‘First We Take London and Manhattan, Then We Take Berlin’ – Limitless Demand Argument Revisited, Again – “Anytime a midlevel city grows and becomes a popular destination to live, people come, demand increases, supply dwindles, and prices go up.”

“Anytime a midlevel city grows and becomes a popular destination to live, people come, demand increases, supply dwindles, and prices go up. Witness New York and London 100 years ago and what it’s like now.
New York City police and firefighters earn about $100k a year yet can’t afford to live in Manhattan. They live in New Jersey and commute. When I was in London, a shuttle bus driver told me he grew up in Earl’s Court, but had to move to Reading and commuted to work. This is a normal state of affairs.
Vancouver is an international city. People are going to move here, as is happening in Germany. Real estate prices in Berlin and other cities are increasing because the remaining wealthy Europeans are moving and investing there because of the solid economy and collapsing prices in their home countries. They are pushing out middle-class Germans. The movement of people and capital to better places is normal development. What’s happening is not new. It has happened since the dawn of civilization.
If [anybody] feels disenfranchised and displaced, [they] should remember the plight of the First Nations people. Their homes were taken from gun point and they were subjected to genocide. The remainder were made to feel really welcome by being forced to live on reserves and treated like second-class citizens in their ancestral homeland. At least the Chinese purchased their homes legally and are contributing to the economy by buying Canadian natural resources from which she is benefitting.”

Terry Chan, Letter To Editor, Vancouver Courier, 20 Apr 2012

Excellent debating technique, Terry.
– Hand-waving comparisons linking our (modest, small, provincial) city to capitals such as New York, London, Berlin.
– Vague claims of historical precedent (“since the dawn of civilization”).
– Superficially arresting but essentially empty concepts (“Vancouver is an international city”)
– Avoid mention of all non-supportive data (thus let’s not talk about any actual numbers)
– Pre-empt dissent by associating any would-be opponents with historical atrocities (“plight of First Nations people”).

While it is true that cities do develop, the problem is that the vague arguments used by Terry, if accepted, can be used as an excuse to justify just about any price, for any property, in any growing city.
Show us the math that supports current Vancouver prices. None does.
Yes, Vancouver will develop.
But, yes, too, Vancouver is in a huge speculative RE mania that can only end with implosion.
The two ideas are not mutually exclusive.
There are at least 150 other cities around the globe as important as Vancouver – Does Terry argue they are all on the brink of becoming the next NYC; London; Berlin?
– vreaa

Also see:
Various posts in the sidebar category “Limitless Demand Argument For Ongoing Market Strength”.

135 responses to “‘First We Take London and Manhattan, Then We Take Berlin’ – Limitless Demand Argument Revisited, Again – “Anytime a midlevel city grows and becomes a popular destination to live, people come, demand increases, supply dwindles, and prices go up.”

  1. “At least the Chinese purchased their homes legally and are contributing to the economy by buying Canadian natural resources from which she is benefitting.”

    Terry, how exactly is she benefitting? Care to explain?

    • Didn’t you know Don. They come here and buy a few logs, some kilos of raw copper, a little bitumen and a few bushels of wheat. Don’t cry about it man. The loggers and oilers and farmers are all getting fed. That’s just how it works in that crazy persons world. Ha Ha Ha.

  2. I heard Berlin is much cheaper than Vancouver.

    And the last bit will just add to racial tension.

    • Craig Sterling

      Agree – and for all the RE agents out there, I’m sorry, but I maintain – VANCOUVER IS CURRENTLY MORE EXPENSIVE THAN LONDON – I lived in London for ten years. The North Shore/ W Van is maybe like Richmond – nice suburb abt 10 miles out of the city – and W Van is more expensive than Richmond, no doubt whatsoever.

  3. “Real estate prices in Berlin and other cities are increasing because the remaining wealthy Europeans are moving and investing there because of the solid economy and collapsing prices in their home countries. They are pushing out middle-class Germans.”
    That sounded like an admission to me. An acknowledgement of the destructive effects of other bubbles on the European continent. The author understands the forces at work but supplies a Darwinian “survival of the fittest” rationalization to fit the story. You see, its all OK if you have enough money to go and plant yourself in the homes of others. Hey, its been going on for millenia. Its just nature you know…

    If those stupid Neanderthals in France had just saved their Francs, paid their bills and kept to their own suburban caves we never would have had to wipe them out to zero. See. Just nature at work

    Meanwhile, the articles title brings Leonard Cohen to mind. Only I don’t like that Manhattan tune of his. We have “Waiting for a Miracle” instead. Perhaps it is more fitting.

  4. The most insidious of arguments is the “we have (finally) arrived”, as if all the optimism in the world can render Vancouver a primary international city.

    The economy says it isn’t. I like the City but don’t try to dress it up into something it isn’t. It looks too much like it’s “trying too hard”.

  5. Joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs

    The differences between New York and Vancouver in terms of housing options for working class people:

    – New York has a massive supply of public housing. And they are continuing to add to the supply of public housing. Public housing in NY is geared toward low and middle income families. Vancouver hasn’t added to its supply of public housing for families since the 1970s, what little we do have is being demolished for speculative condo development (Little Mtn), any new social housing we get is in the form of supportive housing for drug addicts (as opposed to housing for working people who fuel the local economy)

    -Renting in the private sector is far easier in NY thanks to rent control and strong tenancy laws that would prevent rampant renovations like we have here.

    -Commuting from distant suburbs is far easier in NY thanks to an excellent rapid transit system.

    • Calgary is closer to Manhattan than Vancouver is.

    • “New York has a massive supply of public housing. And they are continuing to add to the supply of public housing. Public housing in NY is geared toward low and middle income families”

      not in Manhattan they aren’t.
      Let me be devils advocate, again.
      Manhattan is the most expensive real estate in NY region
      Vancovuer is the most expensive real estate in Van region
      Manhattan covers area of 33sq/mi
      Vancouver covers area of 44sq/mi
      So if NY is not able to afford to locate public housing in Manhattan why do you think Vancouver should provide social housing in the most expensive real estate in the region?

      • Joe is correct about public housing in Manhattan, and F1, I’m afraid you are once again speaking misleadingly yet as always with that ex cathedra air.

      • where are the new Manhattan projects? Please support with evidence.

        BTW, a nuclear family of 3 must not exceed income of 59K/year to qualify for any NYC public housing. If you have two cihildren you must not exceed 66K

      • F1, why should I do your work for you? Why don’t you tell me where you have found evidence that NYC is not creating new social housing? Warning: I actually have very good information available on this topic. Just want to see you fall into that lime pit of certainty.

        And while we’re at it, why don’t you tell us on the basis of what acquaintance with Chinese people and Caucasians did you formulate your libellous and laughable hypotheses (below) about “Chinese values” vs. “Caucasian values”?

      • reality check

        epte, I’m sorry but asking F1 to provide evidence of something that isn’t happening as opposed to him asking you to provide evidence of something that is occurring is ludicrous.

      • From the NYC Housing Authority website:

        NYCHA, City Partners Celebrate Opening of Affordable Housing at Elliott-Chelsea for Low to Moderate & Middle-Income Residents

        The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) along with partners including the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC) celebrated the opening of 168 new affordable housing apartments at Manhattan development, Elliot-Chelsea on April 3. Elliot-Chelsea is the latest development completed under the partnership between NYCHA and HPD to develop affordable housing on underutilized NYCHA property. The 22-story development will provide housing for low-to-middle-income families and is located at W 25th St. and 9th Ave.

  6. We are in a market economy. Buying house and believing in its value appreciation continuously is rational, while flipping is not.
    Most new home buyers (new immigrants) invested in house with their blood money and they believe in housing price at a much higher value.
    The difference is now how much we would like to sacrifice our income on housing cost, 30% or 70%?

    • Mark, you say: “We are in a market economy. Buying house and believing in its value appreciation continuously is rational..”
      Please explain.

      • Could he also point out where he got the information that “most new home buyers are (new immigrants)”?

  7. Thank you Mr. Chinese man for not killing me and my family. You are so kind.

  8. Don’t underestimate the principal values of the billion+ Chinese people: family, education, and real estate. For these reason, the pressure will be on Vancouver for a long long time….

    • Ah this one. A billion is a big number, a lot of dots on a paper, but I also heard that a trillion has its merits.

      • theragingranter

        I also heard that not necessarily all of the 1.2 billion Chinese are thinking of moving here. Which makes talking about “billions” of Chinese lusting for Vancouver real estate a bit disingenuous.

    • +1 Apollo13

      Chinese values in this order however:
      1. Family (extended)
      2. Status
      3. Real estate
      4. Education

      Much of Chinese self and status is tied into real estate and education. They are not exclusive. Real estate and education provide for what is truly the goal of these undertakings…status.

      Caucasian values in this order:
      1. Self
      2. money/cash
      3. Toys
      4. Education

      Caucasian is much more hedonistic – much less able to delay gratification. Much of caucasian list goes in to feeding self. Since extended family is far dwn the list of priorities, it permits feeding self with decision-making that does not support family i.e. moving from settled location to feed self status, lifestyle.

      • are you speeding today?

      • “Caucasian values in this order:”

        formula1 must be chinese. Every white person knows that TV, Beer and Hockey rank well before Toys and Education.

      • Jeff, you wrote: ““Caucasian values in this order:”

        “formula1 must be chinese. Every white person knows that TV, Beer and Hockey rank well before Toys and Education.”

        I enjoyed your humour about white people. But F1’s checklist of Chinese values is also horribly insulting to the Chinese and Chinese Canadians I know. For example, many of my students and their families were absolutely not devoted to empty status symbols. Or real estate.

      • As a chinese male: “[expletive deleted -ed.] and your shitty cultural reductionism”

      • Thanks for the comment Vesta. I hope no one found my post offensive. The intent was to mock f1’s racial stereotypes by making them even more ridiculous.

