Benchmark home prices in Calgary and Edmonton were down year over year in July while the national average climbed.
A report released on Wednesday by the Canadian Real Estate Association said the benchmark price – which reflects the typical property sold in a market – fell by 1.74 per cent in Calgary from a year ago to $430,000, while in Edmonton it dropped by 1.29 per cent to $334,400.
The national aggregate price, which comprises 16 markets across the country, rose by 2.13 per cent from July 2017 to $634,300.
CREA said national home sales rose 1.9 per cent in July, building on increases in each of the two previous months but still running below levels recorded from mid-2013 to the end of last year. It said more than half of all local housing markets reported an increase sales activity from June to July.
But sales were down 1.3 per cent year over year and CREA said the result reflect fewer sales in major urban centres in British Columbia and an offsetting improvement in activity in the Greater Toronto Area.
“This year’s new stress test on mortgage applicants continues to weigh on home sales but its effect may be starting to fade slightly in Toronto and nearby markets,” said Barb Sukkau, CREA’s president. “The degree to which the stress test continues to sideline homebuyers varies depending on location, housing type and price range.
Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist, said improving national home sales activity in recent months obscures significant differences in regional trends for home sales and prices.
“Regardless, rising interest rates and this year’s stress test on mortgage applicants will likely prove to be difficult hurdles to overcome for many would-be first time and move-up homebuyers, heading into the second half of the year and beyond,” he said.
The association said the number of newly-listed homes retreated 1.2 per cent in July and stood below monthly levels recorded over most of the past eight years.
Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.