Friday, January 6, 2023 / by Viktor Boraczuk
It’s Calgary 2023 Outlook Time!
In my first market update of the year I’ll be discussing what you can expect to see in Greater Calgary real estate market in 2023. As I have mentioned before, the month of December is not an important month for real estate- related data – it’s always a month where the market is in a state of slowdown & re-set. If, nonetheless, you just wanted to know what happened last month – and looked closely – you’d see the total homes on the market dropped from about 3,100 to start the month, all the way down in the region to about 2,200 (a new record low for that time of year). Meaning there’s not a lot out there to buy.
You’d also see the number of new properties coming to market hit a yearly low –just over 1,000 homes came to market. That’s nothing new, it’s just what happens every year.
And with that, you’ll also see it was our slowest sales month of the year. In December we recorded just over 1,200 sales – the same as we did in 2020, 2013 and 2007 (all ranked as the 2nd best-selling Decembers in our history, only outshone by last year’s crazy ‘unicorn’ month). So, all being said, our sales month was in good company.
But none o f these December 2022 statistics matter to the 2023outlook. What matters is how we are positioned as a region going into the new year, and our new phase of the annual real estate cycle. January is generally a wake up, or hangover month following December. Buyers start to slowly perk up and start looking again, online searches for housing start to increase, sellers start to put their homes back on the market if they’d taken them off for the holidays, and sellers that consciously chose to wait for the new year to list will do so as the month unfolds.
So, the question is not what we should expect right now – it’s what we should be expecting this year.
For this, we need to look outside the regional data and take into account the ‘macro’ world-wide stuff...
It’s no secret our region is still highly linked to the ups & downs of the world-wide oil markets. And, as a result, we benefited as the Brent Crude & WTI Prices climbed while the world was bustling these last couple of years.We are starting the year with a price right around $80 a barrel. And, looking at predictions for the year, we are largely expected to remain near this figure, boding well for our largest employment sector & overall employment health. And, speaking of that, Alberta is still sitting at an Unemployment Rate of just 5.8%, which is a fair bit lower than our long-term average of 6.55% and down nearly 2 full points from this time last year.
Now, let’s talk about the big elephant in the room driving all markets around the world – our Inflation & Consumer Price Index.So, the silver lining of the 7 interest rate changes in 2022 is that we are starting to see inflation drop nationwide. We peaked in around June 2022 at just above 8 points, and we now sit just above 6. And, further to this, you can see here the economic forecast for inflation throughout the balance of 2023. If things go as planned, we will be – by the end of the year – down around 3%, and then moving into the 2’s in 2024. Now, I need to pause and once again get a jab in here at the policy makers on behalf of those of us in Alberta...
Do you know what makes up the CPI index in Canada, anyways?!
Here it is: Shelter accounts for 30% of the total index weight, then Transportation at 17%, Food at 16%, then Household Operations, Furnishings & Equipment at 15% and then lower it goes with things like recreation, education, health & personal care, alcohol & tobacco, etc. So, with Shelter – or, in other words, Housing – making up 30% of the index, you can see why the federal government got completely spooked by the housing prices in the Greater Toronto & Greater Vancouver markets and made the decision to drive rates up off the ground floor.
But Alberta is a different case. Our housing market did not over the last 7-8 years drive upwards in any meaningful way, and so our Alberta-based inflation (or CPI Index) was not an issue regionally. And yet we had no choice but to get punished by the ludicrously speculative markets in other parts of our country. I wanted to share this because most people don’t really understand the intricacies of inflation and how it works. This may also help paint the picture of why Alberta continues to be the shining light of Canada and a stable place for people & profits to come. It’s surely about housing affordability as well as economic opportunity, as we’ve discussed, but it’s also more than that...
This brings me to another amazing article put out by The Economist this past year. Where they rank Calgary atop of their list of best places to live in North America. This study doesn’t focus on housing prices as a major indicator – it takes into account everything from culture, environment, crime, infrastructure, health care, education, how we handled the pandemic, lifestyle options and much more.
So, this brings me to my final summarizing points in this update – let’s talk about our real estate market for the coming year.
We’ve now concluded that:
Interest rates will be held to near where they are now for the balance of 2023 to ensure the overall Canadian inflation rate comes down to the numbers the feds are hoping for.
Oil prices are predicted to remain close to where they currently are, or just slightly below due to the world-wide recession causing lower demand.
Calgary is being seen globally as a go-to destination for lifestyle, people and profits.
And, if you remember from the very beginning of this update, I shared our position at the end of the year from December’s housing data: the year’s lowest number of homes on the market and continued buyer demand resulting in an equalling of the 2nd best December month in our city’s history.
It should be no surprise that the forecast for this year is an increase in our property values once again.
A recent storey on Global News predicts a rise of 7% for Calgary’s housing prices. Linked HERE
Or in this REMAX Housing Market Outlook stating we will be in a seller’s market for the year, growing our average sale price by nearly $50,000. Personally, I can’t see a case where this forecast could be wrong... unless they simply projected too low out of caution for this narrative being awkwardly received against the backdrop of the rest of the world’s challenges.
So, as I said last month, for those of us in Greater Calgary real estate is by far the safest place to be right now. And if you need to, or want to, buy, do it with confidence knowing that now is the cheapest time to do so ever again in our housing market. The sky is not falling, nothing is dropping, and the demand wave continues to push in a controlled, economically and fundamentally sound way.
So, that’s it for this month. If you are in need of some help with your specific real estate situation, just email us at Viktor@CalgaryHG.com or call at 403-809-2903 .
Viktor Boraczuk - REAL Broker