Archive for February, 2010

OPEN HOUSE – SATURDAY February 27, 2010 – # 418 208 HOLY CROSS LN SW – $339,900

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

OPEN HOUSE – SATURDAY FEBRUARY 27 FROM 2PM-4PM.  INCREDIBLE VALUE!!! Amazing penthouse unit with southern exposure for lots of natural light. This upscale 720 sqft one bedroom unit features numerous upgrades including hardwood and ceramic floors, corner fireplace, stainless steel appliances, top of the line tap and lighting fixtures, and insuite laundry & AIR CONDITIONING. Live right next to the river in the heart of the trendy community of Mission, just steps to numerous restaurants and shops on 4th street, not to mention Lindsay Park, and walking dist ance to LRT. South facing balcony, underground parking, secure building. #418 208 Holy Cross Lane SW, PRICED TO SELL!  Immediate possession possible.

For More Information or directions please call :

Jeffrey LeBlanc
CENTURY 21 THE PROFESSIONALS
#1, 4600 CROWCHILD TRAIL N.W.
CALGARY, AB T3A 2L6
Cell: 403-542-6926
Office: 403-509-2121
Fax: 403-509-2130
E-mail: jeff@homesweethometeam.ca
Website: http://www.homesweethometeam.ca &  http://www.century21.ca/jeffrey.leblanc

Calgary to face ‘very active’ spring housing market as economy improves

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

CALGARY – Calgary will experience a “very active” spring housing market as an improved economic outlook combined with record low interest rates and affordable housing are “fuelling recovery” in residential real estate sales, says a report released today by Re/Max.

“The supply of detached homes is beginning to tighten, with multiple offers becoming more prevalent in hot pockets throughout the city, particularly well-priced, entry-level product,” said the Re/Max Market Trends Report 2010.

“First-time buyers continue to drive the market, looking to take advantage of greater affordability before the window of opportunity closes.”

The report said that while the average price is still off peak 2007 levels it continues its ascent rising seven per cent in the single-family category to $441,217 and four per cent in the condo category to $282,639 over January 2009 levels.

“There has been a notable push by purchasers to get in before predicted interest rate hikes and tighter lending criteria,” said the report. “To that end, buyers are being more cautious in their pursuits, deliberately choosing not to max out debt service ratios, with a trend towards more modest pursuits that can be afforded. The market is picking up at all levels, with move-up buyers increasingly active.”

The Re/Max report, which looked at 16 markets across the country, noticed a sharp decline in active listings. A lack of inventory will be the greatest challenge facing housing markets across Canada this spring, it said.

That, combined with the threat of higher interest rates, tighter lending criteria, and in British Columbia and Ontario the introduction of the new Harmonized Sales Tax, have clearly served to kick-start real estate activity “prompting an unprecedented influx of purchasers.”

“Affordability is the catalyst for the vast majority of purchasers in today’s housing market,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice president for Re/Max of Western Canada. “While homeownership is still within reach in many major centres, levels are slipping. There is a growing sense, on both sides of the fence, that the time to act is now.”

Ash said the real estate market has experienced a 180-degree turnaround from this time last year.

“It’s clear that real estate from coast to coast has roared back to life and markets are once again firing on all cylinders,” said Ash. “The vast majority of markets are now recovered.”

12 Unique and Creative Sofas

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

12 Unique and Creative Sofas

Modern sofas and creative sofa designs that will spice up any living room.

