Courtesy of CREB.  By Gerald Vander Pyl


Making sure your dream renovation doesn’t turn into a nightmare means doing some due diligence before signing on the dotted line.

Many potential problems can be avoided by simply choosing the right contractor to tackle your renovation project, says Danny Ritchie, president and co-owner of Ultimate Homes & Renovations.

“People need to do their homework a little bit more on the credibility and background of the company,” said Ritchie. “How long they’ve been in business, what their track record is, how much subcontracting they do.”

Here are four renovation nightmares you might encounter and, more importantly, how to avoid them:

1. Contractor takes a deposit then disappears
Consumer groups warn about smooth-talking, door-to-door contractors who offer to repair a roof or renovate a bathroom, accept a deposit and then are never heard from again.

Ritchie says people should never decide who to hire because “they like the salesman.”
He says get a business card, check them out first and then decide if it’s a good idea to hire someone who knocked on your door.

2. Costly “extras” start adding up
The price you are quoted is only useful if it spells out exactly what’s included. Otherwise, you might find yourself charged more during construction to get the renovation you actually wanted.

Ritchie says for a major renovation project, his company often provides the homeowner with a “scope of work” that includes 20 pages of specifications on the materials included, so there are no surprises.

“Even to the point of saying how many pot lights will be put into a kitchen, and not just (an amount) for electrical,” he said.

3. Renovation is taking forever
Ritchie says a disreputable renovator might tell a person “what they want to hear” when it comes to how long a project will take, regardless of whether that timeframe is realistic or not

“Quite often, I’ll tell a customer that it’s going to take three or four months to do this job, and they’ll turn around and tell me, ‘the other guy said he can do it in three to six
weeks,’ ” he said.

He adds a typical kitchen renovation takes two to three months – not two to three weeks – so be wary of anyone who promises such a tight turnaround.

4. Renovator doesn’t back up their workmanship
After a renovation is complete, there are bound to be a few things that might need a follow-up visit to fix or touch up, so a contractor who doesn’t respond will leave the homeowner in the lurch.

Ritchie says being a member of the RenoMark program is a good indicator that a company stands behind its workmanship, since the program’s code of conduct requires companies to offer at least a two-year warranty on a renovation.

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Courtesy of CREB


City of Calgary, January 2, 2019 -As oversupply continues in Calgary’s housing market, December prices eased by one per cent compared to last month and are over three per cent below last December.


“Persistent weakness in the job market and changes in the lending market impacted sales activity in the resale market this year,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.


“This contributed to elevated supply in the resale market, resulting in price declines.”


December sales totalled 794 units, a 21 per cent decline over the previous year. Overall year-to-date sales in the city totalled 16,144 units. This is a 14 per cent decline over 2017 and nearly 20 per cent below long-term averages.


Inventory levels in December sat at 4,904 units. This is well above levels recorded last year and 30 per cent above typical levels for the month. Elevated resale inventories in 2018 were caused by gains in the detached and attached sectors.


Throughout 2018, the months of supply remained elevated and averaged 5.2 months. This contributed to the annual average benchmark price decline of 1.5 per cent. Price declines occurred across all product types and have caused citywide figures to remain over nine per cent below the monthly highs recorded in 2014.


“Both buyers and sellers faced adjustments in expectations this year. Sellers had to compete with more choice in the resale market, but also the new-home market,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.


“With less people looking for a home, it became a choice between delaying when to sell or adjusting the sale price. However, buyers looking for more affordable product did not find the same price adjustments that existed in some of the higher price ranges.”


More information on the 2018 housing market will be released at CREB®’s 2019Forecast Conference & Tradeshow(www.crebforecast.com) on Jan. 30, 2019.


HOUSING MARKET FACTS


Detached


•Detached sales declined across all districts in 2018. With citywide sales of 9,945 units, activity remains 21 per cent below typical levels for the year.


•Detached inventories were higher than last year’s levels for each month of the year, including December. Slow sales caused the market to be oversupplied through most of 2018.


•Detached benchmark prices totalled $481,400 in December, a one per cent decline over last month and a three per cent decline over last year. Overall, 2018 prices declined by 1.5 per cent compared to last year.


•Prices have eased across most districts in 2018. The largest declines this year have occurred in the North East, North West and North districts.


Apartment


•Apartment sales totalled 2,663 units in 2018. While the decline is less than other product types, levels are 22 per cent below long-term averages.


•The apartment condominium sector has struggled with oversupply for almost three years and 2018 was no exception.


•However, supply has been easing, as inventories this year averaged 1,584 units, one per cent below last year’s levels.


•Despite slowing supply growth, the market remained oversupplied, causing further price declines. In December, benchmark prices were $251,500, over two per cent below last year. Annually, prices have declined by nearly three per cent for a total decline of 14 per cent since 2014.


•Price declines this year have ranged from a high of nearly six per cent in the East district to a low of two per cent in both the City Centre and North West districts.


Attached


•Declines for both row and semi-detached product resulted in 2018 attached sales of 3,536 units, a 15 per cent decline over the previous year and 14 per cent below long-term averages.


•Slower sales activity prompted some pull-back in new listings, but this was limited to the row sector. Row new listings declined by four per cent and semi-detached new listings rose by nearly 15 per cent in 2018.


•Despite some adjustments to new listings, inventory levels remained elevated, keeping the market in buyers’ market territory and putting downward pressure on prices.


•In December, the semi-detached benchmark price totalled $397,500. This is a monthly and year-over-year decline of 0.8 and 3.8 per cent, respectively. Recent price declines have caused this sector to erase any of the gains that occurred last year, as 2018 prices remain just below 2017 levels. Overall, annual prices remain 1.4 per cent below 2014 peak levels.


•Row prices have also been edging down. As of December, row prices were $288,400, a 1.5 per cent decline from last month and nearly four per cent below last year’s levels. Overall, 2018 prices remain two per cent below last year’s levels and nearly 10 per cent below previous highs.


