30 Years in Real Estate!!!

Thu, 27 Jan by Georgina Burkholder

WOW!  I guess I have been selling Real Estate a long time!  I just looked at my stats and realized that I am now on to my 30th year in the business, but most importantly – am still enjoying working with my clients.  I have now assisted over 2300 clients buy or sell a home.  Thank you to all of them!!



Fri, 21 Jan by Georgina Burkholder

I have been thinking about the CREB Forecast Breakfast that I attended earlier this week. There were a number of excellent speakers presenting their views of the economy, both local and global. Of course how all that will potentially impact our market is of great interest to us all.

One of the sessions I attended was called “Dimensions of Change” presented by Andrew Ramlo of Urban Futures Institute. Those of you that like to see statistics should check out his website, www.urbanfutures.com.  Amazingly Andrew made this somewhat dry topic, extremely interesting.  

Particularly striking were the stats on the % of individuals that are living with their parents: 59% of 20 to 25 yr olds live at home. 23% of 25 to 30yr olds live at home, and 13% over 30 still live with their parents. That works out to 32% of the 20 to 29 year olds in Calgary live at home – compared to the 41% average in Canada. Pretty interesting!

 Georgina Burkholder

Slow recovery forecast for Calgary real estate

Wed, 19 Jan by Georgina Burkholder

Here is the Calary Real Estate Board predictions for 2011.  While we don’t expect any big price increases, we do expect some moderate growth and improved sales.

Single-family home sales to jump 20% in 2011

By MARIO TONEGUZZI, Calgary Herald January 18, 2011

CALGARY – The Calgary Real Estate Board is forecasting a slow recovery for the market this year, but improved sales compared with 2010.

In its annual forecast released Tuesday, the board said Calgary’s housing inventory levels are expected to stabilize, resulting in an eventual return to a more balanced and sustainable housing market.

It forecasts single-family home sales to increase by 19.9 per cent this year to 14,500 transactions while the average MLS sale price is predicted to rise 4.1 per cent to $480,000.

The real estate board is also predicting condominium sales will rise by 15.8 per cent to 6,000 transactions with the average sale price increasing by 1.8 per cent to $295,900.

In the towns outside of Calgary market, the board is forecasting a 13.5 per cent increase to 4,000 with the average price increasing by 2.6 per cent to $368,500.

“We’ve been hit fairly dramatically in the last year and so 20 per cent (for single-family homes) really is relative to the drop that we’ve had in the last year,” said Sano Stante, president of the real estate board, adding his forecast wouldn’t change in light of the federal government’s announcement Monday to toughen up mortgage lending practices.

“What we’re expecting is in-migration into Calgary. So if we see the job growth that we expect to happen in Calgary then the in-migration should occur and that should drive the sales.”

The key to market recovery in 2011 will be permanent job creation sufficient to stimulate in-migration, said the forecast report. With little pent up demand from renters, recovery in the first half of the year will be more modest, picking up pace in the latter half. Recovery of sales will come to single family homes closer to the downtown core, followed by condos and single family homes in the outlying towns, said the report.

“Affordability will be key to market expansion and price increases are not likely until the latter half of 2011 when inventories have eased and demand has recovered,” added the report. “With interest rates not expected to increase, there is little urgency for buyers to move into the market in the first half of the year. Nonetheless 2011 will offer buyers unprecedented affordability, low interest rates and a large selection of inventory.”

In 2010, single-family home sales were the lowest in more than a decade falling by 16 per cent from 2009 while the average price rose by 3.6 per cent. Condo sales were the lowest in 2010 since 2001 dropping by 18 per cent from the previous year while the average price rose by 2.5 per cent.

Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., said the resale market this year is expected to gradually improve as the year progresses.

“With more activity in the energy sector that should help support employment growth and that will strengthen demand for housing,” said Cho. “We’re expecting to see improvements from the year before but more so in the latter half of the year compared to the first half of the year.

The CMHC, in its forecast, predicted MLS sales, which includes all residential properties, in the Calgary census metropolitan area to increase by 2.0 per cent this year to 20,700 units, while the average sale price will rise by 0.5 per cent to $401,000.

