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.
Posted on June 6, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
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.
Posted on May 30, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Why re-invent the wheel? The Calgary Real estate Board has a great page with interesting tidbits on all of the Calgary Comminities (South). I am quessing there will be another one for the north shortly. But, in the meantime, here is the link to theCalgary Communities, A to Z: Southpage.
Posted on May 23, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
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.
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.
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
Posted on May 16, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Courtesy of CREB by Stefan Strangman Around Town, Calgary Real Estate News Feature
Leaders in middle-ring suburbs grapple with current challenges, while looking to the future.
Calgary is a city that is continuing to grow and expand, with new suburbs and surrounding areas showing marked growth this year, yielding new infrastructure and amenities for residents. However, while Calgary’s newer communities expand, older communities are experiencing unique challenges.
In the years after the Second World War, Calgary began to grow substantially, expanding at an average rate of 28 per cent between 1950 and 1970, according to Statsistics Canada. During this boom, suburbs were built around the growing city to accommodate new families and waves of immigration from Europe and Asia. Nearly 50 years later, Calgary is now home to more than a million people, and areas that were once suburbs are now closer to the inner-city than the outskirts.
Communities like Killarney, Brentwood and Glamorgan have fluid populations – reducing in size over the summer months and growing again during the winter – owing to their proximity to the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. Other middle-ring suburbs, such as Acadia and Canyon Meadows, struggle to maintain aging infrastructure to support residents and provide many services crucial to their area.
“NOW, ALMOST BEING CONSIDERED A CORE COMMUNITY, WE FACE MORE INNER-CITY ISSUES THAN WHEN WE WERE ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE CITY.” – DON PRYZNYK, ACADIA COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT
“One of the biggest challenges is staying fresh and revitalizing areas which need extra attention,” said Acadia Community Association president Don Pryznyk. “Now, almost being considered a core community, we face more inner-city issues than when we were on the outskirts of the city.”
As new infrastructure develops in Calgary, it needs to be built around older communities. Newer transit developments and road redesigns can directly impact the residents, significantly changing traffic flow and the commuting experience. Transit redesigns in areas like Brentwood have frustrated residents and community representatives, lengthening the commute and making access to local shops and amenities more difficult.
“Developers can continue to plan to construct unattractive, street-level commercial spaces that will remain vacant for years, or they could see the opportunity that providing attractive commercial offerings and services for a community that is certain to attract upscale redevelopment can provide,” said Kirk Osadetz, vice-president of the Brentwood Community Association.
“Quality, not just quantity, should be the watchword.”
While there are challenges, community representatives feel the biggest strength they have is their residents.
“With the help of community memberships and resident support, I see our community flourishing, becoming home to a number of new families,” said Krista Kehoe, vice-president of the Canyon Meadows Community Association.
Community leaders in these middle-ring suburbs are hopeful that both long-term and new residents will come together to keep their communities strong, partnering with small business owners to keep the neighbourhoods vibrant.
“We have many original homeowners who still volunteer and keep active in the neighbourhood community and social events. Many businesses have enjoyed many years of loyal shoppers and have become hubs of our community,” said Pryznyk.
“We hope these challenges bring positive change. Bridging the gap in young and old families offers many opportunities to grow healthily and be an example of how communities can weather the years with vitality.”
Posted on May 10, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
May 4, 2018Gerald Vander Pyl
How much home can you afford?
Shopping for the home of your dreams requires knowing how much you can afford to spend, which for most buyers ties directly into a mortgage.
Financial institutions in Canada look at a buyer’s Gross Debt Service (GDS) and Total Debt Service (TDS) ratios to help determine how much mortgage to approve, and therefore, how much home a person can afford.
GDS includes expenses related to the home, such as mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, heating costs and condo maintenance fees, if applicable. These should account for no more than 30 to 32 per cent of your gross annual income.
TDS adds other debt obligations, such as monthly car payments, personal loans and credit cards, and should not exceed 37 to 40 per cent of your gross annual income.
“HOW MUCH THE BANK ALLOWS YOU TO FINANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY THE SAME NUMBER AS HOW MUCH YOU CAN AFFORD.” – TOM FEIGS, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER AND MONEY COACH
Both these figures are part of the conversation that a mortgage professional will have when sitting down with a client, says Joshua Johner, regional vice-president and mortgage specialist with RBC.
