Condo market more ‘balanced’
While the number of Calgary condo units under construction is still high, it is down nearly half from a year ago — and that’s good news for consumers, says a federal agency.
“The market has been stronger and it has improved since the first quarter,” says Lai Sing Louie, senior market analyst for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
He is currently into strategic sessions to review, and possibly revise, forecasts for the fall market.
The construction pace sits at 5,922 units, down 44 per cent from a year ago, and resale housing “has definitely improved so that in many price levels, it’s pretty much a balanced market,” he says.
Meanwhile, higher-priced units in both resale and new multifamily units have lagged behind demand, he says.
“There are still some supply issues there, but last month, 88 per cent of the units under construction that were completed were absorbed,” says Louie.
The demand for multi-family homes is highest in the price range below $450,000, he says. “A lot of the new units (especially in highrises) are above that, so it is a thin market.”
But in turn, many of the condo developers in the highrise market have reduced prices to kick-start that sector of sales, especially in the innercity Beltline area.
Popular with buyers because of its location, the Beltline consists of the neighbourhoods of Connaught and Victoria Park.
It is bounded by the downtown and Canadian Pacific Railway tracks at 9th Avenue South to the north, 17th Avenue to the south, 14th Street S.W. to the west, and the Elbow River to the east.
It is the site of many highrise developments either built in the last couple of years, currently under construction or planned.
“The new product has to be priced competitively and sales are happening,” says Louie.
“The market is strengthening and the prices should bring in some demand.”
That has spurred interest in the inner city, says Marlene Swinton, realtor with Re/Max Realty Professionals, who specializes in multi-family units near the core.
“Now that the units are realistically priced, it is a very smart investment,” she says.
“The market is fairly settled now and we are getting quite a lot of showings if the units are priced right. Under $400,000 is attractive and, certainly, interest is keen on any under $350,000.”
It’s all about the area, says a Calgary mother who, along with her husband, recently bought a two-bedroom unit in the area for her two daughters who are currently going to school in the U.S.
“They will be back at some point and we wanted to help them,” says Debbie Eloschuk. “A lot of our friends have helped their kids get started, whether by giving them a down payment or buying a unit outright.”
That has become more important as prices have risen, says Swinton.
She is now selling condos in La Rive, a 33-unit building in the Mission district adjacent to the Beltline — just off the trendy shops and services along 4th Street S.W. on 25th Avenue — where Eloschuk bought the twobedroom unit.
“It’s a smart investment for parents,” says Swinton. “What the parents would be paying for rent anyway is now going toward the mortgage.”
Additionally, with record-low mortgage rates, the opportunity couldn’t be better.
As always, it’s all about where the development is situated. “The location is vital and a key when choosing a property,” Debbie and Dale Eloschuk.
The Eloschuks bought a two-bedroom condo unit in the inner city for their two daughters, who are currently in post-secondary schools in the U.S. The condo project, La Rive, is a 33-unit building in Mission backing onto the Elbow River near the trendy 4th Street S.W. shops and amenities. “It beats renting,” says Debbie, adding that friends have opted to help their children get started in their own lives, either buying a home or putting a down payment on a house or condo. says Eloschuk. “If you have the right location, it’s not only great for those enjoying living in the condo, it’s a good opportunity to build equity and will be good for future resale.”
La Rive is right on the Elbow River just a couple of blocks from the popular and vibrant shops and venues on 4th Street S.W.
“The area has a real sense of community,” says Eloschuk.
”It’s five minutes from downtown, amenities are close by, everything is within walking distance and it’s a concrete building on the river. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Eloschuk has designed the interior of the new show suite for La Rive under her business, Interiors by Debbie.
She also works with Zoltan Nagy, who owns Zoltan’s Home Staging and Design. For more information on La Rive, check the condo show home featured in today’s section on page J5.
Condo show home Condo buyer Debbie Eloschuk offers these tips to potential buyers:
Pick the spot. “Location is vital. It’s a key when choosing a property.”
Think resale. “When we bought, we chose La Rive because it was on the river and in the Mission area, so we knew it would offer good value for resale.”
Check the quality. “Some places are just smoke and mirrors, done up to look great, but what’s underneath? What is going into the project is important.”
Get the floor plan that works. “We wanted to make sure that there was enough square footage so our two daughters living in the suite would be comfortable and have their own space.”
Determine your needs and wants. “The building is concrete, rather than stick-built, so it is typically much quieter. A concrete building was important to us.”
Buyer Debbie Eloschuk in the La Rive project’s show suite.
The exterior of the La Rive condo development, which is in the Mission district on 25th Avenue S.W.