CALGARY - The sale of luxury homes remains a "bright spot" in Calgary's real estate market with sales in the high-end market booming.
The Re/Max Market Trends Report Fall 2010, released Tuesday, said year-to-date (until the end of August) sales of homes over $1 million surged 25 per cent ahead of 2009 levels - 242 units versus 194 units - "as buyers take advantage of the current window of opportunity."
Christina Hagerty, a realtor with Re/Max Realty Professionals, said inner-city realtors were extremely busy running around making deals in August - "like chickens with our heads cut off."
"I was probably writing a deal every second to third day," she said.
"I've had at least two of my own competing offers in the last 10 days. They're not competing above list but they are competing nonetheless. So what we're feeling right now is I think with the resurgence of the oil industry ... people are coming for the jobs, they're looking and they're starting to buy and they realize that with the price adjustments they're picking up (properties)."
With interest rates low and the price adjustments, Hagerty said, people are investing in real estate.
"Without question Calgary is leading the nation and they feel the confidence here again. The people who are buying are not speculating. They realize they need a home and either they're paying somebody else's mortgage or they're paying their own," she said.
The Re/Max report said that in Calgary metro the average residential MLS sale price year-to-date for the first eight months was $411,233, up 5.9 per cent from $388,302 registered for the same period in 2009.
"This has been pulled up by the strength of the upper end, as well as the fact that more homes sold at the lower end of the spectrum one year ago," said the report.
Sales in Calgary, however, have dropped by 12.6 per cent compared with a year ago. For the first eight months of this year, there have been 12,511 MLS sales in the city compared with 14,317 for the same period in 2009.
"After four months of hesitation and month-over-month declines in activity, homebuyers in Calgary are finally showing signs of renewed confidence," said the report. "While some concerns still exist about sluggish economic growth in Canada and the U.S., buyers who are moving forward have been enticed by lower prices, greater selection, favourable borrowing conditions, and a healthier outlook for the future."
The Re/Max report said affordability has kept the condo segment slightly more buoyant with sales down just under 10 per cent year-to-date versus an almost 14 per cent decline in the single-family home category.
It said the median price for single-gamily homes in the Calgary metro area was $387,000 year-to-date, down six per cent from $412,500 in 2009 while the median price for condos was $258,000, down four per cent from $269,000 from last year.
"Conditions are firming up in Calgary and buyers are starting to take notice," said the Re/Max report. "The market is expected to remain steady going forward, in line with the healthier September momentum, closing some of the gap between year-over-year sales. Ultimately, sales will remain off 2009 figures, but average price will level out and post a modest gain."
Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial in Calgary, said the ratio of unsold homes on the market in September to sales is still well within the buyers' market territory but it did move slightly closer to a balanced market."
Article obtained from Calgary Herald website:
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