Friday Numbers

There were 293 new listings today and 214 sales, for a sell/list of 73.04%. Of the sales 31, or 14.49%, went over list. 13 of those were on the Westside. 4 were in East Van, 2 in Richmond, 1 in Port Coquitlam, 1 in Port Moody, 1 in New West, 2 in North Van, 3 in Maple Ridge, 1 in Coquitlam, 1 in Burnaby and 2 in Surrey.

Average list price of the sales was $527,261, while the average sales price was $518,035, a difference of $9,226, meaning the average sale went for 1.30% under list price. 18 properties went for list price. One property went for 18%($610,000) under list while the highest over list was 15% ($80,500) over . Average days on market to sale was 34.

There were 14 million dollar plus properties sold with one over $2 million.

There were 89 price changes, of which 5, or 5.62%, were increases. The average original list price of price changes was $529,878; the average new price was $513,852, a difference of $16,026, meaning the average price change was -2.77%. Average days on market to price change was 47 days. 0.70% of all listings reduced their prices today.

Inventory in my target area dropped to 12,006, while over 90s also dropped, reaching 1,948, or 16.23%.

Of the sales 79 were apartments, (37%), 7 were duplexes, (3.3%) 78 were houses, (37%), and 46 were townhouses (21%).

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77 Comments

Filed under Daily Numbers

77 responses to “Friday Numbers

  1. Annon

    Hi Rob, just wanted to clarify. Earlier I mentioned the problem I see with corporates constantly seeking profit growth not making sense to me. Maybe I wasn’t clear. There is a difference between profit and profit growth. I can understand if an honest farmer makes 5 cents on each apple he sells and I can even accept if his profit by percentage remains the same for years. But it is not realistic to expect profit growth to fly and never fall. It never happens in history. Else there would have been things that no one can afford by now. If profit grows too much, anyone who can compete would come into play and share the market.

  2. ryan

    What’s going on? A lot of expiries must NOT be re-listing.

    Every day we see more listings than sales and the total listing numbers and over 90’s are stagnant at best and decreasing some days.

    Are people giving up on relisting their homes?

  3. robchipman

    Annon:

    The markets seek profit growth. Its not just the corporations (or more to the point, the people who run them) but also the investors.

    Making 5 cents on every apple is great. That’s the profit margin. But if I sold 100 apples this year, why not 200 next year? That’s profit growth, right? And if efficiencies allow me to increase volume to 200 and margin to 6 cents per apple, I’ve increased profit by 140%. And if I can do that while selling each apple for less, then I benefit, my consumers benefit and my shareholders benefit. My competition suffers.

    Its got nothing to do with honesty. I don’t cheat anyone by cutting costs, selling more and selling for less. Instead of taking the apples to the barn in a basket I buy a tractor, and add a tractor driver to the crew. Pickers pick more, so I add more trees to the orchard. The nursery down the road sells me more product, and Monsanto sells me more pesticide 🙂 Everyone’s happy, and nobody is dishonest.

    If I don’t do that the competition will try to do it to me, and will perhaps be succesful. If they’re succesful I’m out of business, my employees have to look for work, and my shareholders’ equity is toast.

    “May not” be realistic to think that profits will always grow and never fall? Let’s just go straight to “Its not realistic”. A lot of business is “win-win”, but plenty is “win-lose” . Regardless, you have to strive for growth, and that is motivated as much by greed as it is by fear of the competition. There’s always someone hungrier than you out on the street, and he’s interested in filling his belly, not your idea about sharing and sustainable growth.

    Remember: not everyone is making the increasing profits. Companies go bust, get acquired and lose money. However, the exist for profit, and nothing else.

    Ryan:

    Its a characteristic of real estate that not all owners don’t have to sell. If they don’t acheive price they can, and do, leave the market.

    Its also not that people are giving up on “re-listing” their homes. Listing the home was never the goal. Selling the home was the goal. Having a property listed is, to one extent or another, a hassle. Selling the home brings rewards. What they’re giving up on is selling.

    Picture this. You’re the owner of a house, and I’m the Realtor:

    Me: “Hi Ryan, I see you tried to sell your house for 120 days and weren’t able to do it. Let’s cut to the chase. You were asking too much, and not paying enough commission. Those cut -rate guys just can’t get it done. Also, I saw your property, and it wasn’t staged well, and that dog of yours has a serious attitude problem. BTW, who picked your paint colours? Anyway, listen, I can sell the place at real market value. You need to drop your price by $10,000, put a bunch of your clutter into storage, get that dog in a kennel, offer a full commission so that I can share it with a co-op broker, and we need to spruce up the paint. Also, that project car in the carport? Its gotta go. When can I come by and get the listing?”

    You: “Geez, Rob, what with the new triplets we had our eye on a bigger house near the daycare, but its going for $xxx,xxx, and it sold way over asking. We figured that if we could get over market for our house, and save on the commission, and increase our mortgage, we could just do it. Things are tough these days. Haven’t you been reamed over that 70% of pre-tax income thing yet? We simply can’t afford to reduce price and pay the full pull. And besides, I like the dog. He’s part of the family. And I’m tired of keeping everything spick and span so someone can cemo by and look at my house and talk about the bad paint colours we chose. We’ve already fixed up the basement room for the kids, so I think we’re just going to stay. I mean, if you’re right, and we can only get as much as you say, we won;t be any better off moving anyway”

    Me: “So, when can I come over and get the listing?” 🙂

    That’s why sellers leave the market.

  4. deb

    so if the seller leaves the market, there goes another buyer likely in a similar area? One less person to move up.

  5. robchipman

    Deb:

    You’re absolutely right. When move up sellers can’t buy, the pool of buyers constricts. The result is that prices get set by those who feel they have to make a move, whether buying or selling.

    I’d argue that its tougher to sell for less than it is to buy for more. There are a few simple reasons. When selling you usually need a certain amount of money to clear title. Once title’s cleared you have no more security to pledge a lender. You can’t borrow against what you’re going to transfer to someone else. Few people help you with that challenge. If you’re lucky the market takes care of you, but that, and mortgage paydown, are your only real saviours. Even if you get emotional and say “I can do it, I know I can”, on completion day you can’t do it if you’re short of funds.

    Buying faces a similar challenge, but emotion and restricted ability to pay are indulged by a host of people. In a multiple offer situation a buyer can get emotional, and in a state of excitement will try to offer more than the next guy. The seller is more than happy to accept. Imagine a seller faced with a bunch of lowball offers. First, the buyers aren’t trying to beat each other to the bottom – there’s no prize for the worst offer. Second, the seller isn’t excited about accepting. The result is that the sturcture of the market makes it easier for buyers to stay in.

