403.560.9279 Greater Calgary Real Estate

Market Insider August 2018

Patience required in Calgary’s housing market recovery...
 
Recent struggles in the job market, accompanied by yet another interest rate increase, is piling on to the decisions potential purchasers have to make in the housing market. 
 
The month of July saw 1,547 units sold in Calgary, nearly five per cent below last year. New listings eased to 2,964 units, causing inventories to total 8,450 units. With more supply than demand, prices continued to edge down, with a citywide average of $435,200. This amounted to a month-over-month price decline of 0.30 per cent and year-over-year decline of 1.89 per cent.
 
"Despite some positive momentum in some aspects of our economy, our job market has continued to struggle as of late, with some easing in total employment levels over the past few months and persistently high unemployment rates," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
 
"Also, the Bank of Canada raised rates again in July. Rising costs, combined with a slow recovery, are weighing on the demand for resale homes in the city. At the same time supply remains high and is resulting in an oversupplied market."
 
Citywide months of supply have risen for each property type and currently range from nearly five months in the detached sector to seven months in the apartment sector. These elevated levels have been placing pressure on prices in the city.
 
Detached benchmark home prices totaled $501,300 in July, down 0.4 per cent from last month and over two per cent from last year's levels. Year-to-date average benchmark prices in the detached sector remain just below levels recorded last year.
 
The apartment ownership sector continues to see the steepest declines, with year-to-date benchmark prices averaging $257,343, three per cent below last year and nearly 14 per cent below 2014 highs.
 
"In a buyers' market, it's critical for all parties to have the most up-to-date information to make a fully informed decision, whether you are buying or selling," said CREB® president Tom Westcott.
 
"A REALTOR® can help make an accurate determination on how much to sell a home for or how much is too much when purchasing one."
 
HOUSING MARKET FACTS
 
Detached
 
Oversupply issues continue to worsen in each district of the city compared to last year. However, compared to historical conditions, conditions today remain better than in 2016 in both the West and City Centre districts.
 
Year-to-date, the West and City Centre areas have recorded prices higher than last year's levels and continue to edge towards price recovery.
 
Benchmark prices in the West have averaged $733,329 this year, comparable to previous highs.
 
City Centre benchmark prices have averaged $693,243, nearly three per cent below previous highs. Most districts have recorded detached prices that remain over four per cent below previous highs.
 
Apartment
 
Easing new listings in the apartment condominium sector have prevented any further gains in the amount of inventory in the market.
 
Supply levels remain elevated compared to sales, keeping year-to-date prices three per cent below last year's levels and nearly 14 per cent below previous highs.
 
Citywide inventory levels remain just below last year. July inventories edged down in the North East, North, North West, South and East areas of the city compared to the previous year.
 
Levels remain elevated by historical standards, but any reductions in inventory can help reduce oversupply.
 
Attached
 
Like the other sectors, attached sales have been easing this year, with 2,225 sales this year representing a 15 per cent decline over the previous year.
 
Gains in new listings pushed up inventory levels and months of supply compared to last year.
 
Citywide year-to-date semi-detached prices have eased by nearly one per cent compared to last year. Benchmark price changes have ranged from a three per cent decline in the North West district to a six per cent increase in the South district. Despite the annual gain this year in the South district, semi-detached prices remain nearly five per cent lower than that district's peak.
 
Year-to-date benchmark row prices have increased on a citywide basis due to gains in the City Centre, North and North West districts. The annual gain is a positive move towards recovery, but row prices remain well below previous highs in every district of the city.
 
REGIONAL MARKET FACTS
 
Airdrie
 
2018 Airdrie residential sales have totalled 732 units so far, which is 11 per cent lower than the same period last year. Sales are at the lowest level when compared to the same period in the past six years.
 
Year-to-date new listings remain just above last year's levels, totalling 1,600 units and reaching a new peak when compared to the same period in previous years. Total inventories in Airdrie have averaged 544 units this year, approximately 100 units higher than the same period in 2017.
 
The rise in inventory, combined with easing sales, has caused months of supply to average over 5.2 months for the year, impacting prices.
 
