Only Calgary and Edmonton have increasing real estate markets!

A better headline would be: Name the 2 biggest cities in the Province that has the most in-migration, oil & gas jobs and projects, youngest and highest educated work force making the highest per person weekly wage in the country.

Calgary and Edmonton buck national housing market trend of declining sales

 Only two major markets to see growth in existing home sales

CALGARY — A soft landing is underway in the Canadian housing market and should continue but Calgary and Edmonton are bucking the trend with sales rising compared with a year ago, says a new report released Tuesday by BMO Capital Markets.

The report, by Sal Guatieri, senior economist for BMO, said the Canadian housing market is “calming not crashing.”

“In most regions, sales have fallen at double-digit rates this year from high levels last year,” said Guatieri. “But the rate of decline has slowed recently.

“By contrast, Alberta enjoys decent sales growth.”

As of April, the three month moving average of sales in the existing home market was down 10.9 per cent across the country. However, Calgary and Edmonton were the only two major markets to see growth at three per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively.

Also, while the average sale price across Canada rose by only 1.0 per cent, Calgary led the nation with a 7.5 per cent hike. Edmonton was up 3.2 per cent.

Guatieri said Calgary’s resale prices are “supported by good valuations, following the 2008 correction, and strong job growth.”

“The upward trend should continue, as Alberta is expected to lead the nation’s economic performance in 2014,” he said.

According to the Calgary RealEstate Board, year-to-date until May 27, there have been 9,541 MLS sales in the city, up 3.89 per cent compared with the same period a year ago. The average sale price has risen by 6.6 per cent while the median price has increased by 5.51 per cent to $399,900.

At the national level. Guatieri said tighter mortgage ruls have slowed credit growth, helping to cool the housing market in an orderly fashion.

“Lack of pent-up demand, with homeownership rates near 70 per cent, and elevated household debt have abetted the slowing,” he said.

“Nationwide, sales are expected to stabilize this year amid steady job growth. Although long-term interest rates are likely to rise moderately next year, they should remain relatively low for some time.”

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Canada: #1 housing, 3rd Overall in Quality of Life!

Canadians best-off in housing, 3rd overall in new OECD “Quality Of Life” survey!

How typically Canadian, we do really well in the survey of best Quality of Life then say … well we’re 3rd so, you know, that’s just fine, sort of … at least we are pounding our mortgages out in 1/3 less time than we thought we needed. Maybe it is time for the government to let the tourniquet off of the mortgage rules for a bit so we can buy our homes again. 

OTTAWA — Canada is among the best places in the world to live, according to a new quality of life measure from a leading international organization that compared rich industrialized nations.

Canadians are paying off mortgages quickly — so is Ottawa’s crackdown really necessary?

Canadians end up paying off their mortgages in about two-thirds of the time originally intended, according to a new survey which questions whether Ottawa’s crackdown on the real estate market is needed.

The “Better Life Index” from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development launched Tuesday finds Canada among the leaders in most of the 24 indicators measured, everything from hard data dealing with jobs and income, to perceptions of something the OECD calls “life satisfaction.”

Canada ranked first in a couple of minor sub-indicators. For example, with 2.6 rooms per person, Canadians are on average the best housed by that measure, and they are also among the safest, reporting the fewest assaults.

The Paris-based organization does not give an overall ranking, but if all the indicators are added up and given equal weighting, Canada would come in third behind Australia and Sweden.

 Ironically, Australians don’t see themselves so blessed. On the life satisfaction measure, Australians gave themselves a 7.2 out of 10, while Canadians were at 7.4. Residents of Switzerland topped the indicator with a 7.8.

 “Canada performs exceptionally well in measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index,” the organization says in its profile of the country.

 “In general, Canadians are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 82% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day than negative ones.”

Canada’s high ranking comes about because it scores inside the Top 10 in most of the major ones and above average overall among the 36 advanced countries studied.


Perhaps surprising, Canadians also appear to trust their governments more than many others. According to the OECD, 67% say they trust their political institutions, well above the 36-country average of 56%.

 However, when it comes to voting, Canadians fell well below the OECD average of 72% with a record of only 61%.

On more mainstream criteria, Canada ranked in the Top 10 in terms of household disposable income, wealth, educational attainment, self-reported health — although the 81-year life expectancy is middle of the pack.

