Lisa and Booker Zaytsoff said saving and doing their research paid off when buying their first home. Photo by Michelle Hofer/For CREB®Now

Taking the plunge

Calgary couple’s research, timing pays off during first home purchase

Booker and Lisa Zaytsoff didn’t take the plunge into homeownership lightly.

About a year ago, the young couple started to investigate the marketplace, getting a read on what was happening – all the while putting away money for a down payment.

“Finally, we had enough saved up so decided to buy — something that, for us, had always been in the cards,” said Booker. “What was important for us was location and price. The fact mortgage rates were low was a bonus.”

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Kevin Clark says the hectic pace of Calgary’s real estate market in 2006 had its own challenges. Photo by Michelle Hofer/For CREB®Now

The bust of a boom year

Former CREB® president Kevin Clark recalls robust activity in 2006 created new set of challenges

To an outsider today, 2006 was an enviable year for real estate in Calgary. Nine to 10 offers on a house was commonplace, sales activity hit an all-time high with 26,975 transactions and prices skyrocketed year over year by more than 40 per cent to $336,408.

But for Kevin Clark, who was CREB® president that year, he doesn’t long for those days.

Clark describes the market in 2006 as volatile. He recalls Calgary’s housing industry that year as one overrun with inventory fluctuations that came with their own set of challenges.

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Spending on new residential construction in Alberta declined by $2.4 million in April. CREB®Now file photo

New housing construction down in Alberta

Provincial decline led the country

Spending on new residential construction in Alberta totalled $738.3 million in April, down from the $1.025 billion seen the previous April, according to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada.

The 28 per cent decline was the largest fall of any of the provinces, with decreased investment occurring in all dwelling types – although the decline was mainly due to lower spending on single-family dwellings.

In total, spending on new housing construction decreased in five provinces in April. Alberta was followed by Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

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The latest data from the Consumer Price Index shows renters in Alberta’s two major cities might be getting a break.

Rental costs in Calgary subsiding

Index drops by 1.2 per cent in May

After a period that saw Calgary’s vacancy rates at virtually zero and rents among the highest in Canada, renters in the province’s two largest cities are now seeing the outcome of Alberta’s economic downturn in the form of lower prices, according to a new report.

The latest data from the Consumer Price Index shows renters in Alberta’s two major cities might be getting a break. The May 2016 index in Calgary has dropped by about 1.2 per cent from the peak it hit in September of last year. Rents in Edmonton have dropped by 0.3 per cent.

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RESOLVE executive director Sheryl Barlage says the economic downtown is impacting overcrowding in Calgary homes. Photo by Wil Andruschak/For CREB®Now

Over-under

Housing officials cite increasing rates of overcrowding in Calgary’s housing market

Housing experts say a soft labour pool brought upon by weak economic conditions is partly to blame for increasing rates of overcrowding, or “underhousing” in Calgary homes.

RESOLVE executive director Sheryl Barlage – whose organization is made up of nine partner agencies aimed at building affordable and supported rental homes for 3,000 homeless and vulnerable Calgarians by March 31, 2018 – says about 3,500 Calgarians were considered homeless in a recent Homeless Foundation survey, with about 14,000 at risk of homelessness – and that doesn’t include people “couch-surfing.”

With the economic downturn, “we know fundamentally that number is up. It’s hard to get a handle; people are one paycheque away (from homelessness) or aren’t in appropriate housing. And the current economic climate (as well as) social issues are impacting the need. But the need has always been urgent.”

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