Monday, December 31, 2007

happy new year!

Here we are at the eve of a new year. It has been a good year for me, with the arrival of a bundle of joy, and the accompanying patter of little, bare feet. The RE correction so long anticipated has not come to be realized, but, oh well. Maybe in 2008?

I would like to interrupt myself here to thank each and every one of you that have made this humble little blog a continuing interest and joy for me to write. Over 190,000 hits in the last year. So much more than I could have hoped for when I undertook the production. Thank you for sticking with me when I have under-produced, ranted, and occasionally been snarky. And thank you for the decorum exhibited through it all.

I hope for the very best for all of us, everywhere - bull, bear, ambivalent, home-owner, renter, homeless, but I do hope that all the specuvestors get burned (just kidding...sort of). I believe that we have huge challenges coming to us in the near future.

I picked the picture above because it seemed to have many pertinent elements - a sign warning of a fork in the road, a character (specuvestor?) with a target on his hat, and a generic, uninspiring metro backdrop.

trotter made a few predictions in the last post, which I will bring over here to open up the commentary. Feel free to post your own predictions, rants, kudos, kvetches, etc.

I predict a steady slide in prices beginning in February/March, much hand-wringing and recriminations, a few bank collapses, a stock market crash, and my own committal to a nut-house near you.

Have a happy, healthy New Year. My resolution is to be a bit more regular in my postings.

Let the prognostications begin!

Monday, December 24, 2007

on the ball? or, the sky is falling

I read this commentary on the MSM (our favourite, biased hobby horse) over at the Republic. The last line says much.
So what happened?

Headline in The Globe and Mail, Monday December 3, 2007: “Chevez suffers stinging referendum defeat.”

Headline in The National Post, Monday December 3, 2007: “Chevez heading to referendum win.”

Headline in The Vancouver Sun, Monday December 3, 2007: “Chevez concedes defeat in Venezuelan referendum.”

Headline in The Wall Street Journal, Monday December 3, 2007: “Chevez headed for victory in Venezuela, exit polls show.”

Headline in The New York Times, Monday December 3, 2007: “For Venezuela, tensions mount with close vote.”

Surely a case of corporate media telling the story they want you to hear before telling the story that was.
page link

Thursday, December 20, 2007

the grab bag reprised

William Sauder, formerly of Interfor, and the philanthropist who with a gift of $20 million funded the founding of the Sauder School of Business at UBC, has died. He was 81 years old.

The Sauder data has been the go-to source for RE information for many commentators on RE in Vancouver. The death of Mr. Sauder will not mean the end of the Sauder School of Business, nor the information found there. Condolences to his family, and all of those affected by his passing.

In other news;

Yesterday on CBC, it was said that the pine beetle infestation of BC's boreal forests will lead to an economic recession for BC. Carol Taylor, BC Minister of Finance, said a couple of weeks ago that BC will likely go into recession if the US does, and as the building industry in the US suffers under the housing slump south of the border. A couple of months ago, forest industry commentators said that the forestry sector is already in recession. I did not catch all of the facts, but I believe that I heard that forestry is responsible for between 2% and 3% of the BC economy, and 9% of the workforce. That seems like a small number to me, and my searches have failed to turn up more concise information. I guess that RE is now the dominant part of the BC econmy.

The numbers over at Rob Chipman's appear to be positively nutty. On Monday, the sell/list ratio was 267.09%. Bullish, or just the result of a seasonal slow-down in listings? Fish is not even bothering with numbers until the New Year, and I am not reading anything into them either. I really do look forward to Spring to see what will happen though. I believe that we have topped, and ought to see a cooling in the Spring. Note that I am not vainly calling a top though, I just think that we have finally topped.

I'm sorry for the paucity of posting as of late, it's been a rough, and very busy week. Lil solipsist is fully ambulatory, and really keeps me hopping. I hope that all have a great Crassmess, and that we see some real excitement in the New Year. I will continue to post as I am able.

Friday, December 14, 2007

some call them condors

Thanks to trotter for the video link to Real Estate Vultures.

I just love the close-up of the foreclosure sign, and that big projects, especially condors, are also circling the drain in many markets. Granted, this is in the US, but what happens there, eventually happens here, and here, we are not quite so resilient.

In other news:
Vancouver crowned break-in capital of North America
A new report has given Vancouver a dubious honour: the highest break-in rate of all major Canadian and American cities, nearly four times that of New York City.

