2013: Everything costs more

Well, maybe not everything…

You can probably pay less for a computer or a house, but many of the day-to-day expenses of living are going up around here.

As the new year rolled over there was a spate of announcement for rising taxes, user fees, premiums and fares in BC.

In Vancouver, homeowners will pay about three per cent more in 2013 on their property taxes and utility bills.

The cost of health care premiums is set to rise in the province, from $128 to $133 per month for a family, adding up to $60 per year, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“Most of us would say, ‘OK, we can squeeze out five dollars a month somewhere,’ ” said spokesman Jordan Bateman.

But, he added, this is the fourth January premiums have increased and “it’s really starting to weigh down taxpayers.”

Federally, Employment Insurance and Canada Pension premiums will also increase.

Workers who make over $47,400 will pay $891, up $51 from last year, and employers will pay $1,247 in EI premiums, up $72. Workers and employers will both pay an extra $49 in CPP premiums, with workers paying $2,356 in 2013.

The cost of getting around is also going up.

Yep, Translink fares are going up too – a one zone fare goes from $2.50 to $2.75.  Also Tolls and BC Ferry fare.

For the whole list check out the original article in the Vancouver Sun.

100 Responses to “2013: Everything costs more”

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    Like Garth Turner said, price inflation and asset deflation.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 26 Thumb down 11

    2012 Assessment vs Purchase Price (a Van West neighborhood)

    This is my brief attempt to capture the Sale price trend vs 2012 Assessment Price (published on Jan 1, 2013) in an area of Vancouver West.

    I picked this area because a friend of mine just bought there in early 2012.

    As we can see, the buyers who bought in Jan-Mar 2012 paid 9-10% OVER their 2012 assessment price (assessed on July 1st,2012).
    By September, properties are changing hands at 6% UNDER assessment price.

    Month  Assessment_vs_Sale_Price
    Jan   -9%
    Feb   -9%
    Mar   -10%
    Apr   -6%
    May   -3%
    Jun   -1%
    Jul   +1%
    Aug   -2%
    Sep   +6%

    We already know Van West property values are dropping based on REBGV HPI data; this is just another interesting angle to look at declining prices relative to assessment prices.

    Sample size = 96. This list is generated from E-Value BC website via “Export to Excel” function.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 51 Thumb down 3

    Name taken Says:
    3

    Do not confuse government-mandated taxes and fees with market prices. Things like CPP, EI, healthcare premiums, tolls, etc, are managed by bureaucrats who are spending other people’s money. Naturally they do it rather inefficiently. It is easier to collect more tax than to fire public unions or make some difficult choices that would improve spending efficiency. This trend of increasing tax rates is not new and it will stay here until there are fundamental changes in the system. Fundamental as in “system collapse”, “revolution”, etc.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 25

    Anonymous Says:
    4

    I went downtown yesterday for the first time in months. I used to work retail downtown for many years. I have to say something did not seem right yesterday. Where was everyone??? The streets were dead. Not a soul at the art gallery steps. My friend said maybe everyone is hung over from New Years Eve. I said, I don’t buy it. I worked downtown for years and even on New Years Day, people would be out on the streets, people would be hanging out on the Art Gallery steps. Homeless kids would be playing hacky sack and asking if you want to buy weed. It was always like that, even on New Years Day, hangovers never stopped people when I used to work down there. It was always alive. There are so many empty big buildings now, like the Virgin Records at Burrard and Robson and the Sears on Granville. We walked through the side streets of the West End and I couldn’t believe how many vacant apartments there were! Just about every apartment building we walked by had several vacancies, some buildings had several vacancies–take your pick–do you want a 2 BR, 1 BR, or bachelor. These are not condos, but purpose-built rentals in the West End–the kind developers haven’t been building for decades! Wow! What is going on here?! THIS IS NOT THE VANCOUVER THAT I KNOW!!! I’ve looked to rent in the West End before and I’ve always found the rental market there very tight. In the 90s and the first decade of the 2000s, my experience was that there were hardly any vacancies in the West End. If you found a vacant apartment, it was because you knew someone in the building who told you about it and you would have to practically beg the landlord to take you. I am originally from Vancouver but the tight rental market there is what sent me to New West. Now I have to re-evaluate. What I am I doing in New West when there are all these vacant apartments in the West End! It felt yesterday like I could take my pick of apartments in the West End there were so many vacancies. Then again, the downtown seemed dead and depressed yesterday. Maybe I don’t want to move there after all even if there are vacancies now. The streets of New West were probably more alive yesterday than the streets of Downtown Vancouver.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 49 Thumb down 9

    Anonymous Says:
    5

    I just want to add something to my post about my walk downtown yesterday and the deserted streets and huge number of vacant apartments in the West End. You have to keep in mind that right now is one of the worst times of the year to be looking for rentals. Most people do not want to move during Christmas or during the winter so traditionally it’s been very hard to find vacancies for Jan. 1st or Feb. 1st (Sept. 1st is also hard because you are in competition with students). The best time to look for rentals is in the spring when students are leaving the city–much more choice in April, May and June.

    Just about every apartment building in the West End that I walked by had at least one vacancy on JANUARY 1st NO LESS!!! If it’s like that on Jan. 1st, just imagine how many vacancies there will be in May when students start moving out!

    I just can’t get over what I saw downtown yesterday. It’s one thing to read about it on this blog, but it’s something else to just take a walk downtown. It doesn’t matter if you are a bear or a bull or if you don’t know the first thing about investing and real estate markets. If you’ve lived in Vancouver for many decades and if you know the city well, all you have to do is take a walk downtown and it becomes blatantly obvious that there is something seriously amiss with this city right now. You just have to look around you, it is obvious that something is very wrong–and it’s different from just a year or two ago.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 5

    Girlbear Says:
    6

    Anon #4-5

    Same thing in Kits. Seems like every second building has a vacancy sign in front. Never seen this in all my days of living on the westside.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 3

    Ford Prefect Says:
    7

    gokou3:

    Those who disagree with you should definitely read the work of Jeremy Grantham @ GMO.

