No place like home

Surrounding communities hold their value

The appeal to small-town living just a stone’s throw from the “big” city is nothing new. Yet recent housing market intelligence suggests it’s more than just lifestyle preferences driving homeowners beyond Calgary’s borders.

While slower economic activity has influenced housing markets across the province, CREB®’s latest Surrounding Area Quarterly report found prices in areas surrounding Calgary have remained fairly stable.

“On aggregate, surrounding area prices have posted some quarterly growth as some of these areas have not recorded the same level of pull-back in sales relative to inventory levels,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

The average benchmark price for a detached home outside of Calgary was $432,700 over the first three months of 2015, a one per cent increase from the previous quarter and 8.4 per cent jump from the same period last year.

Overall, communities bordering Calgary saw 911 residential sales in the first quarter of 2015, a 22.7 per cent decline compared to the same time last year, according to CREB®. New listings, meanwhile, increased by 11.6 per cent and inventories averaged 1,715 for the quarter, pushing average months of inventory to 5.65.

“With improved first-quarter supply in both the city of Calgary and the surrounding areas, consumers will definitely have more housing options,” said CREB® president Corinne Lyall.

“Each of the surrounding areas has their own unique dynamic, so it’s really important to consider the community and specific segment of the market that you are buying or selling in when making any real estate decisions.”

For Jody and Robert Heidmiller, it was the the dynamic of Airdrie, compared to other communities in the region, that drew them to buy a home in the city.

“We looked in Calgary, High River, Carstairs, Irricana, Crossfield, Okotoks, etc., and Airdrie felt the most like home,” said Jody.

“(Airdrie) feels like a safe little community and has amazing parks, walkways, off-leash areas for our dog, and is very well maintained by the city’s parks department.”

In the first quarter of the year, the benchmark price for a detached home in Airdrie averaged $397,867, flat compared to the previous quarter, but a year-over-year increase of 8.4 per cent, according to CREB®.

In April, those moving to Airdrie had a little less pressure on the pocketbook as the benchmark average for a detached home was $396,000.

To the west, Cochrane’s detached prices in the first quarter averaged $445,033 in the first quarter, a 2.5 per cent increase from the fourth quarter in 2015 and year-over-year double-digit growth of 12.5 per cent, according to CREB®.

In April, the average for a detached home in Cochrane was $451,100.

In a residents’ satisfaction survey released by the Town of Cochrane last year, 99 per cent of respondents indicated their quality of life in the community was good or very good.

“I’m proud of how Cochranites feel about this community,” said Mayor Ivan Brooker.

Okotoks, meanwhile, had an average benchmark price of $453,567 for detached homes over the first three months of the year, a one per cent increase from the previous quarter and seven per cent increase year-over-year, according to CREB®.

In April, the benchmark average of a detached home was $454,900.

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