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‘A perfect storm for sellers’: Demand for lower-priced listings driving up Calgary home prices, sales

Calgary real estate prices continued to rise in April, as demand for more affordable, higher-density properties remained high.

In its monthly real estate update, the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) said supply levels are declining in the city, driven by sales of lower-priced homes.

“Homes priced below $500,000 have reported a 29 per cent decline. Meanwhile, we are seeing supply growth in homes priced above $700,000,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist at CREB.

“Persistently high interest rates are driving demand toward more affordable products in the market and, at the same time, driving listing growth for higher-priced properties.”

The benchmark price of a residential property rose to $603,700 for the month of April – up 9.9 per cent year-over-year.

By property type, the benchmark prices last month were:

  • Detached: $749,000 – up 13.1 per cent year-over-year;
  • Semi-detached: $668,400 – up 12.9 per cent year-over-year;
  • Row: $458,100 – up 20 per cent year-over-year; and
  • Apartment: $346,200 – up 17.7 per cent year-over-year.

Brian van Vliet, a realtor with Redline Real Estate Group powered by REAL Broker, said the market shows no signs of slowing down.

“We have a perfect storm for sellers. We have low inventory, tons of migration into the city and not enough homes to answer the demand,” he said.

“One issue we’re finding though, is some sellers are putting their house way too high to begin with. What happens there is the house sits, so you have to keep your expectations as a seller, you have to keep those in check.”

Sales in April increased seven per cent compared to 2023, with 2,881 residential units sold. Sales are also up 16 per cent year-over-year, with 9,325 total sales to date in 2024.

“It’s probably going to be easier for a buyer who’s looking in the upper price ranges, in terms of having some supply choice there, and potentially less pressure on prices than what you might be facing if you’re looking for an affordable product,” Lurie said.

Sellers’ market

Tara Seitz sold her New Brighton home last week, opting for a larger one with her blended family in Mahogany.

She says the real estate market is exploding.

“I would call it a logistical circus,” said Seitz.

“We got the text from the realtor and three minutes later there was a showing for it already. It was intense.”

Seitz says she received multiple offers on her home within 48 hours, following a dozen showings.

“We knew we were going to sell, but boy, we didn’t have time to think about it. It just happened so fast,” she said.

“We outgrew this house really, really quickly, so we needed something else, and that was pretty challenging. It was worrisome that we needed a five-bedroom house and preferably with a den in our price range.

van Vliet says that some sellers are hesitating before putting their home on the market, if they plan on staying in Calgary.

“People are nervous about selling because they say, I have nowhere to go,” he said.

“So there are ways around that. You can put a longer possession date on your home so that you have time to find a new home.”

But he admitted that some people are testing the higher price point homes because there is more supply with interest rates remaining steady.

“You might see a lot of people that want to upsize now, so they sell their house,” said van Vliet.

“Now they can get a better mortgage rate and they buy something bigger or more expensive.”

Sales surging in 2024

Sales and prices of the more affordable properties, such as apartments and row houses, surged in April.

“When you have a limited level of supply relative to the sales, this really does drive up prices,” Lurie said.

“We’ve had some of the stronger (price) gains occurring in the most affordable product types, so row and apartments have both seen a year-over-year gain.”

Year-to-date, apartment sales are up 24 per cent in Calgary compared to 2023, while the benchmark price is up 18 per cent.

“Like other property types, year-over-year supply declines are driven by the lower-priced segments of the market, which for apartment condominiums is units priced below $300,000,” CREB said in its report.

“Overall, persistent sellers’ market conditions in the lower price ranges are driving further price growth.”

Prices of row houses are 20 per cent higher this year than they were in 2023, and sales have risen 19 per cent.

CREB noted that “persistently tight” market conditions contributed to price growth for both row houses and semi-detached.

Sales for semi-detached homes are also high on the year, up 18 per cent, while detached home sales are up nine per cent.

“Sales gains in the higher price ranges offset the steep decline for homes priced below $600,000, which is related to the lack of listings in the lower price ranges,” CREB said.

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