Most Recent Comments:
- Any mouse on Chat Thread
- Hymie Garshman on Taking A Break
- cash loans on South Granville SFH Example – Price Rise Of 120% In Two Years
- paydayloansyeehaw on Erroneous Theories For Falling Prices #5 – Tightening Of Mortgage Rules Caused The Crash
- payday loans on Peppy Ads – “Buying a Home Is Like A Sport. Meet Your Coach. Win The Real Estate Game.”
- Nemesis on Chat Thread
- Hymie Garshman on Taking A Break
- Nemesis on Chat Thread
- Nemesis on Chat Thread
- Nemesis on Chat Thread
- Nemesis on Chat Thread
- Real Estate Tsunami on Chat Thread
Type of Anecdote
- 01. He Said, She Said (247)
- 02. Profiting from the Boom (441)
- 03. Changed my Life (103)
- 04. Changed my Career (38)
- 05. Where do Buyers get the money? (958)
- 06. Held my Nose and Leapt (96)
- 07. Avoiding Vancouver (375)
- 08. Overextended Buyers (1182)
- 09. Delaying Buying (315)
- 10. Demoralized Renters? (362)
- 11. Regrets about Investing in RE (417)
- 12. Effects of Development (274)
- 13. 2010 Olympics Related (74)
- 14. Social Effects of the Boom (1255)
- 15. Misallocation of Resources (958)
- 16. Missed The Boat? (236)
- 17. The Froogle Scott Chronicles (27)
- 18. Spot The Speculator (171)
- 19. BlastRadiusPostCards (17)
- 20. The Limitless Demand Argument For Ongoing Market Strength (70)
- 21. Vancouver RE-Verse [Found Poems] (8)
- 22. RE References In Popular Culture (41)
- 23. Jumping The Shark (1)
- 24. Policies On Housing (10)
- 25. Epigrams For The Bubble (1)
- 26. Premature Calls Of "Bottom" (3)
- 27. Seller Panic (3)
- 28. Erroneous Causation Theories For Falling Prices (7)
- 29. Bubblespeak (1)
- Uncategorized (176)
- Chat Thread
- Taking A Break
- “My best guess: this property is now an ‘investment hold’ and will be built ‘when prices recover’. Good luck on that!”
- Man Loses $745,000 Vancouver Condo Deposit
- Graphic – Degrees of Housing Overvaluation in Canada
- The Rare Individual With A Negative Ownership Premium
- Advice Regarding Renting In Vancouver, Please – “Unfortunately, the Vancouver rental stock is absolutely atrocious. It just seems like every landlord is looking for someone to pay 100% of their mortgage on a crappy place through rental income.”
- “I just visited Manhattan for a week, and happened to snap some real estate ads on both the Upper West and Upper East sides of the island. Compare to Vancouver. It simply doesn’t compute.”
- Ben Rabidoux In Vancouver Next Week
- “The mortgage company told me they were calling in my 40-year, 0-down mortgage. I have paid nearly sixty thousand dollars towards it, but, nearly five years in, I have yet to touch the principal.”
- ‘Vancouver City Hall: Housing Report Card 2012′; Plus Revised Version
- “My folks find themselves at 65 still owing half the value of their home and recreation property to the bank. After almost 30 years of ownership in the BPOE and a number of boom markets, they have very little to show for it.”
- “Rent for $2,200 a month or buy and have a mortgage of $4,310 per month. Why would anyone buy?”
- “They were talking about two couples they knew who had recently bought a lot and planned to each build a house on it and live as neighbours.”
- Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association Annual First-Time Buyer Seminar Attendance Plummets
- Mom and Pop Get It Wrong In All Markets, Time And Again
- The average British Columbian homeowner is not going to pay off their mortgage by the time they retire.
- “He’s sold all his properties except his current one, which is now for sale. He explained that the market’s currently in crash mode, worst that he’s ever seen.”
- “One of my old high school buddies finally got her mother to sell the family home in Kitsilano – sold for over $1M, monies realized after debt paid off $185K.”
- “I know someone who just declared bankruptcy because her condo was assessed at $150k and she bought it presale north of $250k in 2005 or 2006.”
- Sturdy, With Views – “Calling Froogle Scott!… Is Dr. Scott ‘In The House’?” [Not In This One, Certainly]
- “She said the market was dead in Victoria and that it would remain so for a very long time. I asked how she knew. Her answer was fascinating and should scare the pants off the real estate crowd.”
- Kits Notes – “I’m pretty sure that this is the first 3+ bedroom property of any type that I’ve seen in the 5 years I’ve lived here that is priced below $700K.”
- “A beautiful Belfast home, in the equivalent of 1st Shaughnessy, bought at their RE peak in 2007 for £3.5 million, has now sold for £800K, almost 80%-off. The market didn’t suffer any significant economic shocks. Rates & unemployment didn’t skyrocket. They didn’t build more land. Sentiment just changed and the prices fell and fell.”
- “Two family members of hers are trapped, underwater, in condos on the East Side.”
- “Interprovincial migration is not saying good things about BC’s economy.”
- Vancouver RE: Not As Expensive Provided You Don’t Think – “It’s clear that our perception of affordability has been coloured by living on a continent where housing is unusually inexpensive.”
- More Undisclosed RE Industry Insiders Publicized As Clients – “In 1995, Allan and Karin Hoegg were mortgage-free. But no more. Today their Vancouver home is a valuable source of income as they plan for full retirement.”
- Rumor that some OV units will be reduced by 20%.
- Downside Weights On The Vancouver RE Market – “One of the older guys (over 60) mention to the guy beside him that he and his wife were thinking about selling their family home, and renting, in order to get some of the money that was locked up in the house.”
- “My buddy was looking to upgrade to a house in the Coquitlam area. With 200k extra for a home, that’s half of lifetime saving between him and his wife.”
- “I was walking in the Fraser neighborhood yesterday, I noticed that the population, on average, seem to be composed of workers. I belong to the top 5 percent in terms of income. Nevertheless, I cannot afford any of the houses for sale in that neighbourhood.”
- “Vancouver is an urban resort whose value mostly resides in its real estate and not much else.”
- “Rogers Communications is expanding into RE; aiming to relaunch website; providing critical data that can help potential buyers assess the value of a property from the comfort of their home computer.”
