This according to Urban Analytics, a market research and advisory firm that tracks the multi-family sectors in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Total multi-family sales through Calgary’s new home market increased 11 per cent between Dec. 1, 2016, and the end of this past February, compared to the same period a year ago, says the firm. Activity also grew five per cent from the previous quarter.
Urban Analytics is actively following 126 condo and townhome projects in Calgary. Managing principal Michael Ferreira says the firm focuses on developments with 15 units or more.
“Compared to how we saw the latter part of 2016 finish, we are pleasantly surprised at how the market has come out of the gates in 2017,” says Ferreira. “Particularly in the concrete sector, we’ve seen very little new product added to the market over the last 12 to 18 months,” he adds.
In downtown Calgary alone, it’s been 18 months since a new condo development was brought to market, says the firm. From Dec. 1 to the end of February, there were 95 sales of apartment-style condos through concrete developments in Calgary alone, up from 72 year over year. This also marked a step up from 74 deals in the previous quarter.
“We saw some increased demand in that sector, which is always promising, because that’s generally driven, in part, by investor buyers. And if investors aren’t feeling confident about a certain market, then they just won’t buy, and that’s been the case over the previous 12 months,” Ferreira says. “But the fact that they’re back in the market, and certainly not dominating the market by any means, but they’re active participants, indicates that there is some growing confidence in the market and reason to be optimistic about the new multi-family market there, moving forward.”
For wood frame condo developments in Calgary, there were 254 sales in the most recent quarter, up from 208 year over year, says Urban Analytics. Between Sept. 1 and the end of November 2016, the previous three-month span, the segment had 261 sales.
Meanwhile, Calgary’s townhome sales from the most recent quarter rose to 195 transactions from 186 year over year. The past three months of data were also up from the previous quarter, which had 181 sales on the books, says Urban Analytics. Ferreira says buyers in the wood frame condo and townhome sectors typically “like to see what they’re buying.”
“So we’ve seen more projects built on spec and completing prior to marketing campaigns launching,” he says. “What you tend to see is a bit of a spike in standing inventory levels, so the completed and unsold units, as these projects complete,” he adds. “But then as the marketing campaign launches, and we see some sales occurring in them, we start to see those numbers come off again.”
Ferreira says the woodframe condo and townhome sectors in new communities belonging to the “outer south and outer north” ends of the city are part of a competitive market. “If you’re a buyer and you’re looking in those neighbourhoods, it’s a pretty good time to be looking, because I think there’s some good selection and good value to be had.”