Archive for the ‘Forecasts’ Category

Time to Plan

Monday, February 27th, 2017

House keychain

So our economy is turning around as expected in 2017, with the Conference Board of Canada forecasting Alberta to lead the country in economic growth for the year. Oil prices have stabilized, and flowing infrastructure money is helping to create jobs, as is a lowered small business tax rate. All of that adds up to a little more consumer confidence, a little less financial nervousness, and maybe fewer homes on the market.

While Calgary’s real estate landscape never really became over saturated, we did see a large uptick in the numbers as financial realities led owners to downsize. That impetus is waning. Still, it will likely take a couple of years before higher end properties become as sought after as they were a few years ago; the sweet spot is really right around the $430,000-$500,000 mark for quick sales at or near asking price. According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, the communities that had the most sales last year were Tuscany, Evanston, New Brighton, Copperfield, Coventry Hills, Cranston, Auburn Bay, and Evergreen: all of which have plenty of inventory in that mid-range pricing category for detached single family homes.

So, If you’re looking at making an upwards move, now’s a good time to start strategizing. Pricing is stable overall, but if there’s any softness it’s going to be in the higher priced homes. Put a little work into staging your average sized property and making it present at its best, and while we’re not in bidding war territory yet, you’re likely to get a very respectable return. Spring is right around the corner, and is the time of year many people start thinking about making a move, so now’s the time to start preparing if you’re considering a jump into the sales market. I am well experienced in making this kind of upward move, and would be happy to help you formulate a plan – contact me today to get started!

Market Stability and Growth

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Slow growth

More positive indicators regarding Calgary’s real estate market for 2017, this time from the Calgary Real Estate Board. In its 2017 forecast, CREB predicts about a three percent increase in total units sold, with an increase in detached home prices of nearly a percent. While a far cry from the booming numbers of a few years ago, this kind of stability – with a slow upward trend – is highly reassuring as we emerge from a recession. Check out the whole forecast document here.

Call me an optimist, but I’d suggest CREB is being a bit conservative with its predictions. It’s my feeling that there’s some pent up demand in Calgary’s market, people looking to make a move within the city who were simply waiting out the downturn so as to not experience so much downward price pressure on the property they’re looking to sell. If this is indeed the case, we could see an increase in the number of transactions over the course of the year, and maybe a little bump in the average price.

Regardless, we seem to have weathered a storm and are about to see the sun peaking through the clouds.

Want to plan your sales strategy? Contact me today and let’s have a chat.

Spring Market Trends

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Spring House Market

RE/MAX has released its annual Spring Market Trends report, which gives a good look at how Calgary’s market compares to the rest of the country, and predicts what the rest of 2016 will be like. It’s available here, and I suggest taking a look if you’re thinking about buying or selling this year.

Of particular note is the slowdown in residential construction across our city, which should help the resale market absorb its abundance of inventory. Further, we’re likely looking at a slight increase in average selling price by the time 2016 comes to a close. For April, we had an increase in both the median and the average selling price, with the total number of sales only dropping about 10 percent from last year, so don’t believe the pessimists who think our real estate market is in a serious decline; it remains, and will remain, strong.

The next couple of months are typically the busiest for buying and selling, so if you’re considering putting your property up for sale I’d suggest getting on it sooner rather than later. The unseasonably warm weather has prospective buyers out and about more than they might’ve been in a more typical spring, and that means your For Sale sign can have even more impact. Contact me today for an assessment of your property, and maybe some suggestions on enhancing your curb appeal for those evening strollers.

Navigating a Buyer’s Market

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Buyer's Market

As we near the close-out of 2015, Calgary is settling into mild buyer’s market and will likely stay that way for a good chunk of 2016. However, if you’re looking to sell your mid-range home – especially sub-$450,000 – you’ll likely have plenty of interest. It’s the higher end that’s really taking the hit of job losses and low oil prices in Alberta.

We haven’t seen a buyer’s market in Calgary in quite a while, and so many looking to sell may be a little concerned and uncomfortable about the prospect. If that’s you, allow me to set your mind at ease.

First, Calgary’s real estate market, even in economic slowdowns, tends to remain pretty strong thanks to solid fundamentals. You won’t need to hold a fire sale on your well maintained home just to move it; priced and marketed appropriately by a real estate professional (like me!), you can still get what your property is worth. So, relax.

Second, to get top dollar, your home needs to look like it’s worth it. Professional staging, decluttering, yard maintenance and home repairs are key in a buyer’s market. When there’re plenty of homes to chose from, many shoppers are going to lean toward those that look ready to move into without a lot of work. Little touches make a huge difference, logical or not.

Third, trust your Realtor to manage expectations and give you honest opinions on pricing and strategy. She or he wants to move your property as badly as you want it to sell, and is motivated to secure the best price. Realtors live and breath real estate, and know the truth behind the headlines, so find someone you can trust and let their experience guide you.

Keep these things in mind and you’re set to have a positive experience selling in a buyer’s market.

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Balance is Coming

Friday, September 5th, 2014

paper house car and family - Small

You may have read recently that an increase in listings has started to soften Calgary’s market a bit. This is true – there are nearly 20 percent more homes currently for sale than there were a year ago. This is a good thing, as single-family home prices were up more than ten percent, year-over-year, in August, and that kind of increase is obviously not sustainable. Eventually we’ll move away from current market conditions, heavily favouring sellers, to a more balanced situation.

This is a good thing. More families are moving toward condos than detached homes right now because of the affordability factor. As those families grow and start looking for larger residences, a balanced market means they’re more likely to find them at a price they can afford. This doesn’t mean your home’s value will necessarily start dropping, just that its valuation won’t continue to jump at the same speed. You’ll be thankful for this when your property tax bill shows up.

I like a balanced market. Sure, when things are hot, homes move quickly and for high prices, and there’s a certain excitement to the industry. The downside shows up when a family I’m working with loses out on the property of their dreams because of a bidding war, or when a seller must scramble to find a new home after his current place sold quicker than expected. In slightly slower – but not slow – times, buyers can take a breath and really evaluate the home they’ll be paying for over the next 25 years, sellers can start shopping while their home’s on the market, and I get to eat dinner with my kids more often. Wins all around.

The Calgary Home + Design Show is just two weeks away – save four dollars with the promo code SAVEFOUR when you buy your tickets online before September 12!

First Timers

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

first time home buyers

Interesting article from the Herald recently on the growing number of first-time home buyers. You’d think the record prices would deter first-timers from jumping into this red-hot market, but increasingly low interest rates combined with a healthy amount of confidence have led to the majority of properties changing hands in 2013 going to newbies.

I expect this trend will carry forward through 2014, as mortgages can now be had for less than two percent.

It’s nice to see the ‘housing bubble’ talk die down in the media lately: for close to a decade it’s been all the rage to predict how we’re on the verge of a US-style meltdown thanks to high personal debt loads and unsustainably low interest rates. Just wait till the good times get a little less good, they said, and it’ll be foreclosure sales left and right. Well, that kind of talk might sell magazines and get people to tune in at 6:00, but it’s just not the reality, especially in Calgary.

The steady population growth, solid employment situation, and smart city planning all lead to ours being a very livable city. I mean, in Toronto or Vancouver if you work downtown but live in the ‘burbs, you’re in for a multi-hour commute each day, but here, thanks in large part to a well designed c-train system, few are en-route for more than 45 minutes. Heck, our largest community (Tuscany) buts right up against the city limits, and when the new station opens this fall transit riders will be in the core in about 25 minutes.

So bravo for Calgary residents realizing the great value our city holds and jumping into the housing market. Obviously, making up 55 percent of the sales means first-timers are essential to the healthy and sustainable that we enjoy, and so it’s vital for everyone’s property values that we see real estate in Calgary for what it is, and not through an alarmist, sensationalist filter.

Cheers for Condos

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

802, 281 Cougar Ridge Dr SW

I talk a lot about the detached home market in Calgary, and how remarkably well its doing, but our city’s condo market is also on fire right now. The Herald reported recently that new condo sales are near the records set in 2005 – when prices were significantly lower – as people look to live closer to the action of our downtown core.

Condos have a lot of great benefits for the right homebuyer. First, you get the financial advantages of owning a home with a lot of the mitigated responsibilities (for things like shoveling snow, replacing the roof, and so on) that go along with renting. Second, singles may feel a greater sense of security living in a highrise condo building, surrounded by helpful neighbours and with a monitored entrance, rather than in a big suburban home. Third, a major element of the condo lifestyle is living with less stuff: you just plain don’t have the room to store a pile of collectables, and so you learn to live with less.

It’s not for everyone, of course, and it does have risks: a poorly managed condo board can leave maintenance undone, for example, leading to major repairs paid for out of residents’ pockets. For those who do their research and know what they’re getting into, though, condos hold a lot of value and appeal. If you think you might like getting into the condo market, give me a call or visit my web page to view those I currently have listed.

