The ‘A’ in Airdrie stands for affordable

Story by Jim Zang

Winter 2022

Whether you’re looking for a quick possession or are willing to wait for your dream home, you can find what you’re searching for in Airdrie.

In any housing market, there are always two sub-markets – new builds and resales. That’s welcome news for would-be Airdronians and other new home seekers, as even the most ambitious of home builders would have no chance of keeping up with Airdrie’s double-digit population growth rate.

It’s a simple matter of doing the math. According to Federal Census data, Airdrie’s population increased by approximately 12,500 from 2016 to 2021, for an average population growth of about 2,500 per year. At an average household size of 3, it would require 800 homes to accommodate everyone.

But that fails to take into account all those Airdrie residents moving from one home to another or any new generations of Airdronians buying their first homes here in town. When you factor those folks into the equation, the number of available homes required to put a roof over everyone’s head goes up significantly.

So, even as the two markets compete for home buyer business, at Airdrie’s current growth rate of 20 per cent plus annually, both need to be in good health for sustainable population growth to occur. With that in mind, it’s time for a quick check-up.

Looking at the latest statistics from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), single-family new home starts are up 36 per cent over September 2021 and 18 per cent up from August this year (see Figure 1).  Overall, 2022 is still lagging at bit behind 2021’s pace, but is only a few homes back with the busy fall months yet to weigh-in. The fact the numbers are so close year-to-year is a huge positive as it’s a reflection of the stability of the market. Huge fluctuations are generally not a good thing.

Another huge positive in the Airdrie housing market, and it’s no surprise to those in the know, is the affordability of the homes in the city’s many new communities. In September 2021, the average price of a new single-detached family home in town was $584,717. This past August, it was $584,912 and this September it was up to $640,382, rising slightly in response to fall demand. In comparison, the average price of a new home less than 15 minutes away, in Calgary, was $705,158 in September.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, the local resale market, although slowing somewhat, continues to show more activity than in 2021, says Airdrie-based realtor Trenton Pitner.

“Sales in Airdrie continued a downward trend that began in April,” he says. “While new listings have also trended down compared to earlier in the year, there are still more new listings on the market this month than there were last year. Overall, inventory levels are starting to rise from the exceptionally low levels, causing the months of supply to shift away from the strong seller market conditions.”

In other words, with more homes on the market, prospective buyers have both more options and buying power. Indeed, the average MLS price of a single-family home in Airdrie, says Pitner, is $498,977, a full $141,438 less than the average price of a new build.

Not only are prices consistently lower on resale homes, but there’s plenty of different options to choose from with 132 single-detached listings – 27 of which are conditionally sold – at press time. Throw in another 94 multi-family listings and you’ve got well in excess of 200 current listings.

If you figure an average of about 200 homes per month, times 12 months, that would be approximately 2,400 homes in a year – which isn’t far off the mark. In 2021, there were 2,302 total homes sold, with 2022 approaching that level already with 2,239 sales to the end of September.

Despite recent shifts in supply demand balances, with less than two months of supply conditions still remain tight, says Pitner, who expects prices to continue to trend down from earlier in the year as purchasers become more cautious.