Calgary saw a significant increase in its population in 2012, spurring an increase in housing sales and prices that rivaled those of the boom year of 2007. The Calgary Real Estate Board, or CREB for short, released a report this past Wednesday, noting that sales numbers in the residential real estate market for 2012 were 15 percent higher than the figures for 2011.
Chief economist for the firm, Ann-Marie Lurie, noted this is a sign that the housing market in Calgary is in recovery mode. Prices are still below the 2007 levels but things are proving to be positive. In 2012 Calgary saw 21,207 residential sales, compared to the 18.496 seen by the end of 2011.
Will Van’t Veld, an economist with ATB Financial also noted that in 2012 more people moved to Alberta than during the boom years nearly a decade prior. The promising labour market, the best in Canada, and housing and cost of living affordability has made the province a magnet for newcomers. It is expected that the trend will continue into 2013 and well into the future.
During the first nine months of 2012, Alberta saw a net gain of 56,000 people. That surpasses the 50,000 net gains seen in 2006 and the 40,000 net gains seen in 2005, the second highest year for newcomers. There was a housing shortage the last time around which triggered a housing boom.
In the early part of the 2000s housing starts in Alberta were on the slow side, leading up to the limited supply when the boom came along. As the prices went up and the inventory went down, builders got busy and added enough new units that helped avoid the same situation during 2012.
In 2012, single family home sales were 15 percent higher than in 2011. At the same time the number of new listings decreased by seven percent, again reducing inventory and increasing prices. In December of 2012, the average price in the single home category in Calgary came in at $497,000. In 2011, during that same month the average was $455,000. That is a nine percent increase for 2012. Comparing the entire year, prices in 2012 were coming in at $481,000, a three percent increase over 2011.
Townhouses and apartments saw increases of 16 and 12 percent, respectively. Both of these housing sectors saw a decrease in listings. Townhouses saw an average price per unit of $306,000 in December of 2012, compared to $293,000 from December of the prior year, a 4.5 percent increase. Apartment style condos saw an average price of $304,000 this past December, nearly 13 percent higher than prices in December of 2011. CREB did note that the prices for this December were somewhat skewed by the number of multi-million dollar sales in the condo market.