New Year, New Growth

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

growth ahead

The New Year is off to a great start in the real estate market, with the Calgary Real Estate Board predicting strong growth in both prices and the number of newly-built homes. While that’s a familiar-sounding tune these days, we’re coming off a year that saw more than 12 percent growth in the number of sales made with prices rising by six percent; to see sales increase by what’s predicted to be a little under four percent from last year is a really impressive sign of a healthy, robust market.

With interest rates now predicted to remain low for the foreseeable future (as opposed to the ‘there’re going up next month!’ prognostications we’ve been hearing for the last few years), this is an good time to build your ideal property or find a great resale home to move up into. A couple weeks ago I posted about some things you can do around your home to get it in saleable condition; I recommend having another read of that, and make a game plan if you want to enter the market in the spring. A few touch-ups can really affect your bottom line, which in turn will help you get that new home you want.

Want a personal, no-obligation evaluation of what we could sell your home for today, and what you could do to sell it for more? Contact me!

Common Sense Propaganda

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

housing market

With the civic election just weeks away, city planning is a hot topic of conversation in the media thanks to a rather scandalous video taped surreptitiously at a home builders’ meeting earlier this year, with city aldermen called out for being friendly or unfriendly to developers’ interests, and the not always amenable relationship between our mayor and the Home Builders’ Association.

That’s led to some pretty serious propaganda surrounding Calgary’s housing market, including a website launched mid-September by Common Sense Calgary that warned of city planners making Calgary unaffordable for our children, citing the high price of property in Vancouver as an example of what we can look forward to.

Don’t be fooled; we’re not Vancouver. There is already a great deal of land within Calgary city limits set for new neighbourhoods to be constructed, neighbourhoods that will offer starter homes at relatively affordable prices. According to the Royal Bank Affordability Index, which measures how much of an average family’s income would be taken up by housing costs, Calgary is one of the most affordable major cities in which to own a home in Canada. Our affordability index is 33.6 percent. The national average is 48.4, and Vancouver’s is a whopping 85.8. And these are 2013 numbers, as we’re in the midst of a seller’s market.

Why are homes so expensive in Vancouver? Well, the obvious answer is it’s a coastal city, so land is at a premium. Add to that, the commute for people who work in Vancouver but live in the neighbouring communities – Burnaby, Langley, and so on – is hellish, so a small house in the city is still extremely appealing. Compare that to Calgary, a city built on the prairie with so much land we have the country’s largest green space (Nose Hill Park) in our city limits. Suburban life here doesn’t mean commutes of three hours each way; someone can live in Tuscany and still get to work downtown in under 45 minutes during rush hour. Plenty of residents of Airdrie, Cochrane, and even Didsbury happily commute daily, with travel times a fraction of those for commuters to Vancouver.

So, no matter what you think of Calgary’s city planning, or whether you approve or disapprove of the way the mayor’s office relates to home builders, don’t be swayed by the fear tactics employed by a special interest group looking to influence the upcoming election. Do your own research, and judge on facts, not hyperbole.

Boom and Slightly Less Boom

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

real estate boom

It should come as no surprise to readers of this space that 2013 is on track to set a sales record, with well over $9 billion in sales being transacted; to date, the city has seen nearly $7 billion in real estate changing hands. Resale prices are up, and people are still buying, thanks to some very solid employment numbers (we’re one of the country’s only bright points on that front), relative affordability (especially in the condo market), forced moves due to the flood, and just the general appeal of our city to people from all over. Calgary’s a place where you can get a good job and raise a family without too much fear of the bottom falling out of your lifestyle.

So, of course, there’s gotta be the end times coming, and naysayers point to a slowdown in the purchase of land for new properties to show that they’re almost here. Call me optimistic, but I just don’t buy that as proof that we’re in a bubble about to burst. Developers have bought up huge swaths of land recently to keep up with the demand in our hot seller’s market, but they still recognize that the country’s fragile economy will likely lead to some ebbs and flows. So the houses get built, they sell, then new rounds of purchasing can begin. While suggestions that land purchases have dropped more than 50 percent in Calgary year-over-year may sound alarming, the other way to look at that is there was a lot of land bought up last year that’s becoming homes sold this year.

Real estate markets cycle, they don’t generally boom and bust without outside factors manipulating them (as was the case in the US some years ago). So, as I seem to say often around here, take the alarmist news with a healthy dose of skepticism.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. 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.