DON_5091_3_5_7_9Canada’s banking regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), introduced new rules that extend the requirement for a mortgage stress test to all home buyers, including those with larger down payments. Currently, the stress test only applies to mortgages with lower down payments and those with a term of less than five years.

The guidelines will take effect Jan. 1, 2018 and apply to new mortgages as well as mortgage renewal applications if borrowers switch lenders. Financial institutions won’t be obligated to apply the test at mortgage renewal for existing borrowers, although they may choose to do so.

The rules effectively reduce the size of the mortgage Canadians will be able to obtain given a certain down payment and income. As a result, qualifying will become much harder and savvy buyers are taking note and looking to buy before the changes are put in place.

Let us consider a scenario where a family is offered a mortgage rate of 2.83 per cent, (more than two percentage points below the current Bank of Canada five-year benchmark of 4.89 per cent). If they were to apply for a mortgage today, with 20 per cent down payment, a five-year fixed mortgage, and a 25-year amortization period, they would be able to afford a home worth $726,939. If they were to apply for a mortgage with all the same variables on or after Jan. 1, they would only be able to afford a home worth $570,970.

We all know that interest rates are on the rise. Since last November, buyers were able to obtain discounted mortgage rates at 5 years fixed at 2.49%. These rates have steadily climbed to 3.49% at 5 years fixed rate. Rates are holding steady currently so it’s a good time for buyers. Canada mortgage news writes that the new mortgage rules could eliminate 15% of Canadian buyers from qualify for a home mortgage.

Calgary Real Estate Association (CREA) forecasts a 7.4% increase in the Calgary housing market due to a slowing down of booming housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver.

In my opinion, if you plan on buying a property of any kind in the coming year, the time to buy is now. Please note that the Mortgage qualifying will change but mortgage payments will remain the same so it’s wise to invest now.

Riviera on the Bow makes a grand entrance



The kitchen, with full-size appliances and a full-height glass tile backsplash in the E floor plan at Riviera on the Bow, by DaVinci Homes.

There’s something about a grand entrance.

Riviera on the Bow’s entrance lobby makes a statement with its three glass chandeliers lined up above, glossy tile underfoot and stylized long grass detail along the upper walls. There’s a great sense of arrival.

While there’s the option for owners in this 31-unit, four-storey apartment-style condominium by DaVinci Homes to just hop out of their car in the underground heated garage and take the elevator to their floor, the lobby experience is worth the daily diversion, even if only to check the mailbox.

A variety of homes are move-in ready in the completed building, and the show suites give a excellent sense of living space, layout, finishes and views. The units in the building are generously sized, ranging from 720 to 1,888 square feet.

The E plan is one of the smallest two-bedroom and den plans at 997 square feet. This home has an open plan, with a central living space flanked by two bedrooms. Thoughtful details, meanwhile, provide privacy and help define space. A wall at one end of the kitchen island, for instance, shields sight lines into the second bedroom, while maintaining traffic flow through the kitchen.








The front foyer in the E floor plan at Riviera on the Bow, by DaVinci Homes.

DON_4965_67_69_71_73The front entrance in the E floor plan at Riviera on the Bow, by DaVinci Homes. Courtesy, DaVinci Homes Don Molyneaux


DON_5091_3_5_7_9The great room in the E floor plan at Riviera on the Bow, by DaVinci Homes.

DON_4974_76_78_80_82The master bedroom in the E floor plan at Riviera on the Bow, by DaVinci Homes.DON_4992_4994_4996_4998_5000The master ensuite in the E floor plan at Riviera on the Bow, by DaVinci Homes.

The kitchen, one of the working areas of the home, is well-supplied with full-height cabinets. Even the island includes cabinets on both sides to make the most of the space, while still including two spots for sitting at the counter.

Contributing to the elegant feeling of the home is the treatment of the doorway to the 97-square-foot patio. The glass door is centred with steps, and is framed with two long windows to make up the outer wall of the great room. The covered patio with a gas barbecue outlet provides private outdoor living space to the home.

A few key construction considerations contribute to the living comfort of these homes. Each unit has in-floor heating, which also serves to further control sound between floors. Likewise, the windows are a higher grade, meaning that traffic sounds from Parkdale Boulevard are minimal inside. For the hotter months, the central air conditioning will be appreciated.

