Tuesday, February 27, 2007

the grab bag #5

Just a quick post re: the market action of today;... link

"You're just seeing people cashing out. The biggest group in the index is financials - it's the second hardest hit; they're like taking whatever they can and selling it,"
Is it concern about the credit bubble?

But analysts pointed out that the Shanghai market had been vastly overvalued.
Oh, kinda like the Van. RE market.

It is actually encouraging in a way that China's having its bubble deflated now," said Gavin Graham, director of investments with Guardian Group of Funds.
But how about deflation of the RE market here?

"What they don't want, with the Olympics in 16 months, is uncertainty and unhappiness anytime during 2008."
Oh, jeezuss. The Olympics thing there too.

In other U.S. data, sales of existing homes rose in January by three per cent, but home prices declined for a sixth straight month.
The ship is going down there, and it soon will here. It will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings. On a side note, none of my holdings lost a cent. I guess I am truly a contrarian investor. Ha! Ha! Told ya so. (Grin)

"I think what people are concerned about is that you might see it continue because it has been so overdone."
But no concerns yet about the Vancouver RE market. It's pretty overdone, and the Olympics thing is sooo tired now. China may not want so many commodities now - the only other thing purportedly holding up our economy in BC.

It's coming...

I'm just sneaking this in while mother and child are snoozing, so please excuse my brevity.

I think that this could be the beginning of a global recession, or worse. What do you think?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

the soapbox (again) with a different look

I'm very busy right now. Labour has been going on for 30 hours. Just sent home from the hospital because babby is not ready yet. Time to try to get some sleep, and back to the hospital in the AM.

It will be a few days or more until I can give any attention here, so have your say in my absence. Just keep it civil please.

Possible topics of discussion:

The Budget.

Um, real estate in Vancouver.

Too tired to think, so over to you...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

flogging a dead horse

So, how many ways to say the same thing, and how many times to say it? I wonder if this has anything to do with the recent departures of VHB and uncertain buyer from the blog roll. It can be difficult to come up with new material, and to keep it engaging.

There has been a surreality to RE world-wide in the last few years, and especially in Vancouver. I began by squawking about the state of things on RET a couple of years ago, when that forum was a virtual bullring. I wasn't much of a matador - more a picador - at the time, and freako was one of the only others there saying that things were goofy. Then VHB posted a link to his blog, and I began to have more impudent confidence in my own view. At first, VHB had no comments, and not so many visitors, but that began to snowball. VHB came up with the historical graphs, analysis, etc., and I spent less time at RET. I was tired of the same tired bull thing. Maybe that is part of Why Vance bowed out - he got tired of it too. I have had an easier time of it because I'm just making fun of things, but even that gets tired. I can't see myself turning to gloating or such when/if things do go my way, but I will be commenting on it. I wonder what else will come along to defeat it, or bolster it (the market).

The new provincial budget (released today) had quite a bit in it to bolster the market. The exemption for Property Transfer Tax was raised to $375K, the homeownwers' grant ceiling was raised to $975K, and income tax was cut by another 10% (on top of the 25% cut of the first Liberal budget). The Minister o' All Things Monetary also said that BC had 40K new immigrants/migrants last year (no mention of how many left. ie. net migration), and what a "magnificent province" this is. She actually remarked on the housing affordability situation. A surplus in the neighbourhood of 2.2B was also projected. It's a developers'/private health care providers' budget from what I heard. Those are just the highlights that I heard and retained to memory. I'll look into all that further if mohican doesn't take care of it first.

There was also a discussion on CBC's Almanac about the housing situation featuring Tsur Somerville. I was not able to catch much of that unfortunately. You can listen to it here, but you need to have RealMediaPlayer on your machine (I don't - it is spyware IMHO).

If any of you spot any road-kill, let me know. I need something else to flog besides old, dead horses. Good News Bears kinda stuff is my hope. (grin)

Monday, February 19, 2007


Wow. I'm off-line for a few days, and the whole world changes.

VHB packs it in, and stuns thousands.

