April 20, 2010

Three Things You Should See Before Making an Offer

So you've found your dream home and you're ready to write an offer. Hopefully you're already familiar with things like agency representation, the purchase contract, mortgage pre-approvals, inspections, conditions, deposits, down payment etc etc etc. These are all topics we typically discuss with our clients before we step foot in a home for sale. So, assuming none of that is a surprise, here are three things you should see before making an offer on a home:

  1. The title. The title has loads of information, such as: the names of the owners, any liens, caveats or encumbrances, the date the title transferred to the current owners, how much they paid for the property, and any mortgages registered on the property.
  2. The MLS® history. This shows you if and when the property has been listed on the MLS system, for how long and for how much (including price changes).
  3. Comparable sales. This will help you determine the actual value of the property. Many buyers get caught thinking if they get a certain amount off of the list price they are getting a deal, but if you get $50k off the list price for a home asking $75k more than it's worth....it's not a good deal.
These pieces of information are vital to anyone writing an offer. This help you gauge the position the seller is in, how motivated the may be, what the property is actually worth and more. Don't write without it!

April 18, 2010

First Quarter Report will be sent to subscribers on Monday April 19

We'll be sending out our First Quarter Report to subscribers tomorrow (Monday April 19) at 1pm. If you'd like a free copy subscribe before we send it out! The report is a close look at what is happening in the Edmonton real estate market, comparing the first quarter of 2010 to past year with charts and stats you won't find anywhere else. Plus - it includes our forecast for the remainder of the year. Don't miss out!

April 16, 2010

Edmonton Real Estate Market Weekly Update

Here is our update on the Edmonton real estate market. (Previous week's numbers are in brackets). For the past 7 days:   Weeklyupdate_2

New listings:  652 (540, 548, 512)
# Sales: 295 (216, 276, 275)
Ratio: 45% (40%, 50%, 54%)
# Price changes: 283 (235, 248, 236)
# Expired/Off Market Listings: 148 (106, 205, 79)
Net loss/gain in listings this week: 209 (218, 67, 158)
Active listings for single family homes: 2491 (2388, 2214, 2185)
Active listings for condos: 1868 (1801, 1719, 1689)

That's a lot of new listings! We haven't seen that kind of listing activity since July of 2008. The interesting thing is the inventory still hasn't surpassed last year (although I'm sure it will next week). All in all it "feels" like a regular spring market because you do see some multiple offers, some homes selling quickly and some just sitting there. As always, if it's priced and marketed well, it will sell.  Having said that, it will be interesting to see just how much more inventory is still to come on - is this the beginning of another inventory spike or the tail end of inventory growth?

April1510Weekly 

April1510SFH

April1510Condos

Have a fantastic weekend! Amazing how much the weather can change in one week in Edmonton!

April 15, 2010

Mortgage Rates Going Up

If you're thinking of buying in the next few months contact a mortgage broker today.... rates are going up again and you may be able to get a rate hold at a lower rate if you act today. There is no obligation to buy if you get a rate hold... for those that already have a hold you might want to see if you can get it extended. There's no harm in asking!

April 14, 2010

Alberta School Rankings

With all the talk about values and what’s driving them (and are they sustainable?) I just want to throw in that most people buy home for a number of reasons. One of the major reasons buyers select an area are the schools in the area and the quality of education their kids will receive.  There is no question that certain parents select a home for their family based on the quality of the school their child has the option of attending. 

Anyone who has children that go to school you knows what I’m talking about.  The school is not just a place for kids to learn their abc’s, its where they go to grow up.  Although academic achievement is  extremely important schools are not just about the academics, but easiest way to rank a school is simply to line up their academic scores.  The Fraser institute has published just such a report for Alberta schools. While the report doesn’t let you know if the school has a great physical education or other special program, or if its a safe environment for kids to grow in, it is one benchmark for people to look at. Check it out at http://www.fraserinstitute.org/reportcards/schoolperformance/alberta.htm.

April 12, 2010

More New Homes Being Built in Edmonton

CMHC released their housing starts press release today (you can read it here) showing that home builders in Edmonton were very busy in March. 813 homes were started in Edmonton in March, compared to 135 in March '09. Looking at the first quarter, 2032 homes were started compared to 761 last year. Of course, whenever you compare to all time lows, anything seems like a huge increase. As "bearclaw" pointed out on his blog Alberta Real Estate Watch last week, construction levels in Alberta are still relatively low.

As we've seen for many months now, most of the new construction is single family homes - in fact there were nearly 5 times more homes started this March than last (513 vs 105).

“The industry is attempting to replenish single-detached inventories that have been driven to low levels by a reduction in completions and relatively brisk demand,” noted Richard Goatcher, CMHC’s Senior Market Analyst based in Edmonton. So far this year, foundations were poured for 1,394 units compared with 401 singles recorded in the first three months of 2009.

Multiple dwelling starts such as apartments and semi-detached homes were ten times higher in March than last year (300 vs 30) and are up 77% for the first quarter.

Housing starts in Alberta’s seven largest centres totalled 1,957 units in March compared with 605 starts in the same month last year. Strong increases in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Red Deer easily countered year-over-year declines in Wood Buffalo, Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat.

