Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Sale You DON'T Want To Miss

House prices are softening in Edmonton and people are once again worried that we will see a spectacular bust in the Edmonton market.

"There's no sense reducing any product by 5% because it just doesn't work. We're seeing reductions of 10% and more,"Re/Max agent Abe Hering Read Article

In a normal market you don't always get the price you ask for. Edmontonians have gotten used to multiple offers and bidding wars on properties. That kind of market can't last forever and it needs to adjust.

On the other hand CMHC released a report last week that house prices are expected to increase 25% this year.

"With Alberta's economy still red hot, oil prices remaining high, and $150 billion worth of oilsands projects, upgraders and related work in the pipeline, no one is forecasting anything like an '80s-style housing crash, of course.
In fact, quite the opposite."
Read More

Which means another 10% increase this year. Alberta is still leading the nation for increases in housing prices.

If you are really worried about the market falling I will be more than happy to buy your house at today's market value.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Financial Athlete vs. Big Bottomed Benchwarmer

Watching Sandy tuck into that Big Mac and crispy set of fries was enough to start my stomach craving for one of those little apple pies that if you wolf down to quickly, burn the roof of your mouth.

Am I getting fat hanging out with her? According to Newsweek’s article ‘A groundbreaking new study says obesity is contagious, spreading through social networks. Friends, more than family or neighbors, are the ones propagating the epidemic.’
Well, I’m sure that there is some truth buried thick in the middle there. But, my common sense dictates that I’m less likely to be scarffing down chocolate floats with my chubby buddy if I don’t like the way he looks. I may feel encouraged to say, “let’s skip lunch and go for a brisk walk” because I care about him and his health.

I understand that obesity is a serious problem and I’m not speaking lightly about it.

My correlation is directed to attitude and learned behavior.
An old adages applies here ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do”. Christakis says, “It’s spreading through ideas about what appropriate behaviors are.” In other words, “If I see you gaining weight, and I respect you, and want to emulate you in other ways, that changes my ideas about what is an acceptable body size.”

I can attest to the power of positive influence. You’ve heard “Your Network = Your Net worth”, this is very true. Not just about money but health, life and ideas.

Sure it’s easier to commiserate the trials of life (and even a way to bond) with friends. But, real progress happens when your peers and associates keep aspiring to do better and you jointly push to reach higher goals- that’s where real, healthy growth occurs. Mastermind groups and Focus Partners enable an excellent source to support, share ideas and experiences that propel you all forward.

Imagine Trump, Kiyosaki and Tiger Woods’ inner circle of inspiration and support.

It’s essential to have a partner, group or team to pull you up the ladder be it health, wealth or spirit. That includes being accountable for your own actions.

Alberta is bursting with over $176B of economic investment make certain you have the network to support your growth and success in this outstanding market.

I decided to post a one of our monthly newsletters from our free monthly mailing list. If you would like to receive this in your mailbox every month go here

It is full of our hot deals, market updates and Edmonton information for the investor!

Stop Pushing My Tushy!

I was on one of the fastest trains in the world, heading at near light-speed to an early morning meeting in Tokyo last Friday. The purpose of my journey was to liaise with international investors who are moving capital from European and Asian markets into rock steady Alberta real estate.

An easy enough task, all things considered. My partners are quite well informed about Alberta and it’s effortless for them to see the advantages with ‘global eyes’, meaning from a seasoned-world perspective.

With Alberta’s growth a mere half percent (that’s right: 0.5%) behind China’s growth it’s no wonder why it is effortless to see. As it’s easy to forget with all these heady numbers, here are a couple of facts to show what’s really happening. Alberta has a population of 3 million people. China has a population of 1.3 billion. Hopefully that clears up any confusion about how BIG of a growth spurt Alberta is enjoying.

Did you know that in China every year about 30
million people move up the economic ladder from ‘poor’ to ‘middle class’?

That’s nearly the population of Canada increasing its income bracket every 365 days.

India now has a ‘middle-class’ of about 250 million people, which represents 25% of the Indian population. By 2025 India will have 400 million middle-class people with over $2.8 Trillion a year in spending power.

