MLS sales in May almost double those in April

Monday, June 8, 2020   /   by Sergey Korostensky

MLS sales in May almost double those in April

After recording a year-over-year decline of 63 percent in April, sales in Calgary’s resale housing market rebounded in May to almost twice the number of sales in the previous month.

Sales last month were 1,080 homes, compared to 573 in April, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB).

Despite the month-over-month increase, sales in May came in at 44 percent below sales in May last year, as the lockdown continued in the city through most of the month.

“The initial shock of COVID-19 and social distancing measures is starting to ease. This is bringing some buyers and sellers back to the market,” says CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

The increase in activity is in line with data released last week by Point2Homes, an online real estate portal, which showed home searches on the website from across Canada increased 117 percent on May 18, from March 23, when the fewest searches were made.

A survey conducted of visitors to the platform found 37 percent were looking for a more inexpensive home than originally planned, which is happening in Calgary, says Lurie.

“Sales activity has shifted toward more affordable product, which is likely causing differing trends depending on product type and price range,” she says. “Sales are down in all price ranges, but a greater share of sales are priced below $500,000.”

Numbers released by CREB show 73 percent of sales in May were below $500,000, compared to 67 percent in May 2019.

“Benchmark pricing, which reflects comparisons of the same type of home, has eased by over two percent compared to last year and 0.4 percent compared to last month,” says Lurie. “This does not come as a surprise as the market continues to struggle with more supply than demand.”

Despite new listings (2,418) and city-wide inventory (5,813) last month being down significantly from May last year (3,417 and 7,487 respectively), months of supply increased year over year from four months to close to five-and-a-half.

Calgary’s luxury home market saw just 29 sales in May, compared to 79 sales in May 2019.

“Significant job loss throughout the typically higher-paid professional and technical services sector points to a longer adjustment period in the housing market, particularly in the higher end of the market,” says Lurie.

The worst may be over, says Sarah Scott, a realtor with the CIR Realty Alberta Real Estate Team.

“I think all in all we have weathered the storm better than anticipated. I see the lower-priced inventory being looked at better than other markets, although I do have a couple of interested buyers that still have opportunity in the upper markets as well, and had a sale in the luxury market that surprised me at the beginning of May.”