I was surprised - much as you all were. I guess I'm not really that surprised - keeping up the research, collating it, posting it, and responding to all of the commentary must have been a Herculean effort for our friend Vance. I know that my own wife just barely puts up with the time that I spend ensconced in my den of iniquity tapping out inanities to the blogosphere.

There is a lot of speculation as to why VHB hung up his keyboard, but I would venture to say that it was a daunting task for him to scribe pointedly every day. My own personal life is impinging on my ability to post just lately (my wife would say that the blogging impinges on my personal life...), and the next week or two holds bigger challenges to doing so, but I will attempt to keep up.

I have always seen this blog as an amusement - rather than a serious look at the market, and I don't see that changing. Numbers and graphs bore me, but VHB's graphs and analysis did not. Nothing has changed, other than VHB is not part of our daily routine of reading anymore. Best of luck to him.

mohican does good graphs, the pope has a pretty good grasp of things, and is funny to boot, and Rob Chipman has the current numbers for inventory and sales.

Many of us have been wrong about timing, but I still believe that things will change (they already are). These are the craziest times I have seen (in so many ways), and I am beginning to wonder if it is me that is crazy. Nope, it's not me. The Vancouver weather in winter cannot be beat in Canada, but that does not justify the prices here. I saw on the news last week, an item on housing in Windsor, Ont. that made me stop and think - a fairly new, big, very nice house for sale for 249K. I have been waiting for a reversal of fortune here, but am really starting to wonder if I will see that in a meaningful way.

Posting here will be sporadic in the coming days, but I will do my best to keep it up.

Thanks for swinging by.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

what they did not tell you

After my photoshop fun of yesterday, I am staying on the topic of The "W" - because, well, marketing pisses me off. I am countering that with a little anti-marketing.

Today I had occassion to be driving along East Hastings, when I was re-directed by the po-lice due to a large crowd blocking the street at Main and Hastings (just after I passed a group of about 8 desperados openly shooting something into their veins in front of a boarded-up store). The crowd was holding an annual vigil for the 60-odd women missing from the area. We know what happened to quite a few of them.

The "W" sits at 100 West Hastings - a scant 3 blocks from the Carnegie Community Centre, a scant block from Victory Square, and a meagre two blocks from the colourfully named Blood Alley (just at the end of Trounce Alley).

I wonder if they mentioned the community centre, local parks (Oppenheimer Park is nice on a summer evening), the library at Carnegie, and the cheap eats available there, in the promotional literature for The "W". Intellectuals who will be inhabiting those expensive intellectual properties for the bold were surely mindful of those near-by amenities when considering their purchases.

I found an interesting article relating a reporter's visit to the Carnegie Community Centre in The Republic of East Vancouver. It is an interesting introduction to some of the colourful characters buyers at The "W" will know as neighbours.

How much did those places sell for again?

A visit to the Carnegie Community Centre makes you think about what we mean when we say “community.” It’s Friday, January 19th and I’m coming up the steps of Carnegie with 2005 mayoral candidate Peter Haskell. The crowd of people outside the 104-year-old building tries to sell us everything from syringes to Tylenol-Threes. Haskell is one of many who are forbidden to use the facilities at Carnegie, but as we enter, nobody seems to notice him. As soon as we enter, staff throws somebody out for being intoxicated.

He yells “Get your hands off me!” as he struggles to keep from losing his morsels of food.

I meet another man who has been kicked off the property. Ricky, a big first-nations man, speaks with a somber tone and chooses his words very carefully. “They kicked me out of Carnegie,” he says, “They say it was because I smelled.” “I’m a warrior,” says Ricky, “and I’m not going to let them tear down my community.”

The demographics...are overwhelmingly Southeast Asian; at least fifty percent. It’s at least 30% visible first-nations, and 15% Hispanic. (rich foreigners?)

There is a small branch of the Vancouver Public Library in the building and it is perpetually busy. All the washrooms have those white lights that are supposed to make it hard for intravenous drug users to be able to see a vein to shoot up, but there are needle drop box receptacles on the walls. The washrooms are scary enough, but the lights give them an extra spooky appearance. (Great for the kiddies at Hallowe'en)

It brings me back to the point about what we mean when we say “community.”

