As uncertain as the economy and housing market seem to be ever since the words "housing bubble" were first uttered, Canadians are gathering 'round family tables in owned or rented homes and taking time from their busy lives to be thankful for life's fortunes.
In honor of Thanksgiving on October 8, here are four of housing-related things Canadians can be happy about while they enjoy their turkey and all the trimmings:
1. Low interest rates: Despite what experts say about potentially increasing interest rates in the near future and beyond, the rates remain low for the time being. The prevalence of mortgage brokers, financial experts and helpful friends and family make it easier than ever for homebuyers to find record-breaking low interest rates and save money on their next home.
2. Sky-high home values: Although this news isn't great for everyone – especially first-time buyers trying to get their foot in the door for the first time – it is great news for established owners who are selling their home. Instead of home values taking a hit, much like they have in America and much of Europe for the last several years, home prices have instead increased to much higher than the properties were originally purchased for. Instead of becoming a financial burden to current owners, homes have turned into a real investment.
3. Stabilizing market: The country's mortgage rule changes, put into motion by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in July, may not be great news for everyone and prevents otherwise qualified buyers from obtaining loans, but the change is doing its job. Instead of letting the housing market get too hot so that nobody could touch it and allowing that mystical bubble to explode, the rules have cooled the market down a bit. As the industry stabilizes and potential buyers continue saving funds before putting down a larger down payment, Canadians can likely expect more beneficial changes in the future.
4. Canada's goodwill: What's Thanksgiving if it doesn't give people reason to be thankful? Habitat for Humanity projects across the country have been inspired by the upcoming holiday season and as a way to give low-income, struggling families a home to call their own. Canadian construction companies have joined in the philanthropy, donating time, supplies and labor to the cause. Kind-hearted residents are joining in the fun and helping their neighbors whenever possible.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Anything to add to the list?