November 22, 2017
New Home Warranty - Top 5 Things to Consider
When purchasing a newly constructed home in Alberta, many buyers are comforted to know that as of Feb 2014, it is required that home buyers are provided a new home warranty for their home. While some base requirements between the programs are the same, there are differences in the various programs and some details that all buyers should ask when reviewing the warranty.
1. Which warranty program does the builder offer? There are numerous options to a builder with a difference in coverage to the buyer based on the warranty provider. Each property can be looked up in the registry to determine the builder and warranty provider. Not all programs/providers offer the same coverage or guarantees.
2. What is the commencement date of coverage? This can be earlier than your move in date if occupancy was granted prior. This information is available from the warranty provider. Should you be purchasing a constructed home or spec home the warranty period may have started significantly earlier than your possession date.
3. What is covered and what is not covered? Review the policy details to ensure you understand what is covered by the program and for the duration of time. General guidelines include:
1 year - This takes care of finishes throughout the home, including any defects in flooring, paint or trim.
2 year - This primarily covers defects in labour and materials related to heating, plumbing and electrical systems
5 year - Building envelope means the exterior shell of the home, including the roof and walls. Two additional years of coverage are available.
10 year - This covers the key structural components of your home, including its frame and foundation.
It is highly recommended that homeowners have their homes inspected by an independent inspector at possession and before some of these critical dates to ensure they don't miss deadlines for submitting claims.
4. Are there any financial limitations on coverage and what is the claims process?
In a single-family home, townhome, row home or duplex unit, the warranty will cover the purchase price of the home to a maximum of $265,000. Any repair costs in excess of $265,000 will not be covered.
For a multi-family residential unit under a condominium plan, the warranty will cover the purchase price of the home up to $130,000, and anything beyond will not be covered.
For an overview of the warranty program: http://www.homewarranty.alberta.ca/
Each warranty provider has their own process for handling claims. Review the home buyer information for details
5. Does the warranty provide deposit protection for buyers?
Not all builders provide this protection. Ask your builder about the details of the coverage offered.
As always, please contact me direct should you have any questions and we can get the right resources to you.
October 27, 2017
New Mortgage Rules That WILL Impact You. Changes effective Jan 1, 2018.
New mortgage rule changes coming into effect. This is a new one effective Jan 1, 2018.
The official info - Official release from Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) - Government of Canada
I tried reading the detailed guideline but went cross-eyed on the fine print so I thought you might feel the same and want some cole's notes. As I'm not a mortgage broker nor do I pretend to crunch numbers like one, I asked my trusted mortgage broker, Jason Dodd from First Foundation to give me a hand.
1.) What this means across the board is that your purchasing power is decreasing by about 20%. ( Previously this only applied to insured mortgages. Now it applies to everyone as of Jan 1, 2018.)
Your qualification is no longer based on the lending rate provided to you. It is now based on a government prescribed rate. If you want a 3% mortgage, for example, you'll need to qualify at the Bank of Canada benchmark rate, currently 4.89%, or contract rate + 2%, whichever is HIGHER. Right now some of those 2% rates on 5 year are higher than the National Qualifying Rate.
2) Your qualifications may fluctuate across areas of the country and be adjusted in 'soft or softening markets.
OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions - Government of Canada) is going to "require" lenders to have more "dynamic" Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratios. Presumably this means that lenders will have to require more money down from buyers in markets that are soft or softening. This could dramatically impact first time buyers who usually can qualify with 5% down. Now the government may determine what's "reasonable" for any given market. In the past lenders were able to make these decisions for themselves.
3) Having multiple mortgages will be calculated differently. This will impact those purchasing a home or refinancing a home with more than one mortgage.
OSFI will ban the practice of combining a first mortgage and second mortgage to a LTV above 80% and marketing the effective blended rate (which is true and accurate as a weighted average, BTW) because they feel that it circumvents the 80% LTV limit. What OSFI doesn't explain here is that nothing will change except the consumer will be more confused than ever. Instead of presenting one rate, the lender(s) will have to present two rates, two payments, and two loan-to-values. This increases complexity and confusion.
These changes are important to both buyers and sellers.
For buyers, these changes will significantly impact your purchasing power as of Jan 1, 2018. I have heard that any purchase contracts FIRM prior to this date will follow current rules, but that isn't in stone and can change. You are best to double check with your mortgage broker. Anything after this date is bound by the new rules. If you are purchasing pre-construction check with your lender.
