Alberta Real Estate Market Update: December 2020
January 19, 2021
Despite significant setbacks to the spring markets, sales in Alberta’s major centres came back strong, finishing the year only a hair’s breadth behind 2019.
In Calgary and Edmonton, December sales were more than 30% higher than in December 2019, indicating that buyer demand remains strong. However, sales in both markets are slowing relative to the strong paces set in the summer and fall, which is to be expected for the time of year.
In both markets, new listings are down more than 30%, which continues to chip away at overall inventory levels and contributes to more balanced market conditions. Though average prices haven’t moved much on a year-over-year or month-over-month basis, if the trends we’re seeing continue, we could see home values climbing in the coming months.
The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®) reports1 that the city is seeing more balanced conditions, with 1,199 residential sales in December for a year-over-year increase of 40% and the highest December sales since 2007. A total of 16,152 homes were sold in 2020, representing only a 1% dip from 2019’s total.
“Housing demand over the second-half of 2020 was far stronger than anticipated and nearly offset the initial impact caused by the shutdowns in spring,” says CREB® Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “Even with the further restrictions imposed in December, it did not have the same negative impact on housing activity like we saw in the earlier part of the year.”
New listings are up 11% year over year and down 32% month over month at 1,172, with a sales-to-new-listings ratio of 102%. Because sales are occurring slightly faster than new listings are being added to the market, inventory levels have dropped year over year from over five months to three months, while almost half a month’s inventory has been shaved off since November 2020.
Lower inventory levels are creating more balanced market conditions than Calgary has seen in over five years. The average price for all residential homes remains fairly stable at $448,450, decreasing just 0.3% year over year and 2% month over month.
However, trends differ considerably across home types. Sales for detached homes rose 43% year over year and dropped 19% month over month for a total of 717. The average price is $532,390, up 1% year over year and down 1% month over month. In most regions within the city, high demand in this category is creating seller’s market conditions.
Sales of semi-detached homes totalled 128, representing a 39% year-over-year increase and a 16% month-over-month decrease. While the average price is down 5% from December 2019 and down 2% from November at $453,000, reductions in inventory in this category may start to have a more visible impact on prices the farther we get from the spring pullback.
Sales of rowhouses totalled 169, growing by 33% year over year and declining by 12% month over month. The average price is $311,100, up 6% from December 2019 and down half a percent from November 2020.
December sales of apartment condos were the best since 2014 at 185, 38% above December 2019 and 12% below November 2020. Nevertheless, annual sales in this category are the slowest since 2001, and the market remains oversupplied. As a result, the average price is down 14% year over year, though this month’s sales activity has moved it up 4% since November to $245,449.
The Greater Edmonton Area (GEA) continues to see sales numbers supporting steady year-over-year price gains.
The REALTORS® Association of Edmonton (RAE) reports2 that there were 1,107 residential sales in the GEA, representing a 31% year-over-year increase and a 21% month-over-month decrease.3 Total residential sales for 2020 were 3% higher than in 2019, coming in at 17,036.
“The Edmonton market in December saw an increase in year-over-year unit sales, compared to a decrease in month-to-month sales,” explains RAE Chair Tom Shearer. “There have also been more sales of single-family homes, condos and duplexes compared to December of last year, while we’ve seen decreasing month over month sales in all markets, which is typical for this time of year.”
New listings for all home types numbered 1,291 – just two listings shy of last December’s total, but dropping a considerable 30% from November 2020. With fewer listings hitting the market, the sales-to-new-listings ratio is at 86%, climbing up from 65% in December 2019 and from 75% in November. Overall inventory fell 17% year over year and 19% month over month to 5,005 available listings. Despite the decreasing inventory, average days on market edged up from 54 in November to 58, while still being 11 days below the average in December 2019.
In December, detached homes sold in an average of 53 days for an average price of $428,900 (up 4% year over year and down 2% month over month), condos averaged 62 days on market at $217,843 (down 4% year over year and 6% month over month), while duplexes averaged 57 days on market at $331,034 (up 2% year over year and down 2% month over month). The average selling price for all residential homes is $362,447, rising 3% compared to December 2019 and falling 4% from November 2020.
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