Whether one is moving from a single-family home or from a smaller apartment, the convenience of full-size appliances — from laundry to the full-size wall oven — makes the household tasks efficient while serving the needs of entertaining larger parties.

Many south-facing units in this building feature views of the Bow River, especially from the upper levels. Situated in Parkdale, Riviera on the Bow is close to amenities such as the bike path system, parks, shopping and easy commutes to the University of Calgary, Foothills Medical Centre or downtown.


DEVELOPMENT: Riviera on the Bow
LOCATION: 3320 3rd Ave. N.W., in Parkdale
PRICES: For the weekend of Oct. 14, the E and E1 floor plans are on a significant sale, at $64,500 off regular price for the two-bedroom with den plans. Unit E on the first floor will be $483,500 plus GST, while E1 on the second and third floor will be $493,500 plus GST.
HOURS: The sales centre and show suites are open from Monday to Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m. and weekends from noon to 5 p.m.


5 things to know about condo fees

When you buy a condominium, you’re actually purchasing two things.

Your own unit and a portion of the space you share with all your neighbours. That’s the simple explanation. The more complicated one is contained in the Condominium Property Act, a little light reading on the Service Alberta website. Condo fees are your communal responsibility.

How are condo fees calculated?

The Condo Corporation, to which you’d belong, sets the annual operating and maintenance budget. Fees are dependent upon the building’s age, the location and the volume of seasonal maintenance required. The budget could include heat and electricity or amenities such as a pool, fitness room or 24-hour concierge. Money must be set aside in a reserve fund to pay for big ticket items like the roof, replacing siding, fencing or replacing a boiler. Once the corporation knows how much they need every year, owners are assessed a fee based on the square footage of their unit.

Can you afford it?

If you have a mortgage, your payment is now PITCF: principal, interest, taxes and condo fee. If your unit is 700 square feet and your condo fees are 60 cents per square foot, because your downtown building has a yoga studio, a concierge and a bike/dog wash in the underground parkade, that’s a quick $420 a month. But remember, that likely includes your heat, water, sewer, electricity and you might not need a gym membership anymore. Condo fees can also increase with very little notice, often every year.

Who’s in charge of the money?

As an owner, you have a say in how your condo fee is spent. The condo corporation is a non-profit organization run by a resident volunteer board. A fee is paid to a professional condo management company, which, under the board’s direction, oversees the maintenance and pays the bills. Board members are voted in every year at the Annual General Meeting and should be approachable at any time of year when residents have concerns. As a governance board, this group calls the shots, however, it’s a democracy and your vote counts.

What is a reserve fund?

By law, all condo associations must have a capital replacement reserve fund. A predictive study must be done every three to five years by a qualified person to determine the amount of funds required for future maintenance. The amount of money in the reserve fund depends on the size of the complex. Reserve funds are built over time, so a new development will just be starting its fund. Of course, being a new development, it should be several years before any major work needs to be done. This information should be part of your pre-purchase research.

Additional costs

A special assessment is a repair, replacement or maintenance issue over and above what is covered by the reserve fund. Special assessments are usually put to a vote by residents, but often due to the emergency nature of assessments, meetings are impromptu and owners usually have to reach deep into their pockets. It’s no different than owners of single-family homes who have to suddenly replace the roof after a violent hailstorm. You’re an owner — it’s what you do.

Riviera on the Bow – Short Story Part 2

This stunning property faces the Bow River on one side and the quiet residential neighborhood of Parkdale on the other side making it at once urban and rural with nature right outside your front door. The luxury 1 and 2 bedroom apartments range from 800 square feet to 1500 square feet with underground parking included with each unit and ample visitor parking. Each unit has a private balcony from 80-100 square feet with each penthouse boasting a terrace of almost 1000 feet each.

To be Continued…….

RIviera on the Bow – Short Story Part 1

Riviera on the Bow by Davinci Homes is luxury living like no other property in Calgary. From the moment you drive up along the Bow River to when you enter the 20 ft high lobby with coffered ceilings and arrive inside the sunlit units, every detail is perfection. The building is opulent while maintaining a modern and cutting-edge aesthetic suitable for a waterfront luxury building in one of the largest cosmopolitan centers in Canada.

To be Continued……….

