George Bamber is owner of Century 21 Bamber Realty.
How would you describe what took place in 2018 in the real estate market in Calgary?
Bamber: We were down about 15 per cent. The year started off reasonably well with some optimism related to oil and gas, pipelines, etc. When things started to slow down, that derailed. Optimism came out of the market and sales started to slow down.
If you look at previous years, we’re on a continual slide. Even though our city is saying we’ve had net migration, net growth, it’s hard to see it in the real estate side.
What do you expect in 2019 for the market?
Bamber: That’s a good question. My gut feeling is that we’re going to be quite similar to 2018, probably more of a chance of being slightly less sales – a little bit lower than 2018. And maybe a slight drop in the average home (price).
The upper-end market might feel a little bit more pain if we don’t see some optimism in the pipeline movement.
I think we’re going to have a relatively average market at best.
What’s your best piece of advice for buyers in this market?
Bamber: I’m an optimist – having been doing this for 32 years. I think, and I’ve said this before, we are the most affordable city in this country for the size of us. Think about Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary. Calgary is a bargain. So if I was a first-time buyer and some of the stuff that I’m seeing now, or even a move-up buyer, I think it’s a great time to buy. You’re seeing great deals. Absolutely.
What about advice for sellers in this market?
Bamber: In a market like this, if you want to sell your home you’re going to have to be the most affordable, best-priced property in your neighbourhood for sure. You have to look at the supply and demand. It has to be priced extremely well in this market and it will sell because not everybody is a pessimist.
Everybody thinks things are falling apart. And I look at it as this is an opportunity.
My advice today? You’ve got to price your house properly.
What are the biggest trends you’re seeing in today’s market?
Bamber: If there is anything, it’s still more of an inner-city trend. The inner city is a continued area that people want to live in. Even people downsizing from their bigger homes. They want to go into something more villa style or more apartment style.
– Mario Toneguzzi
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