      • Thanks, Jeff, yes, I enjoyed your sarcasm!

      • And I thought, naively probably, that to show off your status, you needed toys…

    • This is seriously funny. So…a billion-plus Chinese will “put the pressure on the glorious BPOE for a long long time.” How??? Please enlighten me. For starters, what percentage of that billion-plus actually have enough money for more than a shack on some horrifically polluted, dying Chinese river? And of the ones that have somehow accumulated enough corrupt Yuans to look elsewhere, what magical crystal ball tells us they all want to buy real estate in the glorious BPOE, where A) It rains eight months a year, and B) We have the most overpriced real estate on earth? What about the REST OF THE WORLD? Say, California, for example? When I was down there a couple months ago, there were plenty of Chinese-only bus tours scoping out the (far cheaper, far less moldy) real estate, and no shortage of realtors claiming the Chinese would be the saviour of their now harshly deflated bubble.

  9. Im so happy this am after reading how lucky i am that i wasnt taken at gunpoint and placed on a reserve. Im going to walk next door and thank my neighbour…hold on, my neighbours house is empty. I guess i will stroll across the street and thank the owners of that beautiful box. ?….nope, also empty Hmmmmm, maybe i will write a letter, i guess i will just pin it to the front door next to the christmas decorations.

  10. LandlordRescue.ca

    For those people who believe that real estate always goes up or that certain properties appreciate more in certain areas. http://www.moneysmartsblog.com/real-estate-appreciation/

  11. Somehow… given the leader illustration… and the provenance of Leonard’s tune… this just seemed to fit (IllustriousEd will forgive the obvious ploy of resorting to balloon graphics on a ‘bubble’ blog; Nena – by the way – can still dance)…

    • I had always wondered what happens to helium balloons when they float away. A pilot friend of mine opined the slowly deflated and came back down to earth, eventually.

  12. “If [anybody] feels disenfranchised and displaced, [they] should remember the plight of the First Nations people. Their homes were taken from gun point and they were subjected to genocide”.

    Terry Chan is a very poor historian. The lands were never taken at gunpoint and there was never a mass cull of native peoples.
    North America was initially occupied only as a trade outlet and forts were erected as trading posts. First nations people entered into treaties and trade for land they never thought was theirs to righfully sell or trade in the first place. They believed the land was there to hold in trust and occupiers acted as caretakers of the land.
    Big lesson here that goes back to the beginning of Canada. When you sell your land make sure you don’t regret trading it for much less that it becomes worth later. Whether you sell if for cash, rifles, wools, etc.

  13. theragingranter

    We’re supposed to just accept – out of some misplaced “white” guilt – being pushed out of our own cities, because “you guys did it to the aboriginals”???? I put “white” in quotations because of course middle class Canadians of ALL races are being displaced by insane housing prices. But in using the aboriginal example, it certainly is a form of white guilt that Terry Chan is trying to peddle. Needless to say, I’m not buying it.

  14. “Show us the math that supports current Vancouver prices. None does”

    I’ve showed you the math vreaa.
    -Increasing demand through immigration
    -decreasing supply of land via redevelopment
    -Selection of higher and higher wealth based (not income) occupants
    -Developments that exclude family sized housing – supporting higher demand (and higher prices) for current supply

    In spite of the evidence I’ve previously put before you you deny all of the above. It simply doesn’t support your theory that the market will change to the degree you hope. So in essence, your theories are hope based not reality based

    • all of the above existed elsewhere, with very mixed correlation to prices – if any. otoh, wherever there was easy credit for housing, prices up. take away easy credit for housing , prices down. qed.
      even if you do not agree, you must concede that with the fewest contingencies is the most likely. if not, why the desire to make things more complicated than necessary?

      • cor. to construct a credible thesis, you must refute easy credit first before proceeding.

    • F1, these arguments can be used by any realtor in any city to justify all their bullshit “Get your real estate groove on/buy now or be priced out forever” arguments. To the contrary, I can’t think of another city that’s as burned out financially or as overhyped as the glorious BPOE.

      Travel a bit and you realize how inconsequential the glorious BPOE is on the world stage. I’ve found that to most, the glorious BPOE is little more than a pretty but inclement northerly port/outpost. And when you educate people who don’t live in the glorious BPOE to the onerous cost of housing in the glorious BPOE, they have but one question: “Why?” And one expression – utter disbelief. I say this not to denigrate the glorious BPOE. It’s simply fact.

      Such incredible self importance we have. This has been a pyramid scheme amongst ourselves, pushed by a government that doles out cheap up-front money because it depends on housing-related industries to keep its GDP above water, a media that depends on RE industry advertising dollars, and pyramid scheme-birthed slime like Cam Good to keep the lies flowing.

      • Gourd,

        The more I travel the more thankful I am that I call Vancouver my home. The “you don’t get out much” is a tired expression that doesn’t hold water when you consider that the world is coming to your city to make it their permanent home.
        But I guess you’ve never been to Asia, or Africa, or India, or…

      • reality check

        I travel extensively and I am not surprised that many people want to call Vancouver home.

