Friday Freeee-for-all!

October 2nd, 2015

Guess it’s October huh?

And seeing as how it’s the end of another work week, why don’t we do our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend?

It’s Friday Free-for-all time!

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

All aboard the debt train!
The perfect balanced market
For sale: Bentall Centre
No one wants to cool the market
Shaughnessy protected
Hard times
Jenny Kwan misquoted
Canadian foreign buyers
World economy on its head?
The risks of interest rates

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

Harper has announced an interesting goal: 700,000 new home owners by 2020.

Harper says home ownership provides Canadians with financial stability and strengthens communities.

According to information provided by the party, the target would raise Canada’s home ownership rate to approximately 72.5 per cent. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., citing information from Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey, says the home ownership rate was 69.0 per cent as of 2011, the most current data available.

Meanwhile in the Metro area home ownership rates have moved from 56% in 1986 to 65% in 2011.

Gentrification in reverse

September 28th, 2015 shares the sad news that another Luxury condo tower is to be torn down and replaced with a small independent bookstore:

Beloved Pinnacle Towers developer Jerry Gotham lamented the announcement in a Facebook post on Monday.

“Pinnacle Towers has been an integral part of the local community for the last seven years,” wrote Gotham.

“I am sad to announce today that the new owners, book lovers Daphne and George, will tear the building down in order to build a small independent neighbourhood bookstore.”

A frustrated Gotham told press that he wishes there was something he could do to save Pinnacle Towers.

“This 40-storey luxury condo development — the marble baths, the helipad, the green roof — was my life. To see it all come down like this is a damned shame.”

Several members of the community gathered in front of the demolition site on Monday to protest the announcement.

“This tall, expensive glass building is an important part of the cultural fabric of this city,” said Sheila Barthelby, creator of a “Save Pinnacle Towers” petition on, which as of Monday morning has garnered over 200 signatures.

This seems to happen so often these days. Read the full article here.

Posted in humor | 71 Comments »

Friday Free-for-all!

September 25th, 2015

Friday Free-for-all time!

It seems like we have one of these almost every single week.

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

– some links to go here later(?)

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

Peter Ladner over at the Vancouver Courier asks the question ‘why reward Vancouver seniors for staying in big empty houses‘?

The oldest of us will be 80 in 10 years, well past the time we needed all those bedrooms for our children, even the ones who stick around into their 30s. And we have lots of those bedrooms. Canadians have the most living space per person of any country in the world (2.5 rooms per person), according to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development stats. I confess: I have two empty bedrooms in my home, even after converting the basement into a suite.

A decade ago, Urban Futures estimated that around 30 per cent of homes in Metro Vancouver had at least one unoccupied bedroom. That would be 220,000 empty bedrooms then, and many more in coming years as the boomer tsunami arrives. It would be interesting to calculate how many years we could go without building any new homes simply by filling up the ones we already have.

The opposing viewpoint says that asking people to pay their property tax is the same as kicking old people out of their homes, some calling Ladner ‘a disgusting human being’.  But as George points out is it really unfair to ask people who’ve benefitted from decades of rising property values to pay their share of the tax bill?

…Whenever young people cry about high housing prices in Vancouver, we’re told that’s the free market, suck it up, supply and demand, blah blah blah. It’s actually not a free market, it’s a highly distorted market, but that’s besides the point. If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander. If young people in Vancouver are just supposed to accept being priced out due to the free market, then elderly people should have to accept the same thing. I am not saying I want to see elderly people displaced out of Vancouver. But Peter Ladner is right, it’s just not fair that elderly people sitting on massively overvalued homes get what amounts to a tax subsidy from the young, the very people priced out of the city.

What do you think? Are you against young families or the elderly?


Trapped in a starter home.

September 21st, 2015

A funny thing happened on the way to financial security and easy riches, the condo promise in Vancouver didn’t really pan out for many young families according to a recent Vancity study.

The idea of a starter home is to get on the property ladder, then trade up as your family grows. But this doesn’t work as well when condo prices stagnate and single family home prices grow, especially when there are very few options available for 3-4 bedroom attached or condos.

Across the region, families who wish to move from a one-bedroom apartment or condo to a three-bedroom home with an attached yard would have to increase their debt level by an average of 95%. In Vancouver’s west side, this jumps to 158%. In the city’s east side, it is a much lower 78%. The biggest jump is found in White Rock, where debt levels would increase by an average of 164%.

Read the full article here.

Friday Free-for-all!

September 18th, 2015

It’s the end of another work week and that means it’s time for another Friday Free-for-all!

This is our standard 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:

Surprise! No Rate Increase.
Alberta down, who’s next?
Always running out of land
Global boom continues
Hamilton prices see biggest jump
Van RE stranger than fiction
Actual reporting happening
Paul is back with the numbers!

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

No sign of bubble bursting

September 15th, 2015

This Vancouver Sun article used to have the headline “Vancouver housing market in bubble, new house price index claims.

That version of the article apparently included the following:

“While foreign investors are no doubt playing some role, we think this explanation is overblown. Low interest rates and self-fulfilling expectations of higher prices continue to inflate actual prices independently of fundamentals,” reads a press release from the creators of the index.

“Over the longer-term, we still believe that these housing markets will experience major price reversals.”

But that has since been updated to “Vancouver’s ‘housing bubble’ shows no sign of bursting” and we’re having a hard time finding the above quote. The article now says:

According to Davidoff, it is impossible to judge Vancouver’s real estate market on the same bases as that in other cities. In the Prairies and the U.S. Midwest, where space is plentiful, the value of a home is essentially what it costs to build. Vancouver, on the other hand, is almost out of new land to build on. “The house, that means, is worth whatever people are willing to pay,” he said.

We can’t quite put our finger on it, but it feels like there’s been a subtle shift in the tone of this article.

Read whatever the article currently says here.

Friday Free-for-all!

September 11th, 2015

Its Friday already!

Time for another open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

This is our regular end of the week thread to talk about whats happening in Vancouver housing news, the global economy and other related topics.

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

Canadian personal finances bleak.

September 9th, 2015

According to a recent poll by the Canadian Payroll Association, nearly half of the workers in Canada are struggling month to month to cover their living expenses.

Nearly a quarter say they probably couldn’t come up with an extra $2k if they needed it for an emergency in the next month.

More than one-third of respondents – 36 per cent – said they feel overwhelmed by their level of debt and 12 per cent indicated they doubt they will ever be completely free of debt.

Forty-eight per cent of those surveyed said it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their paycheque were delayed just one week, up slightly from the annual poll’s average of 47 per cent over the past three years.

The report, released Wednesday, comes in the wake of economic data indicating Canada experienced two consecutive quarters of contraction – technically speaking, a recession – although home sales in August (except in Alberta) were strong and a report last week showed 12,000 net jobs were created last month.

Clearly the answer to the debt problem is more debt in the form of a home equity loan! Read the full article here.

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