Welcome back and seasons greeting.
For the sixth month in a row, sales in the Calgary market recorded a year-over-year gain. Sales growth over the past several months has been the strongest seen in the past five years, but the activity has not been strong enough to offset the pullbacks from the spring. Year-to-date sales remain over three per cent lower than last year's levels.
New listings continue to slow, reducing inventory in the market. On a year-to-date basis, new listings have eased by nearly ten per cent and are at the lowest level recorded since 2001. This has reduced the oversupply that has been impacting the market for nearly five years. The sales in the months past have surprised all, considering job losses and unemployment. My feeling is they are driven by bargain hunters and a general belief that prices are at the bottom. The further reduction of supply adds the slight gains in prices we've seen recently. As of November, the benchmark price was $423,600. This is nearly two per cent higher than last year's levels.
However, conditions vary depending on price range. There is not a lot of supply for affordable homes in each product type because of high demand. This is likely causing differing price trends in the lower end of the market versus the higher end.
November sales activity improved across every district, contributing to a year-over-year citywide increase of 26 per cent. Improving sales over the past six months have helped offset some of the pullbacks from earlier in the year, as year-to-date sales were only two per cent lower than last year's levels. However last year's levels were low compared to historic averages.
Like other sectors, inventory in the detached market has also eased due to the sharp decline in new listings. This has kept the months of supply below three months for the past three months. The tighter market conditions are supporting price gains. As of November, the detached benchmark price improved by nearly three per cent compared to last year for a total of $492,000. However, prices did not improve across all districts, as the City Centre continues to record prices that are one per cent lower than last year's levels.
Activity for this product type does vary significantly depending on location and price range. The pullback in new listings relative to sales has caused significant reductions in inventory for homes priced below $500,000. Higher price ranges have also seen some declining inventory, but the degree of decline has not been as significant. In fact, the market is exhibiting sellers' market conditions for homes priced below $500,000, while still favouring the buyer for homes priced above $700,000.
Year-over-year gains in sales were met with slower new listings, resulting in inventory reductions and a month of supply of three months. While conditions are not as tight in the semi-detached market as they are in the detached market, the reductions in supply relative to demand were enough to support further monthly gains in the benchmark price.
As of November, the benchmark price was $395,100, which is one per cent higher than last year's levels. Activity did vary depending on location, as price gains were the highest in the South East district, while prices remained just below last year's levels in the City Centre.
There have also been notable differences within this market depending on price range. The months of supply has declined significantly for product priced below $400,000. This decline is likely contributing to some of the differing price trends throughout the districts of the city. Newer Semi-Detached priced over $650,000 are still having significant difficulty in selling.
Year-over-year gains in the row sector continued in November and were enough to cause year-to-date sales to remain at levels similar to last year. Bucking the trend from other sectors, new listings rose compared to last year, easing some of the downward pressure on inventory levels. The months of supply stayed above four months, higher than levels seen in both the detached and semi-detached sectors, but a significant improvement from the nearly six months of supply recorded last November.
Row prices also showed signs of stabilizing, as November prices remained comparable to last year's levels. Despite some of the monthly gains, on a year-to-date basis, prices remain nearly two per cent lower than last year's levels and have eased across all districts except the City Centre, West and East.
Following seven months of year-over-year declines, apartment condo sales improved over last year's levels. However, last November was an exceptionally weak month for apartment sales. Year-to-date apartment sales totalled 2,209, a 13 per cent decline from last year and nearly 30 per cent lower than longer-term averages.
New listings did ease slightly this month, placing some downward pressure on inventory that was missing earlier in the year. However, inventory remains higher than last year's levels and the months of supply is still elevated at nearly eight months. The oversupply in this market continues to place downward pressure on prices, which not only eased relative to last month, but remain one per cent lower than last year's prices. The only district to see some positive momentum is the North, where prices rose slightly compared to last year.
The past few days and weeks have shown what appears to be the beginning of a general trend downward in both sales and new listings. It all points to a possible flat market during the holiday season and maybe pushing into late winter. It remains to be seen what the spring will see. There is confidence that house prices are good though supplies are down. If supply increases, so too should sales.
So as we go into holiday, it's all wait and see. To that end, buyers are generally still in the driver's seat especially for the houses priced 600K and over. Attached please find a statistical report on November's market, a regional monthly stats package, and a third quarter report.
I would like to wish all a happy holiday season.