Oct. 16, 2018

Things I wish I knew: Sellers Edition


Whеn уоu dесіdе to ѕеll уоur home, уоu nееd tо know thаt thеrе іѕ mоrе tо іt than ѕіmрlу рlаntіng a "For Sаlе" sign оn your lаwn. Yоu'll need tо соnѕіdеr all thе factors thаt wіll hеlр to еnѕurе thаt уоu have a ѕuссеѕѕful sale. Thе thought of ѕеllіng thе home yourself might ѕоund арреаlіng whеn уоu think оf thе savings thаt you саn make, but you nееd tо determine if thіѕ іѕ thе bеѕt dесіѕіоn.

Whеn beginning thе рrосеѕѕ of selling уоur home, normal ԛuеѕtіоnѕ like how tо gеt thе bеѕt price for mу рrореrtу and whеthеr оr not tо uѕе a real еѕtаtе agent іmmеdіаtеlу come to mind fоr most ѕеllеrѕ. Whеthеr you're a first tіmе home seller or a ѕеаѕоnеd hоmе selling veteran, thе process of ѕеllіng a hоmе will inevitably bе сhаllеngіng аnd complex. However, the bеѕt рlаn fоr аnу home seller іѕ tо рrераrе a home ѕеllіng ѕtrаtеgу bеfоrе рuttіng a hоmе оn the mаrkеt. There are thіngѕ to соnѕіdеr when making this important dесіѕіоn.

1) Whаt аrе thе current conditions оf the local market?

The mаrkеt is іn a constant ѕtаtе оf сhаngе. Things аrе always еіthеr hеаtіng uр оr cooling оff. Thіѕ fluctuation іѕ саuѕеd bу economic factors, ѕеаѕоnаl changes, and supply v/ѕ dеmаnd. I lіkе tо uѕе a thеоrу knоwn аѕ thе "slightly less/slightly mоrе" pricing ѕtrаtеgу. When thіngѕ are in a ѕtаtе оf dесlіnе, your рrісе must bе bеttеr thаn thе соmреtіtіоn. When things аrе grоwіng, уоu may bе able to sell your hоmе at ѕlіghtlу mоrе than оthеr rесеnt transactions.

2) How mаnу other properties wіll уоur hоmе be іn соmреtіtіоn аgаіnѕt?

If you can find the same home dоwn thе street, what аrе you оffеrіng thаt the оthеrѕ are nоt? Every home іn уоur neighbourhood іѕ іn соmреtіtіоn against thе rеѕt. Whеn уоu аrе priced bеlоw the соmреtіtіоn аnd the newest оn the mаrkеt, you hаvе thе greatest chance оf selling уоur hоmе ԛuісklу. Whеn tіmе іѕ not a сrіtісаl factor, уоu mау bе аblе tо set the home аt a dіffеrеnt price knоwіng that уоu аrе prepared tо wаіt until thе rіght buуеr соmеѕ with the right оffеr.

3) Dо уоu have аnу known рrоblеmѕ in thе home?

Knоwn problems should аlwауѕ bе rеѕоlvеd as soon as роѕѕіblе. Nоt оnlу will they become an іѕѕuе for you whеn thе іnѕресtіоn іѕ done but these іѕѕuеѕ соuld get wоrѕе and ultіmаtеlу соѕt уоu mоrе mоnеу. Knоwn іѕѕuеѕ іn thе hоmе ѕuсh as ѕtruсturаl рrоblеmѕ, leaks in the roof, еtс... muѕt bе dіѕсlоѕеd оn thе disclosure ѕtаtеmеnt if thеу аrе асtіvе problems. Get these things fіxеd today.

4) Is your home рrераrеd fоr a vіѕіt оn аn hоur'ѕ notice?

Gеt іntо thе hаbіt of leaving уоur home in vіѕіt rеаdу соndіtіоn еvеrуdау. Vіѕіt rеаdу wоuld іnсludе beds bеіng mаdе, carpets vacuumed, dіѕhеѕ сlеаnеd аnd рut away, lаwn іn оrdеr, blіndѕ opened, сlоthеѕ рut away, еtс... However, trу nоt tо worry about еvеrу little dеtаіl. On thе first visit tо a hоmе most buуеrѕ аrе juѕt lооkіng fоr gеnеrаl things ѕuсh as flооrрlаnѕ, еxtеrіоr features and gеnеrаl condition. Whеn a buуеr wants to dо a ѕесоnd wаlk thrоugh, the hоmе must bе іn іtѕ best possible соndіtіоn. Buуеrѕ wіll analyze every роѕѕіblе dеtаіl ѕіnсе thеу hаvе nоw become very іntеrеѕtеd іn роѕѕіblу рurсhаѕіng уоur hоmе. Tурісаllу, уоu wіll hаvе a lоngеr аdvаnсеd nоtісе fоr a ѕесоnd visit. Mаkе іt соunt.

