Vancouver Sun Editorial Unashamed RE Promo

‘Detached homes can be had for just over $500,000 in Squamish, less than hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver.’ [Sun image and caption]

It is one thing to run obvious RE-promotional articles by industry insiders (Cam Good [Vanc Sun 21 Apr 2011], James Schouw [Vanc Sun 2 Jan 2010]), it is something else entirely to run an editorial encouraging people to overextend themselves into questionable RE purchases in the latter stages of a speculative mania.
‘Editorial: To dream the impossible dream — home ownership’ [Vancouver Sun Editorial, 25 Aug 2011] encourages “median-income earners” to “lower expectations”, to “make compromises” in property choices (smaller properties; different class of property; outside of the city), to use variable rate mortgages, and to amortize their mortgages over 30 years. In short, it encourages them to find a way, almost any way, to buy.
The editorial is dismissive of the recent RBC report showing the extreme lack of affordability in Vancouver: “… depressing numbers may be valuable for studying trends, making predictions and agitating for policy changes, but they are not useful as a buyer’s guide to the market.”
You are persuaded to step up and buy:“The variety of properties available at different price points and flexibility in financing, including variable rate mortgages and extended amortization, along with a bit of luck, can help fulfil the dream of home ownership for agile buyers willing to keep their options open.”
Vulnerable, naive prospective buyers may be influenced by this peppy argument. ‘Be agile, be flexible, be lucky: be a buyer.’ Those who take the Sun’s advice will very likely prove to be in the group of buyers who will be most severely adversely affected by the coming bust. There is not one word in the article about a possible downturn. It reads a lot like the smooth words of a sales promotion, trying somewhat desperately to get the last buyers, the most dodgy quality buyers, to step up and clear product.
We record the fact of this editorial here, as we’re sure we’ll have reason to return to it in 2 or 3 or 4 years time. It is just one example of the role the Sun has played in this mania.

44 responses to “Vancouver Sun Editorial Unashamed RE Promo

  1. the same things have been said in the past seven years…all you have to do is to confirm with VHB or dig out old posts from VCI…keep singing the same song!

    • Yes, that has been the case for more than 5 years.
      And we will “keep singing the same song”, just as long as the lyrics on the sheet music keep reading ‘Bubble, bubble, bubble’.
      What else could we do?
      If the facts change, we’ll change our tune.

    • PS, Fred -> You didn’t write the Sun piece, did you?

  2. Yeah vreaa you know what, messages like yours and VHB’s were brought in in an undemocratic way and were proven wrong. Why just last week a report was released showing that prices went up, not down as your precious book theories of economics claim they would.

    So I voted yes, yes to home ownership, just to spite you and the other false prophets. Never mind I took on a large mortgage and compromised on location and bought a place that “needs work” even though I don’t know the first thing about home renovations. It’s the principle of the matter.

  3. What’s the value proposition of living in Vancouver? I need to know why I have to follow the Sun’s recommendations to live an hour’s commute away from work, the airport and Vancouver’s rich, vibrant cultural landscape.

    • It’s taken as a given that you want to do that.
      You can’t question core cult beliefs; if you do, you’ll be ignored or ostracized.

      Note how the article treats $410K for a condo & $660K for a ‘townhome’ as affordable deals. And $500K for a detached in Squamish is a “bargain”.
      Run those figures by any non-cult members that you know (ie people from elsewhere) and see what they think.

      • CanuckDownUnder

        No kidding, even in Calgary where prices are still 20% too high by historical price/income ratios you can buy a detached property within walking distance of downtown for under $500K. But lower your expectations, you’ll no longer be skiing and swimming on the same day like you do in Vancouver! 🙂

        I just can’t get my head around what prompted them to run this as an editorial. I understand how the op-ed fluff pieces by property pumpers make it into the paper but you would think the editorial board would be smart enough not to pull a stunt like this. Apparently not.

      • G’Day, Bruce!… “editorial board”? …

        How quaint.

        TheEagles said it best, “…they haven’t that spirit here since ’69…” [actually, about ’89-90ish – when TheGangOfSuits usurped ThePresses].

        PS – how is the LittleRiverBand these days, Bruce? – they were EmpireStadium’s SwanSong [& the last time SuperTramp’s PA’s saw these shores].

    • Aldus Huxtable

      Squamish has a KFC/Taco Bell. That should satiate consumer requirements.

      • There’s also Howe Sound Brewing, which is really the only reason why I would ever stop over in Squamish.

      • Squamish has a markedly lower ratio of Jersey Shore wannabes, UFC wannabes, Gangsta wannabes and Real Estate Mogul wannabes – so really, why would one bother living in such a fantastic place?

        i’m sure the feng shui from the chief is fantastic (just don’t tell them that there are 15,000 years of 1st nations burial plots all along the coast. someone should post up some pics (are there any?) of the trees full of corpses from stanley park.

      • Bailing in BC

        Actually, it doesn’t, they closed down.

