Barry Klatt

403-271-0600
Barry Klatt
Office:403-271-0600
Fax:403-476-5236

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A little more than $40,000 could be up for grabs when you purchase your recreational home in BC!

Good news for sure for real estate investors in the recreational market. Naturally there is a lot of new "unsold" recreational inventory around at the moment and this move by the BC government, while a little hard to understand is a welcome break for a sluggish real estate sector.

No rules in regards to the grant are available which actually refers to grants for second home purchases. The rules and regulations are expected to be published this month.

We do know it will be eligible for purchases of second homes up to $850,000 and is to be administered by the Province rather than CRA in relation to HST/GST rebates.

While it is a welcome break, it is curious in my mind why this would be administered as a grant/bonus. Years ago as the federal Conservatives toppled the long reigning Liberal government, there was talk of tax breaks/deferrals on capital gains for real estate investors. To me, this would appear to be a better long term strategy to assist with what is a very significant industry in our province.

For now however, we are dealing with a temporary grant program that will run from March this year to April next year with details coming as to what defines a second property and who is eligible for the rebate from the Province. We await with baited breath!
 
Ask me about how to start your search for investment properties in BC!
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In a growing trend, on the cusp of RRSP season, yet another poll shows that Canadians, by and large do not feel prepared for retirement.

 
A recent survey from CIBC shows that while Canadians do not feel prepared for retirement, many of them plan to do something about it- starting now. Many identify retirement planning among their top priorities this year.
 

Furthermore, many do recognize the link between retirement success and developing and implementing strategy: “Planning ahead makes a significant difference, according to the poll - among Canadians who say they have a long term investment plan for retirement, 76 per cent say they are financially prepared for retirement, versus just 25 per cent among those who don't have a plan.”
 
“Planning for retirement is something almost every Canadian thinks about at this time of year, and our poll results show that many would like to be further ahead when it comes to their retirement plans," commented Christina Kramer, Executive Vice President, Retail Distribution and Channel Strategy, CIBC. "Our poll results reveal a split in the country when it comes to retirement, with those who are actively planning ahead are about three times more likely to feel prepared for their future retirement than those who have not yet mapped out their retirement strategy."
 

For Baby Boomers who feel panicky, and that time has run out in advance of their retirement, fear not. There is no time like the present, even when it comes to retirement saving and planning.

Furthermore, previous CIBC research shows that 69% of Canadians intend to keep working through retirement age, so for many there is flexibility in terms of saving deadline.
 
There is also benefit, no matter what stage of life you are in, to understanding what you are investing in, and how that fits into your overall planning. The temptation for many is to wait to the last minute of the RRSP deadline, which can sometimes result in rushed decisions.
 
“We're all busy, and some Canadians have fallen into the habit of making their RRSP contribution just before the deadline without taking the time to sit down and understand where they are versus their goals, and what they might need to change to keep making progress," added Ms. Kramer. "We encourage Canadians to make this the year you use the time before the contribution deadline to look at your broader financial picture, particularly given the difference we see it making in the confidence people have in their retirement plans."
 
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After a clarion call that brought thousands of people flocking to protests around the world, the Canadian magazine that touched off the international Occupy movement is sending its disciples to a new destination: the shopping mall.
 
Adbusters, the Vancouver-based counterculture magazine widely credited with launching the Occupy Wall Street protests and countless other offshoots around the world, is exhorting its followers to "Occupy Christmas" by boycotting holiday gift shopping during the upcoming festive season.
 
The campaign is set to launch today, Black Friday -- known as such in the U.S. because it's considered the busiest shopping day of the year, when customers flock to stores to put merchants "in the black" as they kick off the retail industry's most hectic season.
 

The call to arms is old hat for the magazine, which has been pushing its "Buy Nothing Day" for the past 20 years, said Adbusters co-founder Kalle Lasn.

 
But this year, after the hard-won prominence of the global "Occupy" movement, people are more likely to take a hard look at what the holiday season has come to represent, Lasn said in an interview from Vancouver.
 

Lasn recalled the holidays of his childhood, which he said were focused on quality time spent with family and friends, with gifts that were either made by hand or completely intangible.

"Quite often the gifts were just spending time with each other. There was a whole different kind of ethic there to gift-giving," he said.
 
"I would say the gift-giving in those days was way more profound and meaningful than the kind of gift-giving that happens right now, which seems to be all about people getting the most expensive gizmos that they can possibly wheedle out of their parents."
 

