Category Archives: economy

Time to cut our losses on Olympic Village?

The City of Vancouver still owes lots of money for the Olympic Village condo development.

They aren’t saying how much but it looks like it’s currently at least a couple hundred million.

Is it time to cut our losses?

Developer Michael Geller thinks so. In this Province article he says it’s time to cut the prices and get out while we can.

As Vancouver’s real estate market cools, losses on the troubled Olympic Village development could soar above $225-million unless condo king Bob Rennie quickly drops prices on unsold units that have languished on the market for too long.

That’s the view of developer and architect Michael Geller, a former NPA council candidate, who suggests flawed pricing and weak marketing is turning the fiasco on False Creek from bad to worse.

Read the full article here.

What do you think? Does the city stand to lose more by holding out for ‘maximum price’ or by selling quickly at a discount?

Vancouver is dragging the Canadian market down

Yeah, sales are down across Canada and prices as well.

Average prices across the nation dropped 2% in July on a Year over Year basis.

But it’s really not as bad as it sounds.

That national average is mostly being dragged down by Vancouver where average prices fell 12.2% in July according to the CREA.

So mostly it’s the Vancouver real estate market where prices shot through the roof and are now falling back to earth that is dragging down the national average.

No Canadian real estate market crash yet.

The ‘right price’ keeps changing

Yesterday we heard from a Vancouver Realtor about why condos aren’t selling.

They’re overpriced.

And now there’s this article in the Vancouver Sun Buyers on the Sidelines as Market Slows.

Its all about the market slowdown – we’re now seeing the lowest number of sales since 2000 in Vancouver.

Nice houses that are priced right are selling within days, some in bidding wars. But anything priced too high or considered undesirable is apt to sit idle in this market, which is, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, witnessing the lowest total sales for the region since July, 2000. The Board reported 2,098 property sales in July, a drop of 11.2 per cent compared to June. It’s a drop of 18.4 per cent compared to July, 2011.

There are many anecdotal stories around the Lower Mainland about houses that have sat on the market for months, priced too high for the more price-conscious market. A six-year-old West Vancouver home on a 21,000-square-foot lot overlooking Capilano Golf & Country Club was originally listed at $3.695-million three months ago. The owners have reduced the price by $400,000 and it still hasn’t sold.

“There is a lot of product but it’s not selling for the price that people expected or hoped for,” says real estate finance expert Tsur Somerville, who is director of the University of B.C.’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate. “People aren’t buying at the prices that are being set.”

Well here’s a funny thing about ‘the right price’ in a correcting market: it keeps changing.

I live in a BC market that is several years into it’s correction and I can tell you that the places that are selling are moving only at prices that are lower than the ‘right price’ a year ago and far lower than the ‘right price’ several years ago.

Housing crash implications for banks

If you haven’t seen it yet, you should really check out this post by Ben Rabidoux over at The Economic Analyst.

This report was put together mid-June and things haven’t gotten any better since then.

It’s a lot of stuff you already know, but some data you may not have seen and it’s jam packed with beautiful charts.

Check out the how the BC economy has grown in construction, but flatlined outside:

And there’s this little data point as well:

Before diving into the data, consider this fun anecdote: There are currently over 5,000 homes in Vancouver metro area for sale for over $1 million according to  In comparison, the NAR reports that in April, just over 7,000 homes sold in the entire US were sold for over $1 million.  And this despite the fact that the US population is 135X greater than the metro Vancouver market, the average personal disposable income in the US is 20% higher than the Vancouver average ($37,100 vs. $30,800) while US per capita GDP is higher than the average for all of BC.

Do yourself a favour and read the full post over at The Economic Analyst if you haven’t already.





Business Confidence dips again, now at 3 year low

It’s not just Vancouver house sales that are heading down.

Business confidence in Canada dipped for a fourth month in a row and is now at a 3 year low.

This according to a survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The last time it was lower was in July of 2009, when it stood at 58.6.

CFIB chief economist Ted Mallett says the index’s current position in relation to gross domestic product puts it very close to the zero-growth mark, suggesting Canada’s economy is nearing a standstill.

On Tuesday, Statistics Canada reported the economy had grown a disappointing 0.1 per cent in May, leaving the pace of the recovery at slightly below two per cent on an annualized basis.

The CFIB says confidence declined in July even in resource-rich provinces like Alberta, which saw a drop of three points to 70.3.

So taking out a home equity loan to fund your underperforming small business?  Maybe not such a good idea unless the revenue is there.