The Fort McMurray MLS is brimming with options right now, and the www.FortMcMurrayProperyGroup.com is ready to help you find a deal on Fort McMurray real estate. Did you know that the selection of Fort McMurray homes is at a recent high, while the prices of homes for sale in Forth Murray are a bargain?Let’s look at the overall trends in Fort McMurray real estate and the factors driving them.
Fort McMurray’s population has grown steadily over the past fifty years. The city has grown from a trading post and rail stop to town with around ten thousand people in 1970. Its population took off when oil prices skyrocketed in the 1970s, approaching 40,000 people in 1980.When oil prices fell in the 1980s, Fort McMurray’s population stabilized and grew slowly. When oil prices skyrocketed after 2000, Fort McMurray’s population grew from around 40,000 to almost 70,000 permanent residents in 2010. Before oil prices dropped by more than two-thirds since 2013, Fort McMurray’s population was expected to hit 200,000 or more in the coming decades. If the oil industry slows down dramatically, Fort McMurray’s population will probably stabilize at its current level and remain there, not drop off dramatically. And if oil prices recover, causing many to come to work temporarily and some to settle permanently, population growth will resume its upward trajectory. Rapid expansion of the population, though, is unlikely because new oil sands projects require a price of at least $70 a barrel to be profitable.
The oil sands industry has been one of the major engines of the Fort McMurray economy for decades. Both Fort McMurray and Calgary suffered mightily when the oil boom went bust in the 1980s. Calgary did a better job of diversifying its economy to add more education, manufacturing, service, and retail jobs so that a much smaller percentage of its workforce was out in the (oil) field. Fort McMurray remains heavily dependant on the oil sands and resource extraction industry for jobs. On the plus side, oil sands projects are built with forty year business plans behind them, so the energy sector won’t shut down these massive projects overnight. Lower oil prices may stimulate demand, preventing them from dropping and staying below the break-even price of the oil sands crude. High gas prices cause Fort McMurray to boom.
Fort McMurray may be the center of the oil sands boom and bust, but oil isn’t the only energy extraction industry here. For example, the Fort Hills bitumen mine an hour north of Fort McMurray is still expanding. That mine could employ over two thousand people when fully operational. And it is certainly easier for Fort McMurray residents to fly in and out of that work site from the international airport in town than those from the coasts. This won’t offset all oil sands jobs lost, but it makes a big difference in local employment numbers.
Why is Fort McMurray’s real estate market relatively stable? Let’s look at the impact of migrant workers on the local housing market in greater detail.
The decline in the price of oil has led to a dramatic drop in the number of temporary workers. Several years ago, there were up to 40,000 temporary workers who alternated between the oil sands and home, often far away from Fort McMurray. Their trips back and forth kept Fort McMurray’s international airport humming.
One of the benefits of relying on such a large migratory workforce is that they return home when they are no longer needed. While their unemployment hurts them personally, Fort McMurray’s real estate market isn’t cratering because nearly a third of the local workforce is unemployed. As of this writing, unemployment in Fort McMurray is below ten percent. While this unemployment rate is higher than its average rate for the past few years, it is only a little higher than Canada’s unemployment rate. Historically, Alberta’s unemployment rate has been lower than Canada’s national unemployment rate, so the higher unemployment figures seem worse due to the significant growth in unemployment as oil prices declined. Yet these numbers would have been far higher had the oil sands not relied on so many temporary workers.
The decline in oil sands employment has emptied worker dorms and weakened demand for the hotels, without causing the Fort McMurray real estate market to similarly collapse.
Fort McMurray is trying to capitalize on its top-notch airport, large hospitality industry, trade show facilities, boreal forests and museums to fill in the gap left by the declining transient workforce.
Fort McMurray for a while earned the highest annual household income of any location in Canada – $191,507. The high demand for labor led to extremely high pay in the energy sector, but it also led to fast food workers earning $15 to $18 an hour. Child care workers were paid $12 to $20 an hour in 2014.
