Archive for the ‘Buyers Market’ Category

Why Homebuyers Should Go Short On Amortizations

Monday, April 29th, 2013

With a mortgage, there are many options for you depending on your financial situation. Both variable and five-year mortgages are now available for less than 3 per cent, but those low rates won’t last forever.

Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, decision last year to tighten the rules for mortgage insurance by reducing the maximum amortization from 30 to 25 years was the right one for Canadians to reduce household debt.

Some critics argued that this measure brought about the slowdown of the real estate markets due to the hike in minimum monthly payments for an insured mortgage. Many Canadians who would have bought homes could no longer qualify under this new rule.

However, let’s look at the numbers to see how this would help all the Canadians that are planning to take advantage of today’s low rates by buying a home or renewing a mortgage:

The average price of a home sold in Calgary in the month of February 2013 was $457,111. Assuming the average downpayment for a home would be close to 20 per cent, that would mean a $365,000 mortgage.

At a variable-rate mortgage of 3 per cent interest with 25 year amortization, your monthly payments would be $1,727.35 with a total of $518,203 paid including $153,203 of interest over 25 years (or 300 payments). However, if we switch to a 20 year amortization period, our monthly payments would of course increase to $2,020.89, but our total overall payments now total $485,013 with only $120,013 of interest payments. That’s a savings of over $33,000 in interest costs!

Do your own calculations using my Mortgage Calculator and you will see how much money you can save just by choosing a lesser amortization period. Even if you have to renew the mortgage later on, you will have a smaller balance to deal with. As we’ve seen, a lot can happen with interest rates in that time. For example, within the past decade, the prime rate (which drives variable-rate mortgages) rose by as much as 1.75 per cent in less than one year and term mortgage rates have varied even more.

So if you are looking for a new mortgage or renewing this year, choose the lowest amortization period you can afford and save your money!

Sources: http://www.creb.com/, www.financialpost.com

A Rise in First Time Homebuyers in Alberta

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

A recent national survey sent out to prospective buyers in Alberta reports that over the next two years Alberta will see a rise in first time homebuyers. If this is any indication, Albertans remain confident in the marketing heading in to 2013 and the future.

Even more surprising is that 20% of the prospective buyers that plan to buy in the near future are single. Calgarians no matter the demographic, remain confident that the market will continue its recent success and housing values will continue to rise.

Calgary Best Performing Real Estate Market in Canada

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

CALGARY — Calgary was the only major Canadian market to see a year-over-year rise in MLS residential sales in December as the national market plunged and the city finished 2012 with the best annual sales growth in the country, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

In releasing a report Tuesday, the association’s data indicated Calgary MLS sales in December of 1,343 were up 7.2 per cent from December 2011 while Canada saw a decline of 17.4 per cent to 20,538 sales.

The average sale price in Calgary in December rose by 6.9 per cent from last year to $419,811 while Canada’s average jumped by 1.6 per cent to $352,787.

On an annual basis, Calgary sales of 26,634 were up 18.6 per cent year-over-year while they fell by 1.1 per cent throughout the country to 453,372.

The average annual sale price in Calgary rose by 2.3 per cent to $412,315 in 2012. It was up by 0.3 per cent in Canada to $363,740.

“Calgary bucked the national trend in 2012 as the market began to come alive, while others began to enter a long sleep. This occurred because of two main influences,” said Don Campbell, senior analyst and founding partner of the Real Estate Investment Network. “Over the previous three years, Calgary had not over-performed its underlying economic fundamentals like many other major markets across the country, especially Toronto and Vancouver. A lack of new housing being poured into the market also helped to keep the average sale price in check.

“Population growth in Alberta neared a record high in 2012 as many moved here to take advantage of the job growth. This expansion of the number of citizens who call Calgary home, whether temporarily or permanently, put upward pressure on the rental market in the city. This increase in (rents) pushed many into the purchase market and therefore began the upward demand on the home-purchase market. This trend will continue, and inevitably get stronger, in 2013.”