Carnegie has recently had a lot of changes...such actions such as groups of seniors picketing Tourism Information Offices and saying “welcome to Vancouver” and handing tourists information about the gentrification that’s been going on here. But critics of the Carnegie are quick to point out that Carnegie management make upwards of $50 000 per year, while volunteers work hours for enough meal tickets to be able to buy something to eat in the cafeteria. link

The homeless you have with you always . . .

Some of the locals -

Abigail is one of the homeless denizens of Vancouver's
notorious Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. Photo courtesy of Union Gospel

A drug deal in Vancouver's downtown eastside: home to the highest
population of intravenous drug users in Canada, and one of the "worst HIV
epidemics in the developed world." photo: City of Vancouver

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

WTF? a new sign for The "W"

What ever happened to Blab Runny? You know, the guy who sold us The "W".

The reason that I am wondering - I had a great idea for a new sign for the project. A sign that exemplifies both the "W", and the real estate market in Vancouver. The Running Man seems to have disappeared with all of his booty, and is not returning my calls.

I photoshopped an artist's concept above. The new sign will read "WTF?". I think it's cool - much cooler than when Citroen was advertising on the Eiffel Tower.

What do you think?

Monday, February 12, 2007

price compression

freako has spoken of price compression coming before the crumble, and I offer below, evidence of that in spades.

I looked at houses in Van. East, and Van. West in roughly the same price range. It's pretty ridiculous as far as I'm concerned.

1021 ODLUM DR., East Vancouver

A newly renovated home in an easy going neighbourhood with quick
access downtown .The exterior features new vinyl siding and double glazed
windows. Main floor ha s living room with electric fireplace and bay window. The
kitchen is updatedwith new Maple cabinets, tile floor, countertops and new SS
appl. Main offers two full baths completely updated with soaker tubs. Wood
laminate floors thru-out, new drywall,new baseboards and crown mouldings.some
updated elec and plumb. Four bdrms p lus recrm or playroom up with 2pce bath.
Bsmt is all set for the in-laws, sep entry 4bdrms plus 1.5 baths (soaker tub),
laminate wood flooring and new SS appliances. Shared laundry. Fenced yard,
parking off lane. Close to schools. City skyline views

MLS®: V623596
Finished Floor Area: 2570.0 sqft.
Property Type: House
Lot Frontage: 33.0 ft.
Lot Depth: 95 ft.
Basement: Full
Bedrooms: 8 Age: 76
(Full:3, Half:2)

They call this a two story with basement. I call bullshite. Newly renovated is good (if you don't mind paying extra for someone else's tastes), but there are not granite countertops. The lot is pretty small too. And what the heck would the "in-laws" do with four bedrooms? Have a couple more kids?

Good luck with that.

3306 PARKER ST., East Vancouver

Corner brand new 2.5 levels 2212 sqft custom built home with
unobstructed N moun tain view. 6 bdrm & rec room in basement. Downstairs
could be separate suites. H /W stairs, granite F/P, entrance hallway &
counter tops in kitchen & bathrooms. Stainless steel kitchen appliances.
2-5-10 new home warranty.

MLS®: V608622 Finished Floor Area: 2212.0
Property Type: House
Lot Frontage: 33.0 ft.
Lot Depth: 112 ft.
Basement: Crawl
Bedrooms: 6 Age: 00
Bathrooms: (Full:5,

Just a short distance away, this custom-built home is offered for 16K less than the oddball on Odlum (above). It has one less bedroom, but has 5 full bathrooms. It also has a new home warranty. Unfortunately, it was custom-built to someone else's tastes. It does not have a basement either, but they call it 2 1/2 story because it has a crawlspace. I call that false advertising.

Bon Chance avec ce maison aussi.

1012 W 57TH AV., Vancouver West

Lot value only! 57th and Oak. 10,106 square feet lot in a
park-like setting. House has no power! Sold as is where is.