- I’m only 50 and I can just about retire if I want to, all because of a single simple decision – “When prices rebounded to their former highs, then rocketed another 30% higher to what I considered to be totally unsustainable levels, I decided that only a fool would pass up a second opportunity to harvest such a massive non-taxable capital gain, and in 2011 I sold my place.”
- The Vacant Lot of Versailles, Richmond.
- “I don’t think that most people think things are going to crash, just that there is going to be a slight correction, but it was amazing to me how sentiment has changed, and the fact Vancouver RE is too high was just understood.”
- “The ‘investor’ who purchased our house put it up for sale two months later, in January 1981, but the bubble had burst.”
- For A City To Have That Kind Of Vacancy, It’s Like Cancer – “Downtown, the vacant unit rate is so high that it’s as though there were 35 towers at 20 storeys apiece – all empty.”
- “What’s the worst that can happen? You can’t pay your mortgage, so sell your house! No fear.”
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TagsAnecdotes Banks Bears blogs British Columbia Bubble Bulls buyers Canada Capitulation China CMHC Construction Debt Economy Employment Fear Foreign buyers Fundamentals Government Housing Interest Rates Landlords Life Media Mortgage brokers Okanagan Olympics Ownership Prediction Real Estate Realtors Relationships Rent Retirement RE_ATM sellers Sentiment Speculators Toronto US Vancouver Victoria Visual Anecdote Whistler
Monthly Archives: July 2012
S&P Downgrade Outlook On Canadian Banks – “A prolonged run-up in housing prices and consumer indebtedness is contributing to growing imbalances, applying negative pressure on economic risk for banks.”
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has revised its outlook downwards on seven Canadian financial institutions, citing high housing prices and consumer debt.
“A prolonged run-up in housing prices and consumer indebtedness in Canada is in our view contributing to growing imbalances and Canada’s vulnerability to the generally weak global economy, applying negative pressure on economic risk for banks,” the rating agency stated in its decision. “Growing pressure on banks’ risk appetites and profitability arising from competition for loan and deposit market share could also lead to a deterioration in our view of industry risk.”
House prices have roughly doubled over the past decade while, relative to GDP, consumer debt has risen from about 70 per cent to more than 90 per cent, S&P pointed out. And it suggested that Ottawa’s actions have not done enough to stem what could be a significant problem for the economy. “Successive government efforts since 2008 to counteract the stimulative effect of low interest rates on consumer borrowing and home prices have done less than we expected to counteract the growing level of consumer leverage and housing market risk in Canada,” S&P said. The agency is now watching to see if the most recent moves that the government has made will have better results.
- from ‘S&P cuts outlook on 7 Canadian banks’, G&M, 27 Jul 2012
‘High-Volume Local Vancouver Realtor’ – “The appraisers told me they just don’t see the value in a lot of properties and want to make sure they do not over-value in view of an anticipated market correction.”
“As you are no doubt aware there has been a huge slowing in the market and predictions are that there will be a correction of approximately 25% on detached properties and up to 30% on condos. The other prediction is that we will not see any sort of recovery for another 2 years. How much of the above is true only time will tell. One thing I do know is that The Federal government has not helped by a) cancelling nearly 300,000 investor applicants who were already 2 years into their application process and b) Making it much harder to get a mortgage without proof of income and increasing the ratio of income to borrowing. This has directly affected the numbers of people looking to buy from outside our borders.
The other problem I have personally experienced is purchasers that bought properties I had listed have hit HUGE problems getting a mortgage, as banks would not appraise the property at what they paid for it even though it was sold on the MLS and in some cases at multiple offers! The appraisers told me they just don’t see the value in a lot of properties and want to make sure they do not over-value in view again of an anticipated market correction.
Good quality properties that are priced well are still selling and there have been some big sales, as you will see from my attached stats sheet. If you don’t have to sell then don’t, if you do then make sure you price it right, choose a Realtor who will promote it right and last but not least prepare now with photos, floor plans etc., so you can come to market as soon as there is a change – even if it is nominal.”
- this letter from a “high-volume local Vancouver realtor” posted by Simeon Garratt at his website allure.com 23 July 2012, in a post entitled ‘IS THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT KILLING VANCOUVER REAL ESTATE?’.
Simeon Garratt himself adds:
“I think that the Federal Government is directly curbing the growth in the real estate sector. Canada -Vancouver specifically- has been on the ‘hot spot’ radar of people from all over the globe. We have been ranked the best place to live, the safest place to live and have an economy that is second to none. A huge amount of our economy’s growth is based on our need to grow as a population. Currently, Canada’s population is dwindling and without the support of a strong immigration system, it will get worse.
I believe that if we focus on creating good quality jobs and giving young people quality education, we will attract higher salaries, bigger companies and housing prices will become less of a factor. It is common in most metropolis cities around the world to commute an hour to work. For some reason, we think we are the exception.”
1. The appraisers are to be commended for their caution: it is currently very hard to reconcile ‘price’ and ‘value’ for local properties.
2. We do not foresee local economic strength so powerful and so sustained that it raises local incomes such that RE prices make sense by that fundamental measure. Incomes would have to double or more for that to happen. Can you imagine that happening without mortgage rates rising?
3. We don’t know what Simeon Garratt means when he says “(we) have an economy that is second to none”, or “a huge amount of our economy’s growth is based on our need to grow as a population.” We see lots of signs that our economy is over-dependent on: the RE industry, industries directly related to RE, and the other temporary knock-on wealth effects of a speculative mania in RE.
600,000 square feet is to be dedicated to office space packed in around Rogers Arena and BC Place – “We have our work cut out for us to fill that space.”
“The city’s planning department, concerned about the loss of key office sites on Vancouver’s small downtown peninsula to the condo boom of the 1990s and 2000s, decided several years ago that the last bit of undeveloped former industrial land that was the site of Expo 86 – Northeast False Creek – should include 1.8 million square feet of commercial space.
Of that, 600,000 is to be dedicated to office or, as the planners call it, “job space,” packed in around Rogers Arena, the home of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team, and BC Place, the government-owned stadium where the B.C. Lions play football and Whitecaps play soccer.
That 600,000 square feet is the equivalent of a whole Park Place tower in Vancouver’s business district or the new PricewaterhouseCoopers tower on York Street in Toronto.
Now, landowners in that area are trying to figure out who they’ll get as tenants.
“We have our work cut out for us to fill that space,” says David Negrin, president of Aquilini Development, one division of the Aquilini family empire that includes the Canucks, Rogers Arena and a host of other businesses and development projects. “It’s just a tough location because it’s on the edge of the [central business district].”
- from ‘Canucks owners gamble on new office district in Vancouver’, Globe and Mail, 30 Jul 2012
“We will buy a house in Spain in 2014. We would be happy to pay $150K Canadian for a detatched Villa with Ocean views and a pool. I have to disagree with the predictions for a housing crash here in Vancouver.”
“I’m waiting to buy a house in Spain. A country house 5 to 20 K away from the drab concrete settings of the coast. I used to live in Gibraltar in the mid 80s when the Costa Del Sol was pretty much sand dunes and an acre of waterfront was $40,000.
We will buy in 2014 which is when we would be happy to pay $150K Canadian for a detatched Villa with Ocean views and a pool. I have no idea if the market would be at the bottom then but that is one hell of a deal and we would be very happy to purchase at that price. We have duel Citizenship .
I have to disagree with the comments about a housing crash here in Vancouver.
It’s pretty solid on all fronts. There may be a level or even a 10% correction but there will be no crash.
I used to think there would be a crash (since 2004) but after much thought I became aware that as crappy as Vancouver is during the winter etc its still the warmest and most interesting place in the entire country to live. Our banking system is tight. Commodities + resources are in abundance.
Canada is rocking on the business front as is evident in the real estate prices across the country. If you have cash its a very safe country to bring your treasure to.
It’s just not comparable to Spains economic woes and the parallel is stretching it a bit.”
- comment by ‘a different fred’* at VREAA 29 Jul 2012 3:50pm [*'fred' is not the same fred who posts many trollish comments. ed.]
Vancouver RE Discussed On CBC, Again – “Patti Croft recommends cashing out and is thinking about it herself”; “Patricia Croft kept insisting Canada would be the *only* country to engineer a soft landing in real estate.”
1. “Anyone else catch The House on CBC radio this morning [14 Jun 2012]? Tsur Somerville [UBC Sauder School Of Business RE economist] and Patti Croft [Bay Street analyst], mostly falling over one another with the usual “not-a-bubble”, but with some pretty bearish sentiment lurking beneath the conciliatory tones (considering the sources):
- Nationally speaking, they see a 10-15% overvaluation.
- They openly admit that this national number is mostly be driven by Vancouver and Toronto, implying enough overvaluation there to significantly sway national numbers.
- Patti recommends cashing out and is thinking about it herself.
- Tsur seems to have given up on recommending metrics and now suggests “if you like it, buy it”.
- Even though there’s no bubble, Canada will earn a feather in its cap by successfully engineering a soft landing.
Also, apparently you now need 50% overvaluation to have a national bubble.”
- Many Franks at VCI 14 Jul 2012 11:28am
2. The CBC financial roundtable discussion on The National [CBC TV] last night focussed heavily on debt. The same four folks appeared that were there last time. Patricia Croft kept insisting Canada would be the *only* country to engineer a soft landing in real estate. She said it twice.
- Dr. Nick Riveria, VCI, 25 Jul 2012 10:22pm
“How can it possibly be that the US housing market is showing a durable recovery when it is still taking a median of eight months for the builders to find a buyer upon completion of the unit? Up until April 2008 – in the midst of the Great Recession – a number this high was unheard-of, having happened but once previously and that was the peak of the previous housing market meltdown in June 1991.”
- David Rosenberg, 26 Jul 2012
We agree with Rosenberg.
Our own estimation is that US RE markets have at least 20% more downside.
In Vancouver, our downside risk is still of the order of 50%-66%.
Sherry Cooper, BMO – “There is already about a 15% to 20% correction in Vancouver, thanks to the overbuilding during the Olympics. And that’s still manageable, given that much of it is at the very high end of the market.”
Interviewer: “What is the possible worst case scenario that the Canadian consumer would look at from a housing deflation?”
Sherry Cooper (BMO Chief Economist): “Well, it wouldn’t be in general everywhere; that’s because we haven’t seen a pumped up situation, in most of the cities of Canada, with the exceptions, possibly, of Vancouver and Toronto. There is already about a 15% to 20% correction in Vancouver, thanks to the overbuilding during the Olympics. And there, uhmm, that’s still manageable, given that much of it is at the very high end of the market.”
Run That Buy Me Again – “I’ve been in and out of three properties in Whistler since 2001 and that market has been very good to me, because I’m very bullish, in real estate in general.”
“While he is becoming more of a household name as one of the dragons on TV’s Dragon’s Den and has a venture capital firm helping smaller entrepreneurs, you might not necessarily think of Bruce Croxon as a real estate investor. And yet, while living in Whistler, BC in the late 1990s, Croxon took it upon himself to get into the real estate game after having realized the value real estate can bring.
“I’ve been in and out of three properties in Whistler since 2001 and that market has been very good to me, because I’m very bullish, in real estate in general, and more specifically on the resort real estate market,” he says.
Croxon is an avid skier and while living in Whistler for about two years he decided to educate himself about the real estate market there. “I learned the market well enough so I thought I could be safe in terms of buying a place to stay and so I added a couple of more places just as pure investment. It turned out to be right for a period of time.”
The first purchase was a personal residence. But with the growth in confidence of the local market, Croxon added on to his holdings with a so-called “ski-in, ski-out” condo. He rented that out to a business he owned in the area.
“The third was more for speculation but I ended up renting it out, and at the end of the day, when I was back in Toronto, I decided to sell that one as well – that was a single family residence on a very nice piece of land,” he recalls.
Croxon explains that the resort market is of interest to him because of the limited supply of land and development potential for areas that people are interested in visiting. For example, he says Canada, specifically Whistler, has some of the best skiing opportunities in the world. “I think there is limited supply and if you want that terrain you’ve got to go there and there is a limit on how much you can build. So it was the right combinations to have an asset grow.”
With all the asset classes that have made their way in and out of Croxon’s portfolio over the years, real estate has served an important niche, especially given his investment strategy.
Says Croxon: “I’m an operator and have not been an investor until recently. [Real estate] was a way to be passively involved in an investment I developed some confidence in. You really don’t have to work that asset too much,” he explains.
“It will either go up or down on its own. For me that’s the attractive part of it. In general, I just think real estate, over a long period of time, has performed quite well. People need a place to live and it seems to be one of those asset classes that survive,” he adds.
