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March 2021 - HOUSING TRUTH ~ Calgary housing market from Mark Kolke
FRESH NEWS, TOOLS, and HEADLINES – March 2021
WELCOME from editor/publisher - and agent, Mark Kolke; Agent/Realtor, under contract to MaxWell Capital Realty ...
Reader support for HOUSING TRUTH has been encouraging in just seven months – so thank you, readers, your support is appreciated.
 
Coming soon to HOUSING TRUTH:
 
  • a feature neighbourhood each month – sale listings, sold listings – and statistical analysis – we’ll feature new neighbourhoods each month
  • advertising and contractor directory
Happy Easter, happy spring ....
 
Mark Kolke

 
ARCHIVED PREVIOUS ISSUES
+ February 2021
+ January 2021
+ December 2020
+ November 2020
+ October 2020
+ September 2020
 
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CLIMATE CHANGE + GREEN RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE
+ Calgary developer Jayman BUILT has a net-zero focused project – Quantum Performance Ultra-E-Home concept; that’s a lot of superlatives, but clearly headed in the right direction
CONDOMINIUM MATTERS & TRENDS
+ how do condo boards meet when COVID gathering rules prevent meetings? Good question. Many condo boards are stretching out the ‘maximum time period’ between board meetings, but that’s not an endless stretch. Most condo bylaws allow a ‘longer than 12 month period’, but few go beyond 15 months … so, it’s either time to update the bylaws with new provisions (i.e., extending longer, meeting virtually), or to improvise with a safe-distanced meeting by enough owners to form a quorum, and/or Zoom meetings, but it could get tricky in terms of having minutes properly captured, having all owners who want to speak be able to speak and considering the same owners (i.e. old/not computer savvy, or fail) unable to participate. When all else fails, it’s probably best to get some legal advice on how to handle matters, and how to properly construct minutes and/or bylaw amendments to cover notification periods and voting rights in your bylaws.
+ I believe this is the most up to date version: Alberta Condominium Property Regulation 168/2000, with amendments – Section 20.52 came into effect in 2020
+ Condominium managers are scheduled to be licensed under the Real Estate Act on December 1, 2021 – and new programs of education are being developed for RECA by the Residential Property Manager Industry council
CONTRACTOR DIRECTORY
+ stay tuned for this new feature, watch for new listings – scroll to bottom …
+ contractor listing wanted; contact kolke@markkolke.com
COVID-19 MATTERS
+ link to Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy … (extended till June/2021)
+ link to Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
+ link to Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
+ link to Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy
+ link to Business Credit Availability Program   … (extended till June/2021)
ENTITLEMENTS AND REGULATORY NEWS
+ the City of Calgary’s controversial 131-page Guidebook for great communities – is being put on hold for further study; long in the making, this new platform has been opposed by many who fear its implications will have bureaucrats rather than politicians making policy decisions, so the politicians have done what politicians typically do in an election year – they’ve sent staff back to the drawing board to do more consultation. The initiative will be back to council with changes in May, but don’t hold your breath …
FACILITYCalgary
+ sign up CLICK HERE for FACILITYCalgary – a weekly e-NEWSLETTER of news, commentary & perspective – financings, deals – commercial real estate, infrastructure, oil & gas; archived issues and archived interviews
 
