Calgary luxury home sales growth lead Canada

Luxury home sales in Calgary posted the strongest percentage increase of all major markets across Canada in the first quarter of 2013, with a substantial 50 per cent hike over year-ago levels, says a new report released Tuesday by RE/MAX.

The Upper-End Market Trends Report 2013 said the trend follows an uptick in the overall market and is a reflection of the renewed confidence emerging among the city’s homebuyers.

The report said 172 luxury homes changed hands in the city in the first quarter of this year on the MLS market, 150 detached houses and 22 condominiums.

“There’s been a strong upswing in the amount of sales that have taken place in the upper end of the market,” said Lowell Martens of RE/MAX Mountain View in Calgary. “I think it’s a vote of confidence. Some properties are being priced accordingly . . . That’s part of a contributing factor.

“It also speaks to the future of Alberta, the future of Calgary, that has made people feel much more confident about making a purchase even in the higher end price range.”

The report said Calgary’s inner core remains most desirable, including the city centre, Hillhurst, Elbow Park and Killarney—to name a few.

“A good mix of purchasers are active in the marketplace, including locals, out-of-province and international buyers,” said the report. “The mindset among purchasers remains cautiously optimistic, but many continue to take their time in making decisions. Despite the solid upswing in activity, few multiple offers have been recorded. Several exceptions have been noted on well-priced properties in established areas in close proximity to the inner core, such as Lakeview and Wildwood, for example.

“Improved interest in properties that once stagnated during the downturn has been a positive sign of a changing tide. In fact, Calgary’s most expensive sale ever recorded took place recently on an Aspen Woods listing that originally came on stream in July 2011. Built on speculation, the 9,300 (square foot) home, with a sticker price of $11.495 million, ultimately moved for $10.35 million — $50,000 above the previous benchmark set in 2009.”

The report said the bulk of Calgary’s luxury home sales is occurring between $1 million and $1.5 million, accounting for just over 70 per cent of activity.

“Preference seems to be equally split between newer homes and those in older, established areas. Infill activity remains strong, and plenty of properties are either knocked down, rebuilt or totally renovated,” said RE/MAX.

“If the current level of buyer enthusiasm continues in the upper end, 2013 could enter the books as a record year for luxury home sales in Calgary.”

Calgary’s luxury home market has been on fire in the past two years. According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, year-to-date until April 28, there have been 228 MLS sales in the city for properties over $1 million compared with 160 for the same period a year ago.

The top communities in the city for luxury home sales this year are: Elbow Park/Glencoe, 25; Altadore/River Park, 15; Springbank Hill, 15; West Hillhurst, 11; Aspen Woods, 9; Elboya, 8; Eau Claire, 8; Lakeview Village, 8; Discovery Ridge, 6; West Springs, 6; and Mount Royal, 6.

Last year set a record for the most luxury home sales ever in the city at 544, eclipsing the previous mark of 458 in 2007.

Just last week, the home of former Calgary Flames’ captain Jarome Iginla sold for full list price of $3.995 million in the southwest Elboya neighbourhood after being on the market for just one day.

The RE/MAX report said Edmonton was second to Calgary with a 41 per cent hike in high-end sales in the first quarter of this year followed by Regina (10 per cent), Saskatoon (six per cent), Winnipeg (five per cent), London-St. Thomas (five per cent), and Quebec City (three per cent).

“Activity in the luxury segment is quite healthy, especially when compared to years past,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president of RE/MAX of Western Canada.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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