FFFA! Bulls, bears & banter. Farewell 2012!

Hey, it’s not only the end of another week, we’re also heading into the end of the year!  2012 was an interesting time for Vancouver real estate as it peaked and sputtered, ending the year with prices and sales volume down.  What does 2013 have in store?  We’re going to find out soon!

Lets do our regular end of the week news round up post and open topic discussion thread.. and post any suggestions you have for year end topics in the comments here.

And now some recent news links to kick off the chat:

The state of mortgage insurers
The last private insurer
Regulator targets bank risk in 2013
The fight for deposits
LePoidevin / Rabidoux talk video
Down is the new flat
Drivers licenses are too easy to get
Computers get house prices wrong
US: worst holiday sales since ’08

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

 

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Anonymous

“Why should this not be listed on MLS? Call me crazy but it reeks of end of month data window dressing to me.”

The listing likely expired and the realtor is waiting until Jan to relist when more potential buyers are actively looking. This is the reason listings go down over Xmas. Technically there are still the same amount of properties for sale. It is just the way the seller and realtor decide to market it. The newer the listing appears the better.

Regarding window dressing of stats. The only stat that matters ito a realtor is his or her sales.

Slavery

Is debt slavery an option for people who can’t pay their bills?

@Just Looking

Well, all the data and analysis the bears have done on this site hasn’t amounted to much. They’ve been wrong for 7 years by some people’s count and for 12 years by others.

If any of you knew more than the average sheeple on the street you would have bought and sold a place a long time ago.

The truth is that you don’t know any better. You’re all just guessing like the rest of us. But I guess your “analysis” helps you sleep better at night despite being on the wrong side of the housing trade for almost a decade and counting.

oneangryslav2

@ #137: “I have to agree with a previous poster that its a bit of a strange choice, to say the least, for someone with a child to buy a smallish apartment in a trendy area instead of buying a larger more affordable home in another part of town.” It’s unfair to label a choice strange without knowing more about the individual’s motivations and desires. Maybe the mother would rather her child grow up on the West Side, with all of its attendant advantages (whether real or perceived), and be willing to sacrifice a bedroom of her own rather than have her own bedroom and live somewhere that is less ideal from her perspective. Moreover, maybe she has family and/or friends in the area who can help with childcare, etc. And what about her job situation? What if she works… Read more »

Girlbear

Oh man, it is guys like Vincent C. that make me hope people eat it in this market. Is that evil? Perhaps it is just my mental illness at work…

Vote Down The Facts

RentersRant, if nobody signs a lease then the landlord will be forced to lower the rent anyway. Rents are always set by the market, and are a product of supply and demand – not the weather.

Just Looking

@Vincent C. Thanks for your thoughtful analysis of real estate in the Vancouver region. Your comment has truly added to this humble site. The data you have brought us provides insight into bearish psychology and are truly incisive. I would suggest you write the data up as an academic paper and submit it to leading research journals in consumer psychology; they would no doubt be snapped up for their rigourous and clear argumentation, able prose style, and the strength of the research methods you have used to come to your conclusions. Oh wait, no…your comment was rubbish and bereft of any attempt to make a meaningful contribution here. Please learn to think critically, make a reasoned argument and proofread. Then you can come back and tell the bears here why their conclusions are not well-founded based on the available data.… Read more »

Vincent C.

I was googling Vancouver condos and came across this site. What a loud of bs all of u are. Maybe you haven’t noticed but we live in the best city in the world. You can ski and go to the beach on the same day and everyone wants to live here.

Ive people like all of you in real life. You are bitter angry people. Often racist. You blame others for you lack of success. The worst part is that you drag down impressionable people down with you.

All of you have a mental illness.

