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Residential real estate weathering economic trends in Canada

The economy has been a bit dramatic over the past few months. The residential real estate market has weathered the storm and by all accounts is rallying across the country. The average price of a home in Canada in the last quarter of last year rose 4 per cent compared to the same time in 2017. That puts that average home in the $631,000 range.

The only place in Alberta where real estate prices dipped is in the Fort McMurray area – down more than 9 per cent. The strained oil industry and lower oil prices didn't seen to affect the rest of the province. Experts don't think oil prices will much affect the Alberta market in 2019 either. But it's true that the industry is undergoing a correction in all areas.

How disclosure pertains to real estate transactions in Canada

Is it incumbent upon a real estate agent in Canada to divulge information about a property that could make the difference between a sale and a property sitting on the market for a while? That actually depends upon what that information entails. Disclosure rules around real estate transactions in Canada are definitive.

The truth is, by law, in most provinces -- including Alberta -- a realtor does not have to disclose that something untoward happened in the home like murder or suicide. Disclosure laws apply to things like faulty wiring, mould, a roof badly in need of repair or a furnace that isn't doing its job properly. Anything that does not actually affect the physical property is pretty much under the buyer beware rule. Many sales people, however, go by their moral compasses and do disclose violent events that have taken place at, or in close proximity to, a property.

Many factors affected commercial real estate sector in 2018

It was a hectic year for business in Wild Rose Country. Commercial real estate has been part of the strange landscape of what transpired business-wise in Alberta in 2018 -- everything from retail space rentals to open up further contributed to the commercial real estate sector in the province. Since four years ago, when oil prices took a dive, vacancy rates have risen and rents have fallen in both Calgary and Edmonton.

Calgary has been hardest hit with four major office towers in the downtown core still sitting empty. A more than $12 billion drop in combined assessed values of commercial space in Calgary's downtown has created a massive tax gap which has had to be fulfilled by the residential real estate sector, much to the chagrin of homeowners. About $8 million of the tax burden was placed on the shoulders of residential property owners. 

T-Rex entices in Alberta residential real estate listing

It is amazing what can pique the interest of a potential purchaser of a home. Take for instance a residential real estate listing in St. Albert that wasn't getting a lot of action -- that is until a dinosaur parked itself outside the Alberta residence. The home was listed for months and hadn't really received much attention, until the realtor came up with a genius marketing scheme of dressing in a Tyrannosaurus Rex costume and posing next to the for sale sign and making himself at home in various areas of the residence.

Apparently, the idea has been working. Interest in the home has tripled over the last few weeks for the four-bedroom home, according to the listing salesperson. The photos are pretty creative. One involves the T-Rex baring its teeth while over the stove in the kitchen and another shows him lounging in a hammock in the yard. Although photos of the 65-million-year-old inhabitant have generated some activity, the home yet remains unsold.

Real estate transactions: Investment sales up in parts of Alberta

Alberta's two major cities saw increases in investment sales in the third quarter of this year. Some investment real estate transactions in both Calgary and Edmonton have been pretty large scale in 2018 with corporate investors making some pretty impressive purchases. In fact, a recent real estate report indicates that investments in the province exceeded $1 billion for two back-to-back quarters.

There were 16 office sales in the province in the third quarter with an overall value of more than $455 million. That figure is up by 165 per cent over the same time in 2017.  Forty per cent of investment purchases in Alberta's capital was in the office sector with a $400 million sale of the city's famous Edmonton Tower. 

Real estate transactions affected by Alberta oil production

A softening economy in Alberta is affecting various sectors, including the housing market. Real estate transactions in Alberta have slowed since oil prices have dropped. A report recently released by one of the country's main banking institutions said the housing market remains weak in the wake of oil production cuts in the province. In fact, the bank stated that oil output will be about 1 per cent less in 2019.

Housing starts seem to be solid, but the vacancy rate is higher than it has been in a decade. Commercial transactions are even more bleak with a 25 per cent vacancy rate in downtown Calgary. But it's not all gloom and doom for the Alberta economy. The labour market is on steady feet with a 2 per cent growth in employment from the same time last year.

Canada real estate transactions: Rates rise, growth stalls

The cost of borrowing is rising in the country. No doubt real estate transactions in Alberta will be affected by the hike in interest rates. The Bank of Canada rate is hovering just below 4 per cent -- that's up almost 16 per cent from the same time last year and 32 per cent from two years ago. That change may affect a person's decision about whether to buy at this time.

What the rate change actually means is that borrowers are paying nearly 16 per cent more interest to borrow the same amount. The rate was lowest two years ago at 3 per cent. Some prospective purchasers may put off their homebuying plans in the hopes interest rates fall. Experts say that could be a possibility; however, it's more likely that the Bank of Canada adopts a neutral rate policy.

Real estate transactions: Alberta market is pot on

The real estate market has been buzzing with activity ever since the legalization of cannabis on Oct. 17. Investors and business people are snapping up property in western Canada, particularly in Alberta, which has seen an uptick in real estate transactions in the last few months. Developers have been looking for both office spaces and industrial lands for marijuana production facilities and dispensaries.

Edmonton and its surrounding areas are particularly favoured for being hot spots for cannabis businesses. In fact, one of the world's largest cannabis manufacturers, Aurora Cannabis, recently built an 800,000 square-foot production facility in Leduc, just outside Edmonton. Aurora Sky, as the facility is called, expects to churn out more than 100,000 kilos of cannabis a year from its new digs. Aurora also plans to have its footprint in Medicine Hat.

Residential real estate: Chinese show renewed interest in Calgary

Chinese investors are showing keen interest in Calgary. They are apparently making increased inquiries regarding the residential real estate market in Alberta's Cow Town. Some Calgary realtors have said that they have made significant sales to some Chinese investors.

In fact, inquiries in the third quarter were twice as many as they were in the second quarter of this year and up by a significant 200 per cent from the same time in 2017, according to a Chinese search engine. An analyst says those inquiries are likely to translate into sales in about three to six months. The interest in Calgary from potential Chinese investors has never been higher. Apparently, they see the city as being one of the best in the country with a vibrant urban life, good schools, relatively uncongested and close to an international airport.

Residential real estate: Gadsby Lake estate listed for $15.5M

The Beverley Hillbillies didn't have it this good. The residential real estate market in Alberta just got a little richer with a $15.5 million estate in Lacombe County recently put up for sale. The Gadsby Lake estate, tucked away in the Shorthills, is one of the province's most elaborate properties.

The home has 16 bedrooms,  27 bathrooms, a shooting range, its own lake and a nine-hole golf course. It's one of Wild Rose Country's best kept secrets since it can't be seen from the road and the home sits on 300 acres of land. It belongs to a German immigrant who, in the 1970s, went searching the Canadian countryside to find property he and his family couldn't find in their homeland.

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