Five questions with Calgary Real Estate Board’s Ann-Marie Lurie

CREB chief economist says unemployment levels and job growth in non-traditional sectors have weighed on the housing market’s recovery

Ann-Marie Lurie is the Calgary Real Estate Board‘s chief economist. She spoke with Calgary’s Business about the local residential real estate market.

Calgary’s Business: How would you characterize the current resale housing market in the city?

Lurie: It’s early in the year but the level of sales compared to inventory continues to remain slightly elevated, preventing any significant improvements in prices.

CB: What are the key economic factors affecting the market?


Lurie: Unemployment levels remain elevated and the job growth that has occurred has not been in our traditional sectors. This is weighing on the housing market recovery. We have also had additional challenges caused by higher lending rates and mortgage rule changes impacting housing demand.

CB: What’s your forecast for this year when it comes to sales and prices?

Lurie: We have not revised our forecast numbers from the forecast conference.  Overall, the expectation was no significant changes over last year, but the adjustments would be bumpy as the market adjusts to a new reality. Citywide sales of 18,853 and prices -0.13 per cent (year-over-year).

CB: Where do you think consumer confidence is at these days for purchasing a home?

Lurie: The changes to the lending market have caused consumers to pause and assess what’s in their best interest.

CB: Can you give me a sense of where sales and prices compare from a historical long-term perspective?

Lurie: Sales are well below long-term averages. Unadjusted prices have not yet recovered. The spread between the high ranges from over 15 per cent in the apartment sector to around four per cent in the detached sector. January and February sales are 21 per cent below the 10-year average. Citywide, including all product types, year-to-date benchmark prices are six per cent below previous year-to-date highs.

— Mario Toneguzzi

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