These very high wages average boosted Fort McMurray home prices. The loss of many energy industry jobs has caused local wages to drop. Yet this can reduce the impact of the job losses. Parents who paid foreign nannies to watch their children because they worked shifts in the oil fields will now pay local childcare providers. Fast food restaurants that operated with skeleton crews due to the high price of labor can now hire more people to improve their level of service. As wages fall, demand for local labor goes up, and the job market will stabilize. A side benefit of the shift to more local employment as wages fall is that people who work in Fort McMurray aren’t sending their pay cheques overseas or to family in other provinces. This will benefit the local economy, preventing it from dropping even more as wages decline. Housing prices will fall, as well, to meet the price levels the market can support.
The end result of this shift is a decline in Fort McMurray home prices to much more reasonable levels, as the housing market adapts to the lower average wage. Conversely, this means nearly all Fort McMurray MLS listings today are much more affordable than properties listed a year ago. If you’re in the market to buy a Fort McMurray home, you have your pick of homes at bargain prices.
While your ultramodern kitchen would look great in a post-modern home, it looks out of place in a hundred year old Tudor home. A brand new spa grade tub next to peeling wall paper and ragged carpet in the master bathroom doesn’t improve the home’s value. Adding an extra bathroom or sunroom sounds great, until potential home buyers consider it a negative because it stands out from the rest of the house like a sore thumb. A massive master suite with a 600 square foot bedroom with its own sitting room may not add value to your home if it isn’t standard for the neighborhood; for most neighborhoods, this puts a million dollar price tag on the home before a master suite is suitable for the market. Talk to firms that do home renovations in Canada to know what renovations are suitable for both the market and your budget.
Failing to Factor Comfort into the Renovation
Converting a basement into a bedroom, game room or home office has a high return on investment. You tend to recoup 85% of the cost of the renovation. Turning attics into living space has an even greater return on investment if there simply isn’t space to add on to the house. Renovations tend to run into problems when the grand plan fails to take human needs into account. For example, putting flooring and paint in the basement isn’t enough to turn it into living space if the basement remains cold and damp.
Think about the steps you can take to ensure that the renovated space is as accessible as the rest of the home. If you’re turning the basement into bedrooms for your growing family, converting the basement into a walkout basement gives the kids access to the yard without making them have to stomp through the house to get there. Conversely, don’t expect anyone to willingly move into new basement bedrooms, though, if you’ve kept the same rickety stairs, allowed half the space to remain filled with neglected stored items and it is a long walk to the nearest bathroom.
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Going DIY Instead of with a Pro
There are some home renovations you can do yourself. Painting the walls, clearing out the clutter, steam cleaning the carpets, scrubbing those dark smudges off the floor, replacing cracking doors, caulking the windows and many other small tasks are suitable for DIY enthusiasts. However, there are many tasks that are a mistake to try to take on yourself unless you’re a licensed professional. Never try to install new HVAC equipment, rewire a room, replace plumbing or do masonry work unless you’re already an expert.
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Wasting Time to Save Money
When someone says they want to refinish their own cabinets to save time, they are usually ignorant of the time the task requires and the sheer amount of sweat you put into the job. Because it isn’t something most people do on a regular basis, they simply cannot do it as effectively and quickly as a single expert. And companies that do home renovations in British Columbia bring in the team to do it as efficiently as possible. Someone who assumes it is a weekend job for themselves end up spending evenings for a week trying to finish the task, or they can hire a renovations company to do the job and the cleanup after the job is done in a day or two.
Getting It Right the First Time
An often overlooked savings in hiring a professional is the cost of fixing DIY mistakes. Many decorative glass contractors get called in to rip out the poorly laid tile in the hallway, the concrete work that didn’t set right before someone passed over it, the masonry work that isn’t up to code, the DIY plumbing fixes that leak.
You should use a renovation firm instead of doing it yourself so that you get quality materials at an affordable price, work done right the first time by those who can get it done far faster than you could do it, and know that it is done within safety protocols and city code. If you are looking for the best Architectural and decorative glass company in the industry, don’t forget to check out http://nathanallan.com/.