Buy? Sell? or, Panic? Maclean's looks at the Canadian housing bubble



    Real estate anxiety is sweeping the country. What's really going on? In
    the special double issue of Maclean's arriving on newsstands starting
    today. Also featured in this week's issue: A sleighful of border-crossing
    troubles, and 2007: A year in photos.

    TORONTO, Dec. 20 /CNW/ - Across the country, the B-word is on the lips of
Canadians. First-time buyers are wondering whether they'll ever be able to
afford their own place. Some wonder if they should buy now, or wait in hopes
that prices will fall. Those who've already bought worry that they've paid too
much-and will wind up overextended if interest rates jump-or that they'll
never be able to move up to something bigger. "Even house-rich Canadians whose
equity has soared in the frenzy," writes Maclean's senior writer Jason Kirby,
"fret that they can't take advantage of their position." Where could they
afford to buy if they sold now? And what if you're counting on your house to
finance your retirement, and its value plummets? At the same time many fear
the carnage in the U.S. housing market will make a collapse here inevitable.
    So with one eye on soaring prices here, and the other on the troubles
south of the border, you can't really blame Canadians for feeling like they're
living on the edge of a cliff. But while prices in Canada have risen
dramatically in the last few years, those gains are nothing compared to what's
been experienced in other countries, or even here, in years gone by. What's
more, thanks to continued low interest rates and new types of longer-term
mortgages, housing affordability in some big cities remains decent compared to
what we've seen in past booms.

    Sleighful of border-crossing troubles

    Santa's facing a sleighful of troubles at the U.S.-Canada border. "As old
Saint Nick tries to make large-scale just-in-time deliveries in the middle of
the night in a large sled pulled by nine flying reindeer, he now faces a
proliferation of post-9/11 security measures and red tape at the U.S.-Canada
border," writes Maclean's Washington correspondent Luiza Savage.
    Canada Post places Santa Claus's residence somewhere in the Canadian
postal code of H0H 0H0. But even if Santa has a claim on Canadian citizenship,
he now needs a passport to enter the U.S. by air under the Western Hemisphere
Travel Initiative. "And," reports Savage, "that's only the beginning."

    The year in photos

    Maclean's presents the most provocative and compelling photos of 2007. A
32-page special, in this week's double issue of Maclean's.

    About Maclean's:

    Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine.
Maclean's enlightens, engages and entertains 2.8 million readers with strong
investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading journalists in the
fields of international affairs, social issues, national politics, business
and culture. Visit www.macleans.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Jacqueline Segal, (416) 764-4125 (work), (416)
272-8467 (cell), jacqueline.segal@rci.rogers.com (email)

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