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When it comes to renovations, some areas of your home will bring in more value than others. Often, the money you put in cannot be recouped when it is time to sell, so it is important to invest in some areas of your home that will bring back the most return on your investment. Here are some areas of your house that you can safely renovate while adding resale value to your home.

Increase light and space

One of the best things a property owner can do to elevate appeal is to increase flow and light in their space. This can be achieved in a few ways. Consider knocking down some walls to extend floor space and brighten up the area. An open floor plan makes your home feel larger and is great for entertaining. Vaulted ceilings can create the illusion of more space, and skylights can add abundant natural light. Adding new large windows can also help bring in sunshine. Each of these options come at various price points.

Increase curb appeal

The curb appeal of your home is incredibly important when it comes time to sell. The first impression of your home will be from the outside looking in. It is said that a good first impression of a home adds five percent to its value. Make sure that exterior paint is in good repair. The driveway should be paved properly, the front steps should be swept, and the lawn space should be well-maintained. If you have a deck, consider adding some stylish furniture and colourful potted plants.

Create a home office

If you have extra space, consider adding a home office. With businesses giving employees more options for telecommuting, this extra space adds value. Make sure there is plenty of desk space,  grounded outlets and even an extra phone line.

Consider adding a deck

Studies have shown that if you add a deck to your home, you will likely recoup up to 80 percent of the cost when it comes time to selling your home. When installing a deck, take the time to plan out unique features such as built-in seating or a fire pit. Using higher quality materials will increase the life of your deck.

Finish your basement

Finishing your basement can easily add resale value to your home. A basement space can be turned into a playroom for the kids or a media room relatively easily. Consider adding a bathroom when you do the remodel, as this can increase the value of the project even more.

There are plenty of different home renovation projects that you can do to increase the resale value of your home. The projects you undertake can make your home more appealing to the buyer, while also adding to the potential that your home will go for more when it is on the market.

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When dealing with a drainage problem in your basement, it may be difficult to determine where the problem is coming from. Could it be a leaky roof, poor drainage or worse, a crack in your foundation? Getting the help of a professional to determine the cause of your drainage issue first is a good idea. Here is a guide to everything you need to know about weeping tile, should you decide to have it installed.

What are weeping tiles?

Weeping tiles are porous 4-inch pipes that discharge underground water. They were originally named weeping tiles back when terracotta tiles were used for drainpipes. Today, the products used are plastic tubes with small slits designed to redirect water away from the home. Weeping tiles were invented by Henry Flagg French. He wrote a book about the subject back in 1859 and was heralded for solving the drain-clogging problem of the era.

How do weeping tiles work?

How weeping tiles work is really quite simple. The plastic pipes are placed, holes side up, into a trench around the perimeter of your home or inside under the basement floor. As ground water rises, it flows through the holes into the pipe. The water then follows the pipe’s incline to discharge away from the house, or into a sump pump where it is pumped away from the house.

Types of weeping tiles

There are two main types of weeping tiles

  • Exterior weeping tile, or French drains, manage water at ground level before it can get into your basement. This system consists of a trench that is sloped away from the house, as well as gravel and pipe. When surface water soaks into the ground, it is filtered through the gravel, then through holes in the pipe and directed away from the house.
  • Interior weeping tile is only used when exterior weeping tile has failed. This system is installed under the basement floor, where water is directed to a sump pump, through the pipes and into an exterior storm sewer. While installing weeping tile beneath a basement floor is like installing one outside, it can be more expensive. The process is similar to installing a sump pump. A 12-inch wide by 12-inch deep trench is cut around the entire perimeter of the basement, and a pipe is placed inside, filled with gravel and covered with concrete.

Weeping tile maintenance

To keep your weeping tile system working efficiently, regular plumbing checks and maintenance are required. There are a few things you can do to help maintain the life of your tile:

  • Clean out leaves from eaves troughs and redirect downspouts away from your house.
  • Keep window wells free of debris and add a cover.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working properly and add a better back-up.
  • Have any slow draining sinks or toilets checked for clogs.
  • Walk around your property to check for pooling water.

Now that you’re an expert, make sure to ask a professional to check your home drainage issue to see if this problem might be resolved with weeping tile!

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With the holiday season upon us, there are many wonderful holiday events to enjoy in and around the city of St. Albert. Here is a list of six great holiday events, which will get you and your family into the holiday spirit!

1. The Magic of Lights

The Magic of Lights is a great way to take in beautiful holiday light displays without having to leave the comfort of your car! This drive-through light display will delight your whole family, while staying warm and dry from the elements.

When: November 22, 2019 – January 4, 2020

Where: Highway 19 & Highway 2, Nisku

Cost: $25 + GST per car

2. Enjoy Light Festival

The Enjoy Light Festival (or ELF), will transform St. Albert’s own Enjoy Center into an enchanted winter wonderland with whimsical lighting displays that will create an interactive and unforgettable experience for guests of all ages!

When: November 21, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Where: The Enjoy Centre

Cost: $9.95 - $19.95 (Children 3 and under free!)

3. Christmas Glow

This year’s Glow theme is “Glow Around the World.” Experience a magical family-friendly indoor wonderland. Enjoy interactive light gardens, illuminated structures, delicious food, festive drinks and daily live entertainment, all under the twinkle of a million lights.

When: November 28, 2019 – January 2, 2020

Where: Edmonton Expo Centre

Cost: $16.99 - $22.99

4. St. Albert Snowflake Festival

Let the holidays begin in Downtown St. Albert! Perron District will light up with the warm glow of Christmas lights. There are festivities for guests of all ages, including a live ice sculpture display, horse drawn wagons and a petting zoo. Santa and his elves will be waiting in Santa’s village to greet children and spread Christmas cheer.

When: Friday, November 22, 2019 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM

Where: Perron Street, St. Albert.

Cost: Free!

5. Winter Whyte Light Up

The Old Strathcona Business Association is turning McIntyre Park into a winter wonderland with a whole host of activities! There will be extended hours at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market, Free Santa Photos at the Strathcona Public Library, an 18+ Speakeasy at the ATB Financial Arts Barns, Firepits and S’mores and more!

