Special Edition NewsGram - Canmore/Banff Real Estate Team

We Work Hard to Keep You Informed: Notes from Your Team ~ Jordy & Jim

Dear Clients:

In the midst of this current health emergency, we wanted to reach out and let you know that the Canmore Real Estate Team is still active in the market and working hard for you – our clients. Whether it be to find the ideal new home for you or the right investment, we are reviewing your parameters and keeping an eye on new listings entering the market as well as price reductions that may provide opportunities for you. For showings & meetings - in order to avoid unnecessary health risks to our clients and ourselves, we are taking all the recommended precautions to avoid and mitigate exposure, such as:

  • Conducting pre-showing questionnaires to ensure buyers have not been exposed to high-risk situations (travelling, COVID symptoms, contact with COVID patient, feeling ill) and ensuring sellers are not in a high-risk situation either
  • Ensuring that surfaces are wiped down pre-showing
  • Ensuring that buyers at viewings either wash their hands thoroughly before and after a showing or wear protective gloves
  • Enabling the use of a variety of technologies to allow for online showings and client meetings instead of personal meetings (although those can be accommodated as well under certain circumstances)
  • Maintaining our own health and social distancing

We have some innovative ideas to allow buyers to check out properties, and still maintain a degree of social distancing and/or isolation as required – we are set up for virtual showings via Skype or Facetime (or other methods preferred by buyers) – and will be pioneering some other technologies to keep real estate activity going – please contact us for more details.

As a buyer, we understand if your current work/financial situation does not allow you to move forward at this time, we are still reviewing your client needs and keeping an eye out for suitable properties for you, so we can provide you with options when the time is right.

If you are experiencing more severe financial difficulties, we have included links to information and sources of help from the federal and provincial government below:



If your work/financial situation is stable and you are prepared to move forward or continue with your property search, keep in mind that interest rates are quite low at this time, and anticipated to remain low for quite some time. Also keep in mind that there have been price reductions on some properties.. e.g. 118-109 Montane Rd reduced by $50k to $449,900; 18 Streamside Ln reduced by $40k to $1,109,000.

As a seller, know that there is lower inventory at this time, so you may attract buyers who really need to move forward now (e.g. they have recently sold another home which they have to vacate soon) and you may be dealing with less competition. I think the number of buyers looking for discounts at this time may be counter-acted by the lower number of listings, resulting in prices remaining close to levels pre-Coronavirus days. The lowering of mortgage interest rates may help as well (although we are seeing a trend of some banks coming up from their lowered rates slightly to account for reduced cash flow after they allow temporary mortgage deferrals to some of their clients).

It is difficult to predict at this point how real estate prices will trend over the next few months in Canmore. We will be keeping a close eye on the market and analysing stats in order to understand the changes and better serve your real estate needs. Please feel free to contact us at any time by phone or email to discuss your real estate market questions and concerns. In the meantime, here is a link to a Zillow article with a fairly in-depth review on how epidemics can influence real estate price and transactions:


We also want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the doctors, nurses, and first responders who are on the front lines helping those affected by this situation, as well as grocery store staff, pharmacy staff, town/city workers, volunteers, and all others who are helping us move forward.

Full NewsGram here

Canmore/Banff Real Estate Team Newsgram March/April 2020

We Work Hard to Keep You Informed: Notes from Your Team ~ Jordy & Jim

Steady Market & Sales Rise Towards Spring

As we move into March, we see steadily increasing activity with new buyers excited about entering the market. Our listing inventory is staying quite stable at just over 200 listings. There have been steady sales but a noticeable increase in new listings, which is great news for many buyers who are patiently waiting for the right home at the right price to hit the market.

Sales in February 2020 were 40% higher than Feb 2019, with corresponding increases in active listings and average price, and a decrease in average days on market. We expect to see the activity level continue to rise with the seasonal push as we move towards spring. Having passed the Family Day weekend and with April just around the corner, we often start to see an increase in buyers to the market, excited and looking to spend the spring and summer in our mountain paradise.

The short-term rental segment remains strong, with many units making a solid profit whether they are in a rental program or self managed. Please call us for more details on these strong rates of return. Although financing is still very challenging for these properties, there are a few financing options we can talk about. We hope you enjoy the upcoming spring, with all the amazing opportunities for adventure we have in the Bow Valley. If you want to call this area home, or simply have a place to enjoy on the weekends, we can help you make that a reality.

