2008 in the rearview mirror

Well 2008 has come to a close, and if you’re counting on Vancouver real estate as a ticket to riches it hasn’t been the best of years.  But DO NOT FRET, for I have discovered a simple way for investors to feel a little bit better about the direction house prices took in 2008. Do not look directly at a chart or graph of house prices, instead only view them through a rear view mirror:

There! That’s not quite so bad now is it?

(Yes, we used this same trick when comparing the Vancouver BC / Syndey Australia markets.)

Happy New Year Everyone!

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#31 I haven't seen any of them for years. I have been working in another industry ( one which is strictly amongst professionals and doesn't require me to work with the public in any way, which I hate) for twenty years. It seems to me that 'Bill' was an East Indian guy.

Manyee Lui was just another dim sun queen, one of thousands it seemed. Braindead and barely pretty with lots of warpaint.


RealPaul: If you don't mind my asking, What actually happened to the BELA boys? Where are they now ? One of the partners owned a Chinese restaurant,(died years ago) One or two were engineers One was a house builder(who had some experience to get the ball rolling) I remember meeting one of them and he showed me a list of projects. it filled a page. They claimed they were THE biggest SFH builder in Vancouver at the time in the mid to late 1980's, and this occurred in the span of 3-4 years. That is both bizarre and unsustainable. The last time I saw them they were spec building in old Shaughnessy. Their business model was that it was tough for the average millionaire to go throught the hoops to build in Shaughnessy, so they spec built $10 million plus… Read more »


#27 PS: Broadmoor became 'the eye of the dragon' because it was the first area in Richmond that I had chosen and managed to break open and was able to secure a large number of building lots. If I'd been selling houses/building projects to anally fixated persons I would have advertised it as 'the a-hole of the universe'. I made the whole thing up ( The Feng Shui thing) to make a quick buck. Two of the boys at Bela were in some of the JV's under a differant name. I didn't know Feng Shui from my left nut back in those days other than I knew the effect it had on my clients. We all agreed to play it up for the sake of the money. I also made a point of selling my own image by allways showing… Read more »


#27 Bela construction was one of the shells I sold to three families in a JV in 1987. Idiots all. Granny bashers without the wit between them to blow out a candle.

I call these boys " The Dim Sum Queens'. They crashed and burned in lock step with all the other specuvestors ( I love that term) of the time and lost big when the turn came in '92. I went to Fiji. Those were good times.

The pools open, but you're right not be a divin' in.


Nolympics, realpaul,

Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it.




# 26 Fascinating reading…thanks !!! Fills in a lot of blanks…as well as corroborating many other facts (which I concur with). I do recall all those whacky "Feng Shui" ideas such as laying out a given area like a dragon…and the hot areas were certain dragon body parts. Someone once told me Broadmoor was the "eye" of the dragon re: Richmond being layed out as a dragon ….thus it became hot for no other reason. I'm sure the Honk Kong threat from Red China was milked for all it was worth…while the rest of us predicted Red China wouldn't dare interefere with the golden goose Honk Kong was at the time. As you state, it was all scared money…which came over…hence not many so-called "fundamentals" involved. It gave too many a false sense of security, economic or otherwise. Scared money… Read more »


#25 I use a list of specific statistics to generate an aquisition strategy. Burkeville is nice enough, true, but it doesn't meet my crtireria re' school stats, transpo, shopping etc. Everything weighed together either spells success or not to me. Just business analytics not personal at all. If you want to invest in an area the first thing you should think about is your exit strategy. Who is going to buy your home when you finish with it? Theres some merit to the argument " buy the worst house on the best block" within reason of course. When I first looked at Broadmoor for example I had the #3 transpo line, the Richmond Center shopping easily accesssed , and two schools with some of the best graduation stats in the province. There was no China town in Richmond or any… Read more »


Re: Burkeville Meant more as an example of less McMansions, once more affordable and neighbourly via less gentrification.Knew people who bought in there CHEAP , given it was not on the radar screen years ago as people assumed it was old and noisy from the aircraft traffic. Not quite true…more noise in other areas. Sea Island School closed in the late 1970's, but because of the affordability of the area more families moved in and they re-opened the school, all due to the specific demographic changes that the area attracted . ****Historical Footnote: FYI: Burkeville was once company housing for aircraft assembly workers…BOEING was once located on Sea Island…then moved to Washington State, our loss = their gain. ***** Price wise, Burkeville has unfortunately suffered the same bubble froth as other areas once word got out. Still, a nice area… Read more »


PS I meant to say " That is not to say that bubble froth is NOT being wiped off the top of every sub area and it will pay to be attentive to the baseline numbers as this scenario plays out.

Prices of everything in every area are falling!!!!!!


#22 no lympics, the epicenter of any market sub area will be where the best daels will be had as that is the area of highest price volitility. An old maxim is " First and fastest, last and least." The reverse is true in a downturn. The areas which began appreciating first will also depreciate the first and fastest. It is the micro markets in the fringes of the epicentric proximity map that will more or less stabize within a band of more predictable volitility. That is not to say that bubble froth is being wiped off the top of every sub area and it will pay to be attentive to the baseline numbers as this scenario plays out. It is premature to step into the market at this point. I wouldn't consider Burkeville as an investment. Broadmoor I know… Read more »


Arit: You want a "FREE" single family house? Good ! I thought so…. Soon BC Assessment will be sending us our annual property assessments. There is a window (I beleieve in January only ) whereby you can search out comparables or any property on-line..ie punch in addresses and get info that is otherwise avilable on microfiche ONLY for the rest of the year, requiring you to go to City Hall or BC Assessment offices. If you key in on certain areas, you can get a handle on (i) LOT value and (ii)IMPROVEMENTS . Lot value will be the variable..whereas the improvement value won't vary much ,if at all. You will find a lot of "older homes" say 40 + years are depreciating down to numbers like $20,000 in the "IMPROVEMENT" value . These would include bungalows , split – levels… Read more »



Thanks for the heads-up. I'll keep that in mind. The truth is that I do not trust any existing house for the same reasons you mentioned, so it's looking like if we indeed buy, it will be to delete the current house and build our own (yes, bulletproof, mock now yall).




#8 Arit. Those older bungalows can be a trip through renovation hell. Upgrading just the basics can easily set you back $100,000 or more. Occasionally you can find one that has been done over. A rare find indeed. One of my old tactics was to bang on the doors of the cherry props myself before they came to market. There are plenty of innovative strats to get an owner to sell without scaring them into the arms of a real estate leach. It's a process more than an event. The current stats show housing averages off 20% since Oct ( 10% drop in Oct and 10% in Nov with Dec not out yet but it seems repeating), so you are getting closer to your 300K figure. Personally I'd say it's worse but I'll give the douchebags at CREA a bone… Read more »


RBC article parsed for clarity and direction…..

Good afternoon

Home Prices declined fastest rate on record,

depressed mounting foreclosures

slumping sales Index declined 18 percent

more than forecast dropping 17.4 percent September gauge fallen every month January 2007 Economists forecasted fall by 17.9 percent year earlier decrease prices 33 percent drop Phoenix 32 percent decline Las Vegas.Consumer Confidence much weaker than expected falling to 38 from 44.7

record-low reading

starting to sound like satv 🙂


Thought you all might enjoy the following comments being distributed by the Royal Bank today (Dec. 30, 2008)…. Good afternoon from the RBC Capital Markets Real Estate Group in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and New York. Economic Commentary Home Prices in 20 major US cities declined at the fastest rate on record, depressed by mounting foreclosures and slumping sales. The S&P/Case-Shiller Index declined 18 percent in the 12 months to October, more than forecast, after dropping 17.4 percent in September. The gauge has fallen every month since January 2007. Economists had forecasted that the 20-city index would fall by 17.9 percent from a year earlier. The decrease in prices was led by a 33 percent drop in Phoenix and a 32 percent decline in Las Vegas. The Conference Board measure of US Consumer Confidence came in much weaker than expected in… Read more »


Post #16 :


Last paragraph…meant to say " that has migrated NORTH to "


Recently drove by the Fraser Wharves in South Richmond.

This is where they unload a lot of foreign- built cars shipped from overseas, then transfer them onto trains for distribution elsewhere .

The nearby railway tracks were covered in snow for the past several days till yesterday….I guess one train of (???) made a pass .

I saw a large "auto carrier" cargo ship "parked" at the docks….can't tell yet if it is unloading .

The current storage lot is quite full of cars …not much movement of current inventory as evidenced by the snow – covered cars .

Just curious if this will be like the US,….manufacturers forced to find space to store unsold inventory, another US phenomenon that has migrated south to " WE ARE DIFFERENT LAND !!!! "…(aka "insulated" Canada).


REBGV 2009 directive :

Starting in the Spring 2009 RE " buying/selling boom" Season

Real Estate offices must now be located on the ground floor and no RE offices must have a Yaletown /Olympic Village view .

This way when Realtors jump out of windows, less damage/messy, subject to they land on their asses. (However, history has shown landing on their heads may be a break -even game.)


Mentioning Bob Rennie's name , …..they don't make any more land,….. Rich Asians or " BC Real Estate never goes down " subject to 6- month suspension.

PS Many realtors are thanking the REBGV and are considering taking up the offer !


If they try to claim they didn’t see this “crash and burn” mess coming, we know we are dealing with certifiable idiots as well as the traditional liars.

Already pretty much in the books. But not really idiots, they know how the game is played. They, and their buddies, have got their millions out safely, and really don't care much about the misery and devastation they leave behind.


Post # 5 : Good link Well….. to be honest that apocalyptic view must certainly linger in the minds of many of us. If the Western economies ( if not most economies ) have been shown to be built on a fragile bubble foundation over the last 25 – 30 years, that indicates a restless public and a Gov't also bankrupt of ideas, usually adding up to a volatile mix. All Gov'ts have done is throw funds at the biggest bubble leakers,(ie AIG, Big 3, etc.) when this will be more like the death by a thousand(Million) cuts when it " tsunami's " the grassroots. Natural forces will ultimately take over, the "scary" thing is we don't know what many of them are yet. Unless Gov't declares some sort of fiscal amnesty, I don't know what roll or control Gov't… Read more »


Arit, one was "Anon", the other was "Anonymous"…


Uhmmm?…. Is it the same anon?

Chose a nickname guys! it can be Rumpelstiltskin as far as I am concerned, but we cannot maintain a meaningful dialog if anon tells me I am too cheap and anon tells me I am too expensive. Is there an anon saying I am just right?




Arit, don't. 300k is too much for a house with the kind of construction quality we get here. When you factor in maintenance and other costs it still won't pay off at 300k. Wait for it to go below 200k.


To 3 anon:

You may be right. When a single, used, detached, 3bdr 2bath home hits 300K in Richmond we will consider buying. How's that?