2008 may be good for homebuyers, CMHC analyst says

robin kuniski/for metro calgary


Housing starts in the Calgary area dropped by 21 per cent and it could stabilize house prices, according to a CMHC analyst.

Calgarians holding off a 2007 home purchase because of the hot market might want to consider making their big buy in 2008.

According to a preliminary report released yesterday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the annual total for housing starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area fell by 21 per cent in 2007.

Lai Sing Louie, a senior market analyst for the CMHC Calgary, told Metro what that means for homebuyers is they will see a more stabilized market making it easier to purchase a home.

“It’s really a good time for buyers this year. We won’t see a jump in prices, what we will see is more downward prices. If people were holding back last year this is the time to buy,” he said.

The biggest drop occurred in single-detached homes where starts went from more than more than 10,000 in 2006 to 7,777 last year.

“Single-detached starts have been lower for each month last year compared to the same month a year earlier,” he said, adding average prices of homes increased slightly by 3.6 per cent last year.

Louie added not only is there market stability but potential buyers will have more time to shop around for what they want.

“Buyers will have a lot of selection to choose from, and time to make a decision rather than rush into something. We’re seeing a normal cycle.”

That news is exactly what prospective homebuyer Carol Belanger wanted to hear.

“We were probably going to buy this year regardless but this makes it a lot easier. We’ll have more time to shop around and not just make a quick decision because of the market,” Belanger, 31, said.