V
B
VOSTNER-BELL
Realty Team
Tess Vostner-Bell, Jason Bell & Associates
MaxWell Canyon Creek
(403)   689-1199
(403)   830-5800
mail@VostnerBell.com
Calgary Real Estate News - May 20, 2010

On a regular basis, the Vostner Bell Real Estate Group reports on Calgary real estate issues.


National Resale Housing Market Starting to Cool

Home sales activity in Canada came up short of the record for the month of April and new listings continued to climb, according to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

Residential sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards numbered 52,042 units in April 2010. This is less than one per cent short of the record for national sales activity during the month of April, which was set in 2007. Compared to April 2009, national activity was up 20 per cent.Seasonally adjusted national home sales activity slipped 2.6 per cent from the previous month, and now stands 6.8 per cent below the peak reached in December 2009. More than half of the decline in activity over the first four months of 2010 resulted from fewer sales in British Columbia, while activity in Ontario and Quebec remains at or near record levels.

“The easing trend in national sales activity masks a rising trend in a number of major markets,” said CREA President Georges Pahud. “Real estate is local, so buyers and sellers should engage the services of a REALTOR® for knowledge about housing market trends in their market.”

Some 99,901 homes were newly listed for sale on Canadian MLS® Systems in April 2010, surpassing the previous record for the month of April set in 2008 by six-tenths of one per cent. A total of 236,397 residential properties were listed for sale on Boards’ MLS® Systems at the end of April 2010, down 1.9 per cent from levels one year earlier.

As for the national average price of homes sold via Canadian MLS® Systems, that figure rose 12.2 per cent over this time last year. This is a smaller increase compared to those recorded over the past eight months. Bucking the national trend, price gains continue to increase in a number of major markets in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

With last year’s string of downwardly skewed average price values having now mostly passed, and with activity in British Columbia’s lower mainland having settled down, year-over-year national average price comparisons are coming back into line with changes in the national weighted average price.

The weighted average price compensates for changes in provincial sales activity by taking into account provincial proportions of privately owned housing stock. It climbed 11.3 per cent on a year-over-year basis in April 2010. Similarly, the residential average price in Canada’s major markets climbed 12.9 per cent year-over-year in April, while the weighted major market average price rose 12.1 per cent.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of months of inventory stood at 4.5 months in April 2010. This is down from levels one year ago (5.6 months) and April 2008 (4.7 months), but up compared to April levels from 2004 through 2007.

The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, months of inventory stood at 5.3 months in April, the highest level since last May.

“Next month will mark the passage of one year since the national average price rebounded from the recessionary trough to return to the pre-recession peak, so the rise in the national average price is expected to be more subdued next month,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “The national average price could potentially be skewed higher over the next couple of months if buyers of higher priced homes in Ontario and British Columbia move their purchase decision forward to beat the introduction of the HST in July.”

Article and information courtesy of the Calgary Real Estate Board

Calgary Real Estate News - January/February 2010

On a regular basis, the Vostner Bell Real Estate Group reports on the Calgary real estate market.

January, 2010 – The Calgary housing market continues to show signs of a sustained recovery according to figures released today by the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®).

The number of single family homes sold in December 2009 in the city of Calgary was up 78 per cent from the same time a year ago, while condominiums sales saw an increase of 66 per cent from the same time a year ago.

“What a difference a year makes. Undoubtedly the recovery in Calgary’s housing market came sooner than expected this past year,” says Bonnie Wegerich, president of CREB®. “Pent up demand by first time buyers, record low mortgage rates and improved affordability have helped bolster the Calgary market in 2009.”

December 2009 saw 799 single family homes sold in the city of Calgary. This is a decrease of 27 per cent from 1,095 sales in November 2009. In December 2008, single family home sales totaled 449. The number of condominium sales for the month of December 2009 was 341.  This was a decrease of 32 per cent from the 504 condominium transactions recorded in November 2009. In December 2008, condominium sales were 205.

