Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Dec 3 2013
Until the last few days, we've been very fortunate with the fall and winter weather, but this kind of snow and cold is sure to put a damper on enthusiasm. Am I still showing homes today? You bet. Buyers willing to put on snow boots and get out in this weather are serious.
There is no doubt sales during this time of year are fewer than the warmer months. However year over year the seasonal numbers are up, pricing numbers are breaking records and single family home statistics show average prices higher than 2007 levels. We are not yet reaching 2007 total sales numbers (total number of properties sold) but the trends have been trending upwards since the summer. The number of luxury homes sold continue to break records month after month as well.
Single-family benchmark prices totaled $470,600 in November, 8.5 per cent higher than one year ago. Of course the value for each specific home is different based on property price range, style and location so your home may have gone down, gone up 4% or it may have gone up 14% but the general trends are holding strong.
The graphs show that there are now less sales at the lower price points and more sales at the higher price points. This points to availability of property but also buyer demand. Calgary is a city of folks that earn higher wages than in other parts of the country, we are a young city and we see opportunity. Our attitude, perspective, rental availability, net migration and general optimism create the environment of growth and we are seeing that in the real estate market. I hope all those enthusiastic new landlords have done their homework.
Ever changing is our market, just check out the roller coaster ride of the last few years. Timing is everything. Whether buying or selling, you never know the time was 'best' until it passed.
If you want to crunch the numbers yourself, see the CREB Statistics Package or give me a call and I'll do that for you. ;)
Friday, November 15, 2013
Calgary Schools: Buyer Priorities
A new family moves to Calgary and innocently asks, "What are the best schools in the city and what is available to purchase within walking distance." The answer is a long one and it usually starts with 'It depends...."
Schools. One of the most important criteria for some families when choosing a community or property to call home.
Sometimes it is parents looking for a specific program or philosophy and sometimes it is all about the logistics of getting our children to school and home safely while still working or attending to our other activities.
It used to be easier I am told. Children in a community would go to the school in that community, often within walking distance. Some communities had before and after school care. It's not that easy now.
In some communities the choice to attend the local designated school is thwarted by full enrollments, alternate school assignments, bus schedules and lotteries for school space. Parents are scrambling to find before and after school care or changing their plans regarding work and availability.
Some inner city locations have low enrollments while outlying areas are bursting at the seams. The current baby boom, Calgary's large growth numbers, funding and timeliness of construction of new infrastructure all contribute. Affordability of housing, access to backyards and playgrounds, parks and amenities fuels the move within the city as well.
Recently the province announced more schools in 2013 with $1.4B allocated over 3 years to school capital projects. I'll leave the 'how can you build that many schools so fast given the shortage of folks to build them' to someone else and instead say, "That's great. What's the plan for the when and where?"
Calgary Board of Education schools and Calgary Catholic schools also offer french immersion, language schools and specialized programs on top of everything else. Charter schools enter the mix providing unique learning opportunities geared towards various streams including science, arts, girls only, academics, inquiry based and others. Charter schools are unique to Alberta and the waitlists are huge so they must be doing something right. On top of that are the private schools adding another layer of option.
So as you are looking at new homes, you need to remember that just because you see a school doesn't mean your children can attend. It's kinda nutty given the perceived options. Research is critical if schools are a top priority.
I should have listened to my neighbour and enrolled my kids when they were born.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Sold. 30 Rocky Ridge Heights has now sold and over list price
Great homes attract great people. This amazing Rocky Ridge familly home sold quickly and will soon welcome a new family.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Real Estate Market Update Nov 5 2013
With the snow hitting the ground, it usually signals a slow down in Calgary's real estate sales. That is a little less evident this year it seems. The ongoing growth in the overall sales numbers and increases to pricing continue.
The overall numbers show a slight increase from September in terms of pricing across various types of property. The larger increases are in year to year comparisons. Sales are significantly higher with inventory significantly lower from October 2012. Total sales numbers increased beyond the 10 year average for the first time since 2007 are on par between those posted between 2004 and 2005.
Things are slowing down a bit due to the expected seasonal adjustments but just less so than in previous years. Inventory is dropping so buyers will see less and less choice as we approach the holidays.
The big picture for Calgary is positive and strong but not yet entering the frenzy zone. It has definitely made for interesting negotiations when buyers and sellers have different views of the crystal ball.
On a local level, the various developments and announcements from builders, developers and government are changing the landscape so adjustments to various communities may also start to shift outside of the larger picture.
The largest announcement being agreement for the SW ring road. The construction can have nothing less than a major effect on how folks get around Calgary and it will have consequences to the real estate market. View the design concepts for the length of Stoney Trail and the SW Ring Road.
Currie Barracks is in the news with plans for a town site concept in this large and unique urban community as well as applications related to the West Campus development by the University of Calgary. Various condo projects have been announced and some existing developments such as the River in Mission have adjusted design and construction plans due to the recent floods. Growth and more growth for our amazing city.
November 30 marks the deadline for home owners applying to the Disaster Recovery Program and much work remains in this area.
Hope you had a great Halloween. We'll soon be searching for our Christmas lights.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The SW Ring Road. The concept designs.
As many other Calgarians, I am excited to see the SW Ring Road move closer to reality. It shortens my personal travel time and will ease congestion among my various frequented routes. Reduced commute times is what matters, even if the distance is a touch longer.
The remaining sections to be developed are actually 2.
The second is from Hwy 8 to 22x which is what is called the SW Ring Road portion. The 2013 Agreement with the Tsuu T'ina Nation allows for this section to move forward. The images are from the published concept plan on the Alberta Transportation website as linked above.
Image 1 of 4 - Glenmore Trail SW near Sarcee Trail SW and path through the Weaselhead Natural Environment Park.
Image 2 of 4 - Extending to Anderson Rd SW
Image 3 of 4 - Anderson Rd SW to 116 Ave SW
Image 4 of 4 - Detail of Sarcee Trail SW and Glenmore Trail SW Imterchange area.
The details of this huge project will change. Information here is what is avalable today.
For more details visit Alberta Transportation.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Just Listed - 30 Rocky Ridge Heights NW, Calgary, AB
Beautiful home in Rocky Ridge, 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms.
Beautifully renovated and updated inside and out by the current owners, this warm home in Rocky Ridge is fully finished with 4 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, bonus room and attention to detail. A new kitchen including solid maple cabinetry, stainless steel appliances including double ovens and wine fridge compliment the expanded island with granite counters and mosaic backsplash. The living room and current dining room opens to the kitchen with new hardwood flooring. Painted with neutral colors throughout. The bonus room is spacious and custom entertainment system is included. The master bedroom and 4 piece bath with in floor heat and two additional bedrooms complete the upper level. Outside the exterior has been painted, new roof installed and decking expanded. You'll enjoy the beautiful two tear deck, mature trees and views. The basement is completed with a large bedroom with full sized window and ample light, a full bath and completed rec room with custom built-ins. Excellent location. Double garage.
Monday, October 28, 2013
When the best mortgage rate is not the lowest mortgage rate. Saving money on your mortgage.
With rates beginning to move around a bit, I’ve noticed that some clients are getting better advice than others from various lenders so I asked one of my trusted mortgage brokers to put together some information to start the conversion. The question: what’s the best mortgage available for my clients?
It’s nearly impossible to predict your refinance needs three or four years out. Statistics show that well over half of Canadians with a mortgage renegotiate before their term is up.
So if you try to end your mortgage or move your mortgage prior to the current term (say 5 years) you may face larger than expected mortgage penalties or be restricted by mortgage limitations. Mortgage restrictions can easily outweigh small (e.g., 0.10% to 0.15 %) differences in interest rates.
Did you know the average five-year borrower changes their mortgage after just three-and-a-half years?
Can you break your mortgage any time you want?
If a mortgage penalty applies, how is it calculated?
Can I port (move) my mortgage to a new property to avoid penalties?
Provided by Allan Bowerman, Mortgage Associate-Managing Partner-CERC Relocation Specialist, Ultimate Mortgage Partners Ltd.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
New Warranty Legislation coming into effect. Are you buying new construction?
