Spot The Speculator #67 – “It’s a home, it’s an investment — a bit of both.”

Melissa Yan, Yaletown condo purchaser, RE marketer.

“Melissa Yan wondered why she had to wait until she got married to buy a home.
She decided she didn’t. So the 28-year-old, who works in marketing for Magnum Projects, opted to jump into Vancouver’s hot housing market at Christmas in 2010.
She picked up a 600-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver’s trendy Yaletown district in a design that would fit her needs and a price tag that would allow her to enter the market and establish equity so that one day she could get an even bigger house.
“I have always known I had wanted to own, so I made it a priority for myself to put aside money for the past five years,” says Ms. Yan, who was living with family as she saved. “It’s a home, it’s an investment — a bit of both.”
Ms. Yan, who says her work in real estate convinced her she needed to buy, is one of a growing number of 20-somethings who are no longer waiting until they get married to purchase a home for the first time. She is part of a trend that adds an extra stage to the housing market.
Traditionally, people bought their first property upon marriage, looked for a move-up when their families got larger, scaled down as the kids moved out and then were off to the retirement home.
But the new reality is that more first-time buyers fit Ms. Yan’s profile.
A TD Canada Trust survey this spring found 45% of first-time homebuyers were going it on their own rather than with a co-purchaser.
“I would say a lot of my friends are doing this,” says Ms. Yan. “People are getting married later in life, too. Weddings are so expensive. I figured I would invest in an asset for now. I know it’s not my final home.”
– from ‘Mingles’ moving housing markets, Financial Post, 19 Nov 2011 [The above is the later, 21 Nov version, of the article. See below for explanation.]

Well, it turns out that Melissa’s Marketing work is actually directly related to RE marketing… From her public LinkedIn profile:
“Manage strategic real estate project marketing programs for clients. Responsible for marketing strategy, public relations, forecasting, budgeting, lead generation, event planning, media buying and negotiations. Initiate and manage strategy and direction with graphic and interior designers for marketing collateral, sales centers and show suites.”
I don’t know of we should be outraged, disgusted, sarcastic or amused by such an article… I just want to point out that FP just loss all its little remaining credibility it had in my mind for not disclosing such “details”.

– from Makaya at VREAA 20 Nov 2011 [who cited 604serf at VCI 20 Nov 2011 (“Really, “interview” someone who works in Condo Marketing about how they’re buying a condo…and not disclose that? Seriously??”) for picking this up]

Note: The original article, posted 19 Nov 2011, read “She decided she didn’t. So the 28-year-old, who works in marketing, opted to jump into Vancouver’s hot housing market at Christmas in 2010.”
The ‘for Magnum Projects’ was added in a later edit, seemingly in response to observations such as those by 604serf and Makaya above. – ed.

Update: 604serf, in the comments section below, confirms that they did indeed e-mail the editor of the FP with their observations and that the article was changed as a result. Here is the response they got from the FP managing editor:
“Regarding your note about the story on single people buying more condos, We have confirmed that you are correct and the person used in the story works in condo marketing. If we had known this it would have been disclosed, and that change has been made in the online story.
Thank you for your continued readership and attention.

Greenhorn (the Vancouver RE video archivist) forwarded this comprehensive ‘before’ and ‘after’ account, for the record:

Original article started like this:
[quote]Melissa Yan wondered why she had to wait until she got married to buy a home.
She decided she didn’t. So the 28-year-old, who works in marketing, opted to jump into Vancouver’s hot housing market at Christmas in 2010.

Was changed to this:
[quote]Melissa Yan wondered why she had to wait until she got married to buy a home.
She decided she didn’t. So the 28-year-old, who works in marketing for Magnum Projects, opted to jump into Vancouver’s hot housing market at Christmas in 2010.

And this 5th paragraph was changed from:
[quote]Ms. Yan is one of a growing number of 20-somethings who are no longer waiting until they get married to purchase a home for the first time. She is part of a trend that adds an extra stage to the housing market.[/quote]

[quote]Ms. Yan, who says her work in real estate convinced her she needed to buy, is one of a growing number of 20-somethings who are no longer waiting until they get married to purchase a home for the first time. She is part of a trend that adds an extra stage to the housing market.[/quote]

Screen capture of original 19 Nov 2011 article here.

