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Housing prices in Calgary trend lower in March

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Home prices in Calgary fell further as economic conditions, such as unemployment, put pressure on the city’s housing market. Calgary’s benchmark price fell 0.49 per cent month-over-month to $442,800 in March, which is 3.51 per cent lower than the same period last year.

“With no improvement in the labour market, it’s no surprise that we continue to face downward pressure on housing sales activity and prices,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB chief economist, in a press release. “Provincial unemployment rates are at the highest level recorded since the early ‘90s.”

Lurie went on to add that Calgary’s unemployment rate in February grew to 8.4 per cent, which is higher than the 7.9 per cent average in Alberta.

In March, there were 1,588 home sales in Calgary, which is an 11 per cent decline from the same period last year and 28 per cent lower than long-term averages for the month.

Housing supply also increased in most price ranges. Inventory levels saw gains of seven per cent to 6,084 units in March, causing supply to average five months in the first quarter of 2016.

“As we move into spring, we are starting to see more foot traffic at open houses and showings from potential buyers,” said Cliff Stevenson, CREB president. “For now, this activity hasn’t translated into improved sales in most segments of the market.”

Apartments saw the largest declines in Q1, with sales falling 17 per cent year-over-year to 554 units. Apartment benchmark prices have been trending lower since late 2014. March saw benchmark apartment prices fall to $281,300, which 4.93 per cent lower than the same period last year and seven per cent lower than late 2014.

The detached and attached sectors have also experienced declines, with home prices falling four per cent from recent levels.

“Homebuyers continue to wait and see if there are going to be further declines in home prices before making an offer,” said Stevenson. “Timing the bottom of the market is proving to be quite a challenge in the housing market we are faced with now.”

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