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Real Estate News

Considering a Move in 2017?

If you are considering a move in 2017, please read some of the features we offer:

FULL service Real Estate Services:

  • 5 step market evaluation – the KEY to pricing your home in today’s market
  • Maximum online exposure and integrated social media marketing
  • Your home promoted on 11 websites
  • Professional Photography
  • Interactive Floor-plan Tours
  • YouTube video of your home
  • Aerial Photography Available
  • Full page colour ads every Saturday in the Gazette
  • Open houses the first weekend you are listed & until your home is SOLD.
  • Professional showing feedback within 24 hours

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Looking to Buy your First Home?

Planning ahead is the key! Here are some important details to consider!

Step 1: Assess your Financial Readiness

Lenders use two calculations to help determine your eligibility for mortgage: your Gross Debt Service ratio (GDS) and your Total Debt Service ratio (TDS).

Your GDS ratio includes the % of your gross monthly income is used for mortgage payments, taxes and heating costs (condo buyers and half of your condo fees). Your GDS should not be more than 32% of your gross monthly income.

Your TDS is the % of gross monthly income required to cover your GDS AND all other debt payments such as car loans etc.

Your TDS should not be more than 40% of your gross monthly income.

Get Pre-approved! This will provide you with a realistic expectation of what you can afford. It is not a guarantee, but does give you the knowledge your need to move forward with your search.

Ask Doris for a mortgage lender referral, she works with several and can recommend one that would be best suited for your needs.

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Housing Forecast 2017

REALTORS® forecast slight sales decline, inventory growth for 2017

Edmonton, January 4, 2017:

The REALTORS® Association of Edmonton released its annual housing forecast today at a seminar at the Northlands Expo Centre attended by 600 REALTORS® and business leaders. Chair James Mabey forecast that sales of residential homes in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area will continue to remain relatively stable in 2017.

Single family homes performed well in 2016, with a slight drop in unit sales and average prices. Unit sales are predicted to continue to decline until the middle of 2017, ending the year approximately 1.7% under 2016 numbers. Single family home prices are expected to decrease by 2.2%. Inventory is expected to remain higher than in previous years. Continued strength in the $350,000 to $450,000 single family home prices category is expected.

“Edmonton had a positive 2016 despite ongoing economic uncertainty,” said Mabey. “Buyers are continuing to remain cautious, and sellers are having to set appropriate expectations and evaluate their motivation and urgency.”

Condominium sales experienced a drop in both unit sales and prices in 2016. It is expected that unit sales will stabilize and increase slightly, by 0.2%. However, inventory will continue to grow by 1.1% and the average unit selling price will decrease by an anticipated 3.8%.

Duplex/rowhouses continue to gain in popularity as an alternative to single family homes, offering both affordability and an ownership model that appeals to many first time buyers. The addition of a higher quality selection should help to keep average prices stable for this category. Forecasts suggest an increase in unit sales by a modest 0.5% and inventory slightly lower by 0.5%. Unit sales overall are projected to decrease by 1%.

In addition to Mabey’s forecast, other speakers at the seminar included John Rose, Chief Economist, City of Edmonton; Christina Butchart, Senior Marketing Analyst Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation; and Catherine Rothrock, Chief Economist, Government of Alberta. There was also a REALTOR® panel that discussed current market conditions and challenges.

There are 3,400 REALTORS® operating in the greater Edmonton area, which also includes Cold Lake, Wetaskiwin, Drayton Valley, Vegreville and Westlock.

 

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Detached House or Condo: 7 Things to Consider When Making Your Decision

 

One of the biggest decisions homebuyers face when buying a home is choosing between a detached house and a condo. To help make the decision a little easier, here is a list of key factors to consider when evaluating these two options.

Before you make a decision on which type of home is best for you and your family, take a look at the following detached home versus condo pros and cons.

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What is a Real Property Report?

A Real Property Report is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of significant visible improvements relative to property boundaries. (Improvements to be shown are outlined in Part D, Section 8.5 of the Manual of Standard Practice.)

Over the years, the standards for Real Property Reports have changed.

It takes the form of a plan or illustration of the various physical features of the property, including a written statement detailing the surveyor’s opinions or concerns.

It can be relied upon by the buyer, the seller, the lender and the municipality as an accurate representation of the improvements on your property.

Who needs a Real Property Report?

Property owners, to be informed of:

  • The locations of improvements within the property boundaries,
  • Any encroachments from adjacent properties, and
  • Property compliance with municipal requirements

Property Purchasers, to be informed of:

  • The boundary and improvement locations on the property, and
  • Any problems relating to the property boundaries.