- from ‘Dragon’s Den star reveals why he’s still bullish on real estate’, Joel Kranc, Globe and Mail, 27 Jul 2012, an article reprinted “from Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine, a monthly publication focused on building value through property investment”.
This has to be the hand-waviest article we’ve seen on RE investing for quite some time.
There really is no substance to it at all.
The author tells us that a guy who made money trading Whistler properties over the last 10 years is kinda sure it’s possible to make money in RE.
Why RE? Land is limited. “People need a place to live”. RE “seems to be one of those asset classes that survive”.
There is perhaps nothing that any potential RE investor could take from this article that would be of any use to them whatsoever.
There is certainly no information about the current state of the Canadian market.
Should an investor be buying or selling RE? How has the RE market actually been doing, in Whistler, or anywhere else, for that matter?
Perhaps the one lesson gleaned could be that to make money in RE, you have to buy and sell.
And that fortunate timing is crucial for many participants.
“A 27 year old colleague of mine bought in Whalley in late 2009, claiming that it would be the new Yaletown.”
“A 27 year old colleague of mine went out and bought in Whalley in late 2009, claiming that it would be the new Yaletown.
My other bearish colleague and I almost laughed when she said this during a staff meeting, as he actually lives in Surrey. She was so proud that she wrote in the office log “off to get my mortgage approved for my first place – smiley face”
She is married to a guy that works at the bank, and they have since bought another place. They are renting the Whalley place, and claim that their rent covers their mortgage payment. When questioned further, they didn’t factor in property taxes, insurance, and strata fees..
I cannot wait till this twit gets burned…”
- SKS at VCI 25 Jul 2012 8:12am
“There is a 2 BR unit for sale at Shangri-La. A signboard in front of the building said “MUST SELL TODAY!!”, $1.08M. Two days later the same signboard had the price crossed out with a handwritten price of $998K.”
“There is a 2 BR unit for sale at Shangri-La. On Thursday or Friday a signboard in front of the building said “MUST SELL TODAY!!” and the price was approximately $1.08M. On Sunday the same signboard had the price crossed out with a handwritten price of approximately $998K. The “MUST SELL TODAY!!” was unchanged, though.
I say “approximately” because I can’t remember the exact numbers with 100% certainty. But those figures are correct or very close to correct.”
- Kermodei at VREAA 23 Jul 2012 2:20pm
“We recently let our recreational property listing lapse because we could not get what the property was worth to us. We will try again in 5 or 6 years.”
“We recently let our recreational property listing lapse because we could not get what the property was worth to us. We will try again in 5 or 6 years.
We sincerely want to sell, but on our own terms. I wonder how many listings are driven by expectations of windfalls and not need.”
- Jim at yattermatters.com 20 Jul 2012 7:33pm
In 5-6 years time, that property will almost definitely have a market value substantially less than it does now. If the proceeds from this sale are important to retirement plans, Jim should sell now.
“The young colleague who was approved for a massive mortgage, on a smallish income, and bought a SFH in Coquitlam, is now listing it for sale in the hopes of eking out a profit. Another colleague still hasn’t had any luck offloading his North Van duplex. In the meantime he has to service a $1.2 million loan that he used to purchase his new North Vancouver SFH. He hasn’t received a single offer since it was listed over two months ago.
Had lunch with a pal today that I hadn’t seen in several months. The last time I saw him he was thinking about becoming a real estate agent. I disabused him of the notion with all of the usual arguments. I asked him today if he was still thinking of becoming a real estate agent, “No, not with everything that I’ve been reading and hearing.”
- Manna from Heaven at VCI 10 July 2012 2:01pm
“Will housing prices ever go down?
Well, there’s a hopeful crowd that’s stickin’ around
And there are many like me, with good job and good pay
Who can not afford a house in Vancouver
[C'mon, even a small condo is priced at half a million]
[I suppose I could buy, and not see a spare cent for the rest of my life]
From the heart of Vancouver all the way to New West
On our fine Earth, this place is the best
So say those ads, to us, every single day
All those tricks just to get us to pay
Now is always the best time to buy
Never let an opportunity go awry
But even in the ‘burbs, the prices are still high
Guess I have no hope to own in Vancouver
[I guess I'll have to start looking elsewhere]
[Like Saskatchewan... Saskatoon... nice house for a quarter the price]
Foreign money is always what is blamed
But the racists here are never shamed
What about the locals and all their greed?
Who make every want into a need
But some out there are smellin’ the rat
In this land where the realtors get fat
Yet it won’t be me who’s caught in the trap
With an outrageous mortgage and no funds to tap
[Yep, I'd *be* the tap... that's for sure]
[But, hey! I'd be livin' the American dream!]
Decades of debt just for a house
But no one is as poor as a church mouse
I say the poison is all the borrowed wealth
But, how could that be bad for your health?
The interest rates are bound to go up
And many a wallet will feel the hiccup
But, it won’t be me who buys in today
And risk a worthless house long before I get to old age
[If I don't die first]
So don’t be house rich and cash poor
Take your well-earned cash and go on a tour
See all that the world has to offer
Listen not to what the admen proffer
[You don't need it... live life, have fun]
[Go and buy that new toy... because you can]
So, will I ever buy a house in Vancouver
[Not at this this rate]
I guess I’ll be forever paying rent in Vancouver
[Unless the bubble bursts]
‘Til then, I’ll keep paying rent in Vancouver
[And if I win the lottery?]
Then I’ll buy a tiny house in Vancouver”
The housing market really has thoroughly saturated our psyches.
Spot The Speculators #87 – “To add to our stress, the condo we were living in before we purchased this house isn’t selling.”
“Overheard this conversation today at a bus stop in the Lower Mainland:
A: I haven’t seen you very much lately
B: Yeah, we just bought a house and it is constantly in need of repairs. Every time we touch something it breaks. We opened a window and the glass fell out so we had to fix that. We had to get a new furnace. We had to replace this. We had to replace that. We keep finding deficiencies that need to be replaced.
A: Oh that sounds stressful!
B: Yes, it is stressful. And to add to our stress, the condo we were living in before we purchased this house isn’t selling. Our realtor told us the reason our condo isn’t selling is because the carpets smell bad and that we should replace them. We can’t afford to install new carpetting so we are thinking about just getting them cleaned to save money. He is telling us that these carpets are such a big problem but we don’t understand because the same realtor sold us that condo with the same smelly carpets in it. I don’t understand what has changed.
…It was all I could do to bite my tongue and not tell this person that they have a much bigger problem than smelly carpets.”
