Calgarians look outside city limits for slice of homebuyers’ paradise

With housing prices holding steady, some Calgarians a now looking outside city limits in order to make their dollar stretch a little further.

“The interest rates are going up, food prices are going up, the price of gas is out of control and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon,” Calgarian Renee Klassen said.

“The price of living is being put so far out of reach for so many small families.”

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Klassen is among those who have cashed in over the last few months while Calgary’s housing market has been red hot. She said her single-family home in the northwest community of Citadel sold in one day and for more than the asking price.

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She is now waiting for her new, 1,800-square-foot home to be built in Carstairs, Alta., less than an hour’s drive north of Calgary.

“For the price, it’s insane,” Klassen said. “We bought a lot in Mandalay Estates and it’s two to three times bigger than the lot I have and we bought it for under $100,000.”

Klassen’s lot is part of a 300-home development currently under construction in Carstairs.

Homebuilder Matthew Tatro, the owner of Tailored Homes and Design, said he has seen an uptick in the area since the pandemic hit.

“(It’s) just a little more bang for your buck in all honesty,” he said.

“The land is just a little bit cheaper and a lot of people are finding out it’s great to sell right now and their dollar goes a lot further.”

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Real estate agent Abe Elhage said he has also been finding that due to increased prices, some Calgarians are finding it harder to afford a single-family home in the city.

“A lot of people have been pushed out of their budget, so condos and townhomes are seeing a lot more activity now,” Elhage said. “I’ve personally moved about 10 families to Carstairs, and for the exact same house you could save $150,000.

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“January to March and even some parts of April were pretty in crazy (in Calgary). We saw house prices rise quite a bit.

“Right now, it’s slowed down a little but we are still seeing some bidding wars.”

According to the Canada Housing Market Corporation (CHMC), despite a slowdown in sales in April due to increased mortgage rates, sales and prices are expected to remain strong for 2022.

“If you have a reasonably priced home, there is a fair amount of demand for that right now,” said CHMC senior analyst Michael Mak. “We do forecast that prices in 2022 will continue to grow compared to 2021.”

However, Mak noted housing demand is expected to soften in 2023 and 2024 as mortgage rates continue to jump and inflation creeps up.

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“The main effects of that increase will be seen later on this year and as the bank continues to go back towards this neutral rate,” he explained. “We do expect that there will be a sort of softening in housing demand, but the economic conditions in Calgary and Alberta are expected to continue growing.”

Klassen is now preparing to move out of her Calgary home in the next few months and said she’s looking forward to a new start in a smaller community.

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“It feels like the stress of the city and the craziness of the city just washes away,” she said. “It feels like taking a breath.”

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