Five hottest Alberta news stories of 2016

Western Investor's most-read stories, from the Fort McMurray fires to Alberta's rental market slump

Western Investor
December 15, 2016

In May, wildfires blew through the Alberta town of Fort McMurray, leaving many homeless.
The Edmonton Real Estate Forum over the summer drew quite a crowd.
New Horizons Mall will be the first mall in the province to sell retail spaces rather than lease them.
The smiling community of High River has recovered after a serious flood devastated the area in 2013.
CAPREIT was forced to slash rental rates on Alberta apartment units to attract tenants.
The Alberta real estate market has had a tumultuous year, making for a wealth of oil recession-related coverage and post-wildfire discussion. In the wake of the decline in oil prices and wildfire destruction, the province has faced rising vacancy rates in both commercial and residential real estate markets. However, sometimes with economic uncertainty comes hope for future development, as most of Western Investor's top stories had somewhat of a hopeful undertone. 


Here is our first annual countdown of our five most-read Alberta stories in 2016.


5. Hundreds of properties lost as Fort McMurray burns

In May, a fierce wildfire in Fort McMurray caused a citywide evacuation. Thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed, spurring an Alberta chain of Holiday Inns to offer free lodging to Fort McMurray citizens who had lost their homes.

4. Edmonton: capital city in search of a livable core

The Edmonton Real Estate Forum in July presented an optimistic outlook on the city’s job market and the prospect of new commercial developments. The article noted Edmonton’s rising population and year-over-year job growth. It also took a look at the city’s high building permit values, elevated in part because of the construction of three new Class A office buildings.

3. Giant Calgary mall will sell, not lease, space

A new mall under construction in Calgary will be the first in the province to offer retail space not by lease. Instead, New Horizon Mall will sell its 500 units to business owners who can chose to use the spaces themselves or rent them out. Readers flocked to this brief story of an atypical retail business model.

2. High River rebound gives hope to Fort McMurray

In our runner up for most-read story of 2016, the community of High River provides an idealistic template for Fort McMurray wildfire victims. In 2013, a flood devastated the southern Alberta town. Now, its real estate market has recovered to pre-flood prices and transaction volumes. High River was a town forced to adapt and evolve after a natural disaster, providing inspiration for Fort McMurrary to do the same. 

1. CAPREIT cuts rents on its Alberta portfolio

The top story out of Alberta this year tackled arguably the province’s most-talked about real estate issue: soaring apartment vacancy rates. With the multi-family vacancy rate expected to reach it’s highest level in 2 years, property owners have been forced to lower rents. The article received more views than any other Alberta story posted this year, despite being published just over a month ago. 

Tanya is Western Investor's web content and social media coordinator. She first joined the Western Investor team as a editorial assistant in 2016, after a summer spent freelancing at Glacier Media papers The Burnaby Now and New West Record. She is a graduate of Langara College's journalism program.
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