Thursday, July 31, 2008

This And That

Business and Real Estate
How To Invest In Real Estate In The Alberta, Canada Oil Sands - "As a result of record high oil prices, mining oil from the sands of Canada has become a huge industry, which directly affects real estate in the region. This article will explain how you can invest smartly in the real estate of the oil-rich region of Alberta, Canada."

Great tips to get into this market especially now that there are so many deals.

$1.4B deal spurs construction on next leg of Anthony Henday - "We believe this road will actually handle the growth of the city, the population growth of the city, the traffic growth of the city for the next 30 to 40 years," Transportation Minister Luke Ouellette

We all know that improved transportation improves housing prices buy up to 20% in surrounding areas. We are already increasing our holdings in this area.

Edmonton's jobless rate 3.7 per cent - "Despite some of the softer economic numbers Alberta has seen over the past few months - weaker retail sales, lower housing starts etc. - the employment picture remains very bright."

"More than anything else, a strong labour market will support economic growth and consumer confidence in the second half of 2008." ATB Financial chief economist Todd Hirsch

Things will pick up in the second half of 2008 and we'll see some real gains in 2009.

Festivals and Fun - It's summer so why not?

Edmonton's Heritage Festival a cultural treat - "Edmontonians are in for a cultural treat this August long weekend at the 33rd annual Servus Heritage Festival at Hawrelak Park.

The event, described by executive director Jack Little as "the largest multicultural festival in the world in one physical location", runs from Saturday to Monday and features food, entertainment, and arts and crafts from 62 different countries representing more than 75 cultures."

Edmonton Festivals Add To Your Summer Experience -
Edmonton Folk Music Festival - August 7-10, 2008 - Location: Gallagher Park - For more information go to:

Edmonton International Fringe Festival - August 14-24, 2008 - Location: Old Strathcona historic district - For more information go to:

For more information on our festivals or other Edmonton attractions check out

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How To Invest And Profit In A Falling Real Estate Market

Todd has had another article published with Nu Wire investor. If you can see past all the bad news and media hype there are many, many excellent investments to be bought in Alberta now and even if you go further afield in the USA. This article is a basic outline on how to buy a good property in a falling market - I should clarify that Alberta is a buyer's market not a falling one!

"There is no doubt that it is more difficult to profit from a falling real estate market in the short term. However, some of the most successful real estate investors in the world made their money by buying when everyone else said to sell. While the overall market is declining, there are still countless opportunities for great returns if you look in the right places and time your purchase well. This article will give you enough simple tips to determine whether it's time to start buying or keep looking. Regardless of market or region, you'll learn how to love the opportunity that a slow market creates." Read Article Here

Monday, July 28, 2008

Alberta Investment Company Helps Home Sellers And Investors

A buyer's market and a flood of listings in the Edmonton, Alberta area leaves stuck homeowners unable to sell. Alberta investment company helps property owner get out of investments they don't want to be in with innovative buying techniques.

Read Article Here

Friday, July 25, 2008

Walton Event At The Imperial Hotel Tokyo

As former investors we were invited to Walton's opening of their Tokyo office last night. Actually this is the second time they've had an office in Tokyo but the first one closed about 3 or 4 years ago.

We watched a presentation on Walton's goals for the future, enjoyed a buffet dinner, Taiko drumming and a performance by a western band. The event was interesting but I feel that Walton missed some prime chances to impress on their clients WIIFM (What's In It For Me). Nowadays people don't care how long your company has been around or what your plans are for the future; they want to know how it affects their returns. They completely focused on WMCIG (Why My Company Is Great) not customer centric enough in my opinion.

It was a fine enough evening and we were lucky to meet some interesting people who had invested in Alberta or were aware of the oil sands.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Canada's Outlook For The Next 5 Years

The Conference Board of Canada has released it's 5 year outlook for Canada. Alberta performs superlatively in all areas.
  • Economic Growth - Alberta will be surpassed only by Saskatchewan in 2008 but from 2009 to 2012 Alberta will lead the nation, including Saskatchewan, by a solid percentage point
  • Population Growth - In 2008 Alberta will lead the nation by a full 2% at 2.5%. The closest contender is Saskatchewan at 1.4%
  • Unemployment Rates - No surprise here Alberta has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada and beats Ontario, Saskatchewan and B.C by a huge margin.
  • Personal Income per Capita - Albertans enjoy a $10,000 spread over the rest of the nation. Although they may feel that things are tough they are the richest Canadians with the best prospects.