When: November 20, 2019 from 4 – 7 PM

Where: Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park

Cost: Free

6. Zoominescence

Zoominescence will stage a spectacular exhibition of artistic light installations within the unique setting of the Edmonton Valley Zoo. The festival aims to celebrate light, artistry, imagination and the strong spirit of our community in the winter. There will be beautiful light displays, animals, skating, hot chocolate and fun for the whole family.

When: Every December Weekend, plus December 26

Where: Edmonton Valley Zoo

Cost: $8.50 per adult, $6 per child

With so many holiday events to enjoy in and around St. Albert, there will be no shortage of holiday cheer to go around. What’s your favourite holiday event to attend? Comment below!

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There’s no doubt about it – Winter is here. With that, it’s important to make sure your home’s most important feature throughout the winter – your furnace – will survive the frosty weather. We’ve compiled a list of important considerations to determine if your furnace will survive the coldest months of the year. We also have a few suggestions on how to extend your furnace’s life.

Consider your furnace’s lifespan

Typically, furnaces last about 15 years. If your furnace is older than that, it might be worth thinking about getting a new one before a true deep freeze sets in. Regular maintenance can help keep your furnace in great shape. Make sure to have your furnace looked at by a qualified professional. If the repairs end up being more than half the value of a new furnace, it might be time to think about getting a new one.


Furnaces that are in their best condition, like new or well-maintained furnaces, operate efficiently. As they get older, performance and furnace efficiency start to drop. Who wants to deal with higher heating bills or uneven heating? Regular maintenance can help avoid these problems. However, if you’ve noticed that your heating bill has already risen, talk about it with a professional. He or she will be able to help you identify the problem.

Unusual noises and smells

If your furnace is making unusual noises (don’t be afraid to get up close to listen) or emitting weird smells, there should be cause for concern. If you hear buzzing, rattling or humming, call a professional to get it inspected right away.

Now that you know what to look out for, here are a few tips on helping your furnace power through Alberta winters.

Keep your air filter clean

When it’s extremely cold outside, your furnace needs all the help it can get to keep your home warm. Having a clean air filter will prevent your furnace from working harder than it needs to.

Hold off setting back your thermostat

We often set our programmable thermostats to a lower temperature while we’re away from home in order to conserve energy. While this may seem like a great idea, it may be more trouble than it's worth in the dead of winter. When it’s freezing outside, it’s harder for your furnace to bring your home back up to the desired room temperature. Keeping your thermostat at a consistent setting until the weather warms up outside might be your best bet.

Ask a neighbour to check on your house when you’re gone

If your furnace goes out during extreme cold weather and you’re not home, your house may be at risk for problems such as frozen pipes. If you’re going on vacation, have a neighbour or family member check on your home to ensure your heat is working. The last thing you want upon arrival is a colossal mess.

We hope these considerations and tips help your furnace survive even our coldest winter months.

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Welcome, November! While some of us may be dreading the return of the cold weather, we are excited to partake in a large list of fun activities in and around St. Albert to keep us warm.

1. Dig In Dining Week

Until November 10th, indulge in St. Albert’s first annual Dig In Dining Week, a gastronomic extravaganza showcasing the culinary talents of St. Albert chefs. Enjoy two and three-course meals at special prices across restaurants in St. Albert. You’re not going to want to miss the chance to try the delicious culinary offerings your city has to offer.

2. Farm Fair International

Also running until November 10th, Farm Fair International is one of Canada’s top agricultural shows. Guests are invited to partake in a wide variety of western entertainment, including a heritage ranch rodeo and stock dog trails. In the Winter Marketplace, visitors can find anything and everything western. Apparel, saddles, home décor and fashion accessories will all be on sale. Saddle up and head on down to Farm Fair International.

3. Six The Musical

Running from November 1st through 24th, the Citadel Theatre is running an interesting historical remake. Six musical remixes 500 years of historical heartbreak by retelling the story of the six wives of Henry VIII and turning it into a seventy-five-minute celebration of girl power. Should be an interesting show!

4. Explore the St. Albert Public Library

The St. Albert Public Library is rife with fun activities for the whole family. From Lego Fun at the Library to Drop in Game Jam, and from Walking Storytime to Teen Tuesdays, the St. Albert public library has a plethora of programs that will be sure to pique an interest among your family members.

5. Just for Laughs Comedy Night in Canada hosted by Rick Mercer

One of the kings of Canadian comedy is coming to the Edmonton area. Rick Mercer, along with several award-winning Canadian comedians, will be on stage at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on Friday, November 8th. This year, Just for Laughs is partnering up with Movember, and one dollar from every ticket sale will be donated to Movember Canada to support men’s health.

6. Margaret Atwood: Word after a Word after a Word is Power at the Garneau Theatre

Poet and Novelist, Margaret Atwood is a Canadian literary giant. While millions of readers worldwide know her books cover to cover, few know the woman behind the type. Screening on November 11th and November 14th, this documentary explores Atwood’s interesting life, from her early years as a poet and novelist to her current international success.

7. Country Craft Fair

The Country Craft Fair showcases members of the St. Albert Place Visual Arts Council, with unique works of art for sale. Just in time for the holidays, this beautiful craft show will feature paintings, quilts, glasswork, fibre, floral and paper art, pottery, photography and more. The fair runs on November 16th and 17th. Don’t miss out!  

With such a large list of things to see and do in November, there’s no chance of getting bored. Did we miss any great events happening in November? Comment below.

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The cold weather has officially made a comeback in St. Albert and it’s time to think about ways to prepare your home for the colder months. Here are a few tips for getting your home ready for winter.

Check your furnace

It’s a great idea to have your furnace professionally checked in the fall, before the deep freeze settles upon us. There’s nothing like having your furnace break down in the middle of a cold snap in January. A routine maintenance check will help ensure that your furnace is running efficiently. Depending on the age of your furnace, annual checks may even be included in the sale.

