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.



  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.”



• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


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.”


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.


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.


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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.”


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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Courtesy of CREB  Andrea Cox

Inner-city community combines historic charm with stunning new developments

The Beltine is a community experiencing a period of major transition – from the reconstruction of 17th Avenue S.W. to the reimagining of Victoria Park.

Through it all, the beauty and vibrancy of this inner-city neighbourhood just seems to be getting stronger and stronger.

Almost 22,000 people of all ages live here, attracted by its stunning scenery – a synthesis of historical architecture and glistening, contemporary skyscrapers – and abundant restaurants, bars and shops.

“What’s not to love about the Beltline?” said Carmen Saddy, who gravitated to the community five years ago as a new university graduate. “17th Avenue is a bit of a gong show with all of the construction right now, but it is still fantastic. I love just being able to step outside and walk half a block and be right in the action, sipping a latte at Analog or out on the patio at Trolley 5.”

“I love just being able to step outside and walk half a block and be right in the action, sipping a latte at Analog or out on the patio at Trolley 5.” – Carmen Saddy, Beltline resident

While Connaught, the western portion of the community, has a long history and strong identity, Victoria Park, nestled on the community’s eastern edge, has only recently begun to experience its own little renaissance.

It’s a resurgence sparked by some landmark developments, including Park Point, a 34-storey condominium tower by Vancouver developer Qualex-Landmark that spills onto Central Memorial Park. The beautifully landscaped park is home to colourful blooms and sparkling fountains, while its southeastern edge houses the historic, sandstone Memorial Park Library.

A few blocks to the east of Central Memorial Park, change is also in motion, thanks to a partnership between the City of Calgary and the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), the developer behind the East Village. The partners recently unveiled a draft master plan for Victoria Park, which includes expanded densification and a bustling entertainment district.

The plan, designed by Denver-based Civitas and Calgary’s Gibbs Gage Architects, articulates the big gestures from an urban planning perspective, leaving ample room for fine-tuning. CMLC has committed approximately $150 million to infrastructure and place making initiatives.

Top Attractions

  • The iconic Saddledome and Stampede Park.
  • Countless examples of historic architecture, including Lougheed House, Victoria Park School and Memorial Park Library.
  • A variety of popular restaurants and cafes, including the Beltliner, Ten Foot Henry, Una Pizza + Wine, Analog Coffee, Red’s Diner and Pigeonhole.

Fun Fact

  • The Boer War Monument in Central Memorial Park was sculpted by Quebec artist Louis Philippe Herbert and unveiled in 1914. It has been described as one of the four finest equestrian statues in the world.

Quadrant: S.W. / S.E.
Established: 2003
Population: 23,219
Dwellings: 17,521
Median age: 33
Median pre-tax household income: $57,291
Number of residential sales (YTD): 211
Residential average price (YTD): $351,355
SOURCE: 2017 Calgary Civic Census, 2011 National Household Survey & CREB®

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Courtesy of CREB

City of Calgary, July 3, 2018 – Many Canadian energy-related municipalities within Alberta and Saskatchewan have seen housing markets struggle over the past few years, resulting in price declines.

The recent mortgage rule changes and higher lending rates are factors weighing on demand and prices across some of those areas.

“While our economy is no longer in a recession, persistently high unemployment rates, concerns over long-term growth, rising lending costs and stricter qualifications are all weighing on the housing demand,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Growth in new listings is starting to ease for some property types, but it is not enough to prevent continued supply growth and, ultimately, an oversupplied housing market.”

Weak sales activity in Calgary continued into June, as residential sales for the month totaled 1,896 units. This is 11 per cent below last year and 12 per cent below long-term averages. New listings continued to rise, with further inventory gains and months of supply now at 4.7 months.

High inventories in comparison to sales have generated more widespread buyers’ market conditions, causing downward pressure on prices. The city-wide benchmark price in June totaled $436,500. This is just below last month and 1.13 per cent below last year’s levels.

The detached segment of the market accounts for over 60 per cent of overall sales activity and makes up over 54 per cent of the inventory, with 4,817 units as of June. While sales have fallen and inventory has been rising across most price ranges, inventory levels for homes priced under $500,000 remain well below peak levels.

“In any market it’s extremely important to be well-informed, whether it’s about the process to get pre-approved for a mortgage or having the most up-to-date information about the prices in the community you are buying or selling in,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott..


• Detached sales eased while new listings rose across most districts in the city after the first half of the year, keeping inventories elevated.

• The quarterly average months of supply increase compared to last year across all districts, keeping most areas in buyers’ market territory for the second quarter.

• As of the second quarter, detached benchmark prices totaled $504,033. This is just above the previous quarter, but 0.41% below last year’s levels. North East, North, North West and South districts recorded year-over-year quarterly price declines. However, only the North East district saw prices slip further over level recorded in the first quarter of this year.

• After the first half of the year, apartment sales totaled 1,396 units. This is nearly nine per cent below last year and 24 per cent below long-term averages. Easing sales were met with a decline in listings, helping to limit further growth in inventory levels. As of June, there were 1,872 apartment units in inventory, causing the months of supply to ease, averaging 6.8 months for the quarter.