Municipalities, to assist them:

  • In determining compliance with bylaws and fire codes, and
  • In the planning and development process.

Property Sellers (vendors), to provide:

  • Protection from potential future legal liabilities resulting from problems related to property boundaries and improvements.

Mortgage Lenders, to be informed of:

  • Conformance of improvements with municipal bylaws, and
  • Problems that may have to be resolved prior to registration of the mortgage

Realtors, to:

  • Provide a visual representation of the property for sale,
  • Meet requirements of the real estate listing/purchase contract, and
  • Have information to avoid delays in completing property transactions when a Real Property Report is arranged early in the sales process.

How does a Real Property Report protect you?

Purchasing a property may be the largest financial investment you ever make. With a Real Property report, owners are aware of any boundary problems. They know whether their new home is too close to the property line, or part of their garage is on their neighbour’s land, or vice versa.

“Good boundaries make good neighbors!”

Since legal complications may occur if a sold property fails to meet requirements, a Real Property Report protects the seller.

How does municipal compliance protect you?

A Real Property Report is necessary to determine compliance with municipal bylaws. A municipality reviews and endorses the Real Property Report and indicates if the improvements meet the requirements of the local bylaws. The property owner can then resolve any outstanding issues identified by the municipality. Early preparation of a Real Property Report significantly speeds up the process of selling a property.

How long is a Real Property Report valid?

The Real Property Report is a “snap shot” of the property on the date of the survey. Changes are often made to improvements on a property or adjoining properties. These may be new or modified fences, decks, driveways, garages or other features. Only an updated Real Property Report can show their location relative to property boundaries. Changes to your title will also be shown.

How can I get a Real Property Report updated?

In many cases, it is more economical to update an existing Real Property Report. Contact the Alberta Land Surveyor who did the original Real Property Report. The Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association does not have records of who did any individual Real Property Reports.

Your Real Property Report will show:

  • Diagram from inside the Real Property Report brochure.
  • Legal Description of property and municipal address (A)
  • Dimensions and directions of all property boundaries (B)
  • Designation of adjacent properties, roads, lanes, etc (C)
  • Location and description of all relevant improvements situated on the property together with dimensions and distances from the property boundaries (D); for a list of the improvements which must be shown, refer to Part D, Section 8.5 of the ALSA’s Manual of Standard Practice.
  • Other significant improvements (E)
  • Right-of-way or easements as noted on the title to the property at the date of survey (F)
  • Location and dimension of any visible encroachments onto, or off of, the property (G)
  • A duly signed certification and opinion by an Alberta Land Surveyor (H)
  • Copyright (I)
  • Permit Stamp (J) (where applicable)
  • A municipality may request additional information

How is a Real Property Report prepared?

A registered Alberta Land Surveyor is the only individual who can legally prepare a Real Property Report. A valid Real Property Report must bear the original signature and permit stamp of the Alberta Land Surveyor. In preparing a Real Property Report, an Alberta Land Surveyor will:

  • Search the title of the subject property.
  • Search all pertinent encumbrances registered against the title of the subject property.
  • Search all plans related to the location of boundaries of the subject property.
  • Perform a field survey to determine the dimensions of the property and location of improvements.  It will be necessary for the Alberta Land Surveyor to access property markers on the subject and nearby properties.
  • Prepare a plan (diagram) reflecting the results of the field survey and title research.

How much does a Real Property Report cost?

The amount of work to prepare a Real Property Report varies between properties. Lot size and shape, number of buildings, natural features, age and availability of the property boundary information all affect the cost.  Approximate cost range of $500-800.

A Real Property Report is only a small portion of your total property investment and may help you avoid costly problems in the future.

A Real Property Report does not include replacement of any property corner posts. Arrangements can be made to have property boundaries visibly marked on the ground. It is most economical to have this additional service performed at the time of the survey. Neighboring landowners occasionally share the cost because of the mutual benefit of the Real Property Report and marking of boundaries.

Who are Alberta Land Surveyors?

Alberta Land Surveyors are professionals – current standards require a university degree followed by an articling period and a series of professional examinations. Land Surveyors are governed by provincial law with a mandate to protect the public’s interest in matter of real property boundaries. Additionally, they must be registered with the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association. An extensive practice review program ensures surveyors maintain high professional standards.

