Finding Business Opportunities Amidst Challenge

Weathering economic instability is a popular topic of late. With the global economy on shaky ground, many of us have been forced to take a long and sobering look at the viability of our business models.

However, what one has to fundamentally realize is that for the savvy and industrious, financial insecurity can be a precursor to success in new sectors and industries.

Thriving in the insecure economic market of today is challenging, especially for Canadians who face the plummeting rate of our national currency. The last 12 months have been a particularly stressful time for the Calgary economy with the oil sector – Alberta’s bread and butter – floundering as the price of oil continues to fall.

As a real estate developer, I have had to refocus the direction in which my company, Strategic Group, is moving. I know that with Alberta’s current economic climate, it’s become more important than ever for Strategic Group to live up to its tagline, “Creating value others can’t by seeing what others don’t”. As the Chief Executive Officer for Strategic Group, I also know it’s my responsibility to lead my team in finding value and opportunity where others don’t.

As the market for commercial properties has slowed, one sector continues to hold promise in the world of Alberta real estate: rental housing. Currently, Strategic Group has five rental property projects underway in southern Alberta and we expect to begin work on at least four more by the summer.

There are a number of points that speak to why it makes business sense to focus on rental housing in Alberta and the city of Calgary.

Calgary has experienced large population growth over the last decade and I expect the population of Calgary to continue to grow, and I don’t think I’m alone in that expectation.

What’s more, the province’s multifamily housing statistics are expected to hit some of their highest levels this year. In Calgary, they are expected to hit their second-highest levels since 1981.

Even more interestingly, last year the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) confirmed in its year end report that Alberta’s rental housing market increased by 3,890 units.

“This represents the second consecutive year the apartment universe increased following declines from 2004 to 2013,” the report states. “Low vacancies in the province over the past three years have contributed to more rental construction. By the third quarter of 2015, the total number of rental starts was already higher than any annual total since 1990.”

It’s true that the rental market is affected by a variety factors. That will always be the case. However, many factors point to the continued strength of the rental housing market in Calgary in the coming years.

Although times are tough, both myself and Strategic Group look forward to unveiling our new units and are optimistic about the future of the city and the province. I am especially proud of my executive team who have been able to refocus their efforts and who continue to find unique business opportunities and value where others don’t.