Investors are bracing themselves for a new wave of property investment after it was revealed last week that a deal on the proposed Irving Pipeline between Saint John and Alberta is to be announced shortly. Saint John real estate has already seen significant growth over the last year or two (it was one of the few places to buck the national trend of a declining market) and the area was recently declared the ‘number one market to invest in’ by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Consequently the combination of an already buoyant property market and massive new investment has made the area irresistible to real estate investors.
Open for Business
The first clear sign of official approval for the pipeline came when Alberta Premier Alison Redford said Quebec would not be standing in the way of the project. There had been talk that Quebec was not going to play ball and would be refusing to let the oil pass through their province. But Redford this week quashed those rumors by revealing that she has been in discussion with the Quebec Premier, Pauline Marois and claiming there was now a genuine consensus on the need for securing large-scale energy infrastructure projects. Redford already had a strong ally in David Alward, the New Brunswick Premier, who is on the record as welcoming the arrival of the pipeline and who declared New Brunswick to be ‘open for business’. Consequently, in a rare outbreak of political agreement all the political parties involved are now behind the pipeline.
Building for the Future
This is of course, great news for Saint John and for anyone interested in high return investment property. The project will place the city at the heart of the nation’s energy strategy for the next twenty years and the knock-on effects are obvious. Saint John already has exceptionally low rates of unemployment (currently around 5.9%) but the project will certainly bring thousands of new jobs.
- The New Brunswick Energy Minister Craig Leonard estimates the project will initially bring 2000 new construction jobs.
- The refinery owners J.D Irving will be taking on 6,500 new employees with more than 2,700 of those to be in Saint John and New Brunswick.
- J.D. Irving also noted that there would be additional jobs in retail from sites such as the new Kent Store in Saint John.
The Saint John and New Brunswick real estate markets will also see massive gains. The reason the CREA recognized the area as being the best market to invest in, was because it is growing at 18.9% and offering the highest returns in the country thanks to (currently) low prices. These low prices offer the best opportunity for higher growth rates, but savvy investors realize that such low starting prices won’t be around forever. Average house prices have been hovering somewhere between $150,000 and $180,000 but are rising every month. Additionally there is now the prospect of a large influx of families moving to the area to fill the jobs on offer and buy a home with twice as much space as where they are currently living.
Whilst the property market continues to stagnate or even decline in places such as Vancouver or Calgary, Saint John is one of the few property investments worth betting on.