MAY / JUNE 2020

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We Work Hard to Keep You Informed:
Notes from Your Team ~ Jordy & Jim
How is the Canmore market doing?
We have been asked this question many times over the past few weeks.
As the Covid-19 event has progressed, many have been wondering how this will affect our real estate market. None of us know for certain how the market will fare overall, but we have analysed the limited data we have and seen some trends:

April statistics for Canmore show the number of final sales were down 38% for the month (compared to last April), with new listings on the market down 64% vs April 2019. A decrease in the supply along with demand helps to stabilize pricing. However, in our current market we have seen a slight drop in average sale price this month compared to last year April ($754k vs $768k). This figure is hard to interpret given our small market and small sample size – a few lower sales can have a disproportionate effect on average price.

We have however seen some positive signs. Residential sales have not been changed that much compared to vacation condos. We are seeing very good online traffic for our properties and we are starting to field numerous inquiries from both local and out of town buyers. Our brokerage has been busy receiving showing requests and we have seen offers and firm sales on several properties.
As restrictions begin to be revised across Canada, we are hopeful to slowly return to our new normal. The demand by buyers for certain segments of the market has diminished, but so has the supply of new listings, so for now sale prices have not been influenced too much.

We continue to add new marketing initiatives, including video tours of our listings, virtual open houses, higher social media action and different channels added to our strategies, along with virtual information sessions. Our main concern during this period is for the health of our clients and ourselves and families. We look forward to helping you with your real estate needs in a safe manner. 

1712 11 th Ave

This custom built 6 bedroom home has an extensive solar installation to make it a “net zero” energy use house. Backing right onto the popular Lion’s Park, a stone’s throw from Canmore high school and close to downtown.

Click HERE for a video tour of this property

6 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms

57 Lakeshore Drive, Kananaskis

Rare opportunity to buy a custom designed luxury chalet on Lower Kananaskis Lake in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, in the heart of Kananaskis Country.This property has waterfront access with a private beach, mountain and glacier views. This home even has a theatre room. 
5 Bedrooms, 3.5 Bathrooms

105 - 170 Kananaskis Way

Just listed at the prestigious Blackstone Mountain Lodge! Premium and spacious condo at just under 1000 sq ft, ready to go with all furniture and supplies. Let Clique manage your unit for substantial revenue to owner. 

Click HERE for a video tour of this property

2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms

311 - 109 Montane Road

If you’re looking for a top floor vacation condo with perfect south-facing mountain views, this is it. You can also rent this unit on AirBnB or through the Lodges of Canmore rental pool – pay for all your expenses and have cash flow!

Click HERE for a video tour of this property

2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms

304 - 1001 6th Ave

Premium 1600 sq ft condo right in the heart of downtown Canmore. Eligible for rental on AirBnB with estimated gross annual income of $120k. Or just enjoy it yourself as a vacation home.

2 Bedrooms + Den, 2 Bathrooms

102 - 300 Palliser Lane

One of the best deals in town for a decent sized 2 bedroom condo with upgraded appliances, flooring and underground heated parking (plus an extra parking stall outside). South facing mountain views with tons of light!

Click HERE for a video tour of this property

2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms

206 - 115 Elk Run Blvd

Just listed this very spacious condo at Pointe of View! The functional kitchen with stainless steel appliances leads to a very spacious dining and living area. This apartment has been freshly painted by a professional, along with professional carpet cleaning.

Click HERE for a video tour of this property

2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms

300 - 160 Kananaskis Way


Beautifully Renovated Corner Condo

2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms
405 - 1160 Railway Ave


Top floor, 2 level with vaulted ceilings. Tourist Home Zoning, which makes it flexible for nightly rentals or fill-time living.

2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms
313 - 186 Kananaskis Way


The unit has a balcony with incrredible views from the Three Sisters through to Cascade Mountain in Banff.

2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom
502 - 180 Kananaskis Way


Completely Renovated Top Floor Condo

2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom
418 - 300 Palliser Lane


Larger & Unique NW Facing Corner Unit

2 Bedrooms + Den, 1 Bathroom
433 - 160 Kananaskis Way


Lovely Condo in Immaculate Condition

2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms
218 - 170 Kananaskis Way


Luxurious & Close to Town Amenities

1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom

218 - 187 Kananaskis Way


Rare 1,300 sqft condo at Solara Resort

3 Bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Canmore considering pedestrian-only Main Street for reopening
CANMORE – Officials at the Town of Canmore are considering what reopening the community and non-essential services will look like and are contemplating a pedestrian only Main Street to help keep residents and visitors socially distant once public health restrictions are lifted. 

