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The Rise of Condos in Calgary: Insights from a Top Condo Realtor

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Condos provide a convenient lifestyle, offering easy access to amenities and fostering a sense of community. They require less maintenance compared to single-family homes, making them ideal for busy professionals, retirees, or investors. With various sizes and layouts available, condos cater to diverse needs and provide a more affordable route to home ownership.

In Calgary’s unique housing market, condos are particularly popular due to the city’s growing population and urbanization, driving demand for compact, low-maintenance housing options.

Jesse Davies of Century 21 notes, “Condos offer an attractive solution for Calgarians, by maximizing living space, convenience, and access to amenities. They also offer greater safety and security.  Plus, it saves residents from a lot of external maintenance work, yard chores, and other jobs that they may not have the time for or are unable to do.”

Calgary’s diverse population, including young professionals, students, empty nesters, and retirees, finds condo living appealing due to its ability to meet various lifestyle preferences. Whether seeking proximity to work and entertainment downtown or downsizing from larger homes for easier access to conveniences, condos cater to a range of needs.

Key Calgary Neighbourhoods for Condos

Prominent Calgary districts for condominiums include Downtown, Beltline, and Mission. Downtown, the central business hub, boasts high-rise condos favored by professionals for their proximity to offices and amenities. The bustling Beltline, adjacent to downtown, offers diverse condo options amidst trendy cafes and cultural spots. Meanwhile, Mission, nestled along the Elbow River, appeals with its tranquil ambiance and historic charm.

Condos in downtown and Beltline typically sell for higher prices due to their popular central locations, while areas like Bridgeland and Kensington may offer more affordable options without sacrificing amenities. The University area, surrounding institutions like the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, presents a unique condo market catering to students, faculty, and families. Condos in this area cater to a diverse demographic, from students to professionals, with pricing that is often more competitive compared to downtown or Beltline. These areas are likely to maintain a consistent value and demand for condos because of location, amenities, demographics, and other factors; however, there are many other neighbourhoods where condo living is popular.

Calgary condos can provide excellent opportunities for investment, as well as personal ownership.

A top condo realtor is invaluable when buying or selling condos in Calgary. A good Calgary condo realtor has necessary expertise in this unique market and knowledge of the city, to help clients find good options within suitable neighbourhoods, considering factors like needs and wants, demographics, amenities, and pricing trends. If investing, a Calgary investment realtor is additionally recommended. 

Calgary Demographics for Condos

Demographic Trends Driving Condo Ownership

Young professionals and millennials are more likely to be interested in buying a condo. This demographic cohort values urban living, convenience, and access to amenities such as restaurants, bars, and other attractions. Many young professionals are drawn to Calgary’s vibrant downtown core, where condos offer proximity to workplaces and entertainment options, eliminating long commutes common in suburban areas.

Moreover, the affordability and lower maintenance requirements of condos compared to single-family homes appeal to this group, who require a more affordable entry into home ownership, and may prioritize career advancement and social activities over homeownership responsibilities.

Empty nesters and retirees also favour condos, as they seek to downsize, reduce household chores, and simplify their lifestyles. Condos offer a convenient alternative, allowing them to live in a smaller, more manageable space without sacrificing comfort or amenities. Proximity to healthcare facilities, recreational opportunities, and public transportation are additional advantages.

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Calgary’s Population

In Calgary, there has been a notable rise in population from 1,311,699 in 2018 to 1,423,800 in 2022, with a current estimated population of 1,506,479. Among this population, there is a large segment aged 20 to 34, totaling 288,225 individuals, representing approximately 19% of the total population and a key demographic group who may be interested in downtown Calgary condo life. 

Furthermore, there is also a significant younger seniors segment, fitting with the empty nesters and retirees groups. Seniors aged 65 to 69 number 48,920, while those aged 60 to 64 who will soon be entering the ‘downsizing’ demographic currently total 65,120.                                  

