October 2014 Alberta Economic Fundamentals

Ally

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#2
Alberta small business confidence high





CALGARY - Alberta small business owners registered a slightly higher score than the Canadian average in the latest semi-annual BMO Small Business Confidence Report released Monday.





Albertans had an index score of 69 (out of 100) compared to 68 for Canada. The index in Alberta, however, was down slightly from 70 in the spring while Canada`s index rose from 65 in the spring.





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#3
Oil overflow: As prices slump, producers grapple with a new reality





Operations manager Dan Jones barks a simple rule to visitors entering Plant 300, the bitumen factory at the centre of Suncor Energy Inc.`s operations about 30 kilometres north of Fort McMurray: `Don`t touch the froth,` he says. `It`s hot.`





Inside the cavernous facility, boiling vats of the oil sands slurry mark the first stage of a high-cost extraction process that is undergoing an aggressive makeover. With global crude prices softening, Calgary-based Suncor is scouring its massive production complex in search of efficient ways to squeeze more oil from existing assets rather than plow money into expensive new projects.





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#4
Calgary and Toronto office markets outperform





CALGARY - Lacklustre job creation continues to impact demand for commercial real estate in Canada, but office markets in Calgary and Toronto are outperforming the rest of the country, according to the CBRE Limited`s National Office and Industrial Third Quarter 2014 Statistical Summary released on Thursday.





The report said tepid job growth has undermined office leasing activity in Canada, but has been unable to stem an historic industrial construction boom.





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Ally

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#5
Lack of affordable housing undermines Calgary's prosperity





Alberta`s population growth is outpacing the rest of the country as the province`s economy and robust labour market continue to attract record levels of newcomers, but social agencies are warning a lack of affordable housing is threatening that prosperity.





During the three-month period between April and June 2014, the province`s population increased by 35,000 to more than 4.1 million.





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#6
Hendrix highrise groundbreaking an example of Edmonton's hot real estate market





EDMONTON - Edgar Development Corp.`s head office is in Vancouver`s Gastown district, a stone`s throw from some of the priciest real estate in Canada.





But like Toronto `condo king` Brad Lamb and other prominent developers, the company was drawn to booming Edmonton for its next big highrise project.





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Ally

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#7
Sliding oil prices fail to dent Calgary property values and sales





Calgary`s real estate market often reflects what is happening in the energy market. But right now, home buyers are defying this pattern. The price of oil is at a two-year low, but Calgarians are still hot on homes.





The median price for a home in the City of Calgary jumped 5.9 percent in September to $425,000, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB). The price of single-family homes, condos and townhouses all jumped from the same month a year earlier. Last month`s sales also beat August`s median by $2,000.





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#8
Top 10 Towns in the West for Real Estate Investors





Welcome to Western Investor`s second pick of the top towns and cities in Western Canada where, in our opinion, real estate investors in both the commercial and residential sector have the best chance to profit. We compile this list every two years and our outlook is based on a two-year horizon, though many of these top markets should also perform long-term.





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Ally

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#9
Prentice says twinning of Alberta's 'death highway' on track for 2016





EDMONTON ` Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says twinning of Alberta`s `Death Highway` to Fort McMurray will be done as promised by the fall of 2016.





Prentice told an audience in the oilsands city that it`s critical to make Highway 63 safer for drivers and to promote growth in and accessibility to Alberta`s oilsands industry.





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Ally

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#10
Canada's top 100 neighbourhoods to invest





(businesspress24) - TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 10/06/14 -- Alberta is now vying with Ontario for the best and, indeed, the largest number of real estate investment opportunities this country has to offer, according to the annual Top 100 Neighbourhoods report from Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine.






"The sea-change in Canadian real estate is coming, if it''s not, in fact, already here," says Canadian Real Estate Wealth Senior Editor Vernon Jones, who headed three months of research to formulate the list. "Investors in real estate may be wise to follow the economic development patterns of this country in deciding where to park their real estate investment dollars for maximum growth."





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#11
Canada one of the world's most popular destinations for job seekers





Canada is one of the top spots in the world for job seekers who are setting their sights abroad.





