Wednesday, August 06, 2008

shrink wrap

I feel like my head is shrinking. Mrs. solipsist calls it baby-head, I call it brain dead.

The blogging pool has shrunk, a bunch of bears chased a disingenuous realtor off the web, which was never my intention, but c'est la vie. There is a lot of talk of this being a buyers' market, but I don't see it that way. I see it as being a faltering market teetering on the brink. It is not even a balanced market according to Rob Chipman.

The CBC has been reporting that sale prices have shrunk 2.1% over last year - erp, that is since May./edit This morning I heard Cameron Muir being interviewed, and he had the regular spin-sheet in front of him, from what I could hear (li'l solipsist was making a racket). I also heard the head of Freddie Mac throwing out some astonishing numbers, and contending that the US market is only half way to the bottom. It's a good thing that Vancouver is not subject to market cycles, and...oh, wait, sale prices are down YOY, and inventory is way up. Ah well, it's a buyers' market now, and prices are as low as they will go.

CBC Newsworld had an item the other night about the treatment of Beijing residents in the run-up to their Olympic Games. There has been a lot of squawking in Vancouver about SROs being converted ahead of our Games, and their tenants being evicted, but it is nothing compared to what has happened in China's capitol. Something like a million people have had their homes bulldozed, and they have been turfed out without any compensation. Businesses are not immune either, with many being forcibly shut down so that the marathon runners do not have to look at them as they run by. Beijing has been gutted. It could be a lot worse here if we had a totalitarian government.

India's economy is reversing and shrinking (and China's probably is too). The demand for oil has been shrinking, and along with it, the bbl price. Tourism is shrinking, but the gas prices at the pumps are not. When the bbl price of oil goes up, the prices at the pumps go up within 24 hours, but even with decreased demand, higher than expected fuel inventories, and the bbl price down over 20%, our pump price is just slightly less than it was when oil was trading at almost $150/bbl. We are being screwed, as usual.

Air Canada, Bell, GM, Ford, forestry, etc., have all been shrinking their work forces, and a lot of people are out of their jobs. The plywood mill that burned down in Prince George will not be rebuilt, and hundreds of jobs there are lost. I suppose that the demand for plywood has been shrinking too, with the demand in the States having shrunk so much.

I was considering shrink wrapping this blog, what with my available time to read, think and write having shrunk so much, but I am loathe to do so, with things just starting to get interesting.

I caught this shrunken house in my perambulations, and thought to share it here. There is something about it that makes me think of the future of Vancouver RE.

Everything shrinks.


TheCollective said...


Do not shrink wrap. The party is just getting started.
If you don't have enough free time to write because of the baby, here is some unsolisited advice: Make two more babies. When you have three you have more time for yourself...

Best regards,

arit (and his three clones)

arit said...

Let's see if my posting name matches my signature now....


solipsist said...

Make two more babies.

Sounds like fun. The parts are on order.

I have can't wrap just yet - with the begrudging approval of Mama solipsist. Things are just getting started.

I have always had a vision of documenting a purchase when things hit rock-bottom, and the renovation project that will ensue.

It might be fun to Count the Realtors, and do an inventory comparison in two years. The good ones will always last, but there are probably a lot of snakes in the grass that will get flushed out. Follow that Porsche.

Might be a good CBC story someday.

Hmm. Maybe I could actually make some money by writing the script.

Larry Yatkowsky said...

Don't leave, where's the sport in that? There will be no place left to rant. :>)

re Realtor numbers. late 80's to early 90's (the last spike) it reached over 10,000.
Mid 90's it dropped to under 5000.
It's now at 9818, top of another gold flush crowd.

There will be some great deals on lease buy outs soon if you need that Porche. just sayin.....

solipsist said...

I'm going nowhere. Just musing.

Porsche, smorsche. Frankly, I'd rather a Cockshutt and a good hay wagon.

solipsist said...

Dang, I forgot to say; thanks for those numbers on realtors Larry.

kris said...

I have three clones too... and I was getting bored so we just got a puppy!
Lots of fun!
All I need now to complete my Perfect Family build is a white house with a red door and blue shutters, tire swing and a picket fence. Oh, and a doghouse too.

Soon, very soon.

Cheer up solipsist and think of all the helping hands you will have available when in need of renovation, if you follow Arit's advice - just make sure to get your Junior(s) used to tools of the trade soon into the process. Bob the Builder tool set comes to mind :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Gang,

Just thought I'd leave this post...we are 35% overvalued according to a Merrill Lynch Economist. (Nice to get an opinion outside BCREA Chief Cheerleader, Cameron Muir). Here's the Globe & Mail article:

“Housing activity set to wilt: Merrill

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Canada’s housing market is entering a “sustained downturn” amid excess supply and as higher prices deter new buyers, an economic report said Thursday.

As a result, house price appreciation will stall, with Western markets “most vulnerable to outright declines,” according to Merrill Lynch economist David Wolf. He expects home builders to pull back “substantially” in response.

The country is not facing an outright bust because credit “excesses” haven’t been as extreme in Canada as they have in other countries such as the U.S., he added in a report titled, “Peaked: Canada’s housing market in depth.”

But some markets in Saskatchewan and British Columbia now appear to be overvalued, he said. Mr. Wolf calculates fair value using variables such as current prices, affordability and long-term average valuations.

Mr. Wolf is most concerned about Saskatchewan, where the doubling of house prices in Regina and Saskatoon over the past two years “has led us to estimate that these markets are now close to 50 per cent overvalued.”

In B.C., Vancouver’s and Victoria’s housing markets are now up to 35 per cent overvalued, he estimates.

Markets in Alberta, meantime, have become slightly less overvalued in the past year.

The rest of the country looks “better balanced,” he said; housing in Toronto is at essentially fair value.

Slowing activity and moderating prices will likely dampen both inflation and economic growth in Canada. Mr. Wolf sees cooling residential investment knocking 0.6 percentage points off real gross domestic product next year, as consumer spending also eases.

The housing slowdown could cut overall inflation by 0.5 percentage points by the end of next year, he said.

© The Globe and Mail”

blueskies said...

fergit the shrink wrap....
use bubble wrap instead much more appropriate

also the buyers market thingy:

i see it as trending to a buyers market but not yet arrived as such....

the trend is your frend

Anonymous said...

35% overvalued... that's all they'll admit to.

Before this is all over, both Vancouver and Vancouver Island will prove to have been at least 50% overvalued, just like all "golden" areas further south like LA, San Diego, Las Vegas, Miami...

VancouverGuy said...

By the way Solipist, this is not going to be backed by analysis because I'm too lazy, but conjecture from refiners and fuel transporters in the US I have been on the phone with is that as the price ran-up the crack spread compressed significantly and just hammered the refiners, so on the way down we may not see prices drop so much, as the crack spread will expand back to normal first.

Quick evidence of that? Look at the share price of Tesoro. They have been absolutely hammered as oil prices increased, but then now that prices are falling they are starting to recover.

Anonymous said...

Latest new bear blog from our neighbor to the south...

Real Estate Developers said...
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