Inspect all windows and doors for leaks

To prevent your home from loosing heat, make sure that all of your windows and doors are properly sealed. Here is where weather stripping can play an important role – check your windows and doorframes and replace them where necessary. If you’re noticing a draft anywhere, caulk any areas that could benefit from it.

Sweep the chimney

If you plan on curling up in front of a roaring fire at any point this winter, it may be a good idea to get your chimney cleaned before entertaining the thought. Have a professional chimney sweep come to clean and inspect your chimney to make sure both the chimney and vents are in good condition before setting a fire. This prevents chimney fires and carbon monoxide from entering your home.

Clean your gutters

It’s a good idea to start the season with clean eaves troughs. That way, when snow begins to melt in the spring, it will have a clear path to escape, avoiding ice damning which could creep under your shingles and eventually into your home. When you are cleaning out the gutters, take a look at the downspouts and make sure that they extend away from your home by at least five feet. This will ensure that water runs away from your house and not towards it.

Inspect the roof

While you are cleaning out the eaves troughs, it’s also a good idea to take a peek at your roof for any missing, loose or damaged shingles. Call in a roofer to help you with the repairs and ask them to check the seal around the chimney and air vents.

Drain your hose and turn off any external faucets

We all use our garden hoses throughout the summer, but it is essential to drain off the hose and turn off the outside tap before the cold settles in. Any water left inside can damage both the faucet and the hose, so make sure to winterize both to prevent any burst pipes.

Trim your bushes and trees

Make sure that any overgrown bushes, shrubs or trees are trimmed back away from the house, especially away from power cables. When the inevitable heavy snowfall hits, this will prevent any potential damage to property or power lines.

With these simple home maintenance steps, your home will be ready for winter in no time. Do you have any suggestions on how to get your home ready for winter? Comment below!

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You may not know, but there is a distinct difference between remodeling and renovating. We are here to break it down for you, so that you can understand the difference, and how it might impact your own home or one you may purchase in the future.


According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, renovation means to “restore to a better state (as by repairing or rebuilding)”. In other words, dilapidated buildings or poorly maintained houses are sometimes considered to be in a state of disrepair. To renovate a house or building means to revive that structure from a state of disrepair and bring it into a better, or more beautiful and functional, state of repair.

Renovations can be small, like when you improve on an existing building or house. Or, they can be drastic, like when you gut your home and improve on it greatly. Remember, construction involving renovation often refers to “restoring” or “repairing” an existing structure, replacing the old with the new.


Again, according to Marriam Webster, remodeling means “to alter the structure of”. If you’re looking to remodel your kitchen, you’re looking to change the appearance of it. If you’re doing a kitchen renovation, you’re looking to repair and update it (think, new cabinetry, rather than simply painting it).

Remodels generally work to change the appearance, structure or function of a room. In other words, a remodel aims to improve upon or transform the existing design and layout of a room. Remodeling refers to “changing” or “transforming” a building or a home.


Let’s say you’re looking to make some improvements to your bathroom.

In a bathroom remodel, you might paint the walls, buy and install a new mirror, change up the door handles and the toilet paper roll holder. You might even go all out and buy a stunning new shower curtain and bath rug. Set up some candles around the edge of the bathtub and you’ve got yourself a newly remodeled bathroom oasis!

With bathroom renovations, on the other hand, you’re looking at a more complex undertaking. That leaky faucet? Switch it up for a nice new energy-efficient and auto-temperature-controlled one. Install a fancy new toilet with a bidet function. Sure, you’ll paint the walls, but not until you’ve gutted them to make the bathroom a little bigger. And while you’re at it, why not install that snazzy new light fixture? Replace the tub entirely for the latest model of shower-tub combo.

Why is this important?

Why is it important to know the difference between a renovation and a remodel? You’ll want to be able to accurately communicate with your general contractor what changes you want to make to your home or building. As you can tell from the above example, there is a huge difference between a remodel and a renovation, which means there are certain costs associated with each type of construction. Finally, now that you know the difference, you can make an informed decision when you are looking for a home that has either been recently been renovated or remodeled.

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The St. Albert clock tower (aka, the Perron Street clock tower) is a beautiful building. It is also one of the most characteristic landmarks of the St. Albert skyline. It is a nice welcomed beacon as you drive past in the morning, and a constant reminder of the time as you drive past on your way home. But do you know the real reason why the St. Albert clock tower was built? You may find it surprising…

Since its construction in 1995, the Perron Street clock tower has been acting as a University of Alberta research facility. Surprising, right?

In the mid-1990s, Dr. Mike Hatzinikolas, a university professor of civil engineering at the University of Alberta, approached the then-mayor of St. Albert, Anita Ratchinsky, with an interesting idea. He was studying how bricks weather and erode over time and needed a new building in order to study the process properly. An older building’s bricks would have already begun the erosion process, so he needed to construct a brand-new building for his research. The mayor and council agreed to his proposal, and the St. Albert clock tower was born.

Construction began in June of 1995 and by September, St. Albert had a brand-new clock tower. While it looked nice on the outside, many residents of St. Albert had no idea of the research implications on the inside. The four walls were constructed using different methods, each displaying a different construction style. Next, Dr. Hatzinkolas and his team hung a series of weights, pendulums and machines to conduct measurements on the structure. The weights were designed to measure the brick’s erosion over time. After about a year, the research team had all the data they needed for their study and left the clock tower to tick along in peace.

After almost 20 years, there was renewed interest in the tower from the University. New engineering professors at the University thought that the tower could still produce valuable data and they wanted to run new and exciting experiments. The researchers brought in new technology to measure the walls and found some interesting results.

A St. Albert Gazette article from January 2013 explains:

“While they cautioned it is still early, their preliminary observations show the south wall of the tower is gaining a significant amount of heat due to solar radiation, sometimes double what current standards dictate. The outside wall is also not contracting as much in the cold compared to the inside walls. To date, the wall has shrunk only one or two millimetres.”

While the clock tower will stand forevermore as an iconic landmark in our city’s downtown, it’s original purpose was for something much more. The pursuit of science!

