In cities like Calgary, Alberta and Houston, Texas oil prices matter. Both cities have a large number of people that are employed in the oil sector and when oil prices are down, as they are right now, people will be laid off from their jobs. This in turn does affect the local real estate market of both cities.
Calgary will probably do much better than it did in past recessions simply because the economy is much more diversified than it was even in 2008 and certainly in the 1980’s. Back in the 80’s oil was all there was to our local economy and when that went away the economy suffered badly. Of course you could also argue that the National Energy Program that was introduced by Prime Minister Trudeau at the time had a lot to do with the economic pain that was felt in Calgary back then. It was not unusual for people to just walk away from their homes much the same way people in the states did during the 2008 recession.
This time around, I do not see that happening even if oil prices stay low for many more years. Oil companies will learn to be extremely efficient and will eventually start to make money again. Hiring will return to the oil patch but maybe never at the same levels as before, but there will be jobs. This in turn will keep the housing market in decent shape as there will not be large numbers of people moving away because they have built a life in Calgary and it is a great place to live.
Yes, home prices are falling but not by much. Real estate statistics show that average Calgary prices fell by only 4 or 5 percent when compared to this time last year. In total we may see prices decrease by 10% before everything stabilizes. That is not something that should cause people too much stress as long as you can still find a way to pay the mortgage. Things will improve eventually.
If you are thinking of buying a home either to live in or as an investment to rent out, you would be wise to wait a while. As I said prices are on the downside, and if you wait until summer of 2016, there might be some deals to be had. Just make sure you have all your financing in place and are ready to place an offer. You have to remember that there will be other people looking for deals as well so you need to be ready to make an offer.