Top floor Penthouse Loft steps away from 17th Avenue – $329,900

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Top floor Penthouse Loft steps away from 17th Avenue on a quiet tree lined street. Enjoy the ultimate in Entertaining Space in this 910 square foot 2 story Loft. Built in 2003, this loft has 18 foot ceilings with huge south facing windows that overlook the historic 97 year old stone church. Double doors open onto your balcony, and for more outdoor living there is a massive Roof Top Terrace off the upper level of this condo. Half bath on the main floor with adjacent laundry room with front loading washer and dryer. Cozy Fireplace divides the large living space. Maple Spiral Staircase leads to your lofted bedroom with lavish Ensuite full bathroom and deep Soaker Tub. Complete with Titled Heated Underground Parking. Walking distance into Downtown and steps away from all of the restaurants and shopping of 17th avenue.  For More information on this property or any other listing in Calgary, please feel free to contact Erik Ross at 403-808-9996.

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Canada’s Highest Priced Real Estate Deal in 2009 – New Calgary Record

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This executive retreat just outside of Calgary is Canada’s most expensive Real Estate sale in 2009 and sets a new record for highest priced sale in Calgary at a selling price of $13.1 million.

Smed Home

More photos and article at:

www.luxist.com

www.Sothebysrealty.ca

Drop in listings supports Calgary Real Estate

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By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald October 8, 2009

Fewer active listings on Calgary’s resale housing market will support the recovery in the city’s MLS prices heading into the fall.

“We have a tremendous shortage of listings in Calgary,” said Ted Zaharko, broker for Royal LePage Foothills Realty. “The market has made a complete turnaround.

“The whole year, we’ve been behind in terms of the number of listings that should be on the market. I think conservatively Calgary is short about 1,000 listings right now.”

The Royal LePage survey released Thursday revealed slight increases in average house prices in the third quarter compared with the second quarter in the Calgary market.

Housing categories such as standard two-storey homes and detached bungalows saw average quarterly price increases, as first-time home buyers continued to capitalize on low interest rates and well-priced homes in the third quarter, said the survey.

Standard condominiums were exceptions to the trend of increasing price, decreasing slightly from$252,344 last quarter to $249,500.

Royal LePage said that, year-over-year, prices for all housing types in Calgary decreased due to the economic downturn.

At the end of September, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board, the month-end inventory for single-family homes was 3,148, which was down from 5,387 in September 2008.New listings during the month were 1,857, also down from the 2,631 last year.

The condo market shows a similar story. Month-end inventory in September was 1,515 compared with 2,659 last year, while new listings dropped to 940 from 1,186 a year ago.

“Supply is diminishing and demand is pretty strong in Calgary. So prices will be and are recovering across the board,” said Zaharko.

In September, for the fifth consecutive month, MLS residential sales in Calgary for both the single-family home and the condominium markets have increased compared with year-ago levels.

According to the real estate board, single-family home sales increased by 9.1 per cent last month compared with a year ago, while condominium sales were up 24.7 per cent.

Average MLS sales prices also increased during the month. For single-family homes, the average price was $459,085, up 3.39 per cent from September 2008, while condos rose 0.98 per cent to $290,253.

Average MLS sale prices for single-family homes peaked in July 2007 at $505,920 and for condos in May 2007 at $332,237.

Some of the product has slowly sold through the system this year, said Bonnie Wegerich, CREB president, about the low listing count.

“People also just want to see what the market is going to do. They’re waiting for it to come back up before they put their house back on the market,” she said.

Calgary Home Prices

q3 2009 q2 year/year change

Bungalow $401,944 $401,600 -9.3% two-storey $414,556 $400,167 -4.7% Condominium $249,500 $252,344 -7.3%

http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Drop+listings+supports+Calgary+real+estate/2084169/story.html

Jeremy Nagel Mortgage Update – Fixed Term Interest Rates Projected to Increase

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I thought I’d be the first to advise you of a very likely increase to fixed term interest rates. Unfortunately It’s true! The bond market has responded to the positive economic news of late and as a result, the bond has jumped 30 bps (basis points) today. This is a considerable jump, one that will undoubtedly lead to a hike in the fixed rates as early as Monday of next week.

Have a look at the Brayco Rate Barometer. The bond yields have been falling for the past several weeks and if you recall, I previously wrote that it is only a matter of time until we experience upward pressure. The Barometer is a great indictor of that.

Brayco

* The yield, rate of return on your bond, can be read through a yield curve, which is the pattern of yields on bonds. This increase in bond yield is something to watch.  If the bond yield increases, the spread will continue to shrink and this could be a trigger for interest rates to rise. Ideally lenders are looking for a new spread between 1.55 and 1.75.

