For almost two decades since I purchased my first home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, I have purchased all of my real estate in Saskatchewan and Alberta. There are several reasons for this:
- In Migration. Alberta and Saskatchewan consistently have the highest numbers for in migration, even during the commodity down years from 2015 to 2017. Alberta grew by 11.6%, and Saskatchewan by 6.3% between 2011 and 2016. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-2016-census-population-1.3970314
- Landlord tenant laws. Saskatchewan in particular, has very favorable laws regarding rent increases, evictions, and has no rent control unlike BC and Ontario.
- Opportunity. Both provinces see large numbers of people migrating for work and to start businesses. They may not be retirement locations as is driving BC, but people will continue to migrate to where the jobs are to be found. As of June 2017 the commodity sector (oil, potash, uranium) are all near record low prices. Substantial upside is almost certain.
- I know these areas very well. After spending 10 years in Edmonton, and about half of that in Saskatoon, I know the micro and macro areas that will drive the highest returns on investment. I also have teams of realtors, lawyers, inspectors, and property managers already set up in these strategic locations.
In my own words, after living in Edmonton I can say there really is no other place like it. From an investment perspective, it is simply the best place in Canada to invest!! I was employed for several years in Alberta driving a service truck all over northern Alberta, and the sheer size of the projects and money invested is staggering. All of my real estate investments have been in Alberta and Saskatchewan, where there are no rent control laws. The first apartment building in Saskatchewan I purchased I raised the rents 40% in one year! That is a very large lift in value.
Edmonton is a large center of about 1,000,000 people but property is substantially less than similar projects in Calgary, with rents being only slightly lower. Many out of town investors have flocked to Edmonton in recent years however I had the advantage of scouting out every neighborhood and know each one in detail, the risks involved, and areas to watch out for. It has consistently been in the top 10 best places to invest according to the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) and is currently number 1. Rents are high, vacancies are low, and prices are significantly less than they are in Calgary.
Gateway to the North
With a trillion dollars worth of projects in Northern Alberta, in the Fort McMurray geography of north east Alberta, Cold Lake to the south east, and the central Peace country there is an unprecedented oil boom happening in Alberta. I had the pleasure to work in the industry for 7 years and traveled to many of the regions of the province to see the projects with my own eyes and they are truly amazing. Alberta in migration was over 21,000 in the first quarter of 2014 alone squeezing the demand for housing even tighter. Although we have been going through challenging years and likely will moving into 2017, we see tremendous long term potential as we realize there is limited time to pick up quality assets on ‘sale’ and we plant to be aggressive purchasers in 2017-2018.