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Calgary Resale House Price Model April 22, 2009

Posted by DustinRJay in Calgary real estate, short term real estate trends, Uncategorized.
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The following graphs illustrate the historical relationship between absorption rate and house price changes in Calgary.  As the absorption rate decreases, demand exceeds supply, and house prices rise.  When the absorption rate is high, supply exceeds demand and house prices fall.  While I do not believe this metric is useful for determining long term price point, I do think it is useful for determing the near term price trends.

Calgary Absorption Rate Correlation

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Calgary Resale House Price Model

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Recent history indicates that an annual absorption rate of 4 would be a market that is roughly balanced.  In 2008, Calgary had record amounts of resale inventory and these inventory levels have dropped in 2009.  Also, sales dropped dramatically following the credit spread crisis, but have since improved on a seasonally adjusted basis.   If the current inventory glut continues to decline at it’s current annual rate, and sales stay flat seasonally adjusted, it is possible that the Calgary housing market will bottom in December 2009 after falling further in autumn.  I think there are upside risks and downside risks to this forecast.  I believe it is prudent for all market participants to err on the side of caution both when formulating business plans and household budgeting.  It’s probably also worth noting that house prices are likely to increase by only in the zero to very small single digits for a number of years after bottoming, so there is no rush even if you are trying to time the bottom.

Data:  Bob Truman – First Place Realty

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Worth A Read – TD Report on “Demand-Driven” Alberta Overhang April 7, 2009

Posted by DustinRJay in Uncategorized.
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This report is from TD economics.  Below is an excerpt specific to Alberta, with a link to the full report at the end of the post:

“Wild Rose country was overbuilt substantially during its boom years, and mounting inventories in Calgary and Edmonton are cause for concern. Indeed, even over 1991 to 2001, housing starts in Alberta had already overshot household formation by 12%. With oil prices having subsided from their fever pitch and expansion projects now on hold, the net inflow of migrants has slowed dramatically and may even cease completely during 2009. The previous pace of homebuilding could not be sustained and slowed precipitously during the fall. Alberta’s starts further declined to 13,100 units in February, 61% lower than a year prior. With Alberta’s economy set to contract by 2.5% this year in real terms and roughly 10% in nominal terms, homebuilding has likely not yet bottomed. While around 30,000 new households will form in the province during 2009, starts are likely to be nearer 14,000 units on the year.

Even accounting for the population inflows, the province’s homebuilding overshot fundamentals by nearly 10% during the commodity boom. From 1991 to 2006, Alberta has approximately 72,000 more housing starts than new households, and the estimated 13% overshoot of fundamentals during 2002-2008 exhibits this excess. Now, plunging sales-to-new listings ratios and mounting unsold inventories clearly indicate that the present stock of homes is excessive. As of February, Calgary had an overhang of 1,133 unsold units (874 singles and 259 multiples) and a sales-to-new listings ratio of 0.29, indicative of a definitive buyer’s market, having now fallen to its lowest value in two decades. Similarly alarming is Edmonton’s surge in unsold inventories. As of December, Edmonton had 1,747 unsold units (1,254 singles and 493 multiples) its largest recorded overhang ever – and conditions for sellers in the resale market have deteriorated sharply. In both of Alberta’s major cities, homebuilders have worrisome unsold inventories of new singles, and, with demand having cooled rapidly, resale markets already appear saturated. 

The steep appreciation of house prices during Alberta’s boom times now appears to have been far too optimistic.  Although income growth was very strong, Albertan housing during 2007 and 2008 was especially overpriced relative to fundamentals. The quick climb of Albertan resale prices substantially eroded affordability and, even though Albertans were Canada’s highest income earners on average, the growth in household income was not sustainable.  The 9% year-over-year decline in Alberta’s average resale price in February is evidence that past prices exceeded fundamentals. Those inflated prices drove homebuilding in excess of fundamentals. Given Albertans’ deteriorating incomes and the overhangs of unsold inventories, Alberta’s resale prices probably have another 20% leg down over 2009.”

TD Economics Special Report – Overpriced and Overbuilt: Canadian housing market returns to fundamentals