April 10, 2021

March Market Stats

The Edmonton real estate market is very active. Personally, I don't think this is a 'Hot market' yet. The increasing prices are compared to the heart of COVID shutdowns last year. However, we are seeing accelerated sales and may see real price pressure by May/June.
 Buy or Sell now.
March Market Stats
Jan. 27, 2021

The 6 Most Important Things You Need to Know to Buy a Home in Canada

The 6 Most Important Things You Need to Know to Buy a Home in Canada

  •  
  •  

Are you in the market to purchase a home in Canada? This will be the biggest buying decision you will make in your lifetime, and not something to be cavalier about. Make sure to equip yourself with the knowledge, resources and experts who can guide and support you along the way. While buying a home can be a taxing experience, it is also a highly rewarding one! Unsure where to begin? We have compiled a list of the six most important things you need to know to buy a home in Canada.

#1 Have More Than A Down Payment

Do you have a down payment for the home of your dreams? Congratulations. You are one step closer to achieving home ownership.

But if you are still working toward accumulating a minimum down payment in the Canadian real estate market, you should know some of the specifics. Federal regulation now dictates designated percentages in relation to the purchase price.

In other words, the federal government wants you to have some skin in the game.

That said, here is what you need to know about how large a down payment you’ll need (at minimum):

  • $500,000 or less: Five per cent
  • $$500,000 to $999,999: Five per cent for first $500,000 and 10 per cent of any amount exceeding $500,000
  • $1,000,000 or more: 20 per cent

#2 Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Trying to buy a home without a mortgage pre-approval is kind of like trying to hit a target in the dark. You do not know how much you can spend when shopping the market. Furthermore, who knows how long the current record-low interest rate will be in place – although the Bank of Canada (BoC) said it will not be raising rates in the near future.

Our advice on the matter of mortgage pre-approvals is don’t delay! One benefit of getting a mortgage pre-approval is that your lender will lock in the current interest rate for up to 120 days. If rates increase, your lender should honour the current rate. If they fall, so too should your guaranteed rate.

#3 Shop Around the Best Rates

Interest rates have never been lower. The BoC has brought its benchmark rate to 0.25 per cent in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the central bank lowered the five-year mortgage rate to below five per cent.

Why does this matter? It will determine how much you will pay on your mortgage every month, in principal and in interest.

#4 Check Out First-Time Homebuyer Incentives

The Canadian government offers the First Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) , which is a loan to encourage them to achieve the home-ownership dream. First-time homebuyers can borrow:

  • Five per cent of the price of a resale home,
  • Five or 10 per cent of the price of a newly constructed home, and
  • The loan is interest-free and repaid at any time within 25 years or when the home is sold.

Do you qualify? Well, you must be a first-time homebuyer, have a household income of less than $120,000, and the mortgage is capped at four times the maximum household income of $120,000.

Let’s be honest: in today’s ultra-competitive and expensive real estate market, many Canadians are struggling to finance their purchase of a home, particularly for those living in the major urban centres. This program could help lessen some of that financial strain, making housing a little more accessible to those with no current equity.

In addition, there’s the federal first-time Home Buyer’s Plan which let’s each first-timer borrow up to $35,000 from their RRSP, interest free, to boost their down payment or to put toward other purchase-related costs. Provincially, some regions also offer a Land Transfer Tax rebate

#5 Work with a Real Estate Agent

Homebuyers do have the option of going solo in their search for a property, whether detached, semi-detached, townhome, condominium or otherwise. But without the benefit of experience and expertise on your side, the process can be complex and you risk missing some potential red flags. Working with an experienced real estate agent can significantly ease the stress associated with buying a home in Canada’s competitive markets, and could potentially even save you money!

So, what are the advantages of working with a licensed real estate agent?

  • You have better access to homes in and out of the local market.
  • Realtors know the neighbourhood and the market conditions.
  • An experienced real estate agent has advanced negotiating skills.
  • Real estate agents understand the incredible amount of paperwork that is associated with buying a home.
  • Realtors offer the guidance and support you need for the biggest buying decision you will ever make in your life.

