Local home prospects brighter than other national centres

Well it’s the same old song and dance for our national media, doom and gloom for the housing sector.

The ‘big housing crash’ is coming or the ‘big crash is here’ headlines scream across our national magazines as if it was en masse scandal that no one has been noticing. Well, I’m tired of the country all being painted the same color by the same media outlets year in and year out – it’s the same rhetoric they’ve been talking about since 2009, I guess it’s easier to sell demise than a feel good story.

It’s like Canada is being sold as if we all live in Vancouver or Toronto. If you were to read about the Canadian housing market from abroad, you definitely wouldn’t want to place any bets in Canada, especially since there are only two cities in the nation, and they are extremely overvalued.

Since we’ve lost our local TV station, and our own radio stations are all owned by national media companies it’s tough to get the message out there to even our local citizens that little ol’ Red Deer is doing fine and it’s a great time to invest in a home if you can.

Alberta’s economy, along with Saskatchewan’s has led Canada’s economic engine with inter-provincial migrant citizens moving here for much of the past 25 years, and 2012 was no exception.

We had over 60,000 new Albertans show up looking to take advantage of our labour shortage and another 95,000 are forecast to show up in 2013.

We all know where our growth comes from, which is that of a geographic luck that 65 million years ago a lot of dinosaurs perished here, but our ingenuity is what makes us world leaders on the oil and gas stage and has brought our province vast wealth – that of which our government doesn’t know how to handle.

While the oil and gas sector attracts migrants from all over the world, the trickledown effect also helps other segments of our economy, for instance our retail sector also has 1.9% growth, while the rest of Canada has near flat indicators. This explains why you cannot locate a parking spot at the mall!

In Red Deer, our housing market has become that of a balanced market, but some deals are leaning more favourably towards the sellers these days, which is a sign that housing values are increasing.

With all of these people showing up, they need places to live and landlords love it. Rental vacancies in the city are at near zero, and many have to move out to the bedroom communities to find shelter for their families as it is either too difficult to find a place in Red Deer, or too expensive.

Government’s tightening of mortgage rules hasn’t helped either, making it more difficult for Albertans to buy a home, but many aren’t prepared to either.

It’s not all coming up roses here either though, we’ve got issues of our own, for instance we need not just one new pipeline for what’s coming online, but two, and thus we will have years of this depressed price of oil, but as our government tells us this is a new thing, it isn’t, our oil has been priced 20-40% lower for many years, and for many different reasons.

And if we cannot figure that our sooner rather than later, then this pricing will hurt us for years to come.

Albertans often don’t pay enough attention to national media as we are too busy working, but please when you are talking about Toronto and Vancouver, don’t speak like those two cities represent the whole of Canada.

Jean-Guy Turcotte is an Accredited Mortgage Professional with Dominion Lending Centres-Regional Mortgage Group. jturcotte@regionalmortgage.ca.