As I’m watching the eki-in (train-pushers) pack people into the Shinjuku train line with soft, padded poles and white cotton gloves. I start thinking, 2 million people go through this station everyday…

Like some outtake from the movie Pi, I can almost see this demand as tangible: Alberta’s oil, gas and nanotech, Canada’s water, uranium and lifestyle.

Luckily we don’t need any Tushy-Pushers to push people into Alberta as there is enough room for everyone- in fact the gate is swinging wide open and welcoming.

Japan, Germany, Russia and Italy are all projected to shrink in populace in the coming decades whereas Canada will have the fastest growth of all industrialized countries, faster than the USA.

Alberta’s in the midst of the strongest economic growth of any Canadian province in history- poised to be a global energy super-power in the coming decades. Why wouldn’t people rush in?

This is the opportunity of a lifetime.

I decided to post a one of our monthly newsletters from our free monthly mailing list. If you would like to receive this in your mailbox every month go here

It is full of our hot deals, market updates and Edmonton information for the investor!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dear Friends and Partners,

I trust that you are you well. I wanted to send you a brief update on a few properties that I have coming up for partnership that I thought would interest you...

#1 Is a solid 1/2 duplex located in the prestigious North Ridge area of St. Albert.

*Your estimated ROI is 107% after 5 years or 22% annually (based on 8% appreciation rate)
*Fully arranged mortgage- no qualifying, low 5.6% rate with RBC
*Easily rentable and great for re-sale
*Total investment about 26% of purchase price!

#2 Is a brand new, stylish 1/2 duplex in the awesome town of Terwillegar SW Edmonton.

*Your estimated ROI is 100% after 5 years or 20% annually (based on low 8% rate of appreciation per year)
*Great mortgage fully assumable with easy qualification at 6% with TD
*Easily rentable for top dollar and perfect growing area for resale.
*Total investment about 26% of purchase price!

I have one more bungalow available shortly as well. All financing will be arranged too.

Deadline for property partnership: 9/15/07

Call right away to get started and receive the property proformas. All analysis, inspection, management, legals provided.

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success" Henry Ford-

To your success,

Todd and Danielle Millar-

-Please remember: All investments carry RISK. Be sure to seek your own independent legal advice-


Alberta Oil Sands Investment Real Estate
Glenn Simon Inc.
102,10171 Saskatchewan Drive
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T6E 4R5
Toll Free 1-888-780-5940

Japan Branch Office
Glenn Simon Inc.
1-11-2 Yayoi Chou
Utsunomiya, Tochigi
Japan 320-0837
Toll Free 1-888-780-5940
Tel/Fax: 81-28-638-4155

Matt Badiali from Daily Wealth On The Alberta Oil Sands

This is a great article by Matt Badili that was written early last year. It is hard to imagine how dirty sand could be bolstering a provinces economy by Matt spells it out in laymans terms.

How Big are Oil Sands?

"54,360 square miles.

It's comparable to the total land area of Florida… but there's much more oil in the Alberta Tar Sands than in Florida. In fact, more oil is locked in this deposit than in all of the Middle Eastern countries combined."

How Is Oil Trapped In The Sand?

"The oil in the Tar Sands is like soda that has gone flat. Imagine a normal oil deposit is like a regular bottle of soda. The oil is mixed with gas and under pressure. If the bottle cap leaks, then the gas escapes and the soda goes flat.

Leave a glass of soda in your car in the summer, and the soda will evaporate into thick syrup. That's essentially what happened to the oil that became the Tar Sands. It leaked into an ocean and all the light fractions were lost. The heavy oil mixed with the bottom sediments. The remaining material, called bitumen, is similar to molasses mixed with water, sand, and clay. Dirty oil!"

How Do We Get The Oil Out Of The Sand?

"There are two processes to get the oil out of the dirt.

The first is pit mining. Large excavators load the tar sand into even larger dump trucks. It's the ultimate economy of scale. These trucks are so big that their tires are the biggest expense out there. Really! The tires cost so much money that production is often reported in terms of tread wear.

CBS aired a 60 Minutes special on the Tar Sands project last Sunday. They interviewed the driver of one of these humongous dump trucks. There are 14 steps to get up to the cab of the truck. That's like driving from the second floor of your house.

Mining is only the first step, however. Once out of the ground, the oil must be separated from the dirt and muck.

