West-Side Street Level Analysis – “I walked Arbutus to Macdonald from 19th to 22nd Ave. These homes are empty. Some have been bought and sold 3, 4 and 5 times in the last 6 years.”

“Trafalgar Park has been torn down and has been rebuilt with these large homes that are never lived in – owned and flipped by people that don’t live here. I lived near here for 9 years. I saw some of the same houses listed and sold up to 5 times… 2 within blocks of me. We have a real problem and people simply don’t believe it has happened and continues to happen.”…

“I took pictures of the kind of “tear downs” that are being taken down and pictures of the kind that is replacing them…. The streets are dead in there- no kids playing. Some of the houses are beginning to mold and sink – just built within the last 5 years!!! It’s so sad and depressing… just 10 years ago it was a middle class ‘hood with nice homes for 500k, now they are all pieces of crapola and are “listing” for $3.5 – 5 million.” …

“Type of homes that have been torn down…lot value now 2.3 million:

“Lot value 2.3 million – if sold , would be torn down:

“This is what is replacing the 1950’s homes…these list between 3.5 – 5 million:

“Lot value only- $2.3 million- will be torn down if sold- I rented one similar:

“Beautiful!!!!:

“West-side has been ruined – it’s soulless. My fear is that unless people stand up and make their feelings known – this city is done for. I refuse to just sit back, have a glass of red……as Cam Good would say…… and watch the destruction. The people are in charge, not the developers, realtors and politicians.” …

“I suggest people stand up for this city and let the politicians know that they want change. if we just sit back and do nothing it will get much worse. Politicians work for us not the other way around.” …

“I’m just pointing out empty houses near where I rent, is all. I have no obsession with the westside. I’m sure there are 1000′s of empty condos downtown and soon the houses that sell for 1 million around Nanaimo street will be bought and torn down only to sit empty as well.” …

“Go for a walk through the neighbourhood I told you about..16th to 33rd / Arbutus to Dunbar or Macdonald to make it really obvious. I am not exaggerating one bit. There you will find 4 or 5 homes per block that sit empty… New homes are empty not old homes… I lived there, I saw it- go see for yourself. Not only do they sit empty but they are being bought and sold many times (flipped) and still never lived in. It has nothing to do with me being a renter… the facts are the facts. No kids playing in the yards, nothing. I’m being told one of our city’s reporters is doing a piece on the specific issue, stay tuned. But go for a walk and see for yourself.” …

“Here is a list for you all- I walked Arbutus to Macdonald from 19th Ave. West to 22nd Ave. West. I lived in this ‘hood and have for 8 years- some of these homes listed below have been bought and sold 3, 4 and 5 times in the last 6 years. One day there will be 50 listings for sale , the next week there will be 20 listed and none will have sold- they are being pulled and placed for sale to manipulate the market in this particular area. I have been obsessed with watching this for years -odd, I know, but I hate how the city is being destroyed. There are more than this -this is just 4 streets… On a side note… I have watched these houses for years and they all have gardeners to keep grounds looking good; so don’t think they are occupied because the lawn is mowed.”

Macdonald to Arbutus:

19th ave
2789 2788 2765 2745
2642 2519 2505 2483 2450 2448 2402
2403 2395 2365 2356 2325 2315 2265

20th ave
2203 2206. 2255 2286 2285 2299 2396 2408 2411 2417 2475 2718 2730 2715 2755 2772

21st ave
2749 2690 2683 2471 2428 2335 2369 2396 2386 2375 2225 2193 2151

22nd ave
2118 2128 2328 2345 2376 2375 2457 2491 2663 2677 2749

“Just watching over the years. Never any lights on, old papers on some, gates always locked down -the ones on the front doors, no shoes out front… Christmas decorations in the windows, never any lights on, no cars out front or driving into garages..the list goes on. Living there for so long, I know. It is a very serious problem. My wife worked for a firm in the city that was mainly chinese workers. They asked where she lived …when she told them the area they said ohhhhh i know it -the chinese housewives trade those homes like stocks from China. I saw so many of the homes listed so many times and each time for approx. 500k more than the last buyer that had never moved in. I have a few friends that are left in the area -they all say the same homes are empty. The area has been destroyed and it will continue to move across the city. I had a good chat with Andrew Hassman last year (a west-side realtor)… he told me 90% of his sales were to Chinese that fly in, buy and leave. He told me not to buy.”

– vancouverbubbleman, via e-mail and series of comments at VREAA, 10 & 11 Apr 2012

152 responses to “West-Side Street Level Analysis – “I walked Arbutus to Macdonald from 19th to 22nd Ave. These homes are empty. Some have been bought and sold 3, 4 and 5 times in the last 6 years.”

  1. My old neighborhood (sigh).

  2. Certainly some areas have more vacancies than others.

    I would do the same in a few hoods I know, alas I am guessing they are about 95% occupied. But if you want I can get out my clipboard!

  3. I wonder where this tearing down of perfectly good homes fits in with our “greenest city in the world” policy. How much of our landfill consists of houses torn down for no good reason?

  4. if you own a home, you love what is happening in real estate. you are proud of yourself for buying in this world class city, and you wish everyone would shut up so you could dream big because your house keeps rising in selling value – you don’t really care why.

    If you don’t own a home, you are probably looking around and listening for reasons why not. you see a lot of buildings being developed and a lot of for sale signs, but the population of vancouver city isn’t really changing and the place next to yours is empty.

  5. Here we go again. Blame the Chinese again. If you can’t beat them, you join them. You don’t buy from them, you sell to them. This is a game. You need to make moves before it ends. It looks like the end is near.

    Good luck

  6. something like this happened everywhere the bubble went – double weird when it’s where you grew up.

  7. this claim is absolute horseshit.
    So many people answered the doors at these addresses that I stopped knocking. And resold 4,5,6 times. Completely false. This is simply a shill post from a sour renter.
    The fact that you chose to highlight this shows how desperate you are for this to be true vreaa. It isn’t

    • As I said in a previous thread, if even half of these houses are empty, that is more than I’d have estimated.
      We are far from “desperate for this to be true”.
      The fact of the bubble is not dependent on thousands of homes being empty.

      Formula1 -> Regarding your claim, let’s hold you to the same standards that you required from bubbleman, shall we?:
      -> List the “so many” addresses from the list above whose doors you knocked on to find that people live there. List the addresses.

    • The Poster Formerly Known As Anonymous

      What time is it? What time did you read VREAA’s posting? you posted this at 9:07 am. You went and knocked on strangers’ doors before 9 am on Saturday??

      you know what is horseshit? everything that comes out of your keyboard – the twisted, malicious disinformation you spread.

      Just in case any new readers are reading this blog, Formula1 has been caught lying on numerous occasions.

    • theragingranter

      So many people answered the doors at these addresses that I stopped knocking.

