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Demand for LUXURY homes up in Edmonton

Monday, May 30th, 2011

The Canadian Press

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — One of Canada’s largest networks of real-estate agents says demand for luxury homes is booming in several cities.

Re/Max says the Greater Vancouver Area led the way with 747 properties sold in the luxury category in the first four months of this year.

That was up 118 per cent from 343 sold from January to April of last year.

Re/Max says foreign investment has been a factor in the Vancouver market.

Other factors at play in most cities have been improved home values, a recovery of the stock market and improved economic performance that have bolstered the finances of well-off individuals.

Other cities that have seen double-digit increases in demand for luxury homes include Ottawa, Calgary, Halifax-Dartmouth, Winnipeg and Hamilton-Burlington.

Demand for luxury homes in the Toronto area also rose, but by a more sedate nine per cent.

What a weird MARKET!! “Local luxury-home sales up 26 per cent from last year,” ReMax says

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Below is an article in the Edmonton Journal regarding the luxury market in Edmonton.

While homebuying activity is cooling in Edmonton, luxury-home sales are picking up, says a new national report by ReMax.

“One area of the market that has outperformed all others is the upper end,” said the ReMax Market Trends Report Fall 2010, released Tuesday.

Sales of homes priced at more than $700,000 are up 26 per cent over 2009, with 240 upscale properties changing hands as of August, compared with 190 in the same period last year, it said.

Fifty-five homes in the Edmonton area sold for more than $1 million in the first eight months of the year.

The urgency seen earlier this year in Edmonton’s residential housing market — prompted by tighter lending policies and the threat of higher interest rates — has given way to more stable conditions heading into the fourth quarter, the report said.

“Positive announcements in the oil and gas sector should spur renewed activity in residential real estate — as evidenced in the first few weeks of September,” it said.

“Despite recent hikes, interest rates remain attractive, with a five-year closed hovering at four per cent. The outlook for the remainder of the year is stable, with no real fluctuations in either sales or price.”

Year-to-date sales have slipped 14 per cent to 11,773 units, compared with 13,694 in the same period last year, the report said.

The sales-to-listing ratio is now 47 per cent, down from 59 per cent in 2009, but up from 42 per cent in 2008.

Average price is holding steady, up about four cent to $332,789 in 2010. That’s about $12,500, or 3.9 per cent, higher than a year ago, when the residential average was $320,289, the report said.

Inventory levels are up marginally over last year, but down from peak levels reached in 2007 and 2008, ReMax said.

“As a result, the housing market has been characterized as balanced, slightly favouring the buyer,” the report said.

First-time buyers in Edmonton remain most active, driving sales of single-family homes between $250,000 and $350,000. Condos represent 34 per cent of residential sales.

An influx of new units recently has pushed up supply, putting downward pressure on condo prices, the report said.

Tighter lending rules, requiring a 20-per-cent down payment, are “proving to be detrimental to investment activity.”

The report, which covered trends and developments in 19 major centres from January to August, found year-to-date sales ahead of 2009 levels in 11 markets.

Prices were up year-over-year in all cities, with five experiencing double-digit gains in 2010: Vancouver, St. John’s, Sudbury, Winnipeg and the Greater Toronto Area.

“We cleaned up in the first quarter of 2010 because housing activity during the same period one year earlier was dismal,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president of ReMax, Western Canada.

“We’re now comparing the second half of the year to 2009 and falling short of expectations. Looking at the big picture, however, the market remains healthy.”

Read more:

September Newsletter – August stats

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

While both sales and listings fell during August in the Edmonton real estate market, the decline was in keeping with seasonal expectations.

Single-family property sales were 10.8% fewer than during July, and 20.4% lower than last August, when sales were surprisingly high. 536 s i n g l e – f a m i l y u n i t s changed hands during August, at a median sale p r i c e o f $ 3 5 5 , 0 0 0 compared to $350,000 last August. Listings coming to market (1108) fell by 5.4% from July numbers, but were 64.4% higher than new listings last August.  Average days to sell recorded as 51.  In the condo market, 187 apartments sold, a 6.97% decline from July sales, and 25.5% fewer than last August. New listings in this market segment (421), fell by 10 units compared to new listings during July this year but almost doubled the 219 apartments that came to market last year at this same time.
The median sale price of $210,000 was 3.9% below July’s median and 2.33% lower than last August. Average days to sell numbered 63.  108 Townhouses found new owners in August this year, compared to 116 the month before and 162 during last August. New listings grew by 5.2% over July’s new listings and were 51.7% higher than new listings at this same time last
year. The median sale price of $218,000 was 2.68% lower than July’s median and 2.57% below the median sale price during August
2009. Days on market averaged at 60. ED-10/10

“People of character do the right thing, not because they
think it will change the world but because they refuse to
be changed by the world.”
Actor and Author of Michael Josephson
Radio Commentator
Notable Quote


Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Many canadian investors are heading to Arizona!!! There are obviously many bargains with the dollar near parity but most importantly with foreclosures still high, many past owners are looking for the same style of housing to rent similar to the homes they lost to foreclosure. Many 3-4 bedroom homes are in demand for rent!
A significant number of Canadians are looking at this as an opportunity to invest due to the strong canadian dollar but also the demand by tenants looking for rental properties. I currently have a team of real estate and property manager professionals in the Phoenix and Las Vegas areas to service your needs. Contact me and I can start you in the right direction to invest in Phoenix or Las Vegas!! Below is an article written by Marty Hope of “The Calgary Herald” about this specific topic.

