Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Greener Grasses, Warmer Sands?

What is it with us Canadians? Do we suffer from ‘the grass is always greener, the sand always warmer’ syndrome? During a -40 snap, you bet we do. And it’s not all bad either.

Due to increases in salaries and the great rise in Alberta real estate values have helped make many Albertans quite well off. Our strong dollar and the perceived bargains in the U.S. have brought droves of Realtors and salesmen from South of the border to flog their wares, when we’re feeling at our most vulnerable-bitter winter.

Albertans are prime targets.

I too admit to a weakness for a house on a palm-treed beach. Actually, I’m lucky to have two palm trees in my garden but their leaves turn brown and fall off during cold spells, far from the beach of my dreams.

The number one thing to remember is that Alberta is where you can safely and steadily grow your profits over the coming years. Let the folks with knee jerk reactions and short-term thinking get shaken out of this market.

Savvy investors think long-term strategies.

I wouldn't look at properties outside of Canada as investment at this time, but instead as a potential 'lifestyle choice', if that applies to your goals at this time, meaning, if you're ready to retire or cash-out.

Otherwise, take advantage of the current breather the Alberta market is taking and use this welcomed chance to move forward with investments that make sense.

It's easy to get sidetracked when pitched an emotional 'deal of a lifetime'; it's not so much the property down South you’re being sold, it's the ‘dream life’. When is it time to buy a retirement home outside of Canada anyway?

Here are some quick points to ask yourself that will help take the emotion out of your decision:

1) Have I reached my investment goals and am I at a stage of my life where I can realistically afford to buy and upkeep a property for pure pleasure?

2) Have I done enough research into the area that I plan to be buying in to understand what it'll be like to live there, receive medical care/coverage and visit family? How will I be taxed? Can I receive income? Can I live there permanently?

3) How will property values and neighborhoods change over the next few years in relation to the sub-prime? How will this affect my lifestyle? Have I visited the area in the peak AND off season- do I like what I see? Is the weather agreeable year round or am I in a hurricane zone?

In my opinion it's not yet time to pick up properties in America. U.S stats forecast another wave of losses to the tune of 2 million foreclosures over the next few years.

You need to wait it out longer until the final mortgages have been reset and prices begin to stabilize, probably at least fall of this year or preferably past spring of '09.

No comments: