‘Urgent To Return China’ – “In the vancouver west very expensive premium real estate is very difficult to find such a cheap price; there are a lot of room for negotiation; a total of nearly 200 000 discounts; distribution of aristocratic furniture; piano.”

Craigslist Ad reads:

Date: 2012-05-19, 10:05PM PDT
Reply to: gt63v-3026416518@hous.craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

Address 3243 W 33rd Ave, Vancouver, BC V6N 2G8, Canada
View map
Bedrooms (#) 6 or more bedrooms
Bathrooms (#) 6 or more bathrooms
Size (sqft) 4000
For Sale By Owner

hour of the open house: every weekend Fri, Sat, Sun all afternoon 2pm – 4pm

Note: the owner because of a urgent to return China, so the asking price there are a lot of room for negotiation, coupled with the distribution of the total value of 80000 full set of aristocratic furniture, piano, plus on the government’s home purchase cash back, buyers will get a total of nearly 200 000 discounts, which in the vancouver west very expensive premium real estate is very difficult to find such a cheap price, welcome to the OPEN HOUSE to look at the new luxury house just completed! NEAR TO U.B.C!”

On MLS as follows:

3243 W 33rd Ave (V944504)
2,982 sqft* SFH; 33×130 lot; Built 2012
Listed 16 April 2012.
[No price changes since. -ed.]
Asking Price: $2,480,000
BRAND NEW high-end custom-built house selling now at the well sough after Mackenzie Height area. This is a dream house that comes with high-end Kitchen Aid stainless steel appliances, HRV, air-conditioning, two gas fireplaces, central vacuum cleaner, crystal chandeliers, electronic door lock, security system with intercom speakers and monitor, jacuzzi tub in master bedroom, granite counter-tops throughout house and granite tiles at the entry foyer. This house comes with just almost everything you need. Possession is AVAILABLE NOW. Open house Saturdays. Will you be this brand new house’s FIRST homeowner?

[* Note: Square footage in the two ads is different, we have no explanation for this. There is a small possibility that the craigslist posting is a hoax, or that they got the address wrong. Readers can decide for themselves. We also welcome any further information, confirmatory or otherwise. -ed.]

Is this a one-off anecdote, or something we’ll hear more of as prices begin to fall?
We have long surmised that foreign demand can rapidly become supply.
And, of course, the story that foreigners are buying can evaporate in a second, causing locals to draw in their horns.
– vreaa

70 responses to “‘Urgent To Return China’ – “In the vancouver west very expensive premium real estate is very difficult to find such a cheap price; there are a lot of room for negotiation; a total of nearly 200 000 discounts; distribution of aristocratic furniture; piano.”

  1. Lowball that mofo

  2. Anne Frank of Green Gables

    Looks like he bought and built site unseen. Then realized..ooops w33rd.

  3. Nice post title excerpt, I nearly broke my neck trying to decipher that. Chinglish much ?

  4. Paul Streppel

    0% growth in China, 1st quarter 2012. Hard Landing!

    We’ll be seeing more of these ‘getting out of Dodge (Dunbar)’ ads.

  5. It will be interesting to see if China takes its medicine or kicks the can for another few years.

    How about those US stocks. Recession!

  6. Hmmm… if the MLS listing illustrations are any indication… describing the dwelling’s Spartan accoutrements as “aristocratic furnishings” may have been a ‘tad’ over the top…

    The RealDeal looks rather more like the SuiteRoyale at Vienna’s ImperialHotel…


  7. By the way, we now see that ‘whisperer’ at ‘Whispers from the Village on the Edge of the Rainforest’ had already headlined this example yesterday.
    See: ‘HAM exit stage left?’

  8. Greed is the root of evil

    It’s actually not that cheap. I looked at the map on Realtor.ca and I can find so many “better” deals with a brand-new house 4000sq ft on a bigger or standard lot (50×120 or so). Not that I am able to buy one even when the market drops to half of what it is now. Hoax!

    • Hoax in what form?
      Do you think the craigslist ad is fabricated, or that the owner posting on craigslist is arguing that the home is cheap when in actual fact it is not?

