Provincial sales eased in August compared to the previous year across all regions except Calgary and Lloydminster. However, slower sales were also met with a pullback in new listings, causing further year-over-year reductions in inventory levels and reductions in the amount of oversupply in the market.
“Demand for housing still remains slow across most markets. This does not come as a surprise, as many regions continue to struggle with persistent weakness in the job markets and concerns regarding the province’s economic prospects,” says Ann-Marie Lurie, AREA Chief Economist. “The current improvements in the housing market are mostly driven by supply adjustments.”
Easing new listings relative to sales is causing inventories to decline, helping push the market toward more balanced conditions. Province wide reductions in oversupply are primarily driven by Edmonton and Calgary. While these reductions are supporting more stability in prices this month, year-to-date average prices continue to ease, and have generally trended down throughout most of this year.
Calgary RegionUnlike most centres in the province, sales activity in the region improved this month compared to last year. However, unlike most areas, sales remain well below longer term trends and still reflects a weak sales environment.
Nonetheless, supply adjustment in the region has persisted throughout most of the year causing inventory declines and reductions in the amount of oversupply. Despite the easing of oversupply conditions, average prices remain over five per cent below last year’s levels. This is likely partially related to distribution shifts caused by the growth in sales being limited to the lower price product in the market.
Edmonton RegionFollowing several months of year-over-year gains, August sales eased in the region, keeping year-to-date sales just below typical levels of activity. While resale demand remains slightly lower than long term trends, the number of new listings continue to ease, causing inventories to ease and supporting some adjustments in the amount of excess supply in the market.
While this market continues to favour the buyer, reductions in inventory are helping reduce the amount of downward pressure on prices. Overall average prices remain nearly three per cent below last years levels.
Fort McMurraySales in the region continued to ease in August, contributing to the year-to-date decline in sales of nearly six per cent. Activity remains well below levels recorded prior to shifts in the oil sector, and supply has not adjusted fast enough to cause any significant shift away from buyer’s market conditions.
While some signs of improvement were present last year in the market, continued struggles in the energy sector are likely weighing on the market this year. Year-to-date prices have eased by just over four per cent to $377,379, well below pre-recession levels that had prices pushing above $620,000.
Grande PrairieAugust sales eased in the region from the exceptionally strong levels recorded last year. Overall year-to-date sales remain consistent with long term trends. Recent challenges in the area have been driven by supply gains.
Rising supply relative to sales has caused the months of inventory to increase from six months last August to nearly nine months this August. The additional supply in the market has not yet impacted overall prices which on a year-to-date basis remain comparable to last years levels.
LethbridgeDespite the year-over-year decline in August sales, year-to-date sales remain comparable to last years levels and consistent with longer term trends. While resale demand has remained relatively stable, the region continues to struggle with supply growth.
Gains in new listings relative to sales have caused August inventories to push above 1,800 units, something which has not happened in August since 2011. The supply growth compared to sales has pushed up the months of supply in August, but it has not been persistent enough to have any significant impact on prices. Overall average prices have remained nearly five per cent above last years levels.
LloydminsterImproving sales in August contributed to the year-to-date growth recorded in the region. While sales have been improving, they remain below longer-term trends. This market is also showing some signs of supply adjustments as new listings eased. However, it was not enough to create any significant shift in inventory levels.
The months of supply remains elevated, averaging just under 15 months so far this year, an improvement from nearly 16 months recorded over the same time frame last year. Elevated supply compared to demand has continued to place downward pressure on prices in the area. On a year-to-date basis, the average price was over five per cent below last years levels.
Medicine HatMonth-to-month there has been significant variation in sales activity. However, overall sales have generally trended down compared to last year. Year-to-date sales have eased by over four per cent, and sales remain around 11 per cent below the ten-year average.
At the same time new listings have been on the rise causing inventory gains and the months of supply to rise. While the recent rise in choice has had some impact on August price movements, year-to-date prices have remained comparable to last years levels.
Central AlbertaSales activity continue to slow in August causing year-to-date sales to fall by over ten per cent. The easing sales come at a time when the region is struggling with further full-time job losses and elevated unemployment rates.
At the same time new listings are also easing at a faster pace helping support a reduction in the inventory in the market. However, the level of sales relative to inventories has kept the months of inventory ratio elevated at over 12 months. The excess supply has contributed to the downward price pressure.
Alberta WestThe pullback in August sales was not enough to derail previous gains as year-to-date sales remain comparable to last year’s levels and long-term trends. At the same time, the number of new listings and inventories have edged up slightly causing the months of supply to rise and slowing the rate of price growth in the region. However, this region is economically diverse, and it is likely that trends vary significantly throughout the region.
South Central AlbertaDespite some recent pullbacks, year-to-date the region continues to see modest improvements in sales. However, the more significant changes have occurred in the supply, where new listings have eased significantly causing inventories to decline. While the months of inventory remains elevated it has generally trended down from last years levels keeping year-to-date prices relatively stable.
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