Other choice quotes from the FP article:

“They want to jump on the equity train right away and build equity.”
– Peter Simpson, chief executive of the Greater Vancouver Home Builder’s Association

“People are getting married later, so there is a need to buy a condo sooner. People go to school later; the whole life cycle has changed.”
– Michael Polzler, executive vice-president of Re/Max Ontario-Atlantic Canada.
[Orwell? No, more like Kafka. -ed.]

“They’re not getting married, so they should get on with their financial lives. A home is a great asset. From a financial planning perspective well down the line, these people who bought a home and built up equity in their home from a young age will have an asset that will give them the confidence to retire.”
– Scott Plaskett, a certified financial planner in Toronto
[Worked great for the last 30 years, what could possibly go wrong? -ed.]

128 responses to “Spot The Speculator #67 – “It’s a home, it’s an investment — a bit of both.”

  1. They’re drinking their own Kool Aid. In fact that’s why they are so convincing, to be a great salesperson you have to believe in your product.

    • Agree totally. Many insiders are swept up by the torrent that is a speculative mania, and have no perspective. One reason why ‘experts’ often miss the big picture.

  2. 7% transaction costs every time they “move up” the ladder, that’s what WILL happen, never mind the other downside risks. And that’s 7% of the whole enchillada, not just of their equity. Most buyers’ entire initial downpayments go straight into the pockets of the various industry participants “helping” them get into that first home.

    • Wow.
      It’d be great to see a model of how this effects a hypothetical buyer entering the bottom rung of the property ladder, with, say, a 10% down-payment.
      What’s got to happen for them, over the next 10 – 20 years, for them to move up to that dream home?

    • That’s an agent’s dream. But seriously though, if you do it smart, you don’t have to pay 7%. You can always forego your own agent and ask the seller’s agent to rebate you his commission. A lot of them do that.

      • It’s always a fuzzy area who pays the commission. I’m going with both, but more the seller than the buyer. Reason: the buyer never needs to sell if the price is low enough. (Something about earnings)

      • The seller pays it, but I always account it in the purchase price. To me, the real purchase price is the price minus the commission. So as a buyer, the lower I can get the commission the more I can negotiate with the seller. I have overlooked my own real estate transaction and my parents’ in the past, we never use an agent and always ask for the 3.5% back. Most of the times, the seller’s agent obliges because they want to keep us for future clientele when we sell.

  3. Talk about having all your eggs in one basket. If the YVR condo market tanks, she’ll be both out of a job and underwater on her mortgage.

  4. This article casually reiterates the flawed notion, oft-regurgitated here by Diablo/Formula 1, that to be able to afford a nice home in the future, you have to have “built equity” through several preceding purchases. The flaw in this notion is that it assumes there are no other vehicles through which to accumulate wealth. In fact there are several such vehicles, some of which are superior to RE due to their lower transaction costs, higher liquidity, and higher return potential.

    • Agreed.
      There is a very large subgroup of the Canadian population who have
      (1) very easily accumulated equity in the RE market (using ‘compulsory’ leverage, without even really understanding what leverage means), and
      (2) been bitten every time they’ve tried to invest elsewhere (like the herd, bought high and sold low in other more volatile asset classes).
      Thus, they conclude, it’s obvious! – the ‘only’ way to accumulate wealth is in RE.

    • yes, there are several ways to accumulate wealth. Buying real estate is the one that takes the longest and has more associated costs (mortgage interest, maintenance, transaction fees, etc.) If you don’t believe in this type of investment then you shouldn’t spend your hours talking about how you’ll do “this and that and the other thing” when prices magically shed 50%

      • kip_taddington

        what do you care?
        [expletive deleted] already and get a life

      • diablo ->
        “When prices magically shed 50%” (or 66% or 75%) people will be buying homes, to live in.
        It’s the buyers now (and through the mania) who are doing “this and that and the other thing” with Vancouver RE.