Calgary’s market is showing no signs of letting up in January. According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, month-to-date from January 1-14, there have been 375 MLS sales in the city, up 9.97 per cent from the same period last year while the average sale price has jumped by 11.75 per cent to $428,063.

In December, sales in Alberta fell by 1.9 per cent to 2,855 transactions and the average sale price went up by 4.8 per cent to $363,340. Over the year, sales in Alberta in 2012 rose by 12.3 per cent, the highest of any province, and the average sale price increased by 2.8 per cent to $363,208.

CREA’s Home Price Index in December, of seven major Canadian markets, saw the average benchmark price increase by 3.32 per cent in Canada. Regina led the country with 10.53 per cent growth followed by Calgary at 7.37 per cent.

“Similar to what we saw in September, December sales had fewer business days compared to the same month last year and most other years,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist, about the national picture. “It factored into December’s year-over-year decline in sales activity.”

But he also said that “successive rounds of tightening mortgage regulations have kept the housing market in check during what has become an extended low interest rate environment.”

Sonya Gulati, senior economist with TD Economics, described 2012 as a lacklustre year for the Canadian housing market.

“With the whopping 17.4 per cent year-over-year change in sales seen in December, we suspect that the impacts from the mortgage rule tightening in July are now fully priced in,” she said. “We expect the Canadian housing market to stabilize at current levels over the next few months. When looking at previous mortgage rule tightening episodes, the housing market impacts have been temporary in nature. There is no reason to think that this time will be any different.”

Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, said the Canadian housing market continues to cool.

“While some will focus on the deep dive in sales from a year ago, it looks as though prices are providing a better read on the health of the sector, as homeowners are in no rush sell,” he said. “Prices are easing gently, consistent with a soft landing through much of the country.”

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com

Twitter: MTone123

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Make this mistake and you’ll lose thousands when refinancing your mortgage

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

I had just borrowed about a quarter-million dollars and my question was simple: “How do I pay you back?”

The woman on the other end of the phone, however, couldn’t tell me. Ten days had passed since I signed the papers to refinance my home and, with the holidays approaching, I was worried my first payment would be late. She tried to soothe me with perhaps the most misunderstood phrase of the refinancing process: “Don’t worry. You get to skip a payment.”

Had I listened to her, it would have cost me thousands of dollars. And if you are one of the millions of homeowners who will refinance in 2013, it could cost you, too.

If your new year’s resolution is to save money or get control of the family budget, refinancing remains a really good option. But the idea that “skipping” the first payment can be pain free, financially speaking, is a myth, repeated over and over by loan officers like mine. Sometimes they are lying, sometimes they are misinformed and sometimes they are just trying to get an annoying borrower like me off the phone. But with rare exception, they are giving bad advice. (News flash: Whenever a bank seems to be doing you a favor, it probably has a hand in your wallet.)

Real estate transactions are already confusing enough. There are questions surrounding when you make your last payment on the old loan, when you make your first payment on the new loan, how many extra days of interest you pay toward both your old and your new loan, and when you are paying for both loans. We’ll get to those tricky issues in a moment, but the priciest mistake you might make in a refinance is also the simplest one to correct.

You’ve heard this before, but this time, it’s probably true: mortgage interest rates are at historic lows, and there may never be a better time to refinance. It’s hard to imagine rates going any lower than the 3 percent range they are at now, but it’s easy to imagine that, at the first signs of a real economic recovery or real inflation, they will climb sharply during 2013. The low interest rates that the Federal Reserve has imposed to boost the economy have been punishing for many, notably savers, who can barely earn 1 percent interest on their bank accounts and certificates of deposit. The one perk for consumers from the Fed’s interest rate policy is the ability to get cheap home and auto loans. If you haven’t refinanced your mortgage in the past 24 months or so, you are missing out.

Fortunately, many American homeowners have gotten the message. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage holders engaged in $1.3 trillion worth of refinancing in 2012. In fact, more than four out of five new mortgages in 2012 were refinanced loans, not home purchases.

