House prices in Calgary experienced a small increase in the first quarter of the year, according to the Royal LePage house price survey released Tuesday.

The aggregate price of a home in the city rose 0.6 per cent year-over-year to $461,635.

“This is projected to be a recovery year; oil prices have stabilized, and people are starting to feel more confident in the economy. This newfound confidence has led to a rising volume of sales and resulting lack of inventory, making it increasingly clear that people are becoming more comfortable with the real estate market in Calgary,” Corinne Lyall, broker and owner at Royal LePage Benchmark said in a news release.

“Despite the economic challenges Calgary experienced in recent years, it has always been a place where people continue to be optimistic.”

The median price of a two-storey home in Calgary remained relatively flat, increasing 0.1 per cent to $500,190  the first quarter of 2017. The median price of a bungalow increased  2.4 per cent to $479,543, while the price of a condo slid 0.4 per cent to $301,794.

The report says Canada’s two largest real estate markets continued their divergence in the first quarter of the year.

The aggregate price of a home in the Greater Toronto Area rose by an “unprecedented” 20 per cent across all housing types to $759,241 in the first three months of 2017.

In the Greater Vancouver area, the price of a home rose 12.3 per cent year-over-year to $1,179,482.

Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper says the housing correction in Vancouver began seven months ago, around the time that the B.C. government introduced a 15 per cent tax on foreign nationals buying real estate in the city.

Sales volumes then plunged and prices slowed their torrid upwards trajectory.

But just in the past month, sales in the Vancouver area have leapt forward by close to 50 per cent on a month-over-month basis, says Soper — better than the seasonal average.

“An unfortunate side effect of heavy-handed regulatory intervention is that we risk market whiplash,” Soper said in a statement.

“In the coming weeks, it is possible that six months of pent-up demand will be unleashed on the market, sending prices sharply upward again; this when the pre-intervention 2016 trend was a natural market slowdown based on eroding affordability.”

Across Canada, the aggregate price of a home grew 12.6 per cent year-over-year to $574,575 during the first quarter, Royal LePage said.

The price of a two-storey home climbed 13.9 per cent year-over-year to $681,728, while the price of a bungalow rose 10.9 per cent to $490,018. Condo prices increased by 8.9 per cent to $373,768.

In Edmonton, aggregate house prices rose 0.3 per cent to $381,733.

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First bison calves born in Banff National Park in over 140 years

Adam Zier-Vogel / Parks Canada

Canadians are getting their first glimpse at the newest additions to Banff National Park’s wild bison.

Parks Canada released photos on Tuesday of the first bison calf born in the Panther Valley on April 22. Since then, two more have been born.

“Things are going really well, it was amazing the first calf was actually born on Earth Day, ironically,” Bill Hunt with Parks Canada said.

Hunt said there’s now ten pregnant females in back country Banff along with six males.

On Feb. 1, 16 Plains bison were transferred from Elk Island National Park, east of Edmonton, to the Panther Valley in Banff National Park.

READ MORE: Wild bison back in Banff National Park

It’s the first phase of a five-year pilot project to reintroduce wild bison to Banff’s eastern slopes.

“It’s a huge milestone in this project, this will help tie the cows to that site and for the calves born this spring, Banff will be the only home they’ve ever known,” Hunt said.

he federal government said the reintroduction of the bison is not only ecologically important, but has a “great spiritual meaning” for indigenous peoples.

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Canadians ready to cash in on their property, poll finds; problem is, where to go next?

A new poll finds 41 per cent of Canadian with plans to sell their property are doing so to cash in and make a profit.

But the problem, according to the survey released Monday by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, is 62 per cent say the cost of buying another house is making them “reluctant to sell” and move out of their current home.

“In today’s market, homeowners are facing a conundrum as to whether to buy, sell or stay put,” says David Nicholson, vice-president of CIBC Imperial Service.

The survey, conducted March 16-20 online with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.7 per cent points, 19 times out of 20, comes as the Greater Toronto Area housing market shows very few signs of slowing down.

