The Big One

If you like to worry, here’s something else to add to your list: Those new condo towers might not hold up so well in the event of an earthquake.

Many recently constructed highrise buildings in British Columbia could topple or crumble in a major earthquake, according to a new study made public on Wednesday.

The University of British Columbia Earthquake Lab study found buildings made with six-inch concrete support walls aren’t as resistant to earthquakes as previously believed, despite being fully compliant with building codes.

The news comes on the 311th anniversary of one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded on North America’s Pacific Coast, in 1700. About 460,000 B.C. residents marked the anniversary by participating in the country’s largest simultaneous earthquake preparedness drill ever executed.

In his study, UBC’s Prof. Perry Adebar looked at the devastating 8.8-magnitude Chilean earthquake in 2010, comparing it to what could happen if a quake hit B.C. He found many of Chile’s older buildings stayed intact, while newer buildings were more likely to crumble.

The use of thinner walls has become popular in Chile and North America โ€“ where building codes are very similar โ€“ in order to fit more spots in underground parking garages and create more interior space.

Put on your helmet and read the full story over at CTV.

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I was in the 1994 Northridge quake….it was BRUTAL. BC looks nice with all the shining high rises and latte sipping cool people living in them….but man…quakes are no joke. Those things look fragile.

Anne Ong

@patriotz: …MI protects the owner of the mortgage (i.e. the lender) from defaults, not the borrower…

Default and specifically you are not paying the monthly mortgage payment. The insurance company has to pursue you through the courts to arrange repayment of the debt no?



Why, but it doesn't explain the difference between Richmond and van west and the rest of the city …


@chip: The Olympics fully explains the Feb/March pattern last year.


Just having some fun here but Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday of the year in China. Last year, it started on Feb 14 and if you assume that prospective buyers use the holiday to visit Vancouver, and look at MLS sales for Van West and Richmond in 2010, you will see that the month of March was the busiest sales month of the year for both areas.

If you look at other areas such as North Van, East Van, Burnaby, West Van and Poco for example, the top month wasn't March but April or later into the summer.

This year, CNY starts Feb 3. Will we see a similar jump in recorded sales in late February?


@Anne Ong:

Or of course an owner could just hand in the keys and default…if only they had some sort of insurance, say government backed

What's MI got to do with this situation? MI protects the owner of the mortgage (i.e. the lender) from defaults, not the borrower.

You don't happen to have the impression that MI protects the borrower from recourse on default? Well you're not alone, lots of people think the same thing.


View from the ground on the westside. Things are busy on our street. Saw the Uhaul down the street, renters moving out, Chinese speculator just put the little house on the market. Also two units in our condo building are prepping to go back on the market asap(one after trying to sell for a whole year with lots of lookers but no buyers). Both chasing the sale price of a 3rd unit that sold TWO YEARS AGO for nearly $600K. All of this wishful thinking ended in December when owner of a 3rd unit (with a full patio and garden) suddenly sold for only $485K. THAT SELLER will soon be regarded as the smart one who got the big price.


January 2011 month-end projections

Days elapsed so far 18

Days remaining 2

Average Sales this month 90

Average Listings this month 238

Projected sell/list 38.0%


Projected month end total 1806 +/- 29

95% Conf Interval lower bound 1776

95% Conf Interval upper bound 1835


Projected month end total 4752 +/- 41

95% Conf Interval lower bound 4712

95% Conf Interval upper bound 4793


Inventory as of January 27, 2011 11128

MoI at this sales pace 6.16

4444 4444 4444 4444



I think it’s safe to say the specuvestors are in for some comeuppance.

Sure there might be a bit of a last minute buying, by the most foolish of the fools, to get in before the new mortgage rules deadline.

But the market is cooked, charcoaled, burnt, spent, and finished -kaput.



Anne Ong

@Renting: "…An owner moves to the streets or a homeless shelter (if space is available) and still keeps paying that mortgage…"

Or of course an owner could just hand in the keys and default…if only they had some sort of insurance, say government backed…

Dan in Calgary

For interest, here's a link to a USGS site that shows (on a map) earthquakes above a certain magnitude within the last 7 days. Globally, there have been 211. The N. America map, shows 124.

Best place on meth


>>>#72 Superduper,

Hey duper. You are usually all over the condo tracker when it is going down. However it has been going up for weeks now.

Are you worried?<<<

No, that wasn't super-dumper, that was the other turd who goes by "alum".


#82 Anonymouse,

Clearly I know that about listings. However it was the opposite in December when Superpooper was ranting his head off every day about it going down. Where were you then?

Bulls: Putting the Hype into Hypocrite.


@Best place on meth:

Take comfort, they always come out of the woodwork when things are looking more Bearish.

He wouldn't be here if he was completely confident in the market.


@YLTNboomerang: The real key is the sale price, not the list price. Then you can really tell how much HAM believes in their silly superstitions, when they put their money on the table.

Best place on meth

@Tired Bull:

Were you sent here by Ozzie Jurock to be a dick?

Back to where you came from scumbag,;…




The condo tracker is a flawed metric! It uses a fixed number of buildings so does not take into account new supply. This is important because when it started it included many new buildings with many vacant condos. Obviously over time these units will slowly sell.

As an example, the number of vacant units in the Olympic Village has slowly decreased over the past 8 months, but I don't think anybody on this blog would point to that as a bullish sign. In fact, it has been a disaster.

Why the hell would we look at the condo tracker when we already have an daily inventory number which takes everything into account, including new supply.

I think we should take down the Condo Tracker and never speak of it again.

The End.


Talking about sandwiches, did you guys know that Bill Gross (the head of Pimco) is famous for eating a cheap tuna sandwich for lunch every day?

Talk about billionaires!


HAM may or may not be a real influence on prices but people sure like to believe it so much so that they think it will sell their house by changing the listing number:

v865543 originally listed at $1.5M, dropped to $1.475M and didn't sell so jut re-listed at $1.488M

Like the 8's are really going to work. If that's the case, the MLS listing being quoted by me followed by a bunch of 4's should put a pox on the listing right?

444444444444444444 v865543 44444444444444444


I am not sure why some of the bears here are getting so upset? What's changed? My rent hasn't moved in 5 yrs. which means its down 15% in real dollars. Who cares if Vancouver real estate crashes or doesn't. Prices are so out of whack right now it will take years for them to correct to a point where I and many of you would consider buying again. Many of us have made more money in blue chip stocks in the past two years then we could have in Vancouver real estate anyway. I think there is a belief among the bulls here that renters are sitting on their pennies waiting for a crash. The truth is is that many of us have diversified investments that are earning a nice return with LIQUIDITY and may not ever buy RE… Read more ยป



My home made sandwich (flax bread, ham, Havarti, mayo, lettuce) is $1.5, still cheaper and I have no debt but as you said times are tough… ๐Ÿ˜‰



When the tracker was created it stood at over 600…

Yeah and it goes back again rapidly, enjoy the ride prick.


New Listings 250

Price Changes 45

Sold Listings 130



@BrownBag: To be fair, she only ordered a $4 California Roll. Times are tough… ๐Ÿ˜‰



"Hey duper. You are usually all over the condo tracker when it is going down. However it has been going up for weeks now. Are you worried?"

When the tracker was created it stood at over 600. I don't think 281 is anything to worry about, especially as it went down every week since its introduction with very few exceptions. Besides, aren't we always told that inventory traditional increases in January?