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With the cooler temperatures inevitably on their way, it’s important to ensure that your home is ready for the harsh elements that winter brings. One of the most important aspects of your home is its roof. While it is a significant financial commitment to replace your roof, it is also one of the most crucial. It is vital to ensure that you identify any problems quickly in order to avoid larger problems down the road.

There is still time to get your roof done before the real snow hits. And, if you aren’t sure you are ready just yet, it is something you may want to consider when spring rolls around next year.

There are several signs that indicate your roof is in need of replacing. Here are some to keep an eye out for:

  • Bald spots where granules are missing
  • Cracked or missing shingles
  • Drooping and sagging
  • Moss growth
  • An old or worn appearance

It is also important to keep in mind the age of your roof. If it is at least 20 years old, your roof might have reached its expiry date. For instance, a typical asphalt shingle roof typically lasts 20 to 25 years. However, a roof installed over an existing layer of shingles should be replaced after 20 years.

So, once you have discovered that your roof needs replacing, what does that mean for you home overall? There are many befits of a brand-new roof and here are some of our top reasons why.

Boost in Home Value


A new roof significantly increases your homes value. A dilapidated roof can be an instant turn off for many buyers. The fact of the matter is that they don’t want to have to deal with having to replace the roof themselves. Even if your home isn’t hitting the market, investing in your roof now definitely has the potential to pay off down the road.

Increases Curb Appeal


First impressions mean everything, and it’s no different when it comes to your home. Whether or not you are planning to sell, you want your home to look great. A new roof can completely change the look of the exterior of your home and has a massive impact on its curb appeal. The best part is that there are many roofing options available, so you are sure to find something that fits your style and aesthetic.

Lower Insurance Premiums


Who doesn’t want to save money? After you replace your roof, make sure to contact your insurance agent, as there are discounts that you may be qualified for.

Avoid Larger Problems


After we get hit with massive amounts of snow all winter long, we know what happens next. Melting. And, we all know how damaging water can be to a home. Avoid a huge mess in the spring by taking care of your damaged roof now. Indoor pools are great, but not when they unexpectedly end up in your kitchen and dining room.

Make sure the roof over your head is doing its job. And, if you aren’t sure if you need to have your roof replaced, contact a licensed roofing contractor and get a professional opinion.

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Year-over-year prices remain stable
Decline in unit volumes typical of mid-summer market

Edmonton, August 2, 2017: In the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), all-residential unit average prices for July 2017 are down 2.44% compared to June 2017, but only down 0.11% relative to July 2016.

Average sale prices for single family homes decreased both month-over-month and year-over-year, decreasing to $446,892, down 1.51% compared to June 2017 and down 0.44% relative to July 2016. Average prices for duplexes/rowhouses and condominiums were stable in June. Average prices for condominiums rose in July 2017 to $261,861. This represents a 0.68% increase compared to June 2017, and a 2.18% increase compared to July 2016. Duplexes and rowhouses average price decreased to $343,883. This represents a 1.87% decrease from June 2017, and a 2.48% decrease from July 2016.

The number of all residential units reported sold was 1,622. Although this represents a month-over-month decrease of 13.12%, it also reflects a year-over-year increase of 0.37%. Single family unit sales were 1,003 units, representing a decrease of 15.86% compared to June 2017 and an increase of 0.60% compared to July 2016. Reported condominium sales were 415, which is down 9.98% month-over-month and down 3.04% year-over-year. There were 181 duplex/rowhouse unit sales in July 2017, which is down 41.04% compared to June 2017 but is up 9.70 compared to July 2016.

“It’s typical for unit sales to slow in July, which is shown in the year-over-year comparison,” says James Mabey, REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair. “Inventory is still strong for buyers, and marginal adjustments in year-over-year prices indicate a stable market for sellers.”
In July, inventory was 8,756, which was an increase of 2.04% compared to June 2017, and an increase of 10.70% compared to July 2016. Total new residential listings in June were 3,114, down 9.13% from June 2017 and up 8.43% from June 2016.
“Sellers must remain patient but mindful of their positioning in the market with many options for buyers to consider, so consulting with their REALTOR® to remain competitive is essential,” says Mabey.

The all-residential average days-on-market was 53 days, holding steady from June 2017 and three days shorter than July 2016. On average, single family detached homes sold in 48 days, condominiums sold in an average 60 days and duplex/rowhouses sold in 55 days.


MLS® System Activity for July 2017

1 Census Metropolitan Area (Edmonton and surrounding municipalities)
2 Single Family Dwelling
3 The total value of sales in a category divided by the number of properties sold 
4 The middle figure in a list of all sales prices
5 Residential includes SFD, condos and duplex/row houses. 
6 Includes residential, rural and commercial sales


3 Average prices indicate market trends only. They do not reflect actual changes for a particular property, which may vary from house to house and area to area. Sales are compared to the month end reports from the prior period and do not reflect late reported sales. The RAE trading area includes communities beyond the CMA (Census Metropolitan Area) and therefore average and median prices may include sold properties outside the CMA. For information on a specific area, contact your local REALTOR®.

The REALTORS® Association of Edmonton (Edmonton Real Estate Board), founded in 1927, is a professional association of real estate Brokers and Associates in the greater Edmonton area. The Association administers the Multiple Listing Service®, provides professional education to its members and enforces a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice. The Association also advertises property listings and publishes consumer information on the Internet at and, as well as in the Real Estate Weekly and REALTORS® support charities involving shelter and the homeless through the REALTORS® Community Foundation.

Trademarks are owned or controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA (REALTOR®) and/or the quality of services they provide (MLS®).



REALTORS® Community Foundation

Real Estate Weekly

Real Estate Council of Alberta

©2011 REALTORS® Association of Edmonton 14220 112 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5M 2T8T: 780-451-6666 TF: 1-888-674-7479 F: 780-452-1135 
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You’ve been saving for awhile, weighing your options, looking around casually. Now you’ve finally decided to do it—you’re ready to buy a house. The process of buying a new home can be incredibly exciting, yet stressful, all at once. Where do you start? It is essential you do your homework before you begin. Learn from the experiences of others, do some research. Of course, with so many details involved, slip-ups are inevitable. But be careful: learning from your mistakes may prove costly. Use the following list of pitfalls as a guide to help you avoid the most common mistakes.

