Buyers trying to beat the bank help boost Calgary's housing market to end 2017 - 660 NEWS
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Buyers trying to beat the bank help boost Calgary's housing market to end 2017

(Pixabay)

Buyers trying to get ahead of new mortgage rules that came into effect on New Year’s Day helped boost home sales in Calgary.

CREB reported higher sales for all types of homes in December — a month that’s typically slow for the market.

“Obviously our economy is better than it was last year, over the past two years, and further to that, there’s a lot of discussion over the changes to the lending rates coming so that could have pulled forward some of the sales activity,” said chief economist Anne-Marie Lurie.

The incoming Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions mortgage stress test went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. It requires mortgage applicants to meet stricter criteria when seeking new financing.

New listings were up, making supply higher than it usually is for December. With more supply compared to sales, benchmark prices dropped down for the fifth month in a row. Overall, the detached benchmark price for 2017 was an average of about $504,867, which is less than one per cent above last year’s levels.

Lurie said the apartment sector is still lagging behind and facing challenges because of excess supply, which translates to cheaper prices for Calgarians paying monthly rent. The average annual benchmark price dropped four per cent.

“There’s been increases in demand, so improving sales activity, but at the same time, it hasn’t been fast enough to keep pace with that level of listing in the market. And this has really influenced the pricing,” she said.

As for what’s ahead in 2018, CREB is keeping quiet on that until it releases its forecast for the year in just a few weeks.