Friday Free-for-all!

The end of the work-week has arrived and that means it’s time to do our weekend news roundup and open topic economic discussion.  Here are a few articles and comments I’ve noticed lately:

Vancouver: The California of the North?
Re/Max: Housing market to remain strong in 2010
Buy! Sell! Hold! Huh?
Canadian Real Estate goes wacky
Greater Vancouver real estate prices end year on high note
Young and jobless: The recessions toll
Canada savings bonds ‘a bit of a joke’
Time to pay for the stimulus, here come the cuts
Bernanke defends his record
Orlando condo market falls 56% in one year
Las Vegas home prices fall 34% on foreclosures
Wealthy investors like US real estate
Zandi: US housing market meltdown not over yet

Thanks to everyone that contributed story links.  So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

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rid of ball-and-chai

"Canada is perfect for their wives, parents and children. So this is where they buy houses. Simple."

Actually, so they can have 1st concubine in Shanghai, 2nd concubine in Beijing, and 3rd concubine in Hongkong, 4th concubine in Macau, 5th concubine in Shenzhen … the list is shorter than Tiger Wood's


Vancouver is not really good enough to be a resort town. But it's perfect to park your money here for laundering or simply to bring your family here for free education and health care, while attending to business abroad.

Did you watch the CBC special on CAN vs. CHINA last week?

The interviewed investors blatantly admitted that China is much better place when it comes to business opportunities right now, so that's where they stay, However, Canada is perfect for their wifes, parents and children. So this is where they buy houses. Simple.


@ California: Wouldn't rich foreigners either be immigrating, be buying expensive pied a terre's to sit empty for private occasional use, or be investing to rent? In the investing to rent scenario, you're putting $300K down one way or another in leverage or monthly payments or whatever, so that the rents pay the carrying costs. And $300K is a huge opportunity cost if the rate of appreciation even slows, because rents here are not going to make anyone rich, when vacancy loss, cleaning, upkeep, etc. get factored in. There are far better investments, and rich people the world over are rich because they make good investments. If they're immigrating, pretty soon you'll run into the cost of living issue in Vancouver. It's an expensive place to do business year round. They become part of our numbers. And our numbers don't… Read more »

ta da

Globe and Mail

"Orphaned Homeowners Face Foreclosure"

read the article – it will make your blood boil.

Maybe a good topic for a post.



Ms. Matthews is one of many Canadians being abandoned by a breed of alternative lenders that have stopped lending to customers, who, because of poor credit scores, lower-paying jobs, or minimal home equity, couldn't obtain financing from a traditional lender, such as a bank

These people had no business buying a house in the first place.

Records obtained under the Access to Information Act show that a lobby group representing these lenders has warned the federal government that, unless taxpayers offer help, they will be forced to foreclose on as many as 30,000 homeowners over the next three years.

Isn't "free enterprise" great?

If these "homeowners" could meet CMHC's (minimal) standards, any bank would be happy to refinance their mortgages. But since they can't, the borrowers and lenders want the taxpayers to bail them out.

Well TFB.


@No Longer Looking: #54, I guess there's more than one way to look at this. First, I don't know if there's a limit to the number of rich foreigners. Especially if you think that their economies might continue to grow and ours stagnate. If we were to just look at China as compared to 10 years ago, the number of wealthy have risen considerably. As their economy grows stronger, the number of wealthy will grow along with it. If you were to factor in forex, now is a bad time to convert to Canadian. So over time, as foreigners are making their local currency, and as the Loonie falls in value, Canadian products will feel as though they are on discount. Keep in mind that China's population is also 39 times that of Canada. In fact, pretty much every place… Read more »


Is this the real story behind the rise in unemployment stats. McJobs and hopelessness. Deja Vu of the 1980's… Sure theres a lot of good food in London, but buying a pound with a CDN suck buck means having to pay double price for everything. It sucks to be CDN travelling in Europe if you can't expense everything. I remember a time when CDN's dominated the travel scene in Europe. Now, they're a rare bird. This why I've said that I suspect CDN internal policy is being affected by the type of travel CDN's do now, which is strictly third world on the cheap or stay home.Two generations of CDNs have been shut out of Europe because of the low dollar policy. These people are now bringing back the ideas that they picked up in the third world instead,… Read more »


from the government To You With Love


Non-traditional lenders won't renew mortgages:

Lord Huggington

Saw this video about unemployment figures over at Mish's. I'm sure it's obvious to pretty much everyone here, but still bares repeating, and worth emailing the link to family and friends that don't understand how unemployment statistics actually work.