For sellers, the pool of buyers for your home will be changing and it is important to review the details as you plan your sale.
As always, if you have questions regarding your purchase or sale, give me a call anytime directly at 403 850 2446 to arrange a confidential buyer or seller consultation.
April 26, 2017
New Development in Arbour Lake - NW Calgary
For many years an acerage in Arbour Lake, NW Calgary, remained as a large private parcel of land with a private residence on scenic property. The land is now sold to Hopewell and a new development is in the works in the very popular community of Arbour Lake. Walking distance to Crowfoot shopping and the LRT, this development is one to watch.
Hopewell's Arbour Lake
The 43 Acres of land is expected to house approximately 2200 new residents in approximately 890 homes and condo units. Construction is expected to start September 2018.
April 5, 2017
Development around Canada Olympic Park and the west side of the TransCanada Corridor
As we approach the construction season of 2017, it seemed a good time to get caught up on some of the major development and transportation projects in NW / West Calgary especially so much happening around Canada Olympic Park (COP) and the Trans Canada Corridor. This is a longer post than intended but I have so much to share with you!
You may have also noticed signage regarding some of the new communities soon to be starting construction in the area. The stages of development and detailed information vary for each site. As well, the names for some areas on the City of Calgary website differ from the advertised community or project names.
New Development Projects/Communities:
Trinity Hills / Medicine Hill / Paskapoo Slopes:
The first zone is the area in the SW corner of the Trans Canada and Sarcee Trail interchange between the interchange and COP. This area is called Medicine Hill/East Paskapoo Slopes on the City of Calgary site. The main name from a community perspective seems to be Trinity Hills. This area is currently proposed to include a supermarket, retail and residential properties.
City of Calgary: City Information for East Paskapoo
Developer Information: Trinity Hills
Developement of the area right beside Canada Olympic Park to the east. The application is by Winsport which runs Canada Olympic Park.
City of Calgary: City information for the Ripley Site
Parkside / Greenbriar / Greenwich:
The second zone is the area on the NW corner of the Stoney Trail and Trans Canada interchange between the interchange and Bowfort Road. This area is currently cleared on the west section and looks to be close to start of development. This area is expected to include retail, office and residential properties.
City of Calgary: City Information for Parkside (west section)
Developer information: Melcor's Greenwich Calgary
Shape / Calgary West:
This area is located just south of the Trans Canada on the east side of the community of Crestmont. The developer site notes: "This mixed-use open air regional shopping centre calls for 650,000 square feet of retail, and some 800-1,000 on-site residences."
Ciyt of Calgary: City Information for Shape
Developer information: Shape Properties's Calgary West
Loblaws / BVX Corp:
This area is located immediately southwest of the Trans Canada Stoney Trail interchange. Proposed use is 1325 residentail units, grocery store and supporting commerical, retail and office space. To be developed by Loblaw Properties West and BVX Corporation.
City of Calgary Information: Proposal Summary Only
Crestmont Phase 4:
To be developed by Qualico Communities. Within this space, there will be approximately 516 dwellings ranging from single-detached, semi-detached and townhouses.
City of Calgary: City Information for Crestmont Phase 4
Bearspaw in Haskayne:
The Haskayne Area Structure Plan was approved in 2015. This covers the area south of Tuscany, north of the reservoir and west to Rocky View County.
City of Cagary: City Information or Haskayne
Developer information: Brookfield's Bearspaw
A unique development located surrounding the Alberta Children's Hospital and west of the University of Calgary. Numerous residential projects will be developed in this large project. A unique difference in our market is that University District will offer leases on parcels for a 99-year term. The conclusion of this term will either see an extension of the lease or a purchase back at fair market value.
West Campus Development Trust
Developer Information - University District Discovery Centre
Stadium Shopping Centre:
This area will be redeveloped by the property owners, Western Securities. Redevelopment Plan
Calgary is building. Where are you going to call home? Contact Monika at 403 850 2446 to help you make your best move.
April 3, 2017
What is a mortgage pre-approval? Why do you need a mortgage preapproval?
Guest post by Tammie Redelback, Mortgage Advisor, MortgageLine Powered by Dominion Lending Centres
Thinking of buying a property, but don’t know where to start? One of the inital steps is to speak to your lender about your mortgage pre-approval.
