Calgary home sales slump to recent record lows in April amid COVID-19 pandemic

Calgary’s realty reality was a sombre one in April 2020, with overall home sales slumping almost 63 per cent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Calgary Real Estate Board‘s latest statistics show only 572 homes sold in April 2020 versus 1,544 sales for the same month last year. Listings were also down 54 per cent, and average prices dropped more than eight per cent.

“It’s just like the whole world is on pause, so is the Calgary real estate market,” Justin Havre of Justin Havre & Associates said.

Havre and other Calgary realtors have had to adjust to a new reality, which includes more virtual home tours and 3D renderings. There are also no open houses and Alberta realtors have to follow strict safety measures when doing in-person showings.

“No one wants a whole bunch of strangers going into their house,” Havre said. “So what we’re doing is we’re implementing technology that’s available to us to ensure that there’s less disruption for homeowners — obviously keeping them safe.”

Havre said while all of those factors are taking a lot of people out of the market, he believes there is a silver lining — a different type of buyer is emerging.

“The showings that we do have are now more serious buyers,” he said.

The Dueck family can attest to that. Havre’s team sold their home in record time at the end of March, despite the pandemic already being underway.

“Everything was starting to get crazy,” Jordan Dueck said. “We said, ‘Oh we might as well see what happens, we’re in no hurry or anything,’ so we listed it and we got really lucky.

“Had four to five showings the first week and an offer came in on the fifth day.”

The Calgary family is now looking to buy another home, but haven’t found one they love. They’re willing to wait out the pandemic and wait for prices to go down even further.

“Given everything that’s happened we see the market kind of taking a dive, so we’re probably just going to rent for now,” Dueck said. “Hopefully take advantage of the situation.”

Havre told Global News there are advantages to buying now and not waiting.

“You’re definitely able to negotiate perhaps a better price, terms and conditions in your negotiations,” he said. “And less likelihood of getting into those competing offers and paying over asking price.”

Havre concedes it’s a buyers market but also said there are some things sellers can do to move their homes in this tough market.

“Be realistic. Have a look at your eyes through a buyers set of eyes,” he added. “And you’ve got to be realistic on that pricing because you’ve got to be competitive.”

CREB said the economic impact of the situation is significant and early indications point toward more job losses and higher unemployment rates.

It added several government incentives will help cushion the blow, but challenges in the housing market are expected to persist throughout this year.

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