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Sotheby's International Realty Canada is planning to double its presence in Calgary, a testament to the growing number of luxury properties that are selling in the city.
Sotheby's opened its first office in Calgary less than two years ago, with about 20 real estate agents. It now wants to grow its team to closer to 60 people. It will announce Tuesday that it is moving into new offices to accommodate that expected growth.
"Calgary's just been awesome for us," says Ross McCredie, head of Sotheby's Canadian business. "A year ago, $1-million-plus in Calgary was actually a pretty high-end home, now that same home is $2-million. Literally, I would say it has doubled."
The Calgary Real Estate Board released the latest statistics on Monday, and they show that sales of homes below $400,000 are declining, while sales above that price are rising.
Ninety-four homes sold for more than $1-million in May, up from 83 in the same month last year. There were 359 sales in the first five months of the year for $1-million or more, up from 318 in the same period of 2013.
Calgary's real estate market has generally been hot, and is expected to be the best performing among major Canadian cities this year. The total number of homes that sold in the city last month was the highest ever for the month of May.
"While the majority of sales are occurring in the $300,000 to $500,000 range, the number of new listings in this segment has lessened relative to last year, which indicates most new listing growth is occurring in the higher end of the market," Bill Kirk, president of the Calgary Real Estate Board, said in a press release Monday.
Mr. McCredie says that a lot of Americans and Europeans are shopping for properties in Calgary, while Chinese buyers are looking at luxury condos as investment properties.
"There have been a number of developments in the higher end," he says. "One of them we did [sold] was called the River, it's upwards of $1,000 a square foot, which is extremely expensive for Calgary, and it's been very successful."
Sotheby's is also planning to announce an arrangement in Calgary with companies that cater to private planes, as a new means of appealing to wealthy individuals who might come shop for property in the city.
"There is an amazing number of private jets and private aircraft going into Alberta, coming from Texas and various places, so it's just a great touchpoint for us," Mr. McCredie says.