Lasn said he's hopeful that the young people who pitched tents in public parks in hopes of sparking grassroots change will bring similar enthusiasm to the fight against the consumerism of Christmas.

The effort, he added, is in no way meant to criticize the season's religious significance.
 
The fact that stores are located on private property and don't like people camping out on their doorsteps will likely force supporters to be creative in attracting attention to their cause, Lasn said.
 

"We're hoping that a lot of the occupiers ... will start engaging in credit card cut-ups and flash mobs and various pranks and shenanigans in malls."

Campaign critics

Needless to say, retailers aren't warm to the idea of organized chaos.

Sally Ritchie, vice-president of communications for the Retail Council of Canada, denounced "Occupy Christmas" as an outrage that would threaten the livelihood of workaday Canadians.

People who make a living in retail depend on the revenue generated during the industry's peak period, Ritchie said. Disrupting it would be particularly mean-spirited in light of the precarious global economy, she added.
 
"It's a highly undemocratic sentiment, really," Ritchie said. "I just don't think that people are going to respond very positively to this campaign.
 
"We believe a lot of people are going to say, 'Hands off my Christmas."'
 
Lasn scoffed at the notion that its irresponsible for Adbusters to urge would-be shoppers to stay home.
 
"It's irresponsible for us to keep living our ... lifestyle and to propagate the system that could lead to some sort of climate-change catastrophe," he said.
 
"I think the people who want to continue business as usual, making as much money this year as they made last year, I think they need to go deeper and look at the larger perspective."
 
"Occupy Christmas" has generated comparatively little buzz so far, with just 2,000 people joining its official Facebook page. But Lasn said he believes those who supported the original "Occupy" protest will recognize it as a natural next step in their fight for change and won't hesitate to take action.
 
"If there's one thing that this 'Occupy' movement has done, it's given young people around the world who are fighting for a different kind of future ... permission to get angry," he said.
 

"It's given them permission to stand up and fight back against things they don't like."

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Highlights:


•Restricts drivers from:

 

  • using hand-held cell phones
  • texting or e-mailing
  • using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming portable audio players (e.g., MP3 players)
  • entering information on GPS units
  • reading printed materials in the vehicle
  • writing, printing or sketching, and
  • personal grooming
  • Complements the current driving without due care and attention legislation
  • Applies to all vehicles as defined by the Traffic Safety Act, including bicycles
  • Applies to all roads in both urban and rural areas of the province
  • The fine for this new offence is $172

The most frequently asked question regarding the new law is whether pets are specifically addressed by the law. Here's the answer! In situations where the driver becomes too involved with their pet, police could reasonably argue that the distraction is comparable to the specifically banned activities of reading, writing and grooming and lay a charge.


Also, existing legislation - Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(i) - allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to occupy the front seat of the vehicle such that it interferes with the driver's access to the vehicle controls and the safe operation of the vehicle. Further, Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(j) - allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to cause any obstruction to the driver's clear vision in any direction. We encourage the continued use of these existing provisions.

If a driver violates a new distracted driving provision and an existing provision in the Traffic Safety Act it would be up to the discretion of the officer as to if one or both charges would apply.

For the safety of both pets and road users, it is best if pets are secured in an appropriate pet carrier.

http://www.transportation.alberta.ca/distracteddriving.htm

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Tips to get approved for a mortgage
 
If your home ownership fantasies have been rudely awakened by loan officers denying your application, it’s time to take control of your situation and learn what you can do to turn that rejection into an approval.

What are your options? Everyone’s financial situation is unique. With that in mind, here are five different options for making your homeownership dreams a reality.

1. Get a Co-signer

If your income isn’t high enough to qualify for the loan you need and if you can find a co-signer with enough disposable income, part of that person’s income can be considered toward your loan amount regardless of whether
the person will actually be living with you or helping you pay the bill. In some cases, a co-signer may also be able to compensate for your less-than-perfect credit. Overall, the co-signer is guaranteeing the lender that your mortgage payments will be paid. If you decide to go this route, just make sure that both of you understand the financial and legal obligations the co-signer takes on when he or she signs the loan documents.
 
http://www.castanet.net/news/Home-Finance/59053/Tips-to-get-approved-for-a-mortgage

2. Wait

Sometimes conditions in the economy, the housing market or lending business make lenders less generous with loans. If you’re in a climate where everyone is panicking, then it may be best to wait things out. When conditions improve, lenders may become more accommodating. In the meantime, you can work on improving your credit score, reducing your debt and increasing your savings. While you’re waiting, home prices or interest rates could drop. Either of these changes could also improve your mortgage eligibility.

