The Top Real Estate Markets for First-Time Homebuyers

Wed, 15 Feb by The Lore Group

Buying your first home can be an exciting and overwhelming prospect when determining what needs are most important in your future city or town. Luckily, we’ve rounded up the top real estate markets for first-time homebuyers that cover the spectrum from transit links to job prospects, so you can see the best of what the nation has to offer.


According to a recent report by CBS, New York remains the most walkable city in the U.S.; however, it’s also one of the most expensive to live. So perhaps you’d like to consider the number-three spot, situated a little further north. Boston is a vibrant city with oodles of history and a ton of walking tours. With good transit links and a rich culture, Boston can make a happy home.

Cost of Living

One of the most important aspects of work-life balance is getting a lot for your hard-earned money. For cost of living, Forbes singles out Birmingham, Alabama, for its low overall housing, healthcare, and food costs — as well as an average commute time that is, on average, less than 25 minutes. As the hub for some major companies, a university and research facility, Birmingham also has a lot of business opportunities on offer.


If a tropical home in Hawaii isn’t on the radar, California places a close second. With temperate weather all year, California can provide sunshine on the regular, without the hefty hurricane season that plagues much of the Eastern Seaboard. Add to that great wine and ancient forests and anywhere in California can provide the outdoor enthusiast with the weather to enjoy an active life.

Job Prospects

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Dakota is the place to be, with three areas sitting within the top five slots for the lowest unemployment rate. Fargo, Bismarck, and Grand Forks all rank, with Fargo topping the list for lowest unemployment in the country. With it’s proximity to national landmarks such as Mount Rushmore, which is well within driving distance, and some quirky laws (don’t even think about dancing with a hat on in Fargo), North Dakota has a charm all its own.


One of the great things about a place to live is the culture and leisure activities you can find there. Business Insider recently ranked places to live based on the number of culture and recreational activities per capita — and Miami came in a strong third. With an iconic music scene, as well as a world-renowned zoo and art museum, Miami has a flavor and nightlife all its own, making it the perfect place to set up camp for the social set.

No matter where you decide to purchase, whether small town or booming metropolis, connecting with a real estate agent who is knowledgeable about the top real estate markets in your area is essential for success, particularly if you are new to the area. Whatever you choose, there is no shortage of options to fit any need or want.

Consider buying vs. renting.

Mon, 06 Feb by The Lore Group


Renting is like borrowing a home from someone else – it’s never really yours. Owning a home gives you the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a smart investment. Buying doesn’t necessarily cost more than renting. And since a home is something that can increase in value over time, the sooner you become a homeowner, the sooner you can benefit.

If you are renting, you may be surprised at how much of a mortgage you could afford.



$1,300 $231,612
$1,500 $267,245
$2,000 $356,327
$2,500 $445,409
$3,000 $534,490
$3,500 $623,572

** These examples are based on a sample annual interest rate of 4.64% (Annual Percentage Rate of 4.60%), calculated semi-annually not in advance, and assume the interest rate remains constant for the full 25-year amortization period of the mortgage.


The Lore Group has access to the finest lenders that are ready to turn your home into your own. Stop paying the landlords mortgage and talk one of our Fort McMurray Realtors today about how.


CMHC to hike mortgage insurance premiums starting March 17

Wed, 18 Jan by The Lore Group

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will charge borrowers a few dollars more every month to insure their mortgages, starting in March.

The housing agency made the announcement in a release Tuesday.

Starting March 17, CMHC will charge mortgage holders slightly more every month to insure their loans.

By law, anyone putting down less than 20 per cent of the purchase price of a home in Canada must pay mortgage insurance, even though the homeowners themselves don’t benefit from that coverage. Rather, it’s a fee borrowers pay so if they default on loans, their lenders aren’t on the hook. Instead, an insurance payout would cover any defaulted loans.

Royal Bank hikes mortgage rates
TD hikes mortgage prime rate to 2.85%

Premiums are calculated based on the amount borrowers are getting versus the size of the down payments.

Typically, CMHC fees are as little as 0.6 per cent of each loan’s value. But on smaller down payments and larger loans, the fees can mount to 3.6 per cent — more than six times as much as the lowest rate.

In an expensive market such as Toronto, for example, where the latest figures show the average house price is $730,472, a borrower with a small down payment of less than 10 per cent would have to borrow $682,425 to buy the average house in that city, mortgage comparison website calculates.

Under current rules, the CMHC charges 3.6 per cent to insure that mortgage, or $24,567 over the life of the loan.

Under new rules starting March 17, the CMHC will charge four per cent of that loan’s value to insure the loan. That pushes the premium to $27,297, an increase of $2,730 or $12 a month.

Different borrowers will pay different amounts depending on how much they are borrowing, and how much equity they have.

The fee changes are outlined below:


CMHC says the average loan on its books is for about $245,000. It expects the changes announced Tuesday to work out to an extra $5 a month, on average, per borrower.

“We do not expect the higher premiums to have a significant impact on the ability of Canadians to buy a home,” said Steven Mennill, CMHC’s senior vice-president of insurance. “Overall, the changes will preserve competition in the mortgage loan insurance industry and contribute to financial stability.”

How to score the best mortgage to wipe out that debt

The changes will only affect mortgage applications received as of March 17. Anyone who already has a mortgage or has applied for one will be grandfathered into the old rates.

As of Jan. 1 of this year, Canada’s top banking regulator the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) requires banks and insurers to hold more capital against the mortgages on their books. One of the easiest ways to do that is to pass those costs on to borrowers by charging them more to insure loans.

The last time the housing agency hiked premiums was in 2015, when it hiked premiums by as much as 15 per cent for some borrowers.

Happy New Year!!

Thu, 05 Jan by The Lore Group

At last 2016 is in the rear view mirror! It’s been a tough one for Fort McMurray folks and most are glad to say goodbye. As we do so we would like to reflect on a few of the many things we are grateful for. For the great strength that we found in ourselves and each other during our most difficult times while fleeing a massive fire that decimated the community we love. For shoulders to lean on and the gracious and giving hearts of strangers we now call friends that reached out to the Fort McMurray community in our time of need. For the hope that inspires us as we work through the difficulties of the rebuild.

We look forward to the coming year. As we do we are reminded that many are still in need and not in their own homes. 2017 will be full of challenges to be sure, we want you to know we are here for you!

The Fort McMurray Real Estate Market will be forging new unprecidented ground this year as we enter the rebuild process aggressively in the coming months. There will be new opportunities and challenges. As a home owner it may be important for you to keep informed.

Our group will be monitioring the market, building on our preferred trades and trusted builders list from amongst the most reputable home professionals.

Please feel free to reach out to member of our group for information. No question is too small and we are here to help.

THE NUMBERS ARE IN…Here are January 2016 Fort McMurray Stats

Mon, 08 Feb by The Lore Group

THE NUMBERS ARE IN…Here are January 2016 Fort McMurray Stats

Active Listing 85
Average Sale Price $399,625
Number of Sales 4
Average days on market 345

Active Listing 382
Average Sale Price $631,014
Number of Sales 32
Average days on market 143

Active Listing 47
Average Sale Price $364,667
Number of Sales 3
Average days on market 44

Active Listing 69
Average Sale Price $505,000
Number of Sales 2
Average days on market 370

Active Listing 124
Average Sale Price $333,725
Number of Sales 4
Average days on market 225

*The interpretations of the data are the opinion Susan Lore and may not the views of the board or its members.

BUY RENT SELL with us and win!

