This recent article in the Globe and Mail gave me a small pause. The author was suggesting that you should forget about your RRSP’s and instead concentrate on improving your home as a safer rate of return.
I think he is forgetting one very important thing: in order to get any gains out of your home you have to change markets to try and maintain your lifestyle. Otherwise any gains you have made in your home will get consumed as you buy into another home in the same market.
One other thing that got me was the sales pitch that your home is a safer way to invest over the stock market. Which if you live in Alberta right now this may not apply at all. Home real estate is famous for being very subjective and unstable in the short term.
The last thing that put my guard up on this idea that investing in home improvements will produce a rate of return. This depends on what you do as an improvement (see this article for ideas) some may actually cost you some house value.