If your company is about to transfer you down to Houston, get ready to find yourself a real housing bargain. As in about half the price of a home in Calgary.

"In Houston, they just plan on growth," says George Bamber of Bamber Century 21 Real Estate in Calgary, "and build super highways, and ring roads, and keep on building and building and building. And the prices of homes the further out you go are quite cheap, and that probably has something to do with the average home being so affordable."

You can get a 3,300 square foot house, four bedrooms, and three and a half baths in Houston for C$285,000. Bamber currently has a two-bedroom, two bath bungalow, with less than 1,000 square feet, on the market in Windsor Park for $415,000.

 

He says even though Calgary went through a frantic building boom in recent years, the pace has slackened down and the market is therefore coming into balance. Overall, the average home price in Calgary is $381,000: in Houston, $200,000.

Even though there's often talk in Calgary about "urban sprawl," Bamber said builders and developers here are learning their lesson about putting homes up as quickly as they can.

"People were still making a lot of money on those projects a couple of years ago," he says, "but it's just this economy changed direction rather quickly, and people got caught."

New home starts in Calgary are down by 90 per cent this year compared with last, and that means resales will likely dominate the real estate market here for the foreseeable future.

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