Once again, Calgary has been ranked as the top real estate investment market in the country followed by Edmonton by the Real Estate Investment Network Ltd.
In its Top Alberta Investment Towns report, REIN said that Alberta’s economy has come out on top after a few years of economic turbulence.
The report identifies towns and regions poised to outperform other regions of the province over the next three to five years.
And none is better than Calgary.
“After a couple of roller-coaster years, Calgary is back on a roll. The return of jobs to the city, as well as greatly reduced office vacancy rates show us that the city’s short slump has come to an end,” said the report. “Recording a GDP growth of three per cent in 2011, and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, it’s no wonder Calgary is sitting as one of the top places in North America for property investors. When you combine the economic fundamentals, the population growth, and a burgeoning provincial economy, it is easy to see why so many businesses and people have come to call the city home.
“The market is hot. With the pressure on the resale housing market, there is similar pressure on the rental market. Inventory has dropped for rental accommodations while monthly rents have increased. Real estate investors and real estate agents are reporting that rental listings are being pounced on. Savvy investors purchasing units and advertising them for rent upon close are receiving calls from anxious tenants wanting to see the unit before the investor has possession and/or has done any improvements to the property. Rental sites are reporting difficulty in compiling statistics become some communities have nothing for rent.”
REIN said housing affordability will begin to be an issue in Calgary, with rents increasing and a high average sale price. But when you look at that price versus average income it shows that other cities in Canada have a much larger problem on their hands.
“Calgary has the long-term economics to support long-term market strength while other cities do not,” said REIN.
The Top Alberta Investment Towns ranked in order are: Calgary, Edmonton, Airdrie, Red Deer, St. Albert, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, Okotoks, Leduc, Sylvan Lake and Lacombe.
The report said Airdrie has been one of the fastest growing communities in the province.
“Its proximity to the economic engine of Calgary and the growth of the surrounding economy will push the physical and economic growth limits of the city in the next decade,” said REIN.
“With increasingly easy access to many areas of Calgary via the ring road as well as the growth of job centres in and around the city, Airdrie property owners should continue to feel upward pressure on both rents as well as home prices. As affordable housing becomes a growing problem in Calgary, Airdrie will benefit from lower average house prices. As the office centre of the west, Calgary may offer employment opportunities that Airdrie does not, but much of the labour force will turn to Airdrie as a place to call home.”
REIN’s top Canadian investment cities ranked in order are: Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Surrey, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, Airdrie, Kitchener and Cambridge, Red Deer, St. Albert, Waterloo, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Halifax.
According to a research note by Scotia Economics, Alberta remains a key economic engine for Canada, with the highest provincial real GDP growth rate forecast for 2012 and 2013 at 3.4 per cent and 3.0 per cent respectively.
“The economy is growing strongly with contributions from consumer spending, business investment, particularly in the oilsands, and exports, which is encouraging given the strong Canadian dollar and soft global demand,” it said. “Provincial government spending also will continue to support growth, albeit at a slower pace than over the decade prior to the recession.”
In the second quarter of 2012, Alberta had a year-over-year population growth rate of 2.5 per cnet, the highest in the country.
“At this juncture, the federal government’s recent tightening of mortgage and home equity financing standards appears to have had a limited impact on Alberta’s housing market,” said Scotia Economics. “It continues to be supported by strong employment growth, significant wage gains and ongoing resource development.”
We love people that are New to Canada. New immigrants are 20% of our business. There are lots of tricks on what is needed to get a mortgage for them and not all banks do these files BUT WE ARE SPECIALISTS at it. I will upload our brochure for it here.
They can normally buy with:
- 5% down if they have a foreign credit report – England, most all of South America – including Mexico, Portugal or Spain.
- or 10% down. 5% from own savings and 5% from other possible sources – like relocaton allowances, gifts from home, etc.
- and a full time, permanent job.
Call to discuss these files. The one tough part is their files do not get rate holds so it is live deals – when you have an accepted offer to purchase – only.
Most Canadians feel immigrants are just as likely to be good citizens as people who were born here, a recent Environics survey suggests.
Canadians also don’t appear to have problems with dual citizenship or with Canadian citizens living abroad.
The telephone survey is, according to Environics, the first poll to directly ask Canadians their views on citizenship. Its results suggest Canadians have a broad, inclusive view of the concept and of immigrants in general.
“To be a good citizen, it means to contribute to the society, to obey the laws of the country, to help other citizens, to volunteer, and it’s a rewarding feeling when you do all those things,” said Sara Jhangiryan, an Armenian-born resident of Toronto who became a Canadian citizen last year.
