“We live in Vancouver and it’s all we can afford” – “As though living in Vancouver and having no money go hand-in-hand”

“Have had a listing on Craigslist for almost a month to sell a nice quality baby car seat. Finally got an offer last night, 50% below asking because “We live in Vancouver and it’s all we can afford.” I put obo on the thing and I don’t care why you’re making the offer you are, but I just thought that was interesting, as though living in Vancouver and having no money go hand-in-hand, it’s a given that you have no money.”
Angela at greaterfool.ca 29 Nov 2012 12:24am

27 responses to ““We live in Vancouver and it’s all we can afford” – “As though living in Vancouver and having no money go hand-in-hand”

  1. i hope it wasnt the 375$ car seat listing that I just searched out in craigslist. vancouver or not I would not pay more than half the ask for that.

    • Omg, no! It was a Peg Perego, manufactured early 2010 so still has two more years of use in it. I listed it at $100 obo, a month-old listing and the only offer I’d received.

  2. I agree that’s a bad excuse, but I’ve noticed people in Vancouver seem to think their used baby stuff is worth way more than it actually is. This is a bit of a rant, but I was looking for a used stroller a while ago and most of the ones for sale were not that much cheaper than buying the damn thing new. Same with other used baby items I was looking to buy. I figure if you can’t afford to lose half the cost on re-selling the thing then you shouldn’t buy it new in the first place.

  3. I noticed that about Macintoshes.

    Only on Vancouver Craigslist can you find a 5-year-old iMac priced at $100 below the 2007 sticker price because it’s in “mint condition” and comes with stolen software.

    These are signs of financial desperation. Find it also in:

    -Hipstermobiles aka 20-year-old right-hand-drive 4×4 death traps that you can’t get parts for priced at $10k-$15k; i.e. 500% of their value

    -wages: degreed professionals needed to provide unlimited slave labour at Barista salary without likelihood of stability or advancement

    -oh right and shtbox mouldy shoeboxes in the sky aka your family’s next home too

  4. I think the incredible popularity of Craigslist in Vancouver alone points to the lack of disposable income that people have – homeowners or not. In other Canadian cities like Edmonton, Craigslist is not nearly as popular, but in Vancouver people are constantly trading goods and buying used because they cannot afford new.

    As an employee in the retail industry, I have seen the ups and downs of the economy reflected in peoples purchasing habits, and I can report first-hand that people are cheaper than ever, always looking for a deal, and only shopping when on sale, but hey, who can blame them?!

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      I think it’s the cheap Germans who have to haggle everything down to the bone, to save FACE.

      • Naked Official - quick with the whip

        More disharmony!

        You are being reported to Shenzen Ministry of public cultural harmony #9088 – disloyal cadre, you will be sent to a re-harmonization and educational facility, either in the gobi desert or a Nike factory in shanghai, working the shoe sole cutting machine, hooked to a heroin drip. We are confident this approach will restore you to sanity – “work shall set you free”

    • UBCghettodweller

      I was looking for a used motorcycle a couple years ago. The general Craigslist attitude was: Nope, I’m going to list something that’s ten years old with a lot of mileage at 10% less than the price I bought it for. Not going to budge on any negotiation even if all the potential buyer is asking for is the difference in the lien-check and sales tax that would be paid on the item… I get the feeling people trying to sell their houses feel exactly the same way. Cos prices always go up, even on used motor vehicles, right?

      • Declining asset prices eventually feed into most other markets for goods. The wealth effect meanwhile makes people people strong on the way up and so they are unwilling to budge on price even when the need the money.

        Recall though at the worst moments of the bubble burst in the US that times shares and motorhomes were selling at 70% off. The worst cases I remember were timeshares at an 88% discount. People were abandoning yaughts because they could not afford the moorage. Near new cars went for a fraction of cost as those in hock bailed out to prop up the mortgage and Canucks were driving down to California to pick up exotic vehicles that had been repo’d.

        Those were desperate times and jobs losses were nothing less than stunning down South as real estate effectively collapsed. I do not expect to see quite a similar situation in our country but we should stil expect to see some serious discounting in the prices of used goods in the coming years if Vancouvers bubble plays out like so many others in the past.

      • Trying to reply to Farmer @8:25pm but not sure how to. I don’t think prices will drop, I think we’ll just see less inventory. Isn’t that how it works, we buy less, corporations buy fewer goods to sell, manufacturing takes a downturn, prices actually go up after the initial…thingamajigger,,,phase where stuff gets cheaper?

      • Employment is the critical link, Angela. This is where economists differ on the hazard that lies ahead. It is possible (in theory anyway) to have a soft landing in Real Estate if employment rates hold up. Needless to say there is plenty of debate on that subject and so close attention is being paid to the consumption side of the economy, exports, manufacturing growth and that sort of thing. We are already seeing weakness in retail so I have my doubts. The advent of a double dip recession in the US is an added worry as so much of our economy depends on the health of America. On that point it is also worth watching the level of tourism in Vancouver since that has been a net contributor to growth in the past. If employment numbers begin to stumble though all bets are off and you can be assured that plenty of assets (other than homes) will come to market at discount. This is simply an outcome of income need at a time when credit is being restricted and job opportunities are drying up.

      • UBCghettodweller

        @Farmer- employment will be a definitely major controlling variable in determining how severe and rapid the decline in prices will be. This likely will be a region by region thing.

