Run That Buy Me Again – “I’ve been in and out of three properties in Whistler since 2001 and that market has been very good to me, because I’m very bullish, in real estate in general.”

“While he is becoming more of a household name as one of the dragons on TV’s Dragon’s Den and has a venture capital firm helping smaller entrepreneurs, you might not necessarily think of Bruce Croxon as a real estate investor. And yet, while living in Whistler, BC in the late 1990s, Croxon took it upon himself to get into the real estate game after having realized the value real estate can bring.

“I’ve been in and out of three properties in Whistler since 2001 and that market has been very good to me, because I’m very bullish, in real estate in general, and more specifically on the resort real estate market,” he says.
Croxon is an avid skier and while living in Whistler for about two years he decided to educate himself about the real estate market there. “I learned the market well enough so I thought I could be safe in terms of buying a place to stay and so I added a couple of more places just as pure investment. It turned out to be right for a period of time.”
The first purchase was a personal residence. But with the growth in confidence of the local market, Croxon added on to his holdings with a so-called “ski-in, ski-out” condo. He rented that out to a business he owned in the area.
“The third was more for speculation but I ended up renting it out, and at the end of the day, when I was back in Toronto, I decided to sell that one as well – that was a single family residence on a very nice piece of land,” he recalls.
Croxon explains that the resort market is of interest to him because of the limited supply of land and development potential for areas that people are interested in visiting. For example, he says Canada, specifically Whistler, has some of the best skiing opportunities in the world. “I think there is limited supply and if you want that terrain you’ve got to go there and there is a limit on how much you can build. So it was the right combinations to have an asset grow.”

With all the asset classes that have made their way in and out of Croxon’s portfolio over the years, real estate has served an important niche, especially given his investment strategy.
Says Croxon: “I’m an operator and have not been an investor until recently. [Real estate] was a way to be passively involved in an investment I developed some confidence in. You really don’t have to work that asset too much,” he explains.
“It will either go up or down on its own. For me that’s the attractive part of it. In general, I just think real estate, over a long period of time, has performed quite well. People need a place to live and it seems to be one of those asset classes that survive,” he adds.

– from ‘Dragon’s Den star reveals why he’s still bullish on real estate’, Joel Kranc, Globe and Mail, 27 Jul 2012, an article reprinted “from Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine, a monthly publication focused on building value through property investment”.

This has to be the hand-waviest article we’ve seen on RE investing for quite some time.
There really is no substance to it at all.
The author tells us that a guy who made money trading Whistler properties over the last 10 years is kinda sure it’s possible to make money in RE.
Why RE? Land is limited. “People need a place to live”. RE “seems to be one of those asset classes that survive”.
There is perhaps nothing that any potential RE investor could take from this article that would be of any use to them whatsoever.
There is certainly no information about the current state of the Canadian market.
Should an investor be buying or selling RE? How has the RE market actually been doing, in Whistler, or anywhere else, for that matter?
Perhaps the one lesson gleaned could be that to make money in RE, you have to buy and sell.
And that fortunate timing is crucial for many participants.
– vreaa

17 responses to “Run That Buy Me Again – “I’ve been in and out of three properties in Whistler since 2001 and that market has been very good to me, because I’m very bullish, in real estate in general.”

  1. pricedoutfornow

    Whistler? hahahahahaha. My sister in law owns a (hotel) condo there. Currently, I think it’s *barely* worth what they paid for it-in 2001. I think if they sold, they would realize a loss with the transaction fees. Plus. they’ve spent $10k a year on this property (rental income does not cover mortgage, heck, I ran the numbers and even if they had no mortgage, the strata fees and property management eats up practically all the revenue). But to each their own….

  2. Joe_Blown_Away_By_High_Housing_Costs

    This is in the Globe and Mail:

    Check out the comment by Golden Horde in the Globe and Mail article. He says the bear market is being driven by the prospects of an NDP govt in BC and that people from BC are fleeing to Calgary. I suppose he thinks BC’s (NDP-induced) bear market will lead to Calgary’s bull market. The hubris of Calgarians knows no bounds.

    “The bubble has popped, at least in BC…The NDP driven bear market in RE will make it exceptionally cheap in 3 years time. Business people and entrepreneurs I know are fleeing for Calgary (again, just like the 1990s) and are dumping their properties on the market.”–Golden Horde

    • the notion of Calgary surging in speculative opportunity seems to be catching some wind. Harper (more importantly, Harper’s handlers) has endorsed this process.

      as for Croxon, he follows my model of multiple housing flips, analogous to the multiple breeding in the 1960’s. Obviously he knows a thing or two about boomers or else he wouldn’t have been involved with Lavalife. His media branding suggests to me that he’s in the last stage of his Cult of Personality, fostering further illusions through the West Coast’s favorite type of media, television.

    • @Joe_Blown_Away_By_High_Housing_Costs

      Anyone who has lived in Calgary for an extended period of time (as in more than a decade) knows the whole damn city is built on boom bust cycles. It humbles you. Too bad a very large fraction of the population recently moved there to make a few bucks and not actually join the city. Either they actually buy in to the hubris with ignorance towards the reality of the city or they are willfully blind to history.

      The Calgary cheerleaders and hubris you speak of comes from the energy patch and real estate gang that serve to benefit from “the other best place on earth” marketing. It’s different in Calgary don’t you know.

      /Yes, I am a born and raised Calgarian

    • Another silly right-winger who believes speculating on property is entreprenuership. . . Tell me, why would business owners flee to the cities with the highest real estate cost? Do business owners enjoy paying higher overhead costs to run their businesses?

      The baby boomer right has always striked me as very dangerous, perhaps even more dangerous than a devout communist. At least the communist doesn’t hide what he stands for, but the baby boomer right who hijacks words such as “capitalism” and “entrepreneur” misleading people to deliberately curt their own heads off. . .

      Sorry boomers, but centralized banking isn’t capitalism, and property speculators are not entrepreneurs. The sooner the baby boomers die off; and their right wing neo-conservative movements die with them, the better off we’ll all be. . . Seriously, you won’t be missed, and if I had it my way I would show no remorse if you’re all dying and starving during retirement. What you would call cruelty; I would call justice.

      • You will be old one day too, Don. For your sake I hope you are saving up for that day. Live by the sword and die by the sword, friend. You may get your wish that some boomer’s die in poverty but you might live it too so don’t wish that on anyone else.

        (PS: I am so sick of Boomer music. Pleeeeease stop!)

      • Ouch! That was, like, so harsh…

        Yes… I’m talkin’ to you, Farmer!

        Not all the so called BoomerMusic was bad… Regardless, DemographersBeDamned… If you didn’t get laid in the Sixties, you’re not an AuthenticBoomer…

        DonDWest, be careful what you wish for …

        Sign me ‘Dazed&Confused’.

      • “The sooner the baby boomers die off; and their right wing neo-conservative movements die with them, the better off we’ll all be…”

        I agree with your other points, but this is foolish. We could easily end up with something worse.

  3. He did have some other good and funny points:

    ” In general, I just think real estate, over a long period of time, has performed quite well. People need a place to live and it seems to be one of those asset classes that survive”

    Agreed it has performed quite well.

    “The number of times I’ve hired people, for example, that didn’t fit the criteria I had made up before, has come back to burn me every single time,” he stresses. “People’s character is not going to change. You’re not going to get a bad tenant, and because you are the landlord, make them change. Your job as a landlord is to find out who they really are.”


    “If you know the answer, don’t put off the conflict or unpleasantness. It will cause you a lot more pain in the long-term if you don’t.”

    To paraphrase Han Solo, well that’s the trick isn’t it.

    Friday morning lulz and wisdom fo sho.

    • FridayFilmTrivia: ‘Hans Solo’ verbatim to Lucas during StarWars Principal Photography, “George, you can type this s**t, but you sure as hell can’t say it.” The BigBreak that launched ‘Hans’ career – his supporting role in AmericanGraffiti – was being hired by Lucas to reno his kitchen… (Harrison’s earlier trade: carpentry – showcased to GoodEffect in his starring role in Witness)…

  4. People need a place to live…. in overpriced resort towns when not living in their primary residences. Don’t we all?

  5. It sounds to me like G&M went looking for a story that wasn’t there.

  6. If I read the originally article properly, Bruce has sold those 3 Whistler properties already? Where’s the bullish stance?

    “Despite having sold those Whistler properties….”

  7. Joe_Blown_Away_By_High_Housing_Costs

    “Is the Canadian Government Killing Vancouver Real Estate”

    Blog post written by Simoen Garratt, real estate entrepreneur who specializes in Asian investment real estate (

    An absolute must read–both for the insightful bearish letter quoted in the post and this real estate guy’s pathetic spin response.

    First posted by Patiently Waiting at VCI.

    My response at VCI:

  8. Don I’m right there with you. Has there ever been a more selfish, greedy, self absorbed, self righteous and self congratulatory generation then the bloody Boomers?

    I was walking down Yonge street and stopped in front of a magazine shop. There was Richard Branson on the cover of some rag called … get this.. Zoomer. Stupid long grey hair, flabby tits exposed to the world with that obnoxious shit eating grin on his face. I thought to myself “God… so typical. In a desperate attempt to stave off old age, the Boomers rebranded themselves and are STILL trying to run around like teenagers”.

    The sooner they’re off the damn stage the better. And if they spend their dotage eating cat food so much the better. Every post boomer I know is planning what we call the post 65 career, cause we’re gonna have to pay for their ever more saggy asses while we try to make do with their goddamn leftovers.

    Cat food. Swear to God I hope it happens.

  9. Needless to say, there have been other LostGenerations betrayed by their predecessors… Some would say however, that their privations were, comparatively… ‘somewhat’ more severe… Made for some great literature, though. Too bad about the sequels (some concepts, clearly, do not deserve the ‘franchise’ treatment)…

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