Archive for November 2012

Scenes from "Two Hit Wonders"   Leave a comment

The reviews are out – Google is your friend – and they all rave about “Two Hit Wonders” at Stage West Calgary.  Seeing how I’m hard at work selling gift certificates at Southcentre (and the harder I work, the more I make, right, Joel?), I don’t want to sink a lot of text into this post.  What I will suggest, though, is coming down to the mall, purchasing a gift certificate from me, and taking in this amazing show.  It’s scheduled to run until February 3rd!

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Posted November 28, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Alberta – a great place to invest. And here’s exactly where – and why.   Leave a comment

So, you’ve decided to explore your investment options.  You’ve come into some money, or you want to diversify your portfolio, and you don’t know what to do… well, have you considered real estate, or land?

This article was recently published in the Calgary Herald – link here – and it details some of the findings of REIN (the Real Estate Investment Network).  They rank both the top cities in Alberta, and in Canada, and it makes for the interesting – and thought-provoking – read.  Check it out; any text in bold is done by me.

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Calgary top real estate investment market in Canada

Edmonton ranked as second

By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald / November 12, 2012

CALGARY — Calgary has been ranked as the top real estate investment market in the country followed by Edmonton by the Real Estate Investment Network Ltd.

In its Top Alberta Investment Towns report, REIN said that Alberta’s economy has come out on top after a few years of economic turbulence.

The report identifies towns and regions poised to outperform other regions of the province over the next three to five years.

And none is better than Calgary.

“After a couple of roller-coaster years, Calgary is back on a roll. The return of jobs to the city, as well as greatly reduced office vacancy rates show us that the city’s short slump has come to an end,” said the report. “Recording a GDP growth of three per cent in 2011, and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, it’s no wonder Calgary is sitting as one of the top places in North America for property investors. When you combine the economic fundamentals, the population growth, and a burgeoning provincial economy, it is easy to see why so many businesses and people have come to call the city home.

“The market is hot. With the pressure on the resale housing market, there is similar pressure on the rental market. Inventory has dropped for rental accommodations while monthly rents have increased. Real estate investors and real estate agents are reporting that rental listings are being pounced on. Savvy investors purchasing units and advertising them for rent upon close are receiving calls from anxious tenants wanting to see the unit before the investor has possession and/or has done any improvements to the property. Rental sites are reporting difficulty in compiling statistics become some communities have nothing for rent.”

REIN said housing affordability will begin to be an issue in Calgary, with rents increasing and a high average sale price. But when you look at that price versus average income it shows that other cities in Canada have a much larger problem on their hands.

“Calgary has the long-term economics to support long-term market strength while other cities do not,” said REIN.

The Top Alberta Investment Towns ranked in order are: Calgary, Edmonton, Airdrie, Red Deer, St. Albert, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, Okotoks, Leduc, Sylvan Lake and Lacombe.

The report said Airdrie has been one of the fastest growing communities in the province.

“Its proximity to the economic engine of Calgary and the growth of the surrounding economy will push the physical and economic growth limits of the city in the next decade,” said REIN.

“With increasingly easy access to many areas of Calgary via the ring road as well as the growth of job centres in and around the city, Airdrie property owners should continue to feel upward pressure on both rents as well as home prices. As affordable housing becomes a growing problem in Calgary, Airdrie will benefit from lower average house prices. As the office centre of the west, Calgary may offer employment opportunities that Airdrie does not, but much of the labour force will turn to Airdrie as a place to call home.”

REIN’s top Canadian investment cities ranked in order are: Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Surrey, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, Airdrie, Kitchener and Cambridge, Red Deer, St. Albert, Waterloo, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Halifax.

According to a research note by Scotia Economics, Alberta remains a key economic engine for Canada, with the highest provincial real GDP growth rate forecast for 2012 and 2013 at 3.4 per cent and 3.0 per cent respectively.

“The economy is growing strongly with contributions from consumer spending, business investment, particularly in the oilsands, and exports, which is encouraging given the strong Canadian dollar and soft global demand,” it said. “Provi
ncial government spending also will continue to support growth, albeit at a slower pace than over the decade prior to the recession.”

In the second quarter of 2012, Alberta had a year-over-year population growth rate of 2.5 per cent, the highest in the country.

“At this juncture, the federal government’s recent tightening of mortgage and home equity financing standards appears to have had a limited impact on Alberta’s housing market,” said Scotia Economics. “It continues to be supported by strong employment growth, significant wage gains and ongoing resource development.”

