Most of the sales in the province are taking place in the mid-to-low price ranges. While this increased tax won’t necessarily stop people from buying, Ritter says it may take potential buyers a little longer to save up.
“(Buyers) are not going to say, ‘Oh that’s going to cost me another $1,000? I’m going to rent for the rest of my life’,” Ritter says. “It may take a little bit longer for people to save up what they need, but they’re still going to buy a home.”
Bamber agrees – sales are still happening, he says. But many analysts are still focused on the major year-over-year drop-offs that many markets have experienced: in February, Calgary sales fell off more than 34 per cent, while sales in Fort McMurray were down almost 65 per cent. Prices, however, weren’t affected nearly as much – they were down less than five per cent in Calgary, and actually rose in Fort Mac.
“I think everybody right now is just waiting to see what’s going to happen,” Ritter says, adding that little change to housing prices points to a market that’s not panicked. “But the good news is nobody is being irrational… Prices aren’t falling because there’s no panic. That panic is what causes prices to drop … and we don’t have that.”
That wait-and-see attitude is likely to carry on once the changes in the budget begins to be felt, and Bamber and Ritter alike think that calm among the market will continue even beyond that.
“People buy and sell for different reasons and if that added cost is going to change your mind from buying and selling, then so be it,” Bamber says. “I don’t think (the increased registration fees) will be a deterrence, but more an annoyance.”