    Beyond argument he shows that all commodities, which means all prices, have increased dramatically and idiosyncratically (ie without usual underlying cause such as war for ex.) in past ten years. (He looks back, with very careful analysis, at real commodity prices for past 100 years).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    Bag it and tag it Says:
    8

    Sorry I can’t find a link, but watching BNN this morning they posted that bankruptcies in Canada increased 13% from October to November.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

    pricedoutfornow Says:
    9

    @Anonymous:
    Re: rentals. Not sure if this year is any different than any other year, but we’ve been scoping out different places to live in our East Van neighborhood. There seems to be a ton of supply right now, I keep seeing the same landlords advertising over and over again, they just can’t seem to find tenants. Often the rents keep going down too, on certain properties. A lot of these properties are those that were for sale in the spring, couldn’t sell, now trying to rent (often unsuccessfully). Soft rental market, at least where we live.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

    Bag it and tag it Says:
    10

    #2 VMD
    Great info. Any chance of getting Oct-Dec data? I’m very curious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    Yellow Helicopter Says:
    11

    @Anonymous 4&5 and @Girlbear,

    I also live in the West End and have seen the same thing. We moved downtown in 2007 and at that time, you had to practically beg to get an apartment here – show up in your finest, references in hand, with 30 other people there at the same time, and be ‘interviewed’ by the landlord.
    Things are definitely changing -but I wonder if it’s because of the high ownership rates? If 70% of people own, who is left to rent, other than the transient student types? (And us bears. ;-) )

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 3

    Mick Murphy Says:
    12

    Home values in region decreasing
    Notable decreases in Whistler, the Sunshine Coast, and Vancouver’s West Side

    http://www.news1130.com/2013/01/02/home-values-in-region-decreasing-in-value/

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

    RaggedyRenter RaggedyRenter Says:
    13

    @VMD,
    I also ran the same spreadsheet yesterday
    I saw the same trend in Coquitlam SFH nearby a friend’s purchase, it starts under-assessed, peaked in April (+6%) and goes downhill afterwards, by October it’s -6%

    I’m wondering if this is the same trend in any other year, but more pronounced due to the price correction in the latter half of the year.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

    Best place on meth Says:
    14

    China officials, fearing crackdown, are dumping illicit properties

    http://www.fcpablog.com/blog/2013/1/2/china-officials-fearing-crackdown-are-dumping-illicit-proper.html#

    Real estate agents in Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces are reportedly scrambling to sell a “torrent” of properties suddenly thrown onto the market by officials fearing exposure ahead of an expected anti-corruption crackdown.

    A Jiangsu official was overheard barking into his mobile, “Sell these four houses for me as soon as possible. Don’t sell them any cheaper than two million yuan (US $319,660) each. Quick, quick, this is how we will settle it.”

    In theory, officials are required to disclose all their assets to higher-ups on an annual basis. Loopholes and spotty enforcement, however, have often gotten in the way of transparency.

    But some have speculated times are about to get tougher for officials who possess undeclared properties.

    In October, Cai Bin, a senior urban management official in Guangzhou (Guangdong Province), was sacked after netizens revealed his family owned 22 properties worth a total of 40 million yuan (US $6.4 million).

    One report called the property dump observed in these two provinces just the “tip of the iceberg.”

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 4

    Re: Assess v. Sale price.

    For December, I had already done Van-West Detached.

    The sale price for December was 9% below assess on average.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0

    Perfect storm building against Vancouver real estate and the economy… in my opinion we’re going to be flirting with the worst economic period in our history in this region over the next 4 years… Happy New Year!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 3

    @ Ford Prefect #7

    Those who down-voted my “Like Garth Turner said, price inflation and asset deflation” probably voted because it’s said by Garth Turner as opposed to disagreeing with what he said.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 11

    southseacompany Says:
    18

    Press release from BC Assessment, including examples of local market trends for different unit types.

    http://www.bcassessment.ca/News%20Releases/Vancouver%20Sea%20to%20Sky%202013%20Assessment%20Roll%20News%20Release%20FINAL.pdf

    The examples show change from July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012, so much of this is past history already in today’s quickly changing market. Interesting none the less.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    If you haven’t seen it yet, here is Larry’s latest inventory chart for the three RE Boards of the region (Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Chilliwack).

    The starting inventory this year is a lot higher than previous years…

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

    Re: #12

    So in UBC Real Estate expert Tsur Somerville’s world, “flat” means down 3-6%. You know what hits the fan by the time he says “down slightly”. Oops, he just said it.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

    RaggedyRenter RaggedyRenter Says:
    21

    It’s always going to be flat.
    As we go on, he’ll just say
    “You know, if you look at a period from 2011 to now, we’re pretty flat”
    “You know, if you look at a period from 2010 to now, we’re pretty flat”
    “You know, if you look at a period from 2009 to now, we’re pretty flat”
    “You know, if you look at a period from 2008 to now, we’re pretty flat”

    Remember the YO2Y stats? It will show up soon on the monthly report

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

    Bull! Bull! Bull! Says:
    22

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 19

    @Name Taken

    While I don’t disagree that there is waste in government, I would also suggest that there is waste in the private sector that often gets ignored by those who argue that that it would be much more efficient if the private sector ran the show. I haven’t seen a good study on this, though – anyone know where some objective data on this might be found?

    The other aspect that those who share your view often ignore is Baumol’s Cost Disease.

    Essentially Baumol’s theory describes the notion that some industries drive the expansion of productivity of a given unit of labour (and thus lead to wage inflation), while structural reasons make it much more difficult for other industries to keep up with productivity improvements. This means that while it is relatively much cheaper to build (and buy) a TV in 2010 than in 1970, it is relatively much more expensive to run a school (it still requires a teacher in front of about 30 kids for a whole year – pretty much the same as 1970, but with the added cost of technology in schools that needs to be updated every 4 years).

    In medicine innovation has often added costs faster than it creates efficiency: there is no economic benefit to curing cancer in a retiree, but we have an increasing number of diagnostics and treatments that we provide as part of the government bottom line. I take it you don’t mean to suggest that we ought to deny people new, proven treatments because they will add costs to the system?

    Overlaid on top of this is that large private sector organizations have pushed the globalization of the labour market with the broad trend of placing as much production as possible in low-wage environments with poor labour conditions. It’s very difficult for governments to follow a similar strategy, especially that most of the services they provide are nearly impossible to outsource (it’s difficult to offshore a university to a low-wage country to save costs).