It was the end of the month — and as in every city anywhere in North America, people were on the move.

From Scottsdale to Queen Creek, streets throughout greater Phoenix, Ariz., were dotted with half-ton trucks and rented vans moving families from one home to another.

In this desert state, relocation is always a big deal come month-end.

Some people are taking advantage of foreclosures to move around in the marketplace while others, unfortunately, are packing up because they’ve lost their homes.

Still others are getting into rental digs — a proposition that is becoming challenging, says the Cromford Report, which tracks the current status of the Phoenix area resale market on a daily basis. Earlier this month, the analyst who publishes the report says demand for single-family home rentals is outrunning supply and causing an unprecedented fall in the inventory of available rentals.

I know there are several Calgarians who have become landlords in the Phoenix area, having scooped up firesale-priced homes as income-producing properties.

And as the Canadian dollar fights for parity with the U.S. greenback, there will, doubtless, be another wave of investors from here heading there.

An article in the Arizona Republic says that since last September, the number of available rental homes in metro Phoenix has dropped by 40 per cent.

If you’re looking for family-sized homes in some of the more desirable neighbourhoods, the decline is even more severe, says the article.

The sharp drop, the newspaper article suggests, is another ripple effect of the foreclosure crisis that is playing havoc with real estate across Arizona, but particularly in the Sonoran Valley metropolitan area.

My, how the rental market has turned.

In the early days of the foreclosure fiasco, foreclosures increased the number of houses in the rental market.

People who lost homes, or who just walked away from mortgages that were higher than the value of their home, found they could rent similar-sized houses, often in the same neighbourhood, for less than their mortgage payments.

This was occurring all over, including many of the newer neighbourhoods on the west side where the foreclosure total was huge. Even tenants with bad credit could negotiate lower rents and how long they wanted to stay.

I recall talking with realtor Mike Orr down there and asking why the west side was hit so badly with foreclosures.

“We had a circumstance down here among first-time buyers who would drive until they qualified — and that happened mostly on the west side,” he said.

But back to the rental situation. In the past few months, as more of those former owners became renters, demand for those three-to four-bedroom rental homes climbed.

As lenders foreclosed on more homes, but were slow to resell them, the number of available houses dropped.

When houses do come onto the rental market, rents are rising and landlords of family-size homes are receiving multiple offers and filling houses in days, said the Arizona Republic article. Orr said that while the detached home rental situation is worsening and rental agencies managing properties have waiting lists, many Phoenixarea apartment complexes still are having a tough time attracting tenants.

If you’re the least bit

handy or have the money to hire someone to do some improvements, there are some great foreclosure opportunities at, or just under, $100,000 US in the Phoenix area.

Many of the homes, with posted notices of foreclosure taped to the front doors, are in desperate need of a good cleaning, new paint, flooring and wall repairs — and in some of the more extreme cases, new walls to fix those damaged by frustrated or angry owners prior to leaving the property

Cheapest Canadian cities to buy a home!

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Canada’s housing market has maintained its strength across the country compared to our struggling neighbours to the south. Skyrocketing prices and bidding wars have continued in cities like Toronto and Vancouver to the exasperation of homebuyers, even though some say a housing bubble is on the horizon.

So where are the deals? By comparing average home prices and median household incomes in cities across the nation, we zeroed in on the cities where you’ll find the best bang for your buck. The following prices are all in Canadian dollars.

1. Anywhere in New Brunswick
Low housing prices combined with a higher-than-average income level make Moncton, St. John and Fredericton great options for buyers looking for a deal. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the average housing price in St. John and Frederiction is around $169,000, with the provincial average hovering around $155,000. The province’s urban centers have jobs in health care, finance and education. The rural economy depends on forestry, mining and fishing, and both Irving Oil and McCain Foods are based in New Brunswick. The province shares the characteristics of all Maritime provinces, like quaint, clapboard homes and easy access to the great outdoors, but doesn’t have the same schizophrenic weather patterns that affects Nova Scotia.

2. Sydney and Cape Breton County, Nova Scotia
Sample real estate listing: Sydney
Sydney, the largest city on Cape Breton Island, and the rest of the county boast some of the lowest housing prices in the country, with the average cost of a home at just $98,338.

“At the end of 2008, buyers were clearly nervous whether to enter the real estate market based on the economy,” said Linda Smardon, president of the Nova Scotia Board of Realtors. “Towards the middle of 2009, consumer confidence began to build again and the recovery from double-digit decreases in sales and dollar volume indicates a brighter 2010 for the market than some previously thought.”

A slow economy makes it tough for many to find high-quality work in the area, but those in the market for an oceanside cottage with fabulous views who can’t afford west coast prices could find their dream home on the island.