You can download the complete statistics package HERE.

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Wishing everyone a very




Merry Christmas


and a


Healthy, Happy & Prosperous


New Year!

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Courtesy of CREB


City of Calgary, December 3, 2018 - Sitting below long-term averages, November sales in the city totaled 1,171 units.
For the year so far, sales activity has totaled 15,349 units, a 14 per cent decline over last year and nearly 20 per cent below long-term averages.


“Recent challenges in the energy sector have weighed on consumer confidence over the past month. Combined with weakness in the employment market and further gains in lending rates, this is impacting ownership demand,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.


New listings eased by seven per cent in November compared to last year. The adjustment in new listings has helped prevent further inventory gains, with 6,501 units in overall inventory, but levels remain well above the 5,683 units in inventory seen last year and 32 per cent higher than typical levels for November.


“Higher inventories and weaker sales are resulting in buyer’s market conditions and price declines,” said Lurie.
The citywide benchmark price was $422,600 in November, nearly one per cent lower than last month and over three per cent below last year’s levels.


Year-to-date sales have slowed across all price ranges, except product priced below $200,000, which now represents nearly six per cent of all sales. The largest decline in sales has occurred in the $600,000 -$999,9999 range.
“In any market, affordable product is always desirable,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.


“For buyers, it may mean being able to step into a home that was previously unattainable. It also means that sellers need to be keenly aware what is successfully selling in their neighbourhood and surrounding communities.”


HOUSING MARKET FACTS


Detached


• Detached sales declined across all districts in November. With citywide sales of 679 units, activity remains 21 per cent below typical levels for the month.
• New listings eased by three per cent compared to last year, due to declines mostly in the North East, North and South East districts. Year-to-date new listings this year have increased in all areas except the North East and East districts.
• Inventories in the detached sector totalled 3,491 units, 26 per cent higher than last year’s levels. Months of supply sits at five months, well above the three-month typical for November.
• Detached benchmark prices totalled $486,000 in November, a one per cent decline over last month and a three per cent decline over last year. This is nearly seven per cent below monthly highs recorded in October 2014.
• Prices have eased across all districts in November. On a year-to-date basis, the largest declines this year have occurred in the North East and North districts. This is likely due to the increased competition from the new-home sector. The districts that remain furthest from price recovery are the North West and South districts.


Apartment


• Despite year-over-year gains in sales in November, citywide apartment sales have totalled 2,557 units so far this year. This is five per cent lower than last year and 21 per cent below long-term averages.
• The majority of activity in condos is located within the city centre, representing nearly 48 per cent of all the sales activity.
• Following years of oversupply, the number of new listings in the apartment sector continues to ease, helping prevent further significant gains in inventories and even contributing to inventory reductions in the South, East and North East districts.
• Despite some adjustments in inventories, most areas continue to struggle with oversupply, causing further price declines. Price declines this year have ranged from a high of nearly six per cent in the East district to a low of two per cent in both the City Centre and North West districts.


Attached


• Year-to-date attached sales totalled 3,344 units, a 16 per cent decline over the previous year and 14 per cent below long-term averages. Sales activity eased across most districts except for the North East, where sales remained relatively stable because of improvements in row activity.
• Overall, rising new listings continue to place upward pressure on inventory levels and the gains have mostly occurred with semi-detached product.
• Oversupply conditions have weighed on prices. In November, the semi-detached benchmark price totalled $400,700. This is a monthly and year-over year decline of 0.67 and 3.3 per cent, respectively. Recent price declines have caused this sector to erase any of the gains that occurred last year, as year-to-date prices remain comparable to 2017 levels.
• Row prices have also been edging down, but at a slower pace than semi-detached product. As of November, row prices were $292,900, a 0.2 per cent decline from last month and just over three per cent below last year’s levels. Overall, year-to-date prices remain nearly two per cent below last year’s levels and nearly 10 per cent below previous highs.


You can download the complete statistics package HERE.

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Courtesy of CREB.  By  Mario Toneguzzi-Nov. 16, 2018


If you’re looking to enter the condo market in Calgary these days, there’s certainly a lot of choice available among new apartment-style condos and those on the resale market

As of the end of October, year-to-date MLS® System sales totalled 2,316 units, down 6.5 per cent compared with the same period a year ago, and the inventory of properties for sale sat at 1,666 units, which was up by 0.75 per cent.

However, the most telling number is months of supply. The months of supply indicate how long it would take to sell all the homes listed for sale given the current demand. At the end of October, it stood at an elevated 7.12 months, up 1.56 per cent from a year ago.

James Cuddy, senior market analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), said Calgary, and all of Alberta, is still feeling the effects of the most recent recession.“Inventories were quite high, but have come down considerably since about March 2017, when we saw the inventory peak for apartment-type units.” – James Cuddy, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

“Ultimately, there was a lot of activity leading up to the recession. Once the oil price shock hit (in the latter half of 2014), it kind of pulled the demand out of the market and really the end result was an imbalance between supply and demand,” said Cuddy.

“But a lot of the inventory has come down quite a bit since a year and a half ago when it was quite high.”

Here are the latest numbers from CMHC on multi-family housing starts in the Calgary region up until the end of October:

  • Semi-detached starts have fallen to 1,060 from 1,120 a year ago
  • Row starts are down from 1,322 last year to 1,210 this year
  • Apartment starts have risen to 4,066 from 3,221 in 2017
  • The number of semi-detached homes under construction was 826
  • The number of row homes under construction was 1,346
  • The number of apartments under construction was 7,443

“Inventories were quite high, but have come down considerably since about March 2017, when we saw the inventory peak for apartment-type units,” said Cuddy. “Absorption has moved at a good pace since the height of the recession for condos.”


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Courtey of CREB.


Like much of the housing market in Calgary’s slowly recovering economy, the condo segment has seen below average sales volumes and higher than average availability so far this year. However, many of the city’s developers remain bullish about the condo market’s future.


