Wednesday, May 28, 2008

fat ladies

I have been dying to use this picture (lifted from The Guardian - UK). Maybe it is nostalgia for a life I never knew, or only knew vicariously. Beats me. I just got back from my psychotherapist, and she doesn't have a clue either.

Well, really, I was going to do a post about the fat lady singing, or as it's turned out, real estate agents flipping.

The house next door to me sold for $450K to a real estate agent in April 2006. The buyer tried to flip it for $550K immediately, but ended up razing the place and building a McMonster. The McMonster sold for $799K in August '07. A real estate agent bought it from a real estate agent, and now the real estate agent is flipping it.

Gotta wonder why.

Is the agent finally seeing the writing on the wall? Finally? Be careful of the agent you choose, if that is the case.

Maybe the $2500/month rent income was not covering the oh-so-onerous mortgage payments...

It has not hit MLS yet, but I am so curious to know what the wishing price is. I doubt that it is sharp. I am even more curious to see if it sells, and for how little. I have a front row seat.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 26, 2008

horse cookies

the pope already covered the issue of The Anvil being dropped on "unsuspecting" buyers' heads with a demand for $20,000 to $40,000 if they want to keep their units pre-bought in good faith almost two years ago, but (holding back expletives) ferchrysaches! Anybody who ponies up for that abuse deserves a good swift kick in the head.

The developer - United Properties -
is a well-known developer in the Lower Mainland with more than 10 recent developments, including high rises and low rises, completed...It’s unusual to see such a successful developer run into major cost overruns. linker
If they are that successful, let them eat the "cost overruns", and send them into receivership if that's what it takes. The Sophia developer may have found a bunch of fresh fools to sign on for future bankruptcy to save their sorry arses, but this is much later in the game (inventory-wise). I hope the sucke..., er, people who pre-bought refuse to pay more, and that the general masses are beginning to understand that it is all but over, and thus, will not buy. This company should be able to eat something - in light of all their successes. The sad thing is, the bankruptcies are being passed down to those who can least afford it. I bet the President of the company has a vacation home in Maui.

The Great Extraction is playing out.

"Leading Economists" are now speaking openly of a "Global Recession" in the works. I'm no economist, but I have been saying for at least 5 years that a Global Depression was brewing. If these guys are so prescient, why could they not see it?

Don't worry, buy away. Bob Rennie, Cameron Muir and the boys are predicting high, single digit increases.

This started out to be a good rant (up around the block quote), but li'l solipsist refused to nap, and I have been busy for the last 7 hours or so. He took the rant right out of me.

Monday, May 19, 2008


My posting here has been getting slower and slower, while the residential listings come faster and faster. An incongruity to be sure. I have a good reason - as seen above. My kid is now 15 months old, and demands more and more attention. I can't, in good conscience, neglect the precious moments of growth and development of my progeny to stoke my own self through regular posting.

So what, beyond the obvious, does dada have to do with the RE market? Why, lots of course (no matter how oblique).

The dictionary provides some congruity (it's saved my butt a few times);
n. A European artistic and literary movement (1916-1923) that flouted conventional aesthetic and cultural values by producing works marked by nonsense, travesty, and incongruity.


1920, from Fr. dada "hobbyhorse," child's nonsense word, selected 1916 by Romanian poet Tristan Tzara, leader of the movement, for its resemblance to meaningless babble.


1. an informal term for a father; probably derived from baby talk [syn: dad]
2. a nihilistic art movement (especially in painting) that flourished in Europe early in the 20th century; based on irrationality and negation of the accepted laws of beauty
nonsense, travesty, and incongruity - Yes, the marketing nonsense perpetuates a travesty in pricing that is incongruous to the real value of a home.

irrationality and negation of the accepted laws - Hmm, does that not describe the RE market in Vancouver (and indeed, elsewhere)?

meaningless babble - That describes all the hyperbole about mountains, weather, Olympics, "it's different this time,", "the fundamentals are strong", and indeed, a lot of the meaningless babble written on this blog.

nihilistic - Would describe the attitudes of those of us who saw that it was all a bunch of hyped bull crackers.

