Calgary leads the country in house sales

Calgary’s resale housing market had the highest year-over-year sales growth in May compared with other major centres across the country, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

In releasing its monthly MLS data on Friday, CREA said the Calgary market had 2,982 sales during the month, up a stunning 34.4 per cent from a year ago. Nationally, sales of 53,068 were 9.0 per cent higher than a year ago.

Calgary’s average MLS sale price jumped by 3.2 per cent to $429,459 while across Canada the average price dipped 0.3 per cent to $375,605.

Robert Kavcic, an economist with BMO Capital Markets, said sales activity at the national level “has clearly mellowed.”

“While Vancouver softens, Calgary is awakening from a three-to-four-year slumber with sales surging 34.4 per cent in the past year, and average prices within a hair of record levels seen in 2007 as supply conditions have tightened across Alberta,” he said. “Before declaring victory in Calgary though, note that the more representative House Price Index, which accounts for dwelling type, quality, etc., was still about 10 per cent below peak levels in April. May figures are expected next week.”

Wayne Moen, CREA’s president, speaking about the national picture, said “the expected continuation of low interest rates will keep housing markets stable and home ownership affordable and within reach for many buyers in the months ahead.”

“Activity in Greater Toronto is stronger this spring than it was last year, and higher-priced homes are still selling quickly,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. “As Canada’s most active housing market, and one of the priciest, it is still the biggest factor boosting the national average price but its support was less of a factor in May.

“At the same time, the national average price is finding support from Calgary, where sales and average selling prices are up from levels in May last year. Overall, price growth remains modest amid balanced market conditions.”

The average price in Toronto rose by 6.4 per cent to $516,787.

CREA said sales in Alberta rose by 23.4 per cent to 6,984 while the average sale price increased by 4.9 per cent to $374,653.

Also on Friday, CREA released its latest forecast for the rest of this year and for next year. It said MLS sales in Alberta would rise 12.1 per cent this year to 60,250 units and by another 2.2 per cent next year to 61,550.

It said the average price in the province would jump by 2.4 per cent in 2012 to $361,800 and by 2.2 per cent in 2013 to $369,800.

Nationally, sales are forecast to increase by 3.8 per cent to 475,800 this year but drop by 1.1 per cent next year to 470,400. The average price across Canada is predicted to increase 2.2 per cent in 2012 to $370,700 and by 2.0 per cent in 2013 to $378,200.

Source: Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald

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