Archive for the ‘Buyers Market’ Category

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

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

CREB® Communications



Preparing to BUY!

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Buyers : Know your Numbers

If you’re planning to buy a house or condo, a little research gives you confidence that you know what you;re getting and that the price is fair.

  Talk to your broker – This is the right time to visit your mortgage broker to prearrange your mortgage and lock in a low interest rate. You’ll also learn how much you will be eligible to borrow. Plus, you’ll be able to design a mortgage that will suit your needs.

  Set A limit – Knowing your upper limit for a morgageg, together with the amount of your down payment and estimates for utilities and taxes , will tell you how much home you can afford and are comfortable carrying.

  Know your neighbourhood – Get to know your desired area, identifying both trouble spots and the best streets. Ask your agent to provide some actual selling prices in those areas.

  Make your wish list – Choosing and buying a home usually incolves trade-offs, even in a buyers market. View listings and visit a couple of open houses to spark discussion and zero in on whats really important to you.

The bottom line for buyers and sellers alike? the better prepared you are,the more likely you are to be satisfied with the outcome.


Coventry Hills Townhouse – $299,900

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

This unit shows 10 /10! This very well maintained original owner, non-animal, non-smoker’s house is in the desired Community of Coventry Hills. The main floor offers an open plan with upgraded kitchen that includes stainless steel appliance, maple cabinets & breakfast bar. The main floor also offer a 2 piece bath, a large living/dining room area with patio doors that lead out onto a green space. The upstairs offers 2 spacious bedrooms with walk in closets and a large 4 piece bathroom. The basement is undeveloped and ready for your creative touch. This unit also offers hardwood floors, ceramic tile back splash, built in sound system, roughed in wiring for a security system,single attached garage , upgraded maple railings and a park view. This property is in a great location close to major road ways, public transit, schools, playgrounds, shopping, restaurants, golf, Cardel Place Recreational Center & Movie theater. All appliances are included. This unit is in mint condition, don’t miss this opportunity.


Now is the time for prospective homebuyers!

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

The latest round of statistics released from the Calgary Real Estate Board show May was another strong month in our city.

Single-family home sales in metro Calgary were up 23% from April 2009, according to the MLS sales activity, with 1,584 properties exchanging hands.

Better yet, May 2009 single-family homes sales were an increase of 16% from May 2008.

“We are seeing the first year-over-year gain in single family homes sales since last September,” says Bonnie Wegerich, President of the Calgary Real Estate Board. “A pent up demand has been building — with many first-time home buyers now taking advantage of affordable prices, record low interest rates and federal government housing incentives.”

And first time buyers are coming out in droves. In the Calgary metro area, homes priced at $400,000 or less accounted for nearly 70% of all home re-sales in the month of May.

While reduced interest rates make payments an easier pill to swallow for those making the transition from tenant to homeowner, lower house prices are assisting those who might have previously been priced out of the market as well.

The average price of a single family home in metro Calgary in May 2009 was $436,427, an increase of 2% from April pricing, but a substantial 9% decrease from May 2008’s average house price of $479,564.

The increased market activity is also lowering the gap between supply and demand, which was driving prices down at the end of last year.

“Since December we have seen five consecutive months of increases in home sales, while our inventory continues to trend lower. The gap has narrowed and prices are stabilizing” Wegerich says.

Wegerich went on to say that “all signs indicated we are moving to a balanced and stable market. Consumer confidence is improving, prices are holding steady and inventory is trending downward.”

While inventory is heading down fixed interest rates took a jump recently due to increasing pressure from the raising bond rates. Some lenders increased rates as much as 30 points in one day with hints of additional increases on the horizon.

For those that have been sitting on the fence waiting to take advantage of the current market conditions the window of opportunity may be starting to close on historic low interest rates.

Prospective buyers could protect themselves by securing a pre-approval rate hold, typically available with most lenders for 90 — 120 days, or by ensuring that any pre-approval already in place does not lapse.

It is important to recognize that if you do have a pre-approval in place which is allowed to expire, the slightly increased interest rates available today could lower your maximum purchase price. This is because higher interest rates drive up monthly payments, which translates into a larger payment to factor into your total debt ratio.