New Year’s Pledge: Automatic Wealth Through Rental Real Estate

By Mark Ford, founder, The Palm Beach Research Group
Monday, January 4, 2016

Do you invest in real estate?

I’m not talking about your home. Owning a home has more to do with security (emotional and personal) than it has to do with building wealth.

I’m talking about rental real estate.

If you aren’t investing in rental properties, you should think about doing so today…..

I love real estate. It’s not without its problems, but it’s the best way I’ve found to accumulate a good deal of wealth on a part-time basis.

In the many years I’ve been actively investing in real estate, it has given me returns much better than the stock market. In fact, my average return has been between 5% and 8%, without leverage. When I use bank financing, those numbers are in the 12%-15% range.

I’ve tried all sorts of real estate investing. But I’ve gotten the best results by sticking to this plan: direct investments in income-producing properties… either residential or commercial.

You receive something with rental properties you don’t get with many other real estate deals: guaranteed income. Sure, you get appreciation, too. But I’ve come to see that as secondary to having dozens of extra, ongoing income streams. (And did I mention it’s money that comes with little to no extra work for you?)

Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up one day and realize you don’t need to work anymore? Imagine how it’d feel to have checks sent to you each month. Checks that, in total, were enough to pay all your bills.

It’s an attractive prospect, don’t you think? You can make it happen by building a substantial real estate retirement portfolio.

If you’re relatively young (meaning retirement is 20-plus years away), you can do it easily. If you’re closer to retirement – or already retired – you can enjoy the benefits as well… though you’ll need to work a bit harder and/or invest a bit more money.

I made more than 500% on a house my brother rented from me. He and his family stayed in it for three years, paying below-market rent (which he appreciated). Yet I was able to make consistent income… and I was able to sell it for more than twice what I paid for it.

Since I financed it at 80%, my return in the end was huge… even when you take into account all the costs. These include the cost of borrowing, the maintenance, and the theoretical loss of income by charging a modest rent.

I netted something like $10,000 per year on a condo I bought for $65,000. That was a return of roughly 15%, cash on cash. (Cash-on-cash return = annual dollar income / total dollar investment.)

Had I used bank financing, I would’ve made more – without any significant increase in risk.

I own dozens of individual properties like this. They send me checks – usually thousands of dollars – on the first of every month. That’s a nice way to begin your month.

Mark on his favorite day of the month: the first.

On the credenza are 24 small red binders. Each represents a separate real estate investment I’m involved in.

Some are individual properties I own myself. Some are properties I own with friends. Some are direct investments. Some are in partnerships or corporations. Some are rental plays. Some are build-and-sells.

If you decide this is the year to begin a real estate portfolio, start slowly.

My first real estate investment was a bad one. I’ve written about it before. It was a rental unit in Washington, D.C. (It was overpriced and occupied by a prostitute who would neither pay me rent nor do her business elsewhere.)

It took me years to dig myself out of that mistake. I emerged a smarter (but not-yet-smart-enough) real estate investor.

Take your time. Be selective. Educate yourself. Some of what’s on the bookshelves is full of misguided advice.

My best advice is to subscribe to our rental real estate program. It’s part of the Palm Beach Research Group’s Wealth Builders Club. That, you can trust.

You can also take adult education classes… if you can find them. Be leery of free seminars –they’re likely to be selling traps.

Here’s a promise: If you start investing in rental real estate this year, you’ll be glad you did. If you keep investing – buying at least one new property per year (which will be easy once you get going) – you will be a real estate multimillionaire in no time (not counting your other assets).

And you’ll be well on your way to retiring as a multimillionaire.

When you look back on all the wealth you acquired, you may feel the way I do now: that real estate was the easiest and – next to your personal business – most lucrative wealth-building activity you ever got involved in.


Mark Ford 
Editor's note: Mark's research team has discovered an unusual way to get rich and generate income from It has nothing to do with buying stocks. One couple used this "anomaly" to generate $40,000 in their first week. Another woman applied the technique to generate up to $2 million a year. You can learn more about this secret right here

Market remains balanced despite easing in absorption rates

by CREB on August 04, 2015

Declines in residential housing sales activity eased in July, creating, when combined with stable inventory levels, no change to the month-over-month price.

Year-over-year sales fell by 14 per cent to 1,995 units in July, compared to a 17.8 per cent decrease the previous month. Despite the decline, sales activity during the month was consistent with the 10-year average.

