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 A Bumpy Road to Recovery


Calgary, March 1, 2018 –


Residential home sales declined in February, but a decline in new listings helped keep prices steady this month.

Sales totaled 1.094 units in February, 18 per cent below last year's activity. Easing sales occurred across all property types this month, which outpaced the sales growth that occurred in January. After the first two months of the year, sales activity remains well below longer-term averages.


"Housing market conditions are still adjusting to rising lending rates and changes in lending requirements. This process is expected to be bumpy, with demand adjustments leading the changes," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.


"However, it is important to remember that it is early in the process and the impact on prices will ultimately be dependent on the supply response."


A decline in new listings was not enough to prevent further gains in inventory levels, but it offset some of the impact of slower sales activity. In the detached sector, one of the largest declines in sales occurred in the $600,000 - $999,999 range, while this price range also recorded gains in new listings.  


"This is a market where the fundamentals of a sound pricing strategy need to be understood by sellers. At the same time, savvy buyers typically have a clear understanding of how much of a mortgage they can get," said CREB® president Tom Westcott.


"With all the recent changes, potential purchasers should be obtaining pre-approvals so they understand exactly what they can afford prior to making an offer on a home. It also provides them flexibility in this market."


Citywide benchmark prices totaled $434,300 in February, which is just above levels recovered last month, but comparable to levels recorded last year. While year-over-year price growth remained relatively stable in both the detached and attached markets, apartment prices remained three per cent below last year's levels. 

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Are you thinking of buying a new build home this year?  If so, give me a call...............I can help, and there's no charge to you!  403 803 6601


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Sales activity for all product types improved in December and pushed monthly sales to long-term averages for the second month in a row.

However, new listings also rose, keeping inventory elevated compared to typical levels for December. With more supply remaining compared to sales, benchmark prices edged down for the fifth consecutive month.  


"Many of the economic indicators continue to post modest improvements, including improving sales. However, demand gains have not outpaced the additional supply coming into the housing market.


This is creating some of the bumpiness in terms of price recovery," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie, who added that prices have stayed comparable to last year.


The gap between detached supply and demand closed in the first half of 2017 and supported early price growth. As prices improved, this was perceived as a signal for many who delayed selling their home, and caused a late rise in inventory that limited price growth. 


Overall, the detached benchmark price in 2017 averaged $504,867, 0.63 per cent above last year's levels.

Challenges continue to face the apartment sector, with elevated supply in the resale market. The new home and rental markets weighed on this sector. The excess supply caused average annual benchmark prices to decline by four per cent this year. This is a total annual adjustment of nearly 12 per cent since the start of the recession.  


In the attached sector, the first half of the year saw an improvement in sales relative to inventory levels. This supported stronger price gains in the second and third quarter. However, a late rise in inventory levels took some of the momentum away from price growth. On an annual basis, attached prices totaled $332,325, comparable to last year's levels.


"This year, we saw a rise in the number of consumers willing to purchase in the market with the expectation that the economy had already shifted. There were also many who waited to list their property until prices showed more stability," said CREB® president David P. Brown. 


"Those who acted were typically driven by long-term plans that best suit their current lifestyle. We are ending the year with stronger sales in the last quarter, but supply levels are holding back price gains. The year played out as expected with a transition from price declines to general price stability in most sectors of the market."  

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Are you struggling to come up with the down payment for your first home?  You may have the funds available without even realizing it!  Read on.............


For regular RRSPs, the basic rule is simple: If you make a withdrawal from your RRSP, those funds are included in your income for the year that the withdrawal is made. The plan administrator will deduct the income tax from the funds being advanced and will remit the tax to Canada Revenue Agency on your behalf.


However, the RRSP HBP is a key exception to the basic rule on how RRSPs are treated. Under this plan, an individual can withdraw an amount not exceeding $25,000 from his or her own RRSP and use it towards the purchase of a home (but not an investment property), on a tax-free basis.


For those in a marriage or common-law partnership, each spouse can withdraw up to $25,000 from their respective plans tax-free, bringing the total to a maximum of $50,000 in tax-free funds that can be applied towards the purchase of a home.


There are certain conditions and limitations regarding the withdrawal of funds for this purpose. Essentially the withdrawal is an interest-free loan from your RRSP to yourself. You must repay the total amount withdrawn within 15 years, in annual installments. The first installment/payment is due starting in the second taxation year following the date of the withdrawal.


If you do not pay the annual installment in any year, then the installment amount will be included in your taxable income for that year.


Note that certain stipulations apply: Under the HBP the exception to the basic rule is available only if one or both spouses did not own an owner-occupied home during the period beginning in the fourth year before the withdrawal is made, and ending 31 days before the withdrawal.


Here’s an example of this time restriction:


  • You are the buyer who needs funds for closing on May 31, 2017.
  • Neither you, nor your spouse or common-law partner have owned an owner-occupied property from Jan. 1, 2013 to April 30, 2017.
  • If you close your transaction during the 30 days prior to May 31, 2017 you are still permitted to make a withdrawal for this purpose from your RRSP.

If you want to take advantage of the HBP, you must complete the necessary paperwork and provide it to the institution that holds your RRSP. The form sets out the property address, confirms you will be occupying the property as your residence within one year of the purchase and confirms that you entered into a firm and binding Agreement of Purchase and Sale respecting the property.


If you plan to implement this RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan, I recommend that you speak to your RRSP plan administrator before starting on your home-buying journey.

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Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS ® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.