CBC: What you should know before buying a condo

cbclogo.jpgWendy wrote in to let everyone know that there will be a feature on the crazy condo market playing on CBC television tonight at 7:30 pm.

From the show blurb:

Wendy Mesley takes viewers inside the booming billion dollar condo market, and discovers that buying a new condominium can put consumers in a crunch with constricting contracts and murky marketing. With a helicopter hovering over construction cranes, to behind-the-scenes access at hyped sales events, Wendy takes potential buyers on an inside tour of potential condo pitfalls. “The Condo Crunch” airs Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m. (8 p.m. NT) on CBC Television.

update: The show can be viewed online here.

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Your link cover the wage rate till 2006,This is 2008 there is a flat rate let's say you start your shift @8am $32 per hour,4am shift $40 per hour,and night shift $50 per hour,for casual workers there is no other benifit like dental-medical plus it's depend on how many jobs are available on time for all three shifts you can either check that online every day or try your luck on shift you like to work.

Imporant I never lie to anyone,MIND IT all that top info were taken through top rates a warehouse worker does not necesserly mean to make $25 starting most of job start @13 bus driver 20 and city 20.

Tony Danza

So what was the point of your original post then? I hope you don't slink off and hide once this all comes to a head, like all the other idiots on the RE blogs in the US.


"even lending your car to your roommate who then kills someone with your car and you go to jail for it!"

Jail? There's a guy on death row (maybe dead already) in Texas. He drove his friend to a party, the friend killed someone. The driver had no idea his friend intended any harm. They were gang members and they both had a history of violent crime but STILL!


If you want to know how much longshoremen are getting paid, just have a look at their collective agreement. Wages are high, sure, but the regular day shift rate isn't $50/hr, but $30.96/hr.


Tony Danza

SATV? Helloooooo…


Have you ever been to the US?

is that a minus point?

Our Sofia had a trip to New York she has landed back in Vancouver safely.Strataman had a trip there and he is back to Vancouver.Let me remind you here Vancouver is expensive city but all people are buying return tickets when the go for trips.


Yeah I landed back in Vancouver…. for now. After seeing what NYC has to offer and comparing that to Van….. well….. if we aren't well on our way back to normality by 2010 I'm off to Miami. The whole "greatest place on earth" mentality exhibited by people like Krrsh gets *really* grating after a while. There are three guys at work who moved here from Toronto. They're pretty much Van's ideal demographic, young guys with MBAs and new families (babies etc). All three are saying if things don't improve within the year they're returning to Toronto because even with good educations and good jobs they really can't afford a decent lifestyle here. That combined with my recent trip and Condohype's site have convinced me the entire city's been sold a bill of good. "we have Hollywood people and LuLulemon and… Read more »

Tony Danza

Why don't you tell them to sign up at the longshoreman's hall or go to work with SATV? Or do they make more than $50 an hour with MBA's? /sarcasm


Oh and who the hell wants to live in the states? Being at the wrong place at the wrong time, really has negative consquences. More congestion, diffrent lifestyle.


Wrong place wrong time? Are you talking about buying while prices are dropping or buying at the peak of the market? Thats a mighty big brush you use to tar the states with, more congestion all over? WTF? The US has a wider range of environments, population, culture, etc than Canada so there are lots of options. Is Vancouver better than all US cities to you? Have you ever been to the US?


Up here you get a slap on the wrist for going to jail. Down there you can get life for anything… even lending your car to your roommate who then kills someone with your car and you go to jail for it!

I've been to several us cities, such as most of arizona (phoenix tucson etc…) LA, San Jose, Buffalo, Dallas etc… I grew up canadian and I have no plans to go down there any time soon. Maybe for the cheap chicken wings =p


Also I'm proud to say I'm Canadian. Can't say I support the policies of the USA.


The future of real estate agents in UK? Check it here<A>.


Back to the topic at hand… though I often have trouble with Wendy's reports (she is a vicious opinionator, IMO) I thought the report was bang on. It was not balanced in any way (never are with Marketplace)but then it was a Buyer Beware Warning. She didn't say "don't buy" but she did say "If you're going to buy then this is what you need to watch out for." And everything she discussed and the lawyer advised was spot-on. Developers can, and have been, playing fast and loose in a market that is in full Bull mode. Not every developer has been as flagrant with the loopholes as those mentioned in the piece… but the opportunity is there. She covered everything from changes to spec to cancellations and how that affects the people who have invested money and time (time… Read more »


"…if you were to take the contract to a lawyer and decide that you didn’t like something, well, the developer would likely just let you out and return your deposit."

Just wait until there is an oversupply and nothing is selling. It's amazing what you can cross off and add in contracts when someone is despearate enough.


Hey That's brilliant, why didn't I think of that?

I'll just go ask my employer to double my salary so I can afford a showebox downtown. I'm sure they won't laugh in my face…. I mean if prices won't come down they'll just have to double my salary and the salaries of all those people who want to buy houses.

Wow…. just…. wow.


satv if you can make $50 an hour as a longshoreman why are you working in a warehouse for $25?

Tony,because toped longshore mf creat a lock through union ILWU that all new employee will be hired as casual. so atleast first three year new employees have to strugle too hard unless some one retired they can take their place.

Drachen,I was trying to pick up theme from Andrea as prices are not coming down so why don't we push our employers for increase to catch inflation,then buy a house and shop at dollar store.

Oye you can add a lil DC in your family Crash is no where near in the future so…..

Anyway half an hour ago got call for extra shift on day off chow let me fill the labour shortage……


Everyting's possible if you work for it all right. The question then becomes "Is the object worth the price" YOu really would have to compare. Is working full time at 2 jobs worth it to purchase a home (which is presumable what your collegue wants). For one thing at that level you're not exactly purchasing the "Laid back, nature loving Vancouver lifestyle" pushed in so many bullshit condo ads. All you are purchasing is a place ot lay your head. And then there's the question of location, location location. Why work 2 full time jobs to live in Vancouver when Miami is in a total meltdown? Why not just move there, work at a more reasonable level and buy a beachfront condo? Just what is sooooooo special about Vancouver that makes it worth working 2 full time jobs? Saying the… Read more »


I don't think my comment was out of line, Life is no cakewalk, if this is what the accepted standard for the cost of housing in vancouver then so be it. Currently I make 29 an hour working in a warehouse, and I make a good amount working in a nightclub downtown as a second job. I don't own no property and I don't plan to unless house/condo prices come down or my wage goes up. I find it more affordable to continue living in richmond for 500 a month (split with a roomate) while investing my extra income in my mutual funds so that one day I may be able to afford a house so that my kids so they don't have to go through what I am currently going through right now. Currently I know someone at my… Read more »


"Currently I know someone at my work who works full time at 2 jobs to get what he wants. Everything is achievable if you really work for it."

Yeah there are those that will work their butts off to achieve their goals. I don't fault someone for this. The problem comes when 2 jobs are not available. You want to really work for it but it just is not possible, or it is possible but only at $10/hour and not $25.

It's the old story — either things revert to the average or they don't. It could be that the next generation needs to work 2 jobs to afford property but given how cheap rents are I think more people will opt for a more balanced life, once REAL prices are shown not to increase at 5%+/year forever.


if this is what the accepted standard for the cost of housing in vancouver then so be it

"Accepted standard"? You think prices are determined by social attitudes or something?

Did the the "accepted standard" for house prices in Vancouver fall 45% from 1981 to 1984? Everyone seemed to think that the high prices were here to stay. Or maybe it had something to do with supply outrunning demand due to prices not being supported by rents and incomes? You think?

Or like, say, in the entire US of A over the last two years? The whole country, execept a few academics and Internet cranks, had "accepted" that prices would never go down.

God this stuff is getting lame.


And who is to say if prices will drop that much to a much more reasonable rate? I'm not denying there is speculation, but people still need a place to live, for now. And as long as the economy stays stable there will always be people here to rent. And if it has to revert to working for 8 dollars an hour again like it did in those times, maybe people in the rental units will have to cut down their spending and not buy the beamers.

Sadly emigration has been getting higher ever since the announcment olympics. I'm really curious to know how many of them are in my age group (early 20's)


And who is to say if prices will drop that much to a much more reasonable rate? The invisible hand, that's who. Assets are only worth anything because of the income they generate. In the case of housing, that's the market rent. Landlords are not going to buy or hold properties long term that they are losing money on, any more than people held on to dot-com stocks that weren't earning money. And it is the landlords who determine market pricing, because they are the most rational buyers. That's really all there is to it. It seems that most people still don't get that there is a necessary relationship between house prices and rents, just as there is a necessary relationship between bond prices and interest rates. The only difference is that the latter adjusts instantaneously, while the former adjusts… Read more »


Understandable . Yes but you gotta remember that not everyone in vancouver is paying mortgages right now, and not everyone is moving out, and alot of people renting are renting from people who have owned their house for 25 years. My rent right now is 700 for a 2 bedroom in richmond.

Tony Danza

satv if you can make $50 an hour as a longshoreman why are you working in a warehouse for $25?

FWIW I have yet to meet a single longshoreman (or transit operator, warehouse employee, etc…) after living on the west side for over 15 years.

Thanks for helping me break my new year's resolution of not arguing with the inept.


Longshoreman like to live on the east side because it's close to the hiring hall. You have to pass fairly stringent physical tests to get on the list and don't make much to start, but can be doing pretty well after a few years.

I was told this by someone who gave up being a carpenter after he got on the list at the hall. He made up for not working full-time at first by doing the odd carpentry and handyman jobs while waiting for a call.

Oh yes, and granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are not high on their list of priorities when they're looking for a place to live so Yaletown condos are not big with this crowd.


Thumb/satv/krrish/greatestfool I think everyone figured out that the anon post was you, your style is unmistakeable. Let me see if I can paraphrase your thesis; "Prices are out of line with fundamentals so we must adjust the fundamentals to fit the prices." Does that essentially summarize what you're saying here? Sorry to say the Canadian and World fundamentals don't support a 3x average wage increase for people in Vancouver. I suppose you could change the Canadian and World fundamentals, but you'd have to pretty much murder a billion or so people in other cities who are competing with Vancouver workers for the same segment of the economy. Nukes wouldn't do it because you'd have to be selective, kill too many and demand will dry up. Short of that your 'plan' (I only call it a plan because I can't think… Read more »

Tony Danza


satv, I am friends with three city engineers and they do not make $27 an hour. Based on the hours they work and their salary it works out to more like $23 an hour.