Do Lo Res Sofa

Unique sofa composed of several soft, square-based cube or rectangular shaped units of various heights. The units are arranged in rows to form the shape of the sofa, and fixed to a platform by steel pins. [link]

Do Lo Res Sofa

Lips Sofa

Famous sofa in the shape of a mouth which Salvador Dalí designed with Oscar Tusquets back in 1972. [link]

Lips Sofa

LED Sofa

Modern LED Lighting Sofa by Colico comes with different colors that you can change by a using the remote control. [link]

LED Sofa

Roma Sofa

Cool sofa shaped like the Roman Colosseum will make you feel like an Emperor of your own living room. [link]

Roma Sofa

Morfeo Sofa

Sofa sleeper with 2 long antennas that have lights on the end, curl up and enjoy a book or the company of someone you love. [link]

Morfeo Sofa

Glossy Lipstick Sofa

Built more as an Art piece, this cool sofa is made from glass and lexan coated clear silicone. [link]

Glossy Lipstick Sofa

Metal Sofa

Stephen Newby creates soft looking sculptures from hard metal. [link]

Metal Sofa

Glass Sofa

Modern sofa by Italian manufacturer Santambrogio Milano made using superdurable tempered glass. [link]

Glass Sofa

LEGO Sofa

Creative soda inspired by LEGO bricks is made from solid, interlocking, systematically lumpy wood. [link]

LEGO Sofa

Tensile Sofa

Cool contemporary sofa by Swedish designer Therese Glimskär. [link]

Tensile Sofa

Diamond Sofa

Entirely made from mirror-like aluminium, the Diamond sofa was thought not only for sitting, but also as an object of very provocative design. [link]

Diamond Sofa

15 Unusual and Creative Aquariums

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

15 Unusual and Creative Aquariums

Modern aquariums and creative fish tank designs from all over the world.

iPond Portable Aquarium

It is on sale in Australia and comes with gravel, water and a live fish. It has a built in speaker at the bottom and a headphone jack. [link]

iPond Portable Aquarium

Macquariums

Cool aquariums made from the shell of Apple Macintosh computers. [link]

Macquarium

Computer Aquarium

Infinity Aquarium

The repetitive geometrical shape of Infinity aquarium creates a visual metaphor to life in the fish bowl. Hand crafted from cut glass, Infinity aquarium scales down a vast concept of time and space. [link]

Infinity Aquarium

Coffee Table Aquarium

Instructables shows us how to build an aquarium coffee table. [link]

Coffee Table Aquarium

Bathtub Aquarium

This modern bathtub with built-in aquarium will surely spice up your bathroom. [link]

Bathtub Aquarium

Sofa Aquarium

Priced at just $12,000, his sofa features aquariums on both sides. [link]

Sofa Aquarium

Spacearium Aquariums

Canadian company called Aquarium ASP has created the Spacearium, a thin, hanging aquarium that be used as a room divider, lighting element, or for good old fashioned decoration. [link]

Spacearium Aquariums

Desk Aquarium

The MILK desk comes with a built-in fish tank option that gives you a place to rest your eyes and provides a touch of daily nature. [link]

Desk Aquarium

R2-D2 Aquarium

Modeled after the most well-known astromech droid in the galaxy, this R2-D2 holds a 1 3/4-gallon aquarium tank in his central compartment. [link]

R2-D2 Aquarium

Local River Plant Aquarium

Beautiful aquarium by Mathieu Lehanneur breeds freshwater fish and vegetables. The vegetables strip minerals and nitrates from the water, effectively purifying it for the development of the fish. [link]

Local River Plant Aquarium

Local River Aquarium

Bus Stop Aquarium

This bus stop is a real design from Brazil, dubbed “AqurioMania”. [link]

Bus Stop Aquarium

Bathroom Sink Aquarium

Moody Aquarium Sink will spice up boring routines such as washing hands and brushing teeth. [link]

Bathroom Sink Aquarium

AquaDom

The AquaDom in Berlin, Germany, is a 25 meter tall cylindrical acrylic glass aquarium with built-in transparent elevator. [link]

AquaDom

Old TV Aquarium

Ever wondered what to do with that ancient 26″ wooden TV set laying around in your grandparent’s garage? Turn it into a unique aquarium. [link]

Old TV Aquarium

Telephone Booth Aquarium

Benedetto Bufalino and Benoit Deseille have transformed a regular telephone booth into a functioning aquarium. [link]

Telephone Booth Aquarium

Calgary’s economy to rebound, lead Canada in 2011

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

CALGARY – Calgary’s economy will rebound nicely this year and go on to lead the country starting in 2011, the Conference Board of Canada said Wednesday.