    I’d also argue that the logical end result to this globalization is a progressively lower standard of living for most people in western democracies. Maybe we’ll get there anyways as governments get crushed under debt and are forced to cut spending, but I don’t get why anyone would promote this by encouraging the progressive hollowing out of the real economy through deeper “trade” relationships with economies that have vastly different labour standards. It makes me wonder whether a throttling back of free trade with countries like China that blatantly game the trade system is the way to go.

    How does this tie back to RE? Anyone hoping for what Ben Rabidoux called the “wishful thinking” scenario where average wages rise faster than house prices so that housing is rebalanced is going to be very disappointed. Even if wage growth happens, we can expect rising taxes to erode some of that growth: the fact that most of the services most deeply affected by Baumol’s cost disease are provided by government (tax revenues) means that we can expect taxes to increase moving forward and that government waste/incompetence is not the only possible explanation for the increased costs/taxes.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 1

    @Bull!

    Maybe some should make resolutions to post less

    I guess that includes yourself, right?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 4

    @gokou3 #17

    I voted it down because BC’s latest y-o-y CPI inflation was an almost deflationary 0.1%! ie. Garth was dead wrong on price inflation.

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121221/dq121221b-eng.htm

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

    UBC in Crisis Mode Says:
    26

    VMD says:
    “This is my brief attempt to capture the Sale price trend vs 2012 Assessment Price (published on Jan 1, 2013) in an area of Vancouver West.”

    Thanks for the exercise. If you do the same to Point Grey area, the change may be larger (way smaller sample size, I would say).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Anonymous Says:
    27

    @22 Bull[pucky]Bull[pucky]Bull[pucky]!: “Maybe some should make resolutions to post less.”

    Thanks for volunteering! ;)

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

    patriotz patriotz Says:
    28

    “I voted it down because BC’s latest y-o-y CPI inflation was an almost deflationary 0.1%! ie. Garth was dead wrong on price inflation.”

    He was dead right. > 0 is inflation.

    Not trying to defend Garth really, just arithmetic.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 11

    @ Ford Prefect #7

    Commodities follow a 30-31 year cycle. It’s mostly supply-side driven. The last decade was the up up & away part, as shown below.
    http://i51.tinypic.com/2r551r5.jpg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    Not defending Garth at all, but didn’t that Vancouver sun article just listed out a bunch of price increases? And, in the real world, it sure feels like inflation is higher than the govt numbers showed.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

    i wonder if all the apartment vacancies are sign of exodus of foreign students and people in general from Vancouver in the last 6 months?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

    Name taken Says:
    32

    Regarding West End – rent prices are up about 66% over 10 year period. These are for the same buildings that were already old 10 years ago, they only got older, and those that are renovated create major issues for tenants during renovation cycles.

    Since not many people had their incomes go up by 66% in the last 10 years it explains why there are vacancies. Besides many people who lived in West End 10 years ago retired and now have less income that what they used to have 10 years ago.

    To top it off, you’ve got to be an idiot to pay those rents. One hour drive away you’ve got choices of brand new three bedroom townhouses with large living rooms and kitchens for the same rents as one bedroom with no kitchen in West End. The only thing that West End has going for it is cheap sushi.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 21

    Name taken Says:
    33

    Guys, you keep confusing government taxes and fees and concepts like “inflation”, “prices” and “assets”. Taxes and fees will keep going up irrespective of monetary inflation/deflation, irrespective of retail prices for any goods or services and irrespective of prices of any kinds of assets.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

    data junkie Says:
    34

    “One hour drive away…”

    lol

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

    i don’t buy that move “one hour away” either.
    tough to picture somebody trading West-End lifestyle with one in Aldergrove. The people who lived in West End are more likely to move to Montreal, Toronto even Calgary then Fort Langley and such.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

    data junkie Says:
    36

    I guess I am an unconscionable snob because I considering spending a nice, comfortable 28% of my gross income on RENTING a lovely place in core Vancouver to be a pretty normal thing. It means I don’t need to bother with the hassle of a car, let alone a commute. The most obnoxious part of my day is the fact that sometimes the B-Line is crowded going westbound in the mornings, and I’m too lazy to walk the three blocks to Cambie for the Canada Line.

    But do tell, how is the Pattullo holding up these days?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 4

    data junkie Says:
    37

    Ugh, The Pope, please bring us an edit function in the new year! :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

    @Name Taken

    “Taxes and fees will keep going up irrespective of monetary inflation/deflation, irrespective of retail prices for any goods or services and irrespective of prices of any kinds of assets.”

    Except they haven’t. According to OECD Data

    Candian Tax Revenues as a % of GDP in 1970: 30.9%
    Canadian Tax Revenues as a % of GDP in 2010 31.0%

    http://www.oecd.org/ctp/taxpolicyanalysis/revenuestatisticstaxratioschangesbetween1965and20102012edition.htm

    You can pick different time frames to give you different conclusions (1965 to support the view that taxes have risen 5% of GDP, 1990 to support the vie that taxes have fallen 5% of GDP). The point is that the thesis that taxes always go up is demonstrably false.

    I’m totally open to debating the relative merits of government vs. private sector involvement in various sectors of the economy, and the concomitant impact on real estate, but you’ll have to bring real data to support your claims and not base your arguments on falsehoods.

    Interesting also that you totally ignored the reality that the private sector has, in part, made their productivity gains by moving production to low-cost labour environments (or driving down domestic labour costs) while services run by government have had to contend with the challenges presented by Baumol’s cost disease.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

    Name taken Says:
    39

    Measuring taxes as percentage of GDP is meaningless because GDP includes government spending which in turn is fed by combination of taxes and debt. Look at taxes as percentage of private economy. Or as percentage of individual incomes.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

    Just did the exercise for Dunbar region
    According to this batch of sample, the ones who bought in Jan-Mar 2012 paid 14%-15% over the new assessment price.
    sample size: 91

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 2

    Name taken Says:
    41

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18

    Best place on meth Says:
    42

    Did anybody here spend this lovely day golfing, skiing and sailing?

    I know the realtors haven’t because they’ve been busy posting new listings and re-listings and they’re only going to get busier with each passing day.

