Sept. 25, 2019 | Andrea Cox
Claresholm, Stavely and Nanton: Affordable, small-town living in the MD of Willow Creek
With its roots in southern Alberta's agriculture and ranching history, Claresholm is a town with plenty of old-world charm. It's also a place that embraces a strong sense of connection and community – just ask anyone who lives there.
"So many things make it special. It's really more than a community – it's a family here," said Santanna Thom, a lifelong Claresholm resident and REALTOR® with Century 21 Foothills Real Estate.
Thom lives, works and plays in the town of just under 4,000 people. She and her husband are raising two youngsters, aged three and six, and the small-town setting is perfect for them.
"The best thing about raising kids in Claresholm is you don't have to worry," she said. "We are one big family, where everyone watches out for everyone's kids. They can play alone in the front yard – you don't have to be the helicopter parent."
Claresholm is part of the Municipal District (MD) of Willow Creek, which also includes the towns of Nanton and Stavely.
Collectively, this area is known for its sense of history, as well as its lively arts scene, laden with music festivals, eclectic antique stores and galleries.
"Although there is a lot of hesitation in general in real estate because of the upcoming federal election, the market here is only going to get stronger." - Santanna Thom, Claresholm resident and REALTOR®
Local amenities include an Agriplex with Friday night rodeos for the kids, weekly pond hockey tournaments, a strong football league, two 18-hole golf courses (one in Nanton and one in Claresholm), several aging-in-place retirement facilities, a small airport, and a 24-hour urgent care hospital, drawing many families to the area from big cities across Canada.
There has also been a push to draw new industries to the area – Custom Cannabis recently joined Claresholm's business roster – and lands are being annexed in anticipation of growth.
"There is a really wide variety of people buying – first-time buyers, move-up and those thinking of retiring soon," said Thom. "They are from all over – Calgary, Airdrie, Lethbridge, Vancouver, Ontario."
She says homes in the area provide good value. Most are older, single-family bungalows on generous lots. Some small acreages are available, and in the town of Claresholm, there are newer bungalow options on two-acre parcels of land near the Bridges at Claresholm Golf Course.
Thom says it's difficult to nail down accurate price data since the MD of Willow Creek falls under two different real estate boards, Calgary and Lethbridge.
"But you definitely can get into an older bungalow here starting in the $220,000 to $275,000 range," she said, adding that now is a great time to buy.
"Although there is a lot of hesitation in general in real estate because of the upcoming federal election, the market here is only going to get stronger. Plus, we have amazing banking systems in Claresholm that work really hard for people, so all our clients can stay local when it comes to financing."
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