      • Greed is the root of evil

        Both! The sq ft is 1000 more than its MLS posting, # of bedrooms don’t match, and it’s not Cheap at all in the current market. The owner probably want to trick somebody who can’t read English properly or won’t bother counting # of bedrooms and tape measure the inteior floor area into buying. It just smells hoaxy!!!!!

      • a hoax by those whom have been priced out, and out of jealousy.

    • Village Whisperer

      It is odd, there’s no denying that. Something worth keeping an eye on as time goes by.

  9. The spelling and grammar in the mls ad is still questionable. For 2.5 million, can’t someone hire a proofreader?

    • MLS blurbs are written by realtors, and they are remarkably poorly put together, more often than not. Examples have been cited here and elsewhere over the years.
      People get away with that kind of shoddy workmanship during a speculative run-up. We expect standards to improve when prices begin their descent and sellers have to put more effort into finding buyers.

  10. Renters Revenge

    BTW, kind of a weird looking house as viewed from the front. Odd proportions.

    • Agreed.
      Many new-builds in Vancouver look dysmorphic.
      Can’t imagine how an architect could have sketched out those upstairs window placements.
      The whole place just screams quick-build shoddy-workmanship.

    • van_west_luxury! … that’s all you need to say …

  11. Much the same way bulls can’t seem to understand the concept of a prolonged, large correction. I can’t understand how a house of that quality, size, and location has ever managed to acquire such an absurd valuation.

    I don’t know how to explain this, I’m having a normalcy bias, in a reverse sort of way. Its like saying gas prices will be at $9.99 a litre in Vancouver in 5 years, I would call you absurd because the world would collapse and burn long before then due to other implications of gas prices being at $10 bucks.

    I have that same feeling with this house, how is it possible that houses like this, and many other alike can possibly have reached these valuations?

    I don’t care if its in Van West, or the first house on the Moon, at a million dollars that would be an absurdly expensive residence. 2.5 million? Doesn’t really compute with my brain, not properly wired to comprehend the absurdity of the situation.

    Properties like this one make it realistic to me that certain areas of Vancouver could feasibly see 50%+ drops. Heck, that would roughly put that house at 1.2 million, still absurd.

    Also, before any one chimes in. I don’t have a problem understanding expensive Real Estate. There are many reasons as to why a piece of RE can have significant valuations, but often those reasons are quantifiable. Irreplaceable view, superb location, heritage, impeccable finishings, architectural masterpiece, unique setting, etc.

    This property? None of the above.

    One word – absurd.

    At a risk of sounding like a broken record, it also makes me feel a little uneasy about the whole predicament we are in. Perhaps I never fully realized how dire things were around here, if a 50% correction would bring Vancouver Specials down to a mere million dollars on the West Side, and 600k on the East Side – have we got some massive headaches to worry about in the future.

    Don’t know whats a worse option, a 50% crash or current valuations sticking around. Pretty unfortunate to have to be the generation living through this.

    • Agree, particularly with your implied fascination with the degree of overvaluation. I experience the same bemusement much of the time.
      Ask any family who actually earned and saved $2.5M whether this house was worth the product of their toil – no way. Value has completely departed those kinds of measures.. it really is all about cheap debt.
      I am completely convinced that we could see homes like this selling for less than $1M in the trough… $800K would give you the 66% off that is thus far the high end of our own downside estimates.
      Very bearish commentators like Foss predict 80% off, which would put this home at about $500K. That seems less preposterous a prediction than it continuing to double in value every 5 years.

  12. Risk your car getting sideswiped just parking in front on that stretch of 33rd. Fairly busy traffic and not much width there. Seeing more and more of the newer builds for sale, and being for sale for a long time.

  13. I agree with Burt…I would rather seen some correction but not crush with mostly current valuations sticking around and salaries eventually catching up (so called soft landing) but with the government new policy of fast tracking workers class immigration it is getting less and less likely. The policy like that gives to a business an incentive not to increase the salaries while importing the cheaper work force from overseas and the local buyer stays low with its diminished buying power, it will eventually crush the RE market sooner or later.

