Archive for April, 2019

Moving Checklist: Handy Guide for Moving House

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Moving is one tough slog. This list will help you get the whole process under control

Andrea Nazarian

Moving house is not something most people look forward to. It’s a huge disruption of your life and it requires endless coordination and organization. We put this guide together to help you remember everything you have to take care of so that you can take care of yourself a little better while the whole ordeal is going on. 

Old Location

Before you start anything, arrange for a professional mover. You can get mover recommendations from friends or review sites. Then think about arranging your packing materials (go sustainable if you can) and getting a dumpster prepared for both ends of the move. Take photos of valuable items and hold on to them yourself instead of packing them away and take a complete inventory of all household goods and print out a list you can reference. Once you start packing, pack household goods into boxes labeled by room-it’ll make things way easier. Take supplies you’ll need on the day of the move, like a few rolls of tape and markers for labeling. 

You’ll want to check with your insurance company about coverage for the move as well. Next, clean out your closets and garage, and arrange for a cleaning service for a final cleanup. Once they’ve cleaned, check every inch of your house to make sure it’s empty.  Send change-of-address notifications You’ll need to alert your hydro company, cable/internet company, electric, gas, phone and grocery delivery companies of your move and new address. One of our partners, MovingWaldo, manages the address change for you, free of charge.  Don’t forget to notify you r local post office, BC Government MSP and ICBC, credit card companies, substriptions and of course, friends and relatives. 

Before Arriving At New Location

Before you get to your new home, arrange for utility services in the new spot. This includes contacting a water company, electric company, gas company and cable/internet company. If you’re moving into a condo, contact a property management company and book a parking space and elevator for your moving day. 

You’ll also want to get recommendations for repair services from a real estate agent, new landlord, the previous owner/tenant or an online review site. These services include a plumber, electrician and handyman. 

New Location

Once you’ve arrived at your new location, make sure to supervise unloading and unpacking. The first thing you’ll want to do is set up and make beds first so that you can collapse into them when you need to. Then, put up any shelving units before unpacking other items. 

Take the time to meet your neighbours and write down their names, too. 

Last but not least, enjoy your new space!

© 2019 REW.

Canmore, Leduc top list of Alberta’s best real estate investment towns

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Some savvy, smaller, multi-industry cities are crushing the notion that the entire province is facing a resource-linked downturn

Frank O’Brien Tanya Commisso
Western Investor


Canmore, the closest mountain town to Calgary, is the only Rocky Mountain resort town where private real estate investment is welcomed and thriving. This is reflected in recent residential and commercial real estate action.

In March Canmore housing sales increased 44 per cent from a month earlier, reflecting a 4.8 per cent rise in residential sales through the first quarter of this year, to 108 units, compared to the same period in 2018. This was the first time in three years that first-quarter sales eclipsed sales in the preceding fourth quarter, noted Sotheby’s International Realty.

Prices are among the highest in Alberta, with detached houses selling this year at a median of $874,000, up $24,000 from a year earlier. Condo apartment median prices rose 6 per cent to $458,600 in the same period.

Last November, Clique Hotels and Resorts opened the new Malcolm Hotel, a four-star, 127-room property and the first luxury hotel built in the resort community in 20 years.


Leduc’s population growth is among the highest in Alberta, posting a 23.4 per cent increase from 2011 to 2016, to 29,993 residents. 

The city’s industrial investment opportunities are best offered by the Nisku Business Park in Leduc County, employing more than 400 companies and 6,000 workers locally, in industries ranging from agriculture to forestry to fishing. 

Growth in and around Edmonton International Airport has helped provide jobs for Leduc residents, including construction of the world’s largest marijuana production facility by Aurora Cannabis. A Ford Canada 400,000-square-foot auto parts and distribution warehouse is also on the slate for this year. 

Leduc’s average list price for a single-family home is presently $362,034, compared to Edmonton metro area’s average residential price of $357,316 in March 2019. 


Lethbridge is the second-biggest city in southern Alberta, behind  only Calgary.

It’s also one of the brightest places in Canada, with 320 days of sunshine a year. 

