Newfoundland & Labrador – One billion barrels and counting says Royal Bank’s Provincal Outlook

Here is a snippet straight from Royal Bank’s March Provincial Outlook outlining where Newfoundland & Labrador stand during this harsh global economic times.

“The Newfoundland & Labrador offshore oil industry celebrated a milestone in January with the production of its one billionth barrel of oil. This was yet another reminder of the long road traveled by energy developments off the province’s coast and their tremendous contribution to the transformation of Newfoundland & Labrador into a dynamic economy. Nonetheless, the nosedive in energy prices since last summer and declining production at the province’s maturing production wells have cut any festivities short. The real cheers might have to wait until late this year or early next when the White Rose project expansion enters into operation, giving the industry — and the provincial economy — a shot in the arm. In the meantime, decreasing oil output and lower-than expected crude prices will be a substantial drag on economic activity in the  province, and the main reason for our projected decline in real GDP in 2009 (down 1.2% following estimated growth of 1.3% last year). Further contributing  to the weakness will be an expected drop in mineral production (partly the result  of market-related downtime), as well as the recent closure of the Abitibi Bowater  newsprint mill in Grand Falls.

Despite the challenges, the mood in the province remains relatively upbeat.  Huge investment projects — including the C$2-billion hydromet nickel processing  facility in Long Harbour — are still going ahead and the provincial government recently announced a significant increase  in spending on infrastructures.

According to Statistics Canada’s P&PI survey, non-residential capital expenditures in Newfoundland & Labrador are set to increase the fastest among all provinces in 2009 (up by almost 13%). Residents who had departed the province earlier are flocking back . This stimulates demand for housing and consumer goods and services. Housing markets have been very tight until recently, and prices continue to show among the strongest year-over-year increases in the country. Home building is expected to remain relatively steady this year, with housing starts forecast to move a touch above last year’s 19-year high of 3,200 units. Such relatively robust domestic activity is expected to persist next year and be the dominant factor returning the provincial economy back into positive growth once oil production is stabilized by White Rose’s expansion.”


No Provincial Economy Immune from US malady

April 3, 2008 · Filed Under Market Trends, St. John's Real Estate · 1 Comment 

RBC released it’s Provincial Outlook today and is quite clear “no provincial economy immune from US malady”.

The tone for the report is caution throughout most sectors including labour, housing, exports and Canadian dollar.

Saskatchewan is expected to be the growth leader in 2008 as its economy benefits from strength in energy, mining, and agriculture. Newfoundland is expected to be the laggard as waning oil production weighs on its growth.

Housing affordability is poised to improve across the country this year on the back of falling mortgage rates and cooler house price gains. House price growth is expected to move into the single-digit range in almost every province by year-end. This contradicts Remax’s 2008 house price increase for St. John’s but is in line with CMHC’s report.

Saskatchewan will continue to benefit from last year’s in-migration surge in 2008 before housing activity simmers down in 2009. Every province except Saskatchewan is likely to see a decline in new home construction in 2008.

Saskatchewan — The new provincial growth leader
We expect Saskatchewan to be Canada’s top growth performer this year, coming in at 3.6% in 2008 and 3.2% in 2009. Saskatchewan and Manitoba have become the new ‘it’ provinces with hot housing markets, big capital spending plans and tight labour conditions. Saskatchewan now ranks number-one across all key housing indicators that we track. House prices became overvalued in a very short time and it is likely only a matter of months before a decelerating trend sets in to bring markets back closer in line with underlying fundamentals. The cool down is likely to be similar to what is currently going on in Alberta. On the business side, however, Saskatchewan has more upside potential than Alberta. Saskatchewan benefits from strong export volumes and high prices for oil, uranium, potash and grains. A surge in migration inflows confirm that these strengths are being noticed. The unemployment rate (4%) is holding at its lowest rate in 25 years and skilled labour shortages are a growing concern. Labour shortages are supporting the fastest wage growth in the country.

