Friday Free-for-all – February 5th 2016

It’s that time of the week again…

Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend, here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

Economic ghost town
Last chance to buy
First chance to Rolex
The inevitable drop?
The infinite job machine

So what are you seeing out there? Been to any open houses lately? Thinking about buying or moving away? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

10 reasons the top is in for Vancouver real estate

Whistler or bust? posted this list of reasons they think the top is in for the Vancouver real estate market. What do you think? 

10 Reasons why am I calling a top now

1. Vancouver Real Estate has finally gone parabolic. It has gone from years of above average price increase to massive never before appreciation. No asset class that I am aware of has ever gone parabolic or hockey stick on a chart and not had a major crash. Not tulips, oil or tech stocks. This is textbook classic top – Greed has replaced Fear and it’s different this time for ______ and _______ has replaced rational thinking.

2. Panic buying and large price increase have spread to the distant suburbs such as Maple Ridge, Places where there is plenty of buildable land and lots of new inventory. Places are going multiple bids in average neighborhoods. People genuinely think if they do not buy now they will be priced out forever.

3. Real Estate prices in the vast majority of BC are flat to down. Its as if the Lower Mainland is an island onto itself. These are areas not affected by HAM or DAM so it better reflects the current economic fundamentals of the real estate.

4. The Canadian and BC economy is weak. There is risk that the spill over of falling oil prices will spread to Vancouver. This can be in the form of layoffs at West Jet or the CIBC because they have to cut costs due to losses on loans to oil companies. This is a bigger thing than many people think.  Continue reading 10 reasons the top is in for Vancouver real estate

The $6 Million tear-down

What would you call a 20 year old 7300 Sq foot house with brand new hardwood floors and an indoor pool?

In Vancouver we call that a tear down.

Property records show that the 7,300-square-foot house was last sold in 2013 for just over $6 million — the assessment today is $7.44 million. According to the 2013 listing for the property, it boasted $350,000 in recent renovations including new hardwood floors, a water purification system and windows. The listing sheet shows the two-storey house on a corner lot has 19 rooms including seven bedrooms, a media room, office and 12-foot by Seven-foot walk-in closet off the master suite.

…Well, we certainly know how to keep bulldozer operators and city dump workers employed!

Read the full article here.

By-election: What do politicians say about housing?

Patriotz pointed this out in the weekends open topic thread:

Tomorrow there will be provincial by-elections in Van Mount Pleasant and Coquitlam Burke Mtn. Both former MLA’s ran in the recent federal election – for the NDP (won) and Conservatives (lost) respectively.

What do the candidate websites have in common? None of them have anything to say about housing. For example in Coquitlam Burke Mtn which is the only real contest:

http://www.jodiewickens.bcndp.ca/issues
http://www.bcliberals.com/joanisaacs/

However I think this bizarre paragraph by Issacs on “Sharing Economy, Growing BC Tech” is notable:

I will advocate for a Sharing Economy to optimize new services for families – the Ubers, the AirBnBs, the Lyfts. A diverse economy means being open to new ideas and technologies. A Sharing Economy encourages the tech sector in BC, which helps create jobs and generates investment. It starts by giving British Columbians the freedom to participate as entrepreneurs or consumers or both!

So BC’s high tech future is operating your car as a taxi or your house as a hotel!

Friday Free-For-All!

It’s that time of the week again…

Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend – here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

The bank will pay your mortgage
The illusion of equity
More cutting by Poloz?
Bubbles and crying wolf
The kids are all right
HSBC stops some china US mortgages
Prices up beyond wages

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes in the comments section below and have an excellent weekend!

Let’s get negative (interest rates)

As the economy deteriorates further Canadians are sitting on a pile of cash. Stock portfolios are holding a record $75 billion in cash.

How do you get people spending and investing again?

Well, you could try negative interest rates.

That kinda worked in the EU. Denmark has driven down their currency which has helped exports. Of course the flip side of negative rates is the risk of housing and stock bubbles.

