How to pull off a tricky bet and avoid paying for two homes. By Michael Corbett

It’s a common situation: You want to move and buy a new home — but you haven’t sold your old one yet. What should you do?

Making an offer on a new home before you’ve sold your own is a financially tricky bet to make. No one wants to be caught between a rock and a hard place — and two homes.
But what happens if you do get caught in limbo? Here are four strategies for getting out of the buying/selling pickle:

1. Rent back from your buyer
One option is to sell your house first, then rent it back from the new owners until your purchase transaction for a new home is completed. Since your buyer will eventually want to move into their new home, this is usually only a temporary fix — but a fix that will remove the hassle of moving to a rental before moving into your new digs. This is also a great option if you need a place to hang your hat if you’re planning any renovations to the new house.

2. Buy on contingency
Include a prior-sale contingency in the purchase contract for your new home. It provides the opportunity to withdraw an offer if your existing home does not sell by a certain date. Forewarning: very few, save for the most desperate sellers, are going to agree to sell to you if you have this contingency in place.

3. Get a bridge loan
If you absolutely have to buy before you sell, consider a bridge loan. Bridge loans enable buyers to move forward with the purchase of a home while their current home remains on the market by borrowing from the existing home’s equity until the proceeds from its sale are obtained.
This is a risky choice, so if you must, it’s best to use it for overlaps of just a few days between closings or, at the most, a few weeks. Though some bridge loans can be extended, they can become extremely expensive if protracted.

4. Rent a place
To avoid this dilemma altogether, sell your house first before you buy. And in the meantime, rent a place and take your time shopping around. Relocating twice in quick succession is not ideal, but it’s definitely a better option than owning two homes. If you get an offer you just can’t refuse, celebrating the sale in a rental won’t be so bad!
If you’ve ever been stuck between two houses, what did you do? 

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Edmonton City Housing Statistics – February 2015

New Home Starts – Single vs. Multi-Family

- Year-over-year, single family housing starts in February were down 4.1% to 348 from 363. Year to date, 2015 SF starts are almost identical to 2014 at 654 units compared to 653 last year at this time.

- 2015 has seen a surge of MF starts with 1,347 in February alone, compared to 158 the year prior. YTD, MF starts in Edmonton are at 2,575 units, a 413% increase over last year (502 units). Contributing to this increase in starts is mostly new apartment (rental & condo) and townhome development. Lower inventory of condo properties and a low vacancy rate has supported growth in the MF market.

- Housing starts are expected to decline by 11.3% in 2015 compared to 2014.

New Single-Detached Home Pricing
- Average new single detached home prices in February 2015 were up 9.9% to $638,745 compared to $581,254 a year prior. YTD, the average new single detached home price is $598,792, up 6.2% from $563,601 at the same time last year.

- The greatest share of new single detached home sales in February 2015 was in the $500k-$599k price range at 32.6% of homes compared to 23.5% in 2014. In February 2014, the greatest share of homes sold was in the $400k-$499k price range at 30.1% compared to 24.3% in 2015. YTD, the share of homes sold in these two price ranges is almost equal at 29.7% and 29.8%. 

- An increase in the number of homes sold in the $600k+ for 2015 has assisted in raising the average house price. Overall share has increased to 29.8% in 2015 YTD compared to 20.9% in 2014 YTD.

Resale Market – MLS – Single-Detached Homes
- Average MLS resale price increased marginally in February 2015 by 0.7% year-over-year to $359,392. YTD, average MLS resale price has increased 3.5% year-over-year to $363,437. Since March, however, the average price of a resale home has fallen 2.6% from $368,973. 

- YTD, the number of sales in 2015 is down by 19.4% to 1,807 from 2,241 in 2014 YTD. The number of YTD listings has increased to 5,353 from 4,460 in 2014 YTD.

- MLS sales are expected to decrease by 1.9% in 2015 compared to 2014. 
Economic Indicators
- Edmonton’s unemployment rate has remained at 4.8% since December 2014. Year-over-year, the February unemployment rate has decreased by 0.1%.

- Average weekly earnings are down year-over-year to $1,060 from $1,076 in 2014 and up $4 since January.

- February saw the mortgage rate on a 1-year term fall to 2.89% from 3.14%, which was the standard for all of 2014.

Top Builders
- As of February YTD, Qualico Group (Pacesetter, Sterling, Qualico Communities) have seen the most housing starts with 170 single family and 136 multi-family permits (306 combined).

- The following is a list of Edmonton CMA top builders by combined (SF & MF) permits pulled:

1. Pacesetter:  195 (133 SF; 62 MF)
2. Brookfield:  150 (41 SF; 109 MF)
3. GMH Architects:  110 (0 SF; 110 MF)
4. Sterling:  109 (35 SF; 74 MF)
5. Landmark Group:  94 (34 SF; 60 MF)
6. Coventry:  89 (55 SF; 34 MF)
7. Rohit Group:  83 (8 SF; 75 MF)
8. Daytona:  76 (52 SF; 24 MF)
9. Homes by Avi:  70 (48 SF; 22 MF)
10. Dolce Vita:  54 (16 SF; 38 MF)

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