Terri’s Blog

Alberta’s Housing  Affordability

The combination of low interest rates, balanced market conditions and robust wage growth has led to further improvements in Alberta’s housing affordability.

 The Royal Bank of Canada’s Housing Affordability Index fell across all housing segments in the first quarter of 2010, and are at or below their long-term averages.

 Single-family homes recorded the biggest improvement as affordability indices for detached bungalows’ and two-storey houses fell 0.7 and 1.0 percentage points to 33% and 37%, respectively, compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.

This certainly bucks the trend of eroding affordability that was seen across the country.  In the first quarter of 2010, Alberta ranked as the second most affordable housing market (next to Atlantic Canada) for all housing types.

In contrast, almost all provinces saw a deterioration in housing affordability, most notably in British Columbia (particularily for single-family homes) where rapid price increases have reversed last year’s improvement in affordability and brought its affordability measures closer to their record highs reached in early 2008.

Going forward, improved affordability in the province bodes well for a more sustained recovery in the housing market.

 Source:  Finance Alberta, Economic Spotlight




Reasons to Hire a REALTOR….

In a growing atmosphere of the do-it-yourself mentality, some wonder should I take on the homebuying process on my own. It’s certainly been done, but, more often than not, homebuyers turn to the experts when it comes time to making, what will often be, their most expensive purchase.

Here are just a few reasons why it’s a good idea to use an expert real estate agent to help you navigate the homebuying process.

1. Knowledge is power. Real estate agents work in the field every day. They’re immersed in markets that buyers, likely, have less opportunity and time to study. Working with the right expert can not only speed up the homebuying process but also help you easily transition from your current living space to the home of your dreams.

You can also learn information that’s not readily available from, say, an open house sign or a listing you may view on the Internet. Elizabeth Weintraub, Guide, writes, “For example, you may know that a home down the street was on the market for $350,000, but an agent will know it had upgrades and sold at $285,000 after 65 days on the market and after twice falling out of escrow.”

2. Help with paperwork chaos. If you’ve bought a home then you know that the paperwork is enormous. If you’ve never purchased one, get ready to be overwhelmed. But using an agent, helps you to understand what the paperwork is, when it needs to be in (so that you don’t miss important deadlines), and its importance in the transaction.

3. Network of support. Real estate agents have a professional network of service providers to help with the homebuying process (and selling, of course, too). When it comes time to purchase your home, you’ll find that being able to tap into that service provider network can be invaluable. Everything from reputable vendors to retail outlets that offer the best pricing for home decor, are often in the agent’s contact list.

4. Negotiation. This is the area where an expert agent can really shine. For buyers, it can be difficult to negotiate (from a non-emotional standpoint) because they’re really invested in the outcome. A top-producing real estate agent can represent buyers’ needs and still stay emotionally removed enough to ensure the best outcome.

Negotiation is often the least favorite part of the transaction but the most important. Having an expert on your side, who is working for your success, can reduce the amount of frustration that can potentially arise during this process. Also, in sellers’ markets, agents are tasked with helping position buyers in the best possible light to sellers in order to help the deal close for their client.

5. Pricing and value. Agents don’t determine what buyers should pay for a home but they can show you the best value based on their price point. They have visited many more homes than most buyers because this is their job. They’re in the market daily and they know when a home has recently been reduced or fallen out of escrow.

It’s the knowledge, the experience, and the effort and dedication to helping you find your dream home, that ultimately is the reason most people seek out that expert real estate agent to help them navigate the homebuying process.