Linguistic Contortions From The Vancouver RE Bubble – “Unsexy” Markets and Other Dissemblage

communication

“Perhaps there’s an additional category you could consider for anecdotes — something like “Spokesperson Spin”, or “Bubble Euphemisms”. The linguistic contortions we’ve been subject to over the months and years have been quite something. And after all, language is the primary tool that the RE industry, the banks, etc, have been using to promote their version of things. “Unsexy” and Doug Porter’s “bumpier” are obvious euphemisms. Referring to Yaletown as a “borough” is obvious spin. Regarding your question of how a ‘Discretionary Seller’ might or should feel about these types of pronouncements in the MSM, I’d say the greater the linguistic dissembling, the greater the urgency to believe the exact opposite and act accordingly.”
Froogle Scott at VREAA 21 Dec 2012 9:02am

“bubblespeak”
bubbly at VREAA 21 Dec 2012 9:25am

“bubblexicon”
– [I seriously thought I’d thought of this, but it gets 6 hits on Google. 7 now. -ed., 3 Mar 2013]

Great idea, Froogle Scott.
Let’s collect examples here, we’ll reference this post by sidebar graphic, and by the new category ’29. Bubblespeak’.
Please submit examples by commenting below or via e-mail.
Anybody finding examples in prior anecdote posts, please bring to our attention.
Some words and phrases we may have to debate. Does ‘Vanhattan’ count?
Let’s begin:

“Anecdotal” – [dismissive label for any specific story that suggests market weakness]

“Balanced Market” – [euphemism for weak market; falling sales, falling prices]
related: “Balanced territory”, “balancing effect”

“Balloon” – [euphemism for speculative mania; idea that market can deflate in a controlled fashion; see also ‘soft landing’]
“In our view, the national housing market is more like a balloon than a bubble. While bubbles always burst, a balloon often deflates slowly in the absence of a pin.” – Sherry Cooper, BMO economist, 31 Jan 2012

“Basement Dweller” – [derogatory term for one too sensible to buy into a speculative bubble]

“Best Place On Earth” – [extreme version of “it’s different here”]
related: “World Class”; “Everybody wants to live here”

“Bidding Wars” – [buyers fighting to the death; winner loses]

“Breaking Through In Thought Leadership” – [over-reaching optimism, with a twist of Orwell]
“This is a game-changer for Vancouver. We’re known as a world-class tourism destination but this shows we’re breaking through in thought leadership. I’d like to explore how we can best leverage the opportunity to vault Vancouver into the spotlight and endear us to the leading thinkers who come here.” – Mayor Gregor Robertson, commenting on Vancouver buying the TED conference, March 2013

“Bridges” as in “It’s all about the bridges!” – [method of suggesting RE supply limitations]
see also: “Running out of land”

“Bubble Fatigue” – The process whereby a person who has concerns about the market being overheated gets tired of those concerns, and is thus freed up to buy. Coined by economist Benjamin Tal, March 2013

“Bubble Hyperbole” – [term used to refer to any bearish argument, and thus off-handishly disregard it, without addressing any of the fundamental bearish facts]

“Building Equity” – [euphemism for buying into a very overpriced market]

Bumpier” landing – [euphemism for ‘hard’]
“I don’t know that I’d call it a hard landing in Vancouver, but it’s definitely a bumpier landing than most cities in Canada are going through right now.” – Doug Porter, BMO economist, 18 Dec 2012

“Buyers’ Market” – [term used to describe anything other than a red-hot, double-digit-gain-per-annum market; any market where buyers don’t have to physically fight with other buyers to submit a bid]
“The BMO report described Vancouver.. as a buyers’ market — where supply markedly outstrips demand and dampens asking prices.” – ‘Vancouver a buyer’s market as home sales, prices fall’, The Province, 16 Nov 2012
[To clarify: A true ‘Buyer’s market’ emerges when a buyer gets good, or at the very least reasonable, value for his or her money.]

“Buy Now Or Be Priced Out Forever” – [term used to instil urgency in prospective buyers; argument for two classes of citizens]
related: “Priced out forever”; “Wealth train”

“Catching Its Breath” – [euphemism for market weakness]
“The market is catching its breath” – Grant McDonald, deputy assessor for Sea to Sky region, G&M, 2 Jan 2013

“Cautiously Optimistic” – [CYA statement; usually used along with arguments that are all optimism and no caution]

“Collective Hesitation”
– Eugen Klein, REBGV president, describing buyer activity as sales volume plummets, Dec 2012

“Confusing” as in “too much inventory is confusing for buyers” – [in the guise of trying to be helpful to buyers, a suggestion that attempts should be made to manage the market]
“..their agent should discuss their motivation to sell and suggest.. cancelling the listing. That would reduce the inventory and be less confusing for the buyers.” – Maggie Chandler, real estate salesperson, 19 Apr 2010

“Constructive Evolution Of Imbalances” – [household debt increasing at a slower rate; the tap on the brakes that presages a housing price crash]
“With a more constructive evolution of imbalances in the household sector, residential investment is expected to decline further from historically high levels.” – Bank of Canada statement, March 2013

“Escape Velocity” – measure of the amount of newly concocted liquidity required to allow Canadian RE to cast off the bounds of gravity and remain afloat; coined by BOC Gov. Mark Carney

“Flat” market – [euphemism for a market that is falling]

“Frothy” – [euphemism for speculative mania]

“Garden Suite” – [euphemism for fecund basement suite]

“Good Debt” – [the idea that some indulgences are less sinful than others; see also venial, mortal and original.]

