Yeah it is.
Having bought my first place only a few months ago, I remember the doubts that surround every decision. Can I afford a mortgage plus bills? Property taxes are pretty steep aren’t they? If I don’t qualify for this mortgage does my credit take a hit? Then there was the really big concern: What if Saskatoon’s housing market drops the way it climbed or worse – what if Canada’s housing market drops like the U.S. did? These worries kept me up at night! I hope you can sleep at night but I want you to worry a little too. All your concerns will help you become more informed.
Half way through my first mortgage application, the Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced legislation which made it more difficult for people like me to get a mortgage. By people like me, I mean people who were narrowly qualifying at the bank. My first reaction was negative “Thanks, Jim, way to stick it to the little guy,” but I was wrong. This legislation, which passed, actually “sticks it” to the banks. Because the government cannot dictate prices in Canada, they made it harder for banks to create mortgages. In this way Ottawa slowed down a big player on the supply side. Some critics say “when supply drops demand rises, now it’s worse than ever.” While demand may have risen, something else important happened. A lot of people could no longer afford mortgages. This tempered the housing market in 2011, and the government has more in store.
We’ve learned lessons from the U.S. economy, which allowed the banks to profiteer. The measured reaction in Canada made me feel a lot more secure about buying a home in Saskatoon. Saskatoon has cooled off a great deal, 5 years now, since the boom. I am still daunted by the price of most houses, but their values are climbing at sustainable rates. Which is exactly what we want to happen right? Right.
Saskatoon is still an expensive place to buy or rent a home. Don’t be discouraged though. Home builders like us are working with you and The National Affordable Housing Corporation to make your first home easier to buy. Just talk to one of our Housing Program Coordinators – they’ll help keep you informed as we create programs to help make home ownership more affordable.