Housing markets heating up for spring

It’s no secret that spring in Canada is usually the most popular time of the year to buy a home, but this year it seems to have come early.

Confident buyers with pockets full of the winter drilling season cash are out there buying early and taking advantage of a heated housing market.

With Alberta having so many new migrants, it is definitely putting pressure on the housing market. With over 65,000 new Albertans moving here last year and with another 95,000 expected this year it’s easy to see how that’s going to put upward pressure on housing and rental markets.

The past few years have brought with it some uncertainty in the housing market most notably because of the swings in the economic data, but Alberta has been mostly excluded from those reports as we are situated with a huge inventory of oil and gas.

We Albertans haven’t been fraught with the speculation that the national media speak of with regards to housing values.

Toronto and Vancouver areas are getting pummelled with decreasing home values while the major centres in Alberta are moving up.

As far as mortgage interest rates go, lenders know that much of our market changes hands between March and October and are all clamoring to earn your business. Lenders buying market share with super low, no-frills mortgages have provided a reprieve from rate increases for the time being.

This year rates have been between 2.79% for a 3-year rate and up to 3.79% for a 10-year fixed mortgage.

The ever popular 5-year fixed mortgage is going for between 2.99% to 3.19% depending on the lender, the mortgage type and mortgage insurance requirements.

The past few years have been wrought with economists saying that rates are going to rise at some point, and the government is even saying so with regards to raising their rates and sending warnings to Canadians to have their financial houses in order. No one has the crystal ball that says when that is going to exactly happen, but for now, enjoy these super low interest rates, lock in as low as you can for as long as you can.

There’s a lot of housing activity here in Central Alberta already this year and prices on inventory are creeping up. Is it a good time to buy?

Well that depends on your comfort level. If you have adequate down payment and closing costs and are secure in your job, then there’s not many reasons to not get in the market…so if you are ready, go ahead, fire your landlord.

Jean-Guy Turcotte is an Accredited Mortgage Professional with Dominion Lending Centres-Regional Mortgage Group.