Friday Free-for-all!

Hey! It’s weekend time and that means it’s time for our end of the week news round up and open topic discussion on all things economy and real estate. Here are a few recent stories to kick off the chat:

Olympic Village: Will you buy ’em at 50% off?
Olympic Village trapped in vicious hollow circle
How will rising interest rates affect house prices?
RBC predicts stronger economy will offset rate increases
Race-baiting from the air: local realtors take a helicopter ride outnumbered by media
In 2003 there were 35 China born White Rock residents, 1425 from UK
Shiller “a little bit worried” about Canadian housing market
TD: BC debt to income at 160%, “most vulnerable” province
$10 Trillion destroyed so far in US bubble burst
Dubai prays for housing market recovery

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

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fixie guy

#224 DonLogan Says:" Housing Crash Is Hitting Cities Thought to Be Stable"

MSM typing head who still doesn't get the bubble was a national phenomena: "Sure, the historically unprecedented home appreciation in those markets were obviously bubbles, but Seattle!?"

Dan in Calgary

@asia man, Yours was a thoughtful post. Thanks.

Patiently Waiting

@Disgusted Taxpayer: Something else that could be happening, even in West Van, is large houses being rented out to a few Chinese families each. Never mind the house with a single suite, this would be basically ghetto apartment buildings. Yes, even in West Van. They might be putting up with those living conditions to make sure their kids go to the elite schools. I have to wonder whether the concepts of living space are being permanently warped, even in our wealthiest suburbs.

asia man

@Dan in Calgary Please dont misunderstand me I am not slamming your statement about Japan, but I live here and have for almost two decades. The situation here is very misunderstood by most outside Japan. The Japanese "stagnation" is probably more to do with its retarded govt. and the aging population. However the bubble that burst here 20 years ago was like a third A bomb. Prices corrected. Some banks disappeared, and merged and repackaging defaulted loans were a hot product here until up to 2002. I actually worked in that area for a while. Prices dropped about 75% (regardless of the gunk you may have read) but Japan unlike Vancouver had alot of other things going for it. Also regardless of what you read housing here in central Tokyo is cheaper than Vancouver. Insane eh? The impending crash in… Read more »

patriotz

@painted turtle:

How is it that the UBC campus population has turned Asian in just a few years ?!?

When I was going to UBC, back when Pierre and Margaret were an item, people were already calling it "University of a Billion Chinese". And students were complaining that the TA's couldn't speak English.

Foreigners have aways been over represented among grad students (especially in science). As the other poster noted, the % of foreign students overall has gone up, but the vast majority of "Asian" students are in fact citizens or permanent residents.

[…] vancouvercondo.info February 12th, 2011 at 6:56 pm- “My rented condo is supposedly worth $460k (based on a current listing in the building.) And […]

CelicaMan

@Patrick: Fret not Patrick, Transylvania has moved to near the SE corner of Alma and 4th, and they are now called Beyond Bread. I think that block they formerly occupied is disintegrating; Coco and Olive next door has seemingly had repeated leakage issues.

My anecdotal data point: A townhouse condo in my neighbourhood, listing now as V867264. It was listed in mid Oct to late Dec 2010 at $878K, there were a few open houses, but the listing disappeared after Xmas. Lo and behold, it is now listed with a new realtor, at the (not-at-all-pandering) price of $888K. What a piece of audacity to the observant of us.

Crash

The March 18 deadline maybe already here, the Old Man at BMO was saying today that unless you take possesion on or before March 18. A 30 amort is all you can get. No preapprovals for 35 being done.

macho nacho

@Patrick: I've had this argument for the last few years with people. And the evidence is now really starting to bear fruit.

If in fact, this town is really "bustling" as evidenced by high home prices (which many have assumed were bought by the wealthy), then why is discretionary spending so weak? I am willing to bet commercial vacancies took a nasty jump from 2010-11 and this year is not going to be any better.

Dan in Calgary

"The bubble promoters that hang around here …."

To clarify, this refers to people who've been working hard to keep the bubble inflated, the RE promoters, the cheerleaders, the KoolAid makers/servers, etc.

Dan in Calgary

Japan eclipsed by China as world's second economy

Japan's post-war "economic miracle" put it at number two behind the United States for more than four decades, but stagnation after the Japanese property bubble burst in the 1990s helped put booming China on course to supplant its neighbour.

[Sarcasm] I'm sure glad there's no property bubble here. [/Sarcasm].

In all seriousness, what a legacy to leave to our children. Greed, greed, greed. The bubble promoters that hang around here make me want to vomit.

DonLogan

Housing Crash Is Hitting Cities Thought to Be Stable

http://tinyurl.com/5rwhej6

REIC is watching us

"the hype of massive price reductions might sadly be enough to bring in a few more suckers."

If I were a Vancouver taxpayer, I wouldn't be sad at all.

CashedOut

I was at the "Olympic Village" today for a birthday party and I can say that it definitely wasn't a ghost town today. Hard to find parking, lots of people walking around. The Mom of the birthday girl had been by a few times the weeks before and she said this is the first time she says it's been a "ghost town" all of the other times.

