 4.88 per cent to 59 days.

“I think we’re seeing the market slowly getting better. We’re seeing a few more members in the building with smiling faces. It’s the new normal. The worst is behind us, hopefully,” said Alan Tennant, chief executive officer of CREB.

CREB said rising sales for homes priced under $500,000 offset sales declines in the higher price ranges. This caused August sales to improve by six per cent compared to last year.

“Sales activity improved for all product types. The growth was largest for apartment-style and attached properties. Attached sales increased for the sixth consecutive month compared to the previous year. This is also the only property type with year-to-date sales higher than last year’s levels,” explained the real estate board.

Some other key points the board highlighted in its report:

  • Year-to-date detached sales remain just below last year’s levels as citywide growth has been driven by homes priced under $500,000. Easing sales and elevated inventories among homes priced above $500,000 have increased the months of supply, pushing it further into buyers’ market territory;
  • For the second month in a row, sales activity improved for apartment-style homes, but these gains were met with a rise in new listings. This prevented any significant adjustments to inventory levels and kept the months of supply elevated. Sales activity remains just below last year’s levels; and
  • For the sixth consecutive month, year-over-year attached sales improved in the city. This has resulted in year-to-date sales of 2,665 units, nearly a five per cent increase compared to the previous year. At the same time, new listings continue to ease, causing further reductions in inventory.