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City set to break real-estate record
Calgary's resale housing market -- buoyed by the country's hottest economy -- is on pace to smash the sales record established just four years ago.
For the first six months of this year, the Calgary Real Estate Board reports 11,487 homes have changed hands, compared with 10,985 for the same period in 1997 when a 12-month record of 21,559 sales was established.
As well, the number of transactions from January to June is nine per cent ahead of the same time period a year ago.
"They are on pace to break that record. I don't think it's a matter of if, but of how much," said Richard Corriveau, senior housing market analyst for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
Ron Esch, the real estate board's executive vice-president, was more subdued.
"It's probably likely we'll beat it, but who knows for sure. There are still six months to go and a lot could change between now and the end of the year," said Esch.
Corriveau said consumers are "extremely confident" based on the continuing strength of the oil and gas market.
An economic report from the TD Bank Thursday said Alberta's economy will grow by 4.2 per cent in 2001, almost twice the national average.
"What's also interesting about this market compared to the one in 1997 is that in-migration and job creation were both stronger then -- and despite the lower numbers now, we're seeing higher sales."
"That says a lot about the confidence factor," said Corriveau.
Ron Morrow, who sells for Re/Max First, also sees a new record as a strong possibility. "I have a feeling in my bones that, because of what's happening with our economy, we'll beat the old record."
Ted Zaharko, broker/owner of Royal LePage Foothills, said the industry should be selling more homes now than in 1997.
"We've got a bigger base to work from. There are probably 10 per cent more homes and 10 per cent more people in Calgary than there were then. Any record, and yes I think we'll set a new one, is a reflection of those increases," he said.
While the market is buoyant, and will continue to be strong, Esch added that the industry is moving into a historical slower time of the year at a time when gas prices are slipping back.
"I don't want to go out on a limb and say we'll set a record. Gas prices have dropped and we know how much psychology can affect consumers and, in turn, what that can mean to the marketplace," Zaharko said.
For June, sales totalled 2,138, almost 10 per cent higher than the same month a year ago. The average price for the first half of this year reached $181,665, compared with $142,195 in 1997. As well, this year's average is 2.7 per cent ahead of a year ago.
In June, the average price of a single-detached home was $195,502 and $138,846 for condominiums
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