We are never too busy for your referrals, please let us know if we can help your friends and family with all their real estate needs.



Borrowing costs for mortgages, auto loans and other lines of credit are set to head lower after the Bank of Canada cut its key lending rate by half a percentage point.

James Laird, co-founder of Ratehub.ca, says homeowners with variable rate mortgages should see rates start to fall this week, though it remains to be seen if banks will pass on the full rate cut to borrowers.

Read more: BoC's tricky balance of rates vs debt explained

Ratehub says a full 50-basis point cut to a $450,000 mortgage on a 2.6 variable rate would shift the mortgage rate to 2.1% and mean about $115 per month in savings per month.

Laird says the cut will also likely mean lower interest rates for savings accounts and guaranteed investment certificates, putting pressure on retirees and other savers.

Doug Hoyes, a licenced insolvency trustee at Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc., says the rate cut is a good opportunity to pay down debt, but said potential borrowers should be cautious.

He says the Bank of Canada lowered rates because of concerns about the economy from the coronavirus, so borrowers should consider an extra buffer and be mindful of the potential that future income could be impacted.

Article by: Canadian Real Estate Wealth


According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey1, the aggregate price of a home in Canada increased 2.2 per cent year-over-year to $648,544 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Similar to the third quarter, potential buyers are continuing to come back to the real estate market. In the first half of 2019, buyers had remained largely at the sidelines waiting to gauge the potential impact of the federal mortgage stress test. "The federal government has signaled that changes could come to the mortgage stress test mechanism in 2020," said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. "The stress test pushed people out of real estate markets across Canada temporarily. For the most part, buyers have adjusted, yet it still represents a significant hurdle as families pursue the dream of owning their own home."

Soper added that the impact of the regulations-driven drop in demand is felt very differently in different parts of the country.

"We believe policy makers have the necessary experience to modify the tool to meet the reality of today's Canada – that we have very different and varied economies, and by extension housing policy needs, from region to region," said Soper.

The Royal LePage National House Price Composite is compiled from proprietary property data in 64 of the nation's largest real estate markets. When broken out by housing type, the median price of a two-storey home rose 2.3 per cent year-over-year to $761,817, while the median price of a bungalow increased modestly by 0.7 per cent to $537,622.

Across Canada, condominiums remained the fastest appreciating housing type, with the median price rising 3.3 per cent year-over-year to $487,525. Largely, condominium data is weighted towards the country's largest urban centres where the majority of them are found. The median price of a condominium rose 7.8 per cent year-over-year to $565,919 in the Greater Toronto Area and 4.4 per cent year-over-year in the Greater Montreal Area to $338,148 during the fourth quarter. However, national price gains were offset by year-over-year declines in Greater Vancouver's real estate market where the median price of a condominium decreased 3.4 per cent to $645,607.

For more regional analysis, visit rlp.ca/mediaroom.


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Buy first and then sell or sell first then buy?

Photo by: Terra Mallorca

Which is better? To make an offer and then put your house on the market? Or, get an offer before looking for your next dream home?

Moving from one property to another may be a much-needed step in most homeowners’ live—if upsizing isn’t inevitable, downsizing may be. A homeowner must be educated and armed with a bit of strategy to find their homes happy new owners, while once again filling that role themselves.

Most people have three main goals when buying and selling a home at the same time:
  • To get the highest price possible for their current house
  • To buy a new house as cheaply as possible
  • To get through the process with as little pain as possible
The first step you may have to take before putting your home on the market is making some improvements. You may also have to ensure that you have paid off as much as possible on your current mortgage so that the equity in your home can be converted into cash. Consider making extra repayments if your mortgage allows it.

Some other strategies that may help you pay as much as you can for your mortgage are consolidating your debts to avoid paying higher interest rates and saving money by forgoing luxuries.

Once you’ve prepared your property and finances, you may still be left wondering whether you should sell your home first and then buy a new one or buy your new house and then sell your current one.

Different markets, different approaches
From a logistical perspective, closing on a new property should occur a few days before closing on the old, minimizing the hassles involved in moving your possessions from one home to another—but this may cause dire financing issues.

In a buyer’s market, it may be ideal to sell your home first. The last thing any homeowner wants is to pay interest costs on two mortgages, or have their equity eaten up because they cannot sell their home.