How to manage pedestrian traffic on Main Street, however, is only one factor under consideration, according to general manager of municipal services Sally Caudill, who provided council an update on those plans Tuesday (May 5). 

Caudill said the group formed to consider what reopening the economy in Canmore should look like is considering all options carefully and is aware that a pedestrian-only Main Street could have unintended consequences. 

"We are having a variety of conversations around Main Street," she said. "One of the concerns is if you do that, it could encourage more pedestrians to come to Main Street.

"We will need to come up with a solution that makes sure there is enough room on Main Street for businesses and pedestrians, but if we pedestrianize the whole street and it just invites more visitation, then we have created a different problem." 

Canmore's emergency coordination centre has been recently turning its attention from responding to the pandemic, to reopening. With Premier Jason Kenney announcing Alberta's relaunch strategy last Thursday (April 30), Caudill said work is underway to consider what that means Town staff and operations.
That includes how municipal staff will return to work. With the majority of staff laid off due to shutting down recreation facilities, Caudill said they will not be able to return to work until stage three of the provincial relaunch strategy.

There are also plans for when staff can transition from working at home and municipal facilities like the civic centre, public works building and fire hall can reopen to the public. Both are anticipated as part of stage two. 

When it comes to reopening for the business community, and considerations for how to manage pedestrian and business needs on Main Street, Caudill said the municipality is working with a newly formed business alliance.

"Especially as businesses reopen and we expect to see more and more people visiting in town and just walking on Main Street," she said. "In almost all these phases of reopening, we have a variety of community partners who we are working with and will continue to work with." 

The Canmore Business Association is comprised of a representative from the downtown Business Improvement Area, Bow Valley Builders and Developers Association, Tourism Canmore Kananaskis, Canmore Hotel and Lodging Association, Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Canmore's economic development manager Eleanor Miclette. 

A survey of local businesses in April by the Town's economic development department provided a glimpse into what the shutdown has meant for unemployment in the community. 

Miclette said while pinpointing an exact unemployment rate for Canmore is not yet available, it is estimated to be between 50 to 65 per cent. 

"What is clear is that as a community, we need to stand with our businesses," Miclette said. "These are our neighbours, our friends, our family members. 

"These businesses are the heart and backbone of our community and they contribute to our vibrancy and community spirit. How we stand behind them now, will determine what our community looks and feels like once the pandemic is over and our doors are open again." 

Stage one of Alberta's relaunch strategy could begin as early as May 14 if the conditions set out by the province for it to proceed are met. Those conditions include the widespread use of masks, the ability to do extensive contact tracing and reduced numbers of infections.

In stage one, some retail businesses may open including clothing, furniture and book stores. Some personal services may open, like hairstyling. Museums and art galleries may open and cafés, restaurants and pubs may open their doors, but only operate at 50 per cent capacity. 

While there have been calls on the municipality to follow in Banff's steps and restrict the movement of people into the community, Mayor John Borrowman reiterated during a virtual town hall last week that in his perspective restricting travel goes beyond what Canmore legally can do.

He pointed out the direction from the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is that non-essential travel is not recommended. To go beyond that would restrict the public's fundamental rights, which must be balanced with public safety measures.

"We are listening to the concerns of our residents, but we cannot make decisions based on emotion or fear," Borrowman said. "We need to continue to follow the advice we receive ... Dr. Hinsahw has discouraged non-essential travel, however travelling between communities has not been prohibited." 

Caudill said as the municipality looks at reopening, there are many concerns to navigate, including the anxiety and fear around the spread of the virus through visitation. 

"There is increased fear and anxiety in residents and we are hearing that," she said. "Businesses also have many concerns. Some of them have been hit quite hard by the pandemic and they are keen to reopen because it is their livelihood and they also want to bring back employment.

"They are very concerned for their own safety, for the safety of their staff, for their customers and for all Canmore residents and there is also the reality they rely on visitors, many of them but not all, to stay afloat." 

