Edmonton and Calgary bucking the trend with high demand for detached homes

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WATCH ABOVE: The second set of data for Canada's 2016 census has been released May, 3. Here’s what the numbers are telling us – May 3, 2017

If the benchmark of home ownership success is not sharing any walls with your neighbours, then new numbers show Edmonton residents are doing quite well for themselves.

Statistics Canada housing numbers released Tuesday show Edmonton and Calgary, which are among the fastest-growing municipalities in Canada, heavily favour detached houses.

In Edmonton, detached houses account for 57.3 per cent of homes. In Calgary, they are 58.3 per cent. Those are considerably higher percentages than some of Canada’s other major urban centres.

Fewer than half of dwellings in Vancouver, Montreal, Victoria, Toronto and Quebec City are detached homes. In those cities, low- and high-rise apartments or condos, row houses and apartments in duplexes make up the majority of living spaces.

READ MORE: Census 2016: High rise apartments booming in Vancouver, Toronto

In fact, there are more high-rise apartments in the Toronto metropolitan area alone than there are dwellings of all types in Edmonton or Calgary.

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Condo and apartments accounted for a smaller share of all dwellings in Edmonton and Calgary, at 26.5 per cent and 25.4 per cent, respectively.

Soaring prices for detached homes and tightened mortgage rules have caused much of the housing demand in the Toronto area to shift into the condo market, but housing remains more affordable in the Capital Region.

READ MORE: Census 2016: Canadian cities are turning into condo jungles

While some cities are building up, Edmonton is building out as farm land on the city’s outskirts is converted into new neighbourhoods full of apartments, town homes, duplexes and single family homes.

The preference for detached homes in Alberta’s capital comes at a cost. A report done last year said taxpayers in Edmonton will have to pick up a $1.4-billion tab for the development of three new areas: Decoteau in the southeast, Riverview in the southwest and Horse Hills in the northeast.

Watch below: New Census statistics show Metro Edmonton loves its single family homes. Vinesh Pratap takes a look at how Edmonton’s density compares to other Canadian cities.

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Is Edmonton progressing on aim of increasing urban density? – May 4, 2017

The report said even with private developers spending $3.8 billion to build the neighbourhoods, the city will end up spending $10.6 billion on new infrastructure such a roads and utilities, as well as long-term maintenance and eventual renewal.

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READ MORE: New Edmonton neighbourhoods will cost $1.4 billion more than they will bring in

The demand for detached homes isn’t limited to the suburbs. Mayor Don Iveson has been a big proponent of infill housing, which typically sees older homes replaced by duplexes or, on 50-foot lots, subdivided into skinny single family homes. Infill homes can come with a higher price tag, however the demand exists.

READ MORE: Edmonton anticipating most successful infill construction season yet: city

There is a push for change. Last fall, the mayors and reeves of the Capital Regional Board voted to adopt a growth plan for the entire greater metro Edmonton region that calls for higher housing density targets in new developments. The plan, under its new guidelines, is expected to prevent development of at least 250 quarter sections over the coming decades.

READ MORE: Edmonton-area mayors approve growth plan

Statistics Canada Census 2016 population numbers show Edmonton was the second-fastest growing city in the country over the past five years. Growth primarily happened on the outer edges of the city near the Anthony Henday ring road, although there was also growth in downtown Edmonton and in the city’s north side Griesbach area, where a former military base was converted into a residential neighbourhood.

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According to the city, in 2016 a typical single-family detached home was valued at $397,000, down from $408,000 in 2015.

READ MORE: Average Edmonton property drops 2.7% in value; 2017 assessments in the mail

Earlier this year, the REALTORS Association of Edmonton said the forecast for 2017 looks very similar to what the city saw last year. The association forecast the sale of single family homes will drop by 1.7 per cent, condo sales will remain stable while duplex and rowhouse sales will decrease by approximately one per cent.

— With files from Leslie Young and Slav Kornik, Global News, Scott Johnston, 630 CHED, and The Canadian Press 

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