3. Set your Sights on a Less-Expensive Property

If you can’t qualify for the amount of mortgage you want and you aren’t willing to wait, switching to a condo or townhouse instead of a house, accepting fewer bedrooms or bathrooms, or moving to a less attractive or more
distant neighbourhood may give you more options. As a more drastic option, you could even move to a different part of the country where the cost of home ownership is lower. When your financial situation improves down the road you might be able to trade up to the property, neighborhood or city where you hope to end up.

4. Ask the Lender for an Exception

Believe it or not, it is possible to ask the lender to send your file to someone else within the company for a second opinion on a rejected loan application. In asking for an exception, you'll need to have a very good reason, and you'll need to write a carefully worded letter defending your case. Your letter should avoid excuses and sob stories and focus only on the facts. Explain how the incident that is preventing your loan from being approved, such as a charged-off account, was a one-time event that will never occur again. This one-time event should have been caused by a catastrophe such as a large and unexpected medical expense, natural disaster, divorce or death in the family. The blemish on your record will actually need to have been a one-time event, and you'll need to be able to
back your story up with an otherwise flawless credit history.

5. Team Up With Someone Else

Two incomes are better than one, so if you can't qualify on your own, perhaps you have a family member or friend that you trust enough and like enough to make a major purchase with and live with. It won't be enough to just put them on the loan, of course - they'll need to actually help with the mortgage payments to make it work, and chances are they won't want to pay half the mortgage unless they're living in the new home with you.

Conclusion

To go from rejected to pre-approved, it's important to know what lenders are looking for in an applicant. If you've been turned down for a mortgage, make sure to ask your mortgage professional plenty of questions about things you could do in your specific situation to make yourself a more attractive loan candidate. With time, patience, hard work and a little luck, you should be able to turn the situation around and become a residential property owner.
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In the past several weeks, I've received many questions from people about the new projects that are happening in the Southeast.  So I thought I'd send out a quick FAQ email. 

As you all may be aware, southeast Calgary has had a bad rap, but all that is going to change.  There are many commercial and residential projects in the works to revitalize the mostly undeveloped and underestimated quadrant.  Projects like a new hospital, the extension of the ring road and a new mega mall.  Yes, you've heard about these projects in the news, but do you know how it will affect the areas in and surrounding the developments?   
 

SOUTH HEALTH CAMPUS

Located at 196th Avenue and Deerfoot Trail S.E., expected to start offering urgent care and ambulatory clinics in 2012, with other services to follow the year after.

When it is fully operational, the hospital will accommodate over 2,400 staff members.  A large percentage of these staff members will be from out of town and most probably will want to relocate close to their place of occupation.  This will mean that sales of homes around the area will go up, prices will rise due to deman and rentals will increase as well. 

To accomodate the potential new residents, home builders and new commercial developments will be busy building in the area. 
 

SETON URBAN DISTRICT

The Seton Urban District is proposed to be the new "Downtown".  Plans include residential condo and new housing projects, restaurants, trendy retail shops, spas and fitness, schools, and 24/7 night-life, this is to replica Kensington.  Located in between Stoney Trail and Deerfoot Trail, it is the perfect location for visitors coming from the East, West and primarily South.  With the major box store chains located at Deerfoot Meadows to the west, there is talk of more US retailers to be occupying more of this Southeast section to create rows and rows of major shopping centres to line the highway.  Look for stores like Macy's, J Crew, Marshalls, and others...
 

SOUTH EAST STONEY TRAIL

The project consists of the construction and maintenance of 25 kilometres of six-lane roadway, 9 interchanges, 1 road flyover, 2 rail flyovers and 27 bridge structures, as well as 12 kilometres of Deerfoot Trail between Stoney Trail SE (currently Highway 22X) and the Highway 2A junction.  Encompassing the city, the completion of this span of highway will bring more residents and retailers to the outskirts of the city.  The convenience will attract many home owners, renters and developers. 

For more information on each of these projects and more, visit the project's site below.  Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions.  Thank you!
 