“There are other things you need to consider that don’t come into that formula,” said Johner.
“Anybody can punch something into the computer and say, ‘here’s your ratios, here’s what you’re qualified for or not qualified for.’ It’s really about taking that next step and looking at different scenarios. What does it look like two or three years from now? Or five years from now?”
As an example, Johner points to a young couple that’s looking to buy a home, but also plans to start a family in the near future. “What does that one year or 18 months now look like, with one of the individuals taking parental leave?” he said. “And how would that affect your debt servicing going forward?”
Tom Feigs, a Certified Financial Planner and money coach, suggests that people do a complete spending plan on the cost of homeownership, plus personal payments and lifestyle expenses.
“How much the bank allows you to finance is not necessarily the same number as how much you can afford,” said Feigs. “Do you have pets? How much do you spend on vacations?”
He says if the numbers don’t match up to your income, consider if you would be willing to spend less on travel or other lifestyle expenses to afford your dream home. However, be realistic about those tradeoffs.
“The dollars that will be going in and out of your chequing account are real dollars,” he said. “If you fudge the numbers in the hope that it will just work, you are heading down the path to perhaps more consumer debt, and then making it harder and harder to make the mortgage commitment.”
Posted on May 3, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Courtesy of CREB
May 01, 2018
Prices steady, but struggles in Alberta economy weighs on housing
City of Calgary, May 1, 2018 –
Changes to the lending industry and a challenging economic recovery are weighing on sales activity in Calgary’s housing market.
Supply levels have not adjusted to the weaker demand environment, and that is preventing price recovery.
“Slower sales do not come as a surprise, given the economy has not yet improved enough to offset the impact of changes in the lending industry,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
“While the rising inventories are being monitored, prices have remained relatively flat as gains in some areas of the city have been offset by declines in other areas.”
The easing sales trend persisted through April in Calgary’s housing market. Calgary sales totaled 1,518 units in April, which is 20 per cent below last year and 25 per cent below long-term averages.
The detached sector has seen the largest decline, with year-to-date sales totaling 2,991 units, 27 per cent below the 10-year average.
Inventory levels in April totaled 7,324 units. This is a 32 per cent rise over last year, but well below the monthly high of 10,129 units recorded in 2008. Supply compared to demand has risen, but city-wide prices have remained relatively stable, totaling $436,500 in April, a monthly and annual gain of 0.21 per cent.
“The reality is that there’s selection heading into the active spring market,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.
“For many sellers, they have to decide what price they are willing to accept for a lifestyle change. At the same time, buyers need to understand the supply dynamics and price movements in the specific area, as they may not align with their expectations.”
So far this year, apartment and attached sales have eased to levels that are comparable to 2016. However, rising supply in both markets have pushed months of supply to the highest levels recovered over this four-month period, which is preventing any significant shifts in pricing trends.
Click HERE to download the complete statistics package.
Posted on April 26, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Courtesy of CREB
Apr 20, 2018 Stefan Strangman Feature, Surrounding Areas, Surrounding Towns
As Airdrie grows, new communities flourish
Airdrie’s new communities are looking forward to renewed expansion in 2018, as more buyers are looking to the city, fuelling a boom that has put residential housing sales at their highest point since 2013.
According to the city of Airdrie, nearly 2,000 houses were sold in 2017 for an average price of $394,046, up from 1,336 the previous year. The housing boom has not only led to a population increase, but has helped Airdrie grow its young, vibrant demographic. The city’s statistics now show that 35 per cent of residents are between the ages of 25 and 44, with children under 15 accounting for the second largest demographic.
The communities popping up in Airdrie are currently adapting to this demographic shift, offering family friendly options that are still affordable for those taking their first steps into the market.
“We really see this being a community for families, or families to be, who are active and spend as much time outside their home as they do within it,” said Justin Castelino, marketing manager at Brookfield Residential, the developer behind Airdrie’s Chinook Gate community. “We are really trying to create a community where people can come home and truly feel like they are at home – where the neighbourhood kids all play together, and the parents know each other.”