Charron Ungar – CEO, Homes by Avi
“ We know jobs push housing demand and multi-family housing is one of the fastest moving product sectors for newcomers to town, the newly employed and downsizers. If job security and a strong resale market take hold, available multi-family product will attract considerable buyer attention. Now is a great time to buy, particularly as interest rates are still low compared to where lending rates are predicted to trend. Calgary’s current inventory levels offer great variety and deep incentives, but I recommend keeping an eye on the price of Canadian crude and its ability to get to market – once that starts to rise, today’s buyers’ market will quickly begin to dry up.”

Ryan Bosa – president, Bosa Development
“Bosa set its sights on Calgary a number of years ago because we saw the potential to lead smart growth, creating developments that are urban focal points and change the way people live. Our commitment to Calgary and the communities in which we build is long term, and we respect the city’s resilience. We are big-picture thinkers and have immersed ourselves in the city to truly understand the impact of economic cycles – and we prepare and plan accordingly.”

Mike Bucci – vice-president, Bucci Developments
“In 2008, prices dropped 20 to 30 per cent, but today’s developers are better financed so you won’t see those price drops. People are renting longer, but are savvy, realizing there are few new projects. We are seeing a lot of interest in Bridgeland (with Radius). We are very optimistic about Calgary and continue to invest millions of dollars. Migration is strong, job growth is strong, and we believe 2019 is going to be a pretty strong year for condos.”

Norah Fraser – director sales/marketing, Minto Communities
“Calgary’s community-minded nature is only becoming stronger, and people, more-and-more, want to live in closer proximity, fostering that sense of community. The condo lifestyle is one of the best ways for the urbanist to embrace all aspects of living inner city. While this economic recovery might not be as quick as some prior, it’s becoming more stable every day. As we climb out of this downturn together, we are confident and excited to be able to offer the city an affordable way to be a part of a community in a convenient, urban and desirable way.”

Chris Pollen – director sales/marketing, Battistella Developments
“Battistella has always believed in Calgary and the potential of the inner city. The market has been challenged over the past few years, but there is opportunity in every market. We believe we are at the start of a new condo construction cycle in Calgary. Projects typically take three to four years from sales launch to possession. In the inner city, we haven’t had a concrete condo launch since 2015 – we are excited to include Nude as part of the next wave. There are many buyers who want to buy into a new development and continue to save and wait for completion in a few years.”

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Are you thinking about a place to get away from winter?  A second home where you can relax away from the snow and cold?  Consider San Antonio, Texas.  Great weather, great people.


Sonoma Mesa

Single Family Homes - United States - Texas

Location: 17155 Turin Ridge, San Antonio, TX, United States


Breathtaking views of the Hill Country and the Cedar Creek Golf Course await from hillside homesites at Sonoma Mesa in San Antonio. Residents can also enjoy close proximity to retail, dining and entertainment at The Shops at La Cantera, The Rim and Fiesta Texas in this gated community. Plus, homeowners benefit from the incredible energy efficiency of a PowerSmart home.



Community Highlights


Behind the entry gates of Sonoma Mesa are hillside homesites and picturesque vistas of nearby golf courses, along with spacious greenbelts. You will be captivated by the native beauty of San Antonio in a community that also offers the convenience of close proximity to shops, restaurants and entertainment.

Home Features
Homes range in size from 260 to 366 square meters, with numerous design touches for beauty and practicality — such as ceramic tile in the kitchen and breakfast area, granite countertops, climate controlled master closet, overhead cabinets for added storage and weatherproof exterior outlets. Also, offered is the popular PowerSmart Home which is individually inspected and tested by an independent third-party engineering firm to rate and confirm energy efficiency. Another exclusive offering from the builder are thousands of dollars in extras simply included with each home, providing great value and the latest in luxury, technology and efficiency. Among the items throughout the home: built-in appliance package, recessed lighting, cultured marble vanities, chair rail in dining room, cast stone fireplace surround, full security system with motion detector and two keypads, programmable thermostat with humidity control, and much more.


Location

17155 Turin Ridge, San Antonio, TX, United States

For more information on this or many other peoerties in the U.S., click HERE.

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Courtesy of CREB.  By Gerald Vander Pyl


Breaking New Ground

On a cold February day in 1968, a fleet of heavy equipment began stripping the prairie grass from a tract of land in southeast Calgary for a new community.

But any spectators to the activity might have been surprised when the machines started excavating deep into the ground.

It was the unlikely beginnings of Lake Bonavista, a new neighbourhood built by legendary builder and developer E.V. Keith that would become the first manmade lake community in Canada. Calgary now has almost a dozen lake communities, but back in the late 1960s it was a radical idea.

“Crazy,” is how Les Cosman recalled the reaction from most people to Keith’s plans, formed after he took an airplane flight over some early lake communities in Los Angeles.

“Every year he would look at the California market to see what was going on, because it was so big relative to our market,” said Cosman, who would eventually become CEO of Genstar, which bought Keith Construction when Keith’s declining health caused him to step away from his businesses.

“He saw lake developments down there and he came back and decided we were going to build a lake.”

Cosman says Keith had already shocked the local real estate scene by building Willow Park, Calgary’s first golf course community.

“Like everything else, he came up with an idea,” he said. “Pardon the expression, but (Lake Bonavista) was breaking new ground.”

In 1968, after months of excavating, the 52-acre Lake Bonavista was created along with a 25-acre park that included a 65-foot hill with a waterfall.

A second lake, Bonaventure, was added afterwards.

“Keith was a visionary,” said Cosman.

“He had a reputation as a gambler, but he always gambled with his own money and not somebody else’s.”

“LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE, HE CAME UP WITH AN IDEA. PARDON THE EXPRESSION, BUT (LAKE BONAVISTA) WAS BREAKING NEW GROUND.” – LES COSMAN, FORMER CEO OF GENSTAR DEVELOPMENT COMPANY

Beverly Sandalack, associate dean and professor of landscape architecture and planning in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary, says in land-locked Alberta, “water is a real drawing feature, for both living and recreation.”

