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Calgary Buyers Flooding Market after the Flood

The flooding that took place in Calgary last month has brought many changes to the city, and it’s been said that it will take them up to 10 years to fully recover. What might not take any time at all though is their housing market, as this has seen a huge upswing ever since the Elbow River washed out the homes of millionaires in the city.

The Elbow River was one of the areas hit by flooding, and it was hit hard. The ┬áhomes along the bank of the river suffered some of the worst damage, and they were also mainly the homes of millionaires who could afford to live in the posh area. Now those homes will take many months to repair and rebuild, and those residents need somewhere to live in the meantime. Now, they’re branching out into other areas.

Thomas Keeper, a real estate agent in the city, says that he’s never seen anything like it. July, which is usually a quiet month for real estate in Calgary, has seen “a crazy amount of activity,” according to Keeper, and much of the focus has been on million-dollar homes. He says that a property that would typically take up to a year to sell is now selling within weeks, and that the sellers of those properties are getting about 10 per cent more than they would otherwise.

But it’s not just homes right in the city. As homes are being scooped up, including rental units on the already-tight rental market, more and more people are being pushed out into the suburbs – no matter their home ownership status.

Mike Hornby, another real estate agent in the city, says that he’s seen a home in the southern suburbs of Calgary that had 19 showings in just 8 days – definitely a phenomenon in Calgary, especially in July. Keeper said that one of his properties in the suburbs received three offers over the weekend, another unusual occurrence.

Those who were once renting, and now have seen their home damaged by flood, are also being pushed into the burbs as there was nearly no vacancy in Calgary before the floods, and now Hornby says, “it’s virtually non-existent.” These renters too, will need to look to places like Airdrie, somewhere they probably never considered renting before.

But while Calgary’s housing market is healthy for the time being, what future did the flood bring to them? Some have been saying that home values will fall, especially in areas where the flood hit hardest. But others, like Hornby, are a little more positive – and he’s got the experience to back him up. He watched a condo development be severely damaged by a flood along the Bow River just a few years ago, and he says that it didn’t impact the area too greatly.

“That didn’t seem to affect the property values in that particular building,” he said. “The unit holders were inconvenienced for a couple of weeks before they had a chance to pump the water out.”

And Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist at the Calgary Real Estate Board, agrees.

“In a lot of these centres when they have done this type of work, valuation has fully recovered,” she says.

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