September 5, 2017
Housing Recovery A Balancing Act
Growth in new listings outpaced sales preventing inventory declines
Sales posted a modest gain in August, but a rise in new listings kept inventory levels elevated.
Inventories totaled 6,624 units, where over half were comprised of attached and apartment-style properties. While inventories were 16 percent higher than August 2016 levels, the slight rise in sales prevented further gains in the months-of-supply, which remain just above four months.
"Employment growth is contributing to the stability in sales activity, but it is not enough to meet the recent rise in listings and make a substantial dent in inventory levels," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
"Unemployment rates remain elevated and job growth is mostly occurring outside the energy sector, slowing the recovery process. Broader economic improvements will be required prior to it translating into substantial improvements in the housing market."
The second month of higher inventories compared to sales weighed on prices for the month. The unadjusted city wide benchmark price totaled $442,300 in August. This is 0.3 percent below last month but remains nearly one percent above last year's levels. Overall total residential prices remain four percent below peak levels.
"Buyers have several options in this market, and sellers need to continue to be realistic regarding the price they expect to receive for their home," said CREB® president David P. Brown.
"While some of the buyers are re-entering the market, they are also considering all of their options prior to making a commitment."
The pace of growth in detached sales has closely matched new listings this year. However, inventory levels continue to remain at 3,280 and months of supply pushed up to 3.32. Recent gains in months-of-supply prevented further gains in prices this month. Detached prices totaled $510,900 in August. This is slightly lower than last year, but 1.5 percent above last year's levels.
With over seven months-of-supply, the excess supply continues to weigh heavily on the apartment condominium sector. As of August, the benchmark price totaled $263,300. This is one percent below last month and three percent below last year's levels. Downward price pressure in this sector is expected as supply levels remain elevated in the new, resale and rental market.
August 17, 2017
Mid-Year market update shows stability
CREB® forecasts a process of recovery for the remainder of 2017
The first-half of 2017 marked a shift in Alberta's economy from recession to recovery, with conditions supporting stability rather than expansion.
"Economic challenges continue to exist, as high unemployment rates, weak migration levels and more stringent lending conditions are weighing on the housing market," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
"This will continue to cause some adjustments in the housing market for the remainder of this year. However, this is not expected to offset earlier gains supporting general stability in 2017."
Resale sales activity is expected to total 18,401 units in 2017, a 3.3 per cent improvement over last year. The pace of growth is slightly faster than originally anticipated, due to the stronger growth that occurred in the first half of the year.
"We saw many of those consumers who delayed any purchasing decisions willing to re-enter the market as concerns regarding the economy eased," said CREB® president David P. Brown.
"More potential buyers on the market helped move some of the product in inventory and started to create some price stability."
Improvements in the supply demand balance, primarily in the detached and attached sector, caused prices to start to trend up. Demand growth through the remainder of the year is expected to ease relative to inventory levels. This should prevent further substantial shifts in pricing. Overall, annual city wide prices are expected to remain at levels comparable to last year.
Despite generally improving trends, difficulties continue to exist in the condo-apartment ownership market. Rising sales cannot keep pace with the growth in new listings, keeping supply levels high and placing continued downward pressure on prices. This area of the housing market will likely continue to face challenges well into next year, as it will take time to absorb additional inventory in the resale, new and rental markets.
"Improvements in the labour market are supporting the shift in the housing market this year. However, activity over the past two years was amongst the weakest we have seen since the financial crisis," said Lurie.
"While the shift is welcome news for many, we continue to expect that process of recovery will be slow and dependent on the property type and location within the market."
For more information, please refer to the CREB®'s 2017 Economic Outlook & Regional Housing Market Mid-Year Update found here.
June 29, 2017
JUNE 2017 MARKET UPDATE
The sun is out, the clouds are gone and summer is finally upon us—a much-needed reprieve after the winter!
Canada Day (July 1)
As You Like It (June 20- August 27)
Spruce Meadows North American Tournament (July 5 – 9)
Security is important all year round but during the summer months especially, property crimes and break-and-entries tend to spike. Warmer weather means people are more likely to leave their windows open, their patios unlocked and their houses unattended.
