Prices continue to rise in Calgary resale housing market

October was another solid month for the resale real estate market in Calgary.

MLS sales of 2,171 were 17 per cent higher than a year ago and the benchmark price rose by 9.7 per cent from October 2022 to $571,600.

Arthur Chan, who is a dual licenced realtor in Ontario and Alberta with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd. in Toronto and RE/MAX Real Estate (Central) in Calgary, says Calgary’s market today reminds him of Toronto 18 years ago.

“An upwards projectory has begun and will continue to gain momentum.  The Calgary real real estate market has been stagnant for years due to its smaller population. As population increases, so will demand. The outlook is very promising,” he says.

“Currently Toronto has more inventory than compared to last year. Trading volume has decreased along with prices 15-25 per cent in the condo sector and outside the greater Toronto Area. A correction will occur in the second quarter in  2024. It remains a buyers market.”

In the past year or so, potential Toronto buyers have been looking more closely at the Calgary market. Some have been moving to Calgary because of the more affordable lifestyle. Others have been investing in properties. 

Chan says he’s relocated four so far from Ontario and there are constant discussions about investing and relocating to Calgary. The new work from home model provides more living options for people today.

And the reasons for Ontario buyers looking at the Calgary market, he says, include: prices being one third of what they are in Toronto; no land transfer tax; the standard of living is similar yet costs in Calgary are 20 to 25 per cent lower than Toronto; and landlords have more rights versus tenants in Calgary.

“I will be launching a campaign in February. Conducting info sessions,” says Chan.

“The Bank of Canada plays an important role in decision making for first-time buyers wanting to enter the market.  As the rental market continues to reach all-time highs, this will trigger the demand to buy as long as the Alberta government continues to make attractive policies to lure investments that will increase immigration. Interprovincal migration is fueling the demand as well.

“Inventory levels remain low while Calgary is seeing an explosive growth in immigration. It will be a sellers’ market next year.”

The Calgary Real Estate Board said October sales activity was amongst the highest levels reported for October. Sales activity has been boosted mainly through gains in apartment condominium sales as consumers seek affordable housing options during this period of high-interest rates, it said.

New listings also improved this month compared to last year, reaching 2,684 units, reflecting the highest October levels reported since 2015. That was up 23.7 per cent year-over-year. Despite the gain, relatively strong sales prevented any significant shift in inventory levels, which remain over 40 per cent lower than levels traditionally available in October. Inventory at the end of the month was 3,190 listings which is down 18 per cent from a year ago.

In this market environment, homes are selling quickly. In October, the months of supply, which measures how long it would take to sell all the listings on the market given the current demand, was 1.47 months which was down 29.9 per cent from last year. The average days on the market for a listing was 27 days which is 33.7 per cent lower than last year.

So far this year, there have been 24,276 MLS sales in the city. Although that’s nine per cent lower than the pace in 2022 that is compared to a record year.

“Despite some recent improvements in new listings, supply levels remain challenging in our market,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB’s Chief Economist.

“It will take some time to see a shift toward more balanced conditions and ultimately more price stability.”

(Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran of the media industry for more than 40 years and named in 2021 a Top Ten Business Journalist in the world and only Canadian)