I wish there were a way to know how many of those borrowers chose to skip that first payment.

‘Can I get that in writing?’ ‘No’
My loan officer was lazy, I believe, and — knowing that my loan had closed and all the commissions were guaranteed — just wanted me off the phone as soon as possible. My call was unusual. I am always overly cautious when I set up any kind of new loan payment, as the chances for error are great: a wrong loan number on a check, a bad address, etc. So I always make the first payment early to make sure nothing goes wrong. That good habit proved profitable this time.

When I signed my loan papers, there were no payment instructions in my closing documents (not terribly unusual). My loan officer said I would receive payment coupons later. But when 10 days passed, and I heard nothing, I called. She sent me to the bank’s customer service line, where I was informed that there was no record of my loan. (Did that mean I didn’t have to pay it back? Sadly, No.) Customer service transferred me back to my loan officer. She assured me that their computers would catch up to my urge to pay the loan, and I’d get payment information soon. Incredulous that they seemed not to want my money, I persisted. She tapped a few keys on her keyboard, made me wait a minute, then told me that my loan had funded on Dec. 5, so I didn’t have to make a payment until Feb. 1.

“But my documents say repayment begins Jan. 1,” I said. “So you’re saying there will be no late fees if I don’t pay Jan. 1?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Can I get that in writing.?”

“No. I can’t do that.”

At that point, I did what any mature consumer would do: I laughed. And then I muttered something about the 100 pieces of paper they just made me sign, with innocuous documents putting the finest point on everything you can imagine, like the form I initialed in multiple places agreeing that, yes, I am known by Bob, Robert, Bobby, Robby and various other nicknames. Yet I couldn’t get the bank to put something in writing saying when I should make my loan payment?

My loan officer didn’t laugh, but eventually she put me on the phone with a supervisor who sounded very grave. She’d done additional research, she said, and found out that the reason customer service couldn’t find my loan was because it had already been sold to another bank. We called that bank together and found out my loan actually funded on Nov. 30, so my first payment was indeed due on Jan. 1. And I would have been liable for about an $80 late fee if I had listened to my loan officer. The manager profusely apologized.

Steep penalty anyway
But I’m not writing to warn you about late fees. There’s a much bigger culprit here you have to worry about. Had I followed my loan officer’s advice and skipped a payment, even if the bank waived the late fee (which the manager said was likely), I would have paid a steep penalty anyway. You’ve probably guessed the punch line: there’s no such thing as skipping a payment. In reality, homeowners are borrowing that money and extending the loan term for an extra month. The payment will be tacked onto the end of the loan, with interest. How much? If it’s a conventional loan, that’s 30 years’ worth of interest. Effectively, you are borrowing one month’s payment for 30 years. Ouch!

“Skipping is a misnomer. A better description would be ‘deferring with additional interest added,'” said Jack Guttentag, a professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania who also runs a consumer education website called MortgageProfessor.com.

Just how much extra interest can skipping that first payment cost you? There are too many variables to create a decent rule of thumb. But here’s an illustration from Guttentag’s site with deliberately round numbers. Skip the first payment of $500 on a $100,000 loan at 6 percent, and you will pay an additional $2,993 in interest during the 30 years.

Forget the $75 late fee. That’s real money. As Guttentag puts it, “a payment that is miniscule to one is a fortune to another.”

Some loan officers say they only won’t offer the “skip-a-payment” option unless the refinance closes toward the end of the month, when the homeowner might have trouble coming up with the extra cash for closing costs and a fresh mortgage payment close together. Others say they offer it all the time.

To be clear: Most borrowers don’t actually complete their 30-year loans before moving or refinancing, so few would end up paying that high a penalty. Also, it’s important to note that my bank didn’t even hold the loan, so they weren’t profiting from the “skip-a-payment” advice. I believe this is usually a lazy mistake, not a greedy one. Still, the basic truth holds. Don’t be tempted to skip a payment when you refinance unless you really, really need the cash for some unusual expense (Christmas credit card bills are probably not the best reason.)

