Free Advertising!

As Mac pointed out this weekend, the most effective Vancouver real estate marketers know how to reap the benefits of free advertising provided by our local media.

Some of them are a bit too ham-fisted with their approach and get called out for generating obviously fake stories with fake buyers or fake houses.

But there’s one guy who really knows what he’s doing.

Bob Rennie isn’t referred to as the ‘condo king’ for nothing, he knows just the right way to keep the media interested.  Here’s how Mac put it:

Here is the depressingly effective PR strategy Rennie has used for years to effectively make the newspapers (and TV news) his free ad agency.

1. Start with a hook that splits the audience: either one hopes for it or is dying to refute: Boomers will finance the real estate market.

2. State a belief supported by your “insight” as an expert and mix with some facts. Leave it to the reporter NOT to know how to ask hard questions:

Boomers own their homes outright.

Feds have a hard time understanding our market.

Vancouver RE buyers are not entirely dependent on only their incomes to buy their homes, he noted. Just 4.9 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents make more than$100,000 [≈ Small rural house (2011)] a year, while 65 per cent earn less than$55,000 [≈ Median US household income (2009)] a year.

3. Plug your other projects: scaled down VAG and [fill in the blank] condo development

4. Recap with an example that is a tautology: someone sold in Shaughnessy for a bit less, therefore they will be buying their kids houses and financing the real estate market

5. Don’t address the other side of that argument (probably because the journalist can’t figure it out)…as in ‘What if the Shaughnessy seller had plans for the higher sold price and now feels “poorer” because they sold for less and gives less to their kids? Is there any trickle down effect on prices from that? And what if we do’t use Shaughnessy–the most $$$ neibhbourhood– as an example but use another neighbourhood instead where the price drops may be more significant and the family net worth, and negative wealth-effect might be less and maybe even they have more kids to “support” into their late adulthood?

6. Bring up an obvious example of something that has nothing to do with the main point you’re trying to prove to re-inforce your “expertness”: people like dens. They like them as extra bedrooms. (This was also true for every generation of grannies and grandpas). But my God! It’s true! So if you are right about dens, then you must be right about the Boomers, and the VAG, and RE being supported by these den-loving boomers who will take less rooms but want more room. (???)

7. Side your argument with the masses: “They won’t pay for crazy green initiatives or crazy lofts.” Same effect as no. 6 above. Gosh! You are right. Utilitarian condo for the kids. Luxury for the parents! And TA DA! You have proved the hook! Boomers will finance the RE market! And I don’t need to ask how, if the market has already declined, this will effect their net worth because I know they will use dens and prefer to visit Grouse Mountain over wanting to visit a proper Art Gallery that makes the Rennie Gallery look small.

Thank you Rennie, and thank you Vancouver media!

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Re:Barb Rennie #9

I noticed Barb Rennie always making some racist comments, YOU ARE that old lady from Wendy’s, you dumb hick…

“We need to hire the old lady from the “Wendys” commercials, who was well known for yelling “Where’s the beef?” instead say “Where’s the HAM?”


51 – The US has always had higher productivity – even when their tax rate was over 90%. Tax rates have nothing to do with it. Look at Real Per-capita GDP of the US, Canada and Sweden. Lower-tax Canada has not done better than high-tax Sweden.

The only thing low tax rates accomplish is increased income inequality. North Americans really are suckers when it comes to taxes. When tax rates go down, incomes at the low end also go down. It’s called the Iron Law of Wages. The only people that benefit are the wealthy.

Check out the graphs on pages 40-41.


@ Vote Down the Facts

what “squeako” brought up are true.

Lived in HK(12 yrs), Tokyo(4 yrs), Vancouver(13 yrs)for school and work.
Will return to Tokyo this summer for good.


“Although when you consider taxation rates like income taxes over 50% for equivalent of $70K+ per year income and a VAT (GST) of 25% in Denmark you certainly pay for that transportation system.” And in Canada you certainly pay for transportation system too.. where dont you pay?? But how intelligently is it run? Remember the ferry fiasco? How about the sky train to the airport..hmmm, or the new hi way to whistler..?, toll bridges..but for who?..Can you feel safe on the skytrain at night? Icicles falling off a bridge into traffic? Since more people live in the burbs, why are the burbs so poorly connected to each other? Do we have the smart people in those positions heads of public transportation and other gov jobs or are friends/family getting the cream jobs? People over there know the money they pay… Read more »


@lifetime renter I didn’t mean to attack the messenger. I was being sincere. All of the problems mentioned exist, but they are all relative. Things like traffic and high prices are nothing in comparison with Tokyo, but monstrous when compared with Halifax. Tokyo, Halifax and Vancouver, in turn, each have other pros and cons that balance these things out to an extent that many people want to live in each of these places. It makes sense to look at the features that are important to you and choose a place to live accordingly. I love living in Vancouver now, but that’s only because it has what I want now. At other times, other places have served me better. It certainly is not practical to try and change things like traffic congestion, job markets or house prices by force of will.… Read more »


I know Vancouver salary is on the low side, but what job makes $16/h in Vancouver makes $40 in Scandinavia/Germany/Netherlands ?
I would imagine customer service, teller, bookkeeper, office admin, mid-range retailer would make about $16/h in Vancouver. Do they make $40/h in Germany?
How much does services like bank fees, coffee, food, groceries costs if you’re paying $40/h for these menial services.