The U.S., the U.K. and Canada are the world`s most popular country destinations for job seekers, a Boston Consulting Group global survey of more than 200,000 people released Sunday showed. Among cities, London is the most popular spot, while three Canadian cities crack the top 25 list for most-sought after places: Toronto (#8), Montreal (#21) and Vancouver (#23).





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Ally

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#12
In what Canadian markets are buyers doing the most research?





The BuzzBuzzHome founders have invited me to their annual industry event in Muskoka several times, and I finally had the opportunity to attend this year. I sat down on separate occasions with Matthew Slutsky and Cliff Peskin, discussing their new (and very handy) `Market Snapshot` website tool that, among other things, allows users to browse prices on a per square foot (psf) basis for new projects across Canada.





We got to chatting about the immense potential their website possesses for guys like me in the way of `Big Data`, the millions of impressions, that when properly delineated, can help you determine what people want to buy in terms of product type and size in different markets, and most importantly, at what prices. I told them I`d love to look at their data and write about it, and after a productive meeting at their super cool office (which will overlook our latest project with Carlyle Communities on Peter Street), a semi-regular guest column entitled Big Data with Big Ben
was conceived.





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Ally

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#13
Real estate market on pace for a hot start to autumn





There are early indications that September appears to have been another strong month for Canadian home sales.





That is based on data that some local real estate boards have released in recent days about how their housing markets fared last month. The number of existing homes that changed hands in Toronto was up 10.9 percent from a year earlier, in Calgary it was up almost 12 percent, and in Vancouver 17.7 percent. And that`s in comparison to a reasonably strong month: sales in September, 2013, were slightly above the 10-year average for that month.





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Ally

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#14
Time becoming critical factor in Alberta's worker shortage





EDMONTON ` Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says time is becoming a critical factor in solving the temporary foreign worker shortage, but he dismissed criticism that an exploitative province is to blame.





`I`ve never agreed with the suggestion that really this is about Alberta business people trying to underpay. That is not my experience. That`s not what I`ve heard. That`s not what I`ve seen,` Prentice said in an interview.





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Ally

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#15
Alberta's highway 63 nears long-awaited completion





It was a day of funding announcements and promises, as Premier Jim Prentice arrived in Fort McMurray to announce updates to Highway 63 and the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.





On Thursday morning, Prentice announced the province had signed the last contract needed to twin the remaining portions of Highway 63, putting the twinning `on time and on budget` for the fall 2016 deadline.





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Ally

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#16
New residential buildings key to keeping Edmontonians downtown





It's all very exciting. The new downtown arena district will now have a new hotel to stand next to the new office tower announced in late August.





Mayor Don Iveson, Oilers owner Daryl Katz (who in this case is the developer) and representatives from the Delta hotel chain announced Monday that a beautiful new 362-room, 50-plus storey hotel will be built immediately adjacent to Rogers Place arena.





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Ally

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#17
Moose Jaw gearing up for the housing shortage





The community was in need of a retirement home and the town was on a mission to make it happen.





"When these seniors needed assistance they were having to move out of the community which didn't seem right. They had lived in this area all their lives and helped build this area. We felt our seniors deserved better than that," said Beverley Singbeil, chairman of the board of directors for the Furrows and Faith Retirement Villa.





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Ally

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#18
Calgary region building permits soar in August





Stuart Gradon Stuart Gradon, Calgary Herald






CALGARY - The Calgary region and Alberta overall were nation leaders in annual growth for the total value of building permits in August.





Statistics Canada reported Tuesday that Alberta registered $1.8 billion in permits during the month, up 31.4 per cent from a year ago, while the Calgary census metropolitan area saw a 44.3 per cent hike to $803 million.





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Ally

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#19
EU drops plan to label oilsands crude 'dirty'





The European Union has backed off a plan to label oil from Alberta's oilsands as dirtier than other oils and to make it harder to import.​





The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, published a proposal early Tuesday that removes one of the biggest hurdles that was standing in the way of Canada exporting its oil directly to Europe, something that isn't currently happening in any significant way.





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Ally

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#20
How Alberta's oil patch teamed up with the 'little guys' for an end run around Obama





So you`re the Canadian oil industry and you do what you think is a great thing by developing a mother lode of heavy crude beneath the forests and muskeg of northern Alberta. The plan is to send it clear to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast via a pipeline called Keystone XL. Just a few years back, America desperately wanted that oil.





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