Monthly Archives: May 2014

Get your BBQ ready for the summer!

 

bbq

It is getting to be that time of year where you want to be outside and light up the grill. Whether poolside, or on your back patio, summer is grilling season and you want to make sure to get your propane grill ready for summer.

Inspecting Your Propane Grill

Time and seasons are not always kind to the pieces and parts that make your grill work. Look underneath the grill for the hose that connects your propane tank to the grill. If it looks at all frayed or worn you will want to replace it. Next in the body of the grill remove the grates and heat directors if they are present to take a look at the burners. You want to make sure that the burners are not in any way obstructed by ash, burnt food or other. If it is, then you will need to clean it with a brush. If you have have an electronic starter make sure that it is still sparking. If it is battery powered you may need to replace the battery. Go through your grill and make sure any connections, bolts, or other are connected and tightened as intended.

Fill and Connect Your Propane Tank

Go to your nearest propane refill station to get your propane tank filled. Unlike with exchanging tanks you can get even a partially filled tank refilled and only pay for the propane you need. In addition when you are getting your propane tank filled your tank will be inspected to make sure it is in usable shape. When you get home attach your tank to your grill. Set all burners to off and open the tanks valve. If you hear gas escaping you will want to go back and check all connections, hoses and valves again.

Cleaning Your Grill

Use a brush or broom to remove any cobwebs, last fall’s leaves, or any other cruft that has made its way into your grill. Most of your grill you should be able to clean with warm soapy water and a sponge or towel. To clean the grates in your grill you will want to turn your grill on for 10-15 minutes. Then turn it off and allow it to cool for a while before cleaning it with a stiff wire grill brush and a little bit of elbow grease. If you have cast iron grates you may want to brush them lightly with vegetable oil using a paper towel to ensure that they maintain their seasoning and are less likely to rust.

Test It Out

This is the best part of getting your grill ready for summer! Invite some friends, find a couple of new recipes and fire up that grill! Go here for more propane grilling tips.

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Edmonton Real Estate market average home prices for May 2014 – Expect better quality at a more affordable price point with Trend Homes

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According to the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton the average price of a single family home (SFD) in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA)1 in April has dropped slightly from the high in March, even with the sale of 13 homes over a million dollars.

In April, the average SFD price was down more than $5,000 to $427,685; a decrease of 1.5% from March but up 5.9% from the same month a year ago. The all-residential average price was $365,045; up 0.4% from March and up 4.5% from a year ago. The higher SFD prices this year have put pressure on affordability and increased demand at the lower price end of the market. The average price for a condominium rose 1.1% from March to $251,300 (up 2.8% Y/Y).

There were 1,983 adjusted all-residential sales (1,836 reported) in April 2014 compared to 1,689 sales in March. Listings also rose in all categories to fill the demand which is common for this time of year. There were 2,977 residential properties listed in April compared to 2,548 last month; an increase of 16.8%. The overall sales-to-listing ratio in April was 62% compared to 60% last year and average days-on-market was 42. End-of-month residential inventory was 4,910, up 11.3% from March.

“The Edmonton CMA is experiencing the highest job and population growth in Canada and that should continue for the foreseeable future,” said President Greg Steele. “Edmonton is a diverse city and housing options exist in all price ranges but competition at the lower-priced end of the market is increasing. Entry level buyers may have to be a little more patient or scale back their expectations to find the home they can afford.”

The most active region of Edmonton is North Central north of Yellowhead Trail between 66 Street and 142 Street where there were 167 sales in April;  an increase of 0.6% over March and 23.7% over last year. Fully 20% of all SFD sales were in North Central in April. Areas in the Southeast, Southwest, and South of the Anthony Henday each had sales of about 140 SFD properties in April. The only region of the city to see a decrease in the number of sales year-over-year was the Southeast (Millwoods).

