The ‘Burbs

I was doing a quick search of Google News local real estate stories, and stumbled upon this story from Sherwood Park talking about how prices had dropped $120,000 since their peak in July 2007.

They appear to be privy to some figures that are not publicly available, so I can’t speak about that claim. I’ve been trying to piece together as much data as I could on the prices in the suburbs, and while I’ve gotten a fairly complete collection, it’s still a bit patchy at this point. So, won’t be any graphs in this post, but hopefully by this summer I’ll be able to at least do some good ones for decline from peak.

While I don’t have the complete data, I do have enough to offer up some interesting examples.. and it gives me an excuse to reference an flick from Tom Hanks bad comedy career phase. So, in some cases the peaks I note may not be the absolute peaks reached by the market, but they are close as I have all the second half ’07 figures, and the Edmonton market peaked in mid-07.

So I’m going to take a quick look at the respective bubbles, first the prices five years ago (March 2004), the highest value I have for them in 2007, then their values as of March 2009.

St. Albert
March 2004 Average – 226,074
March 2004 Median – 209,900

Sept 2007 Average – 497,380
Sept 2007 Median – 477,500

March 2009 Average – 376,944
March 2009 Median – 354,500

St. Albert saw prices more then double during the bubble, and since then have seen prices both average and median prices drop over $120,000 respectively, roughly 25%.

Sherwood Park
March 2004 Average – 235,700
March 2004 Median – 227,725

August 2007 Average – 468,400
March 2007 Median – 439,000

March 2009 Average – 400,074
March 2009 Median – 390,000

Sherwood Park has actually had a surprisingly good March, as in January the average and median prices were 376,545 and 353,500 respectively. Even with that they have seen average price drop almost 15%, and median 11% since peaking.

Spruce Grove
March 2004 Average – 185,417
March 2004 Median – 173,899

Sept 2007 Average – 420,990
Sept 2007 Median – 416,000

March 2009 Average – 328,509
March 2009 Median – 314,500

Spruce Grove is another entrant in the six-figure club, seeing their median price already fall $101,500 since the peak. Their average had also passed that mark in December, but has since rebounded a bit. Spruce Grove was also the bubbliest of the larger ‘burbs (populations over 20,000), seeing their median price go up 139% and average 127% during the bubble.

I also have notes on some of the smaller suburbs, so instead of typing all that out, I’ll just give you some of the overall highlights.

Bubbliest Suburb (Percentage) – Morinville – Average +166%, Median +183%

Bubbliest Suburb (Dollars) – St. Albert – Average +271,306, Median +267,600

Biggest Percentage Decline – Stony Plain – Average -25%, Median -35%

Biggest Dollar Decline – (Average) St. Albert -120,436 (Median) Stony Plain -149,000

So while the city/region as a whole hasn’t eclipsed the 100K mark in decline from peak, at least four of it’s suburbs have the dubious distinction, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, and Morinville. There may already be more in fact, but as I said, my dataset is not complete just yet.

In any case, I figured this information might be interesting to some out there. It’s also very relevant since the suburbs are so intertwined with the city and make up such a large part of the CMA population.

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