By GRAHAM HICKS
I am happy to be an Edmontonian. This is home.
But Edmonton real estate has not been kind to homeowners.
The average home in Edmonton is worth 6.8 per cent less today than was the case in 2014, five years ago.
Had you moved to Vancouver or Toronto in 2014, bit the bullet, paid three times as much for the same house as you had in Edmonton … it would be worth 50 per cent to 60 per cent more today compared to its purchase price. (All figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association.)
Going back 10 years, according to the city’s annual market assessment, my Edmonton residence is worth 15 per cent more today than in 2010. That’s a whopping 1.5 per cent average annual gain! (Property and education taxes are up 35%, but that’s a story for another day.)
Going further back: If you’d bought a home in Vancouver or Toronto 20 to 30 years ago, the rise in its value would, quite realistically, be worth more than the entire post-retirement pension income (from employment, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security) two people could reasonably expect in their remaining lifetimes.
Imagine. As a freshly-minted senior, you sell your long-time Vancouver home for the 2019 average of — choke — $2.4 million.
You purchase a smaller cozy house in Nanaimo ($670,000), Vernon ($439,000), The Sunshine Coast ($564,000) or Kelowna ($900,000). You stick the remaining $1.5 million to $2.9 million in a 1.5% savings account. Even withdrawing $100,000 a year, it would last to your extreme old age!
There’s always another dog to kick. Over the last five years, all prairie housing has lost value. Calgary’s housing market has taken a worse pounding than Edmonton. A house in Cowtown is worth eight per cent less today than five years ago.
• • •
A most interesting categorization of election promises is made in a new book, Assessing Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government.
Some election promises are “transformative,” the authors argue. Others are “transactional.”
Trudeau’s 2015 election promises were transformative — a young, fresh, exciting political leader promised to lead the climate change charge, bring about true gender equality, create real respect for indigenous people, and right all the social wrongs of the past.
Former prime minister Stephen Harper’s election promises, the book suggests, were generally transactional — specific programs aimed at specific sectors — business, aboriginal, parents, certain parts of the country, you name it.
In Edmonton, the current mayor and council are fond of transformative political action/rhetoric .
How else do you explain this council’s infatuation with climate change — now an “emergency” — massively over-built bike lanes, enormous LRT spending despite a steady decline in public transit ridership, and banning a psychological practice, gender conversion therapy, that is not known to be practised anywhere in Alberta!
This council sincerely believes in transformational change for the alleged good of society. Vehicles, for instance, must be abandoned over time, because cars are bad, mass transit and bicycles are good.
Transactional promises and gestures are more pragmatic. Government money is being made available to the Winspear Centre to create more music-making space, a reasonable practical thing to do.
The United Conservative Party under Jason Kenney is far more pragmatic and transactional than rhetorical and transformational.
The UCP does not prioritize the banning of conversion therapy … if it’s not practised, why waste government’s time?
Well, hey, hey, hey! If the big bad UCP government is so insensitive to issues of sexual orientation, say our “progressive” municipal councillors, then it’s up to us to make suitable symbolic noises.
Political analysts suggest Trudeau will back off transformational rhetoric this upcoming election, because singing Kumbaya and dancing in India didn’t quite do the job.
Some transformative vision is useful, but, overall, Canadian society is in pretty good shape compared to the rest of the world.
I’d just as soon hear practical/transactional campaign promises of our political leaders, i.e. this is how much taxpayers’ money we are going to spend, and this is where we will spend it.