With the spring housing market underway, inventory in Calgary has increased, which is likely to slow the rise in still-subdued prices.

Calgary Real Estate Board’s citywide benchmark price for detached homes was $502,000 in the first quarter of 2018, down slightly from the end of 2017 but similar to a year earlier.

The March benchmark price was $503,800, 1% above the recession low but still 3.6% below the pre-recession high.

Meanwhile, first quarter sales were down almost 18% year-over-year to 3,423 units. That’s 24% below long-term averages.

“Economic conditions are slowly improving, but it has not been enough to outpace the current impact of higher lending rates and more stringent conditions,” said CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

The slow pace of sales meant inventory increased to a 4-month supply but the overall level is 10% below the averages of 2015 and 2016 with 2,573 units available in the first quarter of 2018.

“We are entering the most active quarters in the housing market with more inventory, which could create some price fluctuations. However, the improving economy is expected to prevent overall prices from slipping by significant amounts,” added Lurie.

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