“I think it did start trends,” she said, adding you only need to check Google Maps to see the numbers of manmade lakes that have been built in the city since Lake Bonavista.

“I can totally understand their appeal, and if you have a family, it must be totally fantastic to have that in your backyard.”

But Sandalack also wonders what the future holds for lake communities, as climate change makes water a more and more valuable resource.

She says in her department at the University of Calgary, “we talk a lot about what the 21st-century city is going to look like, and on the Prairies, it is just not going to be built around lakes.”

That being said, the appeal of Calgary’s current lake communities remains strong.

Mike Mikkelson recalls spending many happy days at Lake Bonavista as a child.

Although his family lived in northwest Calgary, an aunt and uncle bought one of the first homes in Lake Bonavista, and he was a frequent visitor.

Mikkelson says even then, “it was always in the back of my mind that one day I would move to (Lake) Bonavista.”

That finally happened in 1995, and Mikkelson is now the president of the Lake Bonavista Homeowners Association, whose volunteer board oversees operation of the lake and surrounding parkland.

“When Keith built the lake in 1968, he created the home owners association to be stewards of the lake and the park – to manage and take care of his legacy and what he created,” said Mikkelson.

The association recently began construction of a new $2-million, 7,500-square-foot community building to replace the original one built in the late 1960s.

Mikkelson says Lake Bonavista remains a great community in which to live, with many schools, churches, a shopping centre, easy access, and desirable homes that retain their property value.

“But (the lake) is the centre piece,” he said. “People are moving back to the community for a lot of reasons, but I think most are coming for the lake.”

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With office vacancy rates in Calgary still at near-peak levels, companies are converting entire office towers into residential buildings to appeal to a different type of tenant.


Ken Toews is vice-president of development with Strategic Group, which is currently redeveloping four office buildings in Alberta for residential use and has plans for two more.


Included are the Barron, an 11-storey Art Deco tower along Calgary’s Stephen Avenue that will have 93 residential rental suites along with office and retail space, and Cube, a seven-storey building in the Beltline being converted into 65 rental suites.


Toews says Strategic Group is very entrepreneurial, so given the weak market for office space rentals, it sought a different use for some of its buildings.


“Where the building is the right size and in the right location, we have been converting from office to residential,” he said.


He says conversions are still quite rare in Canada, but they have been more common in places like Chicago, which he toured while planning the company’s Alberta projects.


“There’s a whole bunch of things that you have to do right to make them work,” he said.


Strategic Group’s conversions will include things like rooftop amenity spaces, ground-floor retail and even an entire new residential building to accompany the office building being converted.


“We’re not really a cookie-cutter-type company,” said Toews. “We adapt our projects to the neighbourhood and the people who are going to be tenants.”


Bruce McKenzie – vice-president of business development at the Calgary office of architectural, engineering and planning company NORR – says when B Class office buildings could be bought for less than the cost of new construction, “a lot of clients were coming to us and saying, ‘what could I do with this (building)? I could buy it so cheap.’ ”


McKenzie says they worked on more than 20 projects, but converting a building designed for office use into residential has many challenges.


He says the typical “floor plate” of an office building is much larger and deeper than a residential building, making it difficult to design suites with natural lighting from outside windows.


Many B Class office buildings were built using post-tension construction, so drilling into the floor slabs to install plumbing needed for numerous suites is dangerous and costly.


Former office buildings might also lack sufficient parking for residents, or their older mechanical systems might need to be completely replaced.


McKenzie says many companies contemplating an office to residential conversion eventually decided to walk away from a prospective purchase due to the challenges.


Still, companies are finding the right combination of factors to go ahead with certain projects.


Toews says the first residents are expected to move into Cube by March 2019 and the Barron in 2020, bringing new residents into the downtown core.


“We’re big believers in Calgary’s downtown,” he said. “The great thing about converting office buildings into residential is actually getting more people living in downtown. The whole vibrancy of downtown is really important.”




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Courtesy of CREB


City of Calgary, October 1, 2018 – With no change in the economic climate, Calgary’s sales activity totaled 1,273 units in September, a 13 per cent decline over the previous year and well below long-term averages. There was a pullback in sales across all product types, most notably the detached market.


“Calgary’s economy continues to struggle with unemployment, which rose again last month to over eight per cent. Concerns in the employment market, higher lending rates and shaken confidence are weighing on housing demand,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.


“At the same time, supply levels continue to remain high, resulting in persistent oversupply and price declines.”
Inventories totaled 7,941 units, pushing the months of supply to 6.25. This continuation in oversupply is placing downward pressure on prices. The unadjusted citywide benchmark price totaled $428,700 in September. This is nearly one per cent below last month and three per cent below last year’s levels.


“This is the new normal of Calgary’s real estate,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.


“Some potential buyers may want to take advantage of the market conditions, but they face difficulties selling their existing home based on their expectations. This prevents them from purchasing something else.”


September sales have dipped, but third quarter figures generally point towards a slower decline in sales and some easing in new listings growth. This was not enough to impact inventory levels this quarter.


The Calgary economy continues to struggle, but there are some signs of improvement in the rental market, which could contribute to a slow reduction in overall housing supply.


HOUSING MARKET FACTS


Detached


  • Year-to-date sales eased to 7,945 units, over 20 per cent below the 10-year average. Sales eased across all price ranges, except properties under $300,000, which posted a modest gain.
  • Easing sales were met with some adjustments in new listings in September. However, inventories remain elevated and are higher than long-term averages in most districts.
  • Months of supply rose to 5.5 months in September and continue to weigh on housing prices across all districts.
  • Detached benchmark prices totaled $493,100 in September. This is a 0.8 per cent decline over last month and three per cent below the previous year.
  • Prices have trended down in most districts in September. However, on a year-to-date basis, benchmark prices remain above last year in both the City Centre and West districts.


