CALGARY -- The Calgary Real Estate Board is predicting continued growth in Calgary's housing market this year as result of low lending rates, but ongoing challenges are expected to prevent a substantial increase.

In its annual forecast released Tuesday, CREB predicted total sales in Calgary would increase in 2021 by nearly five per cent compared to last year's sales.

The 2020 sales numbers exceeded initial expectations, bolstered by a rebound in the second half of the year as demand outpaced supply.

"It is expected some of the momentum recorded at the end of 2020 will continue into 2021, fueled by exceptionally low lending rates and pent-up demand," said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB chief economist, in a statement. "While sales are expected to rise by nearly five per cent on an annual basis in 2021, persistent economic challenges are expected to prevent stronger growth in our housing market."

CREB is expecting an increase of listings in 2021 as homeowners facing economic challenges may need to sell during high unemployment, while other owners who were reluctant to list at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic begin to enter the market.

The board is predicting 2021 prices to be one per cent higher than 2020.