The12 Stains of Christmas

Even if your true love made them, you’re not going to want these holiday-season stains. Here’s how to clean them up.

The holidays can bring joyous moments. Those fireplace gatherings also can leave soot behind, decorated trees produce sticky sap, and those bûches de Noël can leave chocolate stains on the tablecloth. But don’t let these things get you down. Here’s how to beat the 12 stains of Christmas.

All Illustrations by Kim Murton

1. Christmas tree sap. 

To remove tree sap from a rug, carpet or fabric, place some dishwashing detergent on your fingertip and rub it into the sap. Continue rubbing until the sap starts to break down. Wipe the area with a wet cloth until all the sap is removed. Then, rinse the entire area with warm water until there’s no sign of the detergent. Allow to air-dry.

2. Candle wax. 

To remove wax on a tablecloth, first rub an ice cube over the wax. Once it has hardened, use a butter knife to scrape off as much as you can. Place a paper bag over the area, and rub a warm iron over it. The wax will liquefy and absorb into the paper. Treat any residue with rubbing alcohol: Let the alcohol sit for 15 minutes; then rub with a bar of soap. Wash the cloth in the washing machine, and air-dry.

3. Soot. 

Whatever you do, don’t try to wipe soot off with a wet cloth or sponge. Soot is very oily, and water and oil just don’t mix. Instead, use a dry sponge to remove as much soot as you can. If you have a few smears that won’t come off, dip a corner of the sponge in rubbing alcohol to remove the remaining soot. You can also purchase an eraser designed to remove soot.

4. Water rings. 

Water from a glass or vase can do damage by leaving noticeable marks on a wood surface. A simple way to remove a water ring is to dip your finger in some regular store-bought mayonnaise and smear it all over the stain. The oil in the mayo will be absorbed into the wood and make the stain disappear. Use a wet cloth to wipe away any remaining mayo on the wood surface.

5. Red wine. 

Some recommend using white wine to remove red wine stains, but why waste good wine on a stain? Instead, sprinkle the stain with table salt to absorb the wine. Then dab the area with a hydrogen peroxide-soaked white rag until the color stops coming off. Then, pour hydrogen peroxide (the standard 3 percent solution found at drugstores) over the area and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. The stain will disappear over time.

6. Chocolate. 

To remove chocolate from fabric, rub the stain with an ice cube. This will freeze the chocolate so you can scrape off as much chocolate as possible with a butter knife. Then use a spray bottle filled with club soda to soak the area. Place the back side of the fabric under cool running water to flush the stain out. Finally, rub a drop of dish soap into the area until the stain disappears. Rinse the area well with warm water.

7. Ink. 

Have you ever heard the cleaning tip for removing ink is to spray it with hairspray? The secret ingredient in the hairspray is rubbing alcohol. So save the hairspray for your beauty regimen and instead remove the stain by dabbing it with rubbing alcohol or vodka. It might take a while, but be patient and keep on dabbing and eventually the stain should work its way out. As with any stain, the sooner you do something about it, the better.

8. Dairy. 

Start by blotting the area so that you absorb as much of the liquid as you can. Then dilute the stain with cool water. Don’t use hot water, as that will just essentially cook the milk. Continue blotting the diluted stain until you’ve removed as much as possible. Use a drop of dish detergent on the spot, and work it into the fabric. Continue working it into the stain until it disappears. Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water.

9. Turkey grease. 

Removing greasy stains from any fabric is a simple two-step process: Start with rubbing alcohol or vodka, and pour it over the greasy stain. Let it sit for 20 minutes, and then rub a bar of soap onto the stain. Rub it in further with your fingers, and add a few drops of water to create a lather. Place the fabric into the washing machine, and wash on its usual setting. Let it air-dry, and if the stain remains, repeat the process.

10. Coffee. 

A coffee stain can be removed easily with club soda. To simplify applying the club soda, pour some of it into a spray bottle and then lightly spritz the stain. Work the club soda into the stain with your finger or a soft scrub brush and the stain should immediately start to disappear. If the stain is being stubborn, you can add some borax powder to the club soda to give it a boost. Use a dry cloth to soak up any excess liquid.

11. Lipstick. 

You can remove lipstick the same way you remove candle wax. Place the stained fabric in the freezer so the lipstick hardens. Scrape off as much as you can with a butter knife. Then dab the stain with an alcohol-soaked white cloth. Continue dabbing until you no longer see the color. Run the napkin or fabric in the washer, and let it air-dry. If the stain or oily spot remains, repeat the process until the stain is gone.

12. Blood. 

Fingers sometimes can get in the way of carving knives this time of year. The key to cleaning up blood stains is to get to it as soon as possible. Blood will come off most fabrics with a little soap and cold water, but here’s an even better solution: Simply dab it with hydrogen peroxide. You will be surprised how quickly the stain will fade away. Use a dry cleaning cloth to blot away excess liquid.

Which kitchen flooring is right for you?

Pros and Cons of 5 Popular Kitchen Flooring Materials

Not all kitchen floors are created equal. As much as we’d like every floor to have exceptional durability, a low price tag, superior longevity and sky-high resale value, it just isn’t realistic. If you’re planning to revamp your kitchen floors, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of hardwood, tile, travertine, laminate and vinyl is paramount. We weigh the pros and cons of these five common flooring types to help you select the right option for your lifestyle.

1. Hardwood 

Cost: High

The appeal of a rich cherry or smooth maple never fades. There’s also much to love about hickory, mesquite, oak and walnut. When it comes to flooring, they’re often at the top of the pecking order. Buyers can choose between solid hardwood or engineered hardwood, which is constructed with several layers of wood called plies.

Pros: Just about everyone wants hardwood floors, including home buyers. The resale value is through the roof. Other flooring products can come close but never fully replicate their natural beauty. Hardwood floors have the ability to be refinished and can last for centuries too.

Cons: Hardwood floors aren’t always practical for homeowners who want low-maintenance kitchens. They scratch more easily than other materials and are harder to clean. When exposed to moisture over the long term, they can warp, buckle or crown. And then there’s the price tag. Since quality hardwood floors run from $4 to $12 per square foot, expect to tap into your bank account.

Mix the sizes of your hardwood planks to add dimension to your kitchen. This traditional kitchen has planks with varied widths, but you can also choose planks with different lengths.

Cleaner hardwood styles can blend in well with modern and contemporary designs. Hardwood flooring with a raw, unfinished texture gives this sleek London cooking space a natural midcentury modern touch.

Hardwood floors can also sport contemporary color palettes. This Miami kitchen uses gray oak to ground the ethereal white cabinetry.

Woods with knots, grains and hand-scraped textures have strong character. They can restore a home’s original charm when you’re renovating a fixer-upper.

2. Tile

Cost: Medium-High

Much can be said about the options that tile affords homeowners. Modern printing technology can generate ceramic and porcelain tile surfaces that mimic natural stone (travertine and marble), wood and concrete, plus clean monotone styles. This versatility almost guarantees you’ll find a style you like.

Pros: Moisture is no match for porcelain, which absorbs less water than ceramic. Tile has a hard surface that is uber-durable, especially color body porcelain (where the color runs through the tile instead of being just on the surface). It won’t scratch easily and should last for however long you decide to live in your home. It’s perhaps the easiest floor to clean. It can withstand most detergents, though all you really need is water and a mop. Tile is also well-priced; it’s possible to find a quality porcelain for $4 a square foot or less.