Apartment


  • The apartment sector has seen the slowest decline in sales at six per cent so far this year. Like the detached sector, activity remains over 20 per cent below long-term averages, totaling 2,104 sales.
  • For the fourth month in a row, new listings have generally trended lower than levels recorded last year. This has helped reduce some of the inventory in the market compared to the previous year.
  • However, even with some reductions in inventory levels, the market continues to remain firmly in buyer’s territory when compared to the reduction in sales.
  • With more supply than demand, benchmark prices for apartment condominium continued to ease in September, declining by 0.4 per cent over last month and 2.7 per cent compared to last year.
  • Attached
  • The attached sector has recorded year-to-date sales of 2,814. This is 15 per cent below last year and 14 per cent below long-term averages.
  • With no significant reduction in new listings, inventory levels remained elevated, pushing up months of supply to over seven months.
  • Elevated levels of supply compared to demand persisted for both row and semi-detached product types. Like all other sectors, the oversupply has weighed on prices across all districts, except the City Centre, North East and East.
  • While September semi-detached benchmark prices eased, year-to-date prices remained just above last year’s levels. The recent oversupply has eroded some of the steps made toward price recovery last year.
  • Row benchmark prices have averaged $298,667 this year, nearly two per cent below last year and nine per cent below previous highs. Despite the citywide pullback, row prices have remained relatively stable in the City Centre, North West and South East districts.

You can download the complete statistics package HERE.




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Courtesy of CREB.  By Mario Toneguzzi


Housing affordability has been the talk of the nation in recent years, especially as tighter mortgage regulations and higher borrowing costs have started to impact housing markets across the country.
A recent report by RBC Economic Research indicates that Calgary’s housing market isn’t out of reach for many potential homebuyers, especially when compared to the Vancouver and Toronto markets, as well as the Canadian average.

The RBC Housing Affordability Measure is the proportion of median pre-tax household income required to service the cost of mortgage payments (principal and interest), property taxes and utilities based on the average market price for single-family detached homes and condo apartments, as well as for an overall aggregate of all housing types in a given market.

For the Canadian aggregate, of 14 major markets surveyed, the average price was $504,100. The affordability measure of 48.4 per cent was up 0.4 per cent quarter-over-quarter and 2.3 per cent year-over-year. The measure’s average since 1985 is 39.7 per cent.

For Calgary, the aggregate price was $506,300 and the affordability measure was 43.0 per cent, up 0.5 per cent from the previous quarter and 1.3 per cent from last year. The measure’s long-term average was 41.5 per cent.

When looking at the national picture, it’s always interesting to see where Calgary rates overall compared to other major cities, which often compete with the city to attract people and businesses.

Vancouver, with an aggregate price of $1.158 million, had an affordability measure of 87.8 per cent. Meanwhile, Toronto had an aggregate price of $848,100 and an affordability measure of 74.2 per cent. Montreal sat at $405,000 and 43.7 per cent, while Ottawa landed at $407,600 and 36.6 per cent.

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Unfortunately, summer is short and winter is coming Cry.  Perhaps now is the time to look at a place with a warmer climate for the winter.  Check this out


Estates At Lone Mountain

Single Family Homes - United States - Arizona


Location: 5910 East Little Wells Pass, Cave Creek, AZ, United States


Prices starting from: USD 502,990


The Estates at Lone Mountain is where desert life blooms. Community parks, ball fields and playgrounds, basketball courts, ramadas and desert gardens neatly complement beautiful new single-family homes. All are laid out across more than 600 acres (243 hectacres) of the Sonoran Desert and its striking beauty. Lone Mountain also offers an opportunity to be close to highly acclaimed shopping, schools and recreation areas.


Property Type


  • Single Family Homes

Amenities


  • Playground
  • Green areas
  • Common areas
  • Security

Community Highlights


Think green amid beautiful desert terrain — as in more than 600 acres of the Sonoran Desert, including a greenbelt area. Then think “active” amenities — as in courts for sports, a hiking trail, a playground and a picnic area.


Home Features


Homes range in size from 261 to 337 square meters, and they offer many of Lennar’s most popular features: Lennar’s Future Proof Home, Next Gen℠ - The Home Within a Home® and Lennar’s Everything's Included®. Lennar’s Future Proof Home is all about home automation and home entertainment, ensuring quality and convenience for years ahead. Next Gen℠ contains a separate suite with private living space — its own bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen. Lennar’s Everything's Included® is an exclusive offering from the builder, delivering thousands of dollars in extras simply included with each home, offering great value and the latest in luxury, technology and efficiency. Among the items throughout the home: granite kitchen countertops, GE® slate appliances, maple raised panel bathroom cabinets and executive height in all bathrooms, tile roof, recessed and energy efficient lighting, and much more.


For more information, please give me a call at (403) 253-7326.




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Courtesy of CREB


City of Calgary, September 4, 2018 – Easing sales, gains in new listings and elevated inventory levels continue to slow Calgary’s recovery in the housing market in August.


Persistent oversupply in the Calgary housing market continued to weigh on prices in August. Citywide benchmark prices edged down over previous months by 0.8 per cent and are 2.4 per cent below last year’s levels.


“Calgary’s employment market has persistently high unemployment rates at 7.9 per cent and recent job losses in full time positions. The struggles in the employment market are one of the factors weighing on our local housing market,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.


“A slow recovery in the energy sector combined with tighter lending conditions and competition from the new home sector are also contributing current housing market conditions.”


Citywide sales totaled 1,489 units this month, down nearly seven per cent from last year and 14 per cent below long-term trends.

Sales and price declines were not consistent across all districts and product types. Prices have recently trended down across most areas based on year-to-date figures, but have remained comparable to last year’s levels in the City Centre and West districts of the city.


