Downtown Vancouver Townhouse Listings

YLTNBoomerang just sent in an update of their Downtown Townhouse listings graph:


Like most other market segments we’ve hopped up close to the high number of listing we saw sitting on the market in 2008, though inventory growth has moderated lately.  YLTNBoomerang attached the following note:

I’ve had some time to update my tracking sheets for townhouses downtown this week and thought you might be interested in the attached graph.  Basically, this is a plot of the number of townhouses downtown that are listed on a daily basis – well it started out as a daily basis in 2008 then slowed down to bi-weekly updates in 2010 as I was working out of town and didn’t have time.  I’m back to weekly updates now…

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VHB
VHB
10 years ago

@patriotz: "What I’m disputing is the contention that people are short RE (or anything else) simply because they are bears who would be willing to buy at some lower price. "

Go ahead and dispute that. I never claimed that. I very carefully claimed that **if** you were committed, then your exposure was similar to being short.

You are also free to dispute many other claims I have never made. For example, I have never claimed the moon is made of cheese. Nor have I ever claimed that 1+1=3. It is a long list, I'm afraid. You had best get started if you are to be in bed before midnight . . .

vibe
vibe
10 years ago

Point taken. When I said outperform I was assuming this stuff but I guess it doesn't go without saying. So like: outperform while taking taxes, leverage, risk, fees and any other relevant considerations into account.

patriotz
10 years ago

@vibe:

Renting is the right choice if:

1)Renting is cheaper, and

2)There are assets or investments available that are likely to outperform housing

(1) is correct, but (2) is not correct as stated. You're not taking into account risk. The stock market has always outperformed housing in the long run, because it's more risky. That's not a reason to put all your money into stocks and never buy a house. When properly priced, housing provides good return at low risk.

vibe
vibe
10 years ago

: Good god, outperform can easily be taken to include tax considerations, and leverage works both ways. Put a little effort into the discussion.

@bob: If you are defining taking a position as speculating then I can't really have a conversation with you. If you would use language properly then this would be a lot easier.

BoB
BoB
10 years ago

"…or investments available that are likely to outperform housing"

There's the bet and where you take a "position". (primary residences)

fatjay
fatjay
10 years ago

@vibe:

Renting is the right choice if:

1)Renting is cheaper, and

2)There are assets or investments available that are likely to outperform housing

Since 1 practically guarantees 2 it hasn’t made sense to buy real estate in quite a while.

It's not that simple.

That's only true if you plan to use the same amount of leverage to purchase your investments that you would for a house, and if it isn't your primary home.

Gains on your primary home have a huge advantage over most investments because they're tax free.

vibe
vibe
10 years ago

If the costs associated with buying equal those of renting then the comparison needs to be the appreciation of the house versus the appreciation of other assets that could have been bought instead. And if you are evaluating the choice not to buy then you shouldn't look at the appreciation that took place after the fact since that is information that was not available when the choice was made. Renting is the right choice if: 1)Renting is cheaper, and 2)There are assets or investments available that are likely to outperform housing Since 1 practically guarantees 2 it hasn't made sense to buy real estate in quite a while. The fact that real estate has gone from overpriced to more overpriced doesn't change that. Saying that the outcome of a decision determines the correctness of that decision is just not right.… Read more »

BoB
BoB
10 years ago

The choice is to buy or rent because everyone needs shelter.

vibe
vibe
10 years ago

Opportunity cost is something you factor in before you make a decision not after. In hindsight I'm sure there are investments that would have beaten even Vancouver real estate over the last few years. By your logic it only ever makes sense to use your money in a way that turns out to give the best return after the fact. Have a look at this link.

BoB
BoB
10 years ago

the bears insist "opportunity cost" is factored into any bull argument but not when it comes to theirs!

patriotzed
patriotzed
10 years ago

@vibe:

The bulls don't believe in value, i.e.that the use of capital is worth anything. Only its ownership. That's why they think someone who is renting a house for $2k/month is "throwing away money", while someone who is paying $4K/month in ownership expenses isn't.

vibe
vibe
10 years ago

If I'm saving money renting and I don't buy until prices actually fall then where is the cost? It is completely artificial to say: "well what if you are obligated or committed to buy". Nobody actually is.

BoB
BoB
10 years ago

That’s just nonsense.

Because it associates a cost with your wrong decision?

patriotz
10 years ago

@VHB:

For housing, imagine that someone has *committed* by promsing his spouse he will buy her a house. So, he owes a house to his wife. If the price of the house goes up, he loses

Sure, if you have an obligation to another party give them something, that's a short position.