Contact an experienced mortgage expert today to determine your best course of action, ensuring you are positioned to take advantage of all the market conditions available to those willing to take action right now, including low interest rates. Nothing can last forever.


Foreclosure investing: what you should know!

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Canada is experiencing significant increases in foreclosure. Many seasoned investors are spending much time and resources to identify “distressed” (read: foreclosed) properties, in an effort to acquire them at significantly below market value.

Upon acquisition, the investor can improve the property and sell at a higher price or simply keep it as a rental property.

What is a foreclosure?

Many have heard the term foreclosure in their life, but few understand what it means.

Practically speaking, foreclosure is the legal process of transferring property ownership from the borrower to the lender.

Why is a property foreclosed upon?

Normally, foreclosure is caused due to non-payment of a mortgage. This can happen for a number of reasons including loss of job, divorce, disability or other even death.

Other reasons causing foreclosure is one that is more common in today’s climate: lenders failing to renew mortgages. Yes, it is true.

For years many have treated a mortgage renewal as a simple signature on a renewal notice sent to you in the mail.

In the last 12 months however, some lenders are no longer renewing mortgages either because the lender is out of business or because they no longer offer the mortgage product, such as a revenue property mortgage.

As the borrower, you may have made all your payments on time, however upon renewal date, the lender has the right not to renew, despite your good payment history.

If you cannot find a replacement lender within a reasonable amount of time, (sometimes up to 90 days) the existing lender will initiate foreclosure.

Why do savvy investors seek foreclosures?

Experienced investors seek foreclosures because they know that the court system uses a valuation system for properties that are in foreclosure usually at a far lower amount than market value.

The value they use is called “forced sale, cash value.”

The general idea of “forced sale, cash value” is to determine what a person would pay for the property, if it were to be purchased using all cash, not bank financing.

Like in many things in life, a buyer usually gets a good deal if they pay for something with all cash, instead of credit.

You may normally experience this type of pricing in garage sales, flea markets or shopping bazaars.

It may be hard to believe, but this same concept applies in the foreclosure system.

During the foreclosure process, the courts order an appraisal on the subject property in order to determine both the market value and the forced sale, cash value.

In general terms, if the borrower’s mortgage is worth more than the forced sale, cash value then most likely the borrower will end up losing the house to the lender.

If the forced sale value is higher than the mortgage amount owing, then the borrower will be given time to either refinance or sell the house, before the lender is given a chance to take it over.

The savvy investors seek those properties where the mortgage amount owing is far less than the forced sale, cash value so they can negotiate a purchase from the current homeowner at a value that is both low enough to generate a high margin and that will be enough to pay out the lenders on title.

Why do people who are in foreclosure sell their houses to investors at a value far less than what the market will offer?

Many times homeowners who are in foreclosure simply do not want the stress.

In other cases, it may be cheaper to sell the house fast, rather than incur legal fees that can average over $7,000 just for the lender’s lawyers—#8212;not including the borrower’s lawyers, court costs, court appointed REALTOR® costs, bank late interest, fees, other charges and arrears payments.

Example of a foreclosure purchase:

For example, let’s say a property has a market value of $425,000, based upon comparable sales in a neighborhood.

The property is in foreclosure, so the court appointed appraisal firm determines a forced sale, cash value of $360,000.

Additionally, let’s say the owner of the property owes the lender a mortgage amount of $280,000.

In this example, we have “market equity” of $145,000 and “hard equity” of $80,000.

Despite the equity in the property, the homeowner may be happy just to have another person write them a check for $50,000 above the amount owed to the lender and walk away from the headache.

Of course, the investor does not get the instant $95,000 equity for free, they must also have enough money or financial strength to either payout the existing mortgages or bring the arrears payment up-to-date and convince the lender to let them take over the payments.

Now the new owner can fix the house up, or better yet, if the house is already in great shape, just clean it and list it for sale.

If the investor is not interest in making a fast dollar, but would like to make more profit, over the longer term, then they may simply keep it as a rental and sell it in years to come.