“Both buyers and sellers need to be realistic about their objectives. Buyers need to be aware that price changes differ depending on what and where you are buying. The decline in sales does not mean price declines across the board,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.


“Sellers need to be well informed to be competitive. They need a good understanding of what has been selling around them and how their property compares to homes that have successfully sold.”


HOUSING MARKET FACTS


Detached

• Year-to-date detached sales eased across each district. Elevated inventory levels caused months of supply to remain just below five months in August and continued to weigh on housing prices across all districts.

• Detached benchmark prices totaled $497,000 in August. This is a 0.74 per cent decline over last month and 2.6 per cent below the previous year.

• Prices have trended down in all districts in August, however, on a year-to-date basis prices remain above last year in both the City Centre and West.

• Year-to-date average detached benchmark prices have eased by 0.56 per cent over the previous year, reducing some of the price recovery from last year.


Apartment

• Year-to-date sales totaled 1,892 units, seven per cent below the previous year. However, sales did not ease across all districts. Sales in both the North East and North West districts remained slightly higher than levels recorded last year.

• New listings in the apartment sector eased compared to the previous year, preventing more significant gains in inventory levels. However, oversupply in this sector persists, causing further price declines.

• Year-to-date city-wide prices eased by nearly three per cent, with the largest declines occurring in the North East, South and East districts. Overall prices remain nearly 14 per cent below 2014 highs.


Attached

• Like the apartment sector, sales have eased in the attached sector. However, year-to-date sales have improved in some districts of the city for semi-detached and row product. Semi-detached sales improved in both the North West and West districts.

• Row sales remained relatively stable in both the North Eastand East districts of the city.

Oversupply in the semi-detached sector has placed some downward pressure on prices this year, but year-to-date average benchmark price remains higher than last year in the City Centre, North East and East districts of the city. Gains in these areas were enough to offset declines in other areas, keeping semi-detached prices one per cent higher than last year.

Year-to-date row prices eased by 1.5 per cent over last year. However, price movements ranged from relatively stable levels in the City Centre and North West to declines of nearly seven per cent in the North East district.


You can download the complete statistics package HERE.




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Courtesy of CREB.  By Gerald Vander Pyl


For Cochrane, Springbank and Bearspaw residents, mountain views are only part of the appeal

If you head west from Calgary, the views of the Rocky Mountains keep getting more and more spectacular.
Given the scenery, it’s no wonder that areas west of the city have long been home to much sought-after real estate.

The Town of Cochrane, and the rural communities of Bearspaw and Springbank in Rocky View County, are prized for their mountain views and easy access to the Rockies.

“There’s nothing nicer than driving home and you’re driving towards the mountains,” said Lorraine Hamilton, an area sales manager with Jayman Built in Cochrane’s Sunset Ridge community. Sunset Ridge is one of three communities in Cochrane where the company has showhomes, the other two being Heartland and Riviera at Riversong.

Hamilton has lived in Cochrane for 11 years and says developments like Sunset Ridge take advantage of the beautiful mountain-view setting, with parks, a pond and pathways that wind down to other areas of town.

She says residents who don’t happen to have a mountain view from their own home only need to walk a few minutes to enjoy the scenic splendour of the area.

Hamilton adds that Cochrane now has all the shopping and services that residents need, but still maintains a small-town feel, including its historic downtown.

“IN THE CITY, YOU’RE SIX TO EIGHT FEET BETWEEN HOUSES, AND WE JUST SAID WE NEED A LITTLE MORE ELBOW ROOM.” – KIM MCKYLOR, SPRINGBANK RESIDENT & ROCKY VIEW COUNTY COUNCILLOR

Bearspaw and Springbank are rural communities with stunning mountain views of their own, located between Cochrane and Calgary with Springbank south of the Bow River and Bearspaw to the north.
Jason Bamlett, a REALTOR® with RE/MAX House of Real Estate, lives in the area and has been selling in both Springbank and Bearspaw for more than 35 years.

“There’s a number of things that draw people,” said Bamlett. “The natural beauty and the vistas from both locations are rather unique. There’s really not a bad area out there.”

He says it’s very rare in North America to have an area with such amazing mountain views right by a major metropolitan area.

“There’s a perception that it’s a long drive out there, but it’s closer to downtown than some communities inside the city,” he said.

Bamlett says Bearspaw and Springbank also offer a diverse selection of real estate that’s far more than traditional acreages.

He says there are still the older, large acreages, but also lots of less than two acres, estate homes in neighbourhoods like Elbow Valley and Harmony with larger-than-city lots, and even villas along the Bearspaw golf course and in newer developments like Watermark at Bearspaw.

Bamlett says there is also unique Bow River access in the Emerald Bay neighbourhood, and an upcoming Phil Mickelson golf course in Harmony.

Kim McKylor, a resident of Springbank for 20 years and the local councillor with Rocky View County, says the views are indeed an attraction, but so too is the feeling of space compared with life in the city.

McKylor says when they left Calgary to buy a five-acre lot with house in Springbank, it was for the additional space.

“In the city, you’re six to eight feet between houses, and we just said we need a little more elbow room,” she said.

She adds Springbank also has great schools, easy access to the city, and Canmore and Banff are only a 30- and 45-minute drive away, respectively.

“My husband and daughter could get up and be skiing at the top of Nakiska in 30 minutes,” she said.

McKylor says the beautiful views will always be there, but as new development takes place in Springbank, residents want it to be done in a responsible manner to maintain the lifestyle they treasure.

“As a councillor in this area, I want to make sure that we always have our eye to the future.”

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Courtesy of CREB.  August 17, 2018  Geoff Geddes

Next to “location, location, location,” the truest maxim in real estate is “change, change, change.” While your first home is a milestone, keeping pace with your changing needs is about making all the right moves.

“Move-up buyers have been through the process before and know what they want,” said Michael Winiarz, vice-president of sales and marketing for Mattamy Homes in Calgary.

