March 2015 Alberta Economic Fundamentals

Ally

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#21
Fort McMurray goes about its business despite oil price drop

The sudden drop in oil prices is bringing unsettled times to Alberta, the big-spending Canadian province that depends for its prosperity on extracting natural resources.

Alberta's government is trying to find a way to make up for a $7-billion resource revenue shortfall in its coming budget.

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#22
Why low oil prices aren't slowing down oilsands development

In preparation for testimony before the House of Commons finance committee in Ottawa on March 10, I pulled together some thoughts on three aspects of the impact of the oil-price crash on oil sands projects and policies, and I thought I’d share them with you here over this and the next couple of posts.

In my short statement, I’m going to look to provide committee members with context for three questions.

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#23
When smart buyers buy -
it's not when the masses do


Buying a home is a big decision so it’s no surprise prospective purchasers are watching economic news closely.

As home builders and renovators, we think it’s valuable to look beyond the headlines to understand the fundamentals behind the Edmonton region’s market.

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#24
Alberta loses 14,000 jobs in February

OTTAWA - Alberta lost 14,000 jobs in February thanks in part to the squeeze on the oil and gas sector, Statistics Canada data showed Friday.

Canada as a whole saw 1,000 jobs disappear last month, far fewer than expected, but an increase in the number of people looking for work sent the unemployment rate up to 6.8%.

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#25
Calgary looks to secondary suites as fast lane to densification

Calgary is a step closer to legalizing thousands of secondary suites that exist under the radar.

On Wednesday, a report aimed at making secondary suites legal, and safer, got the nod from the planning and urban development committee. The next step is a March 30 meeting to seek council approval.

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#26
Calgary renters rejoice, rental construction is growing

That search for a place to rent in Calgary is about to get a little easier.

Industry experts say while rental construction is surging across the country, Calgary is seeing hundreds more units under construction.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reports 1,170 units are currently under construction in the city compared to 548 units at this time last year.

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Ally

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#27
Falling oil prices stall Alberta construction projects

"While oil prices have sent construction into a downturn, the industry will recover," said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. "While it's early to pinpoint when that will happen, our forecast projects a near-term recovery, with jobs in engineering construction rising gradually from 2018 to 2024, as oil prices come back up."

BuildForce Canada's 2015-2024 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows falling oil prices are slowing Alberta's investment in new major capital projects. Sustaining capital projects and maintenance of existing facilities, however, are continuing, and this work accounts for a significant share of total oil sands investment.

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#28
Commercial and office vacancy stable

If Red Deer’s economy is being hurt by low energy prices, the pain hasn’t yet radiated to the rental markets for commercial and office space.

The 2015 edition of Soderquist Appraisals Ltd.’s commercial and office vacancy rate study has concluded that the current numbers are slightly below the averages for the past several years.

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#29
Edmonton's 105 Ave is coming to life

EDMONTON - It’s just a block north of busy Oliver Square and the endless wall of traffic along 104th Avenue, but it feels like another country.

The urban dead zone known as 105th Avenue has long been an Edmonton backwater, even though it’s just a stone’s throw from the city’s rapidly changing downtown core.

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#30
Alberta's diversification dream won't die


EDMONTON - Give Perry Kinkaide credit. At age 73, while most of his peers have drifted into a leisurely retirement, he still gives a damn about public policy issues like economic diversification.

In fact, the former senior bureaucrat and one-time managing partner for consulting giant KPMG’s Edmonton office cares so much, he founded the Alberta Council of Technologies in 2005.

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#31
Calgary city planners: Don't expect population increase where suites are legalized

If all houses in Calgary’s central wards are zoned to allow secondary suites, most homeowners taking advantage of the reform will already have illegal suites, city planners say in a new report.

Calgary Planning Commission will hear on Thursday the council-directed proposal to erase zoning hurdles to basement suites throughout Wards 7, 8, 9 and 11 — the ones whose councillors are most strongly in favour of suite reform.

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#32
Alberta budget increases taxes

Albertans will pay more to get married, go camping, have a drink, go for a drive or do pretty much anything else as the province fights to get out from under the collapse in oil prices.

The 2015-16 budget tabled Thursday increases taxes and fees virtually across the board and runs the largest deficit in Alberta's history at $5 billion.

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#33
Edmonton pushes infill homes

Efforts to slow urban sprawl in Edmonton are continuing as the city made changes to improve the infill housing situation.

"We are making progress towards making it easier to develop more units, a diversity of kinds of units and more affordable units as well," said Mayor Don Iveson Tuesday, following a presentation to the city's executive committee on the various actions being aimed at increasing infill in some of the Edmonton's older neighbourhoods.

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#34
Fort McMurray real estate sales dove almost 65% in February

Fort McMurray real estate sales are in freefall as the price of oil continues its downward slide.

Numbers released by the Fort McMurray Real Estate Board show that total sales there, along with the communities of Saprae Creek, Gregorie Lake and Anzac, plummeted by 64.7 per cent in February compared to a year ago.

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Ally

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#35
Calgary Ring Road won't be complete for another decade

The daily parking lot on Sarcee Trail will get worse over the next decade, thanks to the province’s decision to delay completion of the Calgary ring road’s final segment until 2024 or 2025.

While the province plans to begin construction of the southwest leg through Tsuu T’ina Nation lands as soon as this fiscal year, Alberta Transportation confirmed the shovels won’t hit dirt until 2021 for the ring’s west leg — from the Trans-Canada Highway to Glenmore Trail.

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Ally

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#36
Dramatic fee hikes coming to real estate market

In a budget thick with user fee increases, homebuyers face the biggest whack — registration fees will triple or quadruple for many new property owners.

The dramatic hikes for registering new land titles and mortgage documents come as Alberta’s real-estate market is mired in a significant slump, with sales volumes down and prices beginning to dip.

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