Market Toppy? Top? Topped? – “The listing price is now $3 million and they have not had a single offer.”

“If anyone is telling you that downtown Vancouver is hot as far as real estate is concerned, they’re blowing smoke.” – ‘Is the Vancouver Condo Market Starting to Soften?’, local realtor Ian Watts,, 21 July 2011.

“My brother, who bought on the west side in 1987 for just under $500K, sold in April for over $3.5 million. After seeing that sale, my sister and her husband listed their very similar – but actually newer and bigger- house located just a few blocks away. Their house has been on the market since early June. The listing price is now $3 million and they have not had a single offer.”‘don’t wait’ at VREAA 1 Aug 2011 7:21am

“In the building where my wife and I are renting (Lower Lonsdale – North Van) a 2 bed condo was for sale for few months for a whopping $629,000. Crazy price compared to GTA where we moved from. Today, they had open house and a new price of $609,000. A $20,000 price drop. Another $300,000 or so and it will be worth it. It’s slowly starting to happen.”Dclipse at 31 July 2011 10:45pm

National RE commentator Garth Turner calls Vancouver market top: “Well, in case you missed the news, Vancouver real estate’s officially topped, and has begun the greasy slide back to that dark, sad place we call ‘the mean.’ Post-riot Chinese money is ebbing, locals are emasculated by debt, the BC economy’s stalled and there simply are not enough idiots left to put down two million for a stucco-over-wood eyesore on a ‘premium flat’ lot the rest of the country would find suitable for an unscheduled whiz” [hahaha; genuinely very funny. -ed.],, 31 July 2011

Realtor Larry Yatkowsky stops posting sales numbers, citing as a reason that ‘return on investment’ for that activity is too low for him. [21 July 2011] [This is not an act of ebullience. Has the market already turned? -ed.]

Realtor Will Wertheim (‘Agent Will’), source of weekly stats and bullish Vancouver RE opinions, declares he is leaving town, reasons unstated. [Not necessarily a ‘top-o-the-market’ event. Perhaps Will is leaving for reasons completely unrelated to the RE market. We’ve appreciated his stats posts, and we wish him well. Most realtors will be folding their tents well into the plunge; the last who is destined to leave will do so near the bottom.  -ed.]

“Listings at UBC reached 200 !!!
In 2008-2009, I never saw them above 140.” [More building since then but, still, 200 seems a lot. -ed.]
painted turtle at 1 Aug 2011 5:20pm

“This morning I woke up before my alarm in a bit of a panic attack. After having my house on the market for about a week and a half, and lots of interest over the and even an offer of $70k below asking (which we politely refused), and yesterday with complete silence, I’m wondering if the interest was just curiosity about a new property on the market, and that’s it, I’m too late. Like the guy on the ship who’s just figured out it’s sinking, and the seaman says, “oh sorry, the last lifeboat just left”.Jim, as relayed by Garth, at 1 Aug 2011. Jim is selling in a suburb of Vancouver, has listed at $700K but laughs (anxiously, we presume) when asked if he would pay that for his own house.

“The horror… the horror…”

17 responses to “Market Toppy? Top? Topped? – “The listing price is now $3 million and they have not had a single offer.”

  1. Froogle Scott

    Good one. It’s nice to have a laugh before trudging off to work. Watt does look a bit Kurtz-like, doesn’t he? Lacks a bit of Brando’s bulk, but he could still serve as a reasonable fill-in should Vancouver soon enter its own heart of darkness.

  2. pricedoutfornow

    Personally, I think the market has topped. However, as with the US, I expect it to be a long, boring wait until prices actually start dropping by any significant amount. I remember visiting Ben Jones’ housing bubble blog for months while prices had supposedly “stabilized”-no price drops, but lots on the market. I stopped visiting his blog, it was just too boring. Then one day I went back and couldn’t believe how things had changed-all the headlines were about huge price drops, foreclosures etc. I expect a similar pattern here. Patience.

    • Actually it’s different here.

      Mainly: When the US started tanking it was the reason why the rest of the economy followed. In THIS scenario though the tank is already empty and there won’t be a lot of buffer between the stabilization and the start of the slide.

      All the other economic indicators are pointing towards red as well, the shipping index took a dive so did demand for petrolium products, the drop in US GDP is also a really really bad sign.

      The “budget compromise” in the US they are voting on today will also have a ripple effect as it will essentially end the stimulus in the US and thus erode demand even more.

      Also yesterday came the news that American Consumer Spending has been dropping in June and I would bet July as well. Partially probably because of the fear over the debt ceiling, but I also think that to a large part people just aren’t very positive about the outlook. If your economy relies to 75% on consumer spending, that’s bad news.