      You have strange hobbies. I’m sure they were all thrilled to see you on their doorstep early Saturday morning too. I bet you stopped knocking. When they started yelling at you.

    • Since I seem to have nothing better to do on this beautiful Saturday. Here are some stats on the items above. As i don’t have all day, i picked the properties listed on 19th (there were 18 of them. In the 2200-2700 block of W. 19th there are 95 properties sothis is about 1/5th of them). Here is a laundry list of stats.

      First – 2765 does not exist – this leaves 17 of them.
      last sale by year is
      2012 (1)
      2011 (4)
      2010 (2)
      2009 (2)
      2008 (1)
      2007 (2)
      2006 (1)
      2005 (3)
      1990 (1)

      Of the sales, 16/17 were purchased with buyer’s agent having Chinese name
      Of the sales – 1 was a private name, 1 was South Asian builder selling new, 1 was White builder selling new, 1 was Chinese owner selling new build, all the remaining sellers had chinese names. No non-chinese names were sellers on any house.

      Looking at the comment that they are flipped multiple times – – This is pretty accurate. 9 of them had another sale which was up to 2 years before the last sale. 2 properties even had 3 sales over a 4 year period.

      There were only 2 properties where the previous owner had held it for at least 10 years.

      As for addresses? As is typical for empty off-shore owned house, the address on the title is the actual house. I have never ever seen a title with mainland china address so this statistic is not useful at all. I wonder if there is a legal requirement to provide the address or your actual residence?

      So – Is the claim true? it is highly probable it is. I would not characterize it as 18 properties that have all sold in the past 2 years but it is defeinitely over the past 7-8 years.

      Well – off to my Saturday – It’s nice out!!!!

      • Wow, fascinating. Thanks so much for your expert gumshoe work, zrh2yvr.

        I was just thinking this info should go straight to City Hall. But wait a minute — doesn’t City Hall know this already?

        There’s an article in the Sun today (again forgive my not being able to provide the link) where Immigration Minister Kenney talks about charging higher prices for buying one’s way into Canada, comparing Canada’s bargain prices and bargain Permanent Residency status with those of other countries.

        Even given this, let’s not forget the role of local speculators and the enabling behaviour of Canadian financial institutions in making Vancouver unaffordable for too many.

      • Thank you, zrh.

      • Thanks for the teeny “laundry’ tour, zrh2yvr .
        wrt the Sun story, it must be a kneejerk reaction after Quebec’s investor program was snatched up in 8 days, 90%-95% applicants from China. Foreign media mentioned that fights broke out and police were called to Quebec’s Hongkong office.
        http://tinyurl.com/73d77g5

  8. LandlordRescue.ca

    Formula 1 are you asking me to believe that you went out between 6:00 am when this article was posted and 9:07 am when you posted this comment to knock on people’s doors? Because I don’t think you are that enterprising on a Saturday. Really.

  9. I think this is the most depressing post yet on VREAA.

  10. If I might add: this is why the “running out of land,” and “density is the answer to the housing crisis” arguments are so ridiculous. I listened to members of the city task force bleating on with this nonsense on CBC radio just this week.

    There is plenty of housing in Vancouver. The problem is, nobody lives in it, and nobody in a position to do anything about it is willing to even acknowledge the problem.

    • theragingranter

      Exactly, the density and “too much land use regulation” crowd simply don’t understand what cheap credit and speculative mania are capable of doing. You could put the best municipal planning framework in the country in place (or do what Houston does, and eliminate urban planning entirely for decades) and you’d STILL have a bubble if credit was easy enough. Cheap credit is the crack cocaine of the housing market.

      • Agreed.
        The vast majority of market participants really don’t have any “feel” as to how a speculative mania manifests, nor of its consequences.

      • right on the mark. can tell from the comments on this blog alone, most people just don’t have bubble experience.

  11. Here are a couple more examples/anecdotes, chosen practically at random.

    House at northeast corner of 43rd and Trafalgar, originally built for someone overseas (Taiwan). Vacant for 3 and a half years (since construction). Now on market again.

    House in 2900 block of West 40th, built a few years ago. Vacant except for caretaker and very occasional visits from VIP guests of the local airline company whose CEO apparently owned it. Shortly after City Council was alerted about this, the house went on the market.

    New build at 6268 Balsam Street that is perpetually dark.

    (House at 6208 Balsam IS newly occupied; I had thought it was still empty.)

    Just yesterday I saw, for the first time, a man coming out of 6218 Balsam. I had seen someone pressure-washing the back of this house earlier in the day. I rushed up to introduce myself as a neighbour. The man looked alarmed and said only “No English, no English.” I think he may be a caretaker.

    Readers should be aware that there may be many houses in certain areas that are inhabited only by caretakers.

    And then there are the houses that are empty and have been sitting on the market for months. There’s another example just down the block from those above, 6163 Balsam. The family in there has already moved.

    And there’s 6176 Balsam (same block), which I had described in an earlier post. It was finished in October but no one has ever moved in. A caretaker comes by every so often.

    And (there are so many other examples, but I’ll close with this one for now): 2959 West 44th. I knew the elderly retired couple who lived here and who sold the house last year. They sold it to a woman who said she needed to move in soon so her daughter could go to school. I was startled when months later I walked by and saw that there was absolutely no furniture in it — just a man with a laptop on the livingroom floor, pacing up and down, talking on the phone. A little while later, it did appear as though a family were living there — shoes outside the door, etc. And then the shoes disappeared again. If there is more than one person living there now, he/she must be allergic to furniture, because last time I looked there wasn’t a stick visible in for example the diningroom.

    • I should add that the house in the 2900 block of West 40th that had been very intermittently used as a guesthouse for the airline-company VIPs was sold last summer to a young couple with a young daughter, so it’s been inhabited (as far as I know) since then.

    • Thanks Vesta/epte.
      I think most sensible observers agree that there are at least some homes, even (especially?) in the most sought after parts of the city, standing empty. Hard to quantify much beyond that.
      An insider at BC Hydro could probably give us numbers better than any other method.
      Recall a few years back a Hydro report suggesting that an awfully lot of the condos in the LML only drew enough electricity to keep the refrigerators running.

  12. The big new house pictured above not only has the classic ugly metal gate, but also some sort of gate in front of the front door. This does nothing for “crime prevention” because it not only gives the impression you have a lot of stuff needing security, but also attracts metal thieves. I saw a story the other night about those metal gates getting stolen in East Van, and ending up at the local scrap dealer.
    In good time these gates are going to rust, becoming even uglier. Such crassness must be the result of high land values making people feel they now need to protect their precious investment by locking out the rest of the world. So cold, so sick, so sad for Vancouver.

  13. Oh, yeah the beige monstrosity in picture #3….I didn’t even notice the metal gates over the front door until you pointed them out. What a nice detail…..really give it that homey, welcoming touch….. 😉

    With all that security, maybe it’s a Hell’s Angels clubhouse….????

