PwC: Calgary Remains the Strongest Market In the Country

PW reportThe Canadian real estate market appears poised for another steady year in 2015 according to the new Emerging Trends in Real Estate report released by PwC today.

Calgary remains the strongest market in the country and as a percentage of income, housing here is more affordable than the Canadian average and many other cities. (Pg 6, Exhibit 1-4)

Municipal Government to Blame For Rising Prices

The report goes on to state that getting houses built in Calgary has “become extraordinarily difficult.  There simply isn’t the manpower, and the municipal government’s decision to focus growth in the northeast and southeast of the city is limiting the availability of lots and pushing up prices.  Many housing developers are instead choosing to build outside Calgary in communities such as Airdrie, Chestermere, and Okotoks, which are actively encouraging development.” (Pg 18.)

Richard Goatcher, Economic Analyst at CHBA-Alberta confirms that the data backs PwC’s statement:


Much of Calgary’s economy is natural resource based so the concern for the market is a cyclical downturn and the resulting impact.


If you’re interested in downloading the entire report: click here.


Calgary Luxury Home Sales Break October Record

Calgary’s high-end market continues to break records deep into the year as October sales of $1M+ properties have now eclipsed 2013’s peak for the month.

At the time of writing, a total of 58 properties have sold for at least a million dollars, surpassing last October’s high of 57.

Calgary luxury home sales, October, Y/Y comparison

Calgary luxury home sales, October, Y/Y comparison

With 10 consecutive months of record sales of $1M+ properties, let’s take a look at how the “Ultra-luxury” segment is doing.

Below are two annual charts:  Sales of $2M+ and $3M+ properties.

Year-to-date, 88 homes have sold for at least $2M+, closing in on the annual peak of 100 set in 2013.  At this time last year, the YTD total was 87.

Calgary Ultra-luxury home sales, $2M+, Y/Y comparison

Calgary Ultra-luxury home sales, $2M+, Y/Y comparison

Looking a step higher in the $3M+ range, there have been 24 sales so far this year which is a record high already.

Calgary luxury home sales 3 million - October 2014

Calgary Ultra-luxury home sales, $3M+, Y/Y comparison

Flood Compromises Post-tension Cabling

Article by: CREB® Member Practice and Advocacy

Properties are still recovering from last year’s flood. For condos caught in the flood plain, post-tension cabling could still be compromised more than one year later.

In a recent presentation at the Association of Condominium Managers conference, engineer Anast Demitt, of ADEM Engineering Consultants Inc., warned of the potential risk.

Post-tension cabling provides structural support to buildings by reinforcing concrete slabs typically used in condominium parkades and within occupied residential levels.

In a recent inspection conducted this past summer, a condo parkade level that was submerged during the flood was still water logged one year later.

In his presentation on common and uncommon structural problems in buildings, Demitt reinforced the importance of conducting thorough structural inspections on flood zone condos. Condos buildings that were submerged in the flood should be inspected by structural engineers to reveal any inadequacies and reports should be kept on file within condo documents.

While post-flood structural damages must be considered on a building-by-building basis, the best practice for REALTORS® is to advise potential condominium clients to always undertake a thorough review of the condominium documents. Whether it is with their lawyer, a professional review company or another qualified person, CREB® reinforces the need to review documents before making any purchasing decisions.


Related posts:

Missing Page(s) in Condominium Document Review Package

A review of the documents as a condition of sale for a condominium is a crucial part of the buyer’s due diligence.  It’s the seller that usually provides the buyer with the document package to be reviewed – but as a buyer, you might want to reconsider that.

Read what Lou Pesta, real estate lawyer with Walsh LLP recently experienced:(Incidentally, if you’re looking for a real estate lawyer, I highly recommend Lou)

Last week I was reviewing a set of condominium documents for a prospective buyer. Due to the minutes indicating that some repairs were going to be carried out in 2015 I called the management company to determine whether there were sufficient funds in the Reserve Account to cover the cost.

I was advised that there would, in fact, be a Special Assessment in 2015, 2016 and 2017 which is all apparent on the face of the budget. I responded that I had the budget and there was nothing mentioned about the Special Assessments. The manager told me to pull the Budget from the website, which I did.

The Budget on the website was identical to the one that was provided to me with the condominium package with one exception. The copy provided to me was missing the one page that set out the Special Assessment expectations over the next three years. What a coincidence that it would be the one page with the projected Special Assessments that was lost from my package.

I am saddened to post this discussion as a warning to individuals not to necessarily rely on the “completeness” of documents that are provided as part of the condominium document condition.

Was the missing page an accident or deliberate lack of disclosure?

Either way, it doesn’t appear that this is an isolated incident.  The president of one condo document review company in Alberta wrote that “I see this sort of thing regularly.”

As a buyer, what can you do to protect yourself?

Hire someone who specializes in reviewing condo documents.  They’re usually tuned into the details and will likely be able to sense something is amiss.

If you’re getting the documents from the seller, have them forward the package to you electronically (ie. PDF)   That way there won’t be any “your word against theirs” issues if it came to light that pages were missing.  The documents are either attached in the email or they’re not.

Many property management companies have the documents online for purchase nowadays.   Compare what you received to what the management company has available.  If there are any doubts, purchase the documents yourself directly from the condo management company.

Finally, try to speak to other owners in the complex.  They are a great source and can be more forthcoming with information about any upcoming special assessments or other issues.