Chinook Gate is located in southwest Airdrie, where getting to Calgary and amenities in Airdrie is very convenient. The community includes a four-season park that features places for children to play and a variety of outdoor paths for active residents. Chinook Gate is also only a few minutes from Yankee Valley Boulevard, a shopping district that houses everything that a new family could need.
“Airdrie is a city with great energy. It offers virtually every convenience and amenity of the ‘big city,’ yet it has this very comfortable, safe, small-town feel,” said Castelino.
Airdrie is home to several new developments for buyers with a variety of housing needs.
Hillcrest by Apex, Southwinds by Mattamy Homes, Bayview by Genesis Land Development Corp. and Ravenswood by Qualico Communities are just a few of the new communities bringing exciting energy to Airdrie.
These communities are well suited to young families, and trips into Calgary for major shopping have been made all but unnecessary thanks to the shopping options now available in Airdrie.
“You spend more time with your family, and less time in your car,” said Laura Field, marketing co-ordinator with Qualico Communities. “With all the amenities you need on the east side of Airdrie, you never have to go far from home.”
With so many options available, Airdrie’s expansion shows no signs of slowing down, and the city is quickly becoming one of the best places for new homeowners to put down roots.
Posted on April 19, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
WRITTEN BY REALTY TIMES STAFFPOSTED ONTHURSDAY, 29 MARCH 2018 19:36
The interior design industry has been trying for years to break homeowners' addiction to granite counters. They've introduced stainless, concrete, glass, quartz, wood, marble and other ideas to wean people away, but the alternative surfaces just don't have the luxury look that granite does.
If you're getting granite countertops for the first time, here are five things you need to know:
Choose the right stone. Granite is a general term that describes a type of granular igneous rock formed by cooled magma and indigenous minerals. Depending on where the granite is quarried, it can be stunning with streaks of gray, pink, red, green, blue or gold. The rarity of the vein of granite can drive up the price considerably, as well as the thickness and the type of fabrication you choose.
When you shop for granite, don't choose from a sample. You're basically buying the whole slab so that's how you should shop. Look only at whole slabs, as the fabricators will use as much as possible to match sections and to minimize waste. Sometimes it's possible to buy two or more slabs from the same lot. They are sliced just like pieces of toast so they can accommodate large kitchens. If they're put back to back, they form butterfly or mirror images of each other.
The beauty of granite is the movement of color and the pattern of streaks and dapples, so choose wisely. A strong graphic pattern will be highly energizing, while a softer color and pattern will be calming.
Hold the Dumb End of the Tape. Granite is sold by the square foot. You can get an idea of the number of square feet you need by multiplying length by width for each section of the kitchen, such as countertops, backsplash, and an island. Then add the square feet of each section together.
But that's not all there is to measuring. There's an edge allowance, seam allowance, sinks and other things to consider. You can tell your salesperson how many square feet you think you'll need, and he or she can direct you to slabs and lots that are large enough to fulfill your order. Once you choose, the salesperson will "hold" the slab with a deposit, until the fabricator can come out to measure exactly.
Meanwhile, your cabinets should be installed before the fabricator comes out. Most appliances fit under the countertops, but if you're installing a new sink or cooktop, the fabricator will need those measurements, too. Let the fabricator take the measurements. That way the fit is guaranteed.
Be aware of slab thickness. Not all granite slabs are sliced the same, so expect to pay more for a three-inch thickness than a one-inch thickness. If you choose a thick granite, make sure your cabinets can support that much weight.
Next, you'll choose an edge that is bullnose, ogee or beveled, or raw-edged. The finish can also change the look of the granite. Polished granite is glossy and reflective. Honed granite is a smooth matte finish. Leather is a textured finish.
Ask for as few seams as possible. If you're doing a large area like a kitchen, you want to use as few seams as possible so that the flow of the granite pattern and color is less interrupted. A seamless slab in a kitchen looks beautiful and holds more value than seamed pieces because it's like a work of art. Ask the fabricator if any parts of the job can be done without a seam. Sometimes it's very possible, depending on the design of your kitchen.
To save money, you can choose granite tiles, which is like a tile, so there will be no seams, but they add little value to your home. You can also order from scraps the dealer may have leftover from other jobs, but they're only be suitable for small jobs where you don't have to match another granite, such as a powder bath or laundry.
Granite requires care. Granite is fairly heat-resistant and easy to clean, but you should keep in mind that it's also porous. It can crack, chip, stain and show scratches.
