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Is Calgary Outgrowing Its Small City Roots?

Is Calgarys Real Estate Market Outgrowing its Small City Roots

Navigating the Dynamic Calgary Real Estate Market: Insights from the Experts

As we delve into the intricate world of Calgary real estate, it’s fascinating to witness how the city’s market is evolving, mirroring the patterns of major urban centers across Canada and North America. In a recent engaging discussion, Josh Tagg and Bryon Howard shed light on this transformation, revealing trends that are shaping the future of property ownership in Calgary.

The Shift in Housing Preferences

Back in early 2022, detached homes dominated Calgary’s real estate sales, accounting for 58% of the total. Fast forward to the end of 2023, and the landscape has shifted dramatically. Detached home sales have dipped to just above 40%, a substantial change indicating a new direction for the market. Interestingly, this shift isn’t supplanted by an increase in townhouses or half-duplexes but rather by a rise in condominium apartments.

This change in housing preference is a sign of Calgary’s maturity as a city. With a population now exceeding 1.5 million, Calgary is witnessing a trend common in large cities—initial home purchases are more frequently apartments or condos. These serve as stepping stones, allowing new entrants to the property market to build equity and potentially upgrade to larger homes later.

calgary property sales by type of structure

Impact of Economic and Policy Changes

The market’s dynamics are also influenced by broader economic factors, particularly the Bank of Canada’s interest rate adjustments. In early 2022, there was a sharp increase in interest rates, nearly 5% up from their low point. This led to a significant decrease in demand and an initial surge in inventory as homeowners rushed to sell. However, by early 2023, the market adjusted, with inventory levels stabilizing and sales activity showing resilience.

property sales vs inventory in calgary

The Present Market Scenario

As of late 2023 and heading into 2024, the market has witnessed a fascinating trend: almost every new listing sells, indicating an extremely high absorption rate. The strength of the apartment condo market is particularly noteworthy, with robust growth, especially in two-bedroom units. This trend is expected to continue as we venture deeper into 2024.

Advice for Buyers and Sellers

For buyers, the current market underscores the importance of having pre-approvals and financing in place. In a fast-moving market, delays in financing can mean missing out on desired properties. For sellers, understanding the current demand and pricing accordingly is key. Realtors emphasize the need for strategic pricing, ensuring that properties are attractive to the influx of buyers.

A Look at Affordability

Despite significant transformations in Calgary’s real estate landscape, affordability remains a key feature, especially within the condominium sector. The market’s adjustment from a predominance of detached homes to a more diverse array of housing options, including condos, has opened up new avenues for homeownership. Notably, the benchmark prices for condos in Calgary, which currently hover around the $300,000 mark, make them an attractive option for first-time buyers and those seeking more budget-friendly living solutions.

This shift towards more affordable housing is not just a response to market demands but also reflects the changing lifestyle preferences of Calgary’s residents. The trend towards condo living aligns with a growing desire for properties that offer convenience, lower maintenance, and proximity to urban amenities. These factors are particularly appealing to young professionals, small families, and downsizing retirees who prioritize accessibility and ease of living over the space offered by traditional detached homes.

Moreover, the condo market in Calgary presents an array of choices, from high-rise buildings in the bustling city center to quieter, low-rise units in suburban neighborhoods. This variety ensures that potential homeowners can find a property that fits not just their budget but also their lifestyle preferences.

In addition to the lower purchase price, condos often come with the added advantage of lower ongoing maintenance costs compared to detached homes. This can be particularly appealing to those who are budget-conscious or do not wish to invest time and resources into extensive property upkeep.

The Calgary real estate market’s commitment to affordability, especially in the condo segment, demonstrates a forward-thinking approach to housing. It acknowledges the diverse needs of its residents, offering solutions that balance cost, convenience, and quality of life. As the city continues to grow and evolve, its ability to provide affordable, high-quality housing options will be crucial in attracting and retaining a vibrant and diverse population.

Final Thoughts

The Calgary real estate market is a dynamic and evolving landscape, reflecting the city’s growth and the changing preferences of its residents. For those looking to navigate this market, whether as buyers or sellers, staying informed and adaptable is crucial. With expert insights like those from Josh Tagg and Bryon Howard, understanding the trends and making informed decisions becomes a more achievable goal.

As the market continues to evolve, staying updated and engaging with knowledgeable professionals will be key to successfully navigating the exciting world of Calgary real estate.



Josh Tagg has been the owner of Mortgages For Less since 2006. During that time Josh has developed a reputation for being an industry leader and advocate for client education.


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