5) Make a hоmе selling plan beforehand:

Prior tо rераіrіng and ѕtаgіng your home fоr ѕаlе оr making a ѕсhеdulе fоr аn ореn hоuѕе, іt wоuld bе a ѕmаrt dесіѕіоn to create a hоmе selling plan bеfоrеhаnd. Just lіkе іn buying a home, selling your property саn bе an оvеrwhеlmіng mоmеnt fоr аnу реrѕоn thеrеfоrе it is important thаt уоu сrеаtе a well-planned selling ѕtrаtеgу to make ѕurе that уоu gеt thе mоѕt from your property.


Thеѕе are juѕt some оf the major thіngѕ уоu оught tо know or bе thіnkіng about when рlаnnіng to sell your house.  For more information you can check out our Ultimate Marketing Plan or just give us a call and we can answer all your questions. 

Oct. 5, 2018

Sluggish Economy and Housing Oversupply Lead to Buyer’s Market


With no discernable changes in the economic picture, the sales in Calgary for September came to 1,272 units, which is 13% less than 2017, and far below the years-long averages. Across all housing types, there was a distinct pullback, especially in the detached market.

Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® chief economist noted Calgary is still struggling with unemployment, which was up 8% in September. Concerns about the continued unemployment, higher interest rates and a lack of economic confidence are depressing the housing market.

“While unemployment continues to be a problem, supply levels remain high, causing an ongoing oversupply and declining prices.”

Inventories reached 7,941 units, which means the months of oversupply is now at 6.25. The longer this goes on the more the oversupply will depress prices. The unadjusted benchmark price citywide came to $428,700 in September. This figure is almost 1% lower than August and 3% lower than this time last year.

Tom Westcott, CREB® president said, “This has become the new normal for real estate in Calgary.”

“A number of potential buyers may be motivated to take advantage of the current market conditions, but they will no doubt confront difficulties when they try putting their existing home on the market at a price they would accept. In most cases, unless homeowners can sell the home they currently live in they won’t be able to purchase a new one.” 

Sales in September were down, but third-quarter numbers seem to indicate a slower sales decline and fewer new listings. Even so, these factors were not enough to affect inventory levels this past quarter.

While the economy in Calgary struggles, there are some indications that the rental market is improving and this could contribute to a slow decrease in the housing supply overall.


Detached Homes

·  Year-to-date sales limped to 7,945 units, which was 20% lower than the 10-year average. Sales were soft across all price ranges, but not for properties that sold for less than $300,000, which showed a modest gain.

·  Soft sales met up with some new listing adjustments in September. Unfortunately, inventories are still too high and in most districts the oversupply is more than long-term averages.

·  Months of oversupply reached 5.5 months in September and this factor causes a softening of housing prices across all districts.

·  Benchmark prices for detached homes came to $493,100 in September. This amounts to a decline of 0.8% over the previous month and 3% below 2017.

·  Prices inched downward in most districts in September. However, when you look at year-to-date figures, benchmark prices are still higher than last year in the West districts and City Centre.

Condominiums & Apartments

·  The condominium and apartment sector has experienced the slowest sales decline at 6% so far in 2018. Similar to the detached sector, sales remain more than 20% below long-term averages at a total of 2,103 units.

·  For four months running, new listings have been inching lower than these months last year. This has reduced inventory in this market somewhat compared to 2017.

·  However, even with inventory a bit lower, this is still a buyer’s market when you consider the lower sales numbers.

·  When there is more supply than demand, which was the case in the condominium and apartment sector, benchmark prices softened in September, with a decline of 0.4% over the previous month and 2.7% when compared to 2017.

Attached Homes

·  The year-to-date sales recorded for the attached sector came in at 2,814 units. This figure is 15% lower than 2017 and 14% lower than long-term averages.

·  With no real lowering of new listings, inventory continued to be elevated, leading to more than 7 months of oversupply.  

·  Elevated supply when compared to demand continued to be the case in both row and semi-detached homes. Like every other sector, the oversupply has softened prices across all districts, save for North East, East and the City Centre.

