MLS System and Listings

Its funny how we reach conclusions.  Someone found a listing with the comment “Over 40 new 2 story homes with fully finished basements…” and concluded that there was one listing showing up in inventory counts but actually 40 properties for sale – 1 listings, 40 properties. 

A search based on the same comments turns up 4 listings from the same Realtor, acting for the same builder.  A search based on occupancy equalling “under construction” or age equals “0” turns up 14 listings (unless you leave out “detached”, in which case you get 8 listings).  

Clearly, the comment “Over 40 new homes…” doesn’t mean that 1 listing covers 40 homes.  The Realtor in question is just describing the sub-division. 

But, there is still a discrepancy between 14 new listings on MLS and the claim of over 40 new homes.  What’s going on?  A look at a website indicates that these homes are under construction.  Some of the lots have plans selected for them, but the majority still don’t.  You can turn up, pick the plan, write the offer, and watch your home get built. 

 Does that mean that MLS inventory numbers don’t accurately reflect what’s on the market? I’m sure that you could argue it either way (is a vacant lot without a plan for its house actual  inventory? Maybe, maybe not).

Does it mean that MLS is manipulating the numbers to keep unsold inventory hidden? Um…wait a second, how do you hide inventory when you advertise it on the web? 

MLS inventory is the total of all the active MLS listings on  the service.  Its not all properties for sale.  Every one making up the total can be traced to an individual property, and requires at least three parties (seller, broker, agent).  All three have a direct interest in having the property promoted (they don’t get paid otherwise).  I’m curious how anyone can imagine the Board supresses listings.



Filed under MLS

107 responses to “MLS System and Listings

  1. domus

    This is a follow up to Alex Canuck post on the previous thread.

    The one I loved to read about 2005 and Greenspan is this:

    “a few months ago he labeled surprisingly low long-term interest rates a “conundrum””

    Long term interests were low because a recession was coming….by that time he would be out giving talks and being paid nice fees by banks for advice.

  2. BBY

    Headline “Valley home sales decline” from the Chilliwack Progress newspaper.

    and the punchline at the end…
    “Despite the sleepy start to 2008, though, CADREB president Trude Kafka is optimistic about what’s to come.
    “While we don’t expect the breakneck pace set in 2007, when the winter weather is behind us, all factors point to a continued robust real estate market this year,” she said. ”

    Trude Kafka?! Truly Kafka-esque!

  3. -A-

    Rob is puzzled.
    “I’m curious how anyone can imagine the Board supresses listings.”

    Oh the mysteries of RE marketing! How does Rennie “sell out” in hours while other listings pile up?

    Ever wondered about that Rob?

  4. Strataman

    Rob; “MLS inventory is the total of all the active MLS listings on the service.” That makes sense to me and is an honest answer. I always knew there were large numbers of other units particularly sales by developers that were not indicated on MLS listings. Stats Can usually estimates all listings, for sale and under construction etc so I see no conflict. If for some reason Stats Can was less then MLS then I would say something is fishy! 🙂 If I were to have a thousand units for sale and used my own sales staff obviously they would not turn up on MLS. Seems a dead end argument?

  5. Strataman

    -A- “How does Rennie “sell out” in hours while other listings pile up?” thats a differant question, I think developers sell to speculators usually a fair number to inside speculators. I would go so far as to say BUY MLS not thru developers because you really have no idea what the true competition is.

  6. -A-

    Rob, do you think every gas station franchisee, calls every other owner and “fixes” the price?

    Do you think gas companies fix prices?

    Do you think the CEOs get together at the bar, and fix prices?

    And finally,

    You don’t really believe gas companies fix prices do you?

    Even the government, has investigated the allegations, and it was determined that pricing was dictated by market forces.

    So there you go.

  7. -A-

    Strataman I was trying to make the point that you need not have the cooperation of all those involved in the transaction. Some of the tactics could be so complex that the agents could simply be unwitting “mules”.(how smart are most realtors?)

    The guys at the top probably understand every fine detail of the anti competitive legislation and they can gear the entire plan, from eliminating much of the competition from purchasing raw land, all the way to how it is sold.

  8. Snick


    As yoy are wont to say in Pig Latin, your views don’t have “edibiltycray”.

    Icenay ytray.

  9. Strataman

    -A- “The guys at the top probably understand every fine detail of the anti competitive legislation and they can gear the entire plan, from eliminating much of the competition from purchasing raw land, all the way to how it is sold.

    -A- “The guys at the top probably understand every fine detail of the anti competitive legislation and they can gear the entire plan, from eliminating much of the competition from purchasing raw land, all the way to how it is sold.” On that I agree, to list with MLS would be deadly for their business prospects, and they are using MLS for gain in statistical ways. I don’t think MLS is fixing numbers though, MLS is also a dumb mule! 🙂

  10. Strataman

    OOPS! I seem to haave developed a serious stutter! Stress I guess! 🙂

  11. domus

    Don’t worry -A-, every day the news from the world confirm that the circus is closing soon.
    Too many bad omens are piling up for RE in this city. This might be the biggest fall in its hitory, in my honest opinion.

