Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Calgary Best Performing Real Estate Market in Canada

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

CALGARY — Calgary was the only major Canadian market to see a year-over-year rise in MLS residential sales in December as the national market plunged and the city finished 2012 with the best annual sales growth in the country, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

In releasing a report Tuesday, the association’s data indicated Calgary MLS sales in December of 1,343 were up 7.2 per cent from December 2011 while Canada saw a decline of 17.4 per cent to 20,538 sales.

The average sale price in Calgary in December rose by 6.9 per cent from last year to $419,811 while Canada’s average jumped by 1.6 per cent to $352,787.

On an annual basis, Calgary sales of 26,634 were up 18.6 per cent year-over-year while they fell by 1.1 per cent throughout the country to 453,372.

The average annual sale price in Calgary rose by 2.3 per cent to $412,315 in 2012. It was up by 0.3 per cent in Canada to $363,740.

“Calgary bucked the national trend in 2012 as the market began to come alive, while others began to enter a long sleep. This occurred because of two main influences,” said Don Campbell, senior analyst and founding partner of the Real Estate Investment Network. “Over the previous three years, Calgary had not over-performed its underlying economic fundamentals like many other major markets across the country, especially Toronto and Vancouver. A lack of new housing being poured into the market also helped to keep the average sale price in check.

“Population growth in Alberta neared a record high in 2012 as many moved here to take advantage of the job growth. This expansion of the number of citizens who call Calgary home, whether temporarily or permanently, put upward pressure on the rental market in the city. This increase in (rents) pushed many into the purchase market and therefore began the upward demand on the home-purchase market. This trend will continue, and inevitably get stronger, in 2013.”

Calgary’s market is showing no signs of letting up in January. According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, month-to-date from January 1-14, there have been 375 MLS sales in the city, up 9.97 per cent from the same period last year while the average sale price has jumped by 11.75 per cent to $428,063.

In December, sales in Alberta fell by 1.9 per cent to 2,855 transactions and the average sale price went up by 4.8 per cent to $363,340. Over the year, sales in Alberta in 2012 rose by 12.3 per cent, the highest of any province, and the average sale price increased by 2.8 per cent to $363,208.

CREA’s Home Price Index in December, of seven major Canadian markets, saw the average benchmark price increase by 3.32 per cent in Canada. Regina led the country with 10.53 per cent growth followed by Calgary at 7.37 per cent.

“Similar to what we saw in September, December sales had fewer business days compared to the same month last year and most other years,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist, about the national picture. “It factored into December’s year-over-year decline in sales activity.”

But he also said that “successive rounds of tightening mortgage regulations have kept the housing market in check during what has become an extended low interest rate environment.”

Sonya Gulati, senior economist with TD Economics, described 2012 as a lacklustre year for the Canadian housing market.

“With the whopping 17.4 per cent year-over-year change in sales seen in December, we suspect that the impacts from the mortgage rule tightening in July are now fully priced in,” she said. “We expect the Canadian housing market to stabilize at current levels over the next few months. When looking at previous mortgage rule tightening episodes, the housing market impacts have been temporary in nature. There is no reason to think that this time will be any different.”

Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, said the Canadian housing market continues to cool.

“While some will focus on the deep dive in sales from a year ago, it looks as though prices are providing a better read on the health of the sector, as homeowners are in no rush sell,” he said. “Prices are easing gently, consistent with a soft landing through much of the country.”

Twitter: MTone123

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Another Calgary condo boom coming? Keynote Urban Village and University City to launch new towers

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

CALGARY — Are we looking at another residential condominium boom in the city?

This weekend two high-profile projects launch sales initiatives on the next phases of their developments to capture the renewed interest in the market.

Keynote Urban Village is opening its doors Saturday to a new show suite for its Residential Tower Two project in the east Beltline area while University City on Saturday and Sunday is having a VIP launch for a select group of people for its Building 3 project at the Brentwood LRT Station.

“Activity in the condo market has been gradually improving. Gains in employment, favourable mortgage rates, and price reductions have attracted buyers to the condo market, especially those looking for their first place. A majority of the condo sales in the city of Calgary were for units less than $300,000,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

“We are also expecting to see more new apartment condominiums break ground in the coming months. There has been an uptick in the number of apartment permits issued, signalling the intention of more activity.”

According to the CMHC August had the highest number of monthly apartment starts since May 2008 with 451 units breaking ground in the Calgary census metropolitan area.

The second Keynote residential tower will be 29 storeys high, and will include 250 suites and a wet spa. Possessions are scheduled for the summer of 2013.

Keynote Urban Village project sales manager Jeannie Elrafie said sales have been surging over the past eight months and that’s “telling us there is an upswing underway in the Calgary real-estate market.”

“We’re getting a lot more demand than we ever were,” she said.

Keynote Urban Village encompasses nearly an entire city block on 1st Street S.E., between 11th and 12th Avenues. The Keynote development already includes the 26-storey Residential Tower One with 179 units, and a 14-storey office tower with featured tenants CH2M Hill and Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc., and about 1,500 employees. It also has 40,000 square feet of retail space, occupied by Sunterra Market, Starbucks, and a full-service RBC Royal Bank branch.

Just last week the city’s subdivision and development appeal board gave the green light for the construction of the first two condo highrises for the University City project.

An invitation for the VIP launch of sales for Building 3 says 400 condos sold in five days for the project’s first two buildings. Sales this weekend are for a select group of clients. A public launch is expected to be announced next week.

The first two towers are 18-storeys each with 216 units in each. The master-planned community will eventually consist of between 600 to 700 residences across from the University of Calgary at the Brentwood LRT station.

The University City website says phases 3 and 4 of the project will consist of 12-14 storey buildings while phase 5 will be four storeys.

Calgary resale homes top $400,000 average

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

CALGARY — The average price of resale homes in Calgary topped $400,000 in August, according to a report released Friday by the Conference Board of Canada.

The board said all residential property sales in the city hit an average of $404,755 during the month, up from $391,497 a year ago.

The seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of sales also jumped to 22,092 from 18,816 in August 2010.

And the annualized rate for new listings has also increased to 44,940 from 43,536.

The board said the sales to new listings ratio in Calgary increased to 0.466 in August from 0.410 a year ago.

The board also forecasts short-term year-over-year price growth of between five to seven per cent for Calgary.

According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, month-to-date up to and including Thursday, there were 740 single-family MLS sales for an average price of $466,754 and 307 condo sales for an average of $302,460.

For the same period in 2010 up to Sept. 22, there were 682 single-family transactions at an average of $467,486 and 258 condo sales for an average price of $280,790.

Calgary to be Canada’s fastest growing CMA by 2012

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
Calgary will once again become Canada’s fastest growing metropolitan area over the next two years, said the Conference Board of Canada.
In its Metropolitan Outlook Winter 2011, the reporter stated “the continued recovery in the energy sector will boost economic growth by 3.7 per cent in 2011 and above four per cent the following year, placing Calgary at the top of the growth leaderboard in 2012.”
Calgary mortgage broker Taz Rajan has already seen this rebound occurring from her own experience with a 30 per cent increase in mortgage business in 2011 over 2010.
“I expect to see a slow and steady growth in mortgage business over the next two years,” Rajan told “I agree that growth in GDP and net migration to Alberta will help the province’s real estate market, and that 2011 and 2012 will be slightly better years for mortgage business than 2009 and 2010. I don’t see any dramatic increases due to the balancing out of strong GDP and migration versus the withdrawal of government stimulus, increased rates and new mortgage guidelines.”
Meanwhile, most of the other 27 census metropolitan areas (CMAs) will be weighed down as the nation’s economic recovery slows. Only Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, London and Sherbrooke anticipate higher real gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year compared to 2010.
“Most Canadian cities rebounded well from the recession,” said Mario Lefebvre, director of Centre for Municipal Studies. “This year, however, a weaker domestic economy, winding down of federal and provincial government stimulus measures, and uncertain economic conditions in the United States will result in stable or lower growth in a majority of cities.”
In 2011, Windsor is expected to have the fastest growing economy with GDP rising 3.9 per cent. Regina’s GDP will grow by 3.5 per cent; Saskatoon by 3.4 per cent and Edmonton by 2.6 per cent.

Housing affordability in Alberta improves, bucks national trend

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Construction of new homes in Auburn Bay S.W.on Monday, January 11.


Construction of new homes in Auburn Bay S.W.on Monday, January 11.

Photograph by: Archive, Calgary Herald

CALGARY – Housing affordability improved in Alberta in the fourth
quarter of last year amid slower economic recovery, compared with other
regions across the country, according to the latest housing report
released today by RBC Economics.

“The downturn in the housing market has created a large surplus of
homes available for sale. This has held back the pace of price
increases in the province since the market rebound took effect,” said
Robert Hogue, senior economist, RBC. “This subdued pace has kept
Alberta’s affordability in check.”

The RBC Affordability measures for Alberta, which capture the
proportion of pre-tax household income needed to service the costs of
owning a home, declined across all housing types in the fourth quarter
of 2009. The measure for the detached bungalow benchmark moved down to
33.7 per cent (a drop of 0.4 percentage points over the previous
quarter), the standard townhouse to 25.8 per cent (down 0.4 percentage
points), the standard condominium to 22.5 per cent (down 0.1 percentage
point) and the standard two-story home to 37.9 per cent (down 0.2
percentage points).

The Calgary housing market continues to be attractive with
affordability measures at or below long-term averages, said RBC. The
strong rebound in resale activity slowed last summer and has reversed
since the fall. However, the tight availability of homes for sale in
Calgary has continued to provide a slight advantage to sellers, moving
housing prices in a slight upward trend, said the report.

“With the exception of townhouses, price gains in the Calgary market
have still been relatively modest and below the highs seen in 2007,”
added Hogue.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Monthly housing starts make big jump in Calgary: survey

Monday, March 8th, 2010
Total housing starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area are up by an incredible amount in February compared with a year ago — an indication of how far the economy had fallen at the beginning of 2009.

Total housing starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area are up by an incredible amount in February compared with a year ago — an indication of how far the economy had fallen at the beginning of 2009.

CALGARY – Total housing starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area are up by an incredible amount in February compared with a year ago — an indication of how far the economy had fallen at the beginning of 2009.

According to preliminary figures released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., total starts reached 743 units last month in the Calgary CMA, up substantially from 206 units in the previous year.

Single-detached starts jumped to 545 units compared with 184 a year ago while multi-family starts hit 198 in February, rising from a meagre 22 in February 2009.

“The year-over-year rise in production (in the single-detached sector) was a bit pronounced as housing starts in the beginning of 2009 were unusually low due to elevated inventories and uncertain economic conditions,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for the CMHC. “With the economy stabilizing, new construction activity is returning to more historical norms with February’s numbers slightly above the 10-year average of 535 units.”

In Alberta’s seven largest centres, there were a total of 1,562 units started in February, compared to 574 units a year earlier.

Read more:

Avalon unveils first Net-Zero home

Monday, March 1st, 2010

At first glance, it looks like any other new home.

Avalon Master Builders’ Discovery 4 House is a quaint two-storey with cedar shakes and stone detailing, an eye-catching crimson door, grey siding and a spacious front deck.

But upon closer inspection, there are other, more unexpected details as well — solar panels on the roof, solar thermal panels framing the windows and a solar thermal balustrade offer just a hint of what this forward-thinking home is all about.

“The Discovery 4 House is the culmination of years of work towards meeting our vision of building Net-Zero homes at no additional cost to consumers by 2015,” says Ryan Scott, Avalon’s CEO.

“This was a really interesting challenge, but once you look around, you’ll see it’s come together really, really well.”

The home — which is currently located on the SAIT campus, but will move to its permanent home in McKenzie Towne this spring — offers not just new technology, but old favourites as well.

The front foyer looks to a sunny dining room at right, where honey-hued maple hardwood comes with a history.

Reclaimed from a school gym in Canmore, the flooring is not only attractive, but eco-friendly.

At the back of the home, an L-shaped kitchen is outfitted with espresso-hued, shaker style cabinetry, along with a central island and corner pantry.

A spacious dining nook, private back entry and convenient laundr y room and half-bath complete the thoughtfully-planned main floor — however, there’s more to this space than meets the eye.

“What you don’t see is the structural insulated panel walls, which give you a much more consistent building envelope,” Scott says.

“It also gives you more than double the insulative properties for the same thickness. We also have triple-pane, low-E, argon-filled windows and LED lights, which are very efficient.”

The same standards apply upstairs, he adds, where environmentally friendly carpeting is plush underfoot, and where two secondary bedrooms, a generous full bath and a welcoming master bedroom await.

With its cosy, attic-inspired feel and a sunny, spacious ensuite, the master bedroom is an inviting space to relax much like the rest of the home.

“The house feels comfortable, like a normal house,” Scott says.

“It’s simple to operate and comfortable to live in.”

And even better, the Net-Zero home creates all the energy it consumes on an annual basis through its innovative use of photovoltaic energy, solar thermal energy and eco-friendly technologies.

But even with the space-age sounding extras, Ald. Bob Hawkesworth says the home is perfectly livable, and serves as a reminder to home buyers of just what’s possible in modern home design.

“One home may seem like a small step, but when you think about it, that’s how real change happens — with one small step,” he says.

“I see not just Calgary’s first Net-Zero home, I see the future it represents.”

FAST FACTS BUILDER: Avalon Master Builder AREA: Currently at SAIT, moving to McKenzie Towne this spring. PRICE: $550,000 including lot, landscaping and double-car garage. DIRECTIONS: Take 16 Ave. to 12 St. N.W. Turn into SAIT campus. Turn right at traffic circle and follow to Discovery 4 House. HOURS: Monday to Thursday, 4 to 8 p.m., weekends and holidays, noon to 5 p.m. CONTACT: For information, visit

Calgary to face ‘very active’ spring housing market as economy improves

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

CALGARY – Calgary will experience a “very active” spring housing market as an improved economic outlook combined with record low interest rates and affordable housing are “fuelling recovery” in residential real estate sales, says a report released today by Re/Max.

“The supply of detached homes is beginning to tighten, with multiple offers becoming more prevalent in hot pockets throughout the city, particularly well-priced, entry-level product,” said the Re/Max Market Trends Report 2010.

“First-time buyers continue to drive the market, looking to take advantage of greater affordability before the window of opportunity closes.”

The report said that while the average price is still off peak 2007 levels it continues its ascent rising seven per cent in the single-family category to $441,217 and four per cent in the condo category to $282,639 over January 2009 levels.

“There has been a notable push by purchasers to get in before predicted interest rate hikes and tighter lending criteria,” said the report. “To that end, buyers are being more cautious in their pursuits, deliberately choosing not to max out debt service ratios, with a trend towards more modest pursuits that can be afforded. The market is picking up at all levels, with move-up buyers increasingly active.”

The Re/Max report, which looked at 16 markets across the country, noticed a sharp decline in active listings. A lack of inventory will be the greatest challenge facing housing markets across Canada this spring, it said.

That, combined with the threat of higher interest rates, tighter lending criteria, and in British Columbia and Ontario the introduction of the new Harmonized Sales Tax, have clearly served to kick-start real estate activity “prompting an unprecedented influx of purchasers.”

“Affordability is the catalyst for the vast majority of purchasers in today’s housing market,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice president for Re/Max of Western Canada. “While homeownership is still within reach in many major centres, levels are slipping. There is a growing sense, on both sides of the fence, that the time to act is now.”

Ash said the real estate market has experienced a 180-degree turnaround from this time last year.

“It’s clear that real estate from coast to coast has roared back to life and markets are once again firing on all cylinders,” said Ash. “The vast majority of markets are now recovered.”

Calgary’s economy to rebound, lead Canada in 2011

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

CALGARY – Calgary’s economy will rebound nicely this year and go on to lead the country starting in 2011, the Conference Board of Canada said Wednesday.

In its annual outlook for the cities, the board forecast Calgary’s economy will grow three per cent this year. That comes after a 2.3 per cent decline in 2009, the first drop in two decades.

“Fortunately, the initial stages of an economic recovery are starting to take hold,” the board said in its winter outlook.

“Both housing demand and prices are on the rebound, whil overall consumer confidence is gaining some upward momentum.”

Retail sales are expected to jump 4.2 per cent this year, the forecast said.

In 2010, Calgary’s economic growth will put it in the middle of the pack at 10th place. Vancouver is expected to lead the group at 4.5 per cent, boosted by the Olympic Games that begin next month.

A full recovery in the oilpatch should help propel Calgary’s economic growth to 4.4 per cent in 2010, the strongest among the provinces, the report noted.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.