Letter from the Editor Issue 75

Summer 2010 CSANews Issue 75  |  Posted date : Jul 20, 2010.Back to list

It's a great time to be a Canadian! We seem to have, so far, escaped the plagues infecting the rest of the world. Our currency and financial institutions are strong, our housing market is staying the course and unemployment is manageable, except for those without jobs, of course. A combination of very good government (and governance) as well as good monetary policy and controllable deficits has left Canada in an enviable position in the world.

As snowbirds, we are exposed to two realities, one in Canada and one at our winter destination. It appears that we will see a divergence of lifestyles, especially for those who winter in the U.S. The real estate market will be the most obvious and, in Florida in particular, the market is being crushed. The real estate agents are telling everyone about the wonderful recovery being experienced in the Southeastern U.S., but that is nonsense!

Fitch Credit Ratings has recently released the results of a large study and their findings are staggering. Some of the Florida statistics are:
  • 85% of mortgage loans categorized as Alt-A or Subprime;
  • 81% of all mortgages exceed the value of the home, running at 138% on average;
  • 40% of all borrowers owe more than 150% of the value of their homes;
  • 50% of all secured non-agency mortgage loans are 60 days or more delinquent;
  • 11.2% is the most recent unemployment number (down from 12.3%).
Fortunately, most of us who own U.S. properties are mortgage-free or only have minimum loans outstanding and we will escape much of the turmoil. If you wish to sell your property, though, that will not be easy. For new snowbirds there are, and are going to be, fantastic deals to be had. In prior writings, I indicated that the beach properties being sold had been close to bottoming in price. I still believe that, but Pat and I are still looking for that perfect place at that perfect price.

The United States needs snowbirds as never before. Our spending during the winter months will be critical in helping these communities to regain their footing and to create extra jobs. And our summer journeys with kids and grandkids have become even more important to the U.S. economy. And the price will be right!

So, let's do our bit and plan an extra visit or a longer winter visit. One of our readers, Susan Price of Alberta, suggested that we put on our "high-rise boots and a few bottles of Dawn detergent" and go down and help out with the oil spill. Why Not!





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