1. Get your pre-approval in place.
2. Look at property in your price point.
3. Sign an offer to purchase with a financing condition.
4. Complete your financing for a formal approval. (Usually within a few days.)
5. Complete your purchase.
A pre-approval is the best way to get started, but you should understand what a pre-approval is and what it isn’t.
What is a pre-approval?
- a formalized review of your financial status to give you information regarding mortgage options, mortgage rates offered to you and your mortgage maximums.
- allow you to understand all the documents you have to gather to formalize your mortgage approval. If you are self employed, new to Canada or requesting maximum amounts this paperwork can take some time.
- provide an understanding of your monthly costs so you can budget accordingly
- prove you peace of mind that you are searching for homes in the correct price bracket
- allows you to manage any issues before your dream home is on the line.
What is a pre-approval not?
-A pre-approval is not binding to you. A pre-approval is not the same as a final approval to purchase a specific property. It is not a guarantee of financing. There are a number of factors that come into play after the pre-approval is in place that can send your dreams of homeownership sideways. A couple of examples are:
• An approval requires a property to be scrutinized. Since a pre-approval cannot review the property (as you haven’t found it yet), it can’t be guaranteed the lender or insurer will approve the property.
• A secondary credit report can be pulled by the lender or insurer after the pre-approval is in place, if there are discrepancies, or your credit history changes they could decide not to proceed with financing.
• Mortgage rules can change and sometimes come into effect with no grandfathering.
If you make a large puchase, finance a car, change jobs, add significant funds to your credit card or fail to make regular payments on your accounts between pre-approval and purchase, you may be jeopardizing your formal approval for your home purchase.
So if things change why get a pre-approval?
A pre-approval is simply a formalized gathering of your information, and reviewing it. It won’t guarantee you will get the mortgage, but it will certainly uncover any major obstacles that might be in your way. Consider a pre-approval a pre-screening, where we take a look at your employment, credit history, your down payment, and figure out the maximum mortgage amount you can qualify for. Mortgage professionals that do a more thorough pre-approval verification are able to determine where you might get flagged by lenders and how and what to submit in order to satisfy lender mortgage requirements.
A pre-approval usually comes with a rate-hold, which is a good thing. Rates fluctuate and go up and down from time to time. Lenders will typically offer a rate hold for 90 days on a specific mortgage term. This means that if you find a property to buy in the allotted time, even if rates have gone up, you will get the rate that was guaranteed. If rates go down, you get the lower rate. It’s a win win.
Buying a home is a process, a process that has a lot of steps that come into play. A pre-approval is one of the first steps you take. A pre-approval allows you to collect all your documentation ahead of time, handle any obstacles that may come up, have a look at your mortgage options, secure a rate hold, and will give you peace of mind as to the next steps in the process. Regardless if this is your first time buying a place or your tenth, a pre-approval is the best place to start.
For more information regarding your next preapproval contact:
Tammie Redelback, Mortgage Advisor, MortgageLine Powered by Dominion Lending Centres
Web: tammieredelback.ca; mymortgageline.ca
March 14, 2017
Saving Money on Your Mortgage
Guest Post by Jason Dodd, Vice President, Verico Maximum Mortgages Inc.
Doing your research and talking to the right people can help you save thousands of dollars on your largest debt obligation, your mortgage. Surprisingly many clients are unaware of options, terms, rates and conditions that are attached to their mortgage financing. This summary will help with ideas on how to go about getting a mortgage and show you how to save money on your mortgage.
1) Consult multiple people/sources before deciding -
Many times it starts with your realtor making a recommendation for a broker or banker. The important part is to at least contact a couple people who deal in mortgage financing. Many people ask me why I would suggest this when I am trying to earn their business? Well I feel it is important for clients to experience the advice and expertise of more than one person before jumping into a large debt obligation. Mortgages are more than just rate, you need to understand the options, terms, rates and conditions which cumulate to give you a full mortgage package. Many clients are surprised at restrictions or high penalties that were not explained initially, that come back to cause high cost and aggravation in the back half of their mortgage term. Initially you should talk to and work with someone who can fully explain the process and the mortgage and is able to provide you with multiple options.
Knowledge is power and peace of mind when getting into a mortgage and home ownership. Many clients who are just comfortable with their bank are surprised to find out the large amount of good offerings that are available elsewhere in the market.
