May 01, 2015 | CREBNow
New listings decline as home prices easeImproved sales to new listings ratio reduces inventory gains
After the fifth consecutive monthly benchmark price decline in Calgary, the number of new home listings eased to 3,064 units in April, an 18 per cent decrease over the previous year.
"With fewer buyers making purchase decisions and improved selection for resale, new home and rental property, sellers have been either adjusting their expectations on price or delaying their plans about when to list their home," said CREB® president Corinne Lyall. Sales activity in April totaled 1,957 units, 22 per cent below last year's levels and nearly 15 per cent below April's long term averages. Despite weak sales levels, the drop in new listings prevented strong gains in overall inventory levels and helped improve absorption rates in the market.
"While conditions continue to favour the buyer, both the months of supply and the sales to new listings ratio, which represent measures of market balance, tightened in April," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. "If this trend continues, it should help prevent resale inventories from rising to previous highs and limit some of the downward price pressures we've been seeing."
Benchmark prices for detached homes totaled $510,200 in April, which represents an unadjusted decline of 0.7 per cent from last month and 1.9 per cent higher than April 2014 figures. Meanwhile, apartment product recorded a monthly decline of 0.7 and a year-over year decline of 0.2 per cent
Year-to-date apartment sales activity has declined by 33 per cent, while new listings have risen by nearly eight per cent. Despite the recent shift in new listings, months of supply in this sector remain elevated, causing steeper monthly price declines and a year-over-year price contraction.
"There's improved selection across all segments of the market, which takes some of the urgency away for buyers as they consider all of their options before making a purchase decision," said Lyall. "Sellers have more competition and need to be aware of how much product is available in comparable neighborhoods."
The detached sector continues to be the most balanced out of the three market sectors. For the second month in a row, the sales to new listings ratio and the months of inventory moved to levels that are more consistent with balanced conditions. However, the detached market does vary significantly depending on the price range.
"Higher priced properties in the detached sector saw a noticeable decline in absorption levels city-wide, indicating there is less demand relative to supply levels," said Lurie. "This does not come as a surprise as many of the job losses in recent months have occurred in the higher paying sectors."
Meanwhile, areas outside city limits are also impacted by the slower economic conditions. Year-to-date sales activity in the surrounding areas totaled 1,346 units, a 26 per cent decline. Despite positive growth following the first quarter, April benchmark prices totaled $434,800, 0.4 per cent below last month's figures and 5.8 per cent above April 2014 figures.
"Market impacts on pricing are wide ranging and ultimately depend on the location, property type, specific features and amount of comparable supply available," said Lyall. Both buyers and sellers need to be aware of the local market conditions and adjust their expectations accordingly