Investors to win expanded access to hot Alberta market

A Fort McMurray college has cashed in on the area’s surging housing demand by selling about 600 acres of land for development.

The area will be developed as Saline Creek and the residential and commercial centre will house up to 20,000 people near the airport, according to the Edmonton Journal. Keyano College could collect $80 million to $120 million in net income for the land, according to its president, Dr. Kevin Nagel.

The community of Fort McMurray -- the urban centre of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo -- has seen an overwhelming demand in housing recently, as oil sands jobs have brought the population above 100,000, along with as many as 45,000 in work camps, according to the Edmonton Journal.

Last year, the Alberta government opened up a 135 acre development one year ahead of schedule that is expected to eventually house 24,000 residents in Fort McMurray, dubbed Parsons Creek. It’s the only major residential unit underway currently in the area.

Nagel said people were starting to “get panicked” about the housing situation in the area and noted nearly every room and basement were being rented out.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation noted that the Wood Buffalo community has seen its vacancy rate drop from 10% in 2009 to under 6% in 2010, and is forecast to reach as low as 4% early this year.

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