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.

 

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com



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CALGARY — Expectations for housing starts in the Calgary region are positive in the short term and the long term, says the Conference Board of Canada.

In a report released Friday, the board said the seasonally-adjusted annual rate of starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area in June was 15,058.

That’s up from 9,170 a year ago.

Calgary had one of the biggest year-over-year increases in the country.

The board said that 23 of 28 CMAs surveyed have positive short-term expectations, up from 22 the previous month.

Short-term expectations are based on residential permits data.

Long-term expectations are based on demographic requirements.

 

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com



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CALGARY — Investment in non-residential building construction in Alberta increased 1.9 per cent to $2.2 billion in the second quarter, according to Statistics Canada.

In the Calgary census metropolitan area, investment rose by 1.2 per cent to $829 million.

“The endless roar of earthmovers, jackhammers and welding torches may fray the nerves of some, but that’s the price one pays for a red-hot economy,” said Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial. “And in Alberta, that roaring sound on construction sites ramped up over the spring.

“Seventy per cent of Alberta’s non-residential construction is in commercial real estate, such as shopping malls and office towers . . . Now that Alberta’s economy is once again doing well, commercial projects are steadily increasing. The value of commercial projects was $1.6 billion in Q2, much of that related to office tower construction in downtown Calgary.”

Hirsch said the steady increase in non-residential construction is an encouraging sign for Alberta’s economy.

“Still, with economic activity moderating somewhat in the second half of 2012, the value of non-residential construction could cool in the coming quarters,” he said.

At the national level, Statistics Canada said Tuesday investment in non-residential building rose by 1.8 per cent to $11.2 billion.

Investment in commercial building construction rose 2.3 per cent from the first quarter to $6.7 billion, across the country. It was up 1.4 per cent to $1.6 billion in Alberta.

“The gain (in Alberta) came from spending on office and retail buildings and from living quarters for the oilsands projects,” said Statistics Canada.

Nationally, industrial investment rose 6.2 per cent to $1.4 billion in the second quarter, the third consecutive quarterly gain.

“Alberta led with an 11.2 per cent increase to $333 million, attributable to investment growth in utility and maintenance buildings,” said the federal agency.

In the institutional component, investment declined 1.1 per cent from the first quarter to $3.1 million, across the country. This was the ninth consecutive quarterly decrease, although the pace of decline was slower in the second quarter, said Statistics Canada.

“The largest decrease occurred in Alberta, where investment declined 5.3 per cent to $271 million, reflecting the completion of several projects in the educational category,” it said.

 

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com



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Please visit our Open House at 15 MILLER BAY in OKOTOKS.
Open House on Saturday, July 14, 2012 1:00 pm Open house Saturday July 14 from 1:00-4:00
**OPEN HOUSE SAT JULY 14 1:00-4:00**Ultimate Bungalow with approx 3290 sq feet of living space! This custom built fully developed Bungalow with loft/bedroom, oversized insulated drywalled garage on a beautiful cul-de-sac in gorgeous Air Ranch of Okotoks has it all! On approx a third of an acre boasts a prof landscaped yard with a variety of trees, plants & flowers. Tiered deck rubber patio and of course the hot tub! This yard is an oasis! Inside is stunning with vaulted ceilings throughout,floor to ceiling windows,2fireplaces one is a 2way, Brazilian cheery hardwood, porcelain tile, air conditioning, on demand hot water, granite, wired sound, ss appliances,ceramic counter stove. The master suite is very open & private,the Ensuite is elegant with granite counters, soaker tub & oversized shower. Lower level is an entertainers dream with full bar, huge family room, sports room, extra bedrm, work out room, pool table area. There is too much to mention it's a must see! 1 4sale sign is shared for two properties
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CALGARY — New home prices in the Calgary region continued to rise in May, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal agency reported Thursday, in its New Housing Price Index, that prices in the Calgary census metropolitan area were up 0.3 per cent from April. Prices were also up 0.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis.

Nationally, the NHPI rose by 0.3 per cent and prices were up 2.4 per cent from May 2011.

“The metropolitan regions of Toronto and Oshawa, and Calgary were the top contributors to the increase in May. The impact of these regions on the overall index was slightly offset by the decrease observed in Victoria,” said Statistics Canada.

“In Toronto and Oshawa as well as in Calgary, the rise in prices was predominantly explained by market conditions.”

From April to May, the aggregated metropolitan regions of Sudbury and Thunder Bay (1.6 per cent) posted the largest monthly price advance, followed by Toronto and Oshawa and by Regina (both 0.5 per cent), said the federal agency.