    Mortgage lending makes buying more affordable. If you can’t afford the place at regular terms, get a 2nd, or extend the amortization, of go high ratio. Lenders will oblige. If you really can’t afford it you probably won;t find out until later.

    Paying more can be easily rationalized, especially now. The market is going up, so if we pay $10,000 too much now we won’t care by next year. Also, the market always goes up long term, so if I live here 25 years I won’t care that I paid $10,000 too much.

    You can’t always do that selling.

    So, if we agree that its tougher to sell for less than it is to buy for more, and if we agree that a move up seller gone is one buyer less, we can kind of see why prices remain sticky on the way down, even as volumes fall. And that brings us to the question of what a corretion or crash will look like. Less volume? Lower prices? Substantially less in one category than in the other? Substantially less in both? Tough to say, obviously. If you buy (anytime) make sure you can hold. Reverse gravity, as the rising market is sometimes described, won’t always bail you out.

  6. $froma$ia

    Rob, back to thursdays numbers you calculated before and after rate hike payments in mortgages.

    What was the ammortization you implemented in your calculation that led you to $90? extra per $100k mortgage payment?

    Did you calculate past payments at 25 years with recemt rate hikes with 35 year ammortization?

    ThX

  7. Strataman

    Rob said; “Its a characteristic of real estate that not all owners don’t have to sell. If they don’t acheive price they can, and do, leave the market. ” When my wife and I listed our two bedroom Condo we listed it 10% above what we knew what it was worth. We had an eye on only a couple of areas and specific homes to buy. IF these homes had been available at the time we were offered a price about 10% lower then our asking price (which we were) we would have jumped happily.
    Many sellers have a specific goal in mind and de-list when they see the goal disappear. Thus I do not find expired listings suprising, and having a place listed if you live in it is a real pain in the ass! It doesn’t feel like home for the whole listing period.

  8. jpick

    One of those sales was the condo I just bought! It took over a week for the listing to disappear from the MLS.

    Thanks for doing this blog, Rob. As a first time home-buyer, it was nice to have a place on the internet to regularly go to, and to get a feel for how the local market operates.

    The bear blogs are fun and thought provoking, but there’s an awful lot of disinformation there.

  9. Priced Out

    jpick,

    What disinformation?

    Do you think there is disinformation here?

    I’ve thought long and hard, and I am not buying until prices are down by over 30%. I can’t understand why anybody would buy when ownership costs are double that of renting.

  10. Mike

    “I’ve thought long and hard, and I am not buying until prices are down by over 30%.”

    I feel for anyone who has to enter the Vancouver housing market for the first time.

    A correction may come late this year or maybe three years from now?

    The people at CMHC are still calling for high single digit growth for the next two years in Western Canada. CMHC seem to be quite conservative when publish their forecasts numbers.

    If we see a 7 – 8% growth per year for the next three years and then get a 30% correction. Does this really help? I mean a 30% correction would help a first time buyer if it came tomorrow.

    New construction costs currently range from $175 – $225 per sq. ft. for a new house. A 30% correction would possibly mean a 30% cut in wages to the trades. I just don’t think you are going to see such a cut in the near future.

  11. Realist

    “If we see a 7 – 8% growth per year ”

    Yes, yes, and EVERY day in Vancouver is a sunny day…. it will never ever ever ever rain again… 😉

    I’m sure the smart bulls realize that the number of chairs (I mean $ price) doesnt matter at all whilst the music is still playing… so while it plays, of course it makes sense to dance…

    However, the music will stop, (of course we dont know exactly when) and at that point there are most definitely a lot fewer chairs than people (Equals 70%x Gross Income people less 30% x gross income people)..
    And that hardwood floor is going to feel a huge lot harder than that chair.. I think we definitely have wandered off the rug area and onto the hardwood floor and tile area..

  12. jpick

    I moved back here from California (after living down there for 6 years). Most people I know there have been “priced out” for 20 or more years. So I guess it’s all relative.

    I’m getting a much nicer place in a better location here for my mortgage payment than what I was paying for rent down there. The high tech jobs up here pay a lot less. The disparity is a bit less now though, thanks to the dollar.

    I see the Vancouver market as a super-condensed version of California, for Canadians. You have a lot of wealth, much of it retained in real estate. Those rich people aren’t going to suddenly become poor anytime soon. That would take a violent revolution. So get used to it.

    I’ve had money in the stock market for the past 5 years, and I’ve done quite well. However, I feel a lot safer using that money as a down payment on a place I can actually live in, even if the economy goes into the dumper. I’m not expecting big returns out of my place – I’m expecting security instead.

    Initially, my payments will be more than what I pay for rent currently, but after 3-4 years, it’ll be cheaper.

    I know that affordability is not a really good predictor of what the market’s going to do. It affects people who are entering the market for the first time, but they are a small portion of the overall market. Other economic factors which affect everybody in the market are much more important.

    I know I’m no good at timing markets. I’ve tried, and I’ve always failed. Had I known my Apple stock was going to keep going up, I wouldn’t have sold it in January after the iPhone announcement. It’s gone up 33% since then. Hindsight is 20/20.

    The misinformation I see generally comes in the form of predictions that there is going to be a major drop in prices. It may happen. It isn’t guaranteed to happen. It likely will never happen.

    To take advantage of a predicted 30% drop in real estate prices, you’re going to have to jump into the market exactly at the point of the trough, before it starts to pick up again. If the market returns back to the current level, you’ve made 30% easy money. But if you’re timing is off (statistically likely), you’ve made less than that. If the market keeps going down past 30%, you’ve lost money.

    The economy is on a pretty even keel right now. Inflation is pretty much under control. A percentage point increase in rates and the rising dollar will cool the economy right down. So longer term, the rates will stay relatively low, and the market will stay high.

    The U.S. economy is leveraged to a crazy extent, so there could be some major economic storms over the longer haul. In that type of scenario, you’ll want to have your life savings in the most secure investment vehicle you can find — which happens to be real estate. You probably don’t want to be entering the market in that type of environment however.

    If you can predict macro-economic trends. You can make a lot more money in the stock market than in real estate. I’ve tried timing the market in the past, and failed. I’m no Warren Buffet.

    In the long run, the market is not going to go down. My grandparents bought a house in Vancouver for $1500. They had to struggle to make the payments, probably even more so than today.

  13. Mike

    “My grandparents bought a house in Vancouver for $1500. They had to struggle to make the payments, probably even more so than today.”

    That a good point. When I think back to how it was for my parents 40 years ago the current conditions don’t seem as tough.

