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A condo complex in downtown Calgary, Alta., on June 26, 2014.

Jeff McIntosh/The Globe and Mail

The Globe's Real Estate Beat offers news and analysis on the Canadian housing market from real estate reporter Tara Perkins. Read more on The Globe's housing page and follow Tara on Twitter @TaraPerkins.

Buyers snapped up condos in Calgary in August, while sales of single-family houses actually fell.

Sales of existing condos were 14 per cent higher than a year earlier, a phenomenon that the local real estate board is attributing to a tight rental market and the fact that condos are more affordable than houses. Sales of single-family homes, meanwhile, were 2.4 per cent lower than in August of 2013.

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"The decline in single-family sales is mostly due to the shrinking supply in the under-$400,000 sector," Bill Kirk, president of the Calgary Real Estate Board, stated in a press release.

Single-family homes continue to account for the vast majority of sales in the city. In total 2,267 homes were sold over the Multiple Listing Service in Calgary during August, with condominium apartments and townhouses accounting for 790 of those. Condo and townhouse sales combined are up by 20 per cent so far this year, with condo sales hitting their highest August level ever last month.

The average price of a condo was $332,006, up from $297,807 a year earlier. The median price was $287,500 and the benchmark price was $298,200 (the benchmark price attempts to create an apples-to-apples measure of price changes, adjusting for factors such as a rise in the number of larger condos that are selling). Condos spent an average of 40 days on the market before being sold, down from 43 days a year earlier.

The market for brand new condos in Calgary is also taking off. "The new condominium apartment market in Calgary is hot," Altus Group wrote in a recent report. "Starts in the first half of the year were four times the level of the first half of 2013. Sales are up this year, according to Altus group data, and the number of completed but unabsorbed units is virtually nil."

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