·  While the benchmark prices softened in September for semi-detached homes, year-to-date prices were still higher than 2017 levels. The oversupply in recent months has eroded some of the progress made towards price recovery in 2017.

·  Benchmark prices for row homes have been at an average of $298,667 so far this year, which is nearly 2% below 2017 and 9% lower than previous highs. Despite the pullback across the city, row prices have stayed relatively stable in the South East and North West districts and the City Centre.



·  The housing market in Airdrie has so far this year been in a buyer’s market. This can be attributed to a weak economy, which has hindered any growth in demand. This won’t help to alleviate the oversupply and has led to a softening of benchmark prices in the detached home sector.

·  Residential sales year-to-date in Airdrie have gone down when compared to 2017 and remain at levels similar to those in 2012. In the meantime, new listings have stayed elevated, which in turn caused inventories for September to reach new highs.

·  Months of oversupply have continued to soften prices. The benchmark price year-to-date for detached homes averaged $371,244, which shows a 1.7% decline from last year and is 5% lower than previous highs.


·  Due to a similarly weak economy, the Cochrane housing market has been experiencing a slight supply-side imbalance.

·  Year-to-date sales in Cochrane were 477 units, which was 59 units lower than last year. Growth in sales has been decreasing for most of this year. However, 2018 levels are still higher than in 2015 and 2016.

·  New listings have been continuing to grow in Cochrane for most of 2018 and year-to-date numbers show 269 units more than long-term averages. Inventories have reached a new high for September, peaking at 360 units, which only leads to months more of elevated supply.

·  Due to the persistent oversupply, prices are softening in the third quarter. However, not enough to wipe out earlier gains. This leaves benchmark prices year-to-date a little higher than last year’s levels. So far in 2018, prices for detached homes remain 4% lower than recent highs.


·  Okotoks is also undergoing supply pressures due to slow sales and an increase in new listings.

·  Despite the oversupply, benchmark prices in the third quarter have remained relatively stable when compared to last quarter. The year-to-date benchmark price for detached homes is at $436.422, which is almost 1% higher than 2017, but still 3% lower than previous highs.




Posted in Market Update
Sept. 5, 2018

Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Sept 2018

High Rate of Unemployment is Slowing Recovery in Housing Market

CALGARY – The city’s housing market continues to suffer from oversupply due to an uptick in new listings and an easing in sales. These factors continue to be a drag on the housing market recovery.

Persistently high inventory levels in the Calgary market continued to pull prices down in August. Benchmark prices across the city dropped 0.8% over previous months, which mean they are 2.4% lower than last year’s price levels.

Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® chief economist said, “The unemployment rate in Calgary has been persistently high at 7.9%, plus the city has recently been suffering an increase in the loss of full-time jobs. Unemployment is just one of the factors affecting the local housing market.”

“Other factors include stricter lending conditions, the energy sector being slow to recover, and the competition being faced by the new home sector.”

Sales across the city in August totalled 1,490 units, which was nearly 7% down from this time last year and 14% lower than long-term trends.

Declines in sales and prices were inconsistent across all housing types and districts. Prices have been going down recently across most areas of the city when you examine year-to-date numbers, but remained similar to last year’s prices in the West districts and the City Centre.

Tom Westcott, CREB® president said, “Buyers and sellers alike must be realistic about the situation and their objectives. Buyers have to understand that price changes will depend on what type of home it is and its location. Just because sales have been declining, you cannot assume that prices will go down across the board.”

“If sellers expect to compete they must be well informed. They need to know what’s been selling in their neighbourhood and how well their home and property compares to those that have sold.”


Detached Homes

·  Year-to-date sales of detached homes slowed down in each district. Inventory levels remained high for nearly five months by August, which continued to drag down prices in all districts.

·  Benchmark prices for detached homes reached $497,000 in August. This represents a 0.74% decline over July, which is 2.6% lower than in 2017.

·  Across all districts prices trended down in August, but when you examine year-to-date figures they remain higher than 2017 in both West districts and City Centre.

·  Average benchmark prices year-to-date for detached homes have gone down 0.56% over last year, which reduces some of last year’s price recovery.

Condominiums & Apartments

·  Sales year-to-date came to 1,892 units, which is 7% lower than 2017. However this was not prevalent across all districts. In fact, North East and North West district sales were a bit higher than sales levels were last year.  

·  New listings slowed down in the apartment sector compared to 2017, which prevented higher gains in supply. However, inventory levels persistently remain high in this sector, which just leads to more declines in price.