As for the rest of your numbers I'd say BS just like everything else that comes out of your mouth. Maybe you should see a Dr about that, doesn't sounds too healthy… all that sh*t spewing from your breathing hole.


Solipsist,Tony that was me forgot to login…..


TONY, Take off your suit and tie- LONGSHOREMAN $50 an hour,CITYWORKERS $27,BUSDRIVERS $29 an hour,WAREHOUSEWORKERS $25 an hour.You don't know? WCB law has changed for warehouse workers and Government laws has changed for bus drivers want to know why?Because all of them are brand new millionaire,Now you can not spit on bus driver -and warehouse workers can refuse any unsafe work any time.I think most of properties in downtown area are owned by LONGSHOREMAN'S. SOLIPSIST, Congratulatoins that you have added lil solipsist in your family,Otherside Drachen is on strike waiting for crash;….either he is going to be a father or he won't. CBC:There was nothing in the video which we did not disscuss in the past,what we got here is a visual proof that we were right as usual. Comment by Andreas How long were we saying that the market… Read more »


The price will come down for sure. And NO, it will not plateau off. Vancouver is too over price. The current support for the over price is the speculation of gains. Once the expected gains is less than 10%, people will start selling their R/E, which will drive down price. There is absolutely no reason to hold on a property with negative cash flow if the gains are expected to be less than 10%. It just don't make sense. Buying for speculation with expected gain less than 10% doesn't make any sense either. Prices will come down.


maybe we should be asking for wage increases?

That's a swell idea. Ever hear of unions? That's what they're for.

But the bad news is, even if you have a union, your employer won't pay you a wage that's beyond his point of profitability. If you can't afford a house on that, tough.

And the public sector isn't budging on wages, either, as everyone ought to know from recent events.

So what happens when wages can't go up, and prices are too high for people to afford? They come down, that's what.


But the bad news is, even if you have a union, your employer won’t pay you a wage that’s beyond his point of profitability.

Oh, he may have to because wages are set by supply and demand. Thus he will may have to pay wages above his point of profitability. Until he goes bankrupt that is.


As much as I want a giant earthquake to hit vancouver and destroy the market here, Our wages are pretty good right now. For unskilled labour (not construction) I get paid 29 an hour. The question is right now how many buildings are being built? How many people planned to buy them then sell them once they were built. Many questions not enough answers. Also people are paying the ridiculous rents (2200 for a 2 br place thats unfirnished out of downtown!?!?)

How long were we saying that the market was going to burst? Maybe we should accept for once that this is what prices are going to be like and maybe we should be asking for wage increases? This city is just eatting its young anyways.

Tony Danza

Who pays $29 an hour for unskilled non construction labour? Most of my acquaintances are engineers or programmers with 5+ years experience and would kill to make $29 an hour in Vancouver. Sounds like BS to me.


House cleaners average $25 an hour and a lot of them are self-employed. Dog walkers can make up to $50 an hour. Not sure if I'd consider either unskilled though as they're better at what they do than I would be.


I do know a maid that recieves about that, however the point Andreas makes fails completely unless he can say most unskilled labor makes $29.00/hr. So basically there is nothing in the statement other than asking for outlandish wages which would drive up inflation which would cause prices to effect ability to pay rent or buy real estate. This too would drive prices lower for housing. It's gonna be a one way street DOWNHILL for real-estate!


The other thing people forget is that even if a maid/doogwalker/trainer/whatever makes $x / hour, there's no guarantee how many hours a week they'll work.

Banks and brokers don't like to give out mortgages to these people for that very reason….


Housing starts taper off and interest rates might go down.

Patiently Waiting

Last year, I predicted the new condos near Douglas College would become student housing.

How many students can you fit into a two bedroom condo?


In order for students to afford $1525, you'd have to squeeze at least four in there.

Animal House New West-style? That oughta help property values.


"I hardly think there are a bunch of wolves in the bushes waiting to get the innocent condo buyer."

certainly not the impression one gets after watching that show.


Well it was interesting but no suprises. Most of those lining up to buy are suckers, the good units are pre-sold,your buying nothing on a contract. Display show suites and the people that work there all of them are basically scam artists. Amazes me it does!

waiting for pie

There's something off about that link, this one should work:

Watch The Show


Hi everybody. The Marketplace piece is up on the CBC website at cbc.ca/marketplace

It focuses mostly on the sales contracts that protect developers at the expense of the people buying units.


Actually not a bad piece. They only really skimmed the surface of issues with presales.

– Showrooms that are much larger than the stated dimensions

– Weasel words in contracts, like "secure parking"

– Salespeople that appear to "help" you understand the contract

– Exit clauses ad nauseum

– and on and on

There are tons more to watch out for. Is there any information online that explicitly lists the tricks done in presales? Almost worthy of a separate post.