‘Occupy’ Vancouver? – Sorry, The Majority Here Are Already Preoccupied

In cities around the globe ‘Occupy’ protests are taking place as the ‘99%’ confront the ‘1%’.
In our city the ‘Occupy Vancouver’ movement, convening today downtown, struggles for focus. Why?

Well, consider that here in Vancouver 60-70% of the population own real estate, and, rather than being economically distressed by virtue of that fact, as most would if they lived elsewhere, owners here are feeling very smug and content about somehow having missed the global-economic-crisis bullet. They are relatively rich (they believe); their RE holdings have mostly risen since they bought, and, for many, their property values have increased 100%, 200%, even 300%, making for life-changing, retirement-securing, (but as-yet-unrealized) profits. Even those who haven’t yet profited are, like the waitress with the 250K mortgage, living in optimistic anticipation of their future profits. Because real estate in Vancouver, of course, always goes up.

The majority here don’t feel as distressed as the majority do elsewhere. It’s all because of RE holdings, and the related artificial positive effects that the RE industry has applied to our local economy through our speculative mania in housing. These owners have no idea how precarious their situation is, they don’t see their gains as having been built on a speculative mania, and they don’t foresee the very large price drops that will occur when prices deflate. Many will lose all of their net-worth (and more) in the deleveraging ahead.

For now, the majority here feel relatively content, and many can’t even really imagine what there is to protest about.
So, keep that in mind while considering ‘Occupy Vancouver’.

In other cities it may be the 99% protesting the 1%.
In Vancouver it’s more like some of the 35% trying hard to articulate something vaguely wrong and difficult to pinpoint about the state of affairs, while 65% watch from the middle distance, feeling comfortable. There are many things about local and global economic developments to be concerned about: but these concerns are unlikely to gain traction in Vancouver, at this time.

Vancouver always seems to live by its own schedule, and holding an ‘Occupy Vancouver’ event today is asynchronous. Follow up events in 2013 or 2014 will, we suspect, make a lot more sense to the majority of locals.
– vreaa

19 responses to “‘Occupy’ Vancouver? – Sorry, The Majority Here Are Already Preoccupied

  1. so homeowners are supposed to cry the blue out with the rest of the blogger and posters here because you VREAA cannot afford a SFH? Quit belonging to a glass-half-empty lot, you would feel a lot happier.

  2. Just read on Twitter that there are over 1000 at Occupy Toronto at about midday there.

    And fred, shut up.

  3. Renters Revenge

    Good points. The vast majority in Vancouver are on the 1% side of the ledger right now and can’t possibly understand economic injustice. The ones “occupying” Vancouver should be the Coast Salish natives who still have title to these lands, and maybe a few of the priced out renters. The ranks of the dispossesed will rise as soon as the bloom comes off, but for right now there certainly isn’t a suffering majority.


  4. I only have to look at, and straw count, a few houses in some well-to-do Vancouver-are neighbourhoods and conclude that Vancouver has a 1% problem like everywhere else.

  5. From my personal network, it sounds like a few thousand are gathering in Toronto now. Perhaps up to 5000.

    Vancouver has a tradition of protest and many condo “owners” are not doing well (layoffs or reductions in income). Its a bit chilly out there but the sun is shining. Don’t assume a good-sized crowd won’t show up.

  6. If you own real estate, stay home, your 35 year 5% down loan is part of the problem.

    • Yeah, we heard this story on the 5:30pm CBC radio news yesterday.
      The realtor spokesperson had an interesting mix of desperation and demand to her delivery.
      She spoke of ‘1000s’ of condos that are being held back from the market because of the HST.

    • I’m sure Bob Rennie has steam blowing out his ears right now.

      Given how tight money is for the provincial government right now, I’m skeptical they will move much on this; the optics are particularly bad when I need to pay HST on my chicken wings at the bar, while the “greedy developers and speculators” get a break. I might even have to change my vote…

  7. and you’re not preoccupied with Vancouver real estate vreaa? I’d call this an obsession. LOL

  8. We don’t actually know what the new pst will look like. Might include new houses. I don’t expect that given the housing lobby, but it’s worth thinking about. I’m thinking of buying a bicycle, will they have pst? They didn’t used to, but they have hst just like new houses.

  9. Anecdote seen on Canada Bubble blog (comment section):
    “We put an cash offer (no mortgage) on a house in mid-2009, for $50,000 below asking price. It was rejected. A year later the house had not sold and was listed for the exact price we offered in mid-2009. A year after that, it still didn’t sell. It was recently listed for $25,000 below what we offered. So, this is a $75,000 price reduction in two years. And the house is just sitting there, doing nothing after two months. Listings are the highest they’ve been in 10 years, sales are at the lowest they’ve been for ten years. Price reductions are happening, even though you may find some houses going for more than asking (not many). It’s a recipe for a major housing correction. And…no…Asian buyers are not going to ride in on a white horse and save us. This is the end game.”

  10. It should be mentioned that the start of the #occupywallstreet movement is directly tied to the Vancouver based magazine Adbusters.

  11. What strikes me is that Wall Street is a pretty busy place and people have to make their way through those crowds to get to their jobs each day. In Vancouver we occupy the art gallery of all places, which basically disrupts nobody, inconveniences nobody and the city continues to just move around them, completely oblivious. It was most humorous that the cameras went inside Starbucks on Granville where business was booming and they were struggling to stay on top of the long lineup of people waiting for $4 coffee. Irony. “Higher wages! More jobs! Higher wages! More jobs! Higher wages! More jobs! Oh, hold that thought, I’ll be right back. They forgot my chocolate sprinkles.”

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