June 7, 2017
Top 7 Home Staging Tips
If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ve probably heard the term “staging” thrown around. Staging your home involves creating a space that potential buyers want to make their own. Your home will essentially “speak” to them. With appropriate staging, you are much more likely to sell your home in a short period of time and for the price you want. Here are 7 home staging tips to help you create the perfect environment that will call out to potential buyers, and make them want to make your home theirs.
Eliminate the Clutter
We all have stuff that we’ve collected over the years. They might be knickknacks that you have displayed in a curio cabinet or it could be a few extra pieces of furniture. You could have a cabinet on which random things collect. You might love all of your unique items, but they tell visitors that the house is already occupied. They need to be able to envision themselves there. Excess clutter also gives buyers the impression that your house doesn’t have enough space. Remove anything you can live without and don’t bring anything new in unless you get rid of a couple of other items.
Along with clearing up clutter, take a look at your floors. Finish any unfinished hardwood flooring. Any missing floorboards should be replaced. If you have carpets, have them steam cleaned. Not only will this give your carpets a fresh look, it can help to eliminate pet odors.
Rearrange the Furniture
You’d be surprised at how much bigger you can make a room look with a bit of strategic furniture rearranging. Don’t shove your furniture up against the walls. Instead, float pieces away from the wall and organize them into groupings. This can be especially effective in the living room where you can organize furniture in a group optimized for conversations. Just make sure that traffic flow is obvious.
You can also move some pieces from their traditional locations and give them a new purpose. An armchair from the living room can make a great addition to a large master bedroom. An often ignored small table can be placed in front of a window and decorated to be rebranded as a writing table.
Transform Extra Rooms
If you have a room that just seems to be a catchall for random junk, now is the time to get creative. Turn the “junk” room into a room with a purpose. Depending upon its size, you can turn it into a reading nook, an office or even a spare bedroom. You don’t have to go out and buy expensive furniture to do this. You can use some of the extra furniture and pillows you have around your house.
Lighting can go a long way in making your house look warm and inviting to prospective buyers. The problem is that most homes are not lit properly. This can be fixed quite easily by increasing the wattage of the bulbs in your current fixtures. You should also aim for a mixture of overhead (or general), task and accent lighting in each room.
Make Some Updates
Now, you don’t need to go crazy with major updates. A few small updates here and there, though, can make a huge difference. Paint is one way you can do this. Neutral colors in the living room can instantly update outdated finishes. You are not limited to whites or off-whites. Tans and even softer blue/green colors in a larger area can completely transform a space. Try a darker tone in a bedroom or dining room for a more intimate feel. If you aren’t comfortable doing the entire room, aim for an accent wall to bring attention to a cool feature like a fireplace or built in bookcase. Painting smaller rooms, such a small kitchen and a small dining room, the same color can help to make the area look bigger.
Along with fresh paint, take a look at your cabinets and cupboards. Do they give away the age of your home? You don’t have to install brand-new cabinets and cupboards just to generate more offers. You can simply replace the doors and the hardware with something more modern.
A little bit of accessorizing can make your home feel cozy and appealing. There are a variety of ways to do this. For one, you can get creative with wall hangings. Rather than hang them in a straight line at the same height, stagger them. Accessories on tables are preferable in odd numbers. Group similar items together, but make sure they vary in height and width. Decorate tables with fresh flowers from your yard. You can also transform your bedroom simply by adding rich linens and soft colors.
Don’t Forget the Outside
So many people focus on staging the interior of their home that they forget about the outside. Declutter and clean up the yard. Small porches can be enhanced with a welcome mat and a few potted plants. A larger porch can be more appealing with a couple of pieces of furniture and some lights. A back porch, deck or balcony can be dressed up in a similar manner. A few cozy rocking chairs or a porch swing, a dining table and chairs, and a hammock in the back yard can give off the impression that your home is a quiet, cozy place to be.
Staging your home gives your potential buyers a glimpse into the possibilities that the house has. They are afforded the ability to really imagine the home as their own. With everything appropriately staged, your home is likely to sell quicker and for the price you want.
We offer Home Staging solutions - Contact us to find out how we can help sell your home beautifully.
June 7, 2017
Top 8 Tips for Homebuyers
Buying a house is one of the single biggest financial decisions you will ever make. While it’s nice to daydream about your perfect home and scour the internet for available houses in your desired area, there’s a lot that goes into the process. Here are 8 tips for homebuyers to help you navigate the process.
