It’s time for another edition of our weekly column from the A-Team. Here is some important news for this week.

Residents from Fort McMurray continue to pay the highest rent in Canada at $1,802, according to the latest report from the 2018 Canadian Rental Housing Index. From Mix News:

Report: Fort McMurray Continues To Pay Highest Rent Prices In Canada

The report shows, on average, the roughly 8,155 Wood Buffalo residents who rent, 15 per cent of their income is going towards rent and utilities. Those who average $40,605 a year and live in a three bedroom home will spend more than half of their earnings towards rent and utilities.

This problem is even more prevalent in other area’s of Alberta – with High River (19.6%), Camrose (18.7%), and Leduc (18.7%) dealing with what is considered a crisis level of spending with 50 per cent or more
of their income going to rent.

Meanwhile, Whistler B.C. pays the second highest rent prices in Canada but still saves around $150 compared to Fort McMurray. Via mix1037fm.com

The report also shows a large increase in renter households in Fort McMurray, which shows the growing need for affordable housing.

In other news, current and future rural business owners will receive a tax break for a 25 percent reduction, according to Laura Beamish of Fort McMurray Today:

Rural small businesses get tax break

Last year, approximately 95 per cent of municipal taxes came from rural businesses, which includes oilsands operations. However, the commercial tax that covers all rural businesses has been consistently higher than the rate applied to urban areas. At its peak, it has been 18 times higher in the rural areas than urban areas.

“Our local businesses in the rural struggle to make a profit with this high rated tax,” said Stroud, who represents Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates, Janvier and Conklin. “We need grocery stores in out hamlets. Both Conklin and Janvier are without a store to buy groceries. Conklin is 150km from either Lac La Biche or Fort McMurray.”

The motion was proposed as council discussed the 2018 Property Tax Rate Bylaw, which was looking to reduce the tax ratio between the highest non-residential and the lowest residential tax rate from 17.94 to 14.30. h/t fortmcmurraytoday.com

The tax has hurt rural businesses, and has contributed to a dearth of services in Conklin and Janvier.

Credit: fortmcmurraytoday.com

Lastly, the local real estate board released this month’s report today. The report indicates that average home prices were down in April year-over-year, from $632,293 to $580,753. From My McMurray:

Real estate market shows buyer confidence

In a press release, Olive Wooden, executive officer for Fort McMurray REALTORS® says the market trend is the same across all property types.

“Be it single family, townhouse, duplex, apartment condo, mobile with land or vacant lot we are continuing to see increased unit sales, and a decrease in active listings and new listings coming into the market place.”

Although the selling price dropped, 53 homes were sold in April compared to 46 this same time last year. read more at mymcmurray.com

This goes along with our previous prediction of decreasing supply back in January. The market is much more balanced compared to last year’s, but home prices are expected to decrease for the time being.

That’s all for this weeks’ roundup. Check back on The A-Team blog for more news and updates on Fort McMurray.