  14. In China, the wealthy use housing as a vehicle to park cash.

    They will buy a house or condo and leave it empty so as not to incur wear and tear, not deal with rental issues etc. Their only concern is to have money out of banks (which they dont trust and could liable to confiscation) and to have hard assets

    The problem got so bad that the Chinese Government is restricting how many homes a Chinese family can own, never mind foreigners who have many restrictions imposed on them.

    • you are exactly right fish10- this is what is happening and this is why many of the homes sit empty and are flipped so many times. money is flowing out of china….corrupt money or not, it doesn’t matter…..flooding into our city’s r.e. market essentially being laundered. i don’t blame the people that are doing this as they have found a place who’s government is stupid enough to allow this to happen . the policy makers are the problem- one day the clean money will move to other parts of the globe. vancouver will be left with a real estate crash on such a massive scale and a bunch of poorly build houses and condos that are empty. then we will be able to start fresh and create a city that is worthy of “best place on earth”

    • Mortgages in China have only been around since the late 80s. Home buyers in China have never, I repeat never, seen prices decline. In Canada where the recent retirees have seen them decline majorly at least twice, and still live in denial, imagine what never seeing it does to one’s expectations.

      • Early Nineties had a huge real estate bust in Hainan Province. I read the government there spent years just tearing down all the excess buildings that had been put up during the boom. By all accounts, it was spectacular as far as bursting bubbles go.

  15. will end up worse than leaky condo’s. i know these types of homes…all the same, all ugly and all poorly built. gregor better find some vacant land to bury all these houses when they need tearing down in 20 years..

  16. cute article on evolution of the NAR’s message
    http://tinyurl.com/827qkxr
    funnies … there’s something about a newyork accent for cutting thru crap


    ps. she’s a psychologist and apparently this is how 20somethings leverage sme+humor to make a living with youtube now.

    • theragingranter

      I rather enjoyed that. She actually wasn’t bad looking and ended up looking like a Jersey Shore extra. At least she has a sense of irony. Most kids nowadays are completely incapable of seeing why their generation is such a joke to the rest of us. At least she gets it.

  17. as far as the metal fences that sit on stone walls and the gates on front doors……….anyone over 5 feet tall could simply hop over the fence and if you breathe hard enough on the front door gates, they will simply fall off the hinges. its not for security it seems to be a selling feature …makes it look like ” an estate ” probably adds $500 k to the ” asking price “

    • You know that’s a good question: where did this gate trend come from?
      A) Does it reflect the (questionable) tastes of an ethnic group or groups?
      B) Is it the crass materialism of the nouveau-riche?
      C) Or is it resulting from the housing/real estate industry as simply a way to market properties or spruce-up boring houses?

      In the story I saw about East Van, the people who own these metal fences clearly take them seriously. They were driving around assessing the extent of theft, buying back their gates from the scrap dealer, and apparently calling the media.

      http://www.globaltvbc.com/metal+thieves+target+vancouver+homes/6442620082/story.html

      • theragingranter

        Scrap metal dealers are the lowest form of life after realtors. Many will accept manhole covers, no questions asked. In the early 1990s, Baltimore could not keep covers on their manholes. People would steal them and the scrap metal renderers were paying $50 a piece for them and melting down the evidence before anyone could ask questions.

  18. ROFL! Ha ha ha, that is hilarious! I’ve hated those stupid hideous useless eyesore stone walls and metal gates and fences for years. But, y’know, people have a right to despoil their private property, I suppose. It doesn’t seem that they’re all that effective for security if they’re actually the targets of scrap metal thieves. Have fun with that, tasteless homeowners.

  19. I’m in Marpole. When we moved in 3 summers ago there were a couple teardowns and builds on the walk to the school that my kids – then 3 and 7 – were interested in watching, construction being an exciting thing for the young set. My eldest used to imagine what the rooms would be used for, and thought it’d be neat if a family moved in and we could ask – so my kids have been watching ever since.
    Two of them we’ve watched sold a number of times and sit empty. The biggest finally got a family about 3 months ago – but it had appreciated a million dollars in the interim.
    Even though it is not empty now, speculation in the interim most certainly brought the price of that house up, and that is true for a bunch of houses in this neighbourhood. There have been several on my block that have also been bought and sold a few times. Usually it seems someone is moving in, but that doesn’t appear to stop the churn.

  20. reality check

    I don’t get what the point of this thread is. So what is a whole bunch of houses are sitting empty. First of all it’s no one’s business but the homeowner and secondly how is this going to cause prices to fall, which seems to be your ongoing claim

    • Obviously you and your family, if you have one, have never felt desperate about finding housing in Vancouver.

      And in addition you are one empathic mensch.

      I’ll leave the math experts to enlighten you on how all this will contribute to a crash.

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      If it were a bunch of condos sitting empty, would you get the point then?

    • hi reality,
      I get it…the anger. With so many people who live and work here wanting to own a house it’s maddening to see homes treated as part of a strategy to gain citizenship. Just wondering if it would matter if these houses were used as rentals rather than to sit empty – or would the same anger prevail?

      For most of our history in Canada we’ve been the species the colonizers. Now that the tables are turned on us we’re getting a first hand look at what it’s like to be Mexico, or Thailand, or Indoesia, etc. Drive local house prices up, fly in for a few months per year, live like a fat cat, rub your wealth in the face of the locals, leave entire communities hollow.
      There’s a lessson to be learned here, isn’t there?

      • That is a good point Formula. I will sleep on that one. Maybe that is what we are really grappling with here as the effects of Globalization come full circle and bite us on the arse and we finally realize it is not just about us getting cheap production from poor nations. That trick that improved our standard of living by off-shoring labour and thus lowering the costs of products will only work once, though. This next time around we will be facing real declines in both wages and purchasing power as we are seeing that unemployment is more a structural issue and our competitiveness has declined. That will hurt and as we are seeing already it is upsetting for a lot of people. The sad part is that in cases like Vancouver this is materializing itself in home ownership itself which really gets to the heart of the matter.

    • Empty houses suggest speculation rather than investment and tells us there is an underutilization of scarce resources. That is a net negative when the correction goes full bore.

  21. West Coast Woman

    Since I live near this neighbourhood I have decided to call all these new builds the BUGGER houses – Big, Ugly, Gaudy, Garish, Expensive Ratholes.

    The 1950’s houses were all built when CMHC’s role was to adminster the National Housing Act, which ensured all homes built in Canada were built properly by inpecting them thoroughly (5-6 times) throughout the building process. They were solid and built to last for centuries, not a couple of decades.

    Allowing people to demolish these older houses in order to build these crappy, outwardly fancy, poorly built ratholes is a real kick in the head to all Canadians who want, and once had access to, affordable, decent housing.

