Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oceanside dreaming

My husband and I have held off on buying a new home until he finishes school and becomes established in his new career, which can’t happen soon enough.


Several people have suggested to us over the years that we should just rent in the meantime, but, frankly, we refuse to put money into something we’re never going to own. (Why would we allow someone else to get rich on our money??)  


Even though we’ve never been in a position to buy or build our dream home, we constantly watch the markets. Meaning, we periodically visit neighbourhoods we’d consider living in, just to see what’s out there, and I usually spend about one night a week doing massive online searches of house listings in our area.


And needless to say, there’s been quite a change over the last few years.


In the summer of 2007 -- when our homeless population grew to sprout its very own Tent City near the downtown core -- $400,000 would get you squat in the city of Edmonton.


Today, $400,000 will thankfully go a little further and actually pay for a 50-year-old, 1400-sq ft, three-bedroom bungalow in an average west-end neighbourhood.


Not bad, right?




Just when I was feeling hopeful about Edmonton’s housing situation, I received this message in my inbox: The 5 Best Cities for Military Families, courtesy of


You’ll notice that number one on their list is Oceanside, California, a gorgeous city located just north of San Diego.


I’ve been there a couple of times, and – as its name suggests – the Pacific ocean is RIGHT THERE, which makes it a stunning place to live for “the other half”. (Read: people like me cannot – now or ever -- afford to live in Oceanside.)     


Wrong again!


Although it hasn’t always been the case, the average home in Oceanside is actually far more affordable than a comparable home in Edmonton. Which leads me to my next point…..

Why on earth would we choose to live in the frozen tundra  Edmonton, where our front window faces other crumbling homes and graffiti-laced mailboxes, when, for half the price, we could relocate to paradise?


Yes, I know the job market and wages and taxes are different… and yes, I know US healthcare sucks… and yes, I know there are people living there who are miserable and at this very minute complaining about their own crumbling houses and graffiti-laced mailboxes… not to mention a multitude of other negative factors about California in general.

But still. I maintain that having a bad day in paradise is still better than having a bad day in the frozen tundra Edmonton.


So, uhhh, why exactly do we live here again??