In its annual outlook for the cities, the board forecast Calgary’s economy will grow three per cent this year. That comes after a 2.3 per cent decline in 2009, the first drop in two decades.

“Fortunately, the initial stages of an economic recovery are starting to take hold,” the board said in its winter outlook.

“Both housing demand and prices are on the rebound, whil overall consumer confidence is gaining some upward momentum.”

Retail sales are expected to jump 4.2 per cent this year, the forecast said.

In 2010, Calgary’s economic growth will put it in the middle of the pack at 10th place. Vancouver is expected to lead the group at 4.5 per cent, boosted by the Olympic Games that begin next month.

A full recovery in the oilpatch should help propel Calgary’s economic growth to 4.4 per cent in 2010, the strongest among the provinces, the report noted.

Government of Canada Makes a Few Changes & A pre-approval will hold all-time low rates for up to 120 days.

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The Short Version

The Federal Government has taken some steps to protect consumers buying homes now so they
will be able to make payments when rates go back to their long term average of about 6%.

Highlights – Not Much Has Changed:
1. All borrowers will qualify at the 5 year rate – from 3.79% to 4.09% – which is where we
have been qualifying buyers for the last 4 years anyway.
2. People refinancing can only withdraw a maximum of 90% of the appraised value of their
home. Most of our refi’s are at 80% so this does not affect most of our clients.
3. 20% down is now needed for investment properties that are not owner-occupied. Most
clients put 20% down anyway so this does not change much for investors either.
4. Amortization period and down payment remain unchanged at 35 years max and 5% down

The Detailed Version – Government of Canada Takes Action

“Canada’s housing market is healthy, stable and supported by our country’s solid economic
fundamentals,” said Minister Flaherty. “Our Government is acting to help prevent Canadian
households from getting overextended, and acting to help prevent lenders from facilitating it.”
The Government will therefore adjust the rules for government-backed insured mortgages
as follows, and are effective April 19, 2010:

1. Require that all borrowers meet the standards for a five-year fixed rate mortgage even if
they choose a mortgage with a lower interest rate and shorter term. This initiative will
help Canadians prepare for higher interest rates in the future.
2. Lower the maximum amount Canadians can withdraw in refinancing their mortgages to
90 per cent from 95 per cent of the value of their homes. This will help ensure home
ownership is a more effective way to save.
3. Require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent for government-backed mortgage
insurance on non-owner-occupied properties purchased for speculation.

Mark noted the above in the Calgary Sun a few weeks ago. See attached.
Rates
• 5-year, fixed rates now range between 3.79% and 4.09% – the lowest in about 70 years.
• Variable rates are Prime-0.35%, or 2.25% – .35% = 1.90% AND you can lock-in at best
bank rates before rates go up. Banks lock you in at Posted – 1% = 5.65% -1% = 4.65%!

Modern Beds and Creative Bed Designs # 2

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Modern Beds and Creative Bed Designs

Collection of modern beds and creative bed designs from all over the world.

Housefish Suspended Bed

Creative suspended bed held by machined aluminum, stainless steel tension cables. The mattress platform is held completely rigid – it does not swing or sway. [link]

Housefish Suspended Bed

Float Bed

$25,000 Float Bed by David Trubridge, a New Zealand designer. [link]

Float Bed

Sampon Daybed Outdoor Bed

Amazing outdoor bed design from Lifeshop Collection. [link]

Sampon Daybed Outdoor Bed

Floating Bed Chicago

Floating Bed Chicago by Robert Bernstein – the four supporting cables at the corners of the bed go straight up vertically to the ceiling. [link]

Floating Bed Chicago

Geometric Bed

Ness faceted geometric bed by Jakob+MacFarlane. [link]

Geometric Bed

The Embrace Lounge

Creative lounge by Lost Angeles based designer Tanya Aguiñiga. [link]

The Embrace Lounge

The Embrace Lounge 2

Tree Bed

Creative $15,000 Tree bed by Shawn Lovell. [link]

