International investors have their sights trained on Canada’s luxury home market. Buyers from the United States, Russia, China, India and the Middle East are snapping up properties in the $1 million and above categories in near-record rates. Combine this with domestic interest and Calgary has experienced a 67 percent increase in these types of home sales comparing the first half of 2013 with the last half of 2012. This trend is expected to continue throughout the fall.
Mike Fotiou, a Calgary broker with First Place Realty, noted that sales of luxury homes in August broke the 2007 record with a third of that month still remaining. By the 19th of August the city saw 42 homes in the $1 million plus category change hands. In August of 2007, 38 such sales were made by that date.
Calgary’s real estate market as a whole has been booming. The healthy employment market keeps drawing more and more people to the city and they all need a place to live. Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s recent report put it another way. For each 300 square feet of office space made available in the city, another person comes to town to fill that space. That person will also need to rent or buy another bit of space to live.
Downtown Calgary is attracting a large number of executives who are expecting and receiving high salaries. That means more people wanting to get into the luxury home market. That ties in nicely with the trend outlined by First Place Realty and other studies. During this past year, up until September 9, the Calgary Real Estate Board noted that 543 sales in the $1 million plus category were completed. By the same time last year 375 homes in this category were sold. Throughout all of 2012 a record 544 of such properties changed hands.
The city still has well over three months to go, so that former record is expected to be left in the dust. According to the report generated by Sotheby’s, sales of high end properties is expected to accelerate during the remainder of 2013. This is particularly true in Canada’s major metropolitan areas, including Calgary and Alberta as a whole. Elsewhere in the country areas such as Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto are expecting to perform well, particularly with increased international interest.
Even though Calgary and Edmonton attribute much of this economic growth to the gas and oil industry, other business types are emerging. Some of these businesses are support industries for the energy field but other are simply springing up because they are needed, and wanted. People with good salaries not only want nice homes, they want nice things to put in those homes. They can afford high-end electronic gadgets, designer furnishings and all the other perks that money can bring. That means high-end cars, upscale vacations and even second homes. Each of those needs and/or wants is an opportunity for a business to set up shop in Calgary, and enterprising individuals are not hesitating to do so.