The One Million Dollar Line

Over at Bing Thom architects there’s an interesting post looking at the line that divides the city when it comes to single family homes over the $1 million mark.

One thing they point out, more than half of Vancouvers land mass is zoned for ‘single family homes’ (which currently actually can mean ‘3 family homes when you count suites and laneway homes).

As a legacy of planning from the 1920s, these areas have some of the most abundant levels of family supportive infrastructure in the entire city. For example, 90 (80 percent) out of the 113 Vancouver public schools are in these areas. From elementary and secondary schools to parks to playgrounds to community centers, there is a considerable amount of public investment found in these sections of Vancouver. This rich infrastructure has helped generations of Vancouverites raise children and set roots in the City. At the same time, this infrastructure was developed when the average household income in the City of Vancouver could readily afford to live in these areas. For the sake of reference, the average household income in the City of Vancouver is about $68,000 a year with a median income of $47,000 according to the 2006 census (latest numbers available) or $78,000 and $54,000 respectively in 2013 dollars. What is the future of these pieces of infrastructure (and neighbourhoods) in an era when the majority of the single family homes in the City of Vancouver are now worth over $1 million?

We recently discussed the $519k line, which is where the lower end of SFH prices are currently. It will be interesting to watch the movement of this million dollar line in the future as well.

As GreaterfoolVancouver points out, CMHC will no longer insure property over the $1 million line, so it looks like Quebec street is the border line for 20% down payments.

What’s your prediction for the 2014 edition of this map – more red or more blue?

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“Flaherty complaining”

Flaherty complaining amounts to tightening regulatory oversight or limitation of hedging options. He isn’t just talking, he’s threatening.


“And you think global banks are restricted to countries?”

In Canada yes.


Quick tidbit.

With Mar 2011 being the high sales month of past decade for many markets, the 2013 comparable may result in some markets having sales volumes over 70% below the 2011 comparable.

Ahh . . Just a flesh wound is it??


@90 chilled

Although I can’t stand his apparent arrogance at times (how many pics of him are needed on the front page?), but having never met the man Garth ‘is’ a gifted writer and sometimes a decent financial adviser.

He is no more wrong or right than any advisers, I don’t trust my money with them as they are only in it for their own gain.

Now having said that, I do take advice and listen to all sides of any discussion relating to investments and weigh them accordingly. Then I make my own decisions.

Those who follow anyone like sheep deserve what they get


And you think global banks are restricted to countries? Ignorant.


Anonymous Says:
March 4th, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Garth telling the masses that only a 5% decline in prices for in demand areas.

How can that guy sleep at night misleading so many people. He should be charged or something.


I called him out on this sort of flip flopping of his years ago, only to get blasted by his worshipers. It amazes me how someone with all the fundamentals is all too often fundamentally wrong.


“Btw, if anyone is really interested to know how crooked our banking system has become with the help of your faithful politicians, google HSBC + rolling stone magazine ”

Wrong country Johny.


@ #83
Below is the link that you referred to. From the pen of Matt Taibbi, one of the best investigative reporters into the massive fraud perpetrated by HSBC & other “too big to fail” banks.

One hilarious detail that Taibbi does not mention:

“The US department of justice said HSBC had moved $881m for two drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia and accepted $15bn in unexplained “bulk cash”, across the bank’s counters in Mexico, Russia and other countries. In some branches the boxes of cash being deposited were so big the tellers’ windows had to be enlarged.”

(from the Guardian:


Shannon Patterson story (tonight’s CTV Vancouver News) on the latest BMO 5-year mortgage at 2.99%:

“I would hope that people would take advantage of this and jump into the market” – Carolyn Heaney, BMO Mortgage Manager

I like the response of the two people on the street…no, it wouldn’t change my mind….no, don’t wanna buy, prices are too high.


I find it interesting how people believe that the 1 million dollar line will move eastward indefinitely. The prevailing belief is also that desperate people that wish to live in Vancouver are willing to move further and further out and commute longer to get into downtown. The truth is that this will not happen, there is an asymptotic relationship. The limit that a person will be willing to commute is limited by the number of hours in a day. When commuting crosses over a particular threshold as measured of % of hours in a day, quality of life degrades substantially. From what I observed the commuting threshold is about 7%. After crossing this point, people either move closer to their work or look for other work closer to home. People will never live in Abbotsford and commute to Vancouver in… Read more »


CBC National News item tonight regarding Flaherty complaining about the low, low mortgage interest rates offered by BMO (i.e. 2.99% for 5 years):

Note at the end of the piece how Ian Lee from Carleton U says Flaherty complaining about the Big Banks is just “blowing smoke” and if he really wanted to get to the root of the debt problem, then he should “increase the (required) downpayment…”

Vote Down The Facts

82, I think Garth has predicted every possible outcome now. Whatever happens he can claim that he saw it coming all along!


By reading some comments, it seems to me there are a lot of naive people who think our gov’t agencies act in the best inteterst of Canadians. Basically no. How the money that comesinto Canada is not a concern to our government simply because it will find its way into the economy and taxes will be paid. That’s all they care about. If it wasn’t the case it would be a long timr ago that organized crime such the hells would be out of business. The HAM that has been pouring into this country is the only saving grace for our ‘elected’ crooks. But do not worry cause the day the HAM stops flowing there will already be international agreements setup so that HIM will then replace HAM. So for many let me at least warn you that holding your… Read more »


Garth telling the masses that only a 5% decline in prices for in demand areas.

How can that guy sleep at night misleading so many people. He should be charged or something.


mac Says:
900kCrackHouse Says:

Kind of ironic we have the two of you complaining about Chinese being immoral with not paying taxes when both of you are on record today being complicit with friends and family doing the exact same thing. Kettle meet the pot.


Total days 20
Days elapsed so far 2
Weekends / holidays 2
Days missing 0
Days remaining 18
7 Day Moving Average: Sales 99
7 Day Moving Average: Listings 240
Sales so far 193
Projection for rest of month (using 7day MA) 1782
Projected month end total 1975
Listings so far 567
Projection for rest of month (using 7day MA) 4316
Projected month end total 4883
Sell-list so far 34.0%
Projected month-end sell-list 40.4%
Inventory as of Mar 4th, 2013 15577
MoI at this sales pace 7.89

(Apologies for poor formatting; the ‘pre’ tag doesn’t seem to be working.)


900kCrackHouse Says: “I have a good friend who has built multiple houses in Richmond. Multiple times he built two houses next to each other, loaded up the expenses onto one of the house (reduces taxes when selling) and for the 2nd house paid cash for everything and lived in it for a year.” Not sure where the tax savings come in but at some point he will get caught. He may as well just fake the expenses because if he is audited by CRA it would take them 10 minutes to figure out he built two houses and the expenses for the house he sold don’t add up. There is a trail of everything from the property purchases to the suppliers who he buys materials from. It is easy for anyone to commit tax evasion as long as you don’t… Read more »


New Listings 326
Price Changes 126
Sold Listings 121


@#75 exactly how my landlord’s doing it. He built a couple duplexes and had lived in a different half-duplex each year. His original goal was to sell them once his family occupied them for a year. Unfortunately, due to the poor market in 2012 he decided to rent duplex #1 out (to yours truly) and wait for “better prices next year or two”.

He just moved into duplex #3 from duplex #2 few months ago, didn’t even bother putting duplex #2 on the market. Now a tenant lives in it. 1 year old house with brand new s/s appliances, granite c/t etc.


Mac: “Where do you think the suitcases of cash go? Into real estate here?”

Based on the amount of money they have detected coming in there is roughly enough money smuggled to buy 1 really nice or 2 average westside houses. Does that answer your question?


I have a good friend who has built multiple houses in Richmond. Multiple times he built two houses next to each other, loaded up the expenses onto one of the house (reduces taxes when selling) and for the 2nd house paid cash for everything and lived in it for a year. He was always taking out stack and stacks of cash from the bank with never any questions asked. 2nd house was sold tax free.


I the excitement of smuggling suitcases of cash, it appears that a lot of posters have forgotten that once the money is out of China, it is perfectly legal. (Well some of it probably is.)

Border services are not in the business of enforcing Chinese currency export laws here. If the money is legally earned in China, which isn’t hard, there really isn’t much reason to not just walk into bank a deposit it.



Where do you think the suitcases of cash go? Into real estate here?


@Bo Xilai

When this blows up, it’s going to be an Imperial Crusterfruck!

Over there, they’ll probably riot and trash RE sales offices until the govt bails them out. Can’t blame them in some ways for their investment choice though. After all, have they not been herded by the same forces that have caused the massive misallocation of capital into overpriced shelter here?


If you don’t realize how much cash business going on in the home renovation sector (including outright demolish & builds) in this city you’ve got to get your visa updated so that you can return to Canada from fantasy land.

Take a course: Money laundering 101 – Home Renovations.