Thursday, July 30, 2009

This and That

Alta. premier tells Ottawa not to be 'boy scouts' on climate change - “We just want to be very careful that we’re not boy scouts leading here and finding that our best trading partner may have a different plan or approach to climate change,” Ed Stelmach

The environment is the number 1 priority but not so much that the economy should falter. Look at our record with the Kyoto accord.

Alberta doldrums Province's employment insurance claims skyrocket, according to recent survey - ATB Financial senior economist Todd Hirsch said layoffs are usually a method of last resort for cash-strapped employers and younger, less experienced workers will find themselves out of a job first.

Hirsch said that although Alberta's economy appears to have the worst behind it, the job market is likely to continue softening over the summer.

However, Hirsch noted that Alberta's EI claims rose so dramatically because they had nowhere to go but up.

"It's jumped up tremendously since last year," he said. "But it's because we were starting at such a ridiculously low level."

When your coming from record lows increase will look significant as the economy jumps back these figures will drop again to lower ranges.

Part Three: Calgary-Edmonton proposal stuck at station - "Land has been assembled in Calgary and Edmonton, the provincial government is eyeing transportation corridors and there's growing corporate and public interest in the project, but a high-speed train won't be leaving the station any time soon in Alberta.

In the wake of a newly released government report studying the prospects for high-speed rail in Alberta, there's renewed momentum to build the 300-kilometre, multibillion-dollar link between Calgary and Edmonton — one that could shuttle passengers between the two centres in as little as one hour."
When this project is completed the future of these two cities will be incredible. The article states 20 years till any sign of the high-speed train but I imagine we will see building start a lot sooner than that.
If there is a stop in Red Deer watch property values go through the roof.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Little Kids and Big Actions

A five year old girl set her mind to feeding the hungry and homeless in her city. With a determination and action in over 2 months she was able to feed 18,000 homeless people buy collecting cans ( who knew $3,700.00 could feed 18,000).

She is 5-years-old, it's amazing the possibilities that children see that we can't with our adult goggles.

This story is so inspiring I seriously suggest you read it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Where is the price of oil going?

Edmonton's economy has diversified over the last 20 or 25 years ago but there is no ignoring the price of oil and it's effect on the city.

Edmonton is booming because it has more untapped oil in the oil sands than any other country in the world. The city's population growth is due to many things: higher wages, lower taxes and better jobs than many parts of Canada. Like it or not many jobs are in the oil sands.

If they slowed down what would happen?

We would be looking at a future with slower in- migration and potentially stabilizing wages that would still keep Edmonton well above the national average, but still less than now.

There is a lot of diversity though, and industries such as nanotechnology and IT continue to grow faster and become better than many other areas of the country.

But... back to the oil price is it going to drop?

Well apparently it won't in fact it's going to recover and stabilize by the middle of next year. Here is my 2 cents it will go up and then down and then up again and then down and then....

“I feel like I'm from Mars, because I know all the stuff that's put out there has no basis in reality,” “Most perceptions of what's actually happened are totally wrong, because there are such errors with the energy statistics.” Henry Groppe, 83, who has been tracking the complex world of oil and gas production, consumption and pricing for over half a century.

Here his insight into the future of oil prices.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Can we try a little harder?

Browsing on the mls yesterday came across some of the worst photos I've ever seen of a property. I mean really... Would it kill you to flush the toilet? (not for the weak of heart)

There is a incredibly funny site called It's lovely! I'll take it! and these photos belong there.

The thing is it's not a bad looking house on the exterior and with a little work it could be a great deal. You just have to look past the photos.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Life changing wealth.

We've all thought about what we would do if we got the windfall that would take us to life changing wealth. For some it might be to quite your job or travel other may start their dream company or build that fantastic house.

BBC Radio Scotland is doing a series on people who have come into life changing wealth, how they did it and how it impacted their their lives.

This time the topic is more local - a Canadian engineer, Sam Malin, who struck oil in Madagascar.

Listen Here

Monday, July 20, 2009

Stories about Edmonton

I don't know why Canadians have such fixed opinions of our cities. For example you say "Toronto" and you can unleash a torrent of vitriol from quite a few Canadians. Personally I think Toronto is dire but don't hate it.

Anywhere between Ontario and Alberta will get an eye roll perhaps a shocked expression and a "How can you live there.. in the cold? With no trees?"

British Columbia is viewed as beautiful, laid back, lots of hippies and perhaps recreational drug use.

Alberta, unfortunately, is still viewed by some as the wild west, lacking panache and refinement. It's an outdated opinion that many people change when the come to visit the vibrant cities of Edmonton and Calgary.

For a view of Edmonton from the inside take a look at the Edmonton Stories website. There are many wonderful stories and videos about Edmonton, the lifestyle and how perceptions changed after visiting this great western city.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My son's power of focus

I have had the purest experience of the power of focus. If you've ever been around a baby who has just learned to crawl you will know what I mean. Before my son saw what he wanted but had no method of obtaining it aside from crying. Chances were probably 50/50 that he would get it.