“It’s not only to take what the country offers but to give back, as well.”
Although not part of the survey, Jhangiryan echoes the views of many of those who responded to the poll, a joint initiative of Environics, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, the Maytree foundation, CBC News and the Royal Bank of Canada.
When asked what makes a good citizen, the top five responses were: obeying laws, actively participating in the community, helping other people, being tolerant of others and sharing or adopting Canadian values.
But when asked to list what they did to be good citizens, respondents cited volunteer work, being kind/generous to others, paying taxes, obeying laws and voting.
The survey suggests Canadians see immigrants as their equals: nearly 9 out of every 10 respondents agreed that a person born outside Canada is just as likely to be a good citizen as someone born here.
“There’s no real evidence of people feeling threatened or a sense that, ‘Well, people can come live here from other countries, but they’re not quite the same,'” said Keith Neuman, executive director of the Environics Institute.
When it comes to immigration and citizenship, the views of the majority of Canadians born in the country and the 20 per cent born outside it are largely aligned. Canadian-born and foreign-born respondents were equally likely to feel fully like citizens (78 per cent versus 75 per cent).
Usha George, dean of Ryerson University’s Faculty of Community Services, says the survey’s findings confirm a lot of what those working with new Canadians know already.
The willingness of Canadians to not view a person’s foreign background as an impediment to citizenship is a product of the country’s multicultural policies and the visible effect of immigrants on the economy, George said.
Integration of immigrants has worked in Canada because the government has funded programs that teach immigrants about Canadian values and society has adapted its institutions to accommodate diversity.
“The mutual recognition that we should be respectful to each other and celebrate diversity in a genuine way, those values permeate the whole society,” said George, whose faculty trains many of those who provide social and other services to new immigrants.
Whatever Canada is doing, it seems to be positively influencing immigrants’ views of the country, the survey suggests: 88 per cent of respondents who were born outside Canada said they were very proud to be Canadian, compared with 81 per cent of those born here.
“Canadians who were not born in Canada are more proud than naturally born Canadians simply because we had the choice of being Canadian,” said Vikram Kewalramani, who immigrated to Canada in 2006 from India. “It wasn’t something that, literally, was a birthright. We consider it a privilege.”
For Amal Ibrahim, a Palestinian who became a citizen last year along with her two children, Canadian citizenship is primarily about respecting differences.
“It’s a great diverse culture where people learn how to live in harmony with each other while they have different ideas, different religions and different backgrounds,” she said.
Tolerance of others who are different was among the top five behaviours survey respondents considered a “very important” part of being a good citizen. Others were:
Treating men and women equally (95 per cent ranked this “very important”).
Following Canada’s laws (89 per cent).
Voting in elections (82 per cent – the same as tolerance of others).
Protecting the environment (80 per cent).
Immigrants’ views of what makes a good citizen were strikingly similar to those of native-born Canadians, said Neuman. In the majority of cases, the responses of the two groups varied at most by only a few percentage points.
“People might think … that newcomers are coming [into] this country … with their own sense of what it means to be a citizen, and they don’t really buy into the same perspective that native-born Canadians have,” he said.
“And this research pretty clearly suggests that they’re largely the same perspective, and the more somebody is in this country, the more immigrants buy into the native-born view.”
Canadians are generally satisfied with the rules for obtaining citizenship, the survey suggests. Only 26 per cent of respondents said the rules were not strict enough. Six per cent felt the rules were too strict, though that number tripled for permanent residents.
Canada’s willingness to allow multiple citizenships also got broad approval in the survey: 71 per cent of those surveyed felt Canadians should be allowed to hold dual citizenship.
That sentiment was even higher among 18- to 44-year-olds, with 80 per cent supporting dual citizenship, but lower for those 60 and over, at 58 per cent.
“I am equally proud of both citizenships,” said Natasha Nikolovska-Angelova, 32, who became a Canadian citizen last April. “Macedonia is more like my mother … the country where I was raised, and Canada is the country I chose to live in. It’s like the spouse you choose.… It’s the country of my future.”
Nikolovska-Angelova is part of the roughly 2.8 per cent of Canadians who hold at least one other citizenship.
Most of those surveyed also didn’t have a problem with Canadians living abroad. Sixty-six per cent of respondents who were born in Canada said it was generally a good thing to allow Canadian citizens to live abroad, compared to 55 per cent of respondents born outside of Canada.