V622677 Finished Floor Area: 2640.0 sqft.
Property Type: House
Frontage: 65.0 ft.
Lot Depth: 153 EFF
Basement: Part
Bedrooms: 3
Age: 56
Look at this! A ten thousand square foot lot for just 20K more than that shack on Odlum... In Van. West, no less. There is no power, so it was probably a grow-op, but 50K ought to take care of the re-fit to make it habitable. This place looks like a "good deal".

7899 MONTCALM ST., Marpole Spent over $100,000 - extensively renovated brand new roof, vinyl windows, new k itchens and bathrooms all with granite counters. Upgraded electrical and plumbin g. Master bedroom with ensuite, 3 bedrooms Up, new 4-bedroom basement suite. Close to school and shopping.

MLS®: V629861 Finished Floor Area: 2250.0 sqft.
Property Type: House
Lot Frontage: 33.0 ft.
Lot Depth: 122 ft.
Basement: Fully Finished
Bedrooms: 7 Age: 49

Big deal. You spent 100K putting in granite counter tops, and you still have less than half the lot as that above. It's got revenue potential though, and it is in Van. West for "only" 13K more than the dump on Odlum. You can explain that by the slighty larger lot size though. And in case you didn't know, Everyone in the world wants to live in Vancouver, and everybody in Vancouver wants to live near The Drive. People will pay a lot for that "Bohemian" lifestyle. Who wants to live on the stodgy west side?

7622 FRENCH ST,Marpole
AMAZING VALUE on Vancouver Westside! Located in Churchill High
School district, this cute bungalow features recent renovation throughout &
a 2 bdrm mortgage hel per. Huge potential for 1st-time-buyers, investors &
builders-big 6,900 sf lot. Definitely not to be missed! *Ask re: plans for 4,000
sf new home!* First showing, Agents Open Thurs Feb 15, 10-12 pm.

V630005 Finished Floor Area: 1906.0 sqft.
Property Type: House
Frontage: 82.0 ft.
Lot Depth: 117 ft.
Basement: Full
Bedrooms: 4
Age: 65
Bathrooms: (Full:2, Half:0)

I don't know, this looks to be a better deal than the one above. It's a more attractive house on a lot that is twice the size.

So what the heck is going on here? The city is unhinged from "fundamentals" when compared to other places, and there is a further unhinging between the West and East sides.

By the way, you can still buy hovels west of Main for less than 600K.

99 rooms

A friend sent me this link, and it is a pretty cool diversion over a glass of wine (and a bong if you are so inclined). I checked out about 20 shots, but don't have much time right now.

It's worth looking at - there is great art/photography, some trippy sound effects, and it is not completely off-topic (hey - it's 99 Rooms). It is a Flash presentation, so unfortunately, you will need that. I dragged out an old version, and removed it again after viewing.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

the soap box (again #3)

Here is the soap box again. Speak your mind.

I spoke to my realtor neighbour-in-building today, and asked him how things are out in Surrey. He reported that inventory is climbing, sales are falteringly flat, and prices are down about 7%. He then went on to say that he didn't think prices will fall. A cagey, mixed message. His trades come for a day every week or so, but beyond that, the building is going up as slowly as the snails featured yesterday.

What do any of you think? See?

Friday, February 09, 2007

top down

Is this the top, or not? It looks like a long way down, and things are moving excruciatingly slowly.

I have patience though. I waited for about a half-hour to catch this shot. It seems to exemplify all this waiting for something, anything, to happen.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

an explanation

CPimages ‘04/J.P. Moczulski

I came across an article about mad cow disease, and re-wrote it to explain why so many people have been sucked into this "bull market". It's the food (a lack of selenium?). Enjoy.

Agency confirms BSE (blatantly stupid extension of credit) in mature Alberta bull

EDMONTON - Canada has confirmed its ninth case of BSE since 2003, in an Alberta bull. The Agency said Wednesday a mature bull died on a farm last week. A senior market analyst for Western Canada said the animal's death caused it to be identified as an "animal of interest" as part of a national Real Estate surveillance program.

