Friday Free-for-all!

The end of another work week brings another open topic conversation post here on Vancouver Condo dot Info.  This is when we do our round-up of recent economic and real estate related news.  Here are a few stories I’ve noticed lately:

Snapshots of the BC economy
-RBC: Affordability slowly improving
#1: biggest drop in non-residential construction costs
Summarizing the Bear vs. Bull arguments*
Bear Mountain and the missing money?
BC faces economic challenge with aging population
Carney sees recovery on the horizon
Flaherty sees deeper deficit
Bob Rennie, bearish on everything
US foreclosures near record, should peak in a year

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

*with special mention of VCI Habitués, feel free to comment with élan.
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# 121 Dave

Yes, I think BC probably lost money on the Expo Lands deal.

That said, it may have been a watershed moment that set the tone for what we see today.

Real Estate prices rose dramatically , it kept many BC residents out of the market, or stuck buying leaky condos.

My recollection was that RE was still quite affordable prior to Expo, as we just had an RE correction in the early 1980's

One is left to wonder what might have been if Expo 86 never happened…did we really benefit from it in the long term ?

In hindsight, I think not, as we have increasingly relied on its as our economic engine with few other options.



I don't have the exact numbers, but from what I recall and have heard, the Province committed themselves to spending more money than they got for the property.

It would have been cheaper to just give away.

I agree, the Province wanted Hong Kong money to buy the site. So, the powers that be appear to have set up a deal so that only one party could win the bid.

Can you imagine what that land is worth now and what the taxpayer would have gotten if it was sold bit by bit?

When you consider all of the above, this is probably the biggest boondoggle in the history of the Province. I find it strange that nobody has really dug into it or completed some type of audit.


Geez Dave, you're on a roll with lots of positive votes. Unfortunately Politicians love legacies, and moroseo towards the end of their careers. They love their names on brass plaques etc. However, The last few Premiers have left little if anything to be proud of. Like Patrioz alluded to, it seems like VanderZalm was into destruction mode,perhaps settling old scores etc. and settting the stage for future problems in BC.(ie teachers right to strike etc.) Expo site could have been subdivided and sold off. My suspicion back then was that Li Kai Shings purchase of the Expo lands effectively blessed BC as an investment an that the flood of expatriate Honk Kong citizens soon followed. VanderZalm's "$20,000 in a brown bag" meeting with Faye Leung was reported as based on his envy at all the Hong Kong cash floating around… Read more »


Hey, remember a few years back when all of us bears thought Yaletown Park was going to be the big disaster for downtown condos? Wish I had just held my nose and bought a place there…


Anonymous93. I agree that HST is a good way to raise tax dollars as it encourages saving and investment. I would be glad to see HST go to 25% and income taxes at 10%.

However, you won't get the break you thought you would on used cars. The gov't included this spoiler in their September budget update:

"Tax on Private Sales of Used Vehicles

The province will retain a provincial sales tax on

the private sale of used vehicles, aircraft and boats.

These sales are currently subject to PST but not

subject to GST and will therefore not be subject to

HST. The provincial sales tax on these items will

maintain current tax treatment."



Any idiot and his brother knew the value of waterfront real estate at the time. They didn't want to sell it off in chunks because few parties could muster the capital at that time to buy the whole thing as a package deal. I think they wanted to give it to Concord. Everything in the deal seems to have been done to their benefit.

I suspect there were a lot of backroom deals going on with the Expo sale. I would bet there are more skeletons here than the BC Rail sale. I think an enterprising reporter could make this an interesting story.



Who cares about legacy's? I don't want politicians to have legacy's. Legacy's = hair brained ideas on how to spend our tax dollars. The less you hear or remember about a government, the better of a job they probably did.



The government has spent a FAR GREATER amount on the property after the sale than they got from the sale to Concord Pacific due to all the contamination.

Clearly selling this land as a single deal was idiotic. The Fast Ferries have nothing on that deal. The taxpayers have been soaked.

Somebody should do a story on it and I imagine there are quite a number of people who should be answering a lot of questions.


I never understood why there was such a hurry to sell the lands, anyone with vision should have seen the value of such prime waterfront.

The decision was so clearly wrongheaded both in principle and specifics that I think we have to assume that Zalm was simply trying to sabotage Bill Bennett's legacy rather than having any rational goals.

Note also that the south side of False Creek, which had been owned by the CoV for a long time, was leased, not sold, when the city initiated redevelopment under Mayor Art Phillips (and Alderman Mike Harcourt) in the 1970's. Remember that Zalm challenged Harcourt for re-election as mayor in 1984 and was trounced, which may have given him another ax to grind.

Goldman Sucks

Friday, September 11, 2009

Meredith Whitney: Home Prices Go Down Dramatically From Here


"A lot of the growth of the past few years was fake growth from debt."

