Edmonton Market Update August 2020


Hopefully you’re enjoying the midsummer heat and maybe some lazier-than-usual days at home! 

Regardless of exactly what happens in Fall 2020, it’s certain that school of some form will be part of the picture. If you have kids, that means it’s time to start thinking about school again. If you’re moving to a new neighbourhood with kids, we’ve got four tips on how to research schools so you can make good decisions about your kids’ educations. 

Also, this month we review the July 1 changes to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) qualifying rules for mortgage insurance. If you’re looking to buy a property with less than 20 percent down, you’ll need mortgage insurance and you’ll want to read this update! Then you might want to consider talking to CMHC’s two major competitors. It’s looking like business-as-usual for them, with no changes in eligibility for insurance. 

Finally, this month our Edmonton neighbourhood profile is The Garneau, a near-university neighbourhood that’s full of diversity and life! 

I hope you enjoy the issue and I look forward to hearing from you regarding your real estate needs!

Four ways to learn about the school in your new neighbourhood

Buying a new family home and planning to move with school-age kids?  

You’ll either want to
1) pick the perfect school first or,  
2) find your dream neighbourhood first and then check out the schooling options.

Either way, here are four tips on getting good school information to help you make the right decisions.

1. Find the highest-ranked schools
For rankings, the Frasier Institute’s page at is your source to see which schools top the lists. Use the pull-down menu immediately below the header to select your province. Use the List view to see schools alphabetically by city. The rankings are based heavily on average scores from province-wide tests.

2. See the schools on real estate maps
Read the recent article Moving with Kids? How to Choose a Great School... It’s a good primer. Then, from any listing on, click Neighbourhood then select Elementary Schools or High Schools from the menu on the left. You’ll see them on the map. Click the school name in the left menu and information – including the school’s website address -- pops up over its map location. Explore!

3. Visit the school websites… and school boards, too!
Edmonton Public Schools ( educates 104,930 students in 213 public schools. Edmonton Catholic Schools ( operates 95 schools with 44,330 students. Each of these websites (above) features a directory with links to school websites. There are also three charter schools and many private schools in Edmonton. Visit for more information.

4. Visit the schools & chat with teachers and principals!
Once you’ve done your online research – including a look at the Frasier rankings (see above) – arrange to meet with the school’s Principal, administration and teachers, if possible. If you get the chance, walk to the school from the new location of your prospective home. That’ll give you an idea of what the walk or ride will be like for your kids.

Three new Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) lending regulations went into effect July 1, 2020. Note, these might not affect you if you get mortgage insurance from private companies, rather than from CHMC.

Source of Down Payment
CMHC says:  Non-traditional sources of down payments that increase indebtedness will no longer be treated as equity for insurance purposes. 

What it means:  CMHC will no longer allow you to use borrowed funds for your down payment.

Debt Service Ratios
CMHC says:  (We’re) lowering the maximum GDS from 39 per cent to 35 per cent and the maximum TDS from 44 per cent to 42 per cent. 

What it means:  Gross Debt Service ratio (GDS) is the share of income used to cover a mortgage + other housing costs like property taxes. Total Debt Service ratio (TDS) is the share of income used to cover housing costs + cost of servicing other debts. With a 39 per cent GDS (previously), a family with $100K income and 10 percent down would have qualified to buy a $524,980 home. Under the new rules, that same family would only be approved to buy a $462,860 home, a reduction of 12 percent.

Credit Score
CMHC says:  Credit scores must be at least 680, up from the previous 600. 

What it means:  Would-be homebuyers' qualifying credit scores must be at least 680, up from the previous 600. 

Not sure you’ll meet the new CMHC requirements? As mentioned, you might still be OK. As of this writing, the rules don’t apply if you get your insurance with private companies such as Genworth MI Canada Inc. and Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Co. 

The Garneau area of Edmonton has been described as “melting into the University of Alberta grounds” that border it. 

The busy High Level Bridge connects it to downtown Edmonton. The LRT and major city bus routes run right through the neighbourhood, whisking you quickly to Whyte Avenue and 109 Street for shopping. 

And this leafy, mature treed community, one of Edmonton’s oldest, also has one of its most diverse and funky assortments of coffee shops, restaurants and craft beer pubs anywhere in Alberta! 

Looking for a property here? You’re not alone, although the majority of the community’s inhabitants are actually renters, living in character houses or walk-up apartments. If you’re buying, you can choose between new condo towers or one of the many 1950s era houses. Whatever you choose, you’ll benefit from the neighbourhood’s good schools, access to the University of Alberta Hospital and proximity to the river valley for world class scenery and recreation.   



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