Rollercoaster economy makes Edmonton affordable for first-time buyers

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Driving national averages upward are the traditionally high-priced markets in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, Victoria, and Toronto with its surrounding areas. For example, the Fraser Valley saw apartment condo prices rise over the five-year span by 104 per cent to $437,300 on average. And in the Niagara Region, the benchmark single-family home price rose by 95 per cent over the last five years, or a $239,300 jump in value.

That’s the highest among the segment nationally. In Alberta, Calgary has experienced a similar fate to Edmonton, Haw says.

“Unfortunately, it’s been a rollercoaster in the last decade,” she says about both markets, which were among the hottest in the nation when oil prices were around $100 US a barrel up to the third quarter of 2014.

Both markets, she adds, were showing signs of recovery at the start of the year. Then came COVID-19.

“COVID, unfortunately, pushed Alberta back down more than other provinces,” she says. “Most major cities have surpassed last year’s (year to date) sales already.”

As of Sept. 30, markets in both major Alberta cities were still down for sales. But they should catch up by the end of the year, she adds.

What’s more, the Alberta market should continue to see growing demand for single-family homes, Haw says. Sales growth is slowing for multi-family homes, while single-family homes are in high demand, in large part because of COVID, she adds.

“People are spending so much more time in their homes, it’s been a trend with people looking for more space,” Haw says. “This isn’t just a trend in Alberta; it’s nationwide.”

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