    As we all know nobody can time or predict the future. Whether you choose to buy now or not you are taking a position on the market either way. The only thing you can do is try and pick the option that has the least downside for your situation.

    If you are a potential buyer, standing on the sidelines and waiting could still be a risky position to take?

  14. Snick

    I believe in the value of statistics and showing the results in chart form. ANY chart that shows Vancouver real estate prices would indicateethat we have stalled at the top.

    It is no secret that real estate is cyclical. Combine THAT knowledge with what currently appears on the chart and…it looks like DOWN to me.

    IMO it is ludicrous to even suggest that these prices will hold.

  15. Skeptic

    Snick: “ANY chart that shows Vancouver real estate prices would indicateethat we have stalled at the top.”

    In your dreams maybe 😉

  16. dignanmaplethorpe

    con·tra·dic·tion [kon-truh-dik-shuhn]
    –noun
    1. the act of contradicting; gainsaying or opposition.
    2. assertion of the contrary or opposite; denial.
    3. a statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous.
    4. direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency.
    5. a contradictory act, fact, etc.

    Example:

    I moved back here from California (after living down there for 6 years). Most people I know there have been “priced out” for 20 or more years. So I guess it’s all relative.

    I’m getting a much nicer place in a better location here for my mortgage payment than what I was paying for rent down there. The high tech jobs up here pay a lot less. The disparity is a bit less now though, thanks to the dollar.

    I see the Vancouver market as a super-condensed version of California, for Canadians. You have a lot of wealth, much of it retained in real estate. Those rich people aren’t going to suddenly become poor anytime soon. That would take a violent revolution. So get used to it.

    I’ve had money in the stock market for the past 5 years, and I’ve done quite well. However, I feel a lot safer using that money as a down payment on a place I can actually live in, even if the economy goes into the dumper. I’m not expecting big returns out of my place – I’m expecting security instead.

    Initially, my payments will be more than what I pay for rent currently, but after 3-4 years, it’ll be cheaper.

    I know that affordability is not a really good predictor of what the market’s going to do. It affects people who are entering the market for the first time, but they are a small portion of the overall market. Other economic factors which affect everybody in the market are much more important.

    I know I’m no good at timing markets. I’ve tried, and I’ve always failed. Had I known my Apple stock was going to keep going up, I wouldn’t have sold it in January after the iPhone announcement. It’s gone up 33% since then. Hindsight is 20/20.

    The misinformation I see generally comes in the form of predictions that there is going to be a major drop in prices. It may happen. It isn’t guaranteed to happen. It likely will never happen.

    To take advantage of a predicted 30% drop in real estate prices, you’re going to have to jump into the market exactly at the point of the trough, before it starts to pick up again. If the market returns back to the current level, you’ve made 30% easy money. But if you’re timing is off (statistically likely), you’ve made less than that. If the market keeps going down past 30%, you’ve lost money.

    The economy is on a pretty even keel right now. Inflation is pretty much under control. A percentage point increase in rates and the rising dollar will cool the economy right down. So longer term, the rates will stay relatively low, and the market will stay high.

    The U.S. economy is leveraged to a crazy extent, so there could be some major economic storms over the longer haul. In that type of scenario, you’ll want to have your life savings in the most secure investment vehicle you can find — which happens to be real estate. You probably don’t want to be entering the market in that type of environment however.

    If you can predict macro-economic trends. You can make a lot more money in the stock market than in real estate. I’ve tried timing the market in the past, and failed. I’m no Warren Buffet.

    In the long run, the market is not going to go down. My grandparents bought a house in Vancouver for $1500. They had to struggle to make the payments, probably even more so than today.

  17. fish

    For those who think housing can NEVER go down.

    Have a look at this site and click on the cities to see what is happening.

    http://www.housingtracker.net/askingprices/

  18. vanreal

    jpick, you made an excellent point about rent vs mortgage payments. When I bought my house my payments were more than double my rent. Now my house is paid off and I now longer have payments. I think that is what bears forget. Mortgages can be paid off. Rent cannot

  19. accountant88

    vanreal wrote:
    June 17th, 2007 at 11:05 am
    “Mortgages can be paid off. Rent cannot”

    Can’t argue with this statement.

    However, when mortgage payments reach 70% of pre-tax income, then one has to decide if it’s a good idea to buy. That doesn’t leave much money for anything else.

    Saw Saturday night’s Global News….showed reporter Michelle Miller with loaf of bread. She pulls out 70% of slices of bread for payments,etc and with remaining 2 slices for peanut butter sandwich. That puts things in perspective.

  20. Skeptic

    Fish: “For those who think housing can NEVER go down.

    Have a look at this site and click on the cities to see what is happening.

    http://www.housingtracker.net/askingprices/

    Can’t see Vancouver on that list….

  21. Realist

    “Mortgages can be paid off. Rent cannot”

    Whaaaat?

    So now the house is suddenly “Capital-Cost Free”???
    People with those misconceptions are clearly driving this current speculative market…

    Now that “Mr mortgage paid off” has fully paid off his $1m from his $1m GIC, he is now getting zero “rent” on his $1m from the bank (“interest”=”money rent”)

  22. fish

    Skeptic

    In case you didn’t notice it is a US site.

    We don’t have an equivilent for Canada. The nearest thing we have is Rob’s blog and a few other bloggers in cyberland.

    However it was hard to imagine LA coming down 6% in a year…at least for most housing bulls in the US.

    Doesn’t mean exactly the same will happen in Vancouver. Anything COULD happen, but it bears watching.

  23. Priced Out

    jpick,

    Usually buying is better. This is one of those rare times when it is best to wait and see.

    I think just about every assumption you are making about Vancouver is wrong. Also, stocks and real estate are apples and oranges. You can buy a few shares without putting your whole future at risk and you can have a diverse portfolio. In real estate, you are in for a half million…or not. Scary stuff.

    That said, if you bought something you truly love, can truly afford it, and can live there for decades, enjoy your new home.

  24. Mike

    Why do the “bears” always counter using words like “never”? I think that most of the “bull” like comments on this blog have been quite tame and have not stated that the market would “never” go down or correct.

    I think the real debate is over when will the market correction come, how strong will it be, and how long will it last?

    Delaying a purchase until a correction comes could be the more risky position to take at this time.

    There still seems to be a lot of money out there.

  25. Noname

    Mike said – “Delaying a purchase until a correction comes could be the more risky position to take at this time.”

    Rents are cheap and they allow bears to be paitient. When home prices are this out of touch with rents, waiting is not the risky proposition, buying is.

