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Living in Calgary

Understanding The New Canadian Home Renovation Tax Credit

Earlier this year, the Canadian government announced a temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC). This tax credit was introduced to stimulate spending to offset the economic slowdown. The renovation credit can be applied to almost any work done on personal houses, recreational properties and condominiums, both inside and outside the home. For renovations totalling at least $1,000 and up to a maximum of $10,000 for materials and work, homeowners will receive a 15% tax credit, up to $1,350 [($10,000 − $1,000) × 15%]. To be eligible for this credit, the renovations must be completed between January 27, 2009 and January 31, 2010. The value of this program is estimated to be 3 billion dollars.


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The Calgary real estate market continued its recovery from the economic downturn by registering another near record month in October. Metro Calgary MLS sales for October 2009 show combined residential sales *SF homes + condos* of 1,886 units, a more than 50% increase from the same time last year, and 2.7% higher than last month. At the same time the price of an average SF Calgary home continues to climb, coming in at $462,464, 3% higher than Oct 2008 and nearly 1% higher than last month.

    Oct-09    Sept-09   Oct-08

 Oct 09


  Oct 08

 Oct 09 


 Sept 09

 SF Sales  1,286  1,257 820  +56.7% +2.2% 
 Condo Sales  601  580 399   +50.6%  +3.6%
 Total Metro Sales  1,886  1,837 1,219  +54.7%  +2.7%
 Avg SF
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Cochrane Bow Ridge Slippage Update

The Town of Cochrane has retained the services of Stantec Consulting  Ltd. to determine the cause of ongoing Bow Ridge wall movement affecting the community of Bow Ridge Phase III, more specifically, those portions of Bow Ridge Drive, Bow Ridge Link and Bow Ridge Close, directly adjacent to the hill .

The process was initiated in May 2009 and included a geotechnical investigation to determine the extent of the distress walls, assess the cause of the movements and determine potential remedial measures. If you are considering selling in the Bow Ridge area of Cochrane, we strongly recommend that you make full disclosure to anyone who expresses an interest in the affected properties. Buyer's would be urged to carry out

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On the back of Canadian job-loss and employment data released today, major Canadian banks are telegraphing mortgage rates are about to rise. The stronger than expected domestic job numbers saw Canadian bonds ending dramatically lower on Friday. Canada's unemployment rate fell in September for the first time since the economic downturn began, to 8.4% from 8.7% in August. At the same time the country created 30,600 jobs, significantly more than the expected 5,000.

Look for Canada's 5 major banks to raise fixed rate mortgages over the weekend or early Tuesday next week (Monday is the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday).

Tuesday October 13th Update

As forecast all major Canadian banks raised their fixed residential mortgage rates over the weekend or this

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A friend just passed this along to me in an email - I've got no idea who authored it but thought it was worth posting:

Worth Reading Again 

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone..
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check..
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

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A $10.3-million inner city property sale just set the record for all-time highest metro Calgary MLS sale. The custom built estate home, which features an incredible 12,700 sq ft of living space, is located along the banks of the Elbow River in east Elbow Park.

Elbow Park Real Estate

The Elbow Park home was owned by former Calgary Flames & Detroit Red Wings goalie Mike Vernon and his wife Jane, who commissioned Zeidler Architects to design their home in 2002 and construction was completed in 2006.

Above grade, the master bedroom along with 4 children's bedrooms each have an ensuite bathroom. The basement has a sixth bedroom with ensuite bath, as well as a bar, wine room, an entertainment/media room, and indoor floor hockey arena. City property taxes were $51,000 in 2008. The

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Calgary Real EstateToxic drywall is causing concern across North America, and may make some home buyers hesitant when shopping for a new home. In an article by Bob Aaron, a Toronto real estate lawyer, called Chinese Drywall Creating Crisis, the Toronto Star reported last month that defective Chinese drywall emits toxic hydrogen sulphide, sulphur dioxide and other gasses when exposed to humidity. When the drywall off gasses it creates a noxious odour, which can result in serious health conditions and illnesses, such as breathing problems, eye irritation, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, sore throat, bloody nose and headaches.

Bob Aaron reports that hundreds of millions of sheets of the defective drywall were imported into the United States between 2001 and 2007. It was also

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Calgary Real EstateLast week's move by Canadian lenders to raise their longer fixed term mortgage rates sparked some interesting discussions amongst clients. I thought it would be helpful to revisit what influences mortgage rates and discuss why Canadian mortgage rates are increasing.

Mortgage Rates & Bonds

Contrary to popular opinion, mortgage rates are not tied to interest rates *at least not directly*. Mortgage rates in fact are related to bonds and their yields (rates). Bonds are what are known as debt instruments, and Canadians have roughly 30 times more invested in debt markets *mainly bonds* than they have invested in equity markets *stocks*. The yield of a bond increases as the price of the bond falls. We won't get into the many variables affecting bond prices &

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Jim Sparrow Calgary Real EstateStats released from the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) today show Calgary metro sales are 14.7% higher than the same period in 2008 (May 1st thru May 13th).


  • Metro Calgary Single family sales totaled 619 vs 585 last year
  • Metro Calgary Condo sales totaled 276 vs 195 last year

Total metro Calgary listings *houses & condos currently listed on Calgary MLS* are 6,183 vs 10,800 same time last year (a 42.7% drop YOY)

Calgary stats are updated each Friday and can be viewed @ Calgary Market Stats


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NYMEX Crude OilNYMEX crude oil closed at the highest level since November following a job forecast report showing fewer US job cuts. Traders took this as a signal that the worst of the recession has passed and fuel demand may rebound.

Crude oil contracts (June delivery) closed out the week at $58.70 / bbl, a 10% rise from last week.

Natural gas futures also finished the week with strong gains, closing at $4.25 per million BTU, up $0.27 on the day.

Meanwhile the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index marked its highest close in more than six months on Friday, closing the day @ 10,238.0. Nine of ten sectors closed higher as the exchange closed up 7.8% on the week.

The TSX, while still off over 30% from the highs of 2008, is up over 36% from just a couple of

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