2) Utilize pre-payment options -
There is more to this than most people even consider and each client is very different. Many lenders offer varying degrees of pre-payment options and some are better suited to specific borrowers. This is a great discussion piece and you can literally save a lot of money by having the correct pre-payment options that align with your borrowing and home goals. This is why selection becomes important when deciding on a lender, if you just look at one option how will you know what is out there? By making small adjustments to monthly payments and choosing accelerated biweekly/weekly options you can dramatically reduce interest over the life of your loan. I find April is a great time to decide if you would like to make lump sum payments as spring is coming(home repairs) and also the tax man will either give or take away some money at that time. This might determine how much or little you can put towards your home.
Consider a mortgage of $400,000. 5 year fixed rate of 2.59% and monthly payments.
Your Monthly payment would be $1809.84 and you would pay $47753.89 in interest over the term and $60836.51 principal pay down.
Utilizing some pre payment options that are manageable can make a significant difference under the same scenario.
Changing payments to Bi Weekly accelerated $904.92. Applying a lump sum payment annually of $1200 (or increase payments $100 each month).
Interest is reduced to $46467.79 but you increase your principal pay down up to $77,171.82. A significant difference with making minor changes to your overall monthly budget.
3) Choose the correct term-
I have lost count over my 14 years in the industry of times I have seen clients aligned with incorrect terms. Discussing life changes, job movement, home ownership goals starts to uncover the best options for financing. 5 year fixed terms are popular because of stability and security (good points) but some clients are saddled with large penalties if they have to break early due to life changes or circumstance. Often this can be prevented by picking a shorter term or variable (closed or fixed) or open term that can accommodate more readily some uncertainty for future plans. This alone could save you thousands of dollars down the road if you anticipate some uncertainty of plans in the future. Good brokers will give you options on shorter terms as well as an option so you can consider them as well, certainly a worthy discussion.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions on various lenders and options and rates.
Happy to talk about this important subject
Regards, Jason Dodd, Vice President-Associate, Verico Maximum Mortgages Inc.
F: 403-451-1660, C: 403-815-0565, Jason@maxmort.ca, www.jasondodd.ca
March 14, 2017
Multiple Offers: They are Back. How to Win.
As we enter the spring market on the start of what seems to be a strong upswing in our market, we are once again seeing more multiple offers on property. Surprised aren't you?
It is about inventory, numbers and affordability.
Considering the mortgage rule changes that came into effect in the fall of 2016 and the pricing in our market, it isn't surprising in the starter and mid size home detached home segment especially.
The mortgage rule changes reduced the buying power of anyone utilizing a mortgage with less than 20% of purchase price for a downpayment. Where previously folks utilized the bank rate for their mortgage for qualifying (example 2.79%), they now must qualify using a benchmark rate (4.64%) set by the Bank of Canada. This can reduce buying power up to 20% for some folks.
With most detached homes in our market starting in the $400,000s and quickly moving up from there, there is a large segment of folks looking in the pricing zone. When you line up typical incomes, mortgage approval ratings based on those incomes and the price of typical detached homes in our city, it is no small surprise that more folks are being squished into a smaller pricing zone than previously.
More buyers + less inventory = Multiple Offers
How do you stand out when putting forth an offer in competition?
As a seller you are looking for security of the transaction. Let us say Mr and Mrs Seller have a home for sale in NW Calgary for $450,000. It is in great shape, in a great community and presents well. After going on market they receive 4 offers. They are all somewhat similar. How do Mr and Mrs Seller choose? Their home is going to be conditionally sold for over a week waiting out someone completing their financing and completing a home inspection. Is it a strong offer from a prepared buyer or a buyer on a whim that hasn't done their due diligence?
The first place to review is financing. What is the amount each potential buyer is borrowing? It would seem someone with 5% downpayment is in a stronger financial position than someone with a 20% downpayment and more likely to complete their qualifications but is that true? What if they ar all purchasing with a 5-10% downpayment? As a seller's realtor, my first question to each buyer's realtor is if the buyers are pre-qualified to purchase. As a buyer it is your choice what you disclose. Do you think having a prepared letter confirming your preapproval from your lender could help you? I'd recommend having that in your back pocket. It might just be what wins the purchase when sellers are looking at 4 similar offers. Peace of mind can be worth a lot.
You may be tempted to simply exclude some conditions from your offer to win. I would highly discourage you from doing that. You never know what a home inspection could uncover on that 'great deal' or if your bank would withdraw a mortgage approval due to a unique history on a property. Win smart and be prepared instead. Having a great Realtor that knows how to negotiate a win helps too. Give me a call anytime. I am happy to answer your questions.
