Gerald Tostowaryk

Commercial and Residential Real Estate

(780) 732-0977

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When I googled the old saying “There is a thin line between genius and insanity” I wasn’t able to determine its origin but did have a cute line by Oscar Levant, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line”.

I guess one could say there is a fine line between investing and gambling and Edmonton is erasing that line. If you read my blog in March about Alberta economic indicators, we are firing on all cylinders. I guess you would have to have been in a cave for the last 10 years to not know Alberta is on fire, but at the moment we are really on fire. Commercial real estate prices, industrial especially, have been rising noticeably. The annual Edmonton Real Estate Forum (#EREF2014 on Twitter), which was held recently on May 8, had (for the umpteenth year in a row) all the speakers talking positively about Edmonton’s economic future. And I would have to agree for numerous significant reasons;

 - The rest of the world has been scraping bottom for long enough to (relatively) safely say we are in the trough of a longer economic cycle and the only way out of a trough is up…eventually

 - Ft. McMurray has been getting better and better at getting oil out of tar sands for less money than in the past, increasing the sustainability of the process

 - They aren’t making any more conventional oil

 - Canada is still relatively stable fiscally, especially compared to many western nations

But the question weighing on my mind, and apparently many others, is how long the current hot market can last? I mean industrial land in the Edmonton area has been rising and is now north of $700,000/acre with one knowledgeable agent stating at EREF2014 that it was hitting $800,000.
Well, the interesting thing to me was what was being said “between the lines” at EREF2014. While everyone was talking good signals for Alberta, many if not most of the builders, developers, and buyers were lamenting Edmonton prices. Just recently at a meeting at our office with an active large buyer of real estate, the gentleman stated that he wasn’t interested in a lot of the transactions happening in Edmonton because the numbers “just didn’t make sense”. And therein lies the key. Those three simple words “don’t make sense” are words you usually hear when the price of something becomes unsustainable.

More comments were made about other aspects of real estate valuations in Edmonton and Ft. McMurray, but you get the point.

Okay, so the bottom line. I feel Edmonton (and Alberta) is still in for many good years of economic activity but I suspect the hot market will moderate some. More developable land will come on line and/or more sophisticated buyers will feel that numbers “don’t make sense”.
Remember though, there’s a thin line between predicting the future and insanity. I’m sure I’m blurring the line.

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As many of you know from reading my exciting, vibrant, always interesting blog posts, I occasionally have guest blogs. I hope you enjoy this very informative one from Ward Henkel of Efficient energy Solutions Inc;


While clearing out the warehouse and washing the floors, don't forget about one of the most important components that keeps everyone happy in the office, your central air conditioning system. Because your air conditioner is most likely on the roof of your commercial building, it is easily forgotten. The best time of the year to ensure that your air conditioning unit is running efficiently is in the spring when companies may offer special deals and technicians may be more available.


Many contractors now offer service contracts under which they will inspect and service your cooling equipment once a year and provide emergency repair service when or if it is needed. Before purchasing a service contract, be sure to weigh its cost and coverage against the cost and likelihood of future repairs. If your system is new, it probably comes with a warranty, which is included in the purchase price of the system. If you sign a service contract, be sure that it spells out what parts and service are provided and that it doesn't duplicate coverage you already have under the warranty. Because service contracts vary significantly in coverage, compare the coverage offered by several different companies.


Although it is common to find a contractor who will do both service and installation of roof top air conditioners, (replacements and new) there are some contractors who specialize in “service only” and some in “replacement only”.  It may be wise to have two companies on board, the installer and the service company. This way you have two good choices, if things go wrong in a very busy cooling season. Nothing worse than having to wait 2 weeks for your air conditioner to get repaired in the middle of August.


You may do some of the maintenance work on your own. If your system has disposable filters, check them every two months and replace when necessary. Clean permanent filters as directed by the manufacturer, and make cleaning duct outlets and registers a part of your regular cleaning routine.


Efficient Energy Solutions Inc.



Ward Henkel

Certified Gas Fitter

Certified Plumber

Certified in Combustion Analysis

Past C.A.H.I. Certified Home Inspector

Building Codes A&B Cert.

Certified and Licenced

Heating Contractor

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