Monthly Archives: December 2010

House Price Index (HPI): October 2010

Calgary house prices were down from the previous month and (more notably) from the previous year according to October’s Teranet House Price Index released today.

For the third consecutive month Calgary house prices declined. Between September and October, prices were down 1.0%. Year-over-year, prices were down slightly: -0.2%. It was the only city tracked by the index to register an annual decline.

Canada-wide prices were down 0.4% from the previous month but were still up 6.0% from last October. The 6% was the 4th consecutive month of deceleration, leaving the 12-month rise the smallest since the beginning of the year.

Source: (Click to enlarge)

Source: (Click to enlarge)

December 1-14, 2010 Calgary Real Estate Market Update

SFH sales are down 5% from the same time last year, as the spike in pending sales we saw last week wasn’t sustained.

SFH sales (click to enlarge)

Pending Sales (click to enlarge)

SFH Weekly Sales (click to enlarge)

SFH inventory is up over 40% from December 14th of last year, while condo inventory is up almost 28%.

Inventory (click to enlarge)

Condo sales (click to enlarge)

Condo sales for the first two weeks of December are the highest since June (still down YoY). We’ll see how much of a damper the holidays will put on December’s push to have the highest sales level for the second half of the year.

This month, condo sales are finally no longer only higher than 2008 levels – an improvement to be sure.

Condo Pending Sales (click to enlarge)

Pending sales are currently even trending slightly higher than last year’s levels.

Condo Weekly Sales (click to enlarge)

Question Box: What is the Dower Act?

A few years back, a potential client wanted me to sell his home.    I prepared for the listing presentation by pulling the title and saw that only his name was registered on it.

The problem was that he was married and didn’t want his wife to know he was selling their home.   They were separated (not divorced) and she was currently out of town. He argued that since only his name was registered on the title, he didn’t need his wife’s permission.

1.  What is the Dower Act?

The Dower Act is provincial legislation that prevents a married person from disposing of the homestead without the consent of the other spouse. This includes the right of the surviving spouse to a life estate in the homestead as well as the personal property of the deceased married person.

2.  History of the Dower Act

The Dower Act was passed as a result of campaigning efforts by Canadian Feminist, Emily Murphy (Famous Five).

While accompanying her husband on a trip around the countryside, Murphy met a woman who had been left homeless and penniless when her husband sold their farm and left without her and their children. Much to Murphy’s horror, there was no legal recourse for the woman who had spent 18 years working on the family farm.

Murphy set out to change this situation, and spent several years studying on her own. She worked to convince MLAs to support her cause. In 1917, the Dower Act was finally passed in the Alberta Legislature, establishing a wife’s right to one-third of her husband’s estate.

3. Purpose of the Dower Act

Today the Dower Act grants the lawful spouse of the registered owner two key entitlements:

(i)  A life estate (the right to live on the property for the remainder of the spouse’s life)

(ii)  Veto rights to prevent the sale or any other disposition of the property

Dower Triggers

The are three conditions that trigger the need for Dower Consent & Acknowledgment (DCA).  The three conditions are:

• The seller is legally married; AND
• Only one name is registered on title; AND
• Either the seller or his/her spouse has resided on the property at any time since the marriage.

Dower Rules at a Glance

• If couples are separated but still “legally married”,  dower rights could still apply.

• If same-sex couples are legally married, dower rights could still apply.

• Dower Act does not apply to cohabitating or common-law couples.

• Dower Act does not apply if there are any two names on title.

• Even if only one spouse (either owner or non-owner) has resided on the property, dower rights could apply.

• Spending only one night on the property since the marriage could trigger dower rights.(To clarify, this means during the length of the marriage, not since the marriage ended.)

Using a Commissioner for Oaths

In order for the registered owner to sell the property, the non-owner spouse must have a Dower Consent & Acknowledgment form be taken to a Commissioner for Oaths.