Under construction is the $360 million Cavendish Farms frozen-potato processing plant, the largest private investment in the city’s history. The plant is slated for completion this year.

Meanwhile, cannabis grower Fifty First Parallel  is building a three-phase facility capable of producing about 12,600 kilograms of marijuana by 2020, employing about 150 workers.

Most homes in 2019 sold at from $250,000 to $300,000, but six houses sold in March  for above $600,000 each, reports Re/Max Real Estate Lethbridge.


Straddling the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Heavy Oil Capital of the World is home to nearly 34,000 residents, more than a quarter of them young adults. The city’s strategic bi-provincial location draws in an estimated trade area of 130,000 to 150,000 people. Lloydminster has been named the sixth-best city in Canada to start a business.

The majority of Husky Energy’s heavy oil assets are located in the Lloydminster area, where the company holds approximately two million acres of land. Local industries include the Heavy Oil Bi-Provincial Upgrader, plus several other, smaller secondary manufacturing and distributing companies, many of which are related to the oil industry. The city is also home to several wheat, barley and canola farms and processing facilities. 

Industrial land in the city-owned Hill Industrial park is offered at around $66,000 per acre. 

The city’s residential rental vacancy decreased by 5.9 per cent from a year earlier to 11.5 per cent in 2018, and average rents increased by 1.2 per cent, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Lloydminster’s average residential sale price is around $291,100, with building lots at $45,000. 

Red Deer 

Red Deer stands at the midpoint between Alberta’s major cities, Edmonton and Calgary. As the province’s third-biggest city, the area is home to 100,418 residents as of the 2016 federal census. Red Deer could reach a population of 128,420 by the year 2020 if it’s current growth rate of 2.23 per cent continues.

City of Red Deer building statistics show a 55 per cent increase in total building permit values in recent years, and construction is one of the city’s top three employment sectors. Expansions to the city’s G.H. Dawe Community Centre were approved late last year, while the city’s Queens Business Park continues to provide industrial  opportunities, with  its Phase 2 expansion, totalling 95 acres of industrial-zoned land and 4.75 acres of commercial. 

The average home price is approximately $313,000. Residential sales are expected to pick up into summer 2019, according to the Alberta Real Estate Association. 

© Copyright 2019 Western Investor

When should you list a home for sale? (INFOGRAPHIC)

Monday, April 29th, 2019

The spring market tends to be the busiest time of year for selling real estate

Joannah Connolly
Western Investor

The spring market tends to be the busiest time of year for selling real estate – but does that mean you’ll necessarily get the best price for your home?

Timing your home’s listing can be tricky – especially in a challenging market for sellers, such as the current one in the Lower Mainland.

Real estate website Zolo has issued a report analyzing the best time to list a home in Canada’s major cities, in terms of the premium that sellers achieve.

Zolo said of the spring market, “The assumption is the increased inventory on the market triggers higher sales activity, making [spring] the ideal time to sell a home. But that’s not always the case. Other factors can influence the best time to put your house on the market, including the specifics of your local housing market, job growth, current and projected mortgage rates, recent and proposed housing regulations as well as tax incentives.”

Zolo crunched more than a decade of data to find out which time of year earns sellers the biggest premium on their home price. They broke it down by area and created a handy infographic map so you can check out when is best to list your home in your area.

In Greater Vancouver, Zolo said, “The best-selling window to list if you’re selling a house in Vancouver, the North Shore, Squamish, Coquitlam, South Surrey and Richmond is sometime in early or late fall. Sellers who skipped the spring market and listed in the fall earned, on average, $15,000 to almost $150,000 more on the sale of their home.”

The report authors added, “Those selling a condo in the Vancouver, the North Shore, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley regions may also want to wait and list in the fall, when sellers earned, on average, approximately $10,300 to just under $150,000.”

Check out Zolo’s infographic map below to see when you should list for your area, whether a house or a condo.