“Laneway House” – [shed + $250K worth of city permits; synonym for cost/benefit calculation error; method of dysdensification]

“Markets are set by supply and demand” – [tautology; used to rationalize any price level, no matter how high]

“Mild”; “Eased”; “Come off”; “Swoon”; “Soft”; “Tapping the brakes”; “Time to adjust” – [gentle, calming words; balms, salves, reassurances; euphemisms for price drops, weak sales, failing markets]

“Mortgage Helper” – [euphemism for buying a multi-unit dwelling, living in one of the units, taking on a second career as an untrained landlord, and all the time pretending you live in a ‘single family’ home]

“No Free Lunch” – [method of disarming any argument suggesting prices are too high by suggesting that the proponent is wanting preposterously cheap housing]
related: “They aren’t going to buy a home in Vancouver for 50 cents on the dollar” – Cameron Muir, BCREA economist, G&M, 2 Jan 2013 [in this case, subject used ‘free lunch’ technique, but ended up with surprisingly accurate price target]

“Overly exuberant” – [euphemism for anxious, perhaps near panic, selling behaviour]
“Sharp drops were perhaps reflective of overly exuberant and particularly aggressive listings.”
– Grant McDonald, deputy assessor for Sea to Sky region, G&M, 2 Jan 2013
[perversely, this phrase is reminiscent of ‘irrational exuberance’, the phrase famously used by Greenspan to describe speculative behaviour, now turned on its head here to describe selling, with the resultant implication that the selling is irrational]

“Paying your landlord’s mortgage” – [derogatory reference to renting one’s home]

“Premium” – [used to justify any size of price versus fundamental value discrepancy; as in “Vancouver premium”, “Warm weather premium”, “Ownership premium”, etc]

“Priced Below Market” – [paradox; logical impossibility; concept of which is by definition lost on those who use the term]

“Priced Out Forever” – [term used to instil urgency in prospective buyers; argument for two classes of citizens]
related: “Buy now or be priced out forever”; “Wealth train”

“Price Improved” – [means Price Reduced; trying to spin ‘reduced’ into a positive; probably partly aimed to ease seller discomfort]

“Property Ladder” – [mythical object; mathematical impossibility]

“Property Virgins” – [naive first time buyers seduced by lusty RE agents and wicked price growth]

“Prudent Lending” – [cornerstone myth; patriotic hubris]

“Real Estate Impotence” – [derogatory reference to hesitation on the part of a buyer to buy into a spec mania in RE]
“If you suffer from real estate impotence, don’t blame Chinese people. Besides, getting all worked up about it will only make it worse. Have a glass of wine. Relax. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and pick up the phone to call a realtor or a mortgage broker, either of whom will be more than happy to show you how easy it can be to get your real estate groove on.” – Cam Good, local real estate salesman, Vancouver Sun, 21 Apr 2011

“Receding Gains” – [euphemism for price drops; don’t worry, you’re only losing what you won]
“..national average price gains may recede” — Gregory Klump, CREA Chief Economist, G&M, 15 Mar 2011

“Rent is throwing money away” – [derogatory reference to renting one’s home]

Repatriation” of money – [the idea that selling RE and then using the money to buy more RE is ‘repatriation’ of funds. Wholesome, patriotic; even charitable. Giving back.]
“..they’re selling their West-side homes and they’re repatriating that money to other jurisdictions, such as the Olympic Village.” and (later in same piece) “..that money is being repatriated down to help the kids..” – Bob Rennie, local condo marketer, CKNW radio interview, 16 Mar 2012

“Running Out Of Land” – [cornerstone myth]

“Sitting on the fence” – [derogatory term describing non-owners who refuse to buy at overextended prices]

“Soft Landing” – [mythical speculative mania outcome whereby fundamental values of assets steadily catch up with prices; never before achieved human history, despite hundreds of attempts]

“Softened”; “Softening” – [euphemism for describing falling sales volumes and prices]

Sport“, as in “Real Estate is a Sport” – [.. and you’re a stick-in-the-mud, and a wuss, if you don’t play, or, if you take the consequences too seriously.]
“..look, at a certain level, in Vancouver, real estate is a sport.” – Bob Rennie, local condo marketer, CKNW radio interview, 16 Mar 2012
“Real estate is like a sport here.” – Tracie McTavish, president of Rennie Marketing Systems, Businessweek, 24 Jun 2010

“Starter Home” – [substandard property at preposterously high price; phrase used to lure ignorant buyers into future financial death trap]
see also: “Property Ladder”; “Buy Now Or Be Priced Out Forever”

“Strong Fundamentals” – [used to refer to factors that are not fundamentals at all]

“Swiss Bank Account” – [as in “Vancouver real estate is the Swiss bank account of international real estate”.]
“I always say Vancouver is the Swiss bank account of international real estate. It’s a — it’s a funny little quote that I say because sophisticated people, whether they live in Vancouver or they’re international, they — they recognize Vancouver as a safe, long-term place to park some money when it comes to real estate.” – Cameron McNeil, The National, 20 Sep 2012

“Testing the market” – [used to describe actions of seller who doesn’t accept realistic current market price of their home, in the certain hope that they’ll be able to sell for a higher price later]
related: “Why would anybody sell for lower prices?”

