More for less

Communities surrounding Calgary see double-digit sales growth in the first quarter of the year

Getting more for less can mean a lot to a first time homebuyer.

When it came to the purchase of their first home, engaged couple Kristie Bogle and Erin Dorscht set their sights on Bogle’s hometown of Airdrie.

“I just kept seeing all these signs, crazy cheap new developments throughout [Airdrie] and I came home one day and was like ‘Look how cheap this is compared to what we’re paying in Calgary’,” said Dorscht.

Over the past nine months communities surrounding Calgary recorded double-digit sales growth in resale housing. In the first quarter of this year, 44 per cent of new single-family home listings in surrounding areas were priced below $400,000. In contrast, only 23 per cent of single-family homes in Calgary were available under
this price point.

“Besides lifestyle preference, homebuyers are attracted to communities outside of Calgary because of the relative price advantage,” said CREB® President Bill Kirk. “These communities provide alternatives for price sensitive consumers and a selection of home options that may not be available in Calgary.”

At 25 and 27 respectively, Bogle and Dorscht wanted to live somewhere that allowed them to build their life together as newlyweds while still being able to do things they enjoy, like traveling, without being weighed down by hefty mortgage payments or monthly rent cheques.

“I feel that people who are able to build at a younger age, it’s nicer to know if we stayed here, our retirement could be easier or we could go on more trips as opposed to if we lived in Calgary,” said Bogle.

Sales in surrounding communities totaled 1,104 units, a 28 per cent increase compared to the same time last year. Meanwhile, new listings in surrounding areas totaled 1,110 units, a two per cent increase over the first quarter in 2013.

“The economic growth in Calgary has resulted in a large inflow of net migrants to the
city,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB®’s chief economist. “This has boosted housing demand across the region. In many of the surrounding areas, the rise in housing sales has helped reduce some of the excess inventory levels supporting price gains.”

With 336 sales in the first quarter, Airdrie has had double digit sales growth for the past 12 months, due in part to an increase in new single-family listings. With sales occurring faster than additions to new supply, Airdrie’s market moved into sellers conditions, causing an increase in price. The average price for a singlefamily
home in the city for the first 6.3 per cent unadjusted gain from the same time last year.

Sales in Cochrane saw 174 units sold in the first quarter of this year, the highest recorded sales ever for the town. While the recorded sales reduced inventory levels,
the Cochrane resale market remains better supplied relative to demand than Okotoks, Airdire and Calgary due to previous inventory gains.

The average single family benchmark price in Cochrane for the first quarter was $418,500, a year-over-year gain of 5.6 per cent, which is still below peak level prices.

Okotoks recorded its best first quarter of sales since 2009, with 149 total units sold. The number of new listings declined, which lowered inventory levels, tightened market conditions and supported price gains.

Okotoks’ single-family benchmark
price for the first quarter was $391,867, an unadjusted increase of 1.3 per cent over the last quarter and a 4.5 per cent increase over the first quarter in 2013. In March, Okotoks also posted a new record for its single-family benchmark price, at $399,400.

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