CALGARY — MLS sales activity improved across all residential sectors in February compared with a year ago, according to data released today by the Calgary Real Estate Board.

Calgary and area sales growth pushed February total residential activity of 2,160 sales up by 11.6 per cent compared with February 2011.

In Calgary itself, CREB data indicates total sales of 1,737 during the month was up 7.02 per cent from February 2011.

“City sales were boosted by a lot of activity in the last week of the month,” said Bob Jablonski, CREB’s president, in a statement. “This points towards the improvements that we expect to see in our spring market activity.”

In Calgary, single-family home sales of 1,284 were up 10.88 per cent from a year ago while condominium townhouse sales of 205 were up 11.41 per cent from February 2011. Single-family home sales were the highest February total since 2007.

However, condominium apartment sales of 248, represented an 11.74 per cent decline.

“Activity in the housing market in Calgary has been encouraging and we are expecting to see continued improvement in the months ahead,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

“Conditions had favoured the buyer in the last couple of years but we are seeing signs that the market is transitioning closer towards more balanced levels. Growth in employment and migration, supported by activity in the energy sector will help sustain demand for new and resale homes.”

According to CREB’s new MLS Home Price Index, the single-family ‘benchmark’ price of $427,000 rose by 4.32 per cent over February 2011. The condo apartment price of $242,900 increased by 1.17 per cent over last year’s level. And the condo townhouse benchmark price of $288,600 was up 3.44 per cent from last year.

CREB says its new home price index measures how typical properties are valued in the market rather than relying on average and median prices.

It is calculated using a statistical model that estimates prices based on several factors, including square footage, lot size, numbers of bathrooms and features such as fireplaces or a finished basement. The index will divide the information into different categories that include single-family homes, which are split into one-storey and two-storey homes, townhouse or row units and apartments.

The average sale price for single-family homes in Calgary in February of $469,725 was 1.64 per cent higher than last year. In the condo apartment category in February, the average sale price rose by 3.66 per cent to $289,023. In the condo townhouse category in February, the average sale price was up 0.51 per cent to $310,047.

“More selection and a wider range of prices have drawn consumers to the condominium townhouse and single-family markets,” said Jablonski. “As is the case with all property types, we saw modest price improvements compared to February last year, but overall levels remain below peak pricing.”

CREB said fewer new city listings are coming to the market with a year-over-year decline of 10.2 per cent. Inventories also fell by 8.5 per cent over last year’s figures with a total inventory of 4,736 for the month. In the surrounding towns, listings recorded a year-over-year improvement of 12.1 per cent and no significant change in inventories, added CREB.

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com

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