September 30th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 39
Realty in Crowsnest Pass busy for few different reasons
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Archive photo
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
Real estate in the Crowsnest Pass is selling quickly right now.

Both buying and renting in the area are becoming increasingly difficult due to high sales in recent weeks and months.

Local real estate agents Glen Girhiny, Oliver Strickland, Randall Whiteside and John Pundyk all believe the buyers market that makes up the Crowsnest Pass right now is due to a multitude of reasons.

“There's been a lot of interest. The low interest rate plays a huge role. If you can afford to buy a house right now there's no better time,” said Girhiny.

“The low interest rates are what's affecting things all across Canada. We have again, historically low interest rates,” said Whiteside.

“The interest rates are at an all time low and that's a big driver too. With the interest rates being as low as they are, which I don't believe we'll see again for along time. I'm going to say that's a big driver of what's happening right now as well,” said Strickland.

While the low interest is a major factor in the current market, there are other factors that are playing a role as well including turnover at Teck.
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“Generally, Teck is definitely influencing the market by their personnel turnover at the mines. There's generational turnover and new hires. Crowsnest Pass is a bedroom community to the Elk Valley so whatever is happening there has a big influence on the Crowsnest Pass,” said Pundyk.

“Demographically the baby boomers are retiring and Teck is going through somewhat of a retirement boom and the retirees aren't selling their houses. Now when they bring in these new families to take these jobs, they're the ones looking for the houses. I would say it's mostly baby boomers retiring that are driving the sales right now,” said Strickland.

Girhiny agrees with Strickland’s sentiment and says looking into affordable homes for seniors in this community is something that needs to be looked into.

““Obviously that's something that as a community we've got to look at. We've got to have some sort of senior’s complex and low-income living. That's all part of being a community and we are missing that part here. We need a tax base to be able to afford that. That's one of the necessary things that's forgotten about.”

Girhiny says it’s hard to say if mine turnover is as responsible for the sudden interest as Covid.
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“I'm not sure if it's the mine turnover or if it's Covid. There are an awful lot of people that like this community and have thought about moving here for along time. It's really hard to put your finger on it because when you look at all the specs and what the forecasts are for the real estate market, they're saying that they expect everything to drop between six to 10 per cent within the next year in the bigger centres so who knows? It's hard to put a specific thing on what's spurring this interest.”

Randall Whiteside says he looks at Covid as a main reason for all the interest over the last couple months.

“Real estate is on fire here right now. There are a few different factors. In my mind is real estate pretty much stopped with the rest of the world in March and April and then in June, July, August and now September, we've been playing catch up. There were a lot of people on the sidelines. I looked up some stats and as of a couple weeks ago, we were 10 per cent ahead of sales compared to this time last year and that's the difference between 80 and 88 houses for example. It's not a huge spread. So we've played catch up until now. Now there's been this kind of buying frenzy that has manifested into a life of it's own. This is happening all over most of Canada right now. Covid has been the best thing that ever happened to Crowsnest Pass tourism. As a result of that, I know a lot of people in Lethbridge and a ton of them have discovered the Crowsnest Pass for the first time. Those conversations lead into real estate so it's an interesting time.”
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Pundyk says that there is also some recreational interest in the Crowsnest Pass at the moment.

“There is a little bit of a recreational market but there used to be more of it when the energy economy was doing better. We had times in the past that our recreational market was stronger but it's strong relative to other areas of Alberta right now.”

Speculation on mines going through in the Crowsnest Pass is also playing part of a role in the busy market right now.

“The speculation for the mines coming in, there is some of that happening as well,” said Strickland.

“I can tell you from being the boots on the ground in the Crowsnest Pass that I think people are starting to speculate on future events in the Crowsnest Pass,” said Whiteside.

“There's a little bit of optimism that the mine will get approved as well but I don't believe the market fully grasps that yet,” said Pundyk.

Girhiny says more will have to be done if local mines are approved.

“Let's just say that if the long awaited announcement comes and Canada allows us to have the mine, the valley, as we know it is going to change in ways we have no idea. We are fairly full as far as our residences go and there are not a lot of vacancies. We're not Calgary or Edmonton where they have new builds. Development is part of this growth and again where's that going to go? People have to start thinking about this. There has to be a plan of some sort because we are going to need new places and developments.”
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September 30th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 39
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