Top 7 Western Canada real estate stories of 2013

The past year in real estate was a wild out in Canada’s wild west. From major development announcements to record-breaking sales, we look back at some of the biggest market stories in BC and Alberta from 2013.

Calgary and Vancouver go BIG

BIG Vancouver Calgary towersPhotos: BIG

Renowned Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) made a — ahem — big splash in Western Canada in 2013. In June, the City of Calgary announced it had approved BIG‘s 58-storey Telus Sky project, while Vancouver gave the go-ahead to Bjarke Ingels’ 52-storey top-heavy tower in October.

Western Canada’s tallest building

The Bow CalgaryPhoto: hobo4hire

Standing 774 feet tall, Calgary’s The Bow became the tallest building west of Toronto when it celebrated its official opening on June 4th.

Vancouver welcomes The Donald

Trump-Tower-Vancouver-1While it had been rumoured for months, it was formally announced on June 19th that Donald Trump would be lending his name to the Arthur Erickson-designed twisting tower project on the 1100 block of West Georgia Street in Vancouver. When completed, the 63-storey building will be the second tallest tower in the city next to the Shangri-La.

Edmonton’s new arena deal

edmonton arenaThe financial wrangling over the new Edmonton arena project got so tense that the very future of the Oilers hockey club was in doubt. Luckily on January 23rd, a new agreement was struck between Edmonton city council and the Oilers ownership to finally push the deal forward. On December 3rd, it was announced that the facility would be called Rogers Place after the telecommunications company agreed to commit $700 million to expand their network coverage in area while building upon its sports presence. Ground is set to be broken on the new arena in spring 2014.

Calgary’s strong market

Calgary-housing-market-CREB-1Photo: ecstaticist/Flickr

While many markets in Canada experienced up and down years, Calgary home prices and sales only seemed to climb higher and higher every month. In December, the Bank of Montreal deemed Calgary the strongest major housing market in Canada.

Calgary and Vancouver break luxury sales records

Canadas-most-expensive-real-estate-deal-fairmont-pacific-rimPhoto: MLS

As of November 28th, there were 689 MLS homes sales of $1 million or more in Calgary, easily breaking the all-time annual luxury sales record of 544 set in 2012. West of the Rockies, Vancouver saw its most expensive condo sale ever when the penthouse at Fairmont Pacific Rim sold for $25 million in June. Months later it was reported that the same buyer also bought three sub-penthouses in the Coal Harbour building for a total sale of $55 million — what some say is the largest residential real estate deal in Canadian history.

Vancouver’s changing skyline

burrard-gateway-1Vancouver’s always evolving skyline will continue to see many dramatic changes in the years to come — 2013 saw to that. Besides the aforementioned Trump Tower and BIG-designed Vancouver House announcements, the Burrard Gateway project, which will include the city’s third tallest tower, also received final approval this year. Then there was the confirmation of the controversial West End community plan — a sweeping 30-year vision that will bring more tall building development along the edges of the historic neighbourhood.