    You know, in all the time I’ve lived in Vancouver I’ve never met a single person who sailed.

    Not one.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 6

    Name taken Says:
    43

    SDR, I did live in West End for over 7 years, then about 4 years ago I moved out. Not only I’ve got a bigger place, but I have been saving $1600 every single month in rent. And that is relative to 4 year old rents, today would probably be well over $2000 per month in rent difference. So I have already saved about $100k in after tax dollars on rent. Do you know how much fun you can have with $100k in disposable cash that you get to spend on something other than rent?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9

    @Name Taken

    Not only I’ve got a bigger place, but I have been saving $1600 every single month in rent.

    If you saved $1,600/ month, that probably means you moved to a place in which you’re living in for free, right?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

    Anonymous Says:
    45

    ….You know, in all the time I’ve lived in Vancouver I’ve never met a single person who sailed…..

    I know that we’ve never met but I’ve sailed plenty of times over the last 20 years. And as a previous poster alluded, every single time has been in the rain. One of the unique things about sailing in Vancouver is that both the bottom and top of the boat are equally wet.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 3

    Anonymous Says:
    46

    @SDR:

    I think a lot of potential renters for the West End are moving to locations in Metro Van within an hour of downtown: Metrotown, Brentwood Town Ctr, Lougheed Town Centre, Richmond, New West. Rental buildings are old in the West End. You can rent cheaper, newer, sometimes new condos in these ‘suburban’ locations I mentioned. Although these suburbs have just about all the urban ammenities you can find in the West End and they are connected by skytrain to each other and to downtown.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

    Best place on meth Says:
    47

    #45

    Have you ever combined sailing with golfing or skiing?

    I hear it’s very popular in this city.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

    Re: VMD #40, it would be useful to see how much assessment values have changed for these same properties vs a year ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    Name taken Says:
    49

    No, Makaya, that is the rent difference for a three bedroom place. The old one was freshly renovated. The new one was brand new- I was the first tenant. And no rent increases since over four years ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    Name taken Says:
    50

    Just Looking, regarding “while services run by government have had to contend with the challenges presented by Baumol’s cost disease”- as I said, government will keep screwing things up, so expect higher taxes and more government debt. And, by the way, we don’t need no stinking government to sell us liquor, insure our cars or tell us which doctor we can or cannot see. Your and children’s taxes would be substantially lower if our governments stopped screwing with things that don’t have anything to do with governing.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

    patriotz patriotz Says:
    51

    “And, by the way, we don’t need no stinking government to sell us liquor, insure our cars or tell us which doctor we can or cannot see. ”

    The government doesn’t tell you which doctor you can or cannot see. But the private insurers south of the border do.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 5

    New Listings 178
    Price Changes 48
    Sold Listings 96
    TI:11789

    http://www.paulboenisch.com

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 105 Thumb down 0

    Name taken Says:
    53

    patriotz, you are clearly clueless regarding BC medical system. Unlike Germany you can’t just go and see a specialist doctor. You need some other doctor send you there. Government rules, so yes, government tells you which doctors you can and cannot see. And you can’t just pay with your own cash for the service you want and get it today, so you have to wait for months. And when you do get the service you are treated as a piece of meat, not as a paying customer. Because guess what- you are a piece of meat, and the real paying customer is our glorious government. I don’t care about insurance companies in this or any other country, private or otherwise- how they run their business is their business and that of their shareholders. I just want to be able to choose what I buy and I want to be able to pay for my choices. I can choose to buy organic food but I have to wait in the same line for the same shitty medical service as the dude who keeps McDonalds in business. If that makes sense to you then sure, bring in more government. Maybe we could eat government food one day too.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 24

    “Bubble or not?”

    coming up on Global

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    but but but even though some places have dropped other places are charging ahead!

    says the real estate shills…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

    “The government doesn’t tell you which doctor you can or cannot see. But the private insurers south of the border do.”

    @patriotz again you show you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about. That is utter nonsense. When I lived in the US I always chose my doctor and always got the best care. If I didn’t like a doctor I found a different one. I chose my doctor when I had surgery on my shoulder three weeks from my first appt with the specialist I had the work done. I would have waited 6 months here to get an MRI in which point they would have told me I didn’t need it. Yes, the US system is broken, but the BC/Canadian system is just as broken, just in a different way.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 15

    tsure “no bubble here so how can it burst?..it’s just a market downturn”

    he’s definitely sounding defensive.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

    Keeping An Eye On The Pimps Says:
    58

    Cameron Muir- we all know him, yes he is the guy that pulls numbers out of his anus, and gets paid for it.

    He calls the numbers he pulls out of his anus a forecast.

    Last year he predicted that the market would to turn skyward in the
    latter half of the year.

    Something about consumer confidence, low mortgage rates, and some other plausible hackneyed prosaic, illiterate housewife, pleasing words.

    Today I heard him on the radio.

    He purposely spoke slowly-, very slowly, calmingly, and with an authoritative voice as to suggest he was anticipating this little hiccup in the market.

    Somewhat banal and only undetectable to those in denial.
    Those who bought into the bs about the world has our calling card, everyone wants to live here, and there not making any more land, and you there has to be a major shock for real estate to crash in Vancouver got screwed, and not in a good way.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

    @Name Taken

    “Measuring taxes as percentage of GDP is meaningless because GDP includes government spending which in turn is fed by combination of taxes and debt. Look at taxes as percentage of private economy. Or as percentage of individual incomes.”

    Happy to look at this, but you didn’t provide the data and I couldn’t find it.

    In any case, I don’t agree that total government revenues to GDP is meaningless (nor, it seems, does the OECD). I agree that government deficits would contribute to GDP figures and could skew the tax revenues:GDP analysis. That said, to exclude the public sector contribution to the economy and use only private sector GDP to government revenues would suggest that the government contribution to the economy is 100% non-productive (waste), which is not the case (just as Ford how much it’s health care obligations are impacting the bottom line in their US operations vs Canadian or ask a middle income family hoping to send their kid to a top US university vs a similar family sending their kid to a top Canadian university).