1. Searching for houses without getting pre-approved by a lender: Do not mistake pre-approval by a lender with pre-qualification. Pre-qualification, the first step toward being pre-approved, will point you in the right direction, giving you an idea of the price range of houses you can comfortably afford. Preapproval, however, means you become a cash buyer, making negotiations with the seller much easier.


2. Allowing “first impressions” to overly influence your decision: The first impression of a home has been cited as the single most influential factor guiding many purchasers’ choice to buy. Make a conscious decision beforehand to examine a home as objectively as you can. Don’t let the current owners’ style or lifestyle sway your judgment. Beneath the bad décor or messy rooms, these homes may actually suit your needs and offer you a structurally sound base with which to work. Likewise, don’t jump at a home simply because the walls are painted your favourite colour! Make sure you thoroughly the investigate the structure beneath the paint before you come to any serious decisions.


3. Failing to have the home inspected before you buy: Buying a home is a major financial decision that is often made after having spent very little time on the property itself. A home inspection performed by a competent company will help you enter the negotiation process with eyes wide open, offering you added reassurance that the choice you’re making is a sound one, or alerting you to underlying problems that could cost you significant money in both the short and long-run. Your Realtor can suggest reputable home inspection companies for you to consider and will ensure the appropriate clause is entered into your contract.


4. Not knowing and understanding your rights and obligations as listed in the Offer to Purchase: Make it a priority to know your rights and obligations inside and out. A lack of understanding about your obligations may, at the very least, cause friction between yourself and the people with whom you are about to enter the contract. Wrong assumptions, poorly written/ incomprehensible/ missing clauses, or a lack of awareness of how the clauses apply to the purchase, could also contribute to increased costs. These problems may even lead to a void contract. So, take the time to go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb, making use of the resources and knowledge offered by your Realtor and lawyer. With their assistance, ensure you thoroughly understand every component of the contract, and are able to fulfill your contractual obligations.


5. Making an offer based on the asking price, not the market value: Ask your Realtor for a current Comparative Market Analysis. This will provide you with the information necessary to gauge the market value of a home, and will help you avoid over-paying. What have other similar homes sold for in the area and how long were they on the market? What is the difference between their asking and selling prices? Is the home you’re looking at under-priced, overpriced, or fair value? The seller receives a Comparative Market Analysis before deciding upon an asking price, so make sure you have all the same information at your fingertips.


6. Failing to familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood before buying: Check out the neighbourhood you’re considering, and ask around. What amenities does the area have to offer? Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach? Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children. How will you be affected by a new commute to work? Are there infrastructure projects in development? All of these factors will influence the way you experience your new home, so ensure you’re well-acquainted with the surrounding area before purchasing.


7. Not looking for home insurance until you are about to move: If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be rushed to find an insurance policy that’s the ideal fit for you. Make sure you give yourself enough time to shop around in order to get the best deal.


8. Not recognizing different styles and strategies of negotiation: Many buyers think that the way to negotiate their way to a fair price is by offering low. However, in reality this strategy may actually result in the seller becoming more inflexible, polarizing negotiations. Employ the knowledge and skills of an experienced realtor. S/he will know what strategies of negotiation will prove most effective for your particular situation.

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Edmonton, February 2, 2017: Reported unit sales for all residential listings in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were strong in January, increasing 19.4% compared to the same month in 2016. Reported unit sales were also up relative to December 2016, increasing by 3%.

Unit prices were consistently stable with only modest decreases across each category. Compared to January 2016, condominium prices increased 8.7% and duplex/rowhouses increased 8%. Both categories decreased only slightly relative to December 2016, with condominiums down 0.37% and duplex/rowhouses down 0.46%. The average price of a single family home remained stable at $416,859, which is down 0.49% relative to January 2016, and down 0.97% compared to December 2016.

“2017 has started strong, with an increase in year over year unit sales and prices remaining stable,” said James Mabey, REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair. “While it is still early in the year, the rise in sales suggests that consumer confidence in the housing market is on the rise.”

The average days on market for all residential listings increased, which is typical for the winter season. Single family homes average days on market was 68, compared to 62 days on market in the previous month. Condominium average days on market increased to 82 relative to 80 days in December 2016. Duplex/rowhouses continue to be popular, with the average days on market decreasing to 68 days, which is 10 days faster than in December 2016.

All residential inventory decreased 2.7% compared to January 2016, and increased by 7.4% relative to December 2016. While the overall listings for January more than doubled compared to December 2016, from 1,067 to 2,185, they decreased year-over-year by 7.6% when compared to January 2016.

“REALTORS® always look forward to fresh inventory in the spring. Inventory was a big story in 2016, so it is positive to see more seasonally-appropriate inventory for 2017,” said Mabey.


MLS® System Activity for January 2017

1 Census Metropolitan Area (Edmonton and surrounding municipalities)
2 Single Family Dwelling
3 The total value of sales in a category divided by the number of properties sold 
4 The middle figure in a list of all sales prices
5 Residential includes SFD, condos and duplex/row houses. 
6 Includes residential, rural and commercial sales

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CMHC to Increase Mortgage Insurance Premiums

OTTAWA, January 17, 2017 — CMHC is increasing its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums effective March 17, 2017. For the average CMHC-insured homebuyer, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment.

“We do not expect the higher premiums to have a significant impact on the ability of Canadians to buy a home,” said Steven Mennill, Senior Vice-President, Insurance. “Overall, the changes will preserve competition in the mortgage loan insurance industry and contribute to financial stability.”

Capital requirements are an important factor in determining mortgage insurance premiums. The changes reflect OSFI's new capital requirements that came into effect on January 1st of this year that require mortgage insurers to hold additional capital. Capital holdings create a buffer against potential losses, helping to ensure the long term stability of the financial system.