·  Citywide prices have gone down by nearly 3% year-to-date, with the most significant declines occurring in the South, East and North East districts. All in all, prices are now almost 14% lower than the highs of 2014.

Attached Homes

·  Sales have also slowed down in the attached sector. However, there is some good news in that year-to-date sales in the West and North West districts for row houses and semi-detached homes have improved.

·  Sales of row houses have remained fairly consistent in the East and North East districts.

·  The semi-detached sector has been suffering from oversupply, which has pushed prices downward this year, but the average benchmark price year-to-date is still higher than 2017 in the City Centre, East and North East districts. These gains proved enough to offset the declining prices in other areas of the city. Overall, prices for semi-detached homes were 1% higher year-to-date than last year.  

·  Year-to-date prices for row homes are down 1.5% over 2017. However, prices have not been moving consistently across the city. Prices have been fairly stable in the North West and City Centre while declining nearly 7% in the North East district.



·  Sales in Airdrie have continued to soften when compared to 2017, with just 851 units being sold so far in 2018.

·  While there have been fewer new listings in recent months, new listings so far this year remain slightly above last year’s, with inventories at 597 units.  

·  The perpetual oversupply in the housing market has started to bring home prices down. Average prices for detached homes were $366,990, which is 0.7% lower than last month and 3.4% lower than last year. The benchmark average price year-to-date is 1.5% lower than last year’s levels.


·  Home sales year-to-date in Cochrane are at 431 units, which represents a decline over last year. However, sales activity does compare to recorded sales activity over the last five years. This shows that Cochrane has not experienced the same reduction in demand that other areas are experiencing.

·  The challenge facing Cochrane is the continuous rise in inventory. New listings are on the rise and at a level that is above normal for the area. Inventories are at new highs and supply just continues to rise.

·  The continued oversupply is now starting to have an adverse affect prices. Benchmark prices for detached homes dipped down to $426,100 in August, which was lower than in July. Despite the recent softening, prices in Cochrane overall remain comparable to average prices year-to-date in 2017 and for the month of August.


·  Inventory levels have risen to 280 units in Okotoks due to a softening in sales and an increase in new listings. 

·  The recent increases in inventory, along with fewer sales have begun to adversely affect prices in the area. Despite these factors, the softening was not enough to bring year-to-date prices below 2017 levels.

·  Average benchmark prices for detached homes are $436,350 year-to-date, which is slightly higher than 2017 levels. 

Posted in Market Update
Aug. 8, 2018

3 Ways a School Division Can Influence Your Resale Value

Welcome to Awesome August!

When you purchased your home, you had a list of things you wanted. Maybe it was the backyard, perhaps the kitchen. For almost 90% of potential homebuyers, school divisions play a large role in their decision.

For those that have children, it goes without saying that you want a good school for them. But for those that don’t, the decision to buy in a good school division is often tied to the resale value. Often the quality of the school changes over the course of 10 to 15 years, and if you don’t have daily interaction with the school, you may not even realize the impact it could have on selling your home.

Here are three ways a school division can influence your resale value:

1: Increased Spending Habits

A good school division may be an indication of other positive things in the area, including the efficiency of local government and spending. The National Bureau of Economic Research discovered that “for every dollar spent on public schools, home values increased by $20.” Increased home values are beneficial for everyone in the area.

2: Positive School Ratings

A 2013 realtor.com survey of nearly 1,000 prospective home buyers showed that 91% said school boundaries were an important factor in their home search. Statistics also show that the more affluence there is in a community, the higher the test scores will be in that same community, thus making the location more desirable.

3: Bigger Homes

Interestingly, higher-scoring schools tend to be in areas with bigger houses. Homes in higher-scoring school zones tend to have about 1.5 more rooms than homes in nearby lower-scoring schools. While more rooms can certainly increase home values, 1 in 5 home buyers are willing to sacrifice space, bedrooms, and garages to buy a house in a good school division.

But before you get too caught up on test scores, school rankings, and bedrooms there are a few additional things to take into consideration when buying or selling a home:

• Overall, buyers are willing to pay more for a home in a good school division

• 1 in 5 said they would pay between 6 to 10% more for a home in a good division

• 1 in 10 said they’d pay up to 20% more for a home in their desired school division

Don’t get overwhelmed with all the numbers and statistics. Together, we can do some research to determine the appeal of your school division and how it may affect the sale of your home.

