Archive for April, 2009

Canadian home buyer is Younger

Friday, April 17th, 2009

The percentage of home buyers between the ages of 18 to 34 has more than tripled since the year 2000, according to the results of a CIBC mortgage poll conducted by Decima Research. This age group represented just 10% of homebuyers a decade ago, but the survey says they made up 36% of home buyers in the past four years.

More young people are getting into the housing market because financing is much more affordable, said Paul Mims, Vice President, CIBC Mortgages and Lending. Home ownership has become a reality for many 18 to 34 year olds because their mortgage payment can often be the same amount as their rent.

The average age of a Canadian homeowner has fallen from just over 48 years old in the 1990s to 41 years old since 2000. Regionally, younger buyers have increased the most in Manitoba and Quebec, while the percentage of younger buyers has increased only 2% in Atlantic Canada.

In comparing homeowners who purchased since 2000 with those who bought their home in the previous decade, the average mortgage size has risen 26% to $120,000, from $95,000 in the 1990s, likely reflecting the rise in home prices during that time period. Home buyers in Alberta carry, on average, the largest mortgage at $170,000.

The poll results also show that condominium purchases have nearly doubled since the 1990s, representing 11% of home purchases in the past four years, compared to 6% in the previous decade. Meanwhile, the percentage of single-family detached homes among home purchases fell, accounting for 66% of home purchases since 2000, compared to 74% in the 1990s.

-Article provided by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)


Market shaking off winter blues

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

MLS® sales activity of single family Calgary metro homes was 1,086 in the month of March 2009 showing an increase of 32% from 825 sales in February 2009, according to figures released by the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®).

This was a decrease of 23% from March 2008 when single family home sales were 1,418.

The number of condominium sales for the month of March 2009 was 446, an increase of 30% from the 343 condominium transactions recorded in February 2009 and a decrease of 21% from March 2008 when 565 condominiums changed hands.

“The Calgary market is slowly shaking off its winter blues,” said Calgary Real Estate Board President Bonnie Wegerich.

“Spring has brought a nice uptick in sales this month and the supply of homes has been trending lower. It is also the first time that the year-over-year decline in average price has started to decelerate–a sign that we are moving into a more balanced market.”

The president of the Calgary Real Estate Board said sales typically pick up after January and gradually increase until June and the start of the summer holiday season.

“As we enter the spring market sellers seem to be serious about pricing their homes competitively,” added Wegerich. “Record low mortgage rates and affordable prices also help explain the increase in sales.”

The average price of a single family Calgary metro home in March 2009 was $420,354, showing an increase of just over 1% from February 2009, when the average price was $415,568 and showing a decrease of 11% from March 2008 when the average price was $474,513.

The average price of a Calgary metro condominium was $284,056, showing a 6% increase from February 2009 when the average price was $268,971 and showing a decrease of 9% over last year, when the average price was $312,620.

Average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differentials between geographical areas.

“Buyers will continue to have choice and affordability in this market,” said Wegerich. “Competitive pricing will remain a reality of this market, but I think pricing is now showing some signs of stability,” added Wegerich.

Single family Calgary metro new listings added for the month of March totaled 2,023, down just 2% from the 2,057 new listings added in February 2009 and showing a decrease of 42% from March 2008, when new listings coming to the market were 3,493.

Calgary metro condominium new listings added in March 2009 were 903, up 1% from February 2009 when the MLS® saw 892 condo listings coming to the market. This is a decrease of 42% from March 2008 when condominium listings were 1,561.

“It is very encouraging to see the return of a more balanced market. Our inventory has come down dramatically–more than 20% from the same time last year. If sales continue at current levels we are looking at about a four months supply of single family homes currently on the resale market,” noted Wegerich.

The median price of a single family Calgary metro home in March 2009 was $375,000, showing no change from February 2009, and down 11% from March 2008 when the median price was $420,000.

The median price of a condominium in March 2009 was $260,000 up 4% from February when the median was $249,900 and down 11% from March 2008 when the median price was $293,000.

All Calgary metro MLS® statistics include properties listed and sold only within Calgary’s city limits.

The median price is the price that is midway between the least expensive and most expensive home sold in an area during a given period of time.

During that time, half the buyers bought homes that cost more than the median price and half bought homes for less than the median price.

“Undoubtedly job insecurity might keep some potential homebuyers on the fence. But we should keep in mind that nearly 96% of Calgarians are still working–one of the lowest jobless rates in Canada. Those who are confident in their job security can benefit from great affordability and record low mortgage rates,” said Wegerich.

For More Information please Contact the Home Sweet Home Team,sold-sign

Buyers sold on resale!