It was by no means bustling, but I have to wonder if the recent press over 30% off has brought some tire-kickers out of the woodwork.

The kool-aid is still strong in this city, and the hype of massive price reductions might sadly be enough to bring in a few more suckers.

Oh yeah, no helicopters were spotted.

Disgusted Taxpayer

@Patiently Waiting: “High levels of poverty among immigrant families with children in West Van?” ************ Wow! Now you actually have some "hard data" that supports all those anecdotes about rich Asians buying places, dropping the kids, wife, and grandparents in Vancouver, then then earning the big bucks back in China without declaring it here. As a result, the dependents become Canada's dependents, and we provide a whole host of "low income" services to these individuals that are not in need. Canadians are truly suckers for thinking that recent arrivals will adhere to the "honour system" and the rule of law and order. We are so naive as we fail to realize that the majority of new arrivals come from insecurity, where economic advantages are bestowed to those that are the most corrupt and who abuse the system. We can only… Read more »

Patrick

Took a long walk today up Broadway and down 4th Ave in Kits and saw no less than 18 commercial lease signs. Was sorry to see Transylvania Breads was one of them but at $14 a loaf I guess it was inevitable.

It seems like the locals are cash strapped…

I will be anxiously awaiting a few things.

#1 – The grotesque scowls removed from the faces of the Kitsilano bitches

#2 – The local Craigslist server going down in flames from all of the shit for sale

#3 – No more lineups at Capers

UBC Alum

How is it that the UBC campus population has turned Asian in just a few years ?!? I am wondering why the official numbers of Asian immigrants is pretty low, and the influx at UBC is gigantic. Well… I guess this is a case of symbiosis between UBC and foreign “students.” UBC loves international students, since they pay very high international fees. Also UBC was supposed to sell HALF of new developments to staff/students. However, those units are beyond the means of staff members. So foreign students who buy condos are a real bonus. ********** I worked with the senior administration at UBC for five years. Since the 1990s, they have been steadily increasing the percentage of foreign students, because they are, in part, cash cows. This was particularly evident when the tuition freeze was in effect, as foreign students… Read more »

Runawayscreaming

Re: UBC

Post-secondary institutions in BC, including UBC are actively recruiting students from the People's Republic of China, for the differential fees and simply to keep classroom seats filled. There are fewer kids from BC that can afford the cost of higher education in BC, whether it's UBC or BCIT or the other schools.

Universities in BC are also recruiting faculty from China. That has led to some interesting situations, like faculty that are strangely incompetent at their supposed field of expertise but excellent at placing themselves in position for scientific and industrial espionage.

painted turtle

How is it that the UBC campus population has turned Asian in just a few years ?!? I am wondering why the official numbers of Asian immigrants is pretty low, and the influx at UBC is gigantic. Well… I guess this is a case of symbiosis between UBC and foreign "students." UBC loves international students, since they pay very high international fees. Also UBC was supposed to sell HALF of new developments to staff/students. However, those units are beyond the means of staff members. So foreign students who buy condos are a real bonus. Now, if you are a "student", so far the appreciation of your condo has paid your tuition fees and you learned to speak good English. May be you could not get into a good university at home, but UBC should not give you any trouble getting… Read more »

Keeping An Eye On Th

Those flying Chinese realtors should try a stunt like this:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/entertain

Or maybe they should hold open houses wearing G strings.

chip

@Patiently Waiting:

"High levels of poverty among immigrant families with children in West Van?"

I used to live in West Van — this "poverty" is probably almost wholly derived from non-declaration of foreign income. Poor families, immigrant or otherwise, simply are not over-represented here.

McLovin

Here is a link to the article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703

patriotz

@McLovin:

California's housing market is overvalued by 10 percent to 20 percent, said Mark Zandi, chief economist and co-founder of Economy.com, at a conference Monday (late 2005)…

A flattening out of prices, connected with a gradual rise in interest rates, is the most likely scenario, Zandi said.

Some flattening. Of course the whole US has fallen by more than 20% since he said that, never mind California. But the WSJ has never been partial to the housing doomsayers, which I guess is why Mr. Zandi still gets quoted there.

This thread makes a good read. Special guest appearance by our own VHB:

http://bubblemeter.blogspot.com/2005/11/mark-zand

Best place on meth

@scullboy:

>>>It’s so funny because Vancouver likes to think of itself as this ultra sophisticated futuristic city<<<

Well, we didn't make the list for the worlds most visionary cities.

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/worlds-m

Bike lanes, backyard chickens and selling condos isn't cutting edge enough, I guess.

Dan in Calgary

, "Hmmm Seattle has mountains oceans and skiing……and an economy too!"

Ah, yes, indeed. Accessible mountains, alpine meadows, frolicking marmots, Carbon Glacier, backpack camping … I'd say what Seattle has is superior to what Vancouver has … Woodland Park Zoo, Museum of Flight, culture, food, ….

And oh yeah, I especially like the bit about having an actual economy.