Category Archives: opinion

Vancouver ain’t what it used to was going to be

Two former city planners who were fired by councils over differences of opinion are in the Vancouver Sun complaining about a lack of planning.

That would be a lack of planning for future city growth.

They are joined in their concern by a third former city planner who retired in 2006.

“I come back to Vancouver and more and more I worry that here we have become incredibly complacent about the future we are going to face,” said Beasley. “To me there is no question. I don’t feel vague about it, I don’t think it is unknowable, we are going to have a big affordability problem in this city. That affordability could in fact be the defining reality and image in this city by 2050. It is already becoming the alternate image of this city that goes along with the beauty and all that.”

He said the region needs a “brand new” metropolitan plan, “a plan that thinks about the issues of the future, a plan that is not shy, a plan that does not have parameters and you can’t talk about this and you can’t talk about that. And until we get that plan, we are not going to solve the problems of the inner city, the affordability, our heritage program, our culture, whether we have enough office space. We just are not going to solve it unless we get a much broader concept of our metropolitan core and we get a plan for it.”

Toderian said in his term as planning director he tried to start a new citywide plan but could not get past “obsolete” local neighbourhood plans that have only made the problem worse.

Can you plan a great city, or can a great city just happen in a pretty place?

Canada house price crash a certainty

Happy day after the new mortgage rules come into effect!

Even before these rules were announced we saw a ‘softening’ in the Vancouver real estate market.

Prices have drifted down as of late and sales are at an all-time-low and inventory keeps growing.

..Yet there are still those that believe ‘it’s different here’.

We saw housing bubbles grow all around the world and pop one by one, but we went through the same steps of pumping up cheap credit to build the house of cards higher.

Check out this post on Alphahunt about Why a Crash in Canadian House Prices is Certain.

What’s amplified our current RE cycle is that credit was steadily made cheaper & easier throughout the boom period – and especially when the RE market suffered in 2008. After finally waking up and seeing the monster they helped create, the Gov’t is making lending rules stricter. Lending practices should not have been made so loose to begin with. And their meddling in 2008 only delayed the inevitable bust.

Today, we’re still at extreme unaffordability and there is no such thing as a ‘soft landing’ or ‘small correction’ for Vancouver RE. Any asset that has seen a price rise of at least two standard deviations above long-term valuation ratios has always mean reverted. If the Vancouver RE market did not return to the normal multiple of income and rent, it will be the first time in history. You can’t binge drink and avoid the hangover. Timing the start of the hangover is always challenging, but what we know with high probability is that there will be a hangover.

 

Thanks for the housing market data!

Hey all, This is my first submission, mostly I lurk in the forum but read this site daily.

I just want to send out a big thank you to everyone who shares otherwise unavailable Vancouver housing market data here.

Watching the stats roll in day after day has been fascinating.

It’s amazing to watch the market change day by day, and the aggregate data provides an even clearer picture.

First of all of course there’s Paulb who’s been providing daily numbers for a long while.  It’s thanks to Paul that we see the daily number of new listings, sold properties and have a total inventory count.  Pauls website is here.

Then there’s VHB, who consistently posts analysis tracking the numbers through the month.  Here’s his most recent post.

We have a new commenter going by the name of HFHC who has been providing other great stats including listing data for the entire lower mainland and a break down of sales by category.

Then there’s Inventory, who’s provided excellent number breakdowns for specific markets as seen in yesterdays post about the low June sales numbers.

And of course everyone else who provides such amazing data, analysis and comments.  I started listing your handles, but the list went on and on and I knew I’d leave out some the best so I’m opting to just send out a big general thanks to ALL of you, you’re amazing.

Keep posting!

-kray

We want a nice housing bubble

I’m so sick of hearing realtors and mortgage brokers complain about the new CMHC rules.

The government isn’t really bringing in some tough new restrictions, they’re simply rolling back some of their bubble incentives.

The Feds clearly wanted to juice housing and that’s what they got.

Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says the No. 1 risk to the Canadian economy is a housing bubble. Good grief! How on earth did rock-stable, good-banking, solid-regulating Canada end up on the edge of a possible real estate crisis? Simple. In Canada as elsewhere, housing is a political business policymakers find irresistible. There’s always some government policy — low interest rates, first-time home-buyer incentives, high-ratio mortgages, mortgage insurance, capital gains exemptions, interest deductibility — available to government agencies to bolster the feel-good business of home ownership.

It’s a global phenomenon, from Ireland to Spain, from Britain to the United States. Housing bubbles — rocketing prices following by plummeting prices — are not new to the world economy. The last decade, however, has left an unprecedented trail of housing price chaos and disaster. The similarities from one country to another are unmistakable.

We saw what was happening in the states, and still the government moved amorts from 30 to 40 years and flooded the housing market with money. Where did they expect this to lead?

Condo holes across Vancouver

Much has been made about the huge number of condo towers under construction in Toronto, but here in much tinier Vancouver we’re not doing so bad.

There are currently 16 towers in progress and 67 more in the works.

With population growth and prices on the retreat will there be enough buyers for all these new units or are we over-saturating the condo market?

Cameron Muir says don’t worry:

“Prices have been pretty flat since 2009,” Muir said. “There’s ample supply in the market place, but we are seeing prices at a steady pace.”

The fact more condos than single-detached homes are being built in Greater Vancouver is nothing new, said Muir, as condo starts have consistently made up about 75 per cent of all housing starts in the last several years. “It’s a function of land supply.”

Consumer demand during the last several months is trending on a 10 to 15 year average, he added.
One indicator, says Muir, of the demand-and-supply balance in the marketplace is the sales-to-new-listings ratio.

In Vancouver last month, the ratio, at 15.3 per cent, inched closer to a buyer’s market – but sits within the balanced range of between 15 to 20 per cent.

There hasn’t been a sustained buyer’s market since the recession hit, between late 2008 to early 2009.

..And of course it’s starting to smell like 08/09 again with the Eurocrisis and global economic sluggishness, but is it different this time?

Here’s one thing that’s different: Out in Burnaby yet another condo presale had a lineup, but what a waste of time for the participants according to VMD:

re: polygon’s “MODA” presale in Burnaby that opened today, with some people camping since Monday…

sold today: 138
total units: 249
ratio: 55%

yawn.

Wow. Can you imagine waiting in line for a week for something that sells only 55% of inventory?

Fizzle.