    Excluding the public sector contributions to the economy also ignores the sector’s contribution to tax revenues (a public sector employee’s wages and spending is subject to the same tax as a private sector worker). Comparing all taxes/gov’t expenditures to only the private sector contributions to the GDP would provide a distorted view as you’d also be excluding the tax base the public sector represents.

    Tax as a % of individual incomes is what tax to GDP tries to approximate. GDP/capita and is frequently used as proxy for incomes because it is more comparable across jurisdictions.

    So yes, GDP to government revenues has its problems, yes, but it is a useful measure and the alternative measures you’ve provided are equally challenged. Even if we disagree on the measure used, my point remains: you haven’t actually provided any evidence that government is a less efficient way to provide health care, education, etc. or that taxes are on an endless upwards spiral.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    Name taken Says:
    60

    “you haven’t actually provided any evidence that government is a less efficient way to provide health care, education, etc. or that taxes are on an endless upwards spiral.”

    If you doubt any of those statements then do your own research. Bottom line is that the taxes are up, service is down. Part of it is the fact that we simply cannot afford to educate and cure everybody to the same standards (and the average standards will have to decline further as the availability of cheap resources decreases while population increases) but the other part is due to the way government runs things. This is not a secret really as there is very simple causality here based on how decisions are made. If you are spending your own money vs other people’s money you will make different decisions. If you agree with this simple fact the rest of the conclusions follow.

    If you need pointers for things that are easy to research then look at the guys who sell us beer at government stores vs same guys in private stores. Compare their total compensation including all wages, benefits, pensions, days off, etc. If you detect any difference then that will be the difference between the way government spends your dollars and the market prices for exact same labor.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

    Anyone seen any holiday Canadian retail numbers released yet? Only thing I’ve found is this forecast article (and others like it), but it doesn’t even have a date on it (really, wtf):

    http://www.canadiangardencentre.ca/content/view/1760/67/

    Anecdotaly, during my usual last minute holiday shopping, I’ve found fewer people in the stores (and parking was never a problem) and lines to the cashiers shorter. Other people observed lots of traffic in various malls, but of course the question is how much did they spend, and what the margins ware.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    I have to agree with @patriotz regarding health care.

    I have lived about a quater of my life in the US. Last time I saw a doctor there I was suprized to learn that even though I lived in a fair sized city with many doctors there were only a few that my insurer would allow me to see. And I had to wait longer to see the doctor than I ever have in Canada.

    Here in BC I have easily changed doctors when I didn’t like the one I had.

    In the US I knew someone having a heart attack who called an unlicensesd friend with medical training instead of calling 911 because he knew he couldn’t afford the bill.

    The US system might work well for the top 1% who can afford to make any choices they want. But it doesn’t work well for the middle class (what is left of it) and the poor.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 5

    “11789”

    That’s the “snow base” for 2013. Here are the daily snowfall reports from January 2012:
    259
    288
    231
    217
    376
    351
    266
    232
    218
    428
    324
    273
    234
    250
    307
    330
    218
    176
    214
    292
    278

    And January 2011:

    267
    250
    165
    177
    266
    261
    186
    200
    171
    292
    272
    257
    247
    225
    287
    234
    270
    250
    270
    273

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

    oneangryslav2 Says:
    64

    @#60–Name taken

    If you need pointers for things that are easy to research then look at the guys who sell us beer at government stores vs same guys in private stores. Compare their total compensation including all wages, benefits, pensions, days off, etc. If you detect any difference then that will be the difference between the way government spends your dollars and the market prices for exact same labor.

    Actually, I agree with this. There is no reason for the existence of the BD LDP. But, you go too far in castigating the government as villain. The richest countries are those that have better and larger (yes, larger!) governments. The government does many things well. Let me take the paragraph of yours that I’ve reproduced above and amend it slightly (changes in bold):

    If you need pointers for things that are easy to research then look at the guys who government medical care [Medicare] in the USA vs [the] same guys in the private sector. Compare their total costs of providing similar levels of health care, in terms of compensation including all wages, benefits, pensions, days off, corporate profits, stock options, graft, , inefficiencies*, etc. If you detect any difference then that will be the difference between the way government spends your dollars and the market prices for exact same labor.

    *According to the Kaiser Family FoundationAccording to the Kaiser Family Foundation, administrative costs in Medicare are only about 2 percent of operating expenditures. Defenders of the insurance industry estimate administrative costs as 17 percent of revenue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    @Jesse

    Inventory at the same time last year, as reported by Paulb was 10671, so we’re starting from higher grounds this year. 20k party this year?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

    oneangryslav2 Says:
    66

    @ Baxter:

    The US system might work well for the top 1% who can afford to make any choices they want

    As someone who has also had extensive experience with both the US and Canadian health care systems, I can speak with some authority on this. I also have done research on comparing public health policies across OECD countries, and given the choice I’d prefer the French or German model to either the US or Canadian system.

    As for Baxter’s claim above, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I’d say that if you’re in the top 20-25% of the economic pyramid, you’d get better (though more expensive, depending on job, pre-existing conditions, etc.) health care in the US than you do in Canada. For the majority of the population, the Canadian system, warts and all, is much better.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

    ” Things are definitely changing -but I wonder if it’s because of the high ownership rates? If 70% of people own, who is left to rent, other than the transient student types? (And us bears. ;-) )”

    While nationally ownership rate is about 71%, in Vancouver (Van proper anyways) it is closer to 50%, reflecting the very high price of ownership and low wages (and lots of apartment units).

    I came to, and was looking for a place in December prev year for Feb 1 2005 occupancy. I setup a bunch of appointments (and the pickings were very very slim), flew over, and went to see the places. Although there were no group “interviews”, I did have one landlord not show up (after I waited and finally called) because, and I shit you not, “there was snow and it was not safe to drive”, as I looked out the window at maybe a 1/4 inch on the ground.

    Things change pretty quickly. We’ve had a “for rent” sign out front fairly reliably for the past several months now, and I know a couple just moved out of the unit next door, so if you’re looking in West End, plenty of nice places to pick from.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

    C.Junta Says:
    68

    @Name Taken #50

    I used to live in the states for a few years, so I think I should add my $0.02 USD.

    >we don’t need no stinking government to sell us liquor
    100% agree.

    >insure our cars
    100% agree.