Secure today’s great rates while they last! We can hold rates for 120 days, which is more than enough time in most cases. Proactive is always the best approach!:)

– Jeremy Nagel
jeremy@brayco.ca
www.braycomortgage.com

What you need to know if you’re buying a Condo

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REALTORS® can help reduce stress for condo buyers. Demand for condos in Calgary has been on a general upward trend for more than a decade. In recent years, a generation of young home buyers, called the millennials, born between the late 1970s and mid-1990s, has combined with baby boomers to rekindle demand for urban living and condos. Fifteen years ago condos accounted for about 15 per cent of the total housing market. Today this number has doubled to 30 per cent.

Baby boomers and millennials are our two biggest generations and they are at a stage where they both are looking for similar things. With all of its conveniences and advantages this is a form of ownership that is here to stay.

But admittedly purchasing this convenient condo lifestyle can be a little inconvenient and labour intensive process for a buyer. Many boomers are new to this form of ownership and many millennials are buying for the first time. Some buyers don’t realize how complex purchasing a condo can become.

A big misconception with condos is that people tend to think that buying a condo is a less expensive way of buying a house, and not fully understanding all the details pertaining to shared ownership.

When buying a condo there are many things you need to consider. What does condo ownership entail and do understand the implications of shared ownership? Do the condo rules and regulations match your lifestyle? What is the financial health of the condo corporation?

The Calgary Real Estate Board recognized the need to better help buyers through this process and in 2006 introduced the Certified Condominium Specialist education for its REALTORS®.

Despite all the questions that you need to ask, condo living can be a great fit for many buyers. And an experienced REALTOR® can go a long way to helping you do the homework before you buy.

The first step is to really understand what condo ownership means. By purchasing a condo you become a part owner with other unit owners in the complex in regard to common elements such as the exterior structure (roof, exterior walls, foundation) and any common areas and amenities (hallways, swimming pools). Operation costs are shared by all owners in the form of condo fees.

Here is a quick checklist of a few more things you should consider as a condo buyer:

• Ask your REALTOR® what their experience is buying and selling condos ”and choose a REALTOR® you feel has the condo expertise you need.

• Go over the condo property schedule with your REALTOR®. This form will be attached to the offer and form a part of the contract.

• Have a condo document review specialist go over all of the condo documents and have them clearly explain to you any issues you should know about.

• Make sure there is a certificate of insurance for the condo corporation.

• Understand the condo fee breakdown and make sure you are satisfied with it.

• Check the corporation’s bylaws to see how their rules and regulations fit with your lifestyle.

• Make sure you understand what was included in determining the size of your unit.

• Find out if the property manager is performing at a high level of service and to the satisfaction of the owners.

• Ask questions of your REALTOR® throughout the process.

The Condo Experience

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Condominiums are today’s reality in Calgary. Condensed urban lifestyles grace the skylines of major Canadian cities across the entire country. But just who is purchasing these real estate properties? While first-time homebuyers abound in the condominium market, the versatile dwellings make the perfect living space for experienced buyers who know the ins and outs of the market and young families looking for a fresh start.

The First-Time Condo Buyer

Cheryl Ballerini always knew that she wanted to own her own home. For her, renting was never an option. But the road to home ownership for the 23-year-old advertising sales professional was wrought with sacrifice. For the first-time buyer, this will be her first foray outside of the protection of her parent’s home.

“It’s going to be quite the shock,” she said about the experience of moving out for the first time. “I had an agreement with my mom and dad that if I saved up for a year or two after university and I bought a place, as opposed to renting, they would let me live at home for free.”

And that’s just what she did. Just one year after graduating from the University of Calgary with a major in political science and history. Ballerini has a one-bedroom Bankview condominium to call her own.

Despite recent economic turmoil that has affected countless people around the city, condominiums still represent the perfect opportunity for first-time buyers to achieve their home ownership aspirations. For many young singles the opportunity is hard to resist. With no driveways to shovel, walkways to salt, gardens to weed, lawns to water or maintenance to take care of, a condo can represent a dream come true for those who aren’t so handy or aren’t up to trudging around in the snow in order to take care of their property.

“I don’t have to cut the grass,” she said with a laugh, adding that was one of the biggest draws to condo ownership. “There’s no maintenance. My condo fees take care of all those problems. Especially being a single girl, living alone, I’m not great with maintenance. It’s the easy option and it’s a good stepping stone into the real estate market.”

Ballerini said that sometimes expenses such as condo fees can be worrisome, but are generally just a natural part of owning property. In her case, fees take care of everything (including things such as general maintenance, parking lot maintenance, water and heat) but her electrical bill. In general, the fees are similar to what an owner might pay in a house, she said.

