Calgary Trumps Chicago in Real Estate Survey List

Posted by Alan Zunec on Thursday, May 8th, 2014 at 12:36pm.

The last data from Statistics Canada concerning the number of people that have migrated to the Calgary area dates back to July of 2013.  In the 12 months before that date 45,168 people moved to the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area. And they are still coming and still very interesting in buying homes.

This past winter in Calgary was particularly brutal, but those home buyers were out looking. 2014 is already shaping up to be a banner year. With 30 percent fewer homes listed, the market is strongly favoring the sellers. That means higher prices, multiple offers and in some cases bidding wars.

In January of this year 2,393 homes were listed, a 4 percent drop from January of 2013. February with its 2,711 listings and March with 3,319 both saw slight increases. Things are still expected to stay in the seller’s market zone. Listings are only staying on the market for an average of 34 days. Total listings in the MLS® system at the end of March numbered 3,233, which is 19 percent lower than the same time period in 2013.

In a way the multiple offer scenario is making things even tighter. People are reluctant to list their properties until they find a replacement home. That keeps new inventory from getting onto the market. Analysts predict that even if the inbound migration stabilizes somewhat the home market will remain hot.  The Calgary Census Metropolitan Area is now home to over one million people. Current housing inventory, both for rentals and for sale, are just not keeping up with the demand.

The rental market is looking at vacancies flirting with the one percent mark. That means higher rents, driving more people to consider home ownership. Not easy when the average home price in Calgary as of the end of March was $489,918. That is a 5 percent increase over the same time last year. Interest rates are still low, helping to make it a bit easier to buy, but compounding the inventory issue.

All of this enthusiasm for property helped Calgary’s real estate market to climb to the number 3 spot in a world study of global markets. They share that distinction with Vancouver and Toronto that also placed well on that list. The company behind the study, Grosvenor in Britain, noted that cities in Canada do well because they are well planned and have good municipal governments. In Calgary’s case, the migration factor, which includes global migration, helped give that city such a high ranking.

The three Canadian cities also edged out Chicago, which came in at 4th place. Beating out one of the United States’ largest cities is quite the accomplishment. It would be interesting to hang out in a Chicago deep-dish pizzeria and see what the locals have to say about that.

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