Monthly Archives: October 2009

Anecdotes From The Future – VANOC Knows How You’ll Feel Tomorrow

Okay, this may not be ENTIRELY relevant to Vancouver RE, but anybody who has been following the market will know how important the idea of the 2010 Winter Olympics have become regarding market sentiment and discussion. So perhaps you’ll forgive this somewhat extraordinary post. It does, however, deal with an issue that is of interest to archivists, namely the writing of ‘history’ via before-the-fact press releases. Ron Judd’s ‘Olympic Insider’ column at The Seattle Times, dated October 30, 2009 at 10:45 AM, reveals that VANOC distributed a lengthy press on the evening of October 29, 2009, that contained more detail than one would expect regarding an event that hadn’t yet happened. It was clearly set up for lazy newspeople to paste and cut and quote verbatim.

Here are some of the things VANOC predicted would happen the day after -

“A ceremonial party of First Nations chiefs paddled across the waters of Victoria’s Inner Harbour this morning towards the public welcoming ceremony cradling the flame from the dramatic jutting bow of a traditional canoe.”

“On shore, onlookers waved Canadian flags as they lined the harbourfront and sweeping green lawns of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings craning for their first look at the flame.” [I like the 'craning' bit - ed.]

“What a magical moment,” said John Furlong, VANOC’s Chief Executive Officer.”

“The Canadian prime minister and British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell were among the dignitaries on hand for the flame’s arrival celebrated with a 50-member honour guard and a flyby of four CF-18 jets from the 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron streaking overhead in a classic box formation. The same jets soared overhead at approximately 10:40 am as VANOC revealed the identity of XXX as the first torchbearer to carry the flame in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Government of Canada. As the audience cheered, he/she ran through the crowd proudly carrying the curved metre-long winter white torch, officially starting the 106-day relay’s 45,000-kilometre journey across Canada.”

It all makes it tempting to ask VANOC how we’ll all feel next year. And if they’ll please reveal what they know of where the RE market is heading.

“Leaving Vancouver was one the best things I ever did. I do not miss any of the things people believe to be so essential as to require living in the most expensive real estate in the country.”

This advice was directed at the prior ‘sardine family’ poster, but it’s applicable in a broader sense too, so it is posted separately. Here’s Kurt at greaterfool.ca on 29th October at 11:37 pm -

“I don’t know how portable your job(s} are, but leaving Vancouver was one the best things I ever did. Think carefully, and if you do, make damn sure you’ve got a job waiting for you, but you really should consider going elsewhere. I do not miss any of the things people believe to be so essential as to require living in the most expensive real estate in the country.”

“We are holding our breath and keeping our happy little family of three in a 1 bedroom 560sqft condo in Kits”

This from ‘family of sardines in Vancouver’ quoted on Garth Turner’s greaterfool.ca blog, October 29th, 2009 -

“We are holding our breath and keeping our happy little family of three in a 1 bedroom 560sqft condo in Kits (that crazy Realtors have priced at $400,000) and waiting for the day when the cash we’ve saved up will be worth something a wee bit larger. While the Realtors keep telling us to fear the rising interest rates, the math doesn’t work – how do you justify bidding up an already overpriced home by another $200,000? I’ll keep working on the down payment, take a raise in interest rates, forget the bidding war increase, and possibly have a more reasonable price instead – thank you very much!”

“The market is hot all around… There are homes in the North Burnaby area with standard 33 ft lots selling for over a million dollars! “

This from DAB at RE Talks on Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:44pm -

“There are homes in the North Burnaby area with standard 33 ft lots selling for over a million dollars! And this is not just one home but several. The market is hot all around, even homes in the 700-850k range are selling within 2 weeks.”

“Who can afford to buy a nondescript house in the $1,000,000 plus range in Vancouver or the Okanagan? – And why would they?”