Don't put hot pans directly on the surface; use a trivet or hot pad. Use only granite-safe cleansers. Don't use bleach, ammonia products, scouring pads, or anything acidic such as lemon or vinegar to clean. Don't use dish soap to clean as it can leave a dulling film on the surface. Spills of wine, juice and tomato sauce should be cleaned up quickly.
Some finishes such as polish act as more of a seal, but you can also purchase granite sealers at your local market. Just wipe it on once a year or so to keep your countertops looking their best.
If you're wondering whether your countertop needs sealing, spill some clean water or the surface and cover it with a paper towel. If it leaves a stain, it will go away eventually, but you'll know it's time for sealant.
Posted on April 12, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Courtesy of CREB
Prices remain stable compared to last year.
City of Calgary, April 2, 2018 – As expected, slow sales this quarter have persisted through March in the City of Calgary. This is not a surprise, after stronger growth in sales at the end of last year following the announced changes to the lending market.
First quarter sales totaled 3,423 units, nearly 18 per cent below last year’s levels and 24 per cent below long-term averages. Easing sales and modest gains in new listings caused inventories to rise and months of supply to remain above four months. “Economic conditions are slowly improving, but it has not been enough to outpace the current impact of higher lending rates and more stringent conditions,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
“We are entering the most active quarters in the housing market with more inventory, which could create some price fluctuations. However, the improving economy is expected to prevent overall prices from slipping by significant amounts.”
While prices trended down on a quarterly basis, they remained relatively unchanged over last year’s levels due to modest gains in the detached sector offsetting declines in the apartment sector.
The citywide benchmark price for detached product averaged $502,000 in the first quarter. This is slightly lower than the fourth quarter of last year, but comparable to levels recorded in the first quarter of last year. In March, the detached price reached $503,800, 3.6 per cent below pre-recession highs, but one per cent above the lows recorded during the recession.
“The market today is better than what we experienced at the peak of the recession,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.
“You can find good value if you’re looking to buy a home, and you can also get good value if you’re selling. Being well-informed, in any economic condition, is the key, because there are differences in the market depending on what type of property it is and where it is located.”
Detached market inventories in the first quarter of 2017 were low compared to historical standards. This year, detached inventories have averaged 2,573 units over the first quarter, 10 per cent below first quarter averages recorded during 2015 and 2016.
Spring will have more inventory than last year, slowing progress on price recovery. However, the amount of price adjustment will vary depending on competing supply by location and product type.
Posted on April 5, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Courtesy of CREA
One of the key issues that CREA's federal affairs team has been working on recently is on Bill C-45 and the legalization of cannabis in Canada. What's the link between cannabis and REALTORS® you might ask? The legislation features provisions that allow individuals to engage in home cultivation of cannabis plants, which depending on the circumstance, size of the plant and scale of the residence, could have significant impacts in a home.
CREA's CEO, Michael Bourque, recently outlined his thoughts on the issue in an opinion piece published in theFinancial Postcopied below.
Want to live in a former grow-op? That's why we can't allow home pot farming
The government deadline for the legalization of cannabis is fast approaching, with legalized pot set to be available to Canadians sometime this summer.
At the same time, potential problems with the legislation are coming into much sharper focus. Now is the time for the Senate to live up to its role as the chamber of sober second thought and give greater consideration to issues overlooked or disregarded in the House of Commons.
In recent weeks we have seen Ottawa Public Health as well as apartment owners and landlords speak publicly about challenges the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) raised over a year ago with government officials. Namely, growing cannabis at home poses huge problems for the health and safety of people and buildings.
Currently the legislation allows individuals to grow four plants at home. On the surface, this sounds reasonable, even moderate. But it doesn't limit the number of crops, or the size of each plant. With very little effort (proper irrigation and lighting) one could easily harvest three or four crops a year, which could cover a large section of a home, depending on the strain of cannabis. The consequences are myriad and significant.
First, that type of cultivation is a grow-op, with all the potential risks and hazards of a commercial operation. Health authorities are calling it a public health concern. Health Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) both place indoor air quality as one of the most important elements to maintaining a healthy home.