However, in a seller’s market, buying first may be the best option, as your property should be sold quite quickly. As a seller, you have to remain objective and view your property from a prospective buyer’s viewpoint.

When you are selling your existing home and buying your new one, you’ll need to watch movements in the market to ensure you match the timing of your sale with the purchase of your new home.

Selling your home first
The logical order is to sell your home first and buy second. This way you know exactly how much money you have to spend. There is a long history of homeowners who overestimated the worth of their current homes and purchased from an optimistic position only to find themselves in dire financial straits. Selling first means you may be less likely to get caught short by over-extending yourself on your new home.

However, by selling first you may be forced to rent while you look for a suitable new home. This can mean two moves, two lots of utility connection costs and two packing and unpacking efforts.
Alternatively, you could live out of a suitcase in a hotel (or with family) and put your furniture in storage. This may be costly (emotionally as well as financially) if it takes a substantial period of time to find the perfect new home. One way around this is to request a lengthy settlement period to allow you ample time to find a new property.

One of the biggest risks you may have to face, if there is an extended gap between sale and purchase, is that rising property prices will mean you get less for your money as time goes by. If you can invest the equity you receive from your sale, you may be able to earn a return for the interim period, but this is generally only advantageous for owners who have built up a significant amount of equity.

Buying your home first
For those who are financially capable, buying your home first has its advantages. It may dispense with the hassle of renting in the interim period. This is often a major concern for the elderly, owners with young families and those with furniture requiring storage.

Many buyers may also find their dream home prior to selling, or even prior to contemplating selling their home. Purchasing before you sell may be the only way to ensure you don’t miss out on that special property. But there are several disadvantages to buying before you sell:
  • There is often pressure to sell the existing property quickly when a new home has already been purchased. This may result in a lower than anticipated price being accepted and leaves the seller vulnerable to unexpected fluctuations in the property market
  • In a slow market, it may take more time than you had estimated to sell your first house
  • If you have bridging finance, you are effectively committed to paying off a loan over two properties until such time that your existing home sells, which can prove costly
  • Loans touted as ‘bridge loans’ have various guises. It’s important to understand how these loans operate so you can determine whether they will be suitable for your particular financial situation
Bridge loans
A bridge loan is a temporary loan option designed to assist homeowners “bridge” the gap between the time their current dwelling is sold and their new home is purchased. This loan type enables homeowners to use their current home’s equity to pay the down payment for their next house while waiting for their existing home to sell. Bridge loans are short-term loans, usually six-months in length.

While bridge loans may help you buy a house before you sell your old one and use your current house’s equity for a down payment, there are still obvious dangers you have to be aware of.

Interest can be more costly in a bridge loan than traditional financing. Your existing property may also take longer than expected to sell and you may be forced into effectively paying mortgage repayments on two loans.

The home loan landscape is littered with stories of bridging finance disasters – mostly involving extended periods of repayment due to unforeseen delays in settlement or the inability to sell the first home. Not only is this expensive, but you may also find yourself selling for less than you hoped for in order to extinguish the bridging finance, leaving you with greater net debt and less equity than anticipated. Had you not been under pressure to sell, you may have been able to hold out for a better price.

Be very careful. In most cases, bridging finance will not be the glorious financial ‘knight in shining armour’ people expect. However, if you choose to buy your new home before selling your old property, there are other options for bridging the financial gap between purchase and sale.

Rent or Sell?
If you have the option, buying a second home as an investment property, or to enable you to rent out your first home and move into your second, could be an alternative worth looking at. It depends on how the numbers stack up.

The decision to keep your existing property should be made in conjunction with an accountant to ensure you have the right tax advice.

Here are three scenarios that may help clarify the rent-or-sell dilemma:

 - Scenario 1: A growing family decides to upsize
While this can be a fantastic decision that demonstrates they are planning for the future, these homeowners need to ensure that any new purchase will not overextend their existing budget.

If the young couple has the ability to service the new property while maintaining the old property as an investment, they should get the right tax advice to take them down that path. But if they believe doing so would stretch them beyond their means, then their best option is to watch the real estate market, sell their existing place at a higher price (factoring in a longer s period, perhaps) and then purchase their new house as the market falls a little.

 - Scenario 2: Older empty nesters downsize
If an older couple is able to afford a new house while maintaining an existing property, it is something they should definitely consider. The benefit to an older couple is that they may be looking to retire in the next few years, and the income they can gain from renting the property out may make it cash-flow positive for them.

