March 27, 2019 | Barb Livingstone
City's sales slump extends to luxury market, putting buyers in the driver's seat
When Mark Evernden goes to list his own west-end home next month, it will be priced at less than what he bought it for a decade ago.
"I paid $1.3 million, and I know the replacement value if I was building today would be $1.8 million," said the private office advisor and licensed partner with Engel & Volkers Calgary, who has been selling in Calgary's luxury market for more than a decade.
By listing his home at $1.289 million, in a clear buyers' market, Evernden says the price will generate traffic. "There's still buyers, there's still money out there."
He says his situation is what every luxury home seller must face today.
"The market tells us what is happening right now, and the evaluations of high-end homes are 30 to 40 per cent less than replacement value," he said.
That market for $1-million-plus properties is primarily focused in the inner city and west end of Calgary. As an international firm, Evernden says, Engel & Volkers is seeing interest from foreign buyers in Calgary's luxury product, as well as Canmore's, where his company recently opened a new office.
"Prices there are double that in Calgary and it is a luxury home destination for those wanting a second or third home," he said.
"There are a lot of pretty amazing homes out there that are unique and just need to find the right buyer." - Mark Evernden, Engel & Volkers
Mary-Ann Mears, managing broker at Sotheby's International Realty in Calgary, describes the luxury market as "active, and for me, that is a good market.
"There is no doubt that, right now, buyers are in the driver's seat and looking for the best optimization of their portfolios," she said.
In its year-end report, Sotheby's said 2018's luxury market in Calgary saw a sales drop of 10 per cent.
Mears says February's bad weather meant lower activity, but March has brought an upswing. Buyers are seeing good prices, while a lot of interest is being directed at the semi-detached market.
However, Mears says many potential buyers are still taking a wait-and-see approach, as the city's economic woes continue and new layoffs add to the already high unemployment rate.
Yet, the luxury market, and its high-net-worth buyers, are still there. Evernden, for example, will soon be listing a west-Calgary home for $13 million.
"There are a lot of pretty amazing homes out there that are unique and just need to find the right buyer," he said.
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