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Moving to the mountains: A look at Canmore’s booming housing market

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Global’s Jayme Doll takes a look at Canmore’s red hot housing market and what role COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are having on people’s motivation to move to the mountains – Oct 22, 2020

Drawn to the small, working-town feel and the fresh mountain air, Cathy and Colin Edwards have dreamed of laying down roots in Canmore, Alta.

“The issue always was, well where would we work in Canmore? Especially for me, I’ve been working in aviation for years and there’s not too much in Canmore for aviation,” Cathy told Global News.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up new doors for the couple. Colin had been working as a pipefitter, but jumped at an opportunity in the tourist town after their last visit.

Read more: Canmore recreational homes are hot properties

Cathy has been working from home since March, and when her husband got the job in Canmore, her employer agreed to let her permanently work from home with a mountain view, instead of an Edmonton suburb.

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“It’s still unreal actually,” she said, now just two months later and clutching the keys to their new home in the heart of the mountain town.

“We down-sized in square-footage and the price is a little higher here, too, but [those are] sacrifices we are willing to make to be here.”
Canmore’s real-estate market is booming amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Jayme Doll/Global News

It’s a sacrifice many are willing to make. The Canmore real-estate market has been red hot since late spring.

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“2019 was our busiest year in Canmore in 13 or 14 years and we are on track to exceed those numbers — meet them or exceed them — which is remarkable because March and April were really, really slow. So it means most of our activity was may onwards,” Christina Carrick with Royal LePage Mountain Realty said.

Read more: Business future uncertain in Canmore due to COVID-19 pandemic

Carrick said the median closing price for a condo in September 2019 was $500,325 and $1,095,000 for a house. The median price has risen 16 per cent since then, but it doesn’t seem to be scaring people off. Carrick said she’s had homes with multiple offers on them.

“We are definitely seeing the remote working trend affect Canmore,” Carrick said.

“Also people who may be deciding to retire a few years earlier than anticipated — they are coming, looking in the marketplace and looking for a full-time residence here.”

Read more: Town of Canmore to enforce parking ban to mitigate ‘van lifers’ concerns

Carrick said some people are also looking for recreational properties because they aren’t travelling abroad.

And while the high prices have some locals tempted to cash in and sell, people like Cathy and Colin Edwards can’t wait to settle in.

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