Copyright © Western Investor

Here’s What The Bank Of Canada Says Is The Real Reason For The Housing Slowdown

Monday, April 29th, 2019

Don’t blame government policy. We kind of did this to ourselves

Daniel Tencer

For months now, the real estate industry has been telling us that Canada’s mortgage stress test is the primary cause of the housing slowdown in Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver.

The test is never far from the top of any real estate board press release announcing another decline in home sales, and groups like Mortgage Professionals Canada have warned that the rule risks shutting an entire generation out of home ownership.

They’re calling on the government to remove or loosen the test, which requires borrowers to qualify at an interest rate two percentage points higher than the one they’re being offered.

But a report issued by the Bank of Canada (BoC) paints a very different picture of what happened in the overheated real estate markets around Toronto and Vancouver over the past several years.

The report never uses the word “bubble,” preferring the more neutral-sounding term “froth,” but it paints a clear picture of housing markets where excessive enthusiasm led to runaway house price growth, followed by the inevitable snap-back once there weren’t enough buyers to keep the party going.

And while the mortgage stress test did play a role, it was a minor one, the BoC concluded.

A lot of things happened in 2016 and 2017 to slow down what was at the time an overheated housing market:

  • British Columbia and Ontario introduced foreign buyers’ taxes
  • Canada’s banking regulator, OSFI, progressively toughened mortgage lending rules
  • The Bank of Canada began raising interest rates.

To get an idea of just which of these changes actually affected housing, and how, the BoC’s analysts analyzed “loan-level micro data to decompose movements in housing resales.” In other words, they attempted to track the actual flow of money through mortgage markets, to see how each change successively affected people’s decisions.

What they found was a housing market where prices grew way out of affordability range for buyers. Between 2015 and 2018, the rising cost of home ownership would have lowered annual home sales nationwide by a hefty 56,000, the BoC’s report estimated.

Only a fraction of that — 10,000 sales — would have been due to the mortgage stress test, the bank found. All the rest would have been due to rising prices and hikes to mortgage rates.

But Canada got lucky: The affordability crisis happened about the same time as a jobs boom, which pushed up incomes and increased demand for housing by almost enough to offset the jump in home ownership costs. Hence, a housing slowdown, but no bust.

The BoC flagged another classic sign of a housing bubble: Around 2015 and 2016, Toronto and Vancouver saw a spike in home sales, well beyond what you would expect at that level of employment and income. The increase in sales in that time was 10 times as large as it should have been, given economic conditions, the BoC estimated.

“Much of the previous strength in resale activity was influenced by extrapolative expectations. … These expectations quickly faded following the policy measures,” the report stated.

In other words, people panicked. Expecting house prices to keep growing rapidly, they jumped into the market as soon as they could, and so further pushed up prices and home sales.

Then, when new taxes and mortgage rules took hold, expectations went from too optimistic to too pessimistic. Sales fell below where they should be, given economic fundamentals, and that’s where they remain today.

Much as we’d like to blame foreign buyers or government policy, it seems we kind of did this to ourselves.

And a rapid rebound seems unlikely. The BoC’s report suggests sales will likely remain sluggish until prices align better with incomes.

But so far, affordability isn’t improving, or at least not much. Prices remain elevated even as sales remain weak, and a recent study from Zoocasa highlighted how extreme the problem has become: It estimates only the top 2.5 per cent of Vancouver’s earners, and the top 10 per cent of Toronto’s earners, could afford a detached home today. Only the top 25 per cent of earners in these cities can even afford a condo.

And, with household debt hitting yet another record high at the end of 2018, BoC deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins expects consumers to keep hitting the brakes on spending.

“When consumers are highly indebted — and yes, it’s a major vulnerability, it’s the number one financial vulnerability for the Canadian economy — at some point households may start to say, ‘I need to increase my savings’,” Wilkins told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

What that means for the housing market going forward is hard to guess, and even the Bank of Canada isn’t willing to go out on a limb. With new taxes and new mortgage rules working their way through the system, and high debt levels supported by a booming job market, we’ve got a brew on our hands no one has ever quite seen before.

The BoC’s report sums it up neatly, if not reassuringly: “The housing market is currently in uncharted territory.”