  12. -A-

    domus, the artificial demand they create eventually assure the destruction. It always ends the same way.

  13. Strataman

    Domus “This might be the biggest fall in its hitory, in my honest opinion.” My feeling is that Vancouver will someday in the next year say “Oh if only we had been as strong as Florida, Nevada, or California, why is it just us that reached this low level of devaluation, Nevada only crashed 50 %! What is wrong here in Vancouver! 🙂

  14. Strataman

    Just had a quick phone call from a very cute listing agent, apparently lots of listings today? Rob? is she right or desperate?

  15. News Flash

    “I’m curious how anyone can imagine the Board supresses listings.”

    Conspiracy theories is all the bears have left.

    Inventory is low
    The economy is booming
    The population in the GVRD is exploding
    Interest rates are heading down
    Inflation is heading up (higher cost to build)
    Prices are rising at a double digit annual clip
    All things point to higher prices still to come

    Stay tuned

  16. Newcomer

    “Valley home sales decline”

    This is down-to-the-letter how everyone said it would start. Thanks BBY.

  17. domus


    are you delusional or you have access to news that I never see?

    Here is your list:

    Inventory is low => higher than last year and growing at an incredible rate!

    The economy is booming=> where? Who? Starbucks jobs? Resource sector is being hit hard.

    The population in the GVRD is exploding=> downright false. Lowest growth rate in 10 years, as confirmed by StatsCan and Sauder.

    Interest rates are heading down=> really? All I see is that they stay flat as the BoC lowers rates. In the US they started to go up again with the long-term rates (inflation jitters are not good for mortgages);

    Inflation is heading up (higher cost to build)=> is that a good thing for real estate? I thought a landlord would use those services quite a lot: they get more expensive, what happens to the landlord’s bottom line….?

    Prices are rising at a double digit annual clip=> where on earth do you get this ? Maybe you are still confronting YoY. Prices have changed very little in the past 6 months. Van is up, suburbs are down. Flat is the first stage of the crash that is coming.

    Can I ask you one thing: why do you make a fool of yourself?

  18. VHB

    “The population in the GVRD is exploding”

    Which GVRD is that? The Greater Vienna Regional District? Greater Venice? Vicksburg? Valparaiso?

    ’cause population here is pretty level. In fact Vancouver 10 year pop growth rate is the lowest in the last 40 years link.

  19. jesse

    High inflation and low interest rates. Of course.

  20. Strataman

    Newsflash “The economy is booming” Really? Ask the lumber industry which produces 80 cents of every dollar in this province. Knowing you you probably have an orgasm every time a Starbucks opens. Guess what? closing absolutely every Starbucks in BC and it wouldn’t equal .1 % that is POINT 1 % of the forest industry! 🙂 And 220,000 construction workers will be gone this time next year!

  21. News Flash


    1. Try actual numbers instead of a percent of the total. I know it doesn’t look so good does it? Is 30% in 1072 greater than 10% in 2006?
    2. Get some updated numbers and look at the forecast (it is now 2008 now). 2008 is forecast to be double that of 2003.
    3. Get the GVRD stats instead of BC

    Report back once you get your data together.

  22. News Flash

    “Prices are rising at a double digit annual clip=> where on earth do you get this ?”

    YOY Jan is 12% plus

    “Maybe you are still confronting YoY.”

    Jan MOM is 1.6% plus points to easily double digits this year.

    To quote VHB “the trend is your friend”

  23. News Flash

    Domus: “are you delusional”

    That’s what you said when I predicted prices rising in 2008… and what happened…new all time highs in January.

    As I said stay tuned.

  24. domus


    why don’t you provide your data for once…..

  25. News Flash

    “High inflation and low interest rates. Of course.”

    It does when you are backed into a corner. Pick your poison and we know what the US Fed picked.

    BTW – Inflation on wages, building materials and land. Offset by imported goods (strong currency)and lower taxes which lowers the CPI.

  26. -A-

    I thought satv was rob, I am starting to suspect he is also newsflash.

  27. News Flash

    “The economy is booming” Really?

    Yes really

  28. Strataman

    News Flash “Get the GVRD stats instead of BC” Why? Vancouver is a port city for the Province of BC and for Western Canada. Without economic benefit to the rest of BC like lumber, mines and oil from Alberta, Vancouver itself has absolutely no industry or income. All the high tech jobs in Vancouver lumped together do not equal (even close) the contributions to the Government of BC and the City of Vancouver from the resource industries in the rest of the province. If the whole movie industry dies it will not even come close to the loss of the mill(s) in McKenzie which has happened.