6 Mathematical Reasons Support Buying Your Home Soon

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

1. Rates are the lowest that they have been for 70 years.With the Bank of Canada’s decision to lower Prime a quarter per cent from 2.50% to 2.25% and its commitment to not change rates for another year, Canadians are expected to continue to take advantage of a record-low prime rates, which are 2.25% at most financial institutions. 3.80% for a 5 year fixed or 3.00% variable(Prime +.75%) are the lowest rates have been since WWII. Rates are this low due to the housing problems started in the USA. Canada followed the American lead lowering rates step for step and now is the best time to take advantage of the situation. In fact, most people with mortgages at 5% or more, who are in year 3, 4 or 5 of a 5 year term, should be better off with renegotiating their mortgage rates.

2.Prices are the lowest that they have been for 3 years .The recent price declines have seen condos that were selling at $260,000 in 2007 now selling for $199,000. The average home price in July, 2007 was $473,000 and is now $403,000 – $70,000 less. These are considered short term price reductions due to the overbuilding in the last boom produced.

Fourth quarter 2008 research by RBC, which measured the proportion of pre-tax household income needed to own a home, found that affordability improved across Canada up to 3.5%. This is due in part to rising family income, as well as lower lending rates. For example, the Bank of Canada has further reduced the overnight rate to 0.25%, from 4.5% in about a year

3 & 4. Interest rates & home prices are expected to increase due to inflation. The US has stated that they are ready to print up to $5 trillion in new funds to support their stimulus spending package, bailouts of the banks, fighting 2 wars and continue to pay their debts, including Medicaid and Medicare, which are $2 trillion underfunded today.

Printing the extra money to pay for it all (the largest increase in national debt since WWII) will increase the money supply by 40% – 50%. That means for every $5 in people’s pockets there will be an extra $2. That extra $2 causes more money to chase the same amount of goods when the recession is over and people start to spend again. Prices then increase
because the supply of goods has remained the same, but demand for those goods has increased and those extra dollars in people’s wallets cause the price to be bid up.

Real Estate is a built-in hedge against inflationThe best way to slow inflation is to raise interest rates so interest rates are expected to go up quickly when the recession is seen to be over by the governments. Raising inflation means that your house will also be going up at the same rate as inflation rises.

Let’s say you put down 5% on a house for $400,000. If inflation then goes up to 10% in one year then your house should go up at the same rate, or 10%. Your house is now worth $440,000 and all the other homes would have gone up the same amount as well. Your $20,000 down payment has now made $40,000. This is called leverage and is a great way for most people stay “even with inflation.” If you decided to keep that $20,000 as cash, it would now really be worth only $18,000 after inflation is taken into account ($20,000 – 10%= $18,000).

5. Buying can cost less than renting because rent is “sticky”. Wages and rents are ‘sticky.’ They go up fast but come down slowly as no one wants their wages or rental income to be reduced. A rental house recently purchased with 15% down for $400,000 at 6.5% interest would need to have a rent of about $1500 a month to break even. Most investors would not want to take a loss and would set the rent the same as the mortgage payment. Average rents would then tend to even out at the same $1500 a month.

Cheaper to buy then rent Because house prices are already down 15% – 20% and mortgage interest rates are less than 4% for a 5 year term, that same $400,000 house can now be purchased for $320,000 with 5% down and payments will now be about $1,340 a month plus property tax of $125 = $1,465 a month. It is now cheaper to buy than rent! Generally, the gap between renting and buying is close to the smallest it has ever been for the last 4 years. Rents are expected to stay the same or increase with the expected inflation. If they increase the same stickiness will keep them where they are even when inflation subsides. This makes buying an even better bet as you are paying your own mortgage, not someone else’s.

6. Alberta & Canada Economies Are Still Strong. • Canada is predicted by the International Monetary Fund – IMF – to be one of the first G20 countries
to emerge from the world wide down turn. Our energy and natural resources are the raw materials used for the world’s production and demand for them will kick start our economy first.

• Since October 2008, Canadian job quality has basically held steady according to CIBC’s Employment Quality Index (EQI). The bank’s EQI ranks job quality by assessing a number of factors including the distribution of part-time vs. full-time jobs; self-employment vs. paid employment; and the compensation ranking of full-time paid employment in more than 100 industry groups.

“The relative stability of our employment quality index suggests that when the labour market turns a corner, job gains will translate into income gains much more quickly than they have in the past, as the base of the existing labour pool is of a higher quality when compared to previous recessions.”

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

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!

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.