#6 Do a Home Inspection

Unfortunately, due to bidding wars and strengthening demand, many homebuyers are ditching home inspections out of fear of losing out on the property. This may have various consequences that could hit your pocketbook. From moisture and mold in the basement to foundation issues, you could be on the hook for costly repairs and renovations once you receive the deed to the house.

No matter what the situation may be, we always recommend getting a home inspection before you acquire any property. This could save you money in the long run, and provide you some assurance that you made the right decision.

Home ownership is a dream for most people. It provides a place to plant roots and raise a family, but it is also an investment that could fund your children’s college tuition or your future retirement. The Canadian real estate market is booming, but that does not mean you’re too late to enter the market! Ensure you’re equipped with everything you need to know to buy a home in Canada, by working with an experienced real estate professional.

Have more questions about the home-buying process, or ready to move forward with your purchase? Contact a RE/MAX agent today, or download the RE/MAX Home Buyer’s Guide, for everything you need to know about buying a home.

 

Dec. 23, 2020

Edmonton Is Now the Country’s Most Affordable Urban Real Estate Market!

  •  
  •  

It has been several months since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the Canadian economy from coast to coast. Although the nation is in the middle of a second wave of the highly infectious respiratory illness, the country has been opening up, allowing the Great White North to initiate an economic rebound and get things back on track. All the data point to a gradual revival of the tenth-largest economy in the world.

The Canadian real estate market has been one of the drivers of the nation’s economic recovery, thanks to the hard work, diligence, and adaptation of real estate agents since the beginning of the public health crisis. Historically low interest rates have also helped to drive the strong trends in the buying and selling of properties, whether in the hottest urban centres or the prairies.

Despite having one of the most sought-after housing markets in the country, the Edmonton real estate market has been able to strike the right balance for both buyers and sellers. Below, we dive deeper into the current trends within Canada’s most affordable urban real estate market and share our projections for Alberta’s capital city as we shift into 2021.

Edmonton Is Now the Country’s Most Affordable Urban Real Estate Market!

October was another decent month for the Edmonton real estate market. According to the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton, total residential unit sales surged 26.34 per cent last month from the same time a year ago. All residential average prices advanced at an annualised rate of 7.97 per cent in October to $382,060.

Moreover, overall inventory in the Edmonton CMA tumbled 12.10 per cent from October of last year, while the number of new residential listings rose 14.75 per cent year-over-year last month.

“The Edmonton market has seen an increase in year-over-year unit sales, compared to a slight decrease in month-to-month sales,” said REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair Jennifer Lucas in a news release. “There have also been more sales of single-family homes, condos and duplexes compared to October of last year, while we’ve seen stable or decreasing month over month sales in all markets, which is typical for this time of year. We’re pleased to see year-over-year increases in pricing across all markets, with single family home pricing up 5.05%, duplexes up 2.34%, and condos up 1.67%.”

This comes one month after the same organisation reported that the Edmonton housing market in 2020 has been a “pleasant surprise” for buyers and sellers. The data – month-over-month and year-over-year – has been favorable to both sides of real estate transactions. This, Lucas said in an interview with the Edmonton Journal in September, has built up enough confidence where homebuyers are prepared to delve into the market.

The reason? Interest rates have never been this low. The Bank of Canada (BoC) slashed rates to 0.25 per cent earlier this year, as well as bringing the benchmark five-year mortgage rate to below five per cent. The central bank has indicated that it has no intention of tightening monetary policy, meaning that the borrowing costs in credit markets will be cheap for another couple of years.

What’s the Deal with Property Taxes?

A key advantage in the Edmonton real estate market is that the property tax hike for homeowners in 2020 was less costly than the city’s municipal counterparts. This year, property taxes rose 2.7 per cent, compared to the 13 per cent hike in neighboring urban centre, Calgary. But how long will Edmonton be able to stay so low?