This process ensures that the non-owner spouse understands the rights he or she is giving up and prevents the registered owner from exerting pressure on the non-owner spouse to sign. It should be made clear to the non-owner spouse that they are giving up rights only to this particular property and that the consent is not a general release.

If the non-owner spouse wishes to waive dower rights completely, a Release of Dower Rights form must be signed before a lawyer.

Note: These materials have been prepared for information purposes only.  They are not intended to be, nor do they constitute, legal advice. Copyright Alberta Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

New House Price Index (NHPI): October 2010

The price of a new house in Canada rose 0.1% in October according to the New Housing Price Index (NHPI) released by StatsCan today. Year-over-year, prices were up 2.5%

In Calgary, new home prices decreased 0.6% in October from the previous month.  This marked the largest monthly drop in all the cities tracked by the index. The report states that a few Calgary builders offered discounts in order to spur sales.  Year-over-year, new home prices were up 1.1%.

Calgary was only 1 of 4 cities that registered declines between September and October, with 9 showing no % change, and 8 with increases of up to 0.8%.

The largest year-over-year increase was recorded in Regina with 6.0%.  Regina has been posting the largest 12-month increase since May 2010.   Charlottetown recorded the largest annual drop at -1.6%.

NHPI October 2010. Source: StatsCan (Click to enlarge)

Here are previous NHPI reports:

December 1-7, 2010 Calgary Real Estate Market Update

Metro-Calgary Single Family Homes (SFH)

180 sales were recorded during the opening week of December, about 9% off last year’s pace and down 24% from last month.    However, a recent surge in pending sales could narrow the gap in the coming weeks.

SFH sales (click to enlarge)

SFH Pending Sales (click to enlarge)

Metro-Calgary Condos

It’s not surprising that sales are still below last year’s levels.  What is surprising is that after a dreadful summer, the condo market is making a year-end push to cap off  2010.

The first week of December had 84 sales – the best start to a month since June. As well, today pending sales actually eclipsed 2009’s mark.   The last time this happened was back in April.

Condo sales (click to enlarge)

Condo Pending (click to enlarge)


Today SFH inventory is down 42% since peaking at over 6300 at the end of June, while condo inventory is down 33%.  How much of this inventory is waiting to be relisted in the new year?

Inventory (click to enlarge)

Calgary Housing Prices

For average and median prices, follow the statistics daily on my website:

November 2010 Calgary Real Estate Stats

Metro-Calgary Single Family Homes

For the first time since March, sales and prices (both average and median) were up from the previous month.

The average price was $455,460, an increase of 2.4% from October ($444,744)  but down 1.9% from November of last year ($464,444)

The median price increased 3% month-over-month to land at $399,900. This is a decrease of almost 2% from November 2009 ($408,000)

There were a total of 891 sales in November, eking past the 888 recorded in October.    This is down 18.6% from November 2009 when there were 1095 transactions.

Seasonality dictates inventory decreases as we approach the end of the year, and this year is no different.  Month-end inventory sits below 3900, down over 600 listings from October.  However, inventory  is up over 45% from the same time last year when there were 2658 listings at the end of November.

Average & Median Price (click to enlarge)

SFH sales (click to enlarge)

SFH Inventory (click to enlarge)

SFH Pending Sales (click to enlarge)

SFH weekly sales (click to enlarge)

Metro-Calgary Condos

Condo sales mirrored October’s results exactly with 310 sales. Sales are down 38% from last November (504 sales)

The average price was down 1% from the previous month at $284,667. Year-over-year prices decreased just over 3%.

The median price slid slightly month-over-month, down $1700 to $253,300. This was 4% lower than November 2009 when the median was $264,900.

Like SFHs, condo inventory is decreasing but remains elevated from the previous year – up 31%.

Condo Average & Median Price (click to enlarge)

Condo Sales (click to enlarge)

Condo Inventory (click to enlarge)

Condo Pending Sales (click to enlarge)

Condo Weekly Sales (click to enlarge)