Calgary Realtors seeing boom of house hunters from outside Alberta

Realtors say they’re seeing a significant uptick in out-of-province buyers snatching up homes in Calgary. 

The city’s real estate market has been hot for the past six months, seeing unusually high levels of action. 

Some of that heat is coming from Ontarians and B.C. residents, among others, deciding to make a new home in Alberta or to buy investment properties here. 

“A lot of folks I work with come through on my website and we’re probably seeing maybe 40-50 per cent of those are from out of province,” said Adam Sharek, a Realtor with CIR Realty. 

“It’s something I haven’t really experienced in my nine years in real estate.”

Sharek says the trend really started to be noticeable in the final months of 2021 — and he isn’t the only one seeing a shift in real estate clientele. 

Lower prices surprise out-of-province buyers

Adil Thobani, one of Sharek’s colleagues, says on average about 10 per cent of his clients are from outside Alberta. That breakdown is now closer to 30 per cent — many of them cashing in on expensive properties in Vancouver and Toronto, looking for more house for less money. 

“Whether they’re looking for investment — some are actually moving either back to Calgary or for the first time to Calgary because their family is here — they’re shocked that they can pick up these sizes of houses at this price,” Thobani said. 

Year-to-date total property sales in Calgary are already up almost 40 per cent over the same point last year, from 9,217 to 12,859. According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, prices are up and the average length of time a house sits on the market is shrinking. Home sales in 2021 were 71 per cent higher than in 2020.

The board’s forecast report for 2022 shows sales activity improved across all major centres in the province, but the largest gains occurred in Calgary.

More people moving to Calgary

“Interprovincial migration from other provinces has flipped back positive in the past few quarters,” Michael Mak, a senior analyst for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, told CBC News. 

“So there is evidence of people from other provinces moving into Alberta and, of course, moving into Calgary.”

Data from the Government of Alberta shows net interprovincial migration in the last quarter of 2021 was 3,451, with international migration at 9,489.

Alberta led the country in interprovincial migration in the last three months of the year. That’s the first time since 2015 that Alberta has led a quarter.

On a net basis, the majority of Alberta’s new interprovincial migrants in the fourth quarter came from Ontario.

The average home price in Calgary now is around $535,000, a far cry from the average of $1.3 million in Toronto.

Mak says house prices in Calgary are likely to remain stable but added the market is likely to level off a little as more supply comes online to match the demand. 

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