Newfoundland and Labrador — Waning oil production
Newfoundland topped the growth charts last year — growth is expected to have come in at about 9% — but is set to slip to last place in 2008 as oil production declines. Offshore oil production is expected to drop 15% in 2008 as all three oil producing fields face falling production volumes. Prospects for expansions at existing oilfields leave the door open for upside potential in the early part of the next decade. Potential projects include the Hebron development, the Hibernia Southern Extension and an expansion at White Rose. The province’s mining sector (mostly made up of nickel and iron ore) is offsetting some of the weakness on the oil front. Iron ore prices have soared by 66% since 2007 and are expected to keep the value of shipments at an elevated $4 billion in 2008 for a second consecutive year.

Seven Reasons to Relocate to St. John’s

March 25, 2008 · Filed Under Newfoundland Top 7 · 3 Comments 

Anyone who has ever been to North America’s Oldest City can attest to the fact that it’s a great city. St. John’s has become a great place to relocate for a variety of recent economic reasons. Here are my reasons why St. John’s Newfoundland is a good choice for relocation.

7. Scenery – View Newfoundland’s spectacular coastlines, panoramic views, icebergs, whales and provincial parks.

6. Affordable Housing – Average real estate price for in St. John’s is lower then most cities in Canada. We are seeing more and more emails from people in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto looking to relocate back to Newfoundland or looking to invest in Newfoundland.

5. Quality of living – Enjoy a high standard of living, low population, great schools, little traffic, fresh clean air and genuine Newfoundland hospitality.

4. Proximity – Your commute to and from work, schools and amenities is VERY short. You can drive from East End St. John’s to West End in about 15mins. With the Outer Ring Road and Torbay By-Pass roads commute time from Paradise, CBS, Torbay and Pouch Cove has been reduced significantly.

3. Nightlife – There is always something to do in the evenings. Plays, theater, beautiful restaurants and live music and events at most George Street bars.

2. Outdoor Activities – There are lots of winter sports (skiing, ice fishing, skating, snowboarding, ice hockey, snowmobiling, etc.) and endless summer activities (golfing, baseball, soccer, swimming, jogging, sea kayaking, rowing etc.). Hike or camp the trails in provincial parks or the East Coast Trail. Hunt moose, rabbit, caribou or pick blueberries. There is something here for everyone.

1. The next few years are looking very promising for Newfoundland. There is a lot of hype on our oil and gas industry. Hebron, White Rose, Hibernia, and the Terra Nova Project, all major contributors to the Newfoundland Economy. This combined with the low cost of living makes St. John’s an attractive city to relocate.

Allow Fraser and Stephen Winters to assist you when relocating to St. John’s or surrounding areas. Email us for a relocation package.

7 Reasons to Invest in Newfoundland Real Estate

March 2, 2008 · Filed Under Newfoundland Top 7 · 4 Comments 

The Top 7 Reasons to Invest in Newfoundland Real Estate are:

7. Average price for a home in Newfoundland is MUCH lower then the Canadian average house price. A 2-apt home for $200,000 can fetch you an extra $1600 a month cash flow (before expenses and mortgage)

6. The next few years are looking promising for the real estate market. Remax is predicting a 12% increase in housing prices for 2008.

5. Oil and Gas – Hebron, White Rose, Hibernia, Terra Nova Project, all major contributors to the Newfoundland Economy.

4. The cost of living in Newfoundland is lower per person/family then other provinces in Canada.

3. Danny Williams. Whether you like him or not, the “Danny Williams Effect” has certainly placed a positive spin on Newfoundland.

2. View some of the most spectacular images in the world off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Watch whales breach and icebergs float by your reasonable priced ocean front property. Own a little corner of the world you can call your own.

1. Quality of living. Newfoundland being an island has a low crime rate and a high standard of living. Little to no traffic. Plenty of provincial parks and golf courses. Top notch amenities. As well as our genuine Newfoundland hospitality, quick wit, and charm.

Newfoundland Oil and Gas Week

February 25, 2008 · Filed Under Newfoundland Oil and Gas, St. John's General · Comments Off 

Oil and Gas Week is underway in Newfoundland. It was conceived to raise the profile of the oil and gas industry in Newfoundland and Labrador and build an appreciation for the impact that it has on the province’s economy. This is achieved through a variety of promotional and educational activities. A particular focus is being placed on educating secondary and post-secondary students about a variety of aspects of the industry, as well as providing information on potential career opportunities for future generations.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil and gas industry currently has three producing offshore oil projects: Hibernia, Terra Nova, White Rose.