  29. blueskies

    Once upon a time in LaLaLand
    Inventory is lowdear craigslist:
    The economy is boomingi just got laid off
    The population in the GVRD is explodingma and pa headed back east
    Interest rates are heading downcouldn’t carry the mortgage and the commute
    Inflation is heading up (higher cost to build)bought me an air mattress at Rona
    Prices are rising at a double digit annual clipi’ll rent sis’s sofa
    All things point to higher prices still to comeuntil she boots me out

    Stay tunedgod i love it here!…and they lived happily ever after

  30. blueskies


    heads up!!

  31. domus

    “BTW – Inflation on wages, building materials and land. Offset by imported goods (strong currency)and lower taxes which lowers the CPI.”

    Make your mind up man, you are confused…..

  32. Strataman

    News Flashlight; Good argument stupid level? “Yes really” Wow impressed me, ask BC Gov’t to transfer royalities collected from Forest Industry to your company. Say we will pay same. Prove me wrong? 🙂 PSAit would be 1000 times your companies gross and I’m probably way under!

  33. Newcomer


    Care to elaborate?

  34. Newflash posts, gets called out by VHB, who provides data as backup. Then Newflash spins it rebutting that VHB needs to come up with some other data. Yet, Newflash never once himself provided any pop growth data, even though the onus is clearly on him.

    Newflash is a quasi-troll, rarely providing data and makes sweeping dubious comments, generally not adding any meaningful input.

    BTW, it’s not GVRD anymore, it’s Metro Vancouver.

  35. VHB

    Hey newsflash. You ask. I deliver.

    Here is a chart of Vancouver CMA population growth over the last 20 years.

    1. The levels are the lowest in 20 years.
    2. The rates are the lowest in 20 years.
    3. It’s only to 2006. Sorry, 2007 is not available yet. As for your 2008 projections, well, I’ll wait and see.

    Ok. Where’s your data?

    (Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark. How do the kids say it – pwned!!!!!!)

  36. Strataman

    137 new listing over top sales. Pauls Site..check it out.
    Great stats! Thanks Paul!

  37. VHB

    Oh – and you want a source? How about Statcan series V21617931.

    You’re beat. Just give it up. Yo mamma.

  38. blueskies

    from the forests of BC

    “Nobody thought it would ever end. They were wrong.”

  39. Strataman

    Another one compliments to Blueskies!

  40. VHB

    Oh–and to steal your thunder a la eminem in 8 Mile:

    – yes, I rent.
    – yes, I did not call the top.
    – yes, I did not predict a 7 year boom.
    – yes, I have been wrong before
    – yes, I did quit my blog.

    “Here, tell these people somethin they dont know about me”

    vhb peace out

  41. jay

    Stop coming here for stats. Go to Paul B’s.

    “Paul B: The only honest realtor in the west”

  42. Strataman

    Oh f*** VHB you found my philosophy hang out!

  43. domus


    how many did you sell lately? Envious of the cool site?

  44. domus

    Newsflash, where is this population boom?

    Can anyone please se, once and for all, what kind of clown he is!

    It is not wrong to be a bull, it is wrong to be a stupid bull. Sorry.

  45. jay

    Domus said “jay,

    how many did you sell lately? Envious of the cool site?”


  46. Strataman

    Huh? I second that whats your point? Do you know something we don’t? 🙂

  47. domus

    Newsflash, here is your booming economy

  48. domus

    Not much, just Jay was a bit rabid about Paul B.

    I respect Rob for his site, but Paul B is doing a fab job at giving updated and detailed info.

  49. Newcomer

    Ah yes, I see. Inventory up more than 400 in the first week of Feb. Nice.

  50. News Flash

    “You’re beat. Just give it up. Yo mamma.”

    Why so nasty…

    Before you call the winner with your 2006 and prior numbers though…

    From CMHC net migration to BC:

    2003 – 35,850
    2004 – 39,721
    2005 – 48,444
    2006 – 54,952
    2007 – 54,952 (53% increase over 2003)
    2008 – 56,800 (forecast)

    Put that in a graph with a trend line.

    I tried to post the link in a previous post but is wouldn’t come up or the post is delayed? Google CMHC is you like.

  51. News Flash


    “- yes, I did not call the top.
    – yes, I did not predict a 7 year boom.
    – yes, I have been wrong before”

    And what makes you think it will be different this time?

  52. VHB

    Put your money on a CMHC forecast. Good for you.

  53. VHB

    “And what makes you think it will be different this time?”

    Weak. Can’t you do better?

  54. VHB

    Newsflash 7:47

    “3. Get the GVRD stats instead of BC”

    Newsflash 9:02

    “From CMHC net migration to BC:”

    Pick your poison. They both show the same thing.

  55. News Flash

    “Put your money on a CMHC forecast.”

