Over the weekend we found out that a bearish poster on this site just bought a house.  Not in Vancouver mind you, but still..

What went wrong? Landlord wanted to move back in. Now if it was just me I would have rented another place, but as it isn’t just me I decided to see if I could make buying work.

Had to look outside my old neighbourhood, but I found a house on a big lot, price $330,000. Taxes about $3000/year, rental value about $1750/month. Great deal? No. But one I can live with. There might be some downside on the price going forward, but what matters to me is value, i.e. ownership costs versus rent, not expectation of price changes going forward.

And in that same thread we found out that a bullish poster sold his house and is now renting.

In all sincerity, when a voracious bear purchases, it may signal a top. Market trends often reverse at points like this.

To let you guys in on a secret, yours truly is no longer a home owner. I rent. I do have other real estate interests though.

So are these signals of a market top or what?

 

Its the end of another beautiful week and a long weekend to boot!

And that means it’s time for our regular Friday Free-for-all post, this is our end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

Here’s a few recent links to kick off the chat!

-19.8% Avg loss at Olympic Village 2011-2014
-Retirement savings at risk?
-Oliver sees no bubble
-CMHC brings risk to taxpayers
-BC buyers seek investments
-Canadian RE among most overvalued
-$1000 house

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

Over on Medium there’s an Op-Ed by Spencer Thompson on the high cost of Vancouver Real Estate.

Not just the literal high cost of property, but the risk of a greater price paid by the city .

The secret that no-one actually wants to talk about is that the quality of a city is mostly determined by a simple factor — the number of smart, ambitious people who live there. These people are the ones who want to drive that city forward by investing in opening businesses, donating their time to the arts & community, participating in city planning, etc… Without them, growth wouldn’t happen and you wouldn’t get all of the benefits that great cities enjoy.

The biggest contributor to the decline of a great city is simple — it’s the decline of those smart people. When they decide that the cost of living in a place outweighs the benefit, they move. They don’t just take their money with them, they take their intellectual and future capital with them. This is dangerous. When people aren’t willing to make an investment in a place to live any more, the city doesn’t just lose their taxes for the year, they lose a massive function of potential jobs created, culture added and future capital they can put to work.

Read the full article here.

Now clearly Mr. Thompson is a believer in foreign investors as a primary driver of prices in this city, but whatever the cause, HAM, Drugs or Credit, does he have a point? Do high real estate prices risk driving out ‘smart people’ who would contribute to a brighter future for the city?

Prices up, incomes down

October 6th, 2014

Pete McMartin is on a roll over at the Vancouver Sun with a series of articles that looks at actual data on the Vancouver economy and housing.

The most recent article looks at local income levels.

Vancouver stands out as an unusual case around North America: Our house prices rose as our incomes fell.

But those high house prices, and our utter preoccupation with them, have become a distraction to a greater problem, and they are only a part of Vancouver’s economic malady. At any rate, those high housing prices are largely beyond the jurisdictional abilities of Metro Vancouver’s municipal governments to have any real effect on them. Meaningful change — in immigration numbers, for example — would reside with the federal and provincial governments, but not at the municipal level.

No, the persistent, year-over-year problem has been in income decline, and this has been a long time coming.

“This is not a new story,” said Tsur Somerville, director of the University of B.C. school of urban economics and real estate. “We have lagged behind the other major metropolitan cities since the 1980s, and even before the period of rising home prices.”

Read the full article here.

Hey! It’s Friday already, that means it’s Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

-Housing Bubble set to burst?
-Surge of listings in metro Van
-Realtor Hunger Index a bit over avg.
-Garbage piling up around charity bins
-We have lowest incomes for educated

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

They’re not making any more land, but we still seem to be finding some to build on.

The 21 hectare Jericho lands in Point Grey is part of an agreement to split control of three Vancouver properties between a crown corporation and three First Nations – the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

David Eby, MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey, said he was heartened to learn that a deal had been made regarding the Jericho Lands.

“There had been a lot of people in the community, myself included, that believed this land would be tied up in negotiations – potentially in court – for many years,” he said. “There’s a very clear and well-established traditional use of this land by First Nations. They were certainly entitled to it and it sounds like they received a fair share of their lands. It was certainly a surprise to hear that it has happened at all, let alone so quickly.”