“Wait-and-see approach” – [euphemism for not buying]

“Wealth Train” – [as in, “Buy now, you have to get on the wealth train before it leaves the station”.]
“I have been living here for about 15 years now and just seeing prices triple or quadruple in some instances, in that time, and I just thought “Wow, I need to get on this wealth train”. – recent Vancouver homebuyer, on Rex Murphy’s cross-country checkup, CBC Radio, 28 Apr 2010
Related – “Buy now or be priced out forever”; “Priced out forever”.

Unsexy” markets – [an unconscious attempt at delivering a sobering idea in a playful fashion, in the hope that it makes it somehow more palatable]
“We expect the market in Vancouver is going to be unsexy over the next year or so…” – Cameron Muir, BC Real Estate Association economist, 19 Dec 2012

“Vanhattan” – [ludicrous comparisons made between Vancouver and very large metropolitan hubs, such as NYC]
“Vanhattan – Vancouver The Next New York?” – ‘BC Homes Magazine’, Aug/Sep 2011 cover
related examples:
“In Yaletown, one of the boroughs within downtown Vancouver…” – Cameron McNeil, The National, 20 Sep 2012
Renaming neighbourhoods to suggest that Vancouver is like Manhattan: ‘SoMa’ (South Main), ‘East Village’ (Hastings-Sunrise)

“You Are Richer Than You Think” – [Scotiabank slogan (for how long will it remains so?); co-opted verbatim or in spirit by all those sitting on paper profits from Vancouver RE run-up; rationale for HELOCs]

More to follow; please submit examples (or elaborations on above entries)…

120 responses to “Linguistic Contortions From The Vancouver RE Bubble – “Unsexy” Markets and Other Dissemblage

  1. Balanced Market.

  2. I always got a kick out of the guys who come close to admitting we have a problem here in the city but could not quite admit the seriousness of the problem. Instead of just admitting we have a “bubble” they would trivialize by saying we are merely “frothy”.

    What the hell is that anyway? A big fat sud? Ha!

    And while we are at it lets not forget Sherry Cooper saying the market was more like a balloon. Bubbles pop but balloons just hiss hot air ya know!

  3. Bob Rennie’s “transportation, transportation, transportation”
    Sherry Cooper’s “balloon” (not a bubble)
    Cameron Muir’s “flat market” to describe prices that have dropped 5%+

    Sorry, too lazy to find sources (;

  4. I would like to nominate, “Guest Worker”… Which – in the arena of poltical economy – is essentially, conceptually and practically akin to BC RE’s “Guest Owners”….

    “I come home loaded with money, and I don’t have to worry about anything!” – Oscar Reyes, Economic Migrant

    [WaPo] – In search of new guest worker model, U.S. and Mexico both look north

    …”OJOCALIENTE, Mexico — When Oscar Reyes heads north for seasonal work every spring, he no longer pays a smuggler to sneak him through the desert past the U.S. Border Patrol.

    He takes Air Canada.

    Reyes earns $10.25 an hour tending grapes and spraying pesticides at a vineyard in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, working eight months straight, seven days a week.”…

    http://tinyurl.com/ahc83bm

  5. My favorite….”cautiously optimistic” —CMHC

  6. Cyril Tourneur

    “Best Place On Earth”
    Nothing but hubris and pretentiousness, and clearly focus-group-crafted to fully extend the “different here” meme.

  7. Buyers taking a wait-and-see approach

    Markets are set by supply and demand [a personal favourite tautology]

    Demand outstrips supply, supply outstrips demand

    Balanced territory

    Affordability constrained

    And the wholly ironic ‘strong fundamentals’ of job growth and population growth that underpin the market. Nobody has the heart to tell them they aren’t really fundamentals.

  8. My personal favourite is HAM. Before getting interested in bear blogs I had never heard of it before, and I get asked what it means all the time… when I use it in regular speech every other day now that I’m so used to it. Does everyone everywhere use HAM to describe their Asian foreign investors? Or just us? haha. I know it’s an acronym… but is it really when you’re describing your foreign investors as cooked pigs? It’s even borderline racist. A truly complex term.

    • these pretzels are making me thirsty

      And it would be so insulting if I was an Asian person and some one blatantly tried to sell me something overpriced by adding 88888s in it.
      It is like calling someone stupid on their face

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Not different from pricing an item at $9.99, thinking that the buyer is stupid enough to think it’s $9 and not $10.

  9. - “Property ladder”
    – “Swiss bank account of real estate”
    – “Soft landing”
    – “Hard asset”
    – “Buyer’s market”
    – “Building equity”
    – “Renting is throwing money away / why pay someone else’s mortgage?”
    – “Everybody needs a roof over their heads”
    – “Sitting on the sidelines”
    – “Population saturation” (Courtesy of F1. That magic point of urban density after which prices can only go up, because there is just no more space).
    – And much like yvrhousing’s “buyers taking and wait-and-see approach”, here’s the latest from REBGV to describe our flailing market: “Collective hesitation”. You gotta hand it to these guys…

    • “Collective hesitation” — brilliant. REBGV president Eugen Klein. I’m starting to believe that the local RE industry is in fact very consciously sculpting their message. All hands on deck in an effort to calm jittery buyers heading into this crucial Spring market. They must have flipped when they saw the Maclean’s cover.

