Alberta’s Oil Sands on the Way to Prosperity

Posted by Alan Zunec on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 at 7:46am.

The oil sands are humming along quite nicely thank you. This means that Fort McMurray and the surrounding Wood Buffalo region are prospering. It is seeing major increases in housing starts, the resale housing markets and Alberta’s strongest average home price growth in the early days of 2011. This area also has the highest rate of job creation in the province and the lowest unemployment rate, four percent.

The Wood Buffalo area is the only place in Alberta that currently has a balanced real estate market. Everywhere else gives the buyers the edge, according to Richard Corriveau form Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Calgary office.

Resale home sales are set to increase by almost ten percent with an average home price of $585,000. That is a five percent increase in price from 2010. Single family home starts are expected to increase by 14 percent and multi-unit starts by 29 percent.

All of this prosperity coincides with a number of projects that have been restarted after being put on hold during the 2009 recession. As of August 2010, $97 billion worth of projects were competed, in progress or had scheduled start dates. That was enough to recover most of the jobs lost throughout 2009. As of the end of 2010, there were 71,400 workers in the area, the majority in full-time positions.

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