Calgarians move into luxury housing market

by Olivia D'Orazio25 Sep 2014
Booming industry and low interest rates are driving more and more Calgarians into the luxury housing market.

“I think part of what is happening in the market with Calgary is there are a lot of people relocating here because of the jobs and opportunities,” Julie Dempsey, a Realtor with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, tells REP.

“So prices increase because of supply and demand, pushing people up the bracket.”

The city experienced a 35.9 per cent year-over-year increase in the number of homes sold for more than $1 million in August, for a total of 87 properties. The first seven months of the year also showed a strong gain in the luxury market, with 11.3 per cent more homes sold in the $1 million-plus bracket than in the first seven months of 2013.

“As long as rates stay low, it makes it a lot more affordable,” Dempsey says. “I think that’s why banks are expecting bigger down payments, just to make sure that it is a real market.”

With a thriving luxury home market in Calgary, several developers and Realtors are targeting that high-end clientele.

One Vancouver-based developer, for example, is building The Concord in Calgary’s prestigious Eau Claire district. Billed as Calgary’s most luxurious condominium complex, the waterfront building has suites starting at $1 million for a 1,050-square-foot home, and going up to $13 million for a 6,000-square-foot penthouse suite, which is also outfitted with a four-car garage and a private patio that can host 300 people.

“The offering just came to market recently,” says Dempsey, who is selling The Concord. “But the trend is that they’re selling from the top down, so some of our most expensive homes are selling fastest. At The Concord, we’re positioned as the go-to for luxury.”

Meanwhile, Sotheby’s is taking its high-end clients even higher, offering private jet or helicopter rides over luxury properties.

While Dempsey, who mainly sells in the more metropolitan areas of Calgary, doesn’t take advantage of the service, she said it is especially useful when touring large estates with lots of land.

“It’s easier [for potential buyers] to assess the property,” she says.

Despite the extravagance, Dempsey says the luxury housing market is achievable for many Calgarians.

“There are a lot of people in the city who make a lot of good money and if they come from a property that has increased in value in the last 10 years, it’s easy to move up,” she says. “If you have a lot of equity in your home, you can move up into something more luxurious.”

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