• While most areas of the city are struggling with oversupply, there does appear to be some improvements. While remaining far from long-term averages, In the second quarter the months of supply edged down over first quarter levels in the city Centre, North, North West, West, South and East districts.

• The easing of the oversupply in most districts helped prevent further declines in quarterly benchmark prices. However, overall second quarter prices remain over three per cent below last year’s levels, and nearly 14 per cent below the quarterly high.

• Year-to-date sales activity fell for both semi-detached and row product across most districts, but new listings remained similar to last year in the row sector, while increasing by 22 per cent for semi-detached property types. This resulted in stronger inventory gains in the semi-detached market and pushed up the quarterly months of supply to above five months

• While row product did not see the same recent increase in inventory, gains in the previous quarters have not eased, causing the second quarter months of supply to total 5.47. This is similar to last quarter and above the second quarter of 2017 figure of 3.66.

• Semi-detached and row benchmark prices averaged $419,000 and $301,833 in the second quarter. Row prices were nearly 2 per cent higher than the previous quarter and nearly three per cent above last year’s levels. Meanwhile, semi-detached prices were similar to the first quarter, but over two per cent below 2017 levels.

• While some easing in the semi-detached market has occurred, quarterly prices are only two per cent below quarterly highs compared to the row sector which remains over 8 per cent below quarterly highs.

Download the complete statistics package HERE.

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Stop the search! Owner says SELL. If you, or someone you know have been thinking about a beautiful, large condo in a wonderful location close to downtown this is it. Just some of the features of this lovely home are:

  1. 2,125 sq. ft. of luxury
  2. Downtown skyline views
  3. Mountain view
  4. 97 ft. long deck
  5. 3 (yes three) indoor parking stalls
  6. Hardwood flooring
  7. Two bedrooms plus a den
  8. Family room & formal dining room
  9. In suite laundry, ensuite bath, pantry and much more.

Where else can you have everything, in one of Calgary’s most sought-after locations including mountain and city views for this price? Reduced from $989,000 to just $895,000!

See the complete listing details here:


Floor plan available upon request.  Call today because “if you wait, it’ll be too late!”

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Courtesy of CREB - Mario Toneguzzi

Economic growth forecasts paint cautiously optimistic picture for Calgary housing market

Calgary’s housing market lives and breathes based on the whims of the city’s overall economy.

While the city had an impressive gain of 6.9 per cent in economic growth in 2017 compared to 2016, according to the Conference Board of Canada, the economic engine will slow down this year and in 2019.

The board is forecasting Real GDP growth of 2.5 per cent in 2018, followed by 2.1 per cent next year.

It’s a sign that the housing market will remain challenged going forward. In the early part of this year, MLS® System sales were hovering just under 20 per cent off the pace set last year, while the average sale price was down just over one per cent.

The good news for the housing market is that improved oil prices in 2017 and into 2018 pushed Calgary’s economy out of the doldrums of 2015 and 2016, when annual contractions in the mid-three-per-cent range set the city back.

“These dips were the first back-to-back contractions since at least the late 1980s and inflicted considerable economic pain,” reads the Conference Board’s most recent Metropolitan Outlook. “Last year’s strong rebound was accordingly welcome, although we estimate it did not quite recoup the two real GDP losses. That task will be accomplished this year…”

What is also good news for the housing market is the employment picture. The job situation in any market is going to determine the health of housing sales. This, too, is looking up.

The Conference Board is expecting moderate employment growth of one to two per cent annually for the next few years.

Calgary’s soft job market and GDP growth sharply reduced net migratory inflows – “perhaps the most visceral of all economic indicators.” Net interprovincial migration took the biggest hit. After attracting an average of nearly 7,700 people annually from other provinces in the 10 years leading up to 2015, Calgary saw over 1,600 people leave on average in 2016 and 2017. This put net in-migration at about 14,500 people last year, compared with an average of about 23,400 the previous decade.

“The worst appears to be over,” according to the Conference Board. “Although net interprovincial outflows will continue over the next few years, they will be greatly diminished starting this year and will subsequently ease further. This will help sustain Calgary’s annual population growth at just under two per cent throughout the forecast period.”

Economic growth plus employment growth plus population growth equals what appears to be a positive formula for Calgary’s resale housing market as it moves into the second half of 2018 and then into 2019.

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Couresty of CREB      gardeningGuest BlogHouse & Home


How to create a great backyard getaway for patio season

Patio season is underway, so it’s time to get your garden ready. With a little planning, you can make your own cozy corner for sitting and entertaining a reality this weekend.


New neighbourhoods lack trees and high-rise decks are exposed to the elements. Both mean you need to think windbreak and sunbreak first, planting second. Shade cloth, outdoor curtains or overhead shade sails are an instant source of comfort for patios where the sun beats down. Shade cloth can be attached to the ground or patio with grommets, slowing wind and improving climate control overall.

Hanging baskets and planters

Buying a hanging basket and popping it into a planter saves time and solves a problem for inexperienced gardeners. Instead of assembling an assortment of plants, simply buy the hanging basket that is the right size for your pots.

