August is such a wonderful time of the year, isn't it? School is out but not too far away, giving parents a bit more leverage over kids that are enjoying their summer a bit too much :)
But it's also a great time for vacations, relaxation, and just taking time to enjoy with family.
Everything just seems to go on hold...and the real estate market isn't any different this past month.
The looming rumours of interest rate hikes riddled the month to scare off buyers and investors along with giving sellers cause for pause as they wait for the next BOC (Bank of Canada) rate announcement.
But the market did not stop, it just didn't sway one way or another in August.
Let's dive in and look at how the month played out and where we might be heading with today's latest changes from the BOC.
Aggregated Absorption Rates - Calgary
In the month of August, we saw the absorption rate increase to 42%, which is a 1% increase from last month. This rate was driven by a decline in the number of listings month over month by 7% and a drop in sales of 5%.
Because the drop in listings has outpaced the drop in sales, we are seeing fewer listings available for buyers. Seasonal trends along with the cost fears of rate hikes have caused sellers to be hesitant to enter the real estate market.
For the second straight month, we have seen the number of listings drop 26% from the same time last year while sales have only dropped 1%.
With the exception of the extremely hot months of February and March, the number of buyers in the market for a home has been fairly consistent year over year. Indicating that the buyers that have been affected by the rate hikes have been predominately investors.
Investors that are relying more on lines of credit feel the pinch more with changes in interest rates as those products usually carry a premium to prime whereas mortgages are either fixed rates or on a variable with a discount to the prime rate.
As the investors start to shy away from purchasing property in Calgary, this caused our market to continue to cool from April to now.
The same story can be seen with apartments.
Absorption Rates - Apartments - Calgary
In the month of August, we saw the absorption rate climb back up to 36%. This is driven by a decline in the number of listings by 9% from last month, while we had an increase in sales of 2%.
Considering the relatively low cost of apartments in Calgary, they are still very much a segment of the market that is attracting investors and homeowners alike.
Investors see the upside with respect to increased rents and cash flow for a low cost of investment into a property and buyers see the cost of ownership at par or better than renting the same type of home.
Although this segment is cooler than the aggregated absorption, it is performing significantly better than in the past two years, which were 18% (2021) and 13% (2020).
As the cost of servicing a mortgage continues to increase, these types of properties will continue to be attractive to buyers who are being squeezed out of townhome and duplex ownership but would like to still either buy their first investment property or have a property they can own now and leverage later when the market improves.
The Median Price Per Segment
The different segments of the market show a telling story of why sellers are electing to not put their homes up for sale and how the interest rate changes are affecting both sides of the equation.
The detached segment is currently around the same price point as the beginning of the year ($570,600 - January 2022) and has seen its price decline about $50,000 from the high in February of this year ($625,000).
Unlike the other big markets that have been a significant slowdown in their markets, our pricing in this segment has only dropped about 8% from the high.
If you are speaking to most Calgarians you might find that even at a price point of $575,000, this is still considered high for a median-priced single-family home.
However, this decline is occurring because of the affordability of today's buyers. Those that are in the market for a single-family home are waiting longer to write offers or are moving over to the attached market, where the prices have seen an increase of 10%.
Townhomes and apartments are both seeing declines in their pricing because of how much more those markets are closer to a buyer-balanced market than single-family and attached. Buyers have more selection, allowing them to negotiate better on pricing.
But how does this work as things start to get back to normal in the fall?
Where Are We Heading?
Today was another BOC announcement of a rate increase. Which has been speculated and shouldn't really be news to anyone that has been keeping an eye on the nightly news.
The BOC has not ruled out more further changes to the rate in the future but has also speculated that this might be the last of the major increases.
Sitting on the fence like this doesn't really help anyone with planning for the future when it comes to home ownership. However, buying and selling real estate is not solely based on what the interest rate is at a given moment.
People are always needing to make a shift. Babies are born each day. People are retiring each day and need to downsize. Knee surgeries happen daily and people may want to find a home that doesn't have stairs.
You see my point.
The shift in the market has slowed in the summer and generally does see a slight uptick in the fall before the holidays.
As more listings come onto the market for whatever reasons that the seller has, the buying pool has not significantly diminished.
We can expect more listings to come in the fall due to the seasonality of the market and more pressure on pricing as buyers can only afford so much in terms of a mortgage.
More listings mean more competition, which will give buyers more selection and a better chance of finding that right home.
However, it will be a drip, not a fire hose.
Thank you for taking the time to go through this update. If you have any questions or considering a move, or you'd like to chat about your mortgage options, it would be great to connect. Feel free to email me at email@example.com or connect with me on social media below.