Waterloo – finally facing my waterloo

I was just informed this morning that my little brother, Freddy Fortine, and his fiance are moving to Waterloo, Ontario. Fiance is an up and comer in a big insurance company and she’s just been promoted to Director of Giant Projects or some such title and they have to leave their home in Kingston and resettle in a new city.

First, you need to know that I am a HUGE (imaginary)buyer and (imaginary)seller of real estate. I know the market in BC forwards, backwards and sideways. I’m on mls.ca at least once a week and if you drove me down any street in my city, I could tell you what the asking price was of any house with a For Sale sign in front of it. I think this idiosyncracy stems from when we didn’t own a house and I would troll the mls daily wishing that someone, anyone, in any way would give me $100,000 downpayment (pennies from heaven? lottery windfall? bank robbery gone bad? I didn’t care) for a house. I just wanted one so badly.

So when I got this news from Freddy Fortine and fiance this morning, I immediately went to my trusty list of Favorites and clicked on the mls listings. I was curious to see what their money could get them in Waterloo, Ontario.

Turns out if Richard and I were selling up and moving there now we could tell the Real Estate Agent “we’ll take TWO please!” Because? Compared to where I live real estate there is dirt cheap!

(this is all ironic when you consider that I grew up in a house that cost my parents $64,000 in 1979 and I never thought that I, as a married person, would ever pay over $150,000 for a house. Oh to live in the 90’s again…where 10% down would have meant twelve thousand dollars. Haaaaa!)

This is what you get in Waterloo for $364,900:

waterloo house
Well appointed, huge, uber-pretty, 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom almost-mansion that probably comes with its own butler. Drool worthy kitchen included:
waterloo kitchen

….and, this is what you get for the same money in my hood:
poco house
Attached three bedroom, one bathroom former grow-op. This baby comes with its own family of rats to keep you company and neighbours who keep their extra automobiles on blocks. Classay! And wouldn’t you just kill in for this kitchen?
poco kitchen

That Waterloo house would easily command $800,000+ here in our overly bloated farce of a BC economy. And that just makes me sad, because it means that no matter how hard we work or save we’ll never have a cherrywood and stainless steel kitchen of our own like that one.

I have every intention of going home tonight and talking Richard into moving closer to the Centre Of The Universe (Toronto), so I can enjoy the benefits of a bulter too.

Question. In your area of the world, is your 10% downpayment more likely to be 30,000 or 100,000? Cherry or upchucky kitchen? Rats or butler? I’m nosy.


8 responses to this post.

  1. The real estate market where we live has gone pretty crazy since we bought our house–when we were looking (about 8 years ago), the most expansive house in our town (which was a gorgeous old Victorian with 6 bedrooms and an in-law apartment) was only going for like $250,000 US. Now, you’d be lucky to get a duplex for that.

    The houses here are older, and tend to have smaller yards–but on the plus side, it’s a very walkable area.


  2. In my neck of the woods we could probably get a very nice 4 bedroom, 2 bath (what we’re currently looking for) for about $200,000. If we’re willing to take something that has everything we want but just needs a little work we could probably knock $40,000 off that. The housing market is pretty buyer friendly here right now.


  3. Posted by Josie on August 24, 2007 at 5:43 am

    I’m actually not that far from where your brother is moving to and the market’s the same. $300K will get you 4 bdrms + a pool….


  4. I am closing on my first house on Monday (with fiance). I am moving to the southern suburbs of Boston, (about 15 mins away) and you’l be pressed to find a decent (house) place to live <375K. We lucked out, and my 10% is 36K for 1800 sq ft. Our sellers were pricing to move. Most stuff we liked was around the 400K mark – AND they needed some work.

    Butler not included, but the house is decent (will need some cosmetic work)- colonial, style updated and small yard.

    That is Boston area though.


  5. Sadly,as far as property values go, I live in Southern California. My daughter and her husband (also in this area) desperately want to buy a home but in W. Hollywood, where they live, a two-bedroom, one bath 1920s little Spanish style home in a pretty crappy neighborhood with an even crappier public school system would be hard to find for under one mil. And then other areas of this city would find that a steal. It all seems very wrong.

    Sigh…We older folk just got into the market at a time when property was affordable. We’ve grown with the market and have made crazy amounts of property money. Just luck…


  6. Geezuz don’t get me started.
    When 20 year old town homes around my area are going for over $550K…. I could just puke.

    And I kick myself every fracking day that I did not push to buy when the market was more normal.

    We can’t even afford Cloverdale now.


  7. I live 3,000 miles away and I find southern California to be the most bizarre place real-esate-wise in the U.S. Frightening.


  8. […] Captive in Canada wrote an interesting post today on Waterloo – finally facing my waterlooHere’s a quick excerpt […]


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