    • Someone here quipped some time ago that they were “Boom Boxes” – and now that’s what we call ’em, too. Too many beautiful old homes (with never-to-be-seen-again hardwood) getting trashed!

  22. Some more anecdotes about what goes on:

    Someone bought the house across the alley in my own neighbourhood, a local specker (raised in Vancouver) who claimed he was a teacher. Though he made lots of noises about moving into the neighbourhood permanently, he quickly alienated everyone by breaking noise laws, dumping construction garbage in neighbours’ trashcans, threatening anyone who tried to challenge him. A neighbour who was a contractor noted that he also illegally enlarged his basement. He paved over the entire property except for a strip of grass out front. He was supposed to live in it for a year before selling but we’re not sure he did even that; in any case, he moved on very quickly. Wonder what he’s tearing down now.

    Another family (not originally local) razed the bungalow across the street (former owner, a tradesperson). This family too had no regard for construction bylaws. They built a big grandiose place. They had two children and I wondered if they had been desperate to get into the local school catchment. They lived in the place for a year. As of yesterday, it’s up for sale, for $2,550,000. Now who’s going to be able to buy that? Not a lot of people who actually have to live here.

  23. I’m so angry after seeing that information about houses being flipped in the Arbutus area I think I will stop posting altogether. I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but what’s the point of all the information that’s being collected when it’s a). ignored or b). used to shut down the conversation with accusations of racism?

    What’s happened in Vancouver with respect to housing is criminal, no matter all the multiple parties at fault.

    When I think after all my time in Vancouver that so many of us who have to live and work here are simply at the mercy of people just playing with houses and money, with no consequences apparently —
    all I can say is, good luck, realtors, developers, and Canadian banking officials, when you want a doctor to cure your child of cancer and that doctor didn’t move here because of housing expenses. Good luck, house-flippers, when you need an EMT in the middle of the night and there’s a shortage because they all have to live somewhere East of Chilliwack. Good luck, families who want your children educated by the best teachers available, because teachers won’t be moving here anymore either. Good luck, people who need skilled tradesmen, office staff, whatever, because nobody’s going to want to commute two hours to do the job.
    couver.

    And if I feel this way, how do people feel who’ve lived here all their lives? Whose forebears lived here?

    • e-v phone home

    • Your whiney attitude makes me nauseous

      • Is it whining to want people to have a decent chance at affordable housing? Who are you, Marie Antoinette?

        I’m angry on behalf of a whole city.

        Where are you from? Have you ever lived anywhere else? Traveled? Do you read newspapers from other cities? (Judging from some of your comments, I’ve wondered at your literacy level.) Economists and financial journalists from around the world seem to agree that the situation in Vancouver is absurd and dire. Are you aware that what’s happening here is bizarre?

        If you want to come back to this site, and I hope you don’t, please feel free to fortify yourself with anti-emetics beforehand.

        I think you’re the one who’s out of touch with reality. Or did you mean your moniker to be “Realty Check”?

    • reality check

      yes epte, it is whining. You want a single family house in the city of Vancouver and that ship has sailed. Lots of first time buyers are making the decision to buy a condo or buy a house in the suburbs, why don’t you do the same?

      • Why presume you know anything at all about me? You’re quite wrong already in your assumptions above.

        I’ll address just one of them, and that is I’d never be so stupid as to buy a condo anywhere in Vancouver, given the stellar track record of builders here and where condos are about to go financially.

        Nor an SFH in the suburbs, given that the Lower Mainland has made some mighty foolish decisions about transit options in the last 50 years and I’m not into sitting on highways in my car. (I work on the West Side.) Not to mention that SFHs all over the Lower Mainland are tanking.

  24. I do appreciate the efforts here, BTW. Someone is attempting to fill in the void in data.

    A researcher at BT Architects ran a study looking at hydro usage on downtown condos. It would seem a simple exercise to extend such research to other subcircuits.

    One other thing I think bears some thought, I commented on this before, is that our sense of “neighbourhood” is not the same as what I’ve seen in SE Asia, especially in more affluent areas. The neighbours don’t know each other, other than to recognise them and their cars. Coming to Vancouver the concept of a neighbourhood where the neighbours are hoping for regular interaction is a big, well, foreign. I am not so bold to pass judgment on which method is better or worse, but to think that if units are occupied it will suddenly change the neighbourhood for the better I think is the wrong thing on which to focus.

    From what I see there is a set of affluent and international families who share time between Vancouver and other countries and as such vacant properties, for part of the year, are to be expected. This is blended with those who simply buy property and hold it vacant for investment purposes — speculators. The best tool Vancouver has for combating this, in my opinion, is through taxation. And of course I think the biggest problem is debt loads and curtailing that will likely solve the problem; I am far from convinced restrictions on ownership, in whatever form they take, will be effective in and of themselves, but will probably have some effect, mostly through changes in sentiment.

    A few months ago I was of the mind that restrictions on ownership will be unlikely. I think there is, now, a small chance the federal government may do something about it, but I put the chances at maybe 1 in 3.

    • @Jesse, you wrote: “I do appreciate the efforts here, BTW. Someone is attempting to fill in the void in data.”

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to suggest all the evidence gathered by the VREAA host & commenters is ignored by those who read this blog. I just mean that people in a position to do anything in this City seem willfully oblivious, complacent, or cowardly.

      I’ve learned enough from reading this blog to know that speculative bubbles have a life of their own, but yes, as I’ve said before, I heartily agree with you that taxing the bejesus out of speculators would be a very welcome and way overdue punitive measure.

  25. is this what they do in their spare time? peeping into houses to see whether people live in or not, and then discussing about housing crash? on a sunny saturday?

  26. Relaxed & Happy Islander

    Some of us watched this unfolding, didn’t like where it was going, and took the money and ran.

    Apologies if that sounds crass, I don’t mean it to.

    Here’s my anecdote: I bought one of Jack Wood’s Castle Houses on the westside in 2000. It was a sweet little place, a little down on its luck, but with good bones and it represented to me part of Vancouver’s heritage. We put time and money in it and I think we made it shine again, at least the neighbours seemed pleased.

    We had every intention of staying there well into our golden years, but then we watched our ‘hood and the city change. Property prices began their unprecedented ramp up. Small and medium sized businesses were forced out as developers put up tall condo towers, and replaced those small service or manufacturing facilities with street level bubble tea shops and acrylic gel nail salons. And, those towers blocked the view of the ocean and mountains I had taken for granted, and a big part of what was so special about Vancouver. Closer to home, sweet little houses stopped getting rehabbed, instead knocked down, replaced by the ubiquitous McMansion that was all house, no property, and no soul. Then the edicts started coming down about embracing this brave new world that was The Best Place on Earth.

    My 6 km commute from downtown became 45 minutes – on a good day. A “good day”also meant no one flashed you the bird.