Officials debated a three per cent property tax increase, choosing to tighten the public purse instead and leave it essentially flat year-over-year.

Despite many Canadian cities bleeding revenues in the COVID-19 economic climate, elected representatives will have a hard time trying to raise taxes on a vulnerable public and risk making life more expensive. Any substantial tax hikes, from property to water, could threaten the Edmonton real estate market’s revival over the next six to 12 months.

Could 2021 Be a Breakout Year for the Edmonton Housing Market?

Edmonton continues to be one of the most livable places in Canada.

Although the Edmonton economy has diversified in recent years, the city and the broader province are still reliant upon the energy sector. That said, with the rest of the country on the road to economic recovery, it is likely that Edmonton will follow suit. The city persevered through the COVID-19 turbulence, and its real estate market has handled the volatility rather well. Currently, all signs are pointing to a breakout year for the Edmonton real estate market in 2021: the central bank is keeping interest rates at historic lows, the federal government is ready to do whatever it takes to protect the housing sector, the height of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to wane in the new year, and shrinking inventories and strengthening demand are projected to prevail within this local market!

Dec. 4, 2020

What to Know Before You Buy

 

There’s no denying that Canadians value the concept of home ownership, in spite of the bubble rumours, speculation and even in light of COVID-19. The housing market has remained resilient, as evidenced by recent record-breaking Canadian housing real estate activity.

 

Home ownership is a way to plant roots, create family security and build future wealth. In fact, it’s how many of the world’s richest people earned their fortunes, and it’s how many “regular Joes” finance their retirement or build generational wealth. But home ownership is not for everyone.

 

Ultimately, buying a home is a very personal decision that depends on a number of factors, such as your financial fitness, your future plans and your overall comfort level. The good news is, professional real estate agents, mortgage brokers and real estate lawyers are there to advise you before you dive in. To help get you thinking about whether home ownership is right for you, are are some important things to consider.

 

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Canadian Real Estate

Can I afford to buy Canadian real estate?

Buying real estate involves up-front costs, which can include things like your deposit, downpayment, home inspection and appraisal fees, property insurance, Land Transfer Tax, title insurance, legal fees and moving expenses. Click HERE to get into the nitty-gritty of these costs.

 

Then, there are your ongoing costs that include property tax, regular maintenance, condo fees and utilities. If you’re saving some money up-front by buying a fixer-upper, also factor in renovation costs.

 

Here are some strategies to spend less, and save more.

 

Do I have too much debt?

When buying real estate, most people will take on a mortgage. Lenders evaluate your costs versus income to determine your qualification. Your Gross Debt Service ratio is your housing costs (mortgage principal and interest + property taxes + heat + 50% of your condo fees, if applicable) divided by your pre-tax income. The result should be 32 per cent or less.

 

Then, lenders look at your Total Debt Service ratio: all debt (GDS + car payments + alimony + other loans + the remaining 50% of your condo fees) divided by your pre-tax income. This should be less than 40 per cent.

 

Click HERE for to calculate your GDS and TDS.

 

Am I secure in my job?

Think about this honestly. Is business bustling? Is the industry on an upward or downward trend? Are you comfortable with the financial commitment of home ownership?

 

Speak to your supervisor to get some additional insight. Mortgage lenders like to see stable employment, and you’ll need to provide proof of income in the form of an employment letter or current pay stub, your position and length of employment, and if you’re self-employed, Notices of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency for the past two years.

 

Click HERE to find out what else mortgage lenders look for.

 

Am I sticking around?

Buying real estate has historically proven to be a good long-term investment. Ask your parents how much they paid for their home 30 years ago, and compare that to the home’s value today. On the other hand, a quick sale can mean financial losses if the home’s appreciation doesn’t surpass closing costs, which are estimated at 1.5 to five per cent of a home’s value.

 

Typically, the magic number to stay in the home before putting it back on the market is five years – hence the five-year plan.

 

Do I even want to own a home?

