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Median sale price for single detached homes in Canmore increases by 30 per cent in 2020

Heading into 2021, the Canmore real estate market was definitely geared toward sellers as demand for properties in the mountain town soared during the pandemic.
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Canmore Realtor Robb Aishford stands on the balcony of a new residential listing in the Prospect Heights neighbourhood. After the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in spring 2020, real estate sales in Canmore have been booming. TANYA FOUBERT RMO PHOTO

CANMORE – While other real estate markets in Alberta are seeing a rebound from a drop in sales and prices in 2020, Canmore's market has heated up with the median sale price of single detached homes increasing by 30 per cent year-over-year. 

Associate Realtor Robb Aishford with MaxWell Capital Realty said factors contributing towards the increased price for single detached homes include the principles of supply and demand, as well as the incredibly low interest rates available for mortgages at the moment. 

He added the interest in living in Canmore is high, given its location and many appealing amenities, while the current supply of housing is limited, leading to the increase in sale prices. 

"That is a big difference," Aishford said with respect to the 30 per cent increase in median sale price. "Single family homes in Canmore are not cheap and we know this." 

The median sale price for a single detached homes in December 2019 was $793,750. By the end of December 2020, that had increased by 30.5 per cent to slightly more than $1 million. It is, however, only a 4.9 per cent increase from 2018, when the median sale price was $987,500. 

The current price bump is linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition many are making to working from home, which allows workers to do their jobs from almost anywhere with a reliable Internet connection. 

The increased demand for real estate for those who can work from home into the future has heated up the Canmore market during the pandemic. By the end of December, there were only 24 single detached homes listed on the market, compared to 35 a year prior. There were 12 sales this past December after only two sales a year prior. 

The number of days a property is on the market before being sold has also decreased year-over-year. In 2019, the median number of days a listing was available before it was sold was 43; in 2018 it was 55. That dropped to 31 in 2020. 

In 2020 overall, there were 172 sales of single detached homes compared to 147 in 2019 and 133 in 2018. 

Sales picked up after the lockdown in spring 2020 ended. Aishford pointed there were only three sales last April, compared to 17 in July, 19 in August, 15 in September, 19 in October, six in November and 12 in December. 

He said the pace of sales over the last year has left the market with limited supply to meet the increased demand of purchasers. 

In terms of listings, single detached homes have been limited in supply numbers. In early January, there were only five units listed for sale. 

"There is not much on the market," Aishford said. "The biggest take away is we need inventory – we have buyers, we need sellers, or new product. 

"There is a lot of demand, but not a lot of supply."  

Between December 2019 and 2020, the median sale price for all residential properties in Canmore increased by 8.5 per cent per cent. That includes single detached homes, condos, duplexes, townhouses, and vacant lots. 

In December 2019, the median sale price for all residential was $645,000 and in 2020 that went up to $700,000. The number of units sold in 2019 overall was 327, whereas in 2020 it was 343 – a 4.9 per cent increase. In 2018, on the other hand, there were only 288 residential properties sold. 

"It is certainly more of a seller's market, if you have something good," he said. "The fall and winter were so busy with people wanting to get out of the city, there is very little supply." 

Aishford cautioned potential buyers to be realistic. The median sale price may have gone up, but the actual price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase a property in Canmore will depend on where it is, what it is and its current state. 

One factor that has changed since 2018, however, is the increased zoning potential for accessory dwelling units for single detached and duplex properties. 

"If you can make it work with that accessory dwelling unit, it is a bonus," he said. "You can either offset the cost of the mortgage or maximize the return on investment for the property."

These types of properties work well for Alberta residents who use the suite as their weekend getaway and rent out the main residential unit until they retire and relocate to Canmore permanently.