Friday Free-for-all!

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for the Free-for-all, our open topic discussion and news round-up post.  Here are a few stories I’ve noticed lately to kick off the conversation:

Olympic Village may cost Vancouver taxpayers $875 Million
Property assesments basically unchanged from last year
Property tax inequality?
Banks: ‘business as usual’ as economy slides into recession
Vancouver-based Teck-Cominco cuts 1400 jobs
Central bank to ‘stress test’ for risk
Canadian pension plan solvency at record lows
US pending home sales plunge to record lows
Manhattan luxury housing feels the pinch
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So what are you seeing out there? Post your thoughts, links 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 into your comment will automatically create a clickable hot-link.

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[…] Comment on Friday Free-for-all! by NO -LYMPICS […]


UBC economist: the Olympic Village may cost less than the city is claiming Dave White | Monday, January 12th, 2009 9:20 pm VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The costs of the Olympic Village seem to keep going up, but one economist says Vancouverites won't end up being hit too hard. One billion dollars is the latest figure released by the City of Vancouver for the Athletes’ Village. Dr. Tsur Somerville is a UBC economist who says our credit rating may be damaged in the short term, but it's nothing we can't recover from. "Clearly they're going to say the City's financial position is worse, and that it's likely to affect the credit rating but not in a severe way." Somerville says after retrieving most of the revenue dumped into the project from housing sales, the village should only end up costing Vancouverites… Read more »


Dan in Calgary: You're an idiot.


NO -LYMPICS: Blame your architect and Gov’t, everybody in between is generally following orders according to the plan in front of them.



So you were in on it, too, eh?


Ah Supraboy, I love your comments. I really do. I don't think you're a RE troll or a racist. I just think you're a very young guy (let me guess, between 20 and 25) who spent most of his life in Richmond, except for the odd vacation here and there. If you replace "Chinese" with "tech worker" and "RE" with "Nortel" you'd be in Toronto in 2000. I can't tell you how many people I knew who said quite firmly they "would never sell for less then they bought". Well, they didn't. They discovered they were never millionaire, they were just told they were millionaires. The Asians you know aren't rich, either. And they'll still have their cash in the bank, so they probably won't be homeless. But they sure as hell won't be "millionaires" either. I suspect Richmond shops… Read more »


Dan in Calgary Agree with what you say…people , "in theory " are or should responsible for what they do. However, "Buyer Beware" is usually what the Judge will say after you have taken the net and swept everybody onto court. The seller of new product has the upper hand via the legal documents, numbered companies etc. Most buyers are stretched -thin " One – Ofs " Older product…Buyer Beware is no different than a used car… most warranties no longer apply = "As -Is Where -Is " . "Buyer Beware" creates finality…which is necessary in the Big Picture. However, the Buyer is not forced to buy. The flaw lies in the Buyers lack of awareness , lack of due – diligence, and little if any knowledge of the product they are buying. The point of no return is when… Read more »

Dan in Calgary

Anonymous at 1:55 am, Regarding "Buyer beware", this has always been and remains a silly comment, commonly made by people who believe themselves to be wise in the ways of the world.

People are responsiblie for what they do, whether it be buyer, seller, inspector, builder, contractor, architect, plumber or blog poster.

"Buyer beware" has a tendency to put an admittedly practical but nevertheless morally incorrect burden on the buyer. So spare us your juvenile worldly wisdom.


247 Anonymous Says: January 12th, 2009 at 1:55 am NO -LYMPICS: realpaul: p.s. People who bought the leaky condos did get them inspected and the home inspectors gave many the thumbs up. =============================================== re Home Inspection… Any Home Inspector (and please note they all come from diiferent backgrounds and core expertise ) can only identify blatant "non latent" defects. They can't run around with hammer and do destructive testing ie Gee I thin their may be rot behind the wall lest opa hole and find out. They can check many other systems in the house…but things behind walls are a very difficult if not impossible to detect. The best they can do is an educated guess, though one home inspector was on TV several weeks ago using an InfraRed device (non intrusive )and was able to reveal water migration etc… Read more »


arit: Good excuse, Arit. One reason.


NO -LYMPICS: realpaul: p.s. People who bought the leaky condos did get them inspected and the home inspectors gave many the thumbs up.

I think your trying hard to rationalize your unethical behavior, but it's not going to work. It just makes you appear more and more avoidant of taking responsibility in the fiasco. Someday you will have to face what you did head on. Sorry about that.

Have you ever bought a car which someone knowingly made the brakes faulty on (and the mechanic who inspected it was in on the game) and then sold it to you and laughed at you behind your back?

Buyer beware.



