Fort McMurray is an urban service area in the Regional Municipality (RM) of Wood Buffalo in Alberta, Canada. It is located in northeast Alberta, in the middle of the Athabasca oil sands, surrounded by boreal forest. It has played a significant role in the development of the national petroleum industry. A severe wildfire in May 2016 led to the evacuation of its residents and caused widespread damage.

Formerly a city, Fort McMurray became an urban service area when it amalgamated with Improvement District No. 143 on April 1, 1995, to create the Municipality of Wood Buffalo (renamed the RM of Wood Buffalo on August 14, 1996). Despite its current official designation of urban service area, many locals, politicians and the media still refer to Fort McMurray as a city. Fort McMurray was known simply as McMurray between 1947 and 1962.

Why should I invest in Fort McMurray?

When the economy is rolling in Alberta, no place benefits more than Fort McMurray, when oil prices are high no place benefits more than Fort McMurray, however, the opposite is true when things are down.

Household Income. The average household in Wood Buffalo, earns about $189,458. That's 103% higher than the national average (per capita), and significantly higher than the provincial average as well.

High incomes has a direct and positive effect on real estate prices and average rents.

With many investors wishing they hadn't "missed the boat" and purchased more in this city years back, the current downturn in oil is creating a great buying opportunity.  If you purchase a property in this city that cashflows now, imagine the returns when the economy picks up again!

Fort McMurray Market Facts (Last published):

  • Vacancy Rate: 29% in October 2015, dropping rapidly since the fire
  • Average MLS residential sale price: $665,700
  • Average MLS Days on Market (DOM): Not Published
  • Total Market Listings (MLS): 460
  • Average weekly earnings (Alberta): $1119
  • Average 3 bedroom rent: $2209
  • Unemployment Rate: 9.5%


In the 2011 Census, Fort McMurray had a population of 61,374 living in 21,729 of its 26,401 total dwellings, a 28.7% change from its 2006 population of 47,705. With a land area of 59.89 km2 (23.12 sq mi), it had a population density of 1,024.8/km2 (2,654.2/sq mi) in 2011.