CALGARY — Average house prices in Calgary reached a record level in 2012, outpacing the housing boom peak of 2007.
According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, there were 21,207 MLS sales in Calgary in 2012 at an average sale price of $428,655, eclipsing the previous record of $423,770 in 2007 when there were 26,611 transactions.
Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB’s chief economist, said the high average sale price was spiked by the high amount of sales in the luxury home market.
“We’ve had a lot more multi-million dollar sales,” she said. “And that really does tend to pull that average price up.”
In 2012, 544 homes sold for more than $1 million each in Calgary. The all-time record for luxury home sales in any month was set in May when 80 properties sold for more than $1 million each. The previous high for most luxury home sales in an entire year was 458 during the 2007 housing boom.
Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., said average price growth within the city has been steady.
“There have been more people buying homes and the supply of homes has also come down. However, the gain in the average price has not all been due to stronger price pressures. The proportion of homes sold had shifted in 2012 with more higher-priced homes being sold.”
Lurie said CREB’s benchmark price tells a slightly different story than the average sale price. The benchmark price is based on the typical home sale which considers things like square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms, location, age of the property and developed basement.
The benchmark price in Calgary in 2012 was $381,408, up from $361,758 in 2011. The price peaked in 2007 at $404,950.
“We do expect to see the benchmark price continue to rise,” said Lurie.
Total MLS sales in the city in 2012 eclipsed 2011 levels but were well below the peak of 27,426 transactions in 2006. In fact, in the past 12 years, annual MLS sales were also higher in 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2002 than last year.
In 2011, there were 18,496 MLS sales in the city.
“We’re nowhere near the peak levels that you saw in 2006. We’re so well below there ... They really are just above what we saw in 2003. We’re really just running near a 10-year average,” said Lurie.
“It seems like it’s a lot of growth (from last year) but we were so weak for the past four years. Coming off the high period in 2007, everything kind of slowed and we’re just returning back to more normal levels. We’re slightly above what we saw in the early 2000’s. It’s not great but it’s not that bad either.”
Don Campbell, senior analyst and founding partner of the Real Estate Investment Network, said the organization for the last 18 months has been calling 2013 the watershed year for real estate in Calgary.
“The positive impact of the large influx of people from across the country to fill jobs in the province will really begin to be felt in the resale market in 2013. Then later in the year and early 2014 this impact will be felt in the new housing market,” he said.
An influx of people to the city, high rents, and strengthening consumer confidence are freeing up people’s capital to put towards homeownership, added Campbell.
He said the high average selling price in 2012 is also a reflection of the demand and “bargain-hunting” beginning to hit the higher end of the market.
“This trend will continue into 2013 but will now be coupled with full spectrum demand from entry level to mid level. This will, mathematically keep a cap on the average sale price movement, however 2013’s market is poised to be the strongest in years,” said Campbell.
The following are MLS sales and the average sale prices for all properties in Calgary in the past few years.
2012 — 21,207, $428,655
2011 — 18,496, $414,391
2010 — 17,218, $409,885
2009 — 20,669, $394,064
2008 — 19,084, $413,293
2007 — 26,611, $423,770
2006 — 27,426, $358,326
2005 — 26,833, $256,327
2004 — 22,842, $227,269
2003 — 21,062, $215,838
2002 — 21,544, $203,203
2001 — 19,535, $186,586
2000 — 17,211, $180,420
Source: Calgary Real Estate Board