Demand in Calgary market might decline this year

With OSFI’s new mortgage stress tests having taken effect at the beginning of the year, housing demand in Calgary is projected to decline, according to observers.

“We do expect this to cause some slowing in demand but not a significant amount,” Calgary Real Estate Board chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie told CBC News.

Lurie added, however, that the shrinkage in demand will likely be offset slightly by various factors, including an improving economy and a growing supply of new homes across several price ranges.

Read more: Alberta’s metropolitan markets reaping the fruits of economic recovery

Hopeful home owners will now have to undergo a stress test that would determine if they can fulfil their payments at either the Bank of Canada’s 5-year average rate, or 2 percentage points higher than what they’ve negotiated with their lender, whichever is higher.

The changes would compel some prospective home buyers to settle for lower-cost options such as condos or townhouses. First-time buyers may also have to delay making large purchases to raise the larger down-payments needed for their desired homes.

“If they were thinking they could get a $500,000 home and now they can no longer get that, they’re going to have to consider all their alternatives,” Lurie stated.

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