Calgary housing market does not show signs of slowing
Year-over-year sales growth remains in double digit territory
Calgary, Nov. 1, 2012 – City of Calgary sales activity marked a 23-per-cent increase over levels recorded in October 2011. The continued improvement in sales has pushed year-to-date sales activity to nearly 16-per-cent above levels recorded in 2011. Click Here
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 19, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A special report by Canada Real Estate Wealth Magazine has uncovered the top 100 investment neighbourhoods in this country -- communities most likely to swerve a coming correction.
Ten neighbourhoods in Alberta have outshone recent housing trend predications and ranked in the Top 100 list including Bowness in Calgary, Ambleside in Edmonton, Desert Blume Estates in Medicine Hat and West Lethbridge in Lethbridge.
"Calgary's positive consumer confidence makes the city an excellent market for real estate investors," says Wayne Kainu, Vice President of VERICO Boomerang Financial Inc.
"The city has been focused on increasing its inner city density, attempting to reduce Calgary's urban sprawl. Neighborhoods like Bowness, is considered a hot inner city neighborhood and 'in transition', meaning that many investors are buying older single family bungalows, then tearing them down, and replacing them with a modern duplex, also referred to as an 'Infill'," Kainu adds.
Cory McLean, Broker/ Owner of VERICO Axis Mortgages based in Lethbridge, says that he does not believe that the Bank of Canada will announce changes to the overnight rate and corresponding prime rate on Tuesday.
However, McLean says that true investors, those who are educated and understand the patterns of investing in real estate will always invest, regardless of interest rate.
"Any announcement that confirms rates will either remain at historical lows or drop further will only help to entrench future stability via lower cost of borrowing and that can only contribute to positive thoughts by investors. It could mean those on the fence ultimately decide that now is the right time to invest," says McLean.
McLean also says that although the rule changes in July made it harder to qualify for financing, the tightening affect actually created more opportunities for investors.
"Tougher qualifications, primarily due to the shorter amortizations and bench mark qualification rate, mean fewer home purchasers who end up staying in the rental pool. A larger rental pool, with better quality renters can only mean good things for those investing in real estate for the purposes of landlording."
VERICO iMortgage Solution Owner, Sandra Fisher, says that Edmonton remains a city of opportunity.
"Affordable, low unemployment, and globally recognized as the gateway to the north, Edmonton is definitely deserving of its place on the Top 100 list. The beauty of the river valley is second to none and has over 160km of biking and walking trails to enjoy along with world class facilities in education and research," says Fisher.
Medicine Hat was also recognized as a great community for real estate investors.
"Vacancy rates in Medicine Hat are traditionally low and rents provide a good return on investment," says Cathy Sehn, mortgage broker with VERICO Brokers For Life. "Our overall real estate market has also been stable, making investment in this city a safe bet."
To navigate the new mortgage rules, Fisher adds that investors should seek the advice of mortgage professionals. "The rule changes in July have definitely affected the availability of financing, but opportunities are out there with the right mortgage product."
Other AB neighbourhoods that ranked in the Top 100 list include:
---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- Average home Capital Average Vacancy City/Town Neighbourhood price* Growth* Rent* Rate* ---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- Calgary Bowness $449,260 9.00% n/a 1.90% ---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- Chestermere Downtown area $435,000 3.57% $1,200 n/a ---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- Edmonton Ambleside $528,152 -4.70% $1,036 2.70% ---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- Grand Prairie Royal Oaks $330,705 -2.70% $894 1.10% ---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- Lethbridge West Lethbridge $250,123 -0.60% n/a 0.30% ---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- Desert Blume Medicine Hat Estates $350,000 9.90% $661 7.00% ---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- Red Deer Sunnybrook $332,000 6.30% $843 2.50% ---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- St. Albert North Ridge $525,800 10.00% $1,035 0.50% ---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- Strathcona County Ardrossan $399,472 3.00% $1,067 4.70% ---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- Wood Buffalo Fort McMurray $484,850 16.30% $2,049 10.80% ---------------- ------------------ -------- ------- ------- ------- *source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine Top 100 Report
Extensive industry analysis and statistics were used in this report including population, average home price, capital growth and vacancy rate.