    • You must realize that wishing for a ‘soft landing’ means you are hoping that for years to come, 1000s of citizens will step in and become overly indebted in order to purchase overvalued property that is falling in value against wages and headline inflation.
      Who do you propose should do that purchasing?
      Would you recommend it to friends and family?

    • Agree with veera, the soft landing scenario has never been pulled off, and it is difficult to determine if the government, who we seem to defer to to set the direction of future asset prices, even has control over these things.

      A so-called “soft landing” requires significant levels of expropriation lasting close to a decade.

      • Yeah, essentially one is asking new buyers to each take a bullet for an implied greater good; to bail out the years of excess and speculation.
        Not. Going. To. Happen.

  14. Given the goings-on in the world currently, I think 80% off is looking more-likely all the time…

    • I’m still hopeful for 110%.

      Boy those stock markets are sure pricing in a recession…

      • I think we may have another leg up in US markets.

        Global markets are getting crushed, particularly France and China.

        All is definitely not well.

      • I’m not seeing too many recession indicators in the US.

      • Yeah, likely another leg up coming just about…. here.
        Possibly QE3 earlier than anticipated.

      • High UE doesn’t necessarily mean recession.

      • I’m buying this dip. Don’t think we get a recession until we see oil north of $120.

        Then they might have to tinker with interest rates at which point… you might want to step aside.

        That house is a piece of junk. You’d have to knock 60K off the land value just to price it “fair”.

      • Further bad economic data coming out of Europe (which is expected for the rest of the year into 2013) will dampen QE3’s effectiveness. Without direct stimulus, the economy will keep deteriorating making QE3 short lived, similar to how $3 trillion LTRO was used in Europe.

      • “I’m not seeing too many recession indicators in the US.”

        John Hussman disagrees.

        “The bad news here is that given the sharp deterioration in market internals, and the likelihood of an emerging recession, we have no basis to expect market losses to be contained to such minimal levels. It is important to recognize that the scope of our concerns is on the order of 25-35% market losses over 12-16 months…”

        “I continue to view the U.S. economy as most probably entering a recession that will ultimately be marked as beginning in May or June of 2012. We are very much in agreement with the ECRI on this, though our methods are different, and our conclusions are clearly still seen as “fringe” views by the consensus.”


      • I take Hussman’s comments, but all I’m stating is that I’m not seeing many recesssionary indicators in the US right now. They’re exposed to a slowdown in Europe and to some degree Asia but not significantly. I think the S&P500 is about 20% Europe exposure (correct me if I’m wrong).

      • My guess, fwiiw:
        Bounce in ‘risk-on’ here; then down later this year.
        As usual, not ‘buy-and-hold’.

      • @j, depends on defn of recession … we’ve never regained previous levels employment; so by that measure, we’ve never been out of recession/depression … also, job quality is significantly worse … another measure is to deflate nominal gdp by sgs inflation … but this discussion academic imo … since we have yet to address real issues, expect things will get worse, not better -> don’t see that ungimmicked indicators are disconfirming that thesis … only people doing better are those with money to bet on risk assets and know how to … compare to iceland – now, that’s a recovery
        @v, faber said something similar in subscriber memo.

      • “I’m not seeing too many recession indicators in the US.” – Dr. J

        Here are but two examples of rampant hegemonic decline…

        [BloomBerg] – Half of Detroit’s Streetlights May Go Out as City Shrinks

        …”As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city, whose finances are to be overseen by an appointed board, can’t afford to fix them. Mayor Dave Bing’s plan would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, saving the city $10 million a year. Other U.S. cities have gone partially dark to save money, among them Colorado Springs; Santa Rosa, California; and Rockford, Illinois. Detroit’s plan goes further: It would leave sparsely populated swaths unlit in a community of 713,000 that covers more area than Boston, Buffalo and San Francisco combined. Vacant property and parks account for 37 square miles (96 square kilometers), according to city planners.”…


      • [BloomBerg] – Veterans Face Ruin Awaiting Benefits as Wounded Swamp VA

        …”Tews and Kozlowski, 44, are among thousands of former soldiers and their families suffering the effects of a Veterans department overwhelmed by a decade of fighting overseas. With the Iraq war finished and troops returning from Afghanistan, record numbers of former service members are turning to the federal government for disability pay, adding to a backlog of claims and delays that have dogged the agency for years.

