Calgary luxury real estate market soars to new heights Sales climb in million-dollar plus category

CALGARY — The demand for luxury real estate in Calgary has soared to new heights this year, fuelled by strong economic fundamentals, says a report by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

For the first six months of this year, there have been 301 homes sold for over $1 million in Calgary, up 19 per cent from the same period last year, said the report.

From January 1 to June 30, 2011, there were 253 homes sold for over $1 million and another 194 luxury homes sold between July 1 and December 31 that year.

The number of homes listed on the market for over $1 million was 474 between January 1 and June 30, 2011 and 473 homes between July 1 and December 31 in 2011. From January 1 to June 30 this year, there have been 908 homes listed at that price point.

The Sotheby’s report said six per cent of homes over $1 million this year have sold for over the asking price. The first half of last year also had six per cent selling for more than the list price while for the second half of last year it was eight per cent.

As for days on the market, the first half of this year was 53 days while for both halves of last year it was 49 days.

Corinne Poffenroth, a Realtor® in the Calgary office of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, said a number of factors have contributed to the demand for luxury homes in the local market.

“We’re seeing a bit of a lifestyle change for some of the Baby Boomers here and that sometimes involves downsizing when they’re planning for retirement and it sometimes involves perhaps purchasing a second property either down south or B.C., and because of that there’s a bit of a trend moving, re-locating from some of the suburban areas back to the urban centres with some of the amenities closer by,” she said.

“I also think there’s some new optimism in the next generation of young professionals here. They’re seeking these exclusive, higher-end properties like both single-family and condo in some of the most sought-after areas of the city. And that can involve both urban and suburban areas as long as there’s amenities and transportation close by.”

Also, there is growing confidence and optimism in the province’s energy sector and all the industries that benefit from that.

“These higher-end buyers if they’re showing the confidence in buying these still multi-million dollar properties and second properties that’s a good thing for everyone else because that confidence just kind of goes on down the line in the market overall. There’s a huge sector of high-end buyers and I think that’s what’s increased the listings because these sellers are wanting to take advantage of this demand for higher-end homes and condos,” added Poffenroth.

According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, MLS® sales for properties in Calgary of $1-million or more were: 2011, 446; 2010, 365; 2009, 337; 2008, 369; 2007, 458; 2006, 334; and 2005, 138.

The biannual report of Canada’s four largest urban markets — Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal — showed a steady upward trend in the first half of 2012 with Toronto, Calgary and Montreal all reporting double-digit sales growth in homes over $1 million.

In Vancouver, the 2011 to 2012 comparison of properties over $1 million, showed that the reigning hot spot for million-dollar listings is experiencing a similar correction to conventional properties in the area, said Sotheby’s. Sales in that price category of 1,291 properties so far this year are down 35 per cent from the same period last year, which had 1,996 transactions. The inventory of properties asking $1 million or more also rose 11 per cent in 2012, increasing to 3,912 from 3,518.

In the first half of 2012, the Greater Toronto Area reported a 29 per cent increase in sales, generating 3,113 transactions of million dollar-plus properties, compared with 2,405 in the first half of 2011. The inventory of listings in the GTA also rose 31 per cent from 6,193 homes listed over the $1 million price point to 8,105 listings, said the report.

Montreal experienced similar growth in both the sales and inventory of million-dollar real estate. This year, Montreal reported a 15 per cent sales increase with the first six months reporting 227 transactions exceeding $1 million compared with 196 in 2011. The volume of top-tier listings also increased 11 per cent from 590 in 2011 to 656 in 2012.

“Given the transition occurring in international economies like Europe and Asia, the value and stability of luxury property in Canada has become an increasingly recommended asset,” said Ross McCredie, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada chief executive.

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