During the real estate boom in the mid-2000s, Edmonton's suburbs grew by leaps and bounds. They grew out of sight, almost unnoticed by folks in mature neighbourhoods, until the Anthony Henday opened and drivers looking for a shortcut to Calgary spotted rows and rows of rooftops from the highway.

 

Today, as economic forecasts predict the city is about to boom again, the Edmonton Journal is launching a summer series on Edmonton's newer communities.

 

The city predicts 75 per cent of growth will be in new communities for at least the next decade. More than 40 neighbourhoods are already approved or under construction, some filling up faster than others, and a closer look shows a large variance in the quality and level of amenities.

 

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Economic risks, well-anchored inflation expectations and a strong Canadian dollar have prompted TD Economics to push back its interest rate hike forecast.

 

Rather than an increase from the Bank of Canada in 2011, TD now believes the tightening of monetary policy will arrive early in 2012, with the overnight rate climbing to just 2.00% by the middle of the year.

 

“With the U.S. Federal Reserve on hold, the Bank of Canada is also constrained in raising interest rates, as widening interest rate spreads would boost the Canadian dollar that is already above parity,” said Craig Alexander, TD’s chief economist.

 

He also said the traditional framework for thinking about monetary policy fails to account for the atypical economic and financial environment that currently exists.

 

“At the most basic level, the world economy has not made as much progress as we had hoped in dealing with the legacies of the financial crisis and recession,” Mr. Alexander said in a report. “This will have an impact on the future conduct of Canadian monetary policy.”

 

He thinks Canada’s central bank could raise rates from 1.00% to 2.00%, then stop to assess how the economy responds and how international events are playing out. The economist said such a pause would last several months.

 

If this more accomodative policy stance leads to stronger domestic demand, this would induce the need for higher rates, Mr. Alexander said. The other factor that could change his outlook is inflation.

 

“If solid economic data leads markets to fret about the Bank falling behind the inflation curve, then all bets are off and the central bank will start hiking,” he said. “The credibility of an inflation fighter is too valuable to lose.”

 

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CaptureDoubts that the Albertan economy could reclaim its position as one of Canada’s faster growing provincial economies are dissipating quickly because the wheels of growth are starting to spin faster in the province.

 

To be sure, not all economic sectors have yet displayed the same pace of recovery—or any recovery at all in some cases—but we believe that the expansion is spreading and will bring wider benefits as 2011 progresses.

 

The forest fires that tragically destroyed communities and disrupted crude oil production

in May will, fortunately, have only a temporary effect on overall economic performance.

 

We expect growth to accelerate to a nation-leading 4.3% in 2011 from 3.7% in 2010,

which would be the province’s best showing since 2006.

 

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salesmanYou better buy a house in this market before it's too late.

 

How many times have you heard those words? The panic thinking is driven partially by prices continuing to rise to record levels but also by the sense that near-record-low interest rates could rise at any moment.

 

The sense of desperation to buy now out of fear you won't be able to get it tomorrow is probably one of the first things taught to any sales person. Create a sense of urgency.

 

"There's six left on the shelf, nope, it's down to five," jokes certified financial planner Ted Rechtshaffen, president of TriDelta Financial. "It's an interesting phrase."

 

Mr. Rechtshaffen says his clients are not uttering panic words but you have to wonder whether Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of Canada, might have been hearing them before making a speech to the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce this month.

 

"One cannot totally discount the possibility that some pockets of the Canadian housing market are taking on characteristics of financial asset markets, where expectations can dominate underlying forces of supply and demand," Mr. Carney said. "The risk is that expectations become extrapolative, prompting the classic market emotions of greed and fear -greed among speculators and investors -and fear among households that getting a foot on the property ladder is a now-or-never proposition."

 

It's hard to measure desperation, but a recent survey from Toronto-Dominion Bank on first-time homebuyers might imply there is some urgency in the marketplace.

 

The survey found 45% of Canadians are willing to buy their home independently without a co-signer. Traditionally people wait until they are married to buy that first home but now they want to establish equity early so they can get their foot in the market.

