zzz at vancouvercondo.info March 9th, 2011 at 5:09 am– [in response to a comment “wow, renters must be sitting on a giant pile of money waiting to swoop in and cash in”]
“Given up on that. Age 31, married with two kids under 3. Family finances coming under pressure. Expenses rising steadily, no wage improvement, job change imminent. We could be moving. Savings are a huge buffer but they’re losing value. We’re changing our plan and switching to active investment. Long term investment returns are priority #1, careers are #2, and Canadian real estate is off the radar.
Renting something acceptable is less than 30% of the cost of buying somebody’s fucked up reno here in the Fraser Valley. Buying my current rental with cash would yield under 4%, a poor return for an asset that depreciates. Like it or not, houses are an investment and at these prices they are a poor one. They are also illiquid and the risk is extreme given our obscene levels of mortgage debt and leverage.
No real problems here, but maximum uncertainty. It really shouldn’t be this way, but people here are just house crazy. I’ve got a relative with multiple properties holding out for a return to peak prices in the interior, others nearing retirement and 500k in debt, and a young family with 3 properties. They paid off their residence and then bought two in a year.
So yeah, the market is hot. Buy and hold People are playing monopoly with free debt. Thanks BoC!”
A couple of thoughts:
1. Note how distracting the current environment is to this young couple:
(a) they may move because of the housing market,
(b) they see ‘long term investment returns’ as higher priority than their careers. (It is likely that the ‘fast-and-loose’ milieu, with individuals around them making unnatural gains in the RE markets, is persuading them they have to take on more risk elsewhere.)
This bodes poorly for our community. We would be far better off if couples in this position were happy with affordable accommodation, and if they could concentrate on using their skills and talents to add to their own wealth by being useful in our society. Misallocation of resources, times two.
2. This is, in our humble opinion, a very poor time for a part-time investor to be shifting to ‘active investment’ (unless ‘zzz’ means considering short positions, which would not be a common idea at this juncture). A two year equity bull is about to turn: it is now sucking in the retail investor during a distribution phase. After retail investors took a record amount out of funds in 2010, a record amount of retail money is coming back in 2011 Q1, just in time for the smart money to sell to the man in the street. The little guy is about to get screwed, AGAIN. This could result in a double (and particularly devastating) blow for ‘zzz’ and their family; we would respectfully urge caution (which is the opposite of the urge they are experiencing, namely, to take on more risk for the promise of higher returns).-vreaa