Alberta bound

Net migration figures point to housing market bounce back

It’s been a challenging year for Calgary’s resale housing market, which is still feeling the effects of two recession years in 2015 and 2016.

While the economy has rebounded, it has been at a slow pace, and this has been evident in the real estate industry. As of the end of June, year-to-date MLS® System sales in the resale market totalled 8,553 units, down 17.1 per cent in the city compared with the same period a year ago.

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Alberta sees increase in home renovation spending during first quarter of 2017

The number of Albertans spending money on renovations for their existing homes and recreational properties is on the rise.

According to Statistics Canada, investment in home renovations in the first quarter of 2017 hit a record high of $1.78 billion. A release from ATB Financial’s Economics and Research Team says this is close to double the spending a decade ago.

Todd Hirsch, chief economist with ATB Financial, says he was surprised by the data for the first three months of this year.

“The increase that we saw in late 2016 and the first quarter of this year can be attributed to the rebuild in Fort McMurray (from last year’s wildfires) because not every house was destroyed, which we tend to focus on.” he said. “There were also many, many homes that needed to be renovated.”

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Building home equity

A long-time renter transitions into home ownership and begins building tax-free capital gains

Nathan Magee knows a thing or two about renting. Since moving to Calgary in 1999, he has rented apartments, duplexes, houses and rooms in neighbourhoods as disparate as Bridlewood, Marda Loop, Forest Lawn and downtown.

Magee rented for 14 years in Calgary before deciding it was time to buy in 2013.

“What really pushed my wife and I over the edge was a combination of things. We were renting a house in Marda Loop at the time and the place got broken into four times. Plus, the rent was going up to $2,000 a month. That’s when we thought, ‘Let’s get out of here and look at buying,’” recalled Magee.

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Starting out

The changing face of the first home purchase

A starter home has long been understood to mean a dwelling that represents someone’s first foray into home ownership.

Mattamy Homes’ vice-president of sales and marketing in Calgary, Warren Saunders, says, at its core, “It’s a home that offers the best price and the best value for a new family starting out.”

Donna Moore, the outgoing co-CEO of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) – Urban Development Institute (UDI) Calgary Region Association, qualifies, however, that what constitutes a starter home today is very different from one of 30 years ago.

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Long live the auto

The car-less lifestyle is trending, but Calgary’s housing market still driven by the automobile, say experts

Cars aren’t going anywhere soon, and neither is Calgary homebuyers’ desire for neighbourhoods – or condominiums for that matter – that support their automobile-driven lifestyles, say housing experts.

While much is being made about efforts to create a more pedestrian-friendly city that focuses on “vertical growth,” Calgarians still very much enjoy the freedom that comes with driving an automobile. And they
want their residence — whether it’s a condo, townhome or single-detached house — to support their yen for putting the pedal to the metal, said Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) regional economist Lai Sing Louie.

“Most people still want parking,” he said. “They want the freedom to come and go with a car at their disposal, and they’re willing to pay a lot of money to afford that.”

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