This is, after all, Alberta.
The economy of this province has as many dramatic ups and downs as that saliva-flinging, high-jumping grey bull named Pop Evil that is getting rave reviews at this year’s Stampede rodeo.
The economic ups are exhilarating and the downs can be brutal — but luckily, the good times outweigh the bad. And for the housing industry, which continues to claw its way out of the slowdown that hit about midway through 2007, there is good news — the province is back where it should be, leading the country in economic growth, at 3.7 per cent, and in job creation.
And all of this means that while the heady sales and construction days of pre-2007 haven’t fully returned — and to be honest, I don’t really think many builders want to see that kind of market again — consumers are out looking seriously again.
An unofficial tour of show homes last weekend found most builder sales reps busy with visitors. And it didn’t seem to matter what the price point or home style, people were looking, putting down deposits, and closing deals.
Maybe they heard about the findings of the latest Scotia Economics trends report that touts the short-term future of Alberta.
“Alberta is expected to lead the country in job creation over the 2011-2012 period,” says report author and Scotiabank economist Alex Koustas. “The province lagged the national pickup in hiring earlier this year, but has been gaining momentum ever since.”
The report also mentions that Albertans are typically the biggest spenders in Canada, so the gains in employment and wages will allow that to continue.
As much as the provincial economy is settling on a wider base, oil and gas continue to be the key drivers of growth.
“Heavy oil output is being ramped up, with further investment and construction activity underpinning a multi-year period of solid growth,” says Koustas.
Another key element in the success of the economic turnaround and in the fortunes of the housing industry is in-migration, which has been picking up sharply and is expected to continue.
“Housing conditions are expected to gradually firm up in 2011-12,” says Koustas. “Demand will be supported by above-average job and income gains, population growth, and improved affordability.”
Like it was prior to the recession, the western provinces are once again showing the strongest economies.
According to figures from Scotiabank, Saskatchewan will check in with a 3.5 per cent growth rate, followed by British Columbia at three per cent. Nosing its way between Saskatchewan and B.C. is Newfoundland and Labrador with 3.3 per cent.
Made it back from holidays just in time to join Onufry Shinkewski, Marcello Chiacchia, Frank Thomas, Sean Nolan, Paul Boskovich, and the rest of the gang from Genstar Development Company in the tent in the first corner of the chuckwagon track for steak, refreshments, the races, and the Grandstand Show. As always, a great event.