Carrying TWO properties, with leverage, into a downturn, is a recipe for personal financial disaster.
A good number of Vancouver households are carrying more than two.
$278000 I AM GIVING THIS CONDO AWAY FOR $80,000 LESS THAN COST!! – ANY TAKERS? (15152 RUSSELL AVENUE – WHITE ROCK B.C…)
Date: 2012-07-19, 12:57PM PDT
Reply to: ********@hous.craigslist.org
THE ADDRESS IS 15152 RUSSELL AVENUE. THE 21 FLOOR BUILDING WAS BUILT BY BOSA PROPERTIES IN 2009. IT IS BY FAR THE NICEST BUILDING IN WHITE ROCK AND THE BEST LOCATION. THE CONDO IS VACANT NOW AND I CAN SHOW IT TO YOU FRIDAY. THIS IS A 502 SQUARE FOOT STUDIO ON THE 5TH FLOOR, IT IS VERY WELL DONE AND HAS EVERYTHING. I HAVE A FULLY ASSUMABLE MORTGAGE WITH TD CANADA TRUST AT 2.2% INTEREST, $180,000. FOR 35 YEARS. THE INTEREST PAYMENTS ARE ABOUT $600. PER MONTH. THE STRATA FEES ARE $137 PER MONTH WHICH INCLUDES MAINTENANCE, HEAT, AIR CONDITIONING, GAS FOR THE COOKTOP STOVE, AND HOT WATER. IT ALSO COMES WITH A PARKING SPACE AND A STORAGE LOCKER. THE UNIT FACES NORTH WITH A VIEW OF THE MOUNTAINS. THIS IS A LOT CHEAPER THAN RENTING. THERE IS AN AMENITIES ROOM AND A GUEST SUITE. THE POOL AND JACUZZI HAVE NOT BEEN BUILT YET BUT WHITE ROCK HAS EVERYTHING YOU WILL NEED WITHIN A SHORT WALKING DISTANCE. INCLUDING THE OCEAN, THE BOARDWALK AND THE BEACH.
IT IS BY FAR THE NICEST BUILDING IN WHITE ROCK AND THE BEST LOCATION. THE CONDO IS VACANT NOW AND I CAN SHOW IT TO YOU TOMORROW. THIS IS A 502 SQUARE FOOT STUDIO ON THE 5TH FLOOR, IT IS VERY WELL DONE AND HAS HIGH END LUXURY EVERYTHING. THESE UNITS ORIGINALLY SOLD TWO YEARS AGO FOR $349,000. PLUS GST. I AM SELLING FOR $279,000. (INCLUDING HST) BECAUSE I HAVE SOME PERSONAL PROBLEMS AND NEED TO LIQUIDATE ALL OF MY REAL ESTATE ASSETS. MY LOSS IS YOUR GAIN. FORTUNATELY, I HAVE A FULLY ASSUMABLE MORTGAGE WITH TD CANADA TRUST AT 2.2% INTEREST, THE BALANCE IS $180,000. THE AMORTIZATION IS 35 YEARS. THE MONTHLY PAYMENTS ARE ONLY $600. PER MONTH. THE STRATA FEES ARE $157 PER MONTH WHICH INCLUDES INSURANCE, MAINTENANCE, HEAT, AIR CONDITIONING, GAS FOR THE COOK TOP RANGE AND HOT WATER IS ALSO INCLUDED. IT ALSO COMES WITH A SECURE UNDERGROUND PARKING SPACE AND A STORAGE LOCKER. THE UNIT FACES NORTH WITH A VIEW OF THE MOUNTAINS. THIS IS A LOT CHEAPER THAN RENTING. THERE IS AN AMENITIES ROOM AND A GUEST SUITE. WHITE ROCK HAS EVERYTHING YOU WILL NEED WITHIN A SHORT WALKING DISTANCE. INCLUDING THE OCEAN, THE BOARDWALK AND THE BEACH.
PETS ARE ALLOWED UP TO 15 KILOS. YOU COULD RENT THIS CONDO OUT FOR $1,000. TO $1200 PER MONTH OR IF YOU FURNISH THE CONDO WE CAN GET YOU $1500 PER MONTH GUARANTEED IN OUR CORPORATE RENTAL PROGRAM.
- from craigslist, 19 Jul 2012 12:57PM [hat-tip 'Anonymous' at VCI]
Our apologies, the screaming capitals are exhausting to read, but we’ve let them stand as a reflection of the urgency that some sellers are beginning to experience.
Selling below prior purchase price is not “less than cost”. Selling “below cost” means selling for less than the cost of production (and even that may be above fundamental value, given land price speculation and inflated construction costs during a bubble). Properties will sell for what is truly “below cost” much later in the price decline.
“I sold the last of my 3 places recently. To be honest I was a bit worried about how it might impact my ego having to convert to being a renter and the feeling that I might be throwing money away.”
“I sold the last of my 3 places recently and I’ve said how happy I was to be out of the market. That’s certainly true but to be honest I was a bit worried about how it might impact my ego having to convert to being a renter and the feeling that I might be throwing money away. Well I’m happy to say it’s fantastic renting! All of the problems I used to have to spend all of my spare time fixing – the hundreds of trips to Home Depot, etc, not just on repairs but filling the house with things that perfectly outfitted it. At first I missed those trips but now I realize all the money I was spending. When renting we don’t have to worry about how the place looks because we might need to sell one day. And all the time and energy I’m saving allows me to be doing what I should really be doing – spending time with my young kids.”
- No Noise at VCI 13 Jul 2012 6:09PM
BC Business Magazine – “Was this a massive bubble? Slightly. But bubbles imply resulting crashes, and I don’t believe we’re going to have one.” [Why not?]
“History shows that Vancouver has always been a real estate boom-and-bust city. Now that the most recent mania appears to be over, with sales falling and prices threatening to follow, there’s no reason to think that’s going to change. Look for a long quiet period.
Fear and worry are rampant in Vancouver these days: the mighty real estate market is struggling. Whether it is in a tailspin or due for a monstrous crash is the subject of endless dinner conversations, office cooler chats and online messages.
I’m generally in the tailspin camp, because I’ve seen this kind of real estate mania in Vancouver before. Ever since I moved here, what seems like a hundred years ago, I’ve been hearing the “you have to get into the market” mantra and the “woe is me” reactions that follow.
