~ Real-estate roller-coaster ~

This is a story of house sale opportunities, perils then recovery from 1995 to 2015... enjoy!


When Sandra and I met then got married in '92, we were already in what came to be called precariat 25 yrs later: we were in-and-out of contracts usually alternating, and had made our way into the alt.Calgary scene after our previous respective divorces - our record-breaking date cost a mere $20, that's $5 apiece for dinner @ the Lido Diner (gone but Sunnyside Art Supply next door still there!) and $5 apiece for a movie @ local Plaza Cinema in Kensington, opened until last summer would you believe it - but full-time job starting 1994 meant that, living on a shoestring we amassed enough for a downpayment on a house in Bridgeland come 1995. Sadly I left that fall and Sandra followed me spring of 1996 to Dallas for a new job nearer company HQ. But our Calgary realtor kindly managed the house for four years, while we moved to Houston, Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, England and then back to Redlands CA. By then we thought we wouldn't return to Calgary, so we sold our beloved first home for a tidy profit as Calgary had boomed in the meantime. That gave us a sizeable downpayment on a house in Redlands also in a growing market.

When we left Redlands precipitously - that's a whole other story - early 2006, we sold the house at the peak, just before the market crashed later that year around the recession and sub-prime market fiasco. But if we lucked out selling at the top of the market - through neither foresight nor planning of our own - we didn't know it would take the banks six months to transfer a sizeable chunk of money... We'll never understand why: we had legal status in the US and the year we spent in Surrey meant we had a bank account in England, plus Sandra was British and I was French. Problem is that the US$ lost half its value w.r.t. UKú, and what might've bought us a modest house outright in the outskirts of Cambridge turned into a mere downpayment! As it happened however, our work situation wasn't as stable as we thought it might be, so we delayed our purchase.

Now we settled in Cambridge simply because we decided to return to Europe a) to be near our not-so-young-anymore parents, b) I thought the centre of gravity of "da awl bidness" had left Houston and returned to London due to BRIC's ascendancy (Brazil, Russia, India and China), and c) I figured while Calgary was economically high in 2006 that  wouldn't last, and it didn't - one reason I left Calgary was that I got tired of the cyclicity in the resources sector - and while I was right about the migration of oil biz migrating. that didn't stabilise my work situation. We therefore delayed a house purchase as luck would have it to 2008 and its market and real-estate crash, when we found a lovely end-terrace two villages north of Cambridge with a significant down payment again - a necklace of formerly agricultural villages around Cambridge offered very affordable housing in an otherwise artificially hot market (yet another story) - and local Emmaus loved us because we divested furniture twice, from a 5 bedroom California house to a 3 bedroom Cottenham rental, and then to a 2 bedroom house.

Yet again, while both of us found reasonably stable employment while living modestly and with Petra attending state school, we managed to pay out our end-terrace just before I lost my job - you should've seen the young bank branch manager calling his manager because he didn't understand what 'paying out' was, as distinct from 'paying down' a mortgage - but the long of the short of it is that while we benefited from a rising N American market at first, and crashed with the loss of the US$ value as we repatriated to England, we recovered eventually via a post-2008 depressed market. So we have a place free of title now, while Sandra kept her job, I went entrepreneur for the third time then started non-profit (yet another Brexit story, see my 2nd gen. website cover), and Petra went to university a scant 2 hrs. up the road from us... all that without the risk loosing our house! I really cannot say any of this was pre-planned, but we managed to ride the roller coaster, mind you as privileged white middle-class professional in the global North - WiMP GloNs (obscure play on words in dwarf-planet astrophysics, learned from a High Energy Particle Physics Ph.D. student I scribed for).

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