Best day of the year to buy Real Estate

We’ve long been advising our buyer clients that there are deals to be had in the dead of winter. There are fewer buyers who are in the market and wanting to move when it’s -40. Now a recent study from a Toronto-based company has identified that January 20th is the best day to buy a home. Keep in mind that this article is specifically referring to Toronto when they mention prices, but the message is the same here in Fort McMurray

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Cheaper Oil Might Benefit Canadian Economy

A new bank forecast argues the financial blows of low oil prices on the Canadian economy could be more than cancelled out by the weaker loonie and additional consumer spending on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

Cheaper Oil May Benefit Canadian Economy

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Positives of lower oil prices

Up here in Fort McMurray, the price of oil is has a direct impact on our lives. With a lot of negative press swirling about the declining price, here’s an upside to low oil prices.

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Senior Housing to be on Willow Square, finally!

The Government of Alberta has completed a deal to purchase the federal government’s interest in the four-acre Willow Square site, downtown Fort McMurray. The province will transfer the land to the Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corporation to develop affordable housing for seniors and lower-income residents.

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Home Inspection Cost Expected To Soar

A coalition of Alberta Home Inspectors met Saturday Nov 1, 2014 in Red Deer, Alberta to discuss the draft Home Inspection Standard “A770”, recently released for public review by the CSA (Canadian Standards Association).

Based on their initial review, Home Inspectors from across the province
feel the proposed Standard of Practice will dramatically increase the cost of a Home Inspection and at the same time may actually reduce consumer protection due to anticipated time & cost increases needed to comply with the proposed regulation. This increase in the cost of a Home Inspection means that those that most need an inspection will likely have to opt out of having one. A typical Home Inspection today, ranges in price from $400 – $600. The proposed changes could easily put future cost in the range of $1,200- $1,800 or more.

If adopted, the proposed new Standard oversteps the accepted Standards used throughout North America. It has the potential to negatively impact the Real Estate Industry as a whole. What is unknown is how Home Sellers, Home Buyers and Realtors will react to a Home Inspection that could take 1 to 2 days to complete.

If this proposed Standard is accepted, it could effectively cripple the industry as we know it. Home inspectors from across Alberta urge everyone to give their input.

Read/comment on the Proposed CSA Standard A770 and compare it to the existing 2012 CAHPI Standard of Practice

Should you care to call CAHPI Alberta their Calgary office number is 403-248-6893.

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Condos – Registered Size vs. Above Grade Size


Registered Size versus Above Grade Size

Registered Size

This is the size of the condo unit that is registered at Land Titles and must be verified from the Condominium Plan. You can obtain a copy of the Condo Plan at Spin 2 – Spatial Information System. This size may include areas of garages, parking stalls, below grade area, balconies and storage areas. The Registered Size is determined when the building is substantially completed and the Surveyor is able to get actual measurements and in (some cases it is taken from drywall to drywall). Therefore, the Registered Size and Above Grade Size may differ depending on what method the Developer/Builder and Surveyor used.

Above Grade Size

The Above Grade Size only includes the developed heated living space above grade and does not include parking stalls, garages, balconies, terraces, storage areas basements or the thickness of the perimeter walls. Measurements are taken from interior drywall to drywall. No deductions are to be made for interior stairways or walls. Do not include less than a 5 foot clearance from floor to ceiling slope on upper floors but can include open space of bay or bow windows and cantilevers.
According to RAE Rules and Regulations of June 18, 2014 (Condominium pg.18 #2.02). The total above grade and/or floor space CANNOT be greater than the Registered Size.
*This would require you to measure all property types to obtain Above Grade Size*

Types of Developments

Bare Land
This Plan will show the size of the lot and no mention of the structure on the property as the lot is the condo. A townhouse or detached single home can be built on it. A RPR or Title Insurance will be required.

Bare Land Barely Blended
This Plan allows the Developer/Builder to construct in Phases. First the land is divided into Bare Land units. Then each Bare Land is re-divided into Conventional allowing the Developer/Builder to sell one phase at a time. A RPR or Title Insurance will not be required.

Conventional Condominium
This can be either a townhome or carriage style or an apartment style condo. The apartment style is where the Registered Size and Above Grade Size are typically the same and when you take drywall to drywall measurements.

Thanks to Condo First Review for this information

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Top investment markets for real estate in Alberta

The new REIN (Real Estate Investment Network) Score measures each city or town on five different categories for a total of 50 points including: Economic Risk (possible 12 points); Yield Growth Potential (possible 12 points); Investors’ Insights (possible 10 points), Political Climate (possible 8 points), and Accessibility (possible 8 points).

Calgary and Edmonton topped the rankings with 50 points followed by Fort Saskatchewan (43), Airdrie (41), St. Albert (39), Red Deer (39), Lloydminster (38), Fort McMurray(36), Grande Prairie (36), and Leduc (34).

REIN’s results closely mirror our own findings in Fort McMurray. We’re seeing an increase in families who are buying houses for their own purpose. There are still many investors who are purchasing revenue properties, but not in droves as we saw ~10 years ago.

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What is a portable mortgage?

Selling your current home and moving into a new one can be stressful enough, let alone worrying about your current mortgage and whether you’re able to carry it over to your new home.

Porting enables you to move to another property without having to lose your existing interest rate, mortgage balance and term. And, better yet, the ability to port also saves you money by avoiding early discharge penalties.

It’s important to note, however, that not all mortgages are portable. When it comes to fixed-rate mortgage products, you usually have a portability option. Lenders often use a blended system where your current mortgage rate stays the same on the mortgage amount ported over to the new property and the new balance is calculated using the current interest rate.

With variable-rate mortgages, on the other hand, porting is usually not available. As such, upon breaking your existing mortgage, a three-month interest penalty will be charged. This charge may or may not be reimbursed with your new mortgage.

Porting conditions
While porting typically ensures no penalty will be charged when you sell your existing property and buy a new one, some conditions that may apply include:

  • Some lenders allow you to port your mortgage, but your sale and purchase have to happen on the same day. Other lenders offer a week to do this, some a month, and others up to three months.
  • Some lenders don’t allow a changed term or force you into a longer term as part of agreeing to port your mortgage.
  • Some lenders will, in fact, reimburse your entire penalty whether you’re a fixed or variable borrower if you simply get a new mortgage with the same lender – replacing the one being discharged. Additionally, some lenders will even allow you to move into a brand new term of your choice and start fresh.
  • There are instances where it’s better to pay a penalty at the time of selling and get into a new term at a brand new rate that could save back your penalty over the course of the new term.
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