“Is Alberta’s housing market going to crash?” asks Manny Williams in Toronto. Calgary-based energy reporter Jeff Lewis says, “Nobody is full-out panicking just yet.” He says that’s because prices have so far not reacted much to the collapse in oil prices – “the average price of a single family home this month was $518,449, down 0.42 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, according to preliminary figures collected by the Calgary real estate board.” Lewis explains:
All signs point to a softening market, especially if oil-patch layoffs deepen. Cutbacks in the energy sector are already taming expectations, and experts say Alberta’s economy is poised to slow considerably compared to the manic growth of recent years.
Sales of single family homes plunged 38 per cent in January, while new listings shot up by about 39 per cent. That follows a weak December, during which sales fell roughly 8 per cent from the previous year and listings rose. It’s scarcely any better for condos. Sales are down 35 per cent so far this year, and listings are up a staggering 60.5 per cent compared to a year earlier.
Some Calgary realtors don’t expect a repeat of 2010, when housing demand plunged in the wake of the financial crisis. This week’s rate cuts at major banks could also buoy sales. But a sustained period of lower oil prices is sure to make would-be buyers a bit more cautious.
Earlier this month, Lewis reported:
Cracks are emerging in Calgary’s once red-hot market for commercial and residential real estate, adding to fears that rapidly sinking oil prices will trigger a broad slowdown beyond the energy sector.
After years of riding high, home sales in the southern Alberta city dropped 7.5 per cent in December from a year earlier, while new listings surged 42 per cent – the first sign of a potentially weaker market in 2015, according the Calgary real estate board. At the same time, lease rates at downtown office towers are falling and some of city’s marquee buildings are grappling with an unfamiliar problem: empty space.