Detached benchmark prices have averaged $372,386 so far this year. This is 1.29 per cent lower than in 2017.
 
Cochrane
 
Year-to-date residential sales in Cochrane totalled 380 units. Compared to the same period in 2017, this number has declined compared to last year. However, total sales continue to be above long-term averages and levels during 2015-16.
 
New listings are also at historical highs and have reached a new peak of 862 residential units. This has pushed year-to-date average inventory levels up to monthly levels of 390 units and causing months of supply to average six months for this year.
 
Despite gains in supply on the market, detached benchmark prices in Cochrane remain relatively stable. Year-to-date detached prices averaged $425,714, just above last year but still nearly four per cent below peak levels.
 
Okotoks
 
Total residential sales in Okotoks have totalled 320 units so far in 2018. A decline over the previous year and below long-term trends.
 
New listings remain elevated and comparable to periods in previous years. This has kept inventories at near-record levels, with year-to-date average levels being totalling 248 units.
 
Months of supply have averaged 5.4 months this year, higher than historical standards. However, the elevated levels have not prevented prices from starting to recovery.Overall, year-to-date detached benchmark prices have averaged $436,786 this year, just above last year but nearly three per cent below peak levels
 
Click here to view the full City of Calgary monthly stats package.
 
Click here to view the full Calgary region monthly stats package.

Market Insider July 2018

Wed, 04 Jul by stevenlubiarz

Weak sales persist in Calgary and beyond…

Many Canadian energy-related municipalities within Alberta and Saskatchewan have seen housing markets struggle over the past few years, resulting in price declines.

The recent mortgage rule changes and higher lending rates are factors weighing on demand and prices across some of those areas.

“While our economy is no longer in a recession, persistently high unemployment rates, concerns over long-term growth, rising lending costs and stricter qualifications are all weighing on the housing demand,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Growth in new listings is starting to ease for some property types, but it is not enough to prevent continued supply growth and, ultimately, an oversupplied housing market.”

Weak sales activity in Calgary continued into June, as residential sales for the month totaled 1,896 units. This is 11 per cent below last year and 12 per cent below long-term averages. New listings continued to rise, with further inventory gains and months of supply now at 4.7 months.

High inventories in comparison to sales have generated more widespread buyers’ market conditions, causing downward pressure on prices. The city-wide benchmark price in June totaled $436,500. This is just below last month and 1.13 per cent below last year’s levels.

The detached segment of the market accounts for over 60 per cent of overall sales activity and makes up over 54 per cent of the inventory, with 4,817 units as of June. While sales have fallen and inventory has been rising across most price ranges, inventory levels for homes priced under $500,000 remain well below peak levels.

“In any market it’s extremely important to be well-informed, whether it’s about the process to get pre-approved for a mortgage or having the most up-to-date information about the prices in the community you are buying or selling in,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.

Click here to view the full City of Calgary monthly stats package.

Click here to view the full Calgary region monthly stats package.

6 DIY Projects for Spring

Sun, 10 Jun by stevenlubiarz

6 DIY Projects for Spring

Flat lay hand craft Materials with DIY wooden wording

As winter melts away, now is the perfect time to accomplish some new projects around your home to honor the incoming season. If you’re looking for fun and easy ways to add some color and vibrancy to your home, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for six DIY projects to get your home ready for spring.

DIY vertical pallet planter

Get your outdoor space ready for the warm weather by making your own planter stand with wood pallets. Stand the pallet vertically up against the side of your house and use metal duct clamps to secure flowerpots to the individual pallet slats. You can grow perennials, herbs or anything you can think of to dress up your outdoor area.

Make your own wall stencils

For a project inside your home, try making over a room by changing the walls. It’s easy to cut your own stencils out of cardstock or other durable paper. You could design and cut out a Moroccan-themed stencil, geometric patterns, leaves or anything else you can think of. Paint over the stencil on your wall using regular house paint or spray paint to make things even easier.