Copyright © 2018, Inc

Redfin launches to “fantastic response” in Vancouver

Monday, April 29th, 2019

Redfin Vancouver to cover Delta to Whistler

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Redfin has expanded its reach in Canada to a second city, launching in Vancouver with a team of full-service agents and a 1% listing fee.

The Seattle-based real estate brokerage firm launched its first Canadian office in Toronto earlier this year and plans to expand to more cities soon.

“We’ve been encouraged by a few early sales in Toronto and have reason to believe we can start just as strong in Vancouver,” said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. “As a Seattle-based company, we already have a presence in the region. Given how expensive housing still is here, even after all the changes in the market, we hope that tech-savvy Vancouver homebuyers and sellers will be drawn to our combination of great service and low prices.”

The Vancouver office will cover an area from Delta to the Whistler ski resort and is led by Brooks Findlay who will run the operation as managing broker.

“The response to Redfin in Vancouver has been fantastic so far. Consumers have been eagerly awaiting our launch,” said Findlay. “Already we have five listings on the market, totalling nearly C$9 million, a testament to the desire for our service here in Vancouver.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

The Income Group You Need to Be in to Buy a Home in these Canadian Cities

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

The Income Group You Need to Be In To Buy a House or Apartment Across Canada

Penelope Graham

Looking to purchase a home in one of Canada’s biggest cities? You’ll need to be among the highest echelon of income earners to do so in the most competitive markets, according to new data from Zoocasa.

The numbers reveal that only those within the top 10% income group can afford to buy houses for sale in Toronto at a benchmark price of $873,100, while Vancouver buyers must be at least within the top 2.5% tier to buy one at the city’s benchmark of $1,441,000.

The study, which analyzed how much income prospective buyers would need to afford the benchmark home in their city, calculated the minimum income required to qualify for a mortgage in 13 census metropolitan areas (CMAs) across Canada, assuming a 20% down payment, 3.75% mortgage rate, and 30-year amortization. The affordability findings were then cross referenced with income tax filings as reported by Statistics Canada to determine which income group buyers must align with in order to afford local real estate. Benchmark home prices were sourced from the Canadian Real Estate Association and local real estate boards.

Even Apartments Out of Reach for Bottom 75% in Largest Markets

While it may not come as a surprise that affording a single-family house is limited to the highest-income percentiles in the biggest cities, the numbers show even entry-level housing is out of reach for many in those markets. Vancouver and Toronto apartment buyers must still have an income within the top 25% in order to swing the benchmark unit price of $656,900 and $522,300, respectively.

Prairie Markets Offer Greatest Affordability

However, while the study revealed just how high the minimum income thresholds are in these urban centres, it also underscored the comparable affordability in the prairie markets. Affording a house is feasible for those within the top 75% income group in Regina, as the benchmark property costs $275,900. Saskatoon and Winnipeg are both nearly as affordable, as buyers with incomes in the top 50% can afford houses priced at $301,900 and $326,433, respectively.

Apartment purchasers will enjoy even greater affordability in those cities, with units in all three accessible to the top 75% income group at benchmark prices of $160,200, $170,800, and 227,538.

MLS listings in Edmonton and Calgary are also an option for buyers seeking affordability, with those within the top 50% able to afford a house, and those within the top 75% able to afford an apartment.

Income Group Threshold Values

For reference, the table below shows the threshold values for each income group. The threshold value is the minimum income needed to be in each income group.

Income groups and the associated thresholds values were sourced from Statistics Canada.


Top 75%

Top 50%

Top 25%

Top 10%

Top 5%

Top 2.5%

Top 1%

Vancouver, BC








Toronto, ON








Victoria, BC








Hamilton, ON








Kitchener-Waterloo, ON








Calgary, AB








Ottawa-Gatineau, ON/QC








London, ON








Montréal, QC








Edmonton, AB








Winnipeg, MB








Saskatoon, SK








Regina, SK









Income groups by census metropolitan area (CMA) are based on tax filings and were sourced from Statistics Canada (“High income tax filers in Canada, specific geographic area thresholds”,

Income refers to total pre-tax income from earnings, investments, pensions, spousal support payments, other taxable income plus government transfers and refundable tax credits.