Tree bed

Private Cloud Rocking Bed

The Private Cloud is a patented rocking bed by German designer Manuel Kloker. [link]

Private Cloud Rocking Bed

Private Cloud Rocking Bed 2

Flotiform Bed

Creative bed design. Pull out side tables with cup holders can be ordered for one or both sides of the bed. [link]

Flotiform Bed

Flotiform Bed Side Table

Flotiform Bed 2

Sleeping Tube

Futuristic two metre “sleeping tube”. [link]

Sleeping Tube

Sunset Chaise Lounge

This elegant piece by Rausch, designed for luxurious poolside lounging, could easily be mistaken for a dramatic outdoor sculpture. [link]

Sunset Chaise Lounge

Sunset Chaise Lounge 2

Terminal 1 Daybed

It is elegant, fluid, and harmonic, starting from a lucid plastic body, floating on a metallic frame, and varnished with the same colour but with a matt finishing. Its shape invites and supports its double function as an arm-chair and chaise longue. [link]

Terminal 1 Daybed

Magnetic Floating Bed

Conventional furniture is in contact with the earth through gravity. Floating Bed overcomes this fundamental power and falls towards the sky. Four thin cables assure its motionless position and form the only contact with the ground. [link]

Magnetic Floating Bed

The Scoop Bed

Scoop! is a sophisticated and innovative answer to the demand for combinig the sofa function with the bed function. The two semi-circular sides of the bed can be separated resulting in two new pieces of furniture. [link]

The Scoop Bed

The Scoop Bed 2

Disposable Cardboard Bed

Innovative bed design that may prove handy for poor homeless people worldwide. [link]

Disposable Cardboard Bed

Disposable Cardboard Bed 2

Ohm Transformable Bed

Ohm is a bed that can be transformed into two individual beds or used as a bench. [link]

Ohm Bed

Ohm Transformable Bed

Why Jim Flaherty’s mortgage rules won’t hurt homebuyers

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

This won’t hurt a bit, homebuyers.

The mortgage rule changes announced Tuesday by Financial Minister Jim Flaherty will weigh a bit on real estate speculators and heavily indebted people who want to fold their high-rate credit card debt into a lower-rate mortgage. But for rank and file homebuyers, the changes will barely be perceptible when they take effect on April 19.

“This should have a limited impact on what I see daily,” mortgage broker Peter Majthenyi said in an e-mail he fired off after Mr. Flaherty’s announcement. “I believe it’s more a message that ‘Big Brother’ is watching and cares.”

Olympics aside, the favourite Canadian diversion of the moment is to debate whether there is a bubble in the housing market. Those most worried about the housing market plunging have urged Mr. Flaherty to raise the minimum down payment for a home and reduce the maximum payback period.

But the 35-year amortization, favourite of first-time buyers across this land, remains. So does the 5-per-cent down payment, which is heavily relied upon in high-cost cities like Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.

All the measures announced by Mr. Flaherty affect mortgages covered by government-backed mortgage insurance, where the buyer puts less than 20 per cent down. The key change for typical home buyers is that, regardless of what term or type of mortgage they choose, they’ll have to be able to afford the five-year rate.

This is a sensible way of building some slack into the system as we look ahead to a cycle of rising interest rates. If someone chooses a variable-rate mortgage, where the interest rate can be as low as 2 to 2.25 per cent today, they’ll have to be able to handle the payment at the current five-year rate. Right now, the posted rate at the big banks is 5.39 per cent.

You won’t have to actually make the higher payments required by the five-year mortgage. You’ll just have to theoretically be able to carry them and still remain within the limitations lenders set out on how much of your gross income can be consumed by debt (it’s 42 to 44 per cent, just so you know).

Mortgage brokers report that a lot of lenders were already ensuring clients could afford the payments on a three-year mortgage. So bumping up that up to a five-year term will only have a marginal effect.

“Are we going to see the odd borrower have to come up with more money or not buy they house they want? Absolutely,” Mr. Majthenyi said. “But will it have a dramatic effect? No.”