Posted November 19, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Nothing to see here… unless you like making money…   Leave a comment

More of a Pinterest post than an actual blog – these are a few of the pictures I took at the BNI Optimum tradeshow yesterday.  Imagine meeting with and getting to know dozens of entrepreneurial, motivated businesspeople, each of whom are trying to steer qualified business referrals your way.  Wouldn’t you want to be in a network like that?

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Posted November 16, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Road trip!   Leave a comment

As in, back from a couple of road trips.  I’d like to say that’s the sole reason I haven’t written anything in so long, but it’s not.  However, it is a pretty good reason why.  Road trips wear you out.  Strange beds, big buffets, time zone differences… harder than it seems.

A couple of weeks ago, we (myself, and someone I work with here at Stage West Calgary) went to Camrose to do a bit of a sales blitz for the hotel we own up there. Which one, you ask – why, the Best Western Plus Camrose Resort Casino, of course!  Thanks for asking!  You oughtta check it out!

Getting back to the story.  It’s been a long time since I’d been up there; so long, in fact, that it wasn’t finished when I was last up there in the winter.  Thankfully, it is now, and if you’re looking for a great corporate rate, or a staycation, then by all means let me know.  As a whole, the property is new, showing none of the wear and tear that you’ll see in other places.  The hotel rooms and suites are less than a year old, the conference and banquet areas are even newer than that, and the “oldest” part of the venue – the casino itself – is well worth checking out.  If not for the awesome wings on Wednesday night (get there early, trust me), then perhaps you like winning money.  You don’t think it can happen to you?  Click this link if you need convincing, it’s worth the effort.

My friend and I toured the whole of Camrose over the course of two days, dropping in on – well, everybody we could think of.  Aside from tornado-like conditions on the second day, the weather was decent for this time of year.  We visited dozens of companies – industrial, retail, commercial – leaving behind plenty of information on the property:  conference rates, corporate room rates. Christmas parties, upcoming entertainment, the whole enchilada.  If you need any of that info, contact me, or the CRC general manager, Dawn Anderson… we’ll set you up.

When we were done there, we drove to Edmonton for a couple of hours more, laying some groundwork for bus tours to the casino.  Sadly, we never got a chance to hit Violinos for lunch.  (When I first started with Stagewest, that’s the first place we went for dinner.  Sooooo good.)

 A week later, we went to Mississauga – a first for me.  Another sales trip, this time for Stage West Mississauga, or as it’s known now. Ramada Plaza Toronto Airport Hotel and Stage West Theatre.  For the sake of brevity (as in, I don’t want to type that again), let’s call it Ramada Plaza Stage West.

If we had gone when we originally planned (thanks, Amanda), we would have been there when the weather was nice.  Mid-teens type of temperatures, sunny skies.  Instead, we arrived at about the same time as Hurricane Sandy was lashing the east coast.  We certainly did not experience anything like those affected most tragically by the storm – far from it – but it rained every day we were there, and the sun was apparently in some sort of witness protection program.

Compared to the city of Camrose, which we saw and inspected in its entirety, my specific sales area in Mississauga was quite small.  It was more difficult to actually meet with the decision-makers down there, being a much more corporate area, but we each managed to visit over a hundred companies.  As for the hotel, my room was nice (top floor!), the management is top-notch, and we even managed to get in a show at their place.  Their dinner theatre is bigger than the one here in Calgary, and the fellow serving us that night (Andrew) was great.  The show we saw wasn’t exactly my kind of thing (Divorce Party: the Musical) – but hey, if you’re female and want to go out with your lady friends, then go for it.

Four days of sales calls later, we left.  On a delayed plane.  And back to snowy, cold Calgary.  I know that I talk up my work life a lot, because it truly is so glamorous at times (sarcasm alert!  Sarcasm alert!), but getting home after midnight in a chilly vehicle wasn’t so swell.  That said, it’s always good to be home, however you get there.

I don’t know if I’ll be going back out anytime soon – I suspect that we won’t see the results of our work in the near future, at least – but it felt good doing it.  Seeing different places and seeing how they present the Stagewest experience to their patrons was interesting.  Naturally, I’m biased – I like Stage West Calgary the best (if for no other reason than I get to go home every night) – but it’s pretty easy to recommend our hotels in Camrose or Mississauga.

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Posted November 12, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized