Friday Free-for-all!

It’s Friday again and that means its time for another open topic friday free-for-all post.  Here are a few stories from the week:

-Merrill Lynch: Vancouver houses 35% overvalued
-Van west median house sales price drops $298,500 since Feb
Building permits take a plunge in BC
-BC economy losing some zip
-Revisiting the great Canadian housing myth
-Expensive? Just split the house down the middle
Floating condos, just like Florida
-Want to talk about your money & retirement?
US Stimulus effect fades quickly

So what are you seeing out there?  Is it a good time to buy or sell?  Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

note: any conversation on Vancouver, real estate or economics is allowed, please keep it civilized. When posting articles please only quote pertinent points and link to the original instead of pasting the entire article here. Pasting a link will automatically create a clickable hot-link. Thanks!

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That story about the woman in Oakland losing her house is a little sad but very instructive. She took a house bought in 1954 which probably was probably paid off over 30 years ago and ran up over $400,000 in debt against it. That's hard to do. In fact, I wish the reporter had dug a little beyond saying the woman doesn't know where the money went. Was she living completely off debt while she stayed home taking care of her parents? What did she think would happen? As much as it sucks for someone to lose their house, I have little sympathy for people who live that far beyond their means. It's simple mathematics–eventually the books get balanced. However much money you are going to earn in your life is how much you can spend. If you spend more… Read more »


pinocchio123 – I totally agree with you.

I have been thinking about this whole phenomenon of people buying real estate as an investment only. I think the dot com bust is where it started. Investors were left without any confidence in the stock market. People became scared and looked for other investments. Real estate being a tangible one makes sense for the fearful for somewhere to park their money. When the bust happened affordability was not an issue with real estate.

Now we're at the start of another bust for a number of reasons, mainly saturation of the market and lemming mentality catching up with all the sellers etc. Will the tables reverse from real estate back to stocks? I think it will be something to watch out for.


Last night I was walking my dog and I overheard three or four people outside the recently finished condo complex (acacia gardens) expressing their disappointment about another complex across the street just being completed (cadence) They were concerned with the fact that their properties will now lose value, as potential buyers will have more choice and there will be comparing their units to the new ones just completed. Which according to them are nicer and newer and better deal – how unfair. What I find most striking about it is that they were talking about their homes as merchandise… stuff for sale. Not something you buy to live in but merely to re-sell at later date with a presumably guaranteed profit. How can you build strong communities and neighborhoods this way if all you get is sellers competing against sellers… Read more »


Why is it a surprise that a more global culture takes hold in young people?

Who expressed surprise?

Nobody is being indoctrinated by anything.

What a relief. Thanks for clearing that up.

Global culture is produced everywhere, not just in the US.

Hegemony. It ain't just a river in Egypt.

Patiently Waiting

From what I've seen over the last year, some of the last buyers are young immigrant families. I wonder how they will react once they realize they bought at the peak?


Limey I think much of what you're noticing in the recent personality change here has a lot more to do with bubble mentality than any particular shift in the local culture or psychology. I noticed the same phenomenon at the end of the tech bubble, everyone who was deeply involved could not stop talking about how they'd made the smartest financial move of all time. I think it's largely due to fear. Deep down these people know it's too good to be true but they so badly want it to be true they talk themselves into believing. Then, to confirm to themselves that they're being rational they tell their rationalizations to other people, in a bubble so pervasive as this one that talk often gets magnified because it's often exactly what the other party wants to hear and they repeat… Read more »


Housing Starts and Prices show more signs of housing market "cooling off"

I love the terms that MSM uses: correction, soft landing, cooling off. When the market was going up I heard a lot of: Hot hot hot, robust, skyrocketing, break neck…etc.


The loss of culture is not primarily due to multiculturalism, as a previous poster suggests (though those effects are still felt), but because people, particularly young people, are more influenced and indoctrinated by mass culture (i.e. American culture) than anything local, geographic, ethnic, national. The reason that culture and language grew to be unique in the first place was isolation and the lack of communication between communities. In the last century, communication barriers have been rapidly dissolving. Why is it a surprise that a more global culture takes hold in young people? If anything it should be expected. In no way is culture stagnant. Culture has been dynamic throughout the history on mankind. Trying to force a culture onto anybody is an exercise in futility. Nobody is being indoctrinated by anything. Global culture is produced everywhere, not just in the… Read more »


Hey Limey,

Care to comment on this article.

"We are the international finance and business capital of the world, the world's greatest global financial center, without question," the mayor (of London) told the assembled crowd.

But in general I would agree that european arrogance tends to be a little more subtle.


