Fort McMurray blaze led to higher sales, lower prices

by Ephraim Vecina03 Mar 2017
In the six months after the Fort McMurray wildfire, more homes were sold in the area compared to the number of transactions prior to the blaze, according to a March 1 report by Fort McMurray Realtors.

In a hearing in front of the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee, the real estate professionals association revealed that 685 Fort McMurray homes were sold from June 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017—higher than the 566 in the same period in the year before, CBC News reported.

Average sale price of homes in the area fell by as much as 19 per cent, with half-duplexes suffering the largest declines and only mobile homes seeing (miniscule) price gains.

However, Fort McMurray Realtors president Andrew Weir noted that other factors might have influenced these numbers. 

“The overall slowdown is attributed to the economy and also some mortgage rule changes that have come into place over the last few years,” Weir explained.

“There has also been some work force relocation and some fly-in- fly-out programs that have left extra inventory on the market.”

While Alberta’s fundamentals have shown gradual recovery and improvements in internal-revenue numbers, the government has still projected a $10.8-billion deficit this year.

Late last month, Finance Minister Joe Ceci said that Alberta is going to make $1.5 billion more than expected in the current budget year which ends March 31—but greater spending on programs and disaster intervention (including $818 million for flooding and wildfire assistance) will mean that the bottom line will remain essentially static.

Related stories:
Numbers show Alberta economy improving, but no change to $10.8B deficit
Devaluation of ambitious Calgary home reflects local market’s dire straits

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