The survey of 2,376 adults was conducted between Nov.18 and Dec. 17 and has an overall margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points 19 times out of 20 (+/- 4.3 percentage points for the foreign-born subsample group). Only households with landlines were surveyed.
Burgeoning Calgary population to fuel demand in housing market & the West is now bigger than the East!
The migration West continues! Just yesterday Canada Census noted that for the first time in history the West has more people than the East – sure it is only by 0.1% but hey … it’s official.
The migration continues mostly for jobs in energy and all those people need homes to live in. This supports prices and continued demand – but unfortunately fills up the roads and parking lots too.
New home construction and MLS sales on upswing
CALGARY — A burgeoning population will spark another real estate cycle in Calgary with increased demand fuelling more MLS sales and more new home construction.
But industry experts don’t expect the next cycle to mirror the boom of a couple of years ago which experienced a frenzy of activity and fast-rising house prices due to a lack of supply.
Instead, a stable, steady growth is expected in Calgary’s real estate market.
On Wednesday, Statistics Canada reported the Calgary census metropolitan area had the highest rate of population growth in the country at 12.6 per cent between 2006 and 2011 and is now more than 1.2 million for the region.
Tim Logel, president and partner of home builder Cardel Lifestyles in Calgary, said the population data supports what the industry believes is happening in the market.
“What’s positive about it is that as more people move to Calgary then more of the inventory or the supply that we’ve been working on reducing gets absorbed,” said Logel. “And it gets absorbed quicker and gets us closer to being in a higher demand environment where we’re being asked to produce more new housing products of all types for the market … Over the next year with this in-migration, the extra supply will be absorbed.”
Logel said a new real estate cycle has been started in the city. The last one finished in the spring of 2007 in the Calgary market.
Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist for the Calgary Real Estate Board, said the growing population will help support increased demand for housing in the resale market as well.
“In the resale market, especially moving forward, we think this will also help really take up some of that inventory that is in the market because we had some out-migration in the past few years. 2010 in particular, in-migration levels were extremely slow and so that impacted our housing market as well,” said Lurie.
CREB is forecasting single-family MLS sales activity to increase by 12.2 per cent this year from 2011 levels and condo transactions to jump by 5.9 per cent. Its forecast is also for average sale prices of single-family homes to rise by 2.1 per cent and by 1.7 per cent for condos.
“It’s much more of a stable growth than it was during the last boom. I just don’t see us moving there,” said Lurie. “We’re not moving into that scenario. It’s a much more stable growth and we have a good supply of inventory right now in the resale market and frankly on the new home market they do have some room to improve in some of their construction.
“They’ve got some room to grow and build more to help meet with those household formation numbers.”
Already in January some real estate data, released Wednesday, is indicating support for increased activity in the market as housing starts and residential building permits showed impressive increases compared with a year ago.
According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., housing starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area totalled 786 units in January, up 52 per cent from 518 units a year ago.
In the region, 336 single-detached units broke ground in January, up 14.7 per cent from the 293 units started in January 2011.
“This represents the sixth consecutive month where starts have increased on a year-over-year basis,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for the CMHC.
Multi-family starts, which include semi-detached units, rows and apartments, increased to 450 units in January, up from 225 units a year earlier.
“As was the case in the last several months, apartment construction continues to be elevated, averaging more than 340 starts per month since August 2011,” said Cho.
Also, the estimated construction value of building permit applications for the residential sector in Calgary rose by 42 per cent in January compared with a year ago.
In releasing its latest data on Wednesday, the City said residential values increased to $153 million compared with $108 million in January 2011. This represents 651 new residential units, a 73 per cent increase compared with the January 2011 total of 376.
“The overall gain in residential value and number of new residential units can be attributed to increases in the apartment and townhouse sectors,” said Kevin Griffiths, chief building official with the city’s department of development and building approvals.
“For the month of January we accepted six apartment applications for 193 new units compared to zero last year, and 20 townhouse applications for 122 new units, compared to only seven townhouse applications totalling 44 units for the same period last year.”
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
This is cool.
Containers are built to ISO 9000 standards so they are all the same and made to the same standard. Neat.
The Glennon family’s retirement home might just look like a stack of shipping containers of all different colours from the outside.
But once it’s complete, it will be a sprawling, 5,000-square-foot, four storey building — two levels above ground, a walkout basement and another level below — with four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a games and media room, garage and workshop, and two enclosed decks.
A massive garden with a potato crop, chickens, and a trout pond, will surround the residence on the eight-hectare property just outside Rimbey, about 180 kilometres north of Calgary.
And the shipping containers won’t be visible forever — the plan is to cover the exterior with stucco.