      Of course they’re sculpting the message. It’s their job. But they’ve taken too many liberties over the past decade, and now they might be second guessing the wisdom of that approach.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        I think we might be starting to see some change of public sentiment in the professional pumper class. One can hardly go to Ottawa begging for relief while publicly saying everything’s fine (if you’re in real estate. For bankers, it’s de rigeur).

    • I believe F1 called it “super saturation”. Still makes me chuckle.

      • haha, yup, that sounds right.

      • UBCghettodweller

        At super saturation the solute begins to precipitate out of solution when a seed crystal is present or the system is otherwise perturbed in some way.

        This may not be a good word choice for the bulls. But then again, their scientific and analytical skills are suspect given their entirely fixed belief system(s) so this is not entirely surprising.

        I can visualize the 20-somethings who bought condos in the city core with 5% down being squeezed out of the windows and walls and on to the streets far below as prices begin to crumble and the precipitation event begins.

      • Woah… just prior to bubble popping is what I would term super saturation. Like @ugd mentions, while it’s super saturated, there is no precipitation, but the introduction of a “seed crystal” will cause sudden precipitation to appear when it was all liquid just a moment ago.

        @vreaa, the RE shills can have their terms, but the bears can have ours as well. I nominate “precipitation”. =) (and possibly “super saturated”)

        e.g. Vancouver and Toronto’s condo market seem super saturated. I wonder when the precipitation shall start?

    • Swiss bank account!

      How true. Holds its value as measured in an arbitrary housing currency I have coined the “Lotus”, which is now being devalued a tad.

    • Another: “Interest rates aren’t going up anytime soon”

  10. Once you start looking for examples of bubblespeak, it’s everywhere. Just look at the examples in this one recent article alone. Not to keep picking on Cameron Muir, but he’s certainly a rich source for this material. But he’s not the only one.

    “B.C. real estate market pauses to ‘catch its breath’,” Brent Jang, The Globe and Mail, 2 Jan 2013

    Grant McDonald, deputy assessor for the Vancouver Sea to Sky region at BC Assessment, said Wednesday that housing markets also softened in parts of the Sunshine Coast, Pemberton and Whistler, with certain assessed values slipping in the range of 2 per cent to 13 per cent.

    “When you crunch the numbers, the majority of homeowners will be within 5 per cent of the prior assessment roll. The market is catching its breath,” Mr. McDonald said. “Sharp drops were perhaps reflective of overly exuberant and particularly aggressive listings. People are being more realistic about what the market actually will bear now.”

    Cameron Muir, chief economist at the B.C. Real Estate Association, said that as house prices eased in 2012, some prospective buyers opted to stay on the sidelines, especially in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

    “While we have seen prices come off in some neighbourhoods, we have also seen a pullback in the number of new listings being added. Many potential home sellers are not putting their homes on the market. That tends to have a balancing effect on the overall marketplace,” Mr. Muir said.

    “Some home buyers are sitting on the fence and I think many of them will come back into the market in 2013 when they realize they aren’t going to buy a home in Vancouver for 50 cents on the dollar,” he said.

    ++++++++++++++++++

    Muir knows he’s in a battle right now, and language is a key weapon. Here he was recently in Real Estate Weekly/REW.ca (14 Dec 2012):

    “Cameron Muir, chief economist with the BCREA said he is confused by the ‘bubble hyperbole’ in much of the media. ‘There are minimal risks ahead,’ he said.”

    So Muir, a master of euphemism, a Roget’s Thesaurus stuffed in his coat pocket, fires back with a charge of “hyperbole”. Doesn’t it make you pine for those long afternoons in high school English class, or lunch hours spent in the Debating Club?

    ++++++++++++++++++

    Here’s another, and it’s not Muir: who can forget “wealth train”?

    • Yikes! WealthTrain! Personally, I vastly prefer SoulTrain… but then what else would you expect from a MotownSouth emigre…

      While I’m not certain that this qualifies as an authentic linquistic contortion, Froogle… it is, nevertheless, an outstanding OldyButGoody… resurrected for your SundayAfternoonReadingPleasure from the G&M’s ‘digital morgue’… Who here recalls, “…too complicated for anyone but a real estate agent to understand.”

      SpoilerAlert: That was Dale Ripplinger – then President of CREA while declining to comment further on RuleChanges purportedly enacted to address the Competition Bureau’s substantive concerns about monopolisitic/anti-competitive practices.

      [G&M] – No Sale! Realtors’ Plan Panned

      …”After saying the vote was intended to satisfy the bureau and demonstrate how open the system is to both consumers and agents, outgoing CREA president Dale Ripplinger refused to answer questions about how the changes would affect his 100,000 members or the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who buy and sell houses each year.

      He said the rules were largely procedural and “too complicated for anyone but a real estate agent to understand” as he walked out on a press conference after the first question was asked.