To download your own copy go to the Conference Board of Canada website great reading when you can't sleep!

Oil Fuels Calgary's Office Space

"The energy sector, and the related services to it, are the prime drivers of office space demand in the downtown core without question,"

"We're also seeing growth in the financial services sector as well. And we're seeing a lot of interest as the capital budgets continue to increase for not only conventional, but also oilsands related development, and the staggering budgets for those projects. The financial services sector is also increasingly looking, from frankly around the world, (to locate) branches here and increasing the size of the offices they have here." Richard Pootmans, business development manager of real estate for Calgary Economic Development.

So the market isn't totally in the dumps (I don't believe it is and this is further proof to the point) if you are buying in the right sector. I am sure as Calgary's office space starts to feel the pinch Edmonton's market will pick up.

Read Article Here

Monday, July 21, 2008

Immigrants To Canada Head To Alberta

Canada relies on immigration to keep the economy and country functioning. Since Alberta is the economic powerhouse of the country tens of thousands of skilled workers are heading west to find their fortune in the booming oil industry

"Workers holding Canadian skilled worker visas have been highlighted as a driving force behind the recent population growth seen in Alberta, according to new research. The study, by Statistics Canada, shows an inflow of immigrants, refugees and temporary foreign workers has turned the province into the country's fastest growing, reports the Calgary Herald." Canadian Visa Bureau

Of course new immigrants mean a steady stream of renters and as they grow to love the Canadian way of life eventual home buyers.

If the prospect of living in Canada appeals to you then fill one of these online assessments

Friday, July 18, 2008

This And That

Canada should play big role in new world oil order -"This is good from an energy security perspective. However, the increasing attention to climate change, and the very fact that the Canadian oilsands in general have higher carbon dioxide emissions compared to conventional oil is a significant problem for Canada,"

"And I think more and more work is needed to make use of this very important oilsands in an environmentally friendly way."

"He said oilsands production could reach as high as 10 per cent of total world supplies - significant but not enough to alter the so-called new world order. " IEA chief economist Fatih Birol

10% of the world's supplies IS significant if you think that it is coming from Canada a country whose population is just over 31,000,000. With the oil sands producing most of the oil in Canada that brings the focus to a province with a population of 3,000,000 looks like the economy will be quite good there.

Hot-cold house sales steadying - "By the end of the year, Edmonton could get something it hasn't seen for several years -- a "normalized" housing market, as homes for sale dry up and prices drop..."

"The high inventory levels will dwindle into the second half of the year, and as affordability improves, subsequent market conditions will continue to normalize," House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast by Royal LePage Real Estate Services.

So by 2009 we should see prices completely leveling out with rises anticipated for the year.

Edmonton cultural venues get $6.5 million - "This investment in Edmonton's thriving arts district will help these facilities continue to showcase Edmonton's and Alberta's arts and cultural community for generations to come."

"The Alberta government gave $2.4 million to the Citadel, and $500,000 to the Winspear. The City of Edmonton is contributing an additional $3.6 million to the Citadel."

Edmonton is turning into a world class city with a fantastic arts infrastructure.

New City Website Calculates Carbon Footprint -"For anyone who has ever wanted to know how much a flight to Europe really costs, or the net worth of a daily 25-minute commute, City Hall is offering new answers online.

An element of the city's website launched this afternoon allows residents to calculate their environmental footprints.

A carbon calculator - found by visiting - works out the total cost of everyday activities by tonnes of carbon used."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Long Term Is Best

Every Google alert I got today was about "spiraling" house prices or the Canadian real estate market hitting the brakes. After scanning quite a few they all boiled down to a 5% drop in housing prices in Alberta, leveling in Vancouver and Ottawa saying no to 40 year mortgages.