  4. pricedoutfornow

    Yesterday I had the chance to catch up with a cousin who’s not only left BC (“best place on earth”) but left North America. She couldn’t find a job as a teacher in BC, so left for Europe. She’s been there many years and has married and had a couple of kids. When I told her what was going on in Canada re: housing bubble, CMHC etc, she looked at me, aghast. She and her husband recently bought a 3 bedroom flat in the mid-sized city where they are living, it cost 200,000 euros and even has a garden. They decided to buy because the difference between owning and renting was only about 100 euros a month (in favour of buying, actually.) They don’t own a car and public transit is easily accessible. She said about 50% of people rent, and renters certainly aren’t looked down upon (there is no housing bubble in her country). It wasn’t the price of real estate that really got me thinking about whether this is the “best place on earth”, it was when she told me she only has to pay 170 euros a month for daycare for her young child. When I told her that my sister in law pays $1000 a month for daycare, she said she feels like she certainly made the right decision in leaving Canada. I would have to agree with her. When people can’t even choose to expand their families because 1) it’s hard to find a 3 bedroom place to house 2 plus kids comfortably (renting or owning) and 2) daycare is bloody expensive, how can this possibly be the “best place on earth” when there are clearly better alternatives out there? Perhaps we need to think further afield than Vancouver, BC and perhaps even Canada to find “the best place on earth.”

    • i’ll admit, germany sounds awesome

      but then you have to live with the krauts

      • It is horrible — strict working hours, generous vacation. And now we hear real estate is cheap.

        I think I speak for some when I retort if you love it so much why don’t you marry it? 🙂

      • Jeff Murdock

        By the way, you don’t need to go all the way to Europe to get cheap daycare. I have friends in Montreal who send their kids to public daycare. The cost: $8/day.

      • Jesse!… BeenThere. DoneThat. Anyhow, I think we’re talking Holland, eh? vs. TheFatherLand… either way, not so bad.

        Of course, some Occidentals are, like, so stuck on the Orient.. they wouldn’t even consider a Blonde… eh, Derp?

        Ok. That’s enough; as in – clearly the Heini are now ‘dictating’ this drivel.

        Parting shot, it was ‘ol Ernst himself who intoned, “…the first draft of anything is s**t.” – although I am quite certain he wasn’t referencing HoweSoundBrewing.

    • Sounds like the cousin lives in W Europe, where personal income tax rates are much higher than here, thus the subsidized social services like daycare. I guess that’s one way to live.

    • “She and her husband recently bought a 3 bedroom flat in the mid-sized city where they are living, it cost 200,000 euros and even has a garden”

      pray tell, what is this “mid-sized” city?
      You can also buy a home for 200K euro in a mid-sized Canadian city. That doesn’t solve her employment problems, but to call her move a flight from expensive real estate is the wrong assessment

  5. I said this before on another article like this a few months ago. Squamish is a very reasonable compromise if you are seriously looking at buying.

    Personally I think buying right now is dumb. But if you are starting up a family and feel the strong nesting urge and just cant bear the thought of renting, What is so bad about Squamish? Sure, it’s pretty far from the city, but so is White Rock, Langley, Maple Ridge and Mission. People drive to work from there every day and I am willing to bet the drive takes as long or longer than the drive from Squamish. I did a 3 week stint of work in Squamish and I drove from Burnaby every day. The drive is no more than an hour. It’s also a beautiful drive with little traffic (lions gate bridge excluded).

    I am not saying that Squamish is a perfect solution for home ownership. I like to live close to the city in a smaller place rather than a bigger place further away. But anyone considering the outskirts of the lower mainland should give Squamish a look. I was just up there last weekend for the Live at Squamish music festival and that town is beautiful. There are tons of trails and other outdoorsy things to do, way more so than Langley. It also has more of a small town feel with all the amenities of the city.

    I know this sounds like a sales pitch, but I just dont understand why people laugh at the idea of living in Squamish when everyone thinks it is perfectly reasonable to commute from Maple Ridge every day.

    • I guess the problem with Squamish is that you’re sort of in the middle of nowhere for better or worse.

      Sure, you can go up to Whistler but that’s pretty much it. If you want to go anywhere else you have to fight your way to West Van and then into / through the city and congested #1 before you hit the rest of the Province really.

      But then again: I always chose my place to live in a matter that I didn’t had to spent an hour in traffic each way each day. Just not fun (I did it briefly, commuting reverse from Toronto to Waterloo a decade ago, I did this for six months before I had enough and I had it actually good: I went against the traffic jams of people trying to get into town in the morning and out of it in the afternoon).

      • just book it up the #99 north of pemberton along the duffy lake road – you’ll be in Kamloops in .. 6.. hours if you drive like a demon and don’t care for your safety or that of others – not that you’ll see anyone – just drive like any other transplanted vancouverite.

        might be tough, though – there are no red lights to accelerate towards – just one lane bridges and even a one lane stone arch on a blind hairpin turn to drive through.

