City proposing drastic price reductions for vacant subdivisions

By Scott Roblin
April 4, 2018 - 5:56pm

MEDICINE HAT, AB – A shot in the arm could be on the way to the Medicine Hat housing market.

The City’s Land and Business Support Department is looking at lowering prices on a number of subdivisions that have sat empty for a decade.

A focus is being put on building townhomes and condos, with only around 30 units being sold in Medicine Hat last year.

The City is looking at major decreases in three neighbourhoods, slashing land prices of up to 40 percent in some cases.

The largest proposed cuts would be in Ranchlands, with four properties being considered for price adjustments.

Three of the four lots would see reductions above 37 percent, including a one-acre parcel currently listed at $768,000 potentially dropping to $462,000.

This is to revitalize what the City is calling a soft market and low demand for townhome and condo developments.

Garry Ruff with the Canadian Home Builders Association of Medicine Hat said it’s a great opportunity for developers.

“There’s probably developers and builders out there that have looked at these properties,” said Ruff. “Crunching the numbers, they felt it was a little too tight. But, this might give them the opportunity to move forward, purchase the properties, and build something for prospective buyers.”

Three large lots in Southlands could see cuts of up to 12 percent, alongside a number of single-family lots in River Flats seeing decreases of around 18 percent.

Medicine Hat Real Estate Board president Tim Seitz said it’s a big move for people living in those undeveloped neighbourhoods.

“They want to get those lots filled out,” said Seitz. “Ranchlands has been vacant now for seven to ten years, so a lot of those people that live in those areas want to see that land developed as well. So, I think it’s a bold move and will get things going again.”

Despite the proposed cuts, the City said it should still hit it’s target of 15 percent for return on investment when the plots of land are sold.

Seitz said this move could also make the process more attractive for first-time buyers looking to invest in a townhome or condo.

“Some of the lots available could be townhomes that someone could eventually buy,” he said. “And, that could help by $10,000 or $20,000 per unit.”

The proposed prices will now go to City Council, who will have final approval on the process.

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