      • Vancouver is a fine place to live; I suspect that the vast majority of us spending time on this blog agree.
        But there are many other fine places.
        And, those of you vociferously arguing for Vancouver’s uber-charms, remember to take into account the “No Place Like Home” bias when assessing its merits. Also the “This Is The City Whose RE Markets Have Made Me Set For Life” bias.

      • vreaa,

        Vancouver doesn’t need to define itself as the BPOE for it to have expensive detached housing. Simply continuing to add 100K residents every 15 years without available land to add supply will do this without using any magic tricks.

      • “The world is coming to your city”.

        The epitome of Vancouver’s smug (and delusional) attitude. Fact is, immigration numbers have been flat since the early 90s. Sorry, F1, but most of the world has never even heard of Vancouver.

      • most of the world has never even heard of Vancouver

        I always imagined that Vancouver has a pretty strong “brand” in China, hyped up as the “It” place to be seen. The question is whether it’s a short- or long-term fad. If the RE market ever turns, it could easily become a “has been” place:

        “Yeah my dumb cousin bought a condo in Vancouver, and didn’t sell in time, what a fool. Hey, do you want to see sat photos of the farm I bought in Africa? Doubled it’s value in three years. You should buy some land too. Everybody needs to eat.”

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      “In spite of the evidence I’ve previously put before you you deny all of the above.”

      I dont think the majority of people here deny those things. Most argue if they are the major/main reason of the boom.

      Also, the sustainability of those things you said keeping up prices is questionable.

    • formula1 -> None of the factors you list are ‘the math’. You can’t relate them to actual prices in any meaningful way.
      You could use them to say that a property selling for $500K on date ‘x’ should be selling for more now, but how much more?
      Do these factors merit a doubling or trebling of housing prices over ‘y’ years?

      We agree that Vancouver is a desirable place to live (one of many).
      We believe that the major contribution to price run-up since 2003 has been locals using loose financing to over-extend themselves into RE: a speculative mania.
      Yes, there is real demand for Vancouver RE, but not at the level that supports the prices seen today.

      • vreaa,
        my math includes addition (population), subtraction (supply). I’ve previously discussed and posted these number vreaa. Again, you don’t get it. I call this renters block

      • f1,
        Thanks for the discussion.
        Addition and subtraction are a good start, but only that.
        More complex math comes into this; as do variables other than population growth and housing supply.
        Just one example… you’re assuming that demand (via population growth via immigration) is going to be linear/constant, and increase relentlessly regardless of variables such as local property prices, local economy, government rulings, global economic factors, etc. There is nothing saying that that will be the case.

        But your addition/subtraction ‘model’ is most limited in that it can’t deal with the speculative component in the market. This is demand that is only there because prices are rising, and that disappears in an instant when prices start to fall. And supply that does the inverse.

      • that’s the problem vreaa, you think you can apply a formula and come up with a house price. Doesn’t work that way. Wealth will buy homes here. How much wealth is determined by looking at each individual buyer’s portfolio – not applying a general formula to apply one principal to an entire group.

      • f1 ->
        Sure, there is no known formula that nails it… didn’t say there was, just pointing out your:
        immigration + ‘limited supply’ = relentless price increases
        theory is limited, and doesn’t take into account many important variables.
        Do you acknowledge that “wealth” may change its mind?
        Over at VCI you’ll read that Richmond SFH inventory is at 1021, higher than the 1012 it achieved in Sept 2008!

      • vreaa,

        nobody cared about Richmond before wealthy Chinese started buying in Seafair. Now that Chinese are not buying nobody care again.

        You can hang on to your theories vreaa. All I need to be correct is population growth. There will be short range blips but in the end the price of a detached home will contnue to rise in the long run. This is a no brainer – take it to the bank
        (FYI – my home was probably worth 75K more last year than now. This is a good example ofa short term blip. Ask me if I’m selling)

      • f1 — Will Vancouver SFH prices be up in 25 years time?
        Likely, yes.
        What path will they take to get there?
        That’s where the bulls and bears differ…

    • @formula1
      If BC is a desirable place to live, then why are people leaving? http://i40.tinypic.com/9bm352.png

  15. Oh, Canadians ARE so PROVINCIAL, so parochial. Wonderful navel-gazers! (Oh, our wonderful social programs, GREAT healthcare system, safe streets, benevolent governments, “inclusive society”, “Canadian Values” (TM)…! etc., etc., ad nauseum…

    Mr. Chan is absolutely correct, with one caveat: those moving here don’t care so much about “…the solid economy and collapsing prices in their home countries…” They have the funds NOW to buy a house in a clean, safe, beautiful jurisdiction right away. They are NOT “investing”. Get it? NOT buying with intentions to sell…

    Yes, ACTUAL SAVED-UP CAPITAL. Something the unproductive debt-laden, overstuffed and overpaid entitlement-dependent locals here will never understand.

