To quote a realtor in my office that seems to have summed up the last month of activity,
“It’s (explicit) nutso”
And I would have to agree. This past month we saw the activity in the market jump significantly along with the median pricing across the board.
Let’s get into the numbers.
ABSORPTION RATE – ALL SEGMENTS – CALGARY
In January we saw the absorption (ABS) rate increase by 12% to 72%.
Sales increased 21% from the month before and the number of active listings only grew 1%. Compared to this same time last year listings are lower by 14%, and the number of sales is up a staggering 27%.
The last time we hit an ABS level like this in January was in 2022 and if history is any indication of how we might fair for the rest of this quarter, we can only expect the activity to continue to increase as we enter the spring market.
And this increase in activity, predominately driven by sales, has been reflected in prices.
MEDIAN PRICES PER SEGMENT – CALGARY
We have seen increases in prices across all segments of homes in Calgary. The biggest jump has come in the semi-detached/attached segment at 13% while we are starting to see lower increases in townhomes and apartments. More on this trend below.
Compared to the previous year’s average median price, semi-detached/attached lead the way with increases at 14% while the townhomes and apartments have seen double-digit growth, followed by 8% in the detached segment.
The most astounding numbers are in the current month vs. January 2023 variance in median pricing we are seeing with some segments reaching as high as 19% increases in prices.
We are now at a point where a semi-detached/attached home has a median price of over $600,000. If you are from Calgary or lived here for several years, or even moved here pre-COVID, this number alone should make you sit back in your chair and take a moment to think about how we got here.
In the next section, we look at why some of these trends are occurring now and why January is looking so different than last year at this same time.
If I told you the interest rates are a gift and curse to our market, would you believe me?
Let me explain.
In more expensive markets, when rates are higher, those who are looking to buy a home or investment property, will look and see where they can find savings outside of the rate, which they cannot control, and that is usually buying in a place that has a lower price.
This is great for migrants to our city looking to save on their housing costs.
However, it is a curse to our market for those who are already living in Calgary looking to either grow as a family or better their investment portfolio in their backyard.
This dynamic is what has shifted our marketing to the price points that we are now seeing homes priced significantly higher than what we are used to.
But I promise this is not all doom and gloom.
We have now started to see trends that affordability might be easing in the real estate market with how the increases in prices have been behaving.
As I mentioned above, we are now starting to see a shift in the increases from segment to segment. If you might recall from my previous breakdowns, I have been mentioning that townhomes and apartments were the ones seeing the most gains throughout the months.
But that is now changing.
Now we are seeing semi-detached/attached and detached homes see higher increases than townhomes and apartments. This means that, although prices are higher, more and more buyers can afford homes that are not condominiums.
This shift indicates that more purchasing power is coming back to our market.
Now, this is most probably driven more by the 5-year bond yield decreasing in January than the Bank of Canada maintaining its overnight rate at 5%.
5-YEAR BOND YIELD TREND – 2023-2024
The bond yield has dropped to levels similar to what we saw in March and April of last year, which coincides with the jump in the market we have seen during the same time frame.
This increase in purchasing power for those who hold fixed-rate mortgages is now allowing them to return to the semi-detached/attached and detached markets to be competitive once again.
This is great for buyer affordability. But the challenge is still the inflation of prices, which will continue to occur as we continue to see lower amounts of inventory.
A 1% increase in inventory is not enough to fulfil the demand for an increase in sales of 27%. Until something significant changes in this supply issue, we will continue to see price increases and unfortunately, no one has a viable solution to slow this trend.
The issue is further intensified by those who are coming up for renewal of their mortgages in 2024-2025. More and more homeowners are considering staying where they are and are looking at the renewal/refinancing option for their lower loan values than selling and finding a new home with a higher price point.
This sentiment will continue to keep homeowners off the market.
A NOTE ABOUT RENEWALS/REFINANCING
I just wanted to add a quick note about renewals and refinancing your current mortgage.
The one thing to understand is when your term is coming due, you do have options. Don’t just take what your lender is offering you right away before speaking with a broker to understand what the competition is offering.
You wouldn’t walk into a Honda dealership without knowing what the Toyota or Nissan cost was, would you?
Working with your broker, you can see if what your lender is offering you is fair or not and if you were to decide to change lenders, and were just renewing (not changing anything on the amortization or dollar value), you can move without having to requalify at the “stress test”.
If you wanted to take money out or re-amortization to reduce your payments, you would need to requalify at the stress test. But this might be worth it if you need cash for investments, home renovations, school fees, etc.
I’m more than happy to assist you with questions about this. There have been many renewal letters from client’s banks that have been very fair to the client and I’ve advised them to stay with the lender based on the competition.
But it’s worth the conversation before you resign. If you want to have a chat about your renewal, send me an email (email@example.com) or give me a call (587-871-5532). I’d love to help you find a solution.
As always, thank you for allowing me to be your real estate (and now mortgage) resource. I truly appreciate the opportunity and I hope we can connect and I can answer any questions you.
Thank you for your time and I hope you have an exceptional month ahead and a wonderful Family Day long weekend!