“The Richmond home had been for sale for about six months, and rather than lower the price any further, the couple decided to take the home off the market. They are in their late 60s and want to downsize to a condo.”

“Realtor Larry Biggar said one of his clients did just that in November. The Richmond home had been for sale for about six months, and rather than lower the price any further, the couple decided to take the home off the market. They are in their late 60s and want to downsize to a condo, Biggar said. He said everyone who went through the home liked it, but that they all seemed to be waiting to see what would happen with prices.
“We watched the market slow down, and slow down, and slow down. … It just got quieter and quieter,” said Biggar, who works with ReMax Westcoast.
“Finally they said enough is enough. We really don’t have to sell. We can stall our plans if need be, although that’s not our first choice.”
Biggar said the couple will be putting their home back on the market soon, and although they have not discussed the asking price, it will probably be the same price it was when they took if off the market.”

– Richmond News 9 Jan 2013, as quoted by Real Estate Tsunami on VREAA

See The Myth Of The Discretionary Seller for discussion of the syndrome of ‘Sellerpause’©. – vreaa

52 responses to ““The Richmond home had been for sale for about six months, and rather than lower the price any further, the couple decided to take the home off the market. They are in their late 60s and want to downsize to a condo.”

  1. This sounds like one of these sellers that is mentally in “sell mode”. During their time off market all the while witnessing the current media, I suspect they’ll think hard and long about the difference between what they want and what they need.

    1) If there is a difference, and need is a lower number that they can price at to make it move, they now are part of the downward cycle. The much talked about boomer trigger on whispers from the rainforest in action.
    2) If there isn’t a difference, or they can’t afford to price at the lower number their place goes off market and contributes to less liquidity. Less market activity is bad, and having a seller hold off won’t help prices – it’ll just make it more volatile in the aggregate.


  2. Time for a reverse mortgage for these boomers

    • Great, get 40 cents on the dollar and live in your oversized house, watching the taxes go up year after year, until you die penniless.

      Love that Boomer mentality!!!

  3. Good luck… watch the listings pile up and the panic start….more and more will chase the market down.

    • Are we at the part in the movie where everyone has their life jackets on and orderly queues are bing formed for the life boats ?

  4. Makes a difference if buying and selling, the price differential is a bigger deal.

    I remember a house bought in 2005, seller thought prices were too high (LOL) and wanted to downsize. They were somewhat shocked condos weren’t that much cheaper after factoring in all costs.

    My bet is that gap is bigger now.

  5. Will these two end up being another couple who painfully and tragically end up netting hundreds of thousands of dollars? When will people learn?

    • –> J.T.S.

      Please go away. You are the internet equivalent of a fart.

    • I think the argument is they won’t.

      • Pretty sure this J.T.S. doofus is “jimtan” from RET, same posting style/IQ level, and he appeared on VREAA right around when somebody mentioned it over on RET.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Townhouse listings in Richmond have gone from 291 to 299 yesterday.
      Extrapolate that!!

    • JTS -> Fewer hundreds of thousands than they anticipated. That’s the point.

      • But still more than if they listened to VHB or vancouvercondo.info. That’s the real point.

      • Only if they sell in this vicinity.
        And most won’t.
        After this is all over with, those who listened to VHB will on average do better than those who didn’t.

      • “Only if they sell in this vicinity.”

        It’s a lot more complicated than that. There is the 7 years rent they did not have to pay. 7 years of taxes, maintenance that they did pay. Maybe some other things. This brings up an interesting question. Maybe you can add it to the themes you follow: people taking an interest in others finance, especially when it doesn’t affect them.

      • Yes, it’s more complicated than that, and it’s worth doing all the math.
        Owners almost always underestimate the cost of owning.
        Did you follow the math in the analysis of the Tuesday example? (see the comments):
        “Update – West-side Houses Selling At 2008 Prices”
        VREAA 8 Jan 2013

        Those owners ended up $100K to $200K (depending on exact interest rate on mortgage) after tax dollars behind renters of equivalent properties for their 2008-2012 sojourn.