Many years ago, when I was writing a financial planning column, I saw a chart that showed the increase in home prices generally mirrored the inflation rate – despite the bouts of mania – over time.
That means that, essentially, a house is like a big bank account, advancing about 3-5 per cent a year, if measured over decades. In some short-term periods it can rise much more than that, in others it falls or does nothing. Overall, it evens out.
So the people who “get rich” on housing usually own them for 30 years and essentially save their money in a house. They could have done better with some other kind of investment, but needed a place to live, so combined the two.
Here’s my own example: once, I bought a big, old, heritage house that required some rehab work. It cost me $270,000, which I thought was outrageous at the time, but as it turned out, wasn’t.
Some eight years later, I sold it for $425,000 – a gain of about 55 per cent. But for most of those years, it barely registered any increases, and in some cases, even dropped. All the gains – which averaged out to roughly 6-7 per cent a year – came in the last few years. That was at the beginning of the current mania that saw the price of that house hit almost a million.
That’s a long boom that has now apparently subsided – a 10-plus percent drop in sales usually signals the end of a giant buying spree.
Was this a massive bubble? Slightly. When prices rise that much, we’re nudging bubble territory. But bubbles imply resulting crashes, and I don’t believe we’re going to have one. Of course, prices will drop a bit, but an American-style catastrophe isn’t going to happen.
More likely, we’ll just have a long fallow period in which prices have to correlate with incomes, and markets have to better adjust to geographical and other factors. During this period, prices will drop somewhat, but mostly they’ll stagnate. What will likely happen is that this stagnation period will be longer than usual, because the market got ahead of itself so much.
But eventually it will happen again. The Vancouver region now has about twice the population it had 20 years ago, and will continue to increase over time. This increasing population means that more people have to live farther out in the region, where it’s cheaper and there’s more housing availability. In the more popular inner regional areas, prices will inevitably rise again.
Those who understand these rhythms and are patient will do very well. But that will be a minority. It always has been.”
- entire text of ‘Real Estate Mania Is Ending’, Tony Wainless, BC Business, 13 July 2012 [hat-tip Don]
1. To paraphrase the old quip: Our market is ‘slightly’ like a bubble in the way that someone gets ‘slightly’ pregnant.
2. The author seems to lay out at least some of the important dots, but then, in the end, fails to draw the logical conclusion. Note the form of his flawed logic: “Was it a bubble? Well, if it was a bubble it’d have to end in a crash. I don’t believe it’ll end in a crash so, it can’t have been a bubble.” Why doesn’t the author draw the logical conclusion? He doesn’t share with us why exactly he believes it won’t end in a crash, but it’s very likely he does that simply because he hopes it won’t.
3. Yes, the Vancouver RE market is “a massive bubble”. How do bubbles end? Do they peter out over a “long quiet period”? Or do they collapse? Do we have any examples of bubbles simply going away over a “long fallow period”? [Answer: No].
4. To Tony Wainless and others proposing a ‘soft landing’: Who do you expect to now be doing the buying? Prices are still at stratospheric levels compared with price levels supported by fundamentals. For a soft landing to occur, you need a steady supply of buyers over years and years of flat or reducing prices. People in Vancouver have only been overextending themselves to buy at these levels because they presumed future price strength would be relentless. With a lacklustre market, people will stop stretching (hasn’t this already started happening?), and prices will collapse. We cannot see how this market could resolve itself with a soft landing.
5. Talking of minorities: Those who understand that this is a speculative mania, and understand the full implications of that conclusion, remain a very, very small minority.
Vancouver; Spain – “It was certain, Andy explained, that real estate prices would not decline. The demand was insatiable at almost any price.”
“I remember in 2003 my mother had a New Year’s Eve party at our family home in Málaga, in southern Spain, at which over 80 people sat for dinner, including most of my old friends still around from high school days. That night I had one of those epiphanies (as you often do on New Year’s Eve, I guess) about the real estate market when I suddenly realized that nearly every one at the party was involved in one way or the other in real estate. Most of the people there (including my Persian sister-in-law) were real estate developers, real estate agents, real estate lawyers, architects, or owners of building and construction companies. All of them lived off (and had prospered mightily from) the real estate boom in southern Spain.
But this cannot be, I thought in my naiveté. If the only industry around is real estate, then we must be living through a real estate bubble of enormous proportions.
Later that night I spoke to one of my old high-school friends, Andy, who was at the time a prosperous real estate agent with houses in Marbella (purchased on borrowed money, naturally), a Mercedes, and all the trappings that accrue to an immensely charming and self-confident real estate agent during a real estate boom. In our conversations, and ones that took place subsequently over the next few years, I warned him that the property market in the south of Spain looked out of control, and it would be a good idea from him to diversify his savings out of real estate.
Same old same old
Of course Andy didn’t. He explained to me that what we were seeing in southern Spain was not a bubble because there were very strong reasons to believe that real estate prices were undervalued and were going to rise a lot more. Europe, he told me, is aging rapidly, and old people, as everyone knows, like nothing better than to retire in some warm and sunny place, preferably on the beach. With an infinite supply of European old people and limited European beachfront property, mostly in Spain, Italy, and Greece, where in addition you had great food, warm-hearted people, and plenty of immigrants to keep the prices of services (and servants) down, it was certain, Andy explained, that real estate prices would not decline. The demand was insatiable at almost any price.
This seemed like a perfectly reasonable argument on the face of it, and it was widely proposed to justify ever-soaring Spanish real estate prices for many years, not just on the Spanish coast but also, perhaps a little bizarrely, in every nook and cranny of the country, including some pretty gray and inaccessible building projects outside cold, northern industrial cities.
The weakness in the argument, of course, was that although there might have been near-infinite demand, this could not justify near-infinite increases in prices, especially since the demand itself was likely to be highly pro-cyclical because the Spanish economy had itself become dependent on real estate development.”
“Same old same old”, indeed.
Change the date, and a few words, and Vancouver fits like a glove.
“Where I work close to Richmond I was stunned at the amount of commercial real estate available. For example, a 143,000 square foot building previously occupied by Kodak. I don’t know who thinks this is a great time to get involved in a major purchase after seeing the sheer volume of “For Lease” signs…”
- Prepmonkey at greaterfool.ca 18 Jul 2012 10:35pm
“As part of the work being done by the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability, re:THINK HOUSING, an open ideas competition, has been launched to generate a broader discussion of possibilities for Vancouver’s affordable housing crisis. Aimed at everyone who has an interest in affordable housing, from the general public, to designers, planners and architects, to philanthropists, non profits and financial institutions, the Ideas Competition seeks to create the space for provocative, bold new ideas that address Vancouver’s affordability challenge head-on.”
