Alberta Forecasted to Lead Canada in the Resale Housing Market in 2013

CALGARY — Alberta will lead the country this year and in 2013 in the pace of growth in the resale housing market, according to a new forecast by the Canadian Real Estate Association.

The national association of realtors said Monday that Alberta MLS sales this year will finish up 13.1 per cent from last year to 60,800 transactions and sales will lead the country next year as well with 1.3 per cent growth to 61,600.

Nationally, sales are forecast to decline by 0.5 per cent this year to 456,300 and fall by another 2.0 per cent in 2013 to 447,400 transactions.

The Real Estate Investment Network in Canada is “hot” on Calgary’s potential and has ranked it the top investment city in Canada for 2013 to 2016, said Melanie Reuter, director of research for the organization.

“This ranking came as a result of extensive research into the underlying economic fundamentals driving Calgary’s economy as well as the current housing market’s response to these fundamentals,” she said. “The job market is strong and is poised to lead the country in job and population growth. Immigration from other parts of Canada as well as abroad is putting a steep downward pressure on vacancy rates and a strong upward movement on rents. This pressure is not predicted to ease significantly in the coming years.

“The high average-weekly-earnings in the city mean more disposable income in this PST-free province, which is creating a country leading consumer confidence level. This is creating further stimulation of the economy through consumer spending, which in turn brings increased employers, people, and demand for housing.”

The CREA forecast for sales in both Alberta and across the country is down from a previous forecast it released in September. At that time, the organization predicted Alberta annual sales growth of 13.8 per cent this year and another 1.7 per cent in 2013. For Canada, it had forecast sales to increase by 1.9 per cent this year but decline by 1.9 per cent in 2013.

On Monday, CREA said the average sale price in Alberta is expected to rise by 2.7 per cent this year to $363,100 and by another 2.3 per cent in 2013 to $371,300.

Across Canada, the national average sale price is forecast to increase by 0.3 per cent this year and next year to $363,900 and $365,100, respectively.

In November, Calgary MLS sales of 1,831 were up 10.6 per cent compared with last year while on the national level sales dipped by 11.9 per cent to 30,573.

The average sale price in Calgary rose by 3.8 per cent to $413,921 but fell by 0.8 per cent across the country to $356,687.

In Alberta, sales increased by 3.2 per cent to 4,034 transactions and the average price was up 4.3 per cent to $365,999.

“National sales activity has remained fairly steady at lower levels since mortgage rules were changed earlier this year, but that stability masks some real differences in trends among local housing markets,” said Wayne Moen, CREA’s president.

CREA on Monday also released its MLS Home Price Index of seven major Canadian markets. Regina’s annual price growth of 11.58 per cent led the nation followed by Calgary at 7.13 per cent.

The national aggregate price rose 3.5 per cent year-over-year, the seventh time in as many months that the year-over-year gain shrank and it marks the slowest rate of increase since May 2011.

David Madani, Canada Economist for Capital Economics, said the continued decline in existing home sales across Canaada supports its view that a potentially severe housing correction is underway.

“Assuming that sales continue to trend lower heading into next year, then sharper demand and supply imbalances will eventually lead to widespread home price declines,” he said. “We still think that house prices will decline by 25 per cent over the next year or two.”

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com


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