Investors move in for 'flood fringe' opportunities

“Indeed, savvy investors are specifically targeting those parts of the city, capitalizing on the two to three year slowdown in demand that is likely to occur because of the flooding,” said Randy Bett, an investor/real estate agent with Better Group Real Estate, part of Keller-Williams group. “We are not looking at flooded homes, to be clear, but properties in those areas identified under the flood (plain).”

The interest has everything to do with that 100-year natural disaster that hit Alberta’s biggest city earlier this summer. The flooding is widely acknowledged as the worst Calgary has seen since 1932 and has sparked millions of dollars in insurance claims. They are clustered in “flood fringe” areas, many in and around the Bow River.

Insurer and lenders have already adjusted their underwriting to reflect any heightened risk associated with those areas. But investors are actively combing through the property listings for those neighbourhoods, hunting for homes and commercial buildings that escaped the water.

The thinking, says Bett, is that supply will finally outweigh demand in those affected areas as end-users focus on locations.

Renters are likely doing the same, but are more likely to consider flood fringe areas given their proximity to the city centre.

Still, the window of opportunity for investors won’t stay open for long, argues Bett, suggesting the flood of 2013 will eventually recede from their forefront of both buyer and seller memory.

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