Condos Back on the Rise

Calgary’s condo market is enjoying a resurgence in response to declining single-family inventory in homes available for under $400,000.

“While total new listings are declining, there has been a rise in the number of condominium apartments available in the $200,000 to $400,000 segment,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB®’s chief economist.

“While both (condo and singlefamily) markets remain in balance, the single-family market is much tighter and bordering on sellers territory,” Lurie said. “Demand has improved for condominiums, helping reduce the overall inventory levels, firmly placing the market in balanced territory and supporting some price growth in this segment.”

Calgarian Lesley McLaughlin took advantage of the condo market buying her first home in the southwest community of Glamorgan.

“Being a first time homeowner, I didn’t want the extra work of yard maintenance and purchasing a condo eliminated that. Price, location, size, and minimal yard maintenance all were important when deciding between house and condo,” she said. “I also found the prices reasonable for condos especially in the area I was looking at.”

In February, there were a total of 279 condo apartment’s sold after an average 44 days on the market, a 12 per cent decrease in days on the market from the same time in 2012. Between February of this year and last, the average benchmark price of a condo apartment in the city increased 5.95 per cent from $238,700 to $252,900.

In the single-family market for February 2013, there were 1,208 units sold after an average of 36 days on the market, a 25 per cent decrease over days on the market in 2013. Year-overyear, the average benchmark price for a single-family home in Calgary increased 9.31 per cent from $404,800 to $442,500. Benchmark pricing is estimated using the MLS® Home Price Index and is based on specific attributes such as square footage and whether a basement is finished.

While condos are thriving in Calgary’s real estate market, they’re also on the minds of the provincial government; in late February, CREB®Now reported the Alberta government was conducting an online survey with a view to amend the Condominium Property Act.

“We want to build more effective legislation that provides appropriate consumer protection and supports the vibrant condominium industry in Alberta,” said Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar in a news release.

“The direction we get from Albertans will help us improve standards and provide longterm solutions to the challenges facing Alberta’s condominium industry.”

An increase in protection for condo owners comes after the provincial government proposed new legislation making Alberta new home warranties mandatory. The legislation, introduced in October, will require a one-year warranty on labour and materials; two years for defects in labour and materials related to delivery and distribution systems; five years building envelope protection – with a requirement for the warranty provider to offer the consumer the option to purchase additional years of coverage; and 10 years coverage for major structural components.

“There is a recognition that the condo act does not support the owners properly, so it’s recognizing that there are pieces of it that are not sufficient,” said Becky Walters, CREB® President.

“The act does not allow for anybody to take a complaint to another level — there’s no ombudsmen … They can’t take it to Service Alberta, they can’t take it to the ministry, so there’s an issue with that in that if they have a complaint about their management company or the developer for any of those things that do unfortunately arise more often than you’d hope, there isn’t anywhere to
go with it.”

On March 12, Bhullar attended a gathering of REALTORS® and brokers at CREB® to discuss the act and what it means for sellers and buyers. The online survey regarding the act is available online at LetsTalkeCondos.ServiceAlberta until April 2. Paper copies of the survey can be obtained by calling 1-877-427-4088.

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