“The same time last year the cards were stacked in favour of the buyer.  But this month sales once again show Calgary has returned to a balanced market,” says Wegerich. “While our sales did taper off slightly in December, as expected for this time of year, home buying activity in Calgary indicates we are in a sustained recovery.”

The average price of a single family home in the city of Calgary in December 2009 was $451,349, showing a decrease of 3 per cent from November 2009, when the average price was $464,444, and showing an increase of 8 per cent from December 2008, when the average price was $417,398. The average price of a condominium in the city of Calgary was $288,640, showing a 2 per cent decrease from November 2009, when the average price was $294,264 and a 5 per cent increase over last year, when the average price was $274,919. Average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods, or account for price differentials between geographical areas.

The median price of a single family home in the city of Calgary for December 2009 was $401,000, showing a decrease of 2 per cent from November 2009, when the median price was $408,000, and up 6 per cent from December 2008, when the median price was $380,000. The median price of a condominium in December 2009 was $265,000, showing virtually no change from November 2009, when the median was $264,900, and up 4 per cent from December 2008, when the median price was $254,000.

All city of Calgary MLS® statistics include properties listed and sold only within Calgary’s city limits. The median price is the price that is midway between the least expensive and most expensive home sold in an area during a given period of time. During that time, half the buyers bought homes that cost more than the median price and half bought homes for less than the median price.

Single family listings in the city of Calgary added for the month of December totaled 806, a decrease of 41 per cent from November 2009 when 1,365 new listings were added, and showing a decrease of 4 per cent from December 2008, when 836 new listings came to the market. Condominium new listings in the city of Calgary added for December 2009 were 444, down 37 per cent from November 2009, when the MLS® saw 705 condo listings coming to the market. This is an increase of 3 per cent from December 2008, when new condominium listings added were 431.

“Our inventory, while lower than last year, still offers a good selection for all ranges of buyers. Typically we see lower inventory at the end of the year with the listing count rising in the spring months. Our absorption rate remains under three months for single family homes, and just under four months for condos. Both are in a balanced market range,” Wegerich says.

“As we look to the year ahead, interest rates along with employment will continue to be key factors for a sustained recovery in the housing market.  We expect a modest rise in interest rates by the middle of year—and this may spur some buyers to take advantage of low rates before the end of 2010,” adds Wegerich.


Information courtesy of the Calgary Real Estate Board

The author or provider of this article assumes no responsibility whatsoever for any information given herein because the purpose of this column is not intended to provide professional advice including, without limitations, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice. For specific advice to your situation, please consult your professional advisor specializing in the area of your needs.

Calgary Real Estate News - September 2009

On a regular basis, the Vostner Bell Real Estate Group reports on the Calgary real estate market.

For September 2009:

"Existing home sales, as measured by the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®), have rebounded strongly since January and will reach 420,700 units in 2009 and remain close to that level at 419,400 units in 2010. The average MLS® price is expected to moderate to $301,400 in 2009 and to increase to $306,300 in 2010.

According to CREB®, home prices within Calgary’s city limits are expected to make gradual gains as Fall approaches, but remain relatively stable as a whole.

The average price of a single family Calgary metro home in August 2009 was $454,130, showing an increase of 4% from July 2009, when the average price was $436,782, and showing an increase of 3% from August 2008, when the average price was $440,625."

Many economists and potential homebuyers have been sitting on the fence, uncertain as to whether or not we have seen the worst of the recession and low prices. It appears that we hit "the bottom" back in December. Since then, Calgary and area sale prices have risen steadily over the past 8 months.

Now, analysts are forecasting an ongoing increase in sale prices of existing homes and condos as well as an increase in new home sales for the rest of 2009 and throughout 2010.


Calgary Real Estate News - April 2009

On a regular basis, the Vostner Bell Real Estate Group reports on the Calgary real estate market.

For April 2009, Jason Bell writes:

"Although Calgary residential home prices have dropped approximately 17% since their peak in June/July 2007, there has been a surprising INCREASE in Calgary residential sale prices over the past few months.

