More House for Your Money

While they may trail their metropolitan neighbor in stature, Calgary’s surrounding communities are no slouch when it comes to sales. Buoyed by affordability, Airdrie, Cochrane and Okotoks all recorded double-digit sales growth in the third quarter and represent nearly half of the sales activity surrounding Calgary.

“We chose Airdrie over Calgary because our money went a lot further when buying a house as far as size and yard,” said Jody Paterson, who recently purchased a single-family home in Airdrie with her fiance after living in an apartment in Calgary.

“Airdrie has all the things a city has without the hassle of traffic or crime. And if you really need something that you can’t find here, it’s only a short drive to CrossIron Mills or Calgary.”

According to the latest numbers from CREB®, there were plenty of people following in Paterson’s footsteps, as town sales hit double-digit growth in the third quarter, continuing the brisk pace set in the first half of the year.

“We keep seeing strong sales growth in the surrounding municipalities because, when it comes to single-family homes, the supply is down in Calgary proper,” said Bob Jablonski, CREB® president. “Plus, generally speaking, you can find more house at a more affordable price in these areas and other areas outside the city.”

Year-to-date town sales totaled 4,110 units, a 41 per cent increase over the previous year. Sales levels in Airdrie, Cochrane and Okotoks not only grew by more than 20 per cent, but also exceeded typical levels of activity in the third quarter.

In Airdrie, the benchmark price for the typical home was $338,600 for the month of September, the lowest of the top three surrounding areas and 22 per cent less than the benchmark single-family home in Calgary. Meanwhile, Cochrane was highest of the three towns at $388,600, still 11 per cent less than single-family homes in Calgary.

Year-to-date September 2012, City of Airdrie sales totaled 933, a 31 per cent increase over 2011.

While the typical property varies by area, each of these three communities provides consumers with newer, larger homes on relatively larger lots when compared to single-family homes in Calgary.

Cochrane recorded the best third quarter sales activity on record, with 414 homes changing hands. Despite the impressive rise in sales, Cochrane recorded the lowest price increases compared to the other two centres and has the largest spread between current and peak pricing in the single-family market.

Following a relatively slow start to the year, the town of Okotoks saw a 13 per cent rise in sales in the third quarter compared to last year, with 165 homes changing hands.

With a drop in new listings accompanied the rise in sales, resulting in a tightening in supply in the Okotoks market, recent developments in the town could mean even more growth for the town. Following much debate and growing pressure, Okotoks town council voted 5-2 in favour of eliminating the town’s population cap of 30,000.

Since 2006, the town’s population has grown from 17,150 to the 24,962 residents calling Okotoks home today. Developed in 1998, the previous growth model for the town had capped Okotoks’ future expansion in part due to concern’s about the town’s water supply.

“Sales growth has occurred primarily in the single-family market which accounts for just more than 80 per cent of the residential sales in these areas,” said CREB® economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “The increase in demand for single-family homes in surrounding areas is related to diminished supply in the Calgary single-family market as well as the favourable relative pricing in these centres.”

Do you live in Calgary’s surrounding areas? Are the reasons listed in this post the same for why you live outside of Calgary?

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