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Airdrie and area construction starts rise in 2013

By: Sara Wilson

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 12:23 pm

Construction housing starts in 2013 for Airdrie, Chestermere and Cochrane are continuing to increase, and projections for 2014, are expected to increase again.
Construction housing starts in 2013 for Airdrie, Chestermere and Cochrane are continuing to increase, and projections for 2014, are expected to increase again.
File Photo/Rocky View publishing

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Communities surrounding the City of Calgary continued to show healthy signs of growth in 2013, and predications for 2014 show continued growth in the housing market.

According to the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CHMC), the numbers for construction starts from the period of January to November of 2013 show healthy signs of growth for the Rocky View County communities, including Airdrie, Chestermere and Cochrane in 2014.

“The increase in housing shows an increase in the energy sector in the (Calgary) region,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst with the CHMC. “The increase in migration rates into the area is also driving up numbers.”

Cho explained it’s the lifestyle communities like Airdrie, Chestermere and Cochrane provide that is driving the continued increase in construction starts in the areas.

A lower price point for homes in the surrounding communities over what consumers could afford in Calgary was also a determining factor, according to Cho.

According to the CHMC, the number of multi-family homes built in Airdrie was up 17 per cent in 2013 to 847 more than 2012 figures of 726. Chestermere saw a 27 per cent jump in 2013 with 190 multi-family homes built over the 151 constructed in 2012. Cochrane lead the way, doubling the number of multi-family houses to 357 being built in 2013, over the 148 in 2012.

The growth, according to Chestermere mayor, is on the right track for its residents.

“I think they are a really good indication of Chestermere’s growth, we just don’t slow down here,” Mayor of Chestermere Patricia Matthews said.

“Residents have been really good at communicating about Chestermere’s growth, not only now, but in the future as well.”

Airdrie’s apartment market also saw gains in 2013, with 520 new apartments being built an increase of 120 per cent over 2012, which saw 432 built. Chestermere saw a slight increase in the number of apartments in 2013 to 56 over 2012 figures of 48. Cochrane also had a slight increase 89 apartments built in 2013 compared to the 80 that were built in 2012.

Growth figures, Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown said he is concerned about for the coming years.

“I’m not surprised by the numbers but I think we need to lower our densities,” he said.

“In my opinion, we’re growing too quickly”

Townhomes in Airdrie had a small increase in 2013 with 183 built over the 178 in 2012. Chestermere saw a decrease in the townhouse market dropping to 88 starts in 2013 from 99 in 2012. Cochrane, however, saw a massive increase in townhomes with 160 built in 2013 compared to the 16 in 2012.

“I think it’s a great thing that we have so many options for housing in Cochrane,” said Town of Cochrane Mayor Ivan Brooker. “Cochrane is doing very well managing its growth through our Area Structure Plan.”

Brooker believes the growth is sustainable and explained that planning in anticipation of future growth is continuing.

Semi-detached homes in Airdrie increased to 144 in 2013 from the 116 in 2012. Chestermere saw a large increase in 2013 – 46 – over the 2012 figures of just four. Cochrane again led the way with 102 semi-detached home starts in 2013, doubling 2012 figures of just 52 starts. According to the City of Airdrie building permits issued in 2013, diversity is beginning to show, as 774 applications were issued for single-family homes, an increase of 749 over 2012 figures.

Application for building permits for apartments in 2013 decreased to 13 from 111 in 2012. Duplex applications went up to 156 permits from 128 that were issued in 2012. Finally, townhouses had a big jump in 2013 with 291 permits issued by the City compared to the 188 in 2012.

Airdrie, according to Brown, will be revisiting its Land Use Bylaw in the first quarter of this year and has made arrangements to discuss growth with surrounding communities such as Chestermere.

“We will be getting together with Chestermere and discussing any pitfalls that we’ve experienced along the way and see if we can guide them through, because they have substantial development coming through,” Brown said.

The Town of Chestermere will host a public hearing on Jan. 20 to discuss the potentially massive 2,400 acre residential development. For information on this hearing visit,


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