Internet more popular as homebuying tool

The Internet has become a valuable resource for homebuyers, according to the 2011 Mortgage Consumer Survey by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Among recent buyers using an online search engine, the most popular search terms included interest rates (86 per cent), mortgage options (76 per cent) and mortgage calculators (69 per cent). Of those who noted using the Internet during their research, 86 per cent used an online mortgage calculator, 56 per cent printed information, 54 per cent did a financial self assessment and 50 per cent researched other financial products.

The CMHC said Canadians take, on average, 11 months to plan their purchase while the majority of homebuyers (88 per cent) indicated they had a good sense of how much mortgage they could afford before purchasing a home.

The survey also found that three-quarters (75 per cent) of recent homebuyers felt it is very important to pay off their mortgage as soon as possible while many have already taken steps to do so. And 39 per cent of recent buyers have their mortgage payment set higher than the minimum required while 20 per cent have made a lump-sum payment since taking out their mortgage.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Calgary single-family sales and prices increase in May

Single-family MLS sales and the average sale price rose in May compared with a year ago, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board.

In releasing its monthly data Wednesday, CREB said there were 1,313 single-family transactions for an average price of $489,482 during the month. Sales were up 4.04 per cent from the 1,262 sales in May 2010 and the average price increased by 1.29 per cent from the $483,240 a year ago.

However, the condominium market continues to be slow. In May, 503 condos sold for an average price of $287,384. Sales were down 2.9 per cent from a year ago (518) and the average price was off by 5.67 per cent from May 2010 ($304,662).

Despite the decline in condo sales, Anthony Nguyen and his girlfriend Jeanette Tran bought a one bedroom condo in May near the downtown. They take possession of it today, after nearly a month of searching.

“I was really surprised actually,” said Nguyen. “We weren’t planning on rushing into it but things just fell into place.”

Nguyen said he thought there would be more choice going into their house hunting expedition.

“Everyone was telling me it’s kind of a buyer’s market but at the same time there wasn’t as much supply as I thought there would be.”

CREB said year-to-date residential sales in the inner-city grew nearly four per cent, outperforming the citywide average. As the city grows, improvements in the inner-city communities are consistent with changing preferences in lifestyle options.

“Consumers are looking for shorter commute times to work and easy access to a wider range of services provided by these inner-city communities,” said Sano Stante, president of CREB, in a news release.

“Many of these communities are surrounded by abundant amenities such as parks, mature trees, diverse shopping and transit which appeals to a wide range of consumers; furthermore, inner-city homes can be considered a stable real estate investment, as there is significant value in land located near the city’s core.”

State said the board expects single-family home prices to remain stable in the coming months and the rate of decline in condo sales seems to be easing, “indicating signs of improvement in this market.”

“Full time employment growth has been sluggish in Calgary, with only notable improvements occurring in April,” said Stante. “All indications point to the trend that as full-time employment growth takes hold in the latter portion of the year, so too will improvements in-migration, ultimately translating into improvements in the housing market.”

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald