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Airdrie leads in affordability for homebuyers looking to Calgary’s outskirts

When it comes to housing affordability in Calgary’s bedroom communities, one place is head and shoulders above the rest, according to some number crunching from real estate website zoocasa.

The authors of the report ranked 24 of Alberta’s cities and towns on housing affordability by looking at the price when compared with median income.

For those thinking of buying in one of Calgary’s nearest bedroom communities of Okotoks, Airdrie, Chestermere and Cochrane, one topped the list for affordability, while the other three were at the other end of the spectrum.

In fact, Airdrie was the fifth most affordable community in all of Alberta, coming in behind Fort Saskatchewan, Grand Prairie, Cold Lake and Fort McMurray, which topped the list of most affordable.

According to Penelope Graham, managing editor with Zoocasa, Airdire has seen a cooling market, which helped their ranking.

“Airdrie is experiencing a downturn in sales (-11 per cent), combined with higher-than-usual inventory – overall supply is 5.2 months,” said Graham. “With 732 sales and 1,600 new units on the market, Airdrie has a sales-to-new-listings ratio of 45 per cent – that’s a balanced market, but skewed closer to favourable buyer conditions, which then have an impact on pricing and affordability.”

On the other end of the scale, Okotoks showed up as the fourth-least affordable city of the 24 surveyed. In fact, it was on that list just behind Calgary and just ahead of Edmonton.

Chestermere ranked seventh as least affordable, and Cochrane ranked 12th, putting it in the middle of the pack.

For those dreaming of mountain living, they may have to dream on. Canmore topped the entire list as the least affordable of the 24 areas surveyed. There the price to income ratio is 5.8 for a two-person household.

Graham said commuters to Calgary have helped turn it into a bedroom community for the city.

“You’ve got people commuting into the business centre of Calgary, but they want that mountain lifestyle and you’re seeing a boom in luxury housing in that city,” she said.

Graham said the numbers they crunched still shows that compared with Toronto and Vancouver, Alberta has many options that are well within reach of dual-income families.

She also said it’s important to note that the numbers are aggregates, and there are variations within any local market.

“It’s important if you are interested in a specific location in your home search that you drill down into the average prices in neighborhoods,” said Graham.