No matter what your political stripe may be this government’s new budget will benefit home owners who have disposable income to use on renovating or updating their new or existing home. In an attempt to stimulate the home building sector, Mr. Harper’s government has made it possible for people to claim 15% of their home renovations on their 2009 tax return. So, if you’ve decided that this was the year to finally renovate the basement, you’ll receive some tax credit for your efforts. The rules are laid out as follows:rnrn1. You must spend between $1000 and $10000 on eligible home upgrades.rnrn2. The maximum tax credit that you can obtain is $1350.rnrn3. Eligible renovations include kitchen renovations, new flooring, bathroom renovations, home additions, decks, interior and exterior painting, driveway resurfacing, retaining walls, hot water heating and furnaces.rnrn4. To be eligible, costs for such renovations must be incurred between now and February 1st, 2010.rnrnRemember, if you are renovating your home for the purposes of reselling, not all renovations are considered equal when it comes to resale value. If you are wondering about what parts of your home will get the most return take a look at the Renovation Guide on my website. Other home improvements which qualify for different tax breaks and rebates can be found there, as well.
With its mountain views and rural feel, Cochrane residents may want to keep this gem of a community hidden but it appears that this town has officially been discovered by its nearby neighbours in Calgary. In the last 10 years, the communities surrounding Calgary have grown with a similar trajectory as the city itself. And, as the city has become more populated, there been people who would prefer the slower pace and country air of communities including, Airdrie, Black Diamond, Okotoks, and Chestermere. While the real estate markets in these areas have shown similar growth to Calgary in the past decade so to have they showed a similar slowdown, with one exception. While housing starts, housing completions and average house prices have dropped in Calgary and most of its surrounding communities, housing starts and completions have gone up in Cochrane. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing starts in November 2007 to November 2008 have risen from 19 to 31 and housing starts year over year, from January to November have risen from 257 to 531. While these metrics do not suggest that Cochrane’s real estate market is going to weather this economic storm, unhindered, it proves the community’s desirability with potential home owners. And ultimately, people’s desire to live in a specific location over another is what drives real estate prices higher. So, while Calgary’s real estate market is forecast for a slow down this year, Cochrane may fair better than most Canadian real estate markets or maybe even do well.
I strive to provide my clients with the best possible service that any Realtor can offer. With my years of experience as a top producing agent with Century 21 and my knowledge of the real estate market, I feel that I can make the selling or buying process a positive one for all of my clients. However, in an effort to constantly improve upon the services that I provide my clients with, I am now able to offer savings with a variety of companies that provide a range of useful services. As a client of mine, you will now have to chance to enjoy significant savings with ICI Paints, 1800GOTJUNK and The Brick.rnrnIf you have any questions about the Calgary real estate market or the benefits of becoming a client of mine, please don’t hesitate to contact me any time.
I was driving down the road the other day and I saw one of British Columbia’s new licence plates with the tag line ‘The Best Place on Earth’. Now I don’t know about BC being the best place on earth but one thing I do know is the Calgary is a great place to live. For the outdoors person, Calgary and surrounding area is a veritable paradise. Calgary is a destination for world-class trout-fishing, skiing, rock climbing and mountaineering. Banff and Jasper is definitely in the running for one of the most beautiful stretches of mountains on the planet. And when compared with Vancouver and Toronto, Calgary is still a relatively inexpensive city to live in and with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, Calgary can support the influx of people who also enjoy this type of lifestyle.rnrnHow does this relate to real estate? Well, I have to invoke the old realtor adage – location, location, location. With all the uncertainty in the Canadian real estate market, the locals which will inevitably do the best are the ones which people find the most desirable to live in. Calgary has to be one of the most desirable cities to live in, in Canada for all the reasons I mentioned and more. And for this reason, Calgary will be one of the markets that will fair well as we move forward into this period of economic uncertainty.
Well, with the end of 2008, real estate professionals and prognosticators can look back and reflect on how poor 2008 really was. Here are some national numbers to consider:rnrn1. Average house prices are down 9.8 percent in November from a year ago.rnrn2. Total home sales are at their lowest since 2001.rnrnWhile these numbers do not look good for Canadian home owners these numbers don’t tell the whole story. This down turn is likely a result of a cyclical ebb and flow of home prices which have steadily risen in the last decade or so. And, the Canadian real estate market will likely avoid the disaster that most U.S. cities find themselves in. Led by Phoenix with a 33 percent decrease in real estate prices, the U.S. market is far worse than Canada. Part of what makes the Canadian situation different than our southern neighbours is that the foreclosure rate in Canada is still relatively low and the Canadian debt ratio is much lower than that of the U.S. Both of these statistics bode well for a recovery in the Canadian real estate market. 2009 may not be the best year for real estate in Canada but it may not be as bad as people think.
The news for Calgary real estate isn’t pretty for some right now. Consider the amount of units sold up to the end of the month of November in 2008 compared with 2007. There were approximately 31000 units sold up to the end of November 2007 and approximately 23000 units sold up to the end of November this year. That’s a reduction of 40%! This behavior, however, could be seen as a natural correction following a period of unprecedented growth. Calgary has had a shortage of housing for most of the last decade or more and it is just now that builders have caught up to the demand. For sellers, this can be trying times as values continue to decrease, however, for buyer’s this could be a time of great opportunity. Calgary’s real estate market will turn around and most think this is an inevitable fact. Alberta and specifically Calgary, has a lot to offer and the value of Alberta’s natural resources cannot be overlooked as the world economy starts to turn around. These facts make Calgary real estate a great bargain and a great investment opportunity. For people who have stable credit and a considerable down payment, Calgary real estate may be one of the best investments when compared with equities and more conservative investments. So, for those people who are considering purchasing in Calgary, this period of contraction will allow you to peruse the market for the absolute best deal without feeling the pressure to buy. Relax and enjoy the market because the days of a frenetic Calgary real estate market or at least a more balanced market aren’t that far off.
For people who can afford it, 2009 is probably going to be a good time to buy a new home. Interest rates are likely to be low and home prices continue to become more affordable. However, lenders are making it more difficult for first-time home buyers to enter the market. The days of 40 year amortizations are over and lenders are requiring larger down payments. For people who are purchasing their first home these obstacles can be daunting. First-timers….don’t despair. If you have RRSPs, you may be able to use them to finance the down payment on your property. In order to support home ownership in Canada, the Government of Canada allows home buyers to withdraw up to $20,000 to put towards a down payment of a first home, tax free! And, spouses can also use up to $20,000 in RRSPs to purchase their first home, for a total of $40,000 if both spouses were to take advantage of the Governments Home Buyer’s Plan.rnrnIn simple terms, the rules for the Home Buyer’s Plan are:rnrn1. You or your spouse must not have owned a home for the past four years.rnrn2. The withdrawal amount must be paid back no later than 15 years with payments made each year.rnrn3. The property must be your principal residence and you must intend to occupy the residence.rnrn4. The RRSPs that you withdrawal must have been deposited 90 days prior to the withdrawal.rnrnIf you are a first-time home buyer and you intend to take advantage of the Governments Home Buyer’s Plan, it is recommended that you speak with a financial advisor prior to purchasing your home. If you wish to find out more information about the Home Buyer’s Plan, visit acfc.gc.ca.