"I take it that you not only got burned in the leaky condo mess but then expected to make it up on appreciaition but now find the market crushing your dreams yet again. Life’s a beach senor."

How wrong you are. I am not your sandwich meat. I just can't understand how you could have knowingly been involved in building leaky condos and yet seem to be so proud of yourself and blame everyone else for the fiasco but your kind. To me it doesn't compute. But keep it coming. Having someone with your mentality on the blog is very educational for the rest of us who are basically honest people who care about the underdog, or "sandwich meat"as you call us. Very informative. Maybe Arit is used to people like you so he thinks it is fine.


Supraboy: Trolling mixed with race-baiting? How original.



Rich asians will prop up the market! Thank god, because otherwise it's tanking like the Titanic when it went vertical.



I really don't have any remedy for you. I suggest that you can buy a million dollar home ASAP, otherwise you'll miss the boat … to a la la land.

Wish you the best!


I see a lot of articles saying "price drop on real estate". Etc…well, just like sports, stats are for losers. The problem with this city is that the Asians don't care because they won't sell lower than the price they bought it for. Their mentality is "if I can cover my mortgage, why should I sell? I'll hold on until it goes higher, which it will."

You people keep on bashing real estate but whenever I talk to a Chinese person in Richmond, they're saying, "yeah, go listen to the media, who's selling below their buy price? I certainly won't." Asians ARE different from North Americans, they have a lot of savings while North Americans tend to use a lot of leverage.


"alexcanuck Says:

January 11th, 2009 at 7:38 am

Supraboy 166:

Prices ARE coming down, even the realtors can’t deny it any more. But hey, don’t let mere facts get in the way of your beliefs. Do you get great comfort from your faith? "

Pick up a Chinese Real Estate paper recently?

There's been more million dollar homes now than there are a few years ago. So prices skyrocketed from 6 figures to 7 figures. Let's say from 600,000 to 1.5 million now. Take off 20% and it's still over a million, how's that?


realpaul: Mmm, yeah, window walls. The cheap version of curtain walls, but don't expect to even be told which system is being used during a pre-sale. Ask any sort of question beyond "who do I make the cheque out to" and get ignored or redirected to the stainless appliances and granite counter tops. Sigh.

Yes, I've been through a few downtown presentation centres in my day, but just to kick the tires. I would never buy something where you are so guaranteed to not be told anything useful, especially at the prices they were asking.

Patiently Waiting

realpaul (and anyone else who wishes to answer),

Are there any good, affordable condos in the Vancouver area? I know there are some nice, expensive condos downtown. I mean, is there anything worth buying for a typical first-time buyer.

Also, how do the condos built today compare to those of the 80s and 90s. Is it true they are even worse? Are there any good builders building decent, affordable condos right now?


macchiato: Sorry, I didn't intend to aim any negativity toward you. After all, MrBear is a positive bear. I'm just starting to kind of laugh at all the things that are falling around us these days. Nervous chuckles are getting the best of me, even though I've prepared for this meltdown as best I could.

I'm very interested to see your scoop hit the fan. To me, it is looking like the tremors are getting bigger. Maybe we're going to see a faster overall market capitulation than I've been expecting.


Other thing Re Leaky condos:


If the building envelope has overdosed with Caulking in transition areas…ie where there are joints or 2 diffent materials meet …..RUN.

Overuse (or any use) of Caulking on the building envelope is one of the biggest and dumbest mistakes they ever allowed.

Even the best caulking will shrink , dry and loosen over time, leaving the area it attempts to seal exposed to water infiltraion ,and thus leading to rot.


Post 233

Please translate.

BTW: Property value are not frozen.

If they were, I choose 1955 prices in 2009.


even concrete towers leak

Repairs have also been done at the 26-storey Parkview Tower on 289 Drake St., another Concord Pacific development.

All the windows on the 14-year-old tower were replaced because they leaked, said Alan Cadwell, whose Langley-based company, The Condo Advocate, repaired Parkview Tower.

Cadwell's company specializes in restoration management for leaky condos in B.C.

"With one good push, the window wall system, in theory, could be kicked out and could be travelling to the floor," Cadwell said of the condition of the windows.

The cost of the repairs for Parkview Tower amounted to more than $8 million, he said.


more big real estate problems ahead


NO -LYMPICS: That's what we are talking about,Assessment Values are up beyond 2007 and beyond july,2008 however properties values are frozen upto 2007 by Government,Supraboy's point is that when ever Government will release it's lock those value are already exploded.Anyway all home owners knew the value beyond 2007 and beyond july,2008 that's why whoever going to bring their listing for sale,listing prices could have been dealt in Advance.