    So a little more than a year ago, 5 Asian developers bid on my property. They were more than happy to let me triple my money, because all of them planned on knocking my house down because they were sure they could make even more, because 2000 sq ft is not big enough to warehouse people’s stuff.

    I’m over on the island now. Bought acreage. My propety taxes are less than a tenth of what that city lot cost me. There’s nothing I have to do without over here, we have all the shops & services – even the internet -and I’ve got the ocean and mountain views back – with lakes thrown in.

    The agent that sold our house in Vancouver recently sent me a picture of what’s going up on the property (it’s still not finished) – yup, in the 4000 – 5000 sq ft range. It was sad for me to see that the old plum tree planted by the first family that lived in my old house was in the way of the triple garage, or maybe its a laneway house, in the back yard, and it’s been knocked down, too.

    I found this site a few months back. I had thought I was the only one thinking “this can’tbe sustained” and finally decided to google ‘Vancouver Bubble’. I’m writing for the first time here, because of the differing sites I’ve been looking at, this seems to be the only one where you folks don’tget nasty and attack differing views. So that’s my anecodote.

    For what its worth, we are professionals, qualifying as 1%’s. Funny, it never felt that way over there.

    • Relaxed ->
      Many thanks for sharing your story.
      We will headline it, natch.

      It’s painful for me to say it (because Vancouver needs folks like you to want to remain here), but you did the right thing, as you well know.

      • Relaxed & Happy Islander

        You are too kind.

        In the interest of brevity, and not wishing to be bore your readership, a couple of things I left out – this place cost less than our 2000 Vancouver purchase, even after the reno’s I did; but, it’s not all about the money – I knew where we moved to was physical beautiful, what I hadn’t realized was how insp

      • Relaxed & Happy Islander

        Pt II – apologies…I was wanting to say how kind, thoughtful and inspiring the people are here. That I wasn’t expecting. When one of our vehicles repeatedly crapped out (it had been stolen from front of our Vcr place and apparently used in a crime so the police kept it for 6 weeks while they dusted) people here stopped to help, the garage ran taxi for us. When they held their charity auction in December, bids on all the donatedproducts and services We have had to relearn the art of “chatting” as the folk here partake of this quaint practice.

      • Relaxed & Happy Islander

        Pt III (I’m having problems with the reply window)…at the charity auction bids were all for greater than the declared value, on everything, because “it was for charity”…okay, lots of things like that, but that’s enough from me. I was born & raised in Vancouver, but its amazing to experience life away from there.

      • Relaxed -> Thanks, your additional info has been incorporated into your story, will post Monday.
        Sorry about the trouble with posting comments recently; this appears to be a temporary wordpress problem, and is not the norm.

    • Some us feel a bit mean from time to time, Relaxed. We like the boss here though so we try to keep it in check. And besides, some of the posts are hilarious and the short videos are pretty good too.

    • West Coast Woman

      Thank you for sharing your story. For the past week I have been thinking constantly about whether or not I really want to stay here as originally planned. I’m a third generation Vancouverite – both my parents were born here, married here and raised their family here as did their sibblings.

      Many of the long time residents of my neighbourhood have been leaving Vancouver because they are unhappy with what they see as the destruction of our neighbourhood, as well as with the overall direction this City is taking. So they’re cashing out like you did and moving away from the City to Sechelt, White Rock, the Island, the Okanogan, the Kootenays, the U.S. and anywhere else that’s not Vancouver and where they can still enjoy a house with a yard, instead of downsizing to a tiny condo in the City. These are the people who have been the volunteers with community organizations and for neighbourhood events – the “rocks” of the community. As one of them said to me last weekend “Vancouver is done”.

      So it’s not just the young families who are leaving – many middle-aged and retired people are leaving as well.

      I wonder what kind of City Vancouver will end up being when all those who cared most about it have left?

    • Gee Mayberry sounds “great”. Say hi to Opie and Aunt Bea for me

      • Hey, Realty Check, say hi to Louis the 14th for us in return!

      • reality check

        Oh epte, it must be wonderful to be as self-righteous as you. Continue your crusade on behalf of shut-out buyers everywhere.

      • You and your type are probably the most significant factor of why I learned to hate enough to leave. Thank you, again, for personal confirmation.

  27. 4SlicesofCheese

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank VREAA for all your hard work.

    You are our Ben Jones.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/real-estate/buying-and-selling/what-will-make-the-housing-boom-go-bust-greed/article2402051/

    • You are too kind. Thanks. As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s a labour of ‘love’ and fascination.
      Actually, it’s not really a labour, so I’ll have to think of something else to say.

      Interesting article that you link: interesting comments, too.

      • reality check

        This site is nothing more than a chance for misguided bears to rant about the high cost of housing and try to convince everyone not to buy. It reminds me of a site by Vancouver Housing blogger a few years back and he eventually disappeared. This site will too but not before doing some damage to people’s net worth by convincing them wrongly to stay out of the market.

      • Time for a Reality Check. If you are using your head this is the part of the cycle where you woud be taking housing profits off the table and preparing a business plan. You need to be thinking about investing rather than consuming. Over the coming few years there will be a lot of business stress as consumption falls and many owners are simultaneously heading into retirement. It means that a golden opportunity to buy into an existing place with a great location is coming up. That chance will only be available to those who are NOT deeply indebted and to those who do have cash available to be deployed into productive, income generating assets. Hell, the sellers will be more than happy to offer you all the training you need, carry a portion of the inventory if you are a bit short on meeting needs and pass on invaluable knowledge necessary for your future success. So what I am saying therefore is that not only is now a bad time to buy a house but that it will make even less sense as better opportunities arise and compete for your attention. Not that owning a business is without risk during a time of falling consumption. But that is the time when bargains will come to market as others flee in disgust on falling revenues. Best terms on leases, best terms on buying, best terms on acquiring ownership of the commercial property too. You got to be ready. Got to be debt free and have cash on hand or you will miss both the selling of R/E at the top and buying in at the business cycle bottom.

    • Thanks enthusiastically seconded.

    • I think we all agree with Ben that the condo market needs to take a hit. If value is in land I’m not sure why any condo is worth as much or more than a detached home.

      “From what I can tell, the condo markets in Toronto and Vancouver are even crazier. Prices are still going up and the participation of so many foreign investors is indicative of a more vulnerable market than in, for example, Miami in 2004. And that was a complete disaster.

      Speculation isn’t a sign of strength – it’s a sign of weakness. I’ve read that in Toronto there are Chinese investors buying entire floors of condos. That’s clearly speculative, and those people will be the first to walk when things fall apart.” (Ben Jones)

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        So what do you tell all the young kids with all their money in a condo looking to climb that ladder?

    • SFHs will drop by just as much as condos in the coming bust.
      I know this is counter-intuitive to many, but one must realize that the apparent ‘exclusivity’ of land was bid up that much more during the mania, and will fall back to fundamental (actual use) value, in the same way that condos will.
      Once everything plays out and the dust clears, we wouldn’t be surprise if, peak to trough, the drops were identical.