The Toronto Real Estate Board reported  last week that overall prices for the GTA were up 33 per cent in March from a year ago with the average detached home in the city of Toronto selling for $1.56 million.

Rising values, which comes as some parts of the country are still watching their housing markets struggle, has policy makers grappling for a solution. Finance Minister Bill Morneau has pledged to speak with provincial and municipal officials in Canada’s largest city to work on a joint solution.

The poll finds that Canadians are worried about what the so-called solutions to the housing market might be with 48 per cent of homeowners, who are planning to sell, concerned that government tax and policy changes will lower housing prices.

Tougher rent controls continue to be discussed in the province, supported by a New Democrat private members bill, and the CIBC poll finds 28 per cent think that renting is a better option given current house prices.

More housing product could find its way into supply as the polls also finds 67 per cent of baby boomers, those 55 and over, plan to sell their homes with the top reason being to downsize at 63 per cent. Buying is also making baby boomers nervous about selling.

“Your home is where your heart is, but it’s also likely your biggest financial asset, so there is a lot to consider as you enter or near retirement that can affect your decision to sell or not,” said Mr. Nicholson.

In the millennial category, 39 per cent of those aged 18-34 are now homeowners, the rest renting or living with family. Another 23 per cent of millennials believe they will never own a home.

Overall, 62 per cent of those surveyed were homeowners, 31 per cent rented and seven per cent lived with parents or family.

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Real Estate Marketing Bloopers - Spring Edition

By Peggy Blair

Well, colleagues, we’re in the busy spring season, which means we’re all rushing around like crazy. The upside of busy-time, of course, is more bloopers for me.

I laughed when I saw this new listing that features “bathroom efficient toilets”. Better that they be efficient in the bathroom than somewhere else, I guess.

I do find that sometimes sales reps struggle a bit to describe efficiency. For example in this listing, the agent focussed on the “prime location – featuring quick highway”. I have mental images of a highway darting in and out of trees.

This house should really have been listed under retail as well as well as residential: “Back store can be sticky, push hard to open.” Usually hanging a “We’re Open” sign on the front door works pretty well too.

Or how about this listing featuring a “new hot water tan”? Hmm. I like the idea of an early tan, but I’m a bit worried about the possibility of burns.

I came across this listing today for a basement with a “bathroom rouging”. Now there’s a house that’s really getting itself made up for the buying season.

Usually I see listings that mention there’s hardwood under the carpets, but not this one: “Hardwood flooring on main carpets in the bedrooms and lower level.” I’m not quite sure that a carpet subfloor is much of a selling feature but at least there won’t be any squeaks.

When it comes to selling features, here’s one listing description I absolutely adore: “Fully landscaped property with entertaining deck.” I would love to have an entertaining deck, wouldn’t you? It would sure take the pressure off during all those family barbecues over the summer.

If you don’t have a big family, or perhaps you’re feeling lonely, this listing promises to provide a little company: “Unfinished area has lots of storage selves.” I’d almost be afraid to open the closets, though, on those days when you just want to be alone.

Sometimes it’s not a blooper so much as the choice of words that slays me. Like this one: “There is an expired in-ground pool on the property.” I am reminded of that famous Monty Python skit about the dead parrot. You know the one: “She’s not dead, she’s resting.” I can see the agent conversation with the buyer now. “Does this pool work?” “Well, the listing says it’s expired. But really it’s just pining for the fjords.”

No pining in this laid back listing: “Hand Carved Stoned home on an oversized treed lot.” Right up there with the stoned patio I came across in more than a few listings. But at least that’s relaxing.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, for those who want more activity, I ran across this listing with an “outdoor ice rink, wadding pool and playground.”

But if you don’t have any kind of pool to relax in, not to worry! This new listing says you can “Enjoy your morning coffee under the charming front porch.” Although I can’t imagine how you’d get very comfortable, either crouched down or lying on your back – you might need a bendable straw and even then, it could get a little messy. Lucky you if you have a wadding pool with enough cotton batting to clean yourself off with.

