2014 in Review

Last year was a bustling, fast-paced year for the Calgary real estate market. We saw many of the same conditions that were present in 2013 – low inventory levels and high demand that resulted in rising prices, lots of competing offers, low days on market to sell a property and a real sense of urgency when buying.

There were 17,185 single-family sales in 2014, the highest number we have seen since the boom of 2007, when there were more than 18,000 sales.

The average days on market (DOM) was as low as 25 in April and hovered through the high 20s and low 30s for most of the year. This number may seem high to some of you who sold on the first or second day on the market (or bought a home the first day it was listed) this year, but keep in mind this includes all price ranges in the city… multi-million-dollar homes typically take longer to sell. This number also includes the time that the house is conditionally sold, so that even a listing with competing offers on the first day will often end up with 7-10 DOM before it becomes a firm sale.

The benchmark single-family price climbed every single month to its peak of $513,500 in October before pulling back slightly to $510,900 in December.

The median single-family price was just 2.2% higher last month than it was in December 2013. However, the benchmark price, which takes in to account the characteristics of the property selling, was 8.2% higher year over year. The average price for all of 2014 was 6.9% higher than 2013.

The condo market also saw a busy year. Some condo buyers simply cannot afford a single-family house in the areas in which they want to live; others like the convenient, low-maintenance lifestyle and smaller spaces. Regardless of motivation, in 2014 we had 4,742 apartment-style condo sales and 3,737 townhome-style condo sales, the highest numbers our city has ever seen.

The condo DOM was higher than single-family, ranging from the low 30s to the mid-40s. This can be partially attributed to the time it takes to obtain and review all of the condominium documents.

The benchmark apartment-style price climbed for the first half of the year and then basically plateaued for the last six months. Overall, it rose by 7.8% year over year. The total average price for the year was quite similar at 8.2% higher than 2013’s average price. Townhome-style price gains followed a similar pattern.

Much speculation has been made about what is in store for real estate in 2015. I am attending the Calgary Real Estate Board annual forecast next week and will post again with their predictions at that time.

In the meantime, I thought this Globe and Mail article was a good read. Sometimes it’s just a matter of adjusting our expectations and remembering that, for owner-users, a house is about more than dollars and cents. It’s somewhere to call home. And you want to choose carefully so that you could ride out any drop in the market comfortably and patiently in a home you love.