Courtesy of CREB
If you thought the in-laws were bad house guests, what about a cancer-causing gas?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed when naturally occurring uranium deposits in soil and rock decay. It is invisible, odourless and tasteless, and can accumulate inside homes – sometimes reaching dangerous levels.
Radon moves from the soil into homes through cracks in the foundation or gaps where the foundation meets the wall. Negative air pressure causes the home to make up the difference by drawing in soil gas.
Although radon accumulation in homes is not a new phenomenon, our modern lifestyle may put us at a higher risk than ever before.
“We spend more time inside now,” said Colin Dumais, building science and technical director for Radon West Ltd. and director of the Canadian National Radon Training Centre. “When I was growing up, parents used to say, ‘Go outside and don’t come back until dinner,’ but now they’re calling kids inside because they can’t watch them otherwise.”
“Radon in the home is entirely preventable. Knowing your home’s radon level is the first step in determining if you are at risk.” – Dr. Aaron Goodarzi, Canada Research Chair in Radiation Exposure Disease
Today, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. However, there’s good news for anyone who is worried about radon in their own home.
“Radon in the home is entirely preventable,” said Dr. Aaron Goodarzi, the Canada Research Chair in Radiation Exposure Disease and an assistant professor at the University of Calgary. “Knowing your home’s radon level is the first step in determining if you are at risk.”
Through several studies, Dr. Goodarzi and his colleagues are working to increase awareness of radon gas and encourage people to test their homes. They are also examining radon levels across the country and reviewing a variety of home metrics to help understand what is unique about houses with high radon levels.
“We recently published findings that demonstrate the inaccuracy of short-term radon testing compared to long-term testing,” said Dr. Goodarzi. “Short-term testing is a common practice during a real estate purchase. Because of the inaccuracy, we are educating REALTORS® to not perform a short-term test at this time.”
Fortunately, testing your home for radon is easy, effective and inexpensive. Through Evict Radon, a non-profit organization led by Dr. Goodarzi, homeowners can purchase a radon testing device for $51.99, follow the instructions over 90 days and ship the device to a lab for the results.
Addressing the problem, however, is a bit more costly.
“Fixing a radon issue is usually around $2500, but it can be more,” said Dumais. “It’s a matter of altering the pressure beneath the house, so radon goes from your home to the ground, rather than vice versa.”
For Realtors and home sellers, it’s important to note that a home mitigated for radon has the healthiest possible air and, as a result, is very desirable.
“High radon does not devalue real estate,” said Dr. Goodarzi.
Also, unlike the in-laws, once you rid your home of radon, it should be gone for good.
City of Calgary, January 2, 2020 – December sales improved to levels more consistent with activity recorded over the past five years. This follows weak sales activity last year.
A stronger second half in 2019 was enough to push annual sales up by one per cent.
“Price declines, lower mortgage rates and some modest improvements in full-time employment helped support some demand growth in the city. Reductions in supply are also contributing to the slow adjustment to more stable conditions in the housing market,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
“As oversupply in the market continues to ease, we should start to see more stabilization in prices. However, conditions continue to favour the buyer and this is weighing on prices.”
December unadjusted benchmark prices were $418,500. This is just slightly lower than last month and one per cent below last year’s levels.
Overall prices in 2019 declined by three per cent over last year’s levels. The total adjustment in prices is a 10 per cent decline since the 2014 slowdown in the energy sector.
While there are signs of stabilization, conditions vary significantly by location, price range and product type.
Improvements in the resale market have been mostly driven by lower priced product or areas where price declines were enough to bring more purchasers back into the market.
For more information on the 2020 housing market, the annual forecast report will be released at CREB®’s 2020Forecast Conference & Tradeshow(www.crebforecast.com) on Jan. 14, 2020.
• Improving sales in the second-half of the year helped offset earlier declines. This resulted in detached sales that are relatively unchanged from 2018 levels.
• While city wide levels remained stable, homes priced under $500,000 recorded sales growth of nearly nine per cent. However, sales declined by 11 per cent for homes priced over $500,000.
• When considering sales activity by district, sales activity eased or remained relatively stable across most districts. However, exceptions include the North West and South Districts which recorded annual sales growth.
• Supply levels generally eased, but the adjustments were not consistent across the city as inventories rose in both the West and City Centre districts.
• Detached benchmark prices were $480,100 in December contributing to the 2019 average of $484,808, three per cent below last year’s levels.
• 2019 price declines ranged from a one per cent in the North East district to a five per cent decline in the City Centre district.
• Stronger apartment style sales in December were enough to push annual levels to 2,672 units. This is just above last year’s levels.