Provincial and federal tests then failed to confirm the BSE.

"Where the animal is found at the time of its death is not as important as where it lived in its first year of life - with consumption of contaminated feed in its first year of life suspected to be the cause of all the foolishness." How many toys it had when it died is unknown.

An investigation is underway to find other animals born within a year of the bull that may also speculate in the Vancouver market. It is suspected that the bulls were born into the cohort commonly known as "baby boomers".

Officials are certain this particular bull had been very foolhardy, and had been heard to sneer at the bears..

Preliminary findings suggest the bull was born and raised in Alberta.

Eight previous cases of BSE have been detected in Canadian bulls in the past, when the discovery of an Alberta bull with the disease caused the United States to slam the border shut entirely. It is believed that the US has it's own share of bankruptcies and foreclosures to deal with.

Five new cases were discovered in Canada in 2006, including one in a bull born five years after safeguards were adopted to prevent the spread of the disease.

"The small number of cases of over-extension are, I suppose, unwelcome but on the other hand, not entirely unexpected," the official said, adding other countries have seen a small number of "residual" cases after adopting strict credit regulations.

New rules proposed by CHMC that would allow 0% purchases amortized over 40 years to resume are up for public review until everyone is broke.

Almost one-third of the Canadian bull herd and one-quarter of the total herd is estimated to have been born before 1961.

The official said he doesn't expect the latest case to have a negative impact on the "Olympic" plans.

"What's most important is that there's safeguards, there's a stringent suite of measures in place to prevent and eradicate speculation," he said.

"We are open and transparent with home buyers . . . we do not expect that this will negatively impact any of the planned measures proposed." Those measures reportedly included a plan to bankrupt recent home buyers through raising interest rates 5 basis points.


So I was goofing around with this Mortgage Qualifier Calculator at the Glob of Mucous, and found some interesting realities. I took screen shots of different scenarios to demonstrate just what can be afforded.

The first shot reveals that a couple, both earning the average wage in the GVRD*, could afford to buy a house (or apt., condo, etc., but you would have to add in condo fees) worth $316,507 - with the respectable sum of $50K for a down payment, and a 25 year amortization. This is without GST (applicable to a new, or renovated property). The monthly P&I payment would be $1,660.17. That is close to 30% more than I pay for rent on a SFH with a view. Nothing is calculated for repairs, etc.

click for larger view

With 0% down, you can buy $263,906 worth of dwelling.

click for larger view

OK, so let us say that that couple will buy a new construction (add in GST, but not condo fees), still zero down, but going for a 35 year amortization. They could buy a bit more - $288,272.

click for larger view

All these calculations are at a 5.5% mortgage rate, which is what ought not to be too hard to get for a 5 year loan, for most people. Rates will go up sooner or later, so re-financing could have you looking at 7%, or more. And, is there anything worth buying in the GVRD for those prices?

I did a quick MLS search in that price range for Van. East, and came up with 95 condo properties. The cheapest was $1,000 more than the lowest number above. Interestingly, a lot of the places for sale boasted that they had never been lived in.

The same price range search in Van. West turned up 80 properties. freako - is this your price compression revealing itself?

The long and short of it is that there are 175 condos, or apartments, for sale in Vancouver proper that could be afforded by a couple making the average wage*. There must be more than 175 couples looking for a condo in this fair city. Do you hear the din of bidding wars?

Almost needless to say, there are 0 houses for sale in this town, in that price range. Something's gotta give.

What is wild to me is that the reported earnings only rose $156 per annum when comparing 1993 to 2002. In 1994 the average wage was more than $4,000 more. I don't do graphs, but maybe one of you who does could chart the average wage with the average house prices. VHB may have already done so, so look there (my quick search did not find it).

Disclaimer - Information is made available to you as a self-help tool for your independent use and are not intended to provide investment advice. I can not and do not guarantee it's applicability or accuracy in regards to your individual circumstances. All examples are hypothetical and are for illustrative purposes. I encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding all personal finance issues. Go ask yer Momma.

