As the first quarter of 2013 rolls along, Calgary’s condominium market is thriving.
“With less selection in the singlefamily market, particularly at the lower price ranges, more consumers are turning to the condominium market,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® chief economist. “Throughout the downturn there were more singlefamily homes priced under $400,000. However, over the past few years the number of new single-family listings in this range represents a declining share of the market, leaving consumers looking for more affordable products.”
The condominium apartment benchmark price totaled $252,900 in February while townhouse condominium prices totaled $283,200 – a six and 4.7 per cent increase, respectively, compared to February 2012.
“During the boom years, Calgary experienced significant growth in the employment sector and shortages in housing supply, ultimately creating frenzy amongst consumers driving up prices at unsustainable rates,” said Lurie. “Condominium prices have since corrected, and while the current price gains are a sign of recovery, the unadjusted condominium apartment and townhome benchmark prices still remain 14 per cent below the peak levels.”
Calgary’s single-family market paints a bit of a different picture with a tightening supply of single-family listings under $500,000 allowing homeowners in that range to sell closer to their listing price.
“When new product comes onto the market, buyers are not delaying their purchasing decisions as the majority of (single-family) homes are selling in less time at prices closer to their list price,” said CREB® President Becky Walters. “The tighter market conditions have supported price growth.”
Calgary’s unadjusted single-family benchmark price for February 2013 was $442,500, a 1.3 per cent increase compared to January and nine per cent higher than levels recorded in February 2012.
Buying in Hawkwood last June — using a loan instead of waiting to save up a down payment — proved to be a wise decision for LiShelle Trembath and her wife as the couple paid just over $400,000 for their singlefamily home.
“I think we would have paid more for (our home) if we had waited even a year, and I also feel like (the market) goes in trends where we are now in this upward trend again,” LiShelle said.
If the Trembath’s had waited and purchased a home this year instead of last, Trembath said options within their budget would have meant buying smaller and further out than Hawkwood.
“I knew in reality we would have ended up paying more in a year for what we wanted so it was a timing decision for sure.”
In February, the average MLS® system sales price for a single-family home was $518,452 compared to an average of $437,769 in January. The more than $80,000 increase between the two months is in part attributed to February’s all-time record breaking sale of a $10.35 million house in Aspen Woods.
While the average price reflects record levels in Calgary Walters said those numbers can be misleading.
“Last year there were more home sales in the higher-end segment of the Calgary market compared to 2007, and this trend has continued into 2013, causing the average price to rise above peak levels.”
This past February saw the sale of 63 homes sold for a million dollars or more compared to 42 in February 2012.
CREB® focuses on the benchmark price which is based on the attributes of the home including repeat sales. This pricing approach provides a better indication of how prices for similar properties have trended over time.
“While our economy does not reflect growth recorded pre-recession and continues to be plagued by short term risk, consumers are feeling confident about the long term prospects of this city and continue to support growth in our housing sector,” said Lurie.