3. Windsor, Ontario
Sample real estate listing, Windsor
Windsor’s close proximity to Detroit, Michigan, and its close ties to that city’s dying automotive industry means there’s a high unemployment rate and housing prices are way down in the area – the average home price is listed at $164,123. But tourism, the University of Windsor and the Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery employ thousands who are able to take advantage of real estate investment opportunities with the hope that the city will recover in the coming years.

A $1.6 billion parkway project and a $900 million border crossing should create jobs and pump some money back into the local economy. And with milder winters and longer, hotter summers than the rest of the province, Windsor’s bargains could be an attractive option.
4. Gatineau, Quebec
Sample real estate listing, Gatineau
Gatineau (formerly known as Hull), found just on the other side of the Quebec border from Ottawa, has become a popular place to buy a house for many who work in the nation’s capital. A mere 10-minute drive away, buyers in Gatineau (who enjoy prices approximately $100,000 lower than prices in Ottawa) also take advantage of Quebec’s subsidized daycare system and tax breaks.

As opposed to other suburban areas, Gatineau sits on the edge of the Ottawa River and still has a small-town feel to it, which also makes it attractive to buyers. Finally, not all locals commute to government jobs across the river – federal government locations have sprung up in the town in recent years.

5. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Sample real estate listing, Charlottetown
A slightly higher than average income level and a low average housing price ($188,000) makes Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island an affordable option for homebuyers. But with a population of just over 32,000, be prepared for a very isolated and small-town feel to the whole province (you can drive around the entire island in less than a day). Government, healthcare and education are the driving factors in the local economy. Like Cape Breton, Charlottetown’s sandy beaches, wildlife, seafood and golf courses make it a great place to put your roots down or find a relaxing summer vacation home.

6. Regina, Saskatchewan
Sample real estate listing, Regina
Regina has a healthy economy, and with average home prices at a moderate $250,826, chances are good that you can find a real estate deal here. A substantial number of people work in the natural gas and oil industries, with Imperial Oil having a refinery here, but there are also vast green parks, recreation spaces, a vibrant arts and culture scene, and the University of Regina. If you can handle a higher crime rate than other parts of Canada, and the flat, seemingly never-ending prairies, Regina has a lot to offer.

The Bottom Line
Before you pack your bags, sell your condo and upgrade to a house in Regina, there are a few considerations that aren’t accounted for in the numbers above. Disposable incomes and the cost of living will vary between provinces, with a range in sales, property and income taxes in different areas of the country. Goods will cost more in some places than others depending on where they are produced and how they’re transported to a city, and some cities have added municipal taxes to real estate sales. And always make sure you do a thorough inspection of any house you’re thinking about buying – it goes without saying that a low price could mean there’s something wrong with it. But that’s not to say your dream of a home bargain isn’t just around the corner.

Forbes magazine.

Sales of Edmonton luxury homes spike!!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Edmontonians have been snapping up some pricey real estate.

The sale of luxury homes jumped 164% during the first three months of the year in the Alberta capital, according to Re/Max figures released Monday — a sign officials say show consumer confidence is on the rise.

The highest priced house to sell during that time was a 4,500-square-foot dwelling in the west end that fetched $1.8 million, according to the brokerage.

The priciest condo went for $1.65 million in the upscale One River Park development on Saskatchewan Drive.

It’s a similar trend across the country.

“Recovery in the upper end has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice president with Re/Max of Western Canada.

“This segment of the market was hardest hit when the recession took hold — yet its comeback has been fast and furious.”

The brokerage defines a luxury home in Edmonton as having a value over $850,000.

Re-Max reports the sale of 37 homes in that category between January and March. Eighteen of those sold for over $1 million. That’s up from 14 luxury homes sold during the same period one year earlier.

Jon Hall, spokesman for the Realtors Association of Edmonton, said overall, 149 homes sold last year in Edmonton for over $800,000. That’s close to being on par for the 148 that changed hands in 2008, but far below the 252 that sold in 2007 — at the height of the housing boom, he said.

“The people that are going to buy a luxury home, they’re not watching the market,” said Hall. “When they find a house they like, they’re going to buy it.

“It’s not a matter financing or what the economy is doing or whatever.”

Across the country, the largest gains in the sale of top-end homes were reported in Kelowna, Montreal, Victoria, Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton. Edmonton placed seventh.

Bill Briggs, who owns the Re/Max Real Estate Central Branch in Edmonton, said the luxury home sales still represent less than 1.5% of the overall marketplace.

“We’ve got to remember, we’re not becoming a Vancouver, Toronto or even a Calgary,” said Briggs.

He said in cities like Vancouver, foreign buyers are driving up prices, whereas in Edmonton, professionals and entrepreneurs are buying the pricier properties.

“But the good news is we are moving some of these upper-end properties, and I think that’s a direct indication of the confidence that people have in the situation we’re in economically.”

Sales of luxury homes were up 91% in Calgary, where 67 swanky properties sold in the first three months of 2010, according to Re/Max, compared to 35 a year earlier. Re/Max defines a luxury home in Calgary as a property with a price tag of over $1 million.

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Michael Pino (Edmonton Luxury Properties), Re/Max Elite
#17, 8103-127 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T5Y 3K6
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