The most comprehensive list of its kind, the Top 100 Neighbourhoods to Invest report was compiled by Canada's leading real estate magazine, Canadian Real Estate Wealth with the support of Verico Financial Group, Canada's #1 Mortgage Broker Network and Re/Max Real Estate.
The results -- set to hit newsstands on Oct. 22 -- identify the exact locations investors should focus on as a hedge against short- or long-term corrections.
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Posted in: alberta , calg , calgary real estate, commercial real estate alberta, alberta real estate market
There are few places in the world where workers are sought after more than in Alberta, but, even here, there
Unemployment in youth (that is, those between ages 15 and 24) typically rises faster than in the rest of the
Geography plays a role, too. Alberta is roughly split up into six economic regions. Currently, the lowest three-month moving average unemployment rate, at 2.8 per cent, belongs to Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House. Surprisingly, the region with the highest unemployment rate is Calgary, at 5.1 per cent.
And industry matters. Over the year, the oil and gas sector has led the way, adding nearly 25,000 workers. At the other end of the equation, the wholesale and retail trades have shed 12,000 workers. If you’re in the first group, that’s good news, given how much oil and gas wages ($1,986/week) are above the provincial average
Alberta Employment Change by Industry, Sept 2012 over Sept 2011
Mortgage choices - what's best for you
With a current range of approximately 2.5 percent to 4+ percent, mortgage rates for residential real estate are still at or near historic lows across Canada. “Hmm” you think, “maybe it’s time to purchase my first home or trade up to a larger home”. Those can be big steps with long term financial implications, and you could end up paying a lot more for that new home than you bargained for by making a less than optimal mortgage choice. So, let’s get you going in the right, and most cost effective, direction with this basic mortgage info: Click Here
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Posted in: calgary real estate , canada economy , mls listings canada , real estate market canada , toronto real estate , vancouver real estate
The Canadian Real Estate Association suggests Calgary's housing market has shifted from a position of balanced to a seller's market.
Flaherty moves on mortgages
As The Globe and Mail's Bill Curry, Grant Robertson and Tara Perkins report today, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is acting for the fourth time, reducing the maximum amortization for a government-insured mortgage to 25 years from 30 years. He's also reducing the amount of equity homeowners can take out of their homes in a refinancing to 80 per cent from 85 per cent. The changes take effect July 9.
Canada's bank regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, has also acted already, and unveiled the final guidelines today.
This comes amid concerns that the market is overheated, notably in major cities like Vancouver and Toronto, and as Canadian consumers carry ever higher debt burdens, even though loan growth is slowing.
Mr. Flaherty is "prudently taking out some insurance" with today's move, said chief economist Craig Alexander of Toronto-Dominion Bank, by gently tapping the brakes.
Debt growth in Canada has slowed, but is still eclipsing income growth, a threat to the economy should it continue. The ratio of debt to personal disposable income among Canadian households has climbed to a startling 152 per cent. Had steps not already been taken, TD believes, that would have climbed already to 160 per cent, the level that sparked troubles in the United States and Britain.
Mr. Alexander says the cumulative impact of both of today's moves by Mr. Flaherty and OSFI should be to reduce house prices by five percentage points from where they otherwise would have been, and sales by 10 percentage points. That takes more than a year to filter through, Mr. Alexander said, and is based on all else being equal. What he means is that the move could, for example, lead to lower sale listings, in turn tempering a price decline.
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney has warned repeatedly of the threat to consumers should there be another financial shock and rising unemployment. Some observers had believed that the run-up in debt could force him to hike rates, but, with Mr. Flaherty's action today, the central bank chief now has more wiggle room to hold rates as he sees fit amid the mounting global uncertainty.