    One data point out of 6 is a forecast. Do the graph and trend with the other 5.

    BTW – CMHC has been very accurate in their forecasts.

  56. VHB

    “Why so nasty…”

    You can give but you can’t take, huh? (“Conspiracy theories is all the bears have left.”)

    You are so outclassed, outdata’d, outsmarted, outblogged, and outta your league that it just hurts my fingers to type any more.

  57. News Flash

    “You are so outclassed, outdata’d, outsmarted, outblogged, and outta your league that it just hurts my fingers to type any more.”

    Typical…I guess we will just declare me the winner then.

    Population growth is clearly bullish.

  58. blueskies

    You are so outclassed, outdata’d, outsmarted, outblogged, and outta your league that it just hurts my fingers to type any more.

    you go VHB!!
    you da mann!

  59. VHB

    “Population growth is clearly bullish.”

    Myself, I would rearrange the final three letters of that last word and add a ‘t’. But that’s just me!

  60. VHB

    w00t! VHB is on fire. Huzzah!

  61. Strataman

    NewsFlash “Population growth is clearly bullish.” Yeh I agree we’re beating New Orleans by a bit.

  62. blueskies

    the point you are missing is:
    it is not different this time
    it is not different here
    asset bubbles ALWAYS collapse!

  63. -A-

    CMHC has never forecast correctly, not on the downside or the upside. NEVER.

    What they have always forecast is high single digit price appreciation during the expansion phase of the business cycle and low single digit during the contraction phase.

    They have NEVER forecast a correction, and as you well know Vancouver has a history of booms and busts.

    The analysts are usually fresh out of school and “cut their teeth” at CMHC, the gab gifted, usually go on to private enterprise a pitchmen.

  64. domus


    I am tired of your backward defense.
    Many times (and Rob is witness) we have discussed immigration.
    Many times we have shown absoulte and relative population growth are weel below levels seen in the past.
    This was based on data from StatsCan and Sauder, not the organization of house-sellers.

    If you want to continue claiming that the earth is flat, suit yourself. Either you show me some real data (a statistical agency, a demographer, someone I can trust) which contradicts the latest StatsCan numbers and the latest Census, or I will just stop replying to your nonsensical blabbing.

    You google: Census and search for Vancouver’s population growth. I have done it many times: if you find something supporting your crazy statements, get back and show us.

  65. jay

    Domus, I was not being coy, or ironic. I am a huge fan of Paul B’s site and was trying to give kudos where kudos are due. Not everyone is trying to be a smartass, or trying to flame. Upon rereading what I wrote I can’ t even imagine how it could be interpreted as such.

  66. domus

    Sorry Jay, my bad I misinterpreted you. I am being a bit paranoid with all this nonsense being thrown around by self-procliamed “RE experts”.
    I wish they could have a conversation based on facts rather than dogmas.

  67. jay

    No harm done. I am with you on the nonsense part. Mind you, I can’t help but sympathize with the bullish sentiment. This has been an unbelievable run, and it keeps getting more ridiculous by the month. I am glad I am on the sidelines, and can watch with fascination as it all unfolds.

  68. Say


    Yes it does. Many agents put one listing on mls when they have more on their hands. We are sitting at 12,000 listing by now.

  69. Ulsterman

    Serious question: People keep going on about logging and forestry being BC’s largest industry and that the sudden subprime-induced slowdown will really hurt the BC economy and therefore the housing market.

    I found this article from “Guide to BC Economy” and it suggested:

    “The relative importance of forestry and logging has declined since 1990. The industry currently employs about 1% of BC’s workers, down from just under 2% at the beginning of the 1990s. Its share of total GDP has fallen from 4% to 3% during this period.

    The number of jobs in logging and forestry is declining. In 2005, there were 21,600 people working in this industry, down 18% from 26,300 in 1990. The industry’s GDP has also fallen, but made a bit of a comeback in 2004”

    So it employs 1% of our workers and accounts for 3% of GDP. It doesn’t appear that important. Am i missing something?

    Here’s the link


    The Federal Reserve may drop rates again by .50 percent in March if not sooner. They are panicking,



  72. TriOx

    So far just lurking. Figured I throw in 2 cents. There seems to be some question about the makeup of the BC economy and some over estimation of the effect of construction and forestry/lumber.

    Going through the 2006 Guide to the BC Economy and Labour market. It opened my eyes to see that only 21% of the jobs are goods related with the rest being Service industry (Page 13).

    On Page 17 there is a breakdown of the Goods sector. Construction is 37% and Forestry/Lumber/Support is 5%. Which makes Construction about 8% and Forestry/Lumber about 1% of the total jobs available.

    Anyways thought that would be interesting. I’m going to drill into it a bit more when i have some time. It would be interesting to do some forecasting using this data wrt to a housing sector decline over the next couple years.

    For a bear treat see Page 100.