Buyers are gaining confidence and with interest rates at historically low levels, many people are finding that now is an ideal time to buy or invest. With an increase in demand, it is fair to assume that prices will stabilize or potentially increase (as opposed to continuing to drop as they have for the past 20 months.)

On a daily basis, we are asked what the future holds. Simply put, I wish we had a crystal ball. Having said that, Canada should start to see a recovery from the recession in late 2009, carrying on into 2010. There are many different factors to consider, but in a nutshell, once the media starts reporting economic growth again and Canadians start spending money, real estate prices will likely be on the upswing again. This is speculated to happen sometime between September 2009 and April 2010.

NATIONAL NEWS (courtesy Calgary Real Estate News): Resale housing activity in Canada in February 2009 was up from the previous month, according to statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA®).

A total of 28,669 homes traded hands via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) units nationally in February 2009 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

This is 8.6% above seasonally adjusted levels in January 2009, and the first monthly increase in activity since September 2008.

Seasonally adjusted activity in February also surpassed levels reported in November and December of 2008.

Monthly seasonal increases in activity were largest in British Columbia (14.4%), Nova Scotia (12.7%), and Alberta (11.9%).

Questions? Jason is easily reached at 403-278-8899 or at  jason@realtycalgary.com


The author assumes no responsibility whatsoever for any information given herein because the purpose of this column is not intended to provide professional advice including, without limitations, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice. For specific advice to your situation, please consult your professional advisor specializing in the area of your needs.

Calgary Real Estate News - December 2008

On a regular basis, the Vostner Bell Real Estate Group reports on the Calgary real estate market.

For December 2008, Jason Bell writes:

"It is interesting what a number of weeks of stock-market turmoil and political posturing can do to the confidence of a Calgary home buyer and the Calgary real estate market in general. Sales have slowed and some buyers have decided to postpone any purchases until they see what happens with the economy and the markets, or in some cases, what is going to happen to their jobs.

While average property prices drop bit by bit in Calgary and surrounding areas, this is not necessarily turning out to be a great time for buyers; it is more difficult to obtain a mortgage this week than it was even last week. In response to the current market meltdown and credit crisis in the U.S., most Canadian banks now have more stringent requirements for loans and mortgages. The likelihood of Canada-wide layoffs and increased unemployment in the coming months are causing many banks/lenders to be extra-cautious when qualifying buyers.

If you are thinking of buying and you already have a property with a mortgage that has a good interest rate, contact your lender and ask if you can "port" your mortgage. This is where your existing mortgage (with it's interest rate and terms etc.) are "moved" or "ported" to a different house. In some cases, this can prevent you from having to go through the whole "re-qualifying" process when buying a new/different house where you have to prove income and job stability and such. Also, with mortgage rates suddenly on the rise, this can help you save money if your current mortgage has a good rate.

Lastly, we are still regularly asked where the real estate market is headed. As I wrote last month, the upcoming elections as well as the strength of the world markets will be a big factor in the national and local real estate market. With the recent volatility, it is anybody's guess where the real estate market is headed. I still believe prices will continue to come down, but a recent online study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that nearly a quarter of potential homebuyers are waiting for the right time to buy. If something can spur this group on as a whole to start buying, it would likely be just the push the market needs to take off again."

Questions? Jason is easily reached at 403-278-8899 or at  jason@realtycalgary.com


The author assumes no responsibility whatsoever for any information given herein because the purpose of this column is not intended to provide professional advice including, without limitations, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice. For specific advice to your situation, please consult your professional advisor specializing in the area of your needs.

Calgary Real Estate News - September 2008

On a regular basis, the Vostner Bell Real Estate Group reports on the Calgary real estate market.

For September 2008, Jason Bell writes:

"Well, it happened. Calgary residential prices for single family homes have fallen over 10% in the last twelve months (August 2007 to August 2008...condos fell 9.3% in the same time frame). For homes that actually sell, they are staying on the market an average of 50+ days before selling (other listings either expire, are terminated, or are simply taken off the market).

