After learning the ins and outs of this sometimes-fickle-business from a life-time expert and close family friend and now, with almost 14 years experience embedded in the heart of Calgary’s boom and bust real estate market, I can tell you these three things:
There are many lessons to be learned over time and every market is different. Downtown is different from the suburbs, a lake community is different from a non-lake community, an older community is different from a new one, etc.
There are still good deals out there. How to ensure you get the right insight from your agent & don’t generalizing a diverse market
As a realtor I am always asked “how the market is doing” and to that I ask “which one?”
Depending on who you talk to, the Canadian real estate market is either overvalued and due for a sudden corrective crash, or there may be a soft landing in store for almost all. One thing is for certain and that is not all Canadian markets are the same and within each city, every neighborhood and even varying property types perform differently as well. This is especially the case with Calgary. The suburban areas will tend to depreciate faster than the inner city locations in a declining market.Lake communities will hold better resale values than non lake communities. Single family homes under 400K will hold better values than the high end of the market ,say over 800k because of the buying pool being a lot larger for the less expensive properties. There are many other aspects to the Calgary and area market including condo country residential and rural.
- You need guidance and good advice from a highly knowledgeable agent to find them though; and you need to know exactly what to look for.
In this post I’ve highlighted some of the key variables to watch and challenge you to ask the next realtor you meet “how is the market doing” to see what they have to say.
Finding Value in a Fluctuating Market
Identifying the right trends can help you target a stronger position and reap larger rewards.
Drilling into the detailed data from local real estate boards can help you identify neighborhoods where prices are cheap, when compared with neighboring areas and the city as a whole. With the help of the right agent, an experienced pro can help you make quick sense of these complex figures and add dollars and cents to your investment’s overall return by helping you isolate the areas with the most to gain.
The Globe and Mail’s recent article “Neighbourhoods where home prices have gained most in Canada’s major cities” highlights the findings of Brookfield RPS when looking through some of the latest numbers published by the Canadian Real Estate Board:
“The best areas to have bought a house in 2009, from a price appreciation point of view, would have been Killarney, South Calgary and Hillhurst, where average prices collectively rose 36 per cent in the period since. For condos, the places to have bought were the Beltline, Elboya, and Edgemont and the Hamptons. Those areas collectively saw condo prices rise by 24 per cent.”
In another article by The Globe and Mail, Airdrie is highlighted as one of the top three little-known hot, but affordable Canadian housing markets. Only 36 kilometres from Calgary, Airdrie is growing fast and the housing prices are still considerably more affordable.
Measuring Momentum Amidst a Myriad of Variables
Money can be important but it isn’t everything
Each community has it’s own “market” and so does every price point, housing type etc. Detached homes in downtown’s surrounding neighborhoods are very different from the detached homes in all other areas of the city. Townhomes can also be vastly different from condos, depending on the area.
“Overall, Calgary's new housing market has fully recovered from a 2009 - 2011 slump and there is a ton of condo investment going on. This may be due to the fact that first-time homebuyers are the youngest in Canada (BMO, 2014). The Calgary Real Estate Board states in a 2014 report that "there is higher investor activity in Calgary than Toronto" on a percentage basis. Ok, great, what neighbourhoods are best in Calgary?
For family homes, it's all about the community of Lakeview.
Spruce Cliff for condos and townhomes and a very new LRT station.
Finally, Varsity Village was voted the best community to live in by local media in recent years.”
There’s a lot more to making your decision about where to buy than just money and a community’s amenities though. According to Avenue Magazine, Calgarians voted safety as their most important quality. Based on their survey responses from the question that asked respondents to rank how safe they felt in their neighbourhood, which was combined with 2013 crime stats provided by the Calgary Police Service and then also weighing crimes against people heavier than crimes against property - the following is a list of the 10 safest communities in Calgary:
1. Royal Oak
2. West Springs
5. Panorama Hills
6. Aspen Woods
9. Strathcona Park
10. Rocky Ridge
When it comes to choosing the perfect place to buy, safety isn’t the only other factor by far. Buying a home is about lifestyle and community and it’s also about investing in your future through most people’s single largest investment vehicle.
With this in mind, we always try to assist you through every nuance of the buying process by understanding all your needs to ensure the home you choose will be one of long-term value.
Turn to the One Source You Can Trust
To help you identify and locate the ideal blend of amenities, community, culture, and financial aspects that will make up your next dream home - it takes a dedicated and experienced professional.
Even after you decide, the negotiation process is another critical element where having a highly experienced pro is essential to ensure you avoid legal problems and paying more than you should.
My best advice to you is to find a realtor with the right focus on your bottom line, ability to understand the market, and the earnest desire to help you find the perfect harmony of community elements you are looking for.
Thank you for reading, if you need any advice on any of the issues raised above, leave a comment below, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, or feel free to call me anytime at 403.701.7139