A Surreal MasterpieceFirst of all, Happy New Year!And what a way to bring it in!
Now, to be sure, those whose plans got suddenly upset last week when the ice storm hit the Fraser Valley won’t have been too pleased with that event.
Crews who had to work many overtime hours to restore power might not be too pleased, either. Nor those whose vehicles were hit by downed trees.
But for me, other than being a tax-payer who will eventually have to help the City come up with the clean-up funds, I was not affected. At least not at the time.I was affected after the fact. And the effect was beautiful!Driving along the highway in the dark, with the on-coming traffic lighting up the ice-clad trees along the highway, created an almost enchanted setting. Like I was driving through an icicle forest! Then later, walking the streets of Abbotsford in broad daylight, with the sun glinting off every iced-up branch and twig, made every tree look like a gigantic crystal chandelier. 
I truly have never seen such a dreamlike crystalline environment.
My bucket list includes going to surreal landscapes that are one-of-a-kind on planet Earth. Places like Dead Vlei (Namibia), Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Table Mountain (South Africa), Iguazu Falls (Brazil/Argentina), Galapagos Islands, etc. I’ve been to some of those places; others await.
I did not expect, though, to find an equally magical environment within walking distance of my home. And getting the experience for free.
There’s beauty all around us. Sometimes it’s obvious. Sometimes it takes an alternative way of seeing things to detect that beauty.
Granted, those who were greatly inconvenienced by the ice storm may find it more difficult to see the beauty in its aftermath. That not being my problem, though, it was easy.
Sometimes beauty may be as much in the mind, as in the eye, of the beholder.
At least, that’s how I see it . . . 
Rent 2 Own tip
The new mortgage rules announced last fall are now in effect. They are intended to prevent homeowners from getting too deeply into debt at rates that are not sustainable in the long run. So, would-be mortgage holders must now qualify at a rate two percentage points above the contracted rate.
A secondary consequence of the new regulations should also be to halt rising property values and, perhaps, even bring them back down.
That’s not likely to happen in this area. Here’s why: housing prices, like almost everything else, are driven by supply and demand. If there are more people wanting to sell than to buy (surplus supply), prices tend to fall. If there are more potential buyers than available properties (surplus demand), prices tend to rise.
Realtors tell us they have never seen such a low housing stock on the market as right now. People are just not interested in selling. In other words, demand exceeds supply.
The government may impose whatever policies it wants. But in the end, if demand exceeds supply, prices will not drop but may, instead, continue to rise.
This is a double-edged sword for the would-be home-buyer: harder qualification and rising prices. It will take many more people out of the housing market, unless they can come up with creative ways to finance their purchases. Rent 2 own is one such option. 
Stay connected with Fraser Valley Rent 2 Own:
Award-winning* Fraser Valley Rent 2 Own is a founding member of the Canadian Association of Rent to Own Professionals (www.CAROP.ca)
* winner of all-star awards, 2012, 2014, 2015 at the Rent 2 Own Summit. 
Quote of the Week
There are always new, grander challenges to confront, and a true winner will embrace each one. – Mia Hamm

West Adventures Online:
Read recent blog posts:Dec. 8, 2017
What happened last week?Nov. 29, 2017
How Rent 2 own can help homeowners
Nov. 23, 2017
Trustworthy and questionable Rent 2 Own schemes
Nov. 15, 2017
Abbotsford ProudNov. 1, 2017
Celebrating our kind of peopleOct. 25, 2017
Government again tightens mortgage policiesOct. 19, 2017
Shredding labels
Oct. 9, 2017
Not so obvious things I’m thankful for