Make Sure You are Prepared
Buying a home isn’t something you can just jump into. There is a certain amount of prep work that goes into the process. You need to have money saved up for a down payment. You may need to raise your credit score. The minimum you should be aiming for is a 680. Your lender will require a significant amount of documentation, such as pay stubs, a letter from your employer and bank statements. All in all, if you are not ready now, you should give yourself at least 12 months to prepare. Please give me a call if you need help finding out how ready you are.
Determine How Much You Can Actually Afford
Based on your information, a lender may preapprove you for a certain amount. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go out and buy a house as close to that amount as possible. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. This includes your income, your current debts, your regular spending habits, homeowner’s insurance, taxes and more.
Figure Out What You Need and What You Want
Before you even start shopping around, create a list of things that you absolutely have to have, along with those that you can be more flexible about. For instance, maybe you have to have a garage or a basement, but you can live with carpeted floors instead of hardwood. It’s always possible to make some changes at a later date.
Think Long Term
Don’t think about what you need for your life right now. Think about what your life in the future. Do you plan on keeping the same job? Do you want to have kids? A house is a big investment. Make sure that you can see yourself still in that home with these changes in 5 to 7 years.
Don’t Get Deterred by Necessary Fixes
Some things, like the color of the walls in a bedroom, can be easily fixed with a new coat of paint or some wallpaper. But other projects, such as cabinetry or redoing the bathroom, have a much bigger price tag attached, especially when you add in the cost of labor. Don’t let that deter you from buying a house. Instead, factor the costs into the purchase price and see if it’s still within your price range.
Purchase Price is Just a Part of the Picture
The cost of the house is just one part of the picture. There are several other costs that get tacked on. You have homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and maybe even HOA fees to consider. Along with these, you also have to think about the cost of maintenance and repairs. Make sure you compare. Just because a house is less expensive doesn’t mean that it will automatically cost you less every month. A cheaper house may have higher property taxes that makes it more expensive each month that a more expensive house with lower property taxes.
Down Payments and Closing Costs
You will need to factor in down payments and closing costs. There have been several recent changes. For homes costing $500,000 or less, you can expect to have to put down a minimum of 5%. Closing costs vary. They can include such things as legal fees, home inspections and more. Make sure you budget appropriately for these items.
You Don’t Have to Buy a House Right Now
Being a homeowner is part of the American Dream. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy a house right now. Buying a house is a huge decision, and it’s not for everyone. There are so many things to keep in mind. Maybe you want the freedom to explore around a bit before you settle into an area. Be honest with yourself and what you really want before you make such a major financial investment.
If you are interested in buying or selling your home please contact me so we can evaluate your readiness together.
April 26, 2017
Janary Market Update
April 25, 2017
February Market Update
March 25, 2017
March Market Update
January 31, 2017
December 2016 Market Report
January 31, 2017
November 2016 Market Report
January 31, 2017
October 2016 Market Report
September 13, 2016
Do’s and Don’ts of Colour
As a seller, there are two things you have control of when it comes to listing your house: how the house looks, and the list price. A staged home sells faster and can even sell at higher prices than homes that aren’t. Staging your home helps position it competitively in the marketplace and maximizes equity by showing its best features. If your house needs a bit of facelift, a low-cost and effective solution to modernize your space is with a simple coat of paint. Where it can get tricky is choosing the right shade amongst the thousands of paint chips in the store. You have your greys, greens, blues, whites, browns and all the varied brands and shades in-between. It’s safe to say that we have a pretty good handle on what potential buyers like to see when they enter a home. The palettes that consumers tell researchers they like for the interior of a house are neutral shades of grey, white and even natural-looking greens. Loud, vibrant oranges and reds may work for you – but to the average buyer, that just looks like a big headache to them to cover up later. The key here is not to distract the buyer with a style that may not give them the warm and fuzzies. With a neutral palette (subtle colour), the buyer can see your home as a blank canvas for them to work with.
A study by Zillow Digs referenced on realtormag.com showed that homes with with light green or khaki bedrooms, dove or light grey living rooms and creamy yellow or wheat-coloured kitchens sold for $1,100 to $1,300 more than properties decorated with less popular colours, those being: slate grey, terracotta, dark brown, and off-white/eggshell.
