The housing market in Grande Prairie was strong for 2018 thanks to increased activity in the local oil and gas industry.
From January to November 2018, resales were up 19 per cent for Grande Prairie, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Meanwhile, resales were down 6.4 per cent for across Alberta.
“In terms of the economy, the natural gas industry has supported growth in the housing markets in Grande Prairie,” said Lai Sing Louie, CMHC regional economist. “It’s really bucking the trend from what we’ve seen in the rest of Alberta.”
The average house price also rose 4.2 per cent for Grande Prairie while decreasing 2.7 per cent for the province through 11 months in 2018.
“Prices are showing that they are firming up and much stronger than even the major centres,” Louie said. “Edmonton, for example, is down 1.4 per cent and Calgary is down about 5 per cent.”
Grande Prairie vacancy rates dropped from 4.9 per cent in 2017 to 3.6 per cent in 2018, not including December for either year. In 2018, the provincial average was 5.5 per cent.
In addition, Louie noted an increase in average local rent by 10.9 per cent for 2018, compared to a decrease of 0.5 per cent in 2017. This is equivalent to a rent increase from $1,012 in 2017 to $1,122 in 2018 for a two-bedroom apartment.
“The rents in Grande Prairie are still a little bit lower than they are in Calgary and Edmonton,” Louie said. “Those two markets — the resale market and the rent market — have shown some firming. On the other hand, construction levels in new home markets came down a little bit.”
Excluding December, 154 new homes were built in Grande Prairie for 2018, compared to 190 for 2017.
Although CMHC no longer forecasts for Grande Prairie, Louie said the stronger housing market for 2018 indicated more activity in terms of people moving and related services.