        Note: We’re not saying you can’t point to some people people who made out like bandits by buying in the vicinity of 2001 and selling in the vicinity of 2012. But that’s not the point. The point is this has all been a spec mania, and in the end, the vast majority will end up doing poorly. The bubble does not create a net amount of ‘wealth’.

      • vreaa, please don’t feed the troll, especially an annoying one like JTS.

      • Obviously owning is more expensive than renting in probably 100% of the GVRD. But you’re assuming that these people don’t own their home outright. We can’t do all the math, because we don’t know all the facts.

        And it’s bizzare to see schadenfreude over stories when people have no idea at what price the people bought. Is the glee over owners misfortune even justified? Well, if want to feel schadenfreude about someone who $200k instead of $400k, I suppose it’s a free country.

        You’re good at logging stories. Not so good at attacking people who rightly point out that these people are making pretty good economic decisions. Maybe not optimal, but it’s very rare to buy at the absolute bottom and sell at the absolute top.

        Doubly so when it’s something that affects your life, like a house.

      • JTS, I have to agree with bubbly (and, in past threads, with Canis, and yvr, etc), your comments are most often appearing nothing other than trollish.
        Here, for instance, you make all sorts of assumptions about people’s positions that haven’t been stated:
        – nobody has assumed “that these people don’t own their home outright”
        – nobody is expressing “schadenfreude” regarding this couple; there is no “glee” being expressed about anybody’s “misfortune”. Where do you see that? You appear to be fabricating all sorts of to and fro that doesn’t even appear here.
        – also, nobody is “attacking” this couple for deciding to sell (it’s actually a very good decision).

        In short, JTS, you appear to not be discussing/arguing/commenting here in good faith. Unless you appear to be doing so, we won’t continue to let you distract discussion with obfuscating comments.

      • Robert Dudek

        The bubble does not create a net amount of ‘wealth’.

        It does create a net increase in wealth for Vancouver/Canada if there is a net flow of money from outside the city/country.

  6. If their realtor was any good at his job, he would’ve convinced them to take what they could while they could. Instead they’re just one of tens of thousands who are deluded into thinking 2013 will be better.

    • Most Realtors believe the “soft-landing” narrative which is probably in their interest to promote. Almost all the ones I have known are speculating along with the general market trenda. They will be as shocked as everyone else s this unravels.

      • Robert Dudek

        Are you so confident there won’t be a soft-landing? To me, making definite predictions about the future seems like hubris.

  7. Great read on cycles and human behaviour as its driver. I think the whole memo is worth a read. It has a section dedicated to real estate as well as this section that talks about being a contrarian …

    “To be a successful contrarian, you have to be able to:
    see what most people are doing,
    understand what’s wrong about most people’s behavior
    possess a strong sense for intrinsic value, which most people ignore at the extremes,
    resist the psychological pressures that make most people err, and thus
    buy when most people are selling and sell when most people are buying.

    And one other thing: you have to be willing to look wrong for a while. If the herd is doing the wrongthing, and if you’re capable of seeing that and doing the opposite, it’s still highly unlikely that thewisdom of what you do will become apparent immediately. Usually the crowd’s irrational euphoriawill continue to take prices higher for a while – possibly a long while – or its excessive negativism will continue to take prices lower. The contrarian will appear wrong, and the fact that his errorcomes in acting differently from most people will make him look like nothing but an oddball loser.
    Thus, in addition to the five requirements listed above, successful contrarianism requires theability to stick with losing positions that, as David Swensen has written, “frequently appeardownright imprudent in the eyes of conventional wisdom.”
    You can read the whole memo here:

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Mike, for me a contrarian is like a salmon.
      He/she always swims against the flow.

    • Mike -> Thanks.
      Contrarianism is far and away the most sensible approach to markets, and, yes, “you have to be willing to look wrong for a while”.

      • A while.

        Bearspeak for almost ten years and counting.

      • There were very few bears calling a bubble ten years ago.
        But, 5, yes.

        This varies from market to market. In most markets (stocks, etc), contrarians have to wait far shorter periods to have their hypotheses tested.

      • I think VHB arose in 2005; that’s almost 10 years now.