Now with the power of locomotion there is nothing to stop him. He sees something, he wants it and good luck to anyone who tries to stop him.

If only we could maintain this focus and determination to reach our goals as we get older. The only thing that stops him is being distracted by a new or shiny toy.

Something we can all relate to.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Real estate is the key

"It will be real estate that starts to stimulate the economy,"

"I don't buy into the concept of bottoming out.........People make the decision to buy based on their personal wants and needs. Is it the right time to buy? If you are comfortable with where you are financially, then now is the time to do it."

"Real estate is a commodity that will not and cannot disappear,"

"We live in it, we work in it, we shop in it and we worship in it. No matter how many downturns there are in the market, real estate eventually always goes up in value."

"First-timers are still the fuel needed to get the move-up buyer back in the game, but the key is to price smart--price to sell........If you're waiting for another price war, it's not going to happen for a long while."

"Buy. Get into the market, because the rates are historically low and prices in the Alberta market are down. But also be patient because the value of the home is going to increase and you're going to be able to move up if you're smart throughout the process."

John Gaha president of Coldwell Banker Canada

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's not what you think!

Perspective and Assumption. How much do you assume?

A little old couple walked into a fast food restaurant. The little old man walked up to the counter, ordered the food, paid, and took the tray back to the table where the little old lady sat. On the tray was a hamburger, a small bag of fries and a drink.

Carefully the old man cut the hamburger in two, and divided the fries into two neat piles. He sipped the drink and passed it to the little old lady, who took a sip and passed it back. A young man on a nearby table had watched the old couple and felt sorry for them.

He offered to buy them another meal, but the old man politely declined, saying that they were used to sharing everything. The old man began to eat his food, but his wife sat still, not eating.

The young man continued to watch the couple. He still felt he should be offering to help. As the little old man finished eating, the old lady had still not started on her food.

"Ma'am, why aren't you eating?" asked the young man sympathetically. The old lady looked up and said politely, "I'm waiting for the teeth.."

In Stephen R. Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he describes a situation on a subway that immediately creates a paradigm shift for the reader.

The above story is meant more for a chuckle than anything deeper, but it does lend itself to point out the flaw of assumption. This summer, in addition to relaxing I'm going to talk less and listen more. What positive change will you commit to doing?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mortgage Fraud

A poor misguided youth in Calgary was enticed by a "friend" to hold a mortgage in his name. He signed the mortgage docs in the back of a car with no legal counsel. He qualified for and got over $800,000 worth of mortgages on two properties.

"Even though Jason had a reported income of less than $20,000 the previous year, a large Canadian bank approved him for two mortgages: one worth $550,000, the other worth $300,000, for a total of $850,000.

He never met anyone from the bank, never saw the houses, never planned to live in them and doesn't even know where they are located."

It's sad that Jason is in this mess but it's a pretty silly thing to do. If you're signing legal documents in the back of a car without talking to anybody first you might imagine things may go south.

However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with holding a mortgage for someone else as an investment. Many investment companies do this as banks have tightened restrictions. The mortgage holder gets a cut of the profit at sale of the revenue property and monthly cash-flow. Jason should had gotten independent legal counsel and done much more due diligence on the deal.

A tough lesson for certain.

Read article

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Edmonton employment figures doing well

A lot of jobs in Alberta are seasonal so jumps in unemployment numbers in spring, more students looking for jobs, or dips in winter, oil sands job fluctuations, aren't really indicative of the province's economic health.

In Edmonton some workers are getting laid off or hours reduced but skilled workers are still in incredible demand. In direct contradiction to higher unemployment numbers.

"We're hearing employers are having difficulty finding people,"

"The Shell Scottford construction is seeking over 1,000 tradespeople and Flint Energy is having difficulty finding 200 journeymen pipefitters."

"the worst-hit areas in Alberta for job losses are the agriculture sector, wholesale and retail trade market and areas such as building maintenance."

"The job gains are ... in accommodation and food services, finance, insurance and real estate and transportation and warehousing." Alberta Employment and Immigration spokesman Terry Jorden.

Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver are the few cities in Canda where unemployment rates are improving.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

This And That

New immigrants driving housing demand, Scotia Economics reports - "Canadian immigrants are narrowing the homeownership gap with their Canadian-born counterparts, according to the latest real estate trends report released Thursday by Scotia Economics.

The report said of the more than one million immigrants that came to Canada between 2001 and 2006, 69% settled in the metropolitan regions of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. A growing proportion, however, settled in smaller areas, including Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton and Kitchener. Less than 3% chose to live in a rural area."

As immigration increases in all cities demand for rental housing and first homes will increase.

Home ownership getting more affordable: RBC - “Declining costs of home ownership during the last year were driven by significant cuts in mortgage rates along with the federal government taking an active role in supporting the mortgage securities market,” RBC said. “In the first quarter, monthly payments on a typical detached bungalow in Canada had decreased by close to 17% from a year earlier.”

