Housing market retains momentum in April

City-wide prices hold steady as labour market improves

Calgary’s housing market continued to show signs of stability in April. With improvements in the labour market and a balanced detached sector, city-wide benchmark prices reached $439,600 in April, similar to the previous month, but 0.90 per cent below last year’s levels.

“More jobs means less uncertainty for people who are sitting on the fence,” said CREB® president David P. Brown. “There also tends to be fewer people who need to sell when employment improves, and that can prevent inventory gains and further price reductions in the market. It’s a good scenario for sellers who are entering a spring market that’s in better shape than anything we’ve seen in recent years.”

While adjustments are still occurring in the apartment condominium sector, the detached segment of the market is improving across all price segments.

“Detached product has not faced the same supply pressure as the apartment sector,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “Detached supply from new construction didn’t surpass previous highs. That helped prevent steeper price adjustments in the detached sector when demand eased.”

The relationship between sales and inventory will be a key driver for pricing in the months ahead. Total transactions improved to 1,917 units in April, while inventories totaled 5,495 units, pushing months of supply below three for the second consecutive month.

With sales up and overall market inventory down, months of supply has already pulled back from elevated levels recorded over the past two years. While activity continues to vary by location and product type, more balanced conditions will help to support overall price stability.

“Improvements in the employment situation were necessary to prevent further declines in the housing sector,” said Lurie. “However, economic recovery is still expected to be slow, impacting the pace and quality of job growth. Based on current expectations this should translate into a more prolonged period of recovery in the housing market.”

Give me a shout  if you want to know the specifics about your property or neighbourhood!

JUST LISTED : 306, 3650 Marda Link SW

Modern, luxurious living begins and ends in fashionable Marda Loop. Tired of cookie-cutter layouts and unimaginative design? This extraordinary penthouse suite of the coveted Courtyards at Garrison Woods speaks to a new class of contemporary Calgarians. Incredible double-height ceilings and a sunlit, open plan impress straight through the door, while a corner gas fireplace and oversized garden-facing windows make entertaining an effortless thrill. The peninsula kitchen features upgraded appliances, a tiled backsplash, a sizable pantry and slate flooring. Under the stairs is a built-in office nook, and around the corner a convenient powder/laundry room and a spacious balcony.

Last but certainly not least, atop the elegant staircase is the inspiring master retreat — a private loft that stretches the entirety of the suite and features an interior balconied view of the living-space below, and the courtyard beyond. A roomy mirrored closet and 4-piece, modern master-bath polish off this compelling upper floor.

This is a secure, upscale 18+ building with exceptional recreational features including a lap pool and change rooms with shower facilities. The exercise area includes stationary equipment. There is also a clubhouse with a fireplace, kitchen facilities and furnishings. Guest suites are available. Also note there is an assigned, secure underground parking stall, storage locker, air conditioning and integrated sprinkler system. Two blocks from everything you need from, restaurants, groceries and coffee shops to Village Ice Cream. Just a quick trip to Mount Royal University, Glenmore Athletic Park or Downtown.

For more details click here! Call 403-370-2620 to book a private showing!

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How to Start a Remodeling Project

When the itch to remodel hits you, create a plan that works. The first step in all remodeling projects, large or small, begins with careful planning to ensure you get the most out of your budget.

From designing many projects over the last decade on HGTV and with my firm I can confidently state that you really need to stay focused on your design style and direction. Being consistent and following your path will ensure your project is seamless and less stressful.

1. Begin with Inspiration

Even your favourite travel destination might inspire you to remodel. Create a stylebook and fill it with photos of your favourite kitchen, decor and artwork. I often have design sessions with clients who just want some ideas, inspiration and rough sketches. This is a great opportunity to hone your style and colour palette while picking your designer’s brain for reno tips.

2. Define Your Goals and Priorities

Think about what you want to achieve from your remodel. What are your goals? Create a list and prioritize all the projects to complete and any major repairs. No matter what size your reno is, you have to consider all the details – from plumbing and electrical to HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). If your renovation includes any of these elements, ensure that you have a game plan for relocation and contingency.