      • 2005 was when I first started thinking housing prices were crazy; I think I found VHB shortly thereafter. 9 years… Wow.

      • yltnboomerang

        Bought in 2001 for 280K, sold for 405K in 2005 and rented as that was too much of a gain in too short a time and not sustainable IMO. Things kept going up and family convinced me to get back in after 8 months renting. Sold again at end of 2007 and nobody has been able to change my mind since. Did I get the peak? No. Was I close enough? Yes. Will I buy at the bottom? No, I’ll buy close to the bottom,probably before bottom, and will not care because it will be cheaper than renting then.

      • Agreed, boomerang. What most people who decry timing don’t understand is you only have to get it vaguely right: buy when things are in the vague vicinity of bottoms (in RE that means within a year or two of bottoms) and sell when things are in the vague vicinity of a top (ditto). Another way of saying this is buy when things are relatively undervalued and sell when they are relatively overvalued. Nobody gets the timing exactly right (other than by luck); but that doesn’t mean timing is futile or impossible (as many claim).
        People who sold 2004-2013 (meaning actually got out of the market) are all going to look fine in the end, I suspect; likewise, those who bought/increased their exposure through those years will suffer.

      • I think by 2005 I was already alarmed that RE was being pawed through and tossed about like the underwear in the bin at a boxing day sale. There may not have been such a disconnect with the fundamentals, but it was already hysterical… people making competing offers without inspection, crummy possibly leaky condos snapped up after a few days on market.

        I have gotten an education in economics due to bear blogs, but really, there are lots of times there’s a particular change in tone in the social conversation where I think we’ve left reality and are indulging in some mythic dream. So far my discomfort with that tone hasn’t steered me wrong, but it’s not going to get the timing right. In 2005, already there was something broken in the culture around housing, something panicked and broken and sad, that struck me as a “don’t go there” proposition.

  8. Real Estate Tsunami

    The article also quotes Scott Olson, president of the Fraser Valley REB.
    ” The last half of 2012 was like a Mexican standoff. Buyers refused to buy and sellers refused to sell”.
    “Mexican standoff”. I think we should add this to our inventory of bubble speak.
    Also, the agent Larry Biggar’s slogan is “Go biggar and go home”.:)

  9. Real Estate Tsunami

    They say “they don’t have sell”.
    How come then are they planning to put it on the market again soon?
    Fear, desperation, anyone?

    • Nobody has to sell, save those who cannot carry the property. Interesting that the memes has shifted to the ‘nobody has to sell’ so quickly and repetitively. That is telling ; the Realtor orgs think lower inventory will at least help staunch the bleeding, though they need to eventually shift their focus to sales in a big way. Watch for hard sales pitches regarding prices stabilizing and a forecast of a rebound a la 2009 in the next couple of months. Anything to remove the hesitation to buy.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        I think that we are moving from the ” buy or you will be priced out forever” to the “sell or you be stuck with this old, ugly teardown, that you thought will provide you with a comfortable retirement”.

      • The Poster Formerly Known As Anonymous

        “Nobody has to sell…” Was there ever a bigger pile of shit uttered? What, so nobody in Vancouver ever relocates for work?

        I guess if this is the best place on earth, it follows that nobody leaves.

  10. If there were “Bubble Awards”, I wonder where we’d place in the world’s bubbleconomy.


    (There’s even a section about the Canadian Housing Bubble…)

  11. theboywhocriedbubble

    About a year ago a friends boomer parents sold their place (SFH) for around 800k.They had bought the place in the 70’s for a pocketful of nickles. They then took their bag of cash and turned right around bought a 800k townhouse/condo at the MagicBean. Were they possessed by Satan ? Were they the victim of some mind control device? They Live scenario ? Nem ?

  12. Funny, realtors generally understand that the falling sales volumes mean softening prices. Yet they argue that further price reductions won’t happen because sellers will pull their listings. Presumably this means yet lower sales volumes. So the same force that is pulling prices back is going to hold prices up. Um, yah, that’s how it works.

  13. I wouldn’t worry about these people. It’s much easier to be an accidental landlord for a house you never plan to move back into.

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