Abundance of choice in the Calgary real estate market

Alan Tennant, CEO of the Calgary Real Estate Board, says it's a buyers market. Trends toward big data can help customers find exactly what they want

Alan Tennant is CEO of the Calgary Real Estate Board.

Alan Tennant
Alan Tennant

Calgary’s Business: How would you describe the residential real estate market in Calgary this year?

Tennant: This year’s market has seen its share of challenges. With easing sales, an increase in new listings and a drop in sales activity, we are firmly entrenched in what CREB’s chief economist would call “buyer’s market” territory. Essentially, we have more product available than there are buyers.

The reasons for this are clear: we have stricter lending criteria, higher interest rates and a slower than expected economic recovery. Basically, these three elements have resulted in buyers pulling back and choosing not to transact at a higher than anticipated rate.

New listings have continued to rise, and this increased inventory has bumped up our months of supply. … Given these conditions, it’s no surprise that our inventory levels remain above historical norms and that this is pushing prices down across detached, attached and apartment sectors of the resale housing market.

On the bright side, for those looking to enter the housing market, there is a lot of choice across all sectors. While the new lending criteria may mean that buyers have to adjust their expectation in terms of their price point, the amount of choice out there means that you’ll be able to find your dream home.

CB: What do you foresee for the market for the second half of 2018?

Tennant: No spoilers! We are just in the midst of putting the final touches on our Mid-Year Forecast Update Report, which will be released on Aug. 15. In that report, our chief economist will give us some analysis on the first six months of the year, as well as an update as to what we can expect for the remainder of 2018. Stay tuned. …

CB: What’s CREB’s role?

Tennant: CREB is a non-profit co-operative comprised of over 5,600 licenced realtors. The fourth largest real estate board in Canada, our mission is to ensure that CREB realtors have the tools and support they need to be successful. Ultimately, our goal is to make CREB realtors essential for real estate consumers; we do that best by supporting our members and their needs.

Besides training, tech support, and economic analysis, we provide many essential member tools, including the management of the Multiple Listing Service System. Through the MLS System, members and their clients can access the most comprehensive database of property listings and sales history in the region.

CREB also runs a charitable foundation, which has a philanthropic focus on housing and shelter-related projects. Over the past 31 years, we’ve given more than $6.3 million to charities and not-for-profits, which has benefited more than 150 local community organizations in Calgary and area.

Our realtor members are at the forefront of everything the foundation does. It’s their continued hands-on volunteer work and financial generosity that allows us to support people in our local community.

CB: What are some of the key trends and changes taking place in the real estate industry over the last few years?

Tennant: I think the biggest trend affecting real estate is the pursuit of big data: taking big chunks of information from a variety of separate and disparate sources, aggregating it, and then analyzing it to predict trends and inform future decision-making.

At CREB, we’ve started down this path by providing our proprietary CREB Maps software to our members, which allows our members to geographically overlay other data (think flood maps, City of Calgary demographic data, etc.) on top of MLS System data. This creates a much more robust experience for their clients because they can mine and present so much more information to inform their buying and selling decisions. Having access to this system is just one of the advantages of using a CREB realtor.

CB: On a personal note, how and why did you become a realtor?

Tennant: As a serial entrepreneur, I became a realtor in 1985 because I had a passion for serving consumers, and for making sure their real estate needs were fulfilled and their expectations exceeded. This sentiment to serve remained my motivation when I had to hang up my licence in 2011 to become CREB’s CEO – the only difference now is instead of helping the public, I’m helping our realtor members. For me, it’s a privilege to still serve in an industry that has given me and my family so much. This business is ideal for creative business people with the energy and motivation to trust the marketplace will value the best they have to offer. For the right person, a career in real estate can be both financially and personally very rewarding.

– Mario Toneguzzi

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.

calgary real estate marketThe views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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