Friday, November 20, 2009

Selling your home requires exposure...

Selling your home in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta (or any place else) requires exposure. Exposure in this day means more than the sign out front! You need someone who can be found on the Internet where buyers look!

I have worked hard to bring myself to page one on many search engines. (click graphic below to enlarge)

John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, Century 21 'The Professionals' (Crowsnest Pass). Serving the Crowsnest and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at:

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Housing market on the upswing in the Crowsnest

Joni MacFarlane, Editor - Crowsnest Pass Promoter

According to recent news' stories, sales activity in the housing market reached record levels in Canada for the month of October, buoyed by strong residential real estate markets in Western Canada. Sales for October in Alberta increased by 29.6 per cent from last year and the average sale price jumped by 2.6 per cent.

So is the Crowsnest Pass keeping up with the trend?

According to long-time local realtor Wendy Valley of Sutton Group, things are definitely picking up.

"The market has stabilized and there's activity in other areas [outside cities]", said Valley.

"We're also seeing quite a few first-time homebuyers which is very encouraging."

There are currently 74 single-family homes for sale in the Crowsnest Pass.

Valley said this past spring and summer were slow, but the numbers this fall show there continues to be a steady increase in activity.

From September to mid-November, 20 single-family homes have sold, compared to 17 in 2008 and 16 in 2007.

Going back further, there were 34 single family homes sold between July and mid-November, compared to 30 in 2008 and 35 in 2007 when the market was peaking.

According to the Lethbridge Real Estate Board, people are getting 95 per cent of their listing price.

These numbers are for single-family houses only and exclude houses listed with other real estate boards, or any private or exclusive (non-MLS) listings. They don't include condos, bare lots or acreages.

Valley said that while it's hard to make conclusions about whether prices have come down or not because of the diversity of houses in the Pass, she believes there is more room for negotiation than there was in peak times.

"People might not be getting what they got a couple of years ago, but there's not a huge drop [in price]," said Valley.

At the national level, total unit sales were up 41.5 per cent across the country with an increased average sale price of 20.7 per cent from a year ago.


For information on homes for sale in Crowsnest Pass and area, call me at 403-564-4518 or email

John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, Century 21 'The Professionals' (Crowsnest Pass Real Estate). Serving the Crowsnest Pass and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at:

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Unemployment fuels U.S. foreclosures

The U.S. foreclosure crisis likely will persist well into next year as high unemployment pushes more people out of homes, pulls down housing prices and raises concerns about the broader economic recovery... read more


note: Reading my last post, we see Canadian banks are just now lowering rates to entice people to buy fixed-rate mortgages. Whereas, when you read the article here on this post, we see these are the same people being foreclosed on in the US?

With our record high unemployment rate creeping ever higher and higher with each passing month, it is both interesting and alarming, as we all know things tend to lag behind here for six or so months before whatever is happening to our neighbour down south is felt here.

Are we experiencing the calm before the storm? Is unemployment here going to fuel Canadian foreclosures as well? One would expect the answer to be YES. More doom and gloom. However, keep the following in mind... The great depression created more Millionaires than any other period of time in history! That's a fact!

You got to keep your eye on the ball and your finger on the trigger these days. If I can help, give me a call...

John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, CENTURY 21 'THE PROFESSIONALS LTD.' (Crowsnest Pass Real Estate). Serving the Crowsnest Pass and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at:

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Royal Bank and TD Bank cut rates for fixed-rate residential mortgages


TORONTO - Two of Canada's big banks said Wednesday they would cut their posted rates for fixed-rate mortgages by up to 0.2 percentage points.

The Royal Bank (TSX:RY) cut its rates for one, two and three-year closed mortgages by 0.20 percentage points, effective Thursday.

Canada's largest bank cut is posted five-year closed rate by 0.15 percentage points to 5.59 per cent, while its special five-year closed rate was cut by the same amounted to 4.29 per cent.

TD Bank (TSX:TD) cut its five-year closed rate, lowering it by 0.15 percentage points to 5.63 per cent, effective Thursday.

The changes reflect lower interest rates in the bond market, where banks raise money to finance their mortgage lending.

Both banks said their variable closed mortgage rate at prime will remain unchanged.

Good news! Buying just got less expensive. Call me if I can help...

John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, CENTURY 21 'THE PROFESSIONALS LTD.' (Crowsnest Pass Real Estate). Serving the Crowsnest Pass and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at:

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Real estate recovery will be weak in Canada due to limp demand, report shows


The real estate market didn't fall as hard or as fast in Canada as it did in the U.S., but some spots did suffer steep losses and a recovery will be slow as investors worry about another potential economic dip, a new report suggests.

Total losses in value across Canada will average between 10 to 20 per cent compared to the highs of two years ago, according to the study by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute.

But some areas saw a much deeper drop. The report released Wednesday predicts a slow recovery to begin by the end of next year.

For 2010, we are rating only fair investment outlooks for most property types and predict generally weak conditions for development," said Chris Potter of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Limp demand threatens to soften property cash flows across all sectors and most markets."

The annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2009 report is based on surveys of more than 900 real estate investors developers, lenders, brokers and consultants in both Canada and the U.S. It shows Canadian real estate investors are still worried about more potential economic shocks, particularly from the U.S. financial system.

That is despite conservative banking practices in Canada and stricter regulation that saved many Canadian investors from overleveraging during the recent housing recession.

The report forecasts a relatively stable market for developments such as condos, hotels and other developments, which will favour buyers over sellers.

It said prospects for apartment investments rank barely above a fair rating at 5.44 out of 10, followed by office at 5.04, retail at five, industrial/distribution at 4.68 and hotels at 3.69.

