Friday, May 30, 2008

Alberta 2020 Video - Alberta Oil Sands

Alberta oil sands have proven oil reserves that will and can supply oil for many major markets around the world. This video is very interesting and very well done.

Edmonton Property Taxes Going Up In 2009

Many Edmonton property owners found a gift of the 2008 tax assessment in their mailbox this week. Although the heavy envelopes probably weren't met with squeals of glee they will certain be more pleasant than what will hit your mailbox next year. Expect property taxes to increase by at least 9% in 2009

"This is … just maintaining existing levels. These are no extra frills. This is where we need to start," Coun. Kim Krushell on proposed tax increases to Edmonton property owners.

The growing city requires a lot of money to meet the demands on infrastructure from population growth.

You'll just have to factor in this little expensive when you buy your next property. If you divide your property taxes over 12 months this will be a small blip in the figures. The city also has a Monthly Payment Plan that is relative easy to set up and makes the tax payment a lot less painless.

Real Estate Insider Conference

As you may well know we are card carrying members of REIN and really believe that the program and the ACRE system have been crucial to our investing success. Don R. Campbell, the president of REIN, is hosting a series of 90 minute conference calls that anyone can listen to.

He has highlighted regions such as Alberta, Ontario and B.C he touches on the three F's (Food, Fuel and Fertilizer) and how best to build a portfolio in an up, down or flat market.

Click Here to listen to the call

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'll Take The Bait

After checking my Google alerts it looks like the only thing in the news today is that people are leaving Alberta to buy houses in Eastern Canada.

"A serious influx of Western Canadian purchasers has bolstered housing sales in every Atlantic province. Tremendous job opportunities available in Alberta that allow commuting to and from the East Coast have served to further strengthen home-buying activity in the region. Last, but certainly not least, after living in Western Canada for many years, more and more Maritimers are returning home."Michael Polzler, Re/Max’s regional director

It is not an uncommon trend, look at real estate on the west coast where many of the buyers are Albertans looking for second homes or ready to move out of the blustery cold into a milder clime. A friend of mine who moved to the island (Vancouver Island) after many years in Calgary said all her new neighbours are Albertans. The funny thing (I want to write irony but I'm not sure this is a clear case) is that many British Columbians are moving to Alberta for the stellar wages and low taxes and we all know about the large maritime population in the oilsands as well.

One thing to be sure of is Alberta still boasts the highest income -- measured as gross domestic product -- per capita of any province and will continue to do so over the coming half decade. They may live where they like but Alberta is the place to get a great paying job.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New CMHC Report For Edmonton Spring 2008

"In general, market conditions have favoured buyers since the fall of 2007 and we see little change in store during the first half of 2008. Sales will remain soft for much of the year and will end 2008 down by 10 per cent to 18,500 units. Market weakness should subside as the year progresses, with demand improving once prospective buyers gain some confidence that the adjustment phase has run its course and the price trend has stabilized. This said, a lot will depend on the behavior of investors and speculators who purchased units during the accelerating market conditions."

Buyers should buy while the market is favouring them. It won't be long till we see prices rising again and many people wishing they had picked up that deal in '08.

Get your FREE copy here

Saturday, May 24, 2008

So You Think Oil Is Expensive??

Well you are wrong! According to this video apple prices have increased more than oil and we (Americans) paid more for oil 25 years ago than they do today! I haven't watched t.v for a while is this guy the new Andy Rooney? Anyway good to know it just seems like gas prices are up.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Edmonton's 30 Year Vision

The vision of Edmonton as a thriving arts community, a clean environment, with big beautiful parks, a powerful economy and a unique look was compiled by over 2,200 citizens with a common goal in mind- Edmonton by 2040.

“We hope this vision will allow the flexibility, in those interim steps, to get to that point, but we should always want to get to that point,” “My assumption is that most (future) councils will want to make environment sustainable, most will want to have a good, multi-cultural community, they might have different steps in getting there, but they would still want to get there.” Mayor Stephen Mandel

Sounds like a beautiful place and I would love to live there in my, gulp, late-sixties.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How To Avoid Buying A Drug House

Todd wrote this article to help house buyers and investors make sure they aren't getting a huge financial and environmental headache when they pick up that "deal" down the street.

"Sadly, we live in dangerous times. We not only have to be careful of shoddy plumbing jobs, leaky roofs and shifting foundations, but we must also check for dangerous and illegal uses of our potential homes. Don't be fooled into thinking that only houses in rougher, low-income areas harbour drug operations: Many marijuana Grow ops are located in middle to upper class suburbs." Read Full Article

Sunday, May 18, 2008

$30 Million In Nanotechnology

Alberta isn't only about the oil sands. There is a diversified economy that helps support this economic wonderland nanotechnology will be super-funded by the Stelmach government in hopes that Alberta will lead in this burgeoning field.

"The money comes out of a $130-million fund the Stelmach government announced last May to expand Alberta's nanotechnology sector. It also tapped that fund to pledge $15 million over five years in research grants for Alberta nanotech businesses.

Alberta, eager to compete for researchers and sales in a rapidly growing worldwide market for nanotechnologies, boasts about 45 companies with combined annual sales of more than $300 million, the government said."Full Article

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Getting Shaken Up - $1 Dollar Assumable

Even in a market with strong economic fundamentals there are plateaus. If you are aware when these plateaus come they won't alarm you, in fact you welcome them because they create excellent buying opportunities. In Edmonton we have gone from extreme seller's market to a strong buyer's market.

I found a property that can be assumed with qualifying in Edmonton the other day. I like this for 2 reasons:

1. It's good marketing. It will attract buyers out of curiosity just like you - who will click here to see what it is about.

