By HARLEY RICHARDS
Advocate business editor
Looking for an affordable family home? You might want to start your search in Rimbey.
A report prepared by Coldwell Banker Canada concludes that the average list price of four-bedroom, two-bathroom houses in the Central Alberta town during the first half of this year was the second lowest among 74 Canadian communities. Only Windsor, Ont., was found to be less expensive than Rimbey.
Rimbey’s average price was calculated at $201,950, while Windsor came in at $170,991.
Rimbey Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson said the affordability of his town’s residential real estate is attracting people, including some who work elsewhere.
“What I see here with people who move to town is they tend to come for work, and sometimes they’ll commute as far away as Angola or Yemen, and of course Fort McMurray and the Northwest Territories.”
Low-cost housing is only part of Rimbey’s appeal, said Ibbotson, explaining that the town offers amenities that many other Central Alberta communities can’t match.
“We have pretty much all of the major services. We have a hospital, we have doctors, we have police, we have three schools.”
Rimbey also has a wealth of recreational facilities, added Ibbotson, as well as resources for retirees.
Carol Clark, owner of Red Deer-based Coldwell Banker Ontrack Realty, agreed that Rimbey has a lot going for it, including small-town charm.
“It’s a community that I’d move to,” she said. “It’s a friendly town and it’s affordable.”
Clark said the two Coldwell Banker Realtors who serve the Rimbey market, Wendy Stevenson and Jeff Collins, confirmed that the type of house considered in the Coldwell Banker survey has been a hot seller.
“They said that four beds, two baths are the ones that are selling the most and are more affordable.”
Many people, said Clark, are happy to commute from a town like Rimbey if it means getting more house for their money.
Red Deer was ranked 35th on the Coldwell Banker list, with an average price of $326,151 for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house. Lacombe was next at $326,226, while Rocky Mountain House came in 44th with an average price of $343,476. Calgary and Edmonton were 55th and 62nd respectively, with Calgary’s average $409,900 and Edmonton’s $468,474.
The highest average price among Alberta communities belonged to Fort McMurray, at $608,655. That was good for 69th spot.
Ontario accounted for five of the 10 lowest-price communities on Coldwell Banker’s list, with three others in Atlantic Canada. At the other end of the affordability scale, British Columbia claimed the top three spots, with Vancouver the highest at $1,876,414.
The averages were based on Coldwell Banker listings between January and June 2012. Communities had to have at least five applicable listings to be included.
“Although home prices have reached record highs in many markets across Canada, there are still affordable options available to home buyers, especially those who are able to work from home, or who make the decision to trade location for commute,” said John Geha, president of Coldwell Banker Canada, in a news release.