They use a process similar to a washing machine. The sand falls to the bottom, and the oil rises to the top of the water. The oil is skimmed off the top and sent away for processing.

The second way to get the oil out of the ground is a process called SAGD – steam assisted gravity drainage.

With this method, two wells are drilled into the Tar Sands, one above the other. The upper well uses steam to heat the sediment in place. The hot oil collects in the lower pipe and gets pumped to the surface, sand free.

Once the oil is treated, the end product is one of the best light, sweet crude oils on the market. Best of all, this sweet crude is coming from Canada… and the last time I checked, nobody was lobbing missiles near the Tar Sands."
To Read The Full Article Click Here

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This And That

Lowest Unemployment
Canada's unemployment rate fell to 6.6 per cent in October – the lowest since April 1975 – as the economy produced 68,700 new jobs. Alberta's unemployment rate was the lowest in the country, at 4.0 per cent. Read More

Controlled Burn To Stop Pine Beetle
Alberta is planning a controlled burn of trees in a highly visible tourist area to try to stop the advance of the pesky mountain pine beetle. Read More

Alberta Tops In Home Renos
Mirroring most sectors of Alberta's superheated economy, the big leap in renovation spending has spurred escalating renovation costs... Read More

Inspirational Real Estate Success Story
The privately held company, owned by brothers Amin and Mansoor Lalji, will pay $1.644-billion for the buildings, located in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
Driven from Uganda along with other Ismaili Muslims in the 1970s by former dictator Idi Amin, the media-shy Laljis settled in Canada and went on to establish themselves as one of the pre-eminent property owners in British Columbia's Lower Mainland. Read More

Hills And Valleys In Real Estate

Gary Lamphier from The Edmonton Journal wrote an excellent article on the Edmonton Real Estate markets shift from overheating to normalizing, with a buyers market predicted for the next six months.

"The stats don't lie: Edmonton's once-torrid housing market is showing clear signs of cooling off, setting the stage for what some observers say could become a buyers' market over the next six months.

With Alberta's economy still red hot, oil prices remaining high, and $150 billion worth of oilsands projects, upgraders and related work in the pipeline, no one is forecasting anything like an '80s-style housing crash, of course.
In fact, quite the opposite.

According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.'s latest forecast, average local MLS pricesfor all of 2007 will undoubtedly show healthy gains, even if second-half prices are basically flat."
Read More

Canada's Housing Market

"What remains the greatest source of weakness in today's U.S. economy is a continued source of strength in Canada," "While the U.S. housing market is mired in deep recession, Canada's own housing market has demonstrated extraordinary resilience."
Warren Lovely of CIBC World Markets

Our great economy is due to low unemployment, rising incomes and low interest rates. Although sales in Edmonton and Calgary have slowed down due to an increase of properties listed on the market,the province of Alberta is leading price increases with CREA forecasting a 25% jump in housing prices by the end of 2006.

Other leading provinces:

*17.4 per cent in Saskatchewan
*11.2 per cent in Manitoba
*9.9 per cent in B.C.
*9.2 per cent in Nova Scotia
*8.6 per cent in Ontario this year.

Weeee'rrrreeee Back!

Have you been in the desert searching for an oasis of Edmonton, Alberta news and info? Well lucky for you I am back from a glorious week in Nikko, Tochigi, Japan.

I have a huge backlog of Edmonton economic and real estate news, it will take me a while to slog through and source out the most relevant information, so let me just leave you with this;

"...oil-rich Alberta is expected to see the price of an average home increase by 25 per cent this year to $379,000." Read More

Sunday, August 12, 2007

MY Friend Anna Is A Dummy

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” Was his response.
“I don’t know.” Alice answered.
“Then, it really doesn’t matter which way you go.” Said the cat.

Figuring out the forks in the road is hard work, but it pays off when you reach a desired destination. Always start with the end in mind. Take a good look at what your goal is and then survey what tools and experience you’ll need to get there.

I have this friend, let’s call her ‘Anna’. You may have a friend like her as well. Anna is a few years older than me and is a very talented, creative and intelligent person- except when it comes to making decisions about money. Anna is in her early 40’s, tall confidant and (sometimes) happily single.