Overall, the OECD comparison is more flattering to Canadians than the recent Human Development Index from the United Nations, which had Canada slipping to number 11 in 2012

The OECD measure appears more broad-based, with 11 major categories of well-being measured, as opposed the UN’s three — health, education and living standard.

Both, however, include subjective elements that have given rise to skepticism about their usefulness for public policy. While many of the OECD indicators are based on hard data, such as incomes, employment rates and life expectancy, it also includes self-reporting evaluations of such subjective criteria as life satisfaction, state of personal health and water quality.

While mostly positive, the OECD analysis of Canada is not all glowing. It points out that despite a high income level, Canada also has a high level of income disparity.

As well, Canada gets a below average score on job security, with 11% of employees working on a “contract” of six months or less, slightly higher than the OECD average of 10%.

Canadian Press

$1,111.20 in March – Alberta tops provinces for average weekly earnings

Alberta tops provinces for average weekly earnings,  $1,111.20 in March

CALGARY — Alberta topped all provinces for average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees in March and had the second highest year-over-year growth rate in the country, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal agency reported Wednesday that average weekly earnings for the province reached $1,111.20 during the month, which was a 4.6 per cent hike from a year ago.

Only Saskatchewan’s 5.5 per cent jump was better than Alberta’s.

On a monthly basis, earnings in Alberta rose by 1.1 per cent.

Nationally, average weekly earnings were $914.80 in March, up 0.7 per cent from the previous month and an increase of 3.1 per cent year-over-year.

Alberta also had the best year-over-year growth in total non-farm payroll employment which grew by 70,700 people in the past 12 months, or 3.7 per cent. Growth was flat, though, from the previous month as it increased by only 800 people.

Across Canada, total non-farm payroll employment decreased by 22,100 in March after edging up by 2,900 in February.

In March, the number of payroll employees declined most notably in ‘other services’ such as repair and maintenance and personal and laundry services; professional, scientific and technical services; public administration; and health care and social assistance. These losses were partly offset by increases in educational services and manufacturing, said Statistics Canada.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of non-farm payroll employees rose by 180,900, or 1.2 per cent.

Among all sectors, construction posted the highest 12-month growth rate in payroll employment, at 5.8 per cent, followed by real estate and rental and leasing (4.4 per cent), as well as mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction (3.7 per cent). The most notable declines were in information and cultural industries (3.5 per cent) and in forestry, logging and support (3.3 per cent), added the federal agency.

Calgary Home Prices on the Rise.

Calgary region new home prices on the rise

Top contributor in March to national advance

CALGARY — The Calgary region was the top contributor in March to the increase in new home prices across the country, says Statistics Canada.

The federal agency reported Thursday that the New Housing Price Index for the Calgary census metropolitan area rose by 0.3 per cent in March from February. It was up 0.1 per cent nationally.

On a year-over-year basis, the NHPI in the Calgary region increased by 4.3 per cent while it went up 2.0 per cent across the country.

“Calgary was the top contributor to the advance in March, up 0.3 per cent from February. Builders indicated that increases in material and labour costs as well as market conditions were the main reasons for higher prices,” said Statistics Canada.

“In Calgary, annual prices rose 4.3 per cent, following an identical increase in February and several consecutive months of accelerating annual price increases.”

Study – renewing your mortgage at your bank is NOT the best option

I LOVE THIS ARTICLE! Here is the summary- talk to a high volume, full-time, professional mortgage broker before renewing your mortgage because we can often get you a better overall deal.


Loyalty doesn’t pay when it comes to mortgage renewals!

A Bank of Canada study found that loyal bank customers don’t get best deal when they renew mortgage. People who switch and first-time buyers do.

A Bank of Canada study found that loyal bank customers don’t get best deal when they renew mortgage. People who switch and first-time buyers do.

By: Personal Finance Editor, Published on Sat May 04 2013

A Bank of Canada study found that loyal bank customers don’t get best deal when they renew mortgage. People who switch and first-time buyers do.

Everyone you deal with would like you to believe there are rewards for your loyalty.

They may offer a better price, a bundling discount, or less tangible things like superior customer service. Sometimes your loyalty is rewarded and sometimes it isn’t.