While sales decline eased, so too did the decline in new listings, causing the unadjusted sales-to-new listings ratio to edge down to 67 per cent in July and months of supply to increase to 2.53 months.

“As weakness in the energy sector continues, this is trickling into several other aspects of our local economy, including our housing market,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

Despite weaker absorption rates, market conditions remained relatively balanced and helped maintain month-over-month stability in benchmark prices, which remained unchanged from the previous month at $455,400.

“Often, the focus is on home prices. In fact, Calgary has recorded significant gains in home prices over the past several years,” said Lurie. “And despite the recent retraction, we have not seen all those previous gains eroded.”

While benchmark prices exhibited some month-over-month resilience, they still declined by 0.15 per cent annually and one per cent lower than levels recorded in January. It represents the first time since 2011 that benchmark prices have posted a year-over-year decline.

Lurie attributes most of the year-over-year decline to the apartment sector, where prices fell by 1.61 per cent to $293,300 – nearly two per cent lower than the price at the beginning of the year – due to weak demand and growing supply.

Year-to-date new listings in the apartment sector declined by 4.6 per, while sales declined by 29 per cent over the same period, resulting in inventory gains. By July, the months of supply pushed up to 3.77 months compared to three months in June.

“The relatively weak demand for apartment product, combined with rising supply, continued to place downward pressure on prices for the second month in a row,” said Lurie.

CREB® president Corinne Lyall noted Calgary’s housing market is continuing to see some nuances in supply between the different segments of the market.

“These differences are really important to understand as it relates to consumer expectations,” she said. “Some buyers expect they will get major price reductions in this market, but that’s not always the case. In some areas, supply levels are more balanced with demand and that creates price stability.”

Meanwhile, detached home prices remained steady month-over-month at $515,300. While absorption rates eased in the sector, conditions remained relatively balanced.

“Many clients are optimistic about the long-term outlook and are less concerned about short-term fluctuations in the housing market,” said Lyall.

“They’re focused on taking the time they need to make the right choices for their lifestyle. Saying that, it’s important to stay current and become educated with the market dynamics in the communities where they may be making real estate decisions.”

The cost of growth

by CREBNOW on JUL 3, 2015

A look at Calgary’s development and off-site levies








Hopping in the shower or flushing the toilet is going to take its toll on Calgarians’ wallets in coming years.

Calgary’s current model for development levies is set to recover 50 per cent of the cost of water drained from your tap or toilet. Storm water is 100 per cent covered by developers.

Yet that’s not sustainable for utilities coming to the city down the line – in the form of a $14-million shortfall for new water and sewage infrastructure this year.<span id=”more-9595″>

“When growth happens, it creates a lot of additional costs to the municipality. You need a lot of infrastructure to support new communities,” said Kathy Dietrich manager of growth management with the City of Calgary.

“There’s always a concern if the charges that we put on the cost of a new development will just end up raising the cost of the homes. But the infrastructure that’s needed to serve communities is needed regardless. So you can pay for it through a number of different tools. One of them is off-site levies.”

In 2011, an Off-Site Levy Bylaw took effect until a new bylaw would be prepared for the end of this year. That bylaw set out the 50 per cent agreement, aiding the growth of new communities in Calgary, yet adding a new cost to builders.

“Developers were told back in the ’90s, ‘You don’t have to pay for water, we’ll take care of it because we’ll get it through increases in utility rates, so the utilities will go up to cover the cost of putting the pipes in the ground and paying for the water’”, said Guy Huntingford, CEO of Urban Development Institute (UDI).

“As a result, we wanted developers to pay a great deal more for transportation levies, so developers did. And the City came back at the last negotiation in 2011 and said, ‘Oops we have a problem, we need you guys to start paying half of the water now and 100 per cent of the storm.’ So we did.”

With growth comes increased cost, and Huntingford said he doesn’t think people appreciate the “meteoric” growth Calgary has seen in the last three years. From 2012 to 2014, Calgary’s population increased by more than 67,000 residents to a total population of 1,195,194.

“I don’t think people appreciate the enormous pressure that was put on the system from the City’s point of view, but also from the industry’s point of view trying to continue to build at a furious pace to deal with all these people,” said Huntingford.