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

It’s still cheaper to buy a resale condo than to rent an apartment in Calgary, says a federal agency. The monthly carrying cost on the purchase of a condo through the MLS system–assuming a 10-per-cent down payment and a five-year fixed but discounted mortgage–comes in at between $1,100 and $1,200 per month, says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. While the cost is declining, it still takes about $1,600 per month to rent a two-bedroom apartment.

-By Marty Hope, Calgary Herald

For More information on buying Real Estate please contact the Home Sweet Home Team.condo-dt

Home sales rise as buyers tiptoe back into market!

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Calgary’s housing market picked up in March, with both MLS sales and average house prices for single-family homes and condominiums rising from the previous month’s levels.

With house prices stabilizing in the past few months, low mortgage rates and still a high selection of properties for sale, more homebuyers entered the resale housing market last month compared with the dismal months of February, January and December.

Homebuyers such as Kristen Hulsman and her husband Devon who purchased a two-storey, split level house in Temple during the month. The couple own another town-house in Forest Heights which they are renting out. They have owned the townhouse since 2006.

“We were just kind of baby-sitting the market for a while just because we knew it was a pretty good time to buy. So we were kind of waiting for the deals to come up and this one was probably the best that was out there. It’s a beautiful home, so we’re happy,” said Kristen.

The couple had purchased another property a year ago, renovated it and sold it in December.

“We noticed how hard the market had been hit,” she said.

Over the past three months, they’ve been seriously looking at the local market to see what was available.What they found was plenty of selection and “a lot of deals.”

“There’s a ton of deals out there if you keep on top of it or if you have someone or a real-tor who stays on top of that. There’s just a lot out there,” said Kristen.

“Anybody who is motivated right now has been pricing their homes very well.”

For single-family homes, the average MLS sale price in March was $420,354, up from$415,568 in February but still down from a year ago at $474,513. Sales for the month were 1,086 properties, which was up from 825 in February, but off from the 1,418 sales registered in March 2008.

In the condo market, the average sale price in March was$284,056,up from$268,971 the previous month and down from a year ago at $312,620. Condo sales for the month were 446 properties, which was up from 343 in February, but a decrease from the 565 sales in March 2008.

“The Calgary market is slowly shaking off its winter blues,” said Bonnie Wegerich, president of the Calgary Real Estate Board.

“Spring has brought a nice uptick in sales this month and the supply of homes has been trending lower. It is also the first time that the year-over-year decline in average price has started to decelerate — a sign that we are moving into a more balanced market.”

The March MLS numbers are a hopeful sign, said Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial in Calgary.

“Consumer confidence in Alberta is down, but I think that there is this underlying sort of latent interest in getting into the housing market and people have been waiting to see where prices are going, and over the several months they’ve kind of flattened out,” said Hirsch.

“It’s given people the sense that the market is not going to correct another 20 per cent downward. Maybe the biggest part of the falling prices is over and maybe now is a good time to get back into the market.”

Average sale prices for single-family homes peaked at $505,920 in July 2007 and for condos at $332,237 in May 2007.

Hirsch said it’s a great time to buy a home as it has become a buyer’s market with plenty of selection, prices down and low mortgage rates.

The fact average prices are”firming up” is a good sign of confidence, said Lai Sing Louie, senior market analyst in Calgary with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

“There has been significant improvement in affordability,” said Louie.


Calgary Metro MLS Sales For March

Single Family Homes 2009 2008 Change

Month-end inventory 4369 5957 –26.66%

New listings 2023 3493 –42.08%

Sales 1086 1418 –23.41%

Aver. days on market 48 40 20.0%

Average sale price $420,354 $474,513 –11.41%

Median sale price $375,000 $420,000 –10.71%


2009 2008 Change

Month-end inventory 2052 2781 –26.21%

New listings 903 1561 –42.15%

Sales 446 565 –21.06%

Aver. days on market 56 43 30.23%

Average sale price $284,056 $312,620 –9.14%

Median sale price $260,000 $293,000 –11.26%

Source: Calgary Real Estate Board

Benefits of a Team VS Single Agent

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Benefits of a Team VS Single Agent
– You get the benefits of an entire team vs. a single realtor.
– You can always reach someone when you need them. A team member is always available to assist you.
– Our Team has specialists that work on every aspect of the home buying and selling process from advertising to closing; and even after closing. We do not have to be a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none” as most realtors do. Each team member is master of their specialty.
– At the Home Sweet Home Team, you become a “Client for Life” receiving all of the present and future benefits available.
– The Team is working towards reaching new heights of service, ever bettering itself. A single realtor can only try to not “drop the ball”, or maintain the status quo.