“Double-car garages and a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms will always be important, and schools, parks and the right community design are also a focus. Move up buyers see these homes as their long-term plan, so they need to check off more boxes personally and emotionally.”

So, what exactly constitutes a move-up home? And who are these move-up buyers?

“As a general statement, $500,000 and above is a move up for most folks.”- Christine Turner,  Mattamy Homes director of customer care, design studio and warranty

“As a general statement, $500,000 and above is a move up for most folks,” said Christine Turner, director of customer care, design studio and warranty with Mattamy Homes. “They are usually moving from attached townhomes or condos to either duplexes or even single-family homes. Compared to the 1950s and ’60s, the profile is quite diverse – mixed families coming from Canada and other parts of the world, young families or empty nesters.”

Despite that diversity, Michael Newton, a Calgary REALTOR® with RE/MAX First, finds that many move-up buyers share a common goal: more space.

“Often these clients are new parents who need to accommodate a family, or people with children that are getting older and require more room,” said Newton.

“They are seeking greater square footage, a mudroom for the kids and expanded entryways that reflect the increase in traffic.”

Both Newton and Turner estimate that 40-50 per cent of new-home and resale product currently on the market would be considered move-up homes. Still, some in the industry take issue with how that term is defined.

“To me, moving up could be buying more space, but it could also be downsizing to a home more suited to your needs,” said Guy Huntingford, CEO of BILD Calgary Region. “It’s really about matching your housing to where you are in life and what’s important to you.”

Regardless of your definition, buyers who are on the move in the current housing market tend to put a premium on value.

“Buyers want to ensure they are getting the best price, options and floorplans, and they will shop the market to make that happen,” said Winiarz.

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Courtesy of CREB  by Gerald Vander Pyl

Industry reports paint positive picture for Alberta recreational property market in 2018

Two major reports on the Canadian recreational property market are forecasting a healthy market across the country and growing demand within the province of Alberta for the rest of 2018.

Royal LePage’s annual survey of their recreational property specialists predicts an average price increase of 5.8 per cent for the country as a whole, but varied results in British Columbia and Alberta because of new speculation taxes in B.C.

Average prices in Alberta are forecast to climb 10.4 per cent in 2018, while prices in B.C. are set to decline by 2.8 per cent.

“Driven by the nation’s economy, Canada’s recreation real estate market is set to experience another strong year,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage, in a press release. “The search for that perfect summer getaway continues unabated.”

“A LARGE NUMBER OF RETIREES ARE, IN ESSENCE, CASHING IN – SELLING THOSE SUN BELT PROPERTIES AND THEN REINVESTING IN ALBERTA RECREATIONAL PROPERTY.” – ELTON ASH, RE/MAX WESTERN CANADA REGIONAL EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT

But Soper says that new taxes in B.C., aimed at recreational property owners and touted as a solution to speculators and foreign investors, will cause Albertans to increasingly look within their own province for vacation properties.

“International purchasers make up a very small portion of the recreational market, and the dreaded ‘house flippers’ are an urban phenomenon,” he said.

The Royal LePage report also noted that compared to B.C., Alberta does not have as many recreation properties, so prices will be at a premium as more Albertans look to buy in their home province.

RE/MAX’s 2018 Recreational Property Report says retirees will be driving demand for vacation properties in 91 per cent of the markets across Canada in 2018, compared with 55 per cent last year.

Elton Ash, regional executive vice president of RE/MAX Western Canada, says a trend that is expected to continue this year is Albertans who bought Sun Belt properties in California and Arizona selling and looking to buy recreational property back home.

Ash says Albertans who bought in the U.S. when prices were at a low during the recession have seen their properties rise in value and out-of-country insurance costs climb as they’ve aged, so they are deciding now is the time to sell.

“A large number of retirees are, in essence, cashing in – selling those Sun Belt properties and then reinvesting in Alberta recreational property,” he said.

Ash adds that with the Alberta economy on the upswing, people are more likely to buy a recreational property, which is a discretionary purchase.

“Consumer confidence has improved in Alberta, and so has the overall economic performance of the province,” he said. “Given that, there’s greater confidence in spending those disposal dollars for the average Albertan.”




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City of Calgary – August 1, 2018 – Recent struggles in job market, accompanied by yet another interest rate increase, is piling on to the decisions potential purchasers have to make in the housing market.


The month of July saw 1,547 units sold in Calgary, nearly five per cent below last year. New listings eased to 2,964 units, causing inventories to total 8,450 units. With more supply than demand, prices continued to edge down, with a citywide average of $435,200. This amounted to a month-over-month price decline of 0.30 per cent and year-over-year decline of 1.89 per cent.


“Despite some positive momentum in some aspects of our economy, our job market has continued to struggle as of late, with some easing in total employment levels over the past few months and persistently high unemployment rates,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.


“Also, the Bank of Canada raised rates again in July. Rising costs, combined with a slow recovery, are weighing on the demand for resale homes in the city. At the same time supply remains high and is resulting in an oversupplied market.”

Citywide months of supply have risen for each property type and currently range from nearly five months in the detached sector to seven months in the apartment sector. These elevated levels have been placing pressure on prices in the city.

Detached benchmark home prices totaled $501,300 in July, down 0.4 per cent from last month and over two per cent from last year’s levels. Year-to-date average benchmark prices in the detached sector remain just below levels recorded last year. 


The apartment ownership sector continues to see the steepest declines, with year-to-date benchmark prices averaging $257,343, three per cent below last year and nearly 14 per cent below 2014 highs.


“In a buyers’ market, it’s critical for all parties to have the most up-to-date information to make a fully informed decision, whether you are buying or selling,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.


“A REALTOR® can help make an accurate determination on how much to sell a home for or how much is too much when purchasing one.”



