Calgary leads country in year-over-year MLS sales growth

Increase of 30.3%

CALGARY — Calgary led the country in April with the highest year-over-year growth in MLS sales, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

In a report released Tuesday of housing market activity in Canada’s major centres, CREA said MLS sales of 2,720 in Calgary were up 30.3 per cent from a year ago.

In Canada, sales of 49,480 for the month increased by 11.5 per cent from April 2011.

The average MLS sale price in Calgary rose by 0.7 per cent to $414,932 while it was up 0.9 per cent in Canada to $375,810.

“Calgary is quietly becoming a market to watch,” said Robert Kavcic, economist with BMO Capital Markets, adding sales are back above the 10-year average for the first time in about three years.

“Prices have yet to gain much momentum but supply conditions are tightening rapidly across Alberta. The months’ supply was down to 4.6 from a post-recession high of more than eight, and sales have far outpaced new listings in recent months. If oil prices remain high enough to continue supporting strong economic growth and migration flows, Calgary could again become Canada’s real estate hot spot in short order.”

Robert Hogue, senior economist with RBC Economics, said April was the third consecutive “outsized” increase in Calgary which is a “clear indication that this market is finally taking flight.”

New listings in Calgary of 4,370 increased by 4.4 per cent from last year. Throughout Canada, new listings rose by 4.9 per cent to 89,739.

In Alberta, sales rose by 23.5 per cent to 6,191, new listings increased by 2.4 per cent to 10,718 units and the average sale price was up 1.9 per cent to $365,830.

“A number of Canadian housing market trends in April remained intact from the previous month,” said Wayne Moen, president of CREA. “Trends in Vancouver and Toronto continue to diverge. These two housing markets have an obvious influence on national statistics . . .”

In Toronto, sales of 10,350 in April were up 14.5 per cent from last year and the average sale price rose by 8.4 per cent to $517,556. But in Vancouver sales fell by 13.2 per cent to 2,837 and the average price dropped by 9.8 per cent to $735,315.


“It bears repeating that the national average price was skewed higher last spring by record level high-end home sales in Vancouver’s priciest neighbourhoods, and that a replay of this phenomenon was not expected this year,” said Gregory Klump, chief economist of CREA. “Sales data confirm that high-end activity in Vancouver is well off the peak levels reached at this time last year, which is exerting a gravitational pull on the national average price.

“By contrast, activity in Toronto is stronger this spring than it was last spring. Higher-priced sales activity there is on the rise and buoying average prices. As the most active housing market in Canada, Toronto is the biggest factor supporting national average price.


“Netting Vancouver out of the national average price calculation yields a 4.9 per cent year-on-year gain. Netting Toronto out of the national average price calculation, while leaving Vancouver in, produces a 2.2 per cent year-on-year decline. Netting out both Vancouver and Toronto results in a 3.1 per cent increase in average price. On balance, this points to modest price growth amid balanced market conditions in much of the rest of Canada.”

Diana Petramala, economist with TD Economics, said absent of an external negative economic shock, Canadian housing demand should remain supported by a continued low interest rate environment through 2012.

“Still, growth in home prices and sales will likely be limited as the overvaluation has led to a deterioration in affordability,” said Petramala. “Overall, we anticipate the Canadian housing market to remain relatively flat in the coming year with home prices to rise just another two per cent this year, following gains of seven per cent in each of the last two years.”

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Canadian home sales edge higher in April

''Activity was either up or held steady in half of all local markets in April, with Toronto and Calgary posting the biggest monthly increases for the second month in a row. Activity gains in Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton, as well as London and St. Thomas also made significant contributions to the national sales increase in April. Increased activity in these markets offset monthly declines in Ottawa, Windsor-Essex, Quebec City, the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver.''  Quote from article May 15-2012 article


Airdrie housing market booming

New home construction and resale homes see increased activity



CALGARY — The City of Airdrie, just north of Calgary, is experiencing a housing market boom these days.

From new home construction to resales, activity has taken an upward swing this year.

“The housing market in Airdrie is hot,” said Curt Woodhall, vice-president of sales and marketing for Vesta Properties, the developer and builder of the new Williamstown project in northwest Airdrie. “Vesta builds in a number of communities in Alberta and British Columbia and the Airdrie market in particular is very robust.”

Year-to-date, there have been 107 housing starts in Williamstown. Sales so far this year have included 60 for about $17 million with the average selling price of about $310,000.

The development on 66 hectares will have a total of 1,013 homes — 600 multi-family and 413 single-family — and over 60 per cent have already been sold.

“Vesta Properties is experiencing tremendous success in Williamstown in Airdrie,” said Woodhall, adding there will be 12 show home openings at the project’s grand opening celebration Saturday. “With low interest rates and good value for your dollar, we are seeing demand on every housing type from starter condominiums to luxury homes.”

According to the 2011 census, Airdrie’s population was 43,155, up 8.37 per cent from the year before. In the past decade, the population has more than doubled. In 2001, it was 20,382.

Kent Rupert, Airdrie’s economic development team leader, said the building permit numbers for Airdrie are good this year.

“I say that every year but it just seems like we keep growing and growing. We had a bit of a blip in 2009 and 2010 but last year we did over 1,000 doors. That’s houses, duplex, multi-family. This year we’re ahead of where we were last year.”

Commercial and industrial development in the north part of Calgary is a factor.

“The good news is yes we’re seeing lots of new development but with it being in Rocky View and Airdrie where are the people going to live ... Our residential is growing,” said Rupert.

He said about 40 to 50 per cent of people living in Airdrie work outside the community.

“It really depends on people’s lifestyles but certainly when we were a lot smaller 19,000-20,000 people came out here for that small town and everything else. Now we’re growing up into a young, dynamic city and there’s lots of excitement going on with new restaurants, new retail and big, larger industrial projects. There’s a real excitement throughout the city,” said Rupert.

Year-to-date until the end of March, residential building permits of 342 are up from 268 in 2011, 191 in 2010 and 81 in 2009.

A similar boom is taking place in the resale housing market.

“Sales activity in Airdrie soared in the first quarter of 2012, with a 44-per-cent increase over the previous year, marking the best quarter (one) sales performance since 2007,” said the Calgary Real Estate Board in a report.

“The significant rise in sales, combined with lower listings, pushed the market into balanced conditions.”

CREB said the MLS Home Price Index for single-family homes was up three per cent over the previous year with the benchmark price at $354,933 in the first quarter.

It said the single-family benchmark price in Airdrie was $354,300 in March, a two per cent increase over the previous year and roughly $79,000 less than the single-family price in Calgary.

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