During the first nine months of 2016:

  • The average CMHC-insured loan was approximately $245,000.
  • The average down payment was approximately 8%.
  • The average gross debt service ratio (GDS) was 25.6%. To qualify for CMHC insurance, a homebuyer’s GDS should not exceed 32% of their total monthly household income.
Down payment between 5% and 9.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $2.82 $4.70 $6.59 $8.47 $10.35 $15.98

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

*Premiums in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are subject to provincial sales tax — the sales tax cannot be added to the loan amount.

Premiums are calculated based on the loan-to-value ratio of the mortgage being insured. The premium can be paid in a single lump sum but more frequently is added to the mortgage principal and repaid over the life of the mortgage as part of regular mortgage payments. Additional details and scenarios are included in the backgrounder below.

CMHC regularly reviews its premiums and sets them at a level to cover related claims and expenses while also reflecting the regulatory capital requirements.

CMHC is Canada’s most experienced mortgage loan insurer. Our mortgage loan insurance enables Canadians to buy a home with a minimum down payment starting at 5%. As a Crown corporation, CMHC is the only mortgage insurer whose proceeds benefit all Canadians.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

For additional highlights please see the attached backgrounder.

For more information, follow us on TwitterYouTubeLinkedIn and Facebook.

Information on This Release:

Karine LeBlanc
Media Relations


  • CMHC’s standard mortgage loan insurance premiums will be changing as follows:
Loan-to-Value RatioStandard Premium (Current)Standard Premium (Effective March 17, 2017)
Up to and including 65% 0.60% 0.60%
Up to and including 75% 0.75% 1.70%
Up to and including 80% 1.25% 2.40%
Up to and including 85% 1.80% 2.80%
Up to and including 90% 2.40% 3.10%
Up to and including 95% 3.60% 4.00%
90.01% to 95% - Non-Traditional Down Payment 3.85% 4.50%
Down payment between 10% and 14.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $4.94 $8.23 $11.52 $14.81 $18.10 $27.98

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

Down payment between 15% and 19.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $7.06 $11.75 $16.46 $21.16 $25.86 $39.96

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

  • During the first nine months of 2016
    • Nearly 50% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of less than $300,000
    • Nearly 95% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of less than $600,000
    • Less than 1% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of more than $850,000
  • CMHC follows OSFI guidelines for federally regulated mortgage insurers in Canada.
  • Calculating the gross debt service ratio (GDS) allows potential homebuyers to estimate the maximum home-related expenses they can afford to pay each month.

GDS = Principal + Interest* + Property Tax + Heat
Monthly Income

*Interest is calculated using the qualifying rate

  • Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5% with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment. Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price.
  • CMHC’s new premium rates will be effective for new mortgage loan insurance requests submitted on or after March 17, 2017. The current mortgage loan insurance premiums will apply for applications submitted to CMHC prior to this date, regardless of the closing date. As is normal practice, complete borrower and property details must be submitted to CMHC when requesting mortgage loan insurance.
  • The changes do not impact mortgages currently insured by CMHC.
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The Liberal government has announced sweeping changes aimed at ensuring Canadians aren’t taking on bigger mortgages than they can afford in an era of historically low interest rates.

The changes are also meant to address concerns related to foreign buyers who buy and flip Canadian homes.


Below is a breakdown of the four major changes Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Monday.

The current rules

Buyers with a down payment of at least 5 per cent of the purchase price but less than 20 per cent must be backed by mortgage insurance. This protects the lender in the event that the home buyer defaults. These loans are known as “high loan-to-value” or “high ratio” mortgages.

In situations in which the buyer has 20 per cent or more for a down payment, the lender or borrower could obtain “low-ratio” insurance that covers 100 per cent of the loan in the event of a default.

Mortgage insurance in Canada is backed by the federal government through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Insurance is sold by the CMHC and two private insurers, Genworth Financial Mortgage Insurance Company Canada and Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Company. The federal government backs the insurance offered by the two private-sector firms, subject to a 10-per-cent deductible.


The change

Expanding a mortgage rate stress test to all insured mortgages.

What it is

As of Oct. 17, a stress test used for approving high-ratio mortgages will be applied to all new insured mortgages – including those where the buyer has more than 20 per cent for a down payment. The stress test is aimed at assuring the lender that the home buyer could still afford the mortgage if interest rates were to rise. The home buyer would need to qualify for a loan at the negotiated rate in the mortgage contract, but also at the Bank of Canada’s five-year fixed posted mortgage rate, which is an average of the posted rates of the big six banks in Canada. This rate is usually higher than what buyers can negotiate. As of Sept. 28, the posted rate was 4.64 per cent.

Other aspects of the stress test require that the home buyer will be spending no more than 39 per cent of income on home-carrying costs like mortgage payments, heat and taxes. Another measure called total debt service includes all other debt payments and the TDS ratio must not exceed 44 per cent.

Who it affects

This measure affects home buyers who have at least 20 per cent for a down payment but are seeking a mortgage that may stretch them too thin if interest rates were to rise. It also affects lenders seeking to buy government-backed insurance for low-ratio mortgages.



The government is responding to concerns that sharp rises in house prices in cities like Toronto and Vancouver could increase the risk of defaults in the future should mortgage rates rise.


The change

As of Nov. 30, the government will impose new restrictions on when it will provide insurance for low-ratio mortgages.

What it is

The new rules restrict insurance for these types of mortgages based on new criteria, including that the amortization period must be 25 years or less, the purchase price is less than $1-million, the buyer has a credit score of 600 and the property will be owner-occupied.

Who it affects

This measure appears to be aimed at lowering the government’s exposure to residential mortgages for properties worth $1-million or more, a category of the market that has increased sharply in recent years in Vancouver and Toronto.


Vancouver and Toronto are the two real estate markets that are of most concern for policy makers at all levels of government. These measures appear to be targeted at those markets.


The change

New reporting rules for the primary residence capital gains exemption.


