Calgary resale homes among most buyer-friendly in Canada per square foot

Tuesday, September 17, 2019   /   by Sergey Korostensky

Calgary resale homes among most buyer-friendly in Canada per square foot

A new study on real estate suggests buyers in the city are getting more bang for their dollar per square foot of space than other major centres in Canada.

A recent report from Royal LePage found Calgary and surrounding area has among the lowest cost per square foot for resale homes and condominiums among Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa.

Single-family homes, for example, in Calgary proper had an average price of $310 per square foot with Greater Calgary coming in at $302 per square foot as of the end of July. Both are down more than six per cent from the same period last year.

By contrast single-family homes in Vancouver had a cost of $1,279 per square foot, while Toronto the cost was $747.

Of the five cities surveyed, only Ottawa and Greater Montreal had lower costs per square foot than Calgary. (Royal LePage did not provide data for Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax and other mid-sized cities.)

The fact Calgary is now a value market for resale homes comes as no surprise to Dawn Herron Maser, realtor with Royal LePage Benchmark in the city.

“We absolutely are one of the more affordable major cities in Canada on a square foot basis.”

Although a buyers’ market for single-detached, she notes the market is even more favourable for buyers seeking a condominium on the resale market.

“A big part of its competition is the new build market,” she says. “A rise in new listings from the resale side, paired with competition from the new builds, are definitely making things more challenging for condo sellers.”

While tough for sellers, buyers are sitting pretty with plenty of selection and, as the report points out, great value for their dollar.

The average price per square foot in both in Calgary and surrounding area was $313 for condominiums at the end of July this year, also down about six per cent from the previous year.

By comparison, Vancouver’s average condominium cost was $1,044 per square foot Toronto’s market was $839 per square foot.

When asked about where the market is heading, Herron Maser says sales are picking up in for the condominium segment. “Right now in our apartment sector, for the second month in a row, sales activity improved,” she says, pointing to July and August.

The problem is new listings are outpacing sales, and the months of supply remain “elevated,” she says.

Still, optimism is taking hold.

“We’re really hoping to be moving toward that balanced, stabilized market but based on where we’ve been in the last few years, it will take us a while to crawl out of this.”

Herron Maser’s advice for buyers is to get pre-approved by a mortgage broker to find out what they can afford. The past two years have been one of adjustment for many buyers — especially first-timers — with the federal government stress test rules and Bank of Canada hiking interest rates making borrowing more costly.

But the central bank recently announced it would hold rates steady, and many would-be buyers have had time to adjust to the stress test. As well, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. program — the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive — that provides no-interest loans up to five per cent of the value of a resale home launched this month, which should generate more interest.

All this points to an opportunity, Herron Maser says.

“This is a great time to be buying.”
Source: Calgary Herald