    > or tell us which doctor we can or cannot see.
    The system works in a similar way in both countries. Insurance companies I was covered by (Aetna and Blue Cross) had a very large network of general physicians and specialists, changing a doctor was no problem at all. Yes, all specialists required a referral from a physician, same as in Canada.

    It’s probably fair to compare Canadian system with US insurance for self-employed. The major difference is that in Canada insurance premiums are fixed, while in the states they really look who you are and offer you a lot of options. This article gives the idea how much an insurance may cost you:

    http://onforb.es/JdogZp
    “The estimates ranged from as low as $135 To $764 per month based on my gender, age–51, my zip code in Washington, DC, and no tobacco use in the last 12 months. Dental coverage ranged from $16.14 to $60.90 and vision came in at $14.99 a month. Of course, there were co-pays and office visit charges and annual deductibles from $750 to $5,000″

    A friend of mine who is around 40 and self-employed in US confirms those numbers. He says if you are a 40 y/o in good health you can get a decent coverage for $170/month (yes, deductibles will be high). Pretty reasonable, in my opinion. Waiting time is waaaay smaller than in Canada (my experience).

    I would say, inefficient health insurance price structure in Canada is the price we have to pay to live in a lower-stress society.

    >Your and children’s taxes would be substantially lower
    >if our governments stopped screwing with things
    >that don’t have anything to do with governing.
    Sigh… In a perfect world – yes. I lived in 5 different countries (when saying “lived”, I mean lived for more than a year), and never saw a system I would call perfect. There are always a lot of ways to abuse it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    Best place on meth Says:
    69

    Hooray, my two favorite worthless cheerleaders Tsur and Muir were on Global again tonight!

    I guess they’re a package deal, like Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello or Dumb and Dumber.

    They both looked really peeved this time, as if they’re getting tired of their jobs – those jobs of course being complete fucking whores for the real estate industry.

    Tsur: There was no bubble in the first place so there’s nothing to pop.

    Muir: The latest round of mortgage tightening to 25 years was rather unnecessary.

    Ok boys that was great, now who’s on first!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 61 Thumb down 1

    Total Inventory (paulB stats) 1st day of January:

    2011 9435
    2012 10671 (+13.1% YoY)
    2013 11789 (+10.5% YoY, +25% vs 2011)

    As MLS did not report any sale on Monday Dec 31, perhaps the sale #’s were lumped to today? I’d bet tomorrow’s sale # (and S/L ratio) will be much lower..

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

    Name taken Says:
    71

    “The richest countries are those that have better and larger (yes, larger!) governments.”

    Why not follow your logic and eliminate private sector at all? We’ll all have fat government jobs then and be very rich. If only there was a precedent in history for that so that we could see exactly how rich we would get. Oh wait, there was one country that tried that, it was called USSR. And the generations that tried it there ended up being proud parents of an international wave of prostitution export because their daughters and grand daughters literally could not afford to earn living in any other way. Yeah, their government made them rich all right.

    Here is the latest example- France’s total government spending is now over 50% of their GDP as far as I remember the numbers. So you expect them to get richer in the following years? I expect them to blow up and lose whatever competitiveness they had left.

    In addition to all inefficiencies governments are also ill prepared to proactively address the real issues that we are facing in the coming years related to the diminishing balance between available resources and growing population. No politician will say what needs to be said because they would have to go looking for a new job the next day.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 15

    nice Rent-it-furnished..

    “$495 move out cleaning fee applies.”

    I think I’m going to start flagging their postings

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

    Anonymous Says:
    73

    @Name Taken

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_the_health_care_systems_in_Canada_and_the_United_States

    Speaking of liquor distribution, aren’t the liberals selling that off to their pals in private industry before they get the boot? What was the net benefit to taxpayers for selling that crown corporation… Oh right, they’re going to start charging more for alcohol because the private system can’t do it as we’ll as the public one without raising costs to the end user.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

    VMD, that’s my assumption. You guessed very closely on the sales for December; I guessed 1159. you win on technicality but it’s still a win, as you accurately considered the vacation schedule of REBGV. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    @Name taken

    1) How many people are on Food stamps in France compared to good ol’d free market US and A? Case rested.
    2) For every USSR example i can give Sweden’s, Finland’s , Denmark’s of these world.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 9

    Name taken Says:
    76

    Regarding US health care- why does everybody think that when I say “I want to pay for what I order” I am in any way referring to US healthcare system? I don’t care what they have down South because I am up North. I want to see a Canadian doctor NOW who I choose and I am ok paying for it. I don’t want to go see many doctors to get to the one I believe I need for the best improvement in my health and I don’t want to wait for it. And I want that doctor accountable to me, not some bureaucrat.

    In BC I have only had that experience with my dentist. And even my dentist can’t deliver full service as he has to rely on the rest of the system for things like allergy tests which for some reason have to be approved by a different dude who in turn is not available for two months.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

    “Oh right, they’re going to start charging more for alcohol because the private system can’t do it as we’ll as the public one without raising costs to the end user.”

    Well, at least you didn’t call it an example of “unbridled capitalism”. Public monopoly to private monopoly is not the way to privatize. This is rife with corruption, nepotism and corporate welfare. I don’t really buy this “private industry always does it better” mantra, but you’re really throwing a strawman in here.

    There _should_ be some savings in most industries in private vs public, primarily on the basis of there being competition in the private space; everything government touches always becomes a legally mandated monopoly (or effectively one, like with mortgage insurance).

    Personally, I never understood why we are still buying liquor from a government warehouse, decades after prohibition. What value is added there? What function is served? They can easily keep taxing alcohol 105% like they do now, and get rid of the middleman. There are still tons of tasty liquors I can’t buy in BC, because the trouble and cost of importing and selling it legally are far too high. This is an obvious example of government waste; a body which serves no purpose whatsoever, except to employ some people in lucrative do-nothing jobs (and I wonder what political ties the appointed upper management have). But nothing will change if they just hand over the monopoly to their buddies running a private corporation. Now they get to tack on profits.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

    Name taken Says:
    78

    Jacob, what is your point? That socialist governments prevalent in Western Europe take better care of people who don’t want to work than the government of USA does? You are probably right. So what?