      • Royce McCutcheon

        @diablo: because that’s the only thing people say here – what they’re going to do when prices collapse? You don’t even read the posts here, do you? There’s barely any conversation here pertaining to vultching properties if/when things correct. People talk about the death of neighborhoods they know, the loss of colleagues due to the cost of living, the social costs associated with excluding families who work in the city proper, the large costs we’ll ALL accrue if there’s a correction, the impact on other industries of misallocating resources so heavily to real estate, and, mostly, the behavior of both this market (in the past) and the general behavior of RE markets around the world (and how what’s going on in this place resembles what happened in other places that saw big price declines). THESE topics are the bulk of conversation here. But you want to believe that people here, if not just bitter that they missed their chance to buy, are circle jerking over what they’ll do when the market corrects?

        If nothing else, your commitment to obtuseness at least shows persistence.

      • royce – way to lay down the smack! hi 5!

      • lol royce – but save your breath – there is no hope for rusty

        hes just a poor lost soul

      • Believe? Investing has nothing to do with “belief”.

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      We should call mythbusters about property ladder.

  5. I don’t get it… it’s disclosed. The article states she works at “Magnum Projects”, and “her work in real estate”.
    Yes, drinking their own Kool-Aid.

    And where does the above comment on 7% transaction costs come from?

    As for “mingles” not waiting to get married before buying, that’s been going on for over a decade at least. Most home buyers I know came from two singles who each had a condo that they made big bank on. They bought well, sold high, had a good $400k equity at least after, and then they bought a house. With a house going for $1m or less (usually less and more like $700k for a big one in Coquitlam or further East) they could easily afford it and afford a big family. I know lots like that. What I don’t know is any “mingles” buying the overpriced garbage on the westside and eastside.

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      Wait are you saying you know two singles that are not romantically involved who came together and bought a house, Mingles are not singles who get married or are a couple and buy a place together.

    • It was not disclosed in the original article… Here is the quote as I pasted it:

      “Melissa Yan wondered why she had to wait until she got married to buy a home.

      She decided she didn’t. So the 28-year-old, who works in marketing, opted to jump into Vancouver’s hot housing market at Christmas in 2010.”

      And nowhere else in the article it was mentioned she worked in Real Estate. I think the fact that the people commenting on the journalist’s honesty probably woke him up…

      But the funny thing is that the disclosure of her worked in RE has been turned into something positive:
      “who says her work in real estate convinced her she needed to buy”, which was not in the original article as well. He makes it sound like she knows what she’s doing, which is clearly not the case in my opinion.

      I still question the journalist motives to write this article…

      • Yeah, the article was first posted 19 Nov, but was changed 21 Nov, seemingly in response to objections like yours.
        I’ve looked for a cached copy of the original but can’t find it yet. If anybody can direct us to one, FTR, please do so.

      • I read the original copy while leafing through the FP over the weekend. There’s was no mention of Yan working in RE. The article was obviously a fluff real estate advertisement for anyone over the age of 10 anyway. This might be part of the reason why FP readership is in the dumps.

  6. Singles don’t have special borrowing issues; they just have to meet minimum financial standards. But increasingly, singles not willing, or able, to go it alone are teaming up to buy a home without being in any romantic relationship…

    “We call it mingles,” says Mr. Simpson, noting he often sees single women teaming up to get that first home.

    Unless they provide some evidence, I suspect the “mingles” category is a fictional category dreamt up by their marketing department, to “help” even more people “get into the market”.

  7. Ms. Yan will own a house long before anyone who posts on this site. Simply put…she gets it

    • Or she will be bankrupt losing her job and her condo at the same time… Maybe it’s the people on this blog that get it. We’ll see…

    • Royce McCutcheon

      Once again proving that you simply don’t believe that it’s possible that some of the posters here might have the means to buy and are choosing not to (or own in other markets, etc.).

      • anything is possible. a person with $2mil cash cant afford a house here. a similar person cant afford to retire in calgary. i believe anything!

      • @Fred – at least I don’t feed my kids dog food like you have to in order to pay your mortgage and make your $600 per month food budget for a family of 4! What BS! The more you comment, the more idiotic you make yourself out to be. If you think $2 million is a lot of money in Vancouver when you don’t have a salary or pension then you are obviously a fraud. You are just another over-leveraged credit-binging pauper acting like you are on easy street. Just remember what goes around comes around!

    • Oh she’ll get it alright….when interest rates double.

  8. I still say this is a perfect example of quantum mechanical home-investment duality. Brilliant insight shown by Ms. Yan understanding the subtleties, using home and investment interchangeably depending upon context.

    This is great stuff, one wonders which function will manifest itself during a period of falling prices. I’m going with “investment”.

    Is she a speculator? What would Heisenberg’s dog say?

  9. Anthropology/cultural project proposal – analyze Vancouver RE as a cult/religion. Keys to Vancouver house = keys to the gates of paradise?

    • There are indeed many similarities between buying into a speculative mania and joining a cult.

      Perhaps we should tabulate a comparison.

      • Royce McCutcheon

        Found quickly online:

        American Family Foundation (14 Characteristics)

        1. The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

        2. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

        3. The group is preoccupied with making money.

        4. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

        5. Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

        6. The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth).

        7. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).

        8. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.

        9. The group’s leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).

        10. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).

        11. The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.

        12. Members’ subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group.

        13. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.

        14. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

        I LOLed.

      • all the evidence i need is the social excommunication that occurs if you disparage RE

  10. we’re #1! we’re #1! we’re #1!
    koolaid masters mini-convention courtesy km-makaya’s super spidey senses. now, don’t forget to amp up the fun factor. remember the motto – fun 1st, safety 3rd … and pls keep the circle-jerking to a minimum – we don’t wish to see that.

    @ agp/diablo/derp/vreaa,
    dudes, i’m still stumped on what’s an alpenglowpro … but it sounds like something mozilo eats for breakfast

    anyway, that luminary post highlights the importance for keeping a long version handle, so as to be less ambiguous. ergo i unveil you mine –
    chubster aka
    richard granville biggs xli, esq-lolp/c-md-phd-assman

  11. While we were looking for a place to rent, we ran into a lot of couples where one had purchased a condo on their own prior to becoming a couple, and now married, the two were buying a bigger place together. What I found interesting was that a lot of these people had decided not to sell place #1 and put the equity towards place #2 (a bigger place), but to rent out place #1 instead. I guess they thought that place #1 would increase in value forever and it was a “good investment”. I wouldn’t do it that way, but there sure are a lot of couples out there who now have a principal residence together, plus a rental property. Possibly lots of mortgage debt, too (or not, I guess I shouldn’t make assumptions).

    • Duration arbitrage is fun until it isn’t. You must know the same people I do or there’s a wee problem on the event horizon.

      • As have the few couples I know, but really why sell a cash flowing asset?

        The couples I know first bough some years ago, to later purchase a house together. The condos break-even, or net a few bucks a month. If thats the scenario, and you don’t mind being a landlord. Why not?

        In 20 years they have a paid off condo at the cost of a few visits a year. If the price is the same/higher/lower than they paid, who cares? The renter paid the mortgage off. And ditto on the house. If they appreciate, thats only a cherry on top.

      • “but really why sell a cash flowing asset?”

        I don’t know much about much, but to answer your question: because it might not always cash flow positive.

      • i didnt realize 2% yield was worth the bother

      • if they bought that long ago, and are renting at market, they’re probably earning more than 2% on their purchase price…

    • There are a number of such examples in the ‘Spot The Speculator’ series.
      These seemingly innocent citizens are speculators, plain and simple.
      They are leveraged to the eyeballs networth:total_RE and are going to be going to the bottom with weights on their ankles when we crash.
      Burt – > That’s the problem. The condo that is ‘break-even, or net a few bucks a month’ is not worth the extra exposure to price downside.
      Also, how often is the condo acting as collateral for the borrowing necessary for the PR house?

      • Also, cash flow positive condo one year can easily go negative the next with special assessments. The building we rent in just got fleeced for a new elevator and the strata members are now fighting about replacing the windows next year. Needless to say we’ll be gone if that happens. I can’t imagine having to fork out for these hefty expenses on top of an already maxed out monthly mortgage/ maintenance payment. I’d hate to be a recent buyer in this building.