If your house is feeling outdated and needs a bit of a refresh, paint can be your friend. It is the most cost-effective and impactful way to update your living space. Remove distracting and outdated wallpaper and add a fresh coat of paint. Low-sheen products help reduce imperfections if you uncover any scratches or marks on your walls. Sheen levels reflect the amount of light from a painted surface, which can either hide or highlight imperfections. When it comes to painting those high-traffic areas such as hallways and bedrooms, eggshell offers a soft-glow and is easy to wipe away markings. Paint can also work wonders in making your space appear larger. You know that feeling of unease you get when your house is cluttered, dark and disorganized? When a buyer walks into a space like that, they get the same feeling. Maximize the space in your home by brightening it up with light neutrals to bring the room to life – and of course, find a spot to hide all that clutter. Painting the ceiling can make a huge impact to livening up your space. Using a flat paint allows for easy touch-ups and is preferred for ceilings due to its non-reflective qualities. If your trims, holdings and doors are looking a little beat up, semi-gloss paint is very durable and will stand up to repeated cleaning.
When you list your house with us, we can help you with staging and offer expert advice to get you the price you deserve. Contact us today!
August 2, 2016
Top 5 Calgary Housing Stats for July 2016
It is no surprise to those watching the housing market that Calgary and surrounding areas continue to see a slowdown in sales activity. Buyers are expecting to see further declines in sale prices, and sellers are responding to the softening market. This makes for a slower market with less inventory.
Here is a summary of some of the top stats from this month.
• The average year-to-date benchmark price decline within the city districts has ranged from highs of 5.1% (City Centre) to lows of 0.8% (North East). • The pullback in detached new listings helped balance out declining sales.
• Detached sales account for around 63% of the entire market this year. Yearto-date, there has been 6,908 sales, which is 22% below the ten year average and the lowest level since 1996;
• Year-to-date apartment sales totaled 1,668 units, a 21% decline over last year, which already recorded an 33% annual drop compared to 2014;
• Months of supply in the apartment sector has averaged 6.3 months this year, far higher than the 3.0 and 4.2 in detached and attached product;
• The average apartment price showed a year-over-year gain of 13%. This does not reflect any change in trend, as the jump was caused by one high end sale that skewed the numbers.
November 13, 2015
10 Questions to ask your Mortgage Lender
The first step towards purchasing a home is knowing what you can afford. This all starts with getting pre-approved for a mortgage. From there, you can narrow down your search and eliminate those blue-sky homes if they are out of reach.
When you meet with a mortgage broker they will assess what you can afford at the best possible rate for you, the buyer. A lender has - and should have - your best interest at heart. However it’s okay to challenge them to make sure you are getting the best service and mortgage rate on the market.
Here are 10 questions you can ask your mortgage lender as you get started on your home-buying journey:
1. How long have you been in the business?
This is an important question to ask for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you want to be working with an experienced lender. It can take up to five years for a mortgage broker to learn the market, understand credit and be able to apply it. A new broker may not know how to effectively weigh the risk vs. reward. With experience comes the expertise to make the less obvious decisions when it comes to getting you a rate that works for your goals and lifestyle.
2. What factors can affect my approval?
For the lender to fully approve and agree to lend you money there are a few more numbers beyond the list price that they need to crunch into the total equation before go time: the total cost of the home, which includes property taxes, condo fees, maintenance fees – the actual agreed upon price – it all can affect what you are approved for. Any changes in your credit score and employment status can also impact your approval status.
3. What type of mortgage should I consider?
The two most popular options are fixed and variable interest rate mortgages. A fixed rate mortgage is offers a specific rate that is locked in for the term, which is appealing as you know exactly what to expect. Whereas on the other hand, a variable rate changes with according to market interest rates. Hard to predict, ask your broker to help give some research into historical market data and to determine how equipped you are for risk to advise you in the best direction to go.
4. What is the Interest Rate & Annual Percentage Rate?
5. How much do I need for a down payment?
6. When can I lock the interest rate, and will this come at a cost?
7. What documents will I have to provide?
8. What is the drop rate policy in respect to pre-approvals?
9. Do you guarantee on-time closings?
The purchase contract on the sale of the house contains a date to close escrow. If the lender is not able to close on time, you as the buyer could face extra costs, for example an increased interest rate and additional expenses to reschedule the move. Avoid any problems ahead of time by ensuring your lender’s guarantee to close on time.