3. Create a Budget and Timeline

Determine the money you have to spend and define a timeline for completion. Knowing this will help you stay on budget and ensure you reach your goal without steering down a path you didn’t plan for. I always tell my clients to put aside 15% for a contingency fund, not to be confused with overspending, it is used for unpredictable construction costs. Make sure to work and consult with a designer, and invest in floor plans.

4. Find a Contractor

Interview at least five contractors, and look for ones that work regularly in your area. This will avoid having them travelling across the city to get to other job sites and possibly abandoning your project for days at a time to complete others.

5. Set Your Plan in Motion

Allow your vision to take shape by researching paint colours, furniture, lighting, accent pieces and anything else you would like to incorporate into the design of the space.  Sometimes, choosing the right decor can be overwhelming. I often get called-in to help make colour suggestions and the right choices to match your budget and vision. A short design consultation can take a lot of stress of your plate.


Toronto-based celebrity and award-winning designer Dvira Ovadia, principal of Dvira Interiors, is known for her appearances and design work on various HGTV shows. Dvira and her team uses their profound understanding of design to create stylishly smart spaces. Servicing clientele throughout Ontario and Greater Toronto Area.

www.spray-net.com  @DVIRAdesigner

Five Things About Population Impact On Housing

Weak net migration expected to impact Calgary’s housing market

Population growth in Calgary will moderate moving forward and contribute to a decline in housing demand, according to a market brief issued earlier this month by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).

In the release, the national housing agency noted net migration is expected to remain relatively weak over the next two years, which will have a trickle-down effect on the local real estate market.

CREB®Now breaks down five things you need to know about how population will impact housing demand in Calgary this year and next.

The History

Calgary’s population outpaced the national average for the 10 years preceding 2015. From 2006 to 2015, the city’s population increased an average of 2.81 per cent per year, compared with 1.12 nationally. CMHC credited the growth to favourable economic conditions, which attracted prospective workers to the region. This also boosted demand for housing, with total starts and MLS® sales both reaching record highs in 2014.

The More Recent

Calgary’s population growth started to level off in 2015, when the rate of newcomers to the city grew at 2.44 per cent, down from 3.55 a year earlier. CMHC attributed the moderation to weak oil prices that ultimately impacted investments in the energy industry – and, thus, employment prospects in the city.

The Employment Picture

While 2015 might have looked and felt like 2008, it will be considerably different moving forward. CMHC said economic recovery will be more gradual this time around, resulting in job losses – especially in full-time positions. In the first quarter of 2016, the city’s unemployment rate increased to 8.96 per cent compared to 5.67 in the same period in 2015.

The Outcome

With fewer employment opportunities in Calgary, along with stronger labour market conditions in other areas of the country, CMHC said net migration to the city will decline and remain relatively low. Net migration is projected to decline from 21,057 in 2015 to 14,000 in 2016, and then rebound slightly to 14,500 in 2017. This will limit Calgary’s population growth and temper housing demand.

The Outlook

Following several years of elevated growth, Calgary’s population will rise only 1.91 in 2016 and 1.81 per cent in 2017, said CMHC. This will bring the population in Calgary to 1,466,500 and 1,493,400 in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

“Total population in Calgary is forecast to grow at its slowest rate since 2010, largely due to a decline in net migration, and contribute to weaker demand for housing,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for CMHC’s Prairie region.

 

CREBNow By: Jamie Zachary

The Why of Walkability

Experts tout prevalence in today’s homebuying decisions

Walkability has evolved from a buzzword to an influential part of home purchasing decisions in Calgary, say real estate experts.

And to meet growing demand for improved accessibility, developers and planners need to start now by designing communities of tomorrow through a more pedestrian-friendly lens.

“(Walkability) is important to our customers,” said Brookfield Residential development manager Tara Steell. “We’re hearing from them and using best practices to create communities with master-planned communities. We have the ability to influence that and try to get people out of their cars.”

Steell said Brookfield is making walkability a priority when developing South Seton, a residential community that is expected to start construction as early as this year off the south terminus of the future Green Line. The southeast Calgary community follows the Urban Land Institute’s 10 Principles for Building Healthy Places, which includes walkability.

