To buy, or not to buy?

That is the question, but there is no easy answer that’s right for everyone

It’s an age-old question that still gets hotly debated, particularly by young adults who are determining where they are going to live: should I rent or should I buy?

It’s not an easy question to answer, and there are no clear right or wrong answers.

“One of the big things to contemplate is your time focus, because when you do buy a home, it is a long-term commitment. It does involve a five-year mortgage that’s amortized over 25 years,” said Tim Gensey, a market analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) in Calgary. “On the other hand, renting allows you to be a lot more flexible. You have to really consider where you are in your life and what your needs are.

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Come on in

Open houses are still an important tool in the REALTOR®’s arsenal

Open houses remain a valid and valuable way to sell properties, even in this day and age of virtual reality.
While the technological tools available today to give maximum exposure to a listing have made it easier for potential homebuyers to window shop from anywhere, the physical presence of an open house still can’t be replaced.

CREB® president David P. Brown says opinions about open houses are often divided. Some REALTORS® love them, while others can’t stand them.

“But how we do it has changed a fair bit I believe,” said Brown. “Social media has got to be the biggest thing. Before, if we were going to have an open house we might hand deliver a few flyers or something around the neighbourhood – put up some signs and that was it.

“Now, we post it all over.”

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Rethinking retail

Calgary’s collection of decades-old malls are getting much-needed facelifts

Consumer demand is driving a wave of commercial real estate development in the city with several major shopping centres poised to get major makeovers this year and next.

Deerfoot Mall in the city’s northeast, as well as Northland Village Mall and Stadium Shopping Centre in the northwest, are all in the planning or development stages of redevelopment.

Michael Kehoe, an Alberta-based retail specialist with Fairfield Commercial Real Estate Inc., said the collective changes reflect landlords’ attempts to breathe new life into decades-old retail hubs, of which there are plenty in the city.

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Asking vs. achieved

Suburban office vacancies encouraging landlords to be flexible

Calgary’s downtown office vacancies might have been getting all the attention so far this year, but commercial real estate experts point out it’s not alone as the city’s suburban office market continues to experience similar challenges.

“We’re in the doldrums right now,” said Ian Robertson, associate specializing in the suburban office market for Barclay Street Real Estate. “There’s too much space chasing too few tenants. So it’s a bit of a malaise.

“We saw this coming. It took a while for landlords or the market to accept what was happening. But now we accept the reality of where we’re at.”

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Surprise, surprise

Experts provide feedback on Calgary’s real estate market so far

It has been an interesting year for the Calgary real estate market considering the city’s economy is still struggling due to ongoing uncertainty in the energy sector.

According to CREB®, year-to-date, until the end of July, MLS® sales of 10,952 were down 10.1 per cent compared with the same period a year ago. New listings of 21,191 were off by 2.23 per cent, but active listings of 5,847 were up by 9.64 per cent.

The average MLS sales price of $479,597 increased by 1.2 per cent. However, the benchmark price was down 3.68 per cent to $443,386.

Some housing and business experts were asked what has been the most surprising thing this year about the Calgary real estate market. Here are their responses:

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