As a result, Calgarians will see an increase in their annual fees and taxes. This year, residents will spend about $83 on water/wastewater, a number that is expected to grow to more than $105 by 2018.

Last year, City of Calgary general manager Jeff Fielding announced the launch of Build Calgary, a collaboration between City business units and external stakeholders to prioritize Calgary’s demand for growth – something Huntingford sees as good news.

“[Build Calgary is] heading up the new off-site levy bylaw negotiations,” he said. “They’re also looking at all the other growth related infrastructure needs whether it’s for redevelopment, commercial, industrial – the whole gamut of issues around growth.

“We wholeheartedly agree with that. We’re working with them on not only the new off-site levy bylaw, but those other issues I described.”

New communities aren’t the only one’s feeling the strain of infrastructure issues. Construction is almost complete on the West Memorial Sanitary Trunk – extending from Bowness to Rocky Ridge, touching 24 communities overall – which had been operating at capacity for two years prior.

Because of those constraints, development was closely monitored with new criteria for how planning, development and building applications would be processed in impacted communities.

“To this day, there is some development going on, but nowhere near what would have been if that trunk had been sized correctly or somebody had realized it needed upgrading a long time ago,” said Huntingford.

The upgrades, expected to cost $50 million, are expected to be completed for 2017. During construction, the City has installed a structural liner in existing sewers that seals cracks and prevents groundwater and rain seepage.

As for a solution, Huntingford calls it a “delicate balance” of responsible growth infrastructure and ensuring there’s affordability in what is being produced by the industry.

“Because if the city off-loads hundreds of thousands of extra costs, it just gets passed to the consumer, which hurts your affordability,” he said. “That doesn’t do anybody any good in the long run.”

– See more at:

Calgary’s sales buoyed by consumer confidence

house-hunting-realtor-propertyThe positive outlook of consumers is helping to keep the Calgary housing market consistent with typical levels.

That’s according to a new report from the Calgary Real Estate Board, which notes that the volume of sales in June was only five per cent below the 10-year average for the month and three per cent higher than levels of the past three years.

“We’ve seen less concern from consumers lately,” said CREB president Corinne Lyall. “Consumers who were waiting for wide-spread price declines have been surprised to see that it just hasn’t happened yet, and so they’ve decided to take advantage of the improved selection and lower lending rates.”

June’s sales were 18 per cent lower than the same month last year, new listings totalled 3,122 and prices were essentially flat. The second quarter figures show that the worst may be behind us with year-over-year declines in sales of 22 per cent, down from 32 per cent in the first quarter.

The apartment sector in Calgary is showing the greatest weakness in absorption rates, creating downward pressure on prices, although still 1.65 per cent above last year’s average on an adjusted basis.

Detached homes reached a benchmark price of $515,500, up 0.4 per cent from the same month last year; the year-to-date figure is 3.44 per cent higher than the same period last year.

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage.

Calgary family median income the highest of major Canadian cities

Published on: June 29, 2015 | Last Updated: June 29, 2015 7:31 AM MDT



There’s a reason retailers from luxury auto vehicles to specialty stores want to open shop in Calgary — the region has the highest median family income of all major centres in Canada.
In recent years that has led to robust sales in the retail sector as well as in the housing market.
A report by Statistics Canada, released recently, said Calgary had the highest median total family income (before tax) of all census metropolitan areas in 2013 at $101,260, according to data derived from personal income tax returns.
Calgary was followed by Edmonton ($98,480) and Ottawa — Gatineau ($96,710). These three have composed the top three CMAs since 2009, said the federal agency Statistics Canada said that among census agglomerations (CAs), Wood Buffalo, Alberta ($181,240), had the highest median total family income, followed by Yellowknife, the Northwest Territories ($137,860).

“This ranking has not changed since 2010. These two CAs have had the highest median total family income since this data series became available at the CA geographic level in 2001,” added the federal agency.

Meanwhile, Statistics Canada also released on Monday a study on interprovincial employees in Canada — people who had paid employment in one province but maintained their permanent residence in another.

“The number of interprovincial employees working in Alberta reached 132,000 in 2008. The number declined to about 100,000 in 2009 and 2010, and then rebounded to 111,000 in 2011. Interprovincial employees in Alberta received 3.7 per cent of total wages and salaries paid in the province that year,” said the federal agency.