Looking back and moving ahead

The dust has settled on 2011 and all eyes are now looking forward to what may be the end of the world on December 21… if the Mayans are right. Okay, most likely not, so let’s just look at what is to come in real estate in the year ahead.

I will start with a few interesting points from the statistics for 2011.

– The average single-family home price in January 2011 was $453,845. In December, it was $453,629, a difference of only $216! So although there were fluctuations throughout the year (a high point of $488,735 in May), not much was gained overall.

-That peak average price in May is only 3.5% off the highest average price Calgary has ever seen, back in July 2007, though by the end of December we were back down to 10% off the 2007 peak price.

– The single-family average price for the entire year was $466,402, which is just 1% above the average for 2010. The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) forecast was for a 4% increase so we underachieved. See below for 2012’s forecast.

– Condo prices also rose by 1% overall compared with 2010, but the forecast for those prices was only 2% growth, so they were pretty close.

– The average days on market to sell a condo started creeping up through the fall months and ended the year at 65. The highest the number for single-family homes reached was 58 in December. Keep in mind this does not include listings that expired or were terminated and then relisted, so the real figure would be slightly higher.

– The condo average price got to within 4.5% of the highest price in 2007, but also finished the year 10% below the peak.

Last week I attended the Calgary Real Estate Board’s annual forecast and will share some highlights from their predictions. One positive piece of news is that we now have a full-time economist working for CREB. She will be updating the forecast throughout the year as she sees fit and is available as a resource. I had an opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with her to gain futher insight and will keep you abreast of any changes.

– Calgary’s gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to grow by 3.61%, the highest number in three years.

– Net migration to Calgary is forecast at 20,333, down slightly from 2011 but up significantly from 2010’s 11,055.

– Employment growth in Calgary is forecast at 2.8%, also down slightly from 2011 but way up from -1.25% in 2010.

– The number of single-family and condo sales in Calgary are forecast to rise, by 12% and 6%, respectively.

– Prices are also forecast to rise for 2012 overall, by 2% for single-family and 1.7% for condos. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if we saw larger rises this spring followed by some slow months in the summer and late in the year. Activity has already started to pick up – I’ve been in competing offers twice already this year!

If you are interested in the full 30-page forecast booklet, please send me an email at Amie@RiverLifeRealEstate.com. I’d be happy to forward it to you.

With continued low interest rates and stable prices, this spring might be the right time for you to make a move. Please contact me anytime to discuss your real estate goals for 2012.