Zap the Energy Sappers

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Is your home full of ” slow leaks” when it comes to energy? In fact electricity could be draining out of your outlets through appliances on standby, slumbering adaptors or any gadget with a clock, timer or remote control.

This is know as “phantom load” and can account for as much as 10% of the energy bill in a typical home.

The good news: zapping these energy sappers is fairly easy.

– PULL THE PLUG: Try to unplug any appliances and electronics you can. A Power bar lets you easy turn off several at once. Unplug rechargers and power cords as soon as they’ve done their job.

– USE THE OFF SWITCH: Use the sleep setting instead of the screen saver while you’re working on your computer. and then shut it down completely where you’re done for the day. Remember to switch off your monitor and printer , as well as the DVD player, video game console and set-top box. along with the TV

-UPDATE YOUR APPLIANCES: When Making new purchases, look for products with the ENERGY STAR symbol. Which use less energy in standby mode!

Connaught Community Overview

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

The Beltline is a region of central Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The area is located immediately to the south of Calgary’s downtown (south of 9th Avenue and the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks), and is sometimes considered part of downtown. The neighbourhood is bound on the south by the popular 17th Avenue, on the west by 14th Street West and on the east by the Elbow River.

The first established district in the neighbourhood was Connaught in 1905, followed by Victoria Park in 1914. When the region and its redevelopment plan were formally established in 2003, it amalgamated the inner city neighbourhoods of Victoria Park and Connaught.[3] As of 2006, there were 16,662 people residing in the Beltline and its districts.

The City of Calgary officially recognizes four separate “neighbourhoods” in the Beltline: West Connaught, Connaught Centre, Victoria Crossing Centre, and East Victoria Crossing. They are communities of equal north-south orientation and divided by Eighth Street SW, Fourth Street SW, Macleod Trail (1st Street SE), and the Elbow River

The Beltline contains a number of less formal city districts within its boundaries. These include Midtown, the Design District, Victoria Crossing Business Revitalization Zone[5] (Victoria), the 4th Street BRZ (located mostly within Mission), the Uptown 17th BRZ, the Warehouse District, and a portion of the Rivers District.

17th Avenue, which is on the southern extremity of the Beltline district has already established itself as a vibrant mixed-use area. Uptown 17th is one of Calgary’s Business Revitalization Zones.[6] With a dense concentration of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and shops, the street is effectively Calgary’s primary “party street”. Behind this lively commercial development are residential areas. The street also “dead-ends” at the Stampede Grounds on its east side, and is thus central to the party-like atmosphere that overtakes the city during the Calgary Stampede festival. 17th Avenue was nicknamed the “Red Mile” in 2004 during the playoff run of Calgary’s NHL team, the Calgary Flames. During this time, it was not uncommon to see over 100,000 fans crowding the street and its bars and pubs on game nights.

Connaught was established in 1905, and comprises the western part of the Beltline, west of 4th Street W.

Two public schools are located in Beltline, the Connaught Community School and the Victoria Community School.[3] Western Canada High School is located along the 17th Avenue boundary of the community, and serves the area. One block outside the Beltline is St. Mary’s High School which serves most of the Roman Catholic high school students in the areaRED MILE CAL0429-sg-redmile 6.JPG

5 Reasons this might be the right time to BUY!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

If you’re a renter wondering whether current market conditions should delay your dreams of purchasing a home, take heart. There are many reasons what could actually make this a good time for you to buy. Here are five to consider:

1. HOME PRICES – Home prices have leveled off and even dropped significantly in many locations, when compared to prices a year ago. Some of the most competitive Canadian housing markets, such as Vancouver & Calgary have become much more affordable over the last few months. In many areas, lower prices may allow you to consider housing options across a wider choice of neighbourhoods.

 2. HOUSING SELECTION – While  there is still a wide range of homes available, a lower market may mean you have less competition. This can relieve pressure on you to offer a higher price or to make a hasty purchasing decision. Be aware, though, that unlike many of the U.S. counterparts, sellers in Canada generally aren’t under pressure to sell.

 3. INVESTMENT – Owning your primary residence has almost always been a good way to build equity. Real estate, over the long term, has tended to rise in value, despite short term fluctuation. Plus, when you eventually sell your home, the capital gains are likely to be tax-free. Since you’re paying rent anyway, why not put that money toward a place you will eventually own? You’ll also be able to customize your space exactly the way you want it.

 4. INTREST RATES – Mortgage interest rates, firmly in the single digits, have been at historically low levels. This can help keep the cost of financing an entry level home relatively affordable.