But how would negative rates most likely affect Canadian consumers?   Higher fees.

“What you might see happening is a negative interest rate masquerading as higher fees,” Milevsky said. “No bank in their right mind would tell a consumer, give us your hundred dollars and we’ll give you 95. That will never happen.”

Read the full article here.

BC Cabinet gains $2.3 Mill from real estate surge.

CTV looked at how much rising real estate prices added to the personal wealth of the BC Cabinet – $2.3 million this year alone.

Surging real estate values added $2.3 million to B.C. cabinet ministers’ personal wealth this year alone, as the government says coming measures to ease housing affordability won’t include any that lower prices.

One minister saw her four properties jump $765,000, more than five times a minister’s salary. Another saw gains on a portfolio of eight homes. On average, ministers made $103,000 – more than an MLA’s salary, according to a review of public records by CTV News.

It’s natural for those ministers to welcome their own wealth boost, but they have to realize how their eye-popping gains translate into tremendous hardship for young people trying to get into the notorious Vancouver property market, said UBC professor Paul Kershaw.

Read the full article here.

As YVR points out, maybe it’s not just wealthy foreigners who are to blame for rising prices:

Funny thing is HAM is supposed to be buying all the property. Susan Anton owns 4 houses in Vancouver and DeJong owns 8 properties in Abbotsford.

Could that be the problem? Locals owning multiple properties? That is 12 properties between 2 people. Both are white and locals.

Are you comfortable with change?

After a long while, we’re moving some stuff around here on VCI.

If you visited over the weekend there’s a good chance you found a site in flux with occasional downtime and shifting formats, but we’re pretty close to functional now.

So how does that make you feel?

According to that informal poll to the left, it’s pretty much split at this time, with just over half of you liking the change, almost half hating it and a few that could care less.

But if you DO care, here are a few notes about the new site design:

Here’s the new comment box at the bottom of every article.:

Screenshot 2016-01-24 20.36.41

There are a few new features:

  1. Notify of (new follow up comments) you can set this to get email updates if someone responds to the thread, or set it to email if someone responds to your comment so they don’t get the last word.
  2. There’s been a big shift in comment formatting. You can now reply to comments inline, but this makes it harder to see what’s new.  click ‘Sort by: newest’  at the bottom of the comment box to see the newest comments first.
  3. We’re still trying to figure out how to format comments based on their number of votes. In the meanwhile you can click ‘Sort by: most voted’ to see the highest rated comments at the top of the list.

As always your feedback is welcome.

The best thing about this site has always been the readers that leave commentary (that’s you!), so we’re curious to see how you feel about this new format including things that you like and things that bug you.

Leave your comments below and have an excellent week!

Friday Free-for-all! Spring Cleaning

It’s the end of another work week and you know what that means…

It’s time for some tidying up! Site looks a little different?

And of course it’s also Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

effects of the low dollar
good for boats
bulls right, bears wrong
legalize squatting
free markets

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

Let’s confuse the public.

Frances Bula has some comments about a recent proposal to tax vacant properties, pointing out the bizarre lack of logic in most arguments against:

… Real-estate marketer Bob Rennie said it would kill foreign investment in everything, since it would inevitably lead to a tax on foreign investment in manufacturing or other sectors. (Never heard of that in other jurisdictions with housing taxes.)

The mystery documents from the finance ministry surfaced again, claiming it would kill off $1 billion and 4,000 jobs related to construction. (Puzzling claim, since this surtax wouldn’t affect, say, foreign investors who are putting capital into major construction projects.)

And Premier Christy Clark claimed again that somehow this could end up targeting seniors who spend part of the year in the hospital or vacationers. Yet the proposal clearly stated that people who do or have contributed to the local economy (in other words, people collecting pensions) would be exempt.

Read the full comment here and Bulas’ article in the Globe and Mail here.