December 2020 - HOUSING TRUTH ~ Calgary housing market from Mark Kolke
FRESH NEWS, TOOLS, and HEADLINES – December 2020
WELCOME from editor/publisher - and agent, Mark Kolke ...
The conversations I’ve been having most often of late have, like most people, been focused on COVID issues and the economy – and our governments’ responses to a health crisis that has created a financial crisis. It’s too soon to know when we can relax about either. And then, of course, the question, “Well, Mark, how is the market?”  The answer is three-fold:
  1. The condo market is challenging, with lots of supply and soft prices. Historically, the condo market is the first to fall and last to come back – but that’s a general statement. Townhouse/rowhouse condos are doing better than walk-ups and high-rise lately, but not horribly – just not as well single-family.
  2. The single-family market for high-end homes is well inventoried – so there are lots of properties to choose from, and buyers can drive a good bargain.
  3. The single-family (detached home and duplex) market for mid-market homes is strong. Up over last year in properties sold and up in price – for six months running. This is not a COVID-influenced thing, as some media outlets have commented; it’s not people fleeing condos for houses. It is a supply-demand situation, plain and simple. Fewer properties on the market, and lots of buyers looking, makes for an active market. Good properties are selling well and quickly. Exceptional properties, in terms of quality, location, and condition are selling very fast … and often lately, we are seeing frequent situations with competing offers.
+ kudos to the Rick Hanson Foundation for a worthy and, eventually, achievable goal – they are pushing for a ‘new national standard’ for accessibly homes in Canada; this is a long uphill push because the National Building Code and National Fire Code govern new construction and substantial renovations. Each province has its own Building Code, adopted and updated every four-year code cycle with some local changes but generally they adopt the national codes in large measure. Vancouver has a city-charter status which allows it set its own code. From my many years on the Alberta barrier-free review team, I have way too much information on this subject inside my head.
+ the Government of Canada has expanded and extended its CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account) program for loans to businesses; an application is via Chartered Banks and Credit Unions
+ 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
+ watch out for ice dams! In our frequent freeze-thaw weather, it’s time to be wary and watch for roof dams. Snow melts above, and the melted snow backs up behind a “dam” of ice, potentially causing leaks and permanent damage to the roof and home — if you’ve ever experienced an ice dam on your roofline, you know what a nightmare it can be, so prevention is far better than the treatment …
+ I live near Fish Creek Park – so I’m walking in the park, or cycling, often. I LOVE the park. I’ll be reporting each month on ‘goings-on’ in the park, but also focusing on issues impacting value and demand for park-edge communities. COVID-times are putting greater emphasis on outdoor safe activities, which has made walking, cycling, and running far more popular. Access to the park is not just a ‘nice to have’ in the area, but it’s a bump-up in value.
+ 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
FOR SALE - Calgary downtown - Eau Claire Estates
+ 2 bedroom condo in Eau Claire Estates; 1,740 sq. ft. in one of Calgary’s finest icons, concierge services, 24/7 onsite security - $455,000JUST REDUCED TO $440,000 – email me to arrange a showing:
CLICK HERE for our client's love-letter to the apartment - a MUST READ!
GLOSSARY - monthly topic
+ in this section I will discuss an industry term/jargon/acronym – this month mortgages
+ the word mortgage has a French origin meaning ‘dead pledge’. You might hear the described as firsts, seconds, conventional, high ratio, mezzanine, construction financing, agreements for sale, hypothecations – they are all financing secured by real estate. Rate, term, and amortization get some people confused, especially first-time buyers. The rate is the cost of interest which can be charged by the landlord. It can be compounded, but not in advance. The term is the time frame for that interest rate, but the loan technically becomes due in full on that date, however, most lenders (provided the loan is not in default), will offer renewal terms. The amortization is the period of time required to reduce the loan to zero. These factor in to ‘qualifying’ because lenders usually want to know if you’ve got good credit but also to determine if you have sufficient income to repay the loan and to support the underwriting risk the lender takes. Lending methodology and terminology are pretty consistent across the country. Unresolved defaults on mortgages are different in each province depending on legislation and/or case law setting precedents for how foreclosure actions may be taken, and how the rights of borrowers and lenders are treated. Most mortgages are long documents with a lot of provisions that protect the lender and very few that swing the borrower’s way. That’s an overview – and should not be construed as legal advice or advice from a mortgage lender or mortgage broker, though I was one many years ago.

+ next month I’ll discuss property tax assessments … stay tuned
+ the government, via Canada Revenue Agency, opened an application for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy/links and background
HOME SEARCH APP - shop all MLS via this phone APP
+ a cool tool: I’ve got a new 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.
+ the Trudeau government established the Task Force on High Risk Residential Flood Insurance and Strategic Relocation … tic toc
+ Canadian home sales for October historically strong, and continued in November, and the forecast for 2021 looks strong
+ Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB)Calgary and area market report for November - 6th month in a row with year-over-year gains
+ CREA  - market snapshot for October shows strong volume and pricing across the country
+ 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
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; December 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
+ REIX (formerly AREIX) will be celebrating its 30th year in 2021; a job well done! I served on the REIX advisory board for five years and the claims committee for three years – and I’ve been watching the REIX program as a practitioner for that whole. The industry has reliable E&OE coverage and our clients and professionals rely on that strong foundation. Most notably, REIX staff help agents get better, which results in fewer mistakes, fewer disputes – and fewer claims.
+ 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 …
REALLY COOL HOUSES in other places
+ McDonald’s guru, the late Ray Kroc, had quite the home – and check out the kitchen!
+ the Great One is selling this house for the second time; Wayne Gretzky mansion – story and photos
+ 35,000 sq. ft. former Leo Kolber mansion in Montreal sold for $15.0 million
+ save the date – the Calgary Renovation Show was scheduled for Jan. 15-17, 2021 at the BMO Centre; now postponed to Apr. 23-25, 2021.
+ Canada Revenue Agency say they have a ‘simplified process for claiming home office expenses’; it doesn’t look simple to me; here is their new release and all the links to the details; and CBC writer Elizabeth Thompson puts it in simple language – a great summary!
+ work-from-home guidance: Canadian Payroll Association comments
+ working from home is now mandated in Alberta unless your presence is required at work
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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 are looking for a new home, or are considering selling your current home, I would like to talk to you. Let's make an appointment to consider options and discuss a marketing program appropriate for your home:
~ call me to discuss your requirements: Mark Kolke, 403-444-6939
~ or email me:

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

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