A Tale of Two Januarys

January 2013 had far less snow than January 2014. I had a birthday party and I tried to cut back on junk food in each January. That's about all I remember. They seemed pretty much the same to me.

That's completely untrue of Calgary's real estate markets in January 2013 and January 2014. They couldn't have been more different.

To use the Charles Dickens analogy, January 2013 was Britain in 1775 - boring and status quo. While the 2014 version is more like France, where the world was changing quickly.

It was the best of of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,...

The number of single family home sales in went up 11% (878 to 974) this January compared to last year. While the number of active homes on the market went down by 20% (2,075 to 1,671). More people bought homes with fewer homes available. The outcome was predictable - prices went up by 9%.

Last January, the majority of single family homes sold between $300k-$399k. This year, the largest percentage belonged to the $400k-$499k range.

Here's where it gets interesting (not just for me, also for you, I promise):

Towhnouse sales were up an incedible 40% this January, 147 to 206!! The average price went up 16% to $308,100.

House prices in Calgary are increasing but not as fast as incomes; evidenced by the majority of buyers are still looking in the same price range, $300k-$399k. Calgarians have accepted that they will not get a single family house in neighbourhoods they desire for less than $400,000. So they're flocking to townhouses.

Condo appartment sales were also up 27% (204 to 260). With the benchmark price up 12% to $280,600. The incredible lack of rental properties avaliable likely forced a substantial number of people into buying their first home. As townhouse prices went up, many first time buyers have been priced out, and are buying condo apartments.

Wondering what you can afford in Calgary right now? $200k-$300k gets you an appartment. $300k-$400k gets you a townhouse. $400k and up gets you a single family house.

If you started your home search last January and decided to put it off for a year, just like if you sat a chalet in France drinking wine for all of the 1770s, you'll be shocked at how the world has changed.

Disclaimer: Don't read 'Tale of Cities'. There are at least 26 words on each page that you will have to look up in a dictionary. Though the story is good, it's as if Dickens got bored and decided just end the book. It builds and builds and builds and then it's over. Read Hemingway instead, that guy doesn't mess around.