“You have to accept condo fees because if you live in a home and your water heater goes, you have to pay for that out of your own pocket,” she explained. “But with condo fees, they build up the reserve fund and they should have enough to replace it. You’re not paying for it out-of-pocket. It’s part of the financial stability. Every month I know I have $300 to pay, but I know it’s going somewhere and being banked for future expenses.”

Gerald Rottering, certified condominium specialist and REALTOR® with Discover Real Estate primarily focuses in the downtown area of Calgary and has helped many first-time buyers take that first step into the real estate market. Rottering said the majority of his clients are increasingly made up of young professionals looking for a downtown lifestyle in the inner city and along the beltline.

“[Condos] are more attractive than ever,” he said. “It’s the price reality and the location. It’s all the old trends … Young people choose to live where the action is.”

Ballerini certainly isn’t alone in her desire to own a condo, nor is she alone in needing a little bit of extra help to speed up the process. Rottering said he is seeing more and more first-time buyers getting help from their parents when it comes to a down payment for their first abode.

“I am seeing the phenomenon that (myself) and my own children experienced and that is that parents are helping with down payments,” he said.

Rottering supposes that, given the current economic climate, parents are choosing to invest in their children rather than in stocks or bonds.

Though Ballerini accepted a helping hand from her parents, she admits it was anything but conventional.

“They weren’t going to just hand me the money,” she said. “When the market jumped a couple of years ago, they said, ‘it’s going to be a lot harder for you to buy.’”

That’s when the decision was made to allow the 23-year-old to remain in the family nest a little bit longer. They came to an agreement that would allow Ballerini to stay at home while saving money for a down payment.

“I had the opportunity to own, so I thought ‘why not own and pay my mortgage as opposed to paying rent?’” she said.

For some, the years spent renting dingy basement apartments can be related to a rite of passage into adulthood. Who could forget their very first apartment? After all the academic papers are handed in, the exam books snap shut and the graduate cap is excitedly tossed into the air, that first apartment is truly the first step towards real independence.

Ballerini’s decision to skip all that came very naturally to her.

“I always knew I wanted to buy,” she said with absolute certainty. “I always had a plan that I would buy a place a year after university and it’s happened. I’m proud of that.”

Through his own professional experience, Rottering said more and more young people are choosing to buy, rather than spending their money on rent.

“I thought there were a lot of first-time homebuyers this year and young people moving out of rentals,” he said. “If landlords weren’t smart and adjusted their rents — I just adjusted all of mine downward — then some people were saying, ‘home prices have dropped a bit, I might as well buy.’”

The first step in Ballerini’s condo ownership was deciding on the neighbourhood.

Initially beginning her search in the northwest, she quickly turned her attention towards an inner city or downtown lifestyle. Ballerini had always felt comfortable in the northwest, after spending her entire life there, but the benefits of living downtown, such as nightlife and living closer to her friends, soon lured her away from her comfort zone.

“I found for $10,000 more, I could live in the inner city rather than the outskirts of town,” she said, adding that the first part of her search was more about seeing what she could afford than anything else.

Her first priority revolved around the amount of living space she would need to feel comfortable. Living in what she describes as a 400 sq. ft. box wasn’t an option. Instead she was searching for an open layout that would make her space appear larger than it actually was. Priority number two involved assessing condo fees. For her investment to be viable, it had to be financially realistic. Ballerini took a firm stance on her third priority, requiring either a stall or underground parking, since she prefers not to leave her car on the street.

As a real estate professional, Rottering is able to readily recognize emerging trends. One such trend he’s seen more of recently is young people sacrificing on square footage in order to afford special upgrades.

“People want location. They want it to be cute,” he said. “Many people compromise on size and say, ‘I’d like some granite. I want to be proud of it when I bring somebody over.”

After looking at and considering a condo that needed some “elbow grease,” Ballerini said eventually she decided to forgo on about 50 to 60 extra sq. ft. for an older space that had been completely remodeled.

“It’s nice to get a place that is already done and if you have to cut back a little bit, that’s fine,” she said.

The success of her first major investment has Ballerini looking towards the future. Five years down the road she plans to sell it and purchase a home.

“I don’t see myself living there for ten years,” she said. “I see myself staying there for a couple of years and renting it out for the remainder of the mortgage. It’s basically just a stepping stone.”

