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Real estate transactions: Pot-friendly buildings in the future?

With the advent of legal marijuana on the horizon, a few Albertans are thinking about cannabis-friendly buildings. It will make some real estate transactions interesting. Canada is set to legalize pot this summer, and some building owners who already use marijuana are thinking about allowing their tenants to smoke weed in their buildings -- and going a step further and actually seeking tenants who are cannabis users.

A landlord in Calgary, who has been in the residential real estate business for about 20 years, has gone on record saying he would be interested in laying out money for buildings where his tenants could freely smoke marijuana once it is legalized. The man already has properties in Grand Prairie and Calgary. Currently, the investor's building are all nonsmoking, despite the fact tenants in one of his units continues to smoke, aggravating neighbours. Alberta landlords have the right to tell their tenants they can't smoke as long as it's stipulated in the lease agreement. 

Calgary on list of likely commercial real estate hotspots in 2018

A recent report lists Calgary as one of five Canadian cities that will heat up commercially in 2018. The Alberta city made the list alongside Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. The report indicates there is a sizable amount of capital to be invested in commercial real estate in these cities over this year and beyond, adding that  the commercial sector will be both competitive and busy. 

The Vancouver and Toronto markets were already doing well and have been for some time. However, because of the competition in those markets, investors are looking elsewhere -- in perhaps little less volatile markets such as Calgary, Montreal and Ottawa. Canada's capital had a healthy nonresidential burst of construction in 2017, which is expected to continue this year. 

Residential real estate continues to fight tough times in Alberta

There are times when the real estate market gets pummelled because of general economic woes. For a while now,  residential real estate in Alberta has been suffering the backlash of difficult times in the oil sector. That is expected to continue into 2019, but there is positive change in the air, too, according to some experts. A spokesperson for a major Alberta construction company estimates the spring will see construction increase with demand on the heels of recovering economy.

Much of the positive real estate numbers hail from Fort McMurray, which saw significant rebuilding efforts in 2017 after a massive wildfire. A recent report suggests new residential builds and increased jobs due to real estate renovations will add about 4,500 jobs to Alberta's construction sector within three years, which will bring  jobs in the residential sector to around 2014 levels. In fact, it's the residential real estate and renovations sectors that are likely to recoup any potential losses in other construction areas.

Alberta real estate transactions: Construction investment rising

Investors are starting to feel good again about putting their money into housing construction in Wild Rose Country. Year-over-year spending in the house construction sector of real estate transactions in Alberta rose for the first time last year since 2015. Even though the numbers are rising, they're not quite where they should be -- slightly better than 2015's recessionary levels -- according to a market analyst. Still, the market is rallying and that is good news for investors.

From Nov. 2016 to Nov. 2017 Alberta saw more than $105 million in new housing starts. That number was tops in the country with Ontario pulling second with more than $101 million. Most of the activity in the Alberta market was in single family dwellings. Once wildfire-ravaged Fort McMurray is leading the way in investments with more than 2,400 builds in 2016.

Residential real estate: Hard times expected for condo market

Edmonton's condo market is is expected to come up against some difficult times, according to a real estate expert. In terms of residential real estate in Alberta, the condo sector has always been a pretty strong contender, but is apparently on life support in the Edmonton area according to the expert who recently spoke to a panel of developers. In fact, the man said that an investor market is basically nonexistent in the area, and condos are mainly purchased by first time purchasers or those who are downsizing.

Condo prices are expected to continue to decline. Realtors are blaming the likely losses partly on the extra burden purchasers will face with new federally imposed stress tests on mortgage loans. This test is to ensure that even though a purchaser may get a lower than prime interest rate on a mortgage, that he or she would still be able to carry the loan should his or her interest rate increase, so it must be proved that a loan could, in fact, be carried at the prime interest rate set by the Bank of Canada.

Commercial real estate in Canada has entered the tech age

Drones are bringing deals into the 21st century in a big way. These days, investors interested in commercial real estate in Canada are able to get a bird's eye view of the properties in which they're interested thanks to flying contraptions called drones. In terms of real estate, it's marketing genius.

Once the deal on a property has been inked, the drone's job isn't necessarily done. Property owners are using them for identifying potential building problems and even to check up on tenants to make sure they've haven't made any changes to the building. Drone operators say videos and photographs that come from these ingenious pieces of technology give a more well-rounded picture of properties -- in many cases in 3D. These stills and videos can also be used for insurance purposes.

Residential real estate sales may suffer from looming stress test

Potential property purchasers may not be able to afford as much house as they initially thought thanks to a looming mortgage stress test. The demand for residential real estate is expected to drop in Alberta, particularly in the Calgary area. This is thanks to the federal government's new mortgage rules that raises the bar in terms of the amount of loan for which purchasers will be able to qualify.

For instance, if potential homebuyers can get a rate below prime -- say at 2. 5 per cent interest -- the stress test will need to show that they would be able to handle a mortgage at a bank prime rate, whatever that may be. Essentially, it makes homebuying much more difficult, especially for first-time purchasers.  Basically, the government wants to ensure homebuyers would still be able to afford their mortgage payments if the interest rate should be hiked. 

Real estate transactions: What to look for in investment property

Investing in property can be a very wise move financially. But when getting involved in these kinds of real estate transactions in Canada, a potential investor would do well to do some research before diving in head first. For a first time foray into the world of real estate investing, going small at first might be prudent.

There are some things a fledgling investor should look for when trying to find that perfect investment property, and one of those is the chance for gainful employment. Renters don't want to move to an area where they can't find work. It's important to do the homework on this one.

Residential real estate: More bang for the buck in Alberta

Homebuyers in the west can weigh their options between Alberta and British Columbia, but chances are there's no contest when it comes to what money can buy in Edmonton versus Vancouver. For those who are qualified for a couple million when it comes to a residential real estate purchase, Alberta will definitely get them more house for their dollars. Shelling out $3 million for a property in Vancouver will maybe get a purchaser an old fixer upper, while for the same price, a purchaser can buy a bungalow in the foothills in Alberta with a stunning mountain vista view.

A Vancouver realtor says homes in the $3 million range in Vancouver would likely need renovations or perhaps even need to be rebuilt. The same money can go a lot further in Alberta. For instance, a single bedroom home in the foothills was recently listed for $2.9 million and even though it only has one bedroom, there are benefits to the 704-square-foot space. The small home, which was designed by the same architect Bill Gates used for his home, has a spectacular view and it sits on 500 acres of land.

Alberta residential real estate: Edmonton prices fall flat

A recent survey by a leading Canadian real estate company shows that the real estate market is changing around the country. In Alberta, particularly Edmonton, residential real estate prices are flat. The market trend is being blamed on the lack of economic security in Wild Rose Country.

The first quarter of 2017 saw the average home price in Alberta's capital steady at around $381,000 -- a rise of 0.3 per cent from the same time in 2016. Any changes in prices were minimal, including the condo market, where they declined slightly. In terms of national trends, Ontario elevated those figures overall. With Ontario figured into the national residential real estate mix, there was a 12.6 per cent first quarter growth in 2017 from 2016. Taking Ontario out of the equation, that growth would have been 6.4 per cent for the same time factor.

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