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Residential real estate rebuilds ahead of schedule in the Fort

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Inc. (CMHC) has said the once fire-ravaged Fort McMurray is rebuilding quicker than experts anticipated. Fort McMurray, in Alberta's north, had about 2,500 homes destroyed by a massive wildfire last year and is in the midst of rebuilding its residential real estate sector. A recent CMHC report indicated rebuilding has begun on 844 homes razed by the fire in May 2016.

Ninety-nine per cent of the burnt-out homes will be rebuilt, with a small number of lots earmarked for a flood defense zone. If building continues at the same rate, the CMHC predicts that rebuilding will be completed by 2021 at the latest. In fact, the Fort will see the highest level of residential real estate construction starts this year since 2009 when the community was in the midst of an oil boom.

Residential real estate on the upswing in Alberta

Canada's real estate market continues on a strong front, posting gains in the second quarter of this year. Alberta seems to be leading the pack in terms of residential real estate sales. The statistics, provided by a major real estate brokerage firm, point to a continuation of the same in the second half of this year with Alberta sales definitely on the rebound from an economic downturn.

There seems to be a provincial balance taking shape in the country. Some scalding markets, like those in Toronto and Vancouver, are becoming more tepid, while those that have been depressed, like Alberta, are beginning to rebound. This makes for a very healthy overall real estate market in the nation.

Job slumps put damper on North Alberta real estate transactions

When jobs are scarce, it stands to reason that the housing market will take a beating. The slump in jobs in the Alberta oil sector may be harming a possible renewal in real estate transactions in the northern part of the province. Unemployed people have trouble making ends meet. Stagnant cash flow equals a thwarted real estate market.

The Fort McMurray wildfire last year didn't help the housing market in that region of Alberta either. Oil production came to a complete halt for about a month. A recent analysis of the situation showed that oil companies have no new projects or expansions earmarked for the next year. Companies don't see a pickup of work for two to three years.

Residential real estate sales help Alberta town after flood

After a flood that devastated the High River area of Alberta four years ago, the scenic locale of 13,000 residents is finally on the rebound. Floods impacted many southern Alberta communities, but those in 2013 threatened the very existence of High River. In fact, three residents died and the residential real estate market suffered immeasurably, with many homes being so devastated that they had to be torn down.

Montrose, a community in the High River area, is being given an economic jolt by Western Canadian development company Dream Development. According to a company spokesperson, Dream Development's plan is exactly what the area's ailing residential real estate market needs. The company intends to fill 37 lots and then plans to bring on another 42.

Sears closures open possibilities for commercial real estate

As it struggles to remain solvent, Sears Canada has announced the closure of three stores in Alberta, leaving about 100 people jobless. This is hardly a surprise for many in North America who have anticipated things would only get worse since its parent company in the United States has already closed hundreds of stores. However, for those monitoring local commercial real estate, the departure of the floundering department stores may not be such a bad thing.

In recent years, downsizing in the oil industry has left Alberta office towers without tenants as well as eliminating foot traffic crucial for adjacent businesses. However, the trend in these areas so far this year has been toward declining vacancy rates in commercial real estate. In the past few months, vacancies have declined from 11.5 percent to 10.8 percent.

Commercial real estate takes a new direction with town centres

Despite the waning popularity of malls and shopping centers, people in Alberta and beyond still love to shop. While online shopping may be surging, many folks continue to enjoy visiting brick and mortar stores to make their purchases. However, consumers seem to be ever looking for a more convenient shopping experience, and shopping malls and plazas may have outlived their usefulness, prompting developers to consider a new direction for commercial real estate.

When a retail-only development sees a major change, such as the exit of an anchor store or a change in ownership, the retail centre may lose its competitive edge. This is why more developers are thinking outside the retail-only box, creating multi-use developments that combine residential and office space with retail tenants. Instead of merely shopping centres, developers are creating town centres, essentially providing a complete experience for working, living and entertaining.

Calgary real estate transactions on the rise, along with prices

It is said that what goes up must come down. Depending on the current mood of the economy in Alberta, the opposite can also be true when it comes to real estate transactions. The slowly moving Calgary real estate yo-yo seems to be creeping its way back up, according to new data from the Calgary Real Estate Board.

The CREB numbers show a 13 percent increase in sales in May 2017 versus the same month last year, climbing from 1,213 a year ago to 1,378 last month. The number of new listings also went up year over year in May by 14 percent. More than 3,800 homes came to market in May 2017, well up from the 3,317 new offerings the previous May.

Surplus residential real estate creating a buyer's market

In the film 'Field of Dreams,' the main character hears someone speak the (oft-misquoted) words, "If you build it, he will come." That must be on what Edmonton residential real estate developers are banking. The latest statistics show an emerging surplus of new housing in Alberta's capital, turning the local market into a potentially appealing one for buyers.

Numbers recently released by Intelligence House show a noticeable increase in the number of so-called "spec" homes going up in Edmonton and the surrounding area. Spec homes are houses built before they are sold. This phenomenon is often seen in new subdivisions. 

Calgary seeking to fill commercial real estate vacancies

Many successful businesspeople have turned a profit by seeing opportunity where others see disaster. Commercial real estate vacancies are at historic highs in the downtown cores of the major Alberta cities, as the economic downturn still has the real estate market in its grasp. Rather than simply admit defeat, however, the Calgary city council is trying to make the city more attractive to business, both small and large.

While it's the massive, empty downtown office towers making the headlines, there is plenty of smaller commercial space available in Calgary as well. In an effort to reduce vacancy rates, the council is exploring ways to make moving a business downtown more appealing. In general, they are looking at relaxing certain regulations that may make using the available space impractical.

A creative solution to the residential real estate shortage

Although the major housing markets in Alberta have not inflated to the levels seen in other big urban centres across Canada, affordable living space can be tough to find in this province. To combat this problem, many homeowners have turned to a creative type of infill housing to create affordable residential real estate. In many cases, they are also able to help a family member in need.

A Halifax researcher recently published the results of a study conducted on garage suites in Edmonton. There are 115 garage suites in Edmonton at present, and another 10 are under construction. Garage suites take advantage of the footprint of a detached garage. Homeowners are either adding or renovating space above the garage, and creating small but comfortable living spaces.

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