Beginning Feb 1, 2014, new legislation will determine minimum warranty requirements for new constrution in Alberta. The changes apply to new homes constructed under a building permit applied for after Feb 1 2014.
"All new homes (detached homes and condominiums) would at minimum, include a warranty for:
What does the change mean for homeowners?
There are currently various warranty programs available to builders and consumers that offer various levels of protection and some warranty packages provide much less coverage than homeowners may expect. This is true for single family homes and condominiums (townhouses and apartments). The New Home Buyer Protection Act is the provincial effort to manage this issue.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Time to Winterize your Home - 5 Essential Steps
Waking up to the thick layer of frost outside this morning, it is the sign it's time to winterize for the winter.
1. Get your furnace serviced if you haven't had an annual maintenance check recently. If you've done major renovations this year or added a basement development you might want to have the ducts cleaned too. If you have a gas fireplace, add that to the service list if you haven't had it checked in a couple of years.
2. Clean and inspect any wood burning fireplaces.
3. Test your smoke detectors and change the batteries. If your smoke detector is more than 8-10 years old, it needs replacement. The test may beep but it may no longer be as effective at detecting smoke and fire so check your model and replace if needed.
4. Check your windows and doors and repair any seals needed.
5. Blowout and winterize sprinkler systems and shut off water to outside taps.
As you take a walk around your property secure anything that might be blown away or damaged during a winter storm and put up the fall decorations.
Oh, and pull out the sleds, skates, skiis and other winter gear. There is an upside to coming snow.
Friday, October 4, 2013
The question is: What does it look like to work with a Realtor?
Every once in a while I have a chat with folks looking for help with real estate that don't really understand what it looks like to work with a Realtor. They don't know what to expect. Good question. So before I answer, I have to say this article is about me. Other Realtors work differently so I can't speak for them.
In terms of selling a property this is rarely misunderstood. Realtors work with homeowners to present, market, list and sell their homes to qualified buyers that can complete on their purchase. There's lots that goes on in the middle, but it is my role to get all the middle taken care of so you can focus on moving and packing or finding your new home.
In terms of purchasing a home, there is more ambiguity. Some folks go out on their own and find their own home and work with the listing agent to purchase. This works well for some, but not a method I feel is in the buyer's best interest.
So when I work with folks wishing to buy a new property a large part of my role is education. In looking at potential options, I listen to your needs and questions and put information in your hands. I work with you to ensure you see the properties on market that would be potential options. We talk about the things that matter to you such as proximity to infrastructure, zoning, transportation, being close (but maybe not too close) to family, schools, work. We talk about timing, whether your dining room set will fit, the cost of new flooring and all of the other things you need. We are working together to find your home. You share your personal information with me and that becomes nobody else's business. My role is supporting you in figuring out what you need and wish to afford and then finding that home, being successful in securing a purchase and completing on Possession Day. As in selling, a lot happens in between, and my role is to ensure the pieces come together.
I also assist with the uniqueness of each purchase. Educating you about how condos work; what an RPR is; managing inspection issues, foreclosures or issues on title; estate sales and many other challenges that come up during a purchase.
I bought and sold numerous properties before becoming a Realtor. I had great experiences and poor ones in various cities and I do try very hard to emulate one Realtor in particular that had worked with my family for many years in BC. Her name is Teri Steele. She is truthful, educated and we always felt she cared about our family. She helped us fight through multiple offers on one purchase, work through inspection issues on another, knew when to be tough and when to be gentle. She knew what she knew, told you when she didn't know something and then found answers for us. She answered her phone, was there when we needed her and made our plans come together.
If I could be that support for you, then that's what this is all about.
P.S. To those great folks that have allowed me to assist them, Thank you! And thank you for passing my name on to others. That makes my day.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Real Estate Market Update - Oct 3 2013
The Calgary Real estate market is quite the mixture of micromarkets currently. Generally speaking the numbers are in territory to the benefit of the seller, but at the same time I've been seeing some very great properties sit on market and selling for less than expected. Are folks listing too high thinking too far ahead? Is this price specific? Area specific? It takes details to review.
On the big picture, the current inventory is low and some buyers are finding little choice.
From Oct 1-2 (the last two days), 168 properties sold in the city of Calgary. 33 of those sold at or above list price.
That's hard news for folks shopping for a great deal as you just can't expect to pay 95% of list price for a home in this market especially at lower price points if it has been on market for 6 days. Setting the right expectations and looking at the right properties is part of the puzzle right now.
Of homes sold since Sept 15 the average days on market was 35 days. The median was only 22. When you consider that sale date is after conditions are removed, those are short windows.
Ok, at the end what do you get? Well, it was fun to play with numbers, but if you are in the market and you don't know some of this you may not be successful in being the winning offer on your ideal property. Selling is about more than running some numbers on a computer and picking a price.
It's time to get into details to ensure your plan is successful.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Calgary is Growing
As per the Calgary Herald, Alberta is now 4 Million strong. The province is on a growth path that is breaking records.
In the last 3 months alone, we have grown by 42,834 residents, or a 1.08 growth rate.
An Alberta Municipal Affairs publication shows the population in 2009 at 3,520,268.
For Calgary a census in April 2013 stated our population was at 1,149,552 and growing.
In June from the Calgary Herald: Calgary’s rental apartment vacancy rate is the lowest in the country with average monthly rents increasing the highest, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. In its spring Rental Market Survey released Thursday, the agency said Calgary and Edmonton had the lowest vacancy rates in Canada in April at 1.2 per cent followed by St. John’s (1.5 per cent).
The consequence for real estate is obvious.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Sept 7 2013
The statistics package for the city was released a couple of days ago with more strong growth across sales numbers, pricing increases and average/benchmark number increases.
Inventory remains low, the rental market remains tight, folks impacted by flooding have begun to make choices and purchased new homes in some cases. The condo market has seen an increase in sales as well as new listings. Also, the luxury market continues to set records.
I have been working with a few families looking to purchase a property only due to inability to find rental property for aging parents, children in school or temporary relocation. The rental market is having an important impact, I believe, on our resale market. As well, I haven't yet heard if any projects under construction have adjusted timelines for completion so that may also have a future effect on expectations and property availability.
So million dollar homes aside, what does this all mean for a more typical family home? I'm finding it is just harder to find the 'right' property due to lack of inventory especially at more reasonable home prices. Being realistic and being prepared are key. With mortgage rates seeing adjustments, a pre-approval or pre-qualification that is more than a month old is out of date and does require an update.
I find it interesting that a larger than average number of investors have been calling recently to sell previously rented property. I get the sense that some were waiting until the market improved to the point that they wished to sell. The same has been for home owners looking for a property move up. It is a seller's market so that only makes sense.
Notable numbers from the CREB press release:
Monday, August 12, 2013
Curious about Marda Loop and surrounding communities?
Just south of the Calgary city core is an area with many names. At the centre is what many call Marda Loop, a vibrant and developing area of local amenities, eateries and shops on 33rd and 24th avenue SW on the east side of Crowchild. Marda Loop 100+ businesses. Many that live in the area attribute the popularity to the ability to walk to shops, great restaurants and coffee shops and the all around vibe of the area. A mix of old and new, of grid streets and older bungalows to the unique development of Garrison Woods and the development of new properties and infills. Brownstone townhomes, condos, older homes on large lots, infills, new development, renovated character. You'll find it here.
More information on Marda Loop and Surrounding Communities. - Garrison Woods, Altadore, South Calgary, Richmond, Currie Barracks, Lincoln Park and Garrison Green.
Monday, August 12, 2013
2013 - 2014 School Calendars are Posted
2013 - 2014 - School calendars are posted on the school websites for your planning and logistics.
Details for Tuscany:
Just going through this makes me realize how many children Tuscany has and how many designated schools we visit due to our sheer numbers and grade adjustments between schools. Nutty.
Tuscany School - http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b393/pdfs/Calendar_2013_2014.pdf
Some serious logistics organization.
