Overheard On Robson – “They were talking about how prices had dropped. One said she was looking to buy, and was weighing up whether this would be a good time to do so.”

“My wife was walking on Robson Street last week. She doesn’t look out for this kind of thing as much as I do, but she couldn’t help overhearing two women, aged about 30, dressed smartly, talking about RE. They were talking about how prices had dropped. One said she was looking to buy, and was weighing up whether this would be a good time to do so.”
– via e-mail from westsidefrank, 17 Dec 2012

57 responses to “Overheard On Robson – “They were talking about how prices had dropped. One said she was looking to buy, and was weighing up whether this would be a good time to do so.”

  1. While they’re at it, maybe the two “smartly” dressed women should also open up another cupcake or designer pet accessory store there too? Lord knows there are more than just a few For Lease signs littering the “Champs Elysees” of Canada.

    • Naked Official #9000

      If my son can’t park his Murcialago anywhere he wants on Robson without getting a ticket, then this treaty port has already gone to the dogs!

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Is your son the guy who drives his Lamborghini at 30 km, with a N sign, and takes forever to make a right turn?

      • Naked Official #9000

        No, my son has insurance in my wife’s name, he just doesn’t have a license.

        The plate number is 888-go fuck yourselves

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Vely lucky license number.
        IF he has an accident, you can sue FENG SHUI Master Wong.

      • Naked Official #9000

        Well clearly, if he has an accident, it’s not his fault .. Remember we are operating on brand logic here .. Lamborghini > than everything else, therefore rules do not apply. Especially Canadian rules, they’re so naive.

        Re: feng shui, geomancy is as legitimate as the resurrection of Christ – stop being a disharmonious cadre.

        p.s. I love seeing the RCMP/VPD pull over princelings, especially the 90lb string beans..

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        I always wondered what happens when a cop pulls over an offshore German who does not speak any English.
        Do the cops have to get an interpreter?

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        VREAA ,
        Naked and I are just clowning around.
        But, on a more serious note. Feng Shui plays an important part in the Chinese culture and it greatly influences their RE purchasing decisions.
        I’m fairly new to this blog. In the past, have there been any discussions on this blog about this issue?
        If not, I think it should be given a forum.

      • Naked Official #9000

        It must be tough to tell a cop that your dad is Li Gang without speaking English..


      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Thanks Naked,
        For this Li Gang anecdote.
        Seems that incidents like that are happening here now, too.

      • The Quattroporte is infinitely more satisfying, Naked… and, more importantly, has more than enough room for your ‘guests’ [sanctioned, youTube stars, or otherwise]’.

        You do realize, that just admitting that will increase this year’s premium – as regards our SturdyComrades… @CCDI.


        [NoteToNaked: Recent HUMINT most fascinating!… and appreciated!]

      • Naked Official #9000


        I care not for insurance rates – my wife just charges it to her expense account at Huiyong Holdings..


        Notice the black Audis, a favorite for any loyal cadre..

    • I thought that you were joking, but a quick Google search reveals that there really are people coparing Robson Street to Champs Elysees.
      We truly live in a very special city. An eclectic mix of Paris, Monaco, new York and Hong Kong.

      • “BPOE”, “world class”, “Champs Elysees”. Vancouverites eat this stuff up. When the downturn reaches its grungy depths, it will interesting to see if we start hearing comparisons to cities that are actually comparable. Like Portland.

      • Naked Official #9000


        We’re all things to all realtors (and speculating cadres)

      • Actually, the Champs-Elysee comparison is not too far off. Whatever romantic connotations the name still conjures, the Champs-Elysee of today is a disappointing stretch of chain stores and tourist shops.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Funny, Robson Street used to be called Robson Strasse, in reference to the many “german” German businesses that were located there.
        Now the offshore Germans have taken over. Ironic.

      • Unrealistic Expectations Everywhere – “Robson is like Rodeo Drive, it’s like Park Avenue” (But 20 Stores Sit Vacant)
        VREAA 2 May 2012

        “The average retail lease rate on Robson is $194 US per square foot, less than one-tenth the price on Fifth Avenue in New York and significantly less than lease rates on comparable streets in London, Paris and Hong Kong.”
        VREAA 7 Jul 2011

        Retail Rents Compared – “Vancouver’s Robson $150, Toronto’s Bloor $300, NYC’s Fifth Avenue $2,250”
        VREAA 11 Jul 2011

      • Dang. What happened to Vanhattan?

  2. Off topic. A short message to Whisperer:

    I cannot access your site. Been three days now. Are you blocking or offline?

  3. There is a mult-use unit on the corner of Robson and Nicola. They sold a few units and then couldn’t sell anymore at astronomical prices so now all the suites are rented!!!