This from Roches Moutanee in the Comments section of a Globe & Mail ROB article dealing with the ‘great’ rural BC recreational property ‘bust’, Oct 30, 2009 -

“I now live in Ontario but grew up in BC and will soon move back for the last phase of my career and to be with family and friends. … This summer I was visiting my old neighbourhood in Richmond and went to an open house. It was 25 years old and in need of updating – a minimum of $100k. They were asking $1,130,000 (with a straight face). I live in a neighbourhood in the GTA where people have serious jobs – VP’s of major corporations. The homes are in the $500k – $700k range. Who can afford [to buy] a (nondescript) house in the $1,000,000 plus range in Vancouver or the Okanagan? – and why would they? The residential real estate industry in BC, and in particular Vancouver and the Okanagan, are simply ponzi schemes. Everyone is washing each other’s laundry and counting on people with surplus equity to move there and pay big money for homes. If people can’t sell their house in Toronto, Winnipeg, or Edmonton, etc. and purchase a house in the Okanagan for the same cost, or less, then where are the people going to come from? – and don’t count on international money, as even that has limits. My colleagues in BC say that the market is different this time around. I disagree, and can’t wait for the big correction which will take place some time next year and will persist for 4-5 years.”

“One of her customers owns 45 condo units that will house journalists covering the Games”

And after the Olympics, who will these condos house? This passing snippet of an anecdote from an article in the Georgia Straight, October 29, 2009, by Carlito Pablo , regarding a laundry service in downtown Vancouver that fears business will suffer from the Olympics -

“One of her customers owns 45 condo units that will house journalists covering the Games.”

Bidding War Lost – “So let your home slip away for a couple of grand?… Ditch the pride and roll up your sleeves.”

This dialogue regarding a prospective buyer making an offer on RE Talks, starting Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 6:10 pm -

househunting: “[The] market is pretty hot. We are in the market and made an offer and there are 3 others that the sellers are considering. The realtor asked if we wanted to up our offer, but our original offer was already over asking so we declined. Our offer expires tomorrow night.”

eyesthebye: “At the time we bought we were asked to “move up” our offer. It only cost us an additional 5K and a larger deposit. Why don’t you just
ask the seller what it will take to secure the property? Have them sign back the conditions to you after you say yes to the counter. Easy. If you like the property don’t let it get away for a stinking 5K – or relatively minor condition”

househunting: “The sellers no longer live here. We asked the realtor for info and all he said was there were multiple offers (4 total) and [asked] if we were willing to up our offer. We declined. Our offer was pretty strong as we went 2K above asking, [with a] closing date that works for the sellers as it is currently tenanted, and the only condition being a home inspection. We are pre-approved are not willing to pay more for this property.”

eyesthebye: “So let [y]our home slip away for a couple of grand? So glad I don’t function in ego mode. Do yourself a favour and ask what the sellers would like from you, it might only cost you an extra few thousand. You obviously like the property – ditch the pride and roll up your sleeves.”

househunting: “It has absolutely nothing to do with pride. The way it looks to me is that we have the best offer on the table. I am not getting into a bidding war. I can go up $3,000 only to have the realtor ask the other party to go higher and then – guess what ? – it comes back to me to go higher. It is a nice house, has a lot we are looking for, but not everything. Again the realtor said he couldn’t say anything [other than ask whether we were] willing to up our offer.”

eyesthebye: “I wouldn’t play that game either. If the seller isn’t willing to sign back to you in writing what they want then walk away. And if your realtor “can’t say” what the owner wants I’d look for a new realtor.”

househunting: “Well this is where I think we made a mistake. We made a strong offer on Tuesday morning but gave the sellers until Thursday at 8pm to either accept, counter, or reject. In hindsight I should have given them 24 hrs to respond. I am sure we will get something in writing but the sellers are waiting for last possible moment to do this. That way if they are able to get more offers on the table it gives them more options. It’s not my realtor that won’t say what the sellers want, it is the seller’s realtor. He won’t even return calls back to my realtor. We’ll wait till tonight and see what happens. I have another house in mind but can’t make an offer until I hear back from the realtor about our original offer.”

househunting (next day): “We heard back from the realtor, the sellers went with another offer, which is subject to financing, and wanted to know if we wanted to be in the position of a back up offer. We declined as we do not want to be in that position. The search goes on………..”