Calgary led the country in 2012 in sales growth for the luxury home market, according to firm Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.
Ross McCredie, president and chief executive of the real estate company, said Calgary is the “best performing market in Canada right now in terms of growth.”
“The trend has been upward and we don’t see any sign of that changing for awhile,” said McCredie. “There’s more and more investment coming into Alberta. More and more people are moving there. You’ve got a range of jobs. It’s not just simply oil and gas companies that are investing there.
“In the rest of the country, there’s definitely a trend going west and Alberta is probably leading that trend in terms of companies investing in key offices across Canada as well as foreign companies coming in as well.”
He predicted double-digit sales growth for Calgary’s luxury home market this year which will outstrip the performance of other major centres across the country.
“Calgary is really starting to become a city of high net worth people and investment coming into the country,” said McCredie.
In its Top-Tier Real Estate Report, a biannual study highlighting market trends for the most expensive homes in Canada’s largest urban centres, Sotheby’s said the market for luxury homes is expected to gain momentum and “to generate increasing demand from both local and international buyers given strong economic fundamentals, historically low interest rates and a national unemployment rate that has hit a record four-year low.”
In Calgary, compared with the same July to December period in 2011, listings over $1 million were up 38 per cent and sales of real estate in the same category were up 21 per cent in the second half of 2012.
“The average days on market for homes over a million dollars increased slightly to 66 days and the percentage of properties selling over asking price dropped slightly to five per cent,” said the report. “High-end neighbourhoods like Elbow Park and Glencoe were among those to see strong demand.”
According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, the city experienced a record for MLS sales over $1 million each in 2012 with 544 transactions, eclipsing the previous record of 458 in the housing boom of 2007. In 2011, there were 446 luxury home sales.
In 2012, the luxury home market had 508 single-family home sales and 36 condo sales compared with 420 and 26 respectively in 2011.
CREB said 1,533 homes were listed for sale in Calgary over $1 million in 2012 — 1,408 single-family and 125 condo. In 2011, there were 1,352 luxury home listings — 1,253 single-family and 99 condo.
In 2007, the luxury home market had 1,242 listings for the year, comprised of 1,159 single-family homes and 83 condos.
“We saw such an increase in activity in the last two quarters of 2012,” said realtor Christina Hagerty, who recently joined Sotheby’s in Calgary. “The momentum was building up all last year and it continued over the holiday season. This should be a good indicator of the year ahead. With the dwindling supply, and the strong pulse on the street that ‘Calgary is where you need to be,’ properties priced at market, are selling. Buyers are not wasting any time. They have done their research and are ready to make an offer when the right one hits the market.”
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