Home sales in Calgary hit a record high in September, and the chief economist with city’s real estate board says the increase is largely due to interprovincial migration as buyers seek relief Canada’s pricier housing markets.

On Tuesday, the Calgary Real Estate Board reported that the Alberta city saw 2,441 homes sold in the month of September, representing a record high. September home sales marked a 29 per cent increase from the same period last year.

Ann-Marie Lurie, the chief economist at the Calgary Real Estate Board, told BNN Bloomberg that the city has experienced “exceptionally strong demand” over the past several months as people relocate there from more expensive Canadian cities.

“A lot of it is to do with the migration that we have coming into the province,” Lurie said in a Tuesday interview.

“We're not just talking from international sources … we've been seeing a strong inflow of interprovincial migrants from markets like Ontario and B.C., which for all intents and purposes, generally are a higher-priced market.”

She noted that despite higher interest rates, Calgary is “still relatively affordable” when compared to other real estate markets like Toronto. A typical detached home in the Calgary remains around $700,000, she said.

“Anyone who's coming from Toronto to here is probably a little less sensitive to that higher interest rate environment,” Lurie said. 

The benchmark price for a Calgary home rose during September to $570,300, according to figures from the real estate board, marking a nine per cent increase on an annual basis. The board also noted that despite the annual gains, year-to-date sales were still about 12 per cent lower than the previous year.


As city officials make efforts to change zoning rules to get more units of housing built, Lurie said it is a matter of how long it will take for the land to be developed. 

“They’re making progress towards reducing some of that red tape. That should add to the overall supply in the market,” she said. “Now the challenge is, when will that come on?”

Last month, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek told BNN Bloomberg the city is looking at a housing strategy created in response to a series of recommendations put forth by the city’s housing affordability task force, one of which was to change zoning rules around the base land use district from one unit per single lot to up to four units.