Risks associated with regular growing of cannabis include mould, spores and fungus. People living in these surroundings with any type of respiratory illness could be adversely affected. And the damage to the home or apartment is well known to REALTORS® who have encountered grow-ops across the country.
In fact, there are virtually no remediation standards for mould-infected homes and there is no requirement to disclose a grow-op when selling a property. In addition, lenders and insurers are often reluctant to service former grow-ops, potentially taking a home off the market.
In addition to health risks, improper installation and the use of grow-op equipment, including high-wattage lights and irrigation tools, pose safety risks. With just three crops a year of certain strains, moderate yields could reach over five kilograms a year. At that level of production there is the potential for criminal activity, including easier access by minors, and apartment dwellers could be subject to health effects from smoke, odours and the consequences of a grow-op.
While it is difficult to estimate the size of the cannabis market, or to forecast usage post legalization, U.S. states like Colorado, which legalized pot in January 2014, have seen a marked increase in consumption. The situation in Canada may be even more pronounced. Cannabis has been illegal here for decades and in one day it will become legal, across the entire country. One comparison, which comes to mind, is what happened at the end of Prohibition in the U.S. when alcohol consumption shot up significantly.
For all of these reasons, the government and the Senate must make the time to seriously consider the Cannabis Act, also known as Bill C-45, and its provisions around home cultivation.
It's pretty clear that Canada has the production capacity to deal with new demand for cannabis products thanks to a rapidly growing, well-funded and capitalized cannabis industry. CREA and Canada's 125,000 REALTORS® hope that governments ban home cultivation, as has been done in Manitoba and Quebec. Failing that, we feel there is a clear case to proceed with caution and prepare for the coming into force of the home cultivation regulations.
Regulators need time to gauge the broad-based consequences of national legalization and offer solutions for all three levels of government to create rules, regulations and standards that will ensure the safety of Canadians and to protect their homes and investments.
Canadians voted for the legalization of cannabis, but it is a huge undertaking. We believe there is a strong case for getting the legislation right, versus getting it right now. We look forward to working with the government and senators to improve the legislation on behalf of home and property owners.
Posted on April 2, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
In the past year, AREA’s Advocacy team has secured some big wins for REALTORS® and consumers on the Condominium Property Amendment Act. AREA strongly advocated for better consumer protection on new condo purchases and the government responded. Now:
If builders miss their occupancy deadlines, buyers can rescind their offers and receive their full deposit.
Deposits must be held in trust with a lawyer.
Buyers have recourse if there is a material change to their unit
AREA us actively involved in PHASE II of the Condominium Property Amendment Act consultations, where our key position is:
Condominium owners should have a right to documents pertaining to their property, without paying additional fees.
Condos provide an important and economical option for home ownership. We know that many condo buyers are in a lower income bracket than those purchasing single-family dwellings. The costs associated with condo documents create greater stress, financially and otherwise, for consumers in what can already be a stressful transaction.
AREA estimates that, in 2018, Calgarians and Edmontonians alone will pay nearly $3.2 million for condominium documents. AREA argues that any additional document costs are unnecessary. The management companies are paid via the condo association and one of their responsibilities is maintaining condo documents. Making owners pay for access to their condo docs is double charging for something management companies are already paid to do.
Read our most recent submission on condo document here. Please contact your MLA to share why condo document fees are an unnecessary burden on consumers. Find your MLA here.
Adult-Only Condominium Changes
On January 1, 2018 amendments to Alberta’s Human Rights Act took effect, prohibiting adult-only condominiums. A court order required the province to amend the Act to prohibit age discrimination. The exception is seniors-only buildings that employ an age minimum of 55 years. This change is immediate for new condo builds.
As of January 1, 2018:
Condominium corporations may no longer institute age minimums with the exception of seniors-only buildings, which may employ an age minimum of 55 years.
Existing adult-only condominiums with age minimums below 55 years have 15 years to change their bylaws to reflect the new legislation.
Until a condominium corporation has updated its bylaws, owners and tenants must adhere to any age restrictions that are outlined in the current bylaws.
Posted on March 26, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Have you ever considered a nove to a smaller town? Less traffic, quiet and a true sense of community. Check out this beauty in Didsbury.
Listing Courtesy of Allen Reed. Front Porch Realty.