Make your own milk glass vases

Milk glass is a coveted, vintage item. If you don’t own any, it’s simple to imitate. Choose some vases, bowls or glass bottles around your home and simply spray-paint them white. Make sure to do the inside and outside. They will make the perfect, crisp white backdrop to some of your favorite spring flowers.

Frame spring printables

One of the easiest ways you can freshen up your home for spring is to hang new prints that reflect the season. There are tons of free printables online that you can download. Choose from colorful spring patterns, blooming flowers, motivational quotes and more. Then, simply choose a frame that suits your style to display the printables and hang them to instantly give your home a facelift.

DIY wreath out of your favorite flowers

Start with a grapevine wreath, which you can purchase at most craft stores. This will be your base for the wreath that you will decorate with any flower of your choosing. We suggest using artificial flowers so that they don’t die on you, but if you’re willing to change them out for fresh flowers once a week, more power to you! Cut the stems off of your fresh or faux flowers as needed, and weave them into the wreath. In minutes, you’ll have a brand-new wreath for your front door that reflects the new season.

Gorgeous fabric flower pots

If you really want your flowerpots to stand out, decorate them with fabric in any design you like. You could choose a floral print, polka dots, zigzags or anything that suits you. Using the pot as a guide, cut the fabric so that it will fit snugly around the pot. Attach the fabric to the pot using mod podge, and wrap it around the pot. Make sure you don’t cover the hole at the base of the pot where the water seeps through. Now you instantly have one-of-a-kind pots for your spring flowers to bloom in.

Market Insider June 2018

Wed, 06 Jun by stevenlubiarz

Lending conditions weigh on housing demand…

May sales activity continues to ease with the largest declines occurring in the detached sector. Additional gains in new listings continue to increase inventory levels.

City-wide sales activity in May totaled 1,726 units and is 19 per cent below last years’ levels. This is 24 per cent below longer term averages. Sales activity in the detached sector declined to levels not seen in over a decade.

“The impact of rising lending rates and stricter qualification levels is causing demand to ease across all product types,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Economic conditions have improved compared to several years ago, but the pace of economic recovery has not been enough to outweigh the changes in lending conditions.”

Market supply has not adjusted to sales activity and is pushing months of supply to 4.9 months. Elevated supply relative to demand prevented any further price recovery in the market and city-wide residential benchmark prices totaled $436,900 in May. This is similar to last month and 0.6 per cent below levels recorded last year.

Detached sales and inventories have risen across all price ranges, but the amount of excess supply has been most notable for homes price above $500,000. Months of supply for the higher price ranges remain high compared to the past several years. However, they still remain below record levels that occurred post financial crisis (2008 – 2009).

“The changes in the lending market are preventing some people from moving up in the market. Uncertainty has also caused others to wait on making changes to their housing situation,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.

“However, there are pockets of the market that have not seen the same supply increase. It makes it so important to understand the dynamics of your community.”

Click here to view the full City of Calgary monthly stats package.

Click here to view the full Calgary region monthly stats package.

Market Insider May 2018

Thu, 03 May by stevenlubiarz

Soft sales continue in April

Prices steady, but struggles in Alberta economy weighs on housing

Changes to the lending industry and a challenging economic recovery are weighing on sales activity in Calgary’s housing market.

Supply levels have not adjusted to the weaker demand environment, and that is preventing price recovery.

“Slower sales do not come as a surprise, given the economy has not yet improved enough to offset the impact of changes in the lending industry,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“While the rising inventories are being monitored, prices have remained relatively flat as gains in some areas of the city have been offset by declines in other areas.”

The easing sales trend persisted through April in Calgary’s housing market. Calgary sales totaled 1,518 units in April, which is 20 per cent below last year and 25 per cent below long-term averages.

The detached sector has seen the largest decline, with year-to-date sales totaling 2,991 units, 27 per cent below the 10-year average.

Inventory levels in April totaled 7,324 units. This is a 32 per cent rise over last year, but well below the monthly high of 10,129 units recorded in 2008. Supply compared to demand has risen, but city-wide prices have remained relatively stable, totaling $436,500 in April, a monthly and annual gain of 0.21 per cent.