 

More worrisome out of the TD report was the statistic that buyers are doing less research before jumping in. The bank said mortgage pre-approvals are down to 72% from 84% a year ago and home inspections have dropped from 85% to 67% during the same period. The report also shows declining percentages for buyers researching issues like electricity and closing costs.

 

It all sounds like somebody in a hurry to buy or at least in a bit more of a rush.

 

"I think people see affordability is still there. The employment numbers are strong and rates are relatively still low," says Farhaneh Haque, regional manager of mobile mortgage specialists with TD Canada Trust. "In part there is a sense or urgency because they are worried about rates and unsure of what the markets will do."

 

Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets, says the Bank of Canada is partly to blame for some of the urgency in the market because of the uncertainty over rates.

 

"People feel the window is closing," Mr. Tal says. "People have been talking about the Bank of Canada raising rates. They look and say rates will be one or 1.5% [percentages points higher] next year. There is some logic to it."

 

He adds that if you look at trends over the past 20 years on what happens before rate announcements, you see an acceleration of activity before the announcement.

 

"Look at the last year and half and we've had this sense of urgency," says Mr. Tal, adding it has driven housing in Canada since the recession. "The real estate market has like nine lives."

 

It's easy to say wait until the market crashes in cities like Vancouver, where prices are up 25% from a year ago. But if rates go up, it could be just as expensive to carry a home.

 

Queen's University professor John Andrew says it's in the real estate industry's interests to promote the idea prices will rise forever. But while he thinks it's obvious in places like Vancouver there will be a price correction, it doesn't help you if interest rates go up.

 

"You see a 10% price correction but if interest rates go up two [percentage points], you are not better off," Prof. Andrew says. "Buyers are caught in this quandary that when interest rates go up, prices will come down."

 

If you are sitting on the housing sidelines, it might seem like you can't win either way.

 

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buildingAlberta has the unlikely distinction of having Canada’s highest rental apartment vacancy rate and the most expensive average monthly rents.

 

The average monthly rent in Alberta for two-bedroom apartments in new and existing structures was $1,029, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s spring rental market survey released Thursday.

That is up slightly from $1,023 a year ago.

 

Alberta also had Canada’s highest vacancy rate at 4.7 per cent, down from 6.0 per cent a year ago.

 

CMHC regional economist Lai Sing Louie said Alberta’s nation-leading average rental rates in the face of high vacancy are a holdover from rent increases which started kicking in during 2006 and 2007 as the provincial economy revved up and demand for housing soared.

 

“It takes a lot for rents to come down,” Louie said. “A person who has invested in a rental project has cash-flow issues and other financial obligations that they have to meet. Everything is locked in and landlords tend not to reduce rents unless they absolutely have to keep tenants.”

 

Instead of significantly cutting rents, landlords turned instead to incentives such as a month’s free rent to attract renters, Louie said.

 

But incentives are on their way out as migrants begin returning to Alberta, spurring demand for housing, he said.

In the Edmonton census metropolitan area, it was slightly tougher to find and a little more expensive to rent an apartment in the Edmonton region in April than it was a year ago.

 

“A strengthening economy, especially in the energy sector, has improved labour market conditions in both (Edmonton and Calgary) CMAs,” said Richard Cho, a senior market analyst for the federal agency.

 

“This has resulted in improved job creation, attracting an increased flow of migrants and strengthening the demand for rental units.”

 

The apartment vacancy rate in the Edmonton census metropolitan area dipped to 4.7 per cent from 5.2 per cent in April 2010, the survey said.

 

Average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the Edmonton region rose to $1,029 from $994 a year earlier.

In April 2009, the average two-bedroom rent in Edmonton was $1,059.

 

Nationally, the average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada’s 35 major centres decreased slightly to 2.5 per cent in April, from 2.9 per cent in April 2010.