"These latest steps to tighten mortgage rules are part of efforts to avoid one of the negative side effects of having very low interest rates for a long time," said chief economist Avery Shenfeld of CIBC World Markets, which believes Mr. Carney won't hike his benchmark lending rate until 2014.
"With the economy not strong enough overall to deal with a significant ramp-up in rates, it make sense to use alternative targetted measures to address one of those issues, the risks of a bubble in home prices and associated mortgage debt," Mr. Shenfeld said. "These latest moves are just some further fine tuning, but we are already seeing a cooling in house price inflation, and a slower pace to consumer debt. If these measures add to the cooling in housing, it will take the pressure off Carney to use the blunter instrument of interest rate hikes to meet that objective, leaving other parts of the economy, including business capital spending, still getting a much needed boost."
In Halifax, Mr. Carney said the move will support the "long-term stability" of real estate and help guard against the risks associated with swollen debt levels.
Robert Kavcic of BMO Nesbitt Burns says the reduction in the maximum amortization period is equivalent to an increase in mortgage rates of about 0.9 of a percentage point. (That assumes a five-year fixed mortgage rate of 3.3 per cent on a $290,000 mortgage, after a 20-per-cent down payment on an average home.)
"Notably, the impact is bigger than the switch from 35- to 30-year mortgages, which at current mortgage rates, would be equivalent to about 0.6 percentage points of tightening," Mr. Kavcic said.
"It’s also important to keep in mind that the amortization change won’t impact affordability across the entire market, but rather those that would be taking a 30-year amortization," he added.
"As we’ve observed around prior mortgage rule changes, some housing market activity will likely be pulled forward ahead of the implementation date ... with a subsequent payback thereafter. After the 35-year amortization was eliminated last March, for example, existing home sales fell by more than 3 per cent over the subsequent two months."
Mr. Alexander described Mr. Flaherty's action as a "very constructive step." It shows, he added, that the Canadian government agrees with the Bank of Canada that real estate valuations and debt loads are out of hand.
The combined moves, equivalent to hiking mortgage rates by between 1.5 and 2 percentage points, should cut between one-third and one-half of the overvaluation in the Canadian real estate market, Mr. Alexander said.
"With respect to recent indicators and the need for such measures, resale house sales activity through the first five months of the year is 7.5 per cent higher than over the same period last year," said Mark Chandler, chief of fixed income and currency research at RBC Dominion Securities.
"However, price pressures have abated considerably, with weighted residential prices up just 1.1 per cent on a year-ago basis ... Mortgage credit growth has slowed somewhat as well, though still remains above the pace of personal disposable income (BoC estimates growth at 6.9 per cent on a year-ago basis as of April, the annualized three-month trend is at 6.3 per cent)."
Today's move, said Adrienne Warren of Bank of Nova Scotia, could spark an initial burst of activity.
"I see it as another move by Ottawa to reinforce cautious lending practices in response to high household debt levels and high home valuations," she said. "The change is significant enough to dampen housing demand and credit growth, though we could see a rush to lock in a 30-year amortization while they are still available."
Posted in: real estate canada, mls listings, residential real estate, alberta real estate, cir realty
On Friday June 15th, 2012 the Canadian Real Estate Association released a lot of figures that gave a lot of insight into the direction of the real estate market in Canada. One focus on this round of figures was around the Toronto housing market and how it was staying quite strong.
“Activity in Greater Toronto is stronger this spring than it was last year, and higher-priced homes are still selling quickly. As Canada’s most active housing market, and one of the priciest, it is still the biggest factor boosting the national average price but its support was less of a factor in May,” said Gregory Klump, CREA Chief Economist.
The Bank of Canada doesn’t seem to be exactly thrilled about the pace of borrowing on buying houses and price increases however. In the Montreal Gazette the federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was noted as warning Canadians against moderate borrowing saying that household debt was the number one enemy for the domestic economy.
The sales activity in houses was raised from previous announcements after more than expected rises this spring in home sales activity. The first announcements said that sales would increase about .3 percent but readjusted estimates put sales of homes at 475,800 homes in 2012 up 3.8 percent from the figures in 2011.
Concern and talk about a housing bubble is still on the mind of many economists for the Canadian Real Estate Market. While CREA hasn’t come out and said they fear that, many others have been discussing it. Looking at the Canada home prices in the graph below clearly shows a rising average price of Canadian houses that could spell out a bubble if financial markets get any kind of shocks. Banking analysts are on edge this weekend as Greek elections in Greece could spell an exit from the Euro wreaking havoc on markets.
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High oil prices, oilsands activity to boost economy
The Canadian Bankers Association announced on Monday what amounts to the next step in the evolution of how Canadians buy stuff.
Sometime soon — details are not provided — we will be able to buy stuff in stores with a mobile phone thanks to a new set of common guidelines over how electronic information is exchanged agreed to by the country’s big banks and credit unions.
It is hoped that the guidelines will pave the way for a transformation in the way Canadians interact with retailers, an acknowledgement of the growing importance of smartphones in the way we live our lives.
All good news, but you have to wonder who’s behind this initiative?
Most of us know pretty much zero about the Canadian payments system but it’s the back-office infrastructure that allows consumers and businesses to write cheques, withdraw money from bank machines and buy stuff with by debit card every day. Last year, about $45-trillion passed across the system. Unlike many other countries including the U.S. where there are numerous competing bank payment systems, in Canada there is just one. (Credit card companies such as VISA and MasterCard run their own operations.)
Critics say the lack of competition puts a damper on innovation and provides little incentive to keep user costs down. A federal task force report released in the spring warned that the Canadian payment system is falling behind and that could leave the country at a competitive disadvantage.
“[U]nless Canada develops a modern digital payments system, Canadians will be unable to fully engage in the digital economy of the 21st Century, leading to a lower standard of living across the country and a loss in international competitiveness,” said the report, entitled “Moving Canada into the Digital Age.”
Indeed, this latest initiative from the banks is an “outcome” of the task force report, according to the CBA press release.
Mobile banking already exists in Canada but usage is limited and the technology fairly limited, but other countries such as the United States, Japan, South Korea and some European countries have taken things further.
“There’s all kinds of ways this technology can come together,” said Stephen Gardiner, a consultant at Accenture in Toronto.
The CBA guidelines provide “all the things you would need for widespread adoption,” Mr. Gardiner said. “It’s a way for financial institutions, merchants, telecoms and others to come together to provide a safe and [robust] pament experience that will drive user choice and usability.”
It’s only one week into May but Calgary’s housing market is showing signs of being on a positive trend.
Sales and prices in all categories are up compared with the first week in May a year ago.
According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, total MLS residential sales in the city of 515 from May 1-7 are a 20.61 per cent hike from the same period last year while the average sale price has risen by 3.60 per cent to $464,824.
In the single-family category, month-to-date has seen 370 MLS sales, up 22.52 per cent from last year and the average sale price has increased by 3.14 per cent to $526,119.
The condo apartment sector has experienced 74 sales for an average price of $287,722. Sales are up 2.78 per cent from a year ago while average sale prices have increased 0.43 per cent.
And the condo townhouse market has seen 71 sales in the first week of May for an average price of $329,989. Sales have increased by 33.96 per cent from the same period a year ago while prices have risen by 3.38 per cent.
Edmonton Economic Performance Gets "A-Minus" Grade
EDMONTON, ALBERTA, Apr 17, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Edmonton's economy was awarded an overall "A-minus" grade by Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) president and CEO Ron Gilbertson today.
In his economic update at EEDC's annual lunch today, Gilbertson highlighted the diverse initiatives, underway and planned, to attract people and investment to Alberta's capital city. "Edmonton has a remarkable economic story. In 2011, our economy grew and showed momentum, and we are poised for a bright future," says Gilbertson. "Combine that with our quality of life, we are well on our way to becoming recognized as one of the world's top mid-sized cities."
