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Fort McMurray sees sharp increase in foreclosure claims

A natural disaster coupled with economic challenges has led to difficult times for many Fort McMurray homeowners. Courts in the Alberta oil town saw 105 foreclosure claims between April and Oct. 2017. This sharp increase amounts to nearly double the claims compared to the prior fiscal year.

Foreclosure statements of claim are claims filed to court by a bank to begin repossessing a property. A judge must rule in favour of the claimant and issue a foreclosure order before the matter can proceed. So far, these orders have been issued for 19 of the 105 claims between April and Oct. 2017.

Experts say there are a few reasons for this news. The first is the oil downturn. Although the oil industry is seeing some improvements, Fort McMurray's dependence on this industry led many people to leave during layoffs, while others left due to homes destroyed in the 2016 wildfires. The average cost of a single-family home in the Alberta town is down 12.2 percent from last year. However, the Fort McMurray Real Estate Board has noted more home sales in recent months.

Forclosure orders are not only on the rise in Fort McMurry, Alberta. Grande Prairie, Edmonton, and Calgary all saw a sharp increase between the 2015/16 and 2016/17 fiscal year. Calgary saw the most foreclosure orders between April and October of this year at 383. They also had the most in the year prior with 611, followed by Edmonton with 373. Legal expertise is important for anyone making a claim or facing foreclosure, so contacting an Alberta lawyer is crucial in these cases.

Source: CBC News, "Foreclosures in Fort McMurray up sharply, new data shows", David Thurton, Dec. 18, 2017

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