It's official. According to last year's census data, Edmonton saw an astonishing growth rate of 14.8 percent between 2011 and 2016. More than Calgary, more than Vancouver, more than Toronto, Edmonton is a boom town—the fastest growing city in Canada. At this rate, the population within the city limits will exceed one million people within the next five years.
But which neighbourhoods are witnessing the most growth? And what does this mean for home owners?
Filling a Need
According to the city's most recent Annual Growth Monitoring Report, the city will have to add 150,000 new housing units by 2020 to accommodate the influx of new residents. While new developments on the fringes of Edmonton continue, infill is the city council's current strategy. This reasons for this are many, but the main driverPlanners have identified a massive disparity between the housing options available to current residents and the lifestyles and needs they desire. The average household in Edmonton has been built to support a family, while units for two or fewer residents are few and far between. Additionally, a young populous has also pushed for shorter commutes and closer proximity to local amenities and attractions, making infill near Downtown Edmonton a particularly attractive prospect.
Growth in All Directions
When people think of growth, they typically think of something growing bigger. And it's true—the Edmonton of tomorrow is certainly bigger than the Edmonton of today thanks to continued annexation of surrounding hectares. But, when it comes to the city today, it's worth noting that much of the growth we're seeing is not just outward but upward and inward too. As some of the city's downtown districts grow more populous, we can expect new high-density hotspots including high-rise condo buildings, like the 37-storey Jasper House that's currently going up in Downtown Edmonton.
Expansion around Transit
Rapid transit has always been a spur for development, and you can expect to see many new homes in the coming decades appearing in and around Edmonton's existing and upcoming LRT lines. With the addition of new lines and the expansion of the Valley, Metro, and Capital Lines, any neighborhoods heavily served by the ETS are likely to become popular with young commuters who prefer active lifestyles and want to leave the car at home. Like many cities, Edmonton can likely expect corridors of high-density buildings that follow the most popular LRT lines.
New and Expanding Communities
The city of Edmonton has recently begun moving forward on the first stages of construction of Blatchford, a 536-acre community that is designed to support 30,000 residents in the former spot of the Edmonton Municipal Airport. Blatchford will include more than just homes, however. Stage one plans include mixed-use buildings, bicycle paths, and community gardens.
A master-planned community surrounding Rogers Place will add more than a thousand residential homes in the form of luxury condos and rentals that appeals to new residents thanks to five LRT stations and extreme walkability.
Another project in the Edmonton's core is The Quarters, five distinct districts that are centered around The Armature, a pedestrian-focused street that will serve as a hub for this new upcoming community. While this diverse area currently accommodates 2,400 residents, after full development it is expected to be home to 20,000. The city is dedicated, however, to preserving the cultural vibrancy of the area.
The city's ongoing redevelopment plan in West Rossdale calls for replacing under-utilized parkland and existing single family homes with high-density, mixed-use residential buildings. They anticipate the creation of 1,700 to 2,100 new residential spaces, but plans are also focused on maintaining the original character of the community. The city has recently wrangled with the province about the construction of condominium buildings that may block the view of the Ledge, though, so West Rossdale's final form may not be quite as expected.
What Does It Mean For You?
The good news is that, for current homeowners, your property value will likely increase if you live in one of the city's core growth areas. While the average home in Edmonton has seen its property value decrease in assessments this year, for instance, those living in Central McDougall, Boyle Street, Queen Mary Park, Oliver, and Kensington have all seen big increases. Growth in Edmonton's suburbs is slowing down, while a younger demographic who idealized urban living have created an influx of activity in the core. One thing is certainly true: in the decades to come, it will be exciting to see Edmonton transform into a more varied, more walkable metropolis, even if this may come at the expense of the Caoutak Region as a whole.