"We expect to see developers curbing their activity in light of softened demand as bankers rein in construction loans," said Lori-Ann Beausoleil, also of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

She said certain condo projects will likely "stall out" until residential prices firm up in Vancouver and Toronto.

Beausoleil said Canadian office markets performed better than expected, with vacancies averaging about eight per cent.

Vacancy rates were much higher in cities such as Calgary, which has been hit hard by the impact of the recession on the oil and gas sector.

Calgary had the biggest decline in North America, coming in at 4.75 out of 10 for investment prospect and 3.58 for development. The city has overbuilt not just office space, but condos and housing as well, the report states.

Toronto ranked third highest in the report, with investment prospects ranked 5.63 out of 10 and development prospects at 3.83.

"New condominium high rises and office tower projects adorn downtown streetscapes, raising concerns about too much construction in a problematic economy," the report states.

Vancouver was the best performer in the survey, although with a ranking of just 5.75 out of 10 for investment prospects and 4.68 for development prospects.

"Many wonder what will happen after the Olympics," the report says.

The report follows another released this week showing the value of industrial land in Metro Vancouver fell by as much as 30 per cent in the last year, driven down by speculators trying to sell their property bought near the market's peak.

Average land prices doubled between 2003 and 2008, reaching approximately $600,000 per acre in Abbotsford, B.C. to $2 million per acre in Vancouver - and a record $4 million per acre in some locations - said the Avison Young report.

It said land values have generally fallen 20 to 25 per cent, and in some cases more than 30 per cent in the area.

Meantime, vacancy rates rose to 4.4 per cent in Metro Vancouver in the third quarter of 2009, up from 2.4 per cent in fall 2008.

note: The above report does not surprise me as many of us feel we have not hit rock bottom yet. Especially in the Crowsnest area where we have been seeing offers coming in and being accepted in the range of -10% (or higher, in some cases) of list price.
Today, and into the foreseeable future, it will remain a buyers market. If you've got the money, I can find you the property. Give me a call 403-564-4518.

John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, CENTURY 21 'THE PROFESSIONALS LTD.' (Crowsnest Pass Real Estate). Serving the Crowsnest Pass and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at:

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Real estate fees could be slashed

Tony Wong

Canadians in the housing market will pay less in realty commissions and fees if the federal Competition Bureau has its way.

In a landmark investigation, the bureau has concluded the Canadian Real Estate Association has anti-competitive rules and must change its ways, according to documents obtained by the Star.

Details of a settlement have yet to be decided, but the bureau's findings are expected to have a profound impact on the real estate industry – by permitting more innovative discount brokers into the market while allowing sellers to list their properties less expensively on the Multiple Listing Service.

With a membership of more than 96,000, Ottawa-based CREA is the largest real estate organization in Canada and represents the majority of the nation's realtors.

"The Bureau is concerned that CREA's rules have restricted consumer choice and limited the scope of alternative business models," says an internal memo by CREA president Dale Ripplinger. "Unfortunately, the Bureau seems to believe that CREA's rules ... create restrictions and barriers."

The bureau launched its investigation in 2007. Consumers have complained in the past about high realty fees and the need for more affordable services. The vendor of an average-priced $400,000 home in Toronto can pay a commission of as much as 5 per cent, or $20,000.

"This is absolute, total vindication," says Lawrence Dale, an owner of now-defunct Realtysellers, a Toronto-based discount broker that closed in 2006. "Once they've reached their settlement it means that the average guy on the street will be able to choose their real estate services and pay less for them."

CREA executives met with the bureau on Oct. 23 to hear the long-anticipated results, according to the letter. "At that meeting the Bureau set out the conclusions of their inquiry and their proposed remedy," says Ripplinger. "The Bureau's position is that if CREA does not remove these restrictions, the Commissioner of Competiton will initiate an application before the Competition Tribunal."

Ripplinger says CREA decided not to go before the tribunal, which can administer penalties, but is pursuing a settlement.

According to Ripplinger, CREA rules the bureau wants changed include those that say the listing realtor must act as the agent of the seller and receive and present all offers to the seller, and property information cannot be posted on the Multiple Listing Service without an agent representing the seller.

Changes to these rules would mean offers could be sent directly to the seller without the involvement of the listing agent. Consumers could likely have their listings posted on the MLS for a small fee.

Dale and partner Stephen Moranis claim they were forced to shut down their company because of rules implemented in 2007 by the realtor's association. Realtysellers offered services such as allowing consumers to post listings for a few hundred dollars on the MLS website, where more than 90 per cent of all home sales are made. The company is suing CREA and the Toronto Real Estate Board.

CREA owns the rights to the MLS.

In a separate lawsuit against TREB, Fraser Beach, another Toronto realtor, alleges the organization terminated his MLS access because he launched a discount brokerage service. A decision by Ontario Superior Court of Ontario Justice David Brown is expected soon.

TREB has argued it didn't block his access to the MLS for competitive reasons, but simply because he did not follow membership rules.

Both CREA and TREB have denied all allegations. A Toronto Real Estate Board spokesperson says the board does not comment on ongoing legal matters. Officials of the Competition Bureau were not available for comment Sunday.

Although the real estate association has agreed to reach a settlement, Ripplinger stressed "CREA does not agree with the Bureau's findings and conclusions, either as a matter of fact or as a matter of law." The association has called an emergency meeting for all member boards in December to discuss rule changes demanded by the Bureau.

Toronto Star

note: The ramifications of this decision by the federal Competition Bureau will be far reaching for sure and will definitely result in lower fees for consumers, but at what cost to those same consumers and to the real estate industry as a whole? This is the question that will be begging for an answer that will not be coming any time soon. With this said, let me say that competition is good and I for one support the bureau's decision.

John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, CENTURY 21 'THE PROFESSIONALS LTD.' (Crowsnest Pass Real Estate). Serving the Crowsnest Pass and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at:

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