People invest in the Canadian real estate market for a slew of different reasons. For homeowners, this is a method of forced savings for retirement and future generations, while also fulfilling the basic need of providing shelter. It’s also a great source of pride for many. Picture yourself in five years. Do you plan to relocate at some point? Where will you work? What’s your family structure? Then, consider how home ownership fits into the bigger picture. Click HERE to read more about buying versus renting.

 

RE/MAX HOME BUYERS GUIDE

Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 2, 2020

Edmonton Housing Market Outlook (2021)

Edmonton housing market to remain balanced in 2021, prices to increase 2%

Edmonton real estate is likely to continue as a balanced market in 2021, with demand being segmented. Buyers are looking for single-family homes and yards, which includes duplex and row-style townhomes. The average sales price in Edmonton increased by 1% to $364,820 in 2020 (Jan. 1 – Oct. 31), compared to $361,152 in 2019 (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31). The RE/MAX Outlook for Edmonton real estate in 2021 is an increase of 2% in average price to approximately $372,116.40.

Who’s Driving Demand for Edmonton Real Estate?

Move-up buyers are currently driving demand in the Edmonton real estate market, which is expected to continue into 2021. The most popular property type among move-up buyers in Edmonton are single-detached homes and townhouses.

First-time homebuyers in Edmonton are typically single homebuyers. These buyers are not looking at one property type specifically and are buying across all property types. The average price spent on a property by a first-time homebuyer is approximately $300,000.It is expected to be more difficult to enter the market as a first-time homebuyer in 2021, as there is expected to be less inventory, making it tough for buyers to find the right property.

Move-up buyers in the Edmonton housing market are typically young couples. There has been very little hesitation in move-up buyers when it comes to entering the market, as many are trying to take advantage of the low interest rates and low property values. Move-up buyers in Edmonton have changed the criteria on what they look for in a home due to COVID-19. Many move-up buyers are looking for yards, more space, separate offices and finished basements.

The condominium market in Edmonton is most popular with single homebuyers and young couples. The average price for a condo in Edmonton is $222,181. Apartment-style condos are currently in oversupply, which means prices are likely to drop. Currently in Edmonton, many examples of large assessments have been seen, mostly due to insurance costs escalating dramatically for condo corporations, which has resulted in higher condo-fees.

Edmonton’s luxury market is currently driven by move-up buyers with the average starting price for a luxury home in Edmonton being $1,000,000. At this price point, many buyers are getting great value, with the majority of the homes being newer infill or older beautifully renovated homes with large yards in mature areas, or huge lots, often with ravine or private nature backing, in new development areas.

Edmonton’s Hottest Neighbourhoods

Edmonton’s top-selling neighbourhoods in 2020 were Anthony Henday Zone (West), North Central Zone and Southwest Zone. These neighbourhoods are expected to continue as the most popular neighbourhoods moving into 2021.

Edmonton New-Home Construction

Edmonton’s new-home construction sales are strong for single-family in both the suburbs and infill. Apartment condos are in oversupply. Most buyers are looking for a new or “like new” home across all price ranges. Based on the current demand, single-family, duplex/rowhouse and townhomes with yards are a little undersupplied. One new-home construction trend that has emerged throughout 2020 has been the need for home office space options, which is directly related to COVID-19.

Canadian Housing Market in 2021

Canadians are on the move. RE/MAX isn’t calling this an “exodus,” but the re-location trend across the Canadian housing market is real, and it’s just one focus of the RE/MAX 2021 Housing Market Outlook Report. RE/MAX Canada anticipates healthy housing price growth at the national level, with move-up and move-over buyers continuing to drive activity in many regions across the Canadian housing market. An ongoing and widespread housing supply shortage is likely to continue, presenting challenges for homebuyers and putting upward pressure on prices.

Due to these factors, the 2021 RE/MAX 2021 outlook for average residential prices is an estimate of +4% to +6% nation-wide. Here’s the regional break-down:

 

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 27, 2020

By the numbers.... Pay your home off faster

Nov. 17, 2020

By the numbers....

Posted in Market Updates