Friday, August 2, 2013
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Aug 2 2013
The headlines are out with some big numbers. The numbers are strong, but they aren't a reflection of the actual day to the day of the market right now in any specific area. Some communities, especially those hardest hit by the floods, have posted very little data in the last few weeks. There are transactions still pending for homes that were affected and many folks are rushing to buy property before values increase or because they needed a new home due to damage. Others are concerned about risk and pursuing their choices carefully. It is recognized that until things stabilize and some important questions are answered such as resolution to provincial plans, insurance claims, flood maps and mitigation strategies, that some homes will see a reduced value just due to uncertainty even if there was no specific damage. The urgency or concern really depends on location. The numbers do show, however, a marked increase in sales and pricing and a consistent move to a seller's market in a general sense.
Some recent events to consider:
July and August are traditionally slower months for real estate transaction in Calgary. With the Stampede, sun and mountains providing great distractions, many put their plans on hold to take advantage of the summer sunshine. This year, we have seen more rain than usual so we'll see if that translates into less camping and more house shopping.
The one item to note for all homeowners is that insurance coverage and refinancing are changing. You need to expect to answer more questions to gain insurance coverage on some properties and conditions on sale may be required for some addresses.
If you are looking to buy and sell your home, I would be happy to meet with you in person to discuss your needs. Call it an interview or a conversation, but this is the time to have a qualified Realtor at your side.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Resources to Explore Calgary
Are you new to Calgary or maybe getting ready to explore an area of the City of Calgary you haven't visited before?
Plan a trip via bike, transit, LRT, your car or your feet to get you started on your adventure. As well, there are many resources to help you explore your city online before you venture out. Have you ever checked out Walkscore in planning your next move or checked out a property Birds Eye View to see things from another angle?
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Save on your Mortgage. Topping up your payment.
Every once in a while I reply on my friends in the mortgage industry to help my clients save some money on their mortgage. Toping up your mortgage payments by $50 or $100 can make a big difference. At the bottom of the article are links to previous posts with some other great options.
Using this method you make an extra payment towards your principle every regular payment. Depending on whether you choose to make your payments monthly, bi-weekly or weekly you can choose to pay a little bit extra on your principle with every payment.
Many people use this method when on a restricted budget. It is easier to save $50 to $100 each month than one lump sum. How much money and time can we save using this method?
What You will Save by Adding $50 per month:
This method makes it easier for many people to budget and save. Another idea to consider is to round up your payments. Sometimes for a budget it is easier to remember that your monthly mortgage payment is $900 than $835.81. If you can afford to pay the $900 then talk to your financial institution about rounding up your payments.
Courtesy of Daryl Marsden, Maximum Mortgages
In House Royal LePage Foothills trusted brokers
Previous Posts to save on your mortgage:
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Are you buying or selling a home with only your name on title?
With so many folks moving to Calgary or purchasing investment property in our great City, it may come as a surprise to some that we have a somewhat unique law that provides for spousal rights in the sale of property even when that spouse is not on title.
If you are buying or selling a property with only your name on title and you are legally married then Dower Rights may apply meaning you will require the consent of your spouse to sell the property.
This is especially tricky when one person wishes to sell property but they have no contact or not so great relationship with a separated spouse. The challenge is that when buying property you may so do without realizing the issues you will face on selling. There are, however, options to structure the sale to avoid the issue.
If you are in these circumstances please seek legal advice before signing a listing or purchase document.
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Just Listed - 1001 3500 Varsity Drive NW Calgary
Looking for a great end unit townhouse within walking distance to the LRT and the University of Calgary?
Check out 1001 - 3500 Varsity Drive NW just listed.
End Unit. Sparkling clean and renovated 2 bedroom townhouse in McLaurin Village close to the Brentwood LRT, the University of Calgary and a short distance to Market Mall, Foothills and Children's Hospital. This central location is hard to find. Recent updates include new paint throughout, renovated kitchen including new appliances just over 2 years ago, updated bath, new furnace, new hot water tank and many small touches. The main level is open between a large living area and dining area with warm wood burning fireplace. The dining room is then open to the new kitchen and large pantry and laundry room beyond. Upstairs you will find a master bedroom which opens to a private balcony, a second bedroom and a well appointed full bath. You will appreciate the central air conditioning during our hot summer days. Book your private showing today.