Category Archives: 01. He Said, She Said

Accounts of civil dialogue, overheard tid-bits, and heated exchanges about Vancouver Real Estate

“I have been contacted by two of my realtor friends in the past week both proclaiming that the market is turning and that this is a good time to buy.”

“I have been contacted by two of my realtor friends in the past week both proclaiming that the market is turning and that this is a good time to buy. One of them even mentioned that interest rates will be rising this Friday. When they tell me this I argue that they should look at the ten year average. Sales are still around 20% lower than the ten year average and this is with major banks advertising mortgate rates under 3%. If you compare stats between spring 2012 and 2013 it is like comparing chicken manure and cow manure. Yes cow maure is better than chicken manure but it is still manure. One of them had the audacity to say: “You better get in now I bet you five years from now people will say that Spring 2013 was the real estate bottom.” Hearing this I had to refrain myself and asked him to google “Asset bubble graph”. Where we are now is called the “Return to ‘normal’ phase aka “bull trap”; and guess what comes after next? As a matter of fact the Vancouver real estate market is following the graph quite closely. Never bet against human nature. I may be wrong but I highly doubt it. I think we will know for sure by this time next year. Unlike most bulls I know, I am putting my money where my mouth is. I am not buying now even though I have a down payment ready and could afford the mortgage without straining myself. In terms of real estate it will be an interesting rest of the year.”
- Waiting to exhale at VCI 7 June 2013

“I explained that if the present rate of price appreciation continued that same house would be worth $92 million in 2051. He astounded me by responding, yes of course. That’s why he was buying a second house.”

“My idiot neighbour.
In his mind “real estate ALWAYS goes up”. When I tried to explain to him that Vancouver was in an unsustainable bubble situation and he said I was crazy. The example I used was a westside special that I know was purchased in 1969 for $38,900 and sold in 2010 for $1.89mm.
I explained that if the present rate of price appreciation continued that same house or 50×120 piece of dirt would be worth $91,800,000 (that is Ninety One Million Eight Hundred Thousand dollars) in 2051 and asked him if he thought that would be the case.
He astounded me by not even blinking and responding, yes of course. That’s why he was buying a second house. At that point I made the decision to leave Canada.”

- Bob at greaterfool.ca 12 Mar 2013 9:25pm

“I have continuing conversations with a friend who spent just under 1 million for an East Van home…”

“I have continuing conversations with a friend who spent just under 1 million for an East Van home.
6 months ago he thought prices would never come down for detached homes in Vancouver.
3 months ago he admitted that West side home had come down but not on the east side. After all, the west side was overvalued compared to the east.
This month he talked about re-financing their mortgage so they could take on more debt and do more renovations on their home.
sigh.”

- b5baxter at VREAA 12 Mar 2013 10:28am

‘Vancouver Is Awesome’ “Community-Based Social-Venture” Blog Actually A Stealth Paid Promoter Of Olympic Village

vancouver2010olympics
Above from a 12 Feb 2013 post on the ‘Vancouver Is Awesome’ site

“Marketers of the in-receivership Olympic Village are paying the editor of well-known local culture webzine VancouverIsAwesome.com to blog about the joys of life in the village – but it does not say on the website that he is being paid to do so.
Rennie Marketing Systems awarded the deal after receiving a single pitch from VancouverIsAwesome.com editor Bob Kronbauer, who says feels like he won a contest to be paid to flog the Village in False Creek – much like the public contests held by Vancouver International Airport and Tourism Richmond to find paid bloggers to promote them.
“I was visiting the Village a lot as a resident of Mount Pleasant before we moved in and fell in love with it and wanted to share the stories of all the positive things that make it great,” Kronbauer said.
“Beyond the budget and all this stuff I really have no idea about as an average citizen, (I wanted) to sort of expose stories about what it’s like to actually live there.”
Kronbauer lives in a market rental unit at the $1.1 billion complex, marketed by Rennie Marketing Systems, but declined to disclose his rental rate. He began a $2,475 per-month, six-month contract in May 2012 that was renewed in November. The year-long gig is worth a total $29,700.
“Beyond this, beyond my contract to promote the Village, we’ll be staying there in our suite because we love it so much, that was the intention to move there,” Kronbauer said.”

- from ‘Life in the Village pays off for local webzine editor’, Bob Mackin, Business in Vancouver, 14 Feb 2013

Elsewhere in the same BIV edition, Glen Korstrom suggests this is part of a broader trend of media manipulation by the real estate industry:
“Such tactics seem to be part of a trend of real-estate marketers manipulating media perception to sell condos.
Business in Vancouver has learned that VancouverIsAwesome.com editor Bob Kronbauer is being paid by the in-receivership Village on False Creek, formerly the Olympic Village, to promote life in the village – even though nowhere on his website does it make it clear that he is being paid to do so.”