What it is

Currently, any financial gain from selling your primary residence is tax-free and does not have to be reported as income. As of this tax year, the capital gains tax is still waived, but the sale of the primary residence must be reported at tax time to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Who it affects

Everyone who sells their primary residence will have a new obligation to report the sale to the CRA, however the change is aimed at preventing foreign buyers who buy and sell homes from claiming a primary residence tax exemption for which they are not entitled.


While officials say more data are needed, Ottawa is responding to extensive anecdotal evidence and media reports showing foreign investors are flipping homes in Canada and falsely claiming the primary residence exemption.


The change

The government is launching consultations on lender risk sharing.

What it is

Currently, the federal government is on the hook to cover the cost of 100 per cent of an insured mortgage in the event of a default. The federal government says this is “unique” internationally and that it will be releasing a public consultation paper shortly on a proposal to have lenders, such as banks, take on some of that risk. The Department of Finance Canada acknowledges this would be “a significant structural change to Canada’s housing finance system.”

Who it affects

Mortgage lenders, such as banks, would have to take on added risk. This could potentially lead to higher mortgage rates for home buyers.


The federal government wants to limit its financial obligations in the event of widespread mortgage defaults. It also wants to encourage prudent lending practices.



 OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
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For release: November 2, 2016

Year-over-year sales up and prices holding for October
Supply remains balanced in favour of both buyers and sellers; prices stay stable.
Edmonton, November


Supply remains balanced in favour of both buyers and sellers; prices stay stable.

Edmonton, November 2, 2016: Edmonton’s housing market remains constant for another month with residential unit sales increasing in October by 5.5% year-over-year (YoY). Single family unit sales increased by 7.1% YoY, condominium unit sales were down 3.9% YoY, and duplex/rowhouse unit sales climbed 17.4% over reported unit sales in October of 2015.

“The housing market in Edmonton continues to experience relative stability, with increased sales and steady prices year-over-year for October,” said Steve Sedgwick, Chair of the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. “We typically see the market slow during the colder months, so it is encouraging to see us moving into late fall with strong numbers.”

A single family home in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) sold for an average of $423,755, which is down 1.6% from September and down 1.75% YoY. Condominium prices were up year-over-year by 0.5% and down by 2.3% month-over-month. Duplex/rowhouse average prices also decreased 7.7% from the previous month and 6.9% from October 2015. However, all residential property prices were mostly unchanged in October, only down 0.64% compared to 2015.

“We’re seeing buyers who are confident in the future of the Alberta economy, and we are heading towards a solid finish to 2016,” Sedgwick said. “Residential unit sales across all categories are down 6% year-to-date compared to last year, however, our prices remain stable.”

The average days on market increased in October, which is typical for this time of year. In total, 1,265 units sold in October, with the average residence in the Edmonton CMA needing only 61 days to sell. Single family detached homes sold on average in 57 days, 3 days longer than September, and condominiums sold in 65 days, which was unchanged from the previous month. Duplexes/rowhouses needed an extra week, selling on average within 67 days in October compared to 60 in September. In October, there were 2,147 new listings available in the Edmonton area, down from 2,272 listings that came on the market in October 2015. With sales up over last year for October, the reported sales to listing ratio moved from 53% to 59%, indicating balance in the market.


MLS® System Activity (for all-residential sales in Edmonton CMA1)

1 Census Metropolitan Area (Edmonton and surrounding municipalities)
2 Single Family Dwelling
3 The total value of sales in a category divided by the number of properties sold 
4 The middle figure in a list of all sales prices
5 Residential includes SFD, condos and duplex/row houses. 
6 Includes residential, rural and commercial sales

Source: Edmonton Real Estate Board

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Edmonton, June 2, 2016: Unit sales for single family detached homes were up 19.3% from April and up 3.8% year-over-year, with 1,119 selling in May across the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). Unit sales of duplexes and rowhouses increased 37.2% over April, and 23.03% over May 2015 with 203 units sold in the month. Condo sales were up 5.3% month-over-month, but down 18.2% year-over-year. All-residential sales at 1,771 were up more than 18% from April and down less than 1% compared to May of last year.

“Consumer confidence amongst home buyers in Edmonton and surrounding areas remains strong and is reflected by increased unit sales in the single family detached and duplex/rowhouse categories,” REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair Steve Sedgwick said. “Relative to other markets in Alberta, Edmonton’s resale housing market is solid.”

Total new listings were down less than 1% relative to last month and 2.5% compared to May 2015, with 3,233 new properties coming onto the market in May. The sales-to-listing ratio for single family detached homes was 61% for May 2016, up 10% from April and on par with May 2015. The sales-to-listing ratio for duplex/rowhouses was 73%, down 13% from May 2015 but up 22% from last month. Condo properties are entering a buyer’s market, with a 40% sales-to-listing ratio, up 2% from last month, but down 13% from last year.

The average single family detached home in the Edmonton CMA sold for $440,573 in May, virtually on par with April’s average price of $439,982, but down almost 3% compared to the average price of $453,748 in May 2015. Average condo prices at $254,555 are up over 1% month-over-month, and almost flat to last year. Duplex/rowhouse average prices increased compared to both the previous month and May 2015, up 3% and 1.5% respectively.

“While new listings coming onto the market were down this May compared to 2015, inventory continues to remain strong with more than 8,000 residential properties on the market at month’s end,” Sedgwick said. “The fact that we haven’t seen a significant decline in prices is giving buyers more assurance. They are making purchases based on market stability and good selection.”  

In May, the all residential average days-on-market was 54 days, up 14 days from April and up 8 days relative to May 2015. On average, single family detached homes sold in 51 days in May, while condominiums and duplex/rowhouses sold in an average of 59 days.


