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Edmonton Real Estate Market

IanO

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Climate is kind of a myth. Edmonton gets cold a few weeks out of the year and I would argue the winters are more pleasant than what I experience here in the lower mainland.

Low prices have to do with (in my opinion) an under-diversified economy as well as all the problems that come along with it.
Is it?

Desirability of a city is made up by lot of variables and climate plays a considerable role IMO.
 

kcantor

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i'm less sure of that than you are IanO... the climate in london is mediocre at best but it's still a pretty strong destination city.

in fact, the fastest growing cities in europe are balashikha, tyumen, tirana, oslo, sochi, coventry-bedforth and stockholm. none of them, except perhaps for tirana, are renowned for their climate/weather.

9 of the top 10 fastest growing cities in the world and17 of the top 20 are located in africa and none of them are particularly well renowned for their climate/weather either.

climate may see someone elect not to move somewhere but it's pretty seldom - unless you're retired or independently wealthy - that climate is going to be the primary reason for moving anywhere.

i think that's why some of our "winter city" efforts are misguided when they are directed elsewhere and not at those who live here. no-one visits, never mind moves here, to enjoy winter per se. they will visit and accept moving here when there are programmed events and activities directed at enhancing the lives of those who live here that become worth taking part in.
 

Hugh Jazz

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Climate is kind of a myth. Edmonton gets cold a few weeks out of the year and I would argue the winters are more pleasant than what I experience here in the lower mainland.

Low prices have to do with (in my opinion) an under-diversified economy as well as all the problems that come along with it.
I agree that the climate thing is a myth in reality, but the perception of it is very real outside of the city.
 

IanO

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i'm less sure of that than you are IanO... the climate in london is mediocre at best but it's still a pretty strong destination city.

in fact, the fastest growing cities in europe are balashikha, tyumen, tirana, oslo, sochi, coventry-bedforth and stockholm. none of them, except perhaps for tirana, are renowned for their climate/weather.

9 of the top 10 fastest growing cities in the world and17 of the top 20 are located in africa and none of them are particularly well renowned for their climate/weather either.

climate may see someone elect not to move somewhere but it's pretty seldom - unless you're retired or independently wealthy - that climate is going to be the primary reason for moving anywhere.

i think that's why some of our "winter city" efforts are misguided when they are directed elsewhere and not at those who live here. no-one visits, never mind moves here, to enjoy winter per se. they will visit and accept moving here when there are programmed events and activities directed at enhancing the lives of those who live here that become worth taking part in.
Point being that we have to work extra hard to attract, retain, obtain.

Most of my expat friends who live in Van, Cal, Tor, Ottawa like Edmonton and would have opportunities here but ALL (even Calgary) comment on two things:

1. climate/duration of winter
2. remoteness

Economic opportunities, quality of life, quality public education system, relative affordability all help and certainly attract many to our city, but we are often not on many people's radar or in consideration (although improving) when folks graduate from post-secondary in other markets or for those trying to climb the corporate ladder due to a perceived (and real) lack of career path/opportunities compared to the big 4.
 

ChazYEG

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Point being that we have to work extra hard to attract, retain, obtain.

Most of my expat friends who live in Van, Cal, Tor, Ottawa like Edmonton and would have opportunities here but ALL (even Calgary) comment on two things:

1. climate/duration of winter
2. remoteness

To answer the two points:

1 - The climate thing is a perception thing and is a big PR problem, mostly. Edmonton is not much colder and inhospitable than Calgary (and even Ottawa, which has the added bonus of being damper). The thing is that Edmontonians bitch so much about the weather here, instead of embracing the Winter City personality, that it spills over to outside perception. We need to market winter as an asset or, at least, normalize it.

2 - Remote relative TO WHAT? Calgary is just as much in the middle of f*ing nowhere as Edmonton (Rockies aside, and not everyone is attracted to them glorified ponds and tall, pointy rocks). Flights from here are barely a few minutes longer than YYC to any destination, including southbound.


we are often not on many people's radar or in consideration (although improving) when folks graduate from post-secondary in other markets or for those trying to climb the corporate ladder due to a perceived (and real) lack of career path/opportunities compared to the big 4.