She has become a well-established artist working out of her own studio in Vancouver. If you went shopping with her for paints or brushes, you’d see her in meticulously fine form. She’s able to select the best oil or acrylic for her brush based on the colours, feel and texture that she’s looking to achieve. She knows which colours have been blended with fish scales and which have been blended with clays. She talks about flow consistency of the brush and viscosity of fluids. See, Anna has learned to become ‘intuitive’ with her art.

She is an expert when it comes to painting. I say learned because Anna wasn’t always that way. She bounced back and forth from medium to medium. At times a talented professional cook, at other times a well-paid advertisement designer. Even though she pulls in a good salary from selling her paintings, she still has to sell them to eat, if you know what I mean: Anna is still stuck in the rat race of working for a pay cheque.

Generally a pretty relaxed person, I was always surprised to see the Jekyll and Hyde transformation of Anna when the subject of finances came up. She became visually overwrought with emotion and that led her to a state of analysis paralysis or something even worse… failing to check the numbers and rushing into a bad deal. I remember getting one late night call from Anna asking for advice. I strained to hear her tiny, far away voice all sugary and hyped up

She was trying to decide between some stock she heard was at a great price or a must have time-share/investment kind-of-thing in Mexico- ‘that would make a lot of money’. I asked if she’d analyzed the details to which she sweetly replied ‘no’. Under the cold light of day both ‘investments’ soon disintegrated.

Probably in these two cases analysis paralysis was a good thing. But what about when a good deal does come along and she fails to act? Anna is at a stage of her life where she has to give serious thought to her finances, whether that is fun for her or not. Even if she doesn’t want to do it herself she needs to find someone that she can trust to guide her.

Because Anna didn’t have a clear financial target she often found herself swayed by emotion and the pressure of knowing that she needed to invest. She’d read a few books to make her interested enough, and also a little scared. Realizing her lack of knowledge, or fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) she succumbed to the position of analysis paralysis or lack of doing anything, and that can be deadly.

I’m happy to report that Anna has since defined her goals, committed to an investment plan that is specific to her needs and has gotten into action and made several sound investments. Anna chose to focus mainly on two asset classes and refrain from ping-ponging about into unknown territory. She matched herself with an investment style where she could leverage her money further; receive passive income, yet still remain ‘hands free’. She is now able to focus on what she loves and does the best and has the peace of mind that she is in action.

For More Articles Like This Go To

“4 Places that love Expensive Oil”

In Alberta, Norway, Venezuela and Alaska, no one’s complaining about $80 crude. It fuels booming economies, cradle-to-grave security and handy checks for every resident.

Of course, Alberta is the leading story. Oil isn’t the only factor fueling Alberta’s economy, but it sure doesn’t hurt. After researching some of the Real Estate numbers and how they equate to your cash-in-hand profit this is what I found. But, just remember that Real Estate appreciation and profits need stable economic fundamentals to truly succeed. That means that in Alberta the prices are rising AND they’re sustainable as well as balanced, NOT speculative as our Western neighbor tends to be.

Keep in mind that in Alberta prices have a lot of room to grow, and they will, while still remaining affordable. Some of the reasons why; an undervalued market, high incomes, low taxes, strong in-migration, surplus of jobs, high growth industries and an affluent government with zero debt, are but a few reasons….

Rising oil prices are nothing short of a curse for most Americans. While most U.S. consumers are scaling back, residents of Alberta, Alaska, Venezuela, Norway and other oil-fertile regions are enjoying an economic boom so rich that, in some cases, the government is sending cheques to its citizens.

Alberta’s oil boom has not only attracted oil companies and their workers, it has drawn related businesses like plastics manufacturing.

Rising oil prices have spurred a big increase in investment by the private sector, as oil companies have jockeyed to boost production and exploration. Between 1996 and 2004, private oil companies pumped $36 billion into the area, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. CAPP predicts another $45 billion will be invested over the next decade.

This week alone $38Billion was announced. That brings the total to over $200 Billion to date.

An Open Letter to Expatriates

Are you living abroad, based out-of- country, non-Canadian resident, Armed Forces, US, Australian, Kiwi, any other nationality or just an adventuresome globe trotter? If you’re like me and like to travel and enjoy some of the wonders the world has to offer, but are feeling the pressure of the work-save-spend cycle (A.K.A Rat Race) then read on…

Are you worried about your finances?