“But it has to be useful,” said Steell. “What (do walkability connections) look like for the homeowner? The community needs to be active for all modes of transportation.”

City council recently acknowledged Calgary’s walkability woes by passing its first pedestrian strategy in early May. Dubbed Step Forward, it includes more than four dozen recommendations aimed at making communities more walkable, including installing more flashing lights at crosswalks and building mid-block crossings in busy areas.

In the report, the City notes the walking mode share for all-day, all-purpose trips citywide fell from 13.2 to 11.7 per cent. Step Forward is looking, in part, to increasing the city’s walking mode share to 15 per cent by 2025.

“Investments in pedestrian network development and maintenance makes our communities more walkable, which supports local business and strengthens the social fabric of our neighbourhoods,” said City of Calgary transportation general manager Mac Logan.

The initiative comes as sobering statistics come to light regarding pedestrian safety in the city. Between 2005 and 2014, the City recorded 3,834 pedestrian-involved collisions, resulting in 3,317 injuries and 95 fatalities. Figures from 2015 are not yet available.

According to Walk Score, a Seattle-based company that’s created a walkability index seen in most residential listings on the MLS® System today, Calgary currently scores just 48 out of 100, behind other urban centres such as Edmonton (51) and Banff (67).

While walkability is becoming increasingly prevalent, it is not a new idea, said Federation of Calgary Communities urban planner Carrie Yap.

“You look back at old neighbourhoods, the grid (system) is a walkable form, as opposed to all the curvilinear cul-de-sacs,” she said.

Yap defines walkability as “connectivity, through either a grid or through connectivity of elements.” That might include a more pedestrian-friendly environment such as wider sidewalks and wayfinding signage and landmarks, as well as direct connections via pathways and linear parks.

“It mainly comes down to accessibility,” said Yap, adding vehicles can be a barrier to getting to know the people on your street: “social capital, as opposed to social isolation.”

Such connections, “is one of the pillars (our) community was established on,” said Daniel Santiago, communications and recreation co-ordinator with McKenzie Towne council in the city’s southeast.

“The idea was you could phase your life in McKenzie Towne, whether you’re living in a single-unit condo, move on to a family home, retirement and long-term care facility,” he said. “You can bike and walk anywhere in McKenzie Towne and you don’t really need to drive very much.”

McKenzie Towne’s hub is High Street, a commercial area linked closely to the community hall, pathway system and future Green Line LRT station.

“High Street is basically a promenade that you can walk along with different shops and services, and some have storefronts and some have patios out front,” said Santiago. “It goes a long way to creating a bit of atmosphere and community aspect – you see people you know on the street.”

Santiago said the McKenzie Towne concept of mini-villages connected together “piques the interest of different people. And there is a lasting sense of community, too.”

Still, the concept of walkability doesn’t always match up with the realities of life in an urban centre such as Calgary, said “urban explorer” and blogger Richard White.

“I live in the inner city and I find people who could walk to the grocery store every day or take transit, but they don’t have the time,” he said.

“We have not created a walking culture. Kids from the day they are born are being driven to day care. People don’t realize how far they can walk in 15 to 20 minutes. It’s not top of mind to walk first.”

White said parents, at least, are more likely to consider the presence of a good school when choosing a neighbourhood over other factors like walkability.

“It’s probably more important than in my generation,” he said.

 

CREB NOW by  Alex Frazer-Harrison

Orange is the New Black

Ok – so maybe tangerine! But man this brazen, fire-licked hue has been popping up everywhere this summer.  Garden and home accessories, clothing and sunglasses, I even saw a cute bike in happy creamsicle.

Adding a dose of 70’s style to your home with a mid-century modern piece will be sure to wow your friends and family.  This colour is like adding a hit of spice to your summer. It’s hot, hot, hot!

Best Advice

“Add visual interest with bold pattern. Your main pattern should have no more than two colours. Then, bring in a multi-coloured patterns that harmonize without being too matchy. And don’t just think fabrics; pattern can come from accessories like lamps of vases” Richard Ouellette

Savour la vie en…mandarine!