• The improvements were mostly driven by gains in the North, West and South East districts. This is offsetting the significant declines in the North East, North West and East districts.
• New listings continue to ease across all districts except the South East. This district has seen a rise in new home constructionand is likely contributing to some of the rise in new listings and inventory. Despite these trends in the one district, easing inventories relative to the sales have helped reduce some of the oversupply in this segment.
• Reductions in oversupply helped ease the rate of decline in resale apartment condominium prices. However, prices in December remained one per cent below last years levels with a price decline range of five per cent in the West district to a one per centincrease in the South East district.
• The attached segment of the market has seen the largest improvements in sales when compared to the other product types. Annual sales improved by nearly seven per cent for a total of 3,780 sales.
• Both row and semi-detached product recorded improving sales with easing new listings and inventories. However, there was some variation depending on the district.
• December semi-detached prices were $388,200 and row prices were $283,000. Both segments saw annual price declines in excess of three per cent and remain well below previous highs.
• Depending on the district, the range of price activity varied significantly across the semi-detached and row segments. In 2019, price activity ranged from a seven per cent decline in row prices in the East district to a one per cent increase for semi-detached product in the North district.
You can download the complete statistics package HERE.
Courtesy of CREB
City of Calgary, December 2, 2019 – Year-to-date residential sales in the city remain just above last year’s levels due to improvements in the attached sector so far this year.
However, November sales activity eased over last year’s levels, mostly due to pullbacks in the apartment sector.
Meanwhile, new listings eased enough relative to sales to cause inventories to ease and the amount of oversupply to come down slightly compared to last year’s levels.
“Achieving more stable conditions will take time. Sales activity has been settling in at lower levels and is likely being influenced by the economic conditions and uncertainty weighing on our market,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
“While the amount of supply in the market continues to ease, the persistent oversupply continues to weigh on prices.”
As of November, the citywide unadjusted benchmark price was $419,100. This is just below last month’s levels and two per cent lower than last year’s levels.
Market conditions continue to vary depending on price, location and product type. For example, prices have ranged from a year-to-date decline of nearly eight per cent for row product in the East district to a two per cent increase for semi-detached product in the North district.
Larger price declines are often caused by high supply in the new-home and resale markets relative to demand.
• Detached sales improved in November over last year’s levels, mostly due to growth in the $400,000 –500,000 range. However, sales in November and overall activity remain low by historical standards.
• Despite some recent gains in sales activity, year-to-date sales remain comparable to last year’s levels and 20 per cent below longer-term trends. However, detached sales have improved in both the North West and South districts this year.
• Improving sales, combined with further declines in new listings, helped reduce inventories in this sector compared to levels recorded last year. However, supply levels remained elevated based on seasonal comparisons.
• Like some of the other sectors, the detached market is slowly moving toward more balanced conditions. However, it is still oversupplied, and this trend continues to weigh on prices.
• The detached unadjusted benchmark price was $481,500 in November, slightly lower than last month’s levels and two per cent below last year’s prices.
• Apartment sales pulled back this month, causing year-to-date sales to remain comparable to last year’s levels and 21 per cent below long-term averages.
• The monthly decline in sales was mostly driven by pullbacks in the City Centre, North West and South East districts. However,ona year-to-date basis, sales activity improved in the North, West and South East districts.
• New listings rose across most districts, causing city-wide inventory gains this month. Much of the gains were a result of a risein new-home listings filtering into the resale market. Despite the monthly shift, year-to-date new listings and inventories remain lower than last year’s levels.
• Weaker sales, combined with rising inventories, pushed November months of supply to over seven months. This is higher than last year’s levels of more than five months.
• Persistent oversupply in this sector caused prices to ease. The year-to-date benchmark price declined by more than two per cent.
• Year-to-date sales remain more than six per cent higher than last year’s levels and just below long-term averages.
• New listings eased this month compared to last year and sales improved. Inventories continue to ease from the monthly highs recorded last year. While the attached market remains oversupplied, the market continues to improve over last year’s levels.
• November semi-detached prices eased by two per cent compared to last year. The largest year-over-year declines occurred in the City Centre district.
• Row prices eased by nearly four per cent compared to last year. Annual declines ranged from more than seven per cent in the North East district to nearly two per cent in the North West and East districts.
You can download the complete statistics package HERE.
Courtesy of CREB
City of Calgary, November1, 2019 -Sales activity in October improved by nearly 10 per cent compared to last year, driven mostly by improvements for apartment and attached product.
New listings also eased, which helped reduce inventory levels and the oversupply in the market. Despite the move to more balanced conditions, the market remains oversupplied and prices continue to remain below last year’s levels.