    Do you have any idea what it is like to actually do business in those countries and pay those taxes in case you are successful at it? How is it not obvious what the end result will be for countries that stimulate laziness and discourage entrepreneurship?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 10

    given the choice I’d prefer the French or German model to either the US or Canadian system.

    Amen. The worst thing about the so-called “debate” on healthcare in Canada is that it’s pitched as a binary alternative – Canadian public model vs. American private model. As you rightly point out, the data show that the hybrid systems (ie where consumers can choose either private or public) result in better outcomes and lower costs.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

    @Name taken
    “Do you have any idea what it is like to actually do business in those countries and pay those taxes in case you are successful at it?”

    well somehow that taxes did not hurt for 100 of years to worldwide leaders like BASF’s, Siemiens, Areva, TGV, BMW, WV, Ikea, Ericson, Roche, Rolex etc etc etc; you name it.
    so what is your point?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 5

    stagnate Says:
    81

    name taken: “you haven’t actually provided any evidence that government is a less efficient way to provide health care, education, etc. or that taxes are on an endless upwards spiral.”

    although i agree the public unions could do with a haircut it was the campbell liberals that are to blame for the current senario. income tax rates were reduced drastically. the political payoff for that was relatively short term. now you see the flip side, the government scrambling to generate revenue on the fringes. ideology issues, will be interesting to see to what extent the ndp tries to reverse. the loss of hst revenue will hit also.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

    Name taken Says:
    82

    Jacob, you are confused about this. First of all the companies you listed aren’t really from the countries that you mentioned- Siemens for example has more prominent historical ties to nazis and slave labor in striped uniforms than to the countries you mentioned. Second, companies like Ericsson aren’t doing that well. I used to own Ericsson phones back in 1996 when I lived in Scandinavia but today I would not know where to buy an Ericsson phone even if I wanted to. Third, and most importantly, 100 years ago those taxes were not anywhere close to what they are today in those countries. Here is the more appropriate question: do you think Ericsson will survive another 100 years? I don’t. Huawei will eat them up, and much much sooner than in 100 years. Finally, when companies like Ericsson lose their significance will there be new companies created to fill in the gaps and keep the economy going? If the tax policy discourages entrepreneurship then those companies will simply develop elsewhere.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

    @Name Taken

    This discussion is not on topic for a RE blog and as you haven’t provided any real informative contribution to this discussion, just opinion that is often unsupported by any evidence, so I’ll end my part in it with this:

    “Do your own research” – I did. I shared it. It led me to a different conclusion than the one you have made. I invited you to present a counter argument based in fact. You dismissed the data I shared and provided no data of your own except the case of wages at liquor stores, which doesn’t have any relevance to the argument that ‘taxes will always go up because governments aren’t spending their own money and are therefore wasteful’ as the LDB generates revenue for the government.

    I’d also point out that most employees and execs in the private sector aren’t usually directly spending their own money either, but rather they are spending investors’ money. So really, the only ‘efficient’ organization by your logic is a sole proprietorship or an entirely employee-owned company.

    Health Care: The Canadian health care system does allow 100% private care, so your argument that you can’t pay for your own care if you want it is not based in fact.
    See: http://www.falsecreekhealthcare.com/
    and http://www.csc-surgery.com/

    Corruption, waste and laziness can happen in both the public and private sector. I have yet to see good, unbiased data that shows conclusively that the public sector does a worse job at things like health care and education than does the private sector, or that taxes have and will perpetually rise due to mismanagement and you haven’t made any attempt to shed light on those central questions. If your goal was to convince anyone of your righteousness, you’ve failed.

    And now, back to our usual RE bearish programming.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 8

    Anonymous Says:
    84

    Is this still a housing blog?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 3

    @Name taken
    “Jacob, you are confused about this. First of all the companies you listed aren’t really from the countries that you mentioned-“

    Confused? You maybe,.All mentioned companies are from “high taxed”, “socialist”, “evil government” of Europe.

    Huawei? Gimme a break.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

    southseacompany Says:
    87

    Noon News Hour – Property values dropping
    Wed, Jan 2: For the first time in many years, a “significant number” of properties in Vancouver’s Sea to Sky region are decreasing in value.

    http://www.globaltvbc.com/video/property+values+dropping/video.html?v=2322693894&p=2&s=dd#video

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    Name taken Says:
    88

    Just Looking, you say “This discussion is not on topic for a RE blog” and then you go on with the same discussion :)

    Read the original post that is being discussed- it talks about increases in EI/CPP, health care premiums, taxes- if it is off topic for this blog then blame whoever posted it. I believe that your comments were on topic.

    Anyway, I am signing off, have a good night.

    P.S. final thought: following the logic of “LDB generates revenue for the government” the government must monopolize all other industries so that they too generate revenues for the government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

    southseacompany Says:
    89

    News Hour – Will the real estate market take a tumble?
    Wed, Jan 2 – With the cooling of assessed property values comes the inevitable question: is the real estate market about to take a serious tumble? Jas Johal reports.

    http://www.globaltvbc.com/video/will+the+real+estate+market+take+a+tumble/video.html?v=2322743394&p=2&s=dd#video

    Repeat of Cam Muir’s drawling, lazy voiced sound bite from last week saying the tightening of mortgage limits was unnecessary. Obviously Global is repeating it in case folks were dozing from too much turkey and missed it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    Anonymous Says:
    90

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12

    painted turtle Says:
    91

    Muir was interviewed on the same construction site, with the same grey sky, two weeks ago. So I believe it is an extract from a former interview. By the way, that former interview was also strange: the grass was green around Muir while the rest of the images showed Vancouver covered in snow. Which makes me think that these two Muir’s interviews are both old news, re-cooked. May be Global does not even bother interviewing Muir over and over, since he is always saying the same thing…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

    @ Name Taken

    “This discussion is not on topic for a RE blog” and then you go on with the same discussion :)”

    True enough – have a good evening!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    year	sell	list	sell/list
    2001	1225	3395	36.1%
    2002	2248	3626	62.0%
    2003	1966	3810	51.6%
    2004	1954	3039	64.3%
    2005	1697	3360	50.5%
    2006	1924	3471	55.4%
    2007	1806	4067	44.4%
    2008	1819	4675	38.9%
    2009	762	3700	20.6%
    2010	1923	5147	37.4%
    2011	1819	4801	37.9%
    2012	1577	5756	27.4%
    Mean	1727	4071	42.4%
    median	1819	3755	47.5%
    

    Anyone think we’re going to beat the 5756 new listings from January 2012 this month? That’s a lot of listings.