RentersRant

So it’s time to move AGAIN. House has been sold. Yes getting a longer lease this time. But could use your help. (sorry for the long post) We are looking for a new rental house in North/West Van. Pricing is coming down a bit and it seems more inventory to come, but still seems to have the feeling of “I paid an insane price for my investment house and want YOU to cover the mortgage”. $3400 for a 1950 3 bedroom in one of the rainiest places in Canada. Really!? So I was thinking – how about enlisting some crowd sourced help to assist the market towards some sanity. Prices seem to be set by what people list for on CL. A pretty fickle thing driven up by one or two irrational landlords. Well, if a landlord was to receive… Read more »

camper

A property may be listed with an agency, however for various reasons, it may or may not be advertised on the MLS system. The reasons vary from privacy for the seller to a lower commission rate, to the seller or realtor seeing no advantage to the MLS system for that property. In other words, you may see a sign, there may be a realtor involved, but they kept it off the MLS. If you were interested in the property to view, you would contact the realtor directly. Many of these properties will have “in house” advertising on the realtor’s site. Realtor involvement does not necessarily mean MLS.

Krusty the Clown

@ Ulsterman

How does a single mom (who presumably has custody of the child) manage to live in a 1 bedroom apartment?

I have to agree with a previous poster that its a bit of a strange choice, to say the least, for someone with a child to buy a smallish apartment in a trendy area instead of buying a larger more affordable home in another part of town.

Groundhog

“While the _ratio_ stats should not be significantly affected by non-MLS listings and sales, as those should mirror, roughly proportionally, the MLS ones,it does distort absolute numbers, especially in distressed market conditions. In the US there has been a significant uptick in FSBOs, as sellers can clearly see vast majority of realtors are not able to improve their property’s chances of selling. You can see the same in the Okanagan region, just take a drive around the lake in the spring and see for yourself the non-trivial number of ‘for sale’ signs that are not MLS represented.”

Maybe I am still being misunderstood. There IS a realtor handling it. It is NOT a For Sale By Owner. That is why I assumed it would be listed under MLS.

Appreciate some clarification on this for my sake!

Groundhog

OK maybe I have misunderstood. I understand there are private sales in the market perfectly well, but I thought if a real estate agency that was a member brokerage handled the listing that it would be on MLS.

So 2 questions then. If this house is sold by the agent, does it register in monthly sales stats? Also, assuming it doesn’t sell tomorrow, will it be included in the monthly inventory that will be released?

Devore

“Groundhog, they don’t show up in sales stats either. So it doesn’t really make much difference, unless there’s a significant change in trend regarding sellers not using realtors.” Furthermore, it is perfectly legal for sellers to do (not use MLS or any listing service at all), ie private sales, and for the REBGV to not report them, because they run the MLS and report stats sourced from it. I think too many people misunderstand the REBs; they are industry associations, representing and for the benefit of member realtors and brokerages. The MLS is their baby. While the _ratio_ stats should not be significantly affected by non-MLS listings and sales, as those should mirror, roughly proportionally, the MLS ones,it does distort absolute numbers, especially in distressed market conditions. In the US there has been a significant uptick in FSBOs, as sellers… Read more »

patriotz

“Monetary inflation is far more useful to understand”

Hardly, because nobody can come up with a hard definition of money supply in the first place.

Yalie

@patriotz – True, asset and price inflation are different, and to be clear, I was mostly referring to asset inflation (as Troll pointed out). Still, just because they’re different things doesn’t mean they’re unrelated. In the long term, higher asset prices tend to go along with higher consumer prices and vice-versa. The main difference between the two is variance, with assets undergoing much larger and more rapid price swings than consumables. If you look at Japan, for example, their stock market is down about 75% in the past 20 years and consumer prices are basically unchanged. In the US, stock markets are up about 400% in that time and consumer prices are up around 50%. So clearly the two are related in the long term. They just have vastly different volatility profiles. And since the central banks target CPI rather… Read more »

Wakeup call

Rates may not increase over the next few years, but they will eventually. That could be a double whammy after prices have been going down for those few years.

