Winter has finally FINALLY come to a close (knock on wood) and summer is well on its way (knock again). As Calgary changes with the seasons the housing market throughout the city typically changes too. As (Jared) Nolan Moore, a Canadian Residential Appraiser, tells us in a recent article we usually expect to see greater listings and sales in the spring, which level off in the summer, stabilize in the fall, and drop back down through the winter. But 2019 isn’t following the trend.

The market is slow and monthly sales averages are lower than they have been in 9 years. And yet, listings are up 8%. What’s going on? Moore tells us that the industry consensus seems to point to three major causes:

  1. People aren’t in the mood to buy. We just came out of a long hard winter. Think back six weeks and you’ll probably remember we were still wearing winter boots and shovelling snow off of cars, driveways, sidewalks, and small children. It’s hard to imagine the glory of moving into your next home when you showed up to an open house in the middle of a miserable blustery day.
  2. The new mortgage rules are putting a cramp in everyone’s style. The number one complaint Moore hears these days is, “these new rules are killing me!” Moore has mixed feelings on this issue. Although the new rules “help to reduce consumer debt and reduce risk by insurance holders,” it has also slowed down most of the market. Properties in the $400K-$1M market are having a hard time seeing movement while “the estate market seems to be its own stratosphere and selling well.” However, properties under $400K are selling normally.
  3. The Trans Mountain Pipeline. This topic seems to have put a bee in everyone’s bonnet, no matter where they stand. Despite the recent unexpected rise in oil prices we haven’t seen corresponding economic growth in Alberta, particularly in Calgary. Moore says the uncertainty has lead people to hold off on buying or selling new properties.

So now what? Moore says he’s told several people that, “I don’t have a crystal ball, but if I did, I would hold on to my seat.” He foresees a decrease in properties for sale but that prices will stay the same over the next 1 to 2 years. “Real estate investment will need to be very meticulous.” Whether you are trying to buy or to sell, an appraiser can give you a good indication about the value of a property and help you to decide how best to improve its value. For example, Moore says many homeowners who want to update or renovate can often get the greatest return with flooring, kitchens, and bathrooms. But simple tricks like a fresh coat of paint or professionally cleaned carpets can go a long way as well. An appraisal can be an asset to anyone looking to buy or sell in foreseeable future.

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