Mr. Eby said the significance for the community he represents is that development will proceed faster than many anticipated.

“I would not be understating it to say that many members of the community that are neighbours to this property are incredibly concerned about the type of development that could potentially be located at this site,” he said.

“I can tell you everybody from affordable housing advocates to environmental groups … to the West Point Grey Homeowners’ Association has weighed in with different perspectives about what should happen here. That consultation will be challenging, but it’s critically important that it happen.”

Read the full article here.

 

Pete McMartin has an editorial over at the Vancouver Sun about the ‘amenity paradox‘ – that is that the attributes that make a city attractive to live in eventually erode liveability.

“It’s funny that you should mention the Amenity Paradox,” said author and urban planner Lance Berlowitz. “I was thinking about that very thing last month when I was in Barcelona. It’s one of my favourite cities and I’ve been there many times, and local people I know there were complaining that they can no longer afford to live in the city, that it has become too tourist-oriented, that, like Paris, it has become a caricature of itself.”

That is not the case in Vancouver. As much as our Chamber of Commerce would convince us of our global significance, we are not anywhere near being in the league of Barcelona, Paris, or even Toronto, for that matter. And we have a long way to go in terms of becoming truly urbane.

Wrote Bob Ransford, consultant and bi-weekly columnist for The Sun on urban design:

“We are quite delusional about what we are in Vancouver. We’re a small regional city that has seen a population spike, changing quickly some of our old ways. Those old ways were not that impressive. We’re like the 14-year-old — neither an adult nor a child, but we think we’re pretty special and we pretend we’re more gorgeous than any other teen — yet we’re terribly insecure.

So what do you think? Is Vancouver getting better as it grows more mature or are we still an adolescent insecure city in many ways?

Read the full article here.

Friday Free-for-all Fall Edition!

September 26th, 2014

Hey! You made it to the end of another work week and into the autumn. It’s another sunny day in paradise as the air turns crisper.

Lets do our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend – Friday Free-for-all time!

Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

-Another housing bubble alarm
-2 million east of Fraser
-Petronas threatens LNG cancelation
-Conference board knocks high prices
-Absent homeowners fee
-Free money to jumpstart economy

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

Harper: No Bubble in Canada

September 25th, 2014

Getting tired of the word ‘bubble’ yet?

With all the news stories and predictions of an Canadian real estate market crash, it’s time for the leader of this great nation to chime in with his opinion:

…Harper told a New York business audience that he did not anticipate a housing crisis in Canada, and that that there was no comparison between the Canadian housing market now and the U.S. market before the crash of 2008.

He said only  small percentage of Canadian households would be vulnerable to interest rate hikes or a downturn in prices.

On the flipside of the argument is a securities analyst with a book to sell and a negative message:

In an interview published in the Globe and Mail today, MacBeth predicts a serious crash in house prices as soon as this coming spring, and advises people with large mortgages to sell, and rent.. His book, When the Bubble Bursts, forecasts a drop of up to 50 per cent in housing prices.

Read the full article here.

Beautiful Empty Homes of Vancouver

September 23rd, 2014

A group of about 20 concerned west side residents have started posting a photo collection of vacant abandoned homes in Vancouver.

For some of these homes the term ‘beautiful’ is a bit of a stretch, but it’s interesting to see the growing resentment of abandoned and vacant properties in a town with high house prices.

There’s an article in the Province about that site as well:

The blog is “a documentation of what happens when Vancouver real estate enters the global real estate market,” but there may be factors other than absentee owners that contribute to the rubble-strewn yards and the decaying homes it showcases, Yan said.

As aging baby boomers begin downsizing to condos in other parts of the city “perhaps a good number” of their single-family homes are sitting empty between real estate deals, Yan said.

Still, this phenomenon could be the “edge of the new normal,” as Vancouver becomes a “resort city” where people from around the world invest their money in home ownership.

Regardless of why they are emptying, these neighbourhoods were centred around public schools and built for families, Yan said.

Read the full article here and visit the site here: Beautiful Empty Homes of Vancouver.

 

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