One approaching similarity with Japan is that thy also had an aging population 20 years ago.

Troll

You have to distinguish between consumer price and asset price inflation.

No he doesn’t, because he’s defining inflation as monetary inflation, not price inflation. This should be obvious from the content of his post. Monetary inflation is far more useful to understand since it’s the weather while price inflation is only the thermometer and prone to confusion (asset price deflation vs. consumer price inflation). I agree with Yalie on this one, I side with the deflationists, since it seems that credit is being destroyed faster then Central Banks can ‘print’. They’re trying desperately and the tricky part will be to withdraw this stimulus once credit destruction begins to reverse.

patriotz

“Just think of the purchasing power that will be lost when housing prices decrease by 40%. ”

The purchasing power was lost at the time of purchase because people paid more than fundamental value for the houses. I mean total purchasing power going forward.

House sales don’t produce real output so a decline in house prices doesn’t actually reduce purchasing power. It just removes the illusion that the purchasing power wasn’t lost at time of purchase, or manifests the loss of purchasing power in the present to put it another way.

oneangryslav2

@ 125 Yalie:

I completely agree with you on this one, Yalie. I’ve followed the inflation/deflation argument closely over the last few years, have also analyzed the arguments of all those you mention in your post, and it seems to me as if the deflationists have the better of the argument. Just think of the purchasing power that will be lost when housing prices decrease by 40%. That’s also why I think that rates will not rise dramatically over the next few years.

patriotz

“So when credit is increasing, inflation is positive. ”

You have to distinguish between consumer price and asset price inflation. Consumers are able to avoid the latter but not the former.

Asset price deflation happens quite regularly – it’s more commonly called a bust or bear market. Consumer price deflation is different – even in Japan they’ve seen little of it.

You can’t combine the two in any meaningful way as one is the price of capital, i.e. a stock, and the other is the price of its output, i.e. a flow.

Crasher

I have to agree that the MO of the Bank of Canada is to merely follow the FED.
Carney has had the easiest job in the world, but he will finally have to work for a living in the UK.

I think the demise of Japan was caused more by the emergence of China which was able to replace Japans manufacturing dominance with cheaper labour. North America has a much more diverse ecinomy than Japan.

Yalie

As for inflation, we should not shrug off the masive amounts of money that have been printed over the last few years. That alone cannot go on forever without currecies losing value and of course eventual inflation. I agree – with a caveat that I believe that inflation has already happened. That’s why we had a housing bubble – all that money went into mortgage loans that had the effect of raising prices. Now that prices are no longer going up, we’re seeing a contraction of loans and therefore a decline in total money supply. I’ve followed the inflation/deflation debate closely, giving equal weighting to both the deflationists (Mish, Steve Keen, the Automatic Earth) and the inflationists (Peter Schiff, Marc Faber, Zero Hedge, etc). All very smart people, but frankly, the deflationists simply have better arguments. You mention the “massive… Read more »

Girlbear

Re: #77 Tax Cheats

This is why I am a believer in consumption tax vs income tax. This especially applies to a country like Canada in which:
a) we have a fairly large number of immigrants that may be earning income overseas, and
b) these same immigrants are claiming very little income here yet digging into the social services.

Would also help shake some money out of those making their livings in the illegal drug trade in BC. No income tax paid there…

Wakeup call

Yalie,

You’re probably right, but I’m not sure that we should use Japan as a road map. We’re closely tied to the US and they don’t have habit of following other game plans. They’re quite capable of creating their own mess. As for inflation, we should not shrug off the masive amounts of money that have been printed over the last few years. That alone cannot go on forever without currecies losing value and of course eventual inflation.

Nor would I pay much attention to what the bank of Canada babbles about. Their only course of action always has been and always will be to follow the Fed. Regardless of what they might want us to believe, they don’t have any other choices.

Anyway, it won’t take much of a rate hike to spook leveraged homeowners.