Another reason why the changes won’t be jarring is that a huge number of homebuyers are actually choosing five-year mortgages these days. A study issued by the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals last month showed that fixed-rate mortgages accounted for 86 per cent of mortgages in set up in 2009 and, of those, 70 per cent were for a five-year term.

People who borrow to buy investment properties to either flip for a quick profit or to generate income are also affected by Tuesday’s announcement. If you buy a property you’re not going to live in, then you’ll have to put down a minimum 20 per cent to qualify for mortgage insurance. That’s up from 5 per cent.

But Mr. Majthenyi said not all lenders even require clients to have mortgage insurance if they put 20 per cent down. He also said that stiff mortgage insurance premiums already discouraged people from putting 5 per cent down on an investment property.

“In my office of 10 brokers, I don’t think I know of one client we’ve processed on a high-ratio rental property,” he said.

The final mortgage change restricts the ability of existing homeowners to refinance their mortgages to take on more debt. The new ceiling is 90 per cent of the value of your home, compared to the current 95 per cent.

Mortgage broker Jas Grewal said one group that will be affected by this is recent buyers who made a small down payment and are struggling with high credit card balances and other debts. By folding these debts into their mortgage, they can reduce their interest rate from as high as 19 per cent down to something closer to 3 or 4 per cent.

“Let’s say you put 10 per cent down – if we go from 95 to 90 per cent, you’re not going to be able refinance,” Mr. Grewal said. “You’re going to have to wait until your house value goes up and gives you some equity.”

Rob Carrick

Ottawa Globe and Mail

Update Published on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010 12:42PM EST

Last updated on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010 4:46PM EST

Flaherty tightens mortgage rules

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

OTTAWA — Amid warnings about Canadian household debt levels and a possible housing bubble, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Tuesday the federal government would make it tougher for people to get a mortgage.

He said at an early Tuesday morning media conference that Ottawa would require all borrowers meet standards for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage, even if the buyer wants a variable rate mortgage. That is the key move announced Tuesday. Other rule changes unveiled would affect people looking to refinance their mortgages — lowering the maximum amount that can be withdrawn to 90 per cent from 95 per cent — and place a 20 per cent minimum down payment for government-backed mortgage insurance on non-owner-occupied properties.

But the Minister said the changes were not meant to stop a possible housing bubble, as some warned was upon us.

“There’s no clear evidence of a housing bubble, but we’re taking proactive, prudent and cautious steps today to help prevent one,” Flaherty said. “Our government is acting to help prevent Canadian households from getting overextended.”

The decision to adopt new mortgage rules emerged after nearly a week of dire warnings from prominent Canadians — such as money manager Stephen Jarislowsky and former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge — that the housing market was on the verge of possible trouble, as price increases were not sustainable and present mortgage rules were too lax.

The Department of Finance in 2008 said Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. would limit amortizations to 35 years and offer loan insurance on only 95 per cent of the loan value. The government’s housing agency had offered mortgage insurance on loans worth as much as 100 per cent of the home value and amortization periods of as many as 40 years since 2006.

Canadian home prices and resales will grow to records this year, boosted by low interest rates, the Canadian Real Estate Association said in a report last week. Canadian new-home prices rose 0.4 per cent in December from November, the sixth straight gain, according to government figures.

As recently as two weeks ago Flaherty said there was “no substantial concern” about the emergence of a housing bubble after meeting with private-sector economists. And in an interview with the Financial Post in late December, he said there was “no evidence” of asset bubble in real estate.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Ribbon Staircase by HSH architects

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Ribbon Staircase by HSH architects

Beautiful and unique staircase design, constructed from 10mm thick sheet metal, by HŠH architects.

The concept of a delicate rippling ribbon was chosen in view of the exposed position of the staircase in the main living area of the house.

Ribbon Staircase

Ribbon Staircase Design

Ribbon Staircase Design by HSH architects

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.
MLS® MLS REALTOR® Realtor