Skipped payments are not to be confused with other loan closing related interest payments, including:

*Your last payment on the old loan. You can’t skip that, either. If your loan closes near the end of the month, you should still make the scheduled payment to your old bank. Why? Interest is actually paid in arrears, meaning you pay at the end of the month the cost of borrowing the money for that month. It’s confusing, because mortgage payments are really two payments at once — last month’s interest and next month’s principal. To keep it simple, if your loan closes on the Nov. 30, you will be paying November’s interest with your Dec. 1 payment, along with December’s principal. You won’t need to make the December principal payment if you refinance on Nov. 30, but most folks pay far more in interest than principal because they are early in their loan’s term, so the overpayment won’t be large. Just pay it to avoid late fees, and enjoy any refund that comes your way.

*Pre-paid interest. When your loan closes in the middle of the month, your new bank will make you pay up-front (as opposed to in arrears) daily interest for the remaining days of the month. If you close on the 20th, you’ll pay 10 more days of interest payments. That’s OK, it means you won’t owe the money on the back end of the loan.

*Money for nothing: The three-day (or more) overlap. There’s an odd quirk in most refinancing deals in which there are several days when the homeowner will be paying interest on the same loan to both banks. In most states, consumers have a three-day “right of rescission” after signing their refinancing papers, meaning they can cancel the new loan if they get buyer’s remorse. Such regret laws are very consumer-friendly and are necessary because of nefarious loan officers who tricked consumers into bad deals in the past. But, in this case, the consumer-friendly law is also costly, as it means both banks have liability for the loan during that rescission period, and are both entitled to collect interest. Note: The regret period is usually three business days, so if your closing stretches over a weekend, the double-interest period can be even more costly.

It’s important to keep all these quirky, refinance-related interest payments straight when talking to your loan officer, so you’ll know what to do when he or she suggests you can skip a payment. None of this should scare you away from refinancing, which is really the only way you can make the recession work for you.

But remember, you are refinancing to save money, and you probably shopped around trying to save $50 here or $100 there on closing costs; don’t lose thousands of dollars because of one false move after closing.

Source: http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/01/16239394-make-this-mistake-and-youll-lose-thousands-when-refinancing-your-mortgage?lite

Calgary Luxury Home Market Sets Record Year in 2012

Monday, January 7th, 2013

CALGARY — Calgary’s luxury home market has been on fire this year and that flame is expected to continue burning into 2013.

Sales of properties valued at more than $1 million set a record in 2012 and the increase in sales in this market from the previous year is taking place at a higher pace than overall residential MLS sales in the city.

Shayna Nackoney-Skauge, a realtor with RE/MAX Rocky View Real Estate, says buyers these days seem to be more confident about the economy as the activity level for sales and showings in the luxury market continues to rise.

“Pricing is very competitive and buyers are definitely getting deals. They’re getting motivated sellers,” she says. “My experience lately selling higher-end homes is that the listings that are selling are a little extra motivated to sell. Buyers are seeing that and getting deals on some great properties. I think activity levels are higher than previous years because buyers are feeling more confident but still wary not to be over-paying.

“I’m also seeing buyers putting more down on a house which shows confidence in the market. The pricing for brand new luxury homes is definitely quite competitive right now – there are some good deals out there for high-end home buyers. With the exception of older luxury homes that are in fantastic view locations on larger lots, it’s tough for them to compete with some of the brand new builds.”

In 2012, 544 homes sold for more than $1 million each in Calgary.

The all-time record for luxury home sales in any month was set in May when 80 properties sold for more than $1 million each.

The previous high for most luxury home sales in an entire year was 458 during the 2007 housing boom.

Don Campbell, president of the Real Estate Investment Network in Canada, says it will be a record year again in 2013 for the Calgary luxury home market.

