With all the trappings of the big city yet still closely tied to its country roots, Airdrie presents the best of both worlds in many ways. And judging by the regularity with which homes in the city are being sold, it would appear that the homebuying public is in agreement.

According to CREB®, MLS® sales activity in Airdrie improved by nearly 23 per cent in 2012, with an unadjusted single-family benchmark home price of $336,000 in December, slightly lower than the previous month, but higher than levels recorded in 2011. The annual average benchmark price in 2012 for Airdrie totalled $334,133, a 3.6 per cent increase over 2011.

On the rise for some time, the numbers indicate Airdrie has hit its stride as an attractive option for area homebuyers, providing an attractive mix of size, affordability and selection.

“The surrounding towns, in general, have done well, and that’s because people are looking for affordable alternatives,” said Ann- Marie Lurie, CREB®’s chief economist. “In the surrounding towns,
you can get more home than what you would get in the city. The homes are larger and usually less expensive, and, with a tighter supply of single-family homes in Calgary, the surrounding towns are just more attractive to homebuyers.”

One couple who took advantage of the Airdrie alternative are Jody Paterson and Robert Heidemiller. Both in their late 20s, the engaged couple decided to purchase their first home in Airdrie after looking in Calgary and other surrounding towns, largely due to the affordability of the area.

“Airdrie felt the most like home,” said Paterson. “The houses were much more affordable than [in Calgary] in terms of how much yard and square footage we were going to get for our money, plus the commute was no worse than where we were already living [in Calgary] – plus we got a whole house with a big backyard, not just a condo or townhouse.”

Airdrie’s appeal as a popular destination for buyers is expected to continue, with the city projecting a 5.8 per cent population increase for 2013. Over the past five years, Airdrie has experienced an average annual growth rate of 7.75 per cent. The current population sits at 45,711, with nearly half that number under the age of 40.

The appeal of the city is also evident in the number of homes breaking ground. According to the City of Airdrie, the number of approved building permits increased 42 per cent over last year, with duplexes and multi-family units (apartments) making up a large part of the increase.

“It was another solid year of growth,” says Kent Rupert, team leader, Economic Development for The City of Airdrie. “Airdrie continues to be one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and that’s reflected in our construction numbers. We are excited about the addition of schools, and welcome the diversity of housing that the new multi-family option brings. We will continue to develop job opportunities for our residents in both the commercial and industrial sectors in our city.”