*CREB®Now real estate news luxury feature*

Calgary’s prosperity driving demand for high-end housing

While the final tally won’t be in for a few more months, it appears Calgary’s luxury homes market is on the verge of the best year in the city’s history.

According to CREB®, 611 homes priced at $1 million or more have sold through the first eight months of 2013. That number includes a record-setting 69 properties sold in August alone, which broke the previous record of 64 .

Set just last year, the all-time record for luxury sales in the city is 726. With four months left before the arrival of the new year, Calgary would need just 115 more sales – in a city averaging 76 a month – to break the record.

“Low lending rates, improving wages, rising prices and solid economic fundamentals have supported the growth in this segment of the market,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

Another factor motivating the substantial rise in luxury sales in the city is the increasing number of homes surpassing the million-dollar mark.

“Sales price over $1 million have been representing a larger share of our market,” said Lurie. “Year-to-date, 611 million plus sales occurred within city limits, representing 3.3 per cent of total share of sales. On a year-to-date basis this represents a steady annual climb since 2009 when the share of sales dropped to 1.46 per cent.”

While Lurie also noted the majority of Calgary’s luxury MLS® homes up for grabs are the single-family market (90 per cent in August), the same prosperity has shown up in other sectors, as well. Highlighted by the announcement that Holt Renfrew would be adding a private “shopping apartment” to their downtown store, Calgary is quickly developing a reputation as a hot spot for luxury in Canada.

According to a report from Sotheby’s, over the first six months of 2014, Calgary’s 17 per cent increase in $1-million plus sales in Canada trailed only Vancouver and Toronto’s 34 per cent increase for the top spot in the country.

“Bolstered by the city’s thriving economy, the strength of its oil and gas sectors, low unemployment rates, high average net incomes and strong net migration, the market for high-end homes continued its upward trajectory with single-family home sales up 19 per cent and attached home sales up 21 per cent year-over-year,” said the report.

One area that saw a decline in luxury sales during the year was Calgary’s condo sector, where $1-million-plus sales dropped from 57 to 51 through the first eight months of 2014. Despite the decline, an upswing in the number of high-end condos under construction and slated for completion in Calgary means an increase could be in the cards in the coming months.

Highlighting the level of luxury found in Calgary’s resale condo sector, a $4.4-million penthouse in Eau Claire’s Princeton Hall earlier this year set the record for the priciest condominium ever sold in the city. Other high-end developments are also expected to come on steam soon, such as The River in Mission, Concorde and Waterfront in Eau Claire and Overture at Currie Barracks.

“What we here at Sotheby’s Calgary have noticed is the actual new segment of the ultra-luxury product – those family estates that are coming on the market,” said Mary-Ann Mears of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

“Why? Calgary is a wonderful city and we’re attracting top ranking executives [from] across the country. We have seen a lot of international influence coming to Calgary. All the key factors are there.”

Earlier this 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.