        The number of disability cases filed with the Veterans department jumped 48 percent over the past four years to 1.3 million in 2011. The agency expects demands from wounded veterans to rise as more leave the military, Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki told Congress in February.

        About 905,000 claims are pending at the department, 65 percent of them are taking longer than the agency’s 125-day target for dealing with them, according to tallies released this week. Disputes can draw out that process: A federal court ruling in May 2011 said it takes an average of more than four years for veterans to receive a final decision. Many have died waiting.”…


      • Inequality can be cruel, but my indicators show the US is continuing in recovery mode, with unfavourable wage terms for most workers.

      • Abject suffering through hard labour during my childhood years constitute what few great memories remain of my youth. I will be sure to instill the same experiences in the younger generation. I call it austerity; it’s not like they’re starving or sick or anything.

  15. Renters Revenge

    “Land sales, meanwhile, fell off a cliff.  Land sale revenues in April (RMB 27 billion) were down -54.7% compared to April last year (RMB 60 billion), and -47.0% compared to March (RMB 51 billion).  Total area sold was down -52.5% compared to last April, and -43.4% compared to March (the year-on-year comparison here relies on a similar reverse calculation as before).
    It should be no surprise, then, that foreign investors are pulling back from China’s property sector.  Foreign funding for property development was down -91.4% in March and -80.8% in April, compared to the same months last year.”

  16. granite countertop

    I don’t see the difference in sqft, bedrooms suspicious. MLS enforces guidelines on what counts in the sqft number. A little, at least. There’s nothing on Craigslist to stop the lister from being generous when calculating the sqft number, then rounding up.

  17. “How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” …

    well, it’s not veterans throwing medals at NATO to protest colonial iraq-istan occupation, but it is of a common seed … gotta to start somewhere …
    no inflation here … social contracts are a bitch when you discover they’ve just been smoke for i_drink_your_milkshake

    • Three hours of mayhem concentrated on a few downtown city blocks after a Stanley Cup fail pale in comparison to the students’ protests in Quebec both in terms of scale of the havoc and the level of disenfranchisement.

      Bob Rennie claims the Vancouver ’11 riots did little to hurt the Vancouver brand. I think he is right.

      • on the one hand, tuition rates are ridiculously low in quebec to begin with … but, the minimum provincial tax is something like 20% … so, what’s that supposed to be paying for? … students/young at the bottom of the food chain, have less to lose, are naturally questioning the hierarchy … if enough young people find sufficient reasons to leave, the entitlements ponzi is going to see a significant devaluation – there has to be a reset in spending and expectations … how to decide who gets what? … grandpa’s hip surgery or someone else’s degree?

      • If anyone in NA can pull off sustaining lower tuition it’s Quebec.

        Interesting, I met a professor at Laval who was paid by the Quebec government to obtain a degree at a US university with the stipulation that he return to Quebec to teach for 5 years (or something like that). He ended up staying, raising a family, and does some decent research to boot.

        People return to contribute to their country, in many ways the students protesting today have an obligation to fulfil growth that justifies the tax regime. I think they understand this; I did when I went through university but then again I’m half thinking I’m in a small minority.

      • Forgot to add, chubster, if the government requires me to pay higher tuition, I will be less likely to feel an obligation to stay and “give back”. Maybe it sounds stupid — how dumb is it to assume that someone will feel an obligation to stay and produce for the local economy — but that actually captured some intelligent people who have contributed to Canada’s economy, shirking the lure of the higher salaries and opportunities in the US, which were there even 40 years ago.

        Some food for thought: if you align the incentives for students to be selfish by raising their tuitions, don’t expect much in the way of intangible benefits in the decades ahead. Rather, sidled with large debts either real or sunk, students are more likely (or required) to chase higher incomes away from Quebec instead of staying put.