Cons: Tile with a smooth finish can get slick when wet. And despite how durable it is, it can still crack and chip if a heavy object hits its surface. Though standard tile is affordable, plank tile and marble tile can cost nearly as much as wood and stone. Older homeowners and those with foot or knee problems may have difficulty standing on its rock-hard surface.

The porcelain tile in this minimalist kitchen captures the natural movement of marble sans the maintenance. Marble tile and plank tile can be a low-care substitute for real stone and wood.

Plank tile combines the beauty of hardwood with the durability of porcelain and ceramic. As with hardwood, you can mix and match the sizes of your planks to create depth in your kitchen.

3. Travertine

Cost: Medium-High

Travertine is a timeless choice and comes in many forms, including tumbled, honed and filled, chiseled, and polished.

Pros: Travertine has broad appeal to home buyers. It’s highly durable — it’s a lot harder to scratch and chip natural stone than, say, tile or hardwood. Tumbled travertine offers good slip resistance because of its grooved texture. When cared for properly, it can last for ages.

Cons: Travertine may not scratch, but it will stain. Be extra careful with your glass of red wine. Natural stone requires more upkeep than other types of flooring. It must be cleaned with a stone cleaner or mild detergent. You also have to seal it every one to two years to protect its porous surface (some sealers last longer). Perhaps surprisingly, a good travertine floor can cost as much as hardwood. Budget accordingly.

4. Laminate

Cost: Low-Medium

A relatively inexpensive floor, laminate has good bang for its buck. It can spruce up your kitchen at a lower cost than hardwood while providing superior scratch resistance against foot traffic. It’s a viable alternative to hardwood floors, offering realistic wood finishes in a variety of styles.

Pros: If you want to save money, laminate may be for you. Not only is it less expensive than hardwood and tile, but it also has a click-and-lock floating installation system, which is primed for DIY installation.

Cons: Laminate isn’t as equipped to handle moisture as tile and vinyl are (it can warp when wet), so installing it in your kitchen can make the upkeep more challenging. If you do, use a proper moisture barrier. You’ll need a special cleaner and mop to clean it. Laminate also doesn’t have the shelf life that hardwood, tile and vinyl floors do.

5. Vinyl

Cost: Low-Medium

Vinyl flooring is manufactured in three primary forms: vinyl plank (above), vinyl tile and sheet vinyl. It has several installation methods, including peel and stick, glue down, and click and lock. It can look like wood or stone. 

Pros: Unlike tile, vinyl won’t chip, and unlike laminate, vinyl can handle moisture. Its durable surface won’t easily succumb to scratches and scuffs. It’s also soft on your feet, a perk for older homeowners and those with foot or knee problems. The DIY-friendly installation methods and reasonable price tag will help keep your piggy bank intact. It isn’t uncommon to find vinyl flooring under $3 per square foot. 

Cons: Though it varies by market, the majority of home buyers will prefer hardwood and tile to vinyl. Furniture can leave marks on vinyl’s soft surface. Foot-traffic patterns can emerge over time. High-quality vinyl planks can cost upward of $4 per square foot.

Whereas vinyl plank and vinyl tile are manufactured in separate pieces, sheet vinyl is manufactured in large sheets, typically about 12 feet long. It can be more cost-effective than the other two options.

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Winter Solstice - The Longest Night of the Year

Tonight, December 21, marks the Longest Night of the Year also known as the Winter Solstice. 
In the Northern Hemisphere the sun goes down at 4:37 pm and will rise again tomorrow at 8:43 am.  This gives us just over 17 hours of darkness. 

Why does the Solstice occur?
The winter solstice occurs at the moment the Earth's tilt away from the sun is at a maximum.
The Earth's axis is tilted 23.5 degrees relative to its orbit the Earth will be at the point in its orbit when the North Pole is tilted at its maximum away from the sun. In the Arctic (within 23.5 degrees of the North Pole) the day will be completely in darkness.

The people on the other side of the world, in the Southern Hemisphere,  are celebrating this day as their summer solstice with the longest day of the Year

People have been celebrating the Longest Night of the year for more than 4000 years. 
This event goes by many different names such as Midwinter, Yule, Yailda Night, Midvinterblot & Jolofferfest. 

In Neolithic times the longest night was used as a calendar guide to sow crops, monitor winter reserves of food, the mating and slaughtering of animal.  This also marked the time when the beer and wine put up earlier in the year would be ready to drink and what better time to enjoy the fruits of your labour then a family get together. Traditions typically include gathering around a fire with family and eat, drink and read.  Poetry was often read aloud at many gatherings.  

Because the event was seen as the reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common and, in cultures which used cyclic calendars based on the winter solstice, the "year as reborn" was celebrated with reference to life-death-rebirth deities or "new beginnings" such as Hogmanay's redding, a New Year cleaning tradition. Also "reversal" is yet another frequent theme, as in Saturnalia's slave and master reversals.

Many people gather at Stonehenge each year to mark this special time. The Winter Solstice is the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to be there. It's an ad hoc celebration that brings together England's New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans, Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travelers and party people - 100's of them!

For many the impulse to arrive at Stonehenge in time for the Solstice is a little like all those people drawn to the strange rock in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It's akin to a spiritual experience. Anyone who has witnessed the crowd become silent as the sky begins to brighten can attest to that.

The Longest Night of the Year is a special time in the flow of the seasons.  We hope you enjoy yours!

Personal Loans Against Canadian Real Estate Hits A Record Rate Of Growth

Canadian real estate leverage has been an increasing concern, and it it’s growing. Filings from Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), the federal regulator for banks, show that loans secured by real estate showed huge growth in September. In fact, these loans are now at a record high, and are printing record growth.

Total Loans Secured By Real Estate Now Over $279 Billion

The total of loans secured against residential real estate for business and non business purposes is booming in 2017. Analysis of OSFI data shows $279.64 billion in loans in September, up $25.4 billion from the same month last year. That’s 9.92% growth, which is just off the peak of 12.10% established in June 2017. This year is the first year to see growth above 5%, in the 5 years of filings OSFI provided. The huge growth represents a significant increase, but some of these loans are being used for productive purposes.  Let’s break it down.

Over 51% Growth For Business Loans Against Residential Real Estate

When people say “good debt,” this is the kind of debt they are typically referring to – borrowing for business. In September, banks held $31.68 billion of loans for business purposes, secured by residential real estate. That’s a massive 51.58% growth from the year before, which is just off peak growth established earlier this year. While the growth is huge, it is just a fraction of the total debt here.

Over $248 Billion Of Personal Loans Secured By Residential Real Estate

Personal loans secured by real estate are experiencing record growth. These are the loans that we have no idea what they did with the money. These can be anything from renovation financing, to buying second homes, or even possibly using home equity to buy bitcoin – no one’s quite sure. At the end of September, banks held $248.95 billion in personal loans secured by residential real estate, a 6.91% increase from last year. This is the highest annual growth observed in the OSFI filings.

OSFI filings only include federally regulated banks, so credit unions and private lenders aren’t included in these numbers. This means there’s likely even more debt secured against real estate. This leverage is relatively harmless when things are good, but has the potential to be an issue in the event of a home price correction. Especially if that correction means a recession.

