Yank at VREAA 4 July 2011 6:39pm -
“I’m a US ex-pat living in Canada, enjoying the country and the people very much. For bubblelicious reasons, I’m concerned about buying — especially as I might not be in town for more then 5 years. I’m not in Vancouver — prices are just mildly insane in the prairie city where I live. I’ve got friends in Vancouver, and I’m sort of horrified, entranced, and baffled by the situation.
Until recently I was living in the medical and university center in a rural midwestern state. My small city had the most expensive housing in the state: 5000 square foot mansions were going for 400 – 500K. A large 2 story was going for 200-300K. Townhouses with 2story attached garages, 1400 square feet, not including the finished basements, new construction were selling for 150K.
About a year ago friends bought a detached house in a nice area near Greenlake (Seattle) for 350K. You can get a good house in the nicest suburbs of Chicago, with the best public schools in the nation for half a mil. (Northbrook, Glenview, Willmette, Evanston). I’ve also seen nice two stories in those suburbs for as low at 350K.
Half a mil is a lot of money. This bubble just baffles me. Canada has land. Canada has trees. WTF?”
We also experience the bafflement, the horror, the entrancement.
And the fascination appears to have gone up a notch this last 6 months.
It’s like we’re watching a freak show and the rubber man is pushing limits we hadn’t anticipated.
Even his handlers are aghast; surely he can’t do that without hurting himself? – vreaa
Posted in 07. Avoiding Vancouver, 08. Overextended Buyers, 12. Effects of Development, 15. Misallocation of Resources
Tagged Anecdotes, British Columbia, Bubble, Canada, Housing, Real Estate, US, Vancouver
bubbles at VREAA 27 Jun 201 6:45am -
“My wife and I are in our mid-30s with what others would call wildly successful careers here. We, however, hate the lack of any real economy or even culture coupled with the insecurity-manifesting-as-egomania of most residents. If I have to hear one more time about how Vancouver is the best place on earth from someone who’s never visited any other major centre in Canada (let alone the world) I’ll scream. Yes, the outdoor activities are nice, but experience living elsewhere has taught me that Vancouver residents do not have a monopoly on their pursuit. Despite the fact that it would mean essentially re-starting our careers, we are seriously thinking about moving to Seattle or San Diego or at least elsewhere in Canada. There is no way we would pick Vancouver as our home if starting again from scratch.”
Posted in 07. Avoiding Vancouver
Tagged Anecdotes, British Columbia, Bubble, Canada, Employment, Fundamentals, Housing, Life, Real Estate, Sentiment, Vancouver
tdma800 at RE Talks 9 Jun 2011 7:59pm – “If you don’t want to see live theatre, and don’t like to work in the financial industry, what does New York have that British Columbia does not?”
Wow, where do you start?
Reminiscent of “What have the Romans done for us?”….
We thought we’d pop this up as a free educational service to tdma800 and others who have never left the 604 area code.
[Why exactly is this relevant to a discussion of Vancouver RE? Well, next time you get into a bidding war for a Yaletown Condo, remember that one (all?) of your competitors may be thinking "After all, what does New York have that Vancouver does not?" as he pumps that bid 33% over ask.]
We’ll start us off below by listing some fairly standard stuff about NYC itself; we’re sure to be missing lots. (That’s something else about NYC, even its fans have only scratched the surface…)
In no particular order:
2. Strand Books
3. The Cloisters
4. The Chrysler Building
5. The Village Vanguard (and how many dozen other jazz clubs?)
6. The Met
7. The American Museum of Natural History
8. Washington Square
9. Staten Island Ferry
10. The NYC Marathon
11. Positive Cash Flow Residential Real-Estate (made that up; much closer, anyway -ed.)
12. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
13. The Yankees, The Mets
14. Madison Square Gardens
15. Central Park
16. Chelsea (20 streets of private art galleries)
17. Carnegie Hall
18. The Subway
19. The Lincoln Centre
20. Times Square
21. Actual Newspapers
22. The Whitney
23. Actual Industry (deserves own list)
24. 48 Million tourists per annum
25. The US Tennis Open
26. The Knicks
27. $1.3 Trillion GDP (NYC metro alone)
28. The Guggenheim
29. The Fifth Avenue Mile
30. The Chelsea Hotel
31. The Frick
32. A setting for lots of books
34. The High Line
35. Eraserhead, recent midnight show
36. Chocolate exports of $250M p.a.
37. Food manufacturing $5B p.a.
38. Bowery Ballroom
39. Joe’s Pub
40. Public Transit Nostalgia
41. The Zoo
42…. etc etc etc etc
[please post own examples: 'Debate'?; 'Diverse opinions'?; ??]