Benchmark single-family house and apartment prices for all areas were sourced from the Canadian Real Estate Association except Kitchener-Waterloo, London and Winnipeg, where average house and apartment prices were used and sourced from the each region’s local real estate board. The minimum income required to afford each home price assumes a 20% down payment, a mortgage rate of 3.75% and a 30-year amortization and was calculated using the Ratehub mortgage calculator ( The calculation does not factor in carrying costs such as property taxes and heating.

© 2015-2017 Zoocasa Realty Inc

BoC predictions for next year are far too optimistic – observer

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

Bank of Canada off mark on financial market predictions

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

The Bank of Canada is considerably off the mark in its financial market predictions for 2020, David Doyle of Macquarie Group has argued.

Specifically, the banks projections for Canada’s economic performance next year are considerably more positive than what is warranted by current trends.

“What’s interesting about what the Bank of Canada did [last week] is that they strongly reduced their growth forecast for 2019, which I thought was appropriate,” Doyle explained in an interview with BNN Bloomberg.

“Where I do see downside risks to their forecast is more so in 2020. And in 2020, they’re calling for 2.2% growth or so – that to me is much too optimistic. I’m a full percentage point below that in my growth forecast.”

Moreover, the bank kept its 2% growth rate prediction for 2021, adding that this will be fuelled by recovery in exports and investments, as well as being aided by a progressively stable housing market.

Doyle cited potential economic sluggishness south of the border as a main factor in his more pessimistic prognosis.

“Canada’s actually had – despite our low growth for the last few years – we’ve had a very strong tailwind from a very robust U.S. economy,” he stated. “In the U.S. economy we still have strong, solid growth ahead, but it is likely to slow from here.”

Additionally, “in the first quarter of 2020, people that are renewing their five-year fixed-rate mortgages – they’re the same people that took out those mortgages when the Bank of Canada cut rates in the first quarter of 2015.”

“So you actually have a very significant rate-reset headwind that comes back in 2020 and persists through 2021. And it’s just a function of the fact that rates were very, very low over the 2015 and 2016 periods,” Doyle noted.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media

Millennial demand will not be deterred by high prices

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

Canada’s largest cities attracting millennials

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

Housing demand among Canadian millennials in the country’s urban markets is still poised to grow despite elevated costs, according to recent analysis by RBC Economic Research.

This is especially true in the largest cities, which “continue to be magnets for young, mobile talent.”

“The number of people aged 20-34 is growing at a healthy clip in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. For every millennial leaving a major Canadian city for more affordable digs in the same province, there are between seven and 12 millennials moving in from another country or province,” the RBC study noted.

“There’s no evidence to suggest that high housing costs are gutting the ranks of millennials in Canada’s most expensive cities.”

The number of millennials in these three cities actually saw its strongest increase in 12 years in 2018, with the demographic growing by 2.9%, representing 96,000 new young professionals.

Toronto saw the bulk of this increase with a 4.1% increase (58,000 more millennials) last year. Montreal saw the addition of 22,000 more, while Vancouver saw its millennial cohort grow by 16,000 individuals.

Moreover, millennials have consistently accounted for a significant portion of these cities’ populations, from 21.8% in 2006 to 22.1% in 2018 overall in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. To compare, the share of millennials in the nationwide population ticked up from 20.3% to 20.4% during the same time frame.

“So millennials are in fact slightly over-represented in the largest cities, especially in Vancouver and Toronto where their share of the population stood at 22.8% last year.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media

Under 3% of Vancouverites can afford a house

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

Only the top 2.5% on income earners can afford a house

Neil Sharma
Mortgage Broker News

Only the top 2.5% of income earners can afford the benchmark price for a Vancouver house.

Assuming a 20% down payment at a 3.75% mortgage rate on a 30-year amortization, a recent Zoocasa report revealed it takes an income of at least $205,475 to be able to pay the benchmark price of $1,441,000.

