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Real Estate Blog

Photo courtesy of Global News*

Joelle and I would first like to send our thoughts and regret to all those who lost their homes to “The Beast.”  We would like to thank the heroes who bravely defended our city in an absolute mammoth effort.  I can’t imagine it makes the loss of a home any easier but I am sure that our community will pull together and offer the support we are now famous for.  Lastly, thank you to everyone across the country for their unbelievable acts of kindness and generosity in a time when Fort McMurray needed them most.  This entire experience has been incredibly humbling and we can’t begin to express our appreciation enough. 

What to expect?

The road to recovery will be a long one.  Joelle and I took the opportunity to talk to a

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I’ll confess that I am a little late on my blog update this month.  That is because I was not sure what to write about as things really have not changed month over month.  One thing is for sure, we are no where near as busy as we were at this time last year but that was to be expected.  Our April listing numbers remain at the lowest level for 3 years and firm sales seem like they’ll stay stable month over month.  Looking at our market as a whole (single family, condos, mobiles), activity from April 15th-22nd was up with 26 conditional sales which is great to see.  Our average list price is also relatively unchanged and the most in demand portion of our market are homes $500-$600,000. 

What we don’t have this year like we have seen in

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Well we are now mid way through March which is crazy to believe. Our average list price is creeping up again and our sales are looking like they'll remain in line with the beginning of the year.  We are not going to come close to the numbers in March of last year despite the price of oil increasing by nearly 50% from the low.  It will be interesting to see how much of an effect the Suncor/Syncrude contract negotiations will have on our market.  I would imagine that a lot of people are waiting on that outcome before making any decisions as to how to spend their money, rightfully so.  I think we'll see a busier spring market, but it will come a little later this year.   Positively, sales are remaining stable, list prices are slowly increasing and we still

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The other day I had the opportunity to sit down with Karen Wamboldt, account manager with Genworth Financial.  For those of you who aren't aware, Genworth is one of the companies responsible for insuring high ratio mortgages, a mortgage where a buyer is putting less than 20% down.  Their message was that for the most part, its business as usual when it comes approving their clients in Alberta and Fort McMurray. Our market has obviously changed a lot in recent times and with that a few restrictions have come into play, such as their ability to use overtime hours as income for an application.  They look at each file individually to assess its strengths and weaknesses before making a decision of whether or not to approve the mortgage.  It's should also

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Happy new year to you all!  2016 is here and I expect we have another challenging year ahead of us.  Speculation surrounding the world economy and a further fall in oil prices continue. With the sanctions being lifted in Iran, the global supply glut will get larger and our oil prices don’t look to recover in the foreseeable future.  However, with Suncor seemingly agreeing a deal with Canadian Oil Sands, it speaks volumes for their long term confidence and commitment to the oil sands.  So what is our real estate market doing with these things in mind?

December and January are generally quiet months.  We saw our listing inventory drop by a whopping 18% from November. In December of 2014 there were 526 active listings in comparison to 447 in

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As things cool off for the winter, the same is true of the real estate market.  Ongoing speculation regarding job security has played a major role in our reduced sales this year.  With that trend likely to continue for the next few months at least, the housing market will not see an upswing any time soon.   There does however, come a point where sellers will not reduce any further due to seasonal effects on the market.  Regardless of oil, the Christmas season is a slow time and sellers know this.  The majority of my clients are at the point of pulling their homes off of the market until the new year.  As the following graph shows, the number of sales picks up in the spring as it did earlier this year.  With that, prices recover as well.

Number of

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I don’t care what the market is doing, low balling is a habit and often an uneducated one.  If a home is over-priced, then by all means write a low offer.  But as I say to all of my clients, you can offer whatever you want as long as you can justify it.  I keep up with market conditions and because of that, the homes I list do actually sell.  Also, because my clients have priced their home properly, they often do not have to negotiate too far off of their list price. This year, my listings have closed at an average of 98.7% of list price.  I reject low ball offers.     

I don’t blame people for trying to get a deal.  However, outlandish rumours like hundreds of people turning in their keys to the bank often cause these low ball offers to occur when

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The stigma surrounding condominium fees seems larger than ever.  The majority of people I speak to think they are an epic waste of money.  I’ll admit, some condo complexes are poorly run and the money collected from fees can be wasted or spent incorrectly. However, a well-managed condominium will use the fees to maintain the value of a property and in some cases, increase it as well. 

So you might be wondering where the money goes.  Before you purchase any condo, you’ll be given the opportunity to review the condominium documents which will also outline the budget for the complex.  It needs to be kept in mind that the reason for buying a condo is that they offer a maintenance, worry free lifestyle.  After reviewing a budget you’ll learn that fees

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As I was writing this, a frost warning popped up on my phone.  In a few short weeks, fall will come and go and before we know it, winter’s icy grip will take hold of our northern town again.  With that, generally comes a slowdown and from December to February, I expect things to be quiet.  

The chart below shows months of inventory (if nothing else were listed, how long would it take for everything to sell).  When sales slow in the winter months, the MOI increases.  In the spring, the opposite happens and prices increase. I think you’ll see the same thing this year as we did in the last, although I do not expect the drop to be anywhere near as drastic.  Buyers this year are not motivated and it seems as though they are waiting for the bottom to

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Summer is upon us and June continued the trend of increasing sales from previous months, although not by much.  Last year after a busy June, things quietened up quite a lot and as oil started to drop, so did market activity.  In previous years we would see a fairly quiet July/August followed by an upswing in September/October once people return from their summer vacations.  We didn't see that upswing last year and it will be interesting to see how things unfold in 2015 with there still being a lot of nervousness in the oil market.  

Despite the nervousness, prices are still remaining stable with a list to close price ratio between 97.6% and 98%.

The number of listings in our market place is beginning to creep up and we are starting to see

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