“My wife and I rent a basement suite in Vancouver, and occasionally we shake our heads that we’re pushing 40 and living in a space that barely notches above student housing. For a long while we’d been looking down our noses at people shelling out what seemed to be exorbitant prices for tiny, well-marketed properties. We waited, a bit haughtily, for the oft-predicted crash to bring prices back down to our level. While waiting in this particular basement for the past three years, we’ve paid $40,000 to our landlord.
As basements go, ours is fine, no mould-spore filter required. But it’s hard not to feel churlish when the subject of real estate comes up. At parties, we sip from the house cocktail shared by many young (and not-so-young) middle-class renters in Vancouver: two parts seething resentment, one part liberal guilt. To protest too much about our situation seems bourgeois, given we eat organic vegetables, drink good wine, and go on vacation every few months. We blunt our bitterness by counting our blessings, which are many—and it’s hard to stir a revolt on a full stomach and a glass of Merlot.
One thing that has changed in the past year is our perspective: we no longer believe a crash is inevitable, or that it would make any real difference to us. Like one of those Re/Max balloons, prices have risen so far out of our reach that even if they deflated significantly we still couldn’t get on board. Yet on our incomes, as a childless couple, we have a choice. Unlike James and Tina, we just might be able to purchase a property that suits our needs. Or we could leave.”
- anecdote from ‘Going, Going, Gone’, by Tyee Bridge, Vancouver Magazine, 1 Nov 2011
When the last prospective buyer with a bearish perspective capitulates, the speculative mania is over.
At least that’s pretty much how the market dictum goes. And we acknowledge we’ve been saying that for years now.
We empathize entirely with Tyee’s position.
But, this really is a speculative mania.
They never, ever end with permanently high plateaus.
Prices will revert to means determined by fundamentals, and that’s a long way below today’s prices.