Red Deer has the most affordable housing costs in the country, according to the Re/Max Canada 2022 Housing Affordability Report.
The report, which compares the percentage of people’s incomes, compared to how much they spend on mortgage payments, ranked Red Deer at No. 1 in Canada for affordability in a Top 10 listing.
Red Deerians, on average, spend 25.86% of their incomes on mortgages.
That’s lower than Regina (No. 2 at 26.94%,) Brandon (No. 3 at 27.73%), Edmonton (29.64%), Thunder Bay, Ont. (29.76%), Saskatoon (31.06%), St. John’s, Nfld. (31.45%), Moncton, NB (33.40%), Calgary (38.29%), and Winnipeg (39.10%).
These numbers don’t surprise Larrissa Kalyn, chair of the Central Alberta Realtors Association. She’s recently been seeing out-of-province people flocking to Alberta because it’s more affordable.
Kalyn believes more job creation in Alberta over the last couple of years is making it more attractive for people to move here from B.C. and Ontario, where house prices have skyrocketed since the pandemic began.
More people working from home and in adaptable industries such as trucking and construction have also made residing in affordable places, like Red Deer, more do-able, she added.
This city isn’t a major centre, which also contributes to Red Deer being No. 1 on the list, said Kalyn. And until recently, Red Deer, like all of Alberta, has been struggling economically and not seeing the spiralling home prices that have made great swaths of Ontario and British Columbia so expensive.
“Our housing is a third of the price of a place like Toronto, where the average house sells for $700,000, while we’re at about $300,000,” said Kalyn.
This is positive news for residents of Red Deerians, and others places in Central Alberta, which Kalyn knows are also very affordable. It’s also created a lucrative few years for local realtor who have seen unprecedented sales.
Kalyn notes that every month since 2017 has seen house sales at an all-time high. While there was initially some question about what COVID-19 would do to the industry, having more people isolating in their homes during the pandemic actually boosted housing sales, said Kalyn.
Rising bank interest rates, however, could cloud the picture for the autumn, when home sales traditionally rise after a summertime lull.
“It’s hard to say what will happen to the housing market this fall,” added Kalyn.