Friday, May 04, 2007

Go Long Or Go Home

While detractors shout the market is over, real estate experts see the long economic picture of Western Canada; becoming Canada's economic center.

"High property prices in Western Canada will help spur international investment in downtown commercial markets across the country, say real estate industry leaders.

"We're going to see more pools of capital ... heading to the West, depending on the requirements or the nature of the investor," said Avtar Bains, senior vice-president with Colliers International in Vancouver, at a recent real estate forum in that city.

But Bains indicated it's also common for investors to look at Alberta and Central Canadian properties instead of Vancouver, because of the West Coast city's high property prices and low profit margins.

Alberta's idealized conditions are what are appealing to investors. Look for a region with "a future not a past", as Don Campbell often says. The economic fundamentals of Alberta are much more than Alberta oilsands. They are about a perfect economic region that constantly grows and adapts.

"Jason Clemens, a director of fiscal studies with the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based thinktank, said B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan government policies are helping Western Canada's strong economy.

"It's not just about commodities," said Clemens.

He said the B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan governments have created the right investment environment by reducing or eliminating corporate or personal income taxes - despite their ruling parties' distinct political differences - while Ontario's government has gone in the opposite direction.

He predicted Alberta, B.C. and Manitoba - in that order - will enjoy the strongest growth in 2008.

The four Western provinces will have the lowest unemployment rates while Toronto will remain around the national average."