Additionally, condominium apartments—for which the benchmark price is $656,900—are only attainable for people who earn at least $93,527 and comprise the upper 25% of income earners in the city.

But with sales down across the board, why are prices so stubbornly high?

Royal Bank says people are leaving high-cost markets like Toronto and Vancouver for lower-cost centres, but for everyone who leaves that is younger or in a lower income bracket, there are more who come into that market,” said Brad Henderson, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “It’s a catch-22: If you’re not in a market with high-paying jobs, you’re less likely to get a job that will allow you to afford a house. Yes, Winnipeg and Regina have much more affordable housing, but there are lesser employment opportunities. So while income is more in alignment with housing in those marketplaces, a lot of people are seeking those higher paying jobs, therefore, they’re attracted to high value markets.

“Housing affordability is a major challenge in Toronto and Vancouver, but it isn’t the case that they’ll become ghost towns, or even become ‘resort towns’ where rich people come to visit.”

An additional factor, according to Henderson, is that homeownership is an inherently discretionary endeavour and just because somebody can sell their home, or is even considering it, it doesn’t mean they have to.

To Jason Turcotte, vice president of development at Cressey Development Group in Vancouver, the Zoocasa report illuminates a dearth of construction in the multi-family dwelling sector.

“What [the report] tells us is we certainly need multi-family housing because single-family housing is clearly out of reach for the vast majority people, and that’s why we’ve seen condos and rentals in the multi-family format become the norm for all the young people—and 97.5% of the population, frankly—in the city,” he said.

However, the fact that housing in Vancouver is expensive shouldn’t surprise too many people, he added, considering the city consistently ranks atop lists of the world’s most desirable cities.

“There’s not a real expectation for a single-income family to buy a white picket fence, single-family home,” said Turcotte. “There just isn’t an international city around the world where that is the case. One thing we need to do, as Vancouverites, is realize it’s not unique to us. We’ve become an international city on a world-scale and many cities around the world have this predicament.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media

Intergenerational wealth transfer will buoy housing market

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

Mom and Dad’s wealth will help children buy homes

Neil Sharma

While activity in the housing market has cooled, it will be spry within a decade.

“There’s an intergenerational wealth transfer coming in the next, probably, 10 years and that will go a significant way towards helping comparatively younger people afford housing in the future,” said Brad Henderson, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “They will take that intergenerational wealth and apply it to housing because they believe, and their parents believe, that housing is still a decent investment opportunity, as well as being a great place to live.”

Henderson added that sizeable cohorts are entering their prime earning years and will invariably spend large sums of money on housing.

“Older millennials and younger Generation Xers are starting to come into increased earning capabilities, which make housing affordability more accessible for them.”

For the time being, though, the cost of housing remains prohibitive.

Assuming a 20% down payment at a 3.75% mortgage rate on a 30-year amortization, a recent Zoocasa report revealed that only the top 2.5% of Vancouver’s income earners can afford the benchmark price of a house, and only the upper 25% can purchase benchmark condominium apartments.

But while that curtails demand, prices in the city remain defiantly high. As Henderson explains, expensive urban markets like Vancouver self-perpetuate.

“Royal Bank says people are leaving high-cost markets like Toronto and Vancouver for lower-cost centres, but for everyone who leaves that is younger or in a lower income bracket, there are more who come into that market,” he said. “It’s a catch-22: If you’re not in a market with high-paying jobs, you’re less likely to get a job that will allow you to afford a house. Yes, Winnipeg and Regina have much more affordable housing, but there are lesser employment opportunities. So while income is more in alignment with housing in those marketplaces, a lot of people are seeking those higher paying jobs, therefore, they’re attracted to high value markets.

“Housing affordability is a major challenge in Toronto and Vancouver, but it isn’t the case that they’ll become ghost towns, or even become ‘resort towns’ where rich people come to visit.”

That elucidates why Prairie markets are affordable. In Regina, the top 75% income group can afford the benchmark price of a house, which is $275,900. That’s a massive bargain compared to the benchmark price of $1,441,000 in Vancouver. In Winnipeg, the top 50% could buy a house for the benchmark price of $326,433.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd