Calgary is the New California

Jonathan Dalton, Phoenix Real Estate AgentRight now, my half-dozen Canadian readers just spit out their back bacon. But in terms of real estate investing, Calgary has become the new California – a city with higher-priced housing where the locals are looking hard at the southwest as either a winter destination or an investment possibility.

What has caused the increased interest? Bernanke. Cutting the fed funds rate has left the dollar weaker against the Canadian dollar for the first time since around 1874 (give or take several decades). And because of this, Canadians now are enjoying a considerable increase in their buying power in the States as a result.

We were one of the first locally to notice the trend if only because we spend a lot of our time working in the Northwest Valley’s retirement communities – Westbrook Village, Ventana Lakes, Corte Bella and the Sun Cities. But we’re certainly not alone anymore. If you read any other Phoenix-area real estate blogs (and shame on you if you do!) it’s hard to miss the posts urging Canadians to come on down and buy American.

But as the Californians before you discovered, there are no instant riches to be had here in the Valley. Those days were brief and mercifully behind us. Prices have been falling to flat, depending on the area in which you’re looking, and long-term investment is the only real way to succeed.

Investing in real estate still involves much more than calling an agent and writing an offer. There’s due diligence to be conducted in regards to the different areas in the Phoenix real estate market, to the different financing options, to the logistics of owning property more than 1,000 miles away.

In short, purchasing Phoenix real estate isn’t for everyone. That’s a lesson that was lost during the boom of 2005 when everyone and their uncle attended some get-rich-quick seminar … many of those same folks are in foreclosure now.

If you call an agent and they tell you “this is a great time to buy,” hang up and call another. (And frankly, you shouldn’t be calling anyone but me anyway but that’s another story.)

If they tell you that there might be an opportunity for long-term profit and then ask more about your circumstances, chances are you found the right agent.

Learn from California’s mistakes, my Albertan friends. I now return you to your lunch.

[tags]Phoenix real estate, real estate investment[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Howard Arnoff 10 years ago

    Well said Jonathan and perhaps the NAR “spin” machine can learn a lesson from you as well. It was a “great time to buy”, now it’s a “good time to buy” and who knows what those savvy prognosticators may say next.

    In the long term, Phoenix (and may I add Charleston) are wonderful locations to choose.

  • Jeff 10 years ago

    You can file Calgary real estate under the bubble category now. Average single family home prices have dropped $65,000 in the past three to four months and there is now record levels of inventory. Looks like it’s going to be a long cold winter.

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    Good to know, Jeff, though not nearly as good to hear. Am I surprised, though? Not really …

    One thing I’m noticing is those people calling me are more prudent in what they are trying to find. There’s no discussion of flipping or anything along those lines.

    Even the one true investor I’ve been talking to would like to use the property a portion of the year.

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    Howard – didn’t mean to miss you there. I wouldn’t argue that it’s not a good time to buy. But it depends on each person’s circumstances as you well know.

    If it’s a long-term play, take advantage of the prices where they are … or try to take them down even farther.

    Everyone wants a deal … it’s the people who make their own deals who really will profit.

  • Howard Arnoff 10 years ago

    Jonathan, I didn’t feel overlooked and unloved but thank you.

    Real estate in areas that enjoy good weather and are attracting retirees and which have excellent job growth should perform well over the long term.

    As to today, it’s certainly better to take your time, see a variety of houses and make the best possible decision instead of rushing into a bidding war on the first house that will be suitable.

    It’s even better when you find a motivated seller and you can purchase even more advantageously.

  • Idetrorce 10 years ago

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you