“How is it Seattle, just 3 hours away, can produce the people and capital to create and run such great engines of capitalism, but in Vancouver all you have are greedy rats flipping their homes and telling themselves it’s the best place on Earth?”

“I just looked at a beautiful 580 sq foot first floor studio in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, about a 10 minute walk to downtown, for $179,000 dollars.
Here in Seattle there is Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Costco, Jones Soda, Starbucks and a company that every real estate board in Canada would prefer that you never ever ever know exists, namely zillow.com.
All of these companies were founded in Seattle. There are dozens of others that have their US base here like Nintendo, Expedia and Holland America Line.
How is it Seattle, just 3 hours away from Vancouver, can produce the people and capital to create and run such great engines of capitalism and in Vancouver its like greedy rats flipping their homes and telling themselves its the best place on Earth?
My reading of the situation is simply that the level of cognitive dissonance and delusion is just absolutely beyond comprehension.
Please Vancouver, explain yourself. Actually, never mind: the market and its natural forces will deliver the explanation to you in a hurricane like catastrophe soon enough.”

Bob at VREAA 6 Oct 2012 at 5:59pm and 6:07pm

It is fair to compare Vancouver RE with that in Seattle, and we come up sorely overpriced.
– vreaa

68 responses to ““How is it Seattle, just 3 hours away, can produce the people and capital to create and run such great engines of capitalism, but in Vancouver all you have are greedy rats flipping their homes and telling themselves it’s the best place on Earth?”

  1. Renters Revenge

    Strip away everyone selling real estate to each other and there isn’t much of anything going on in Vancouver. Pretty frightening actually.

    • Tell that to all the movie companies setting up here. Does Seattle have Pixar or Industrial Light & Magic?

    • Anonymouse if your your idea of economic engine is to race to the bottom of the tax subsidy valley, i wish you luck! As 4 slices has pointedly outed that paradigm and its worth!

  2. We have world class Chinese food. World class marijuana.

  3. They should rename Vancouver ‘Real Estate Town’ and build a RE inspired, developer backed, rennie marketed theme park.

  4. …” to create and run such great engines of capitalism”…

    It’s all down to insatiable YanquiAppetites… and the Roaches, too – I reckon…

    “We feel terribly awful… He looked like he just wanted to show off and was very nice. He was the life of the party.” – BenSiegel’s [Proprietor Siegal’sDiscountHerpetorium, WestPalmBeach, FL] Eulogy for deceased RoachEatingContestant Edward Archbold

    [G&M] – Man Dies At Live CockRoach Eating Contest


    [NoteToEd: Absolutely a contender for the 2012 Darwin Awards… although I am personally supporting the candidacy of that poor chap from Montanna who expired, impersonating a SasQuatch/Wookie]….

    • Oh your answer is so cute. you manage to play the candaian disdain for america and its oh so grotesque indulgences.. with a little nudge nudge snicker.. very canadian of you. what you apparently will not do is address the reality of the post.
      i am not sure what your oh so hipster snicker about “yanqui appetites” means exactly. you mean hard work, a desire for a better software, cup of coffee, marketing enterprises.. or is the canadian dream of a civil service job, being a biker gang associate or getting rich in real estate in what ever fashion either with one condo or 10,000 the much more admirable method of long term wealth and job creation?
      Or is it that Canadians are fundamentally lazy and risk averse? i await any answer that isnt glib or childish or sneeringly anti-americanisms cloaked in middle school quality humor.

      • Robert Dudek

        I think you are going a little heavy on the stereotypes yourself.

      • Cranston Snord

        >Or is it that Canadians are fundamentally lazy and risk averse?

        I’m pretty certain that Canadians are not lazy, but they clearly are risk adverse. More over, Vancouverites especially seem to have a insecurity and risk aversion tendencies that are far worse than most of the rest of the country… The ones who don’t want to snuggle down in to their on paper wealth end up elsewhere in the country.

      • food fight … http://tinyurl.com/38uac8 … pffft!
        bob, you and f1 should to talk …
        anyways, i’m a bi, btw-fwiw-byob-lol, and last i checked, the new century blueprint for impoverishment through RE bubbles, fiscal insanity and money printing was definitely stamped made in usa (and has been successfully propagated ww) … however, to be curious about why the cdn RE experience is some ways even more perverse, let us imagine and attribute to such as .. more punitive tax regime RE vs non, lesser economic diversity, etc.

      • Vancouver has HAM ! and is entirely different than the rest of Canada. If you want to see the polar opposite of Vancouver, spend a bit of time in Calgary. Vancouver and Toronto couldn’t be more different as well.

