Alberta may be the fourth largest Canadian province in terms of population, but it is at the top of the list as far as growth in the housing market. If you are interested in living in Alberta, you should know that houses in the area are in high demand, and you may have to act quickly if you want to get the home you want at a price you can afford. We are the best resource online for comprehensive information on the Alberta housing market as well as the best place to find the lowest mortgage rates in Alberta. Working with several lenders that fund loans in the province, we have made it easy for you to access competitive offers from different banks and other financial institutions when you choose a rate on this page and fill out the quick form. You will also receive the most complete and up-to-date data on the Alberta housing market on this site. Read on to find out more information about the housing market in Alberta and to access the lowest mortgage rates.
Why Alberta is Booming
As noted above, Alberta is a highly desirable place to live, and many people are looking for homes in the province. Several factors are driving this demand:
• Economy — Alberta is home to many natural resources that are in high demand in the energy sector, and industries that mine and process raw materials are growing. This contributes to the low jobless rate, which is projected to be approximately 5 percent by 2013. The growth in GDP is causing many companies to hire, and all these new workers need a place to live.
• Stable Housing Prices — Although home prices are rising rapidly in other Canadian provinces, particularly Ontario and British Columbia, home prices in Alberta are projected to remain stable over the next several years. Although home sales are increasing around 13 percent in year over year growth, home prices have not yet caught up to this high growth rate. This may change in the future, but while housing prices are stable, many people will move into the province to take advantage of competitive real estate prices and low Alberta mortgage rates.
• Immigration — Closely related to the stable housing prices and the state of Alberta’s economy is the rate of immigration in the province, which is currently 40 percent greater than the average rate of the past 20 years. As immigration increases, housing prices will go up as well.
The Current State of Alberta’s Housing Market
Although the real estate boom and bust has been big news in other parts of North America, Alberta has not suffered the extreme highs and lows of other areas. Although there was a strong uptick in the number of new houses constructed before the recession of 2008, prices have not increased as dramatically in Alberta as they have elsewhere because there are still homes in Alberta’s housing inventory that were built in the pre-recession period. It should be noted, however, that inventories are decreasing. March 2012 witnessed the lowest level of available housing for sale in a two-year period, which indicates that more homes are being purchased. Demand, in turn, will likely cause prices to rise in the years ahead.
As far as new housing, construction prices should remain relatively stable for the next few years and are unlikely to go up more than 2.5 percent a year through 2013. Housing starts in 2012 and 2013 were expected to be 30,000 and 31,000, respectively, but recent statistics point to 37,000 housing starts in April 2012, which bodes well for future construction. This will help meet the housing demand, but it will not satisfy it completely, so now may be the time to take advantage of excellent mortgage rates in Alberta before home prices appreciate out of your range. In any case, Alberta is the sole province to see increased housing starts in 2012, most of these being in the Calgary and Edmonton metropolitan areas. Finally, although resales slowed in the last few months of 2011, they should continue to increase throughout 2012 and beyond as more people move into the province. In fact, March 2012 marked the 11th month in a row that MLS sales were higher than they were in the same month of the prior year. Nearly 6,000 homes were sold in March according to the latest statistics from the provincial real estate boards.
Compared to other major cities in Canada, the cost of home ownership in Alberta and Edmonton is relatively affordable. On average, less than 40 percent of household income goes toward home ownership costs in these cities, whereas residents of a city such as Vancouver must dedicate 60 percent of their household income or more toward their housing. This may not last forever, and given the relatively low prices currently available in the province, now is probably an excellent time to buy a home and get a loan at low current mortgage rates. The average price was approximately $363,000, which is lower than the national average of about $367,000. Alberta residents have rarely seen a better market for affordable housing.
Where to Live in Alberta?
The two largest cities in Alberta are Edmonton and Calgary, and they rank among the most desirable places to live in the entire country. Calgary is home to several multinational corporations that offer ample job opportunities, and the city has a great multicultural feel given the presence of large Asian and Latin American populations. Aside from being home to the 1988 Winter Olympics, Calgary is also notable for being the cleanest city in the world (Forbes, 2007).
Calgary is the fifth largest city in Canada, and Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, is number six in terms of the country’s population. This city is desirable because of its large amount of green space, and it is also a significant base for industry and research. Major companies such as IBM and General Electric have a significant presence in Edmonton.
Another desirable area in which to live is Grande Prairie, which is an economic center for approximately a quarter of a million people. The oil and gas industry is a major economic force, as is agriculture and forestry, and many jobs are available in the town. Those who buy a home in Grande Prairie are likely to see it increase in value over time because of the jobs that these industries create.
A final city worth mentioning is Lethbridge, which has seen its economy become more diversified in recent decades. Many people move to the suburbs of Lethbridge and commute into the city for work at companies including H&R Transport and Canadian Freightways. The city has been known as a cultural center, which is also a plus for many people. Job opportunities and the importance of the city for the arts make Lethbridge attractive to home buyers, who can be confident that a house in Lethbridge is a good investment.
The Best Alberta Mortgage Rates
Now that you have a basic overview of Alberta and its housing market, it is time to get some mortgage loan quotes if you are interested in living in the province. Select a mortgage rate on this page or fill out the mortgage application form for more information on mortgage loan rates in Alberta.
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