Fantastic property in a fantastic location! This immaculate and upgraded home is just waiting for a new family. Newer exterior siding, soffits, eavestrough and shingles. Beautiful hardwood and ceramic tile floors, open floor plan with spacious kitchen/dining complete with oak cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. Master features double closets and ensuite with shower. Fully finished basement boasts a family room, games room complete with pool table and a wet bar. With a total of 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, this home can suit all sizes of families. Outside you'll appreciate the privacy on the huge 2 tiered deck with the inset hot tub (newer). The yard is immaculate, fully fenced and so very private with the benefits of the neighbor's lot to the north being a perennial garden. Enjoy the firepit area, block patio, 2 large storage sheds and gravelled R.V. parking on the south side of the lot. A truly remarkable property ideally located steps from the golf course and close to parks and schools! Call now!
Posted on March 12, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Courtest of Calgary Real Estate News. Gerald Vander Pyl
Ring road construction accelerates plans for new Richmond-Sarcee interchange
Plans for a $106-million interchange at Richmond Road and Sarcee Trail are taking on added importance as construction continues along Calgary’s southwest ring road.
Residents of surrounding communities, and the area’s city councillor, want the interchange plan to be funded and built in time to handle traffic when the ring road opens around the end of 2021.
“I’ve lived in the ward all my life and have never felt that intersection has been properly addressed,” said Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison.
“What we’re really trying to accomplish here is how do we get out in front of all the increased traffic that’s going to come off the southwest leg of the ring road and down Sarcee.”
Davison says the absence of a west leg of the ring road means that traffic will increase on Richmond Road, 17th Avenue S.W. and Bow Trail, so a free-flowing interchange to replace lights at Richmond and Sarcee is needed.
A proposed design for the interchange was presented in early February to city council’s transportation and transit committee, and Davison says he would like to see it get into the City’s budget cycle during 2018.
“I’m 100 per cent in favour of moving it forward,” he said. “It’s a critical piece of infrastructure.”
He says an interchange at Bow Trail and Sarcee should also be a priority, as surrounding west-Calgary communities see additional development and growing density.
“It would create a sort of inner ring road by utilizing Sarcee,” he said.” Basically, traffic would free flow from way down Glenmore all the way to 16th Avenue N without the need for a set of traffic lights. And Richmond and Bow are really the last two components to what could happen there.”
Glamorgan Community Association president Beryl Ostrom says Richmond and Sarcee has needed an interchange since she moved there more than 30 years, but the upcoming permanent closure of 45th Street S.W. at Glenmore as part of the southwest ring road plan has added to the urgency.
“As Calgarians we need this interchange,” she said. “It has to be done.”
Ostrom says closing 45th Street means that residents of more than a dozen communities between Crowchild Trail and Sarcee Trail will rely even more on Richmond Road and Sarcee Trail as an access point.
She praised the City’s public engagement process, which led to an interchange design that is supported by both area residents and the business community.
“Good planning takes time,” said Ostrom. “But when you do it well, it pays off in spades at the end. Because then you have buy-in from everybody.
“It was a really good consultation process, and we ended up with a really workable interchange (plan) there.”
She adds the challenge now is to get the rest of council on board to fund the interchange, so it can be built by the time the southwest ring road opens.
“Time is running out, they really need to get this thing going,” she said. “It’s critical.”
Posted on March 7, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Courtesy of CREB
Calgary housing market prices hold, but sales fall
City of Calgary, March 1, 2018–Residential home sales declined in February, but a decline in new listings helped keep prices steady this month.
Sales totaled 1,094 units in February, 18 per cent below last year’s activity. Easing sales occurred across all property types this month, which outpaced the sales growth that occurred in January. After the first two months of the year, sales activity remains well below longer-term averages.
“Housing market conditions are still adjusting to rising lending rates and changes in lending requirements. This process is expected to be bumpy, with demand adjustments leading the changes,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
“However, it is important to remember that it is early in the process and the impact on prices will ultimately be dependent on the supply response.”
A decline in new listings was not enough to prevent further gains in inventory levels, but it offset some of the impact of slower sales activity. In the detached sector, activity in the $600,000 -$999,999 range recorded the largest gains in supply relative to sales.
“This is a market where the fundamentals of a sound pricing strategy need to be understood by sellers. At the same time, savvy buyers typically have a clear understanding of how much of a mortgage they can get,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.