Caudill said visitors are concerned about their safety as well, and while many have stayed away, they will be keen to get back into the mountains. 

She said everyone involved agrees that to just open the "flood gates" will not work, a quick return to normal visitation will be too much. What would be ideal is a phased approach. 

The challenge is in how to manage that return of visitation, she said, and recognizing there are complex reasons for why people come to Canmore. 

"We do know that we do want to keep the community safe," Caudill said.

"We want businesses to thrive, we want to encourage residents to shop local and we want to preserve the strong sense of community we have in Canmore, which includes being a welcoming and inclusive community – and we want to acknowledge the role of tourism in our town." 

Thinking about deferring your mortgage?
News that Canadian financial institutions were offering some mortgage deferrals sent investors running to the banks in early April, asking for a stay on their payments as personal incomes and investment portfolios were being wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. Those deferrals seem like a lifeline for investors facing a liquidity crisis, but one leading mortgage broker thinks the impacts of a deferral need to be considered closely.

Dalia Barsoum, president and principal broker at Streetwise Mortgages, says that investors should consider alternatives to mortgage deferrals. She explained that these deferrals aren’t gifts or grants, as they come with a cost, a likely increase to future payments, an impact on future financing availability and a wider implication for an investor’s credit. Barsoum says despite the pain investors are feeling, they shouldn’t just take mortgage deferment as their first line of support.

“We look at mortgage deferrals as a last resort tool for investors to utilize to help ease financial destress,” Barsoum says.

Barsoum outlined what some of those sources of financial distress are. The primary pressure on real estate investors stems from unemployment, both the loss of their own job or, if they own a rental property, the loss of a tenant’s income. The temporary collapse of Airbnb, too, has resulted in an increase to rental stock in some Canadian markets, putting downward pressure on rents. Further, softening property valuations in some markets, have made it more challenging to extract equity when it is needed most. Even committed deals, not yet closed, might be torpedoed by a borrower’s inability to get a mortgage. The financial pressures on a real estate investor are widespread, perhaps enough to make mortgage deferral seem like the right option. Barsoum says investors need to look at the long-term implications of that short-term fix.

Her first concern is cost, explaining that interest will accrue on the deferred amount for the duration of the period. Each lender, too, applies its only methodology of repayment for the accrued amount after the deferral period. Investors need to know what that post-deferral arrangement will look like before they sign off on anything.

That methodology could also result in an increase to future monthly payments. That increase will vary based on the mortgage size, interest, and duration of the deferral. An increase in the debt load will, as well, likely impact an investor’s ability to qualify for future financing, especially if their new payments are higher across several properties within the portfolio.

Though a deferral is different from a default, and should not have any negative impact on credit, that requires an adjustment to lenders’ systems allowing them to report deferrals in the right way. Barsoum thinks that the sheer volume of deferral requests has increased the risk of reporting errors.

“If you are considering a deferral and can wait on it another month, then please do so to allow time for the first round of deferrals to go through the systems and see how that turns out,” Barsoum says. “Further, if you have chosen to defer by now, then please monitor your credit report for the next 3 months.”

Current financing arrangements, too, could prove challenging to obtain for investors with an active deferred payment. The logic, as Barsoum sees it, is that in taking a deferment an investor has told the lender whether they “can or can’t” afford the payment. In such a binary situation, taking the deferment puts you in the “can’t pay” camp, which carried long-term implications.

“My suggestion is to first examine your finances, challenges and plans with your current mortgage advisor,” Barsoum says. “Come up with an action plan before jumping on mortgage deferrals as the first line of support because of panic, fear of the unknown, or fear of missing out on this support tool.”

Best "Deals"?

Several folks have contacted us wondering what the best “Deals” in Town might be. With respect to foreclosures, banks often will not accept a condition regarding financing therefore Buyers need to bring cash to the table for the purchase, then arrange a mortgage AFTER the purchase. Our experience has been that Lending Institutions that manage foreclosures often lend money to themselves at very low rates and thus they are not overly-motivated to sell at a discount. So-called “deals” may not be easy to acquire but let us help you see what is possible with foreclosures.

Jordy Shepherd & Jim Mamalis, Associates
Lana Nashchuk, Assistant