Monday Misc: Starts, Polls, Taxes & More!

Here’s an odd jumble of news from today’s Vancouver Sun.  It looks like housing starts did a suprise rebound in May with more than expected increases in single family and multiple dwelling sectors.  The biggest jump was a 22% increase in Ontario, the smallest was actually the opposite of an increase.. A whaddyacallit? Oh yeah, a decreaseBC housing starts dropped 5% and are now near record lows.  Are developers seeing tough times ahead, or have they over-reacted and are we going to run out of condos?

Meanwhile Vancouver has been named ‘the most livable city‘ by the Economist Intelligence Unit when it comes to the combination of health care, stability, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.  According to the poll, the main problem Vancouver faces is “petty crime and the availability of good-quality housing.”

Here’s someone who might disagree with that assesment and add ‘taxes’ to the list.  A BC realtor has been extradited from Mexico and charged with tax evasion after he filed claims of ‘no income’ for 2001 to 2004.  His argument to the court?  He claims his activities as a real estate agent were not taxable since they were conducted in his own capacity as a “natural person”.

Meanwhile, you better enjoy those stories of celebrity foreclosures while you can, because the OECD has just declared that the downturn has hit bottom in Canada.  Guess it’s a good thing we’ve got that big jump in National housing starts huh?

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Ulsterman
11 years ago

I agree with most here – who cares how many museums, art galleries or outdoor patios there are if you have no chance of buying a single family home even in a burb like Burnaby. When you eventually have a family it's a bit of space and a garden for your kids to play in that really start to impact your quality of life. The weightings on EIU's rankings are out of whack.

No Longer Looking
No Longer Looking
11 years ago

Someone even wrote a song about how ugly Vancouver is:

http://tinyurl.com/nqsf5y

No Longer Looking
No Longer Looking
11 years ago

Patriotz,

Its not just the monster houses. I find that Vancouver houses are either too plain or too busy. We can't seem to get it just right. Its like Vancouver has no sense of style.

patriotz
11 years ago

DualCitizenship:

I lived in both Seattle and Vancouver, and frankly, Seattle’s an ugly city.

Have you taken a drive down Kingsway lately?

As for residential areas, Seattle wins hands down. No infestations of ugly monster houses. And needless to say way more affordable too.

I will concede that downtown Vancouver looks better, but BFD.

dboy
dboy
11 years ago

K-Money:

Where are your figures – i'd like to see them.

Just_Spiffy
Just_Spiffy
11 years ago

"DualCitizenship Says:

June 10th, 2009 at 11:34 am

I lived in both Seattle and Vancouver, and frankly, Seattle’s an ugly city."

Ahhh but what about West Seattle or Waterfront Kirkland or Mercer Island or Bellevue. All gorgeous IMO.

No Longer Looking
No Longer Looking
11 years ago

I asked my landlord why he's spending so much time working on his rental properties. His other business (in financial services) is slow. So slow he's taking the summer off. Me, I get new bushes, pretty flowers and a repaired walkway. As for my rent, no increase this year after a whole 1% increase last year.

Problem is my great deal may not seem so great next year. At some point, I'll start negotiating or just find an even better deal. Thank you, all you real estate fanatics, for going into crushing debt so I can continue to have affordable rent. 🙂

No Longer Looking
No Longer Looking
11 years ago

The Vancouver vacancy seems to have at least tripled what it was only a few months ago, and now stands at 1.9%. As others have mentioned previously, the CHMC figures are only for rental buildings (mainly older, purpose-built), and don't reflect individually rented condos and basement suites. The real rate is much higher, but what's interesting here is the trend.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2

DualCitizenship
DualCitizenship
11 years ago

I lived in both Seattle and Vancouver, and frankly, Seattle's an ugly city.

rubberduckie
rubberduckie
11 years ago

I think one factor in rent vs. own is the individual's taxation rate.

A person might prefer to own their home and make small % tax-free in the form of rental savings, versus renting a place and making a larger % off their investment bucks, but losing a chunk of it at their marginal income tax rate.

We are not all the same. High-income earners get more benefit from owning the same property as low-income earners would get. If both put their rental savings into RRSPs, the high-income earner will get a larger tax refund.

Vansanity
Vansanity
11 years ago

"Disbarred Vancouver lawyer gets seven years in massive mortgage fraud

Martin Wirick has been sentenced to seven years of jail time after pleading guilty to an almost $40 million mortgage fraud, involving 107 real estate clients."

Mark
Mark
11 years ago

"Sure it is, for the EIU’s target audience – expense-account business executives. That’s the whole point – their evaluation of amenities is without regard to affordability. If I were making a couple hundred grand and living in West Van I’d be loving it too. Amenities mean nothing if you cannot afford them. The sad fact is that for middle-class families, Vancouver is one of the least livable cities in Canada. It’s only attractive for singles with good incomes or upper-income families." This was essentially my point yesterday. Studies like this are leaning towards a certain demographic or income level. Don't get me wrong, I love Vancouver, and have lived in 6 different cities along the way, but it definitely is NOT an affordable place for most people, and that factor alone should be #1 when it comes to top places… Read more »

jesse
11 years ago

realpaul: "Canada is priced like a third world country for those executives who can relocate here and live cheap cheap cheap!"

Why would a company relocate an executive to Vancouver? To be closer to the action? How many corporate executives concentrating on mountains and trees are there?