March 3, 2017
Did You Know that any kind of property can be a condominium?
For many people the word 'condo' means an apartment. But as development styles have evolved, the term condo or condominium can refer to any kind of property including detached homes, attached homes such as duplexes and townhomes and the typical apartment in Calgary. A condominium is a term that refers to legal ownership, not property style. Condominium ownership combines individual ownership of a living unit with shared ownership of the common property and shared participation in the condominium corporation.
Over the years some common condo examples include a complex of semi-detached duplexes such as villas or townhomes. Each owner owns their unit but shares common property such as the back greenspace, clubhouse, street, snow and lawn maintenance and other services. Often exterior maintenance is also part of the responsibility of the condo corporation. This concept appeals to those that enjoy owning their own home with the benefits of a lock and leave lifestyle without worrying who will cut the grass.
Another example is a street or community development where a number of detached homes are developed under a bareland condo structure. Each owner owns their home (their unit) and land, but share common property such as the road, snow maintenance, amenities, security, etc. All of the units (detached homes) form a condo corporation with set rules, responsibilities and condo fees.
A condominium structure, whether apartment, townhouse, duplex or detached dwelling, appeals to many. It is important to understand that when you purchase a condo that you purchase a unit and also a portion of the responsibility of the condo corporation. The value of similar units between different condo corporations can differ substantially even if the units seem similar due to the management and financial stability of the condo corporation.
As part of purchasing a condo, there are additional due diligence steps a buyer should take including a review of the condo documents.
Buying and Owning a Condo - Service Alberta
Condominium Buyers Guide - CMHC
February 16, 2017
Calgary Property Types and Building Types - Your Options
There are a number different property types and building types available for sale in Calgary and sometimes it gets confusing because names and terms changes over the years and they are also different area to area.
Below is a breakdown of the various options here in Calgary and the local terms used. There are others too but this captures the main ones. I hope it helps you narrow down your preferences and understand your options in the local real estate market. Any questions at all just contact me anytime.
Detached: This type of home is a free standing residential building where the exterior walls do not touch the adjoining property.
Attached: A home shares at least one common wall with another unit.
Semi-detached: A single dwelling built as one of a pair that share one common wall. These are sometimes called duplexes. These may be villa properties such as in a condo complex of 30-40 units where each is structured as a semi-detached villa.
Row: A single dwelling attached to each other by a common wall with more than two properties in the complex. These are what most folks consider as typical townhouse properties where most of the units share common walls The end units only share one wall but they form part of the larger building so all of these units are considered as Row.
Apartment: Whether high rise or low rise, apartments are typical buildings with common access and hallways.
So now you have decided which of the above may work for you.
Apartments are rather easy. They are either single level units or multi level units.
For attached and detached properties, the options are quite varied. Below is a visual from the RECA (Real Estate Council of Alberta) Measurement guidelines. A visual is the best way to understand some of the options especially various split level designs. The front door is on the left of these examples.
The one most often singled out is the Bungalow in terms of property searches is a Bungalow which is the local name for a single level property.
Please note that different property types are measured differently so please refer to the RMS Measurement Guidelines
for more information if you want to get into the details.
Did you know that any property type can be a condo? More on that next time.
February 15, 2017
Building Feature - Renaissance Towers
The Renaissance Towers in Briar Hill are a unique and sought after address. Located at 1718 and 1726 14 Avenue NW, the two towers provide amenities, location and views like no other.
The adult only building is connected to the shopping centre below allowing residents to access groceries (Safeway) and many shops and amenities without ever stepping outdoors in the winter time. The towers are also located across the street from the Lions Park LRT station and easy access to city amenities.
Building amenities include on 24 hour on-site concierge and security which assist many residents with their building needs, parcel delivery, receiving guests and maintaining the security of the building. Underground titled parking as well as underground visitor parking are accessed off the beautiful entry. An onsite library, fitness room, games room, theater, guest suites, carwash and private roof top park are unique features as is the building and unit central air conditioning system.
Should you be wishing to sell your unit or wish to be notified of properties as soon as they are available just contact me at 403 850 2446.
Details, photos, location and available listings for the Renaissance Towers.
December 6, 2016
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Dec 6 2016
The official numbers are out for November. I've been mulling them over before I sent out my update because things feel different than the numbers suggest.
November sales and pricing numbers were down. November was the first full month following implementation of the new lending rules and many people have been pondering the consequence of that change. The rules change has definitely slowed down the market.