    • theragingranter

      Other than that, you like Canadians, right?

    • I’ll get to work saving up over 2 million dollars for a house – I’ll let you know how that turns out. After all, I have no doubt that 22 year old university student from China saved up and earned every penny of that 1.2 million she paid for a Willowdale (GTA) bungalow.

      • misallocationofcapital

        Does it matter how the family got the money? She likely doesn’t have a mortgage. Paid cash, I’ll bet. And the house is not some kind of “cash flow generator” or investment…yet Canadians seem to assume everyone plans to “flip”…

    • LOL they saved up capital, gave it to someone else, now they have some capital.

      I’ve found three things are worth reviewing every year: my second year electromag textbook, Galaxy Quest, and Das Kapital.

  16. theragingranter

    On a lighter note, Terry Chan’s little spiel reminded me of this story.

  17. ‘Collateral Damage’ Quote O’ TheDay…

    “There’s such a strong perception that you have to send your child to a west-side school. It’s going to take a lot to change that perception.” – Carrie Bercic, graphic designer who lives in Vancouver’s east end but sends her daughter to Eric Hamber Secondary in the west.

    [G&M] – Local schools at risk as parents and students race to the hottest classes

    …”According to statistics recently compiled by the VSB, including French immersion, nearly half of all students currently attend school outside their local catchment area, and the vast majority are heading west. This creates a lopsided school system and headaches for administrators, who are struggling to balance out enrolment in the face of shifting demographics, aging school infrastructure and growing parental appetite for choice. It’s a trend playing out across the country, threatening the survival of the neighbourhood school.”…


  18. empty schools, empty houses. wow. if there are so many people moving to vancouver why is this taking place?

  19. Mittlerweile wieder in Berlin … Die Coldwar wird heiß! Wie in den Hund. Merkt euch meine Worte, wird von rivalisierenden WWIII Imbissstände gestartet werden. Möchten Sie die Freiheit Pommes dazu?

    “You can’t simply leave the future of the site in the hands of a private investor.” – Christian Hanke, Social Democrat District Mayor, Berlin.

    [UK Guardian] – Checkpoint Charlie’s new cold war with the hot dog vendors: Where spies once came in from the cold, at the crossing point in Berlin, property interests and history are in conflict


    PS – Es ist immer wieder über die Immobilie.

    • also occurred to me erecting a wall down the middle of ontario st to separate W and E might be both a worthy and fashionable pursuit. but then this distracting element of the schools. fortunately, i am a quick study of the current news. here is the simplest and most effective, rename it all with W’s. print W’s and give them to everybody. very fashionable now too.

      • ps. except, pls spare joe in the new haven as he prefers to avoid the W crowd.

      • “print W’s and give them to everybody.”

        Nice multilayered joke/critique.

      • The slightest of pauses exudes after the “west”. As there should be, one paid an extra 40% for the privilege. The ones with more confidence have no problem with their main entrances facing east-west.

      • New West Vancouver has a nice ring to it, plus it goes with the other confusing area names.

  20. ooops again… psst, Ed… one more stuck in der Werken… (must have been my German)…

  21. One of the more interesting comments from Chan is the reference to the cycle of Native Displacement. General Custer’s victories was during a previous era amongst his own people, on a different type of battlefield. Custer Chan may very well be right when it comes to the general trend.

    As for his comment on the ‘dawn’, anyone that has done civilizational studies, aka the Toynbee method, would be well advised to familiarize yourself with the one ‘down and out’ civilization that has been holding on by its teeth for Centuries and are, singularly, about to snap out of it sharply. Hint: They stay moving.

    Personally, I’m currently in Victoria, having lived on the Island for several years, Ontario (1962-1996), Vancouver (1996-2002) and Alberta (2002-2006).

    We should all be comfortable with our Liquidity Traps.

  22. Further, regarding ‘Addition/Subtraction’ models:
    “How much of the earth’s surface would it take to provide each and every one of the 7 Billion people in the world a Vancouver-standard 33ft by 122ft lot?”

  23. I will say this, the article left a tingling feeling of discomfort, and I’m anything but politically correct and have a thick skin. Most concerning in the article are the racial supremacist undertones. People never learn that it’s racial supremacist that leads to racism – not the other way around. Chan is a Chinese racial supremacist – let’s not hide this fact; and let’s not pander to the myth that only Caucasians are capable of racial supremacism.

    Chan makes a eugenics social Darwinist argument that he’s perfectly within the right to drive out the “undesirables.” He then rationalizes this claim by using an example of past history that’s inaccurate and offensive to both Caucasians and Native Americans. He also seems to have complete disregard over Canadians of other ethnicities who may get caught in the cross fire to remove the “white filth.” It’s a boastful admission of guilt – arguing that your ancestors did it therefore we have a right to do it today is an indefensible position. People can’t be held for the crimes committed by their ancestors, but they can be held for the crimes they commit today with their own bodies and minds, which Chan pridefully admits to committing.