The Experienced Condo Buyer

With every condo or real estate property purchased, buyers earn experience, a priceless asset that comes with multiple real estate ventures. Each time a potential buyer embarks on a new real estate venture, they become more aware of essential features and neighbourhood qualities that would best suit their lifestyle. Experience is an invaluable asset when it comes to real estate. For first-time buyers like Ballerini, they are dependent on the expertise of a REALTOR®, someone who can walk them down the road to home ownership, pointing out potential roadblocks and helping them decide what their main priorities are when choosing a potential home.

For an experienced buyer like Claire MacDougall, she knew exactly what she wanted and exactly where she wanted it. The 30-year-old purchased a one-bedroom apartment-style condominium in Victoria Park about two years ago.

“It has absolutely beautiful views,” she said, adding floor-to-ceiling windows offer a breathtaking view of the Saddledome and beyond, stretching all the way to the mountains. “I really enjoy how much light Calgary has to offer, particularly in the summer with the long days. “I wanted a condo that took advantage of that light.”

MacDougall was able to base this necessity from the experience of owning two previous properties including a two-bedroom condominium in Mission and a two-bedroom townhouse in Marda Loop.

A major appeal factor for MacDougall was the apparent revitalization taking place in the neighbourhood where she purchased the one-bedroom condominium.

“It was something that really appealed to me,” she said, adding many shops in the area were beginning to open for business.

While she had an extensive list of features the condo had to have, her main priority was finding a stable investment in an economy that she foresaw taking a turn for the worse. To her benefit, MacDougall had made a significant profit from her previous real estate investments.

“When I was looking at the bubble bursting, which we could all sort of foresee about two years ago, I wanted something that would retain it’s value through any sort of dip in the economy,” she said.

Underground parking, an exterior balcony, concrete walls for noise reduction, an area without a schedule for development so views wouldn’t be compromised and a location that was rising in popularity, rather than one that had already peaked, were among MacDougall’s main priorities.

“As a single woman at the time of my purchase, other than decorating inside, I didn’t have any particular need or desire to maintain the exterior of a home,” she said with a laugh.

MacDougall got lucky in terms of remodeling sources. With a decent amount of friends in the business of trades, she doesn’t have to look very far to find some help with upgrading projects. Since acquiring the property, she’s repainted, removed an awkward closet space and is awaiting the arrival of a friend to tear out her existing countertops and replace them with granite.

“I did choose to sacrifice on the upgrades, such as choosing something without the granite, so I could have something with a bit more space and a view,” she said, adding this left her room for future upgrades.

The commute to work was another consideration. Morning rush-hour isn’t a part of MacDougall’s vocabulary. After leaving her condo building, she reaches her workplace in just four minutes, eliminating the expense and frustration associated with commuting.

MacDougall was also sure to select a condo that wasn’t age-restricted. With plans of potential bundles of joy in her future, it wasn’t something open to compromise.

Rottering agrees that while the majority of buyers he sees are young singles looking for a downtown lifestyle, other buyers exist within the market.

“There are lots of people going out to the suburbs with one kid and one dog, but in my experience downtown apartment condo sales have been very healthy,” he said.

An Experienced Buyer Plus Two

Despite the continuance of old trends where young, single professionals are more likely to purchase a downtown condominium, there are times when living circumstances change and condo living becomes more practical. Condominium styles differ from place to place from downtown apartment-style buildings to suburban townhouses.

“It makes more sense for them. Why would they rent when it’s going to cost them the same?” she said, adding that it all comes down to affordability. “It’s a great first step.”

Although Lori Klosch wasn’t a first-time homebuyer, she was certainly taking a first step, after a life-changing divorce significantly altered her living habits. The mother of two had never lived in a condo before, but had more than 20 years of experience in the real estate market. Affordability was her main concern.

“I was recently divorced and I didn’t want to leave the real estate market,” she said. “I didn’t want to get out of the market because I knew it would be tough to get back in once you’re out. I bought a condo because it was a cheaper alternative.”

At the time, with two young girls, aged 4 and 6-years-old, Klosch needed something that was both affordable and suitable for her young family.

“Neighbourhood was a huge factor in this because I needed to be close to the girl’s father,” she explained. “We still co-parent, so we have one week on and one week off. Plus it makes it easier for [the girls] to transition.”

By staying within the same area, Klosch could ensure that her children would attend the same school, an important factor when considering their continued stability.

Klosch is adamant that a townhouse-style condominium makes the perfect place for children to grow up.

“One of the positives about living in the condo is that – though there aren’t many kids around – I know if they’re out riding their bikes on the street, the kids are looked after,” she said, adding that all of the neighbours within the complex know each other. “It’s a community. A really big selling feature, aside from the price, was the safety and security of being there. I felt safe.”