[PS: We LOVE Vancouver, it's a very fine city, that's why we live here, but it simply ain't NYC.]
Posted in 01. He Said, She Said
Tagged Anecdotes, British Columbia, Bubble, buyers, Canada, Fundamentals, Housing, Real Estate, Sentiment, Vancouver
From ‘Robson retail space a bargain on world stage’, Vancouver Sun, 8 Jun 2011 [hat-tip SethM/Greenhorn] -
“Retail space on Robson is a bargain compared to high-end fashion hubs in the U.S. and around the world, according to a Colliers International report.
The average lease rate on Robson is $194 US per square foot, less than one-tenth the price on Fifth Avenue in New York and significantly less than lease rates on comparable streets in London, Paris and Hong Kong.
Robson is the third most expensive street in Canada behind Bloor Street in Toronto ($292) and Ste-Catherine Street in Montreal ($204). Victoria and Calgary clock in at $53 a square foot.
But Drew Keddy, Colliers vice-president, Canada, and national retail leader for the real estate company, expects Canadian lease rates to climb as vacancy rates trend down and U.S. retailers like Target move north. …
As for Toronto outranking Vancouver on retail lease rates, Keddy said the Ontario city remains the top “internationally exposed city” in Canada despite the spotlight that shone on Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics -and despite our superior hockey team. “Toronto is probably a more established international city,” Keddy said. “Vancouver’s really been coming on the scene in the last decade or two.”
So, Vancouver RE prices are in the same ballpark as those in Manhattan, but retail space lease rates are 90% less. Hmmmmm.. let’s think about how this aberration could reconcile itself… (Hint: does not involve Vancouver retail lease rates rising by a factor of ten…) – vreaa
Posted in 08. Overextended Buyers, 12. Effects of Development, 15. Misallocation of Resources
Tagged Anecdotes, British Columbia, Bubble, Canada, Economy, Housing, Real Estate, Rent, Vancouver
ams at VREAA 1 July 2011 10:34pm-
“Vancouver was the place I wanted to move to from Toronto. I moved here in 2007, by accident, to do a project for a few months. I met the right woman and got married. What was a temporary assignment became home. Now that I have been here almost 5 years I am planning the family exit out of Vancouver. Vancouver will always be a very nice place to visit. As a place to raise a family and grow a high tech IT business it is not a good spot.
Based on detailed spreadsheets of our current family expenses we live a very modest lifestyle (we don’t own anything fancy). You need a family income of at least $250,000 per year to be able to afford a house, save for retirement, save for kids education. Unfortunately on a family income of $140,000 we can only do two of the above, so bye bye Vancouver hello Toronto. The issue with Vancouver is far deeper than just the housing bubble the economy is not diverse enough there are hardly any world class companies here and I don’t see why any major company would setup shop here than say Toronto, or Calgary.
April of 2012 we will leave, sell all our stuff move out of the rented place and head to Germany with the kids for the summer we will come back to Canada in September 2012 to Toronto, or who knows maybe we will stay in Germany till 2013.”
Note that ‘ams’ is not claiming that a family can’t ‘get by’ on $140K p.a. in this town. They are comparing the lifestyle and future security that their skills can earn them in Vancouver with what they can earn them elsewhere. It is not good for our community that those comparisons are leading to people leaving. The speculative mania in housing is resulting in loss of human capital. – vreaa
“Have you guys seen food and gas prices lately? U.S. $ will soon be worthless if the Fed keeps printing money!”