      • “SFHs will drop by just as much as condos in the coming bust”.

        you’re already wrong vreaa. Condo and detached prices are headed in opposite directions

      • Beyond Debt

        The boom boxes will drop further than condos. In five or ten years, the boom boxes will be ready for demolition (keep in mind some are already ten years old and showing it), so the structure will be seen as a liability. As opposed to now when the newness of these places seems to add a million or so.

        Meanwhile, the new condo laws help ensure upkeep will be done, especially in nicer condo buildings in places like the Westside.

        Boomboxes+deferred maintenance=tear down within 20 years.

      • f1-> No, I am not already wrong. Re-read what I said: “Once everything plays out and the dust clears”…

        All sectors won’t take the exact same path down, necessarily, just like some geographical areas will implode before others (witness Richmond inventory already at 2008 pre-correction levels) — but the destination will essentially end up being the same.

      • vreaa,
        I’m making the educated assumption that you’ve never been in the market to buy a Vancouver detached home. When you get there you’ll understand everything that I’d previously told you.

        When the dust settles the west side detached may have lost 40%. Condo may have lost 50%. And that home you’ve hoped to find for yourself at the discounts just mentioned doesn’t exist. Don’t confuse West with East. Trust me pal, you’re in for a the shock of your life on just how much competition there is for a detached home under 1M. Go to some open houses and tell me how many desperate young couple with kids in tow you see. If you had family you’d know

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        At the peak of a bubble, competition is fierce.

      • If people start thinking a $3 million home could become $2 million in couple years, do you think anyone will want to buy?

      • Yes, as 4slices says, competition is fierce all the way through a mania.. that’s what gets the prices up there, after all.
        The irony is that those “desperate young couple with kids in tow”, fighting now for a $1.2M home, will disappear when said home drops to $1M, then $800K. Why? Well, the only reason they were fighting to buy at $1.2M was that they were convinced that next year it’d cost $1.4M.

        Not to even begin to mention that, in the coming implosion, their condo will be plummeting in value, their equity will have disappeared and they won’t be able to move anywhere, let alone ‘move up’.

      • FTR, Beyond Debt and I posted a similar idea there, at almost precisely the same time.

      • “At the peak of a bubble, competition is fierce”

        it was just as fierce all through winter of 2008/09. Wen you get there you’ll see what I mean. All the best to you

      • FTR, f1’s “educated guesses” about vreaa’s circumstances are always wrong.

      • Desperate or greedy? You can’t tell me that anyone trying to borrow and spend a million dollars to buy a home in the world’s bubbliest city is operating with a full deck of cards.

        These people read papers, presumably. They have access to the internet, radio and television. They have good educations and have been warned repeatedly that a correction is not just inevitable, it may be imminent.

        And yet they still line up to buy and you imagine they are desperate. I cannot agree F1.This is just greed you are seeing. It is people who have heard enough stories about everyone they know making an easy million by owning a home (no talent even required) that they just cannot stand it anymore.

        They want in on the casino despite all the worries they might lose their shirts as an outcome but they still want to play the game. That is gambling and I sure don’t feel sorry for them because those are the same kind of folks who have bid prices up so high in the first place that few mortals can even afford Vancouver anymore.

        It is a blessing for anyone who loses a bidding war and remains a renter.

      • BTW, f1: You said “When the dust settles the west side detached may have lost 40%. Condo may have lost 50%.”

        You are previously on record for saying that SFHs cannot possibly lose more than 10%-15%. Are you now changing your opinion on that?

      • if it looks like a duck…
        You do not have kids vreaa. Let’s no belabour the obvious

      • Even the most bullish of the bulls is taking another look. The statistics on this housing market are just so overwhelmingly damning it is almost impossible to play devils advocate without looking utterly foolish.

        Does Vancouver actually need its overdue earthquake before they concede prices could actually fall?

      • “You can’t tell me that anyone trying to borrow and spend a million dollars to buy a home in the world’s bubbliest city is operating with a full deck of cards”.

        Farmer,
        Family income needs to be over 200K/yr to borrow 1 million. These are not the folks I’m talking about. It’s the professional couple renting or living in a condo with two good incomes that’ll battle for that detached. You’ll have to fight your way through crowds at the 700-850K range. And when the market softens all of a sudden there’s no inventory to choose from. Trust me – you’re in for a rude awakening if you think the world will ever be your oyster in the detached market. I thought the exact same as you did, until…

      • “You are previously on record for saying that SFHs cannot possibly lose more than 10%-15%. Are you now changing your opinion on that?”

        these numbers are an example vreaa. Perhaps taking a look at what happened in 2008/09 will provide some insight for you

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        “it was just as fierce all through winter of 2008/09. Wen you get there you’ll see what I mean. All the best to you”

        If you are referring to me I am quite fine thank you. My wife is from a HAM family, all legally aquired of course, and even she doesn’t want to buy now.

        What do you mean by I will see what you mean, I just said competition is fierce at the peak of a bubble. But then again thats what they said about Richmond a couple months ago.

      • Formula, in this case we will have to disagree. I appreciate that Vancouver is a unique market for many reasons but it is the big picture that will ultimately determine pricing for homes.

        Even in Van. This city is even more vulnerable than most now. Someone else commented here yesterday that the signs we are seeing now are all pointing to weakness, not strength. Boy, do I ever agree with that.

        Look, we are on the tail end of what might well be the largest credit bubble in all history. It is an event that is being seen simultaneously across the globe and even appears evident in many Third World and developing nations. The first negative impacts have already been experienced in dozens of other Western nations (mostly European) and the inevitability of bad news here is certain.

        From that perspective there is nothing “local” about what is happening in Vancouver. This is a global house frenzy. Too much supply has been created everywhere and even farmland is now reaching bubble proportions in far flung places.

        A friend from India was just telling me that an acre fetches over ten thousand dollars in his province now and there is a land-rush of wealth flowing from the big cities like Bombay and Calcutta buying up large swathes of the countryside and further impoverishing those who already barely scrape up a living.

        There is years of deleveraging lying ahead for any country that went through a similar run-up in credit and had a housing bubble. Vancouver will not be an exception. We don’t need to go far looking for easy comparisons either. Vancouver’s current situation is particularly acute, even dangerous where the economic outcomes of many thousands of people will be heavily impacted as this unravels.

        It is unraveling now. As we are learning, our fate is closely tied to that of China where an epic housing bust is taking shape and threatening to knock the wind out of what might normally have been a two decade bull market in commodities.

        Last week I even brought you a story on how a housing boom was underway in Ethiopia. So if the poorest country on earth can be experiencing a housing bubble in its capital city exactly at the same time we are seeing the same in the West strongest countries we know something is haywire.

