Friday, July 28, 2006

Edmonton's Apartment Vacancy Rate Has Fallen From 4.5 Per Cent To 1.5 Per Cent In The Past Six Months

'Edmonton's apartment vacancy rate has fallen from 4.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent in the past six months, making it tougher to find a place to rent.

Commercial real estate company CB Richard Ellis surveyed over 30,000 apartments and found only about 500 vacancies.

Vice-president Paul Gemmel expects the rental market will only get tighter.

"The general economy is so strong. There's no new rental being built, it's not affordable, you can't build these things and make sense out of them," he said.

"I think we're going to see a real tight market here for the next several years."
After years of stability, rents have taken a 13 per cent jump. The average one-bedroom now rents for about $650 dollars a month.

Calgary's vacancy rate is 1.6 per cent.'

Taken from Yahoo! News

This is great news for investors. Buy up those revenue properties and ensure the energy boom in northern Alberta hits you nicely in the pocketbook.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Resale Of Homes In Major Cities On Pace To Set A Record This Year

"Resale of homes in major cities on pace to set a record this year: MLS agents

OTTAWA (CP) - It's a good year to sell your house.

The Canadian Real Estate Association says resales of homes by agents on the multiple listing service set a record for the first six months of this year and are on pace to set an annual record.

Actual resales of homes in major centres hit 186,177 units in the first half of the year, up 3.6 per cent from the same period last year.

The association says record sales in Calgary and Edmonton remained the driving force behind national totals, but records were also set in Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London and Sudbury in Ontario, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

The average price for the first six months hit $277,380, compared with $246,093 in the same period last year, a 12.7 per cent gain.

The total dollar volume for the first half of this year was $54.6 billion, up from $47.2 billion in 2005."

Article care of

This is great news for those of you who thought you had missed your chance at cashing in, and great for investors holding property as well.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Real Estate In Northern B.C. Is Still Strong

"Realtors in northern B.C. have sold 3,432 properties through the MLS service in the first six months of the year. That is up 14 per cent in the same period in 2005, according to the July 12 press release from the B.C. Northern Real Estate Board. "

A 14% jump in sales is great for the economy of Northern B.C. With expansion of tourism and the retirement of boomers the northern part of the province will likely experience growth well after 2010.

You can read the entire article at
Or check out more stats at

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Real Estate Is So Hot In China That It Is Pushing The Economic Growth Rate To Double Digits

Real Estate is so hot in China that it is pushing the economic growth rate to double digits. This extraordinary growth rate has China's economic watchdogs concerned rabid investment will result in defaulted loans. With high growth rates everyone wants to get in on the boom, which results in poor investment loans that eventually become defaulted. With China's economy being so large, and overseas investment pouring in, defaulted loans could seriously effect the world economy. has the complete article.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

In Order To Have A Mortgage You Need To Have Home Insurance

Let us talk about insurance. In order to have a mortgage you need to have home insurance. But does your insurance cover all types of loss that you might expect? The Insurance Bureau of Canada, which represents more than 90 per cent of Canada's non-government home, car and business insurance, is advising B.C. homeowners to double-check their insurance coverage as soon as possible. The recent rise of forest fires in areas such as Williams Lake has IBC warning not to wait until there is a fire to get insurance, as it will be too late. Insurance companies will not issue new insurance to home owners if there is a fire within 50 km. Check out the Williams Lake Tribune for the full article.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Making Sense Of Real Estate Legal Fees

The Law Society has released new guidelines for the standards expected of a lawyer in a real estate transaction. They are expected to raise the bar (pardon the pun!). There is also a movement to encourage the use of standard fees in real estate law. They would be higher than today's typical fees. I support both efforts. Before getting cynical about greedy lawyers, hear me out. I don't practise real estate law, so I am fairly objective. I suspect that many clients don't appreciate the effort that goes into a real estate file. Your solicitor must review the agreement; explain it to you; do a search of title and review it; and prepare a requisition letter to address the issues raised by the agreement and the title search. He or she must deal with the inevitable problems (very time consuming!) that arise. It is said there are no more simple transactions. Next, the lawyer must obtain the mortgage instructions, follow up on various inquiries to ensure that you have good title; prepare documents for the other side and/or you to sign; meet with you to sign up the documents (and, more often than not, to explain to you for the first time the details of the mortgage that you agreed to give, despite the fact that those terms ought to have been explained to you when you got the mortgage from the bank or the broker); go to the bank to get certified cheques; and register the deal. Even after the deal is done, there is work to do -- ensuring any previous mortgages are removed from title. Real estate practice is staff-intensive. I have one assistant. It is not unusual for a real estate lawyer to have three. That's three times the overhead (desks, computers, software, salaries and benefits, rent, etc.) than I have to carry. There are a lot of real estate lawyers working very hard to keep in business. Years ago, fees were based on the selling price -- just like real estate commissions still are. The Competition Tribunal had a problem with that. Once the tariff disappeared, some lawyers started offering cut-rate fees in an attempt to build a practice. The result is that legal fees for real estate lawyers have gone down, yet costs have gone up. I think these rate-cutters fall into two categories. The first group is the people who are fairly new and are trying to establish a practice and reputation. Eventually, they realize they could earn more by working at Home Depot, so they raise their rates, but advertise their prices in a way that you think you are getting a better price than you actually are. They may say "$500 plus disbursements."Some items that some lawyers call disbursements are nothing more than hidden fees. Comparing prices from lawyer to lawyer becomes like comparing cellular phone rate plans. The second category represents the factories. These are firms where the staff do all the work and the lawyer's involvement in the file is very limited. These situations breed negligence claims and it is no surprise to know that, historically, real estate transactions cause the highest number of negligence claims against lawyers. Solicitors want to do a good job. However, fees that are too low for the time required to do a good job will leave the solicitor desperate to cut costs, which too often results in cutting corners.
By Ian Johncox

So now you know what your lawyer does for all that money you have forked over.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Numbers Are Starting To Come In For June, And Predictions Are That Real Estate Has Begun To Slow

Numbers are starting to come in for June, and predictions are that real estate has begun to slow. Final numbers will take another day or so, but in Calgary, Canada's hottest real estate market, home sales have begun to slow. Of course that is a relative term. Home prices have risen $10,000 since May, and an incredible $125,000 since last June. Kevin Clark, President of the Calgary Real Estate Board, believes that the Calgary market will start to cool a little with an increase in the number of homes listed. Check out Shawn Logan's article in the Calgary Sun for all the numbers and details.

The change in the Calgary market will be welcome news to those who are still seeking a home, and to investors who are sniffing out good deals. However, the recent slow down may be an indication of a market that has grown way to fast and of course the dreaded housing bubble that analysts have been warning of. In an energy rich economy like Alberta the slow down is sure to be just the market leveling off.