If you would like to learn how your school division affects your specific home value, and benefit you financially, call me at 403-919-2247 to schedule a time to talk. 

Aug. 3, 2018

August 2018 Calgary Market Update

It Will Take Time for the Housing Market in Calgary to Fully Recover

With the recent rise in interest rates and a continually soft job market, potential homebuyers seem to be holding off on the decision to move forward with a purchase.  

In July, 1,547 units were sold in Calgary, which was nearly 5% lower than July of 2017. There were a total of 2,964 new listings in July, bringing the inventory to 8,450 units on the market. Clearly, supply is outpacing demand, so prices are inching down, with the average across the city at $435,200. This comes to a month-over-month decline in prices of 0.30%, which brings the year-over-year decline to 1.89%.

Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® chief economist, said, “Despite the upward momentum in some industries, our job market is continuing to struggle. Although there has been some relief in the past two to three months, unemployment rates are still too high.”

“Furthermore, in July the Bank of Canada decided to raise interest rates. Rising costs on top of a sluggish economic recovery are easing the demand in Calgary for resale homes. Supply continues to be high, which has caused the market to be oversupplied.”

Across the city the inventory has been going up for months now in all property types. For nearly five consecutive months the supply has risen in the detached sector and now for seven months running it’s gone up in the apartment sector.

Benchmark prices for detached homes in July came to $501,300, which was 0.4% lower than in June, but more than 2% higher than July 2017. In the detached home sector, benchmark year-to-date average prices remained slightly below last year’s levels. 

We continue to see the sharpest declines in the apartment ownership sector, with the year-to-date average benchmark prices at $257,343, which is 3% below July 2017 and nearly 14% lower than the 2014 highs.

Tom Westcott, CREB® president, said, “When you’re in a buyers’ market, both buyers and sellers must have the most recent information in order to make the smartest decisions.”

"A highly qualified REALTOR® can be very helpful in determining what price to list a home for. When they’re representing buyers, an experienced REALTOR® will know whether a home is priced too high.”


Detached Homes

·  Benchmark prices in City Centre are averaging $693,243, which is almost 3% lower than previous highs. Prices for detached homes in most districts continue to be more than 4% lower than previous highs.

·  City Centre and areas in West Calgary year-to-date are recording higher prices than this time last year, which means they are moving in the direction of a price recovery. In the West, benchmark prices are averaging $733,329, which is in the range of previous highs.

·  Unfortunately, oversupply is still a problem in each district of Calgary when you compare it to 2017. But, the truth is that in 2016 conditions were worse in both City Centre and West districts.


Condominiums & Apartments

·  Supply in the condominium/apartment sector is higher when compared to sales, which has caused year-to-date prices to be 3% lower than 2017 levels and almost 14% lower than previous highs.

·  A slowdown in new listings has stalled any additional gains in terms of inventory.

·  Inventory across Calgary is still slightly below 2017 levels. July inventories inched down in the South, East, North, North East and North West areas of Calgary compared to 2017 levels.

·  When you look at historical figures, levels remain high, but any decreases in inventory will certainly help lower the oversupply.

Attached Homes

·  More new listings cause an increase in inventory and months of oversupply compared to 2017.

·  Sales of attached homes, similar to other sectors, have slowed down this year. There have been 2,225 sales in 2018, which represents a 15% decline from 2017.

·  Across the city, year-to-date prices for semi-detached homes have eased by almost 1% when compared to 2017. Changes in benchmark prices have ranged from 3% lower in North West Calgary to 6% higher in South Calgary.

·  Even though there was an annual gain in 2018 in South Calgary, prices for semi-detached homes remain nearly 5% below the district’s peak.

·  Benchmark row prices year-to-date have been on the upswing citywide, due to gains in North and North West Calgary as well as City Centre. This annual gain indicates that a recovery is underway. However, row prices are still far below previous highs across the entire city.



·  Residential sales in Airdrie so far this year have come to 732 units, which is 11% below last year’s sales at this time. In fact, home sales in Airdrie are at their lowest over the last six years for the same time period.

·  New listings year-to-date are still slightly more than 2018 levels, coming to 1,600 units, which is a new high when you compare it to previous years for the same time period. Inventories in Airdrie are averaging 544 units so far this year, which is about 100 units more than in 2017 over the same time period.

·  With inventory rising and sales easing, there has been 5.2 months of oversupply on average, for the year, which affects prices.

·  Benchmark prices for detached homes are averaging $372,386 in 2018 so far, which is 1.29% lower than this time last year.