Personally, I’d forget the charming porch altogether, knowing there’s a house for sale with “custom cabinetry in the stud room.” That sounds like a man cave for everyone! God knows, I want one. (Maybe that’s why the bathroom is getting rouged.)

Perhaps my favourite blooper this month, however, was this one: “Please park on the side of the building.” Now that’s a feat worthy of Spiderman. I’ll bet he’d enjoy a coffee under the porch.

Diana Budway, sales representative with Re/Max Realty Enterprises in Mississauga, Ont., passed along two listing bloopers that caught her eye.

The first was for an upscale modern condominium and urged agents to “bring your fuzziest clients.” Watch out for stairs.

Diana’s second blooper is one I run across in Ottawa all the time: listings that refer to Prince of Whales Drive instead of Prince of Wales. (I’m starting to think it might just be easier to get Prince Charles to change his title than point out that currently there is no prince of cetaceous creatures, but he’d probably think I was full of beluga.)

A home with its very own mail room, as opposed to stud room, sounds interesting: “Laundry on the mail level.”

And finally, there’s this unintentional gem that has me thinking of Anthony Hopkins in his role as Hannibal Lecter: “Fairly new Muskoka cabinets make this eat-in kitchen a pleasure to cook and raise a family in.”

I think I’ll pass on dropping by for dinner; no fava beans for me.

I’ll be outside being entertained by my deck.

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Keep your valuables safe - in plain sight

Tjernlund Products has introudced a new wall safe that allows you to safeguard your small valuables by hiding them in plain sight (HIPS).

The HIPS is a fake air vent wall safe that looks like a typical return air vent.

Measuring 4.5-inches high by 13.5 inches wide and 3.5 inches deep, the model WS1 safe kit includes a steel container with flanges that mounts in a drywall cutout between studs, a metal faceplate, a grille that resembles a typical return vent cover plus mounting hardware.

“Model WS1 combines quick access to stored items and is one of the last places anyone would look for valuables,” says Bob Tjernlund.

“The HIPS wall safe discretely hides behind a standard register/vent cover, fits in between your standard studs and can be installed in minutes with no special tools. The wall vent safe also comes with a false wall so no one can see through the vent slots.”


Cover secures with included magnets for simple access or included screws for more security
Do-it-yourself installation with no special tools
Comes with paintable grille, screws, magnets, false wall, and safe
Price approximately US$90

For more details visit :

Source Article Calgary Sun 

Decided to Sell? Your Adventure Begins with a Trusted Team

Like hiking up a mountain and coming back down again, a real estate transaction requires careful planning, an awareness of timing considerations, care and attention to detail plus a big picture view. We are here to guide you along the way with a transaction flow that is professionally managed from start to finish!

Step 1: Decide to Sell
Everyone has their own reason for selling their home. One thing however is universally true: the desire to get as much as you can for your home.  There are a lot of ways you can add value that you might want to consider, such as: renovating, enhancing curb appeal, getting a home inspection.

Step 2: Hire a Professional Agent
Choose based on trust, communication and market knowledge.  Royal LePage Associates are committed to keeping you in the loop.  We have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests, to be completely transparent and accountable

Step 3: List Your Home
Set a price, market your home.  The benefits of pricing right include selling your property faster plus closer to market value, the higher and the more offers received.  Our broad reach of marketing will attract just the Buyer(s) you need.

Step 4: Show Off Your Home
Let’s make a striking impression.  This may involve de-cluttering, home staging and most certainly prepping for viewings and open houses.

Step 5: Receive Offers
Not all offers are created equal.  Fortunately, your CanmoreRealEstate Team is there to help you review an Offer to Purchase and discuss the implications of the details.  Get to know the Terms and Conditions and what they mean.  Review every detail and remember, it’s not just about price.  Every element is negotiable including furniture and possession date.

Step 6: Negotiate and Counter Offers
Perhaps the price was lower than you and your Agent were expecting.  Maybe the Buyers have asked for some extra inclusions.  In some cases you may be asked to consider multiple offers or back-up offers.  Not tricky with a professional by your side.