      The association’s lawyer said any further comment would have to wait until after tribunal proceedings end.”…

      http://tinyurl.com/abnqqns

      [NoteToEd: Perhaps CREA’s counsel demurred as, having duly reflected upon their client’s NewRules, they had concluded that such weighty matters were – truly – far beyond their comprehension; or of anyone whose occupational designation did not merit a gratuitious ” ™ “.]

      • Froogle Scott

        I can already feel that bumpin’ beat kicking up. TSOP by MFSB, anybody? Perhaps I age myself…

        Regarding Dale Ripplinger, some people do have a knack for stepping into it, don’t they? And hasn’t CREA now lost that battle?

        For some reason I was reminded of that West Side denizen who, a number of years ago, opposed running the Canada Line down the Arbutus Corridor because, as she apparently said at a city council meeting, mauling two languages simultaneously, and seriously undermining her own claim, “We are the creme of the creme, we have doctors, lawyers, executives that live here.”

        I guess both stories have a real estate/mental challenge aspect.

  11. Trans-world Bolshevik

    Price Rationing.
    this term has only been disseminated by the insiders in the government, media, and business elite who rule us. The coercive elements in our society that created the bubble in RE.

    The cure for high prices, is high prices.
    This term was also missing, but is the street level description for ‘price rationing’

  12. Real Estate Tsunami

    “Property Virgins”, naive first time buyers seduced by lusty RE agents.

  13. How can we forget these words from sCam Good: “Real estate impotence”. I still want to smash him in the face.

    “If you suffer from real estate impotence, don’t blame Chinese people. Besides, getting all worked up about it will only make it worse. Have a glass of wine. Relax. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and pick up the phone to call a realtor or a mortgage broker, either of whom will be more than happy to show you how easy it can be to get your real estate groove on.”

    • At the ConsiderableRisk of yet further HelicopterCam AgitProp, PeterG… You do realize, don’t you, that in his books – you’re [we’re] just another/more, “Whiner[s] and Complainer[s].”…

      “The challenges I have are with people who just whine and complain.”

      [VancouverCourier] – Chinese ownership helps drive Vancouver’s dysfunctional housing market: B.C. should follow Australia’s lead and target foreign buyers

      http://tinyurl.com/a79l24u

    • I called Good’s irreverent version of the speculative bubble in Vancouver “keeping up with the Wangs”.

    • Yellow Helicopter

      Couldn’t agree more. That piece by Cam made me more rage-y than other thing I have ever read about this insane housing market. And I’m normally a pretty laidback, easy-going person. I may or may not have flung that copy of the Sun across the room into the garbage immediately after reading. ;-)

  14. “Mortgage helper”
    Would love to have someone research the entomology, but somebody somewhere suggested that term may have been born of our very own bubble.

    Hey, everybody, all these suggestions are rich and overwhelming.
    Looks like we need a “Devil’s Dictionary” of Vancouver RE !

    I’ll change the above post to an alphabetical organization, and pop the suggestions up.
    Keep them coming.

    • A funny one was one over at vancouverpeak on Realtor euphemisms. Mortgage helper was one, forget if that was archived. I think a few were copied to RET, else bug The Pope to pull it to the new forum.

    • It’s not often a humble InkStainedWretch can take his MostEsteemed, Venerable, August&IllustriousED to task…. and yet… after one of these….

      “Would love to have someone research the entomology”….

      ‘Nem’ cannot help but wonder whether we’re planning yet another BedBugs Have Infested YVR’s [insert favourite SRO, Library, TriliionDollarPlatinumCoalHarbour Condo, CommunityCentre, {???}]…

      FYI, ED… I do believe you meant this….

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymology

      Thank F**k for this evening’s BargainBordeaux&Bolognese… [BordelloDwellers’s procastinating on the cusp of a large writing endeavour/commision will know what I’m talking about!]….

      [NoteToEd: As remarkable and improbable as it might seem… I once used to hang with some RighteouslyReal ‘BugDoctors’ [think MichaelDouglas’ character in “RomancingTheStone”… call it a mutual love of WingedFlight… vs. rotors… which no proper bug has yet exhibited/evolved. Having said all that, as an officially ‘ExfiltratedEnglishPatient’, I did… once…. BugOut… but that was officially sanctioned, ordered, pensioned and subsequently denied… much like our current housing debacle. N’est-ce pas?]

      [NoteToEd: It was a LifeFullFillingBlast pushing the ThrottlesForward on that old Dakota over the JunglesOfMexico, VFR, UTR, while flinging bottles/butts out the vent windows. NoShit, DR.]

      • Touché !
        Damn iPhone spellchecker, always lets me down! ;)

        Would edit if in original post, but, seeing it’s in a comment, I’ll leave it up.
        Thanks, Nem, for your careful reading.

  15. ‘receding gains’
    ‘anecdotal’

    “House price gains likely to recede,” Steve Ladurantaye, The Globe and Mail, 15 Mar 2011

    “national average price gains may recede” — Gregory Klump, CREA Chief Economist.

    Feeling upside-down, or back-to-front yet?