Mon, 18 Jan by The Lore Group

Buy Sell Rent Poster 2016 (Final)

A year in the rear view mirror

Mon, 11 Jan by The Lore Group

Screenshot 2016-01-11 15.27.58

Smart Home Holiday Gift Guide

Tue, 24 Nov by The Lore Group


Believe it or not, the holidays are just around the corner. And this year, smart home products could be the perfect gift for your loved ones.

After all, research shows that Americans who have smart home technology really love it. According to an August survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate and CNET, 91 percent of people who have smart home products would recommend the technology, and 87 percent of those who have smart home products say it makes their life easier.

If you’re thinking about gifting a smart home product this year, consider spreading holiday cheer with these great presents.

1. August Smart Lock: The August Smart Lock can turn your smartphone into a smart key – and more. You can lock and unlock your door, create virtual keys for guests and keep track of who comes and goes, all from your iOS or Android phone. The price starts at $199.


2. Lutron Caséta Wireless: This connected home solution allows for lights, battery-powered shades and temperature to be controlled from a mobile device. An easy DIY solution that’s affordable, these products are less than $150.

Caseta Collection

3. The Nest Learning Thermostat: The 3rd gen Nest Learning Thermostat helps you save energy and money! It learns what temperature you like and builds a schedule around yours. Plus, Nest allows you to see how much energy you use every day and every month, so you can adjust your behavior and save money. At $249, it could be a nice holiday gift for a friend or family member.


4. Dupont Corian Charging Surface: With this brand new technology, you can charge your smartphone wirelessly in your home by placing it on a futuristic countertop. Dupont doesn’t set prices directly, but according to CNET, consumers can expect to pay about $200 per charging station.

Corian Charging Surface Coffee Shop5. Neato Botvac Connected Robot Vacuum: This product from Neato could be the perfect gift for the neat freak in your life. With it, you can clean your home anytime, anywhere from your smartphone. It’s not cheap, though: the WiFi powered vacuum costs around $500.

neato-robot-phone-carpet6. Parrot Flower Power: Have someone with a green thumb in your life? If so, this “smart pot” could be the perfect holiday gift. Its sensor assesses your plants’ needs, and then its app sends alerts to your smartphone so you can truly take care of your plants. The product costs $60.


Get “smart” this holiday shopping season. Your friends and family members will thank you for it.

Win with LEGO!

Mon, 16 Nov by The Lore Group

Screenshot 2015-11-13 15.26.03


Mon, 16 Nov by The Lore Group


It’s not quite time yet but you’re beginning to think seriously about buying your first home. Among your early considerations are how much home you will be able to afford and how you are going to finance your purchase. You’ve heard about the Home Buyers Plan (HBP) and the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and you’re wondering which of these might be the best home-financing option for you. Take a look at both options:


Did you know you can use your RRSP savings for a DOWN PAYMENT on your home?

With the federal government’s Home Buyers’ Plan, you can use up to $25,000 of your RRSP savings ($50,000 for a couple) to help finance your down payment on a home.

To qualify, the RRSP funds you’re using must be on deposit for at least 90 days. You must also provide a signed agreement to buy or build a qualifying home.

The best part is the withdrawal is not taxable as long as you repay it within a 15-year period. The payback amount is at least one-fifteenth a year of the amount you withdrew from your RRSP.

Using your RRSP’s as a downpayment may be a great option as you have the ability to draw from some of your existing resources and it might possibly allow you to put down the 5% required to finance a home or accumulate the 20% down payment needed to avoid having to pay default insurance premiums. Even if you already have enough money for your down payment, it may make sense to access your RRSP savings through the Home Buyers’ Plan.Tax-Free Savings Accounts


There are No “first-time home buyer” restrictions and No dollar limits on the amount you can use. There is no requirement to repay your TFSA withdrawal, so you won’t encounter tax issues down the road.

You can use either or both of these options to help you buy your home. Chat with a mortgage professional to find our which options might work best for you. The Fort McMurray market has some fantastic bargains for buyers. Now could be the perfect time to buy a home.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Ft. McMurray Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.