“Vancouver Is Awesome, and we are dedicated to everything that makes it that way.
A community-based social venture sharing positive stories of arts, culture, lifestyle, and everything awesome about Vancouver. No bad news.
If you want to read ugly, bad news about this beautiful city of ours, you’re going to have to look to traditional media and other blogs; V.I.A. promotes everything that makes our city awesome, from old to new and everything inbetween. We’re like the human interest piece on the news… only different.”

- vancouverisawesome.com

We’ve previously tried reading the V.I.A. blog, but each time we break out in a terrible rash and can’t continue.
Advertising is irritating enough when it’s clearly advertising; when it’s in a stealth ‘product-placement’ form, far more so. And the ‘trend’ of media manipulation by the Vancouver RE industry is something that has been going on for years, it’s only coming to light now because the current state of the market makes people ‘ripe’ for the realization.
For the record, we ourselves aren’t paid anything, by anybody, for anything we archive, post, or say on this blog; it’s a labour of love and morbid fascination. We actually pay a small fee to wordpress each year to keep ads off the blog.
When news is “bad”, we call it “bad”; when something is “ugly”, we call it “ugly”; and that’s precisely how the RE market here looks to us right now – ugly.
A grand spectacle is playing out in our town, and we’re keeping notes.
- vreaa

If you are interested in developing your own ideas about the truth of the Vancouver RE market, and whether it is ugly or otherwise, read as broadly as you can about the market. If you don’t already do so, make sure you also consider the opinions expressed in posts and discussion on the following sites:
Vancouver Condo Info
Whispers From The Village On The Edge Of The Rain Forest
Vancouver Price Drop
Vancouver RE And Then Some
Housing Analysis
The Economic Analyst
and, of course,
Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive

“I was talking to a retired teacher today in Vancouver who owns a leaky condo. She says “You wait till spring arrives prices are going up”.

“I was talking to a retired female teacher today in Vancouver who owns a leaky condo. She says “you wait till spring arrives prices are going up”. She thinks Van will not see any further declines. I asked her where she gets her info from, she said, “experience”. It would seem she doesn’t realize we are in a different world than the one we experienced during the last boom and bust at least as far as I understand.”
- AprilNewwest at greaterfool.ca 20 Jan 2013 6:25pm

“Person two said that the apparent downturn in sales and values in Vancouver is largely illusionary because it is only real estate at the top end of the spectrum that has slowed, which is artificially skewing the statistics in the mid-range.”

“Last night I was listening to the following discussion about the Vancouver housing market. It went basically like this. Person one said that real estate is coming down in Vancouver. Person two said that the apparent downturn in sales and values in Vancouver is largely illusionary because it is only real estate at the top end of the spectrum that has slowed, which is artificially skewing the statistics in the mid-range, and that homes in the midrange and below are still selling well and have not slowed. Is this accurate? Personally, I was going to say that he was not correct but I did not have the exact statistics to back up my claim. Where are the statistics on each market price segment?”
- Mark W at greaterfool.ca on 18 Jan 2013 at 10:25 pm

Not so long ago we heard the reverse argument: that the high end market was special, and resilient to price drops.
Each sector of the market, whether categorized by price range or by geographical area, may take different price trajectories peak to trough. Condos or SFH, Richmond or West Vancouver, Central or Peripheral – price paths will have different shapes.
Regardless, in the end, each sector will have lost very similar large percentages. No subgroup will be spared.
We continue to anticipate 50%-66% drops in real prices peak to trough, across all property types.
- vreaa

“At a BBQ at the inlaws’ place back in May, they and all their suburban friends were patting each other on the back about how awesome it was to own property that kept going up and up and up.”

“I just recently found out my inlaws are planning on selling their house in Surrey. In April, a near-identical place across the street sold for $520K. Another near-identical (neighborhood/cul-de-sac built by the same builder in the 70s) went on the market late June (just before OSFI and Flaherty brought in the new mortgage rules), sold last month for $450K.
Back in May, was at a family BBQ at inlaws’ place, they and all their suburban friends were patting each other on the back about how awesome it was to own property that kept going up and up and up. I said (because I’d had a few drinks, won’t do this again…) “Yeah, money’s never been cheaper in Canadian history and real estate’s never been more expensive but yet people still think real estate is still going up.”
It was like I’d said “pull my finger” then farted like a trombone solo. Dead silence, imagine a pin dropping in slow motion.
I’ve been half-assed trying to tell my wife’s parents that they should think about cashing out, y’know, on the house they bought in 1979 for $25K, since at least 2010. Oh, god forbid that anyone who isn’t a homeowner AND is under 40 could possibly know anything about financial planning.
Let me just say it’s gonna take a lot of willpower to not say “I told you so” as their house languishes on the market through to 2014 because “It’s worth more than $450K”, but hey, keeping my mouth shut is cheaper than a divorce lawyer. :->”

- EinsatzgruppenVancouver at VREAA 2 Dec 2012 12:32am

The loneliness of the RE bear.
Wrong and ignored on the way up; vilified and ignored on the way down.
Only masochists need apply; and only those who value truth over social ease.
BTW, that property has already dropped more than 13% in market value.
- vreaa