MLS® System Activity (for all-residential sales in Edmonton CMA1)

1 Census Metropolitan Area (Edmonton and surrounding municipalities)
2 Single Family Dwelling
3 The total value of sales in a category divided by the number of properties sold 
4 The middle figure in a list of all sales prices
5 Residential includes SFD, condos and duplex/row houses. 
6 Includes residential, rural and commercial sales

Source: Realtor's Association of Edmonon

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I sold a builder spec  home to a client of mine a few months ago and it occurred to me that many people have never gone through this process before.  As a former home builder I know that dealing with deficiencies is common place when custom building homes for clients. However when someone is buying a new spec home through a builder they may not be aware of how to deal with deficiencies.  I like to write into the purchase contract that the builder and client will have a walkthrough prior to possession to jointly identify any building deficiencies that need to be addressed. These can then all be documented and signed by both the builder and the buyer that they will be rectified. I like to do the walkthroughs with my clients as I have the experience to both notice what needs to be addressed as well as identify those items which are within the acceptable tolerance level. As  a result I can play an effective role as a mediator while ensuring my client’s needs are being addressed. An example of this is in the picture to the left. During my review I noticed a piece of finish trim was missing on the shower valve creating a void where water could enter the wall system and cause significant damage. This was brought to the builder’s attention and promptly addressed. In many  cases deficiencies are addressed prior to closing requiring another walk through to confirm. However in some cases it may not be possible to address them prior to possession. In these cases the lawyers can holdback a portion of the funds to ensure the builder comes back to rectify. 

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Multiple offers happen in even the toughest markets. In most cases they are typically driven by an attractive list price on a very desirable property usually newer on the market. As a seller it is the ideal scenario as it encourages buyers to make their initial offer as attractive as possible to avoid losing the property to another buyer. As a buyer it can be difficult as any room for negotiation is typically gone.  


Although it sounds complicated to have multiple offers coming in on one property the process is relatively simple. When a realtor is working with a buyer that has interest in a property that agent typically calls the listing agent to advise them that their client is going to be submitting an offer on the property. At that point the buyer’s agent will ask the listing agent if he/she expects to be receiving any other offers on the property at or around the time his/her client’s offer is being presented. If the answer is ‘yes’ then a multiple offer situation exists. The buyer’s agent will ensure the client is aware that other offer(s) are coming in so the buyer understands the situation. It is the listing agent’s responsibility to notify all buyer’s agents that are writing competing offers on the property at or around the same time that a multiple offer situation exists to ensure a level playing field.


There is no limit on the amount of offers that can be presented however some offers will have a timeline as to when they must be responded to or they become null and void. In most multiple offer scenarios there are 2-4 offers being considered. The seller has the right to see all offers that come in before deciding which offer they are going to deal with. The term ‘deal with’ refers to accepting or countering an offer. The seller can accept or counter only one offer to avoid selling the property to more than one buyer. In most cases the seller will deal with the most attractive offer to them in terms of price, terms, possession date, inclusions and conditions. The seller’s agent will notify that buyer’s agent that they have either chosen to accept the deal as written which makes it the successful offer or that the seller has provided that particular buyer a counter proposal. Remember that only one offer can be countered by the seller. If the buyer agrees to the changes the seller has made via the counter offer this would now become a successful offer. In either case, after an offer was accepted the agents with the other competing offers would be notified that their offers were not successful.


The seller would have identified an order of desirability for the remaining unsuccessful offers and the buyer’s agents would be told what place their offer came in (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.). Starting with second place, the unsuccessful buyers would be asked if they would like to be placed in a backup position should something cause the accepted offer to become null and void. This provides the sellers with an alternative should the first deal collapse for some reason as well as the unsuccessful buyers with a chance at the property should the first deal fall apart. In most of these cases the unsuccessful buyers would also have to alter the price and terms of their initial proposal to be accepted as a back up offer. 

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Edmonton, March 2, 2016: Residential inventory saw another significant increase in February, surpassing 6,000 listings on the market, ending the month with 6,681 properties for sale on the MLS® System for the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). That’s a 16.17% increase over last month, and 33.41% more homes listed for sale than February 2015. Sales for February were up 36.54% month-over-month at 837 compared to 618 in January, but 10.1% lower than the 931 properties that sold during the same time last year.


“Sales numbers are increasing consistent with seasonal trends,” REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair Steve Sedgwick explains. “Relative to 2015, potential buyers have more inventory to choose from. Despite this inventory growth, prices have moderated only slightly compared to last year, so home owners and sellers can maintain some confidence that housing prices are remaining stable.”


February brought strength back to the average all-residential selling price, ending the month at $363,266, which is 6.93% higher month-over-month and virtually on par with this same time last year. Prices in all categories saw an increase in the Edmonton CMA market compared to just one month ago. Single family house prices averaged $419,940, virtually flat to last month (up 0.24%) but down 2.79% year-over-year (YoY). Condo properties sold for an average of $247,090, up 8.83% over last month, and down just 1.32% YoY. The biggest average price gain came in the duplex/rowhouse category, with the price in February finishing at $354,386, up 8.41% and 1.24% compared to January 2016 and February 2015, respectively.


February’s average days-on-market for all housing types dropped to 57, down from 71 in January but up from 48 YoY. On average, condos sold in 57 days last month, that’s down significantly from the 85 days it took in January, but still higher than the 49 days in February 2015.


“Buyers are still taking their time to consider all of their options before purchasing a new home,” Sedgwick said. “But with warmer weather just around the corner, clients are reaching out to their REALTOR® for support as the busy spring buying season approaches.”   



Source: Edmonton Real Estate Board public statistics

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A recent announcement from the Finance Minister of Canada stating that the minimum down payment has been increased from 5% to 10% as of February 15, 2016 has been misunderstood by many members of the public. The truth is 5% is still an acceptable down payment for most residential home purchase valued under $500,000. The difference is that for any purchase over $500,000 and less than $1,000,000 only the amount ABOVE the $500,000 must have 10% down payment.


The difference is actually minimal as show in the following example:


Purchase price: $600,000.


Previous down payment amount: 5% = $30,000

New down payment amount: 5% of $500,000 ($25,000) + 10% of $100,000 ($10,000) = $35,000

Difference: $35,000 - $30,000 = $5,000



As shown by this example the difference in minimum down payment amount has changed relatively little. This being said, it still is a new rule which may effect some purchasers. 

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Categories:   Market Report Nov 15
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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.