Calgary market not doomed on lower oil

by Jamie Henry28 Nov 2014
A $6 slip in oil prices on Thursday took the wind out of agents’ sails following an RBC Economic Research study that suggested a strong Calgary housing market, as home prices actually hit record levels for the quarter.
“A strong economy and rapid population growth continue to trump any possible worries that Alberta’s energy boom might turn into a bust in the near future,” the bank wrote in its report. “Another supporting factor for the provincial market remains attractive affordability, despite some deterioration lately.”
Indeed, home prices in the city are rising, though they are nowhere near those in Canada’s other major centres. During the third quarter, the average price of a standard two-storey home in Calgary rose to $499,800, up 2.1 per cent from the previous quarter and 9.2 per cent year over year.
Comparatively, average prices for the same property type rose to $896,400 in Vancouver. In Toronto, the average price for a two-storey home slipped to $709,400.
“The boom continues in the Calgary-area market with home re-sales setting back-to-back quarterly record highs in the past two quarters,” the report continued. “While homebuyer demand has been strong and rising for some time in the area, the latest leg-up in activity may be attributed to a sharp increase in new listings, which eased some of the supply constraints that buyers faced earlier.”
That demand, economists believe, is fueled by strong and rising household incomes, jobs growth and continued benefits from the oil and gas sector.
“As a share of household income, homeownership costs are still fairly low in Alberta—both compared to long-term and national averages,” RBC said in its report. “In the third quarter, RBC’s measures climbed modestly … for both bungalows and two-storey homes. The measure for condos eased … [to] the lowest level among the provinces.”

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