*This number was found here. Source: Canada Revenue Agency
Prepared by : BC Stats, July 2006

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

empty houses

A reader sent me this tip (thanks Dave). It is referring to the supply overhang in the US, but it may well be relevant here soon enough - especially in the condo market.

Prediction: More pain for homeowners
A glut of almost 1 million homes sitting vacant may mean another downturn in the housing market, analysts say.

CHICAGO (Reuters) -- A glut of vacant homes suggests that the U.S. housing market has not yet stabilized and may be poised for another downturn, Merrill Lynch said in a research note released Monday.

"Now that oil prices and mortgage rates have stopped falling, we will be back lamenting the downturn in the housing market and its spreading effects on the economy in the second quarter, much as we were in the summer and fall 2006," Merrill Lynch economist David Rosenberg wrote.

"Looking at the inventory backlog and still-stretched affordability levels, this story is far from over."

Far from over indeed, and it hasn't even started here yet. The unremarkable declines that we have seen so far are just the beginning in my view. We gotta wait for spring and summer to pass in a blaze of gory, uh, glory for the new reality to set in.

I think that it was Vance who said 'as goes housing, so goes Vancouver', and we all know that as goes the US, so goes Canada. It's always been, and always will be.

Monday, February 05, 2007


VHB wrote about earthquakes, and the pope wrote about older electrical problems making insuring homes an issue. But what about climate change, and the insurance risks around that?

I read an article (excerpted below) in the Glamour and Madness that spoke to that concern;

Insurers seek shelter from climate change

Jonathan and Katie MacLennan's new home...is a steel-reinforced fortress against nature.

It's the first of its kind in Canada and a symbol of what houses could be like in the future — at least, if insurers have their way.

The Canadian insurance industry, which is seeing weather-related claims soar, is considering how to cope with climate risks.
It might have been more to the point to ask how home-owners are going to cope with the insurance industry's concerns - it is, after all, we who will cope with the concerns through higher rates, or even the inability to afford the premia. Earthquake insurance can be very expensive, and some insurers will not even cover that liability.

The Pope wrote that some insurers will not insure older homes until their electrical systems are upgtaded to the current code (no pun intended). The rental that I live in has been given the word that the electrical panel must be updated within 30 days to continue the coverage (the house was built in the early 1950's).
Worldwide insurers' catastrophic losses have soared 20-fold in the past three decades. Last month, Lloyd's of London's chairman called climate change the “No. 1. issue” for the industry and said a $100-billion (U.S.) “mega-catastrophe” may hit anywhere on the Atlantic coast.

Canada's not immune. Three quarters of insurers' spending on disasters has occurred in the past decade alone.

Which means insurers are battening the hatches — calling for better building codes, preparing for catastrophes, making sure the language on policies is clear and emphasizing weather in their risk analysis. They're also diversifying into new areas, such as weather derivatives.
Reading between the lines, the insurance industry is calling for higher premia. Just when we started becoming hopeful of better affordability.
Swiss Reinsurance Co., the world's largest reinsurer, expects Canadian demand for natural catastrophic risk reinsurance will only grow. Insurers' interest in climate change has grown “dramatically” in recent years, said J.J. Henchoz, president and chief executive officer of Swiss Re Canada.

Which raises the thorny question of premiums. As regions become more disaster-prone, insurers may well jack up rates.

“I don't see swaths of Canada becoming uninsurable,” said Gregg Hanson, CEO of Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. “Nothing is uninsurable, it just might not be economical.... You can always get insurance if you pay a price.”

He sees high risk looming in low-lying, flood-prone areas, such as the Red River Valley in Manitoba, the Saguenay region of Quebec and areas of the Fraser River in British Columbia
Ooops - no need to read between the lines, just a need to read further.
Others say no region will be immune. “We're all at risk, and that's perhaps the most troubling trend we see,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of Co-operators Group Ltd., Canada's third-largest home insurer. “These events are happening everywhere.”

