Wide Open Spaces

Pre-flood home sales activity in communities surrounding Calgary saw an increase of 4.6 per cent over the first half of the year, but CREB® cautions the cleanup and rebuilding post-flood will have an as-yet unknown impact on those communities.

“While not all towns follow the same pricing trends, on aggregate the surrounding areas have been recording year-over-year price gains in excess of six per cent,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB®’s chief economist. “This in part is a result of the tighter supply levels in the city market spilling over into the surrounding areas.”

Total sales in the community of Airdrie for the second quarter of this year hit 401, a 14.25 per cent increase over the same period in 2012. Okotoks saw a slight decrease in that same period down 2.43 per cent while Cochrane saw a decrease of 3.91 per cent.

“Price recovery has been slower in the Cochrane market, as excess inventory levels lingered longer in this market than some other surrounding areas,” Lurie said. “Furthermore, there has been a surge in new home construction, adding to the competition in the resale market.”

With home prices reaching an average of $466,458 in June, a 5.6 per cent year-over-year increase; surrounding communities offer homeownership options a little easier on the pocket book.

Moving from Lethbridge to open a business in Calgary in 2006, Dave and Brenda Allan decided on Strathmore as the place for the family to call home.

“In 2006, Calgary home prices were ridiculous,” Brenda said. The Allans wanted a home comparable in size to what they had in Lethbridge as well as easy access to schools for their two daughters. If the family went with Calgary, Brenda said the girls would have to bus down Deerfoot Trail, so Dave and she made the decision to commute to and from the city instead. Seven years later, they are still happy with their choice.

“Hands down the best part (of Strathmore) is that it is a great place to raise a family,” Dave said. “Good neighbours, good schools. We could always use better sports facilities — even better care taken of existing facilities — but plenty of volunteers and people interested in strong community.”

In June, Strathmore saw 26 sales for an average listing price of $298,292.

Pre-flood, the community of High River accounted for almost seven per cent of the sales and listings activity represented in the surrounding area said figures released by CREB®.

“The flood’s impact on the High River housing sectors is likely to be more extreme than in some of the inner city communities of Calgary, given the widespread impact on the towns residential and business community,” Lurie said. “It is reasonable to assume this event will have long-term impacts on the community unless significant changes are made to address future flooding risk.”

On July 14, the Alberta government announced new policies pertaining to flooding in the province. These include funding available for homeowners located in a floodway to rebuild or relocate outside flood risk areas and additional funding for approved flood mitigation measures.

“These are crucial decisions for the future of our province and the safety of our citizens,” said Doug Griffiths, chair of the Ministerial Flood Recovery Task Force. “There will obviously be significant and extensive questions concerning the implementation of these policy directions. “Our government has made good progress in flood-mapping municipalities most prone to flooding and that work continues.”

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