New Condominums in Calgary on a Rise

Photo by Stephen Rees
Photo by Stephen Rees

According to the Altus Group report on residential housing, Calgary’s condo market started to revive in January 2011. The condo market, which was impeded and stagnating at its bottom only a year ago, is beginning to pop up as new opportunities arise. The success of the planned University City project at the Brentwood Village Shopping Centre led the consulting company to believe that building condominiums with access to LRT is a growing business. The first two phases of the project were a major success, with two 18-storey towers consisting of 216 units each sold out in a few days.

The surroundings of LRT stations offer great opportunities for developers: transit-oriented development can attract buyers if it’s well-designed and has a reasonable price for the area. As Altus Group said, “There should be opportunities for transit-oriented development in cities with existing and/or planned LRT lines.”

The condo market was rather chaotic in 2010, with a stronger first quarter, shrinking second and third quarters, and a better fourth quarter, mainly thanks to the opening of the University City project. There were 1,500 condominium units sold in Calgary in 2010, which was a significant improvement from the 600 units recorded in 2009. 15 buildings were launched in 2010, compared with the 6 in 2009.

If the developers continue to offer attractively priced units in premium locations, the condo market in Calgary should continue to recover. Only about 1,800 units of the 6,300 total remained unsold by the end of 2010, and these are equally split between high-rise and low-rise.

The resale market in 2010 was weaker, though, with MLS condo transactions going down by almost 18.13 per cent from the numbers documented in 2009. The market continued a weaker trend in January 2011 when only 302 sales took place, which were down almost 20 per cent from the 376 sales in January 2010.

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