Condo craze

Calgary market is hot, hot, hot

Unlike Calgary’s weather for most of this year, the city’s condo market is scorching hot, said Matthew Boukall, director of residential advisory services with industry analyst Altus Group.

“We’re coming off the best year we’ve had last year and demand remains strong,” he said. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand for new housing. So from an inventory perspective we’re basically absorbing product as it’s coming to market. We don’t have an oversupply situation whatsoever.”

According to a report from Altus Group, new condominium sales in Calgary in the first quarter of this year were 2.8 per cent lower than the same time in 2013. That “tempering” of sales, which comes after three years of sales growth in the city, is due primarily to lower inventory and higher prices.

Overall, the group still expects the 2014 market to perform on par with 2013.

“We do expect [the condo market] to ease over the balance of the year,” said Boukall. “Right now, just because of the time of year we have, the spring market is in full swing and we’re seeing a lot of absorptions because of that.
But we expect new projects to come to market later in the year and that’s going to start to ease some of that supply
constraint.”

Among projects nearing completion in the city are 6th and Tenth by Lamb Development Corp and Fortress Real Developments; Outlook at Waterfront by Anthem Properties; First Condos by Slokker Real Estate Group and Fram Building Corp, and Telus Sky by Westbank and Allied Properties.

As far as inventory, Altus Group found Calgary’s centre sector as the only area of the city to report an increase in inventory in the past two years. Inventory in the centre sector of the city accounts for more than half the available condo units in Calgary.

Inventory in suburban sectors have decreased by 25 per cent since the start of 2012.

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Bill 13

Meanwhile, the Alberta government has proposed changes to the Condominium Property Amendment Act released earlier this month that would provide condo owners with easier access to information and quicker dispute resolutions.

Among the 50 amendments tabled, proposed changes include the creation of a new condominium dispute tribunal;
improved disclosure of financial and other necessary information to buyers of new and converted condominiums;
updates to qualifications and standards of practice for condominium managers, and; improved governance for condominium corporations.

“These amendments help address the current and future needs of our growing and evolving condominium industry,” said June A. Donaldson, cofounder of the Alberta Condominium Owners Association. “They will help to ensure best
practices for condominium boards and management companies, level the playing field among developers, and protect the rights and property values of purchasers and owners.”

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