For those of you who read my articles on a regular basis, you know that I have been warning both buyers & sellers about falling home prices since last summer. I was frowned on by some other REALTORS who were certain that house prices would continue to rise. Even the CMHC (Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation) was giving estimates of house price increases in 2008.

Although I still don't believe that Calgary house prices will drop like American real estate values, it was one year ago when I wrote in my September 2007 article and newsletter that Calgary house prices would likely fall 10% by the summer of 2008.

The magic number of 10% happened this August, where average Calgary sale prices for single family homes in August 2008 were 10.3% lower than in August of 2007. This was due to all of the factors that have previously been written about (recession in the U.S., slowing Canadian economy, people leaving Calgary and moving back home, increased supply of homes for sale, dwindling number of buyers etc...)

What's ahead for Calgary house prices? That is a question that our office is asked daily. For now, I do not see any drastic changes to the Calgary and Canadian real estate market. The U.S. and Canadian elections will influence what happens to the economies in both countries in the coming months so a re-evaluation will be needed after November.

Although we are close to having a balanced market, I see a subtle, ongoing decrease in Calgary house values over the coming Fall and Winter months (maybe a few more % points)."

Questions? Jason is easily reached at 403-278-8899 or at  jason@realtycalgary.com

Calgary Real Estate News - June 2008

On a regular basis, the Vostner Bell Real Estate Group reports on the Calgary real estate market.

For June 2008, Jason Bell writes:

"The number of homes coming on the market continues to increase, and we have nearly 15,000 properties for sale on the Calgary MLS. This means that almost 15,000 homes, condos and other styles are for sale, right now, in Calgary & surrounding areas & towns. This is 5-10 times the "typical" inventory level of years past. With a staggering increase in the number of people trying to sell their homes, and no real corresponding increase in the number of buyers, homes are staying on the market longer, with many not selling.

This is resulting in price reductions from home owners that need to sell. In what I call the 'typical house' market in Calgary (starter homes and family homes with double attached garages), house prices range from the high $300,000's to the $500,000's. It is in this segement that we have seen house price reductions since the Fall of 2007. The only communities that I have not witnessed any depreciation are Mount Royal and Scarborough.

As I have written before, almost any home will sell for the price the owner is asking, assuming the owner is not in a hurry to sell. For example, a home that was over-priced by $100,000.00, finally sold three years later once the market caught up with the inflated price of the house. It could be argued that the owners did well by making an extra $100,000 by standing firm and waiting three years. However, the mortgage payments on the house were likely over $2,000 a month, so they potentially paid $72,000 in mortgage payments during that time (and how much went towards interest?) and stayed in a home that they wanted to move out of.

Lastly, understand that recent media reports about average house prices holding steady or only dropping a percentage or two, can be misleading. Although these numbers are accurate, the averages also take into consideration all of the multi-million dollar properties that have also sold in Calgary. The sale of these luxury homes and acreages drive the 'average price' up."

Jason can reached at 403-278-8899 or at  jason@realtycalgary.com

Calgary Real Estate News - April 2008

On a regular basis, the Vostner Bell Real Estate Group reports on the Calgary real estate market.

For January, February and March of 2008, Jason Bell writes:

"The first quarter results of 2008 were similar to the last quarter of 2007. The Buyer's Market continued and prices in some categories continued to decline. Calgary inventory has hovered around 10,000 properties for sale on any given day. This is almost 2 1/2 times the number of properties for sale around this time last year (eg. 10,652 in February 2008 versus 4,288 in February 2007)

When you have a large number of homes and condos on the market but not a large number of buyers, homes and condos stay on the market for longer. For sellers that need to sell, they either need to embrace some creative and unique marketing in order to sell their home quickly, or simply lower their asking price.

On an almost daily basis, Tess and I are asked what our thoughts are about the real estate market and where it is headed. For now, we have a Buyer's Market. Although some financial "experts" have speculated that Calgary's home prices may rise 7% this year, I personally don't see this happening.