I agree with this entirely. Our economy needs to diversify and grow faster on areas that attract younger and educated people, for several reasons.
 

archited

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I imagine that a lot of people who live in Vancouver this year are re-examining their choices because of heavy rainfall. And (as happened with Los Angeles after the Northridge quake in 1994) when the next BIG one hits the lower mainland of B.C. -- a 30% chance of one registering higher than 9.0 on the Richter Scale within the next 50 years -- there will be a mass exodus out of that City for the survivors. The Richter scale is logarithmic so a 9.0 earthquake in Vancouver would have nearly 100 times the energy of the Northridge quake in Los Angeles that caused a lot of people and companies to move to Phoenix and Las Vegas. And since the next expected one will be a thrust quake from subduction form of tectonic plate action it will cause a tremendous amount of damage. There is evidence of 20 such quakes in the last 10,000 years in the Vancouver coastal area or roughly one every 500 years or so (a return interval of 400 to 600 years and as the oceans rise due to global warming the tectonic pressure increases -- the last one occurred in 1700).
Now one of the things that I have been noticing re Toronto is the common incidence of high winds often with gusts exceeding 50kph -- near Gale-force winds on the Beaufort Scale -- that combined with high humidity leads to an icy cold condition in winter that is far more unpleasant weather-wise than what Edmonton has. So, if climate is a factor, it is time to move to Edmonton or Calgary all you misinformed Canadians.
 

Stevey_G

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I imagine that a lot of people who live in Vancouver this year are re-examining their choices because of heavy rainfall. And (as happened with Los Angeles after the Northridge quake in 1994) when the next BIG one hits the lower mainland of B.C. -- a 30% chance of one registering higher than 9.0 on the Richter Scale within the next 50 years -- there will be a mass exodus out of that City for the survivors. The Richter scale is logarithmic so a 9.0 earthquake in Vancouver would have nearly 100 times the energy of the Northridge quake in Los Angeles that caused a lot of people and companies to move to Phoenix and Las Vegas. And since the next expected one will be a thrust quake from subduction form of tectonic plate action it will cause a tremendous amount of damage. There is evidence of 20 such quakes in the last 10,000 years in the Vancouver coastal area or roughly one every 500 years or so (a return interval of 400 to 600 years and as the oceans rise due to global warming the tectonic pressure increases -- the last one occurred in 1700).
Now one of the things that I have been noticing re Toronto is the common incidence of high winds often with gusts exceeding 50kph -- near Gale-force winds on the Beaufort Scale -- that combined with high humidity leads to an icy cold condition in winter that is far more unpleasant weather-wise than what Edmonton has. So, if climate is a factor, it is time to move to Edmonton or Calgary all you misinformed Canadians.

I dunno if one should expect a full margin rupture in the Pacific Northwest. If it does come, most likely the most effected areas will be the central portions of the fault in Northern California and the northern portions will be less impacted..

That said, if we are discussing hypothetical apocolyptic scenarios where Poseidon decides it's time for us to get wrecked? And it's beyond the expected 8.0-8.6 scale earthquake and becomes a 9.2 scaled one? This entire country is in deep trouble. Tens of thousands of people will almost certainly die instantly. Countless more will die of disease, injury, and dehydration due to poor access to drinking water and other supplies (this has been an expressed concern of mine in our industry for years as our water mains are jointed bell and spigot style rather than welded).

The cataclysmic damage to infrastructure and buildings built before 1994 will be unimaginable, and it will be a humanitarian crisis that dwarfs Katrina, or anything else the West has ever seen. Personally, from all my research, I don't think this is likely, but it DOES merit stocking medkits, antibiotics, and large jugs of water. Good luck trying to get people to follow your lead on such things though. lol
 

archited

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The two tectonic incidents -- lower mainland B.C. and the San Andreas Fault in California are separate and distinct event centres. And while the San Andreas, if it erupted at full force, would have catastrophic outcomes for San Francisco, it would be less damaging to other parts of California. The Los Angeles basin has literally hundreds of fault lines and earthquakes in this neck of the woods are quite common -- on the order of 300 per year. But it is rare around here to see one larger than 7.0 on the Richter Scale. The BC subduction zone however sees earthquakes more rarely but when they come... oh look out. But you are right, people are going to ignore the possibilities until -- well, you know. Those big high mountains along the Coast didn't get there on their own.
 

archited

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Don't do it @Gronk! the thrust is going the other way -- your Hope property is more likely upward bound (castle in the sky). Each one of these mega-events adds land mass to the west coast of Canada (for example in several thousands of years whatever is left of Vancouver will be an inland City). I guess we could say British Columbia is a "growth" Province ever expanding over the eons of time -- there is that advantage. Vancouver, from an elevation perspective will be challenging Lhasa, Tibet and Machu Picchu Peru.
 