    Throughout the article exists several condescending paragraphs boasting Chinese superiority as the natural order. In a bizarre twist, Chan somehow tries to argue the moral high ground despite admitting to sinking to the backwards thinking process adopted by people over 300 years ago. He berates that Canada has a violent history hardly worthy of preservation – and that it’s only “appropriate” that his “peaceful brothers” begin the conquest.

    I have news for you Mr. Chan, Chinese history isn’t lilies and roses either. Chinese history makes Canada look quite benign by comparison. Ghangis Khan anyone? Don’t even get me started on Tibet. . . No sir, no way, you have absolutely no moral high ground at all; and have little basis to prosecute this fine country!

    Mr. Chan then finishes the article by suggesting that Chinese superiority at your expense is “for your own good,” because heaven forbid you’re just a “primitive white” unable to think on your own. You actually need your masters to rule you; in order to have any hope of a functioning economy.
    Let’s face the music folks; we’re at least a century away before China can become a reliable ally that treasures our values. China still has a lot of growing up to do – decades of being brainwashed by a brutal communist dictatorship will do that to people. Long overdue is a serious rethinking in how we trade, migrate, and immigrate with China. I believe in many ways the two nations are currently incompatible.

    Mr. Chan, you truly are a Chinese version of Goebbels. I don’t believe Goebbels could have done a better job. Your propaganda was so effective that nobody caught your supremacist undertones – many believe this is still just about Vancouver real estate. Though unlike you, I have the ability to make distinctions. I don’t hold you as a representative of the Chinese people. Though one issue is certain, you’re not doing ethnic Chinese Canadian citizens any favours with your article.

    • Very, very tired of it all...

      DonDWest, please send this to the Courier in response to Mr. Chan’s letter.

    • At least the Chinese purchased their homes legally and are contributing to the economy by buying Canadian natural resources from which she is benefitting.

      This actually fits right into the “Sell Herself” theme of the previous thread.

  24. Sunday afternoon fun…

    Clearly, for some commentators (ulterior motives aside, for the moment)… RE ‘YVR style’ imbues within them a certain ‘frisson of excitement’ not elsewhere found/enjoyed… but best personified by James. Cam Good, et al in their BestKaraokeMoments can only dream…

    Bonus points for identifying the keyboard player and the city/venue he is most commonly associated with…

  25. If you google “Terry Chan real estate”, the fourth item is a Linked-In account for a Richmond real estate agent who has a lot of Chinese business concerns. I’m not saying for sure if its the same guy, but it could be a purposeful manipulation of the debate for some reason. There appears to be dark forces at work.

    • “…who has a lot of Chinese business concerns”

      Concerns? I’m not surprised, sales aren’t exactly the best these days.

      Richmond has been on the skids for months now; actually IIRC sales were hitting the skids about this time last year due to tsunamis or some nonsense.

      • My main concern is how he suddenly links the issue to the Chinese (government and industry) exploitation of Canadian resources. See this in the context of the pipelines, native opposition and possible widespread public opposition. There’s already cynical manipulation of the relationship between natives and other Canadians (remember the games played by Enbridge).
        Now we have the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tankers proposed for Burrard Inlet with no tangible benefit for local British Columbians and much risk to our environment.
        This is much bigger than Westside real estate. Nobody was talking about this in the context of resource exploitation until Chan’s little manipulative letter to the editor. This was not the random act of some idiot.
        Hey look we’re paying you guys off by buying your crackshacks at 3 million a pop, so shut up about the oil tankers in your harbour.

      • Seems you get it Z – I asked some Burnaby residents if they would rather have an expansion of the old Transmountain pipeline with all the increased storage in Burnaby and increased tanker traffic in the Burrard inlet instead of the Gateway project and it was obvious from their silence and jaws dropping that they simply had no idea. Just goes to show that political correctness trumps intelligence more often than not.

  26. Interesting post from Landcor: https://www.landcor.com/news/news.aspx?news_id=211

    “Landcor’s research found that 74 per cent of 164 homes sold last year above the “luxury” threshold – C$3 million (HK$23.6 million) for houses on Vancouver’s west side and C$2 million for condos in Richmond – were purchased by Chinese buyers, up from 60 per cent in 2009, and 46 per cent in 2008.”

    • Interesting data point, but I’ll take it with a grain of salt. In my opinion, Landcor has little credibility because they usually don’t reveal their methodology.

      What is their definition of a “Chinese buyer”?
      And what on earth is the point of the last two paragraphs in that article?

      • I believe the last paragraphs are two plugs.

        Regardless of Landcor, I just did some quick number crunching and discovered detached properties lost market share in terms of total sales from 44% to 41.2% y/y, while total volume declined to 62.3% from 64.6% y/y. In other words, last month’s detached homes sold less in transactions and dollar volume next to townhomes and apartments. http://i43.tinypic.com/xdtlag.png

        This is what I’m watching for in the next months stats.

    • shut up watchdog. Don’t you know that immigrants are having no effect on the vancouver market. It’s all emergency interest rates

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        74 per cent of 164 homes.

      • 164 homes. Seriously? That’s one month of investor immigrant intake in the past few years.

      • @formula1 Are you implying that housing will perform well as long as rates are low? I hope not.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        Actually I think f1 is implying prices will continue to rise when rates rise.

      • No I infer f1 is stating that as long as immigration averages about 40K per year, mostly from countries where land is second to family in terms of importance, Vancouver land prices will continue to appreciate above inflation, even after the doubling in the past decade.

        Because when dealing with such mindsets you can’t really put a floor price on land. Welcome our new overlords with open arms.

        I’ve argued before that it’s a mistake to translate real estate growth rates witnessed in developing Asian countries to those in Canada. I think Vancouver has seen a generation of Asian-style property investment styles that are in their essence inferior to the normal ways income is generated in first world economies. The inability to diversify away from real estate is, in the fullness of time, a fate worse than any head tax a government could impose.

      • “The inability to diversify away from real estate is, in the fullness of time, a fate worse than any head tax a government could impose”.
        Very interesting comment. Rings true. You are saying that strength is the weakness and we will only judge it after the fact; in the light of the passage of time. I think you will be proven right.

      • Jesse,

        Indeed, it’s a 3rd world mentality: land is wealth. Think the agrarian era. As I said numerous times before, China is by far still too immature in the 1st world stage to be of any use to us. Their entrepreneurs simply don’t have the sophistication of a Western-styled entrepreneur. So this makes utilizing their money for anything but destructive purposes difficult. My fear is that in the end, the more and more Chinese money accepted into Canada; the more and more Canada will look like China. It’s not because the Chinese smarter than us or even wealthier than us per capita; it’s simply because they have the numbers. And Canada turning into China isn’t good for anyone.

        I will also go on to say that “land is wealth” is a result of brainwashing from communist governments. Communist governments love that their populaces adopt such values because it allows them to easily confiscate people’s lands (and all their wealth) when it suits them. When the Soviet Union fell organized crime bosses became the new overlords, in part because they were the only people with capitalist skills and liquid wealth that could be easily shuffled around. The “land wealth owners” lost everything as the communist government plundered everything as it went down.

        Will the same happen to Vancouver after a housing crash? Will those managers of grow-ops (who are multi-racial btw) rule us all? And seeing that it’s a regional (and perhaps even provincial) phenomenon rather than national (notable exception being Toronto), will the government of Canada do anything in response?

      • price of land in Vancouver will rise so long as you keep adding 1%/year to your population.
        We’ve seen a dramatic change in the past 20 years with respect to the characteristics of a Canadian immigrant. We’ve gone from average working class foreigners seeking a better life for their future generations to financial immigrants seeking to hide money offshore and secure a back-up plan of citizenship if “things don’t work out at home”.
        Far different from US immigration – whose overwhelming source country is Mexico; not exactly coming to the new country with a store of wealth.

        Is the kind of inflation we’ve had here in Vancouver good or bad? If I’m honest I’ll say it doesn’t help the average person – but of course I’m conflicted since I derive personal benefit. What’s happened here has created a disconnected community with goals that do not align with the local mindset.
        When compiling my list of caucasian vs asian priorities I forgot to mention that the idea of community is near the bottom of asian list. Credit caucasian for their contributions to the greater good of their society…their community.

        I’m checking Canada Immigration to see if they’ll hire me to sort out this mess. Don’t hold your breath.

      • “I will also go on to say that “land is wealth” is a result of brainwashing from communist governments”

        The desire to accumulate land extends further back than any recent 20th century political fad. From what I see land accumulation exists in societies where the rule of law and property rights is immature, save the land registrar. There are few other ways to save capital.

      • “shut up watchdog. Don’t you know that immigrants are having no effect on the vancouver market. It’s all emergency interest rates”

        🙂 this rant emitted by the formulaic one merits a more detailed response.

        i present to you the simplest of theories: check credit conditions. next, if you wish, check also asymmetric tax policy. with both of these (mostly the 1st) and supporting data, one may handily explain almost all the price behavior – as has been done by rabidoux, among others. i present it not as my own self-crafted dogma. on the contrary, after having reasoned the conclusions and placed the bets, i look to do what is most sensible – divine ways to put holes in a thesis, and most surely NOT patch holes in one. i welcome all to do the same … do or do not, there is no try (yoda) – it is the Greek way (sorry no, i do not mean the fetal cheese) . to this end, i find mostly jesse, certain not the formulaic one, has conducted the most consistently successful campaigns – on why it’s different here. but, they fail.

        i fail. and, if you fail too, then you need consign all these other theses (ha-ha) to the domain of curiosities and distractions. and of those who promote them as simple dogma by simpler repetition, i am especially wary of their treasons.