When the market peaked in 2007, there were 32,176 MLS sales for an average price of $414,066.

Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial in Calgary, said this year will definitely be an improvement over 2010 in the local housing market.

“Coming out of 2009 and 2010, things in some ways can only get better,” said Hirsch. “As Alberta’s economy is improving there will be an improvement in the housing market.

Gregory Klump, chief economist with the Canadian Real Estate Association, said interest rates remain low and attractive and the job market in Calgary is going to be at least stable and there’s plenty of upside potential for that.

“So those two things combined will boost consumer confidence and together stand a good chance of improving single-family and condo sales this year,” added Klump.


© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Slow+recovery+forecast+Calgary+real+estate/4125861/story.html#ixzz1BWFJ3ayU


Wed, 12 Jan by Georgina Burkholder

This past week I have shown several properties which had unbearably strong air fresheners plugged into the electrical outlets. One even had a freshener that nailed my buyer with a “puff” of fragrance as they walked by. Sadly for the sellers, we had to rush out of the houses since my buyer’s couldn’t stay inside long enough to take a good look. And sadly for me, I had a headache for several hours after each encounter. One of my buyer’s commented “they must have something really nasty to hide”. Air fresheners should not be used to mask bad odours – the source of the bad odour should be dealt with. A nice clean smell speaks for itself. Take a look at this utube video for even more reasons to toss these air freshners out.




Mon, 10 Jan by Georgina Burkholder
By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald

CALGARY – This past year will be remembered as a tale of two different residential real estate markets in Calgary.

The first part of the year was active. The second part flat. And it’s left many people wondering what’s in store for the housing market in 2011.

Diane Scott, president of the Calgary Real Estate Board, said the year started off well particularly in the spring due to the low interest rates and the new homebuyers who came out before anticipated mortgage lending changes by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. There were also anticipated interest rate hikes, which never materialized.

“That was all very good but once those people kind of completed their buying in the spring then there wasn’t a follow up,” said Scott. “The next buying wave didn’t occur for us. We needed more migration. We needed more job creation in order to maintain and to go forward. The economy itself kind of just stood very steady. There wasn’t anything driving the economy. No stimulation for the economy. (The real estate market) stayed flat the rest of the year.”

As for next year, Scott said the industry is hoping there will be more permanent job creation that will attract more people to the city.

“That will be the thing that will direct the market,” she said.

Year-to-date official statistics by CREB, up to and including November, showed total MLS sales in the single-family home market were 11,361 for the 11 months, down 16.73 per cent compared with the same period in 2009, and the average sale price was up by 4.67 per cent to $462,425.

During the same time frame this year, the condo market had sales off by 18.81 per cent to 4,861 transactions while the average price increased by 2.36 per cent to $290,153.

And it appears the year is ending on a soft note looking at preliminary, unofficial MLS numbers for December. According to the website of realtor Mike Fotiou, of First Place Realty, there were only 711 December single-family home sales up to and including Thursday, for an average price of $439,892. There were 310 condo transactions for an average of $283,245.

In December 2009, there were 799 single-family home sales for an average sale price of $451,349 and 341 condo sales for an average of $288,640.

Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., said overall residential MLS sales for 2011 in the Calgary census metropolitan area are forecast to rise by two per cent from 20,300 this year to 20,700 with prices to increase 0.5 per cent from $399,000 to $401,000.

“Although interest rates remain relatively low, which supported demand early in the year, many of the factors that are necessary to sustain demand were slow to improve. Subdued growth in employment, wages and net migration contributed to a moderation in sales that we saw for most of this year,” said Cho.

As the economy continues to improve, demand for home ownership is anticipated to gradually rise, he said.

“The pace of sales is expected to be somewhat tempered at the start of the new year, but pick up in the latter half of the year,” added Cho.

In the Calgary CMA, sales are forecast to decline by 18.4 per cent this year from 2009 and the average sale price will increase by 3.4 per cent.

