Airdrie, located only about a half an hour north of the downtown core of Calgary, offers just that. The city of 39,822 people is surrounded by farmlands and scenic views of the countryside, while offering residents great access to the Queen Elizabeth II, a major highway running through the community.
Getting to Calgary will also be easier for commuters once the city begins a bus transit service running between the two cities this fall, according to the Airdrie Economic Development office.
Still, in the event of a housing downturn in southern Alberta, the communities surrounding Calgary can often be worst hit. For instance, Calgary, like many areas across Canada, experienced significant declines in sales volumes during July, with single-family home transactions falling to 915, down 42 per cent from July 2009 and down 14 per cent from June 2010, when sales were 1,061.
After increasing five per cent in May and staying at nearly the same level in June, the average price of a single-family home in Calgary decreased to $464,655 during July, four per cent lower than in June 2010, when the average was $481,964.
Sales were even fewer in Airdrie. In fact, transactions plunged 50 per cent on a year-over-year basis in July 2010 to 57, down from 113 in July 2009, and 19 per cent from June 2010, when sales were 70.
This resulted in a dramatic drop in the average residential price of 12 per cent from $353,779 in May to $311,221 in July, a difference of $42,558.
While this steep decline may frighten a novice investor, it presents a good opportunity to snap up as much as a $40,000 discount on a property.
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Airdrie's real estate market largely follows the movement of Calgary. When people flock to the big city during an economic boom, many residents seek a quieter, smaller community within commuting distance.