Duplexes rise in popularity, building permits down $77 million in 2019

Friday, January 10, 2020   /   by Sergey Korostensky

Duplexes rise in popularity, building permits down $77 million in 2019

The number of building permits for duplexes climbed in 2019 as developers adjust to current housing demands in Cochrane.

In 2019, the town saw permits issued for the construction of 142 duplexes, compared to 98 the year previous, a 45 per cent increase.

Single-family starts dropped slightly to 191 from 208 in 2018. Housing starts in the last decade peaked in 2014 when permits were issued for 546 single-family homes. It has dropped in each subsequent year. 

All in, the estimated construction value of development--not market or assessment value--had a steep decline of $77.5 million. Significantly, there was a $13.3 million drop in new commercial development and an $11.1 million drop in single-family dwelling permits.

In 2018, major new commercial developments included permits for two large car dealerships.

Drew Hyndman, senior manager of the town's development services, says the downward trend is reflective of the current market conditions in Alberta.

"The overall Alberta economy has been struggling, and that does reflect in these numbers as well," says Hyndman.  "However, we still believe Cochrane is a very good choice for a place to reside, and I think we'll continue to see growth. This next year potentially could be challenging, but we're optimistic about the future, and some of the efforts that we're making to put Cochrane in position to be successful moving forward."

Those efforts include the new Bow River bridge and the anticipated start of major upgrades to the Hwy. 1A-22 interchange.

"Those things and some improvement in the economy will help to improve these numbers in the future as well."

Nonresidential development will receive a shot in the arm when Burnswest Cochrane advances its development of Greystone. Currently, the reclamation of the property is expected to be completed in the late spring, early summer. 

"When we see Greystone or some of the other projects come online, we'll see some of the nonresidential values to increase. There hasn't been a lot of nonresidential land available in town for some time."

Burnswest Cochrane will be going in front of town council for two separate land-use applications in 2020.

Real estate sales in outlying areas of Calgary

Calgary Real Estate Board chief economist Anne-Marie Lurie says sales activities in Cochrane were similar to 2018. Prices dropped by 3.5 per cent.

Airdrie saw sales improve and inventories decline, but still dropped by three per cent. Okotoks sales improved, but, she notes, 2018 was one of its weakest sales years in a decade. Prices declined there by 3.8 per cent.