Real Estate Pimp

Thanks for the clarification.
so, for a pre-sale you can buy a hole in the ground for 5% down with no mortgage payments for 3 years.
And we made fun of the pre 08 subprime mortgages in the States.
Same difference.


Jesse: “Some of the % sold data he cites are interesting; I’m still half trying to figure out why the resale stock isn’t moving as well.”

Because resales require you to pay a mortgage and or come up with a huge sum on money. A presale you can ‘buy’ for as little as 5% down initially with no mortgage payment for 3 years or so.


REP: “I hope you remember the majority of British Columbians have to do with far less than that.”

… And higher taxes will force them to make do with even less.

Real Estate Pimp

Bob Rennie is still talking about how immigration will absorb the glut of housing In Vancouver.
Not so according to this article.
The “passport immigrants” are leaving in droves,surely to return when they need our Social Services.



In the back of my mind, I almost start believing the guy believes his own arguments. Some of the % sold data he cites are interesting; I’m still half trying to figure out why the resale stock isn’t moving as well.

Real Estate Pimp

Great that you are making 300k doing whatever you do.
I hope you remember the majority of British Columbians have to do with far less than that.

Real Estate Pimp

Great comment Jesse,
“not supported by income”
And may I add “not supported by fundamentals”.

Wow, Vancouver RE is doomed.


REP: “Imagine making 40 bucks/hr and still clear 20 bucks after taxes and have superior public transport and health care.”

I will take my 300K per year self employed income where I pay about 65K in net taxes. If I did only make $40 per hour I would still prefer to take home $30 rather than $20. There is no way I would want to pay double income taxes and a 25% VAT to get better public transit. But if you prefer that you know where to go.


90 minutes of Rennie: His full speech to the UDI from last week. Man he hates the mass media, pointing to how anyone can write a “negative” story on the Vancouver housing market these days, but to write a positive story requires an army of data. Also he thinks blogs are all useless, whuzzup with that? Has he read the depth of wonderful comments on VCI recently? Not exactly a uniform view of disenfranchised neckbeard basement-dwellers hahaha He goes on to explain how the high prices in Vancouver are NOT supported by incomes. They must therefore be supported by something else… hmmmmmm… I know… existing equity! Apparently 30% or something of purchases are FTBs and 70% are to people with existing equity in housing. Plus he says that a big fraction of FTBs have help from parents/grandparents, so there… Read more »

Real Estate Pimp

You’ve been to Germany or Austria, lately?
I’m going there quite frequently, and so should you.
Quite the eye opener.

Real Estate Pimp

Please don’t misquote what I said.
High wages and high taxes.
Imagine making 40 bucks/hr and still clear 20 bucks after taxes and have superior public transport and health care.
Or making 16 bucks/hr at 20% tax and clear about 12 bucks after taxes with inferior public transport and health care.


RE #12

“Fair enough if you think that consumers are rational and markets are perfect.
I for all, will no longer patronize these restaurants.”

No, I don’t think that way. I just don’t go to restaurants that aren’t worth it in my personal opinion. In fact I do wonder why some shitty restaurants are packed, but not my business as it’s not my money that’s going to them.

Vote Down The Facts

Bus, train, makes no difference – there’s no public transport that averages 125kmh in Copenhagen. That’s the top speed of the fastest train. 40km in 20 mins ain’t happening.

All of this is besides the point, though – If your commute is too long, then take positive action. Because complaining alone isn’t going to make it any shorter. But if you base all your opinions on where you’ve been for vacation, having never tried the daily routine there, then the grass will always look greener.


Real Estate Pimp:

The choice is:
Either high taxes and high wages (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Scandinavia)
Or low taxes and low wages (Canada, USA, Asia).
Having worked in and lived in both, I must say that high taxes and high wages takes the cake.

The USA is #1 for disposable income in the world. Canada is #7 and the only country in your list of ‘high income’ countries above Canada is Switzerland. Denmark is #13 and Germany #20.


WCW “Perhaps this article explains why Bob Rennie has so much influence:”

Rennie has so much influence because he is a good salesman and sells lots of condos for developers. He was doing that long before Christy Clark was premier and before the Liberals were running the province. I don’t care what you sell, if you are really good at it you will have influence in that industry.


“Rents cannot go up at 4% per year forever unless wages go up 4% per year.”

Just saying what the data show me. In the past 13 years it looks as if new condo rents have been appreciating at 4%. Doesn’t mean they’ll appreciate at 4% in the next 13 but that level of appreciation can explain part of the price increases on new $/sqft.


Real Estate Pimp:

The choice is:
Either high taxes and high wages (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Scandinavia)
Or low taxes and low wages (Canada, USA, Asia).
Having worked in and lived in both, I must say that high taxes and high wages takes the cake.

Yes nothing better than high taxes. You should change your handle to Adrian Dix.

West Coast Woman
Population Growth

Before down or up voting, read the whole post and the link article. The PRIMARY REASON housing prices continue to go up is population growth in the major cities. 280,000 Immigrants under the PR program 250,000+ as Temporary Foreign Workers (Not counted in Census) 100,000+ as Foreign Students (Not counted in census) 100,000+ as Intra-Company Transfers (Not counted in census) The problem is very few of the 450,000 that come here temporarily every year never leave. They send a letter to the Immigration dept that they have left. So REAL immigration numbers are much higher. Canada has no exit monitoring system. The USA is going to implement one very shorty. Read the article. The USA doesn’t even know how many tourists overstay their visas there. With this program, they will finally know who doesn’t leave (overstaying their visa)…sadly something Canada… Read more »