“With all the recent changes, potential purchasers should be obtaining pre-approvals so they understand exactly what they can afford prior to making an offer on a home. It also provides them flexibility in this market.”
Citywide benchmark prices totaled $434,300 in February, which is just above levels recorded last month, but comparable to last years levels. While year-over-year price growth remained relatively stable in both the detached and attached markets, apartment prices remained three per cent below last year’s levels.
You can download the complete statistics package HERE.
Posted on February 28, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Courtesy of Sarah Straus - The Place to Mortgage
We are well into 2018 and are starting to see the effect of the fully implemented mortgage rule changes that came in January of this year. As reported recently in the Financial Post, many borrowers who would have been approved at traditional bank lenders just last year are now being turned down. As a result, the mortgage broker channel has seen an increase of over 20% in new applications.
More and more Canadians, as per Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) latest survey, are using the services of mortgage brokers and are calling them first. CMHC stated that mortgage broker share is trending upwards and with 55% of first time buyers now relying on the advice of mortgage brokers.
This makes total sense given brokers have access to the Canadian mortgage market including many credit unions, mortgage investment companies (MIC’s) and other lenders that are not affected by the new regulations in the same manner as traditional bank lenders are.
Now is a great time to see what you can qualify for and get pre-approved for your first or next mortgage. Whether you’re buying, refinancing, or investing, let me provide you with all the relevant information and resources to help you achieve your dreams and financial goals.
Your best option is to simply talk to me first.
Sarah Strauss, AMP Mortgage Broker Mortgage Alliance The Place To Mortgage
Posted on February 23, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Courtesy of CREB. Feb 23, 2018 Andrea Cox
McKenzie Lake and McKenzie Towne have a shared history, but unique identities
Two southeast communities conceptualized in the late ’80s and early ’90s are still turning heads 20 years later. McKenzie Lake and McKenzie Towne share a lineage and a location: they are both named after one of the first homesteaders in the area, James McKenzie, and they sit side by side on the east and west boundaries of Deerfoot Trail. But that is where the similarities end.
The eldest sibling – McKenzie Lake – features a 43-acre, manmade lake at its core, offering residents a sandy beach, a beautiful clubhouse and tennis courts, as well as a myriad of water sports in the summer, and skating and tobogganing in the winter. The lake is surrounded by an 18-acre park filled with 40-year-old trees and lovely landscaping. Multi-million-dollar homes ring the ridge overlooking the lake, and on a clear day, one can experience expansive views of the Rocky Mountains to the west.
Brimming with upscale, single-family homes, the neighbourhood draws families looking for an active lifestyle close to a variety of amenities.
Joanna Dupuis, who recently moved into the area with her husband and two preschool-age children, can’t say enough good things about the area.
“It is just so old-school, it reminds me of the neighbourhood I grew up in,” she said. “It’s really safe and it’s so pretty. Plus, we are really excited to use the lake in the summer,” she said.
McKenzie Towne, on the other hand, began as an experiment in new-urbanist design. Since its conception in the mid-1990s, it has won several design and urban planning awards, including the Urban Land Institute’s coveted title as one of the top master-planned communities in the world. It’s no wonder the City projects the population in the area to grow by 60 per cent over the next 25 years.
“Because of the design, you are always out talking to your neighbours,” said Shelley Wark-Martyn, president of the McKenzie Towne Community Association. “You get to know everyone. It is very friendly here.”
Wark-Martyn has been living in the area for 18 years and has watched it develop into a mature, established community that only reached final build-out four years ago. “My kids grew up here and now my daughter and her family have purchased a home in the area,” she said, noting that there is continuity within the community. “People stay here. They start with a starter home and move up.”
She says the amenities and the location are what attracted her to the area.
“We came to Calgary from Victoria and we really didn’t know the city,” she said. “We sat in coffee shops and pubs in several areas across the city, just chatting with the people to find out what they loved about their community. That’s how we chose McKenzie Towne. Plus, I needed to be close to the airport because I work all across North America and it’s just a quick 20-minute drive down the Deerfoot from here.”
McKenzie Towne’s new-urbanist design features a walkable, urban high street at its core, brimming with boutiques, pubs, restaurants and coffee shops, and anchored by a grocery store and gas station.
