There’s interesting commentary in the Globe and Mail about Vancouver’s obsession with real estate. The author Timothy Taylor proposes new benchmarks for tracking the market:
The last, and arguably most important, statistic we should have is what I like to think of as the personal humiliation sustainability index. This number would be derived by dividing the value of the house itself by the tax assessed value of the house and property. The crazier the market, the tinier this number becomes, as the structure itself, the thing you were planning to live in, disappears into financial irrelevance.
To illustrate, I went to see a place recently and the agent proudly showed me the tax assessment proving the value of the land. Looking over his shoulder, however, that allowed me to value the actual physical structure at about 9 per cent of the asking price. He was selling dirt, folks. A few metres of turf and a rhododendron. And he was smiling.