Receivers report for Eden Sophia

The receivers report for the Eden Sophia condo development has just been released. Pre-sales buyers now know how much extra they’re likely going to have to pay for their units. Article from the CBC:

According to the report by the receiver, The Bowra Group, which was filed in the B.C. Supreme Court on March 11, it will cost $9.2 million to complete construction, if and when work on the building resumes.

In order to fund the construction process, it is suggested in the report that the pre-sale price paid by condominium purchasers, from January 2005 to November 2006, be increased to 90 per cent of the current market value of the building units.

Due to soaring real estate prices, the buyers will have to come up with an average of $84,600 more than they originally paid to keep their homes, the report recommends.

The full receivers report in PDF format can be found here.

On a side note, prices may be going up at the Sophia, but ‘Interested Observer’ writes in to say that prices are going down at ‘the Duke’. The following is an excerpt from the email pitch for that project:

I wanted you to be among the first to know that Duke on Dunbar’s prestigious suite #307 has now been reduced to $999,900! This 1,034 square foot two bedroom, two bathroom home includes lavish finishes and features and breathtaking city, ocean and mountain views and a beautiful, private 468 square foot balcony complete with an indoor/outdoor fireplace to ensure enjoyment year round.

This information will hit MLS late this week so I wanted you to have an opportunity to take advantage of this offer first. If you would like to book an appointment or have any questions, please do not hesitate to call.

Prices up, prices down, who can keep track!

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"Why do I have the same feeling as when I watch a chipped windshield crack spread a little every day?"

Man, when will you guys give it up?

First you're talking about trucks kicking up rocks, then you say they're bouncing off the widshield, now there's a crack and it's spreading.

THEY'RE MADE OF GLASS! No way it's gonna break.

I'll go buy one right now and prove it to you.


"Inventory went up by 213. Yesterday it went up by 165." Why do I have the same feeling as when I watch a chipped windshield crack spread a little every day? 🙂

jigga jigga

Another huge listings day at PaulB's. Inventory went up by 213. Yesterday it went up by 165.


Is it securitized and sold off to investors thereby moving the risk from banks to investors?

The banks took on no risk in the first place, because mortgages of over 80% of value (i.e. virtually all new purchases) must be insured by CMHC, i.e. you and me. Nor do the investors take on any risk.

This means that the secondary market will not melt down like in the US. The party will keep going until it is exhausted by sheer physical oversupply.

Thank you Steve and Jim.


This is from today's Sun(I got it on the web). The story has no stated author and only says "special to the sun". If this piece is any indication, industry hype seems to have lost its confidence. There seems to be a tacit acknowledgement that the market has turned. Is this the best that Napthali can do? Not very inspirational work from a spin-miester. Don't expect this message to help fuel a bull run. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential attached, detached and apartment property sales totalled 2,676 in February 2008, a decline of 6.4 per cent from the 2,859 residential sales recorded in February 2007, and a decline of nine per cent compared to the 2, 941 sales in February 2006. New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties rose 26.2 per cent to… Read more »


The Forbes article was in the news last summer.

It's pretty significant that Vancouver is ahead of New York and London and all the "world class" cities where no one knows anything about Vancouver ("it's cold in Canada right?").

Vancouver is probably 5th now because L.A. prices haven't increased and their dollar's dropped since that article was published.


Regarding securitization, I think we are confusing homeowner mortages (CIBC, TD, etc) and the construction loans these guys are getting. I pulled up Bancorp's website and downloaded their financial statements. On construction loans, they returned something like 11.5% to their investors despite having management fees if I read it properly of nearly 12%. You thought Fidelity mutual funds had a high MER… They note that they had one of their properties go into default (Sophia) but all others were paying off nicely. I think we'll continue to see the small guys go under, as they don't have the strength to negotiate good deals with sub-contractors and they have to pay out 20-27% to companies like Bancorp. If you borrow $10mil from them for two years (time to build project) at 20%, you owe them $4million after closing. Insane… I also… Read more »


Oh. I just noticed the date on that article. August last year… thought it was more recent. Apologies.



Well Vancouver is in Forbes top ten overpriced real estate markets, along with Monaco, Madrid, Paris, Rome, LA… see we are world-class!

Here's the write-up & link:

Vancouver, Canada

P/E: 26.81

Vancouver has one of the lowest rental yield rates of any city measured, at 3.19%, despite high prices. Across Canada, despite the same tax system, the effective annualized return rate resulted in a much better P/E of 16.31. Owners need to be aware that such a large spread keeps the rental market strong and the market for sellers more stagnant. The pool of buyers remains relatively small as renters can get the same property at significantly less cost and invest the difference.


Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to forward a hypothesis about why Vancouver's prices went through the roof: A couple of articles in The Economist and the list listing Vancovuer as "the worlds most liveable city" etc. boosted civic pride. Then the Olympics came along and naiive locals *really* believe "we live in the best city on earth!" Developers and realtors alike took advantage of this situation. Developers, fuelled by cheap credit began to frantically develop the city. Rennie was able to market "the Vancouver lifestyle" to naive locals who were already pretty receptive to the message. The developers, marketers and realtors entered into an informal club where they bought X number of units at a price Y below market. To make up for the difference they jacked the price of the remaining units. It became a self fulfilling prophesy. The… Read more »

Joe just Joe

The Lack of progress at Woodwards?? Are you kidding me? The W43 tower is already on the 27th floor, the 32 Storey Abbott tower is up around the 10th floor. The SFU section is almost at full height. The towers are climbing at a floor a week, the industry standard. The project isn't even scheduled to complete until Oct/09. The developer Westbank projects is one of the largest in the industry, think Shangri-la, Fairmont Pacific Rim, Shaw Tower.

Come on people there is enough real bad news out there, no need to make up some.

Tony Danza

Is it securitized and sold off to investors thereby moving the risk from banks to investors?


Burden of Poof

Recently on this blog, there has been some expression of surprise that Canadian banks continue to lend to homebuyers in this market. Someone said, "don't these guys read the news?"

Does any one know what happens to Canadian mortgage debt after the banks lend? Is it securitized and sold off to investors thereby moving the risk from banks to investors? If so, that explains the relentless lending from the big banks. Also, it raises the question, is the market for securitized Canadian mortgage debt not in trouble given what is happening in the USA? I hear a lot of ads on the radio for mortgage backed investments yeilding something like 15%.

Lager not Logger

Uh-oh. Looking deeper into that receivers report it looks like there are some additional issues with their insurer: National was at a point where it was no longer willing to support the project and had recently contemplated de enrolling the developer and cancelling the warrenty coverage. The financial situation of the developer and the fact that it is now in Receivership has brought the situation to a head. National is the company providing Sophia insurance coverage for the home warranty program, which was brought into effect to ward off fears of another leaky condo crisis in Vancouver. The insurer has the right to cancel coverage in the event of a bankruptcy or receivership. They bring up concerns over construction quality: (1) Construction practices There are concerns regarding the building envelope as well as sequencing issues regarding the building envelope. National… Read more »


I too really enjoyed the receiver's report. Again, upwards of 20% on mortgages.

And the lenders didn't exactly read like a who's-who's of Canadian lending institutions.

Have RBC, CIBC, TD all decided that the risks are too high even when they will pay out 20%?


Tony Danza:

SHOCKING, say it isn't so! You mean a luxury condo built in the worst part of town is running into trouble? Who could have seen that coming!

Oh it may be too late but if you have a sarcasm detector installed the previous statement may damage your computer.


Considering the lack of progress on the Woodward's site, you have to wonder if it will ever complete at all. In fact, I'll just come out and say it:

Woodward's will not complete, it will go into receivership, and if, by chance it does, it will be a losing investment for all those who lined up back in 2006 thinking a 500sf box in the DTES could go for $400k.

And housing starts continue to boil.

Lager not Logger

Reading these receivers reports is fascinating in a odd way, I think I've found a new hobby. I can't believe the interest rates they have on their debt, is this normal or is it compensating the lenders for high risk? From the report: ..the Company estimated its liabilities exceeded its assets by approximately $3.6M. In our opinion, the deficit is $7.1M. We understand the following parties hold security on the property as at February 18, 2008: – MCAP – holding a 1st mortgage with interest at 7% pa. Principal and interest outstanding is $19.6M. – Bancorp – holding a 2nd mortgage with interest at 20% pa. Principal and interest outstanding is $4.1M. – B2B Trust – holding a 3rd mortgage with interest at 15% pa. Principal outstanding of $750,000. – Glen Kelsey – holding a 4th mortgage of $135,000 …..… Read more »

Tony Danza

Little OT but not much, I heard through the grapevine from an insider that the W project is running into financial "difficulties".


Awe those poor speculators…


• The report estimates that there were 19 units that were sold at discounts of $60,000 or more below the then estimated current market value, for a total of $1.7M or an average discount of $90,000 a unit

• It is estimated that 14 units sold at price discounts of $75,000 below the then estimated current market value for a total discount of $1.37M or an average discount of $98,000 a unit

Did I miss a coupon in the Real estate weekly?