Calgary described as Canada’s ‘hot growth mecca’

The big question for the future of Calgary’s commercial real estate market is whether the United States approves a new oilsands pipeline through Alberta and south of the border in the face of environmental challenges, says a report released Tuesday.

“A go signal could rev up the market to another level,” says the PricewaterhouseCoopers and Urban Land Institute’s new forecast in Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2012, a survey of experts in the field.

TransCanada Corp.’s $7-billion Keystone XL oil pipeline would transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day from the province to Texas Gulf Coast refineries.

The real estate report listed Canadian markets to watch and their prospects for commercial and multi-family investment and development. It rated Canadian cities on a scale from 1 to 9 or from abysmal to excellent.

For investment, Toronto led the country at 6.70 followed by Vancouver (6.61), Calgary (6.33) and Edmonton (6.24). For development, Vancouver was in the lead at 6.43 followed by Toronto (5.92), Calgary (5.64) and Edmonton (5.47).

“Canada’s hot growth mecca, Calgary can boom and bust suddenly,” says the report. “Down last year in the midst of a too-much-new-development ‘train wreck’, the city rebounds overnight with resurging regional energy companies.

“If you want to gauge Calgary’s prospects, just keep tabs on energy prices.”

For 2012, the Canadian real estate market recovery could taper off, only sustained by modest and “not stellar” income growth, says the report.

“Canadian consumers who have been on a spending and home-buying spree, encouraged by low interest rates, could see their self-assurance ebb and job growth has decelerated in response to all the noise about European and U.S. debt woes. Sensing a general slowdown, respondents to our survey are taking a ‘better-to-be-cautious’ investment approach for 2012,” said Lori-Ann Beausoleil, PwC Canada’s Real Estate Leader.

In its 33rd year, Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2012 reflects the views of over 950 of the real estate industry’s experts, including investors, developers, lenders, brokers and consultants in Canada, the U.S. and Latin America.

While the report calls for flat to slight growth in 2012, many of the Canadian interviewees believe “we’re more immune from shocks and less tied to the U.S. hip than ever before.”

Canadian respondents are concerned about overall jobs growth in 2012, says the report.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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