·  Sales for residential homes year-to-date in Cochrane are now 380 units, which is lower than last year at this time. However, the total number of sales is still more than long-term averages and the 2015-16 levels.

·  New listings for residential units continue to be strong and in fact are at historical highs, reaching 862. This has caused year-to-date inventory averages to reach 390 units monthly, which has resulted in an average of 6 months oversupply for the year.

·  Benchmark prices for detached homes in Cochrane continue to be relatively stable, despite all the gains in supply. Prices for detached homes are averaging $425,714 year-to-date, which is slightly more than 2017, but these figures are still nearly 4% lower than peak levels.


·  In Okotoks, so far this year sales of residential homes have reached 320 units, which is lower than last year at this time and lower than long-term trends. 

·  New listings are still higher than this time in the past few years, which is keeping inventories way too high. Average levels year-to-date are at 248 units.

·  So far this year there has been an oversupply averaging 5.4 months, which is more than historical standards. Interestingly, even though levels are high, this has not prevented a slight recovery in prices. Benchmark prices overall year-to-date for detached homes are averaging $436,786 so far this year, which is slightly above 2017, but nearly 3% lower than peak levels.




Posted in Market Update
July 15, 2018

Calgary Market Update - Mid Year 2018

Mid-Year Housing Market Update: Still Sluggish Due to Economic Conditions

Higher interest rates, stricter lending requirements and a lagging economy have slowed demand throughout the first six months of 2018.  

The result is fewer sales than originally forecasted.

Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® chief economist, said, “Soft sales along with increased inventories has resulted in an oversupply for all types of housing. This includes apartments and condominiums, detached and semi-detached homes, as well as row houses, which can’t help but affect prices.”

Prices overall are expected to go down by more than 1% across Calgary. Declines are likely to range from just under 1% for detached homes to 2.5% for apartments and condominiums.

“No one really expected prices to go up this year, however, the demand has been weaker than expected and the supply simply has not adjusted quickly enough. This has led us to revise our estimates down from what we had estimated earlier.”

We do expect the economy to gain more traction in the second half of the year. This should slow down the lessening in demand, but probably not enough to make up for the declines suffered in the first six months of the year.

Sales throughout Calgary are expected to go down by 9.7%, which translates to 17,047 units, which is now our forecast after revising our estimates.

This softening in sales continues to be met with more new listings, which just serves to keep inventories high. Conditions in the second half of 2018 are expected to improve slightly, which should reduce some of the oversupply. However, it’s unlikely that the oversupply situation will subside enough this year to maintain prices. A slight easing in prices is expected for most types of housing.

“All we can do is be patient during this recovery,” said Tom Westcott, president of CREB®.

“In this type of market, sellers need a solid pricing strategy in order to make their home more appealing,” said Westcott. “Buyers need to compare local market trends with long-term value in order to make informed decisions on how much to offer on a property.”

What is causing the housing market to struggle so much to recover?   

·  Stricter requirements for borrowing and higher interest rates are keeping many potential first-time buyers from becoming homeowners. These factors are also affecting existing homeowners who would otherwise be moving up to a more expensive home.

·  Although there is an improving economy, we are still recovering from the recession since the economy still has not reached pre-recession levels of activity.

·  There has been a shift in the types of jobs experiencing growth, as employment gains are not happening in traditional industries.

·  Consumer confidence is still lagging due to concerns about the prospects in Alberta. How this could continue to affect housing prices is a concern, especially now with so much inventory.




Posted in Market Update
July 3, 2018

July 2018 Calgary Market Update

Home Sales Limping Along in Calgary and Other Energy-Related Cities

Many energy-related cities in Canada located in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan have been experiencing a struggling housing market in the last few years, which has caused a decline in prices.

Higher interest rates and the recently enacted changes in mortgage rules are causing lower demand, which is affecting prices in these areas.

Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® chief economist, said, “Although the recession is over, unemployment remains high and there are worries about long-term growth. These factors, along with higher interest rates and stricter requirements are all affecting the demand for housing.”

“New listings are starting to lag for certain types of property, but not enough to keep the supply from growing and, in the end, cause an oversupply in the housing market.”

Calgary has been experiencing weak sales and this trend has continued on in June. Sales of residential homes in June came to a total of 1,896 units. This figure is 11% lower than June of 2017 and 12% lower than long-term averages.

