Renovator research

What any homeowner should ask before hiring a contractor

It doesn’t take much asking around to find people with horror stories about renovations gone wrong, and many of those stories stem from negative experiences with contractors. Finding the right contractor(s) for your specific needs and budget is a crucial part of making your renovation dream into a reality, so it pays to do your homework.

The following is a list of questions from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) to ask any contractor before you hire them: (more…)

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Future of housing

Stakeholders say Alberta can’t be overlooked when creating national strategy

As the federal government moves closer toward a national strategy on housing, key Alberta stakeholder groups say recognition of different local and regional challenges is critical to any policy changes.

“We are encouraged the federal government is doing this, but we are hoping its actions will be localized,” said Kevin McNichol, vice-president of strategy for the Calgary Homeless Foundation, leader of the city’s plan to end homelessness.

“In Calgary, we have the highest median income in the country, so it might be easy to overlook us. But we also have the lowest rate of affordable housing in Canada.”

(more…)

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Stress test

Experts say new mortgage rules might take some buyers out of the game

Getting into your “ideal” home might be more difficult following the introduction of new federal regulations pertaining to insured mortgages.

Under new regulations introduced this week, all mortgages must be “stress-tested” at the posted rate instead of negotiated rates that have recently been around 2.5 per cent.

Previously, only mortgages with a term less than five years, as well as any variable-rate mortgages, had to qualify at the benchmark rate.

(more…)

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Charting a new course

Homebuilding officials warn proposed governmental power shift could impact homebuyers in a big way

Before Calgarians step into a voting booth to elect a new city council a year from now, there could be a whole new ball game of city governance over everything from land assessments to affordable housing and even new taxing powers.

New city charters originally proposed in 2014, and only recently made available for public feedback, are intended to give new powers and responsibilities to Alberta’s two largest municipalities. They may affect Calgarians on everything from residential speed limits and fines, environmental protection, integration of land-use and transportation strategies and investment to civic administrative efficiencies that stretch from council roles to establishment of bylaw tribunals.

And there will almost certainly be changes that impact the homebuilding industry, and ultimately homebuyers.

(more…)

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The next step

Move-up homes driving construction activity, community development, say local housing officials

The head of Calgary’s new home industry believes move-up products have become the go-to sector within Calgary’s residential construction industry, and will be the backbone of new communities moving forward.

Allan Klassen, who is the newly minted chair of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Urban Development Institute Calgary Region, said buyers’ focus over the last several years has been increasingly focused on detached product priced over $500,000.

“It is the prominent driver in terms of overall growth of new construction,” said Klassen, who is also senior vice-president of Calgary housing for Brookfield Residential, which is behind the mixed-use Seton development in the southeast and the recently announced Livingston community in the city’s north.

(more…)

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