Baskets come in widths up to 16 inches (40 centimetres) across, so measure your pots and get the right basket size to insert into them. Clip off the hanging wires, slide the soil out of the basket and into the pot, and cram as many planted pots as you can on your patio to transform the space and make it intimate. You will be finished in a flash.

Maintenance is easy with an irrigation system, but hand watering works as well. Fertilize weekly and pinch off dead flowers to keep the patio looking fresh.


Bargain hunters can find old tables and chairs at garage sales, add a dab of milk paint to update the look, and pop on new cushions with rain-resistant Sunbrella fabric. A plastic or fibre rug over a concrete or wooden patio warms the space and invites sitting and lounging.

At a recent gathering, I noticed an umbrella with built-in Wi-Fi speakers causing problems as sound blinked in and out, making the music erratic. If you have added the shade sail and you like a more contemporary look with clear views across your table, forget about buying a view-blocking, Wi-Fi boosted umbrella. Any Bluetooth speaker connected to your smartphone will do a better job. Adding fairy lights to the patio also allows you to take the party late into the evening.

Create your own outdoor getaway this weekend with shelter, plants and furniture, and start enjoying the outdoors right away.

Donna Balzer is an enthusiastic gardener and speaker. Sign up for her e-newsletter at www.donnabalzer.com for regular updates and garden info.


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Courtesy of CREB


City of Calgary, June 1, 2018 – May sales activity continues to ease with the largest declines occurring in the detached sector. Additional gains in new listings continue to increase inventory levels. 

May sales activity continues to ease with the largest declines occurring in the detached sector. Additional gains in new listings continue to increase inventory levels. 

City-wide sales activity in May totaled 1,726 units and is 19 per cent below last years' levels. This is 24 per cent below longer term averages. Sales activity in the detached sector declined to levels not seen in over a decade. 

"The impact of rising lending rates and stricter qualification levels is causing demand to ease across all product types," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

"Economic conditions have improved compared to several years ago, but the pace of economic recovery has not been enough to outweigh the changes in lending conditions."

Market supply has not adjusted to sales activity and is pushing months of supply to 4.9 months. Elevated supply relative to demand prevented any further price recovery in the market and city-wide residential benchmark prices totaled $436,900 in May. This is similar to last month and 0.6 per cent below levels recorded last year. 

Detached sales and inventories have risen across all price ranges, but the amount of excess supply has been most notable for homes price above $500,000. Months of supply for the higher price ranges remain high compared to the past several years. However, they still remain below record levels that occurred post financial crisis (2008 – 2009). 

"The changes in the lending market are preventing some people from moving up in the market. Uncertainty has also caused others to wait on making changes to their housing situation," said CREB® president Tom Westcott.  

"However, there are pockets of the market that have not seen the same supply increase. It makes it so important to understand the dynamics of your community."

Click here to view the full City of Calgary monthly stats package.


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The perfect winter escape?

MiraLago At Parkland Executive Collection

Waterfront Properties - Florida

Location: 10320 Peninsula Place Parkland, FL 33076, United States

Prices starting from: USD 538,990

Situated on Parkland’s largest lake near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, The Executive Collection at MiraLago is the essence of grandeur, comfort and convenience. Each home is water-wrapped on a peninsula, and almost every home has a panoramic lake view. The homes are located within MiraLago, an elegant master-planned, gated community of luxury single-family and estate homes in a South Florida setting.
Property Type
  • Waterfront Properties
  • Splash park
  • Swimming pool
  • Playground
  • Clubhouse
  • Basketball court
  • Tennis court
  • Green areas
  • Common areas
  • Gym
  • Security
  • Banquet rooms
Community Highlights

The Executive Collection at MiraLago is located within master-planned MiraLago, a gated community that offers all the best of Fort Lauderdale living. Amid the obvious natural beauty and lake views, ample amenities await, including everything from a clubhouse that features a pool, splash park, fitness center, tennis courts, party room and tot lot to an aerobics studio, fitness center, playground and trail.

Home Features

Homes range in size from 199 to 375 square meters, with numerous design touches for both beauty and practicality, such as Spanish-style concrete tile roof, decorative marble window sills, built-in double wall oven, decorative art niches, pre-wired for ceiling fans in all bedrooms and family room, and Vinyl-clad, ventilated closet shelving. Also, every buyer receives two of Lennar’s most popular packages: Nexia Home Intelligence and Lennar’s Everything's Included®. Nexia Home Intelligence features home automation with remote home management, providing control over home comfort, efficiency and security from anywhere. Lennar’s Everything's Included® is an exclusive offering from the builder, containing 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: stainless steel appliances, cultured marble countertops in all baths, decorative Moen widespread faucets in master bath, stain-resistant carpet with upgraded padding in choice of designer colors, impact-resistant sliding glass doors, decorative Listello accent tile on master bath shower walls and much more.


10320 Peninsula Place Parkland, FL 33076, United States
You can download our flyer HERE.

Map Data
Map data ©2018 Google
Map DataMap data ©2018 Google
Map data ©2018 Google
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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.