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Calgary Breeze June 2010

New home prices in Calgary CMA flat for April

CALGARY - New house prices in the Calgary census metropolitan area remained flat in April from the previous month but rose by more than the national average on a year-over-year basis.

Statistics Canada in reporting its New Housing Price Index today said Calgary new home prices increased by 2.9 per cent from April 2009 to April of this year. At the national level, they were up 2.5 per cent annually and 0.3 per cent on a monthly basis.

Between March and April, prices increased the most in St. John’s (1.1 per cent), followed by Regina and Saskatoon (0.9 per cent).

Year-over-year, Vancouver was up the most at six per cent followed by St. John’s at 5.9 per cent and Winnipeg at 4.9 per cent.

Greek ScampiGreek Scampi


2 tsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 Cup parsley (chopped)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 lbs pre-cooked shrimp
1 Cup herbed feta cheese (crumbled)
1/2 C fresh basil (minced)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 Cups spaghetti


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat oil in saucepan. Add garlic and saute 1 minute.
Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup parsley. Reduce heat to
medium-low and simmer 10 minutes.

Add shrimp and basil and pour into 9" X 13"
baking pan. Sprinkle cheese over top and bake in
oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and drizzle with lemon juice.

Serve over pasta topped with remaining parsley.

Calgarians are biggest renovation spenders

Renovation CalgaryCALGARY - Households in Calgary are expected to spend more on renovations than anywhere else in the country this year.

The average expected cost of a renovation in Calgary is $13,256, $1,825 more than the national average, according to the Renovation and Home Purchase Survey released Wednesday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

“Incomes in Calgary are among the highest in the country. This may contribute to the average expected cost of renovations in Calgary being higher than other centres in Canada as households have more to spend,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst for Calgary for the CMHC.

The survey included: Calgary; St. John’s, N.B.; Halifax; Quebec City; Montreal; Ottawa; Toronto; Winnipeg; Edmonton and Vancouver.

The report said the national average expected cost of renovation this year is $11,431. Vancouver was second to Calgary, at $12,750 with Toronto next at $11,881.

The survey said Calgary’s average cost of renovations dropped from $16,254 in 2008 to $13,087 last year.

An estimated 2.1 million households in 10 major Canadian centres completed renovations last year at an average cost of $12,100, according to the survey. More than $25.8 billion was spent on renovations last year in those cities, an increase of about

$4.5 billion from the previous year. In 2008, the national average was $12,598.

In those major markets, 43 per cent of those surveyed indicated they intend to spend $1,000 or more by the end of this year.

The survey showed that 48 per cent of Calgary households undertook renovations last year, which was up from 38 per cent the previous year. Also, six per cent of households in the city bought a home in 2009 compared with seven per cent in 2008.

CMHC’s survey said 43 per cent of Calgary households spent $1,000 or more on renovations in 2009 compared with 33 per cent in 2008.

Also, six per cent of Calgary households intend to buy a home this year, the same as in 2009.

And 43 per cent intend to spend $1,000 or more on renovations this year, down from 46 per cent in 2009.

“There are a number of reasons why the intent to renovate is slightly lower in 2010 compared to 2009,” said Cho. “Renovation projects tend to take place in older homes which are sold in the resale market. With resale activity moderating, this would naturally lead to fewer renovation projects. Some households also borrow money to carry out their renovating projects and with interest rates rising, this may temper the demand for renovations.”

A report by the economic consulting firm Altus Group said Albertans spent $5.3 billion in renovations last year, about 9.7 per cent of the Canadian total of $54.5 billion.

The report predicted spending growth of 9.3 per cent in Alberta this year, the highest in the country, but foresees a decline of 0.5 per cent in 2011.

Calgary housing starts leap 80% in May compared to year ago

New Calgary HouseCALGARY - Housing starts in May ballooned in the Calgary census metropolitan area compared with year-ago levels.

According to preliminary figures released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., total housing starts in the reached 862 units, up 79.6 per cent from 480 units in the previous year.

To the end of May, total housing starts have increased from 1,547 units in 2009 to 3,932 units in 2010.

In May, there were 634 single-detached units that broke ground, representing an increase of 66 per cent from the 382 units started in the previous year. To the end of May, new construction of single-detached units has improved from 1,175 units in 2009 to 2,804 in 2010, an increase of 139 per cent.

“Although the gain after five months has been impressive, the rate of increase is expected to moderate over the balance of the year due to higher mortgage rates, rising inventory levels, and comparatively stronger activity in the latter half of 2009,” said Richard Cho, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Calgary.

Multi-family starts in May, which include semi-detached, row and apartment units, increased from 98 units in 2009 to 228 units this year.

“New construction for semi-detached and row units has been brisk, representing the majority of multi-family production thus far in 2010,” said Cho. “Inventories for semi-detached and row units have been relatively low, providing builders an opportunity to start more of these types of units.”

Year-to-date, multi-family starts have reached 1,128 units, up from 372 units a year earlier.

Housing starts across Alberta’s seven largest centres totalled 2,127 units in May, compared to 962 starts a year ago.

Calgary tops Canada for real estate investment

Calgary is the best place in Canada to invest in the residential real estate market, according to a new report released Friday.

The city experienced one of its best economic and real estate periods in Canadian history a couple of years ago, but then entered a strong, and needed, correction, stated the Real Estate Investment Network's report.

As a result, Calgary's housing market is slightly more affordable than in recent years.

"It was economically impossible for the market to continue at the pace at which it was heading," the report said.

Don Campbell, president of REIN and an author of books on real estate investment, said the organization was looking for a city poised for a strong five-year economic future when it came up with its investment list.

"That's not to say that the next 12 months won't be an up-and-down, good news, bad news, but when we look across the country, Calgary's five-year economy will outperform the remainder of cities," said Campbell in Calgary on Friday. "It's looking at the future economic performance coming from the base at which we're sitting.

"You saw Toronto and you saw Vancouver go crazy and now they're going to plateau. The thing about Calgary is I think we've learned our lesson about the inflation and the boom from 2007 and 2006 and early 2008, that everyone's just a little bit more cautious this time. So that will provide longer-term strength."

The report said the in-migration pace in the city continuing to lead the country, combined with the renewed affordability will help propel -local market over the -years.

-We, fortunately, should -see the massive over--situation - previously witnessed as -market remains more in line with -fundamentals," said -report.

-Calgary as the top Canadian real estate investment cities are:

- Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, Ont.
- Edmonton
- Surrey, B.C.
- Maple Ridge, B.C.
- Hamilton
- St. Albert, Alta.
- Simcoe Shores (Barrie-Orillia), Ont.
- Red Deer
- Winnipeg
- Saskatoon

"Successful real estate investing is all about identifying a town or neighbourhood that has a future, not a past," said the report. "Sadly, many investors like to invest based on past performance; thus, they are constantly chasing the market. This is called speculating -- not investing."

According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, average MLS sale prices in May rose nearly 11 per cent in both the single-family and condominium markets on a year-over-year basis.

Single-family home sales averaged $483,240, up from $436,427 a year ago, while condos sold for $304,662, up from $275,212 in May 2009.