        some advice in corollary for the well-intentioned and active … primum non nocere. if one does not correctly diagnose and address root cause(s), then one surely risks treating one disease with one other. some one, i forget who, recently recommended the fed open a dept of unintended consequences! further along this rail, if unwanted near term speculation is the issue, why not simply alter the tax code to remove tax sheltering from 13 months to 24, 36, 48, etc? make it a sliding scale … do whatever you please. i do not wish to just complain and offer nothing. supposing this is what you propose. what is the chance you will get to dance? (awful!) is it clear then how i hold what david stockman says so dear? (better)

        and as always – have a nice day 🙂

      • “check credit conditions. next, if you wish, check also asymmetric tax policy. with both of these (mostly the 1st) and supporting data, one may handily explain almost all the price behavior”


        pray tell…what is the average % downpayment made on a detached home in Vancouver. Since you seem to have all the answers please provide one. I’ve been looking for this data for years.

        First time home buyers are vulnerable to rate increases since most of their purchase eligibility is through financing. But these folks are not buying detached homes in the city.

        Raising rates will allow for better opportunity for wealthy immigrants to pick off the best properties by cutting off local competition.

        Be careful what you ask for.

        Good day to you too sir.

      • “I will also go on to say that “land is wealth” is a result of brainwashing from communist governments”.

        The Chinese government has never said this, to say so would be uselss. As if to say, “land is wealth” but you cannot own your land here in China.

        If you lived in China under communist rule how would you feel if you could buy real estate but the land that it sat on would always belong to the State? All property in China is essentially leasehold. If I were wealthy Chinese I’d be looking to invest in a property class that I could actually own – that the government could not take away. I’d be looking to invest my money outside China. This is just common sense.

        I think a little levity is in order:

        “Well, anyway, today, I just stick with real estate. These days, if you own anything but land, you own a popcorn fart”. (Rodney Dangerfield, Caddyshack, 1980)

      • mmm popcorn … yes, i did lose on natgas most recently … in your case, still refusing to apply the grecian formula, i see. allow myself to do it for yourself … “These Days, if you own anything but land … ” please, kindly note the date … and then of course, check credit conditions.

    • Could there possible have been a better ‘landing zone’ for today’s best visual treat… (NoteToEd: it’s not often that Rowson surpasses Bell, either as an illustrator or a satirist – but with this one!!!)…

      UK Guardian] – Martin Rowson on the Bahrain Grand Prix controversy – cartoon


      • Hmmm… ‘formula1%’?

      • i appreciate most the FU …

        aside: oh formulaic one, the exercise is not for me to patch the ship of your choice … after all, i am not a holy man … i only direct you to a very, very large torpedo (now made in china too) with which you may test its battleworthiness … jesse has already tested all of your suggestions on the other vessel and i (not speaking for others, of course) do not detect the damage

      • “Hmmm… ‘formula1%’?”

        yuk yuk vreaa
        Actually, more like formula 99%

  27. Hot thread. Wow. Been away all day and won’t have time to read it all until tomorrow but I am looking forward too it. It is great to see this site getting so much attention though. And no crazy people or uncalled for weird hostile commentary. Nice job on hosting a site that holds to a high standard and has attracted so many thoughtful writers, Vreaa. I am impressed.

    (PS: I don’t object to racy photos though. Feel free!)

  28. I meant less in percentage terms for the chart above.

  29. I like Berlin. A lot. Vancouver ain’t Berlin. Just saying…

    • One day I would really love to go there. Never had time yet but everyone I speak too describes it in really positive terms. I never seem to get to the bottom of why though. Is it just the vibe?

    • It’s a remarkable city.
      Largely cultural attractions (visual arts, music, theatre, museums with stunning artefacts, etc) and a resultant productive, vigorous ‘vibe’ (as you put it).
      Lots of articles all over the web, one of the first I came across was a brief BBC Travel page
      which interestingly starts:
      “Berlin is a fun, modern, extremely livable city, with low rents, large apartments, sensible prices, good food, a thriving cultural and art scene, and excellent daycare and kindergartens. There are also layers of history and a divided past that reverberate throughout daily life here.” [April 2011]
      and “Berlin’s art scene is one of the best in the world, with artists still living near the galleries that represent them, thanks to cheap rents that have thus far allowed a creative class to flourish in the city’s centre.”

      Bowie recorded ‘Low’ there, and U2 sought out the same space to record ‘Achtung Baby’. Ephemeral facts, perhaps, but creative folks are still attracted; it has a gravity, and momentum.

      • Indeed. Pretty much my favorite city in Europe. I actually visited about a week or soo before the wall came down in 1989. This history was palpable… thick in the air. Saw the west and the east side.

        I’m dying to go back to see the united city one day.

    • Berlin is kind of mecca for architects – nothing like Vancouver. Berlin’s beauty is man-made. Vancouver’s is the natural backdrop.

  30. Price to rent ratio in NYC ~25
    Price to rent ratio in Vancouver ~60

    • Not so fast, parts of Manhattan have cap rates similar to Vancouver’s worst “cash flow lite” malfeasants. Same with Londinium, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and the old stalwart Berlin.

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