People in Europe tend not to ‘big-up’ their city, as it makes them sound like an American. Everytime I visit Vancouver, which is every other year, it’s seems to be loosing it’s Canadian identity. Absolutely, and no offense taken (perhaps by the wankers, but not most here). The loss of culture is not primarily due to multiculturalism, as a previous poster suggests (though those effects are still felt), but because people, particularly young people, are more influenced and indoctrinated by mass culture (i.e. American culture) than anything local, geographic, ethnic, national. The recent Canadian proclivity for uncritical boosterism of anything remotely 'Canadian' in nature or manufacture may appear eminently patriotic and a sign of our national coming of age. Unfortunately, however, it merely indicates that we have accepted the flawed American model of patriotism and are slavishly aping American behaviour.… Read more »


Was driving the wife to work this morning listening to News 1130. They had a Mortgage Broker on to answer the question if the U.S. Mortgage meltdownwas going to head our way. One of his arguements for way it was not: "…some places in the U.S. have declined by up to 50%, meanwhile our real estate has only gone down by 1-2%…."



They should let in more muslims, mexicans and east indians in and fewer from China. How about one million of each per year for 5 years. We need to be openminded.

To stike a balance. Like a big big happy family. 🙂

And then we can have another big boom boom.


I think you missed the whole point of "multiculturalism". The idea is that there is no Canadian identity anymore. There's a thousand solitudes. It's only going to get weirder. Should be interesting to see how this goes when the muslim population reaches a recognizable level. What a clash of cultures that will be. Should be fun.


I've just re-read my post, and I mean no offence to Vancouver or you guys. I think it's a great city with great people – but people who say it's the greatest city on earth sound like wankers with not enough stamps in their passport (and no, Cancun does not count) People in Europe tend not to 'big-up' their city, as it makes them sound like an American. Everytime I visit Vancouver, which is every other year, it's seems to be loosing it's Canadian identity. This is a little hard to tangibly explain, and it's more just a feeling I get when I wonder around, but when I first visited Van around 10 years ago it had an identity. Something that felt different – now it seems to be caught up in the homogenous tide of north American cities. This… Read more »


Gotta agree with Limey.

Summer olympics are held in places like Beijing, London, Sydney, Sydney and LA.

Winter olympics are held in remote whislestops like Lillehammer, Grenoble, and Albertville.


'Goodbye, house'

bought the two-bedroom in the Sobrante Park neighborhood in 1954 for $11,500…………


The final refinance at the end of 2006 left the family owing $454,000. The monthly payments of $3,362 exceeded the household income of $3,144.


I was born and raised outside of Canada, so I do have a bit of an outsiders perspective on some of the arguments here. Let me clear one thing up for anyone who's not lived outside of North America.

The Olympics to the rest of the world means the summer Olympics (worldwide attention, on every channel on TV, everyone talks about it at work).

What Vancouverites call the Olympics is called the winter Olympics (mentioned briefly at the end of a sports show, a vague interest in the downhill skiing to see if anyone falls and breaks their neck).

The difference between the two would be like comparing a Stones concert circa 1967, to a Nickleback concert circa 2001. It may mean a lot to you, but no one else really gives a toss.


"The available capital cost of all proposed projects listed in the MPI is estimated at approximately $91.2 billion, up from $75.2 billion last quarter."

Yes there are lots of capital projects. The problem is, for Vancouver, is that they are moving to other parts of the province as the Olympic backlog clears and the other projects put on hold in other regions are queued up. Either construction workers are going to need to migrate or find 2 places to rent — one in Vancouver, the other where the jobs are.

There may not be a province wide construction bust but Vancouver will see a marked decrease in construction spending come 2009.


Re: olympics, economic prosperity, China

London Times:

choice quotes:

"Asking prices for flats around the “Bird’s Nest” national stadium, scene of the Olympics opening ceremony, are said to be down 20%."

"In Hong Kong, a manufacturers’ group has warned trade leaders that 20,000 factories in southern China — mostly makers of cheap toys and sweatshops turning out plastic junk — will shut up shop by the end of this year."


" Vancouver houses 35% overvalued "

I think this number is under estimated. Considering the small amount that people earn here and housing prices, I would say they should be less than 1/2 of current prices.

I think more are questioning Vancouvers "grandness".

Also watch out for the Olympic price tag..I dont think I want to pay it. Honestly,how many really give a hoot if someone can run so and so fast? The rest is hype. Think about it: the power of suggestion. Housing market, Olympics. Are you infested with suggestions?



Thanks for the link.

Belle Puri's statement at the end of the newsclip is very clear: buy now and it may be worth less!!!

Go for CBC. Now if Global TV or CTV Vancouver could be just as clear on their reporting.


Pricedoutfornow, thanks for #85

Here it is: "Housing Drops", duration 1 minute, on right side of screen.


Pricedoutfornow, per your #85…thanks!

Here's the link to the video. It's "Housing Drops" in bottom right of the screen, Duration 1 minute.


August price drops could nock our socks off.

The number of price cuts are currently more than double than listings.Think about it….that's phenominal.

Nothing is moving except distress sales.


Bluesman Says:

August 10th, 2008 at 4:43 am

Hey Kids,

Anybody in the market for a real estate website?

That ad maybe the biggest scam ever. They have only 3 incoming links not 912 as they claim and the bulk of the sites traffic is coming from Portugal.