Source Article

Mortgage Stress Testing is Coming

Don’t Fool Yourself, Canadian Banks Are The Real Winners By Stress Testing Mortgages

The Canadian real estate market is freaking out about stress testing new buyers. There’s a lot written on the impact on new buyers, but no one’s talking about how it impacts existing owners. Everyone thinks this means game over for the banks, which made me curious, why didn’t the banks lobby harder to prevent this? Looking at the numbers, it’s because they didn’t have to. Mortgage stress testing across all segments has the potential to reduce customer churn, and boost profits. Meanwhile, existing owners lose a bargaining chip, potentially sending their rates much higher.

What Are The Stress Tests?

Starting January 1, insured and uninsured mortgage borrowers will need a “stress test.” This is a quick calculation to determine if you can pay your mortgage, if the rate jumps 200bps. In plain English, the maximum you can borrow is determined by a rate two percent higher than the contract. This reduces the maximum borrowing power by over 20%. Renewals won’t need to do this stress test, unless they’re switching banks. The last part is what we’re looking at today.

Number Of Canadians That Need Stress Tests

Mortgage growth is pretty close to peak, and the Big Six Canadian banks own a majority of these renewals. Over 5.6 million mortgages on residential property were outstanding in Canada in 2016. At a 68% rate of homeownership across Canada, we’re getting pretty close to a peak rate of homeownership. The Bank of Canada calculates this debt to be worth CA$1.5 trillion. Interesting enough, over 74% of the dollar volume can be found in the Big Six filings. New mortgage growth is getting difficult, so retaining borrowers becomes the new priority.

Speaking of renewing, we’re approaching a very important window for borrowers. The stars have aligned, and over 47% of mortgages are going to be renewing within the next 12 months. Another 31% of mortgages will renew over the next 1 to 3 years. We have the potential peak of mortgage growth, and a huge number of renewals. All of this data is hitting us just a touch over 3 weeks from today.

Reducing Competition Is A Profitable Model

Typically a smart borrower walks down the street, and asks around for the best rate. They may never switch banks, but at least they can use that as a negotiating chip to lower their mortgage rate. Now banks can calculate in advance whether or not you can actually pass a stress test at a new bank. Bank of Canada estimates that 10% of uninsured mortgages issued last year would not pass the new stress test. These borrowers that won’t be able to pass a stress test, can’t just go to a mortgage broker for the lowest rate. They’ll get whatever the bank gives them at renewal, which can add up to thousands more in interest payments.

It Can Cost Highly Indebted Borrowers Thousands Of Dollars

To illustrate how highly indebted borrowers are going to be screwed, let’s do a rate comparison. Officially, a 5 year fixed at Big Six bank is 4.99%. On a $800,000 mortgage, that would work out to $191,907 of interest paid after 5 years at that rate. Now, most people don’t get that – you might be able to negotiate it as low as 3.29% in our case. On a $800,000 mortgage, that works out to $125,715 in interest for the 5 year fixed term. You can save $66,192 at your own bank right now, just by negotiating. Although, your bank only went that low because the other lenders exist.

The best rate we could find from a mortgage broker without looking very hard was 2.84% on a 5 year fixed rate. On a $800,000 mortgage at 2.84%, you’re looking at $104,918 in interest. That’s $86,989 of interest saved over just 5 years, when compared to the standard rate. It’s also $20,797 lower than one of the best rates that can be negotiated in bank. That’s quite a bit of money, for just 5 minutes of looking around. An option that’s going to disappear in just a few months, for those that probably need to negotiate the most.

These discrepancies also exist before mandatory stress testing is rolled out across all mortgage types at banks. The reduction of churn can be great for the banks, but not so great for existing mortgage holders. Regulations are a mixed blessing, tackling one issue, while often creating another. The issue created, might mean many existing homeowners are going to see higher levels of debt. Good for banks. Not so great for mortgage holders that have been barely squeezing by.

Source Article

Jim & Jordy - Your Resources Hub

Guiding You Home & Beyond: Come Ride with Us

Like a hub and spokes hold a wheel together, having access to all the right resources is essential for a smooth ride when buying or selling a home. As a team, we have more combined knowledge, connections and access to resources for the benefit of our clients.

We are your Hub for needed Resources, keeping your Real Estate Transaction, be it a Buy or Sell, on track to the end of the trail.

Custom Problem Solving

  • Sale And/or Disposal Of Furniture
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  • Working With Private Sellers And Other Realtors
  • Making Sense of Land Use Policy
  • Well written Legal Contracts

Recommended Contractor Specialists

  • Lawyers
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  • Locksmiths and Postal Service
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Financial Tips and Guidance

  • First Time Home Buyer Tax Credits
  • RRSP Withdrawal and Payback
  • Condo Special Assessment Management
  • Purchase Holdbacks for Deficiencies
  • Appraisals and Comparative Market Analysis
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New Listing - 191 Kananaskis Way - Canmore

3 Bedrooms

4 Bathrooms

HALF SHARE ~ Stunning, luxuriously appointed with large and open living area, this outstanding home is an exclusive family or corporate retreat. Only four blocks from fabulous Elevation Place and just a few steps from the integrated trail system, you CAN have it all with this three bedroom, 3 bath unit in the spectacular Solara Resort & Spa! You will enjoy the scenery from your 5' x 20' south deck, with outstanding views of Three Sisters Peaks. This stylishly finished contemporary finished mountain condo is yours to enjoy, year round. Features 3 full-on bath suites, cork flooring, granite counters, European fixtures and appliances, and wine fridge. Fireplaces in living and master. Top of the line amenities include hot pool, holistic spa and fitness center, conference center and theater with 96 seats and surround sound. Condo fees include everything. Complete furnishings provide opportunities for vacation rental while you're away. East, south and west views from this rare end unit. (id:2493)


Just Listed - Give us a call at 403-678-2206 for more information on this gem.

Click here for more info.

How to avoid the flu and stay healthy longer

The flu season has arrived in Canmore.  Many people are sick or not quite feeling right. Here are some tips to keep the bug at bay.

As temperatures and leaves fall, cold and flu viruses are on the rise. Whether you’re trying to avoid the office bug or stay healthy while you’re out networking and hustling, here are five key ways to avoid going viral (not the social media kind) this flu season.

1. Don’t share food

When late-afternoon cravings hit, what could be more appealing than that plate of homemade treats beckoning from the lunchroom? Unfortunately, stomach flu strikes when infected, highly contagious fecal particles find their way to your mouth — often via contaminated food. A 2015 survey revealed that about 60 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women don’t routinely wash their hands with soap after using a restroom, which means your chances of encountering a wayward virus from shared food are considerable.

Not only that, but a 2013 study from the University of Arizona showed that just one sick worker can infect over half of the office by lunchtime — one of the worst spots being the communal coffee-pot handle.


Stock your desk with healthy snacks so you’ll be less likely to give into temptation, especially if there’s a stomach bug going around your work.

If you must use the shared coffee station, sanitize your hands afterwards to avoid picking up more than just your cup.

2. Shake it off

Nothing says business like a firm, effective handshake. Unfortunately, it’s also an effective way to spread cold and flu viruses. In fact, handshakes are so notorious for transmitting bugs, some doctors recommend banning them altogether from hospitals. Thankfully, there is a less germy alternative: fist bumping.