OK, so that is it about dada.

Now, I find myself wondering if I should wait for another 5 or 10 years for the bottom to buy a home to raise my kid in, or whether I should just save my money, and give it to him to buy a place (or two) for cash, when all of the boomers have died off and there is no one left to buy over-priced real estate.

I dunno, but time will tell.

My postings are much more sparse, and I have struggled with the idea of quitting the blog, but I have decided to keep it going for at least a while longer. It is just starting to get interesting.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

just thinking

Sorry, but no time to elaborate. Draw your own conclusions. As the NASA motto goes - "Don't let your pre-occupation with reality stifle your imagination"

(Clicky to make biggy) source

What if there never is another boom, but a steady decline to...well...who knows?

Life is changing. "Peak Oil" is a driver of that change (pun intended). Greenhouse gas(p) emissions/Climate change are another. The "Liberals'" carbon tax (or whatever) is 2.4 cents/litre this year, and by 2012, will be 7.8 cents/litre. Gas has gone up by about 70 cents/litre in the last couple of years, and will go up even more, so the "carbon tax" is comparatively negligable.

Tourism and travel will soon be out (as we know it). The 2010 boongoggle will be just that.

I recently read (sorry - no link) that Chinese manufacturers are no longer accepting USD, and our dollar is tied to the USD (soonly, even tighter). Iran is trading oil in Euro and Yen now. Time for another invasion, errr, liberation. Then you have our current lack of governance here at home.

There is a whole new paradigm forming, and it is one that we, as a society, are completely unprepared for. The future will not be like the past.

There is no bottom.

Friday, May 09, 2008

qui en savait?

When I first arrived in this fine burg 20 years ago, I thought that houses were a good deal. I wanted to buy an old Victorian fixer-upper, but I just could not qualify for financing. So I peregrinated, and thought, and dreamed, and had many wild and wonderful experiences. I have not peed away too much in rent, because often I was paying a dollar a night or less for a bunk in a cattle shed in Guatemala, or such. Sometimes it was $500 a night at Raffles in Singapore, and over-priced Singapore Slings (but just one night, and just one Singapore Sling).

10 years or so ago a friend expressed envy of my life style. I pointed out to him that he had a beautiful house, and a beautiful wife, and three beautiful children, while I had a ruck sack and a passport, and a girl friend who shared my need for freedom.

My friend has since divorced, has signed over all equity in said beautiful house, and continues to pay child support.

I know lots of people like him, but I also know people who bought places when prices were still reasonable, and cashed out with a couple of hundred Gs in tax free profit, and they have no alimony, and now they are traveling in style - Raffles every night...

Over all, none saw what was coming. I thought that the top was in circa 2003 (and thought that it was an insane top), and refused to pay the price. Would I have if I had known that I could make a few hundred? Probably.

But who knew?

Now we seem to be seeing the beginning of the end. I'm too weary to call it yet again, but new listings are soaring, and the for sale signs that I see are hosting moss.

Is anyone even interested in RE any more?


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

world class

I have been despairing because I don't have the time that I used to have to dream up silly posts and do research. Such is life.

One of my first posts at this blog was a compare and despair, featuring a West Side house, and comparing it to a beautiful French mansion - for the same price.

Today I fed the wee one a half bottle of scotch, and while he slept it off, I tried to find something of interest (just kidding about the scotch - I drank it). has an article entitled In Pictures: What $1 Million Buys In Homes Worldwide (for those who feel entitled to their entitlements).

In Buenos Aires, $1.1 M buys A four-bedroom duplex with a terrace, this 3,800 square-foot apartment in the Recoleta district features four bathrooms, oak floors, fireplaces, a maid's room and a laundry room.