    • Or perhaps the first place was paid off. Or perhaps with two incomes after marriage they could afford a new place together without tapping into the equity in the first place. The trouble with speculationg on peoples reasons or motives are the same as those when speculationg on, say, real estate for example.
      Besides, if we didn’t have at least a FEW owners in Vancouver with multiple properies then where would the rest of us rent? I may not always agree with their (new owners) financial decisions but thank god we have them. Bad karma to bite the hand that feeds, right? 🙂

      • i think the 1st pt here is people appear to be unwittingly increasing their exposure to a potentially nasty situation. what else could their motive be than to increase exposure? whether the funds are straight cash or credit is secondary. thank god for what? i keep the place tip-top. aside from regular wear, i always give it back in better shape than i got it. feeding? biting? jesse! i think your dog’s been hassling allen. maybe he’s been trying to feed it karma wavefcn cat food, or somethign.

      • I prefer the traditional definition of speculation. I know I’m old fashioned, closed-minded, and maybe even bigoted, but when I say something is “fluff” it’s either the hair of my dog or it’s something silly I read. Can’t we all just live heteronymously?

      • fluff: dick biggs – assman 😮

    • it’s common in many cultures to never sell your real estate. Selling is basically a N. American phenomenon.
      I know quite a few as you described…bought a house together and did not sell the property owned before their meeting. Most are Chinese-Canadian if that makes any difference.

      • “Selling is basically a N. American phenomenon”. I almost chocked when I read that. In which planet are you living? Or better, have you ever traveled outside of the lower mainland?

        “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” A. Einstein

        Yours is infinite indeed.

  12. The article clearly states that she works in real estate. What’s the problem here?

    • Funny enough, the original article didn’t say she was working in Real Estate. Here is the quote as I pasted it in my original message on this blog:

      “Melissa Yan wondered why she had to wait until she got married to buy a home.

      She decided she didn’t. So the 28-year-old, who works in marketing, opted to jump into Vancouver’s hot housing market at Christmas in 2010.”

      And nowhere else in the article was it mentioned that she worked in Real Estate. It looks like the article as been modified after being published… thanks to the globosphere?

      • Or maybe that’s because of the remarks made by the commenters of the article, questioning the honesty of the journalist…

      • “Ms. Yan, who says her work in real estate convinced her she needed to buy”

        Was that in the original article?

      • @anonymous I would have noticed if it had been in the original article. I don’t have the previous version of the article, so I can’t prove it.

  13. Where are all the Canadian economists? I tried a very a basic Google search for Canadian economists raising red flags, but most of the economists who report on this seem to work for banks or other vested interests.

    Where are the academics on this? Was “Inside Job” right in this regard?

  14. HuffPo weighs in on Canada housing with a new twist. “Income inequality” is driving the problem. Works in two ways:
    1. rich people have even more money to bid up certain assets.
    2. middle income people do not realize how rich they aren’t, so they lever up to compensate

    not strikingly new stuff, but perhaps phrased differently than usual.

  15. I know the article doesn’t mention this, but it could be totally possible that she had down payment help from parents. Which would make her mortgage possibly sub $200K which would make the payments cheaper than rent in Yaletown.

    • Sure, but, with respect, isn’t that completely irrelevant?
      She could also be set to inherit millions, in which case the fate of the market price of her Yaletown condo is unimportant.
      These considerations are not important when thinking about the wisdom of the purchase. Either way it was money at her disposal that she elected to use as a down-payment.

      Having said that, people borrowing/being gifted down-payments from parents has been one source of fuel for the mania. Parents who think they are helping their offspring do the fiscally responsible, sensible thing. Helping them ‘grow up’.

      • “The lack of affordable housing is so significant,” says CHRA’s Dallas Alderson, that it “may be one reason why a household would consider ownership when they otherwise would not.”
        (especially with funny math)

        I know of an explicit example of people buying because there is literally nowhere to rent in Whitehorse. That capital is a fascinating case study of the housing bubble because there is a ton of land, but a dearth of building sites due to city/territory missteps, coupled with a gold exploration boom and a big expansion of government, they have even had an #occupy since June 2011 and it has a coordinated point (for those who need that spelled out for them): affordable housing.

        In Vancouver renting is still an option, thank goodness.