Is it time to think about planning for your children’s future? Are you saving to build a house or are you seeking better returns than what the bank, postal accounts or your current investments have to offer?

Is the Stock market giving you ulcers? Or is it time to take some of the profits off the table and put them into a more tangible asset? Tired of the average financial options; Mutual Funds, Land Banking, Bonds, etc..?

Would you like to invest in something hands free and safe, but still reap a decent return? Well, if you are looking to take control of your finances, put your hard earned cash into something with more control and security, or if you answered YES to any of the questions above, then read on…

T. Harv Eker of The Millionaire Mind says; “Wealthy people see every dollar as a ‘seed’ that can be planted to earn a hundred more dollars, which can then be planted to earn a thousand more dollars.”

Investing with us at GSI allows you the confidence and freedom to get into the secure and fundamentally solid, Canadian Real Estate market. This is not speculative buying. We use a proven system to purchase our properties in areas that are stable, not over inflated or emotion based. GSI partners with you. That means that we generally hold the mortgage and where you’ll be investing between 20%-35% and receiving all your initial investment back plus 50% of the profits on residential investments. We think that you’ll agree that’s a pretty good deal.

Please read through our site to learn more about why Alberta is the best place to grow your money. Or contact us now to get started right away!

Why Oil Sands?

Why Alberta?
Alberta Is Canada’s Economic Champion

The days of oilrigs pumping furiously are coming to an end. Unconventional sources of oil require more manpower to get the oil out of the ground. What does oil have to do with real estate? Imagine if your investment property was near the next big oil reserve, workers from around the world were going there to live and work for the next few decades. Tenants were willing to pay top rents because the economy was booming and they were making oil dollars. Alberta is that place, with vast oil sands that hold a proven 175 billion barrels of recoverable oil, second only to Saudi Arabia. The most impressive part is that Alberta has only just begun; experts say oil sands production can be sustained for at least 400 years

Sophisticated investors always look for the next region; now that region is Alberta Canada.
➢ Amazing Tax Advantages- Lowest Taxes In Canada: increasing your investment dollars
➢ Real GDP Growth-4.7% 2006: A growing economy supports an increase in housing prices
➢ Debt Free Economy -$7.1 Billion Actual Surplus PLUS $7 Billion Contingency Fund
➢Over $200 Billion Invested In Projects- More announced daily; they require a lot of workers
➢New Jobs Created at an Enormous Rate-High housing demand
➢Over 100,000 People Migrated to Alberta Last year

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Edmonton Leads In Employment Growth

Edmonton leads the nation in highest year over year employment growth from June 2006 to June 2007.

"In terms of year-over-year employment growth, Edmonton (+7.0%) is currently the front runner, followed by Saskatoon (+6.4%) and Abbotsford (+5.7%). Montréal (+3.3%) is currently creating jobs faster that both Vancouver (+2.8%) and Toronto (+2.0%). Two cities known for their government employment are recording job losses, Ottawa-Gatineau (-1.3%) and Québec City (-1.5%)." Alex Carrick - Chief Economist, CanaData

The city is has had increasing demand for skilled labour for the Alberta Oil Sands and the province's outstanding economy.

Edmonton ranked third in Canada for jobless rate, Victoria, B.C and Calgary, AB were first and second.

"On the jobless front, Victoria (3.2%) is leading the nation with an exceptionally low unemployment rate, followed closely by Alberta’s two major centres, Calgary (3.5%) and Edmonton (3.8%). Saguenay and Windsor (auto sector layoffs) have the highest unemployment rates at this time (9.0% and 9.4% respectively." Alex Carrick.

Edmonton A Buyer's Market - For Now

A plateau in house prices and the increase in inventory of unsold homes is shifting Edmonton's hot real estate market from the selling frenzy of 3 months ago to a buyer's market.

"The advantage has definitely moved from the seller to the buyer," Richard Goatcher, senior analyst at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Many people are worried because house prices dropped $9000 last month and $115 this month. I have even heard the price drop referred to as "a falling knife".

Then on the other hand we had $38B invested into Alberta last week. So, yeah, there is NO reason that the housing prices will increase again.

Especially when the President of Shell Canada says that the Oil Sands are just beginning are they will require a huge injection of qualified labour - people who will need a place to live that is an easy commute to the big refineries.

