All of the discussion about the horrific weather back east does cast chill, even on us, in warm sunny California. Massive amounts of snow and intensely chilly temperatures have become the norm, not only in New England, but also in our old neighbourhood of Ottawa! From what I hear, even Peterborough is shivering under this arctic assault.
While we bask in an unusually mild February, we do have concerns about the upcoming seasons, especially concerning the drought. Keep in mind, THIS is normally the rainy season here, with cool damp days being standard fare. It doesn’t seem appropriate to complain about sunny days with high temperatures near the mid twenties. The forecasters on TV here are always careful to intimate approaching rain, but it is always several days away. When those anticipated days arrive, without rain, we must all excuse it with comments about how small the possibility was, anyway.
This evening, our evening dog walk, we discussed the potential of buying a home here, or just continuing to rent. Since such endeavors would have to be years away, due to our current financials, we are best to simply live day to day, instead of fretting about down payments and rising housing costs. Technically, we could arrange a downpayment by getting a loan leveraged on his current stock, but neither of us feels confident about the wisdom of that! This real estate market is wild and crazy, and is based entirely on the health and vitality of the technology market. That’s not to say that it isn’t bounding and growing, reaching never before seen highs.
Call me paranoid, but I’ve seen dazzling highs become humiliating lows before. Think of the tech surge in Ottawa, around the turn of the century. Big American tech companies were coming up to Ottawa, and swallowing little Canadian start ups whole, like DesignPro. The principals of those little start ups became instant millionaires, some with insane multipliers. That was the year 2000. Then, starting in about 2002, things began to slowly crumble. One after the other, the Americans began to shut down their Canadian purchases, quietly slinking back southwards. We had a front row seat to see this cascade. In November of 2003, Altera began the process of shutting down their Ottawa office, by first laying off its director, my husband Glenn. The shock of this sudden turn was devastating to both of us, and left an indelible scar on both Glenn’s career, and our retirement portfolio.
Perhaps this is the underlying negativity that keeps us from moving forward about making our accommodations here more permanent. This is a really nice, quiet neighborhood, with a wonderful new community association keeping its fingers on the pulse of local government. We have often casually discussed how nice it would be if we could buy a house in this area, but we rarely see anything come on the market here. Even though many of our neighbors are seniors, they are blessed with very good health. No, folks in this neighborhood are quite happy to just stay put.
That being said, if something should suddenly pop up on the market, we’ll be really wishing we could do something, but reality will smack us down and make us remain sensible. At least, I HOPE it will!