Bidding wars for home buyers in midst of hot real estate market

CALGARY — Home buyers in the market for a single, detached dwelling in Calgary and surrounding areas are finding themselves in the middle of a bidding war for their dream house.

That’s what happened to Jackson Cornelius, who is a first-time home buyer.

“The stress comes from the potential you might not get the home that you really fall in love with,” said Cornelius.

Lucky for him and his partner, they won their bidding war and got their home in Calgary for a reasonable price just last week. But real estate agent Sohini Ruparell, with Remax Realty Professionals, said not everyone is getting so lucky.

“I have buyers where we have been in five to six bidding wars in the past 10 days,” she said.

“There is no time to wait for real estate agents. We’re dropping everything and running to make sure that our buyer has at least an opportunity to get their name in the hat.”

Ruparell said she believes the pandemic has created a unique situation where there is high demand for single family homes.

“I think buyers that were renters or people that were in the condo market are looking for more room,” she said.

“They are looking for space, they are looking for a home office, and they are looking for a backyard so that they can follow protocols outlined by the government while still spending time with friends and family.”

Ruparell said coupling that high demand with low interest rates and lack of supply and it creates a very competitive market for those wanting to purchase a single family home.

PRE-FINANCIAL CRISIS

Ann-Marie Lurie, Chief Economist with the Calgary Real Estate Board, said she hasn’t seen a market like this in more than a decade.

“It’s something we haven’t seen since back in 2007. Pre-financial crisis,” she said.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a market like this and it’s really driven by the really strong demand and not enough supply to meet it.”

Lurie said the competition isn’t just high in Calgary’s core. She says more people are looking to buy in the suburbs and in surrounding communities such as Airdrie, Okotoks and Cochrane.

“If more companies adopt a work from home policy it could create a bit of a shift,” Lurie said, “in where people are willing to live if all of a sudden that commute time becomes not as important as it once was.”

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