Last year, Vancouver recorded more than 1,100 break-ins per 100,000 residents while New York City had just over 300.

The numbers are contained in the annual report by the B.C. Progress Board, which showed Vancouver had the second-highest combined violent and property crime rate among all major cities in Canada and the United States.
Would the BC Progress board have a positive bias?. Is Surrey still the car theft capital of NA?

Nevermind, this is the best place on earth - for those who are connected.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

melting into lorem ipsum

Or, orem ipsum, as the case might be (pun intended).

So, I was thinking of the slow melt-down that is going on (behind the oblivion of the masses), and was/am going to write about it, though, I resist because so many, with a greater understanding than I, have already expounded on it so well. Because I am very visual, and like to have a pikshur with my posts, I did a Google image search for "melting". As expected, I saw quite a few icebergs, glaciers, and other global warming pap, but through serendipity, kismet, fate, or whatever (my life seems to go like that), I came across the pic' below.

WTF does that have to do with the price of RE in Vancouver?, or, the price of tea in China? I think I hear you ask. If you forgive me my loquaciousness, I will elucidate...

I love language and languages, and Latin, being at the root of so many languages, has always fascinated me. I do have a rudimentary understanding of it, but I like to know. I have come across lorem ipsum quite a few times, but never was motivated to understand its meaning, so I did a (and ancillary) query, which led me here.
"Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure? "
OK, so that is a bit esoteric, but to me the key word is "dolorum" (pain), and that is what I see in the future for many.

I beg your pardon if this makes no sense, I am juggling my time between posting, making dinner for Mrs. solipsist, and getting li'l solipsist to bed. The constant interruptions have shattered my train of thought. A kind of melt-down as it where...

I think that the graphic above also illustrates the relentlessness of this RE market, and the loud cries for sanity.

One last bit of Latin for you all - caveat emptor (buyer beware).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

finding comparables

A search confined to Renfrew Heights in East Vancouver between $200k and $900k produces but 40 listings. This has been fairly constant for a while. But there is price compression. You can buy an old place (with few redeeming features) for only $100k less than a brand new place (with a couple of illegal suites), as illustrated below. Who in their right mind would go for that? Granted, the 60 year old place is probably better constructed, but there is really no comparison. The new place is bigger, and has a spectacular view of the NS mountains, and west to downtown. The older place claims a view, but does not elaborate. Somebody dumped $50 k or so into renovations, and is asking a huge premium.$699k


The new place has been on the market for a solid 6 months, with one price reduction (from $829k, if I remember), and is due for another reduction of at least $250k if they want to sell it. The renovated old-timer needs a reduction of at least $300k. Those reductions will happen.

Finding comparables is a joke.


I forgot to mention that these places, and many others, are sitting empty. I think that there is a huge supply overhang in SFH as well as condo's.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

it's not news

image from here

It's probably not news to you, but the BoC cut the prime rate by a quarter point today. I'll bet that all those that scrambled for pre-approval and bought over-priced shacks in the summer will be happy that they did so.

I have read rumours (no links) that the BoC will be cutting rates by another 3/4 of a point before a year has passed. Smoking, impervious economy and all, y'know.

It will not save this (or other) doomed market(s) though, the writing has been on the wall for a while (4 years...), and I believe that the psychology has changed. There will still be sales - there always will be - but for less and less until purchase prices catch down to rents.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

levity and brevity


Pardon my absence. I have been around, but a bit under the weather, and l'il solipsist is going through a very cool stage (just starting to walk), so I am greatly distracted.

Further, there just does not seem to be enough meaningful to write about - beyond the same old/sameold, and the expected "minor" catastrophes as the sub prime debacle continues to begin to unfold. BoC seems to be pumping money in almost daily, but it has become ho-hum to the MSM and sheeple in general. The stock markets continue to be manipulated, but are the beneficiaries of such blind faith in my view. Ignorance is more like it.

So perhaps some levity is in (dis)order.

I found these gems by following a link to Sapperton, and all I can really do is laugh. An MLS search of the area delivers 3 listings between the default $200K-$900K. It really just is nuts.

I sent the links to my sister (who lives in Hamilton, Ont.) and she was so shocked that she has not replied yet. It might be fun to send listings like this to China, and Germany, and you get my drift. Emblazon them with THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH, include the video of the Welcome Wagon at YVR. That might cool the market some.