Researchers in a 2014 study from the UK discovered that a friendly bump resulted in about 90 per cent less bacteria transfer than the traditional handshake. Although the fist-to-fist spread of viruses wasn’t specifically studied, the mechanism is likely similar.


If a handshake is unavoidable in your particular business situation, keep your hands (and newly acquired germs) far away from your face, food and drink until you have a chance to wash them.

3. Know your nose

The nose is your body’s primary entry point for cold viruses, therefore making it the first line of defence. When the weather gets chilly, indoor central heating turns on, reducing ambient humidity. This dries out and thickens your nasal mucous, making it much more difficult for your cilia (tiny, moving hairs) to whisk away pesky germs.

Interestingly, a 2014 Yale study also discovered that cold noses are significantly worse than warm ones at defending against the common cold virus.

If your work plans involve flying, be extra cautious. A study from the University of Victoria indicated you’re about 100 times more likely to catch a cold during plane travel — likely due to the combination of low cabin humidity and increased exposure to viruses from shared air.


Keep your nose in tip-top shape by drinking plenty of water and deploying a humidifier near your desk, aiming for 30-to-50-percent humidity levels.
If you’re hopping between meetings outside on a cool day, bury your nose in a scarf to keep it warm.
Be sure to lubricate the inside of your nose with an over-the-counter nasal gel or even petroleum jelly before a flight.

4. Sanitize the smart way

Keeping your hands clean is essential for keeping viruses at bay — and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be one of your best allies. In fact, research shows that office workers who use it five or more times a day can cut their risk of developing colds by an impressive two thirds.

Be sure to choose a brand with at least 60 per cent alcohol, which is most effective for disrupting viral cells. And don’t skimp when you pump! If your hands are dry within 15 seconds of applying the product, you’re not using enough.


Stow hand sanitizer on your desk and in your work bag for easy access on the go.
Keep in mind that it may not neutralize all gastrointestinal bugs, so you might want to opt for a soap-and-water scrub if stomach flu is making the rounds.

5. Sleep tight

Although sleep is often sacrificed when you’re facing an urgent deadline or travelling for business, it’s especially important that you get enough during flu season. Sleep deprivation has profoundly negative effects on your immune system, ranging from suppression of virus-killing T cells to an increase in inflammatory proteins.

Not surprisingly, a 2015 American study demonstrated that volunteers who slept fewer than six hours per night were four times more likely to fall ill when exposed to rhinovirus, a major culprit for the common cold.


Set an alarm for both wakeup and bedtime if you have trouble sticking to a regular schedule.
Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night to keep your immune system happiest.
If you’re crossing more than five time zones for a business trip, talk to your doctor about possible prescription and alternative sleep aids (like melatonin) to help you slumber sweetly when you arrive.

Reasons why the Canadian property market refuses to fall

So far low interest rates, a strong economy and large immigration are thwarting the doomsayers

Don Pittis · CBC News · November 28, 2017

Near a construction site, a real estate agency advertises its specialties including selling, renting and managing properties for absentee landlords. (Don Pittis/CBC)

It isn't just Canadians waiting to see tomorrow's latest real estate numbers.

On Wednesday when the Canadian Real Estate Association releases the latest sales statistics and prices for resale homes, it will feel like the whole world is watching.

At the end of last month the Swiss banking giant UBS put both Toronto and Vancouver in the top five of its international bad boy list.

Toronto had the distinction of placing number one on the company's worst global bubble risk, beating out Hong Kong, London and Amsterdam. Vancouver wasn't far behind.

'Fear of missing out'
"Annual price-increase rates of 10 per cent correspond to a doubling of house prices every seven years, which is not sustainable," said the UBS report. "Nevertheless, the fear of missing out on further appreciation predominates among home buyers."

If there's a bubble about to burst, nobody's convinced Canadian buyers or builders.

A walk past a Toronto open house this weekend was like watching a sugar bowl attacked by ants. The interior of the newly renovated house glowed in the grey afternoon light like a film set as well-off looking couples dipped in for a taste and headed back to their expensive cars.

By the next day a sold sign indicated one set of lucky buyers was now likely saddled with a million-dollar mortgage.

There may be some justification for bidding up the price of a detached brick house near good public transportation. The supply is limited.

But not far away, construction cranes tower into the sky as workers build more condos. The builders insist they are selling.

Montreal hot too
And Toronto and Vancouver aren't the only hot spots. After provincial governments used a tax on foreign buyers to try to slow overseas demand in those two cities, Montreal has seen a condo sales explosion of its own.

Powered by a surging Quebec economy that has made it a target for foreign cash diverted away from B.C. and Ontario, real estate in the province's business capital is playing catch-up.

So why isn't the latest round of warnings, including one from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation that the Canadian market was "highly vulnerable," having an effect?

Certainly hot international money looking for a safe home must still be having an impact. For example, some analysts have pointed to a resurgence in overseas buying in Vancouver as investors find ways around the tax or merely chalk it up as a cost of doing business.

Safer than bitcoin
If bitcoin, an imagined currency that has no floor value, can continue to attract investors in spite of this past weekend's heart-stopping plunge and recovery, it's no wonder overseas money thinks of Canadian property as a secure investment.

Maybe it's a sign of dangerous times to use bitcoin as a comparison, but if you are choosing between the two, Canadian property easily comes down as the blue chip investment. If the worst were to happen, bitcoin's billions could disappear in a cloud of smoke, but Canadian homes would retain a long-term value. 

Whether it's because investors are sitting on unrented properties or due to soaring domestic need, markets continue to show plenty of unsatisfied demand, especially in areas closer to city centres and near good public transit.

Canada's surging economy continues to crank out good quality jobs and well-employed people demand quality accommodation. Besides, people hired in one of Canada's big cities need to find someplace to live whatever the price or quality.

And even if a bubble were to pop and Canadian houses were to experience a real bear market, with a million new immigrants scheduled to arrive in the next three years, there is every reason to expect a long-term return to value.

Cheap rates are getting expensive
As UBS notes in its warning, fear of missing out continues to drive buyers, convinced from years of experience that property prices only go one way — up. Of course if they look back at about a decade's worth of previous warnings they would quickly come to a conclusion warnings are not to be trusted.

Perhaps most important for the prospective homeowner trying to get into this market is that borrowing to buy a house or condo remains dirt cheap. Floating rates remain in the order of two per cent and five-year fixed rates can be as little as three per cent a year.

Those low rates are deceptive because houses are growing less affordable relative to income as prices continue to rise.

Global inflation is weak and after, two recent increases, Canadian interest rate rises appear to be on hold, so Canadian buyers are getting very little discipline from the market.

Until that happens — and despite the potential consequences — it is unlikely Canadian property buyers will be able to discipline themselves. We'll see tomorrow.

Source Article CBC

"Casablanca" The movie turns 75 years old this week

From what got censored to the film's Canadian connection,
13 things you may not know 

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman starred in the film, which is widely considered one of the greatest of all time. (Warner Brothers)

Of all the classic Hollywood films, it's one of the best-known and most enduring — this week, Casablanca turns 75.

Amazingly, the people involved thought it would be just another Hollywood flick, one of hundreds the studios would release every year. But the film shot Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman to a new level of stardom and their lines in the film have been woven into the fabric of modern pop culture.

So to celebrate the anniversary, we've gathered 13 fascinating facts, from the pricey purchase of the original play to the movie's Canadian connection.

