Calgary’s luxury resale residential housing market continued to fire on all cylinders in 2014, according to new numbers from CREB®.

Year-to-date home sales priced over $1 million increased 18 per cent to 812 from 688 as of the end of November compared to the same period in 2013. Of those, six were sales in excess of $4 million.

With one month to go, the total already surpasses the record for the most million-dollar-plus sales in a year, consecutively set over the previous two years with 732 and 544 homes sold in 2013 and 2012, respectively.

“Million-plus home sales within city limits continue to rise representing a larger share of total sales activity,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

After the first half of the year, there were 462 sales over $1-million in Calgary, representing 3.32 per cent of all the sales in the city. According to Lurie, 2014 represents the first time (over the same six-month period) the share of sales in the $1-million-plus sector were larger than those in prices at $200,000 or less — a testament to the growing importance of Calgary’s luxury sector and to the increasing earning power of Calgarians.

Also, the first half of the year represented the first time the share of sales in the $1-million-plus sector (over a six-month period) surpassed those priced $200,000 or less.

Sotheby’s International president and CEO Ross McCredie attributed the strength of Calgary’s luxury housing market to a strong local economy, high average incomes and record in-migration numbers. The latest civic census saw 28,017 people move to the city between April 2013 and 2014.

“Calgary has undergone a massive transformation in recent years,” he said. “Top-tier real estate in the city and surrounding areas is in high demand not just from local homebuyers, but from those traveling and moving here from other parts of the country and around the world.”

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada managing broker Mary-Ann Mears said local homebuyers’ increased buying power, especially relative to other markets in Canada, is driving demand in the luxury market.

“What we have noticed is, a couple years back, the luxury market was at that million-dollar mark,” she said. “Where we’re seeing the luxury market (now) being pushed is at $2 million and above, because now you’re seeing we have individuals who are making the probably the highest income across Canada.”

Calgary’s evolving housing market also sparked the emergence of an “ultra-luxury” housing sector in 2014. Earlier in the year, a 64-hectare property in the Calgary area was listed for a record $30 million. The property, which contains an 11,000 square-foot home along with a 3,800 square-foot guest house, was actually one of a pair of listings that cracked the $30-million mark. Kettle Lake Ranch – a 98-hectare property near Priddis containing two houses, a barn, a hay storage building, a gas station and staff accommodations – was listed for the princely sum of $37.8 million.

Calgary’s luxury housing market was not limited to the single-family sector either, as 2014 also saw the announcement of several new high-profile, high-end condo projects.

The River by 26th Avenue River Investments Inc., located along the Elbow River, was promoted to Calgarians as the “ultimate luxury residential development.”

The project – which is being built along the Elbow River on 26th Ave. S.W., with an expected completion date of August 2015 – has units ranging from $820,000 to $8.99 million between 1,000 and 5,000 square feet.

“It is a building built to a quality that has never been seen in Calgary before,” said Anne Clarke, The River’s director of sales. “I honestly don’t believe that there will be a development built to this level of luxury for a very long time, if ever.”

Meanwhile, in October, developer XII GP Inc. announced a new 12-suite, 14-storey luxury condo unit, also to be built on 26th Avenue S.W.
The tower – which is slated to break ground in spring 2015, with first occupancy in early 2017 – will offer units ranging in size from 2,200 to 3,300 square feet, and priced from $2.95 million to $5.8 million.