Calgary Blog

 

Just in time to kick Calgary out of the winter-blahs.  Even though our winter hasn’t been as blah as some.

The annual Calgary Home and Garden Show hits Stampede Park next weekend and as usual it promises to be educational as well as inspirational.  There will be 650 exhibitors in hand this year, showcasing the latest in home renovation, both interior and exterior, as well as what’s new in landscaping and gardening.  This year they’re bringing in food trucks to add to the food offerings at Stamped Park, ready to feed the 60,000 visitors expected to come through the gate during the four-day show.

This year there will be an entire home on display for people to walk through.  The home, complete with a garage, will offer ideas and inspiration on

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Urban sociologists study the way cities work. Through their work at major universities, they consult with municipalities, developers and community leaders to help shape the urban world in which a great many of us live.  Many have given great thought to the dynamics that either contribute to a vibrant downtown core or spell its death.  You may be surprised as to what they have to say about Calgary.

How did downtowns evolve?

The idea that a city even needs a central core is perhaps outdated at best.   Once upon a time when a town or city was built there were three things that took place in the middle of it all.  Government, commerce and religious gatherings (think of the world’s most grand cathedrals). Downtown wasn’t where the people lived.

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Selling and moving someplace cheaper in your later years.  You wouldn’t be the first person to think about it.  In fact many people of retirement age have cashed in, selling their expensive Calgary home with plenty of equity built up and moving to places like Vancouver Island.

There are many places in Canada where real estate costs less, the lifestyle is slow and more affordable and the retirement grass is pretty green.  As real estate prices in Calgary start to drop, one painful percentage point every week it seems, you may be thinking of making the move and starting Chapter 3 of Your Life So Far.

Moving away from Calgary where you can get more for your money makes a lot of sense financially.  But there are other considerations that should be

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The Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi said it best when he noted that developers and not taxpayers need to foot the bill for city services in new communities.

However, those costs incurred by the developers and ultimately, new home builders may ultimately pass the bill along to buyers of those new homes in Calgary’s outer suburbs.

A five-year deal

This month, City of Calgary councils approved a five-year agreement in which developers will start paying for all water and waste-water infrastructure in new communities beginning in 2018.

The City of Calgary took on debt trying to provide new residential services between 2000 and 2011, a period of expansive suburban growth.  The City has to increase monthly water bills to mitigate the rising

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It’s been 30 years since the downtown community known as Chinatown went under the microscope.  In the 80s, there was a vision for the community with a major plan drawn up and implemented.  The City of Calgary has decided that it’s time for a makeover, especially since Chinatowns in many major North American cities are struggling to remain viable and even livable.

Councilor Druh Farrell has 100% backing from all council members to look at drawing up an area redevelopment plan for the neighbourhood with is on the south side of Bow River at the foot of the Centre Street Bridge.

Farrell says she has seen firsthand how many culturally rich inner-city neighbourhoods such as Chinatown have been left to languish in other cities. She believes it’s

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They’re calling it the Music Mile.

Stretching down 9 Ave SE from the soon-to-be restored King Eddy and the National Music Centre east to a cool place called the Blues Can in the heart of Inglewood, music shall reign in Calgary’s most historic neighbourhood.

In fact, a new  non-profit society will launch this Friday in Calgary – a collective of venue owners and organizations that support music on this strip of 9 Ave SE.  They’re even calling themselves the Music Mile Society.

The conductor of this merry band of music supporters, Meg Van Rosendaal, told the Calgary Herald recently that they hope to raise awareness of live music and the tremendous variety of live stages there are in Calgary, beginning with Inglewood.

Van Rosendaal composed

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Prices for homes in Calgary that have been sold at least twice continued their slippery slide downward.

New figures released Monday by The Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index show that residential home prices in our city dropped 1.2% from October to November of this year, and by 2% from November 2014 and 2.2% from October 2014.

This price index, just one of the various sales barometers in the industry, is determined by keeping track of observed or registered residential prices over a set period of time using information garnered from public land records and registries.  Any dwelling or residential property that has been sold twice at minimum is considered when this index is calculated.

Last month, data was collected

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Investors, take note.  Some recent changes to Calgary’s secondary suite regulations could mean that a downturn in this city’s housing market could be in your favour.  Especially if you’re looking at investing in a detached single-family home.

Just last month, city council voted on a motion to give a little when it comes to the regulations on lot size and to increase the allowable floor size for secondary suites.   Some homes will have the minimum lot width removed and some will have the minimum lot width to 9 metres, or 29.5 feet. 

The maximum size for a basement suite will also change, from the current 75 metres to 100 square metres, which is 1,076.4 square feet.

These changes come on the heels of earlier relaxations on secondary suite

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More existing single-family homes have been sold in Calgary than Edmonton so far this year. However, more brand new homes have been put in the hands of buyers in Edmonton than in Calgary.

We may be in the same province, reliant on the same type of economy. But just like our sports teams, there seems to be a different response when it comes to resale home activity versus new construction this year.

The new construction segment in Calgary is behind Edmonton by 1,518 new starts.  Between January 1 and October 31 of this year, there were 3,497 new single-family homes built or under construction.  According to Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) that’s 36% less than 2014.   Edmonton has also experienced a drop over the previous year, but the dip is

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Photo credit CBC.ca

Home owners along the Bow River escarpment in the South East community of McKenzie Lake are a little worried these days.

The hillside behind homes on Mount Alberta View S.E. and Mount Douglas Close S.E. is slowly but surely eroding away, edging closer to the expensive homes which back onto it.

There is no imminent danger to homes in McKenzie Lake, however home owners are concerned that property values will erode along with the escarpment if the issue is not addressed.  That includes potential resale issues.

Calgary city council will be pondering the problem next month.

The erosion, which has resulted in pathway closures on the crest of the embankment on the east side of the Bow River, is not a new problem.  The City

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