Denialisrampant
Denialisrampant
11 years ago

Boy, the deniers just can't catch a break today. The macro-fundamentals and micro indicators continue to deteriorate both in the depressed housing market and the overall economy. Jeez, I read yesterday that sales are off AGAIN even in Hawaii 50% MOM. Kerflush!!!!!! Isn't that the acid test of financial health?

OTTAWA — New home prices fell more than expected in April, led by declines in major centres in Western Canada

http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=168142

OTTAWA — Canada posted an unexpected trade deficit of $179-million in April as prices and volumes both fell, Statistics Canada said Wednesday, as the economic downturn cut into demand.

Economists had expected a trade surplus of around $1-billion during the month.

http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=168139

realpaul
realpaul
11 years ago

patriotz:

#41 P, excellent point, Coming to Slime-couver is a big fat bonus if you are being paid in Euro's, Pounds, or US Dollar denominiated currency like PRC Yuan or HK dlollars. Canada is priced like a third world country for those executives who can relocate here and live cheap cheap cheap!

Imagine coming over from Europe and finding everything costs half price. Wonderful. Canadas wages, standard of living and currency are a standing joke world wide. We live in national poverty while 'tourists' get a marginally upgraded Mexican experiance. We should be so proud of ourselves.

jesse
11 years ago

"Sure it is, for the EIU’s target audience – expense-account business executives."

LOL that's a good one. More like expense-account business executive wannabes.

I'm wringing my hands waiting for all those corporate head offices to move to Vancouver after reading that EIU report.

ella
ella
11 years ago

Patriotz has got it right.

I'm not sure if some of you were actually suggesting that anyone in BC (VANOC included) actually has the power to get the Economist to rank Vancouver as #1, but if so that is silly.

Yes, we all know that media outlets have biases, but you have to figure out a reasonable bias and work from there rather than concocting a random paranoid response.

I wouldn't rank Vancouver as #1 myself. I would rank Paris higher than Vancouver. Yet I just met some recent transplants from Paris who find that Vancouver is a much better climate for opening a new small business (in their particular field).

Whatever, it doesn't change the fact that house prices are out of line with rent and developers have corrupted local government and our city planing is short-term at best.

patriotz
11 years ago

Meanwhile Vancouver has been named ‘the most livable city‘ by the Economist Intelligence Unit when it comes to the combination of health care, stability, culture and environment, education and infrastructure

Sure it is, for the EIU's target audience – expense-account business executives. That's the whole point – their evaluation of amenities is without regard to affordability. If I were making a couple hundred grand and living in West Van I'd be loving it too.

Amenities mean nothing if you cannot afford them. The sad fact is that for middle-class families, Vancouver is one of the least livable cities in Canada. It's only attractive for singles with good incomes or upper-income families.

Satve
Satve
11 years ago

When people defend the “renting is throwing away money” myth, there are a couple of supporting myths they cite in support of it. First is the related claim that by buying a house your costs go down over time as you pay down the principal on the mortgage. This is wrong. It doesn’t account for opportunity costs. Remember that if you were making alternative investments then you’d be raking in enough money in interest to cover most of your rent by the time your home-buying alternate self paid their mortgage off. More generally, the term of your mortgage (or whether you need one at all) doesn’t much factor in to the buy vs rent decision. You can compare renting vs buying as if you’re getting a zero-amortization mortgage. I.e., assume you’ll be paying only interest and never touching the principal… Read more »

VanBanker
VanBanker
11 years ago

People, let's not get distracted by these crazy pro/con Vancouver debates. The topic of this site is Vancouver housing prices.

So… speaking to a large single-family home developer today, I was told they've seen a drop off in traffic in the last two weeks.

On another note, just talking to people around the office today about the rise in rates at TD, several people looked freaked out who are looking to re-finance or sell their current place for something else.

Although these observations are anecdotal, I'd certainly say that a weakening of demand combined with rising rates could have some interesting results over the coming months.

BBY
BBY
11 years ago

By Gordo "canceling his Economist subscription" I really meant "revoking VIP press passes for the Olympics". The Economist press gang are now back in the VIP seating for the the 2010 Games, thanks to their Livable Vangroovy article. We're #1!

realpaul
realpaul
11 years ago

enuf said:

#36, Exactly how the magazine buisness works. You get the gold star. I mentioned in an earlier string how dummied up ' research services','think tanks' and 'policy groups' often consist of two guys in a basement selling stories to publishers. Nobody fact-checks this crap 99.9999% of time. it's freaking amazing how many people think that whatever they read in the paper must be gospel. It's editors cobbling stories together.

Sucker born every minute said Barnum.

enuf said
enuf said
11 years ago

Vanbanker 24: That study was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in London, England. They ranked Canadian and Australian near the top, so I think you’re all over-reacting a bit about the “hidden agendas” etc. Ha ha. UK elected 2 politicians in who say no more immigrants and muslim in their country. EIU's poll will steer the unwanted hopefully to Australia and Canada where they are welcome. BBY, this sort of studies and awards are biased and manipulative. My friend, a journalist, writes good review for restaurants in return for vouchers, dinner for 10, and even cash. Once she was flown first class to another city plus deluxe hotel accommodation, and generous expense allowances, to write on the opening ceremony of an entertainment complex. What do you expect her to write, that the new complex was a cheap 3rd rate… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

Vancouver has been named ‘the most livable city‘ by the Economist Intelligence Unit – brought to you by VANOC

oneangryslav
oneangryslav
11 years ago

That makes sense 😉