Photograph by: Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald
CALGARY — Calgary MLS sales in 2011 bested the Canadian average for year-over-year growth, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.
In releasing its year-end data on Monday, the association said sales of 22,466 units last year were up 7.0 per cent from the previous year while in Canada sales grew by 2.2 per cent to 456,749 transactions.
Sales across Alberta jumped by 6.9 per cent to 53,146 units.
However, Calgary and Alberta were behind the national average when it came to the annual price hike.
Calgary and Alberta registered 1.0 per cent year-over-year gains in the average MLS sale price to $402,851 and $355,808 respectively.
The national average was a 7.2 per cent hike to $363,346.
“The momentum in sales activity provides clear evidence that low interest rates continue to draw homebuyers to the housing market,” said Gary Morse, CREA’s president, in a statement. “While buyers have become increasingly cautious, the hand off for sales activity going into the New Year suggests that Canada’s housing market will continue to benefit from low interest rates in 2012, and continue making
a significant contribution to Canadian economic activity.”
Momentum for national sales activity and average price remains positive but is slowing, which suggests that the continuation of low interest rates is not causing the Canadian housing market to overheat, said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.
“High-end home sales seem unlikely to spike again in the first quarter like they did at the beginning of 2011, so national average price momentum may wane further over the next few months,” he said. “With interest rates widely expected to remain low throughout 2012, home ownership will remain affordable, and continue to support home sales activity.”
Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist with BMO Capital Markets, said the Canadian housing market showed distinct signs of moderation in late 2011, with even some of the hottest of the hot cities simmering down.
“Debt-heavy households are expected to curb their appetite for mortgages, pointing to some further moderation in housing in 2012. We look for both sales and prices to be roughly flat this year. That could be just what the policy doctor ordered, allowing incomes to catch up to higher prices,” he said.
Francis Fong, economist with TD Economics, said Canada’s housing market managed to turn out a respectable gain in sales and in prices relative to 2010 and this speaks to both the relative stability of the Canadian economy and the confidence of Canadian consumers.
“However, 2012 is likely going to be a bumpy ride as Canada is not without its share of headwinds going forward,” said Fong. “The first half of this year will likely see housing activity pullback further from its current level alongside both global and domestic economic conditions, while the second half of the year is likely to see some improvement as those same factors improve.”
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