“The reality is that there’s selection heading into the active spring market,” said CREB®president Tom Westcott.

“For many sellers, they have to decide what price they are willing to accept for a lifestyle change. At the same time, buyers need to understand the supply dynamics and price movements in the specific area, as they may not align with their expectations.”

So far this year, apartment and attached sales have eased to levels that are comparable to 2016. However, rising supply in both markets have pushed months of supply to the highest levels recovered over this four-month period, which is preventing any significant shifts in pricing trends.

Click here to view the full City of Calgary monthly stats package.

Click here to view the full Calgary region monthly stats package.

Market Insider April 2018

Mon, 09 Apr by stevenlubiarz
Calgary Housing Market Inventory on the Rise

Prices remain stable compared to last year

As expected, slow sales this quarter have persisted through March in the City of Calgary. This is not a surprise, after stronger growth in sales at the end of last year following the announced changes to the lending market.

First quarter sales totaled 3,423 units, nearly 18 per cent below last year’s levels and 24 per cent below long-term averages. Easing sales and modest gains in new listings caused inventories to rise and months of supply to remain above four months.

“Economic conditions are slowly improving, but it has not been enough to outpace the current impact of higher lending rates and more stringent conditions,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“We are entering the most active quarters in the housing market with more inventory, which could create some price fluctuations. However, the improving economy is expected to prevent overall prices from slipping by significant amounts.”

While prices trended down on a quarterly basis, they remained relatively unchanged over last year’s levels due to modest gains in the detached sector offsetting declines in the apartment sector.

The citywide benchmark price for detached product averaged $502,000 in the first quarter. This is slightly lower than the fourth quarter of last year, but comparable to levels recorded in the first quarter of last year. In March, the detached price reached $503,800, 3.6 per cent below pre-recession highs, but one per cent above the lows recorded during the recession.

“The market today is better than what we experienced at the peak of the recession,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.

“You can find good value if you’re looking to buy a home, and you can also get good value if you’re selling. Being well-informed, in any economic condition, is the key, because there are differences in the market depending on what type of property it is and where it is located.”

Detached market inventories in the first quarter of 2017 were low compared to historical standards. This year, detached inventories have averaged 2,573 units over the first quarter, 10 per cent below first quarter averages recorded during 2015 and 2016.

Spring will have more inventory than last year, slowing progress on price recovery. However, the amount of price adjustment will vary depending on competing supply by location and product type.

Click here to view the full City of Calgary monthly stats package.

Click here to view the full Calgary region monthly stats package.

Market Insider March 2018

Thu, 08 Mar by stevenlubiarz

A Bumpy Road to Recovery

Calgary housing market prices hold, but sales fall

Residential home sales declined in February, but a decline in new listings helped keep prices steady this month.

Sales totaled 1.094 units in February, 18 per cent below last year’s activity. Easing sales occurred across all property types this month, which outpaced the sales growth that occurred in January. After the first two months of the year, sales activity remains well below longer-term averages.

“Housing market conditions are still adjusting to rising lending rates and changes in lending requirements. This process is expected to be bumpy, with demand adjustments leading the changes,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“However, it is important to remember that it is early in the process and the impact on prices will ultimately be dependent on the supply response.”

A decline in new listings was not enough to prevent further gains in inventory levels, but it offset some of the impact of slower sales activity. In the detached sector, one of the largest declines in sales occurred in the $600,000 – $999,999 range, while this price range also recorded gains in new listings.

“This is a market where the fundamentals of a sound pricing strategy need to be understood by sellers. At the same time, savvy buyers typically have a clear understanding of how much of a mortgage they can get,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.

“With all the recent changes, potential purchasers should be obtaining pre-approvals so they understand exactly what they can afford prior to making an offer on a home. It also provides them flexibility in this market.”

Citywide benchmark prices totaled $434,300 in February, which is just above levels recovered last month, but comparable to levels recorded last year. While year-over-year price growth remained relatively stable in both the detached and attached markets, apartment prices remained three per cent below last year’s levels.

Click here to view the full City of Calgary monthly stats package.