Submissions closed on 29 June, 2012, and can now be viewed HERE. [Hat-tip 'terminalcitygirl'.] Images above are from two of the submissions.
We note there are no “Educate-the-public-about-asset-manias-and-thus-crash-housing-prices” submissions.
Sensible Words From Sam Wyatt, Westside Realtor – “This is a very serious situation. If you plan to sell, you will need to price BELOW the most recent comparable sales prices. If you don’t do this, your listing will stagnate.”
“Last month I pointed out that the active listing volumes for detached Westside houses actually exceeded the highest volume during the credit crisis. In June the number of houses actively listed was even higher at 1078. During the credit crisis, the active listings of detached homes on the Westside never exceeded 1053 houses. Keep in mind also that the three year average number of active detached homes listed on the Westside between January 2009 and December 2011 was only 589. This is a very serious situation.” …
“Vancouver’s real estate market is getting and is going to get hit from both ends. So, now that you are thoroughly depressed, here is the bright light: IF YOU SELL NOW, YOU WILL STILL BE SELLING NEAR THE TOP OF THE MARKET. If you plan to sell, you will need to price BELOW the most recent comparable sales prices. If you don’t do this, your listing will stagnate.”
- Images, and text excerpts, from ‘July Market Update: Am I Too Late to Sell?’, by Sam Wyatt, Vancouver Westside realtor, at samwyatt.com 5 July 2012
Sure, Sam Wyatt stands to gain if his sellers price sharply, but we happen to agree with his take on the market.
Prices are headed down, and the only way for sellers to get to the front of the queue is to lower their prices.
This is the process by which price drops progress.
This also demonstrates why it’s impossible for anything more than a relatively small number of sellers to get out near a top.
Those who do so will look very fortunate in coming years.
“If my friend sells his Coquitlam Townhouse for what the same units are going for in his complex he will lose money. He pulled it off the market.”
“My friend was trying to sell his Coquitlam Townhouse as he’s changed jobs and leaving town. If he sells it for what the same units are going for in his complex he will lose money (he’s sunk over 45k into it on Reno’s over the last 5 years). He pulled it off the market, and is now trying to rent it for more way more than the equivalent units in his complex because his has be heavily reno’d.
Methinks there are many stories just like this out there, in the suburbs especially.”
- Anonymous at VCI 11 Jul 2012 7:10pm
“Overheard someone was trying to sell his condo in New Westminster recently. He wanted $370,000 because a 20,000 cheaper unit sold $350,000 early this year. But his realtor told him to list for $320,000.”
“Overheard someone was trying to sell his condo in New Westminster recently. He wanted $370,000 because a 20,000 cheaper unit sold $350,000 early this year. But his realtor told him to list for $320,000 in order to make it saleable.
This is about 20% drop in price.
He disagreed, so pull the condo off the market. But by the end of the year, I guess his condo will worth less than $300,000.”
- good-format at VCI 8 Jul 2012 9:14am
David Rosenberg’s Stunning Canada vs US RE Charts – “Canadian housing prices are not sustainable, my friends.”
As the U.S. begins to recover from its housing bubble, concerns have been escalating about a housing bubble in Canada.
“Canada is carving out a top, while the United States is seemingly carving out a bottom,” writes Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg.
Using three charts, Rosenberg points out the stark differences in the Canadian and U.S. housing market and the existence of a possible Canadian housing bubble.
Chart 1. The ratio of Canadian housing starts to U.S. starts is now 0.3x:
Chart 2. Canadian home prices are on average twice the level of home prices in the U.S.:
Charts 3 & 4. Vancouver & Toronto home prices relative to U.S. home prices:
- from ‘Canadian housing prices are not sustainable: David Rosenberg’, Financial Post, 11 Jul 2012 [hat-tip pennysaver]
Spend some time with these charts and you’ll see why our own call for Vancouver prices to fall 50%-66%, peak to trough, is fairly pedestrian.
By the way, we suspect that US home prices haven’t yet bottomed, and have about another 20% to go.
Kelowna Realtor Selling His Vancouver ‘Rooming House’ – “Listed it at 1.4M, no bites, then 1.2, no bites and then withdrew the listing.”
“I went to an open house in Kelowna today… Talked to the listing agent… Nice guy who says he’d rather be in Vancouver because it fits his lifestyle better… He was trying to sell his 10 unit “rooming house” in Vancouver’s West end… Listed it at 1.4M, no bites, then 1.2, no bites and then withdrew the listing. I guess he needs the money to make up for a bad “real estate deal” which soured in the Okanagan. He said I should buy two houses – one for personal use and one to rent out. Told him I don’t see real estate as an investment… I’d rather buy a bank stock with a 4-5% dividend yield…”
- Bo Xilai at VCI 7 Jul 2012 10:27pm
“In the southern interior around Kamloops and Clearwater on holidays, and can’t believe how many people want to cash out right now after buying in last 2-6 years. Nothing selling. Prices softening already and only sharply discounted properties moving. Family and friends I have been telling to hang on and let rent cover payments for at least five more years, which they can do fortunately…no point selling at a loss. But many ppl want or need the “cash” now. Five years of reno’s, renters…and ending up in the negative after transaction costs. Not even having a good time with my told-ya-so’s. So much glut and lack of interest in buying, but this time no more “yeah but it will turn around”…more a sense that “this time it is different” and not in the good sense. True stories from the front lines. CRAZY how much talk there is of RE – everyone is getting in or mostly out…thought it was just fucked up Vancouver’s only conversation point…but, nope, seems everyone else has bought into it across BC.”
- ArthurFonzarelli at VCI 6 Jul 2012 11:55am
“I have a friend that just bought a tear down in Oak Bay last month and is reno’ing it to the tune of 200k. He was bragging his ass off on Facebook like he’d finally achieved membership in some exclusive club. His wife works for the government and he dabbles in a bunch of different things, but they’re by no means wealthy.
He’s going to be f’d to high heaven in a couple of years…..and the club isn’t going to be very exclusive at that point.”
- Anonymous at VCI 6 Jul 2012 2:04pm
“Came back from Victoria last weekend visiting the parents in the Fairfield area (near Gonzales Bay). Could not get over how many homes were on the market. This has not been a neighbourhood that has had an overly high turnover of ownership (even the parents noticed as they don’t drive but walk everywhere). Many of them were also waterfront properties. Drove through the Uplands bit – LOTS of homes on the water side for sale – presumably in the millions+ category. Can’t imagine who will be snatching all these homes up.
Walked through the Bay Center(?) mall downtown in the middle of the afternoon – it wasn’t anywhere close to being busy. Actually, now that I think back, there really wasn’t one shop I went into where I had to wait in line to pay or would be considered busy. How do people make any money in Victoria? There’s nothing there but small businesses that close at 6pm. Yet the average home in Fairfield area is around $700-$900K. Truly mind boggling.”
- unimpressed at VCI 6 Jul 2012 at 3:01pm
Whistler Hilton Blowout Sale – Looks like some American from New Jersey has defaulted and foreclosed on something like 40 units at the Hilton in Whistler.
“Anyone know what’s going on with all the HSBC foreclosure sales at the Hilton in Whistler? Looks like some American from New Jersey has defaulted and foreclosed on something like 40 units. Ouch. They are blowing them out however so you’re seeing the Whistler stats spike a bit on volume.”
- ZRH2YVR at VCI 8 Jul 2012 11:06am
“Are you a landowner in Pitt Meadows?” – “No, a happy renter while the market collapses.” – [Laughing] “That won’t happen!”
“I was just walking into the IGA in Pitt Meadows, where the front page news is property taxes squeezing pensioners and fixed incomes.
There out front of the store stood an older gentleman beside a table, with signage relating to the hot topic and asked me if I was a landowner in Pitt Meadows, I blurted out without a thought “No, a happy renter while the market collapses, which will sort the tax issue at hand.” The man burst out laughing and proclaimed “That won’t happen!”.
May I note that adjacent to this IGA are the foundations for a 388 unit condo building. They’ve got the posts up for the signage to face Lougheed, but the marketing placards aren’t up yet. At the same time, behind the IGA, there is a rezoning app for a 97 unit residential mixed use, all within arms length of 4 other condo/townhouse developments that appear to be certainly under six to eight years old.”
- from Aldus Huxtable, via e-mail to vreaa, 8 Jul 2012
Forests and Trees – “They discussed the relative merits of the other houses for sale in the area. Lot size differences, backyard exposure, etc. I realized that everyone is blind to this bubble because they are obsessed with minutiae.”
“A friend from Toronto is in town, we met up with her at her brother’s house yesterday. They live in a BC box in North Burnaby. I went prepared not to talk real estate because the house is for sale. They are asking $820k, the ad on MLS describes it as a “great starter home”. Which it is, but with the price tag of a mansion. The realtor is my friend’s other brother. So you can see why I kept my mouth shut. Even without my prodding, talk turned to real estate. They are expecting a third child and want to move up to a bigger place. The wife figures they listed two weeks too late (they listed in April). The husband make a comment about his realtor not being able to sell the place (a good hearted dig at his brother). Then they set about discussing the relative merits of the other houses for sale in the area. Lot size differences, western backyard exposure vs eastern, etc. I realized for the first time why everyone is blind to this bubble, they are obsessed with minutiae. I have never before seen a more accurate manifestation of the rearranging deck chairs on the titanic analogy. These folks believe it will just take time to get their price and they are prepared to live in the current house with another kid for awhile. I hope this doesn’t cause a rift in the family as the coming debacle won’t really be the brother-realtor’s fault. And these guys should have a ton of equity and if all they really want is a bigger place, then selling and re-buying should work out regardless of what point they do it. They are probably too deep in to real estate mythology to do the really smart thing which is to drop their price, sell fast and rent for a few years. But I’ve come to realize, that’s asking just to much from the Vancouver home owner with small children.”
- Lexlimo at VREAA 8 Jul 2012 9:46am
“Last week I talked to a couple I was acquainted with about the current market hazard. They kept obsessing about their lot size compared to the neighbors, how it had different zoning, why it had value because it was hand-hewn blah, blah…….and I am looking at them chase their tails on a discussion of irrelevance ahd shake my head in wonder. They had just finished telling me they bought the place (on the bald flat prairies) just 10 years back for 40k and now it could easily fetch 220k and I am thinking that these stunned monkeys really don’t get it at all. They know it went up in price inexplicably but just cannot seem to fathom it falling back to what it was…….the madness of crowds.”
- Farmer at VREAA 8 Jul 2012 at 10:05am
Despite the departure of anchor tenants such as HMV and Starbucks, Robson Street — the second-most-expensive retail street in Canada after Toronto’s Bloor Street — is far from dead, according to local retail experts.
The street is a vibrant area going through a time of transition and speculation, with landlords wanting to get top dollar, but retailers hesitant to pay high rental rates, said David Ian Gray, retail consultant with the firm DIG360.
“It’s an interesting time. Robson is in this state of flux,” Gray said. “But when you see the J Crews, the CB2s and the Forever 21s coming in, it’s not a dead street.”
However, a new report by Colliers International found the price of rent on Robson fell by 25-per-cent year over year on leases signed during the nine months ending March 31, but the decline is not an indication the street is losing its cachet, according to James Smerdon, Colliers’ director of retail and strategic planning in Vancouver.
Monthly retail rents for new lease deals on Robson averaged $150 per square foot — a bargain price for international retailers, who pay an average of $2,250 per square foot on New York’s Fifth Avenue, which tops Colliers’ global list.
The drop in rent on Robson is a result of a few large stores opening in mid-block locations on the upscale street, rather than on the corner, where rents are typically higher, Smerdon said.
“This isn’t an average rate, it’s a survey of recent and notable transactions,” he said.
According to the Colliers’ survey, new leases were most expensive on Toronto’s Bloor Street, where rents averaged about $310 per square foot, followed by Robson Street, Alberni Street, and Montreal’s Rue de la Montagne, where new lease rates averaged $80 per square foot.
- from ‘Don’t write the obit for Robson St. just yet’, Tracy Sherlock, Vancouver Sun 10 July 2012 [Hat-tip Joe_Blown_Away_By_High_Housing_Costs]
Average or not, it seems Robson is available at $150/sqft.
Vancouver’s Robson $150, Toronto’s Bloor $300, NYC’s Fifth Avenue $2,250.
Perhaps accurately reflecting the relative economic and cultural importance of these centres?