2. It shows there are a lot of motivated sellers out there. I don't know the motivation for this seller and I hope it is not due to any misfortune. However, deals like this show there are many motivated sellers:

- people got stuck trying to flip a house in last year's market
- investors who got scared because they think the market will crash/ is crashing
- short-term investors who can't weather out the plateau

This specific deal doesn't fit our criteria (assumables are getting tougher and tougher to qualify for) but there are many more out there like this. With a little determination you can pick up some incredible deals now.

Centre Helps Women Enter The Oilsands

It's hard work but the paycheck is right - but with a quick six-month course woman are getting into the oil sands. This simple transition can take them out of low paying service industry jobs into triple to quadruple the wages out in the oilfields.

"Our targets are underemployed women, typically 24 to 34 years old, who are working hard and not making ends meet," "We recruit women who are truly serious about a skilled career and compatible with it." WBF Petro-Canada Training Centre Agency founder JudyLynn Archer

This will certainly help with the labour crunch in the area as the availability of skilled labour is crucial in whether some projects will proceed or not and allow many women to improve their quality of life.

Read Full Article

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How Do YOU Rank Financially?

If you've ever wondered how your friend's pay cheques measure up to yours, you can take a peek at The all-Canadian wealth test on the Canadian Business site. Showing age, gender and provincial averages you can get a good idea of who is earning what where.

Alberta looks to have the highest salaries across the board.

My biggest question is the gender salary divide really that great?

One other good read that my lead you to your millions is 10 laws of building wealth simple advice that makes a lot of "cents".

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Still More Opportunities For Albertans

A slew, actually doubling to be precise, of new Wal-Marts opening across Alberta will offer more jobs and bargain prices for Albertans.

"Alberta is a wonderful part of the country . . . and it's a wonderful place to do business," "It's always been one of our strongest markets." "..your economy has been booming for a long time and with that strong economy it means even more growth and more demand for general merchandise and food." Andrew Pelletier, vice-president of corporate affairs for Wal-Mart Canada

The stores will range for 100,000 sq ft to almost 200,000 sq ft (imagine losing your child in there!) and will be a combination of new stores, expansions of existing stores and relocations.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Watch The Property Values Rise

We've generally stayed away from Alberta Ave because the headaches of managing and tenanting the property far outweighed the low price tags. However, with an $8.5 million , 5 block-per-year revitalization in the works it's starting to look more and more attractive.

"Alberta Avenue, the 27-block stretch of 118th Avenue north of downtown, is getting a facelift. Crews are beginning work on "streetscaping" five blocks of the avenue, putting in new road surfaces, new and wider sidewalks, new trees and better lighting." Susan Ruttan,

Don R. Campbell often says to not be the first in the area to start the gentrification but come in the middle when the risk takers have done most of the work. I would say this is a good indication that properties in this previously forsaken (drugs, prostitution and crime) area are going to make a nice profit.

My good friend has been active by spreading flower seeds on walks with her dog, in hopes of beautifying the area around her investment property. Looks like the city is ready to follow her lead.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

This And That

What Edmontonians think about the real estate market - "Eventually my house will be worth more than I paid for it. Until then I am enjoying being my own landlord. I am here for the long haul." Terry

Province promotes environmental hotline -"We have the rapid-response team, we have the emergency personnel, we have the expertise and we have the capacity to deal with it, (environmental issues)"Environment Minister Rob Renner

Alberta can handle oil-price drop: economist -"Companies are investing very prudently right now and can still make good money at $70 a barrel,"Peter Hall, economics vice-president of Export Development Canada.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Golden Week

We had a beautiful Golden Week this year. Golden Week is between the first week of May and the last week of April in Japan; it is a time when many companies give their employees a holiday and domestic and international travel is very popular.

"Many Japanese take paid time off on the intervening work days, but some companies also closed down completely and give their employees time off. Golden week is the longest vacation period of the year for many Japanese jobs. Two other holidays may also be observed for most or all of a week: Oshōgatsu in January and Obon in August. Golden Week is an extremely popular time to travel. Flights, trains, and hotels are often fully booked despite significantly higher rates at this time. Popular foreign destinations in Asia, Guam, Saipan, Hawaii, and major cities on the west coast of the U.S., such as Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco, as well as in Europe, are affected during these seasons by huge numbers of Japanese tourists." Wikipedia

We went to a cabin in Kirifuri, Nikko and spent the days relaxing, reading books and doing exercise videos. Sunday morning we were lucky enough to see 13 monkeys climbing all over our cabin and in the forest. A mother and a baby monkey took a nap on our deck. We didn't take any photos as to not disturb them.

Reluctantly we left the cabin, met a mild traffic jam but made it home to enjoy delicious Butter Chicken and hot buttered nan for dinner.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

That Is Exactly The Problem

If you're poor or relatively poor, it's possible to have many of the things the middle class has," "It's just that you have to pay for them for a longer period of time." Michael Haan, a sociology professor at the University of Alberta
Focusing on needs not wants puts a lot of people into financial debt, they have to stop digging the hole.

Perhaps this is why we have Gen Xs and Ys in so much debt. When graduates start work they are looking a minimum of $20k student loans and credit card debt. Mix that in with a poor understanding of finances and you will have a generation with all the bling but none of the bang in their bank accounts. Preparing for the future financially is something that should be taught from elementary school.

Thank goodness people like Robert Kiyosaki saw the need and filled it and by helping people he became a financial fortress.

Investing when you are young and saving money to invest is so important because once the first home, child and car come you could be looking at a lifetime of debt.