The story was purchased for $20,000

Playwright Murray Burnett co-created expat café owner Rick Blaine, piano player Sam, Czech resistance fighter Victor Lazlo and fresh-faced Ilsa Lund when he and his writing partner Joan Alison penned a play called ''Everybody Comes to Rick's" in 1940. Having watched the political change that was sweeping across Europe, the pair intended it as a cautionary tale about the perils of fascism.

The play was meant for Broadway, but never made it — reportedly in part because of the implication that Ilsa had slept with Rick in order to get letters of transit. But Warner Brothers certainly saw it's potential: they purchased the script and all rights for a record $20,000. (By comparison, the studio paid $8,000 for The Maltese Falcon.)

The studio thought it was a done deal, but in the 1980s, Warner Brothers created a short-lived TV show based on the movie, and Burnett filed a lawsuit claiming he owned the characters even though he had sold the play. ''These characters are part of me, and I have a great regard for them — even Ugarte,'' he said in a 1985 New York Times interview. ''I want them back.''

Over the years, Burnett was reportedly approached by many people who wanted to buy the rights to a sequel, among them director John Cassavetes, but the writer turned them all down because he thought Warner Brothers might sue him.

An Italian Casablanca poster sold at auction for $478,000 US in July, 2017. (Heritage Auctions )

Originally the story was set in Lisbon

The movie title definitely wouldn't have had the same ring if the creators had stuck with the original setting — Lisbon. But they later moved it to Casablanca, a place that Burnett had never seen, and never did in his lifetime, despite the sweeping success of the story he created.

''I never had any desire to go there,'' he said. ''I've been told they have a place there named Rick's, and it's a dump. Maybe I don't want to destroy the image of Casablanca which I created.''

There was a height issue

Like most film stars, Bogart seemed larger than life, but in person he stood 5' 8" tall. Bergman, however, was almost two inches taller. As a result, director Michael Curtiz had Bogie stand on blocks or sit on cushions to make him seem taller than his Bergman.

It was shot almost entirely in Burbank, California

As exotic as it looks, the entire film was shot at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California. There was one exception: the opening scene, which sees Nazi villain Heinrich Strasser flying past an airplane hangar, was shot at Van Nuys Airport in Van Nuys, Los Angeles. The final farewell tarmac scene, however, was filmed at Warner studios in Burbank.

Incidentally, that famous airplane hangar, which also appeared in the Laurel and Hardy comedy The Flying Deuces, was removed from Van Nuys during renovations in 2007 and moved to a Los Angeles parking lot. Earlier this year it was saved from the wrecking ball and will be moved to the Valley Relics Museum. The goal is to restore it and use it as part of a Moroccan-themed restaurant at Van Nuys Airport.

The release of the film was rushed

The release of Casablanca was rushed because of real-life world events. Originally the film was slated for release in early 1943, but the film premiered at the Hollywood Theater in New York City on November 26, 1942. Why? The publicity people moved it forward to coincide with the Allied invasion of North Africa and the capture of Casablanca.

The film then went into wide release on January 23, 1943, to coincide with the Casablanca Conference, a high-level meeting between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt in Casablanca.

Many of the actors were themselves victims of the war

Many of the actors had first-hand experiences of the war and of Nazi brutality. S. Z. Sakall, who played the waiter Carl, was a Jewish-Hungarian who fled Germany in 1939 and lost his three sisters to a concentration camp. Helmut Dantine, who played the Bulgarian roulette player, spent time in a concentration camp and left Europe after being freed. Curt Bois, who played the pickpocket, was a German-Jewish actor and refugee. Conrad Veidt, who played Major Heinrich Strasser, was a German film star and refugee, and even though he fled the Nazis, he was often cast as a Nazi in American films.

Director Michael Curtiz was a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant who had arrived in the U.S. in 1926, but some members of his family were refugees from Nazi Europe.

There was also a Canadian connection

John Qualen, who played Berger — Laszlo's resistance contact — was a Canadian, born in Vancouver and raised in both Vancouver and rural Illinois. His family was of Norwegian descent, and Qualen specialized in Scandinavian roles, appearing in The Grapes of Wrath, The Long Voyage Home, The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Arabian Nights, Jungle Book and many more. Qualen died on September 12, 1987 at the age of 87 in Torrance, California.

The last surviving member of the cast was Madeleine LeBeau, who played Yvonne, Rick's girlfriend. She died on May 1, 2016, at the age of 92.

The screenplay was heavily censored

At the time Casablanca was made, censors used a heavy hand when it came to Hollywood films — and in a later interview, Julius Epstein remembered just how stringent they were. "The main thing that affected our work in those days was that we were so handcuffed by censorship — remember, the nation shook when Clark Gable said 'damn' in Gone With the Wind," remembered Epstein, who said at the time you couldn't even show a woman getting divorced. Still, when they wrote Casablanca, they tried to sneak stronger language past the censors.

"I remember after a long time we could finally say 'hell.' But it had to be a sparse use of 'hell,'" Epstein recalled. "So what we would do was write fifty 'hells' and then bargain with them. We'd say, 'How about twenty-five?' We'd wind up with two or three."

Nobody expected it to be a hit

Even though it featured a stellar cast and top writers, nobody working on the film expected it to be anything special — just one of dozens of films to come out of Hollywood each year.

But favourable reviews and Academy Awards for outstanding motion picture, best director and best screenplay propelled the film into the limelight.

"Don't worry; we won't tell you how it all comes out. That would be rankest sabotage," read the 1942 review in the New York Times. "But we will tell you that the urbane detail and the crackling dialogue which has been packed into this film by the scriptwriters, the Epstein brothers and Howard Koch, is of the best. We will tell you that Michael Curtiz has directed for slow suspense and that his camera is always conveying grim tension and uncertainty. Some of the significant incidents, too, are affecting—such as that in which the passionate Czech patriot rouses the customers in Rick's cafe to drown out a chorus of Nazis by singing 'the Marseillaise,' or any moment in which Dooley Wilson is remembering past popular songs in a hushed room.

"We will tell you also that the performances of the actors are all of the first order, but especially those of Mr. Bogart and Miss Bergman in the leading roles. Mr. Bogart is, as usual, the cool, cynical, efficient and super-wise guy who operates his business strictly for profit but has a core of sentiment and idealism inside. Conflict becomes his inner character, and he handles it credibly. Miss Bergman is surpassingly lovely, crisp and natural as the girl and lights the romantic passages with a warm and genuine glow."

"Play it again, Sam" is not a line in the movie

The line "Play it again, Sam" is one of the most widely quoted lines from Casablanca — but it never appears in the film. In the famous piano scene, Ilsa leans on the piano and says, "Play it once, Sam" and "Play it, Sam." Rick also says, "Play it" — but nobody says, "Play it again, Sam." Most attribute the phrase, and the misunderstanding, to Woody Allen's stage play of the same name, which became a major motion picture in 1972.

There has never been a remake

There have been short-lived TV series, radio plays and Broadway musicals that never hit the stage, but there has never been a major remake of Casablanca. There have been plenty of spoofs and references in pop culture, however. Among the famous parodies are the Marx Brothers' A Night in Casablanca (1946) and Neil Simon's The Cheap Detective (1978).

The film is also heavily referenced in The Usual Suspects (1995) and in Woody Allen's Play It Again, Sam (1972), where Rick appears to give Allen's character life advice.