  5. EinsatzgruppenVancouver

    Wouldn’t population density explain a lot?

    Don’t get me wrong, Canadians are mad risk averse, but I think it’s uncontroversial to say that there are certain things, in terms of economics, that are possible in the USA but won’t work in Canada just as a result of population density.

    For just one example, if you’re in Seattle, the next largest city is Portland, with a population of 2.5 million, google maps says it’s 3 hours away. If you’re in Vancouver, you need to drive to Calgary, 12 hours away, (more if there’s a highway closure in the mountains…) to get to 2.5 million people.

    I know a lot of Americans, and a lot of Canadians, and I find it hard to say that Canadians are any lazier than their southern neighbors, or any other humans for that matter. All God’s children are lazy!

    • I would concentrate on the earnings. Density doesn’t matter much when yields are low. BTW Seattle prices are still well above its long term average, but OTOH you can get a 15 year mortgage for less than 3%.

    • You don’t need to drive to Calgary, you could drive to Seattle in 3 hours. Vancouver is not so isolated. In any case, nobody is saying Vancouverites are lazy. The likely work just as hard flipping houses as Seattle residents do at those big companies. The point is that Vancouver has no economic base to speak of. Therefore, people are more likely to chase RE fortunes. This in turn erodes the economic base further, as capital that would otherwise be producing wealth is instead used to speculate, and the vicious circle of resource misallocation and economic erosion continues. That is a real problem that Vancouver will have to reckon with. It is difficult to believe that a city WITHOUT all those major corporations acting as economic drivers could enjoy a standard of living equal to the city that has them. As Renter’s Revenge says, it’s “pretty frightening”.

    • “Einsatzgruppen”. Really?! Is that supposed to be funny?

  6. There was once a diversity of jobs (blue collar and white collar) but those were all quite literally sold down the river. Those ancients amongst us will remember a time when False Creek was filled with pulp mills rather than condos, and Sweeny’s Cooperage lay under the Cambie St. bridge (until 1981). But the lumber companies and mills were sold to foreign multinationals (Interfor, Weyerhauser) and the people who used to work in those jobs were without luck. Vancouver’s position on the earnings scale has much to do with Canada’s colonial predisposition to sell off all resources to the highest bidder (witness the Tar Sands) and leave its citizens either immigrating elsewhere or working at the Seattle company Starbucks.

    • The oil sands (they’re not ‘tar’ sands, they produce oil not tar) actually employ tens of thousands of people, and some of the biggest oilsands players are Canadian-owned corporations.

      • EinsatzgruppenVancouver

        “Tar Sands” is what Peter Lougheed, that dastardly, radial-left-wing-environmentalist that he was, said, making a speech, at the commencement of the first project there.

        Just Sayin’…

        Am I the only one who’s noticed that you can tell what somebody thinks of the “non-traditional hydrocarbon resource extraction in northern Alberta” just by whether they use “tar sands” or “oil sands” in discussions of the topic?

        Anyone feel like speculating on why that is?

      • Ralph Cramdown

        They were ‘tar sands’ when, as a kid on a family vacation, I stopped at a decidedly pro-industry display. I even got a little glass jar containing a bit of the muck as a souvenir.

        It isn’t like the boffins at Syncrude or the PR mavens who built the displays didn’t know what they were dealing with back then. If oil sands gets a bad enough name, they’ll try to rebrand the whole thing as “bitumen silica deposits.”

      • how about “job sands”?

      • “vacation sands”?

      • [NoteToEd: VacationSands? We might as well call LaBrea a ‘Volcano’… Oh. Right… “In the City where anything can happen… It will. Please Stay Calm. PS – The Coast is Toast.”]

  7. Please excuse us, it’s the heavy consumption of weed that makes us dellusional.

  8. “How is it Seattle, just 3 hours away from Vancouver, can produce the people and capital to create and run such great engines of capitalism and in Vancouver its like greedy rats flipping their homes and telling themselves its the best place on Earth?”

    Answer: Chinese food sucks in Seattle 😀

  9. Vancouverites are just vain. It’s all about appearances here, even if you have to get into massive debt to service that. I’ve lived in the US: Chicago, Edmonton, NYC, San Fran, LA, and except maybe LA, no place is like Vancouver, in that people are so willing to get into all this debt to keep up appearances. yes, people in LA and NYC and San Fran drive nice cars, but they’re also very wealthy. Of course, the sheer amount of luxury cars bought on HELOC (case in point, I talked to a BMW dealer and he told me the vast majority of cars were bought with huge loans), but also of course real estate. I mean, I see these new condo projects going up near Marine Drive station advertising things like “Westside address for under 300K!”. I mean, God, really? Do you really let your address define you?

    Seriously. Someone once made a comment that you can’t distinguish between truly wealthy and not in this city. That is so true.

    • Cranston Snord

      >Do you really let your address define you?

      I’ve never been in another Canadian city where people are so focused on what part of the city you’re from. It’s really a Vancouver thing. Very nearly a version of a class system.

      Case and point- “Surrey” is a regular punch line for pretty much any joke made here in Vancouver.

  10. Looks like we couldn’t sneak all this debt and crazed house-buying past the IMF. Dang. We tried so hard.


  11. Jones Soda was actually started in Vancouver before moving to Seattle. Just sayin’.

  12. one must not forget, seattle is also the hq of redfin 🙂
    i pray for the day redfin is able to operate in the vancouver market.

  13. I don’t know if you guys watch ‘Til Debt Do Us Part’ on Global but they had on this couple today. Combined gross annual income 110K a year. They have 55K of consumer debt and are en route to 650K debt in 5 years, not including their mortgage. The woman can’t control her spending on luxury items and wants to buy a S-series Mercedes (130K). They can’t even budget. They won’t do the challenges of living in a smaller apartment even for a day. Truly, there is no difference between those who are truly wealthy and losers like this family.

  14. I have lived here for 18 years, and unfortunately I have to say that this post resonate with me so much. It would have been a nicer place to live, if it had taken a better direction than following some places in LA. Sadly, it deserves its reputation for being a conspicuously pretentious place.

    If RE ends here (coming soon), the Vancouver will end as we know it. It will be a very different place. May be a better place, may be worse, but definitely less pretentious. I am not sure what will happen to all the previously industrial land east of False Creek and Terminal avenue that are now being developed as residential spaces.

    My theory is that some of these, and some of Yaletown and downtown towers, will turn into low-income housing at some point.

  15. vancouverbubbleman

    as many of you are aware……the market has slowed drastically in recent months. nothing is selling around me, in fact , many of the prices have dropped 20% from recent high listing levels- that means 500k to 1 million price drops around here in just the past 4 months. i was talking to my landlord the other day , he owns a “few” homes. he told me the new policy of the banks requiring “foreign investors” to show they have incomes in canada that justify the mortgage amounts they are asking for is killing the market. many of the “foreign investors” are now considered to be low income individuals. the west side around trafalgar park is actually now considered to be one of the lowest income areas of the city-yet there are poorly constructed homes ……the eye sores of the housing bubble….trading for millions ( or at least they did when they were actually trading ). aside from the fact that economies around the world are slowing to a halt- these new policies are not good for the bubble- unless you are like me and feel that a crash back down to reality will be healthy for the city in the long run. i suspect the chatter about how vancouver is different and how much money one is up on their house will soon become non existent.
    look out below


    • West Coast Woman

      I wonder if the “foreign investors” living around Trafalgar Park are low income because that’s all they’ve been declaring on their Canadian income tax, although they may be making income offshore that is unreported? Maybe they don’t want to declare the assets that they have offshore.

      I agree with you about the poorly built Plywood Palaces in the area – the eyesores of this housing bubble, but I think its most defining features will be granite countertops and stainless steel appliance.

  16. HardRainsGonnaFall

    Microsoft was founded in Albuquerque and was there for 4 years before heading to Bellevue, just sayin…

  17. In terms of real estate, just look at zillow in Bellevue, seems like great value compared to Vancouver. Also better drivers

    • Coveted West Side address

      you don’t like people who make swooping turns without the right of way into a different lane without signaling while talking on their phone? It’s like a local custom here now, that and california rolling every stop sign, red light, crosswalk – you just have to get to the next red light ASAP.. You have to be FIRST

      • Cranston Snord

        Try riding a motorcycle in Vancouver as your primary mode of transportation.

        Everyone is either actively or passively trying to kill you.

  18. thanks Vreaa for an entire day at the front of your blog. i do appreciate it. i did not intend to be glib or fatuous with my post, i truly am bewildered by the many things that are delivered on a platter everyday as pablum served up as reality. to loosely paraphrase the most under appreciated Vancouver celebrity of ever…doot dah loot doo…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..doo dooh

  19. if you would be so kind… scratch that goldfinger and post this song with my last post..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnAgc1kgvLc

  20. Congratulations on your move to Seattle Bob! Can we help you pack? Seriously, I’d be happy to drive you to the border.

  21. and so it goes. the best you got is. can i help you pack.. really? lame much…LMFAO

  22. a great canadian export with a story that fits the moment, 20 year later.

  23. It’s late

  24. those that ignore history are doomed to repeat it

  25. Vancouver style?

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