 

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MM900300524[1]The wheels of economic growth are in motion in Alberta as the province reclaims its position as one of Canada’s fastest growing economies, says the latest Economic Outlook report released today by RBC Economics.

 

The report forecasts Real GDP growth of 4.3 per cent in Alberta this year which will lead the country and economic growth of 3.8 per cent in 2012, which will be behind Saskatchewan’s nation-leading 4.7 per cent.

 

Alberta’s economic growth this year will be its best showing since 2006 and an increase from the 3.7 per cent hike in 2010.

 

“Strong demand for Alberta’s bitumen continues to spur tremendous activity in the province’s various oilsands projects,” says the report. “This activity more than makes up for weakness in natural gas and declining conventional oil output.

 

Alberta’s oil and gas extraction producers are in midst of a $24.2-billion spending binge this year, boosting their outlays by nearly 18 per cent relative to 2010, according to intentions expressed in Statistics Canada’s Private and Public Investment survey released in February.”

 

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Calgary is ranked the ninth most expensive housing market in the country, according to the Coldwell Banker Real Estate Home Listing Report.

 

The report, released Wednesday, is a snapshot survey of average listing prices for four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes in 70 Canadian markets over a six-month period from September 2010 to March this year on coldwellbanker.com.

Calgary’s average came in at $534,912.

 

Vancouver topped the country at over $1.546 million followed by Kelowna at $1.087 million and Burnaby at $797,455.

 

Fort McMurray was fourth overall at $652,382 followed by West Kelowna ($640,055), Oakville ($624,914), Victoria ($540,087), and Surrey ($536,109).

 

Sherwood Park rounded out the top 10 at $534,850. Leduc was 11th overall at $518,393.

 

“The Canadian market continues to experience record or near-record housing prices in major markets across the country with Western Canada posting some of the nation’s highest prices,” said Jim Gillespie, chief executive of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

 

Edmonton placed 17th overall on the Canadian list with an average list price of $442,121.

 

The most affordable market in Alberta was Lethbridge at $248,082.

 

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St. AlbertZone 24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Current Active Homes For Sale in St. Albert

 

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Sold Homes – St. Albert in May 2011

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DOM = Days on the Market

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SP = Sold Price

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Sherwood ParkZone 25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Current Active Homes For Sale in Sherwood Park

 

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Sold Homes – Sherwood Park in May 2011

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DOM = Days on the Market

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NEZone 02 -  Evansdale, Northmount, Glengarry, Klikenny, Kildare, Delwood, Mcleod, York,

Cassleman, Miller, Balwin, Belvedere, Killarney, Elmwood Park, Dalton

Zone 03 -  North Swale, Matt Berry, Hollick Kenyon, Brintnell

Zone 06 -  Newton, Montrose

Zone 09 -  Highlands, Edmonton Northlands, Virginia Park, Cromdale

Zone 23 -  Berman, Abbotsfield, Beacon Heights, Beverly Heights, Rundle Heights

Zone 28 -  Ozerna, Mayliewan, Belle Rive, Eaux Claite, Schonsee, Klarvatten, Lago Lindo, Crystallina Nera, Joviz

Zone 35 -  Kirkness, Fraser, Hairsine, Clareview Campus, Bannerman, Sifton Park, Belmont, Kernohan, Homesteader,Overlanders, Canon Ridge

Zone 43 -  Clover Bar Area, East Edmonton

Zone 50

Zone 51

 

 

 

 Current Active Listings in Northeast Edmonton

 

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Sold Listings in Northeast Edmonton in May 2011

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NWZone 01 -  Athlone, Calder, Kensington, Lauderdale, Rosslyn, Wellington

Zone 04 -  Dovercourt, Hagman Est Ind, Prince Charles, Sherbrooks

Zone 07 -  Inglewood, North Glenora, Westmount, Woodcroft

Zone 21 -  Britannia,/Youngstown, Canora, Grovenor, High Park/Edm, Jasper Place, Mayfield, McQueen

