Get­ting stronger

Condo mar­ket more ‘bal­anced’

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Front Page - KATHY MCCORMICK

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.”

Ted Rhodes, Cal­gary Her­ald

Buyer Debbie Eloschuk in the La Rive project’s show suite.

BACK­GROUND:

Ted Rhodes, Cal­gary Her­ald

The ex­te­rior of the La Rive condo de­vel­op­ment, which is in the Mis­sion district on 25th Av­enue S.W.

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