“What we’re finding is the incomes are moving quickly and what we call a luxury market in Calgary is almost considered an average market in Vancouver and Toronto. The in-migration is not just about the blue-collar workers,” says Campbell. “There are a lot of executives … moving into Calgary and they’re selling their properties in Vancouver and selling their properties in the Toronto area and Montreal and they’re coming here and going ‘I can get THAT for this price? I’ll take it’.”

Another pillar holding up the luxury home market in Calgary is consumer confidence, he says.

“When you’ve got consumer confidence coupled with three per cent interest rates and people are confident in their job and in their income, that’s the second pillar that’s going to hold up that luxury market,” explains Campbell.

Bob Jablonski, the Calgary Real Estate Board’s president, says the booming luxury home market is an indication that the people buying these types of homes are seeing strong long-term prospects for the city.

“Confidence in the marketplace. Stability. The fact we’re not like the rest of the country. They’re making adjustments as far as prices. And they’re actually getting a bigger bang for their buck. Larger homes are selling for less money than they were back in 2007,” says Jablonski. “They’re getting more house for their money … They’re saying ‘hey it’s a good investment. I can justify spending that kind of money’.”

He too doesn’t see any letdown in the luxury home market heading into 2013.

“The city’s growing. There’s a lot of in-migration still coming to the city. All the economic factors are there for continuing good news,” says Jablonski.

Rachelle Starnes, a realtor with Royal LePage Foothills, says the luxury market has been strong due to a softening of prices and there are no economic factors to suggest the market will be any different in 2013 than in 2012.

“We remain optimistic that we are headed for a bullish luxury real estate market in 2013,” says Starnes.

Tanya Eklund, a realtor with RE/MAX Real Estate Central, says Calgarians have seen wage increases and higher bonus structures in the last year due to profit margins increasing for companies. The city’s population has also increased with more people moving here.

“Low interest rates and lower inventory will continue to create demand,” says Eklund. “Low vacancy rates and rental rates, which are speculated to continue to rise, will help the real estate market as buyers will turn to purchasing instead of renting. Housing starts will be slightly down this year due to developers pulling back due to the amount of new inventory on the market which will also help the resale market.”

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Calgary+luxury+home+market+sets+record+year/7781584/story.html#ixzz2HJFrr43k

 

Calgary Home Sales and Prices Spike Higher in 2012

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Calgary’s real estate market has been very active this year.

 

 

CALGARY — Rising population numbers drove Calgary housing sales higher and brought average prices within a hair of the record set in 2007, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board.

On Wednesday it announced that 15 per cent more residential real estate sales were completed in the city of Calgary in 2012 than in 2011 and that average prices were up five per cent.

“Calgary’s housing market has finally started to recover,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB’s chief economist, in a news release. “While prices remain shy of the highs recorded in 2007, this is a move in the right direction.”

There were 21,207 residential property sales in 2012, up from 18,496 in 2011.

The news comes as ATB Financial economist Will van’t Veld reported that Alberta likely welcomed more new Albertans in 2012 than in its boom years a decade ago.

“This isn’t surprising, as the labour market here has been the best in the country and housing costs are relatively affordable,” he wrote in a report.

“The stage is set for the trend to continue in 2013 and beyond.”

Through the first three quarters of 2012, almost 56,000 more individuals came to Alberta than left the province, ATB noted, adding that’s 6,000 more than in 2006, the year Alberta saw its largest in-migration, and 16,000 more than in 2005, the second highest in-migration year.

“The last time Alberta welcomed so many newcomers there wasn’t enough housing to shelter everyone and that sparked the housing boom,” said van’t Veld in a report.

“In the early 2000s, housing starts in Alberta weren’t strong and there was little surplus inventory, so the mid-decade influx of migrants put pressure on existing housing stock. The jump in real estate prices caused a building boom, which is why there is no major shortage today.”

Lurie attributed the recent growth in Calgary’s real estate sales to the energy sector.

“There is no question employment and migration growth has supported housing demand, a trend that is expected to continue this year, albeit at a slower pace,” she said.

