August 2014 Alberta Economic Fundamentals

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Alberta tops Canada with highest average household debt





CALGARY - Alberta has by far the highest average household debt in the country, nearly $50,000 more than the Canadian average, says a new report by BMO.





The bank`s Annual Debt Report, a survey conducted by Pollara, said average debt in the province has climbed to $124,838 from $89,026 last year. Nationally, average household debt has risen from $72,045 last year to $76,140 in 2014.





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Hot Calgary housing market expected to cool slightly in second half of 2014





CALGARY - The city`s red hot resale housing market this year has `far exceeded` expectations but the real estate boom will likely cool down slightly in the second half of 2014, according to a report released Wednesday by the Calgary Real Estate Board.





In its mid-year update, the board said price growth for the typical home in Calgary in 2014 is expected to increase by eight per cent on an annual basis due to strong gains in the first half of the year while overall MLS sales will end up 5.5 per cent higher than last year.





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Albertans working longer hours to alleviate labour shortages





EDMONTON - Albertans are working longer hours and delaying retirement to help employers deal with labour shortages, a new Canadian study found.





The study, released Thursday by the Fraser Institute, examined labour trends across Canada, highlighting geographic and demographic data. It noted that employers throughout the country ` particularly those in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia ` are looking for ways to stretch their existing labour forces, to avoid the costs of hiring new workers.





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Alberta electricity system under all sorts of pressure





The stress on Alberta's electricity transmission system has spiked this summer.





The pressure resulting from numerous days of unprecedented summer power demand during July - the latest record of 10,419 megawatts was set Wednesday - is only part of the story. The issue of ownership of the infrastructure critical to the flow of electricity - and, by extension, Alberta's booming economy - has become as heated as the record-setting temperatures.





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Airdrie savouring its time in the sun





From Airdrie to downtown Calgary, it`s 32 kilometres, or about 25 minutes behind the wheel. That quick commute from the driveway to the office parking lot just makes sense for a growing army of house hunters. And it`s one reason buyers are continuing to turn to the city to the north for a new home, along with housing choice, relative affordability, amenities and size, says Tracy Corbett, the city of Airdrie`s manager of planning and sustainable development.





`It`s pretty easy commuting if you`ve got a job on the north end of Calgary. Sometimes it`s easier to get (there) from Airdrie than other parts of Calgary,` adds Corbett.`It becomes a really desirable market area.`





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Calgary resale housing record set in July





CALGARY - July was anything but the dogs days of summer for Calgary's hot resale housing market.






According to data released Friday by the Calgary Real Estate Board, there was a record number of MLS transactions in the city during the month.





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Record growth recorded as Calgary's population hits 1.2 million mark





Calgary continues to grow by leaps and bounds and the latest census numbers put the population at just under 1.2 million residents.





The city`s population is now 1,195,194, which is an increase of 38,508 residents from the previous year.









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Rolls Royce to open dealership in Calgary





CALGARY - It`s another sign of Calgary`s growing affluence.





The iconic, ultra-luxury Rolls-Royce brand will be opening a dealership in the city - its fourth in Canada, joining other locations in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.





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Calgary luxury home sales up 18% from a year ago





CALGARY - Luxury sales in Calgary`s resale housing market continue to boom at record levels.





A new monthly record for MLS sales of properties over $1 million was set in July - the seventh consecutive month - and the 80 transactions brought year-to-date sales at the end of the month to 542, which is an increase of 18 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to realtor Mike Fotiou, associate broker with First Place Realty in Calgary.





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Canmore's housing crisis is affecting small business





The success of Canmore`s Crazyweed restaurant on the culinary scene is making it one of the sought after places to eat in the Bow Valley ` but good luck getting in on a Tuesday.





The famed eatery, featured most recently on Food Network`s You Gotta Eat Here, has decided to shut its doors all day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for lunch because it doesn`t have enough kitchen staff.





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Alberta's finances to return to black in 2015





OTTAWA, Aug. 7, 2014 /CNW/ ` After six years in the red, Alberta is expected to balance its books in 2014-15, according to The Conference Board of Canada`s Alberta Fiscal Snapshot: Promising (But Potentially Risky)Prospects.