    • Hey, Davers! There’s somewhere for everybody… having said that, may I quote you… as in, “I am willing to bet the drive takes as long or longer than the drive from Squamish.”… I can say this, and best of all in first person singular… being a former ‘habitant’ [OK, admittedly/yikes! – owner] of/in the Rock’oWhite… Here’s the thing – if you have a ‘detector’, n’ a scanner, n’ you left TheRock @0400HRS or so… you could have been enjoying a lavish breakfast @ the ‘ol SouthGranville Spot’OWhite [now defunct, I believe] before the RealManhattanHipsters were even beginning to scratch their goonads (sic) – in mere seconds over 40minutes post RockDeparture.

      As for theMish?… well, there was a time when TheChieftain [ThePub not TheCliffFace] was a true MetropoleOfTheAuthenticallyHip [and, to that DesolateBerg’s credit, Dwayne Johnson did make a DamnFine Flick there not all that long ago – WalkingTallRedux]… Now, on to more serious matters!!!

      DerpKeeper, you say, “just one lane bridges and even a one lane stone arch on a blind hairpin..” like it’s a BadThing.


      PS – have you YVR denizens noticed a dearth o’cyclic traffic in those quaint ‘special lanes’ this weekend… LuLuMon stores deserted? YeOlde HealthFoodSupplement shoppes devoid of FootFall? If so, I’ll tell ya why… Because they’re all ‘here’ in the HBR, it’s IronManWeekEnd! F**kers, trying to make the rest of look flabby!… (of course, not all of of the HyperFitHipsters needs must cycle to these events, earlier today ‘Nem’ was checking out the G5 chocked ‘n blocked on CYYF’s tarmac that one WellHeeled FitnessFreak uses to ‘commute’; I’ll tell ya who later, when I run its registration).

      Well. There it is.

      • Nemesis, a critique intended to be constructive rather than confrontational: while you sometimes have interesting things to say, I just wish you could say them in a coherent way without so many acronyms, metaphors, random references and stream-of-consciousness asides. I get that it’s part of your gimmick, but I generally skip over your posts because you put so much effort into making them barely comprehensible.

      • Oh yeah, and the viaduct bike lines were fairly busy last night, about average for a warm summer Friday night.

      • it’s really not difficult to understand what he’s saying.

        welcome to english and the world of idioms

    • something to consider – if prices drop – the outlying areas like Squamish will most likely have larger % drops then detached houses closer to the center of Vancouver.

      If the family is ok getting stuck in the house then all is well. But could be a problem to sell if you go underwater.

  6. “If the facts change, we’ll change our tune.”

    they have for many years; only you still are dreaming!

  7. The problem with Squamish is that it costs half a million dollars to buy a house there. Or so says The Sun. Half a million. For Squamish. Yet bizarrely, the point of the article is that is costs JUST a half mil to buy there. A TOTAL F’ING BARGAIN!! A half mil to be trapped in the one-highway hinterland rainforest of Squamish, with two hours worth of commute (at a minimum) facing you everyday if you work in the lower mainland.

    The article is lower than low. Sun editors, huddling together in their catacomb, trying feverishly to come up with something – anything – to satiate their realtor masters.

    Epic fail.

    I’m surprised there are just 5 comments at The Sun site thus far. There are some very intelligent voices here. C’mon, guys and gals, they actually allowed comments for this piece. Go for it!

  8. For the sake of comparison, let’s see what you can get an hour outside of Seattle for under $500k.

    Here’s a 3-acre property, 3190sqft house for $395k. According to Google Maps, 30.9 miles and 43 minutes to downtown.

    Here’s a 3.1-acre property, 3830sqft house for $349k. According to Google Maps, 33.8 miles and 58 minutes to downtown.

    Can anyone find anything comparably nice one hour outside of Vancouver? Squamish? Maple Ridge? Aldergrove? It’s all fair game.

  9. Sounds like the Van Sun editorial is a “Let them eat cake” moment from an oblivious elite.

  10. yikes, I’m ‘slipping’, it was a G3 (damn winglets)…

    N-number : N300WY
    Aircraft Serial Number : 427
    Aircraft Manufacturer : GULFSTREAM AEROSPACE
    Model : G-1159A
    Engine Manufacturer : ROLLS-ROYC
    Model : SPEY MK 511SR
    Aircraft Year : 1984
    Owner Name : C & S AVIATION LTD
    Owner Address : 300 CRESCENT CT STE 1000
    DALLAS, TX, 75201-7852
    Type of Owner : Corporation
    Registration Date : 25-May-2000
    Airworthiness Certificate Type : Not Specified

  11. A mere half-million to live in a crap-board shack on the farthest fringes of Canada’s most parochial sub-metropolis. Oooooh, sign me up!

  12. REBGV is a valuable advertiser and spends mountains of money every year with The Sun. Face it renters, this game is stacked against you

  13. What’s the deal with housing Bowen Island? It seems a lot closer then Squamish.

    Is it a forest preserve or something?

  14. I lived through the 1981 crash, you have no idea what’s coming rusty, along with a few million others. It’s a very very ugly experience to lose almost 50% value in a year or so. I was lucky to sell out near the top and buy back a few years later. The world financial problems now are ten fold what was happening back then. Your new nick will soon be “busty”.

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