Klosch has come a long way in the past four years. While making the move into a smaller living space was an adjustment, so was becoming the sole head of a household. As the years passed by, Klosch and her daughters, now 8 and 10-years-old, got used to their new surroundings, eventually growing to love it.

“It was an adjustment because our home had been quite large,” she said, adding the family had downsized by about 1300 sq. ft.

With her children away at their father’s house every other week, Klosch admits she felt lonely without them. Living in a tight knit community made the adjustment period easier and she began to make friends within months of moving in.

When Klosch first set out looking for a condo, there were a few things she knew it had to have. A basement was essential in order for her children to have a place of their own to keep their belongings, as well as parking – preferably with a garage – were a few of her “must haves.”

A townhouse-style condo in suburban Calgary was the perfect choice for Klosch and offered her the features and neighbourhood amenities she couldn’t live without. The affordable option allowed her to remain in the same neighbourhood, while ensuring her kids still had access to their school.

While she didn’t necessarily fit into the young single, first-time buyer demographic popular amongst condo buyers, she was still looking for a lot of the same features that make buying a condo an attractive option.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer venturing into the market, an experienced buyer seeking a sound recession-proof investment or a young family looking for a safe and secure place in the suburbs to call home, the Calgary condominium market offers a variety of styles and venues to suit every buyer. Knowing what you want and finding the perfect REALTOR® to help you find them is all you need to take the next step into the perfect condominium.

Calgary Home Prices Show Signs of Stability

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Calgary Home Prices Show Signs of Stability

Recovery Continues in Calgary Housing Market

Calgary, October 1, 2009 – Calgary home prices show signs of stability as recovery in the housing market begins to take hold.

The average price of a single family Calgary metro home in September 2009 was $459,085, showing an increase of 1 per cent from August 2009, when the average price was $454,130, and showing an increase of 3 per cent from September 2008, when the average price was $444,048. The average price of a Calgary metro condominium was $290,253 showing a 2 per cent increase from August 2009, when the average price was $283,330 and an increase of 1 per cent over last year, when the average price was $287,426. Average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods, or account for price differentials between geographical areas.

“The correction in Calgary housing market appears to be stabilizing and downward pressure on home prices is moderating,” says Diane Scott, president elect of the Calgary Real Estate Board.

The number of single family homes and condos sold in September 2009 in Calgary metro are also both up from the same time a year ago.

September saw 1,257 single family homes sold in Calgary metro. This is an increase of 9 per cent from September 2008, when single family home sales were 1,152. This is a decrease of 2 per cent from 1,277 sales in August of this year. The number of condominium sales for the month of September 2009 was 580, an increase of 25 per cent from September 2008 when 465 condominiums changed hands. This was a decrease of 8 per cent from the 632 condominium transactions recorded last month.

“Indeed the market is harder to predict in these early stages of recovery,” says Scott.  “Sales were stronger than expected in the summer months — easing slightly in September.  We expect a gradual and measured uptake in sales as we enter the fall market.”

Single family Calgary metro new listings added for the month of September totaled 1,857, a decrease of 3 per cent from August 2009 when 1,910 new listings were added, and showing a decrease of 29 per cent from September 2008, when 2,631 new listings came to the market. Calgary metro condominium new listings added in September 2009 were 940, up 13 per cent from August 2009, when the MLS® saw 832 condo listings coming to the market. This is a decrease of 21 per cent from September 2008, when condominium listings were 1,186.

The median price of a single family Calgary metro home in September 2009 was $399,900, showing no significant change from August 2009, when the median price was $400,000, and up 1 per cent from September 2008, when the median price was $395,000. The median price of a condominium in September 2009 was $265,000, up 2 per cent from August 2009, when the median was $260,000, and showing no change from September 2008, when the median price was $265,000. All Calgary metro MLS® statistics include properties listed and sold only within Calgary’s city limits. The median price is the price that is midway between the least expensive and most expensive home sold in an area during a given period of time. During that time, half the buyers bought homes that cost more than the median price and half bought homes for less than the median price.

“In the third quarter Calgary shifted to a more balanced housing market.  But conditions are still very favourable for home buyers,” says Scott. “Mortgage rates remain low, affordability continues and federal government incentives such as the $5,000 tax credit may motivate first-time homebuyers to make a purchase before the end of the year.”

“This recession has been a tricky one.  Consumers were expecting the worse yet the housing rebound came faster than expected. I think it is safe to say the worst is behind us, but it will take some time for consumers to really shake off their economic jitters,” adds Scott.

CREB® is a professional body of 5,432 licensed brokers and registered associates, representing 253 member offices. The board does not generate statistics or analysis of any individual member or company’s market share. All MLS® active listings for Calgary and area may be found on the board’s website at www.creb.com.