10. Is this really the best product for me?
Have your lender explain the pros and cons, take into account your financial situation and budget to make sure you are getting the best product to suit your needs.
November 13, 2015
Our 7 Steps to Selling Your Home
Want your home sold? Well you’ve come to the right spot. Turns out our team here knows a thing or two about what it takes to sell a property in a competitive, booming real estate market like Calgary’s. Averaging almost 2% more residential home sale price than the Calgary Real Estate Board average for the past nine years, you could say we’ve learned a few things along the way. This is post is a must-read if you’re looking to sell your home. Follow these seven steps and you’ll be well-prepared to make that sale:
The first step in evaluating and pricing your home is to pay careful and unmatched attention to detail. How do you do that? Take my team for example. When a client comes to us ready to sell their home, before we draft up the property listing there’s a bit more research we need to do. We go beyond just honing in on your property - we tour other properties for sale in your neighborhood to better identify the true value of your home and the unique selling features that make it stand out amongst the sea of listings.
Uncover all the leaks, cracks or defects that can occur over the lifetime of a property by conducting a comprehensive pre-listing process and home inspection report. My team will do this for every one of our clients so we can uncover any potential problems early, giving them the time to make any repairs or provide full disclosure to potential buyers; saving them from any legal trouble that could result otherwise.
This is your home’s moment to shine - no corners should be cut when it comes to your homes showing potential. Would you be impressed if you went to view a home that wasn’t cleaned from top to bottom? I didn’t think so. When it comes to giving my clients the best chance at selling their property quickly and headache free, my team provides complimentary, professional cleaning services that polish their home so it will shine its brightest. Yes, this includes carpet cleaning (no cutting corners, remember!).
This service as mundane as it sounds has truly been one of the most beneficial for my clients.
Laser-accurate, insured residential measurements includes nearly everything you need to get your listing up, fast. A time consuming, and often difficult task for those unfamiliar with taking home measurements, helps provide proper certainty, and a true 2D rendering that more and more buyers are requesting, especially to Calgary’s vast out-of-region buyers market. All at zero cost and effort to the homeowners.
Most buyers form an opinion on a home within the first 7-10 seconds of arriving. Staging your home means more than clearing clutter and tidying up. It’s taking your house to a new level, by incorporating new props, moving around furniture and adding a coat of paint, which can make the house appear bigger, brighter and cleaner. Staging your home is an excellent opportunity to create a warm, inviting atmosphere so that potential buyers can picture themselves living in your home. My skilled support team understands how important this is, and have helped our clients create the best first impression possible for when their house hits the market. You can bank on these expert services to deliver reliable, and surprising ROI.
Professional photography and videography will capture the maximum appeal of your home, and provide you with high-quality assets, which are a must-have, in a market where over 96% of buyers are now searching online first. Going that extra step can make all the difference in how your house is perceived online. Elements like lighting, angles, time of day, and the weather need to be taken into consideration when it comes to a professional portrayal of your home. Remember - you’re selling a commodity, and with selling you need to ramp up your marketing.
For your house to sell, it first needs to get seen. This starts with marketing. Strategic marketing is well-thought out to get the right eyes on your property utilizing online portals and print listings. When it comes to getting our clients’ properties seen, we develop a custom designed multi-channel marketing strategy that uses the best online conventional methods to ensure their home sells.
I invest more in my clients and their property, because I understand that’s what it takes to get you top dollar. Contact us to learn more about this customized approach to marketing your home.
Categories: Buying | Buying a Home | Buying a Secondary Suite Home | Buying Your First Home | Downsizing Your Home | For the first time since December 2014, Calgary’s residential unadjusted benchmark prices improved over the previous month. | Home Buying | Home Staging | Improved sales to new listings ratio reduces inventory gains | info | infographic | Inforgraphic | Market | Market U | Market Updates | Real Estate Updates & Insights | Selling | Selling Advice | Selling Advice & Tips | Selling Your Home | Selling Your Home Tips | Tips from Travis