2020 Canmore Real Estate Year-in-Review

Not much more can be said about 2020 so the purpose of this blog post is to discuss real estate trends in Canmore from the past year while trying to disconnect a bit from the reasons why it played out the way it did.  Looking back at the 2019 Year-in-Review, our prediction for 2020 was that the market would keep moving away from a seller's market and more towards balanced market conditions that didn't favour the buyer or seller.  As the year progressed that actually turned out largely to be the case. Despite all of the outside "noise", buyers and sellers found they were on equal ground and there may have even been a bit of downward pressure on prices.  There was a buildup of inventory prior to the summer and then sales in the Bow Valley started to pick up in August. It seemed that as soon as the September long weekend was over, buyers from all over the province decided it was time to act and properties started getting bought up quickly.  October and November saw the most properties change hands during those months, ever. December is a time when most people are winding down and settling in for the holidays, but not in 2020.  Many buyers were anxious to secure their Rocky Mountain retreat just in time for Christmas and many more had real estate on their minds right through the holiday season. 

By the time December 2020 came to an end there were a mere 115 properties on the market and to say that seller's market conditions persisted would be an understatement.  Similar to 2017, buyers went crazy for hotel-condo type properties.  Inventory was low and the market conditions were highly competitive with multiple offer situations a near certainty.  A premium, 2-bedroom unit at Blackstone Mountain Lodge hit the market in mid-December and sold immediately, with 5 interested buyers submitting offers. The condo was listed at $645,000 and the winning bidder paid $35,000 over list price. 

There were some areas of the Canmore real estate market that underperformed in 2020. Homes priced above $1.5M took much longer to sell than they did in previous years which, put downward pressure on prices at this level. On the other end of the spectrum, the entry-level condo market was unfavourable for sellers as this particular buyer pool was more sensitive to pandemic related employment issues. In general, buyers of entry-level real estate probably felt that 2020 was not the year to make the big purchase.

2019 vs 2020 Sales by the Numbers: 




% Change

Hotel Condo 79 102 +29%
Condo 113 128 +13%
Townhouse 107 138 +29%
Half-Duplex 44 30 -32%
Single Family 89 108 +21%
Building Lots 10 6 -40%





A near 30% increase in number of hotel-condos changing hands was no doubt caused by the pandemic and it's impact on the local tourism industry. Without the rental income from nightly rentals, many owners opted to list their units which, was favourable for those who purchased one prior to November.

Oftentimes condos and townhomes are kept as second homes or vacation properties so it is likely that increased activity in both of those market segments is due to an increase in inventory combined with an increase in buyers looking to escape the city. 

Perhaps the most interesting detail from the year-year comparison is the 20% increase in sales of single family homes. This could indicate that an increase in local families moved up the property ladder in 2020 OR perhaps there was an increase in the number of families moving to the Bow Valley.

2019 vs 2020 Month-by-Month Canmore Real Estate Sales

Canmore 2020 Real Estate Market Report

2019 was a fairly average year for real estate sales in Canmore so it makes for a good comparison for 2020.  In a normal year we experience a spring selling season followed by a bit of a lull in the summer, and then a secondary, fall selling season.  Sales activity was pretty quiet in March 2020, but when business started opening up again in June it wasn't long before buyers and sellers were making up for lost time.

Canmore Development News: Smith Creek

The province quietly approved a proposed wildlife corridor in 2020 which, is always a hotly contested matter in any mountain community.  The approval paves the way for the developer, Three Sisters Mountain Village, to submit their Area Structure Plan to the town council for review before it proceeds to a hearing before the community.  Things are looking bleak for those who oppose the plan to develop the lands which, are privately owned and purchased shortly after the 1988 Olympics for its development potential. The proposed development stands to nearly double the population of Canmore with construction progressing over the next decade.

Smith Creek Canmore

2021 Prediction

Canadians all across the country turned to real estate in the latter half of 2020 for a variety of reasons.  Some saw it as a good time to invest, some were moving away from urban centres and others were in need of a vacation property.  Based on our own conversations with homeowners and the local business community, Albertans are very confident in Canmore's housing market and tourism industries.  Both buyer and seller activity remained steady through the holiday season and in to the new year.  Active listings were low at the end of 2020 but in the first week of January we have already had 18 new properties hit the market, and based on conversations with other local agents more are on the way. I expect that the hotel condo market will stay in pure seller's market conditions for the whole year, similar to 2017. This doesn't mean it won't be possible to find good value in a hotel-condo investment, but buyers should be prepared to act by having their finances in order, be mentally prepared to go through the offer writing process on more than one occasion, and becoming willing to write an offer on a property that they may not have physically seen. If you own a hotel condo in Canmore and are interested in finding out the best sales strategy to maximize your dollar, click here

So, new year, new hopes and optimism. Albertans and Western Canadians seem to be coming to terms with the fact that vacationing close to home may be the new normal. Not all buyers want the ability to do nightly rentals so there will be continued demand for residential, vacation-type properties as well like upgraded condos and townhomes. As a result, the ever popular $500,000-$600,000 segment is going to see plenty of new listings and buyer action. When all is said and done, there are going to be more sales in 2021 than the 515 last year.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss real estate in the Bow Valley in further detail, please don't hesitate to reach out!

contact the team at Canmore.net online or call (403) 678-7600

Posted by Ben Maize on


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