      • That’s kinda my point, the gifting of down payments are helping fuel the mania.

      • Re: Whitehorse market. I lived there as a kid and that market has always been like that. Everyone buys, there is little for rent. You’d think someone would have figured it out by now or perhaps (more likely) it is by design. Huge whole subdivisions have been built over the past 20 years with still not a stick for rent.

      • “In Vancouver renting is still an option”

        On the plus side, if you believe Vision Vancouver, they plan on using the City’s “strategic land reserves” for building more “affordable” housing, one assumes rental/cooperative based housing geared towards the lower and middle income tiers. Not so much for the other “50%” though… 😦

      • And for the cynics, a potential reason why Vision Vancouver might want to start commercializing its land base for the lower incomes:

        The 1% no likey Gregor. Darn tootin’.

    • young, Chinese, female…I bet her mortgage is less than your monthly dry cleaning bill (after help from parents)

    • good to see she took rustys advice and buckled down and pulled herselef up by the bootstraps

  16. Quick Poll [at the HuffPo story (n = ?)]
    Is Canada’s housing market in a bubble?
    Yes. Prices are bound to come down sooner or later. 60.77%
    No. Canada’s economy is strong and can support these price levels. 21.35%
    Don’t know. 17.88%

  17. Here is an example of why Vancouver is so disconnected from reality.

    The following house ( just got sold for Euros 12.5 million ($24.5 million). This is not the random kind of property, it’s located in the heart of Paris, in its most prestigious district (7em arrondissement) and is a few steps from the Eiffel Tower. For those of you who know Paris, you will know that this part of Paris is absolutely beautiful. This property is 672 sq.m., so roughly 7000 sq.ft.

    Now compare that with the 31.9 million asked for the 10,000 sq.ft. property in Shaughnessy (… For roughly the same price per square foot, where would you put your money?

    The funny thing is the “specialists” say that the middle east princess paid too much for that property. She paid 60% ABOVE the usual price per square foot in that area…

    “Le prix du bien au mètre carré atteint 18 650 euros, supérieur de 60 % à la moyenne de l’arrondissement (11 570 euros/m²), et de 66 % au prix moyen des transactions dans le quartier du Gros Caillou (partie ouest du 7ème, délimitée au Nord par la Seine, au Sud par l’Ecole Militaire et à l’Est par les Invalides).”

    • when sandiego prices got super nutty, you could at least take a walk outside, soak it in and believe … it is paradise – if it weren’t so freakin expensive. what are you gettin if you walk outside in van right now to soak it in? 🙂

      • never mind. my bad … i forgot this is the bizarro world and so there is a rain premium. prices go higher next month.

      • “there is a rain premium” lol. That should explain everything… In the Best Place on Earth (TM), where it’s raining 3/4 of the time, You Gotta Be Here (TM) because it’s different. Somehow it’s true. One day, shortly after arriving in Vancouver, I went to Wreck beach. Didn’t know it was a nudist beach. There was this guy, walking naked, selling “Beer, Mushroom, Marijuana” out loud. Even in liberal France, I had never seen that… I don’t know what they put in the kool-aid here, but it must be strong, cause so many people that have drunk it are asking for more…

      • The more miserable it is — the lower the median incomes — the higher the house prices — Vancouver’s own version of the “protestant work ethic”.

      • @makaya. dude. the naked guy – it might have been me! did he look like a slightly shorter, fatter, balder, more ethnic george clooney?

      • chubster, the guy had a hairy wrinkled pregnant-like belly. For the rest, he fit your description. Was that you?

    • Well, to be fair, Paris isn’t exactly a world class city.

    • re: protestant work ethic:


      -proud WASP (if thats allowed)

  18. Hello, I was the one that emailed the editor, tweeted the author, etc. This led to the revisions in the article.

    I’ve pasted the response from the managing editor below. You can decide for yourself if this is a valid response:

    “Regarding your note about the story on single people buying more condos,
    We have confirmed that you are correct and the person used in the story
    works in condo marketing. If we had known this it would have been disclosed,
    and that change has been made in the online story.
    Thank you for your continued readership and attention.