That's why her firm, which paid for the PEI project, is focusing on how to prevent damage in the first place.
So, are building codes going to become more stringent? What will this do to afforability?

Get your buckets of cash ready. "The System" is not through with rifling our pockets just yet. It might be a good idea to do your stretches - so that you can bend way over. And don't forget the lube.

Friday, February 02, 2007

the grab bag #4

La-la-la. Humdiddly, can't get enough of them sugar-pants, sugar-pants, sugar-pants.

My life keeps speeding up, and I have no brakes! I'm on pins and needles, tenter-hooks, the edge of my seat, even. Waiting for the crash to commence. Waiting for the waters to break, and the labour to commence. Babby's due date is less than a week, and I have had increasing responsibilities around the house, and without.

I don't have time to read much, or to write much. Most of what I am gleaning is from the radio whilst driving my endless rounds, so I don't have any links. Yer just gonna have to trust in what I report. Rebuttals are always welcome.

Today I heard (on CBC) that the Canadian economy is slowing, and is expected to grow at less than 1% next (this?) year. The Lauriers, Queens and Bordens are falling out of favour in the money markets (Hey! CBC did not supply links either). I've been wondering about the American $ investments in RE, and wondering if the relative values of our $ to their $ has any impact on buy, sell or hold positions on investment properties. Any thoughts on that?

Regarding "rich immigrants" - I have no doubt that there are rich immigrants, but this report indicates that immigrants are having a tough time of it here. I saw on CBC news the other night, an interview with a recent, well-educated immigrant from India who was very disenchanted with his family's move here, and was considering returning to India - where his life was actually better, and had more promise.

A few excerpts from the above-linked article are below.

Recent immigrants not wealthier despite education: StatsCan

Income levels of new Canadian immigrants did not improve after 2000 even though they were better educated and more skilled than people coming to the country a decade earlier, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday.

A report by the federal agency says education and skill level did not make a difference in income because of the state of the economy.

...the agency believes the downturn suffered by the information technology industry at the beginning of the decade is responsible for the low income levels.

But for nearly one in five recent immigrants, the experience of low income was chronic, the report said.

Picot said low income, for the purposes of the study, has been defined as a family of four that earns less than $26,800 a year.
Ya can't buy much with that kind of income (even in NFLD or Winnipeg), and renting in Vancouver would eat up a pretty big portion of your after-tax income. Forget about investment, survival would be tough all on it's own.
...the proportion of new immigrants with university degrees rose to 45 per cent in 2004 from 17 per cent in 1992.

But that change, according to the report, did not translate into higher incomes, because skilled class new immigrants were actually more likely to begin life in Canada with low incomes

..."immigrants who arrived during the early 1990s, about 65 per cent entered low income at some time during their first 10 years in Canada. Of these, two-thirds did so during their first year."

For the group that arrived in 1993, the five-year chronic low-income rate was 20.5 per cent. For those who arrived in 2000, it had declined to 16.2 per cent as the economy improved.
But the economy has been humming since then, and is expected to contract - starting now. It doesn't look too rosey for the recently arrived.

The rich immigrants argument is a bunch of hooey.

In other news:

The VANOC is going to be setting up an "Olympics count-down clock" down at the main library that will count down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the Olympic flim-flam fiesta starts. Money well-spent? I guess if you want to create hype amongst, and distract the un-washed masses, it might be, but give it a rest, will ya?

I also heard that the provincial guvmint claims that the Olympic investment is $600M, but that does not include the Sea-to-Sky highway expansion. When that is accounted for, the total is more in the $1.5 billion neighbourhood. Of course, they do not count the $2.5 billion RAV, the lost revenues of businesses on Cambie St., and hundreds of other costs. Sell me something else now - like private medical clinics.

So there is the grab bag for Feb. 2nd. If there is a sudden dearth of posting here in the next week, or so, it is because I am in the delivery room with my honey, or changing diapers at home. I will be back though, so don't give up on me. I need you all to keep reading - so that I do not lapse into despair at my lack of imaginary friends.

Have a fantastic week-end!