On anniversary of Lehman collapse, author of The Black Swan can say 'I told you so'


#109 patriotz: Sigh… are right. If not mistaken, Peter Toigo was also prepared to buy the Expo lands but it didn't look good given his political alliances (Socreds) and Li Kai Shing ended up as owner, unless it was rigged to go to Li originally. I never understood why there was such a hurry to sell the lands, anyone with vision should have seen the value of such prime waterfront. They could have been kept publically owned and auctioned off in phases and the taxpayer benefit. This could have included social housing etc. but now a lost opportunity. Concord still own waterfront chunk on the North side of False Creek…watch all those Yaletown suckers loose their waterfront view when that phase goes up. Otherwise, Vander Zalm …. STFU and go back into retirement, all you are doing is bringing back… Read more »


NO -LYMPICS: In hindsight I really can’t think of much Vander Zalm did that was of much benefit. I wonder if he was simply a neo-con plant that simply stripped BC of its public assets to benefit a few, much like our current Premier. You forgot Zalm's biggest whopper – the sale of the Expo lands for peanuts to Li Ka-Shing right after the stock market bust of 1987, when there were few other buyers with cash around. And right at the beginning of the big bull market for Vancouver RE that continued with only a small correction right into the current bubble. Zalm made himself an even bigger fool when he then started talking publicly about reneging on the deal – something that not even the NDP advocated – and Li sent his son to inform Zalm personally that… Read more »


From a previous post about the money supply, the following article explaining why M3 is rising and goes over the 1st year economics concept of PQ=MV. It appears, though, that many here have already made up their minds about how money supply is tied to inflation. Sigh.


"In hindsight I really can’t think of much Vander Zalm did that was of much benefit."

He was/is a pompous, blithering A-hole.

Not FAN-tastic at all. (As he used to say…)



Given it has a broader taxation base, and the economy is collapsing, it can't be revenue neutral. It will not be going after luxury items and discretionary spending per se, it will be going after items many can't avoid purchasing. I can foresee the HST revenue projections as being way off, which may force the HST rates to be raised.

People are fleixble and adaptable, and will find ways around it, bartering will be one of them.



Good memory:

He did allow the teachers the right to strike….I remember back then that all this would do would lead to strike action which the BCTF has taken advantage of.

I aso recall VanderZalm also allowed the sale of BC Gas. He also "privatized" the Highways Dept…which in essence retained the unionized employees which private road contractors had to keep if they won the maintenance bid. I recall this was a useful for Gov't accounting.

In hindsight I really can't think of much Vander Zalm did that was of much benefit. I wonder if he was simply a neo-con plant that simply stripped BC of its public assets to benefit a few, much like our current Premier.

best place on meth


I'd happily make him a sign with my name on it – FOR FREE!

stop the madness

95 X Anonymous Says: Reply to this comment

September 13th, 2009 at 9:55 am

HST is the best thing since slice bread. People should pay tax on purchases. We need to support the HST. Get government to lower income tax. We should tax spending and not tax working. Simple logic. If we work more and spend less, we won’t be in such a big mess.


sure, nice in theory. However, the Libs have offered no income tax cut measures. hence we are simply back at a tax grab again.



Bill VanderZalm: A real enigma.

Not sure what his legacy really is.

Note to realpaul: Vander Zalm was the man who gave BC teachers the right to strike.

No fooling.

As to his larger legacy, my guess is that if Zalm had lost the Social Credit leadership to Grace McCarthy, we would have seen one rather than two terms of the NDP, probably under Mike Harcourt but perhaps Glen Clark (people would have gotten tired of the Socreds eventually as they did in 1972), and today we would have a Social Credit government led by…



the tsawassen homes debacle is a pissing match gone from bad to worse. common sense the lines should have been buried underground. the government is continuing with a moral hazard by engaging in a "buyer beware" sale.


Bill VanderZalm:

A real enigma.

Not sure what his legacy really is.

Unfortuntely, if one goes back to his leadership run,and his years as BC Premier, it apparently fractured the Socred party and let the NDP in for most of the 1990's.

Now its all and good for this person to stick his head out of the gopher hole and rally the public to certain causes, but is he simply seeing the grim reaper down the road and trying to absolve himself and his affect on BC political History ?

Our other Ex BC Premiers simply lay low and stay out of the fray.


Those Tsawassen homes… If you recall, Campbell forced BC Hydro to buy over 100 homes which had those high-voltage power lines running adjacent to their back yards. This buy-out cost almost $60 million. Now, as per typical of Gov't they had them appraised, have surveillance, etc and have had Re Max as their listing agents. They will sell them in 20 home packages so as not to flood the market and anticipate this will take 3 years to sell the all . By buying these homes, it sure never bought the LIEberals the election, Wally Oppal lost, it did the opposite..the damage was done. Campbell has no credibilty in that riding. Apparently the sales agreements do not contain a waiver for the buyers. If I was a Tsawassen resident, I'd be pissed due to the fact that BC Gov't used… Read more »


Goldman Sucks:

The rally to protest the HST has been moved to Canada Place noon Saturday Sept 19


Bill Vanderzalm

Now there's a bit of irony. That's where you have to take a hike through passageways and two escalators to connect from one transit line to another that appear to share the same station on the map (Waterfront).

And the man that Bill Bennett chose to convince the public that Vancouver would never need another rapid transit system than the Skytrain, and to strongarm municipal polticians like Mike Harcourt who thought otherwise? Bill Vander Zalm.

No doubt Zalm will be in his best form protesting "government arrogance" at the rally. Easy to do when you're out of the driver's seat.


Girlbear: Higher sales taxes, lower income taxes. Maybe that way we can actually collect SOME taxes from the multi-billion dollar illegal drug industry that is currently not paying into the pot!