    • Good job 604serf. I don’t believe they didn’t know she was a condo marketer and the way they have rewritten the article just show what the intention was: “Ms. Yan, who says her work in real estate convinced her she needed to buy”.

      I have no respect for these crooks…

  19. Okay marginally off topic. Due to a brain cramp early today I ended up walking past the REBGV offices on W 8th (?) twice today – at 9am & again at 3pm. I happened to notice a particular car parked there at 9am, I noticed it because it is old, you don’t see many around anymore and I use to own one and have great affection for them. I was shocked when I walked by 6 hours later and it was in the same spot. I thought that guy must be paying a freaking fortune for parking! Everything around there (1 block of Broadway, close to Granville) is metered with a select few resident permit stretches. So I looked around and what!? No parking meters, no resident permit signs, not even a 2 hour sign! Nada – which just doesn’t happen EVER of the Westside of Vancouver. Sure enough, the very next block had meters. Coincidence? I think not. More likely a cozy realtionship with City Hall. It totally pissed me off. Parking meters in this city are so expensive and now operate until 10pm yet realturds get to park for free. Grrrrrrr.

    • Remarkable find.
      This would make an interesting study.
      Is that block really an aberration, or are there other randomly distributed meter free blocks in that area?
      If it is atypical, great observation.
      Anybody know how this could easily be researched?
      Are there up-to-date maps that show metered/non-metered blocks?

      We know City Hall is in the back-pocket of the RE industry, but this is ridiculous (and, if valid, a beautiful concrete example of the phenomenon).

      • Here’s a map of city meters and rates.

        Click to access meterRateMap.pdf

        REBGV website indicates their offices are at 2433 Spruce (between B’way and 8th).
        The map (up to date?) indicates there are meters on that block.

      • Their building looks huge, I only knew it was theirs because they have REBGV spelled out in shiny gold letters above the gated parking garage which is off 8th. I will swing by again tomorrow if I can vreaa and have another look. See if I can take some photos…I saw no signage or meters but I was walking on the far side of the street and late for an appt so didn’t investigate more thoroughly.

      • Just checked the map and it appears the 1200 block between Birch & Alder is not metered. If GVREB lists their address as Spruce, my guess is the COV map is off by a block. The GVREB building is on the corner which would explain the Spruce address. I’ll bet the other non-metered streets on that map have signage for residents/ 2 hour max though. I looked for it and saw none on that stretch.

    • It’d only really be a significant finding if there were no meters on this block and meters on every other block around. From the map, that doesn’t seem to be the case. So, it seems, interesting idea but not really enough evidence.

      • Royce McCutcheon

        Other random free blocks pop up in other areas a bit removed from there too. They’re like oases. Hospital staff often know where they can be found. I knew someone who had a set routine of scanning the free parking curbspaces before starting a shift at VGH. She rarely ended up paying for parking, which wasn’t a trivial savings over the course of a year (if you’ve got a good rain coat and don’t mind a 10 minute stroll after a 40 minute car commute).

      • I would be suprised to find no meter/ no signage restricting public parking to 2 or 3 hours during weekdays anywhere near major shopping districts or hospitals in Van. In recent years in the West End and Westside I don’t think I’ve ever seen it and I look. Permit hours may exclude evening or weekends which is always a happy find, The map shows only metered parking, not the areas covered by permit which is what you will normally find on blocks in that hood without meters. Pehaps when I have time to kill I’ll compare meter and permit parking maps and see where the holes are, just for fun! I do think this block is an exception, petty perhaps. But if the COV is going to exempt haf a block from any parking restriction in a prime area, why that one? Why right in front of the GVREB? But whatever.

      • tcg -> It was a fair thought (a hypothesis), and if evidence backs it up it’s interesting. A small thing, perhaps, but interesting nonetheless.

      • Royce McCutcheon

        There are completely unrestricted half blocks (free from meters and permits of any kind) somewhere around Heather and 17th and also around Birch/11th I think.

  20. Well done to everyone for pointing out the crass error of the National Post.
    This is a great line from the Editor:

    “We have confirmed that you are correct and the person used in the story works in condo marketing. If we had known this it would have been disclosed, and that change has been made in the online story.”

