Costco comes to Yaletown

Remember when you had to drive all the way out to richmond for your 30 litre containers of Tang? It would take $15 bucks worth of gas and by the time you got there your latte would be cold?

Total drag man.

Well if you live downtown your life is about to change for the better with the new Yaletown Costco.

The cheese selection has been expanded to bring in products that might appeal to shoppers who aren’t just looking for cheese to slap on a school sandwich.

In clothing, a popular area for Costco shoppers, the brands will include such upscale names as Louis Vuitton, Ross said.

“This is a place where you can buy tires and a two carat diamond ring for $19,699,” he said.

Ross said the decision to open a store in the downtown core was made to meet the demands of “one of the most densely populated areas in North America.

“I think sometimes there is a misconception that Costco is always about bulk food products,” he said. “Coming into a Costco, the first thing you hit is major appliances and electronics, plasma TVs, iPods and high end electronics.

“I think that fits very well into the downtown market.”

Awesome! But where am I going to find room in my 500 square foot condo to store all that cheese?

Getting the boom going again in Texas and California

So what do you do when house prices are slowly dropping and demand has stagnated? Create more demand! According to this article on MSNBC there’s a proposal in the states to change the way that credit scores are calculated to enable those that lack social security numbers or legal status as US citizens to get mortgages based on evaluating a prospective client’s utility bills, rent checks and other payments.

Should the new reporting methods gain wider acceptance on Wall Street and among secondary mortgage lenders like Fannie Mae, housing markets in places like California’s Central Valley would stand to gain the most, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals said.

“Gateway states like California and Texas will disproportionately benefit from the housing boom because so many of their residents are immigrants,” said Gary Acosta, the association’s co-founder, speaking from the group’s annual convention in Las Vegas. “Boosting home ownership among these populations is a positive contribution to the overall fabric of our society and our economy.”

So with the current slowdown here, where can we turn to get more demand? Zero percent down and 35 year mortgages don’t seem to be doing it.

Looking for a buyer or sellers agent?

Steveb over at realestatetalks posted a link to honestrealestate.ca, and it is perhaps the most entertaining and bizarre example of an honest realtor in BC.

He offers his views on the Fraser Valley market (last updated June 06):

Residential Real Estate SALES so far in 2006 are running at what should become ALL-TIME NEW RECORD-LEVELS! (quickly and decisively topping previous-record 2005, which in turn topped year-earlier record 2004). May 2006 registered as the HIGHEST MAY we have ever seen. Any listing that is at all ATTRACTIVE usually SELLS VERY FAST, often with competing MULTIPLE OFFERS (and selling prices often HIGHER than asking price!).

He also offers spiritual advice and commentary on his status as a wingless earth-angel:

This Realtor, in addition to being an extraordinary and exemplary realtor, is now TOTALLY convinced he is wingless, living ‘EARTH-angel’, in a here-&-now godless heaven. –and, is THIS ever a whole BUNCH OF FUN! — just ASK ME!–

– I’m quickly getting into better physical condition, having so far dropped over 20 lbs.
– I’ve got truly huge amounts of energy & an infectious grin on my face. When I walk into a room, others can readily sense the energy coming from me. Most respond very warmly, positively. A few panic!
(they’ll get over it, no one will get hurt)
– I now operate brilliantly on about 1&1/2 hours of sleep a night
– Food seems to be optional, no longer mandatory!
– I can suddenly cook ‘like an angel’
– I’ve got nearly-infallible INTUITION (when I remember to rely on it)
Sex, even with just
myself, is a whole new adventure every time. With my 59th birthday around the corner, I run around with a near-CONSTANT ERECTION that the viagra people would SIMPLE LOVE to be able to SELL you!).

(–NOW, IF MY LOVING BRIDE WOULD JUST PLEASE COME HOME, AND LOVE ME:There’s nothing to fear, really!–)

>—-DOES ANY OF THIS SOUND INTERESTING TO YOU??

.. oh, and thats not all, not by a long shot. Many more details including his connection with the rats, how to talk fun with dogs and his goal of converting as much of the world as possible into living earth angels who are ready to ride ‘the love train‘ – All this and more available at honestrealestate.ca

Just when I was starting to lose interest in Vancouver real estate something like this comes along.

fan-tas-tic!

Negativity in the news

Remember the good old days when all coverage of the Vancouver real estate market was positive? While you can still find some bright uplifting positive coverage it seems like its getting harder to find under the avalanche of negativity in the news recently.

In this weekends Globe and Mail the ‘financial facelift’ section is running with the title couple urged to pay off debts, forget about real estate, and includes a few negative swipes against our market.

“The couple’s goals are like many others,” he explains. “A house in a decent neighbourhood, kids and a solid retirement. In fact, there has never been a worse time in history to buy a house in Vancouver. It now takes 64 per cent of average pretax income to fund housing costs in Vancouver. House prices in Vancouver cannot rise forever.”

and

“Pay off those debts first, the planner urges, and forget about real estate for a while. House prices in Vancouver could decline within a few years. Waiting may be better than spending a great deal today when there are bargains tomorrow, he says.”

meanwhile over at the Vancouver Sun the front page article in the business section is New house supply outstripping demand, with the following gem:

“A large number of projects were launched over the summer in Richmond and it is taking time for the market to absorb all the units, she said. In New Westminster, Podmore added, sales have slowed because little new supply has been put out. In Maple Ridge, a large amount of the same type of housing is being built and it is taking more time for the market to absorb all the units.”

So if I understand that correctly, Sales are currently low due to the following factors:

– Too many houses on the market
– Not enough houses on the market
– Too much similarity between the houses

I think that about covers it, but lets try to stay positive huh? Where can we turn to for a little ray of sunshine? ReMax forecasts an increase in supply AND price, the best of both worlds! It sure is considerate of them to take the time away from the business of selling real estate and do an impartial study of the market reassuring us all of 8% gains. I think their positive outlook should be an inspiration for us all.