Zone 27 -  Barnow, Batyrn, Beaumaris, Caenarvon, Canossa, Carlisle, Carlton, Chambery, Cumberland, Dunluse,

Elisnore, Hudson, Lorelei, Oxford, Palisades, Pembina, Rapperswill, Rural North West

Zone 59 -  Rural West Big Lake, Westview Village, Mobile Park, Winterburn Ind East

Zone 40

 

 

 

 Current Active Listings in Northwest Edmonton

 

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Sold Listings in Northwest Edmonton in May 2011

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DOM = Days on the Market

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The local real estate market is humming along at a steady rate with home prices remaining relatively stable for single-family dwellings in both St. Albert and Morinville.

 

“Prices for May are slightly less than they were last year, but up significantly from January,” said Jon Hall, communications manager for the Edmonton Real Estate Board.

 

Hall agreed it’s not unusual and is in fact a normal market trend for houses to rise in price through the first six months of every calendar year. He also stressed there are enough positive signs of an improving economy to provide an optimistic outlook for the re-sale housing market.

 

“The market is fairly stable with a slight upward trend and no wild swings in prices. There is nothing in the local market causing those swings and on the future horizon there is optimism with companies such as Ledcor, which just announced last week it’s hiring 9,000 people,” he said.

 

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Housing starts in the Edmonton region for May surpassed May 2010 levels, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Wednesday.

 

CMHC said there were 1,009 homes started in May, up from 989 a year earlier.

 

It’s the highest level of monthly activity since April 2010, the federal agency said.

 

But for the year to date, housing starts totalled 3,332, down from 4,428 in the first five months of 2010.

 

There were 546 single-detached homes started in May, up slightly from 540 a year earlier. It’s the first year-over-year gain since September.

 

For the year to date, builders started 1,783 single-detached units, down 30 per cent from 2,554 year-over-year.

 

CMHC senior market analyst Michael Fabiyi said the number of completed and unabsorbed homes remains higher than last year, but the total supply of single-detached homes has declined over recent months.

 

“This, along with the higher pace of absorptions recorded thus far should encourage increased new home production moving forward,” he said.

 

In the multi-family market, there were 463 starts in May, up from 449 a year earlier.

 

In the first five months of 2011, multi-family starts totalled 1,549. That’s down 17 per cent from January to May 2010.

 

Across Alberta, housing starts in the seven largest centres dropped eight per cent year-over-year to 1,948 in May

 

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CentralZone 5 -  Alberta Avenue, Delton, Eastwood, Elmwood Park, Park Dale

Zone 08 -  Central McDougall, Edmonton Municipal, Prince Rupert, Queen Mary Park, Spruce Avenue, Westwood, Yellowhead Corridor

Zone 12 -  Downtown Edmonton, Oliver, Rossdale

Zone 13 -  Boyle Street, McCauley, Riverdale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Current Active Listings in Central Edmonton

 

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Sold Listings in Central Edmonton in May 2011

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westZone 10 -  Crestwood, Parkview, Valleyview, Laurier Heights

Zone 11 -  Glenora

Zone 20 -  Aldergrove, Belmead, Callingwood, Dechene, Donsdale, Gariepy, Hawthorne Hill, Jamieson Place, Le Perle,

Lymburn, Ormsby Place, River Valley Ctry, Sherwood, Summerlea, Terra Losa, Thorncliffe, Vistula, Westridge

Zone 22 -  Emwood, Glenwood, Jasper Park, Lynwood, Meadowlark Park, Oleskiw, Patricia Heights, Quesnell Heights, Rio Terrace

Zone 58 -  Breckenridge, Greens, Glastenbury, The Hamptons, Normandeau Gardens, Potter Green, Lewis Estates, Triple A Acres

 

 

 

 Current Active Listings in West Edmonton

 

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Sold Listings in West Edmonton in May 2011

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DOM = Days on the Market

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SEZone 17 -  Argyll, Avonmore, Hazeldean, King Edward Park, Ritchie.