An Alberta Land Surveyor is fully responsible for the accuracy of the information in a Real Property Report. Land Surveyors carry professional liability insurance as added protection for the consumer.

The benefits of a Real Property Report:

  • Problems are identified and can be resolved before a sale is finalized.
  • Owners know accurate locations and dimensions of buildings, improvements, rights-of-way, and encroachments relative to boundaries of their property.
  • Purchasers know the physical dimensions of the property.
  • Financing usually requires verified survey information.
  • Property transactions are simplified.
  • Development and building permits require boundary information.

 

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Title Insurance is now widely used in Alberta

Title Insurance

“Title Insurance” is now widely used in Alberta. Before you agree to accept “Title Insurance”, you should know what you are getting.

What it is not

As found in the United States of America, Title Insurance is an insurance policy guaranteeing that you have good indefeasible title to a certain piece of land. In Alberta this type of title insurance is provided by the Land Titles Office which certifies and guarantees that the registered owner has good title. Any other insurance as to “Title” may therefore superfluous and unnecessary.

What it is

“Title Insurance” in Alberta is a guarantee of the “quality” of a title or more specifically, it is insurance that the improvements upon the land comply with applicable zoning bylaws and that there are no encroachments upon the lands or onto adjoining lands. In the event that there is zoning non-compliance or an encroachment which needs to be removed, then the “Title Insurance” company agrees to pay the cost of such compliance or removal of such encroachment.

For a usual premium of some $200 – $250, the title insurance company will issue its policy to a Purchaser and to the mortgage lender. In the event that the property is sold, the new Purchaser is not covered unless a new insurance premium is paid.

The “Standard” Purchase Contract

Some real estate purchase contracts provide that the Vendor can either provide to the Purchaser proof of zoning compliance or in the alternative a Title Insurance Policy. Because the cost of an insurance policy may be less than the cost of a new real property report, the Vendor will normally elect to provide an insurance policy, especially if there is non-compliance or an encroachment.

But, buyer beware! If the buyer accepts the property on the basis of “Title Insurance”, when it is time to sell the property, there will have to be provided to the new purchaser either a new insurance policy or a new real property report and evidence of compliance, at the cost of the Vendor. Such cost could be saved if, when purchasing the property, the Purchaser insists upon the Vendor providing a real property report and zoning compliance certificate which the owner then keeps in his possession to be delivered to a new purchaser upon resale.

Conclusion

While “Title Insurance” will meet the requirements of a Purchaser and mortgage lender as to the “quality” of title and will provide insurance to such Purchaser or lender with respect to any action by the municipality or any neighbour with respect to non-compliance or encroachments, such policy does not guarantee to the owner that the property can be resold without the necessity of obtaining a real property report and zoning compliance certificate (or a new insurance policy) at that time.

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Reasons why the Bank of Canada will keep interest rates low

Thursday, September 4, 2014 – 14:45

The Bank of Canada announced on September 3rd, 2014 that it was holding its trend-setting overnight lending rate at 1 per cent.

The overnight rate has not moved in four years. It’s likely that it will remain where it is for some time yet.  Why?

    1. Inflation is on target — Inflation recently increased and is tracking close to the Bank’s 2 per cent target. However, the Bank believes the increase reflects temporary factors and cited evidence in support of this in its policy rate announcement. As a result, it does not see interest rate hikes as being necessary to rein it in. Instead, the Bank thinks inflation will keep itself in check as temporary factors dissipate.
    2. Uncertainty remains high — While the U.S. economic recovery appears to be back on track after a dismal first quarter, European economic growth has faltered due in part to its trade sanctions with Russia. This means low interest rates are still needed to support Canadian economic growth while questions marks loom about the outlooks for global economic growth, demand for Canadian exports, and Canadian economic growth.
    3. Canadian exports need help from the currency exchange rate —The Bank rate announcement noted that “Canadian exports surged in the second quarter”. The reasons cited were strengthening U.S. investment and “the past depreciation of the Canadian dollar”. Hiking interest rates too soon would result in a stronger loonie and dampened Canadian exports. The Bank is counting on stronger exports to lift business investment and economic growth.
    4. Higher exports have not yet translated into stronger investment or hiring:The Bank was pleased to see the pickup in exports but noted, “While an increasing number of export sectors appear to be turning the corner toward recovery, this pickup will need to be sustained before it will translate into higher business investment and hiring.” As such, interest rates will need to remain stimulative in order to entice firms into increased investment and hiring even if exports remain strong.

With these reasons in mind, interest rates are unlikely to rise in the near future.

One notable change in language in the September 3rd announcement was the removal of any references to a soft landing in the housing market. This Bank said that the housing market has in fact remained stronger than previously anticipated and that risks associated with household imbalances have “not diminished”.

That said, it is possible that stronger U.S. growth, a surge in exports, and the current strength of the housing market could all reflect a rebound from weak performances this past winter, which was unusually harsh.

As such, the Bank said that it remains “neutral with respect to the next change of its policy rate”, and will wait for new information as regards their outlook and assessment of risks to economic growth and inflation.

As of September 3rd, 2014, the advertised five-year lending rate stood at 4.79 per cent, unchanged from the previous Bank rate announcement on July 16th, 2014 and down 0.55 percentage points from the same time one year ago.

The next interest rate announcement will be on October 22nd, 2014, and will be accompanied by an update to the Monetary Policy Report which contains the Bank’s outlook for the economy and inflation, risks to its economic projections, and an update to its estimate for potential Canadian economic growth.

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CREA Updates Resale Housing Forecast

Monday, September 15, 2014 – 08:55

Ottawa, ON, September 15, 2014 – The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations for 2014 and 2015.

The deferral of sales and listings during an extraordinarily bleak winter delayed the start to the spring home buying season earlier this year. This deferral boosted activity in May and June as properties were snapped up after finally hitting the market, particularly in markets with a shortage of listings.

Although this boost was and still is expected to be transitory, sales have yet to show signs of cooling as activity strengthened slightly further over the summer. The increase reflects continuing strength in home sales among large urban markets that initially drove the spring rebound together with gains in markets where activity had previously struggled to gain traction. Lowered mortgage interest rates supported this trend.

Sales are now forecast to reach 475,000 units in 2014, representing an increase of 3.8 per cent compared to 2013. This is upwardly revised from CREA’s forecast of 463,400 sales published in June, and reflects stronger than expected sales in recent months. Even so, sales activity is expected to peak in the third quarter as the impact of a deferred spring dissipates and continuing home price increases erode housing affordability.

This would place activity in 2014 slightly above but still broadly in line with its 10-year average. Despite periods of monthly volatility since the recession of 2008-09, annual activity has remained stable within a fairly narrow range around its 10-year average. This stability contrasts sharply to the rapid growth in sales in the early 2000s prior to the recession. (Chart A).

British Columbia is forecast to post the largest year-over-year increase in activity (11.9 per cent) followed closely by Alberta (7.7 per cent). Demand in both of these provinces is currently running at multi-year highs.

Activity in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick is expected to come in roughly in line with 2013 levels, with sales increases ranging between one and two per cent in the first three provinces and edging lower by about one per cent lower sales in the latter two provinces. Sales in Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland and Labrador are projected to be down this year by 3.9 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively.

Mortgage interest rates are expected to edge higher as Canadian exports, business investment, job growth, and incomes improve. These opposing factors should benefit housing markets where demand has been softer but prices have remained more affordable. Sales in relatively less affordable housing markets are likely to be more sensitive to higher fixed mortgage rates.

National activity is now forecast to reach 473,100 units in 2015, representing a decline of four tenths of one per cent. Sales activity is forecast to grow fastest in Nova Scotia (+3.3 per cent), followed by Quebec (+1.3 per cent) and New Brunswick (+1.3 per cent). Alberta is the only other province forecast to post higher sales next year (+1.0 per cent).

In other provinces, activity is forecast to decline in the range of between one and two per cent. In British Columbia and Ontario, this trend reflects eroding affordability for single family homes.

The national average price has evolved largely as expected since the spring, resulting in little change to CREA’s previous forecast.

The national average home price is now projected to rise by 5.9 per cent to $405,000 in 2014, with similar price gains in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. Increases of just below three per cent are forecast for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island. Newfoundland and Labrador is forecast to see average home price rise by about one per cent this year, while Quebec is forecast to see an increase half that size.

Prices are forecast to be flat in New Brunswick and recede by almost two per cent and Nova Scotia. The national average price is forecast to edge up a further 0.7 per cent in 2015 to $407,900. Alberta and Manitoba are forecast to post average price gains of almost two per cent in 2015, followed closely by Ontario at 1.3 per cent. Average prices in other provinces are forecast to remain stable, edging up by less than one percentage point.

For more information, please contact: 
Pierre Leduc, Media Relations
The Canadian Real Estate Association
Tel.: 613-237-7111 or 613-884-1460
E-mail: pleduc@crea.ca

 

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