  73. TriOx

    haha Ulsterman did the same thing while I was reading through the guide and making my post. :p

  74. coco

    Why start a thread on this? This could of easily be cleared up by calling the listing realtor and asking how many homes are actually available on that one MLS number.

  75. coco

    I caught part of the TV show…. Voice of BC. They think the carbon tax is definitely a go in the provincial budget next week and it will be at least 7 – 15 cents per liter of gas. It could be more, they were not sure. Ouch!

  76. coco

    Then we have our new 14 billion transit plan. I wonder if they are tacking on a higher gas tax too.

  77. coco

    They also talked that this carbon tax is supposed to be revenue neutral, but they said Carol Taylor’s idea of revenue neutral was to keep the funds and decide what to do with it later, instead of offsetting the tax somewhere else.

    Sounds like a tax grab instead.

  78. coco

    Seems our government has caught onto if you can afford ever increasing housing prices then we can introduce other taxes, raise property taxes, etc. sky high theory.

  79. Strataman

    Check it out forestry is 40% of the income in the province. By far the largest. Remember labour stats do not count, anyone other than someone getting a paycheck from a forestry company. No port of Vancouver, no nurses laid off, hospitals closed etc. All of these are a result in declining forest industry.

  80. VHB


    40% of exports is not the same as 40% of income.

  81. Strataman

    On above I wrote a lot of stats but it dissappeared in cyber space and I gotta run!

  82. Strataman

    VHB “40% of exports is not the same as 40% of income.”
    no its probably substantially more its what pays for the government operations. Budget surplus/deficit!

  83. Strataman

    Think stumpage income! 🙂

  84. Strataman

    “The provincial interest is clearly served by a strong, competitive forest industry. Not only is forestry the largest contributor to government revenues, enabling expenditures on valued public services, but there is a remarkable correlation between industry profitability and the overall growth of the BC economy, as displayed in the graph on the page opposite. Senior governments acknowledge that without a vibrant forest sector, not only will workers and communities suffer but programs delivered by government will face severe fiscal restraints.”

    25% income direct, 40% manufacturing direct, trucking probably the greatest percentage is forestry but it is classed as transportation.

  85. tqn

    Economy creates 46,400 jobs, drops jobless rate to 5.8 per cent

    Canada’s economy burst out of the gate in January, creating 46,400 new jobs and sending the unemployment rate tumbling to 5.8 per cent from a revised six per cent in December.

    The surprisingly strong job creation – market analysts had predicted a 10,000 gain – sent the Canadian dollar shooting above parity, rising more than a cent to 100.07 cents US.

    The jobs advance countered expectations that a stalling economy would slow the impressive job creation of recent years.

    December had shown a job-market contraction of about 18,000 jobs, and the Bank of Canada last month revised its expectations for first-quarter economic growth to a rate of 0.6 per cent.

    But housing starts also rebounded in January, after the weather may have contributed to slack December home construction. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported Friday that the annual rate of housing starts was 222,700 units in January, up from 184,700 in December.

    “It’s a little too early to say definitely, but on the data you have to say there’s a good chance the Canadian economy will hold up pretty well to the U.S. slowdown,” said BMO economist Douglas Porter.

    “In hindsight, it looks like December’s very weak data was caused by the bad weather and if you combine the two months we had about 30,000 jobs growth, which shows we’re slowing down but still doing OK.”

    The economy produced jobs last month in a wide array of industries, with professional and technical services and construction leading the way.

    As well, most new jobs were full-time and in the private sector.

    Even manufacturing, which has been in a deep slump, edged up in January by creating 17,500 jobs, although over the past year the sector remains 113,000 in the hole, with most of those lost jobs in Ontario and Quebec.

    Offsetting the gains were losses in retail and wholesale trade and in the information, culture and recreation sector.

    The Canadian dollar gained as the economic data cast doubt on how fast the Bank of Canada will cut interest rates. Many economists had forecast the bank would slice rates by half a percentage point in March, but Porter said the urgency may have evaporated.

    Statistics Canada had first reported December’s jobless rate at 5.9 per cent but revised it up to 6.0, making January’s advance in jobs even more surprising.

    Private-sector employment rose by a strong 77,000 in January, bucking the recent trend of strong public-sector job growth and weak non-governmental employment gains.

    Still, the private sector recorded a modest 0.7 per cent increase over the past year, while public-sector job growth, which was flat in January, advanced 6.2 per cent on the year.

    Given the continuing tight labour market, the agency said hourly wage growth continued strong, with a year-over-year rise of 4.9 per cent for the second consecutive month. That is double the 2.4 per cent inflation rate.

    Most provinces saw their unemployment rate fall in January, with Quebec setting a 33-year low with a jobless rate of 6.8 per cent. Ontario’s jobless rate fell to 6.3 per cent, although Canada’s most populous province remains a weak point on the job creation front, rising only 1.5 per cent over the past year.

    Meanwhile, the housing-start numbers show that Canada “has avoided the sharp slowdown in housing activity seen in the United States,” commented JPMorgan economist Ted Carmichael.

    He noted that since housing starts peaked in early 2006 in both countries, activity has tumbled 46 per cent in the U.S. but declined only nine per cent in Canada.

    Statistics Canada also released seasonally adjusted three-month moving average unemployment rates for major cities but cautions the figures may fluctuate widely because they are based on small statistical samples. (Previous month in brackets.)

    -St. John’s, N.L. 7.0 (6.9)

    -Halifax 4.5 (4.5)

    -Saint John, N.B. 4.6 (4.9)

    -Saguenay, Que. 8.3 (7.9)

    -Quebec 5.2 (5.2)

    -Trois-Rivieres, Que. 8.0 (7.0)

    -Sherbrooke, Que. 6.6 (6.3)

    -Montreal 6.9 (6.9)

    -Gatineau, Que. 4.4 (4.5)

    -Ottawa 4.4(4.5)

    -Kingston, Ont. 5.2 (5.1)

    -Toronto 6.7 (6.7)

    -Hamilton 6.9 (5.9)

    -Kitchener, Ont. 5.3 (5.3)

    -London, Ont. 6.7 (6.5)

    -Oshawa, Ont. 5.7 (6.0)

    -St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 6.2 (6.5)

    -Sudbury, Ont. 5.0 (4.7)

    -Thunder Bay, Ont. 6.3 (6.8)

    -Windsor, Ont. 8.7 (8.6)

    -Winnipeg 4.5 (4.7)

    -Regina 4.2 (4.3)

    -Saskatoon 3.5 (3.8)

    -Calgary 2.9 (2.9)

    -Edmonton 3.6 (3.8)

    -Abbotsford, B.C. 3.6 (3.7)

    -Vancouver 4.0 (4.2)

    -Victoria 3.1 (2.9)

    Here’s what happened provincially (previous month in brackets):

    -Newfoundland 12.2 (12.5)

    -Prince Edward Island 10.6 (10.7)

    -Nova Scotia 7.4 (7.8)

    -New Brunswick 8.3 (7.8)

    -Quebec 6.8 (7.0)

    -Ontario 6.3 (6.5)

    -Manitoba 3.8 (4.2)

    -Saskatchewan 3.9 (4.0)

    -Alberta 3.2 (3.2)

    -British Columbia 4.1 (4.2)

    A quick look at January unemployment (previous month in brackets):

    Unemployment rate: 5.8 per cent (6.0)

    Number unemployed: 1,050,600 (1,077,600)

    Number working: 17,058,900 (17,012,500)

    Youth (15-24 years) unemployment: 11.0 per cent (11.1)

    Men (25 plus) unemployment: 5.1 per cent (5.3)

    Women (25 plus) unemployment: 4.5 per cent (4.6)

  86. blueskies

    from Bloomberg:

    While an oil boom in the west is helping fuel household incomes and domestic demand, there’s no escaping the effect of the slowing U.S. economy on Canada, its biggest trading partner. Exports to the U.S. are falling, layoffs at factories are mounting and the central bank may be forced to cut its economic forecast and key lending rate again after trimming both only last month.

    Ted Carmichael, chief Canadian economist at J.P. Morgan Securities in Toronto, estimates that annualized growth in the first half of this year will be 0.3 percent, compared with the central bank’s current estimate of 1.3 percent.

    “Things are going to be worse than what they’re saying,” Carmichael said.

    who are you gonna believe?

  87. Strataman

    Stats Canada is the rearview mirror, Carmichael is looking out of the windshield. Stats Canada is accurate for what has happened. So who would you want driving the driver looking at the rearview mirror saying well no accidents behind me…or?

  88. CC

    i find it amusing that all the knee-jerk (as opposed to thoughtful) bears focussed on Newsflash’s statement about immigration to BC/Metro Van and ignored the rest of his comments (except for Domus)

    The reality (as in present situation not what you think it should be or is going to be) is that Newsflash is right that

    Inventory is low – historically it IS low
    The economy is booming – anyone catch the unemployment data today?
    The population in the GVRD is exploding – ’nuff said (i doubt it is the case)
    Interest rates are heading down – everything I hear from my bankers is in this direction
    Inflation is heading up – eats into debt, fuels housing inflation
    Prices are rising at a double digit annual clip – they are YOY and MOM

    All things point to higher prices still to come – this is Newsflash’s opinion, of course, and not entirely accurate, since there are “things” pointing to lower prices, but…why do so many of you have such blinkers on regarding the above facts? why is it so hard to acknowledge flaws or uncertainties in your points of view/predictions?

  89. DaMann


    You want GVRD numbers for pop then here you go.


    Compliments of Registered at RE talks forums.

    Clearly shows that Vancouver is not booming in pop growth, and not even in the top 10 in Canada. Another bullshit myth that gets thrown around all too often by the cool aid drinkers.

  90. DaMann


    Because when people say vancouver’s population is booming it’s simply not true. Is it increasing? Sure it is, but according to the chart I linked to there are many other cities ahead of us in pop growth that are not experiencing housing price increases even close to what has happened here. The only thing left driving the market is hype, plain and simple. All factors listed by Newsflash were priced in at 2005 price levels. The rest is psychology and speculation.

  91. Strataman

    Nobody is arguing with News Flash about the Stats Can figures he referanced they are the truest anybody will find. But it is what HAS happened not what is GOING to happen. No one KNOWS what is going to happen we are all ALL including news flash guessing in the dark! 🙂

  92. domus

    Great post DaMann. I think the most important thing about the data you posted is that population growth has been much lower between 2001-2006 than it was between 1996 and 2000.
    If you do the math, that is both in absolute and percentage terms.

  93. robchipman


    My point is pretty simple: MLS stats reflect what’s on MLS. If agents, or developers, or builders, or Rennie Marketing, list properties on an exclusive basis they won’t show up on MLS. MLS can’t manipulate those numbers.

    If an agent lists exclusively, the seller is aware of it.

    If the agent lists on a multiple basis but doesn’t submit the listing, there’s something wrong, and the seller has remedies. If you know of a Realtor doing this, complain long and loud.

    Bottom line: if MLS doesn’t get the listing, MLS can’t manipulate the numbers. If MLS does get the listing, it has at least three parties (seller, broker, agent) whose interests are negatively effected by supressing the listing. All three have access to the MLS system (either through MLXchange or to verify whether the listing is being promoted.

    If MLS actually displays all listings, but simply lies about the total (i.e., they advertise 15,000 while claiming that only 10,000 are active), it can be easily detected.

    So….I understand that some players in the industry may elect to avoid MLS for a variety of reasons (why fill out 40 separate listings when you have only built 14 houses, why list pre-sales on MLS, etc). How much inventory this accounts for is unknown, and will vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood (a place with a lot of mature, SFH will have fewer, while areas with lots of new developments will have more). That said, we can all recognize that there is a certain amount of inventory that isn’t reflected by MLS stats.

    How does that turn into a conspiracy to supress MLS inventory, and how is MLS complicit? That’s my question.

    (BTW, I can list 1 or 100 properties on MLS – same price).


    The reason I started the thread was because of recent comments indicating that the MLS system and its stats are misunderstood. I think you said that Realtors save money by marketing many listings under one. Not so. Further, the practice you suggest results in lower volumes reported – the salesman who lists 5 properties can only demonstrate listing 1. Not great for his record. Why would he do it?


    Interesting approach.

  94. jesse

    Ulsterman: “So [forestry] employs 1% of our workers and accounts for 3% of GDP. It doesn’t appear that important. Am i missing something?”

    The way to think about this is that while the underlying industry employs relatively few people, their spending levers through to the overall economy. So while the direct GDP is not that much its overall impact is larger.

  95. Annon

    “Even manufacturing, … creating 17,500 jobs, although over the past year the sector remains 113,000 in the hole, …

    Offsetting the gains were losses in retail and wholesale trade and in the information, culture and recreation sector. ”

    Anyone find the release number strange? weak retail = lower demand = higher manufacturing jobs?

    I don’t know how that can continue to work long term.

  96. jesse

    “The reality (as in present situation not what you think it should be or is going to be) is that Newsflash is right that”

    It can be easy to complicate things. Affordability is close the worst in the 30 years since such a stat was measured. Either things will remain historically unaffordable or they will not.

    If you think things will be more affordable, the only way things become more affordable is by incomes rising, mortgage rates dropping (SIGNIFICANTLY), or prices dropping.

    As for incomes rising, a lot of jobs are government and union based with 3% per year increases on average and you’re fooling yourself if you think the government will increase wages beyond this anytime soon. Other wages are increasing faster than this but these are the jobs that are destroyed in downturns. Food for thought.

  97. coco

    December employment was dismal and came in lower than expected. January employment came in four times higher than expected.

    One month down, one month up is not a progressive trend. I would give it about another 4-5 months if you really want to see what the trend is.

  98. Anonymous

    Wage inflation was at 4.9%, it will be hard for BOC to lower rates very much.

  99. Strataman

    jesse “So while the direct GDP is not that much its overall impact is larger.” well said. Also the government collects royalities in huge amounts frm timber liscenses, and stumpage assessments. Even an identicla company with the same payroll and same wages (for instance the movie industry) would contribute far less (probably less then 20%) that a forest company the exact same size would. Only mining and energy have similar rates of return to forestry, together they surpass all other employers combined in net contributions to services. Watch for the first Provincial deficit this time next year.

  100. coco

    The only way to prove several properties are listed under one MLS number is for someone to visit a new development and report how many properties are actually for sale under that one MLS number.

  101. coco


    The new carbon tax will offset deficit until it is not revenue neutral.

  102. coco

    That s/b

    The new carbon tax will offset deficit until it is revenue neutral.

  103. Whybuywhenucanrent

    A few anecdotes from today’s errands:

    * I stopped by an RE office in Kits to use a phone book. Wasn’t much going on. I asked the fellow “So, how’s the market?” He said that this was the quietest it had been in the last 7 yrs.

    * I noted a project under construction on 8th one block west of Granville. 4 stories of concrete so far, looked like it would be a 15-20 story building. Sign said “sold out” So, if they’ve really sold all of the units, that’s about 60 folks holding the bag–it looks like its over a year to move-in date. What options do the buyers have if the value goes down 10% in the meantime? Time will tell…

    * My lawyer mentioned that a number of long-time investors were selling their property. Also, she and her partner had stopped looking for something to buy (they’d been looking for 3 yrs) simply because there wasn’t anything available on the market. I suggested she wait another couple years, and enjoy those annual trips to Hawaii on the difference between rent and mortgage payments. She laughed, but indicated she was tired of renting.

    * My Realtor mentioned that the market had cooled considerably in terms of buyers.


  104. Spencer

    Oh My, I leave this site for 2 months only to return (why I don’t know) and to see the pathetic comments such as:

    “Um…wait a second, how do you hide inventory when you advertise it on the web?”

    Reminder, the web is quite large and hiding inventory could happen easily. How about searching every site on the web, create a spreadsheet that will add all Lower Mainland places for sale and then what do you have? An accurate account for inventory right! But isn’t that what the MLS system is suppossed to capture?

    The MLS system is for the benefit of the realtor and not the buyer. Really, you do not need a realtor to buy or sell….

  105. robchipman


    The web is quite large and hiding inventory could happen quite easily? And you have the gall to describe other’s comments as pathetic? 🙂 ROFLMAO.

    The MLS is not designed to provide an accurate account of inventory. Saying that the MLS is designed to capture inventory demonstrates that you don’t know what you’re talking about. The MLS is a system that allows Realtors to cooperate with each other on the basis of set rules and standardized contracts while not violating competition law. It is a vast improvement to the alternative. If you have any experience trading in a non-MLS environment you recognize the advantage to both Realtor and consumer immediately. If you really think the MLS is not advantageous to both buyer and seller you’re simply ill-informed. The advantages are obvious. Take away the MLS and imagine what you’d see. That image is why the MLS was developed.

    Confusing all properties for sale with total MLS inventory is another foolish assumption that seems widely made. MLS inventory can be verified by anyone wanting to do the legwork. Every individual listing can be downloaded. If you buy into the concept that the whole is equal to the sum of its parts, you can just do the math. And yes, the MLS totals are advertised on the web, and yes, you can drill down to each individual MLS property on the web.

    In order to publicise lower than actual inventory the Board would have to hold a certain amount of listings off the system. Each listing has at least three parties greatly interested in seeing the listing publicised (no publicity, no sale, no money). The Board has to either ignore them over-rule them, or involve them in the conspiracy. Who here thinks a sales agent, the broker or the seller wants their listing kept off the system? Where’s the profit? Does anyone seriously think that the Board can get the broker, the agent and the seller to all simultaneously agree to take one for the team?


    “The only way to prove several properties are listed under one MLS number is for someone to visit a new development and report how many properties are actually for sale under that one MLS number”.

    That would prove that a seller of multiple properties was not listing all the properties he had for sale on MLS. We know that happens already, but we don’t know to what degree. There’s really no need to prove it happens, therefore, but it would be useful to know how much it happens.

    It wouldn’t prove that MLS numbers don’t accurately reflect what’s listed on MLS.

    In other words, if someone says “Not everything for sale is on MLS”, I agree, and don’t think it needs to be proven. But when someone says “The Board hides the real numbers because they don’t want people to know what’s really going on” I think that, in the absence of truth, the accusers should at least provide a credible scenario, aside from “It could be done really easily”.


    “If you think things will be more affordable, the only way things become more affordable is by incomes rising, mortgage rates dropping (SIGNIFICANTLY), or prices dropping”.

    The other things we’ve seen is mortgage terms changing significantly (longer ams, more insurance) and people settling for less (why buy a house when you can live in a condo, or better yet, a green garage?). Its hard to imagine more mortgage changes, aside from cheaper insurance rates, but I suspect that more density will be used to address affordability somewhat (I know, we really aren’t making something more affordable when we sell you less and charge more per sq. foot, but we’ve seen it happen, no?)

  106. You have a knowledge and expertise of the Vancouver real estate market will help ensure our success.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s