Realtors association president Carolyn Pratt said that buyers have a larger selection of homes to choose from and they are taking more time to decide.

"Sellers cannot just throw their property on the market and wait for a sale; they now have to develop a strong marketing plan," Pratt said.

This is how a regular real estate market works it goes up and then plateaus adjusts itself and then increases again.

Why You Should Keep An Eye On Your Tenants

Photo Courtesy Edmonton Sun

I woke up the other day and, of course first thing, checked my email. My mom sent me this link with the ominous message of

"Do you see why I am terrified of renting?"

I keep suggesting that she rent out her house instead of selling it, the passive cash flow is a great source of supplementary income for retirement.

So I click on the link and read this,

House Left Covered In Crap - Landlord found post-eviction 'nightmare'

What a title! The images it invokes...not pretty.

The landlord rented the upper suite unit to a young woman, with three cats, for two years. He was unable to get references because she had just moved out of her parent's home. After an eviction notice due to unpaid rent, he came to change the locks only to find this:

"A "nightmare" of cat feces, garbage and a small pet cemetery greeted landlord Dennis Hillman when he went to check whether an evicted tenant had vacated his west-end rental suite Sunday."

"So revolting was the mess left in the three-bedroom main-floor suite at 8756 151 St. that the fire department refused to enter when Hillman called them yesterday, out of concern for the firefighters."

"Filth and trash coated the carpets and floors and the bathroom door wouldn't even open due to a mountain of trash."

"Cat litter and piles of cat feces were strewn throughout the suite and a couple of syringes were left in a bedroom."

"Perhaps the most disturbing discovery were several dead pets in cages in a back bedroom."

This kind of mess doesn't happen overnight. It takes care and attention and it would NEVER happen in one of our suites. Our property manager is diligent and we insist that she go through the houses about twice a year to see how the properties are faring.

The landlord said he didn't realize the state of the house because the curtains were always closed. However, the poor lower suite tenant got so used to the horrendous smell that she didn't even notice it anymore.

If you have a great relationship with all of your tenants they will tell you about the funny smells that you may be missing.

The lower tenant may have to move out during cleaning; due to the health risks posed by the parasites found in cat waste that can be passed to humans.

This is the worst scenario for a landlord - an empty rental property with extreme clean up costs and mortgage payments that still must be made.

To Read Full Article Click Here

Monday, August 06, 2007

What The Big Boys Are Saying

I have taken some of the best points from Shell Canada President Clive Mather's interview with The Edmonton Journal, on the scale of development in the Alberta Oil Sands.

Here they are:

"What we're saying is this is only the beginning," Mather said as he escorted U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman on an oilsands tour north of Fort McMurray."

The oil sands have 400 years worth of oil in that is available for extraction.

"..the world's largest deposits (of oil sands) occur in two countries: Canada and Venezuela, both of which have oil sands reserves approximately equal to the world's total reserves of conventional crude oil. As a result of the development of these reserves, most Canadian oil production in the 21st century is from oil sands or heavy oil deposits, and Canada is now the largest single supplier of oil and refined products to the United States. Venezuelan production is also very large, but due to political problems its oil production has been declining since the start of the 21st century" Wikipedia

"The oilsands are "world class," Texas giant Marathon Oil Corp. added in announcing its $6.5-billion takeover of Western."

To date France, Norway, Japan, China, America, Korea and the EU have put billions into the oil sands.

"Based on an estimated 7,500 local trades people available, additional workers from outside the region or province will be needed." In highly skilled occupations needed by industrial projects, Edmonton oilsands jobs will be more like careers than the traditional feast-or-famine pattern of construction contracting."

This boom is for the long term, the workers who come to work in the oil sands will make Edmonton their home. The most common cycle is to rent for a few years then to buy. If you own real estate in Edmonton you are guaranteed of two things - renters and buyers.

"Environmental effects on local air, water, vegetation and wildlife are also forecast to be modest compared to total accumulated results of decades of Edmonton development."

Canada is proud of it's natural beauty and will protect it. The oil sands are constantly being improved to ensure that the environment will not be damaged. New technology and innovative sources of energy, like geo thermal energy, are being investigated off set the energy required to extract the oil.

A $38 Billion Dollar Week

No, that isn't a mistake. Alberta oil sands saw another $38 Billion invested into the region over the last week.