Barry
 
 
 
 
SOUTH HEALTH CAMPUS
Larger than anything around it, the South Health Campus is becoming a distinctive landmark on the south-eastern horizon of Calgary.
SETON URBAN DISTRICT

New urban centre for S Calgary

Seton is about creating a synergy where people are immersed in a modern environment with an eclectic energy in a 24/7 vibrancy.
SOUTH EAST STONEY TRAIL
SEST is the largest single highway project in Alberta’s history, and its largest P3 road infrastructure project. The roadway’s main line will be completely free-flow and have no traffic lights.

 

View my Full Market Report

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MEDIA RELEASE

Calgary’s own CIR REALTY has just been reported the number one leader in residential home sales in all of Calgary as well as the number one independent brokerage for sales for all of Canada in the new REAL Trends Report released this week.
 
With 4,317 transactions closed in 2010, locally owned and independent CIR REALTY beat out all other city brokerages.
 
Other competing Calgary brokerages that made the list of REAL Trends top 200 that followed close behind include Re/Max Central, Royal LePage Foothills, Re/Max House and Re/Max House Mountainview.
 
Ray Stader, Co-Owner and Manager of IT and Finance at CIR REALTY attribute the brokerage’s commitment to technological innovation, 24 hour REALTOR® support and an unsurpassed professional development program to this accomplishment.
 
"CIR REALTY has positioned itself as a high-tech, high-touch company that prides itself on developing highly educated REALTORS® and giving them the support they need to do their business from wherever it is they are located. Client’s appreciate the efficiency in which our REALTORS® are able to move through the different stages in the estate transaction process, giving them ease of mind and a great experience."
 
Stader was fortunate to attend the REAL Trends Conference in Denver last month and is thrilled that as an industry leader, REAL Trends continues to provide the most trusted and accurate residential brokerage research in the business.
 
"The information that REAL Trends is able to provide regarding the residential real estate industry across North America is crucial to the continual growth and improvement of CIR REALTY and other brokerages," Stader says.
 
CIR REALTY has over 700 REALTORS®, staff and management spread over four Calgary offices and 11 satellite offices outside of the City. The brokerage has been family owned and operated since 1983.
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By: RICHARD GILBERT, Journal of Commerce, May 18, 2011

 

The top four cities for economic growth in Canada in the next five years will be located in Saskatchewan and Alberta, according to a study by the Conference Board of Canada.
 
“Buoyed by the resources and energy sectors, the economies of Saskatoon, Calgary, Regina and Edmonton will post noticeably stronger growth than the other cities covered in this report,” said Mario Lefebvre, director of the Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for Municipal Studies.
 
According to the Spring 2011 edition of the Metropolitan Outlook, Saskatoon will lead the country with real GDP growth of 4.1 per cent in 2011.
 
Housing starts sprang back from a weak 2009 to hit 2,380 units last year—matching the recent 2007 peak,” said the report. “Both single-detached and multiple-unit starts rose smartly, helping to boost overall construction output by eight per cent—a strong rebound following a gain of less than 1.0 per cent in 2009.”
 
Population growth is projected to push housing starts higher in 2011 and 2012.
 
In the non-residential sector, work is expected to start on the $200 million River Landing complex in 2011.
 
The residential and commercial complex also involves the construction of a $30-million office building, as well as the $60 million Art Gallery of Saskatchewan.
 
City council has also decided to demolish the 103-year-old Traffic Bridge and build a new $30-million steel truss span with wider lanes.
 
The strength of residential and non-residential sectors are expected to stimulate construction activity, with an increase of 5.6 per cent in 2011, 6.9 per cent in 2012 and 5.9 per cent in 2013.
 
Real GDP is forecast to grow by 4.2 per cent between 2012 and 2015.
 
Calgary’s economy is expected to increase by 3.4 per cent in 2011 and 4.2 per cent between 2012 and 2015.
 
Despite a number of major projects already under way, total construction output is projected to increase by 1.8 per cent in 2011.
 
The latest estimates show that about $14.2-billion worth of energy-related projects are now under way in the province. Other non-residential projects that will boost construction activity in Calgary in 2011 include the $1-billion Quarry Park mixed-use development and a $1.3-billion hospital.
 
Housing starts are forecast to drop to 8,100 units in 2011, as strong new home prices take a bite out of demand.
 
In Regina, real GDP is expected to expand by 3.1 per cent in 2011 and by 3.8 per cent between 2012 and 2015.
 
The collapse of the domed stadium scheme in Regina has forced the city of Regina and the Saskatchewan government to consider new options for a stadium and redevelopment of 46 acres currently housing CP Rail’s container yards.
 