  4. Dave the dentist

    I hope they’re not thinking of actually buying a place near Robson St. It’s a nice area, but it’s sure as hell ain’t nothing like the shopping district of Hong Kong, Paris, London or NYC. Portland is probably the closest comparison.

    • Yeah, I never got that Robson Street thing either even when I lived there. Fourth avenue always had much more appeal. I don’t suppose Vancouver still has a Soft Rock Cafe….

      No..that would be too much to ask. It was fantastic while it thrived.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Yeah, 4th Ave was the place to be.
        Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. Dug it.
        The saying goes “If you remember the sixties, you were not there”.
        Now the young self centered punks are tearing up Robson and Granville, because “their team” lost.

      • Time is short tonight, PrairieAgrarian… so a detailed/richly illustrated exposition will have to wait for another day…

        Lulu has some treats in store for you from Vancouver… Really.


        [NoteToEd: OldEnough to know what was going on… regrettably, not old enough to make the leap from spectator to participant… Drats, the curse of GenX’s VanGuard… the banquet had ended… exactly… as we came of age.]

      • Cut&Paste failure… video link:

      • I neglected to mention… this is mandatory viewing… not optional, ‘Class’.

        ‘Nemesis’ will not return until there are some pithy/nostalgic critiques… The archiaval WestEndSkyline in the TheCollectors’, “LydiaPurple” is worth the view alone. Seriously.

        [NoteToEd: WhereIt’sAt… quite a SeaChange, eh?… then vs. now.. who here remembers the BumperStickers: “DiscoSucks”; sponsored by VFM/AFM Local 145? Apart from that FlashBack, OldBoy – I fear that HobGoblins and TalesOfWoe in DistantTroubledLands are demanding more of my time in the waning dayz of the Mayan era.]

      • Looking forward to it Nem. If you have pics of how we all dressed the kids should get a real kick out of that too. Cripes, we were damn fools but it seemed “cool” at the time.

      • Naked Official #9000


        We loyal party members have studied your curious history – perhaps some mando pop ballads would be more harmonious?

        This all seems quite reactionary.

      • Nemesis is ‘everywhere’… these are JasonHoover’s original SideMen – TheEpics, peforming with Parker Henderson… live @ Rossini’s 2009.06.13…

        Defunct. LandValue. Natch.

        [NoteToEd: Slated for demolition. Condo development permit application pending. Surprised? And let’s not even talk about the Musqueam and their Marriott… http://tinyurl.com/dxupbxk ]

  5. I think it’s a really tough choice for people who genuinely want to get into the market. I look at RE as a house and nothing more. I would never overextend myself. The way I look at it is this; if you can still afford your monthly payments even if rates were to shoot up to 20%, then you can afford your place (because that’s where rates traditionally were when I was growing up). If you could afford this, then you can afford to take a hit financially if unforeseen circumstances erupt and you have to sell. I’ll bet if rates were at 20% like they were in the 80s, the bungalows that are going for 1M in east van would drop to about 200K and condos in metrotown would be sub-50K.

    I could’ve rented but my wife wanted a place to call our own and we’re happy in our place, even with kids we could see ourselves living there for 10+ years. I overpaid in 2010, but I can afford a hit financially and it wouldn’t be devastating for us and even if rates were to rocket to 20% overnight, we could still afford our place, I’d just have to sell all my equities.

    • Well that is cause you are halfway to 3M in cash to play with at age 32 due to non-RE investments.

      I only have 4SlicesofCheese :\

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Cheese, you are richer than you think.
        Count you blessings.
        “if you’ve got nothing,you’ve got nothing to lose.” Bob Dylan. Like a rolling stone.
        “Nothing don’t mean nothing if it ain’t free” Janice Choplin. Me and Bobby McGee.

    • I built a suburban home in Calgary in 2001 for $87 per square foot. I renovated a 1914 bungalow from 2006 to 2012 for a net $200 per square foot. As it turns out it would have cost the same to rip down and rebuild, but I didn’t know that at the time. The cost of all the trades required increased over that time significantly, but the cost of sinks and other hard goods was relatively stable.

      I am told that I can build a house in the GVRD for around $200 per square foot. Although everyone seems convinced that the price of a house will go down I am wondering how convinced people are that the price to build a house will go down. I don’t see a whole lot of downward movement possible on hard goods and although I think that a weak construction market makes getting the good construction crews easier, I don’t see them reducing their rates too much.

      Is this crash in Vancouver real estate a crash in the land value alone?