The only thing stopping the region going into full production mode is high construction costs and a shortage of labour. Oil sands' labour demands are set to double from 15,000 today to 34,000 by 2010.

Of the development plans announced:

"Shell Canada's plan to spend up to $27 billion on Canada's biggest oilsands upgrader, the $6.6 billion friendly takeover bid for Western Oil Sands (TSX:WTO) by U.S. refiner Marathon Oil Corp., and a $4.4 billion regulatory strategy filed by Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) for the mining plan of its Voyageur South site all indicate the need to ensure a smooth development path for the tar-like bitumen."
Yahoo News

Edmonton is the hub of the oil sands activity, this kind of investment so close to the city shows this oil boom is here to stay. These companies don't throw around this kind of money without a lot of research. The demand for housing will increase exponentially and when demand rises so do prices.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Go West Young Man...And Woman!

"Go west, young man," is U.S. historical lore. Now, or should I say again, Canadians are following suit.

"That's what a record number of Canadians are doing. More than 370,000 of us, more than in any year before and half again as many as in 2003, changed provinces in 2006, according to data published last week by the well-regarded Centre for the Study of Living Standards. And there can be no doubt about the destinations of choice: Only Alberta and British Columbia recorded net increases in population from migration within Canada. Nor is there any doubt about who's moving: Only 44 per cent of all Canadians, but 67 per cent of migrants, are between ages 14 and 44. Add in children and the odd dependent senior, and the trend is clear: People early in their working lives are the ones moving west." Read More

All I can see is a huge demand for housing and subsequent increases in housing prices.

Preventing Another Minneapolis

Since the terrible bridge collapse in Minneapolis, North American cities are re-evaluating the structural integrity of their bridges. In major cities bridges see hundreds of thousands cars in months and sometimes days. There challenge is volume, but what about the challenge of size?

Alberta has some of the biggest vehicles in the world traveling on its roads and bridges going north to work on the oil sands, experts fear that there may be good reason to worry about these roadways.

"About half of the province's bridges were built in the 1960s or earlier, and structures of that vintage normally have a lifespan of about 50 years..."It's not saying every bridge is unsafe, it's just saying that we do have a problem on our hands," "Professor Roger Cheng, head of the University of Alberta's civil and environmental engineering department

Even scarier...

According to a 2006 Statistics Canada Study Bridges in Canada have already reached 49 per cent of their useful life.

The tragedy in Minneapolis and in Quebec last year can only be thanked for raising awareness to this silent threat.

To Read The Full Article

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Can't Afford A Home In Alberta?

This is the best program I have heard about next to the ecofitEnergy Retrofit Program.

Alberta Home Program
A completely free assistance program that includes education, one to one support and advocacy referrals to service providers, down payment assistance up to $3,000, and ongoing contact before and after the purchase the home.

Special session

"With the explosive growth and needs for homes in Ponoka and districts the Home Program has graciously decided to host another session one in our community on Sept. 25th from 7 to 9 p.m. at the link in Legacy Place (5512-57th Ave.)." Read Full Article

If you or anybody you know is having a hard time affording a home in Alberta, please call the Alberta Home Program to receive more information at 780-454-1212 extension 203 in Edmonton, toll free 1-877-504-6161 in Alberta. You can also register for the special session via this number.

Homeless In Edmonton - Tent City

Picture Courtesy of Edmonton Sun
Over 100 homeless people are camped out in tents in downtown Edmonton. The Alberta Oil Boom and the subsequent real estate boom have people coming from all over the country, and the world, to find high paying oil sands jobs.

However, the near 72% increase in property values have left a people unable to enter the housing market.

Edmonton is notorious for its -40C degree winters, living in a tent is impossible in those temperatures.

The city and government are working hard to come up with alternatives including shelters and subsidized housing.

“You just can’t kick people out ... because they’re going to have an effect on other areas,” “In essence, we want to make sure that there are alternatives.” Ray Danyluk

Hopefully the government will legalize secondary suites in homes to open up the thousands of suites that are deemed illegal. If strict guidelines are enforced on these suites they would offer reasonable, clean and modern housing to those in need.

Habitat For Humanity- is a non-profit organization that is helping to ease the housing crunch in Edmonton