    Now if you are saying that rents will skyrocket the same way RE prices have (10%+/year), that’s a whole different discussion.

    Noname,

  26. Realist

    Mike:
    “Delaying a purchase until a correction comes could be the more risky position to take at this time”

    So “Hurry up, buy now before the correction hits” would be your advice?

    “There still seems to be a lot of money out there”

    Uh huh………
    Ever watched that show “til debt do us part”? – When the Credit Cards (Mtgs) get exchanged for the glass money bottles, suddenly the couple realize the real full extent of their “wealth”….

    Just my 2c…

  27. Mike

    Well, if a correction comes sooner rather than later. Delaying a purchase would have been the right move. If the correction comes later, say 1-2 years from now and is not that strong then buying now might be better. Lots of people currently got 5-5.5% preapproved mortgages burning a hole in their pockets. Where will interest rates be 2 years from now or will a correction provide a better savings?

    I live in Coquitlam and the neighbor down the street just listed his house for just under $600k. He and this family are going to sell and together with a new mortgage move back into Vancouver. All day yesterday and today people have been viewing the home. The home has not yet sold and maybe people just like to view homes for fun. It just seems like a lot of people are still very ready to pull the trigger on some serious cash. For me $600k is serious.

    This market just seems so hard to call, at least for me.

  28. jpick

    Priced Out,

    You said, “if you bought something you truly love, can truly afford it, and can live there for decades, enjoy your new home.”

    You hit the nail on the head there. I bought a really nice place that fits the lifestyle I want. It’s fairly spacious for downtown. I don’t desire a lot of possessions. I don’t think I’ll ever want or need to move again (unless maybe I have kids in the future). Sure, it’s an investment too, but I don’t see a whole lot of risk over a 10-20 year time frame.

    I don’t think it’s healthy to obsess over the short term pricing of real estate. People invest in it over a long term, so the market moves relatively slowly vs. something like the stock market. A 30% drop or a 30% gain would be historic in the real estate market, but it happens to the stock market quite often. There’s not a whole lot to gain in attempting to time the market on low risk / low return investments.

    I think some of the most vocal bears are simply kidding themselves into thinking that they will someday be able to afford a lifestyle that they just cannot. Instead of obsessing over this stuff, it would probably be psychologically healthier to spend time learning new skills to improve their job prospects/income potential. Or they could simply lower their expectations. Living in Surrey isn’t so bad vs. living in Vancouver.

  29. Skeptic

    Fish: “However it was hard to imagine LA coming down 6% in a year…at least for most housing bulls in the US.”

    That’s because it didn’t happen.

    Here are the stats: http://www.dqnews.com/ZIPLAT.shtm

    LA County – SFH up 5.6%, condo’s up 8.6% YOY

    You’ve been reading too many bear blogs.

  30. Deedub

    Those are not transaction prices.

  31. fish

    No they are asking prices. I would expect that transaction prices are lower than asking, unless the market is red hot, which it is not. (I have friends in the industry that assure me of this)

  32. $froma$ia

    You people (Bears/Bulls) whatever…… You’re acting like a bunch of people that need to find some group to feel some sort of identity of belonging.

    C’mon we are Bulls when we buy and we are Bears when we sit back.

    Lets discuss points of why we should buy and why we should hold off. Ill start!

    For example, I was a home owner before the 2010 Olympic nomination (2010 is only two weeks long mind you.) I sold and now have enough money gained at 4% to cover my living expenses and rent while I save. Just like living at Mom and Dad’s rent free!

    OK, We are packing away $50k per year.

    If we bought now and have a $480k mortgage offset with renters most of our money would be going to interest. After 5 years we would be lucky to have $35 k down against the principle and approx $120k in interest paid out.

    Whats the gaurantee that I would be able to remortgage after 5 years at a resonable rate for $445k mortgage?

    Will I resort to 40 year ammortization to hold the home?

    What would this do to my interest/principal ratio?

    Well I got a 2% wage increase last year… will this help me and how much?

    I hope you guys can carry this example and add some realistic points to my situation…..

    Let’s not identify ourselves and others as Bears and Bulls. It takes away from some really good coversation on people’s perspectives on the market. Lets rationalize.

    If I hold off and the market fluctuates so a home is $50k less next year ( it’s not asking much we’re talking 8 percent drop) and I have saved $50k to put down I have just reduced my buy in the following year for $100k!!! Of course this can happen the other way around and I could be chasing a purchase for another year but I think this 7 year hike has taken it’s course.

    Well what do you think?

  33. $froma$ia: if you can save 50K a year…buy whatever whenever you like. If saving at that rate is causing you material deprevation, well, you’re used to it. If not, then bless you, you’ve got it made. Have a life 🙂

  34. vanreal

    $fromasia$, if you are making 50,000 a year from your investments then I figure you have close to 1,000,000 to put down on a piece of property. There are many places you can buy for 1.4 mil. Why not just go for it and get it done and over with. Your correction may never come. I would be more concerned about getting a piece of property I really liked and could live in for a long time.

  35. vanreal

    I misspoke in my previous post. I know a correction will come but by how much and when is the real risk. It could not come for a few years yet.

  36. robchipman

    I think you need to share some more numbers before anyone can make intelligent contributions.

    “I was a home owner before the 2010 Olympic nomination (2010 is only two weeks long mind you.) I sold and now have enough money gained at 4% to cover my living expenses and rent while I save. “.

    Let’s say you cleared $500,000 when you sold your house. At 4% you’re getting $20,000 per year. That’s $1,667 per month.

    Let’s say you cleared a million. Now you’ve got $3,334 per month to live on.

    Vancouver got the Olympics back in 2003. 4 years at $50,000 per year if $200,000.

    A house worth $500,000 in 2003 would be worth how much now? A million?

    A house worth $1,000,000 in 2003 would be worth what now?

    “We are packing away $50k per year” means $4,167 per month.

    If you can live on 4% of $500,000 then you could have been renting and living on the same wages you save $50,000 per year on and still be paying a mortgage on a rental property to the tune of $2,500 per month. That’s $400,000, any way you slice it. And that’s for the downpayment.

    Let’s say you sold after the Olympics were announced. Say, 2004. You could have put the $400,000 down on 4 $400,000 houses, had them cash flow positively for you, used the interest expense to reduce your tax, and your $1,667 per month lifestyle wouldn’t have suffered. Today you’d have 4 houses worth, at a minimum, $600,000 each.

    4 X $600,000 is 2.4 million. You’d owe 4 mortgages at $300,000 each, plus the original $400,000 you used for the downpayment. That’s 1.6 million. Pay that off and you’ve got $800,000.