Higher inventories as compared to sales have resulted in a buyers’ market and this is fairly widespread. This in turn has caused prices to go down. The benchmark price in Calgary for June came to $436,500, which was lower than May’s and 1.13% lower than 2017 levels.

The market for detached homes accounted for more than 60% of overall sales and contributes to more than 54% of the housing inventory of 4,817 units in June. With sales slowing down and inventory rising in most every price range, inventory for homes listed for less than $500,000 is still far lower than peak levels. 

Tom Westcott, CREB® president, said, “Whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market, it’s vital that you be well informed. You need to know what the process is for getting a pre-approval on a mortgage and have the latest information on how property is priced in the neighbourhood you are selling or hoping to buy in.”




Posted in Market Update
June 15, 2018

5 Projects to Do Yourself and Increase your Home's Value

Maybe it's the popularity of Pinterest, but the trend of Do-it-Yourself (DIY) projects is going strong. There are so many people trying new things both to personalize their homes and to save money while doing it.

The increase of the value of your home will vary by location and project, but you’ll see the most significant increase in the kitchen, bathrooms, and the outside.

Before a home can be sold there are usually some upgrades and small improvements to make to increase the value and the rate at which it sells. Here are five DIY projects you could easily tackle this year.

Beautify the Yard

The first thing potential buyers (and guests) are going to see is your yard. Consider the appeal of a beautifully manicured lawn and then strive for that. Maintain your yard, including pulling weeds, raking leaves, and making sure plants are thriving. Green is the colour you are aiming for. Consider some mulch beds with flowers that are low maintenance so they will maintain their appeal with little work.

You can quickly increase the value of your home by 2 to 5% by spending some time outside working on curb appeal.

Add Some Colour

The idea of painting may scare you, but it is a very doable DIY. A fresh coat of paint speaks volumes and can completely change the feel of a room. Neutral colours are a must here, and you may even look at some accent walls or stencils.

Painting doesn’t have to be expensive or time intensive and can increase your home value by up to 3%.

Update the Bathrooms

Bathrooms, like kitchens, can make or break a deal on selling a house. Just like kitchens, make sure that the faucets and fixtures are up-to-date and working well. Upgrade knobs, consider a tile backsplash and consider a fresh coat of paint.

A bathroom refresh can easily be done in a weekend and can increase your home's value in a short amount of time.

Declutter and Stage the House

One important thing when working to increase your home’s value is to make it feel like potential buyers can live there.

The first step to this is to declutter. Go room by room and get rid of things that you don’t need. This will also help you prepare for your move!

Rearrange some furniture, add curtains, flowers, or some pops of colour with accent rugs. Borrow from friends if you can, to save your budget.

Modernize the Kitchen

Updating and modernizing your kitchen is going to be the most significant undertaking, but the one with the most reward. Most kitchen upgrades will return 3 to 7% on your investment. More than half of real estate agents agree that the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to have in great shape before selling.

But not everyone is going to share the same taste in kitchen style, so focus on those minor repairs, making sure everything is working and looks good. Examples include leaking faucets, loose light fixtures, and countertops.

There are so many options to increase your home’s value, some of which you may want to do even if you aren’t looking to sell right now. By spacing out these projects, you’ll make them even more affordable and get to enjoy them yourself! Here are a few more ideas.

  • Add a simple island table to the kitchen

  • Instead of replacing cabinets, repaint them

  • Use peel and stick covering to make your appliances look like stainless steel

  • Put some floating shelves up

  • Paint the front door a bold colour

  • Add a fence to the backyard

  • Paint the garage floor to make it easier to keep clean

If you’re on a mission to increase the value of your house to sell it, let me know so we can prioritize your projects together. Give my office a call at 403-919-2247 and set up an appointment today!

May 25, 2018

No Time Like the Present to Buy a Home


Tired of renting? Would you like to own your own home? Now is a great time to make the move to homeownership. Low-interest rates, government incentive programs and a great supply of homes on the market are making the homeownership dream more possible.

Use Your RRSPs

Use the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan! You are allowed to use your RRSP contributions (maximum $20,000 per person, $40,000 per couple) to build or purchase a home. To qualify, you have to be a first-time buyer or for 4 straight years, you didn't own a principal residence. Income taxes are not deducted from this money if you repay it to your RRSP following the repayment schedule of the government.

