Thursday, August 24, 2006

Calgary Home Goes on the Market for Record $12-million $

Calgary's red-hot real estate market hit record heights this week when a house in the southwest portion of the city went on sale for a whopping $12-million.

The 1,800-square-foot, two-bedroom bungalow-style home located on more than an acre of land is the most expensive single-family dwelling ever listed in the city, said Calgary Real Estate Board president Kevin Clark, who admitted the dwelling is fairly small for its price tag.

"It's more location. It's made of a very, very fine piece of real estate," he said.

The highest price a Calgary home has yet sold for was $5-million, he said, though there are a few others currently listed between $5-million and $9-million.

"We certainly see a lot more properties over a million dollars than ever before," he said, attributing it to the inflation in real estate that has occurred in the area in the past 15 months.

Gizella Davis, who is handling the sale, refused to comment publicly on the property. She described it in the listing as having vaulted ceilings, four bathrooms, banks of windows, fireplaces and a view of the mountains.

"Here you can build your dream home in an ideal inner-city location, only minutes to Calgary city centre and all amenities, or renovate this spacious and bright home," she wrote.


Ottawa Housing Slump Worsens

More alarm bells for the stumbling Ottawa housing market rang Thursday, as a report the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) on new home sales showed a bigger-than-expected drop in sales, along with a continued rise in unsold homes and a further weakening of prices in the closely watched sector.

A total of 26,986 homes were sold across Canada in July.
The pace of new home sales is now down 4.1 % from year-earlier levels, with every region of the country showing double-digit % declines compared to July 2005.

The drop was worse than the forecast of economists, who had estimated new home sales would slip in the most recent report.

The median price of a new home came in at $180,000 in the latest report, essentially flat to the year earlier price levels and down 2 % from the June reading. Median price is the point at which equal numbers of homes sell for more and less.

Last year saw rapid increases in prices to record highs, prompting a building boom that helped to create the current oversupply of new homes. The median price is now down 9 percent from the record high set in April of this year.

The supply of new homes completed and available for sale rose to a record 96,000 in July, up 4 % from the previous record in June and up 27 % from year-earlier levels.

Still the slower sales pace seen in July led to the government to report a 5-10 month supply of new homes on the market, the largest supply by that measure since November 1995.

Man Falls to Death After Falling From an Ottawa Apartment Balcony

A man died Tuesday evening after falling from an Ottawa apartment balcony while apparently trying to evade police.

Police say they were called to a 10th-floor apartment on Murray Street at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

When they entered the apartment in the Byward Market, a man inside ran out to the balcony and tried to swing to an adjacent unit. He lost his grip and fell to the ground.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Police haven't identified the man, or said if he was a tenant at the apartment.

The apartment building is run by the Ottawa Community Housing Corp., and reports suggest drug use in the area is common.

The Ontario Special Investigations Unit has been asked to investigate the death, a standard procedure when police are involved in an incident where a person suffers serious bodily harm or death.


Economists See Signs of Housing Slowdown

In July 2006, housing and stock markets rebounded from a spring slump, but a slowdown in the U.S. — particularly in the housing sector — partly offset those gains and aggravated a drop in orders for manufactured goods in Canada.

The pace of existing home sales in the U.S. fell more than expected in July as a measure of the supply of unsold homes was the highest in more than 13 years, signalling a deepening housing sector downturn.

U.S. homebuilder stocks, already trading near yearly lows as housing sales remain depressed this summer, pulled back after the data was released. Toll Brothers Inc. dropped 82 cents, or 3.2 %, to $24.38. Pulte Homes Inc., the U.S. nation‘s largest homebuilder fell 93 cents, or 3.2 %, to $28.18.