FINANCING NEWS & INNOVATION
+ Alberta is pushing Ottawa, the Finance Minister, and by extension CHMC, to change its mortgage stress-test criteria to make home-buying easier for Albertans; given the pace of the market, historically low-interest rates and the Trudeau government’s ‘many other problems’ this one is unlikely to change with this month’s Federal Budget … tic toc
FISH CREEK PARK
+ I live near Fish Creek Park – so I’m walking in the park daily. I saw coyotes and pheasants the other day – and too many birds to count. I’m watching for the return of Osprey to their nesting perch …
+ if you use the park, consider joining/supporting the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society – they do great work and have fantastic programs for children of all ages to learn about nature
+ map of the park
SOLD - Calgary downtown - Eau Claire Estates
+ we recently completed the sale of this 2 bedroom condo in Eau Claire Estates; 1,740 sq. ft. in one of Calgary’s finest icons, concierge services, 24/7 onsite security - contact me to see great properties like this one ... kolke@markkolke.com
GLOSSARY - monthly topic
+ in this section, each month,  will discuss an industry term/jargon/acronym – this month, CONDO BYLAWS …
+ bylaws vary in every condominium project – and buyers are always wise to be sure the ‘subject to’ clause their agents put in purchase agreements have suitable language AND enough time for a review. Many buyers hire ‘document review services’ to review the package – usually the Bylaws, Reserve Fund Study, and Financial Reports. Bylaws are, effectively, ‘the law.’ When you buy regular real estate – the single-family home, you own the land and the dwelling improvements situated on it. When you buy a condominium, you are buying ‘shares in a condominium corporation’ that come together with the right to occupy the subject unit. Yes, it’s your home, but how you deal with it is governed by the Bylaws and the Condominium Board executive, who have responsibility for enforcing them. They are rules, not guidelines. If there are rules around pets, renovation processes, moving in/out protocols, in terms of your rights, it is essential to know and be clear about what rights/responsibilities you have and also what rights/responsibilities apply to everyone else. Yes, it’s your home – but your rights should not be assumed – you should verify them by reading those Bylaws before you waive conditions and close a purchase. It’s not just to avoid conflicts or not incur legal fees if a dispute arises; it’s about getting along with your new neighbours – because you are in ownership together!  Ask anyone who has lived in a condominium, and they’ll have some stories to tell. I’m a fan of condominiums and live in one myself – but it’s not for everyone. Also, when you are reviewing condominium financial documents, it’s a good idea to get the minutes of meetings going back a year or two – annual meetings of course, but board meeting minutes are helpful too, particularly if there are operational issues brewing which might impact your peaceful enjoyment and/or costs … better to be forewarned whenever possible.
+ next month, I’ll discuss working with new home builders/developers … stay tuned
HOME SEARCH APP - shop all MLS via this phone APP
+ a cool tool: something more binge-worthy than some Netflix offerings - try our on-your-phone MLS search tool. Drive-by any sign, or find properties anywhere surfing from your phone, check it out – contact for more information or to book a showing. Get it here. By the way, you don’t have to drive – do your ‘virtual searching’ from the comfort of your easy-chair, check out listings in Calgary and anywhere your fingers want to wander - with quick links to get further information or to set up a showing. 
HOUSING STARTS / HOMEBUILDER NEWS
INSURANCE & RISK MANAGEMENT
+ the City of Calgary is exploring options – considering how they can get neighbourhoods, homeowners and new home builders to use more hail-resistant building materials; while these are important considerations, it strikes me as odd the politicians would want to take on a cost to all taxpayers through their proposed $2,000/home rebate program. Obviously, nobody wants severe storms, but isn’t this an insurance industry issue? Or should all taxpayers pay? That’s a bit like the city being self-insuring on behalf of all of us … it’s an idea, but is it a solution?
MARKET VELOCITY
+ Bank of Canada Governor warms of ‘early signs' of overheating in the housing market
+ Calgary home sales for March (PDF/29-page download of all statistics – best March in over a decade, and well up over February
+ Calgary region stats for March – (PDF/12-page download of all statistics ~ vs. February
+ Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB)2021 CREB Forecast (34-page PDF download)
+ Canada-wide housing market statistics – March 2021 – record-setting, check out the report and a STUNNING graphic … - causing the Canadian Real Estate Association of update/modify its 2021/2022 forecast, also with a STUNNING graphic that should get home builders and real estate agents excited. The question, once the COVID-buying frenzy subsides, how do we rationalize this. It’s churn, for sure, but without population growth and new household formation - it's a bit like playing musical chairs. Sitting on the sidelines might be safest, or not, depending on where everyone is standing when the music stops …
+ housing starts for February were down from January numbers, but CHMC’s report and graph show good trends – consistent with amped-up market activity …
+ Realtor.ca searches and virtual viewings stats for 2020 spiked substantially during the pandemic – and many would say this is a pre-viewing and shopping online trend that was on the rise already and will continue post-pandemic – so realtors have a strong statistical message to do home staging, better photography and to create virtual tours for their listings
MOBILE HOME PARKS ...
+ Firm Capital Property Trust acquired 50% interest in 181 Unit Manufactured Home Community – SunPark Communities LP operated Mountview Mobile Home Park in Calgary for $8.5 million
MOVING ...
+ 85% of Canadians who move, attribute health issues and/or COVID-19 as a contributing cause of that relocation – with 1 in 5 moves not attributable to the pandemic. You can splice hairs on these statistics, but the trends seem clear – there is a connection. What we see in reality, in this market, is the need for changes to living/working/home space … as people adjust to working and schooling from home and/or having to support family members in new ways. Statistics show (for 2020), the reasons Canadian move: 75% for personal reasons, 15% for professional reasons, and 10% attributed to COVID-19
OPEN HOUSES + SHOWINGS
+ OPEN HOUSES are now canceled under new restrictions for Albertans; showings are allowed by appointment only provided COVID-protocols are followed and everyone must wear a mask; current RECA guidelines
 