Vancouver was bubbly for a long time with the never ending condo market and the incredible lack of affordability, Ottawa and Ontario are suffering high dollar blues and Alberta is leveling out after an incredible increase that threatened to erode affordability.

If you own a home and aren't trying to sell then no problem, if you own investment property then keep it rented and make sure it's covering the bills. However, if you are trying to sell now then you have some pretty bad timing! Why not wait a year, try and make your property cash flow then put it on the market??

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Alberta Oilsands Commitment To The Environment

"It's being invested for the future in a way that will help Alberta take meaningful action on climate change without endangering jobs, the economy or our ability to support public services," Ed Stelmach on $4Billion set aside to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Alberta oil sands have had some pretty bad knocks in the press recently. Alberta is leading the world in recycling and consistently strives to improve it's image as a source of clean oil. This new allotment of serious funds will help to show the world that Alberta is taking climate change seriously.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Japan's Heat Wave

When you're pregnant your body temperature increases and so a mere 34C day feels like a 40C day. Never mind that you are usually carrying around quite a few extra pounds - 16 in my case.

Since rainy season officially ended last Wednesday I have been housebound trying to avoid the brutal sun and just keep rested. This seems like the hottest summer I have ever lived through in my life! Next pregnancy I will definitely do over winter - plus it will be an new adventure.

When I said I wanted to go to the ocean this year for Obon everyone said it would be impossible, now I see why. New plan is Nikko for a cool mountain stay!

No real estate today!

Don't Fret Month To Month

If I reacted to everything that was reported in the news I would be a nervous wreck. Sensation sells and if we were told, "Oh don't worry about it - markets have blips all the time..." then no one would be a newspaper or read the news.

On that note Canada lost 6,000 jobs in June:

"We wouldn’t make too much of a one-month dip in employment --- that can happen even in the middle of a boom. However, the jobless rate continues to gradually grind higher --- now up 0.4 percentage points since its three-decade low at the start of the year --- while full-time employment growth is clearly fading. The slow slackening in the labour market may start to take some of the steam out of wages, which would be a moderate relief to the Bank of Canada’s inflation concerns. The Bank was anticipating slow growth this year, and these figures are hardly shockingly weak, so it won’t do much to alter their bigger view." Douglas Porter, BMO Capital Markets

I chose this one specifically because he stressed that one month is irrelevant in the big picture. To read more takes on the same subject from all the major bank's analysts in Canada CLICK HERE.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Edmonton Has It Too!

"CBRE's second quarter 2008 report says investment sales volume year-to-date was $1.65 billion, compared to $2.2 billion for all of last year. The numbers show "continued investment confidence" in the Calgary real estate market, said Bruce Irvine, vice-president of business development and retention for Calgary Economic Development. " Click Here

The reason is Alberta and Calgary and, yes, Edmonton have great economic fundamentals. The article states that Alberta has "mojo" and is the shining star of the Canadian economy.

Funnily enough when talking to our Realtor and property manager (the on the ground team) the say the area is rife with pessimism and that many Albertans just can't see the Alberta Advantage. If you are someone that can see the advantage then you have a clairvoyance that can set you up for life.

Where others see crisis successful people see opportunity.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

New Apple Store Largest In Canada

West Edmonton Mall used to have the largest everything, although it has lost a lot of it's superlative status it does once again have a biggest - The largest Apple store in Canada.
The opening saw 600 people lined up some as early as the day before.

I can only assume Apple feels that Edmonton ranks along with Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal as crucial sales points due to it's growing population and strong economy.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Leading The World In Sustainable Energy

Alberta and the oil sands get a pretty dirty rap from environmentalists. When you are running the biggest project on earth you are always under scrutiny and of course everyone has an opinion. Yet every month or so I find an article about how Alberta is leading the world environmentally one way or another.

"Edmonton will soon become the first city in the world to start turning its solid waste into liquid fuel.

The city has signed an agreement with two Canadian biofuel companies to build a plant that will take regular garbage out of landfills and turn it into ethanol.

Those behind the initiative are calling it a huge step towards sustainable, environmentally friendly energy. "

Although there is a lot of talk about ethanol and how we should be using it, why is an area that is getting so much flak leading the WORLD in this initiative? More action and less talk perhaps??

Find the full article here