Housing market booms after flood

CALGARY — Extensive flooding that hit southern Alberta in June has contributed to a booming housing market in Calgary.

CALGARY — Extensive flooding that hit southern Alberta in June has contributed to a booming housing market in Calgary.

Demand for homes in the city had peaked in 2007 and then crashed a couple of years later, but real estate people are reporting a big upswing again.

“Oh, my gosh,” says Thomas Keeper of Tink International Real Estate. “Last night I had two properties that had multiple offers on them. That was all within a 48-hour period.”

Thousands of people move to the city every year. The local economy is strong. And increased demand created by the flooding means houses are being snapped up almost as soon as they hit the market.

“Since the floods, you’re seeing a market increase of six per cent and I was only predicting three.”

Wealthy neighbourhoods along the city’s Elbow River were among the areas hardest hit by floodwaters. Some homeowners there have bought elsewhere, either as permanent abodes or as places to live while their homes are repaired or replaced

The chief economist at the Calgary Real Estate Board, Ann-Marie Lurie, echoes Keeper’s sentiment.

“It’s a strong economic situation combined with some of that increased activity due to the floods,” she says, adding that the healthy economy means homes are affordable.

“People who were trying to decide what they were going to do, like renters, decided to move to home ownership.”

Even with that happening, the vacancy rate for rentals in Calgary stands at well below one per cent.

Home sales were busy in July in Calgary and August could well set a record. The real estate board expects sales to be roughly 20 per cent higher than at this time last year. Prices for an average single family home are up by about seven per cent from 2012 — to $461,600 in July.

The flooding is definitely playing a key role in the hot market, says Keeper. “But more importantly is just the simple fact we have low interest rates and no places to rent.

“The federal government is increasing interest rates,” he says. “And every time there’s an interest rate increase or rumours, it makes people who are sitting on the fence want to buy.”

Realtor Mike Leibel from CIR Realty believes the impact of flooding was short-lived and that the fear of higher mortgage rates will drive home purchases now.

Leibel calls it a “sellers’ market.”

Prices have come up substantially in the past 30 or 60 days, he says, adding that there have been “incredible increases in prices — particularly in the single-family area.”

The picture is far different just to the south in High River, which was devastated by the floodwaters.

“We have had a grand total of 10 sales since the flood, since June 19th and 20th,” says Jamie Ellice of Century 21 Foothills.

“Two of those were flood-affected homes and they sold for about 15 to 17 per cent below fair market value. The other eight actually were for fair market value but they were not affected by flood or sewer backup.”

Ellice says High River will remain a question mark for buyers until the Alberta government tells people what it intends to do about the course of the Highwood River and whether it might be altered.

He also says that consumers tend to have short memories when it comes to such events as flooding and he predicts they will eventually see the town as a good place to live again.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Gov’t of Alberta identifies estimated 300 new COVID-19 cases Sunday

Online COVID-19 dashboard unavailable as upgrades being completed

The Central Alberta Freestyle Ski Club is hoping to win $50,000 through the Mackenzie Investments Top Peak contest. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta ski club trying to win $50K in online contest

A central Alberta ski club has entered a contest where it can… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa on December 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives to call top Sajjan, Trudeau aides to testify on Vance allegations

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives plan to summon two senior Liberal aides… Continue reading

Elvira D'Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada’s… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

A passenger places a tag on luggage at the departure terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, May 24, 2019. The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and familial connections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
COVID-19 pandemic prompts recent newcomers to leave Canada for their home countries

OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian oil and gas on trains destined for the United States — a country experts fear is ill-equipped for the potential consequences. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
As debate rages over cross-border pipelines, U.S. analysts brace for more oil by rail

WASHINGTON — The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian… Continue reading

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

VICTORIA — Legal experts and a mother whose ex-partner was convicted of… Continue reading

Radio and television personality Dick Smyth is shown in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Dick Smyth, Canadian maestro of news radio commentary, dies at 86

TORONTO — Radio and television personality Dick Smyth, whose booming commentary filled… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

Most Read