The highest priced homes were located, as usual, in the Southwest region but they saw an 8.7% drop in April compared to March. Homes in the West and Anthony Henday regions also saw price drops month-over-month. Homes in the North, Central, and Southeast were all sold on average below the city–wide average while homes in the West and southern regions (except Southeast) were priced $50,000 or more above average. (Next month we will feature outlying communities.)

“New housing is being built all around Edmonton but the biggest region of new home construction is south of the Anthony Henday,” said President Greg Steele. “Because this housing is often sold directly by the builders and not listed on the MLS® System, our figures do not include many of these sales. Buy

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ers should ask their REALTOR® to show them new home options in these areas as well.”

 

Canadians home sales heat up in April as spring market roars to life

 

Canadian home sales were up 2.7% from March to April, boosted by the Vancouver and Toronto markets, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

However, sales through the Multiple Listings Service were down 0.3% compared with a year ago and one per cent below the 10-year average.

The national average price for a home sold in April was $409,708, up 7.6% from a year ago.

The aggregate co

The association says the April sales were up compared with March in half of all local housing markets, dominated by a rebound in Vancouver and Toronto.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 51.9% in April compared with 52% in March, suggesting the market was in balanced territory.

mposite MLS Home Price Index was up 5.02%.

 

Canada’s next housing bubble: Real estate agents

 

The housing boom has not only resulted in record real estate prices, it has spawned an unprecedented number of realtors.

The number of people selling real estate reached 108,706 during the first quarter of the year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. To put it another way, that’s one realtor for every 245 Canadians over the age of 19.

No where is the bubble in agents more apparent than Toronto, perhaps the hottest market in the country for property. The Toronto Real Estate Board wouldn’t provide an exact number for its members but TREB’s boiler plate statement this month said it had reached more than 39,000 — or about one for every 140 people in the Greater Toronto Area.

Just over a year ago in December, 2012, that number was 35,000. That number grew from 31,000 a year earlier. TREB had about 20,000 members a decade ago.

We have almost as many people selling houses as making them. Statistics Canada said in its labour force survey for the year 2013, there were 131,000 carpenters. There are only 202,200 cooks in Canada.

You do two deals and you make $50,000

So what’s going on? Much of it is an influx of speculative careers from would-be real estate agents who see a quick buck to be made because they know someone selling their house and they want to get the listing and the fat commission — up to 5% of the house price — that comes with it.

“You’ve got some nice person making $30,000 or $40,000 as a receptionist. This is the American dream. You do two deals and you make $50,000,” says Lawrence Dale, a long-time thorn in the side of both CREA and TREB having sued both.

There is no data on commission rates but the general rule in Ontario is 5% of the sale price is split by two realtors on a deal while other provinces have a sliding scale where the percentage increases at higher amounts.

Toronto prices are soaring, especially single family homes. TREB reported this past week that average single detached home in Toronto sold for $965,670 last month, a 13.2% increase from a year ago. At $1-million, there’s $50,000 to be split by realtors.

Source: www.FinancialPost.com

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The mortgage war continues…

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In the latest twist on the mortgage wars being waged by Canadian banks to win customers, Royal Bank of Canada is taking a page from auto dealers by offering “employee pricing” to home buyers.

The same interest rate offered to RBC employees is being given to customers seeking new and “switch-in” mortgages across Canada.

“This is a first for RBC, and a first for the big banks,” says Sean Amato-Gauci, senior vice-president of home equity financing at RBC. “Home buying season is competitive and cluttered, and it’s not just rates that get you noticed.”

He says the bank is confident it can “break through the clutter of price wars within the mortgage marketplace” by offering employee mortgage pricing to non-employees in “a twist on what’s being done in the auto industry.”

Canadian banks have been battling for mortgage market share – often a gateway to other banking services — with a variety of low-rate enticements, such as a recent 2.99% rate on a five-year fixed-rate closed mortgage at Bank of Montreal.

“I wouldn’t call it a price war… but price competition in the mortgage market remains as intense as it has been over the past several years,” says Peter Routledge, a financial services analyst at National Bank Financial.

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