PREPARING TO SELL
+ getting ready to sell is no simple exercise; and as wide-spectrum as reasons for selling may be, there are issues every prudent seller needs to consider. When thinking about selling, for most people the first things that come to mind are ‘market values’, and maintenance items that should be taken care of between ‘thinking about listing’ and closing to mend those broken things. Sooner is always better!
+ in this section, each month I will discuss an element of the preparing-to-sell process – this month: are your documents in order?
+ when I meet with homeowners considering a sale, one of the first things I research is the property title to clarify the name(s) of registered owners, and any registrations on the title. If you check your ‘reporting package’ you got from your lawyer when you bought your home, it’s a good idea to dust those papers off and see that you have up to date information/figures on your mortgage(s), other items registered on the title that should be removed/discharged (encroachment agreements, easements, paid-off debts), a current RPR (real property report) showing everything on the property including fences, decks, garages, as well as recent tax assessment notices and tax bills
+ next month, I’ll discuss de-cluttering and staging … stay tuned
PROPERTY LINES - monthly news
+ sign up CLICK HERE for PROPERTYlines monthly newsletter focused on commercial real estate both locally and across Canada in industrial, commercial, investment, multi-family, hospitality, and infrastructure real estate; MARCH issue - archived issues
 
REAL ESTATE LICENSING and regulatory news
+ regulation and control of licensing in real estate in Alberta is handled by the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA), an NGO delegated by the Government of Alberta to enforce the Real Estate Act and regulations; in the course of renewing licenses, all agents are required to renew their errors and omissions insurance (E&OE) which is handled by REIX – which means, in practical terms, your agent cannot renew his/her license without having their ongoing educational requirements in place AND having their professional insurance in place. Licensing for brokerages and agents they employ is renewed at September 30th every year; you can find your agents/confirm licensing under the Find A Professional tab
+ RECA held elections pursuant to the new act: elected and appointed Board and Industry Councils members announced
+ the Government of Alberta amended the Real Estate Act [Real Estate Amendment Act 2020] and made significant changes to the role of RECA, and installation of new officers and board members following an external review and industry consultation; the new legislation has been proclaimed and went into effect December 1, 2020
+ expected in the coming year: condominium project managers, not currently regulated by RECA, might be. Government, RECA and industry-wide discussions are ongoing …
+ Condominium managers are scheduled to be licensed under the Real Estate Act on December 1, 2021 – and new programs of education are being developed for RECA by the Residential Property Manager Industry council
 
