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B.C. condo buyers set their sights on Calgary’s presale market

Presale condos sales in Calgary increase by 230 per cent thanks in part to interprovincial migration
A condo in downtown Calgary has similar pricing to a condo in Vancouver’s suburbs | bloodua/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Stampede is not the only thing drawing British Columbians to Calgary.  

B.C. homebuyers are fuelling condo presales in Calgary, with data showing a “velocity” of condo sales in Calgary not seen in the last decade, according to real-estate data analytics firm Zonda Urban.

There were 1,076 presale condos sold in Calgary in the second quarter of 2023, a 230-per-cent increase over the same period last year. 

“Calgary’s return as Canada’s most-active housing market is largely fueled by individuals from other provinces, including B.C. Several factors are at play. The city experienced record migration from other provinces resulting in an imbalance of supply and demand, especially in the rental market, and downtown Calgary remains more affordable than other major centres,” said Jackson Cornelius, advisory director at Zonda Urban, in a press release. 

Rental rates in downtown Calgary increased by 23 per cent year over year, more than double that of any other marker in Canada tracked by Zonda Urban.

Vancouver’s rising prices and low supply are leading buyers to consider purchases in Calgary. The cost of a presale condo in downtown Calgary is roughly half the price of a suburban presale condo in Vancouver, according to marketing and sales firm Magnum Projects. 

“I've seen more people asking about markets such as Calgary,” said Amy Leong, a Vancouver-based real estate agent, in a June interview with Glacier Media. 

“[Calgary developers] are reaching out to Vancouver realtors for residential projects because they're feeling the same thing. The demand has shifted east to our neighbour since our prices here are still really, really high.” 

The July 2023 benchmark price for an apartment in Vancouver is $771,600, while Calgary’s is $305,900, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Calgary Real Estate Board. This represents a difference of 86.4 per cent. 

Since mid-2021, Calgary has seen the most population growth when compared to other Canadian cities. In addition, 70 per cent of interprovincial migration comes from B.C. and Ontario, according to Statistics Canada. 

The City of Calgary’s estimates that the local population is 1,389,200 as of April 1, 2023. 

“Developers halted condo projects through the economic downturn, and it will take several years for new buildings to come onstream. Meanwhile, individuals flocking from B.C. and Ontario will see their investments grow,” said Cornelius. 

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