While the effect of the new lending rules is supported by the data that does not tell the whole story. At the same time I am having a hard time finding good new detached home options for some clients. They could be hoping for lower prices still or maybe many sellers are just choosing not to list their homes resulting in lower inventories. There were 2680 detached homes on market November 2015, but only 2322 on the market November this year. As the holidays approach we expect the number of listings to continue to constrict until after the new year.
The trend is quite different for apartments where inventories remain higher on the resale market. Townhomes and semi-detached properties fluctuate in terms of supply / demand differences this year compared to last depending on the area of the city.
There have been more sales in the upper price and luxury price points this year than last. Perhaps some folks are recognizing the savings opportunity here. A 5% reduction on a $1,000,000 home is quite the savings if someone is moving from a $500,000 home. They would have sold their previous home for a bit less but overall enjoyed relative savings on the new purchase in this market.
Now, what's next is what is on the horizon? The approval of two major pipeline projects, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge's Line 3 replacement, has many ears perking up. Energy East is yet to be determined as is Keystone XL.
So time to look ahead with open eyes and prepare for 2017. It will take a bit of time for new projects to translate into jobs, but it is great to see positive news in our forecasts.
With that I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all, my amazing clients, for your continued support. Be it calls for information, a move, a referral or just to say hello, I feel touched that you turn to me with your real estate questions. I am always happy to help and happy to say hello. I''m always curious about your move, if you like your community, and how the family is doing.
I wish you all the very best in 2017. Keep in touch and feel free to contact me anytime.
December 2, 2016
How are property measurements calculated in Calgary?
When looking for a new home, an initial item many folks consider is the home size. On reviewing properties you will see the property measurement in sq ft or sq m, but you may not know what that number actually measures.
All properties measured for sale in Alberta must follow RMS (Residential Measurements Standard) as outlined by RECA (Real Estate Council Alberta). The current rules of the RMS came into effect in 2016.
The details of the measurement guidelines
provided by RECA are very specific so please direct any specific questions to your Realtor or RECA directly.
In a general sense there are some fundamental items to consider.
1. Below grade measurements are not included in the RMS. The 'floor space' measurements for a listing on realtor.ca
or other websites are above grade only even if it is a developed walkout or a split level below grade. The basement or below grade measurement is a separate figure.
2. Vaulted areas with no floor such as two storey open to below are excluded from measurements. Minimum ceiling heights are required in areas of sloped roofs and details surround the inclusion/exclusion of bay windows and other cantilevers.
3. Detached homes are measured using the exterior wall at the foundation.
4. Attached properties with a common wall such as half duplexes, villas, townhouses and apartments are measured based on interior walls (paint to paint) at floor level. (This means these properties show smaller than if the same property was detached.)
The most important item to consider is that RMS treats all property of the same type the same. If a property is not measured according to the RMS standard it makes it difficult to compare to other properties.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or for more information regarding the purchase or sale of your home.
November 10, 2016
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Nov 10, 2016
Last month I posted my update and the next day the new mortgage rules were announced, so I waited this month and today is a day after the USA election results.
While folks are in various states of happiness or concern regarding the results, the one positive takeaway is to note that Keystone may be back on the table and that is a great possibility for Alberta. Enough about that.
Locally, the October numbers were strong with sales returning to 'normal' levels. City wide sales increased nearly 16% over last year. Detached homes especially are going strong. However, at the same time prices have continued to edge downward. The price variance is highly dependent on price point, property type and location. Strongest sales remained in the lower priced detached markets. Meanwhile, high apartment inventory continues to impact this segment the most.
With some many large scale events on the horizon, I'm not going anywhere near a general prediction for our market. I can, however, give you prudent, detailed and realistic independent advice and information to help you guide your next decision. I've provided numerous past and future clients with market information recently and we have been able to plan their next steps to ensure their goals are met.
For those in the market for a new home, please ensure you speak to your lender and have a pre-approval ready to go. More sellers are requesting confirmation of financing as they review offers during this changing financing environment. If you aren't aware of the new rules and have an older approval please give your lender or me a call for more information and an approval update.
May the snow stay away another week!
October 3, 2016
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Oct 3 2016
Timing the market. It's what folks try and do. But you just don't know what's up or down until the curve forms. A curve may currently be forming in the detached sector. Detached homes are those that do not share walls with other properties. Garages can be attached or detached. Inventory numbers are lower than last year at this time and sales are ever so slowly trending up. Average prices and median prices are above this time last year.