Zone 18 -  Bonniedoon, Cloverdale, Holyrood, Idlewylde, Kenilworth, Ottwell, Strathearn.

Zone 19 -  Capilano, Forest Heights, Fulton Place, Gold Bar, Terrace Heights, Millwoods.

Zone 29 -  Bisset, Crawford Plains, Daly Grove, Ekota, Greenview, Hillview, Jackson Heights, Kameyosek,

Kiniski Gardens, Lee Ridge, Mensia,

Mayonohk, Michaels Park, Millwoods Park, Minchau, Pollard Meadows, Richfield, Sakaw, Satoo, Tawa,

Tipaskan, Tweddle Place, Weinlos

Zone 30 -  Larkspur, The Meadows, Silver Berry, Wildrose

Zone 41

Zone 42

Zone 53

Zone 54

 

 

 Current Active Listings in South East Edmonton

 

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Sold Listings in South East Edmonton in May 2011

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DOM = Days on the Market

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image5089118F1304820882006Zone 14 -  Brander Gardens, Brookside, Brookeside, Buylea Heights, Carter Cresc, Falconer Heights, Haddow, Henderson Estates, Hodgson, Legar, Ogilvie Ridge.

Zone 15 -  Allendale, Belgravia, Empire Park, Garneau, Grandview Heights, Landsdown, Lendrum Place, Malmo Plains, McKernan, Park Allen, Pleasant View, Queen Alexandra, Strathcona, Windsor Park.

Zone 16 -  Aspen Gardens, Royal Gardens, Rideau Park, Duggan, Greenfield, Westbrook Estate, Sweet Grass, Blue Quill Estates, Steinhauer, Ermineskin, Skyrattler, Keheewin, Twin Brooks, and Bearspaw.

Zone 55 -  Blackburne, MacEwan, and Richford

Zone 56 -  Windermere Estates

Zone 57 -  Woodbend Estatesh

 

Edmonton South West Homes for Sale

Edmonton South West Condos for Sale

 Current Active Listings in South West Edmonton

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Sold Listings in South West Edmonton in May 2011

 

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Edmonton, June 2, 2011: The local real estate market is looking up according to the current statistics released by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. The average residential sales price is up, the price of a single family detached home or a condo is up, number of sales is up and inventory is up over the previous month.

 

“Local market housing sales this year are tracking as we forecast in January,” explained REALTORS® Association of Edmonton President Chris Mooney. “Historically for the month of May, the days-on-market (50 days) is at the second lowest point in four years while the sales-to-listing ratio at 53% is at the second highest point in the same period. Both metrics are a good indication of market optimism.”

 

The average* price of a single family detached home in May was $380,545, up a quarter of a percent from last month. An average priced condo sold for $241,079, up an amazing 3.65% from April. Duplex and row house prices declined 2.96% month-over-month but the average residential price (including all types of residential properties) was up 1.39% from a month ago.

 

Median prices in most housing categories were up: SFD up 1.13%, condo up 3.64%, Duplex/row house down 2% and all residential up 0.8%. There were 1,857 residential sales in May (up 24.9% from April) with listings of 3,525 properties (up from 3,278 in April). As a result, inventory increased from 7,715 properties to 8,180.

 

“There is a wide range of property on the market right now but it is turning over quicker than in recent months,” said Mooney. “The local economy is picking up, the demand for labour is increasing but the national situation is keeping interest rates low. We anticipate increasing prices and sales through the summer ahead as we originally forecast.”

 

Total Edmonton and area MLS® System sales in May were $701 million for an annual total-to-date of $2.574 billion.

 

Highlights of MLS® System activity

 

 

¹. Residential includes SFD, condos and duplex/row houses.
². Single Family Dwelling
³. The middle figure in a list of all sales prices

* Average prices indicate market trends only. They do not reflect actual changes for a particular property, which may vary from house to house and area to area. Prior period figures have been adjusted to include late reported sales and cancellations and therefore reflect a more accurate view of the period than previously reported at month end. For information on a specific area, contact your local REALTOR®.

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