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tkoe_

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I agree that the climate thing is a myth in reality, but the perception of it is very real outside of the city.
There is no doubt that there is a negative perception of Edmonton's climate, but I think that is more of a reflection on the weak urban fabric of the city than anything else. If a place looks barren, desolate, empty or ugly it is all too easy to say the city is terrible because of its harsh climate. But we know there are plenty of beautiful winter cities that people travel from around the world to visit (well, at least prior to 2020). What I wouldn't give to have our very own Petit Champlain!

I also agree with Ken that as a city we need to focus on livability for locals first. Allowing more heated patios, creative night lighting, programming events, we know what to do and now it is time to do it! People elsewhere like the same things we do in a city -- unique experiences, walkable neighbourhoods, local retail, great restaurants/bars...
 

Stevey_G

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The two tectonic incidents -- lower mainland B.C. and the San Andreas Fault in California are separate and distinct event centres. And while the San Andreas, if it erupted at full force, would have catastrophic outcomes for San Francisco, it would be less damaging to other parts of California. The Los Angeles basin has literally hundreds of fault lines and earthquakes in this neck of the woods are quite common -- on the order of 300 per year. But it is rare around here to see one larger than 7.0 on the Richter Scale. The BC subduction zone however sees earthquakes more rarely but when they come... oh look out. But you are right, people are going to ignore the possibilities until -- well, you know. Those big high mountains along the Coast didn't get there on their own.
You betcha. I should have clarified that in my initial comment that the cascadia subduction zone follows south along the NA plate as seen below. My education on the matter is somewhat rusty as I’ve been out of the geology game for years, but I recall that unlike a strike slip fault, this one simply builds up pressure along the centre region and the northern portion would by nature experience less powerful seismic waves.

So worst case scenario is an apocalyptic view, practical scenario is that most infrastructure and buildings would survive and we would be without water for weeks, possibly months.

I don’t wanna say it’s overblown as I’m the type who engineers for the worst case scenario, but the likelihood of that event is likely not to happen in our lives. It does still warrant express concern and preparation though.

Edit: oh my God Ted. We went from being jocks to nerds.
 

David A

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Is it?

Desirability of a city is made up by lot of variables and climate plays a considerable role IMO.
I had to think about this a bit, but in a way actually you are both right. The climate myth about Edmonton is incredibly strong, I suspect there are people elsewhere in Canada who really believe we get 4 to 6 months of sold minus 40 here, just because they heard it was that cold here one day in the winter. Seldom do you read an article from someone from somewhere else about Edmonton that does not include either the words cold or frigid or something similar in it, regardless of when they come here. The cynic in me thinks maybe they get a bonus from Calgary tourism for that.

In reality, I would describe our weather as quite variable. We seem to have spells of colder days, broken up by much milder days in the winter. Our actual winters temperate averages are similar to Ottawa and Quebec City. Our growing season is longer than many other places in Alberta and many other places in western Canada. However, in so far as people from elsewhere continue to believe or perpetuate this myth, yes it can be a detriment to us.

I do think at this time, the last few years of languishing or low oil prices have more of an impact than the climate myth. We had the same climate in 2008 to 2014 when things were buzzing here.
 

David A

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Point being that we have to work extra hard to attract, retain, obtain.

Most of my expat friends who live in Van, Cal, Tor, Ottawa like Edmonton and would have opportunities here but ALL (even Calgary) comment on two things:

1. climate/duration of winter
2. remoteness

Economic opportunities, quality of life, quality public education system, relative affordability all help and certainly attract many to our city, but we are often not on many people's radar or in consideration (although improving) when folks graduate from post-secondary in other markets or for those trying to climb the corporate ladder due to a perceived (and real) lack of career path/opportunities compared to the big 4.
Maybe those people are just not getting the best quality of information. Edmonton can be particularly daft about getting its message out to anyone. Also, I am not sure someone from Calgary would offer the most objective comments on Edmonton. As I recall in Calgary they regularly seem to get snow in months we don't and often before we do in the fall or winter. As for remote, we are only a few hundred kms from Calgary with an excellent highway and a short flight. I also don't think the flying time from Vancover, Toronto or Otttawa to here is significantly different than to Calgary if you get a direct flight and there actually are many direct flights here from theses places. So, both of those arguments are groundless.
 

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