Calgary Housing Market and Update
What’s the forecast for Calgary’s housing market for 2018 and beyond? Right now, it’s cautiously optimistic for buyers who are in a good position to benefit from a growing pool of housing stock Calgary in summer 2018.
The real estate market in Calgary has been in the dumps for several years, however with the price of oil hitting $66 today (May delivery), it’s getting interesting for buying and rental property investment.
Calgary’s challenge is similar to other North American cities with a lack of supply. Listings of homes dropped almost 50% in some areas of thecity from last summer. These might be gobbled up fast if energy prices rise quickly this summer.
Unemployment however has dropped in the last 2 years and many believe the recovery is well underway — powered up by rising oil prices in US dollars x rising production numbers.
OPEC Willing to Throttle Output
Yes, Calgary is more than oil, but oil money is hard to ignore. Alberta needs the investment funds that flow in when Oil prices rise.
With OPEC cutting oil production output, and oil prices jumping past $66 a barrel (WTI) it’s awakening the oil patch. Alberta’s oil production rose to record levels in the last two months. Multiply that by rising prices and the economic outcome should be obvious.
Twice now, during the early winter, prices rebounded. The price is showing peristence. If it does this for 3 more months, investors will being loading money back into the Alberta economy.
The political situation in the US is calming down, US economic health is improving rapidly, and by shutting out China, the US will be keeping billions and attracting more investment money. Big picture looks really good. Prospect of a US housing collapse are low, even though Americans are very wary. That’s just smart.
If you’re considering moving to Calgary to work this year, be forewarned that Calgary is rated worst for affordability for lower income earners.
As of February 2018, average rent for an apartment in Calgary is $1129 which is a 12% decrease from last year when the average rent was $1264 , and a 3.72% increase from last month when the average rent was $1087. — from RentJungle Report
Calgary Housing Market Stats
As you’ll note sales are down from 18 months ago, and those were recession numbers. Most of the buying and selling were in the first half of the year, and there was a burst of buying due to the Fed mortgage rule changes.
It’s worse than it looks. However with the economy on the upswing and oil prices pushing through $55, there is some optimism.
In February, listings and sales fell yet home prices kept level. CREB suggests a steady path to recover and a market very similar to 2017. They suggest rising interest rates, tougher mortgage rules, and stagnating wages should calm the market this year. Financial people are always citing microeconomic factors and mortgage rates as housing market factors, however people buy when the economy is good and is promising.
The Stampede chuck wagon advertising auction created $3.2 million in bids. The oil patch seems to be optimistic!
Calgary Housing Report for February 2018
|Calgary Monthly Housing Stats||February 2018||January 2018||October 2017||October 2016||September 2017|
|Total Homes Sales||657||583||910||1031||919|
|Days on Market||45||55||44||42||42|
Above stats courtesy of CREB
South Calgary is the hot spot with 249 homes sold in February. The south has 799 homes listed for sale. 275 apartments were sold in downtown Calgary in February and there are 730 units available. CREB expects sales of apartments to fall slightly in 2018, so buyers might have the upper hand this spring.
The Globe and Mail reports that 30% of Alberta’s new inventory remains unsold. This has to be one of the best buyers markets ever for investors, as long as you don’t mind waiting for the payoff.
And with housing prices predominantly in the $300k to $500k range, Calgary is still considered affordable, especially compared to Toronto and Vancouver where life is painful for renters, mortgage holders, and buyers in waiting.
Even the experts are voicing caution, probably because they’re not sure themselves who has control of oil prices, and whether the BC pipeline issue will be solved. And BC doesn’t seem to be batting an eye, as gas prices there rose above $1.50 a litre.
Rachel Notley pointed out the BC premier’s ironic and hypcritical stance on Alberta oil with his new subsidies for LNG projects in BC. BC gas prices look like they’ll go sky high by May and June and the resistance might begin to wane at that point.
And besides the BC carbon tax, and the investment killing removal of the corporate tax rate cut, there’s also the matter of how much Vancouver’s housing market can take as interest rates rise too.
This is a text book test of the merit and wisdom of government regulation. BC’s government run auto insurance sector is already in deep trouble, rumoured to be on the verge of bankruptcy.
Not only does Alberta ease the prices BC drivers pay for gasoline, the Federal taxes on oil production are steep and distributed to the other provinces. Everyone benefits when Alberta’s energy sector thrives. It’s vital for Canada.
The WTI WCS price differential is a painful loss for Alberta Oil producers and of late it’s gotten worse due to pipeline bottlenecks. Will it get worse this year?
Alberta’s production capacity is impressive and has recovered by 7,000 m3 from 2 years ago. The issue is getting it to world markets.
With the US and global economies looking good (the recent tariff issue with China should be resolved), demand for energy and oil is forecast to be strong. BP forecasts a strong demand from developing countries.
International investors with a long term investment strategy should compare what you can buy in Calgary for $400,000 vs what you’ll get in the Vancouver market or Toronto market areas and you can see the long term investment advantages. Calgary is a much easier place to do buiness and buy real estate.
Which are The Best Neighbourhoods to Buy a Home in Calgary?
As a long time resident, I can tell you there are many excellent neighbourhoods, with great schools, shopping, and recreation. All of it is accessible.
If you enjoy exercise, you may find the communities along with the Bow River best. There is a cycling/walking trail on both sides and the mountain biking park at Canada Olympic Park is on it too.
If you like beautiful views, Calgary has plenty. The northwest area of Calgary including those communities near Spy Hill, Coach Hill, and Nose Hill Park offer amazing views, and lofty prices too. The neighbourhoods on the northwest outskirts of the city offer unbelievable panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains to the west. Expect million dollar prices here. Homes on Spy Hill and Coach Hill offer incredible views of almost all of Calgary and the spectacular downtown skyline.
If water sports like sailing and windsurfing are important to you, Calgary has a number of man made lakes in the south end. The South has the largest selection of homes, with the Northwest next in number.
If you like cosmopolitan, the neighborhoods near downtown Calgary will appeal to you with the shops and walkability. And downtown’s plus 15 walkway system is close by too. Downtown city centre is where the condos are and virtually everything you need is here on 7th, 8th and 9th Avenue . The Bow River pathway is adjacent and Calgary’s convenient light rail transit can wisk you away to shopping in the south end of the city.
With the recession now largely in the rear view mirror, and with the price of oil rising steadily, homebuyers and property investors will be looking at Calgary homes differently.
With house prices so low, the expectation for buying residential properties in 2018 will improve. For speculators, the Calgary market is tantalizing, given that home prices in Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Bay Area, New York, and Miami have peaked.
Calgary’s low price entry point offers a great long term potential. And the selection of luxury homes in Calgary is as spectacular as the landscapes and views from many of the properties.
Inmigration to Calgary is rising and mortgage rates remain low. Although made in Canada housing policies will constrain the market, the outlook for Calgary real estate is for growth. The extent of that growth of course depends on the price of oil and the value of the Canadian dollar vs the US dollar.
The Price of Oil – Already Above Expectations
Oil Prices were never expected to rise near $50 yet are above $55 now. The Saudis have proven they control the price of oil, not markets. Tough to predict what they’ll do however their recent actions show some resolve and purpose. The fact prices have reached $55, well above the limits predicted by all the experts has to indicate something.
Screen Capture courtesy of Marketwatch.com
The World Bank may have posted the best forecast for oil prices through to 2020.
Screen capture courtesy of the IMF
You can check all the oil price predictions for yourself.
Price to list ratio revels that those putting up their houses for sale are receving 95.7% of their list price.
Total sales volume of apartment dropped slightly, however total sales in dollars dropped by $5 million compared to September.
Screenshot courtesy of CREB.com
Economic Predictions for Calgary
If oil continues to rise steadily in price, Alberta stands to recover economically. Businesses have pared down their costs and are better able to profit from growth. Although not officially a big component of the rosy Canadian economic forecast, Alberta and Calgary are keys to the future.
Alberta’s economy is much more diversified than it used to be however it is impossible to replace the revenue generation of the Canadian oil sands, the world’s largest pool of untapped oil reserves.
The price of WTI oil just reached $56, well above $30 a barrel last year, and there are indications the Saudis intend to cut production. The wise course of action is for governments to support the oil sands and other more costly production methods to grow oil supply. This would prevent OPEC from harming the growing US economy and the global economic upswing.
CREB’s 2017 Economic Outlook and Regional Housing Market Update
In the Calgary Real Estate Board’s most recent 2017 Calgary Economic Outlook and Regional Housing Market update, CREB believes the pace of economic recovery will be slow but stable. Stagnant employment, wages, slow immigration, tighter mortgage lending restrictions, and made for Vancouver/Toronto economic policies will weigh on the Calgary housing market.
The latest report does forecast for 2018. However, Alberta’s economic performance is expected to be well up at 4.3% for all of 2017. New construction housing starts will be well down this year at around 3500 units. Multifamily housing starts are down just slightly from 2016 levels.
Screen capture courtesy of CREB.com. Stats courtesy of CMHC.
Total house sales were precisely forecasted to be 600 higher in 2017 than 2016 with a price similar. Dead on accurate. New listings will total 32,731, 400 for the full year. Sales of apartment will rise slightly over last years numbers at about 2800 units.
The loonie remains around 78 cents CAD vs USD, maintaining an excellent premium on exports from Calgary, and exports of Alberta oil. Forex experts believe the US dollar forecast is upward, while the Canadian dollar forecast is downward.
If new construction starts are constrained, then the resale market may grow in the neighbourhood of 1% in 2018, 2% in 2019 and perhaps 3% in 2019. Of course, all predictions rest on the price of oil which as mentioned, the Saudis and OPEC control. And US shale production and drilling rig counts seem to moderate upward increases in oil prices.
The last word on the Calgary Real Estate Forecast is positive. Oil price is rising, the US dollar is climbing with President Trump’s new tax cut to raise the US dollar value. With Alberta’s growth currently reported at 6%, a solid Canadian economic forecast at 3.7% growth in 2018, we’re running out of reasons why Calgary isn’t going to boom in 2018.
Note: the preceding post is not meant as specific investment advice, but rather as a comparison of real estate investment or home buying opportunities. Please ensure you discuss all investments with a licensed professional.
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