    No kidding. So how weak exactly is the journalism on this paper. They ask someone – what do you do? ‘Marketing’. They don’t even bother to ask, “marketing WHAT?” and then they run a rah rah RE storey.

    This is what passes for information and analysis at this sorry paper.

    • Actually, it’s probably more sinister than that.
      The reporter very likely knows that she works in RE (probably got the lead to interview her via contacts in the RE industry). Then intentionally omits the fact in the article.

      • You are probably right. It is inconcievable that they asked every other question except what she actually does for a living.

        If the storey was a plant via the RE industry then things are truly messed up, in fact it shows what little respect we have for the integrity of the MSM (particularly some papers) that we even consider it possible.

  21. I like totally missed the part on how “weddings are [like] so expensive”.

    Just saying, you can wed for the price of a steak dinner. I know some here want to use the parental money angle, but my guess both her grandparents AND parents are well-off. 富不過三代

  22. she is a RE marketer, she got benefit from her own field. why is it so suprised to so many, like it is a crime?

    • Do you have reading problems?

    • Ok Fred, I will pretend you are serious and reply with a comparison.

      Imagine there is a drug which people are saying is not all that safe, though the evidence is not conclusive yet.
      A National paper runs a story about how there is a guy who has decided, despite the doubts, he is still going to stay on the medicine nevertheless and explain his reasoning.
      Then the paper gets caught out and have to admit that they didn’t know he worked for the pharmaceutical company that makes the drug.

      get it now?

    • Royce McCutcheon

      @fred: This person’s status as a real estate marketer was not disclosed in an article where she expressed a bullish view on real estate, an area where she has a clear vested interest. This was either a clear failure of journalistic ethics or simply absolutely crap reporting. THAT is the issue. That the newspaper’s editorial staff felt the need to respond to a comment pointing this out – and change the article – indicates that a mistake was no doubt made.

      If you think you have any shot at having credibility here ever, now would be the time to say you misunderstood why people were having a problem with this piece. I have sincere doubts that you will do this.

      • If we go by word count, Royce, fred is winning. Single sentence trollbait is all about efficiency, a single sentence destines feeders to countless hours of wall screaming. Mission accomplished.

      • Royce McCutcheon

        True enough.

        Thanks again for the work with VREAA to get candidate responses for the recent election by the way.

  23. if a bubble, it ends when that last buyer is exhausted … so goes the theory. which others remain among derp’s bag fries? and then there were X. that piece seems just too slick. don’t you think? is mingles really a term people even use? somewhere someone had the research, brewed up the juice and had it served up. maybe there’ll soon be an fp spot on capitulating renters having seen the light. volunteers?

  24. Melissa Yan reminds me of this poor Japanese TV newscaster Norikazu Otsuka.

    This idiot ate products (veggies) coming from Fukushima to show people it was safe:
    “In his morning program on Fuji TV he’s been promoting Fukushima produce by eating them in the show.”

    The consequences didn’t take long to happen…
    “He has been diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia and is now hospitalized, getting ready for chemo. He felt a strange lump in his neck on October 28, he says.”

    That’s what happens when you believe in your own lies…

  25. “Ms. Yan, who says her work in real estate convinced her she needed to buy”

    It isnt good enough for disclosure? always make a mountain out of a molehill!

  26. I find it interesting that the article says she felt the need to “enter the market and establish equity” but then says she’s been saving for 5 years while living at home. What is 5 years worth of savings if not equity? Equity = Assets – Liabilities. Savings is an Asset. She didn’t establish equity, she put the equity she already had at risk.

  27. I like how the picture on the wall is from mass production Ikea. because you know, there isn’t much cash left to buy real art. And also the dog’s cute.. which, I’m speculating now, isn’t her dog but the family dog (or someone else’s) I’m Chinese, single and female ( tho i rent 🙂 and probably most females who are career driven don’t have time for a dog, and she must have been realllll lonely.. :p Not to mentioned she lived at home the whole time… Chinese tiger moms usually have empty nest syndrome Anyways, pure assumption but u get my drift. Nice photo op to appeal to other young Asian females living at home who wants the ‘lifestyle’: downtown, dog, stylish (Ikea). So really, that’s good marketig but Come on, we’re not that desperate!!

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