    Plus, you still have the equity from the first home you sold. $800,000 + $500,000 = 1.3 million in cash (we’ll say the 4% on the $500k and the selling commisssions is a wash).

    Instead you have $50,000/year, and you’re waiting for a correction. 3 years a at $50,000/year is $150,000, plus your $500,000 in equity, but you lived off the interest.

    I can’t see it. I think you need to supply some more numbers.

  37. Mike

    $froma$ia:

    I don’t understand the numbers in your example. If the market dropped by 8% you would save $50k on the purchase. So, if the house you want is $650k and the market dropped by 8% the house would now cost $600k. But you also say that buying now would mean a $480 mortgage, else you could put the difference in the bank ($650k – $480= $170k) at a 4% return to cover all of your expenses while you save $50k per year?

    If I could save $50k per year in addition to my living expenses I am not sure I would have ever found this blog.

  38. $froma$ia

    I am renting at $800 per month. Comfortably.

    We only need to be looking at ballpark figures,don’t we?

    Need I really tell you what I have as a downpayment?

    My whole point to this is that I don’t see the value in homes today.

    BTW theres allot of homes renting that just don’t have the parking availability because lots are only 33 ft wide in YVR.

    Rob all I want is a decent home for myself with a solid downpayment and a lower chance of risk of errosion of equity.

  39. ?

    Can some tell me why would a land lord would up the rent of a house when it didn’t rent at a lower rent to begin with? A posting on Craig’s list for 4 bd house in Kits May 18th $3000. Made an email offer of $2500 when the May 18th posting came out just to throw it out there. Never got a response, didn’t really expect one but thought, we were a family with good references and in the posting they seem like that was what they were looking for so figured it was worth sending an email anyway. Adjustment post on May 23rd with the price raised to $3200. Available June 1st. I knew then I wouldn’t be getting a response. I just saw a posting for June 16th, now the price is $3500 available immediately. Now the house will sit for 1 month with no income. With it’s new price it will be harder to rent with less perspective tenants (ad states they want professionals or a family) I guess they figured the rental market would bring in that kind of cash but my thinking is each month it sits empty they loose more than the $500 less I originally offered. Any thoughts?

  40. tqn

    “all I want is a decent home for myself with a solid downpayment and a lower chance of risk of errosion of equity.”

    some prospects keep repeating the same thing year after year with no action taken, waiting for the so called “correction” to come – the equity errosion gets deeper.
    Micheal Levy mentioned this morning on CKNW980 that the stock market might expect a correction toward year end. What are we gonna say to that?

  41. Snick

    Michael Levy?

    I wouldn’t believe anything he ever has to say.

    He’s no Roubini. Unlikle Roubini, he never sticks HIS neck out unless it’s SAFE to do so…

  42. robchipman

    money:

    You wrote: “I hope you guys can carry this example and add some realistic points to my situation…..”

    Tough to be realistic without the actual numbers.

    Wanting a home with what you see as value with low risk of equity erosion is reasonable.

    The problem is that your idea of value is less relevant than the market’s idea. The more the two differ the more your’s becomes a wish, rather than a desire. It might come true. Market prices may change. Width of Vancouver lots won’t, however. Parking in Vancouver will always be tougher than it is in South Surrey.

    An $800/month rent is at the low end of the market. If you compare it to buying you’re probably never going to find buying attractive (prices rising you think they’re too high – market goes flat you think “Hey, this stuff never goes up in value”).

    Anyway, if you don’t share numbers you’re asking people to speculate on your situation. Its tough to come up with anything helpful.

  43. tqn

    “Michael Levy?
    I wouldn’t believe anything he ever has to say. ”

    I supposed that a crashing housing blog has much more credibility then. And of course, it depends which sides you believe in!

  44. awum

    The market still looks pretty strong in terms of sales, but what is the inventory trend? If I count the inventory in Rob’s area after end-of-month expiries, the numbers look like this:

    2006:
    Mar: 8323
    Apr: 8490 (up 2.0%)
    May: 8966 (up 5.6%)
    Jun: 9129 (up 1.8%)
    Jul: 9642 (up 5.6%)

    2007:
    Mar: 10282
    Apr: 11293 (up 9.8%)
    May: 11943 (up 5.7%)
    June: ?

    Thus far, June hasn’t seen a whole lot of inventory growth (only about 60 listings so far) so I’m guessing it will end up pretty much where it began much like last year. I still think we’ll see 4+ months of inventory by July, and 6+ by September.

  45. awum

    …and by the way, I noticed looking at the Sauder data for Vancouver CMA that drops in real estate prices (in “real” terms adjusted for inflation) have normally been proceeded by a period of moderation in price growth after a dramatic rise. This was true even in 1981/1982, when I thought the conventional wisdom was that prices fell through the floor overnight.

    In other words, the direction doesn’t seem to reverse directly from dramatic increase to a decrease. Rather, there is a moderation in the rate of price increases first, follwed by a drop.

    Any signs of that moderation in the rate of price increases at this time? That’s what I’d be looking for.

  46. Gary

    rob:

    I was looking at your reply to the post

    “I was a home owner before the 2010 Olympic nomination (2010 is only two weeks long mind you.) I sold and now have enough money gained at 4% to cover my living expenses and rent while I save. “.

    It’s easy to show your potential profits after the facts.. but harder to see into the future.. if someone attempted that today and the economy took a dump, that’d person would be in some serious trouble.

    That said. I believe without risks there are no gains. The bigger the risk the bigger the gains or loss.

  47. robchipman

    Gary:
    You’re right about hindsight vs. foresight.
    Risk and reward go hand in had to varying degrees. You can mitigate risk while maintaining or enhancing reward. Leveraging appropriately and holding long term accomplishes this with real estate. Hedge funds do similar things over a shorter term. Its the rational approach to the investment challenge.
    Money from asia played it safe. He still wants to play it safe. He’s so conservative that he wants some suggestions on how to play his hand but doesn’t want to show his cards! My number crunching wasn’t to show that he made the wrong move when he sold, but to show that his numbers and concerns don’t seem to add up.
    If you buy solid rental property that you can hold, and leverage it appropriately, you can likely avoid serious trouble, even if the economy takes a dump. People have done that exact thing for years and prospered. Its hard to do right now, but not impossible. You do have to look, that’s for sure.
    awum:
    Interesting concept. I find it hard to believe that nominal plunge we took in ’82 was really a plateau or moderate growth when adjusted for inflation, but I won’t dispute it. The graph certainly looks dramatic, and it certainly seemed like a huge recession to me, but… (it was 40%+ nominally in less than a year. I can’t imagine that inflation got licked that badly).
    Clearly, nominal price growth has been moderating for some time. Don’t you agree? Aren’t we seeing 11%, 12% and 13% YOY, rather than 19%?