From the Calgary Real Estate Board: "The segment of Calgary’s housing market with the greatest influence on the overall market is showing signs of pricing stability. The detached benchmark price totaled $503,400 in September, which is 3.3 per cent below last year, but the second consecutive month at this price level."
Attached properties are a bit mixed. Semi-detached homes (duplexes and those sharing one common wall) are becoming somewhat more stable. Row houses (sharing multiple shared walls such as townhouses) are still seeing some increased inventory numbers.
Apartment numbers are the ones that are seeing the continuing higher inventory numbers with eight months of inventory in the apartment sector.
With a shifting market the opportunities are presenting themselves. Investors ears should be perking up.
Running numbers in different communities yields quite different buyer or seller trends. For condo purchases, whether apartment or townhouse style, folks are looking first to those that have a lower risk of special assessments or condo fee increases. The complexes and residences that are well run, well maintained and of good construction are maintaining stronger prices than those that show risk due to a lack of reserve, unattended maintenance issues or unfunded projects.
There's also a trend I personally watch. It is the luxury sales market. It's kind of a hunch thing. These folks seem to be buying more real estate again.
Sales of detached homes over $1M
Jan 1 - Oct 3 2013 - 504
Jan 1 - Oct 3 2014 - 590
Jan 1 - Oct 3 2015 - 372
Jan 1 - Oct 3 2016 - 426
If you are watching the market to determine the right time to purchase your new home, get out that crystal ball. It may be getting interesting.
View the full CREB Statistics Package
September 30, 2016
5 Reasons to Select Your Buyers' Realtor
As a buyer you have a choice in how you purchase property. You can go on your own from listing agent to listing agent or for sale by owner listing and work it out yourself. Or you can choose one Realtor to represent you and they assist you in reviewing homes, showing homes, negotiations, research and finalizing your sale.
The benefits of working with a Realtor include:
1. It is most often free to the buyer. Sale commissions are paid by the seller with a portion of the commission going to the buyer's agent on sale. Most for sale by owner listings will also pay a buyer commission. In the odd case where they don't then we can negotiate it into the purchase contract or make alternate arrangements.
2. A buyer's agent or Realtor represents you. Your Realtor holds your personal information in confidence and works with you to find the right property. A listing agent's job is to sell a particular home. Your buyer's agent is to make sure you know what you are buying and at what value.
3. A Realtor has the training and experience to review property details and provide you with a comparable market evaluation so you have more knowledge on the value of a property. Your Realtor will also review property title and look out for potential issue such as Dower Rights in Alberta, Real Property Report Issues, title registrations and other details which are costly if discovered too late in the purchase process or which can delay your access to your new home.
4. Buying a home can be an emotional experience. It is also a very large financial investment. Why wouldn't you seek outside help from an experienced Realtor to assist you through the process? Or are you prepared to manage negotiations, contracts and legal details on your own? Negotiations can be tough. An experienced Realtor knows the tactics and antics and how to best manage them to your best advantage.
5. In the case of buying a for sale by owner property there is also the added challenge that some sellers do not know what is required to sell their home. Nor has there been any property verification, measurements verification, title review, property financial review, permit review, identification, or other vetting by a listing agent. I believe it is even more important in such cases to work with qualified professionals such as Realtors and lawyers to ensure your purchase completes smoothly.
I have worked with many buyers and look forwarding to hearing from you as you pursue your next home purchase.
September 1, 2016
Important Real Estate Numbers in the Calgary Real Estate Market - Sept 2, 2016
Should you happen to hear a general real estate market number such as sales or price adjustments in the coming days please ignore it or view it as a very generic indicator. The market is currently segmented enough that an overall number tells us little about the value of individual properties.
Detached homes are in a more balanced environment due to reduced inventory numbers while attached and apartment listings continue to increase the imbalance between supply and demand leading to a strong buyer's market in some areas. Apartments are seeing a stronger impact on pricing and sales than other attached properties.
We live in a large city. At previous times when the market favoured the seller, higher pricing may have moved folks outside of their preferred neighbourhoods. Today, in a more balanced market, a buyer can find what they are looking for in preferred areas, housing types or those properties that have specific details. This is the market where that well kept home with a popular layout on a quiet street with beautiful manicured yard will sell well. However, those in less desirable locations or with less desirable finishes may take more time and see a lower price. As our market shifts any sellers entering the market must be willing to review market shifts regularly. To not adjust and expect results based on a market evaluation completed 2-3 months ago isn't a pathway to a successful sale.
