Fort McMurray housing market growing 1 year after wildfires

By Steve Randall
A year after the devastating wildfires that destroyed around 10% of its structures, Fort McMurray is being rebuilt faster than expected.

CMHC says that since the wildfires, construction has begun on a third of the destroyed housing units in the city (844 homes) with just 1% unable to be rebuilt due to flood defense measures.

The displacement of those whose homes were destroyed has reduced the city’s rental vacancy rates, which are expected to remain low for some time.

“The rebuild has begun in earnest. So far, one third of the buildings lost in the 2016 wildfires have begun reconstruction. Additional workers from around Alberta are expected to assist in the rebuild, reducing vacancy rates. The rebuild is expected to last three to four years,” said Tim Gensey, Market Analyst, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The agency says that it will take around 3 to 4 years to complete all rebuilding activity at the current pace.

Resale activity in the market remains weak and the CMHC believes that will remain the case until energy markets rebound. Although unemployment in the region is down, it remains above the levels before the drop in oil prices.

CMHC says that economic conditions make the longer term outlook for the Fort McMurray market uncertain.

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