Various Mortgages

There are many mortgage options available. With conventional mortgages, you can borrow up to 75% of the home's appraised value or purchase price (whichever is lower) to a maximum outlined by government rules. You have to provide the other 25%. Don't have the 25% down payment? A high-ratio mortgage might be an alternative if you are able to provide most of the money needed. High-ratio mortgages have to be insured at your expense. Ask your mortgage broker or lender if you qualify for this kind of mortgage. You can usually get a variable-rate mortgage for high-ratio and conventional mortgages. If interest rates increase, you pay more in interest monthly; if rates decrease, more money goes to your principal. Fixed-rate mortgages, on the contrary, have the same interest rate for the duration of the mortgage.

Evaluate Your Needs

Where do you want to live? What kind of house do you want? Start thinking about what you want today. Our REALTOR’s® are invaluable in helping you with the answers. They can access the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), a co-operative listing marketing system that gives great exposure to homes on the market. A quick computer search and our REALTOR® will narrow down the choices, based on location, price, number of bedrooms etc.

There are numerous housing choices in the Greater Calgary area, so defining your focus is critical. Your options will be resale homes, new houses, townhouses or condos. One of our REALTOR’s® will help you choose the option that is ideal for your current and future needs. Our REALTOR’s® will also go to viewings with you and give you all the relevant details so you can make an informed decision. Are you ready to buy a home? The conditions are great right now. Calgarians generally agree that owning a home is a great investment and it will give you some financial security in retirement.

May 8, 2018

3 Items You Need to Create Your Perfect Backyard Oasis


Even though we love to joke about how short summer is in Calgary, when the weather heats up and it does get really beautiful outside. For those few precious months out of the year when it’s gorgeous outside, you really need a place to enjoy the outdoors. With that in mind ...

Think back to your last vacation, the one on a tropical island, with a beautiful balcony full of gorgeous colours, comfortable furniture, and a fantastic view. Before you open your eyes to look out your back window, think about how you can bring that feeling of vacation to your backyard.

As the weather starts getting warmer, the desire to get outside and enjoy it grows. Now is the time to spend a little effort turning your outside area into an oasis.

Here are some great ideas that you can use to update your outside space without spending a lot of money.

Bring the inside, out.

The items that bring you comfort inside your house can do the same outside. Comfortable seating, warmth for chilly evenings, and colours can combine to bring your outside oasis to the level of your carefully crafted interior.

Throw pillows can bring any piece of furniture to life. By adding a splash of colour, they also make a space warm and inviting. Add a few to your outdoor seating and watch it instantly transform.

The same goes for an outdoor ottoman or food pouf. This trendy piece of furniture is very versatile, as it can be a table, footrest, or even an extra seat.

Tie it all together colorwise with an outdoor rug. Make sure it’s one made for outside use, so that cleaning it is easy, and that it is still comfortable enough to sit on. These three things can quickly transform the area into more of a living room feel than a back patio feel.

Think about seating.

Everyone will want to sit at some point when outside, so determining what kind of seating options you can create should be toward the top of the list.

Adirondack chairs are comfortable, long-lasting, and they don’t rust in the rain. You can get them in a variety of colours and materials. And you can dress them up with pillows or cushions. I also love that they come in kid sizes, which helps free up adult chairs for adults.

If you’re envisioning more of a private oasis than an entertaining area, consider a cute bistro table, with enough room for two. Or a small loveseat and a pair of chairs for a more intimate setting. A table is a must either way!

For those times you just want to be alone, consider a hammock. Imagine just grabbing a good book and escaping to the backyard for a few hours of quiet reading, or even a nap. You have your choice of colours here as well.

Set the stage with mood lighting.

As the sun sets over your backyard oasis, you’ll want to be able to keep the party going. Here’s where the strategic placement of lights come in. Again, there are many options to fit your theme and your budget.

Lanterns can be scattered around the seating area to create an inviting atmosphere. These can be lit with citronella candles or battery-operated ones. These lanterns don’t have to match, so keep an eye out for good deals when you're out shopping.

String lights are an easy way to add a bit of sophistication to the outside oasis. They’re lovely for a romantic evening and a fun party. You can leave them up year-round, and create a special glow, even in the winter.

A fire pit gives you both light and atmosphere. You’ll make many memories huddled around the fire pit, roasting marshmallows, listening to music, and enjoying your company. Keep your eyes out at yard sales for a great deal.

Creating your outside oasis may not take you all the way back to your favourite vacation home, but it’s a beautiful way to design your own space. If you’re looking to sell, an attractive backyard is a huge bonus for those looking to buy.

Give me a call at 403-919-2247 or reply to this email, and we can set up a time to explore your options regarding selling your house and finding your new dream home.