      • j, a little closer to the pointy end … see, the kind of interesting stuff you can’t get a civilian army to do (one lesson of the southeast asian campaign), is what you have to hire all those contractors for … no illusions about the purity of a state’s motives, here … however, i do see some reasons to hold the dragon’s intentions in higher regard … in your case, just mark now how far things have to go before you would change your mind and never forget that

      • Requiring Quebec students to pay 17% of their education costs? HOW COULD WE? Christ, it should be 100%. And when students can’t afford it, the tuitions will come down — because they have to, or the school will be empty. STOP ALL SUBSIDIZING of education. Drives me crazy.

    • Chubster, this is just for you… (OK, and/or for any other DearReaders whose sense of humuour is suitably outre/morbid).

      I had always thought that if Spielberg wanted to go the ‘extra mile’ on Schindler’s opening sequence he would have cut it to Julie’s “Getting To Know You”… cue up Julie and the following and play both (but with Schindler’s audio muted) and tell me I’m wrong. There’s a HeapinHelpin’ ‘o PolitcalScience+Art in the new juxtaposition…


      • 🙂 … see it … the images were made crisp to work silent-style, enough so that dialogue becomes distracting … nudges just over the top into satire (imo), which i imagine is what he wanted/needed to avoid

  18. Aah, come back and play some more.

    When shopping for a used lawn more, I don’t want to know why you’re selling it. Only that you are, and how much. Who needs excuses. Reads like the house needs work.

  19. hope that the Chinese economy will crash so that all these speculators from china will burn in hell to restore some normalcy to the market.

  20. Why can’t the government ban buying by foreigners for a while to cool the market? Australia has done it and the market is going down fast. It is not an issue of ideology (free market or planned market). It is rather a precautionary measure to prevent the bubbles getting bigger.

    • Was this restriction recent? Or has its been there for a while? I dont think think restriction is new I think its been there for a while and hasnt prevented the bubble there has it?

    • Correlation does not imply causality. Foreign restrictions were there only for existing properties, there was no restriction on foreign ownership of new construction. Further, even under the “restrictions” there were still something like $3BB of foreign purchases of the “restricted” property types. So even with the possibility of giving away capital gains upon sale, some foreigners decided to buy anyways. Apparently, for many, capital gains is a nice-to-have but not a necessity.

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      I could be wrong but the market already is cooling.

  21. had money to play in the real estate market, but don’t have the english skills to put up a decent ad. Are these the kind of people that we should admit into our country? If you can’t even write decent English, stay in your own country and get the h**l out of Canada. I think even for investor class immigrants, some english proficiency should be required.

    • We fear you may be firing from the hip and spraying a few innocents.
      Canada has a history of taking immigrants whose English or French skills are wanting; this is not the major problem.
      The major problem is speculation, and, yes, some foreigners have been part of this; but the vast majority of speculators have been locals with cheap financing.
      This anecdote is important because, if the story breaks that foreigners are selling, this will have an effect on those rabid local buyers.

    • Of course, your own English skills are exemplary, right?

      • My English may not be exemplary, but at least it is not broken. Sarcasm is entirely not called for.

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      I disagree.

  22. From the Sideline

    Looks to me that the 4000 sq ft speaks to the land area, not the floor space. If you read it a second time, they aren’t actually lying about “size” and the number of bedrooms can easily count unusable rec rooms in the cellar…just like the storage/den/flex room in condos. Yup some people are dreaming about getting 2.5 for a 33′ site in Dunbar. Problem is, that they only need one buyer. I won’t want to be a builder holding land and expecting those returns right now.

  23. IIRC, this place which the owners are now so eager to dump replaced one of those “castle” character houses (the ones with little turrets, designed by someone I believe named Jack Wood) which, also IIRC, was charming and in good shape.

  24. The original house (V855315) had a regal air and warmth that is lacking in V944504. I laughed so hard at the “aristocratic” bed of the new house, when compared to the charming furniture of the demolished house,
    http://tinyurl.com/7jo25gd vs http://tinyurl.com/7k984nf

    The listing agent is:either one of these, or all three:
    – a sales rep of Sutton, http://tinyurl.com/7pv2s7z
    – a director of 999, http://tinyurl.com/7nm7oel
    – an exec president of Royal Group, http://tinyurl.com/6mmduqv

    Craiglist ad dated May 19th, stated clearly “For Sale By Owner”. The desperate owner must have changed his/her mind and decided to sell it through MLS.

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