    I’ve reviewed a few of Helmut Pastrick’s comments (Chief Economist for Central 1 Credit Union), and I must say, while he completely dismisses the possibility of a bubble, he nevertheless seems to does so in a sober, direct fashion. A model of linguistic restraint, which actually gives him greater credibility. (Although Ben Rabidoux, on his blog, did take a run at Pastrick. “Helmut Pastrick and the Twilight Zone,” 11 June 2011.) Pastrick may be wrong, but you don’t get the sense his first impulse is to spin. Or maybe he’s just better at it? A cooler customer. Whatever the truth, others could perhaps pay heed.

    That said, here’s one for you, vreaa. Perhaps ‘anecdotal’ can be added to the list of bull smears, a subcategory of bubblespeak. (And to be fair, there are the bear smears. “Property virgins,” mentioned above, would be one. Garth would probably be a goldmine for bear smears. Sounds a bit unsanitary, doesn’t it?) Here’s Pastrick in answer to a question (NAIOP Industry Leaders Blog, 29 Nov, 2011):

    Q: With that growth in the metropolitan areas over the past few years, do you think it’s established a sort of bubble in regards to real estate?
    A: No I don’t. But it’s a tough question to really nail down — the evidence is sparse and anecdotal.

  16. “Building equity”?

    • Too funny man. You just cannot miss the irony in that one.
      Let’s not forget the classic “basement dwellers” by the way.

  17. “ground orientation unit” for a basement suite.
    Not sure if a realtor really used this language or if it was invented by the thirties grind.

    • Remember reading “garden suite” for basement suite in one MLS “ad”.

      • Yes, and “Laneway House”. Sounds like the Third world to me where you get to enjoy your morning coffee as the garbage trucks roll past. They call them cardboard shack everywhere else.

  18. -Suiteable,- as opposed to suitable, seems to be a Vancouver-centric word.
    When my wife and I first started looking at Vancouver listings on line, (we were moving from Montreal ) we kept seeing references to “suiteable ” housing. My wife concluded that Western realtors couldn’t spell.
    I thought that it was a dialect for ensuite -able, and I realized why housing was so expensive- everybody wanted an outsized bathroom over there!
    After talking to an agent, we realized that Vancouverites don’t actually live in basements, they rent a “suite.”.
    I don’t think the term is used elsewhere in Canada.

  19. “livable”
    Used by a realtor to describe a million dollar teardown.

  20. Real Estate Tsunami

    O.k it’s time to mock Realtor Speak.
    “Hurry, won’t last long”.
    I have not seen this one for a while. I wonder why?

    • theboywhocriedbubble

      On Realtor Speak : I was surveying MLS Richmond not too long ago and came by a listing describing the surrounding neighborhood as ‘effluent’ . Had to snicker a bit.

  21. I thought we already mocked the Realtors on the way up?

    MLS Keyword to Truth Translator: “Close to shopping” (Within 4.5 km of major street), “Cute” (Too small to fit regular furniture), “Investor alert!” (You don’t want to live in this shithole yourself), “Cosy” (For midgets), “Character” (Bring own Hazmat gear), “South Facing” (Front door gets sun; Backyard a perennially moist moss factory), “Completely renovated” (Pay for lots of stuff you don’t like), “Location! Location! Location!” (Brace yourself; Ask price on request only), “Livable” (Unlivable), “Best Value” (Over a million dollars and tiny), “Very Very Nice” (Old, ugly tear down), “Hurry!” (I am drooling. Show me the money!), “Very unique home” (Architectural nightmare), “Great Investment potential!” (Negative cashflow, but real estate always goes up)

  22. Heard way to often to justify why Vancouver prices will go to infinity: “It’s all about the bridges!”

    Traffic actually speeds up over the Port Mann bridge now!

    I guess a forty-car pile up isn’t the least bit surprising given what I’ve seen. As if passing on the right wasn’t bad enough but now they actually weave between lanes to keep their speed above 120 kmph. Ever heard of photo radar Vancouver? Or would this be too much of a HAM tax?

    • That D-Bag Ian Tootill thought it was a great idea to get rid of photo radar… Now he’s trying to get BC to get rid of speed limits.

      • renters rule

        hahaha I went to high school with Tootill (a west van school no longer standing, as it was demolished to build… YES, you guessed it… townhouses!!!). Shocking transformation – he was a pot smoking slacker back in the day!

  23. And the number one reason to buy in Vancouver despite the incredible prices?…..well it is a “premium market” of course. That is realtor-speak for “We don’t know why this bubble is so big but boy is Vancouver a great place to live”.

  24. “Cute as a button” (tiny, ugly, old)

  25. How about the “cool” new neighborhood names that should remind potential buyers that Vancouver is just like Manhattan: SoMa (South Main), East Village (Hastings-Sunrise)

  26. Real Estate Tsunami

    Here’s on more before I go to bed.
    “Nestled in the rolling meadows of Richmond”

  27. Mortgage helper makes me cringe every time. (Same as when a man says “we’re pregnant” )

  28. Thanks for the many excellent suggestions, all.
    Post is being updated accordingly.
    Keep them coming.

  29. Ralph Cramdown

    I like “testing the market” as used to dismissively describe sellers who apparently aren’t “serious” enough to sign back lowball offers or to drop their prices enough enough to get any offers at all.

    And I love “priced below market” in real estate listings’ descriptions.