REALLY ri-ˈmär-kə-bəl  HOUSES in other places
+ on a San Antonio hilltop – check out the George Strait mansion; on the market for US$7.5 million
+ light housekeeping … seriously 10 homes with a great view
+ mushrooms and wood – take a walk in the forest
RENOVATION TRENDS ... 
+ a survey by HomeStars showed the 74% of Canadians are planning home improvements this year; 54% had plans to improve outdoor space, bathrooms were 32%, kitchens 23%, basements 17%, and appliances 12% - stunning numbers indeed. And, as we are learning from recent trends, a lot of people are solving these challenges the old-fashioned way – buying a new home, or a newer home. But most people, if they love their home, their habits and their neighbourhood, would prefer the reno-disruption over a move, preferring to stay/age in place …
SPRING / SUMMER MAINTENANCE
+ time to replace those furnace filters and clean/replace your humidifier media
+ time to check batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
+ time to adjust thermostats and save energy
+ time for an overall review – use the Mike Holmes Spring Home Maintenance Checklist – 1 page PDD download
TAX ASSESSMENT ISSUES ... 
+ you probably got your tax assessment notice recently; that value is the opinion of the assessor of your property value July 1, 2020 – not based on a site-specific assessment, but from the city running its programs to adjust for fluctuations in the market; for more information on assessments and the appeal process, go to: https://www.calgary.ca/pda/assessment.html
VALUATION
+ we are happy to evaluate your home; whether or not you wish to sell in this current market – we are always happy to help owners evaluate the market value of their home and to get a sense of where it is positioned in the market – call me or email me for a no-obligation chat: 403-444-6939 or email: kolke@markkolke.com
WORKING FROM HOME
+ companies are looking at hybrid forms of employment as they get ready to return to the office
+ the pandemic has impacted everyone’s life. Here are some emerging/unfolding trends:
~ Sustaining Safety + Wellness: Consumers spent much of the past year striving to keep their families safe and healthy. Products related to hygiene, health, and home will continue to be an important part of peoples' lives going forward.
~ Home at the Center: For many consumers, the home has been the center of their lives. It’s been their office, served as a homeschool setting, a gym … etc.
~ Digital as a Way of Life: Virtual and online connections are now often the norm for social interaction, work, shopping, health, and entertainment.
~ Control Amid Uncertainty: We are all looking for certainty and control in a world that is far less in our control, driving consumers to people, brands, and retailers they can count on.
~ Doing Good For Community: As we face multiple crises, from a global pandemic, economic downturn, social unrest, and climate change, consumers are increasingly expecting companies and brands to step up, take a stand, and have a positive impact on society.
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CONTRACTOR DIRECTORY:
WATCH THIS SPACE ... starting next month
 
+ contractor listing wanted; contact kolke@markkolke.com for details and rates
In my work in this industry, and in this publication, my communication with clients and customers is predicated on the notion that more information is better than less information, and answers are important. A lot of the time people aren’t sure what questions to ask --- so hopefully, this publication will fill some gaps.
 
In my experience, both buyers and sellers want information and transparency; I can’t remember anyone saying they wanted to best salesman. In fact, industry surveys show the number one complaint buyers and sellers have about agents is that they don't return phone calls promptly! Who knew? ... we all do, and right now we are more aware than ever that staying in touch and working together, being on the same page in our desire for the best outcome, is to work together.

People tend to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Buying or selling a home is, for most people, their most valuable asset and there are plenty of emotions attached to every decision. In our 2020 environment, those emotions seem to be cranked up a couple of notches for everyone …
If you would like to discuss your next move - buying or selling, please give me a call - I am happy to meet with you in person, by phone, or by ZOOM ... 
~ call me to discuss your requirements: Mark Kolke, 403-444-6939
~ or email me: kolke@markkolke.com

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Mailing address is: c/o Mark Kolke, 6204B Burbank Road SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2H 2C2

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