“These yards are to be relocated to what’s called a global transportation hub emerging in the city’s west,” said the report. “Indeed, development of this hub is positioned to be a significant growth driver in the medium term.”
 
Housing starts increased 45 per cent to 1,347 units in 2010 and are projected to moderate to near 1,280 units in 2011. However, housing starts are expected to jump above 1,400 units in 2012 and remain there for several years.
 
The construction industry is expected to expand 6.2 per cent in 2011 and an average of 5.6 per cent between 2012 and 2014.
 

Edmonton's economy is expected to rise 3.1 per cent in 2011 and 3.6 per cent between 2012 and 2015.

The Alberta government is investing $165 million in capital project in 2011, including a new police station in Terwillegar and other infrastructure projects.
 

Plans for a downtown arena to replace the aging Rexall Place still lack firm financial commitments.

The proposal would also see significant downtown redevelopment and a stop on a yet-to-be-built light rail transit line. Alberta has approved up to $492 million for this LRT route. Longer term, the city is weighing competing proposals from five international design teams to redevelop the City Centre Airport into a neighbourhood for 30,000 residents.
 
Housing starts rebounded from recession approach 10,000 units in 2010, which represents a 58 per cent increase from 2009. A pullback to near 7,600 units is expected for 2011, with starts hovering near 9,000 units per year afterwards, as population growth is expected to accelerate starting this year.
 
Edmonton’s construction sector declined by 24 per cent in the last two years, but is forecast to increase by 1.4 per cent in 2011.
 

The other Western cities covered in this report can expect moderate economic growth.

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Christine Dobby, Financial Post, May 18, 2011

It may be trickier to ask for extra pickles, but you may soon be able to avoid the judgmental look of a cashier as you supersize your order of fries.

McDonald’s Europe has announced plans to replace some of its cashiers with touch-screen terminals and cash-free payment, a move that will likely play well with consumers looking for options that offer convenience and a sense of control.

Research shows people who use self-service options — already available in many retail outlets in Canada including grocery stores, Canadian Tire and Home Depot — believe it takes less time than waiting for a cashier.

“And at the end of the day, perception is reality,” said Brent Barr, an instructor at the Ted Rogers School of Retail Management at Ryerson University in Toronto.

What’s more, Mr. Barr said, most young people no longer consider paying in cash and the move to payment by swipe card is a reality.

“More and more our society has moved away from the physical cash and moved into the plastic world,” he said. “This is one next step in making it easy for that person to do what they’d like to do.”

Steve Easterbrook, president of McDonald’s Europe, told the Financial Times this week the global fast food giant plans to introduce the self-service ordering at its 7,000 European restaurants. Around the world, retailers will be watching McDonald’s to see how this latest experiment works out, Mr. Barr said.

“They were one of the first in the fast food world and as a result they’ve always been perceived to be an innovator in the market place,” he said, adding that other outlets will be considering whether to try it as well.

The model may work well at McDonald’s given the consistency of its menu and the fact customers generally know what to expect and what they would like to order, he said.

Kaan Yigit, president of Toronto-based technology consultancy Solutions Research Group, agreed the self-serve model, which he said is fundamentally driven by economics and cost-savings, may work well at McDonald’s.

“They [self-serve systems] are best-suited to environments where transactions are simple and predictable. They are more difficult to implement in settings where there are many customizable options or when the product or service is not uniform,” he said.

Parry Sadorsky, associate professor of economics at the Schulich School of Business at York University, said he believes we will soon order food from touch screens in Canada, but cautioned the move could have negative implications for employment.

“All you need is one big chain to do this,” he said, noting that it would likely be tested in major U.S. markets before arriving north of the border.

“It’s good for corporate profits, but not very good for the overall labour force, because you’re going to take out many of the entry-level and low-skill jobs,” Mr. Sadorsky said, adding that it is often those types of jobs that make up the majority of new jobs created each month.

Plus, many young people rely on employment at places such as McDonald’s to get their first work experience, he said.

However, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd. is not about to follow its European counterpart’s lead — yet.

“We have no plans currently to implement a similar ordering system,” said the company’s national media relations manager Louis Payette.

“We’re constantly looking at ways to enhance the customer experience when it comes to speed and service and convenience,” Mr. Payette said, adding, “Our customers seem pretty pleased with the fast and friendly service they’re getting.”

What’s more, he said, the company is in “growth mode” with regard to its work force, pointing to the almost 5,000 employees McDonald’s Canada hired on April 19 as part of a National Hiring Day event.

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