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Tag Archives: realestate

It’s June already and the school year is almost done. The weeks past by quickly if not the days. A lot of stuff happened this month in real life; but not a lot of blogging (well no movies at least).

The month revolved around our planned vacation. We knew we were going to go somewhere the week of Victoria Day, but it took a few months to figure out where. Finally we decided to take a cruise to the Bahamas from Orlando, and then bookend a couple of days there. We avoid Disney World theme parks this time because we’ve done them so many times in the past years, but it’s hard to avoid Disney (or theme parks) in general when you’re in Orlando. We did end up going to Seaworld for one day though, and caught a couple of their animal shows.

I didn’t do any traveling for work in May but the few weeks before vacation was still hectic. As Spring is critical real estate season, we wanted to make a quick change to make sure our house was on the market properly. So we had a week and a half of interviewing the right agent, deciding, and setting up the property again.

Weather is heating up in Toronto. Not as bad as it was in Florida and the Caribbean but it’s almost time for the AC to get started.

There are always arguments about whether we’re in a real estate bubble or not, but I suppose it doesn’t matter to me much since I’m invested in the market – i.e., if the market goes up then when I sell I’ll make more money, but it’ll cost me more to buy the next house.

That philosophy is kind of fine, except that the rate that property values are increasing seems to be much higher than the rate of salary increases. In a recent Globe and Mail article, the Toronto neighborhood with the highest property value increases is my neighborhood, Willowdale. From July 2009 to July 2014, the average house value increased 90% from $667k to $1,270k. That’s a yearly growth of 14.1%, and I don’t think most salaries increase that fast (and every year).

The second highest neighborhood is Newtonbrook (just to the west of us) and the third highest is my old stomping grounds Agincourt. They are all above 10% year upon year.

Those numbers seem crazy to me! For perspective, in 2013 the average Canadian salary is under $50k. Looks like Toronto is going to become a SF or NYC.

Having played games without story arcs recently, I’ve felt the urge to play an RPG where I can build up a character. I considered Castle Crashers (not the same without Live), Mass Effect and Fable 2. Nelson offered to lend me Fable 2 so I’ve been playing that lately.

I kind of think of Fable 2 as an American (or UK) take on RPGs, because it’s a bit weird. The sequel has diverged even further from the original Fable by introducing all sorts of elements such as having kids and becoming a property magnate. In fact, I spend most of my time wandering around cities building up my empire than doing quests. Although I have to say that the side activities are much more fun than the side activities in other RPGs (card games etc), which is good because investing in real estate is basically mandatory.

In Fable 2, you can no longer grind for gold; because when you kill a bad guy, they only drop experience! You can do jobs for gold, or you can buy property and get rent. You get rent every five minutes even if your console is off (although it’s less). I’m at a point where I get > 10k gold every 5 minutes! But if you didn’t invest in real estate, I don’t know how you would be able to afford to upgrade your equipment.

Once you get past the various little things you can do, the game is rather short. They say it’s 100 hours long, but that must only be if you do every job. Repeatedly. It’s not like WoW where there are a million (pointless) quests to keep you going.