The most significant monthly price declines were recorded in Victoria (0.8 per cent) and Charlottetown (0.4 per cent).

The largest year-over-year price increases were recorded in Toronto and Oshawa (5.5 per cent), Winnipeg (4.4 per cent) and Regina (4.3 per cent).

Among the 21 metropolitan regions surveyed, three posted 12-month price declines in May, with Victoria (3.2 per cent) recording the largest decrease.

Earlier this week, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., said housing starts in the Calgary CMA totalled 1,184 units in June, compared with 719 units in June 2011. In the first half of the year, total housing starts in the Calgary CMA increased to 7,044 units, up 99.5 per cent from the 3,530 units for the same period last year.

“After six months, both single-detached and multi-family starts have risen from the previous year. Low mortgage rates, full-time employment gains, positive migration flows, and a more balanced resale market have contributed to the demand for new homes,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for the CMHC.

Single-detached starts increased 18 per cent to 531 units in June, up from 450 units in the previous year. To the end of June, single-detached starts in the Calgary CMA rose 20 per cent to 2,830 units from a year earlier. Multi-family starts, which include semi-detached units, rows, and apartments, totalled 653 units in June, up from 269 in June 2011. After six months, builders have started 4,214 multi-family units in the Calgary CMA, an increase from the 1,118 over the same period in 2011.

Also this week, the Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast showed varied year-over-year resale house price increases in Calgary.

In the second quarter, detached bungalows posted the largest average year-over-year price increases, rising five per cent to $432,322. Prices for standard two-storey homes rose a modest 2.5 per cent year-over-year to $425,456. Standard condominiums declined slightly by 0.8 per cent year-over-year to $247,056.

“Despite the recent changes to mortgage lending rules, mortgage rates and packages still remain very attractive to buyers at all levels,” said Ted Zaharko, broker and owner of Royal LePage Foothills. “Market activity has increased approximately 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2011 and we are seeing every type of buyer making purchases.”

According to Royal LePage, by the end of 2012, average house prices in Calgary are expected to increase 6.5 per cent. Market activity is forecast to be the strongest in Canada with 2012 unit sales expected to rise 18.0 per cent higher than they were in 2011.

 

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com



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CALGARY — Demand for high-quality commercial office space continues to outpace supply in Calgary, says a report released Thursday by TD Economics.

The report said the trend will persist into 2013 as there are only a handful of office projects currently under construction in the city.

It said about 40 per cent of the world’s publicly-traded energy companies have their headquarters set up in Calgary and about two-thirds of the downtown office space is occupied by energy firms.

“With crude oil prices staying firm throughout much of last year, all property classes recorded an improvement in conditions and higher transaction volumes,” said TD Economics. “Each class was also benefiting from the cyclical rebound in economic and employment growth that ensued following the recession.”

It said lower office vacancy trends have been noted at a time when absorption in square feet comes in close to two million on an annual basis. There has also been a shift to quality – at the end of 2011, the vacancy rate for Class AAA properties sat at just 0.2 per cent.

“Calgary has created 44,000 net new jobs since January 2010, one of the best employment showings in Canada,” said the report. “The labour climate serves as a good indicator of office demand and helps explain why levels are robust.”

 

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com



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Please visit our Open House at 15 MILLER BAY in OKOTOKS.
Open House on Saturday, July 7, 2012 1:00 pm Open house Saturday July 7, 1:00-4:00
**OPEN HOUSE SAT JULY 7 1:00-4:00**Ultimate Bungalow with approx 3290 sq feet of living space! This custom built fully developed Bungalow with loft/bedroom, oversized insulated drywalled garage on a beautiful cul-de-sac in gorgeous Air Ranch of Okotoks has it all! On approx a third of an acre boasts a prof landscaped yard with a variety of trees, plants & flowers. Tiered deck rubber patio and of course the hot tub! This yard is an oasis! Inside is stunning with vaulted ceilings throughout,floor to ceiling windows,2fireplaces one is a 2way, Brazilian cheery hardwood, porcelain tile, air conditioning, on demand hot water, granite, wired sound, ss appliances,ceramic counter stove. The master suite is very open & private,the Ensuite is elegant with granite counters, soaker tub & oversized shower. Lower level is an entertainers dream with full bar, huge family room, sports room, extra bedrm, work out room, pool table area. There is too much to mention it's a must see! 1 4sale sign is shared for two properties
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