    • Agree with pricedout.
      RE prices are sticky on the way down.
      Sellers staring at other sellers.

      May be one or two patches where we get plunges within the overall march down, though:
      1. the first drop away from the top zone;
      2. the loss of support at 2009 lows.
      Otherwise, steady grind; patience, as you say.

      • I’m in WA DC on a buisness trip & told a friend about the Canadian housing market. He started to laugh when I told him that many people are convinced that Flaherty can keep rates low indefinitely. He didn’t believe me — that people buy at 2.9% interest without a real analysis of what they will do if rates raise to 4 or 5 or 6%. His exact words were, “can’t people figure out how to use one of those mortgage calculators on the computer?”

        (It’s a lot more common to lock rates in for a 30 year mortgage in the US. One of the major causes of the housing collapse in the US were teaser rates. Adjustable interest rates went up = housing market in the U.S. went smash.)

  3. 4SlicesofCheese

    There is a mortgage company down the block from my office in Yaletown called The Mortgage Center Mortgage Evolution.

    They advertise on their signage First time homebuyers, New Immigrants, Self Employed, Non-verifiable Income.
    They just dropped their variable from 2.25 to 2.10 this morning.

  4. So, “Agentwill” on twitter said he’ll be changing careers and heading back to Toronto. I met him once (a friend actually used him to buy his house) and I am thinking he’s seen the writing on the wall and decided to exit before the rush starts.

  5. Wow.

    Just back from five days of ‘painstaking’ micro research/’field work’ in the ‘Heart of Darkness’ (with – perhaps – a little time out ‘Flouting the Law & Cheating Death’).

    And… Yes. It’s over.

    Amazing anecdotals (regrettably, which I cannot share here/now).

    Notwithstanding that technical analysis is a VooDooArt that ‘Nemesis’ does not subscribe to… for those of you who do enjoy those pretty graphs – a prediction… YVR RE will waterfall/cascade… and it may well be precipitious.

    But what do I know? ‘Nothing’. I’m just a qualitative dude who puts more stock in anecdotals than fourier transforms.

    • Life usually imitates art..
      It will be as precipitous as the fall of Canucks after Game 3…

    • What are you reading these days Nemesis? the UN papers you linked to were pretty nice. Being in the IT world I am working with many of the largest companies in the USA and Canada. I have have the pleasure of visiting many corporate software development centers every year and the impact of globalization is quite amazing. Analyzed from a technical perspective there is a good case for globalization. Analyzed more from an anecdotal perspective the effects of globalization without the free movement of people across borders are horrific unless you already own a private jet or a big Yacht! I can’t help but think that globalization as practiced today is a giant fallacy of composition.

      • nem sent me a trio of great books a while back but the best was “death of the liberal class” by chris hedges

        i know you didn’t ask me, but “treasure islands – tax havens and the men who stole the world” by nicholas shaxson is a great read – relevant to our interests.

      • Modelski forgot a ‘layer’ in his famous ‘cake model’, ams – although, to be fair to him, it hadn’t ‘properly’/obviously emerged at the time he formulated his thesis… Transnational Capital (and attendant elites including “technocratic”). It salutes no flag, honours no sovereign is beholden to no polity/people and, in functional terms, is a ‘closed’ epistemic community. I just call ‘it’/’them’, “TheMoney”… and in practical terms, TheMoney makes its own rules [e.g. from TheMoney’s amoral/capricious perspective ‘we’ are all just ‘inputs’ subject to arbitrage – and that includes nations/hemispheres].

        Here are two recommendations for your ‘light’ summer reading list (albeit, the second won’t be published until September), ams… (warning, good scholarship, but SERIOUSLY depressing).

        Dark Ages America – Morris Berman

        Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics – Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

  6. The comment section of Watt’s video is also funny.

    One Realtor commented: “U f idiot why spreading – news which will hurt our business.I will complain to Real Estate board ”.

    to which another one replied: “Ummm yeah sure get mad at the guy for telling the truth. I guess he should just say that the market has never been better!!! You better buy now or be priced out forever…lol. The most important thing about sales is creditability you you fgah clearly do not have.”

    lol… I bet it’ll start to be very fun to watch the crash for all the bears out there very soon…

  7. I sure hope it’s over….

    It’s not because I want to buy RE anytime soon … because I actually enjoy the freedom of renting at this point …. and have been able to put away a good deal of money waiting for the tides to turn.

    It’s just that …. I am so freaking tired of all these RE pushers around me … sorry, it was a particularly bad day ….. they were everywhere!

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