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Have you ever considered owning your own place in the sun?  Somewhere to spend the long winters that isn't white?  How about San Antonio, Texas?  A beautiful, historic city in south central Texas.  Here is a link to my web site with some information on Lennar Homes in San Antonio.


https://www.ushomeshowcase.com/subscriptions/503725


Sonoma Mesa

Single Family Homes - United States - Texas

Location: 17155 Turin Ridge, San Antonio, TX, United States


Breathtaking views of the Hill Country and the Cedar Creek Golf Course await from hillside homesites at Sonoma Mesa in San Antonio. Residents can also enjoy close proximity to retail, dining and entertainment at The Shops at La Cantera, The Rim and Fiesta Texas in this gated community. Plus, homeowners benefit from the incredible energy efficiency of a PowerSmart home.


Property Type
  • Single Family Homes
  • Investment Opportunity

Community Highlights
Behind the entry gates of Sonoma Mesa are hillside homesites and picturesque vistas of nearby golf courses, along with spacious greenbelts. You will be captivated by the native beauty of San Antonio in a community that also offers the convenience of close proximity to shops, restaurants and entertainment.


Home Features
Homes range in size from 260 to 366 square meters, with numerous design touches for beauty and practicality — such as ceramic tile in the kitchen and breakfast area, granite countertops, climate controlled master closet, overhead cabinets for added storage and weatherproof exterior outlets. Also, offered is the popular PowerSmart Home which is individually inspected and tested by an independent third-party engineering firm to rate and confirm energy efficiency. Another exclusive offering from the builder are thousands of dollars in extras simply included with each home, providing great value and the latest in luxury, technology and efficiency. Among the items throughout the home: built-in appliance package, recessed lighting, cultured marble vanities, chair rail in dining room, cast stone fireplace surround, full security system with motion detector and two keypads, programmable thermostat with humidity control, and much more.




Check out my web site for Lennar Homes all across the U.S. and give me a call.  We can help with all aspects of home ownership anywhere south of the border, from finding the perfect home, to financing, and legal.


https://www.ushomeshowcase.com/px/dreamscape







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Courtesy of CREB.  Stefan Strangman


How building a garage can dramatically increase your home value


Driving has always been a way of life for Calgarians, and given the ubiquity of cars in in the city, garages are a must for almost every home.


Whether looking to build a home for the first time or renovating an old one, detached or attached garages are the options most builders choose. However, special builds also exist and can even include underground parking or tunnels, at costs upwards of $35,000 for a triple-detached unit.


According to appraisers, a garage of any kind added to a home will increase its value. With the average garage cost in Calgary sitting around $23,000, adding a garage to a property at any point in a home’s life will increase property value, since the return almost always equals the cost.


“Cost does not always equal the contributory value in the resale market,” said Greg Macdonald, president of Sage Appraisals. “However, garages are an exception.”


A GARAGE THAT IS PROPERLY BUILT AND PERMITTED CORRECTLY CAN INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF SELLING A HOME FASTER, AND YOUR HOUSE VALUE SHOULD INCREASE BY THE COST OF THE GARAGE,” – COLIN ERNST, ALLIANCE RENOVATIONS

When building a new home, adding a garage after the fact can increase its overall cost and limit your options, often restricting a homeowner to a detached garage.


“The best time to add a garage is at time of construction, particularly with attached garages, so as to avoid additional costs associated with modifying the existing structure,” said Macdonald.


The birth of the so-called “man cave” has meant that garages can be multi-purpose, and though they can represent an excellent space for hobbies and storage, builds specific to those specifications offer little return on investment, according to Macdonald.


A garage makes such a dramatic impact on the value of a home that not installing one during the build process can adversely affect the resale value of the property.


“A garage that is properly built and permitted correctly can increase your chances of selling a home faster, and your house value should increase by the cost of the garage,” said Colin Ernst of Alliance Renovations.


Whether building a man cave or creating new space for storage and vehicles, adding a garage can be a boon to any home. But before you head down that road, Ernst says it’s important to keep a few key factors in mind.


“Do your research. Make sure that the companies you deal with have all the proper bonds, insurance, etc.,” he said. “The cheapest price is not always the best. Review the items that a company is offering versus others, as there can be a big difference in what you are paying for.”




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Courtesy of CREB:  Gerald Vander Pyl

Fire safety tips to protect your home

In Calgary, a recent string of house fires has people thinking about fire safety in the home.

Carol Henke, public information officer with the Calgary Fire Department, says kitchen fires are the most common residential call for the fire department, “and often it’s because people leave their cooking unattended.”

She says someone will put oil in a pan to heat up, and once the oil reaches its ignition temperature, it bursts into flames.

People often make things worse by trying to carry the pan out of the house, risking burns and potentially spreading the fire if they panic and drop the pan.

In this situation, Henke says you should put a cover on the pan of burning oil and turn off the heat. If flames have spread out of control, get everyone out of the house and call 911.

The most common cause of outdoor fires is improper disposal of smoking materials, according to Henke.

People often put out cigarettes in planter pots or combustible containers, or ones that are metal, but which have so many cigarette butts in them they can catch fire.

If something does cause a fire in your home, Henke says “having working smoke alarms on every level is what is going to alert you to the fact there is a fire.”

The way new homes are built has changed for the better when it comes to fire safety.

After an Edmonton fire in 2007 started in a four-unit condo complex, eventually destroying 18 nearby townhomes and damaging 70 houses, the province updated building, fire and electrical codes.

Rick Gratton, senior development manager of Calgary Homes for Brookfield Residential, says many of the changes relate to spatial separation.

Gratton says depending on how close the exterior of a house will be to the property line, there are limits on the number of side windows it can have, since openings in the walls allow fire to spread to an adjacent home more easily.

Gratton says tightly spaced homes also require increased use of fire-resistant sheeting and cladding. The codes even dictate materials needed during the construction phase, because partially built homes are especially susceptible to fire damage.

He says soffits are now required to be closed in to prevent fire from spreading into attics, and attached garages must be drywalled inside.




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Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
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.