Real estate sales boom in Cochrane, Airdrie

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Norma and Alan Kehoe said leaving the beauty and friendship of Cape Breton was not easy.

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But living next to the grandchildren in Cochrane was a strong enough incentive to move west and buy a house in the Fireside area of ​​the city west of Calgary.

“We love Cochrane. We love being close to the mountains and the city without having to be in it, ”said Alan Kehoe.

“(Cochrane) is an older community, but it’s growing rapidly.”

The couple, who will buy their 1,430-square-foot home next month, are among the homebuyers driving a property boom in cities surrounding Calgary.

According to new figures from the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), 725 home sales in Cochran in the first six months of the year almost equal a record 754 purchases for the entire record 2014.

The same can be said for the Airdrie north of Calgary, where the average annual home sales of 1,300 have already been exceeded.

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The estimated price for a detached house in Airdrie in June was $ 432,700, up 15 percent from the previous year.

But the average price for a detached house in Airdrie this year is $ 411,011, well below the $ 500,183 in Calgary, according to CREB.

“My record sales in previous years were beaten by May of this year,” said Natalie Betiaum of CIR Realty, which specializes in Airdrie.

Lower land prices are attracting buyers to the city, which has nearly doubled in size since 2009 and has a population of over 70,000, she said.

“None of us expected this market to appear. When COVID-19 really became a problem, everyone predicted that this market would fall, but the opposite happened, ”Bertiame said.

The COVID-inspired trend towards work from home has made places like Airdrie more appealing, she said.

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This was echoed by Cochrane CIR realtor Kendra Watt, whose population has grown 30 percent over the past five years to over 34,000.

“Working from home gives people the opportunity to live further from the city center. … … “After the pandemic, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of people moving out of Calgary,” Watt said.

“And your money goes further here than Calgary – it has always been.”

Prices in Cochrane have been four percent higher in the past six months than in the same period in 2020, according to CREB.

Regardless, it remains attractive to people in more expensive regions like Canmore, Watt said, where the base price of more than $ 1.15 million is up 17 percent from last year.

“We see quite a few people coming out of Canmore,” she said.

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This is the demand for which Watt and her partners are “going crazy – this is certainly at least double that of 2020.”

But that means the market has been catching up since the early months of the pandemic, Watt said as sales slowed.

But now, this late pandemic surge has meant more expensive building materials and less predictable construction times, Watt said.

“Instead, people come to the resale market, which we have not seen before,” she said.

It also means more cash purchases as buyers seek to gain a stronger position in the competitive sellers’ market, Watt added.

Both Berthiaume and Watt say at least 10 percent of their recent buyers also come from other provinces.

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“This is more than before. People are retiring to spend the summer here and cash out in high-priced places like Vancouver and southern Ontario, ”Bertiume said.

“They don’t even blink our prices. They see value here. “

But the growing demand for living outside the city has taken its toll on affordability, says CREB.

In Okotock, south of Calgary, the base price for single-family homes rose to $ 508,200 last month, up 14 percent from a year earlier and seven percent from early 2021, they said.

“Record sales and low inventories have kept monthly shipments at just over one month,” CREB said in its latest report.

“Inventories have been low compared to sales in this market since the third quarter of last year, leading to a steady rise in prices, especially for single homes.”

Okotox’s population has grown by eight percent over the past five years, to 31,569 in 2020.

BKaufmann@postmedia.com

Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

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