January 6th, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 1
2015 Real Estate – slow and steady Wins the Race in the Crowsnest Pass
Rick's Corner
Feature Writer
For years now, some of us have complained that we are not properly attached to Alberta’s oil economy; that we are a forgotten corner of the province. Little did we know how this would be helping us today.

We are a place which many years ago took down its only traffic light and where the pace of life is comfortably slow. I, for one, cannot wait to leave Calgary as soon as I finish my business there. The speed and stress of living and working in a big metropolis is hard on many people who live there.

Not long ago there was a bestselling book titled In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed. Needless to say, I bought the book, looked it over, and decided I didn’t need to read it. The book is expanding on the virtues of quiet life; most of us, who live in Crowsnest Pass, really don’t need a book to tell us how good we have it here.

But our good life here is not a secret anymore. As the sales of homes stalled in the rest of Alberta in 2015, our local Multiple Listing Service numbers tell us an interesting story. In 2012, we sold 105 homes; in 2013 we sold 103 homes; in 2014 we sold 122 homes and in 2015 we sold 103. So while we did lose some volume, it is not even close to the losses suffered up north. We are basically at where we were in 2013.
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Our market is dominated by two main factors. First, urbanites are trading their expensive real estate for the tranquility of affordable mountain surroundings. No matter what anyone says, our place is still very affordable when compared to anywhere in the Canadian Rockies within a short drive from a major urban area.

The second important factor is Teck. Notwithstanding the hardships travelling up and down their organization and those of their related contractors; the company is still pumping out record amounts of some of the best metallurgical coal in the world. They are doing it in a low price environment and head to head with the biggest low cost producers in Australia.

To illustrate, Teck’s production increased from 19 million tonnes in 2009 to 26.7 million in 2014. So, even if they curtail their output to cope with the tough economic environment, they will still end up producing more than just a few short years ago.

And just in case anyone thinks the world can do without metallurgical coal, it takes about 100 tonnes of met coal to smelt about 200 tonnes of steel. This is the amount needed to manufacture just one of the windmills we all see by Pincher Creek. The world still needs huge amounts of steel and this is not about to change anytime soon.

Therefore, what our community has to offer to the rest of the province is a stable atmosphere that is comfortable with its slow pace. Who would have thought that not running full speed with the rest of Alberta would eventually turn into an advantage?

No one knows what the future will bring, but the start of this year is looking good.
January 6th ~ Vol. 85 No. 1
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