Best thing about this story: I used the phrase “and that product is not a one-bedroom converted rental unit that looks like the setting for a bad 1970s porn flick” … and the editors kept it.
Second best thing about this story: the art, by the talented Matthew Billington.
Hardest thing about this story: I worked on it in April… for September publication. Please don’t ask me “When you said X, what exactly did you mean?” … because I no longer know.
Most true thing I dare tell you about this story: I couldn’t find a lead to save my life. I wept. I wailed. I couldn’t get started.
But I finished. And that’s all that matters, no?
Here’s a taste:
Condo Craze: Calgary’s Housing Transformation
From the inner city to the suburbs, Calgary is poised to continue to transform itself with each rising crane and tower. And, with the number of condos in construction, it’s easy to see that the market has turned — just don’t call it a boom
Cranes dot the Calgary skyscape again, from the inner core through to the far-flung burbs. There are more condos in construction now — and even more in the dreaming — than at the height of the boom that ended so painfully in 2008. But the story they’re writing on the city’s landscape is different from the one that left Calgary’s downtown pitted with abandoned holes last time around.
There will be shovels in the ground for 6,600 multi-family units in Calgary by the end of 2014, says theCanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. And there are already 27 new high-rise (residential and commercial) towers being added to its skyscape right now, with 21 more in the planning stages, according to building data service Emporis.
But, whatever you do, don’t call this a boom. It’s a word that makes developers, buyers, banks — Calgarians in general — skittish. Revolution? Well, that might be too strong a word, too.
Let’s compromise: let’s call it a cyclical transformation, because what’s happening in the Calgary condo market right now is not a repeat of an oft-seen cycle. It’s a brand-new story.
“What’s happened in Calgary right now is that the interest and the demographic has really shifted,” says Sue Anne Valentine, a Calgary realtor who specializes in high-end properties and luxury condos. “We’re experiencing pent-up demand for product that hasn’t really existed in Calgary before.”
And that product is not a one-bedroom converted rental unit that looks like the setting for a bad 1970s porn flick. Valentine’s buyers want Architectural Digest finishes and a panoramic view of the Rockies from their eco-friendly soaker tub. That and room to put up their children and grandchildren should they come to visit — so at least two bedrooms. Two bedrooms and a den? Perfect. Walkability to restaurants and stores? Absolutely. The ability to lock up for three or six months while they snowbird somewhere warmer? Oh, yes.
That and “you have to have a design that is spectacular, unique,” says Wayne Whitlock, a real estate lawyer with Bennett Jones LLP. “This is a rarefied market.”
And, until very recently, a non-existent market, actually.
Full text at AvenueCalgary.com: Condo Craze: Calgary’s Housing Transformation
Sister piece: Is Calgary’s Condo Market Sustainable?