Although I do not belive that there is a "real estate bubble" that wil burst, I feel that we have hit a "ceiling" of sorts for the time being. With the sub-prime mortgage debacle in the U.S. and with the current recession that the States is in, many Canadians are starting to feel nervous. The weak economy in Ontario will filter across Canada in some form, and Albertans will likely tighten their purse-strings.

In my opinion, these factors (among others) will contribute to a "cooling-off" period in Canadian real estate.

Locally, the number of people leaving Calgary and Alberta to go "back home" should result in an increase in the number of homes and condos for sale, which in turn could result in some further price decreases. "


Calgary Real Estate News - January 2008

The fourth quarter results of 2007 were as expected. The real estate market continued to slow, and prices in some categories continue to decline. There seem to be many more sellers than buyers nowadays. Because of this, those who NEED to sell are being forced to reduce their prices to compete with other sellers and attract interest from the dwindling number of buyers.



Calgary Real Estate News - October 2007

At the end of every quarter, the Vostner Bell Real Estate Group reports on the Calgary housing market. The third quarter results of 2007 were as expected and show no signs of suffering from the effects of the credit problems plaguing the financial institutions and impacting home owners and buyers in the United States. This is not to say that Calgary won't be affected in the future, but for now, we have a stable Buyer's market. 

Here are the highlights of the report as outlined by our own Jason Bell on October 3, 2007:

"The Calgary residential single-family, detached real estate market saw more of the same characteristics as the second quarter of 2007 did. There was a decrease in the number of sales, an increase in inventory, and slight price decreases overall with more decreases seen at the upper end of the market. The condominium market held its own with prices fluctuating up and down, but generally remaining stable in most areas"

"As anticipated, home sellers that were waiting until the Fall to sell their houses have now put them on the market. This has drastically increased the number of houses for sale while the number of buyers in the Calgary area has stayed the same or decreased. Because of the fundamental concept of supply and demand, I feel this is likely to fuel an ongoing decrease in sale prices of detached single-family houses in the coming months"

  • Supply and Demand: if there is much supply and little demand, prices tend to drop. If there is much demand and little supply, as we saw in 2005-2006, prices tend to rise.  Demand refers to how much (quantity) of a product or service is desired by buyers. The quantity demanded is the amount of a product people are willing to buy at a certain price; the relationship between price and quantity demanded is known as the demand relationship. Supply represents how much the market can offer. The quantity supplied refers to the amount of a certain good producers are willing to supply when receiving a certain price. The correlation between price and how much of a good or service is supplied to the market is known as the supply relationship. Price, therefore, is a reflection of supply and demand.

The Stats:

  • Six months ago (March 30), there were 4,723 residential properties on the market and 4,077 sales of properties. As of last week (September 30) there are 11,001 properties for sale with only 2,030 that sold in September
  • Average house price in July: $ 505,920
  • Average condominium price in July: $ 318,582
  • Average house price in September: $ 470,888
  • Average condominium price in September: $ 321,614
  • Average number of days on the market: 44


October 2007 Outlook

Jason Bell writes:

"Firstly, the following is only my opinion and should not be considered advice or a forecast of what is to come. The real estate market is volatile and anything can happen at any time.

With Winter looming (and the subsequent slow-down sometimes seen in the winter months), coupled with the high levels of inventory in the detached housing market, I anticipate a further slowing of the market and expect to see house prices decrease over the next three to six months. (Although this contradicts what some other REALTORS are saying, the indicators are too strong to ignore.) I am often asked "how much will prices go up or down?" In this case, my best guess is a 10% decrease in sale prices by the summer of 2008. Decreasing house prices is good news for buyers over the next number of months, but bad news for sellers who need to sell.

On a positive note for condominium owners, condo prices have remained stable primarily due to a condo's relative affordability. This affordability has led to an ongoing interest in the condominium market, thus keeping prices where they are.