`Overall, Alberta is in a very sound position and our forecast for Alberta is even more optimistic than the government`s own budget projections, thanks to an expectation of higher resource revenues,` said Matthew Stewart, Associate Director, Canadian Outlook.





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Alberta economic growth strongest in Canada





CALGARY - Economic growth in Alberta is expected to be the strongest in the country in 2014 and 2015 boosting employment, income and provincial revenues, says the Conference Board of Canada.





In its report released Thursday, Alberta Fiscal Snapshot: Promising (But Potentially Risky) Prospects, the board said Real GDP in the province will rise by 3.5 per cent in 2014 and by 3.1 per cent in 2015.





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Ally

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Calgary resale housing record set in July





CALGARY - July was anything but the dogs days of summer for Calgary's hot resale housing market.






According to data released Friday by the Calgary Real Estate Board, there was a record number of MLS transactions in the city during the month.





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Ally

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Value of Calgary-region building permits soars





CALGARY - The value of building permits in the Calgary region ballooned in June to more than $800 million, according to Statistics Canada.





The federal agency reported Thursday that permits hit $811.7 million during the month in the Calgary census metropolitan area, an increase of 26.6 per cent from May and up by 51.3 per cent year-over-year.





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Ally

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Economic growth in Alberta is expected to be the strongest in the country in 2014-2015





Ottawa ` After six years in the red, Alberta is expected to balance its books in 2014-15, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Alberta Fiscal Snapshot: Promising (But Potentially Risky) Prospects.





`Overall, Alberta is in a very sound position and our forecast for Alberta is even more optimistic than the government's own budget projections, thanks to an expectation of higher resource revenues,` said Matthew Stewart, associate director, Canadian Outlook.





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Ally

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Can Alberta fix its leaky condo problem?





Ryan and Emily Batty bought the two-bedroom, 1,000 square-foot condominium in October 2008. The building, Rossdale Court, was plunked high on a south-facing bank of the North Saskatchewan River and offered the newlywed couple stunning views while still being close to downtown Edmonton. It also had style ` a post-modern aesthetic with stucco cladding on the walls, and exposed walkways and balconies dramatically supported by pilings rather than cantilevered into the walls. These features, often referred to as `California style,` became popular with condominium developments in Alberta, beginning in the early 2000s, and they exploded during the 2005-to-present construction expansion. Batty remembers moving in fondly. `There are a lot of condos built in that style and it was something we really fell in love with,` he says. Even though they bought at the height of a hot market, for just less than $400,000, Batty says he and Emily felt they had gotten a steal.





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Ally

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Calgary commercial real estate has best returns in Canada





CALGARY - The REALpac/IPD Canada Quarterly Property Index says Calgary had the best return on commercial real estate with a total return of 11.1 per cent for the year ending June 30.





The Canadian average was 9.5 per cent.





Other top performing Canadian centres included Edmonton at 10.8 per cent and Toronto at 10.1 per cent.





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Ally

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July 2014 housing starts in Calgary





CALGARY, ALBERTA`(Marketwired ` Aug. 11, 2014) -
Housing starts in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were trending at 18,330 in July compared to 18,695 in June, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)[sup](1)[/sup] of total housing starts.





`The trend in total housing starts in July moderated from the previous month due to a decline in the pace of multi-family starts,` said Richard Cho, CMHC`s Senior Market Analyst for the Prairie and Territories Region. `While down from the previous month, the pace of housing starts remains elevated, supported by a multitude of factors including low new home inventories, low rental vacancies, gains in full-time employment, and rising incomes.`





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Ally

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Calgary repeat home sales price growth the best in Canada





CALGARY - Calgary led the nation in July in annual price growth for repeat home sales.





The Teranet`National Bank National Composite House Price Index, released Wednesday, said Calgary prices were up by 8.2 per cent year-year-year while the national composite of 11 major centres in the country rose by 4.9 per cent.





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