Aside from Gilbertson's state-of-the-economy address, EEDC recognized Edmonton-area organizations with its annual achievement awards: Quantiam Technologies in the innovation category, Homeward Trust Edmonton for community leadership, and Donovan Creative Communications for recognition category.
Based in the Edmonton Research Park, Quantiam recently built one of Canada's largest private nanotechnology-based manufacturing facilities to provide its proprietary surface coating technology to a global client list, in partnership with the world's largest chemical company. The innovation award recognizes those which have created or changed a product, process or business practice creating the broadest impact.
The business or community leadership award recognizes organizations that best engage our community or industry to actually achieve impactful positive change. Homeward Trust was singled out for leading our community to help the homeless in a caring, holistic and effective manner.
Donovan Creative's work in award-winning campaigns for Edmonton International Airports and Edmonton Public Library increases Edmonton's visibility worldwide. The recognition award celebrates organizations that bring extensive positive awareness and sustained name recognition of Edmonton.
"Shortlisting the submissions was not an easy task," notes Richard Brommeland, EEDC board member and chair of the award selection committee. "The award winners do amazing work, and we are the better for them calling Edmonton home."
Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) provides leadership in economic development, markets Edmonton as a must-see destination, manages the Shaw Conference Centre and Edmonton Research Park, and acts as a stakeholder in TEC Edmonton, a joint venture with the University of Alberta. For more information, visit www.edmonton.com Learn more about Edmonton through the stories of people who've experienced it at www.edmontonstories.ca
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Posted in: alberta , barry klatt , calgary real estate , canadian spending , finance , financial times , home renovations , Home tips , how to save , properties , real estate , real estate invest , your finance
Over the years, we’ve developed a good understanding of how buildings perform. Construction techniques for new homes have changed rapidly. Most of these improved techniques also apply to renovations.
If you plan carefully, you can renovate your home to make it look better, work better, last longer and be more comfortable. Before renovating, it’s important to assess the condition of your home to determine if there are any significant underlying problems that must be addressed before or during your planned renovation project.
In Canada, we need affordable houses to provide shelter from the elements. We also want our homes to be pleasant, comfortable and attractive.
Homeowners have higher expectations than in the past, particularly about comfort and interior design. Renovations are an opportunity to address some of these expectations.
Some of the reasons people decide to renovate are to:
Renovating is an ideal time to make your house healthier for you, the community and the environment. When assessing your renovation project, be sure to consider the five essentials of Healthy Housing™.
House as a System
A house is much more than just four walls and a roof — it’s an interactive system made up of many components including the basic structure, heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, the external environment and the occupants. Each component influences the performance of the entire system. A renovation provides an opportunity to improve how your house performs.
As you assess your renovation project, ask yourself how changing particular components will affect the performance of the whole house. For example, as part of a bathroom renovation you may want to add a hot tub that will generate large amounts of humidity during operation.Your existing ventilation may be inadequate to handle the increased moisture levels. It will be important to provide proper ventilation to avoid mold growth, indoor air quality (IAQ) problems and damage to the structure or finishes. You may need to consult with a qualified home inspector or a professional renovator.
A systematic and thorough inspection will help you to assess the condition of your home. Look for any signs of deterioration and the possible causes. Start your inspection in the basement. Many problems in other parts of the house originate there. Depending upon the size of your project, you may want to ask a qualified home inspector or a professional renovator to help you assess your building and develop a plan. Here are some of the likely questions that you’ll want to think about.
Use the House Assessment Worksheet to record the present condition, any problems in your home and to help set priorities for your renovation.
Costing Your Project
The cost of your assessment will depend almost entirely on how many professionals you need. They might include an engineer, architect, electrician, plumber, carpenter or professional home inspector.
Developed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the ecoENERGY initiative provides a residential energy assessment service delivered by local organizations across Canada for a fee. Retrofits may be eligible for grants. To find a local service organization or grant information, visit www.ecoaction.gc.ca or call 1-800-387-2000.
East Village Master Plan http://youtu.be/wvpdqSY-6Zw
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