What I'm disputing is the contention that people are short RE (or anything else) simply because they are bears who would be willing to buy at some lower price. That's just nonsense.

VHB
VHB
10 years ago

@patriotz: Think of it this way. When you short a stock, you owe one unit of that stock to the market. If the price goes up, you lose.

For housing, imagine that someone has *committed* by promsing his spouse he will buy her a house. So, he owes a house to his wife. If the price of the house goes up, he loses.

I didn't say it this is the *same* as shorting a stock. I'm not talking about legal contracts. I'm looking at your exposure to payoffs. Price goes up, you lose. Price goes down, you win. How can that be disputed?

patriotz
10 years ago

@VHB:

**If** you have committed to buy a unit of something (RY, a house, whatever) then your exposure is exactly like being short.

Er what? If I have committed to buy RY, i.e. I buy a futures contract for it, I am long RY, not short. It's the guy who has committed to sell RY to me who is short.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

@BoB:

How would Garth's argument look in years 5-10 of the mortgage? 10-15? 30+?

Buying a home is a long term commitment, and by only looking at the first 5 years of a 30yr amortization he's introducing a heavy bias towards the renter.

chillie
chillie
10 years ago

@BoB:

yeah, I am with Bob, somewhat dismayed, somewhat pissed.

BoB
BoB
10 years ago

Good Rent or Own posting over at greaterfool.ca Good argument!

realpaul
realpaul
10 years ago

I hope the Canadians that are 'scooping up the deals' in the US are aware of some of the expensicve differances, for exap, look at insurance rates in FLA. "As homeowners' policies come up for renewal, they are learning that their rates are rising. Some say they feel helpless dealing with their property insurance, which is required by most lenders. "Karen Leshin, of Weston, said her State Farm property insurance premium increased 60 percent, from $3,198 last year to $5,110 this year. "How is it possible?" she said. "We're kind of caught between a rock and a hard place." This sort of thing reminds of some of the local dupes who buy into projects and haven't checked out the '5 year property management' line in their sales contracts and end up paying 5 to 7 thousand dollars a year in… Read more »

vibe
vibe
10 years ago

The vast majority of buyers are uninformed and make emotional purchases, not investments. Being overpriced IS subjective.

Now I get it, as long as houses are being sold they can't possibly be overpriced. Even if someone is completely uninformed, a house might not seem overpriced to them so it isn't overpriced at all. Is that what you are saying?

oneangryslav2
oneangryslav2
10 years ago

@Anoymous: That was my original post, so I'll answer the question. Me: “Unless it makes sense to buy, I’ll never buy. Period.” Anoymous: "And if your partner demanded a stable home for you both? You’d buy, or find a new partner?" Then I'd get my partner (wife) to a dictionary right quick and have her read aloud one million times the definition of stability. Then ask her to square that with the prospect of paying 100% more on a mortgage (not including other costs, and the prospect of rising interest rates) than on rent. Not to mention the very large likelihood of declining nominal prices in real eastate. if she still didn't understand, then I'd have to find another partner. Oh, and I have done it before. But by "stability" I assume you mean the potential of being forced to… Read more »

Best place on meth
Best place on meth
10 years ago

@fatjay:

Totally useless analogy by the unfunny bull.

You don't have to spend 35 years paying off a car and blow the majority of your income on it.

It's also very unlikely to drop in value by $50,000 in a single month.

Can we try to keep it real here please?

fatjay
fatjay
10 years ago

Houses aren't stocks. The sentiment on this blog is not the norm. The vast majority of buyers are uninformed and make emotional purchases, not investments. Being overpriced IS subjective.

Done now for real. Leaving you with a quote from SuperSmartBull. Enjoy 🙂

@SuperSmartBull:

"Telling someone who love their home that they paid too much is like saying someone who buy a car pay too much for transportation, because could always ride bike on viaduct or take loser cruiser renter bus. Of course true, but some people like finest thing in life. Don’t want to move every year with 8 kid in tow, turn into bad sitcom."

Absinthe
Absinthe
10 years ago

"By waiting, [bears are also] trying to time the market". Not necessarily. In 2002, I started looking. Yup, some of it made sense. We needed a better down payment and to kill my student loans. Got to work. By the time we were better situated re: savings and my student loan, 2005ish, the market had already stopped making sense. More was being asked for less value. In 2005, I couldn't afford to buy what I could rent, with a good down payment. I wasn't betting on the market dropping. I was making a statement of values. Chaining myself to a bank and a commute and the vulnerability of home ownership to live in a 'burb that has nothing of the life I'm in Vancouver for? It's crazy talk to say that's the only way to live in this city, but… Read more »