  30. Oh Lord..now you are really cracking me up!!

    Yes, “priced below market” is a classic. Who believes that crap anyway? As if there is any price other than what the market will pay. It is the stupidest line I have read all year. Who are they really kidding?

    Just for extra fun I have an image of my own version of “spin”.

  31. WOW! Couldn’t believe the Vancouver RE cartel could come up with so many of acronyms unique from those used elsewhere. It’s so different here in Vancouver.

    • I wouldn’t call them a ‘cartel’ so much as a group of individuals each trying to take advantage of economic/market circumstances out of their own individual best interests, and whose interests happened to align for the past decade.
      Once things fall apart, you’ll see the fragmentation of this group.
      Witness already how the realtors and home builders are at the throats of those who determine mortgage rates.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        If it walks like a cartel and quacks like a cartel…..

      • ….more often than not it’s a group of individuals each trying to take advantage of economic/market circumstances out of their own individual best interests, whose interests happen to align such that it is easy to imagine subterfuge and collaboration.
        Remember, most of these guys couldn’t organize that proverbial p!ss-up in that proverbial brewery.
        Sure, sometimes there are illegalities afoot, and unspoken agreements that result in monopoly-like effects (construction costs, anybody?), but more often simply lots of bumblers all simultaneously hustling for a buck and a dime at the same carnival.

  32. “Priced out forever”

  33. theboywhocriedbubble

    “Priced out forever” may have had a bigger effect on the masses than any other of the ‘ism’s’. I know when I first started hearing it my brain would scramble for a few seconds and I would think irrational thoughts about buying something ASAP. Damn this bubble.

    • It’s that emotion that you describe that got buyers to panic, and scramble over one another to commit to overextend themselves into housing at prices that they would, under normal circumstances, have seen as patently absurd.
      Agree re “Damn this bubble”.
      It’s going to end up having affected every citizen, on a spectrum from “significant inconvenience” to “absolute financial devastation”.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      “buy now or be priced out forever” the battle cry of the realtors for the last 10 years.
      And, as with any war, there will be many casualties.

    • When I was searching back in 2010, everyone was telling me to hurry as I would be “priced out forever” if I didn’t buy. Of course, nobody mentioned the fact that I was in the top 0.5% of income earners in this city and the absurdity of the fact that if I was priced out, no one would be able to ever every be “priced in” to buy in this city. One of the banks that I was shopping around for my mortgage offered to loan me 2 million dollars! Me, a naive 30 year old “property virgin”. I don’t understand us laughing at the Americans and their sub-prime mortgages when we have banks here willing to loan a 30 year old kid (me) who was still living with his parents 2 million bucks. You call that conservative?

      • You story is one of the reasons I feel little sympathy for some of our banks. The stupidity of what they have done with so little regard for the consequences to both buyers and the economy is almost without parallel. If one single bank in this country subsequently needs to be bailed out I am really going to blow a fuse.

      • Maybe “Prudent Banker” is a term we can add to the list. When the rest of the world was in the midst of financial Armageddon as a result of self inflicted lending practices and thin capital reserves we heard the heads of foreign Banks and politicians fawning over what a great success Canada was following the Global Financial Crisis. We were held up as a model for others to follow. The Bank of England hired away Mark Carney as an indirect outcome. The prudent banker moniker is almost uniquely Canadian at this time.

  34. “Micro-condo” – a dwelling mice would feel crammed into but those in their early 20’s think makes them urban and hip.

    “Bidding Wars” – extinct in Vancouver and endangered throughout the rest of Canada this was what occured when group of buyers/RE Agents competed for a single property. Please take a look at this link to Sage RE in Toronto that had a complete breakdown of the ‘secrets’ to win a bidding war. My favourites are #3 and #10. http://www.sagerealestate.ca/buyers/articles/insider-secrets-on-bidding-wars/

    “Phantom Bids” – Bidding against yourself in the belief that there are other bidders that you are competing against in a ‘Bidding War’. An example from Toronto: realtor Josie Stern’s clients paid $90,000 over asking for a midtown house priced just shy of $1 million, even though they were the only ones making an offer. Stern and the buyers are miffed because they believed there were two other interested bidders—and chillingly, the Real Estate Council of Ontario says they’ve received a surge of similar complaints about “phantom bids.” Stern eventually got the listing agent and the sellers to accept a mere $45,000 over asking. Now she’s demanding new legislation that will prevent phantom bids by making listing agents provide a roster of all the involved brokers before any bidding begins. It’s already against RECO’s rules to pretend to have bids when you don’t, but only four agents have been disciplined for the practice over the last decade. RECO’s now reviewing whether they should urge legislative changes around the process (the thousands of frustrated buyers would probably say yes). http://www.torontolife.com/daily/informer/to-market-to-market/2012/07/05/phantom-bids-real-estat/

  35. “Micro-condo” – a dwelling mice would feel crammed into but those in their early 20’s think makes them urban and hip.

    “Bidding Wars” – extinct in Vancouver and endangered throughout the rest of Canada this was what occured when group of buyers/RE Agents competed for a single property.