The Simpsons also offered an alternate ending.

There is still confusion about who wrote what

Brothers Julius and Philip Epstein and Howard Koch are credited with writing the screenplay for the film — and they were behind many of the most famous lines, including "Round up the usual suspects," "This could be the start of a beautiful friendship" and "Here's looking at you, kid." But the script passed through many hands, and wasn't even complete when the film began shooting, so the screenplay's true authorship remains blurry. Producer Hal B. Wallis reportedly wrote the final line, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" after shooting was complete, and Bogart had to be brought back to dub it in.

The song "As Time Goes By" almost didn't make the cut 

The music for the film was written by Max Steiner, an Austrian-born, Hungarian-Jewish composer and arranger who gained fame for his score of Gone With the Wind and King Kong.

The classic song "As Time Goes By" was included in the original play, but Steiner didn't like it and wanted it excluded from the film adaptation. But Bergman had already shot the scenes with the song and cut her hair for her next role, so they couldn't be re-shot, and the song stayed.

After the movie was released, "As Time Goes By" spent 21 weeks on the hit parade.

Steiner later admitted that the song "must have had something to attract so much attention."

Source Article

Listed Today - 101E Stewart Creek Landing #5103

3 Bedrooms
4 Bathrooms
2,981 Sq/Ft

Hibernate in style then walk out to nature's glory. Alpine Homes has gone over the top with this beautiful townhome.

Relax in a wonderful amenities building ~ enjoy indoor/outdoor hot-tubs, top-notch fitness centre, big-screen movie room and party area, after an active or interesting day in the mountains.

Stainless steel appliances, designer series knotty alder cabinetry, granite countertops. Immense vaulted living room opens to a lofted 611sq/ft entertainment room/den on the lofted level. A formal dining area streams in warm south sun. The focal point of this home is the massive stone fireplace. Custom vanity cabinets and warm tile flooring are found throughout baths and kitchen. Stunning is not only a word that describes the immediate environs of Three Sisters Mountain Village but also a warm welcoming abode that exudes comfort. Walk directly from your two car underground parking stalls straight into your walkout lower level. Choose from four decks and one patio to relax on.


Just Listed today - Give us a call at 403-678-2206 for more information on this gem.

10 Things to do in Canmore this Month

Canmore is full of things to do each week for families, couples or singles.  From Arts and Entertainment to Sports and Festivals.  This vibrant little town has it all.

Each Week

Karaoke Mondays at the Drake Pub (Entertainment) - 10:00pm - midnight

Friday Bingo at the Canmore Legion (Gathering) -  7:00pm - 10:00pm

Canmore Eagles Hockey Games -

This Month

Pine Tree Players Presents "Noises Off" (Theatre) at the Canmore Miners' Union Hall November 17 & 18, 23, 24, 25 with a Nov 19 matinee at 2:00 pm

Grizzly Paw Comedy Night at Artsplace (Comedy)- Friday November 17 from 7:30 - 9:30pm

The Raven & The Fox: Underground (Music & Spelunking) with Canmore Cave Tours - Saturday, November 19 from 5:00 - 10:00pm

Canmore Christmas Artisans' Market (Shopping)- November 25 & 26 from 10:00am - 4:00pm at Canmore Collegiate High School

Reel Rock 12 (Film)- at Artsplace on Saturday November 5 from 7:30pm - 10:00pm

William Prince with Justin Lacrouix at Community Cafe (Music) Sunday, November 26 from 7:30pm - 11:00pm

Royal LePage Christmas Spirit Food Drive (Community) November 20 from 5:30pm - 8:30pm Collecting non-perishable food for the Christmas Spirit Campaign.
Jim and Jordie will be walking the streets and knocking on doors so come and join them or prepare a donation. Sign up here. 

For more information on the other events above visit the Toursim Canmore Events Calendar. 

How to Remedy Creaky/Squeaky Wooden Chairs

In the Mountains our humidity level is very low.  As we go into the winter months the moisture levels in our homes drops further due to the cold weather outside and the furnace coming on frequently. This can cause your wooden furniture to start to creak when you sit on it.  Your wood floors may show a little larger crack between slats but don't worry they will swell again in the spring.

For other furniture such as wooden chairs, as the wood glue dries and the wood itself shrinks a bit, causing the joints and dowels to loosen making the creaky noise. Here are a few easy tricks to help the situation.

Use Wood Swelling Solution

Step 1 - Inspect the joints in the chair to ensure the dowels that run into the leg or back of the chair are secured tightly. You can apply pressure on the outside of the leg or chair back to press them tightly into the dowel. Once you find a joint that seems to be causing the squeaking, move on to Step 2.

Step 2 - Apply a wood-swelling solution all the way around the dowel that is causing the squeak. There are many different types of wood-swelling products, such as Chairlock (available at Home Hardware) that will work.

Step 3 - Allow the wood-swelling solution seep into the hole where it will tighten and harden the dowel and secure it tightly.

Step 4 - Allow the solution to dry completely before sitting in the chair. The drying and swelling process should take no longer than an hour.

Insert Dowels 

If you are handy and want to take a different approach further you can always insert wooden pegs across creaking joint or tenon of the of the chair.

Step 1 - Sit in the chair to make it squeak. Rock back and forth, up and down until you have a good idea where the loose parts are. Get up and grab the offending pieces with your hands. Pull and tug on the parts of the chair until you have located the loose dowels or tenons.

Step 2 - Insert a 1/4-inch bit into a cordless drill. Place the tip of the drill bit at the intersection where you located the loose dowel. Drill through the intersection, angling the bit as needed to penetrate through the center of the intersection and out through the other side. You need to drill through as much of the dowel or tenon as possible. You may only be able to drill through one side. That's OK. Just drill through anywhere you can. If you can't drill through the joint, drill into it up to 3 inches deep and stop.

Step 3 - Squirt the hole full of glue. Pound a dowel all the way through the hole until it protrudes out the hole equally on both sides. if the hole doesn't go all the way through, just pound the dowel in as far as you can. Wipe the excessive glue off with a wet cloth. Place a clamp anywhere on the chair across the joint and tighten to get pressure on the joint. If you can't get a clamp on it, stretch masking tape around it as tight as possible. Wait 24 hours for the glue to dry.

Step 4 - Remove the clamps and tape. Cut the ends off the dowel with a small coping saw. Use a small file to file the dowel off flush and smooth with the joint. Sand the end of the dowel with 180-grit sandpaper. Use a stain marker to color the end of the dowel.

Note: Check the stability of older chairs. If joints are broken, pieces are split or if it has multiple defects, cracks or pieces that are missing, you may need to have the chair refurbished by a professional.

Royal LePage House Price Survey

Expanding Regional Economies to Lift Home Prices in Canada’s Major Markets

Shorter than anticipated housing market correction puts Toronto back on track 


Toronto to have a shorter housing correction than seen in Vancouver
Tighter access to mortgage financing and eroding affordability in Vancouver and Toronto have more buyers shifting their focus to condominiums, putting upward pressure on price appreciation
Rising interest rates and a strong Canadian dollar support more moderate home price appreciation

TORONTO, October 12, 2017 – According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey[1] released today, home prices in Canada’s five most populated housing markets are rising at a similar, healthy pace on a quarter-over-quarter basis, the first time this has occurred in six years.