“Employment has shifted in the city, with job growth occurring in our non-traditional sectors and often at a different pay scale. This is consistent with the shift to more affordable housing product,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
“However, at the higher end of the market the amount of oversupply is rising, as supply cannot shift enough to compensate for the reductions in demand. This is likely causing divergent trends in pricing and preventing prices from stabilizing across the city.”
This is a market where signs of improvement are not consistent across all product types and price ranges.
Improvements in sales are occurring in the lower price ranges across all product types. This is not yet translating into price shifts, as persistently elevated supply levels continue to place downward pressure on prices.
As of October, citywide unadjusted benchmark prices were $422,900, just below last month’s levels and two per cent lower than last year’s levels.
- Sales activity this month came in just above last year’s levels, thanks to growth in all districts except the North East and North. However, year-to-date citywide levels remain comparable to last year’s levels and over 19 per cent lower than longer-term trends.
- New listings continued to ease this month, but at a slower pace than levels recorded over the past eight months.
- Improvements in sales and easing new listings brought down inventory levels by 15 per cent. With 3,391 units in inventory, the months of supply is just under four months. This is a decline compared to last year, but it is still high based on longer-term trends. Months of supply eased across all districts except the North, likely due to the increased pressure coming from the new-home sector.
- Unadjusted benchmark prices eased over the previous month due to declines in all districts except the South East and East. Overall, prices in October remained nearly two per cent lower than last year’s levels and nearly eight per cent lower than previous highs.
- Apartment sales continued to improve this month and new listings eased. This helped reduce inventory levels and brought the months of supply down just under 6 months. Despite improvements, the market remained firmly in buyers’ territory.
- Year-to-date improvements in sales were driven by gains in the North, West and South East sectors. Inventory declines have occurred in all districts except the South East.
- Overall, year-to-date prices remained over two per cent lower than last year’s levels and nearly 17 per cent lower than peak pricing. However, there are some signs of stabilization in prices this year, with prices in the North East, South East and East remaining comparable to last year.
- The attached market continues to show the largest increase in sales, with year-to-date growth of nearly seven per cent. Improvements occurred across all districts except for the North West and North East.
- New listings have eased by eight per cent so far this year, causing inventory declines and reductions in the amount of oversupply.
- Like most sectors, this segment remains oversupplied, which is causing price adjustments. As of October, semi-detached and row prices remained two and four per cent lower than last year’s levels, respectively. Prices continue to ease across nearly alldistricts and remain well below previous highs.
Courtesy of CREB - By Geoff Geddes
Despite the Edmonton-Calgary rivalry, there’s at least one import from our northern neighbour that appears to be a welcome addition to the local real estate market: backyard suites.
“We are originally from Edmonton, but we were receiving inquiries from Calgary and finally decided that the time was right to expand,” said Ashley Salvador, president & co-founder of Calgary Backyard Suites.
The non-profit organization promotes the development of backyard suites through educational workshops, where people learn the rules, regulations, financing options and design considerations for these suites.
“It’s a great place to get all the resources you need to proceed with building your own suite,” said Salvador. “We even hold tours, so people can get a firsthand look at what a backyard suite is all about and start to imagine what theirs will look like.”
The organization also does some advocacy work, promoting policies that will aid backyard suite construction and reduce barriers to their creation.
“Connecting with a builder is critical, as there are intricacies around things like hookups and utilities that are specific to backyard suites.” – Ashley Salvador, Calgary Backyard Suites
For those new to the phenomenon, a backyard suite is a house of approximately 500 square feet located in the backyard. They are typically placed above the garage, but some suites are built as standalone structures.
“These suites play an important role in helping cities add density to existing neighbourhoods and build up their communities,” said Salvador.
“They can provide affordable rental housing in areas where the cost of buying a home is prohibitive. From a fiscal perspective, backyard suites are beneficial for cities, given the high cost of expanding outwards and serving far-off neighbourhoods with roads, sewers and such.”
Though backyard suites are relatively small, interested homeowners should keep in mind that they still represent a significant investment.
“The suites start at around $160,000, so be sure you have the capacity to finance them and speak to an experienced mortgage broker up front,” said Salvador. “As well, understand the constraints of your property. Can it accommodate a backyard suite? What design is most appropriate for your situation?”
A good first step is attending a Calgary Backyard Suites workshop, where representatives from the City of Calgary talk about the rules and regulations that apply to this unique housing option. The organization also brings in current suite owners who have been through the process and can offer advice.
“Another excellent opportunity for new buyers is our builder and designer showcase,” said Salvador.
“Connecting with a builder is critical, as there are intricacies around things like hookups and utilities that are specific to backyard suites. Talking to an expert who knows about these aspects can help you stay within budget and get exactly what you’re looking for.”