Disaster to drive real estate?

The Fort McMurray wildfires could push prices in surrounding markets, according to one veteran.

“We’re still pretty early on in it. Everyone has questions about how it will impact Edmonton,” David Niven, managing director of Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Mentors, said. “I would suggest a bit of a bubble in Edmonton – push the rental market in Edmonton. For sales as well.”

The bad news for Fort McMurray-based investors may help those in another struggling market.

Edmonton saw an 18% year-over-year increase in inventory in April, yet prices remained stable at $377,283.

“Prices in the Edmonton and Area market remain stable. This is good news for sellers who have been concerned about selling in a ‘buyer’s market’,” Realtors Association of Edmonton Chair Steve Sedgwick said earlier this month. “Buyers continue to have a great selection of properties to choose from and sellers need to be competitive with their listings. Continued lack of significant movement in the average house price is a good signal that Edmonton’s economy is strong.”

However, if history is any indication, it may take years for Fort McMurray to be fully rebuilt. Slave Lake is still rebuilding following its own, smaller scale, wildfire distaster.

And during Fort McMurray’s rebuild, many may look to set up roots in outlying areas, including Edmonton.

That would be good for those based in the former City of Champions. Aftera all, Edmonton’s real estate board forecasted an uptick in sales even prior to the wildfires.

“New listings were slightly down in April, but inventory remains high.” Sedgwick said, “We expect to see sales continue to rise through the early summer months. It will be interesting to see whether there are many new listings adding to the existing inventory in upcoming months.”

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