The year-over-year price change data in the Royal LePage House Price Composite is the most useful metric for determining the health of Canada’s real estate market. However, examining quarter-over-quarter movements can reveal useful short-term housing market trends. In the third quarter, home prices in the Greater Toronto Area, Greater Vancouver, Greater Montreal Area, Calgary and Ottawa all rose at rates between 1.5 and 3.5 per cent on a quarter-over-quarter basis, indicative of a much more balanced Canadian residential real estate market.

The Royal LePage National House Price Composite, compiled from proprietary property data in 53 of the nation’s largest real estate markets, showed that the price of a home in Canada increased 13.3 per cent year-over-year to $628,411 in the third quarter. When broken out by housing type, the median price of a standard two-storey home rose 13.9 per cent year-over-year to $748,049, and the median price of a bungalow grew 9.5 per cent to $525,781. During the same period, the median price of a condominium rose 15.2 per cent to $413,670.

“Uneven regional economic growth has plagued Canada for much of the past decade, a challenge most evident in the nation’s housing markets,” said Phil Soper, President and CEO, Royal LePage. “For the first time since 2011, we are seeing real estate in all five of our largest cities appreciate at a manageable, healthy clip. Canadian housing is enjoying a Goldilocks moment – not too hot, and not too cold.”

“For now, the Toronto and Vancouver housing markets have returned to earth,” continued Soper. “After a period of unsustainable price inflation and sharp market corrections, we are seeing low single digit appreciation in each. Calgary has shaken off the oil-bust blues and Montreal appears to be at the beginning of a new era of economic prosperity. Rounding out the ‘big five,’ the Ottawa market is behaving like it usually does – a picture of healthy market growth.”

Soper noted that rising interest rates and a strong Canadian dollar should help to keep a lid on major market price appreciation.

“Marginally higher borrowing costs should dampen domestic demand somewhat, and with less currency-adjusted purchasing power, foreign buyer activity is off peak levels and will likely stay that way in the near-term,” added Soper.

During the third quarter, the Greater Toronto Area saw the largest year-over-year home price increase of any major Canadian market, surging 21.7 per cent on the back of strong gains witnessed at the beginning of 2017. Meanwhile, home prices in Montreal continued to climb at a rate beyond what has been the historical norm, appreciating by 14.3 per cent when compared to the same time last year, while Ottawa grew by 7.9 per cent over the same period. When looking at the largest markets in Canada’s westernmost provinces, Calgary and Greater Vancouver inched further out of their recovery, with home prices rising 5.0 and 2.5 per cent year-over-year, respectively.

Following a very similar trend to the Vancouver housing correction of 2016, the Greater Toronto Area market experienced a sharp drop in sales volumes beginning in April 2017, which continued through much of the third quarter. With underlying employment and economic growth on solid footing, the Toronto market began to grow again in August.

Potential buyers who were previously on the sidelines taking a wait-and-see approach have now jumped back into the market after realizing prices did not drop as certain market watchers had anticipated. On the supply side, some sellers who had attempted to capitalize on an uncharacteristically strong spring have taken their homes off the market. Together, these trends have caused the region to revert to a more balanced market where supply and demand have stabilized in the majority of areas.

“A severe shortage of listings introduced unsustainable home price inflation into our two largest markets beginning in 2015,” commented Soper. “Affordability eroded rapidly, concerned policy makers reacted with measures to slow demand, and sales volumes plummeted. Market corrections were triggered in Vancouver first, and some ten months later, in Toronto.”

“Toronto home prices are much lower than those we see in Vancouver, and the overall size of the market is considerably larger,” he continued. “Waning foreign investment should impact the Toronto market less severely. We expect the correction to be shorter in comparison to what was experienced last year in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.”

According to the Royal LePage Peak Millennial Survey released in August 2017, members of the largest cohort of the millennial demographic, or “peak millennials,” are concerned about high home values in Canada’s largest urban markets and job uncertainty in other regions. Eighty-seven per cent of Canadians aged 25 to 30 believe homeownership is a good investment, yet only 57 per cent believe they will be able to afford a house within the next half decade. Consequently, though 61 per cent of peak millennial purchasers would prefer to buy a detached home, only 36 per cent believe that they will realistically be able to find a property within the market segment. This has led many of these young people to look for property in the more affordable condominium category.

“In our largest urban centres, condos are seen by many young home buyers as the last bastion of affordability,” explained Soper. “We expect single home buyers, couples or families with one child to favour condominium living. With the arrival of a second child, many young families will still follow their parents’ footsteps and head to the suburbs.”

“Regardless of where they live, the sheer number of peak millennials in Canada will shape our real estate markets over the next decade. Developers and planners will certainly respond with housing product that meets the needs of this influential cohort of real estate consumers,” added Soper.

Nationally, condominium prices increased 15.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis and have begun to appreciate faster than any other housing segment in large urban centres such as Toronto and Vancouver. This is likely to continue for the foreseeable future and begin a trend in other cities. The overall affordability of condominiums continues to attract first-time homebuyers and purchasers looking for attractively-priced real estate as new mortgage regulations, interest rate increases and higher home prices have effectively limited purchasing power.

Under the Ontario Fair Housing Plan, all private rental units in the province are now subject to rent control, and housing market watchers have a number of concerns regarding the impact of this legislation. Removing the ability to adjust prices by more than 2.5 per cent a year when long-term residential real estate price appreciation is approximately 5.0 per cent per year makes rental units less attractive to investors. It is likely fewer purpose-built rental projects will be launched in the near future. According to one industry report, more than 1,000 such projects have already been cancelled and vacancies have already fallen to 1.3 per cent across the GTA[2].

“Ontarians deciding between renting and buying a home are facing two tough options,” said Soper. “Purchasers trying to break into the entry-level market now face a highly competitive environment, while those waiting to buy are met with high rental prices brought on by a significant shortage of inventory.”

“There may be unintended consequences to new province-wide rent controls,” concluded Soper. “We need more family-sized units in the province’s cities; apartments with two or three bedrooms. Yet purpose-built rental projects are likely to focus on smaller bachelor or one-bedroom units, which tend to attract shorter-term tenants. The higher turn-over allows landlords to raise rates more frequently. This will put further upward pressure on the price of existing family-sized rental units.”

 Provincial and City Summaries and Trends

Forecasters continue to raise their expectations for British Columbia’s growth, with the province poised to lead or come close to leading all provinces in GDP this year, creating new jobs and stimulating growth within the province’s residential real estate market. While the newly-elected NDP government released their first budget update, which included increases in the top marginal income tax and corporate tax rates, these hikes only put B.C. on par with other provinces, not above them. As well, the government is bolstering their already-robust social programs and infrastructure, which will allow them to entice more Canadians into the region in search of a new home.

During the third quarter of 2017, the aggregate price of a home in Greater Vancouver increased 2.5 per cent year-over-year to $1,229,133. Over the same period, the City of Vancouver saw an increase of 2.2 per cent to $1,439,652. Meanwhile, the regions of Langley, Surrey, North Vancouver, and Richmond saw third quarter price increases of 9.2 per cent, 6.3 per cent, 4.5 per cent and 1.4 per cent, to $831,283, $796,466, $1,417,226, and $1,103,064, respectively.

