Category Archives: Calgary Real Estate Discussion

Alberta Flood Hazard Interactive Map

Albertans have become acutely aware about the risks involved living near streams, rivers and lakes.

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development has a Flood Hazard Map Application for the public to use: here

Use the interactive flood map

Use the interactive flood map

Before considering a home purchase, browse the map to be aware whether the property is located in an area deemed to be a flood risk.

Calgary Area Studies

Airdrie Study

  • Airdrie – Nose Creek
  • According to the map,  a sizeable portion of the community of Williamstown is at risk of overland flooding from Nose Creek.
Part of Airdrie at risk of overland flooding

Part of Airdrie at risk of overland flooding

Grow-ops Focus Of CREB®Now Webinar

CREB®Now hosted a webinar on grow-ops and REALTOR® Awareness on March 19.

The hour-long event was filled with questions from members who joined the session.

Thank you to President-Elect Bill Kirk, CSRT Leader Wayne Brown and ALERT Staff Sergeant Keith Hurley for presenting timely and informative content.

CREB has posted the video publicly, so feel free to watch and learn more about grow-ops.  Questions at the end clarify some opinions stated as facts during the presentation.

Related post:  Are remediated grow-ops safe?

TD: Calgary, A Lone Shining Star In Western Canada’s Housing Market

TD Economics has a new quarterly feature called “Metro Beat” where they  review metro economic trends.

The bank referred to Calgary’s situation as “ideal” in comparison to other western cities since it was:

  • the only one among its peers to register positive sales growth in 2012, at 14.3%.
  • benefiting from a double digit increase in new housing starts (+38.2%), a sharp rebound from 2011.
  • seeing increased residential building permits in the region, signalling more projects to come over the near term.

In TD’s price forecast, only Calgary & Edmonton are expected to see a price increase in 2014, although sales are predicted to edge lower.

You can download the entire Metro Beat here

Source: TD (click to enlarge image)

Source: TD (click to enlarge image)

Source: TD

Source: TD Economics

Source: TD Economics

Source: TD Economics

BMO: No Housing Affordability Problem In Calgary

In a report released yesterday tailor made to rebutt Demographia’s recent affordability survey, BMO asserts that most of Canada is actually affordable and would remain so even if interest rates rise 2%.   BMO explains it’s because they included an important determinant of affordability that Demographia’s affordability measure excluded: mortgage rates.

While BMO admits that housing relative to personal income is about 10% overvalued, affordability is a only a problem for the median family seeking to buy a detached house in Vancouver, Toronto and Victoria and all three cities are vulnerable to a material correction if income or rates move adversely.

Outside these three cities,  BMO contends that affordability is not a major problem and should not become one even when rates normalize. In fact, BMO anticipates that prices will stabilize this year helping fears of a deep housing correction recede and that Alberta could actually see further moderate price gains if commodity prices remain elevated.

BMO reports that Canada’s current overvaluation is about half that in 1989, when national prices subsequently fell 13%, and about 1/3 of the U.S. peak in 2005, when prices eventually crashed 34%.

Just a few days ago I wrote the post: “Calgary’s Growing Housing Affordability Gap“.  Do you think Calgary has an affordability problem, or is BMO correct?

Source: BMO  (click to enlarge image)

Source: BMO (click to enlarge image)

Source: BMO (click to enlarge image)

Source: BMO (click to enlarge image)

To download the entire report, click here (pg 7)

Calgary Grow-Op Map: 2007-2011

No community is immune from grow-ops.  They’re more widespread than most people realize and they damage not only the host home but the community it’s set up in.

Click on the map below to view the grow op homes in Calgary between 2007 – 2011.  (Yes,  just  in the past 5 years)

(click to download PDF. 4mb)

(click to download PDF. 4mb)

Please Help!

Service Alberta wants our help.  Public consultations have begun and will continue until May 2013.

Please complete their short survey after viewing Service Alberta’s website and taking a tour of their interactive marijuana grow op house (with some really interesting pictures)

My recommendation -short of razing them to the ground- is that all former grow ops must be disclosed and permanently registered on Title so no future buyer purchases one unaware.

No Chill In December Condo Market

Calgary condominium sales have surpassed last December’s month-end total and are on pace for the highest December tally since 2007.

A total of 324 units have sold in the 4 weeks this month, ahead of 2011’s month-end of 308 sales.  Even if no more condos were to sell for the rest of the month, sales would still end up 5% y/y.

(click to enlarge image)

(click to enlarge image)

The median price has remained relatively steady since 2008, while the average price is second only to 2007’s.  (Put more stock on the median than the average)

What’s more interesting is how inventory has been in short supply compared to previous winters – currently at its lowest December level since at least 2007, down -24.6% from a year ago.

(click to enlarge image)

(click to enlarge image)

Besides lower inventory, new listings aren’t keeping up with the amount of sales. So far in December the Sales to New Listings ratio for Apartments is at 152% and at 102% for Townhomes.  This means that despite any new listings being added, inventory has continued to trend lower this month.   Last year the ratio for Apartments was 87% and 100% for Townhomes.

To view in depth Calgary housing information including condo statistics broken out into Apartments and Townhomes, and to browse homes listed for sale, please visit my website at:


Questions? Ready to buy or sell real estate? I can be contacted at or 403-554-2284

Avoid These Closing Dates

As we approach mid-December and the end of the year it is important to use caution when selecting a closing (aka possession) date since many law firms are closed between Christmas & New Years.

Lou Pesta, a Calgary real estate lawyer, recommends that to  “avoid unpleasant complications, delays and late interest penalties for clients the latest a closing should be scheduled in December is on the 20th (to allow one day’s grace for potential late mortgage funding) and the earliest it should be scheduled in January would be January 4th (to allow for the collection of closing funds and securing a mortgage advance after the return from holidays).”

Besides Christmas through New Year, there are a couple other periods that would be best to avoid:

Canada Day (June 30-July 1st weekend)  It is the busiest closing weekend of the year so try to avoid the week leading up to & following it.  Lawyer and land titles are swamped, lenders can find it difficult to handle the volume and fund on time and moving companies are likely booked weeks if not months in advance.

August 31st-Labour Day Weekend  It is another busy closing period and this year many lawyers were maxed out and unable to handle anymore clients.

Note: If you bought or sold a condo, be sure to check with the bylaws whether there are any restrictions on moving days or times (ie. weekends only, 9am-5pm), if you need to book an elevator in advance, or any other move-in/out policies you should be aware of.