 5. PERSONAL TIMING – The most important reason to buy a home is that it;s the right time for you. If owning a home is a high personal priority and if your financial situation is sound – you have a steady income and a manageable debt load – them that could be the most compelling reason to start looking.

 Remember: there’s no “right” or “wrong” time to buy. Since it’s almost impossible to time the market, the ideal times to buy a home is usually when you are ready.

A mortgage professional can review your current financial situation the you can decide weather its a good time for you to own your home!

6 Ways to Spruce UP your home for under $1000!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Whether you;re getting ready to sell or just want a quick pick-me-up, these decorating ticks- which can be done for under $1,000 –  will turn your place from drab to fab!

1 – PAINT- It’s no wonder painting is on the top three paybacks for resale value. A fresh coat makes any room or home look new and pristine. Try warm grey for a contemporary update, lighten up with a classic beige, or paint once wall a crisp – bold color for an accent wall!

 2 – DEFINE YOUR COULOUR SCHEME – Choose a colour scheme and edit your things to work within it. Aim to have one or two main colours, or stick to a single colour family plus one accent colour to “pop”. No eye for colour? Study a couple of home decor magazines for inspiration

 3 – EDIT YOUR ACCESSORIES – Clear a room of everything except for the furniture, carpeting & curtains. After leaving it for a day or two, bring in accessories one at a time- either stuff you have of something new. Try throw cushions, a statement- making collection of vases( groups of three or five works best), or a piece of art. Don’t add too much, and store the rest to rotate in later.

 4 – REFRESH TIRED FURNISHINGS –  Shampoo upholstery and carpeting. Reupholster a worn couch, or invest in slip covers. If there’s a piece your really don’t like, give it away and replace with something you love. Treat solid hardwood with furniture oil/ polish.

 5 – REPLACE FIXTURES – FAUCETS & HANDLES – Updating kitchen and bathroom taps for a more contemporary design will make the whole room look better. Change cupboard  pulls to brushed chrome/nickel. Cover door knobs to lever-style handles. For the best results use a consistent style throughout your home.

 6 -LIGHT UP YOUR SURROUNDINGS – Throw a little light on the subject – your home – to instantly refresh it. You can illuminate dark corers for a warmer cheerier atmosphere. While recessed  lighting is attractive, its also costly. To economize, add track lighting  to hallways or bedrooms, scones in a vestibule, and new table and floor lamps in the living/dining room.

Resale Market Gathers Strength

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was wanting to start the new year on an optimistic note, or maybe people were just being spontaneous.

Whatever the reason, as January moved along there seemed to be more open house signs popping up around the city — and “for sale” signs with “sold” stickers slapped on them.

By the end of the month, January was slightly stronger for sales than December.

The Calgary Real Estate Board says 550 single-detached homes inside the city limits changed hands in January, up from 449 in December.

As well, 225 condominiums were sold, 20 more than the previous month.

Outside the city in the rural communities, sales in January reached 148, up from 113 for December.

“Indeed, it is a tough market (for sellers), but I’m pleased to see sales picking up over December,” says CREB president Bonnie Wegerich. “Although numbers are down from January 2008, we are seeing increased activity and more interest from buyers.”

Ron Stanners, a past-president for the board and broker/owner of Max-Well South Star Realty, says activity among realtors in his office picked up in January by about 55 per cent from December.

“Sales are up, that’s a good sign,” he says.

“And the flow of listings has slowed. I think a large number of investors have sold or rented their properties, which is one of the issues that has been affecting the market.”

The number of new single-detached resale home listings added to the market last month totalled 2,068, down from 3,023 for the same month a year ago–with the comparative month-end inventories almost unchanged at about 4,000.

The condo inventory also held steady at near 1,900.

“While there’s still a good selection of homes to choose from, we are seeing a slow but steady decrease in our inventory,” says Wegerich. “As the inventory is reduced, we will see a return to a more stable market.”

Stanners has been in the business long enough to know there will always be ups and downs, particularly in the Calgary marketplace.

“This market is not that bad — price declines were minimal from December,” says Stanners.

For January, the board reports the average price at $413,049,down from$417,398 in December. The condo average slipped to $270,940, declining from $274,919.

But Stanners says that because 2006 and 2007 were so volatile, it’s difficult to make comparisons.

He says that 2004 and 2005 were “good years” and compared to them, the 2008 market was only about 20 per cent off.

From a financial aspect, Stanners also says buyers should be getting into the market sooner than later.

“If you bought a home today and the price dropped 10 per cent in the next year and mortgage rates went up one per cent, it would still cost you less to buy today — and you’d have the home paid off a year earlier,” he says.

Marty Hope
Calgary Herald

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.