Looking back on the past decade, what a ride it has been! The real estate market in Canmore, Banff and the Bow Valley has undergone some seismic changes and incredible swings. We began the decade still reeling from the effects of the global financial crisis when the market eventually reaching the bottom in the summer of 2011 when there were 517 active listings and 31 sales that July. This past July, there were 59 sales and 281 active listings. 2012 saw the first signs of recovery as the market balanced out with active listings decreasing 16% and sales increasing 34% year over year. The market continued on this recover trajectory until 2015 with the collapse of oil prices and resulting economic downturn in Alberta; there was a spike in active listings while annual sales decreased 16% year over year. However, much to our surprise, the market came back with a roar in 2016 and 2017. The two major factors in this were the strong local tourism economy and a huge number of boomers and early Gen Xers leaving the cities and moving to the Bow Valley. Coming towards the end of the decade, 2018 sales slowed slightly and listing levels remained steady. The types of properties that were selling began to shift as there had been such a significant increase in prices the previous two years. It took a decade, but in 2018 the active listings and sales volumes were very similar to pre-crash 2007.
2019 sales were up again this past year to 592 MLS transactions, a 9% year over year increase. There are a couples of notes on this: there have been a number of new developments launched and pre-sold that were recorded on the MLS. There was also an office that had not previously reported sales on the MLS now reporting sales. In conjunction with the sales, there was a 10% increase in listing to 910 listing. Much of the increase in listings were new construction in the Stewart Creek area of Three Sisters and new construction in South Canmore. The total volume of MLS sales in Canmore, Exshaw, Harvie Heights, Dead Man’s Flats, and Lac Des Arcs in 2019 was $411,009,746 a 12% increase year over year.
In reality there are many markets within the market when in comes to real estate in the Bow Valley. The luxury single family home market continues to be soft while the short term rental market continues to soar to new heights.
Detached and Semi-Detached Homes 2019
156 Sales ↓2.5%
305 Listings ↑ 16.9%
$1,020,572 Average Sale Price ↓ 0.9%
$890,250 Median Sale Price ↓ 1.6%
The largest increase in listings this year was in the detached and semi-detached market. Both average and median prices declined for the second year in a row as the luxury home market remains soft with the majority of the sales taking place in the entry to mid-level of the market. Even in the entry level of the market, prices have begun to plateau and homes must be in fantastic condition to achieve a premium price.
134 Sales ↑ 19.6%
212 Listing ↑ 16.5%
$692,871 Average Sale Price ↑ 3.1%
$654,750 Median Sale Price ↑ 3.1%
A number of new townhouse projects were launched and sold in Three Sisters, South Canmore and Teepee Town this year. As prices have increased so dramatically in the entry level detached and semi-detached homes over the past three years, many move up and first time buyers are moving into townhomes. Some builders have also increased their floor plates offering over 2,000 sqft in a lock and leave townhouse which appeals to many buyers.
Apartment Condominiums 2019
168 Sales ↑ 10.5%
220 Listings ↓7.9%
$540,254 ↑ 10.3%
$477,500 Median Sale Price ↑ 2.2%
Apartment condominium remain very popular amongst first time buyers and those looking to downsize. As these are the most affordable option in the market, the entry level remains very strong. Spring Creek has had great success with their recently buildings including selling over 50% of The Tamarack in the first week of the launch; this building has a tourist home use and are not on MLS with almost 80 units. These statistics also included Tourist Home use apartments, as we don’t know the eventual use of the properties.
Hotel Condominium Recreational Visitor Accommodation 2019
118 Sales ↑ 12.4%
152 Listings ↑ 34.5%
$423,229 Average Sale Price ↑ 17.3%
$423,250 Median Sale Price ↑ 9.9%
A segment of the market that remains incredibly popular are the short-term rental units in the various hotel condominium buildings. This year saw the Mercer a luxury townhouse short term rental complex sell out with sale price over $1,500,000 and at the end of the year a release of multiple units in a 20 year old development in Harvie Heights. Some properties are generating significant gross revenue and the tourism forecasts for the area remain strong. With more traditional hotels being built within the next year to two, we may see a plateau to the price rises.
Land and Development Lots 2019
16 Sales ↑ 14.3%
21 Listings ↓ 34.4%
$1,148,906 Average Sale Price ↑ 9.3%
$1,000,000 Median Sale Price ↑ 27%
2019 had some significant land sales and listings, including two side by side lots along the Bow River on Van Horne with a combined area of just under an acre sell for $6,000,000. Developable land continues to be scarce as we await the next phases of Three Sisters and Silvertip. Until then, many of the sales are going to be redevelopment sites which have seen their density allowances increased.
Looking forward to 2020, we expect to see the market transition to a more balanced state. Through the winter sale season, we will remain in buyers market territory. Heading into the spring market, we expect sales volumes to increase starting in March along with an increase in listing inventory. The large and luxury single family homes will remain in a buyer’s market until much of the inventory is absorbed or listings come off the market. We expect to see prices to continue to decline in this segment until an equilibrium is found with buyers. Entry level townhome and apartments will remain popular as local employment levels remain strong. With an eventual recovery in Calgary, we expect to see those ready to transition to retirement in the mountains move to the area as they get their homes sold in the city.
The Stewart Creek area has seen such significant building over the past few years, that the market is flooded with a variety of properties. Resale properties will remain challenged as they compete against new construction. The renewed Teepee Town area structure plan could add more density and commercial use to this community and we expect to see continued development especially amongst those properties facing Bow Valley Trail. Spring Creek will continue to bustle along as they prepare for their next phases as the village courtyard concept comes to fruition.