Qualico Communities communications manager Maribeth Janikowski, pictured in the builder's Augusta show home in southwest Calgary, believes the economy has created opportunities in the lower-priced segments. Photo by Adrian Shellard/For CREB®Now
Jan. 28, 2016 | Barb Livingstone
The northeast revival
Calgary quadrant's showing staying power with price resilience
Northeast Calgary bucked housing trends in the city in 2015 by seeing strong price increases in the resale residential market, as opposed to others where prices remained flat or dipped, according to CREB®.
And some in the industry expect the still-relatively affordable offerings in the city's "new north" may continue to make it the darling of this year's even tougher market.
CREB® numbers show the annual benchmark price (the price of a typical home year-over-year) in the northeast rose 7.05 per cent for detached homes in 2015. When attached and apartment units are included, the rise was 6.21 per cent.
The only other district to see a substantial increase was the east district — a much smaller area next to the northeast — which saw a 5.5 per cent boost in the single-family sector.
CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie said the northeast's benchmark price of $400,092 for detached homes ($371,342 when all types are included) reflects the quadrant's affordability and strength, and shows it is not dependent on buyers who have lost high-paying jobs in the oil and gas sector.
Last year's overall benchmark price for detached homes in all of Calgary was $514,050 ($454,267 when including attached and apartment), an increase of 1.35 per cent.
The relative strength of more affordable housing is reflected in the new communities in the northeast.
Walton Development has sold out its new detached homes in SkyView Ranch – the first major development, with 4,000 residents, in what is called the "new north" of Calgary – at prices from the low $300,000s to $500,000.
It was SkyView Ranch with two apartment-style condominium projects still selling units starting in the low $200,000s and several new ones still to come that raised the benchmark price for the northeast, with monthly price growth over the year of about 11 per cent.
Walton will launch pre-sales in another northeast community, Cornerstone, this summer.
"If a paycheque is still coming in, people want to get the best product for the price point," said Kendra Milne, vice-president of marketing (Canada) for Walton.
"In the northeast, they are getting high quality homes in what is a special place," with new schools, commercial growth and accessibility by roadways and transit.
The new northeast communities are close to both the Calgary airport and the giant CrossIron Mills shopping centre. The city's announced Green Line CTrain expansion will also reach into the growing populace in the northeast.
Milne expects pricing in Cornerstone to be similar to SkyView and the company will, in fact, be bringing more of its lower-priced products to market there: street townhomes and zero-lot line homes that have been very popular with buyers.
The northeast, she predicts, will be a strong leader in overall market recovery, when it comes.
Qualico Communities communications manager Maribeth Janikowski (pictured), meanwhile, said the company's Redstone development along Metis Trail and Stoney Trail in Calgary's northeast is proving popular among buyers who want it all.
Redstone is about halfway through its completion target of 2,500 homes (and up to 4,500 residents), and will bring on two new phases
Janikowski said most popular have been Qualico's detached homes (starting in the $390,000s) and the side-by-side duplexes (starting in the $350,000s).
However, while affordability in the community is a big attraction for buyers, Janikowski, said the northeast's increased amenities are continuing to draw people even during the downturn.
"It is no longer an industrial centre. There are lots of interesting communities, with new schools, and lots of new businesses," she said.
In fact, this year Redstone will not only be bringing on 150 new detached lots, it will bring forward a site for a new shopping area.
"We sold out lots in 2014 so there was pent up demand in 2015. Now we have several builders asking for more lots. All of them are having great success," said Janikowski.
She added eight homes have already sold in Redstone to the 20th of January, which is "far and above what we are seeing in other communities in other districts."
Janikowski said she is seeing a diversity of buyers coming from other sectors than oil and gas — including small business owners and entrepreneurs. Most are young families, along with first-time buyers who, she said, may share costs and living spaces with their parents.
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