In February, Airdrie led the way in home sales, when comparing year-to-year, beating out other municipalities, including Cochrane and Okotoks.

According to the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), Airdrie's sales grew over 36 per cent. 

"New listings in Airdrie improved in February. However, with 182 new listings and 135 sales, the sales-to-new listings ratio remained high, and inventory levels eased over last year's low levels. Inventory levels are half what we typically see in February and have not been this low since 2006," the monthly CREB report stated.

It added that Airdrie, 'has struggled with limited supply over the past several years, driving home prices. In February, the unadjusted benchmark price reached $529,700, over one per cent higher than last month and 10 per cent higher than the $479,700 price reported last February.'

Justin Wiechnik, an Airdrie realtor with Realty Aces, said there are several reasons why Airdrie's housing market continues to be red-hot, calling it a perfect storm.

"Airdrie is a great place to live. It's family-oriented and doesn't have such a fast-paced hustle and bustle as Calgary has; migration to Alberta is record-breaking right now," he said. "In general we [do] not have enough homes and [we have] too many people."

Although the benchmark price for a home in Airdrie is over half a million dollars, Wiechnik said that compared to real estate markets in Vancouver and Toronto, that price is still considered affordable. He predicted the market would continue to be like this for some time.

He also observed that because high real estate market prices are continuing, this has put pressure on the rental market as well; individuals who can no longer afford to buy a home, are looking to rent, and as such the demand for rental properties is also high with little supply. However, Wiechnik pointed out that historically, it is a boom-and-bust cycle when it comes to real estate, and eventually the boom will become a bust. 

"I do not think we're going to defy economics; there will be a downturn and we will have a balanced market and eventually a buyer's market. I can say with confidence, it won't be in 2024," he added. "I think we're likely to be in a growth market for at least the next year, until they're able to build enough homes in Airdrie and Canada in general, to house the entire population. It truly is a housing crisis."

Although he underlined that nothing is set in stone, there are overtures that the Bank of Canada may be poised to slash interest rates.

"Most of the economists I follow are expecting anywhere from a 75 to 150 basis point cut in 2024. The first cut [maybe] coming potentially, as soon as April 10, but nobody knows. When you look at the macroeconomics of our country, big businesses and corporations are being hammered with these rates," Wiechnik said. " [If] businesses are closing the doors, this is going to begin to affect the labour market and therefore, I think the government and the Bank of Canada have no choice but to begin dropping rates to save businesses [and] to save jobs."

This would impact the real estate market, which he said would make lending more affordable, activating more buyers to enter the market. 

"We already have a market, that's [in] a housing crisis, where there's not enough supply; we have too many buyers already; then we make the rates more affordable. I think it's going to put fuel on the fire of our market and just continue making it grow."

In comparison, Cochrane, Airdrie's neighbour to the west, saw an 18.2 per cent growth in sales year-over-year in February, with benchmark prices for a home reaching $548,300. CREB's benchmark price comparison noted that in February, Strathmore's benchmark price was the lowest, at a little over $519,000.

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