So what does this mean to you?
As a seller, you must be provided with and understand the specific market information that relates to your home. If you are truly wishing to sell and not just test the market, then presentation and pricing are imperative. You must be flexible with showing times and keep your property clean and in good repair. It also takes patience. Average days on market for a sale of a detached home is currently 42 days. For apartments this number is 56 days. If you expect a sale in 10 days at list price then you need to review expectations of pricing to encourage more buyers. The number of folks looking for a new home at any given time remains the same. You can create incentive for more of those folks to look at your home with pricing or you can wait for more buyers to enter the market.
For a buyer, this is actually a good time to buy depending on what you are looking for. With more options you will find the right house that checks all the boxes at a good price. You can make decisions at your pace rather than the immediacy required during a hot sellers market. Where you may have only been able to purchase an apartment or townhouse in the past, a detached home may now be an option.
Calgary's real estate market has been and will continue to be a shifting market. Thousands of homes have sold this year in the city and some folks have done a great job of taking advantage of the opportunities.
For example, there are currently 78 detached homes active on market in NW Calgary under $500,000. 68 of such homes have sold in the last 30 days. That's a great opportunity for a seller to sell their home at expected market prices. Should that same family be in need of a large home in the $600,000-$800,000 zone they have 78 homes to choose from. They are however competing with less buyers as 29 of such homes have sold in the last 30 days.
For year to date numbers of detached homes, average price has actually increased from last year by 1.23%. Benchmark price has decreased by 3.27% and median price has decreased by 3.32%.
As always, contact me anytime for information specific to your needs. I am happy to help.
July 30, 2016
Contribution to MoneySense Magazine - New Homeowner Unsure of "It's Cute" Comment
My most recent contribution to MoneySense Magazine Ask an Expert Series.
This one was sweet. I wish the homeowners all the best in their new home.
MoneySense Magazine - New Homeowner Unsure of "It's Cute" Comment
Thank you again Romana for including me in your series.
June 16, 2016
West Campus in Calgary - Building Partners Announced
The West Campus Trust has been working on the development of 200 acres of undeveloped land around the Alberta Children's Hospital and west of the University of Calgary for some time. It is a project that I've been watching as it has the opportunity to be an exceptional new community in Calgary so close to the University of Calgary, Foothills Hospital and easy access to the city centre or west to the mountains. Perched on the hill the opportunity for amazing views has me rather curious about final alignments.
On June 14th the West Campus Development trust announced the building partners for the first phase. Brookfield Residential will build 131 townhouses on a five-acre section, while Truman Homes will build approximately 150 units of both townhouses and condominium-style apartments.
Over the next 15-20 years the community is expected to be built out with a cross section of property types in the plans and home to approximately 15,000 residents.
Looking at the design plan I'm quite excited to see how the area unfolds. An innovative cross section of higher density design in such a popular location is sure to attract a large number of residents that will enjoy the vibrancy of the community and our city.
For more information:
West Campus Development Trust
City of Calgary Land Use Application for West Campus
June 16, 2016
Buying Your First Home
Over the years I have had the opportunity to assist many first time buyers with the purchase of a new home here in Calgary.
With listing information freely available and so much advice it can be hard to know where to start.
My role is to simply, educate and be your advisor. I will...
- help you understand the purchase process and details regarding condo documents and home inspections
- represent you and your interests throughout the process
- ensure you are aware of all your new home options
- connect you with experts where needed such as inspectors, lawyers, condo document review companies and others
- be at your side to answer any questions from the first meeting to property showings to possession day and beyond
- negotiate on your behalf
- work with you to avoid any challenges along the way and help you find appropriate solutions when they do.
Together we will find your first home, the right home at the right price.
I look forward to hearing from you.
June 14, 2016
New Testimonial - Thank you Carley
I was thrilled when we found the perfect first home for Carley. And I was even more thrilled to see the smile on her face when I was able to finally give her the keys.
A testimonial from Carley is below shared with her permission.
I could not have asked for a better Realtor!! Monika's market knowledge is invaluable and the entire experience was extremely positive. I have already recommended her ot multiple friends and will continue to do so. You're the best Monika!
- Thx, Carley
Thank you Carley and I wish you all the absolute best in your new home!
View previous testimonials.