@93 I was the original owner and rented it out before the strata voted against rental about 5 years ago. However that decision did not immediately affect my rental unit until after the tenants moved out, i.e. last August; hence the sale as I have no intention to move in.



Are you sure you had a rental unit that was banned by the strata?

Which strata was that? do you have the strata number or building name? Which Property Management Company manages the building?

It would be grandfathered in, if what you said is true.

What building was it in?


Don't know about Chine

se food in Rome, but in London you can get great sushi at Zuma, Nobu, Japan Cafe, etc.


89, very true.

We _are_ lucky here to have such a variety of good restaurants.

87 – Sushi in London is good, but is an expensive dinner out (but what isn't in London?). I like the good quality reasonably priced sushi here.

But then again, this hardly makes Van unique.


And, why go to Israel when a knish or a blintz or two can be had at a Haddassah Bazaar?

other ted

85 spectrum i couldn't help laughing reading your post, its so vancouver. you sort of remind me of the vancouver guy i met on the ferry leaving Ios greece in 2000 who was whining that there was no good sushi on that island. I think anonymous 87 pointed out how you are wrong already. my question is why even travel if you have that attitude. Its like going to India and complaining about the quality of the mexican food.


What are you guys seeing in Vancouver? There are sighting of … no not ALIENS .. just homeless down-and-out in exodus being driven out of the 2010 Olympic city. Spade of robberies in family run restaurants, B&Es, vehicles with smashed glasses are on the rise in Burnaby.


@spectrum, suggest that you do a bit of traveling yourself.

There are no lack of excellent sushi bars in London. Did you not read that an ex-Russian-spy being poisoned in an upscale Japanese restaurant in London by KGB agent? There is one decent Chinese restaurant in Rome just just next to the Famous Trevi fountain. I recall 2 very good Chinese restaurants at Champs Elysees and no lack of Japanese restaurants too. Acquainted with Yoko Ono's brother, heir of his family banking business, in Paris.


@other ted: Lets face it almost every country has every cuisine now. anyone that thinks we are unique here hasn’t travelled

Have you ever left BC? Tell me where you can get good sushi in London or Chinese food in Rome. It just isn't there Vancouver is very lucky in that sense.

other ted

Not a Bush apologist but the loose lending at Fannie Mae goes back to the Clinton administration after Clinton apointed rahm emanualle to head fannie mae. Also Housing bubble was well on its way by the time bernake got in. Greenspan is not so innocent. I believe he was appointed by Reagan. And the deregulaton of the banking sector happened when clinton got rid of the Glass-Steagal act.

But like I said not an apologist for anyone there is a lot of blame to be spread around here.


White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire “We can put light where there’s darkness, and hope where there’s despondency in this country. And part of it is working together as a nation to encourage folks to own their own home.” — President Bush, Oct. 15, 2002 Eight years after arriving in Washington vowing to spread the dream of homeownership, Mr. Bush is leaving office, as he himself said recently, “faced with the prospect of a global meltdown” with roots in the housing sector he so ardently championed. There are plenty of culprits, like lenders who peddled easy credit, consumers who took on mortgages they could not afford and Wall Street chieftains who loaded up on mortgage-backed securities without regard to the risk. But the story of how we got here is partly one of Mr. Bush’s own making, according to a… Read more »


@scooby: Where does one start? The White House didn’t set interest rates, it didn’t oversee Fannie and Freddie and certainly didn’t tell the banks to lend and the rating agencies to go batty. Try Dodd and Frank over in the Congress if you want to find truly culpable politicians. Where do I start? The Federal Reserve is in charge of interest rates, right? Who appointed Bernanke as Fed chair? Bush, right? Now read this: Bernanke: There's No Housing Bubble to Go Bust: October 27, 2005 Ben S. Bernanke does not think the national housing boom is a bubble that is about to burst, he indicated to Congress last week, just a few days before President Bush nominated him to become the next chairman of the Federal Reserve… Many economists argue that house prices have risen too far too fast in… Read more »


Experts outed for mass fraud.