Thursday, April 7, 2011

Edmonton - Verge of a Real Estate Boom

EDMONTON - Edmonton is on the verge of another real estate boom, says real estate expert Don Campbell.

Robust growth in the region’s gross domestic product and labour market will set off a chain of events over the next few months that will heat up housing again, said Campbell, president of Real Estate Investment Network and the author of the best-selling 97 Tips for Canadian Real Estate Investors. (He donates his royalties to Habitat for Humanity.)

“Alberta is uniquely positioned in the world to be a stable, consistent and growing source of the four things that the world is going to need over the next decade — food, fuel, fertilizer and forestry,” Campbell said during a stop Monday in Edmonton.

Jobs will attract more people to Edmonton from across Canada. That will push vacancies down and drive rents up.

In turn, more people will buy homes.

“The jobs are already starting and the in-migration is already beginning,” Campbell said.

“Eighteen to 24 months from now we’re going to see multiple offers. We’re going to see vacancy rates down as low as 2007, we’re going to see rental increases and we’re going to see the market turn back into a seller’s market.

“I’ve studied this for 19 years and I have not seen this strong of a perfect storm before.”

Campbell didn’t want to forecast prices or rents, saying it would be a guess, but “you can easily see 10- to 12 per cent increases in rents. Rents will go up first and values will go up second.”

His tip for homebuyers: “I suggest that you don’t wait until the frenzy is here because then you’ll be frustrated, putting in multiple offers. Right now you can see it happen and if you know you’re going to be buying in the next year or year-and-a-half, and the interest rates are so low right now, now is a wonderful time to start looking and identify the right neighbourhood.”

Campbell says neighbourhoods within walking distance — 50 to 800 metres — from LRT stations and areas to be serviced by the regional ring road such as Castle Downs, St. Albert and northeast Edmonton — which he says will eventually resemble southwest Edmonton — are good areas to buy or invest.

Premier Ed Stelmach said in March the northeast quadrant of the Anthony Henday Drive ring road has been given the green light and is expected to be completed by fall 2016.

If the arena district goes ahead, interest will also pick up in the surrounding, older areas in the inner-city, Campbell said.

“As a homeowner, you think like an investor: Where’s going to be a spot that’s going to do well that I’m also happy to live in?”

For homesellers: “If you have the chance to wait, you might want to hold off a little bit. If you think you want to maximize your dollar, now might be a little early.”

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