Alberta’s economy continues to rebound from its recession, and drilling activity has come back from last year’s levels. The price of West Texas Intermediate oil has averaged over $49 USD per barrel this year, and the Alberta government is forecasting a price of $55 USD per barrel in its 2017-18 budget. Over the past year, Alberta has added 13,000 jobs, and full-time employment has grown by 31,500. When looking to the housing market, many regions in the province have benefited from this recovery, with the aggregate price of a home in Calgary and Edmonton rising 5.0 per cent and 4.0 per cent year-over-year to $479,211 and $389,330, respectively.

The improvement in the energy sector is also helping Saskatchewan’s economy, which is experiencing an additional lift from the strengthening U.S. economy. This has been partially offset by soft commodity prices, like potash, and its unemployment rate creeping up. Over the past year, Saskatchewan lost 1,400 jobs, although the bulk of these were in part-time positions. Together, these trends slightly dampened the province’s real estate market during the third quarter of 2017, with the region witnessing modest home price declines in its largest cities. Over the quarter, the aggregate home price in Regina decreased 1.9 per cent year-over-year to an aggregate price of $327,636, while the aggregate price of a home in Saskatoon fell 2.4 per cent to $377,191.

Manitoba’s economy continues to track at the national average, but key indicators reflect a mixed picture. For the first two-thirds of the year, Manitoba’s housing starts were up by 78 per cent and urban housing starts were up by 58 per cent, with both representing the strongest gains of any province. As of September, Manitoba’s unemployment rate was 5.5 per cent, well below the national average of 6.2 per cent. On the other hand, at 3.1 per cent, Manitoba’s seasonally-adjusted retail sales gains for the first half of 2017 were less than half of the national average, and exports to the province’s largest importer, the U.S., declined by 6 per cent over the same period. Despite a mixed picture from other indicators, the housing sector is proving unambiguously strong. In the third quarter, Winnipeg’s aggregate home price rose by 5.5 per cent year-over-year to $305,413.

The economic expansion that has been powering Ontario for the past couple of years has accelerated in 2017, and some forecasters are upping their expectations for growth. This has translated into more jobs, with the September unemployment rate falling to 5.6 per cent, representing the lowest level seen in the region in 16 years. Conversely, the biggest drag on Ontario’s economy for the majority of this year has been its housing market, which has seen a decrease in sales activity on the heels of high price appreciation, the implementation of new regulations from the provincial government and the Bank of Canada’s moves to hike interest rates.

While price appreciation has recently moderated to healthier levels on a quarter-over-quarter basis, in the third quarter of 2017, home values across the Golden Horseshoe continued to show substantial year-over-year gains, thanks in part to significant price increases experienced at the beginning of the year. The aggregate price of a home in the Greater Toronto Area increased 21.7 per cent to $860,295, while the price of a home in the City of Toronto rose 21.8 per cent to $861,397. Home prices in the surrounding GTA regions saw significant year-over-year increases, with suburbs such as Richmond Hill, Oshawa, Vaughan, Markham and Oakville posting increases of 17.5 per cent, 26.8 per cent, 26.5 per cent, 22.2 per cent and 21.9 per cent to $1,288,411, $572,177, $1,099,899, $1,108,943 and $1,145,644, respectively. Regions such as Hamilton and Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge were among the province’s hot spots, with year-over-year price increases of 27.9 per cent and 28.0 per cent, to $548,521 and $483,133, respectively, while Niagara/St. Catharines and London home prices rose 20.4 per cent, and 19.8 per cent to $372,717 and $354,466, respectively over the same period.

Ottawa is turning out to be a major economic success story in 2017, given the heightened levels of hiring by the federal government. As of September, the city’s 5.8 per cent unemployment rate sits below the national average, and it appears to be one of the few cities that has shrugged off the province’s new housing rules. Over the quarter, the aggregate price of a home in Ottawa increased by 7.9 per cent year-over-year to $441,453.

Quebec is now in the midst of what economists, and the province’s Minister of Finance, refer to as a “virtuous circle.” The province’s economy has been improving over the last few years, and confidence among businesses and individuals is rising, with both choosing to spend and invest, creating jobs and further stimulating the economy. Furthermore, the region is increasingly becoming a technology centre of excellence attracting industry giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and recently, Samsung. Technology is a growing sector for employment in the region and it should positively affect demand in the real estate market over the next few years.

In the third quarter of 2017, the aggregate price of a home in the Greater Montreal Area rose 6.6 per cent to $384,055. Within the region, Montreal Centre saw the highest year-over year home price appreciation with an increase of 14.3 per cent to $511,129, and home prices in Montreal West rose by 5.4 per cent over the same period to $422,515. Year-over-year, home prices in Quebec City and Sherbrooke increased 3.1 per cent and 4.2 per cent to $300,835 and $246,660, respectively, while home prices in Trois-Rivières fell 3.3 per cent over the same period to $200,080.

As Canada heads into the final quarter of the year, all provinces appear to be growing, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, which is still decisively in the midst of a recession. Large oil projects in the province are coming to an end and provincial revenues are coming in far below expectations. At 15.1 per cent as of September Newfoundland and Labrador’s unemployment rate is more than double the national average, creating less of a demand for large purchases, like housing. In the third quarter, the aggregate price of a home in St. John’s decreased 0.8 per cent year-over-year to $326,410.

In the rest of the Atlantic provinces, economic conditions in New Brunswick are proving to be solid this year, but some forecasters feel that the province is particularly vulnerable to trade conflicts with the U.S., especially in regard to softwood lumber. Home prices in Saint John rose 3.2 per cent year-over-year to $211,294, while home prices in Fredericton and Moncton fell 1.0 per cent and 1.9 per cent to $235,572 and $177,261, respectively. Although the economic growth of Nova Scotia is likely to be well under the national average over the next few years, many are referring to Halifax as a “boom town” because of the city’s base of colleges and universities, access to affordable homes and desirable quality of life. Over the quarter, Halifax saw an aggregate home price increase of 5.5 per cent year-over-year to $320,405. Prince Edward Island has not been as affected by the drop in oil prices when compared to the other Atlantic provinces, and home prices in Charlottetown saw a year-over-year increase of 4.4 per cent to $234,990.

Aggregated regions and the Royal LePage National House Price Composite (.PDF)

About the Royal LePage House Price Survey

The Royal LePage House Price Survey provides information on the three most common types of housing in Canada, in 53 of the nation’s largest real estate markets. Housing values in the House Price Survey are based on the Royal LePage National House Price Composite, produced quarterly through the use of company data in addition to data and analytics from its sister company, RPS Real Property Solutions, the trusted source for residential real estate intelligence and analytics in Canada.  Commentary on housing and forecast values are provided by Royal LePage residential real estate experts, based on their opinions and market knowledge.

About Royal LePage                                     

Serving Canadians since 1913, Royal LePage is the country’s leading provider of services to real estate brokerages, with a network of over 17,000 real estate professionals in more than 600 locations nationwide. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, dedicated to supporting women’s and children’s shelters and educational programs aimed at ending domestic violence. Royal LePage is a Brookfield Real Estate Services Inc. company, a TSX-listed corporation trading under the symbol TSX:BRE.

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 [1] Aggregate prices are calculated using a weighted average of the median values of all housing types collected. Data is provided by RPS Real Property Solutions.

[2] Urbanation Inc. report prepared for the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario, “Ontario Rental Market Study: Measuring the Supply Gap,” September 2017