They will still need to ensure that they can afford the repayments on their new mortgage if they have had to borrow the funds to purchase the new property.

 - Scenario 3: An owner struggling with current mortgage repayments needs to downsize
This owner needs a plan of action before making any substantial decisions. Seeking financial advice may be a good place to start, as is letting their existing lender know that they are having difficulty making repayments. This will allow the lender to provide some grace as the owner has shown a modicum of responsibility by notifying the lender in the first place.

Hopefully, this owner will sit down with a financial advisor and look at the options of extending the term on the existing loan in the interim period, vacating the property and renting instead while putting a tenant into his property.

The owner should also consider consolidating any other debts that may be hindering their ability to repay the mortgage. After looking at these options and the owner has decided that they have no choice but to sell, they should try to sell in a stable market to achieve the best sale price.

Your mortgage: take it with you or leave it behind?
One more major consideration for homeowners looking to make a move is what to do with the mortgage attached to their current home. Whether you take your mortgage with you or leave it behind, the path you choose shouldn’t be too daunting, but it may cost you money.

Take it with you
If you like the loan you already have, one option is to take it with you. Portability is the loan feature that allows you to substitute a new property as security for an existing loan. The loan essentially remains the same, but the underlying security becomes your new home, not your old one.

This may be a very simple and cost-effective solution, but not all loans are portable.

Keeping your loan is often the most convenient choice. You won’t have to worry about early termination charges if the loan was set at a fixed interest rate and you won’t be required to go through another loan hunt or have to pay a fresh set of establishment fees.

Before you get excited about the potential savings associated with portable home loans, it’s also important to realise their limitations.

Lenders may specify that the loan amount must remain the same with the new home. If you are thinking of upgrading your home, you may require a larger loan. In many cases, this means you will need a completely new mortgage.

Leaving it behind
Borrowers who can’t retain their existing loan because of restrictions, or those who want to take the opportunity of finding a better deal, must look for a completely new home loan, but not necessarily a new lender.

When a home loan is established, many people find themselves using other products and services provided by the same lender. You may also either receive a discount or avoid certain fees by doing so. Having to reorganize all of these products and services with a new lender is an unnecessary hassle. But considering a move to a different lender can be beneficial.

The best way to tug at your lender’s heart-strings is to ask them to calculate the total cost of paying out your loan because you are buying a new home and are going to switch lenders. Most customer support staff are instructed to ask why you are considering switching, and may even provide some ideas of the discounts available should you stay.

Take notes, thank them for their time and await their answer – which should ideally only take a few days, be broken down into specific costs and forwarded to you in writing. This is where the negotiation really begins.

It may be a good idea to sit down with your mortgage broker and discuss what your choices are before deciding whether to take your mortgage with you or not. Don’t have a mortgage broker yet? Find one near you.

Let’s go shopping
Armed with the best deal your current lender can provide, it’s time to revisit the world of home loans and see how the landscape differs from the last time you signed a mortgage.

You are sure to run across some new products not widely available when you applied for your current home loan– the choices can be overwhelming.

To make sense of your options, you need to compare like with like. The basic variable home loan that you may have had cannot seriously be compared to a ‘bells and whistles’ loan that does everything except make you breakfast in the morning.

Determine the loan that meets your needs and only then begin to make cost comparisons. Once you have determined the best loan type for your needs, determine the cheapest possible loan available. Make a note of the key features of this loan and then compare them to the list of discounts that your current lender says they will make if you stay.

Head back to your original lender and see where you stand. Explain that you have gone rate shopping and that you have found a fabulous loan you are prepared to sign. Tell them that your key concerns are ongoing fees and the interest rate and that these aspects are what you would like to negotiate.

Topping up
If the thought of shopping for a new loan or lender doesn’t appeal to you, it is possible to stay with your existing lender and either increase the original loan principal or take out a newer, larger loan.

Borrowing an increased amount, regardless of the method chosen, will increase your loan to value ratio (LVR). If you are borrowing more than 80% of the value of the new home, you can generally expect to be saddled with CMHC mortgage loan insurance.

Regardless of your family and financial situation, taking the time to properly evaluate your options and investigate the pros and cons before buying your second home will save you time, money and major drama. It’s also vital to be aware of any pitfalls that might lie along the way.

Article by: Which Mortgage