Some have called him extreme, angry and bitter.
Some have called him a good-hearted soul with a social conscience.
MacLean’s, Canada’s national news magazine called him for an interview!
He is Alexander Trauzzi, also known in this fine online community as “Alex.” He joined us early on and he’s been a regular commenter on the Saskatoon Real Estate Resource Centre Blog ever since, openly sharing his concerns and frustrations over the changes which have been occurring in this city over the past year. Recently, he had an opportunity to speak with Jason Kirby, a business writer for MacLean’s and he is formally introduced to us in the opening paragraph of the current issue’s cover story titled, “Is it a bubble? Is it about to burst?”
This was not the Saskatoon Alex Trauzzi remembered.
A few years ago, Trauzzi, 24, had been drawn to the Prairie town for work and grew to love it. He met his fiancée there. And he vowed that after finishing college in his hometown of Winnipeg, the couple would return and buy their first home there. "We saw it as a great place for fresh starts," he says.
But when the couple moved back to Saskatoon earlier this year, Trauzzi scarcely recognized the place. The housing market was ablaze with bidding wars, double-digit monthly price gains and frenzied speculation. Modest bungalows that had sold for $187,000 in the fall of 2006 were by spring changing hands again for $280,000, without so much as a fresh coat of paint. It was insane. Trauzzi, a service technician, felt there was no way he could afford those kinds of prices for a starter home. So after just nine months, he fled back to Winnipeg where he bought a home earlier this month for slightly more than $120,000. Not a moment too soon. Even the Peg is quickly becoming unrecognizable thanks to real estate fervour. "I could easily turn around and sell my house for five or 10 grand more than I paid for it," he says, with a note of astonishment in his voice. "I don't know if there's a bubble that's going to burst or not, but if there is something that's going to happen, it's going to happen right across the country."
Trauzzi isn't alone in feeling anxious about the housing market. Across the country, the B-word is on the lips of Canadians.
You can find the entire text of the online version of this interesting story here. Whatever you might choose to call Alex, you certainly can’t call him a liar, or even a bluffer. He told us several months ago that he’d be out of here if the market didn’t smarten up. Now, he’s gone and it really is a shame that this educated young man and his fiancée felt that they had little chance of making a start here. Is Alex’s moving a sign of things to come? Have changes in the Saskatoon real estate market frustrated our young citizens to the point that they feel Saskatoon no longer offers them a future? Is it a bubble? Is it about to burst? Let’s talk. I’ll start. First, let me say that I think this is a timely, well written story. It’s a story that we should all be interested in talking about. The answers to the questions posed will impact us all regardless of whether or not a bubble exists. Having said all of that, I’ll point out my complaint about the story, only because complaints seem to be better discussion starters than compliments. J MacLean’s directs us to the Demographia Housing Affordability survey to make the case that “house prices, even in some of Canada’s hottest markets, almost look like a bargain.”The report’s cover page tells us that the data used in the study is from Q3/2006. I wrote about the release of the study way back in January. Since then, U.S. housing prices have tumbled in some areas, the average selling price of a home in Canada is up at least 10%, and prices have increased 40-60% in some prairie cities. How is this study even relevant some 15 months later?
I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.
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Norm Fisher Royal LePage Vidorra