Up in the air

Impact of new mortgage rules on Calgary housing market remains uncertain entering 2018

A new Canada-wide stress test for people applying for uninsured mortgages is leading to uncertainty among experts about the possible effects on the Calgary real estate market in 2018.

The federal government’s new B-20 guidelines, introduced on Jan. 1, set out a new minimum qualifying rate or “stress test” for mortgages. Borrowers must qualify using the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada, or the contractual mortgage rate plus two per cent – whichever is greater.

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The upside of carbon tax

New programs could see homeowners coming out ahead

milesIf you’ve been paying attention, you’re aware that, starting Jan. 1, we’ll be paying $1.01 more per gigajoule for natural gas to heat our homes and a few extra cents a litre to fuel our cars.

It’s the provincial carbon levy, and it’s inevitable.

If you’re like me, you want to know what the government is going to do with the revenue.

For starters, it’s setting up an agency whose goal is to reduce our utility bills, decrease emissions and save energy in general.

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‘Wave of the future’

New housing collective seeks group approach to affordability issues

Billed as the first of its kind in Alberta, Calgary’s Community Housing Affordability Collective (CHAC) launched earlier this month as a collaborative engine for improving housing affordability in the city.

While a number of local organizations already exist to address barriers to shelter, CHAC is unique is its collaborative approach, said Kim O’Brien, executive director of Horizon Housing Society and co-chair of the CHAC steering community.

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Blink of an eye

Hands-free camera technology offers applications for homeowners

milesIf you had a camera that was always on, aimed and focused on whatever you’re looking at, ready to shoot a photo, would you take more — and better — pictures?

Shota Takase is betting you would. That’s why the young entrepreneur invented Blincam, a small, glasses-mounted camera that will photograph anything you’re looking at, literally in the blink of an eye.

And it’s completely hands-free, meaning you can take photos while riding a bike, carrying groceries, cooking or doing just about anything else you can think of.

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Winter is coming

Knowing your local snow clearing bylaws may not be cool, but it’s necessary

Winter is coming, and with it the one chore that many homeowners dread: shoveling their snowy sidewalks and driveways.

And while snow removal is often the last thing homeowners want to do on a chilly winter day, officials say it is important in protecting the public’s safety.

“Sidewalks need to be kept clean for public safety, [and] a snow removal bylaw shares that responsibility without adding to municipal costs,” said Charlene Ruttle, Cochrane’s manager of municipal enforcement.

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