CREB figures show that single-family sales rose by 15 per cent in 2012 compared to 2011 but new listings fell by seven per cent, significantly reducing the inventory and pushing prices higher.

“Consumers in the market were looking for value, and, if a home was priced right based on a longer term view of their housing needs, they were buying,” said CREB president Bob Jablonski.

The unadjusted average price of a single-family house in Calgary was $497,000 for the month of December, nine per cent higher than $455,000 in the same month of 2011.

For the year, average single-family prices were up three per cent to $481,000.

CREB said its “benchmark” or typical single family house sold for $434,800 in 2012, two per cent below peak pricing in 2007.

Sales in the apartment and townhouse sector recorded annual increases of 12 and 16 per cent, respectively, while listings declined in both sectors

Condominium apartment average prices totalled 304,000 in December, a 13 per cent increase over December 2011 but CREB cautioned that there were several multimillion-dollar condominium sales in 2012 that skewed figures higher.

Townhouses posted an average price of $306,000 in December, up 4.5 per cent from $293,000 a year earlier.

dhealing@calgaryherald.com

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Calgary home ownership becoming more affordable

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Downtown Calgary skyline, with the Calgary Tower on one side and the lights of The Bow project on the other, stand in contrast to the sunset.

Calgary housing became slightly more affordable in 2009, but it’s still just the 23rd most affordable place to own a home from a list of 28 Canadian cities, according to the Winnipeg-based Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

In a study released Monday, the centre found Thunder Bay and Windsor, both in Ontario, were tied for most affordable Canadian cities and Vancouver was the least affordable.

In fact, Vancouver was also the least affordable among the 272 cities in the international study, which covered Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

As Canada’s resale housing market boomed and prices rose in 2009, affordability fell, sending the national average to a reading of 3.7 from 3.5 the year before. (A higher score indicates less affordability).

That would place Canada’s overall housing market in the “moderately unaffordable” category — from 3.1 to 4.0. The numbers are calculated by dividing the median residential house sale price for the third quarter by median annual gross household income.

In Vancouver, for example, a median home price of $540,900 was divided by median household income of $58,200 to create a multiple of 9.3, which the group describes as “severely unaffordable” — any reading of 5.1 and over.

Calgary, with an affordability index of 4.6, is just slightly less affordable than Prairie rivals Saskatoon (4.4) and Edmonton (4.1). On the international list, Calgary is 188th and its nearest neighbours are Eugene-Springfield, Ore.; Palmerston North-Manawatu, New Zealand; and Dundee, U.K. It’s just slightly more affordable than Dublin, Ireland.

Calgary and Edmonton became fractionally more affordable in 2009 after climbing two points over the previous four years. In 2008, Calgary’s index was 4.8 and Edmonton’s was 4.2.

Toronto moved from a reading of 4.8 to 5.2, moving it into the severely unaffordable category, while Montreal moved from a reading of 4.6 to 4.9.

“Montreal is approaching severely unaffordable for the first time. It appears Montreal has caught up to its urban growth limit and this has now become a real constraint on land supply,” the group said.

Victoria was second only to Vancouver, with its reading rising from 7.4 to 7.9, while Ottawa’ hot housing market remained within the realm of the moderately unaffordable, at least as measured as part of the Ottawa-Gatineau metropolitan area, with a reading of 3.8, up from 3.4 the year before.

dhealing@theherald.canwest.com

Calgary Herald

Calgary resale home prices to simmer in ’10

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

cf253380-54fa-405c-8e46-47bba163ada9CALGARY – In two years, Calgary’s resale real estate market has gone from “sizzle to fizzle to simmer,” incoming Calgary Real Estate Board president Diane Scott said Wednesday.

Aff ordability and low interest rates will keep the pot slowly boiling this year, creating modest growth in sales and prices, she predicted as the board hosted its annual forecast conference.

A panel of economists mostly concurred with the board’s projection of a continuation of the gradual recovery experienced in the second half of 2009, faltering later this year as low interest rates rise to more normal levels.

