Calgary

Flood-home auction recoups sliver of Alberta government costs to buy properties

The Alberta government managed to recover some of its money from an auction of flood-affected houses in the province, but is still out $14.4 million from the purchase of the 26 properties.

Almost $3M raised from sale of houses that were purchased for $17.4M

1578 Gascony Lane S.W. in High River was assessed at $704,000 in 2013 and was sold at auction for $190,050 on Friday. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

The Alberta government managed to recover some of its money from an auction of flood-affected houses in the province, but is still out $14.4 million from the purchase of the 26 properties. 

An auction of homes that were deemed habitable took place on Friday, with buyers snapping up some fancy houses for some low-end prices. 

"Some of these properties were fairly high-end properties, so we did pay, we gave the previous owners what their properties were assessed at in 2013," said Dallas Huybregts, a spokesman for Alberta Infrastructure. 

"We're happy with the results. We were able to recover money from some of these properties as opposed to the ones that needed demolition due to their flood damage."

The 26 houses sold on Friday ranged in assessed value — which includes the house and the property on which it sits — from just shy of $1 million to $417,000. Auction prices for the houses ranged from around $29,000 to $262,552. 

The auction brought in almost $3 million, leaving a wide gap between the $17.4 million spent to purchase the homes. 

In total, the government doled out $96 million to buy 94 properties across the province in the wake of the 2013 flood. 

In addition to the 26 auctioned on Friday, 14 homes in the High River area are still waiting for final inspections to determine whether they'll be razed or sold. 

"There's a possibility that there might be another auction process in the future, however no decisions have been made on those properties yet so I can't say one way or another whether it will happen or not," said Huybregts.

No other areas of the province will see future auctions. 

Those who bought homes on Friday have 160 days to remove them from the properties so the government can start remediation efforts to return the land to a natural state. 

Huybregts said if the new owners fail to meet that deadline, the province will demolish the homes. 

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