The economic downturn has sent real estate investors scurrying for financial cover.
But Don Campbell thinks now is an ideal time to snap up property in Central Alberta, and he plans to present his case on Aug. 28 and 29. That’s when the president of the Real Estate Investment Network will lead a large delegation of prospective buyers through the region.
The Real Estate Investment Network, or REIN, provides research information and teaches investment strategies. Based in Calgary, it has more than 3,200 members who have combined to purchase more than $2.6 billion worth of Canadian real estate since 1992.
Campbell, who is the author of Real Estate Investing in Canada, 97 Tips for Canadian Real Estate Investing and 51 Success Stories of Canadian Real Estate Investors, founded REIN. The organization usually conducts two investment tours a year, one in Western Canada and one in Ontario.
It last visited Central Alberta in June 2006.
This time, Campbell is anticipating about 300 people from across Canada and beyond. They will board five or six buses in Red Deer and travel through the city, as well as Sylvan Lake, Lacombe and a few other communities in the area.
Rather than look at specific properties, the group will focus on things like infrastructure spending, potential for new industry and population projections.
“We’re going to be analyzing the economics of each city and town,” said Campbell, pointing out that Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling and other municipal officials will address the group.
The second day of the gathering will be devoted to a conference at the Capri Centre, where an analysis of local investment opportunities will take place.
Although Central Alberta boasts “opportunities” and “land mines,” said Campbell, it has lots of appeal for real estate investors.
“Central Alberta is one of the top regions right now,” he said.
“It’s ridden out this downturn better than just about any region in the whole country.”
Campbell expects the provincial economy to gain long-term strength by next summer, with Alberta well positioned for growth.
“When the world recovers,” he said, “they’re going to need three things: they’re going to need food, fuel and fertilizer — and Alberta has all three of those in droves.”
Central Alberta, he added, is well-positioned between Edmonton and Calgary, has an educated workforce, and is a less expensive area to do business than the bigger cities to the north and south. It also currently has nominal vacancy rates, strong rents and diminished property values.
Campbell pointed out that REIN members are not looking for a quick return by flipping property. Rather, they’re interested in long-term investments that provide an attractive cash flow — and those opportunities exist in Central Alberta.
“If you buy in the right neighbourhoods in the right towns, you’re going to look like a genius five years from now.”
REIN’s tours, added Campbell, always spur investment.
“It does bring millions of investment dollars into the region, wherever we choose to go to. So the 12 months that follow are inevitably very, very strong on the investment side into the region.”