Related post:  Neighbors know best

Condo Docs

Check what documents the property management has available and make sure you have them all

October 1-21, 2014 Calgary Real Estate Market Update

If I were to describe Calgary’s real estate market as “robust”, “exhibiting strength”, with “tight” conditions – would you get the sense I was alarmed or worried?

Today, the Bank of Canada released October’s Monetary Policy Report which touches on the housing market on page 22 & 23.

Apparently to the Globe & Mail, the adjectives used at the outset of this post indicate that the Bank of Canada has “suddenly raised red flags about the Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver housing markets.

Aside from the click-bait title, here’s the portion in the Globe article I had an issue with:

“In its monetary policy report today, the central bank said housing markets in eastern Canada “appear to show signs consistent with a soft landing,” given slower price increases and sales volumes.

But here’s the crucial line: “This contrasts with major cities in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, where housing markets are generally robust and much tighter.”

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and his colleagues did not say Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver were necessarily heading for a hard landing, but the distinction was noteworthy, nonetheless.”

Since when is the opposite of a soft landing a hard landing?  The Bank of Canada was describing the regional differences and that some markets were still climbing.  Ro·bust (rōˈbəst,ˈrōˌbəst/) adjective  1. strong and healthy; vigorous.

In the original Globe & Mail story that I took a screen capture of here, the article conveniently omitted the following statement from the Bank of Canada that explains:  “a good part of the strength can be explained by favourable demographics and strong employment gains in parts of the country.”  The Bank of Canada continues by adding that “nonetheless suggests that household imbalances could increase further.”

We’ve been hearing about household imbalances for years now, but the part that the housing market’s strength in areas (ie. Alberta with its strong employment gains) has fundamental support is what’s noteworthy.   Furthermore, there wasn’t even one specific mention of Calgary, Vancouver or Toronto in the Bank of Canada report at all.

I tweeted my annoyance to the Globe author for skipping the perhaps most relevant detail from the report because it didn’t fit the narrative.    I have to give him credit – he has now updated the article to include it and the following caveat: “The central bank did not cite specific cities. Nor did it say they were headed for trouble. But I took it as a warning sign.”

(Update: The article has been edited and parts rewritten once again.)

A little disconcerting that so much of that article was based on opinion/bias rather than just reporting on what the Bank of Canada actually wrote.

When reading news (or even my blog posts for that matter) I urge you to read the reports the articles are based on so you have the complete picture and not just a cherry-picked interpretation of it.   What I find important and highlight in my posts might not be what you do.   That’s why I always link to the full bank commentary or report for you to read through yourself and come to your own conclusions.

Alright, with that out of the way – onto the weekly update :)  Sales in Calgary through three weeks are robust but are no longer on track for beating 2005’s record for October.

Helping ease the pressure of the 9.85% y/y increase in sales are new listings which have jumped 16.64%.  Even with the hike in new listings and 733 additional homes for sale compared to this time last year, the overall market is at a 71% sales-to-new-listings ratio which indicates conditions still favor sellers.

Average and median prices are both up over 5% year-over-year with most of the gains attributed to the single family segment.


Sales-to-new-listings-ratio October 21 2014

Calgary home sales , Oct 1-21, Y/Y comparison

Calgary home sales , Oct 1-21, Y/Y comparison

Calgary luxury home sales, October 1-21, Y/Y comparison

Calgary luxury home sales, October 1-21, Y/Y comparison

Calgary real estate stats summary, October 1-21, Y/Y comparison

Calgary real estate stats summary, October 1-21, Y/Y comparison (click to enlarge)

Calgary’s Luxury Home Market Breaks Annual Sales Record

A total of 732 properties have sold for $1 million or more so far this year, breaking the year-end record of 726 set in 2013.   Luxury sales year-to-date represent 3.3% of the homes sold on MLS® compared to 3.1% in 2013 and 2.4% in 2012 during the same period.

Calgary luxury home sales have set a new monthly record every month so far this year with an all-time high of 104 sales in June.

Bear in mind that these sales records are despite two direct measures taken by CMHC at buyers of $1M+ properties.  The first was two years when CMHC stopped insuring mortgages on homes worth $1M+ if the buyer didn’t have at least a 20% down payment.  The second measure was enacted at the end of July when CMHC stopped offering mortgage insurance for homes that cost $1M+ altogether, even if the buyer made a deposit of 20% or more.

Calgary Luxury Homes Sales, Y/Y Comparison

Calgary Luxury Homes Sales By Year.  2014 sales only YTD.

Calgary Community Real Estate Statistics: September 2014

Calgary Zone Map (click to enlarge)

Calgary Zone Map

McKenzie Towne was far and away the most active community during September with a total of 64 properties changing hands, followed by Connaught (51), Cranston (43), Tuscany (41), Bridlewood (40), Coventry Hills (39),  and Panorama Hills (38).

Through nine months, there have been 607 sales in McKenzie Towne. The next highest YTD sales total was Cranston with 422 and Evergreen with 418.

To download the Calgary Community Real Estate Statistics for September 2014: click here pdf

Historical Community Statistics

Historical statistics are now available at the community level going back to 2007 for monthly, or to 2004 by quarter.   You’ll be able to see how your neighborhood has been trending over the years instead of relying on general market statistics based on all of Calgary.

For example, here’s a snapshot for West Hillhurst total:

West Hillhurst monthly statistics

Snapshot of what data is included in the community report

If you’d like the most recent report, please fill in the form below with your name, email address and the community of your choice. This part isn’t automated, so please allow for some time for me to download the report and send it to you.

Contact me at 403-554-2284 for at when you’re ready to buy or sell real estate and I would be glad to assist you.