Employment

According to the Calgary’s Labour Market Review, in January 2024, the unemployment rate in the Calgary Economic Region declined, with a three-month moving average dropping from 6.4% in January 2023 to 5.7% in January 2024, with an employment increase of 4.9%. Calgary was the only major Canadian city to witness a decrease in unemployment rates in this period.

Jesse Davies points out this indicates ongoing stability in the housing market, affirming Calgary as a reliable environment for condo purchases.

Affordable Ownership: For Investment or Avoiding Rent

A key reason condos are so popular in Calgary is because they provide affordable housing ownership, helping owners to avoid increasing rent costs or gain income as an investment. 

As reported by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Housing Market Information Rental Market Report, the average two-bedroom rent for a purpose-built market is $1,695, while the average rent for a two-bedroom condo rental is $1,819. In 2023, Calgary experienced the lowest vacancy rates for rentals in nearly a decade. Additionally, Calgary rentals are expected to increase further, with higher rents and reduced vacancy rates.

According to Jesse Davies, “A growing number of Calgary residents are concerned about rising rental costs and the insecurity surrounding potential increases. They are looking for the greater control and stability that ownership offers, and want to build equity. Although condo fees are subject to increase, condo owners do have some input and rights. By carefully examining the condo board’s policies and practices, prospective buyers can mitigate the risk of unexpected fee hikes and ensure the condo board’s vision aligns with the buyer’s expectations.”

Consequently, there is a growing interest among Calgarians in affordable condominiums, whether for personal residence or investment in rental properties. Even those who would not normally be more likely to rent may benefit from purchasing a condo under current market conditions, such as university students, who can avoid rent, build equity, and rent or sell after graduation.

Condo Pricing and Sales

In Calgary’s housing market, the scarcity of available homes is pushing benchmark prices higher, but condos remain relatively more affordable. WOWA’s Calgary Housing Market Report for January 2024 indicated a significant surge in home sales, increasing by 38% to reach 1,650 sales, but demand is exceeding sales. 

The average price of homes indicate the relative affordability of condos. Detached homes achieved an average selling price of $759,000, semi-detached homes of $668,000, and townhouses of $439,000. Despite an increased average price compared to a year ago, condo apartments remain the most budget-friendly option at $337,000.

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Trending Rise of Condos

Just two years ago, condo apartments accounted for a small fraction of Calgary’s real estate market. They comprised approximately one-seventh of total home sales and contributed even less to the total sales volume in dollars due to their lower prices. However, presently, they represent nearly one-third of homes sold in Calgary’s real estate market. The numbers of detached homes have correspondingly dropped, while other housing types have remained fairly stable.

According to Jesse Davies, “The preference for the traditional, typical detached home has been giving way to the rise of condos in the past couple of years. This trend seems to be gaining momentum, and indicates a change in how Calgarians are approaching buying homes. That’s also why there are several new condo builds in the pre-construction stage, to try to match increasing demand.” 

The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) 2024 Forecast Trends also notes the rising trend, indicating condo prices have been rising faster than other types of homes in the city as more people opt for cheaper condos. CREB expects that condo prices will increase more slowly compared to previous years in 2024, but that the overall housing market will grow at a similar rate.

The rise of condos in Calgary’s real estate market marks a shift in homebuying preferences. For buyers, condos offer a convenient, connected lifestyle with modern amenities and reduced maintenance compared to single-family homes. They provide an affordable route to homeownership, catering to diverse needs and demographics. Sellers can benefit from the increasing demand for condos, especially in popular areas like Downtown, Beltline, and Mission. Investors, too, can find opportunities in Calgary’s condo market for steady rental income and long-term appreciation.

Navigating Calgary’s dynamic condo market requires expertise; a top condo realtor essential. Jesse Davies and his team understand the nuances of the market and can help buyers find suitable properties, in the right neighbourhood, within their budget. They also assist sellers in effective evaluating, marketing, and negotiations. They are also investment-friendly, and can help investors identify lucrative investment opportunities and provide valuable insights into rental trends and potential returns.

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