Calgary’s condo market continues to chug along.
In November, combined condominium (townhome and apartment) sales numbers topped those seen the previous year. The trend is one that has continued throughout 2013, with 11 straight months of year-over-year sales growth.
At 23 years old, Jayden Van is one of the many young Calgarians taking advantage of the affordability in Calgary’s condo sector to make his first foray into the housing market.
“[It was] mainly the price, but not just because it was cheap – just the best bang for the buck,” said Van, who purchased his SkyView Ranch condo last August. “My condo is on the top floor, corner unit, largest square footage of all the floor plans, included stainless steel appliances, granite in the kitchen and all bathrooms, corked flooring and upgraded lights all for the price of what other builders were going for a standard spec.”
Assisting the continued climb in sales growth has been a recent increase in the number of Calgary condos up for grabs. While year-to-date new listings numbers for the combined markets are nearly identical to those in 2012, the last few months have seen a substantial increase in both apartment condo and townhome condo listings.
The increase in selection has meant buyers in the city have more properties to choose from, which can be especially important to those purchasing their first home.
“Outside of lifestyle preferences, most condominiums are an affordable option for those looking to enter the ownership market,” said CREB® Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
The demand for condos in the city has been driven in part by Calgary’s cramped rental market and a drop in the number of entry-level single-family homes in the city. A recent CMHC report placed Calgary’s rental vacancy rate at 0.8 per cent.
“Tight rental market conditions combined with less supply for lower priced single-family product has increased the demand for condominium type units,” said Lurie.
The relative affordability in Calgary’s condo market came into the spotlight as part of RBC’s Housing Trends and Affordability report. The annual report, which ranks the affordability of housing markets across the country, listed Calgary as one of the most affordable cities in Canada.
“Generally stable prices have kept Calgary’s housing affordability in check and at some of the best levels among Canada’s largest cities,” said Robert Hogue, senior economist, RBC. “Homebuyers in the area are motivated by the booming provincial economy, strong job creation and attractive housing affordability. We expect this market resurgence to continue through the remainder of 2012.”
According to the ranking, which calculates the proportion of pre-tax household income needed to service the costs of owning a home at market value, the “standard” Calgary condominium would require the average homebuyer to part with 19.6 per cent of their household income to cover mortgage payments, utilities and property taxes.