Field of Dreams

Dust swallows a tractor along with its operator Alf Symington and the harrow equipment being pulled north of Hayter, in an almost surreal image as the sun sinks in the west. ©Provost News Photo.Print version in June 4 edition of The News.
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Low Mortgage Rates Appeal to Buyers
of Newer Homes
Low mortgage interest rates are putting more people into newer homes in Provost say real estate agents who sell both old and new properties listed in the market today.

Local banking people agree: ATB Financial manager Randy Bjroklund says “We have seen some fairly attractive rates. He adds that as long as the prime rate stays low then there will be some pretty competitive interest mortgage rates. Over at Border Credit Union, manager Deb Bishop says their loans reflect a lot of people moving up into better houses. She agrees that “Mortgage rates are very attractive right now” with two or three decreases in the last month and another one on Friday morning. Personal banker, Lisa Richter for the CIBC says that she is definitely seeing an increase in people seeking loans to purchase newer houses that they will then improve with paint, flooring and renovations to the kitchen. She says that a lot of people hadn’t realized that they could get money with only five percent down so more are taking advantage of upgrading to a better house. Richter says they have also had a lot of loans for renovations because the money is easier to get and often funds can be advanced within 15 days of approval.

The Provost News also talked to three local real estate firms about the state of the housing market.

Ron Stables of RonStab Realty, Dale Gregory of Century 21, Provost Realty and George Meiklejohn of Meiklejohn Realty, who are all veterans at selling houses, dealing with banks and lawyers for the transactions agree that generally it’s a buyer’s market here.

Their comments:
Provost News: There seems to be a large number of houses for sale on the market right now. Do you know how this situation has developed?
Gregory: Basically spring is a busier time than any other. People are moving and some are upgrading. The boom in buying several years ago has probably hurt us more than it helped us.
Meiklejohn: There is a large segment of older houses on the market but not a lot of newer ones because a lot of the older houses were bought privately with big money at five percent down back in 1996 and 1997 when the economy was hot and a lot of people paid a lot of cash without being concerned with price so much. Many of those people have since moved away but didn’t keep up their property; so the value of the property has dropped yet the people are asking a relatively high price for the condition of the property and the current market. Market conditions however on houses in good condition are excellent. For houses that haven’t been kept up the price will have to be dropped.
Stables: Since I have been here and over the last five years this is normal. A lot of it is caused by speculation. Some will put up their house on speculation at a higher price and if they get it fine, otherwise they may not worry if it is not sold.
Provost News: Has the asking price of houses risen or fallen over the last two years?
Gregory: It’s about the same, more or less.
Meiklejohn: If the property has been maintained in good condition then the selling price has always risen. But if the condition of the house has declined, with renovations and upkeep so high it is now affecting the value. Costs to maintain a house have gone up so some people are not doing much upgrading.
Stables: I think the prices have fallen a bit last year by between five and 10 percent. There appears to be a downward trend. That could be caused by the slowdown in the agricultural community with recent dry years and also by the amalgamation of oil companies that meant some high end workers moved out to other centres. Some of the oil workers left are farmers and so don’t need to own a house in town.
Provost News: Are older houses or newer ones harder to move at this time?
Gregory: The older houses are tougher to move. With low interest rates more people are able to buy newer. Years ago, big amounts of money was needed to lay down first before a loan was made. Now it’s only five to 10 percent down.
Meiklejohn: Older ones.
Stables: The newer ones priced high are tough to sell now. However the mid-range houses listed at between $95,000 and $125,000 will sell readily.

Rest of story and pictures and in June 4 edition of The Provost News.
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Photographer Earns Award at National Level
Provost photographer Dirk Brouwer Jr. has received national recognition in his association by receiving the Master of Photographic Arts award.
President of the Professional Photographers of Canada, (PPOC) Michael Jessop, recently made the presentation to Brouwer in Whistler, B.C. at an annual convention and awards banquet.
Full story and picture in June 4 edition of The Provost News.
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Gymnast Takes Silver at Provincials Competition
Story in June 4 edition of The Provost News.
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Street Spokesman
We asked: "Do You Like Cooking?"
. . . and we heard opinions from Devon Youse, Megan Slater, Amanda Shirtliffe, Jordan Copeland and Ashley Southoff.
Check out the May 28 edition of The Provost News for their answers.
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This, along with many other stories and pictures can be found in this week's edition of The Provost News.
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