Click here to view the full Calgary region monthly stats package.

Market Insider February 2018

Mon, 05 Feb by stevenlubiarz

Housing Market Déjà Vu in January

As expected, Calgary sales activity similar to last year…

The new year opened predictably, with monthly figures close to the Januarys of the past three years.

With new mortgage rules and rates officially in effect, sales activity in January remained comparable to last year, as rising sales for attached properties were not enough to offset declines in both the apartment and detached sector.

Overall January sales totaled 958 units, nearly two per cent above last year and 11 per cent below long-term averages.

“2018 was kicked off with higher rates and the official implementation of the new mortgage requirements. While it is too early to see the impact of these changes, so far, January levels are consistent with what we saw last year,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“The recovery will be bumpy, and we will continue to monitor the impact of the lending changes relative to the overall economic climate.”

Stable sales were met with rising new listings, causing further gains in inventory levels and impacting prices. Citywide, unadjusted prices totaled $432,300, 0.21 per cent below last month and 0.25 per cent below last year’s figures. Prices eased across all product types compared to last month, but price declines were more pronounced in the apartment and attached sectors.

In the detached sector, new listings rose with declining sales activity for product priced over $500,000. However, product priced between $300,000 and $399,999 saw an increase in activity. This will be an adjustment to the new reality buyers and sellers face, as pockets of the market will experience a mismatch between supply and demand.

“Sellers needs to be aware of the competing supply in the market. This can influence the timing of their decision, along with setting realistic expectations regarding time on the market and selling price,” said 2018 CREB® president Tom Westcott. “For buyers, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is essential, along with getting advice from a REALTOR®, like Steven, to get into a home they will be happy with.

Market Insider January 2018

Wed, 03 Jan by stevenlubiarz

Two sides of the story…

Sales activity for all product types improved in December and pushed monthly sales to long-term averages for the second month in a row.

However, new listings also rose, keeping inventory elevated compared to typical levels for December. With more supply remaining compared to sales, benchmark prices edged down for the fifth consecutive month.

“Many of the economic indicators continue to post modest improvements, including improving sales. However, demand gains have not outpaced the additional supply coming into the housing market.

This is creating some of the bumpiness in terms of price recovery,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie, who added that prices have stayed comparable to last year.

The gap between detached supply and demand closed in the first half of 2017 and supported early price growth. As prices improved, this was perceived as a signal for many who delayed selling their home, and caused a late rise in inventory that limited price growth.

Overall, the detached benchmark price in 2017 averaged $504,867, 0.63 per cent above last year’s levels.

Challenges continue to face the apartment sector, with elevated supply in the resale market. The new home and rental markets weighed on this sector. The excess supply caused average annual benchmark prices to decline by four per cent this year. This is a total annual adjustment of nearly 12 per cent since the start of the recession.

In the attached sector, the first half of the year saw an improvement in sales relative to inventory levels. This supported stronger price gains in the second and third quarter. However, a late rise in inventory levels took some of the momentum away from price growth. On an annual basis, attached prices totaled $332,325, comparable to last year’s levels.

“This year, we saw a rise in the number of consumers willing to purchase in the market with the expectation that the economy had already shifted. There were also many who waited to list their property until prices showed more stability,” said CREB® president David P. Brown.

“Those who acted were typically driven by long-term plans that best suit their current lifestyle. We are ending the year with stronger sales in the last quarter, but supply levels are holding back price gains. The year played out as expected with a transition from price declines to general price stability in most sectors of the market.”

Click here to view the full City of Calgary monthly stats package.

Click here to view the full Calgary region monthly stats package.

Market Insider December 2017

Mon, 04 Dec by stevenlubiarz

Home improvement

November marks a rise in sales

The November housing market was spurred by a rise in sales, particularly in the lower price ranges.

Sales totaled 1,411 units in November, an increase of 15 per cent over last year. This is comparable to longer-term averages for the month of November. Improved sales activity occurred in each of the housing segments, with most of the gains occurring in homes priced under $500,000.