The best way to figure out which is which is to become better informed about your choices. Compare prices and features, read the fine print on contracts and keep an eye on developments in the news. In this respect, the Internet has been a great leveler. The products are all on display in the online shop window. You can poke around, ask questions, figure out where you want to spend your money and negotiate a price.

The biggest investment most of us make is in a home. So if you can shave just a little off the cost of a mortgage, you can save thousands in interest payments.

Here, you’d think that loyalty would work in your favour — the more services you have with a bank, the better the deal. But, that’s not true according to evidence in a Bank of Canada paper called Discounting in Mortgage Markets. The 2011 study by three economists looked at a sample of Canadian insured mortgages between 1999 and 2004 to figure out who got the best rates.

The economists found that people who switch banks get a better deal than existing customers, because new customers offer the banks an opportunity to sell more products. Existing customers assume they will automatically get a better deal because they’re loyal, but don’t. They don’t bother to shop around because they assume they’ll get the best rate so, lacking ammunition, the discount may not be much. Those least likely to shop around are affluent, possibly because they’re happy with the full service they get from a bank and are willing to accept higher rates in exchange.

The study also found that mortgage brokers find the best rates. Mortgage brokers are paid by the lender, not the customer, but aren’t confined to one lender’s products. Their business is very competitive, so the pressure to find the very best rates is high. The study noted that brokers “are a significant factor driving discounts,” reducing the cost of a mortgage on average by 17.5 basis points.

As a group, first-time buyers do well because they are more likely to have shopped around, have tight budgets and so fight for every basis point. They’re a higher risk group for a bank because they have so much debt, but over time the bank can sell them more services. So they get good deals.

“Lenders are more willing to offer discounts to younger borrowers in return for future expected profits,” the study says.

Jim Murphy, president of the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, an industry group, isn’t surprised by the finding.

About a quarter of Canadian mortgages are done through a mortgage broker, but the portion of new buyers who use brokers is a much higher 40 per cent, he says. First-time buyers tend to be younger, more comfortable using the Internet and social media for research, and like shopping around, he says. They are also less loyal and happy to try new things — like a mortgage broker — if it gets them what they want.

“We don’t do as well with renewals,” Murphy says. “Your lender sends you something in the mail, you’ve paid off some principal, the new rate looks pretty good, so you say OK.

“But you should shop around. Just because a bank offers you a rate doesn’t mean it’s the best one.”

You remember when your mother said you should do your homework? She was right.

Alberta forecast to lead Canadian economic growth in 2014

More great news supporting housing prices in Alberta!

Alberta forecast to lead Canadian economic growth in 2014

Real GDP to increase 4.2 per cent

CALGARY — Alberta’s economic growth this year will be second only to Newfoundland & Labrabor, but Wild Rose Country will top the nation in 2014, according to a new forecast by RBC Economics.

The forecast said Newfoundland & Labrador will lead the country in Real Gross Domestic Product growth this year at 5.1 per cent followed by Alberta at 3.0 per cent.

Across the country, growth will be 1.8 per cent.

But in 2014, RBC forecasts Alberta to lead the country with GDP growth of 4.2 per cent while the country on a whole will experience 2.9 per cent growth.

Just last week, Statistics Canada revealed that for the second year in a row, Alberta led all provinces in economic growth at 3.9 per cent in 2012 compared with 1.8 per cent across the country.

In 2011, Alberta saw economic growth of 5.3 per cent while Canada’s growth was 2.6 per cent that year.

RBC forecasts Alberta’s unemployment rate to drop from 4.6 in 2012 to 4.4 per cent this year and to 4.5 per cent in 2014. Both those years Alberta will have the second lowest unemployment rate in the country behind Saskatchewan’s 4.3 per cent for both years.

Canada is forecast to see unemployment drop from 7.2 per cent in 2012 to 7.0 per cent this year and to 6.7 per cent in 2014.

Employment growth in Alberta will remain strong as well with it staying the same as 2012 at 2.6 per cent this year followed by a dip to 1.9 per cent in 2014. This year Alberta will be behind only Saskatchewan’s nation-leading 2.7 per cent employment growth while in 2014 Alberta will lead the country in growth.

Canada is forecast to see employment increase from 1.2 per cent in 2012 to 1.5 per cent this year and 1.3 per cent in 2014.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald