Second-home buyers returning to Canmore, boosting sales in resort town

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX:  Properties in Canmore are high in demand as many buyers seek a second home outside the city

CALGARY – Canmore’s resale housing market is continuing to boom as sales in the second quarter were the third strongest ever.

A report by Christian Dubois and Christopher Vincent, of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, said 161 properties sold between April and June. Single-family homes and apartments were the strongest segments with 41 and 45 sales respectively, while 38 townhouses sold.

The report said there was a 7.5 per cent increase in sales from a year ago. The strongest quarters ever were in 2006 with 180 sales and in 2007 with 167 sales.

“There’s been some pent-up demand as well as the renewed confidence in the Alberta market in general. There’s a real return of second-home buyers,” said Vincent. “And those buyers are primarily from the Edmonton/Calgary corridor. They’re looking for lifestyle. That’s the big reason we’re seeing a resurgence.”

The report said average and median sale prices were up for single-family homes on a year-to-year basis. The median sale price of a single-family home in Canmore in the second quarter was $735,000 while the average was $889,063. A year ago the average sale price was $702,054 with the median price $650,000.

For townhouses, the average sale price in the second quarter of this year was $539,356 and median sale price was $503,550, which were basically on par with last year’s $545,839 and $499,000, respectively.

“The luxury segment of the market is showing some strength with some very significant sales over the past few months,” said the report. “There remains a strong selection of homes for buyers looking above $1.5 million. Sellers need to be cognizant of that while the rest of the market is doing very well, this segment is not moving at the same pace.”

According to Bellstar Realty in Canmore, the average selling price of a Canmore hotel condo suite in the first half of this year increased by an unprecedented 26 per cent. In the first half of 2013, the average price of a suite was $191,432 compared with $240,365 in the first half of 2014. The number of sales also increased with 24 in the first half of 2014 compared with 17 during the same period in 2013.

“In the past, the market for hotel condos in Canmore was ridiculously low with fully furnished suites selling for 50 per cent below cost, and 50 per cent less than comparably unfurnished residential suites,” said Rudy Tomazic, vice-president of real estate with Bellstar Realty. “That made no sense. In addition, the banks have been extra tough in financing condo hotel suites. As a result, investment buyers saw an opportunity and started to buy them up in 2012 and 2013 while most consumers abandoned the idea of owning a second home as a vacation property for now. The result has been a rapid increase in prices but, still well below the prices of residential suites.”

A recent report by RE/MAX said the lower Canadian dollar is providing a boost to the Alberta recreational property market as more people are looking to buy places in Canmore.

It said properties in Canmore, for example, are in high demand, as many buyers seek a large second home outside the city.


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