“It’s just going to look like a regular home,” said homeowner Bill Glennon.
Except most regular homes aren’t made of Sea-Can shipping containers — and the Glennon’s might be the only one in North America built with the containers from the footings all the way up to the roof, he said.
After years of touring show homes, checking out homes on the market, and attending home and design shows, Glennon said he never found anything he liked under $1 million.
By chance, his wife Roseann spotted a newspaper article about a shipping container home several years ago, which sparked their interest.
Putting his construction abilities to work, the former scaffolder and carpenter started drawing up plans to build his own home out of 30 shipping containers, each weighing about 5,000 kilograms with a load capacity of about 30,390 kilograms.
Besides being “really tough,” the containers are economically sound and structurally practical, Glennon said, though it can be a challenge to cut and grind materials, he added.
The couple, in their late 50s, started excavation in September 2009. A month later, 30 containers were shipped from Calgary to their property for a cost of about $3,000 per container.
Ever since, the couple and their 19-year-old daughter Kala, with help from Glennon’s brother Bruce and sister Colleen, have been hard at work welding, putting in the insulation and roof truss system, painting, installing weeping tile, lighting, and tending to the garden.
The family also hopes to live “off the grid completely” and has installed energy efficient windows, a wind generator, a 4.8-kilowatt solar panel system. A solar hot water heater, which will be their main source of heat, will come later, Glennon said.
The wooden interior walls will be insulated for extra warmth, though the fact that much of the home is underground means it will be fairly easy to heat in the winter, he added.
“Right now, we’re trying to insulate the outside, and we’re still waiting for the concrete to be poured on the roof, backfill the garage, and get some plumbing in,” Glennon said last week. “We’ve got a long ways to go.”
Glennon declined to disclose the exact cost to build the entire structure, though he offered that it works out to about $125 per square foot.
He indicated he hoped to have the entire exterior finished by next spring.
The long-term goal is to convert the residence into a bed and breakfast. After all, the Glennons already receive enough guests — both friends and strangers — driving in to catch a glimpse.
“We’ve got a lot of people come up from Calgary just to see it,” he said. “They think it’s pretty incredible.”
This article below is good news for everyone with a variable rate – as it looks like they will not go up that fast.
The data below is the most accurate with out any hype that I have seen is a while.
Teetering on the edge of a rate hike
Well we have a better idea of where Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney stands, and it appears that we’re teetering on the edge of a rate hike.
This comes as no surprise, with many analysts crying for a rate increase for some time now. The question is whether it will be at the next meeting, or the meeting after that, or even before year end.
The key takeaway is that Carney signaled that ‘some’ government stimulus ‘will’ be withdrawn, rather than ‘all’ and ‘eventually’ withdrawn. That means he’s close to pulling the plug. We are looking at growth and employment numbers for the second half of the year and if it remains strong, we may see rates move before year end.
With this week’s announcement put on the backburner, analysts are focused on where we’re going over the next several months, and they certainly have a lot to consider in their projections.
The Bank has a goal of a neutral rate, which bolsters the economy yet controls inflationary pressures. There’s no magical ‘neutral rate’, but economists figure it’s in the 3%-4% range. However, Carney seems reluctant to pull the trigger on rates, considering the likes of the U.S. economy along with the issues we see in several European countries. If we widen the rate gap with the U.S. it will only drive the loonie up further, creating more resistance for economic growth.
Another external factor is the European sovereign debt crisis, in which Carney senses more concern over their troubles that the U.S. will default on its debt. The chances of the U.S. defaulting on its debt is slim and more of a scare tactic than anything. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a huge problem and the Obama Administration doesn’t know whether to turn left or right, but at the same time, if the US defaulted we’d be talking about a whole new worldwide fiasco.
Since the Bank of Canada doesn’t declare what a neutral rate is, it’s hard to determine when and how much rates will move when they do. By the way that Carney is talking it appears as though when rates do start to rise that they will in a controlled manner and they won’t be too aggressive. Analysts and economists shouldn’t assume that rate increases are going to be quick and steep.
Here at home our economy seems to be moving along as projected, and any sudden, high rate increases will be sure to stifle our growth. It looks like if everything goes to plan we may see a modest hike in October, but if some of the assumptions are off a bit it may be later before we see any movement.
High-flying stock market sends business to brokers Lingering caution at the big banks and wealthy clients increasingly bullish on the stock market are helping brokers claim their biggest share of high-end deals in years – with a Re/Max study helping explain the phenomenon.