    “Phantom Bids” – Bidding against yourself in the belief that there are other bidders that you are competing against in a ‘Bidding War’. An example from Toronto Life: ‘realtor Josie Stern’s clients paid $90,000 over asking for a midtown house priced just shy of $1 million, even though they were the only ones making an offer. Stern and the buyers are miffed because they believed there were two other interested bidders—and chillingly, the Real Estate Council of Ontario says they’ve received a surge of similar complaints about “phantom bids.” Stern eventually got the listing agent and the sellers to accept a mere $45,000 over asking. Now she’s demanding new legislation that will prevent phantom bids by making listing agents provide a roster of all the involved brokers before any bidding begins. It’s already against RECO’s rules to pretend to have bids when you don’t, but only four agents have been disciplined for the practice over the last decade. RECO’s now reviewing whether they should urge legislative changes around the process (the thousands of frustrated buyers would probably say yes).’

  36. Royce McCutcheon

    “World Class”. Same definition as “Best place on Earth” (i.e. extreme form of “It’s different here”).

    Also – although I can’t think of examples off the top of my head – it feels like there must be more options to add to this list pertaining to the steady but vague threats from vested interests regarding outsiders with bottomless cash reserves that will forever mindlessly buy Vancouver real estate (HAM, black market money, etc.). “Buy now or be priced out forever” fits the bill. There must be more. This sentiment about outside drivers has been the most common justification for prices I have encountered by far and the insecurities some locals have on this topic have been exploited pretty heavily. IMO, things like “888” pricing have not only targeted a specific group of superstitious buyers but also serve to support the myth amongst locals that hordes of such superstitious investors exist.

    Maybe the euphemism/fuzzy term actually is “foreign investors”. I mean, to me that term is always used as a place holder for “rich Chinese people”. Nobody thinks this term applies to rich Israelis, Uzbeks, Venezuelans, do they?

  37. Real Estate Tsunami

    Everybody wants to live here.

    • UBCghettodweller

      And everyone who isn’t already living here is butthurt that they aren’t already a Vancouverite.

      Apparently it’s not possible to be happy living anywhere else in North America.

      • Or the world. I sure won’t be going back to Van anytime soon……perhaps it will be fine once the correction is complete….in about 10 years time.

  38. Real Estate Tsunami

    Michael Levy on CKNW.
    This is not RE related, but he uses the term “positive territory” quite often.
    As in “the Canadian Dollar has moved into positive territory”.
    Implying that a stronger dollar is “positive” for Canada, not withstanding that we are a net exporter.

  39. How about some of the MLS listings particularly the new builds, where it says “separate WOK kitchen” great way to attract the caucasian buyer(if there are any who can afford them!)

  40. “If the worst global crisis since the Great Depression didn’t cause Vancouver RE to crash, what will?”

  41. Althought I saw it on a listing in Calgary, and it may or may not have been used in YVR………the marketing term “carriage house” translates quite literally into “garage attic with bed and bath”.

  42. Vreaa,

    Here is a great example of positive spin on RE, courtesy of WinnipegREALTORS

    Winnipeg home sales hit record $3-billion mark in 2012

    Last year was a good time to own a moving company.
    According to year-end figures released Monday morning by WinnipegREALTORS, Winnipeggers spent a record $3.2 billion buying 13,007 homes in 2012. That marks just the second time the city’s resale home market topped the $3-billion mark in sales in its 109-year history.
    The number of homes sold was down slightly from the 13,065 that changed hands in 2011, but that didn’t bother Shirley Przybyl, outgoing president of WinnipegREALTORS.
    “To finish as well as we did given tighter mortgage regulations and regular national media calls for softer real estate markets, it is testimony to the resiliency of the greater Winnipeg real estate market and our Manitoba economy in general,” she said.
    Sales in December were down slightly from a year ago, 615 compared to 698 [that’s 12% less!!], but they were still five per cent above the 10-year average for December. The dollar volume for the month was $156.2 million, down 14 per cent from $182 million from a year earlier.
    The average amount of time on the market for residential detached homes last year was 28 days, just two days longer than the record pace set in 2011.
    The highest sale price last year, set in December, also set a new record at $2.2 million. At the other end of the spectrum, the lowest price paid for a property was just $8,000.

  43. Has anyone seen the CTV commercial about Vancouver being BPOE…Hillarious!!

    • YES, threw up a bit in my mouth… the corny smugness of it is just brutal…..and the accompanying music PASS ME A TISSUE

  44. you're either for us or against us

    Love IT or List IT

  45. I do still love “peakaboo view” to describe the sad state of the outlook from a condo in a relatively “nice” area, but where you cannot see squat….

  46. Real Estate Tsunami

    100th.
    Sorry, could not resist.

  47. One more for the list (although it is probably protected by copyright) that is perfectly embematic of our local housing bubble…..and one that reeks of irony as the bubble deflates……

    “You Are Richer Than You Think”

    It is pure Canadiana.

  48. Real Estate Tsunami

    Farmer’s “Prudent Banker” or “Prudent lending” get my vote.
    Also, what about “Vacation Home”?

  49. The Poster Formerly Known As Anonymous

    I liked when one of the MSM oulets called it a real estate “swoon” when the sales first began to stall, last spring/summer.

  50. Scamcouver! Alter ego of Vanhatten.

  51. Mortgages are Good Debt

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