    No point in posting the month-end projections until we get a few days deeper into the month–7 day moving average includes weird end of December stuff right now.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

    Anonymous Says:
    94

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 16

    @Anonymous

    “The reason we have not seen efficiencies in things like traditional education (grade 1 to 12 / university) is because government controls it.”

    Except that the US and the UK have a large number of their students educated in private institutions. Canada has a non-trivial number of private schools too. In decades of operation, those institutions haven’t provided the productivity improvements that one would expect if the only thing stopping innovation was the fact that schools were government-run.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

    oneangryslav2 Says:
    96

    @71 Name Taken:

    I want to thank you for your responses to some of the points I made. Not because I think they’re thoughtful or intellectually engaging, but because I can now avoid debating you in this forum without feeling like I’m missing out. A couple of final points, nonetheless:

    “Why not follow your logic and eliminate private sector at all?”

    My mother, a wonderful woman with the biggest heart in the world, and a smart woman as well, did not, however, have the opportunity to receive much education. The first time she heard the phrase reduction ad absurdum was from me when I was about 18 or 19 and had just taken an Intro to Philosophy class at UBC. Anyway, it was January on a day much like today; that is to say, not too cold but still chilly enough that most of us would still want to wear a heavy jacket outside. Well, as I was leaving for school in the morning. I decided that since I only had to walk from my house to the car, from my car to class, and then back to my car, that I didn’t need a jacket.

    Being the doting Eastern European woman that she is, my mother was deeply concerned and expressed it by throwing my jacket in my direction as I headed down the stairs. Upon insisting, about five times or so that I neither wanted nor needed my jacket, my mother thought that she had won the argument by exclaiming: “well, you may as well go to school naked then!” Reductio ad absurdum!

    It’s simply a fact that of the OECD countries–the so-called advanced industriaal economies (which I referred to in my previous post)–countries that have a larger share of government spending as GDP simply do better (and in a majority of cases, significantly so) in all of the areas of life that relate to well-being–socio-economic, social welfare, happiness, etc.

    We’ll all have fat government jobs then and be very rich. If only there was a precedent in history for that so that we could see exactly how rich we would get. Oh wait, there was one country that tried that, it was called USSR.

    As somebody born in a communist country, I have no sympathy for (in fact, I have a lot of antipathy towards) the communist regimes of the past (and present), particularly the Soviet Union. By the way, you may think that you’re being clever but the Soviet Union did not provide “fat government jobs”. By the way, as soon as somebody tries to support an argument by writing “USSR” or “Nazi Germany” or “Hitler” of “Stalin” I tune out, which I’ll be doing now.

    The government does some things well and other things poorly. The best-run societies are those that temper unbridled corporate capitalism (notice that I didn’t write “market” capitalism since that really doesn’t exist anymore, at least not for the plutocrats that run things these days) with government and untrammeled government power with a robust civil and market society. But if it makes you feel better, go on believing that I advocate for a return of the USSR.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

    Health care, education, real estate, … Oh my!
    Real Estate already has no brain, heart, and few used house salespersons with the courage to be truthful (So I wonder health care and real estate are missing?)
    OMG – an epiphany: Cameron Muir is the little awkward man behind the Global TV real estate curtains!

    Anyways, now a weak stab at tying it all together —

    It is time that health care and education were means-tested. However, as others have noted there are many curious cases of young families living in million dollar homes but having very little yearly income.

    So, how about means-tested fees according to the value of the primary residence which you (or your guardians, if not an adult) own. That means your satellite parents can’t just fly you in from Faroffistan, buy you a luxury condo, drop you off, and take advantage of the free/cheap education system without paying into it… at least more than they pay in now. And likewise, when they start getting sick, they cannot run back for their free Canadian health care without paying more than they do now.

    That means people who keep mysteriously shrugging their shoulders and claiming a pittance of an annual income while living in luxury homes and driving beamers around… at last are forced to pay a little more into the system.

    Longtime senior residents of Canada living in expensive homes would, of course, have to be treated differently.

    I know, I know, the idea has its share of problems, there would be a general knashing of teeth, etc, etc. But sometimes it is nice to imagine a Canada that has the cajones to put up a fight against the people that take advantage of the system, while simultaneously starting on a path to solving its growing debt problems.

    Best place on meth:
    Having been in Vancouver most my life, I have only met one person that has discussed having gone sailing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    Anonymous Says:
    98

    “Except that the US and the UK have a large number of their students educated in private institutions. Canada has a non-trivial number of private schools too.”

    And which provide the better education? Then factor in the private institutions have a lower true cost per student.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

    Absinthe Says:
    99

    Anon @98 – Private institutions aren’t mainstreaming special needs students. In the main schools, you’ll have one or more sometimes profoundly high-need people in each classroom, each with a half- or full- time care aide. If you get to pick your students, you can specialize. And whether that’s for ESL, gifted, academic, monied, special needs, artistic, or ballet… well, in specialization there are savings. Our public school system is necessarily generalist, and each classroom is dealing with a range of students. ( I’m a parent with kids in elementary. )

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    Anonymous Says:
    100

    ….While nationally ownership rate is about 71%, in Vancouver (Van proper anyways) it is closer to 50%, reflecting the very high price of ownership and low wages (and lots of apartment units)….

    So if this is true, where in Canada, since 70% already own, are all these inter-provincial migrants coming from? (I know there isn’t any net incoming migration) I guess we’re to believe that they’re all selling their homes to move to Vancouver to pay high rents (since they couldn’t possibly afford to own here)? Just goes to underscore how much this fart bubble is supported by bullshit.

    What’s the difference between a Real Estate board and the back end of a bull? Eventually the bull drops the bullshit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Anonymous Says:
    101

    ……Noon News Hour – Property values dropping
    Wed, Jan 2: For the first time in many years, a “significant number” of properties in Vancouver’s Sea to Sky region are decreasing in value…..

    Whistler’s been dropping for about 11 years now. Way to scoop that story Global!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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