“The average cost of maintaining a detached bungalow in Vancouver was 62.6% of household income during the first quarter, while in Toronto it was 45.9%, RBC said. Ottawa affordability was 39.1%, Montreal 36.5%, Calgary 35.1%, and Edmonton 34%.”

This works for investors both ways, what we lose in rental we gain in sales of rental properties. Even though vacancy rates decrease there are many ways to entice renters to your property i.e. rent-to-own.

Brakes put on rail line No money for Edmonton-Calgary link, gov't says – “A high-speed train whizzing commuters between Edmonton and Calgary in less than an hour could produce an economic benefit of up to $33.4 billion, says a new study -- but provincial Tory politicians aren't getting on board the idea right now.

The report, released yesterday by the Alberta government, envisions a downtown-to-downtown train -- costing between $3 billion and $20 billion -- with stops in Red Deer, north Calgary and south Edmonton.

A spokesman for the premier's office said a private-public partnership model discussed in the study suggests such a rail link could be built with private funds while the province could be called upon to contribute land for the line.”

It may be on hold for now but imagine what property values in Red Deer will be when the train is finally built. A savvy investor with an incredible telescopic view would buy revenue property there.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Canadians hold mortgages for cashflow and profits

We are offering a new investment strategy for Canadians who want to invest but lack the capital. It's also a great way for would-be-investors to get started without going into debt.

It's very simple.

This system allows investors to receive an equity position and cash compensation by holding the mortgage of a revenue property.

A typical structure looks like this, within a private investment program:

1. We (Glenn Simon Inc.) carefully select a cash-flowing revenue property in an economically strong area of Alberta.

2. We (Glenn Simon Inc.) provide all the capital needed to purchase and operate the investment, bringing years of experience and a proven track record to the table.

3. The partner takes the role of qualifying for and providing the mortgage in return receiving an equity position in the property and a cash bonus for each transaction completed.

It's important to note, that all mortgages and property purchases strictly adhere to federal and provincial lending laws and are completely transparent.

Fill out this quick questionnaire to get started! If you qualify for a mortgage before August 2009 get a special gift!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France

The thing about successful people is they do things differently. Probably most importantly they do things when they don't feel like it. I'm pretty sure if most people had a broken collarbone in March the last thing they would feel like doing is riding the Tour de France in July.

He is a testament to the power of will. Not to mention the incredible amount of giving back he does. I saw a comment slamming him on the internet for keeping his cure for cancer secret. I just had to ask myself, "What have you done for cancer victims?" Where do this people come from?

I really hope he wins by a mile.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The easiest option

Mortgages rates are at their lowest now. You can save hundreds of dollars each month on your mortgage payment if you can stand riding the variable.

"More than 28% of Canadians have a variable-rate product tied to prime, according to the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP). If you negotiated a deal before October of last year, chances are you are now borrowing money for as little as 1.35%. That's based on deals that at one point saw the banks giving 90 basis points off prime. Prime is now 2.25%.

The average sale price of a home last month in Canada was $306,366. Based on a 25% downpayment and a 25-year amortization, your monthly payment would be $962.61 at 1.35%. Convert that to a five-year fixed-rate term and you're probably going to have to consider a 4% mortgage rate and a monthly payment of $1,289.04."

Todd and I spent about 5 hours weighing the benefits of one set of mortgage terms over another for one of our properties. I didn't want to spend time doing that but that is what banks count on. It's easiest to lock in and say, "Well I may not have got the best deal but it was safe and easy to do this".

That's all right if you don't mind up paying an extra $300 a month because it was too hard to think about your mortgage terms or maybe because it was sunny outside.

Keep an eye on the penalties on your mortgage they can pack a wallop if you decide to sell early. Sometimes a little negotiation with your lender can get out of them.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Real estate investing video and news updates

There is now one convenient location to get news and videos from Don R. Campbell, REIN and other real estate experts. We've updated our Alberta News section and posted crucial videos to help you get all the facts you need to invest with confidence. It's all laid out in an easy to use format.

Click here to get informed.

Happy Canada Day!

* Canada is the second largest country in the world, with 9,971,000 square kilometres of land.
* The baseball glove was invented in Canada in 1883.
* With only three people per square kilometer, Canada has the fourth lowest population density in the world.

* Vancouver Canada is tied with Zurich Switzerland for the highest quality of life of any city in the world.
* The world's smallest jail is believed to be in Rodney, Ontario, Canada. It is only 24.3 square meters (about 270 square feet).
* Canada has the ninth biggest economy of the world
* According to the United Nations Human Development Index, Canada has the highest quality of life in the world.
* Contrary to popular opinion, Canada does not own the North Pole. In fact, the North Pole is not owned by any country. It is believed, however, that Santa Claus is from Canada.
* Canada is the world's eighth biggest trader.
* Of all of the world's producers of natural gas, copper, zinc, nickel, aluminum, and gold, Canada is in the top five.
* Canada is the home of many great inventions, including: basketball, the electric light bulb, the electric range, the electron microscope, standard time, the television, the telephone, and the zipper.
* Canada is the fifth largest energy producer.
* Canada has the world's highest tertiary education enrollment.