Columnists

Can You Feel It?

I can, and I just can’t stop talking about it. It’s the sense of optimism as we are going into 2012, could it really finally be our turn again?
Face it, the last five years have been rough on a lot of people. Work has been harder to come by, the economy has slowed down, wages appeared to be lower and housing was stuck in a rut. Of course, we still had it significantly better than most of the rest of Canada; it just wasn’t what we were used to.
For the last several months, things have felt more upbeat. The more people I talked to the more positive things I heard. Oil was going up in price, the weather had been incredible, more jobs were appearing and this all kept going through Christmas.
Now with 2012 here and the year in front of us, there is plenty of positive news for us to take note of. Announcements like the new Target distribution centre to be built north of Calgary are signs of new jobs and construction. Announcements of some new towers in downtown Calgary are another source of increased labour needs.
Unemployment rates are continuing to stay low for the province and our weekly wages lead Canada, yet we continue to see increases in wages. Now much of this doesn’t carry over to everyone, but it is a solid indicator of the types of activity that helps an economy grow and strengthen even more.
Activity of this type not only puts us up on the highlight reels of Canada, but worldwide. This morning I’ve already talked to people in the UK who are looking for housing for workers coming over. I’ve had someone from Poland move into a property to start the New Year and I seem to have a steady stream of people looking for places from BC and Ontario as they start new jobs or seek employment.
All the forecasts are predicting a shortage of labour for the province again and people are taking note. The individuals who see what is occurring are going to profit handsomely from this next mini boom.
With the influxes of out of province workers and the pending shortages of people for jobs, we can be sure of two things. First wages will start to move up faster as companies compete for employees and attempt to retain them. This will have a tremendous affect on disposable income and spending in the province.
Second, the vacancy rate will continue to decline which leads to increased rents. As rents move upwards, owning becomes more affordable again and this creates a trend of more people buying homes. With the increased wages that are also occurring, this makes home ownership even more affordable. This eventually puts more pressure on housing values.
Whether that pressure really starts to hit in 2012, we can only hope, but everything is definitely lining up for another surge. So if you haven’t noticed this going on yet, what are you seeing? If you have seen the difference, then the real question is, will you be ready?

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