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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Average Edmonton Home Increases in Value $160/day

This interesting article by Neil Waugh of the Edmonton Sun converts the average increase in housing prices in Edmonton to a daily increment. Apparently the average home owner is making $161 a day just sitting in their home! He then talks about the oil and gas industry and what is expected over the next few months, and how this relates to the Edmonton housing market. Very interesting and encouraging read...if you already live in Edmonton!


Congratulations. Since you woke up yesterday and poured your first cup of coffee this morning, you're $161 richer.

I know it's not much. But compile it over 365 days and it works out to almost $58,000.

Not bad, eh?

And all you had to do - with the exception of mowing the lawn, taking out the trash and making the mortgage payments - was sit there and watch the money roll in.

That's what happens when, as Edmonton Real Estate Board president Madeline Sarafinchan puts it, you're "riding the crest of a real estate wave."

In May, the EREB house hustlers set records in all categories over where the market was performing at the same time last year.

Home sales up 25%

There were 3,002 total sales last month, up 25.7% from last year.

For a value of $758 million - which is 58% more than a year ago.

Sales for the year are $2.48 billion - a massive 45.8% increase.

And 2,565 residential units changed hands, 22.3% more than in May 2005.

But the line on Madeline's stats sheet that most folks go to is the average single-family dwelling selling price.

And that's where your $161 daily windfall comes in.

The three-bedroom bungalow with the mugo pine under the picture window and the weeping birch on the lawn (you can substitute a catoneaster hedge if you wish) changed hands for a remarkable $282,208 last month. The same time last year it was yours for just $223,219 according to the EREB computer. Five short years ago, the May selling price was just $174,916.

Of course there is no "average" single-family dwelling. And there are many factors that can knock the "average selling price" out of whack.

But even taking that into consideration, there's no doubt that the surf's up in the Edmonton real estate market.

Of course, the great Edmonton housing boom is not something to be taken in isolation.

There's a two-word reason for all this buying and selling. Oil and gas. Although I guess you could throw in oilsands, too.

The real estate market is hot, hot, hot. And there's not even a storm cloud in sight in the Gulf of Mexico yet.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy put out its short term energy price outlook. With a "special focus" on the hurricane season, which officially kicked off on June 1.

During last summer's mother of all hurricane seasons, oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico was "significantly disrupted," 162 million barrels of crude production was lost, 784 billion cubic feet of natural gas production was suspended and "some of this production remains shut in today."

With America's main oil and gas production area in turmoil and more production threatened in risky parts of the world, where "Yank" is a four-letter word, the premium of safe Alberta energy reserves suddenly grows a new focus.

The storm chasers are once again predicting a "very active hurricane season this year," the DOE's Energy Information Administration report said.

Although it did admit that "the location and intensity of future tropical storms are difficult to predict."

Still, looming storm clouds "could add volatility to near-term prices." Especially in late summer.

U.S. gasoline price hike

So the benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude will average $68 US a barrel at least for the next two years. Retail gasoline in the U.S. will be 39 cents a gallon higher than last year.

While world petroleum consumption will jump from 1.7 to 1.9 million barrels a day next year.

"Most of this consumption growth will be met by increases in non-OPEC production," the document predicted.

Which sounds like the Athabasca oilsands to me.

Of course, all of this is only true "barring new, unanticipated supply disruptions."

If the Gulf's energy complex gets hammered again, then all bets are off.

And who knows, the $161 you made in the last 24 hours could grow larger.

Easy money. Unless you are on the other side of the deal trying to buy an affordable house in a wild market like this.

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