Scott told about 1,000 real estate agents in attendance a recovery in Calgary’s market is highly dependent on prices for oil and gas.

“Calgary and Alberta remain tied to global energy markets and, ultimately, the outlook for oil and gas will play a big role in employment and migration to Calgary,” she said. “The good news is we have the energy to recover.

“The road will be a little bumpy, but there is light on the horizon.”

The board estimates Calgary-region single-family home sales will climb to 17,000 from 14,440 in 2009 and 7,000 condominium units will change hands, versus 6,328 last year.

In 2007, single-family sales added up to 18,438 and there were 8,236 condos sold. In 2008, the numbers were 13,455 and 5,661, respectively, with the single-family number the lowest since 1996.

The board predicts the average price for a single-family home in Calgary in 2010 will jump six per cent to $470,000 from $442,327 last year and the average condo price will rise 4.3 per cent to $296,000 from $283,734 in 2009.

The average single-family home price peaked at $505,920 in July 2007 and condo prices hit a record $332,237 in May 2007.

Surrounding towns are expected to experience 14 per cent higher sales and 3.2 per cent growth in average prices.

The downtown apartment condo market is expected to be particularly slow this year, while smaller, single-family homes and lower-priced segments will lead in sales and price growth.

Scott noted that younger people buying starter homes have fuelled the market’s recovery so far. Better afford-ability will help encourage 15,000 people to relocate to Calgary this year, the board predicts.

The low level of listings in the market at year-end is expected to grow throughout 2010, giving buyers more options.

“We will not likely tip to a seller’s market until the end of 2010 and into 2011,” said Scott, describing the current market as “balanced.”

Panellist Adam Legge, chief economist for Calgary Economic Development, said he doesn’t think the pace of the recovery in the city in the second half of 2009 is sustainable because the recovery in the larger economy is largely based on stimulus spending and inventory replacement.

He said news Tuesday that the ConocoPhillips and Total plan to expand production at the Surmont in situ oilsands discovery near Fort McMurray, while encouraging, won’t necessarily help create jobs and confidence in Calgary.

“We’re going to see probably a number of years of very, very tepid growth in Calgary,” he said. “There’s not going to be any zooming to the nearly eight per cent GDP growth we saw in 2006.”

Warren Jestin, chief economist for Scotiabank, said he’s not a “double-dipper” — a proponent of a quick return to recession — but he does predict better-than-expected growth in the national economy in early 2010 to slow down in the second half of the year as the Bank of Canada raises its trendsetting interest rate by as much as 200 basis points.

He said the economy, after bumping along the bottom in the first half of 2009, is in a “good news” phase now, but that’s only because there’s less frequent bad news (such as Wednesday’s stock market sell-off).

Two real estate agents questioned panellist Richard Cho, Calgary market analyst for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., about whether the federal government will increase the minimum allowable down payment for first-time homebuyers above the existing five per cent.

Cho said the government is looking at it as an option, to prevent homebuyers from taking on too much debt, but added that the change wouldn’t have a great impact on the housing market because not many people use it.

dhealing@theherald. canwest.com

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Get the Best Bang for Your Buck!

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Whether doing it yourself or hiring a professional, interior painting, hardwood flooring and kitchen upgrades are among the renovations that yield the best return on investment.renovations

 Top ‘do it yourself’ renovations with the best return on investment

Renovation Project Approximate Cost (*) Approximate ROI (*)
Paint Interior $1,000 50 to 1000%
Replace carpeting with affordable laminate $2,000 for ( 1,000 sq.ft) 50 to 75%
Install new light fixtures $2,000 60 to 70%
Groom the exterior landscape $2,000 25 to 50%
Replace knobs and hardware $2,000 75 to 100%
Update the entryway $3,000 50 to 75%
Replace carpeting with laminate floors with hardwood $5,000 for (1,000 sq.ft) 50 to 75%
Build a fence/deck $5,000 50 to 75%
Renovation with best return on investment, some help may be required
Install an additional bathroom on main floor Under $5,000 80 to 100%
Renovate bathrooms $5,000 to $8,000 75 to 100%
Renovate kitchen $12,000 to $15,000 75 to 100%
(*) assumes mid-grade quality finishes, labour excluded

Calgary Metro Home Prices Edge Upwards

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Market rebounds on news that the worst of recession is over

 Calgary, September 1, 2009 – Calgary metro home prices made the first year-over-year increase on a monthly basis since February 2008 according to figures released by the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®). Prices received an added boost from the sale of a $10.3 million home earlier this month.

“Calgary’s housing prices are edging upwards as consumer confidence improves and demand continues to grow”, says Bonnie Wegerich, President of the Calgary Real Estate Board.  “The recent $10.3 million-sale has undoubtedly boosted the average price this month, but even without this sale the average price is higher than a year ago.”

The average price of a single family Calgary metro home in August 2009 was $454,130, showing an increase of 4 per cent from July 2009, when the average price was $436,782, and showing an increase of 3 per cent from August 2008, when the average price was $440,625. The average price of a Calgary metro condominium was $283,330 showing a 1 per cent decrease from July 2009, when the average price was $285,032 and a decrease of 2 per cent over last year, when the average price was $287,832. 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.

The last time prices showed a year-over-year increase was February 2008 when single-family homes rose by 5.2 per cent from February 2007 to $471,696 and condos increased by 3.3 per cent from February 2007 to $311,812.

The average price of a single family Calgary metro home in August 2009 without the $10.3 million-sale would be $446,413—coming in just above the average price one year ago.

“We might see a gradual edging up in average prices come this fall, but on the whole, prices will most likely remain relatively stable. With our inventory at about a three-month supply, the market continues to be in balance,” added Wegerich.

The number of single family homes and condos sold in August in Calgary metro are also both up from the same time a year ago.

Typically a slower month for sales, August saw 1,277 single family homes sold in Calgary metro. This is an increase of 9 per cent from August 2008, when single family home sales were 1,170. This is a decrease of 19 per cent from 1,585 sales in July of this year. The number of condominium sales for the month of August 2009 was 632, an increase of 28 per cent from August 2008 when 495 condominiums changed hands. This was a decrease of 10 per cent from the 702 condominium transactions recorded last month.

“We are seeing an upward revision of our housing market forecasts at the national level,” says Wegerich.  “I think it is fair to say the recovery in the market has been a little brisker then first expected—and all signs indicate the rebound, all be it gradual, will have some longevity.”

Single family Calgary metro new listings added for the month of August totaled 1,910, a decrease of 9 per cent from July 2009 when 2,089 new listings were added, and showing a decrease of 16 per cent from August 2008, when 2,270 new listings came to the market. Calgary metro condominium new listings added in August 2009 were 832, down 9 per cent from July 2009, when the MLS® saw 918 condo listings coming to the market. This is a decrease of 21 per cent from August 2008, when condominium listings were 1,054.

The median price of a single family Calgary metro home in August 2009 was $400,000, showing an increase of 3 per cent from July 2009, when the median price was $390,000, and up 1 per cent from August 2008, when the median price was $398,000. The median price of a condominium in August 2009 was $260,000, down 1 per cent from July 2009, when the median was $263,000, and down 3 per cent from August 2008, when the median price was $268,500. 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.

“All in all we are optimistic about the fall market.  Low mortgage rates, government incentives and realistic pricing on the part of sellers are contributing to healthy sales numbers—as is the recent boost in consumer confidence on news that the worst of the economic slowdown is over,” says Wegerich.

CREB® is a professional body of 5,445 licensed brokers and registered associates, representing 252 member offices. The Board does not generate statistics or analysis of any individual member or company’s market share. All MLS® active listings for Calgary and area may be found on the Board’s website at www.creb.com.

The full statistics package can be found on REALTORLink® here.

CREB® Communications

 

 

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.
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