        Having lived in Alberta, I can tell you that when petroleum prices slid but many other economic metrics stayed pretty constant, you could see immediate changes in spending habits on things that fall in to the “fun fund” spending category. Suddenly cabins, resort condos, tent trailers/motorhomes and Harley Davidsons hit the classifieds as the plush oil and gas industry jobs dry up. When I look at Vancouver, all I see is the same sort of boom-bust market dynamics and same cognitive dissonance when it comes to its sustainability.

  5. Real Estate Tsunami

    Sorry, Farmer & UBC,
    Your reasoning is economic text book stuff.
    What has been driving the RE in Vancouver and Toronto is offshore speculation.
    Little to do with local employment/unemployment.
    Whichever way the Chinese economy will go, so will Vancouver’s.
    It’s too late to cut the umbilical cord.

    • Speaking of umbilical cords, offshore ‘speculation’ and a dearth of bargain infant accessories in YVR… could it be that patrons of Hai Yong Wu’s LAX ChinoHills ‘pre-natal facility’ are driving demand, RET?…

      “It would be nice to have my neighborhood back. It was a quiet little street.” – ChinoHills Resident Sonya Valez.

      [LA Times] – Chino Hills seeks to close home used by pregnant Chinese women: A website that city officials believe is associated with the house describes services such as assistance in obtaining American passports for newborns.

      …”So-called birth tourism appears to be an active but largely under-the-radar industry in Southern California. One local Chinese phone book has five pages of listings for birthing centers, where women from China and Taiwan stay for a month or so before going home with their U.S.-citizen babies. When the children get older, they may return here to study, perhaps paving the way for the rest of the family to immigrate more easily.”


      [NoteToEd: We’ll know that things are really getting out of hand when the first stories alluding to customs seizures of ‘Counterfeit Designer Babies’ start appearing.]

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Wow, Nem.
        I know that Hongkong has clamped down on this practise.
        I wonder how much of this business is going on in Vancouver?

      • UBCghettodweller

        @Real Estate Tsunami
        Based on what some Vancouver and Richmond based nurses have told me, often enough that they expect to see these people at their clinics and wards.

        As much as I try not to buy in to the “Asian Invasion” not-so-subtle racism that pervades Vancouver culture. I don’t think this is a non-issue.

      • Naked Official #9000




    • There was no discussion of the drivers of real estate in either post.

  6. Real Estate Tsunami

    As an European immigrant, married to a Chinese, I try to be tolerant as the next one. But I just can’t close my eyes to the fact that immigration is drastically changing the fabric of the Lower Mainland.
    The debate is: for better or for worse.

    • immigration an issue but the conjecture on cdn RE prices being driven primarily by offshore spec flows isn’t well-supported by data … eg. rabidoux has several discussions on this … or, that price trends for asiatic immigrant meccas such as winnipeg are equally impressive (the orillian keeps charts teranet for ref.) … concept ham, however, arguably an incidental influence on locals unlocking their inner enterprise adventurer … anyways, a tangentially entertaining tale … http://tinyurl.com/ahongs7

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Rod, I did not say CDN RE.
        I said Lower Mainland.

      • ret, touche … though i’m suggesting the usual suspects (credit access, lending stds, asymmetric taxation RE vs other, etc.) are greater factors … an interesting set of charts with which to weigh the strength of the foreign investment thesis … http://tinyurl.com/b5au86n

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        All these graphs amount to a hill of beans.
        Graphs don’t track human behavior.

      • rj -> Interesting comment on that first link, by somebody called ‘z’, in 2009.
        He’s talking about the US, but consider this in relation to Vancouver:

        “I simply cannot figure out why more Americans dont see what I see as our biggest weakness competitively as a nation:

        Our houses cost way way too much.

        I was born in a 2 bedroom house that cost $6,000. We had a home with 2 more bedrooms that we bought when I was 5 for $18,500.
        We bought a home that was close to 2,000 sq. feet on almost one and a half acre when I was 8 for $55,000.
        This was a very nice home, all brick, paved driveway, quite pretty, very nice subdivision full of large houses (ours was one of the smallest there).

        That same house today would cost roughly 210 to 220 easily.

        Why? We have better lumber harvesting techniques (machinery like trucks that drive into forrests and cut down trees), better lumber-refining machinery, better brick and cinder-block technology, better transportation, larger trucks, more-lanes on highways, larger concrete trucks, etc. I realize land is a bit more expensive now, but not enough to have made that house quadruple in value in 30 years.

        Our home values being outrageously high is why we need to get paid so much money relative to other countries. If a home like that third one could still be bought for $110,000, people wouldn’t be clamoring for raises all the time, because making $30K a year would be just fine…………….you could have a quite nice life on “decent” money. We dont however, and people need larger incomes to afford “decent” houses in decent neighborhoods, hence why the United States struggles to stay competitive.”

      • ret -> Many charts DO track human behaviour… price charts, for instance… that’s part of what makes them so fascinating.

  7. Take this anecdote for what you will. We’ve got enough relatives in BC that it looks like we’ll be visiting annually. I’ve been told that driving out is no longer acceptable, so, last trip out a month ago, I bought a car to keep out there/here for our use. Wanted an E30 BMW, but prices are nuts. From my Toronto perspective, BC people overrate fuel economy drastically. Gas is NOT so expensive that you need to pay such premiums for old, not-quite-econoboxes.

    Anyway, bought a 20 year old BMW 7 series from a former RE agent/current mortgage broker who has 2.5 car garage in Abby, who’s bummed that he’s moving to a much smaller place (no garage!) in Chilliwack. He asked $2k and got $1,200. It’s a sweeeeeet ride, and I look like royalty driving it, because even though nobody knows how cheap these cars are to buy, everyone knows how much they cost to maintain.

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