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Blog by Brent Bezugley

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January sales and prices rise over previous year

Calgary, February 1, 2013 - Residential real estate sales in the city of Calgary started the year on a positive note, increasing by 15 per cent over the same month in 2012.

Total sales were 1,230 units, a significant increase over the 1,068 units last year.  But sales remain well below January levels recorded though the peak years of 2003 - 2008.

"While activity is typically slower in the winter months, recent improvements in single family new listings helped support improved sales in that market," said CREB President Becky Walters.  "Overall indicators put the market in balanced conditions."

Single family sales totaled 879 units in January, a 15 per cent increase over January 2012 levels.  New listings remained just above levels recorded at the same time in 2012, for a total of 1,737.  The slight improvement in listings helped support sales growth, although inventory levels remain down by double digits.

"Inventory levels have improved relative to December, as is the seasonal trend," said Walters.

The lower level of inventories can pose a challenge for buyers, as they will have to make their buying decision quicker than buyers have done over the past four years.

"However, this is by no means a signal that the seller has the advantage," said Walters.  "Conscumers are fairly price-sensitive and look for alue in their purchase."

Unadjusted single family benchmark prices are showing improvement over January 2012, increasing by nine per cent.  They are relatively unchanged over figures reported in December 2012.

"Prices have improved in the Calgary market, but as always it is importnat to keep some perspective on this," said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB Chief Economist.  "While January's year-over-year incrasee seems significant, price recovery occurred in the spring months of 2012 under tighter market conditions and home prices leveled off for the remainder of the year."

Apartment and townhouse condiminiums recorded respective sales of 204 and 147 units in January 2013.  Although sales increased, the number of new listings declined.

"With excess supply relative to demand persisting for several years, the condominium apartment market has been slow to recover," said Lurie.  "Sales growth amidst declining listings has supported recent improvements in condominium apartment prices, something that has already been occurring in the single family sector."

The unadjusted benchmark apartment price totaled $251,300 in January, a 7.5 per cent incrase over the 2012, and a one per cent increase over December figures.

Meanwhile, the conominium townhouse benchmark price was $283,400 in January, 4.9 per cent higher than January 2012, and slightly lower than levels recorded in December.

"There is cautious optimism over the economic situation in Calgary," said Lurie.

While energy companies face market access challenges, several options are being considered to reach more diverse markets, she said.

"If some of these options are econominally viable and pass regulatory approval, this would support economic growth moving forward."