5 Fast Fixes

You don’t need a complete renovation to add impact to your home. Easy weekend DYIs will spruce up your abode. If you have some spare time this weekend here are 5 fast fixes:

  1. Paint it: The quickest and cheapest way to totally transform your home is with a fresh new colour
  2. Curb Appeal: changing your front door is like a facelift for your home
  3. Petal Power: fresh flowers and plants scream summer and cozy up any space
  4. Deep Clean: give carpets a shampoo clean for an instant update
  5. Pillow Talk: change up throw pillows and cushions to update furniture

Have a great long weekend!!

Summer in the City : Table for Two

Turn your balcony into an outdoor oasis with stunning furniture and great barbecues designed for spaces just like yours.

Even the smallest balcony or patio can become your private retreat. A small table and two chairs gives you the opportunity to dine and relax outside in peace. Indulge your love of outdoor cooking with a scaled-down barbecue or grill. (If you live in a condo, make sure you check your buildings bylaws)

 

 

 

And she scores… the Road to Rio!

For those of you that know my family, we have been involved with the soccer program in Calgary since we moved here in 1990!  I was lucky enough to play little league soccer with Erin McLeod on the WillowRidge Tigers team. While I was chasing butterflies, she was headed towards becoming the Canadian Women’s soccer goalie.  Although she is out of the Olympics this year due to a knee injury, I still follow the team and their “Road to Rio” run.  Coming up …. Canada vs. Brazil June 4th in Toronto.  Make sure you catch all the action!

According to several sources, soccer is the most popular team sport in every region of our county! With more than 750,000 players under 17, and nearly half of them are GIRLS! Canadian soccer experts say that the main drivers behind the growth are: immigration from countries where soccer reigns supreme, the popularity of our national teams (Go Canada Go) and the low cost to participate.

Visit www.canadasoccer.com to follow the girls and cheer them on to another Olympic medal!

What is Staging?

Staging is the process of preparing a property for sale!

Homes that are staged sell faster and for more money.  This is achieved by creating immediate buyer interested in your property.

When a property is placed on the market it has features and benefits that are both good and bad. The job of a staging professional is to enhance the positive aspects of the property, show off the architectural details and make your home stand out from the competition.  This is extremely important for the photographs needed for online postings. Most buyers are looking at photos before venturing out from property to property.

Most staging professionals have access to furniture on a monthly rental basis. The fees are minimal when compares to the length of time and empty/unfurnished property is on the market. Most buyers cannot envision their possession in the home because often an unfurnished property looks smaller than it actually is. It was been proven that most buyers place their sofas in the exact spot the sellers sofa was, thus proving that buyers need to see the property furnished.

It is also beneficial to bring in a professional stager to offer advice in an occupied property. This process often involves removing excess furniture and de-cluttering. By removing clutter, the rooms suddenly seem to become larger, allowing the homeowner to start the packing process and the emotional separation from the home to begin as well. Encourage the children to help in the de-cluttering process so they feel like they are part of the decision.

One the editing has been completed, the best features of the property are highlighted so that the less appealing aspects, if any exist, become minimal. The home must become de-cluttered and de-personalized. Cleaning is also an important step, the property must be spotless. A fresh coast of neutral paint is never a bad idea an the return of investment is very good, especially since most homeowners can paint themselves or offer friends and family the bonding experience that comes with helping out. (Okay, the pizza and beer that comes with helping out).

Try looking at your property through the buyers eyes, as though you’ve never seen it before. Ask a friend to be completely honest with you an critique your home. It is also a great idea to photograph each room yourself and look at it through the “lens”. This can really let you see what others may see. The home must be clean, organized, de-cluttered and de-personalized. If this has been done it should result in both more money for you, as well as sell faster than the competition.

Laura Le (Creative Enhancement Inc)

Laura Le has owned Creative Enhancement for about sever years. Laura complete courses with Accredited Staging Professionals, Canadian Staging Professionals and Canadian ReDesign Association.  Creative Enhancement has been a member of the BBB since 2005, phone: 403-807-8591 www.creativeenhancements.ca