MLS sales up 26% from a year ago
CALGARY — It was a very busy April for Calgary’s housing market.
According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, overall residential MLS sales in the city of 2,200 for the month were up 26.07 per cent from April 2011 and the average sale price of $429,388 increased by 1.95 per cent from last year.
Carrie Pepper was one of the many caught up in the April activity as she bought a condo in the Thorncliffe-Greenview neighbourhood.
“I wasn’t even planning on buying. I was looking for two months maybe. I found a lot of places that were good prices,” said Pepper who looked at about 10 properties.
“I didn’t want to rent because it’s so expensive. So why not buy?”
She said continued low interest rates played a role in her decision.
“That was huge. This is my first time buying. I know it’s a good time to buy right now,” added Pepper.
Apparently many others felt the same as Pepper.
In the single-family home category, CREB said sales of 1,582 were up 30.64 per cent from last year and the average sale price rose by 0.88 per cent to $483,519.
In the condo apartment category, there were 351 MLS sales, up 13.23 per cent from last year but the average sale price dipped by 5.76 per cent to $267,931.
And in the condo townhouse category, sales rose by 19.20 per cent to 267 with the average sale price increasing by 8.31 per cent to $320,912.
“What we saw in April was strong demand coupled with less good inventory. We also saw lots of multiple offers,” said Cody Battershill, a realtor in Calgary with RE/MAX House of Real Estate.
“I think that everyone’s realizing the world didn’t end and in fact on most metrics we are back to or stronger than most of the previous peaks achieved in the last cycle. Some people think we could be at the beginning of another strong positive economic cycle while others would still encourage cautious optimism. Regardless, living in Calgary means enjoying high economic growth, job growth, income growth and migration.”
He said the economic fundamentals in Calgary are strong and will be for the foreseeable future.
Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB’s chief economist, said the growth in full-time employment, combined with improving migration levels, is translating into improved demand for housing.
“While sales growth does seem exceptionally strong, it is important to keep in perspective that the sales activity in Calgary is returning to levels more consistent with the long-term average,” she said.
CREB said its MLS Home Price Index benchmark price for single-family homes was $449,500 in April, up 7.41 per cent from a year ago. The benchmark price for condo apartments was up 0.77 per cent to $248,300 and it rose by 4.58 per cent in the condo townhouse category to $294,500.
CREB says its new home price index measures how typical properties are valued in the market rather than relying on average and median prices.
It is calculated using a statistical model that estimates prices based on several factors.
In the city, total new listings in the MLS market dipped by 0.49 per cent in April to 3,238 and active listings were off by 16.67 per cent to 5,270.
“While sales activity and the level of new listings continue to remain below long-term trends, the spring market is definitely on the rise over the previous year,” said Bob Jablonski, CREB’s president. “As confidence in the local housing market continues to build, we anticipate a rise in demand, followed by improved listings from those waiting to see some price appreciation prior to listing their home.”