If oil prices remain above $80/bbl and nothing catastophic happens (eg. severe hurricanes affecting off-shore drilling companies, terrorism in the U.S. etc...) the early months of 2008 will be the next indicator of where the Calgary real estate market is headed. For now, we have a buyer's market. How long will it last? I believe for a long time, but only time will tell."


DISCLAIMER: The Vostner Bell Real Estate Group provides the information, opinions and comments presented above and in other areas of their websites for information purposes only. It is not to be relied upon by recipients of the newsletters, investors or any other persons who may read it. All readers of the information are advised to conduct their own research into the Calgary real estate market, or any other matter concerning real estate, as they may deem appropriate. The Vostner Bell Real Estate Group neither warrants nor assumes any responsibility or liability of any kind with respect to the accuracy, correctness, completeness, suitability or decisions derived from the Information.






Jason Bell, Tess Vostner-Bell & Associates
MaxWell Realty Canyon Creek
3205-380 Canyon Meadows Drive SE   Calgary, AB  T2J 7C3
www.RealtyCalgary.com
Tess's cell: (403) 689-1199
Jason's cell: (403) 830-5800
Office: (403) 278-8899
mail@vostnerbell.com
Calgary Real Estate News - June/July 2010

On a regular basis, the Vostner Bell Real Estate Group reports on Calgary real estate issues.


Decline in Activity Helps Balance Market

Home sales activity and new listings across the country declined in May, according to statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

Seasonally adjusted home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards declined nationally by 9.5 per cent in May from near-record level activity in April. While activity declined in more than 70 per cent of local markets, the lower national figure resulted largely from fewer sales in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) national sales activity was down 4.3 per cent in May from the same month last year. In a departure from the normal seasonal pattern, national activity levels in May were also down from April levels. This suggests that the combination of changes to mortgage regulations and rising mortgage rates pulled forward a number of sales into April that would have otherwise taken place at a later date.

“May was the first full month in which sales activity was affected by these changes,” said CREA President Georges Pahud. “An accompanying decline in new listings and housing starts means these changes are also affecting the supply side, which will keep the market balanced and Canadian home prices stable.”

The seasonally adjusted number of homes that were new listings on Canadian MLS® Systems in May 2010 declined by four per cent from the previous month. This marks the first monthly decline in new listings in eight months. New listings had been climbing sharply, rising from a four-year low last September to the second highest level ever last month. The number of homes listed for sale on Boards’ MLS® Systems at the end of May was up 5.4 per cent from levels at the same time last year, when the supply of homes for sale on the market had started declining.

The national average price of homes sold via Canadian MLS® Systems rose 8.5 per cent in May from a year ago. This is a smaller increase compared to those recorded over the past nine months.

“Supply and demand has become more balanced in a number of major markets,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “Homebuyers now have more choice and are likely be in less of a rush to purchase than they were recently, so the amount of time it takes to sell a home is expected to rise in the coming months.”

With last year’s string of downwardly skewed average price values having now mostly passed, year-over-year national average price comparisons are coming back into line with changes in the national weighted average price.

The weighted average price compensates for changes in provincial sales activity by taking into account provincial proportions of privately owned housing stock. It climbed 8.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis in May 2010. Similarly, the residential average price in Canada’s major markets was up 9.8 per cent year-over-year in May, while the weighted major market average price rose 10.7 per cent.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of months of inventory stood at 5.3 months in May 2010. This is up from 4.8 months at the same time last year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, months of inventory stood at 6.1 months in May, the highest level since last April.

“The number of months of inventory may rise further in response to easing sales activity and a further rise in the number of active listings,” said Klump. “However, the number of newly listed homes will ultimately retreat in response to a more competitive sales and pricing environment in a number of local markets. The outlooks for the Canadian economy, employment, and mortgage market trends remain upbeat, so supply and demand will remain balanced on a national basis. Canada will avoid a U.S.-style home price correction.”

Article and information courtesy of the Calgary Real Estate Board