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The problem with wealth locked up in housing

Barbara Yaffe has a column in the Vancouver Sun where she points out some of the problems with ‘paper riches‘.

A recent study reveals Vancouverites have the highest net worth in Canada as a result of their pricey homes; so why do so many of us feel like we’re in the poor house?

It’s probably because, with median incomes below the national average, Vancouver residents are grappling with monster mortgages, as well as the highest consumer debt loads in the country.

And while it’s great building home equity, this does little to improve financial positioning until a place is sold and a profit realized.

Read the full article in the Vancouver Sun.

Vancouver housing zeppelin

Even with all the recent warnings of a housing bubble that is no longer limited to just Vancouver and Toronto, you’ll still find lots of media coverage that dismisses bubble talk or explains it away as an ‘ownership premium’.

It’s not difficult to see why this is – there are thousands of people who’s incomes depend upon the housing market.

Whether its condo marketer Bob Rennie or a random realtor, they all have their day to day income tied to the health of the real estate
market and conveniently are given ‘expert’ status and quoted by the local media.

That makes an article opener like this all the more shocking to newspaper readers:

Is there a housing bubble in the Lower Mainland? Housing zeppelin is more like it. Bubbles, after all, are soft and cute and harmless. Zeppelins, conversely, hurtle into the ground, spewing flaming wreckage in all directions. And that’s precisely what we’re about to witness in Metro Vancouver.

That’s the intro to a rather dramatic editorial written by Gord Goble and published in a number of local papers.