  48. Domus

    Some interesting excerpts from the UK’s Guardian newspaper (June 18th edition – full article can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2m9ohx ):

    (1) Regarding taxation (and I am sure this will prove controversial):
    “If a large house occupied by one person was subject to an annual land value tax, that person might free up the house for a family to move into and move to a flat. The 700,000-odd homes left lying unoccupied in Britain might be let out or sold because the cost of keeping them empty would rise sharply.”

    (2) Regarding the general allocation of productive resources (this made me think of Vancouver):
    “If the proceeds of a land tax were used to lower income and corporation tax, it might pay Britons more to work or start a company than to own property, which is ultimately an unproductive asset. Food for thought.”

  49. robchipman

    Food for thought indeed. If taxes were less it might pay to work. That’s a good one.

    Who decides which general allocation of resources is best? A central planner, I suppose. Government can take a more active role in picking the winners. Follow it to the logical conclusion. Its a bad idea that’s been played out.

  50. Domus

    Rob,

    I am not the journalist at the Guardian who wrote the piece.

    If we were to follow up on your instinct that incentives towards productive activities are wrong, then probably we should cut government funding to medical research and R&D in technology…..after all who decides what is good…..

  51. Mightymouse

    Need a little advice tonight.

    We’ve been watching the market in our area for a while now. On Sunday, we went to an open house for kicks and got chatting with the listing agent. We ended up talking about a listing in the area that’s been on the market for over a year now. It’s a tiny, triangular, 3000 sqft lot, easily the crummiest lot in the entire area, and the shack on it is a rotting biohazard.

    While talking with the realtor I casually mentioned that we would only be interested in the property for about 70K less than the current asking price, that’s about a 15% haircut.

    The listing agent suggested we write up the offer as apparently, the owner (some rich guy who lives in abroad) might actually bite. I guess he owns half a dozen properties in the area that he’s been trying to sell in the past year. I should mention that I made this same offer verbally about a year ago, and the agent didn’t even bother to call me back.

    We’re not sure what to do. We LOVE the area. We’re just worried that if a correction comes, we may find a better, larger property, with a livable house for the same price a couple years from now.

    We have about a 27% down payment at this time if you include the extra 200K that we would need to add to the mortgage to be able to afford to build our house. Also, we would have to continue paying rent while the house was being built. If we actually got this lot at our asking price, it would easily be the cheapest lot in the entire area as 5000 sqft lots all around command at least 650K (I know that 5000 is larger than 3000). The houses that are being put up in this area are all million dollar mansions.

  52. Mightymouse

    Rob,

    If you’re about to post Monday’s numbers, could you please move my question to the new thread? Thanks.

  53. Skeptic

    Mightymouse, have you looked up the lot value in the tax assessments ? Might give you a sense for what the land value is versus the 5,000 sqft lots. Otherwise its hard to find comparables I guess.

    You might want to check with city hall about set back distances from property boundaries and other regulations to make sure your dream home will fit on the lot.

    Verbal offers with realtors are a waste of time, put it in writing, then they are obliged to present it to the seller. As it stands, you don’t know whether the seller even knew about your prior offer or whether the agent just deflected you.

    If its been on the market for a year, make sure you really are lowballing it, don’t go in too high.

  54. Skeptic

    Domus, interesting points from that article. If a tax is imposed, it would increase the cost of housing to both owners and renters (owners would be sure to pass it on). Surely this would contribute to affordability issue you have mentioned previously. Also, I’d imagine it might be unpopular with voters.

  55. ObserverX

    If the govt wanted to free up money tied up in housing for more productive pursuits, all they have to do is put a 100% capital gains tax on all housing (exempt owner-occupied if you wish). Then there’d be no reason to speculate by owning RE — the only reason to own would be if it was rented out and cash flowed at a acceptably high rate of return (which could be argued as representing productive use of capital). I’m sure this would be very popular with voters.

  56. awum

    Who decides which general allocation of resources is best? A central planner, I suppose. Government can take a more active role in picking the winners. Follow it to the logical conclusion. Its a bad idea that’s been played out.

    A bad idea, Rob, indeed! Couldn’t agree more.

    First, let’s scrap government-imposed restrictive zoning (we discussed that one already). Then we scrap the government-imposed tax exempt status for profits made through ownership of a primary residence. Next, let’s lose that pesky government-imposed CMHC mortgage insurance scheme.

    I hope you see my point; we sure are quick to criticize the central planning and government control we don’t like, while we tend to be blind to the ones we do like.

  57. robchipman

    Awum:

    I prefer zoning, which changes in response to popular will and pressure, to planning according to domus. I prefer restrictive and permissive zoning equally (check back – I didn’t pick sides of zoning, I just opposed planning by domus).

    Taxing landlords so that they use their property the way some egghead wants is less like zoning and more like planning according to domus. When a tax is effective because of its coercive nature its self-evident that someone is forcing other people to do things they don’t want to do. Its the coercion I object to.

    I’m not blind to what I like, and I do criticise what I don’t like. That seems sensible to me. Doing the opposite would strike me as a little foolish.

    Mortgage insurance is like any insurance. Its a great product. The private sector should supply all of it. That will eventually come to pass.

    There should be less capital gains tax, not more. The government already has more of our money than it knows what to do with. We’re begging for carbon taxes and its still collecting deficit reduction taxes.

    Central planning, good intentions = bad
    Enlightened self-interest, individual freedom and property rights = good

  58. robchipman

    ObservrX:

    If you could invest in property, and collect rent, but never sell it at a gain, would you do it? Would the rent have to be higher? Or would you accept current rents, and just do without the capital appreciation? How high would the acceptable rate of return have to be?

  59. Craig

    Taxing real estate vs. income… I’ll go against the grain and say tax RE gains more and income less if given a choice. RE sits there and almost nothing productive to help the economy grow. The fact that it increases in value over time is due to speculative influence. Think about Joe homeowner gaining $200,000 equity in his home over a couple of years. Where the heck did this “wealth” come from? It wasn’t generated out of thin air, it was fueled by bondholders who are funding the mortgages of those who are buying and driving the prices higher. How do these bondholders afford to buy the bonds? They work and earn income.

    Income on the other hand represents work. Working to provide services or produce goods is the way for an economy to truly grow (Look at China, India, and heck even Canada with its strong commodity exports for evidence of this. On the other hand, look at the US to see how a decline in production hurts). Taxing corporations and income heavily is a drag on growth.

    What would the world be like if everyone quit work and played the RE game? Our society and standards of living would erode to nothing, since balanced production and provision of goods and services would cease, bringing Gross world product effectively to zero. During the RE boom, more and more people have devoted their productive time and energy to speculating in RE. Why do you think that countries experiencing double digit asset inflation still only register 2-3% economic growth? 😉

    I’m not saying tax RE prohibitively, I just believe that if given a choice, you are better off encouraging production and work with lower income taxes and offsetting these with taxation on speculative activities that do nothing to benefit true growth.

    Rob you shudder at and criticize the idea that governments should control and modify the tax regime. Perhaps you would prefer something closer to anarchy instead? The beauty of our society is we can vote in our representatives of choice to set the regime, and I will vote for lower income taxes, higher capital gains and property taxes to offset, and a deficit reduction prioritization program every time :). I know I am probably in the minority though, so I will bide my time and wait patiently for this speculative asset bubble to deflate on its own.

  60. awum

    Rob, the flipside of an “incentive” is that it is essentially “coercive” to everyone that doesn’t get it. The main difference between the two is PR. And if I believed that the current system actually represents “enlightened self-interest, individual freedom and property rights” we’d probably be on the same page. We live in a system which has been centrally-planned (or “socially-engineered,” or whatever term you choose to use) with the express purpose to encourage home ownership and a few other romantic ideals (some of which I hold myself) — but it has interfered so badly with the demand side of free market economics that it has driven prices out of reach of the majority of Vancouver wage earners. That’s not only central planning, on the long term it’s bad planning.

  61. RE: Mightymouse

    I’m not sure I read your post correctly, but if you’re only planning on $200k to build, that’s only going to get you around 1,000 sq/ft …

  62. Realist

    “Taxing real estate vs. income… I’ll go against the grain and say tax RE gains more and income less if given a choice”

    Which reminds me – it appears that CRA is REALLY REALLY REALLY very far behind the Tax Auditing of people transacting Residential Real Estate in Vancouver –

    In many cases it appears that people are actually intentionally committing tax Fraud, and others are unintentionally incorrectly “assuming” that what they are doing is “tax-free principal residence”, or making other “tax errors”..

    Still, this appearance of “CRA inaction” is probably explained by the natural time lag between the transaction, the Disposition tax return, and the follow-up Audit…

  63. awum

    … and in the case of zoning, we’ve interfered on the supply side as well. Have you looked at the zoning map for Vancouver lately? We’re supposed to be the next New York or London, but our ratio of multi-residential zoning to single-family zoning looks more like Saskatoon!

  64. Domus

    Restrictive zoning of the kind advocated by Rob (to stop residential construction which is NOT the one he like……) does not exactly sound like a liberal take on society.

    It’s similar to an industry incumbent deciding which competitors to allow in its own market. Only 2 storey competitors with a garden to go with it. The decision is then marketed with a little lipstick on the lips: grand liberal ideas, environmental concerns, individual freedoms, etcetera.

    If you think that a nice 5 floors condo should not be built in Kits, at least give me good reasons. (And no, I do not live in a condo but I still think it is the best way to develop land in central Van and leave surrounding areas free of sprawl).

    Rob, I’ll let it pass again…..your comments are entertaining!

  65. robchipman

    Craig:

    You don’t need to vote for deficit reduction. We don’t have a deficit.

    Increases in real estate equity fuel all kinds of economic growth. Increases in the money supply increases asset appreciation.

    My argument is simply that picking real estate gains as “passive”or “unproductive” is, I think, a little short sighted. You could be earning income, for example, by working like a dog on the house that I’m building, but which I’m financing through equity that I’ve built in real estate. Take away my ability to earn a return on my capital and you lose your job building the house, and awum loses the chance to buy the new house I’m building.

    Do I prefer anarchy? Yeah, that’s it. Enlightened self interest, individual property rights and individual freedom = anarchy.

    Awum:

    Its not an incentive to say to someone “Do this or I’ll hit you” Its called negative reinforcement. Its got nothing to do with whether you like what you’re being told to do or not.

    We have way more central planning than we should have. I don’t think we have a system that has been expressly engineered to encourage home ownership, but for the moment let me allow your point: if the government has done this, they’ve failed miserably. Why would you recommend that they get more involved? Government, on balance, is a necessary evil. The alternative is anarchy (think Mogadishu). But more is clearly not better – and you’re making that argument yourself.

  66. Mightymouse

    Skeptic,

    We havn’t looked up the tax assesment yet, this all happened yesterday afternoon. However, due to our previous interest in the property we had gone to the city to get the property map etc… The current house is built right along the property line, so we would be quite limited with the setbacks and all. I guess the city folk said we may be eligible for a few exceptions to the rule if we went before a board of variance and pled our case. That’s a big ‘if ‘ though…

    RE:Mightymouse,

    We would do most of the construction ourselves. We’re both blue collar workers.

  67. Mightymouse

    That being said, we have very little time to tackle such a project… But it would be great to build our own unique house.

  68. deb

    we own a piece of land in Oak Bay, Victoria. It is very narrow and would need variance to build anything much.
    We have had 2 offers to buy it; but each was dependent upon getting the variance from council. No one wanted it “as is” to take their chances.
    I would love to sell it, but so far, nothing.
    So as this variance thing has been turned down twice, I imagine you would be really taking a riskl

  69. robchipman

    Domus:

    You’re getting confused again 🙂 There are different types of zoning. I don’t support one type of zoning over another. I support zoning in general. Its more people oriented and responsive than most other laws.

    I don’t want multi-family next door to me, so I look at the OCP and buy in an area that isn’t slated for multi-family. The only zoning changes that can then be made require neighbourhood input.

    At the same time I want to develop some property, but that requires upzoning. I find a place that is zoned SFH but designated multi-family. I buy it and upzone it, and supply housing density for people who want it in an area that a bunch of stakeholders allowed to be designated multi-family.

    See? I support restrictive and permissive zoning, all in one day! Why? Because the system treats all stakeholders as fairly as possible. Perfect? No. Alternative? Do what Domus says, and hope he doesn’t change his mind too often! 🙂

    What’s the difference? I don’t like zoning that restricts what I don’t like and permits what I do like. I like zoning that doesn’t play favourites.

    Why not put 5 floor buildings in SFH areas of Kits? Um, because the people who live there don’t want it? If your problem is with what other people want, convince them that your way is beneficial to them (either directly, or because of the greater good). If they don’t buy your argument, take your idea somewhere else.

    In other words, you won’t see me complain if the people in Kits want 5 story developments. You won’t see me complain if they don’t. They live there. They should have some say in what happens.

    Again, the alternative? Your idea, which is an opinion. If its a good one, people will support it. If they don’t support it, well,..who died and made you God?

    awum:

    “Have you looked at the zoning map for Vancouver lately?”

    No, I haven’t. Give me a second, I’ll look over my shoulder at the huge one on my wall. O.K.! I did it.

    “We’re supposed to be the next New York or London,…”

    According to who? Last I looked we had OCPs and zoning bylaws to determine what we’re supposed to be.

    “… but our ratio of multi-residential zoning to single-family zoning looks more like Saskatoon!”

    And that’s bad how? On the one hand we hear that there is too much condo supply coming on line downtown, and on the other we hear that sprawl is bad. But, people want sprawl. People want houses. People want to raise families in the suburbs. People want to live close to where they work, and most people don’t work in Kits or downtown.

  70. jesse

    “Think about Joe homeowner gaining $200,000 equity in his home over a couple of years. Where the heck did this “wealth” come from? It wasn’t generated out of thin air, it was fueled by bondholders who are funding the mortgages of those who are buying and driving the prices higher. ”

    The funny thing about home equity is that it only generates you money when you sell it or borrow against it. Bondholders fund today’s demand but Joe isn’t really today’s demand but rather tomorrow’s.

  71. Domus

    “But, people want sprawl. People want houses. People want to raise families in the suburbs. People want to live close to where they work, and most people don’t work in Kits or downtown.”

    Rob,

    that may be true in Texas and LA. How about Vancouver? Right now there is a big deal about expanding the Fraser Highway……you must be clearly in favor of that: I don’t see any other way to allow people from the sprawl to move around.

  72. awum

    Of course folks in Kits should have some say in what happens in Kits. So should residents of other parts of Vancouver. To a lesser degree, so should folks living elsewhere in the GVRD. That’s democracy the way she should be played. But why should the small crew of folks who own the most expensive land in all kingdom come have more influence than the rest of the wider community? A: Of course they shouldn’t.

    That’s where the terms “cowardice,” “short-sightedness,” “lack of vision” and “self-serving” strike me as appropriate descriptors of our local politicians. Don’t get me wrong — most are nice folks, just don’t got no spine. I don’t have a preference NPA vs. Vision vs. COPE at this point. The only guy I’ve heard occasionally make any sense on this issue is Mayor Sam and I didn’t even vote for him!

    We tried piling condos into downtown. According to stated goals, it was supposed to address sprawl. It didn’t work. Next…?

  73. awum

    As for your statement “Why would you recommend that [the government] get more involved?”

    Sorry, Rob, perhaps I should have been a little more clear. In some ways, I am a dyed-in-the-wool moderate-to-lefty, but I am no socialist. I’m not arguing for more government or less government.

    I’m arguing that we are already solidly in the game of government involvement. My biggest problem is that the choices government has made don’t match reality any more (assuming they ever did). Who’s interests are the current model of government involvement serving?

    As for “That’s bad how?” that’s bad in the sense that as I said, piling condos into downtown obviously did nothing to alleviate the evident supply & price imbalances we’ve faced here. Sure, on the short term that has put money in the pockets of a lot of folks, but the failure on affordability is freezing my son’s generation right out of town.

    I remember the bragging about why the city planners did what they did with False Creek, Yaletown, etc. and they have failed to do what they said they would do. Increased downtown densification has actually done nothing to slow down sprawl; rather, it invited a level of speculation and non-resident investment (wait for it, that’s not my issue, it’s a free country, people should be allowed to buy and/or invest as they see fit in my view) which left new development with no hope whatsoever at keeping pace with supply.

    You may be tempted to jump in here and say “aha! so you admit supply is restricted, which justifies high prices yada yada yada…” to which I say yes, duh, of course. I’ve never been one to say that there is no rational reason for price increases. Supply, demand, all that good stuff. I still think supply will catch up (or pehaps it already has) just as the expectation of price growth evaporates and finally takes the wind out of the market’s sales.

  74. dingus

    “I’m arguing that we are already solidly in the game of government involvement.”

    Hallelujah someone gets it.

  75. robchipman

    Domus:

    I’m not sure when you were last east of Boundary Road, but a lot of people live there and a lot more are moving there.

    They could raise families downtown, in smaller condos, and densify. I have tenants who do that and I’m sure there are homeowners who do it. The very existence of sprawl indicates that people are voting with their feet for…sprawl.

    So, when you say “that may be true in Texas and LA. How about Vancouver?” I can’t believe you’re asking that question seriously.

    Do I support twinning of the Port Mann? 4 lanes to Chilliwack? Who cares? I’m not opposing or supporting anything. I’m just recognizing what I see.

    awum:

    Who are these small crew of folk who own the most expensive land in all the kingdom? Are they the guys with the bad luck to have bought where you want to live? What’s wrong with Langley? It works for a lot of other people…

    “We” tried piling condos into downtown to address sprawl? I’m not sure who you include in “we”, but Vancouver City planning and zoning powers end at Vancouver City limits. The suburbs, by and large, like sprawl. They may say they don’t, but lets face it, they are sprawl.

    Vision/COPE/NPA don’t throw much weight around in Surrey, or Coquitlam, last I looked. Who cares what Vancouver politicians want? GVRD has a livable regions plan, but that includes a diverse set of interests. NV District populace has certainly resisted it’s pressure to take more people (largely because of popular protest).

    Anyway, I guess I think that you may put a little more store in “our stated goals” and the things we’re “supposed to be” than I do. I figure we are what I see. I really can’t get upset because Vancouver City planners failed to achieve things that they could never control anyway. (Why would their failures upset you anyway? To paraphrase Owen Wilson “What in our history together leads you to believe they were capable of what they claimed in the first place”)?

    Which leads to the assumed failure of piling condos downtown. Its a failure because it didn’t supply enough accomodation to keep prices low. Ok, I’ll buy that. But, it did create a complete new city downtown where people can live and walk to work. Its got lots going for it, and it made a lot of people some money. Not you, I understand, but a lot of other people. On balance, a good thing.

    I don’t share your fear that your son is priced right out of town. I’m a right wing entrepreneur, mind you, and so by definition a can do optimist. (I might fail, but I’ll go down swinging). I’m not going to jump in a say “Aha! You admit there is a lack of supply!” You’ve been clear that you recognize that (and that supply and demand ebb and flow). That’s really why I think your son, should he want to, will be able to own in Vancouver. Hell, I think you’ll be able to. (Come to my seminar! 🙂 )

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