“It’s really handy,” said Wark-Martyn. “We have everything and I can walk everywhere. I never have to get in my car and go anywhere, except to the airport.”
Housing extends in a circular fashion from the urban high street. Homes are designed with front verandas and rear, alley-accessed garages, a concept that brings people to the front of the home, nudging them to interact with neighbours and the community.
“Many people call it Pleasantville,” said Wark-Martyn. “We certainly have no plans to leave.”
Posted on February 15, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Have you ever considered a home in the U.S.? Not sure where to begin? I am delighted to announce that I have partnered with one of the largest and most respected home builders in the U.S. to offer my clients access to the highest quality homes in the best locations in the U.S. Lennar offers not only great homes, but financing for Canadian through RBC as well access to legal advice as well.
What about location? How about San Antonio, Texas. I just spent some time in the area and was very impressed.
Potranco Run Vista Single Family Homes - United States - Texas
Location:15306 Saratogo Springs Dr, San Antonio, TX 78245, USA
Prices starting from:USD 276,900
The gated development of Potranco Run offers residents a tranquil country setting, located slightly outside the convenient and popular Loop 1604, where families have room to play. The development, highlighted by a landscaped entry, has preserved many native trees, providing a true Hill Country feel, while numerous shopping and dining options are nearby. The Vista Collection contains open designs and fine architectural detailing that complement family-oriented lifestyles. Covered patios are standard in each home. Children can attend the outstanding Northside Independent School District.
Posted on February 8, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
Are you thinking about a home in the U.S.? Perhaps a winter getaway in Arizona, California, Texas or Florida (or others)? Here is something to think about.
I am delighted to announce that I have partnered with one of the largest and most respected homebuilders in the U.S. to offer my clients access to the highest quality homes in the best locations in the U.S. Lennar was founded in 1954, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (LEN) and has built more than 800,000 homes in the U.S.
I have many years experience working with new home builders. On a recent trip through 20 states in the U.S. I stopped at several Lennar Show Homes and was very impressed with not only the homes, but the developments and especially the New Home Consultants.
I am proud to be a part of their extensive, world-wide network that enables Lennar to serve the needs of foreign buyers – from speaking their language to helping navigate the complex laws and financing sometimes associated with a foreign home purchase. Please visit my new U.S. Home Showcasewebsite to see all of my featured U.S. real estate opportunities now. This is just a sample of homes and communities so if you don't see the community, city or state you are interested in, please give me a call at (403) 253-7326. There are many others and I can help you find your perfect home in the U.S.
Here is a link to an infographic with information on Lennar.
Posted on February 1, 2018 by Bing Fountain - DreamScape Realty (403) 253-7326
THE HOUSING MARKET IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE MOVING TOWARDS RECOVERY IN 2018, BUT CHALLENGES REMAIN
Housing market conditions are expected to remain relatively unchanged in 2018, as the impact of higher lending rates and stricter lending criteria are offset by modest improvements in the economic climate. Recent changes may have prolonged the recovery period in our market, but it is not expected to completely derail the transition.
The path to recovery is expected to be bumpy, as the market adjusts to a new normal. We are entering 2018 with elevated supply levels and an environment of rising rates paired with stricter lending criteria. However, the improving economy generated modest job growth and net migration last year, with expectations of further improvements into 2018.
The opposing impacts of the changes in the lending environment and economic gains are expected to cause adjustments in demand/supply balances based on price range and product type, creating pockets of over/under supply and generating different paths of price recovery. Overall, it is expected to generate conditions comparable to 2017 and the dynamics within each sector of the market will vary.
Minimal changes in sales activity are expected to be met with easing new listings for some property types, limiting the upward pressure on supply. This should help support more balanced conditions, preventing widespread benchmark price declines.
More balanced market conditions will be led by the attached and detached sectors of the market, while the apartment sector will continue to struggle with excess inventory in 2018. Prices will likely continue to face some downward pressure in the apartment sector, with stabilization not expected until the latter portion of the year.
The attached sector may benefit from changes in distribution, as some demand shifts from the
detached sector to the attached sector of the market, supporting modest price gains of 0.38
per cent. Easing demand in the detached sector is expected to be met with easing listings, supporting overall stability in pricing.
You can download the complete 2018 Forecast Report HERE.
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.