      • “Is this crash in Vancouver real estate a crash in the land value alone”

        The vast majority will be in land value. Distressed conditions may reap a further discount that isn’t really ‘land value’ but is more a severe “illiquidity discount”. Parts of the US saw this. The land value is worth more but with buyers being almost void sellers were willing to sell at firesale prices to get cash.

        There might be some marginal decreases in costs due to weakness in labour rates but I think that’s a secondary effect.

      • >Is this crash in Vancouver real estate a crash in the land value alone?

        According to StatCan, there was a big dip in construction prices after RE market took a little dive in 2008:

        Labor price will go down for sure. Developers’ and material suppliers’ profit margin will shrink for sure. I would say the answer to your question is “no”.

      • crap_couldnt_think_of_a_name

        Even in a falling labour market (if we end up there), decent trades will still cost (as they are good enough to be choosy and in demand). The cheap guys will be the ones that you won’t want anywhere near your home – unless you’re flipping, that is!

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        I totally agree.
        the cream will always rise and stay on top.
        It costs a little more, but it will be worth it.

      • Actually the trades really took it on the chin in the Eighties. Too many layoffs to recall now but it was bad. I recall BC’s unemployment rate hit 16% for forestry workers for example. Unions were under tremendous pressure and wages were ratcheted down as private contractors paying hourly rates below shop out-competed the big guys.

        There was conflict and a lot of stress and it became very difficult to negotiate wage increases when the business was on the rails due to a lack of work and low priced competition.

        The other thing that happened was a lot of the newly unemployed went back to their trade as private contractors working out of the family basement and truck. Often they did so at a substantial reduction to their prior earnings but times were tough and if you needed to work you did what was necessary.

        They made up the difference by working for cash and avoiding taxes but their actions compounded the effect of rising unemployment as legit businesses found even less work for their guys to do. Plenty of good firms went under. They just could not hold on for even two or three months without contracts.

        I got pink slipped along with tens of thousands of others in BC in those days and never got another chance to go back. It was a long ugly recession. At the conclusion of it all though wages most certainly had fallen relative to the cost of living in both nominal and inflation adjusted terms.

        As I have pointed out to others before, a job that was paying me 12.50 an hour in 1981 at an entry level (no experience necessary) is now fetching just ten bucks and this is 33 years later. You need a ticket for it now too. Few people on this site will realize just how good we had it in the Seventies (unless they were there). Buying power was tremendous, living costs low and jobs were in profusion until the SHTF.

        That period incidentally was also at the tail end of a period of excess credit. The price of homes plummetted in some regions and stayd down for years before staging a comeback. Look it up. If we see anything even remotely like that again I can assure you foreclosures will become very routine as work evaporates. It is why I always harp on about the risks to the economy of a bursting bubble where unemployment is concerned.

        You know…in the Eighties you could not even find work as a waiter if you did not have five years experience. Nobody would cut you slack unless you knew them personally. I wonder how the bright highly educated minds of today will adapt to that environment should it return.

        It is exactly what a lot of Europeans are facing today. We could spend a week reviewing our own history for some eye opening perspective on what falling home values can do to an economy. It sure ain’t pretty.

      • Good question Young. Lumber prices are waaaaaay up this year as US housing is seeing something of a turnaround. We are importing Chinese inflation meanwhile in the cost of goods as many commodity inputs are still relatively high and production prices there have risen on the back of higher land lease costs, rising wages, rents and transportation. Here at home fees are up for builders and wages are firm as the economy is still fairly robust and unemployment numbers are low. With savings having melted away for most folks though and credit now becoming restrictive during a period of excess homes and capacity I think we could see a sharp slowdown in building over the next few years. Perhaps the “crash” (it is not yet a crash by the way) is going to be in sentiments towards debt more than just a matter of falling prices for homes. Prices will have to come back down to where they justify rentals before any of this makes sense and bouyancy returns. It is the future landlords who will eventually catch the falling knife but they won’t do so until the numbers make sense and that could take a few years. Our bubble is built on perceptions and they are changing fast.

  6. By the way….1981 was the same year the gold bubble burst. You should have heard all the crying as the people who kept swearing about the 5000 year history of Gold as money started REALLY swearing when their portfolios blew up in thier faces. I wonder sometimes if we are about to see a repeat of those days as similar forces are playing out now. The exception
    now is interest rates are low so not everything can be the same.

    It could actually be a whole lot worse.

  7. Real Estate Tsunami

    Wow, Farmer you are on a tear!
    I Agree with most of what you’re saying, but can’t you put it in point form.
    That goes for most of the posters. Less is more.
    Remember, most people have only a 5 minute attention span.

    • Naked Official #9000

      You disharmonious fool! Don’t reveal the techniques of the great Internet water army – we must tire the plebs on their quest for knowledge.

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