April 09, 2010

Edmonton Real Estate Market Weekly Update

Here is our update on the Edmonton real estate market. (Previous week's numbers are in brackets). For the past 7 days:   Weeklyupdate_2

New listings:  540 (548, 512, 573)
# Sales: 216 (276, 275, 279)
Ratio: 40% (50%, 54%, 49%)
# Price changes: 235 (248, 236, 239)
# Expired/Off Market Listings: 106 (205, 79, 95)
Net loss/gain in listings this week: 218 (67, 158, 199)
Active listings for single family homes: 2388 (2214, 2185, 2107)
Active listings for condos: 1801 (1719, 1689, 1606)

Prediction: next week there will be more single family homes on the market in Edmonton than there were last year at the same time. I'll keep it short since there has already been a lot of stats this week.

Apr210Weekly

April 06, 2010

Real Estate Prices, Listings and Sales all go up in Edmonton in March

“Prices are up about 10% from a year ago and sellers are eager to take advantage. Buyers are aware of higher mortgage rates ahead and are getting into the market before the rates rise,” said Larry Westergard today, president of the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.

As we published last week real estate prices shot up in Edmonton in March. Single family residences in the Edmonton area sold on average for $388,473 in March which is up 4.7% from February and 11% from a year ago. Condominium prices rose by 8.4% month-over-month and 10.5% year-over-year. The average condominium sold for $252,416 in March. The average residential price was $343,607 (up month-over-month by 8.5%).

March10Avg

What's interesting is that new listings and inventory also shot up increasing supply significantly. This all suggests that the upcoming changes to lending rules, as well as increasing interest rates are contributing to the hot market in Edmonton.

March10NewListings

As we've been thinking, inventory could match last year's high in April. The question in my mind is, are home owners bringing their homes on the market early this year (causing inventory to peak early) or are there just more people wanting to sell this year (causing a higher peak)?

March10Inventory
Sales also demonstrated the optimism of the marketplace - residential sales of 1,571 properties in March were up 15.1% from a year ago and 77.3% in the first quarter. Sales were up from 1,307 in February: a 20.2% increase.

March10Sales
One thing that won't affect the real estate market in Alberta is the GST harmonization taking place in BC and Ontario later this year where a second quarter sales slump is expected as a result.

April 02, 2010

Edmonton Real Estate Market Weekly Update

Here is our update on the Edmonton real estate market. (Previous week's numbers are in brackets). For the past 7 days:   Weeklyupdate_2

New listings:  548 (512, 573, 580)
# Sales: 276 (275, 279, 220)
Ratio: 50% (54%, 49%, 38%)
# Price changes: 248 (236, 239, 189)
# Expired/Off Market Listings: 205 (79, 95, 91)
Net loss/gain in listings this week: 67 (158, 199, 269)
Active listings for single family homes: 2214 (2185, 2107, 1947)
Active listings for condos: 1719 (1689, 1606, 1559)

With the jump in average prices in March, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a  jump in new listings and inventory over the next few weeks. The only reason inventory didn't go up much this week is the number of listings that expired at the end of March (agents often put the end of the month as the end date for listing contracts).

Apr210Weekly
More on the market and prices and trends as soon as the official month report is released by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. We'll also have a spring market report for our subscribers next week.

April 01, 2010

Edmonton Home Prices on the Rise

Average residential resale prices shot up, waaaay up in March in Edmonton. Preliminary figures show the average residential MLS® sale price in Edmonton sitting at $343k compared to $317k last month, a figure not seen since March of 2008. The REALTORS® Association of Edmonton will release the final numbers in the next few days - expect to hear a lot about this in the media. Once the numbers are released we will post our final monthly report and charts as well.

I've had a lot of people asking me by email and our fun little chat box about their home values lately, specifically people seem to want to know how much their home is worth now, if it was worth $X last year or the year before. I can't stress strongly enough that the average sale price moving up or down a certain amount does not mean the value of every home in the city has gone up or down that amount. The average sale price tells us about trends in the market, but the value of each home is determined on a micro level. Every evaluation we do comes out differently - we are seeing some homes back to peak pricing while others lag seriously behind. If you want to know the value of your home we're happy to do an online home evaluation for you, just fill out this form and we'll get back to you with our evaluation by email (please keep in mind if we get a rush of evaluation requests this weekend our turn around time will be slower).

So, onto the numbers for Edmonton.... The average sale price of single family homes in Edmonton was up sharply in March to $395,621 compared to $372,262 last month and $349,862 last March. The last time the average was this high was April of 2008. The average sale price of condos in Edmonton was also up this month to $251,263 from $229,084 in February and $230,097 last March, and about equal with July 2008:

Mar10EdmAvg The average price per square foot also rose, indicating the average increase in average sale price was not just due to increased sales in higher price ranges (we will look into this further in an upcoming post):

Mar10EdmSqFt

Sales of single family homes were up as well, 781 single families homes sold in Edmonton last month compared to 543 last month and 636 last March:

Mar10EdmSFSales
Condo sales did not increase as much as single family home sales; 376 condos changed hands in Edmonton in March compared to 347 in February and 327 last March. Condo sales are similar to the numbers posted in 2005 and 2008:

Mar10EdmCondoSales
We have not done a special report for our subscribers in a couple of months, but we will be doing a special Spring Market Report soon so subscribe today if you don't want to miss out.