“The combination of improved confidence and pending mortgage rule changes have likely contributed to the stronger sales activity this month,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. According to Lurie, the last time that sales activity rose to long-term averages for the month was October 2016, when the stress test for high-ratio loans was first announced.

“Moving forward, we will continue to monitor shifts in demand as improving economic conditions should help offset the impact to the housing market after the new lending policy comes into force in January,” said Lurie.

The largest gains in the detached sector were in the $300,000 –  $399,999 price range, while the apartment and attached sectors saw the largest gains among homes priced below $300,000.

“We have seen some improvements in confidence with many of our clients. There are some concerns regarding the changes in the lending market, but there is also a significant amount of confusion regarding how it will affect them,” said CREB® president David P. Brown.

“For a lot of buyers, they are interested in taking advantage of the choice in the market at all price ranges.”

The rise in sales relative to new listings improved this month, helping ease inventory levels over the previous month and keeping the months of supply relatively stable. However, the amount of supply relative to the sales in the market remains elevated. This continues to weigh on prices.

Citywide benchmark prices totaled $436,700, 0.50 per cent below last month, but 0.46 per cent above last year’s levels. Both median and average prices recorded a more significant decline compared to last year. This should not come as a surprise, as more sales in the lower price range this year compared to last November would cause a more pronounced drop in average and median prices.

Are You Stressing Over The Stress Test?

Fri, 10 Nov by stevenlubiarz

ARE YOU STRESSING OVER THE STRESS TEST?
New Mortgage rules courtesy of Sandra Gentles at the Mortgage Group

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) has announced a whole new set of B20 mortgage qualifying rules, set to come into effect on January 1, 2018. Below is a summary of what we can expect going forward…

1) As of January 1, 2018, the customer will have to qualify at the greater of either two; the contract rate +
2%, OR the Bank of Canada Benchmark Rate (currently 4.99% – but subject to change at any time).
2) High ratio mortgages, greater than 80% loan-to-value will still be qualified at the greater of the contract
rate OR the Bank of Canada Benchmark Rate (the 2% is not added).
3) Legally binding (firm) Purchase and Sale contracts dated prior to January 1, 2018 will qualify under the
current rules (regardless of the close date).
4) Legally binding (firm) Purchase and Sale contracts dated after January 1, 2018, the borrower must
qualify under the new rules (rule 1 & 2 above).
5) Refinances approved prior to January 1, 2018 must close within 120 days of application date to qualify
under current rules.
6) Pre-approvals that have not been converted to live deals before January 1, 2018 will be subject to the
new rules.

How does this new rule affect home buyers?

Here is an example:

Under the current rules, prior to January 1, 2018, client can qualify at their contract rate (for this example I will use 3.39% as the contract rate) with 20% or more down payment:
$700,000 – purchase price
$140,000 – 20% down payment
$560,000 mortgage – 80% loan-to-value
3.39%, 5 year term, 25 year amortization
$110,000 annual income to qualify
GDS (gross debt service ratio) = 36.88%

The same income and purchase price under the new rules as of January 1, 2018:
Clients must qualify at the greater of the benchmark 4.99% or contract+2%

If contract rate is 3.39% then (3.39% + 2% = 5.39%) so 5.39% is the rate they must qualify at because it
is greater than the benchmark rate.

Example above redone using contract rate+2% = 5.39%:

700,000 – purchase price
$250,000 – down payment – client requires more down to qualify for this purchase
$450,000 – mortgage – 64% loan-to-value – the client now qualifies for $110,000 less
3.39%, 5 year term, 25 year amortization, qualified at 5.39%
$110,000 – annual income to qualify

GDS (gross debt service ratio) = 36.39%

The client originally qualified for a $560,000 mortgage under the current rules; under the new rules, the
client will qualify for a $450,000 mortgage, in other words $110,000 less.

Based on the above scenarios under the current rules, they qualify at 80% loan-to-value; under the new
rules, they will qualify at 64% loan-to-value, that is a difference of 16%. The client currently has 16% more
borrowing power than they will have once the new mortgage qualification rules come into effect.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.