        There has been tremendous economic carnage in places like Ireland, Iceland and Spain already. Should we feel in a strong position long term as we witness similar excess taking place even in poor nations? What I am getting at here is that system risk has developed to the extent that the entire global economy is in peril of being destabilized and this cannot benefit any of us.

        That is why I encourage anyone who is watching events unfold in Europe or other overseas nations to take a moment to consider how likely it is our outcome will be better when we already know that all bubbles mean revert and end in tears and loss.

        And that our “local” bubble is almost the Mama of them all. It is folly to buy into this market now. Don’t worry about supply drying up. That is just temporary. There is plenty coming down the pipe in good time and there will not be buyers soon enough.

  28. vreaa,

    I don’t doubt that some houses on the west side are being used as holding properties for Chinese who are buying their Canadian citizenship. Do I enoy seeing it? Heck no. But the sheer volume of houses who the poster claimed were vacant needed investigating. I went last evening for about 10 minutes. Since 5 of the first 6 houses on 19th ave were occupied I didn’t bother with the remainder. Could I have just struck an occupied cluster and the rest were, as poster claimed, unoccupied – sure.
    So if this is so wiedespread what are we to do about it? Just get mad and post? Since our politicians are addicted to immigration and the wealth it brings (at all gov’t levels) I don’t know if you’ll be able to recommend a prescribed remedy.
    If I were king of the world (or just Canada) I would make these changes:
    1. Immigrants wanting citizenship must give up the one they hold. No dual citizenship
    2. Business class immigrants are not permitted any business that touch real estate, property ownership, etc. Rules around creating employment must not employ property managers, landscapers, etc.
    I have many more but that’s a start.

    • There you go, a +1 with caveats.

      IMO the issue extends beyond investor class, that said the program does not indicate to me the long run interests of Canada are being served. These days Canada can raise bonds cheaper than the investor class immigration flows, only that it would be accounted for differently. The investor class program funds government-run (i.e. QUANGO) investment vehicles. It’s unclear that the Conservative government wants to facilitate economic growth through these mechanisms.

    • Great suggestions Formula1, we need to get these suggestions over to the Feds. You got my respect and others on here need to acknowledge you too.

  29. I liked the way Sandy Garossino put it lately (paraphrasing):
    “We’ve got big problems. We either have a housing bubble, or we don’t have a housing bubble.”
    What she was saying, of course, is that, either way we in Vancouver have big challenges ahead.
    I’d agree. I just happen to think that the chances of those challenges being due to a bubble topping and imploding are of the order of 97%.
    The other 3% chance is that we defy gravity and keep on going with RE prices that are increasingly strangling the city. Equally gruesome, worse in the long run.

    • Based on the balance of evidence I’ve seen, including region-wide valuations and not just those in areas inflicted with direct foreign investment, it’s overwhelmingly a loose credit and underwriting problem.

  30. Fwiw I asked bc hydro for an update to the bta architects study on twitter. They came back to me right away, but ended up saying that they weren’t,the able to completely answer the question. I offered to take a look at the data myself, but that didn’t work for them. I’ll suggest bta take another look. I was also wondering about water meters. And garbage. Supposedly there are streets with no garbage on garbage day.

  31. The reply window is not working for me either. Sometimes when you try to post it inexplicably closes and you can’t get back to the end of your sentence to finish what you were saying….software gone haywire I guess. Hopefully it fixes itself eventually.

  32. Vancouvers Down the Drain

    Vancouver is being hollowed out. All the transit in the world will not help us if workers are continually pushed to the outer suburbs in order for vast amounts of Vancouver real estate to be sold to those who live abroad. Sooner or later employers will get wise to tehfact that none of their employees live in, or even want to live in Vancouver city limits, and the jobs will follow workers out to the burbs.

  33. Is this what Mexicans feel like when Americans turn their towns into resorts?

    • Yes. The parallel has occurred to us, too.

      • There are some areas, like Baja California, that were barely occupied before the retiree immigration. Most other areas, this is definitely a problem. Same thing goes there (or used to, been a while since we’ve been there, always got sick) that you can’t actually own the property.

  34. Don’t a lot of Canadians vacation in Mexico too?

  35. Replacing solid heritage homes with disposable boom boxes is the first step in totally redeveloping the Westside to a higher density level. Oldtimer Westsiders kept the status quo for generations, and now change will become more rapid.
    Watch to see if they can stop the hospice at Casa Mia.
    http://www.theprovince.com/Casa+neighbours+proposal/6434252/story.html
    If it gets built despite the wishes of the “creme de la creme”, this will be the harbinger of massive redevelopment of the SW Vancouver estate lands.
    The establishment isn’t what it once was. In a few decades, Dunbar will be largely townhouses and low-rise condos.

    • “Replacing solid heritage homes with disposable boom boxes is the first step in totally redeveloping the Westside to a higher density level”.

      heritage A, B, and C are protected from redevelopment. You can strata it, gut it and restore it but you can’t bring it down or change it’s appearance. There are also strict rules about the materials you can use i.e. only wood frame windows on restoration, no vinyl

      • Beyond Debt

        I’m not talking about the “official” listed homes. Its more about the 1950s beauties that are rapidly disappearing. They are heritage in many eyes, probably in the eyes of oldschool Westsiders, and would certainly have been so if they were still standing 20 years from now. Boom boxes can never be heritage.

      • F1, what heritage homes are you talking about? There are very, very few with those designations. I started investigating this some years ago, and also recently met with someone from Heritage Vancouver. There is no protection whatsoever for many West Side houses. Beyond Debt is correct below.

      • There’s no protection for the huge majority of East Side houses either, just so we’re clear this is a citywide phenomenon I’ve already researched.

      • “F1, what heritage homes are you talking about? There are very, very few with those designations.”

        I’m getting pretty tired of discussing real estate here. Most of you are either incredibly naive or incredibly lazy.

        Click on check the heritage registry then start at page 10 of the pdf. huge patches of this city are protected incl most of Kits, grandview, city hall, main, pt grey, dunbar, etc

        http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/heritage/buildings.htm

      • Why do you think anyone would take absolutely anything you say seriously, much less your accusations that OTHER people make things up, when you keep asserting things like the VREAA host has no children? I mean, wouldn’t he know?

        Host, I vote banning Formula along with Fred. He’s a bloody waste of everyone’s time imo. I know some people appreciate the comic relief.

    • The great irony of the “achieve higher density with boom boxes” strategy, as I’ve pointed out before, is that from my observation so many of those deluxe new basement suites are unoccupied! The big boom box houses on both my old street and my new one had an average occupancy of 3 people (that is, unless they were left vacant entirely).

      • @F1, I notice a lot of people have to ask you to reread their posts. What I said was “There is no protection whatsoever for many West Side houses,” and I added something about the situation for East Side houses.