Step 7: Close the Sale
Once the deal becomes “firm”, you will be provided with a check list of items to follow through with us on, such as contacting your lawyer.  We’re with you all the way to “M” day to answer questions and perhaps advise you on your next step of searching for alternate accommodation.  Many of our Clients will have asked for this advice previously but the decision as to whether to Buy or Sell first can be a difficult one.  We may have some creative ideas.

Step 8: The Big Move
Lots of energy is needed for sure and having a plan leading up to “M” day will ease the stress a tad.  No doubt you will be thinking about packing, utility disconnection, appointments with lawyers, arranging to have medical and school files transferred to your new community location, re-directing mail, put together a package of manuals and keys for your Realtor to pass onto new owners.

The real estate industry needs to build affordable housing

Not just a big city issue!

In February the average price for a detached home in Toronto reached $1.5 million, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

That city's soaring market has people worried about affordability, and looking at different solutions.

Some are looking at a tax on purchases by foreign buyers — like the one Vancouver introduced last year to cool its hot housing market.

But according to The Tyee reporter Geoff Dembicki, real estate developers know there is "a huge demand" for less expensive housing — but it appears they have no interest in responding to that demand.

"The industry is acknowledging that there's huge demand for more affordable homes, but because it believes that because inequality across our society is so entrenched and is probably going to widen over the coming decades, that the real estate industry is effectively saying, 'Well, because the middle class is hollowing out, that's not a good bet for our industry so we're going to focus more on wealthy consumers.'"

That's what Dembicki said he learned from the recent industry report Emerging Trends in Real Estate — United States and Canada 2017.

This annual publication, produced by PwC and the Urban Land Institute, "describes itself as one of the most widely read and influential reports in the real estate industry," Dembicki says.

Conclusions from industry report

The report is based partly on the responses from surveys from more than 1,500 individuals including investors, developers, and those working in property companies and real estate firms. More than 500 people were also interviewed by the ULI and PwC.

In the report, Dembicki says, the industry acknowledges that it's problematic that a lot of the new housing being built is not affordable to people earning middle incomes — and that this is a vulnerable point for the industry.

However, Dembicki says the report indicates that overall the industry isn't interested in addressing the situation.

"Effectively when the industry talks to itself its saying, 'Well there are huge wealth divides in Vancouver and Toronto and  San Francisco and New York and we don't see these going away anytime soon. In fact we see those divides spreading to other cities and so we're going to hedge our bets and cater to the more affluent end of society because that's how we're going to make money.'"

He points out that the report has some "vivid imagery" when discussing this inequality.

"It compares the experience of living in a city like Vancouver or Toronto to being at an invite-only party," Dembicki says.

"If you can imagine the central cores of these cities, the most desirable areas, the walkable areas, they're kind of ringed off from the rest of the city by what the report called a velvet rope. So anyone who's inside the velvet rope gets all the benefits of being at this glamourous party and living in this globally connected city, and the rest of us are standing on the sidewalk hoping the bouncer pays attention to us."

Question of supply?

In the section of the report focusing on Canada, one of the industry professionals surveyed said that government needs to increase the supply of housing.

"If there was enough supply there would be no affordability issue," the interviewee said, while others also cited municipal and provincial red tape and lengthy approval processes as factors limiting supply and driving up costs.

Dembicki however, doesn't buy that argument.

"Affordability is a very complex equation and there's a whole bunch of factors. The reason I'm a bit skeptical of that argument is because it aligns very nicely with the financial interests of the real estate industry. They want areas opened up, they want more units on the market, they can barely keep up with the demand for more affluent buyers as it is."

As for what hope there is for middle income earners wanting a place to live, Dembicki, a young reporter living in Vancouver, says he grapple with it himself.

"To me it felt really cathartic to know there are larger forces behind this affordability, and it's not just my inability to earn enough money or get by, so I have hope that if this conversation continues, and if the political awareness around it, and pressure begins to mount, we'll see some interesting solutions."

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