“It was a funny year. The market didn’t really seem to have a lot of direction either way,” said Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial in Calgary. “There seemed to be a lot of apprehension and a lot of people trying to anticipate what’s going to happen next, especially with mortgage rates. And that drove a lot of the market in the beginning.

“But then what we expected to happen didn’t materialize and it really changed everyone’s enthusiasm for buying right away so everything just kind of softened. And now it just seems to be kind of on auto drive. Not really moving in one way or the other.”

Hirsch said he expects 2011 to be similar to 2010, as no one can anticipate when the mortgage rates will rise.


© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Housing+market+faces+2010/4047230/story.html#ixzz1AfLL2rb4

Resale pace returning to ‘normal’

Wed, 05 Jan by Georgina Burkholder
Fourth month national sales increase
By Marty Hope, Calgary Herald January 1, 2011

Normal? The real estate market has been so erratic on the national level that it’s tough to tell what normal is anymore.

But as it gets set to go over the books for the last month of 2010, the Canadian Real Estate Association says national resale housing activity as of the end of November continued its return to normal levels.

Activity increased in November for the fourth consecutive month.

Seasonally-adjusted national sales via the MLS system climbed 4.8 per cent in November.

Such sales have been revised to remove the effects of regular seasonal influences, allowing a truer picture.

Although the sales pace is well short of record activity for the same month a year ago, seasonally adjusted sales now stand 19.5 per cent above levels in July 2010, which was the year’s low point.

“Sales activity rose in many local markets, but eased in others,” says CREA president Georges Pahud in a news release. “Homebuyers and sellers need to recognize that local and national market trends may differ — and for that reason, they would do well to consult a realtor to understand how the housing market is shaping up in their market.”

Seasonally-adjusted activity was up from October in two-thirds of all local markets in Canada, including eight of the country’s 10 most active markets.

Month-over-month increases were reported in Calgary (plus 2.6 per cent), Edmonton (6.9 per cent), Fraser Valley (10.5 per cent), London & St. Thomas (6.5 per cent), Montreal (8.2 per cent), Ottawa (4.2 per cent), Toronto (6.0 per cent) and Greater Vancouver (11.3 per cent).

These markets accounted for more than half of national activity in November.

Sales of detached single-family homes and multi-family condos in Calgary held steady from October levels, says president Diane Scott of the Calgary Real Estate Board.

In terms of prices, the average selling price for detached homes in Calgary moved up two per cent in November, while condos showed a decrease of one per cent.

“We are not likely to see any major dips in pricing over the coming months — but there may be some decline in our average and median prices as motivated sellers reduce their price and we work through our increased levels of inventory,” says Scott.

The median is the middle of the range of prices.

The board will soon be releasing its December and year-end activity reports. A forecast for 2011 will be part of the board’s annual conference and trade show set for Jan. 18.

Actual sales (not seasonally adjusted) at the national level in November were 9.3 per below those of the same month in 2009.

The persistence of large year-over-year declines from record levels in 2009 have been masking the steady improvement in national sales activity since July 2010, says CREA.

A comparison of November sales to those for the same month in previous years suggests that activity is currently running at more normal levels.

The number of new residential listings on MLS edged down 0.7 per cent on a seasonally-adjusted basis in November. New listings remained 14.6 per cent below the peak reached in April 2010.

The national housing market has been firming up since July due to improving sales and a muted rise in new listings — but overall remains balanced.

About 60 per cent of local markets in Canada were in balanced market territory in November.

Of the remaining 40 per cent, three-quarters had a sales to new listings ratio consistent with being classified as a sellers’ market.

“An increase in new listings is likely to return many sellers’ markets to balanced territory over the coming months,” says CREA chief economist Gregory Klump in a news release. “With sales activity having returned to better health and a firm floor under prices, sellers who previously shied away from putting their home on the market are expected to list their home in response to improved housing demand in recent months.”

The national average price for homes sold in November 2010 was $344,268, up two per cent from November 2009.

Nearly two-thirds of local markets experienced a year-over-year increase in average price.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Resale+pace+returning+normal/4047628/story.html#ixzz1ABXVT4pt

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