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AVAILABLE EXPERT - Real Estate and the Fort McMurray wildfire

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Queen’s University real estate expert John Andrew is available to comment on the effects of the Fort McMurray wildfire on the local real estate market and the challenge of rebuilding the estimated 2,400 structures - roughly 20 per cent of the city - which were destroyed by the wildfire beginning on May 1. A decline in world oil prices, beginning in late 2015, had already shaken the housing market in Fort McMurray, with many homes sitting empty.

“Most of those affected will be covered by insurance, but some will only receive the “replacement value” on their properties,” says Dr. Andrew. “Others still may only receive the present market value, which will not be enough for those who want to rebuild to do so. Given the job loss in the oil industry, there are no guarantees.”

Dr. Andrew says that the reconstruction will replace a lot of construction jobs lost in the past year, at least temporarily. However, the market is likely to be forced further down in the short-to-medium term. The evacuation is also creating a huge and immediate demand for rental accommodation as far away as Edmonton and Calgary.

“Some 80,000 people are displaced, and 30,000 of those have gone to Edmonton,” says Dr. Andrew.  “That’s a huge influx of people and they will need to be housed for the next few weeks to few years, depending on whether their home was destroyed and how quickly reconstruction can begin.”

Dr. Andrew is the director of the Queen's Real Estate Roundtable and a continuing adjunct assistant professor in the Schools of Urban & Regional Planning, Business & Environmental Studies. He is available for media interviews from Wednesday, May 11 until Friday, May 13.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

Follow Queen’s News and Media Services on Twitter: http://twitter.com/QueensuMedia.

Attention broadcasters: Queen’s has facilities to provide broadcast quality audio and video feeds. For television interviews, we can provide a live, real-time double ender from Kingston with HD-SDI. Please call for details.

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