We have "good airs" here, too!

In Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt $982,000 buys;

This four-bedroom, Mediterranean-style villa surrounded by gardens and a swimming pool is on the Red Sea, near Nabq Bay. It boasts views of the Sinai Mountains. A finished basement houses a gym, sauna and steam room. Located within a beachside resort, the home has access to a spa, restaurants, bars, tennis courts, a Roman theater and many other luxurious amenities.

Well, we do have the Coast Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean.

There are others too - In the Big Apple, a 650-odd sq. ft. pied a terre will set you back about a million. Close to the United Nations, and all the other fun that NYC has to offer. Paris proffers 615 sq. ft. in 4th Arrondissement for a million bucks, and in Berlin, $990k will buy a place with seven apartments.

None of those cities will be hosting the 2010 Olympic games (technically, Vancouver won't either - but we are just 2.5 hours from Whistler!)

Yes, it's all apples to oranges, but some pretty cool places in some pretty cool places will cost about the same as the 1023.0 sq ft, 10th floor condo on W 14TH AV, Fairview, Vancouver West, for $998,900.00 (pictured above).

I dunno, if I had a million bucks to dump on a condo, I don't think it would be in South Granville.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

the rapture

(or, signs of the end times)

Yeah, I say unto You, my Brethren and Sistren, Ye True Believers,

The Rapture is upon Us, and I have seen the Signs. The End is nigh. Tremble, and feel The Rapture. Witness the Apocalypse.

(*I hope that any perceived heresy is forgiven in the spirit of poetic license.)

So, what are the signs?

1) The Globular and Morons had an article last Friday in which they dragged out a scenario of a couple who bought five years ago, and how they won the bidding war.
When Frances Fitzgerald and Sean Deasy searched for their first home in the up-and-coming Leslieville neighbourhood five years ago, they were not aware that properties were often priced below market value to attract a large group of potential buyers.

The piece goes on to recommend bidding at least $10k above asking, without conditions, and a large deposit in the form of a certified cheque. For every offer on the property that you know of, add $10K to your own.

'"My motto is that if you outbid the next guy by $10,000, then you haven't overpaid."'

Did the Globular writer not know that sales in T.O. are off by 26%, and that the Ontario economy is tanking? Oh. Yes. Right. They do know that, but they are trying to suck the last dollars out of the pockets of fools - at the behest of their RE advertising clients - by dragging out very old news. What a bunch of crap.

2) The Pope (and some of his readers) caught the Vancouver Sun deleting (at first) all the negative comments on a bullshite article about the top 15 real estate myths and realities. digi wrested the archives from Google, and posted them in the pope's forum. It's a laugh, in a twisted kind of way. The spin is getting desperate.

3) Statscan released a report (as reported on CBC, and filtered by my memory) that said between 1980-2005, the top wage earners in Canada saw their wages increase by 16%. Middle earners stagnated, and lower earners lost 20% (adjusted for inflation).

And how about those rich immigrants? In 1980, they earned 85 cents for every dollar a Canadian born worker did. Well, there was all sorts of hullabaloo over the years about pay equity and such, but by 2005 male immigrants were down to 65 cents, and female immigrants were down to 56 cents for every dollar a Canadian raised worker earned.

Over all this time, housing has risen considerably.

4) Paul B. has inventory reported at over 15,000, and Rob Chipman reports over 14,000. Chipman has also been reporting a sales/list in the low 40% range a fair bit lately (by my restricted reading).

Oh yeah, and there are a lot of motivated sellers and price reductions from what I see.

I feel a mighty wind blowing, but I foresee little joy for us common folks in the near future. The gas prices must be killing those who were "priced out" to the valley. By the time the Liberals stick us with 2.8 cents a litre more in July, they might have been just as well off to buy in Vancouver - especially if they put a dollar value to the commute time.

It's come undone.

Got ammo?

Blogging the Apocalypse since 2006