- Lindsay Lohan tweet 27 Jun 2011
Need any more evidence that the USD will rally? -ed.
notsellingyet at VREAA 25 June 2011 at 1:01 pm-
“In his movie, ‘Everything’s Gone Green,’ Douglas Coupland introduced a couple other means of livelihood in Vancouver–lottery scams and internet porn. Don’t know anybody involved in those ‘industries’ so not sure how much $$ those ‘jobs’ bring in. My husband and I bought a fixer-upper in westside Vancouver in 2000 (market still depressed) with down payment from our own savings and a gift from generous relatives. We diligently paid the mortgage over the years with hard-earned $$ from our respective white-collar jobs (medical research, computers). He passed away recently– I used his life insurance proceeds to gut the house and put in a rental basement suite. My total square footage increased 14.5%, while my property tax increased 33.3%, thanks to yearly tax increases, increase in my property assessment and property tax shifting (from business to residential properties) started by the NPA and continued by Gregor’s gov’t. In BC, property assessment values are based on market value (therefore influenced by skewed prices) and not replacement value. In this scenario, banks and municipal governments always win. Banks will keep enticing home owners with home equity loans they can’t afford based on unrealistically high property assessment values, and municipal gov’ts collect ever-increasing property taxes based on unsustainable, hyper-inflated market values. As far as I am concerned, market value is irrelevant as long as I don’t sell my house, but under the current property taxation system, I am paying for an over-valued asset which is clearly on paper only or, as poster DM has called it, ‘illusion of wealth.’
I am grateful for what I have, I take care of my property and live frugally so I am able to pay mortgage and property tax, but there may come a time when I may have to consider lottery scams — internet porn and drug peddling aren’t my thing. I also know I’ll keep buying goods via the internet (started during reno), and pick up from a relative’s place in WA state, or a mail receiving business in Blaine. I’ll bulk-buy to minimize cross-border travel. I hope as long as I am upfront with Canada Customs border agents, they’ll continue to wave me through without collecting sales taxes. Sorry, local businesses, I can’t support you much anymore–wanna join my future lottery ‘business?’
PS. The house across the street from mine has changed hands 2x in the last 18 months. A young family (from somewhere in the Far East, they did not venture out much) lived in it for approx 1 yr, then put the house up for sale in March this year. Sold in April, the house has been reno’d cosmetically since then, and will be back on the market soon. I’d like to see how much this one goes for.”
Local civic-life commentator Frances Bula on her blog 22 Jun 2011 -
“I have a feeling that many people who once thought Vancouver was a good place to live are beginning to see it as a good place to visit only — stay a week, visit the sites, and then head back to home. The house prices, the sense of the city as a place where the main economic base is the city itself as a spectacle: those give the sense to some that it’s not really a city to live in any more.
I don’t feel that way myself. I’ve lived in the city proper for more than half my adult life. It feels workable to me, a place with neighborhoods and a sense of civic life. But are those of us who feel that way dying out?”
Posted in 01. He Said, She Said, 03. Changed my Life, 07. Avoiding Vancouver
Tagged Anecdotes, British Columbia, Bubble, Canada, Fundamentals, Real Estate, Sentiment, Vancouver
“I live in the Mississauga/GTA, and virtually every billboard, bus shelter and cheap cable ad scroller is taken up by the smiling face of a real estate agent. The condos are still going up, the developments are still breaking ground….it’s a suburban nightmare.
My grandparents had a nice house on the other side of the city; the result of a lifetime of hard work and frugal living. They still travelled mind you, but they saved.
Everyone my age and younger is getting into these 500k+ mortgages, thinking they’ve arrived in life. What happens when interest rates go back to something realistic?
I rent and feel no shame. The ‘buy real estate’ strategy of my boomer parents doesn’t cut it anymore. It just isn’t affordable. There’s more to life than hardwood floors and granite countertops.”
- Dr Porkchop at zerohedge.com 24 Jun 2011 19:22
Posted in 08. Overextended Buyers, 10. Demoralized Renters?, 15. Misallocation of Resources
Tagged Anecdotes, Bubble, Canada, Debt, Housing, Real Estate, Realtors, Rent, Sentiment, Toronto