By Vernon Clement Jones
Lingering caution at the big banks and wealthy clients increasingly bullish on the stock market are helping brokers claim their biggest share of high-end deals in years – with a Re/Max study helping explain the phenomenon.
“In the last week, we’ve just had two of the biggest deals of my career,” Mark Herman, an agent and team leader for Mortgage Alliance Mortgages Are Marvelous Inc. in Calgary, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “One was a new purchase for $1.525 million, with 5% down, and the other one was for a $750,000 line of credit on a $1.5 million purchase. High-end mortgage business for brokers in Calgary has picked up like we’ve never seen.”
Calgary brokers may not be alone.
Re/Max examined 12 major centres from coast-to-coast and found that luxury sales surged in two-thirds of them during the first four months of 2011, compared to the same period last year.
While Vancouver led in terms of percentage increases – 118% year over year – Dartmouth, at 27%, Winnipeg, 24%, Hamilton-Burlington, 13%, and Greater Toronto, 9%, also saw spikes.
Herman’s market of Calgary was also on that list, at 51%, although that scorching hot performance fell short of setting a new record, unlike the other top jurisdictions on the list. With the exception of Vancouver, their sales growth can be chalked up to domestic buyers.
Michael Polzler, executive vice president for Re/Max in Ontario-Atlantic Canada, pointed to three key factors for the rise in high-end business: equity gains, stock market recovery, and improved economic performance.
Brokers like Herman are pointing to the some of the same factors to explain why they’re getting more high-net-worth clients stepping across their thresholds.
“These guys weren’t buying as much during the recession, but with prices still below recent highs, high-end buyers are now out bargain shopping,” said the mortgage agent, also an MBA.
“But what they’re doing is they’re looking to keep their money in the stock market and other high-yield investments and want to buy homes with as little money down as possible – it’s all about limiting opportunity costs. Also they’re coming to brokers this time because they’re finding the banks have been slower to ease credit and aren’t giving them the discounted rates they expect.”
Less than five months into 2011, another broker, Sharnjit Gill, has already surpassed last year’s total for high-value deals.
“We’re also seeing more activity there because those clients are more educated about what we as brokers can do for them beyond rate,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca.
Still the trend is less obvious at other mortgage brokerages, even in those markets highlighted by the Re/Max report.
While her Ottawa brokerage has seen an uptick in volume, said Kim McKenney, senior VP at Dominion Lending Centres The Mortgage Source.
“The average dollar amount has risen by only a couple of thousands of dollars,” she told MortgageBrokerNews.ca.
Mortgagebrokernews.ca is a division of KMI Media.
TORONTO (March 7, 2011) – When homebuyers browse the listings and hit the open houses this spring, will they be looking for brand-new homes that won’t need any work or fixer-uppers that they can renovate to suit their taste? According to the 2011 TD Canada Trust Home Buyers Report, Canadians are divided with men and women sitting on opposite sides of the fence.
Half of Canadians would prefer a new home because everything will work perfectly (25%) and it hasn’t been lived in before (24%), while the other half prefer older homes, which they feel offer better quality (34%) or have more character (17%). The TD Canada Trust Home Buyers Report found that men are more likely than women to prefer a fixer-upper because it is more affordable (14% versus 8%) and because they can renovate to their taste (37% versus 29%).
“If you are willing to do the renovations or upgrades, buying a home that needs some work can give you the ability to transform the space into your dream home,” says Farhaneh Haque, Regional Manager, Mobile Mortgage Specialists, TD Canada Trust. “However, if you decide to go the renovation route, it’s important to understand the costs of the upgrades you intend to make and factor those in when deciding on the price range for a home that is realistic for you.”
The most important factors in deciding what home to buy:
Whether it’s brand new or older with charm, Canadians say the most important consideration when buying a home is cost (97%). Women are more likely to say this is a very important consideration (82% versus 70% of men). Other important factors are features of the home (94%), size (93%), security and safety (92%) and location (91%).
“When house-hunting there are some factors, like the features of the home, which can be adjusted once you’ve made your purchase. Other factors, like the location, cannot be changed. Finding the right home is about getting the right balance – and at a price you can afford,” says Haque. “Canadians wisely say that that cost is the number one consideration for a home purchase, evidence that Canadians realize that in order to truly be comfortable in their home, they need to comfortably be able to afford it!”
About the Home Buyers Report:
TD Canada Trust commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct a custom online survey of Canadians who had either purchased a home within the last two years or intend to purchase one in the next two years. Between December 22 – 29, 2010, a total of 1,001 interviews were completed.