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Calgary Condo Market

CALGARY — Calgary’s development as a major metropolitan centre is fuelling a growing desire for an urban lifestyle which is spiking condo sales in the market.

According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, MLS condo sales continued to rise in the month of May.

“Tighter mortgage rules affected what buyers could afford to purchase in the Calgary market,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB’s chief economist. “And while the majority of buyers are purchasing single-family homes, the attractive price point has improved demand for condominiums.”

In May, there were 413 MLS condo apartment sales, up 6.99 per cent from last year, and the average sale price rose by 11.93 per cent to $313,425. The condo townhouse category saw sales jump by 26.74 per cent to 365 with an average sale price of $340,889, up 3.17 per cent from last year.

As a comparison, single-family home sales of 1,766 for May represented a 3.46 per cent hike from a year ago and the average sale price hit a record of $521,887 which was up 4.03 per cent from last year.

According to Michael Ward, vice-president of Grosvenor in Calgary, Calgary’s urban condo market will persist despite the vast inventory coming to the market in future months and years.

“As Calgary continues to experience above average population growth and the downtown office market expands rapidly, residential density in the urban core is becoming increasingly important,” said Ward. “In the past, Calgarians had a preference for suburban living, but as the city expands and further develops into a major metropolitan centre, there’s a growing desire for the convenience that comes with an urban lifestyle.”

Grosvenor and Cressey Development Group are proposing to build 24-storey and 18-storey towers, comprising 319 units, at the corner of 5th Avenue and 10th Street S.W. The developers are hoping to start construction either late this year or in early 2014 with possible first occupancy in 2016.

Grosvenor is also building the Drake tower in the Beltline . Construction will be completed there in October.

According to a housing report by the AltusGroup, new condo apartment sales in Calgary were down just slightly in the first quarter of this year compared with last year. New sales this year for the quarter were 829. They were 919 last year.

“The key to continued strong sales will be the ability of the market to bring on more affordable apartment options,” said the report. “Starts were down, but are expected to pick up somewhat over the remainder of the year. Inventories in the resale market remain tight which, along with still strong demand, is boosting prices for existing condominiums.”

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