        Please phone Janet LeDuc at Heritage Vancouver and ask her how many HOUSES on the West and East Sides are protected, given just how many houses there are. The answer you will hear is “Very, very few.” Get it in percentages if that’s useful.

      • epte,
        There is protection for a great many homes on the west and east side.
        All you need to do is click on the link and have a look at the list yourself.

      • here is your quote epte

        “There is no protection whatsoever for many West Side houses”

        completely untrue – and you deny making this claim not even two hours after making it. Are you a teenager?

      • F1 — can’t seem to reply to your query below, so fwiw here it is.

        I didn’t and don’t deny anything. I said (read carefully): THERE IS NO PROTECTION WHATSOEVER FOR *MANY* WEST SIDE HOUSES (and by the way east side houses).

        That is a true statement. It takes a lot to get a “heritage” designation.

        Now call Janet LeDuc at Heritage Vancouver and she’ll tell you the same thing.

        The Jack Wood castle house that someone described being torn down in a recent host is an excellent example of a particular kind of character house some of us think worth preserving that did not have a heritage designation and thus was not protected.

  36. The soon-to-be realized fact is that the new build houses, and I’m speaking of the ‘stucco boxes’ that have increasingly been built in Vancouver, tend to be of sub-standard quality and are starting to leak, just like the condos of the same vintage. I lived in the Arbutus area for over twenty years and many of the houses there require extensive repairs due to faulty plumbing and poor exterior finishes. Two $5 million plus homes on Puget had to be stripped down to bare wood exterior and be completely refaced in the last year alone – the buyers/investors of these houses are in for a nasty surprise. The house that had been constructed next door to mine had a pipe burst in the living room ceiling before the house was even occupied – no curtains were up and I saw the waterfall cascading onto the hardwood floor, I notified the real estate agent listed on the sign, hours later she showed up and the leak was eventually dealt with but the floor was left to dry, the drywall was painted over and nothing was replaced – merely made to look shiny and new.

  37. Apologies if someone has already mentioned this in connection with the topic of vacant houses.

    A couple of years after we bought our East Side house in 2003, this statement, in bold, began appearing in the cover letter that accompanies our annual renewal of our house insurance.

    IMPORTANT: Please note that Fire caused by Vandalism is excluded immediately upon the property becoming vacant and all coverage is void if the property is vacant for more than 30 days. Should this situation occur, or any other that would change its occupancy, please contact our office immediately so that we may endorse your policy accordingly to continue coverage. While the location is vacant, the Theft, Glass, Vandalism, Malicious Acts, Water Damage and Sewer Backup Coverages are excluded even if permission for vacancy has been granted by the insurance company.

    I think this clause is pretty standard in house insurance policies. What is interesting is that our insurance broker, over the last few years, has chosen to pull it out and highlight it on the front page of the renewal package that arrives every year. The broker’s two Vancouver locations are on the West Side, and this broker was recommended by the West Side lawyer who did our conveyance, so it’s probably reasonable to assume that the broker’s Vancouver offices have a predominantly West Side clientele.

  38. anonymous guy

    Great Post,

    If you kept moving up 22nd you’d get the block I grew up on. It’s pretty much the same, old grey retired/almost retired people in modest homes or awful massive chinese box homes that just sit there empty. An offshore chinese buyer just bought a beautiful, well maintened, old house across from my parents’ place (The owners were UBC Professors who relocated to the eastside), tore it down and put a huge McMansion on the eastern 3/4s of the lot. They’re obivously making a play to take out the neighbour’s house to the west with an offer they can’t refuse.
    My dad says the owner of the neighbour house is Taiwanese (He bought from the children of the former owner who died over a decade ago) and won’t sell to a godless communist mainlander. So there’s a somewhat ammusing stalemate as we watch this monsterous house go up. Surely the Chinese buyer had the intension to tear down both at once and put three in their place all at once. Here’s the kicker, the Taiwanese guy’s house is currently rented by a family with two small children. I’m sure they know their days are numbered. It’s kind of a microcosm of the westside, the almighty dollar trumps community as usual and the only people we actually see on a regular basis are the renters. The guys playing monopoly with the houses are no where to be seen until the wrecking ball shows up.

  39. no, i am not. i had heard that this story was coming.i have been posting this kind of information on my blog for over a year basically to vent to myself. i printed off a bunch of housing price charts last summer ,issued by the gvrd, showing the extreme parabolic move in prices. i posted them throughout this neighbourhood on light posts like lost cat or dog posters or lawn care etc…..all of my charts were taken off within a couple weeks, yet the missing dog and cat and lawn care posters posters remained.some of the missing animal posters from last summer still remain.there are many that want this hidden. I’m am thrilled that others are coming forward-

    • Sorry Bubble Man. Tried to leave a response on your site but after I wrote it the damn thing expired (disappeared instantly) because I typed in my WordPress name. No idea what that is all about. Too complicated for me to try again so I won’t bother. Why not just keep coming over here for comments. Much easier for me.

      PS: Keep up the good work Colin. (oops).

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  41. I took a closer and more extensive look at the area this afternoon. You’re absolutely right. I moved out of Kits many years ago so have been out of touch with what’s happening there.
    Probably every 5th house is empty. The tip off for me wasn’t the newpapers at the front door – it was that, in the middle of the afternoon on a sunny day, the house was sealed up like a tomb…drapes drawn on every side of the house.
    Important question. If these owners bought the home to reside while waiting for their permanent residency…where are they now? They are not permitted to leave the country for 3 years.
    My apologies to the orignial poster. the phenomenon is truly stunning.
    For anyone who thinks the wealthy asian buyer is a myth – take the walk. And this is just one small pocket of the city. Where else are they? Dunbar, Pt Grey, Shaughnessey, etc.

    • formula1 -> Thanks for sharing your observations. Your ability to allow the data to change your prior opinion duly noted.

    • Hey, great stuff Formula. Maybe that post of yours will get headlined just because it was such a good surprise. You know, it would not be so bad if there were just a few hundred people warehousing money and wasting local space by not utilizing it as a home but when there are thousands then you sense a real problem has developed that can by fixed at the policy level. Seems the Feds are doing just that.

      Oh wait……how do I know you are the real F1?

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      My wife is PR status right now, there is no rule to not leave the country for 3 years, they can leave the country but I believe they have to be in Canada a certain number of days to keep the pr status.

      I have friends who come back to Vancouver as a vacation while waiting for the citizenship status. So I guess the time they have to be in Canada is not so great, but not residing here does prolong your eligibility for applying for citizenship. You have to fulfill a certain number of days before you can even apply.

  42. formula1- im glad you went for the walk to see for yourself. it is happening in dunbar and shaughnessy has a great deal of empties….the trafalgar park area is just so obvious when you see it. i witnessed it happen very quickly. there are many people starting to realize this now and are talking about it. keep talking about it before the entire city is ruined. bm

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