Sold One In Vancouver; Bought Three In Prince George – “It seems that Vancouverites just can’t get out of the real estate mindset even when they have the best chance to get off the ladder.”

Announcer: “In 2011 Prince George’s population grew by 1.4% over a five year period. [sic. ROTFL. -ed.]. Developers have had to keep up with demand, not just from new families, but from investors, like this couple, who moved here from Vancouver 5 years ago.”

the harpers

Shauna Harper: “For the cost of our house in Vancouver, we could buy three rental properties here..”
Mick Harper: “..three houses.”
Shauna Harper: “.. and that’s what we did. We sold our house in Vancouver and we own three properties up here.. and.. they can cash flow.”

Announcer: “Prince George’s population is supposed to get even higher over the next few years.” [Yeah, watch out for that 0.2% per annum parabolic growth. -ed.]

pg house

Announcer: “A more affordable lifestyle is making living here more attractive, especially to those from the lower mainland. Take this house for example: 2200 sqft, 5 bedrooms, 3 baths.”
Realtor: “And we’re looking at $299,900.”
Announcer: “And how much do you think a home like this would cost in the Vancouver area?”
Realtor: “In the Vancouver area it would be over a million dollars, for sure.”

– from ‘Prince George Revival’, Global TV, 14 Mar 2013

Hat-tip to E.G., who comments:
“The report gets into the fact that house prices are quite reasonable in Prince George. Fair enough…
Then the reporter interviews some Vancouver transplants who sold off and moved to Prince George with money in their pockets. Do they buy one house and invest the rest wisely? Nope… they buy several houses and rent out the spares. Seems that Vancouverites can’t get out of the real estate mindset even when they have the best chance to get off the “ladder.”

75 responses to “Sold One In Vancouver; Bought Three In Prince George – “It seems that Vancouverites just can’t get out of the real estate mindset even when they have the best chance to get off the ladder.”

  1. Cyril Tourneur

    No mention of the pulp mill smells?

    • ….and that’s why we are sitting around drinking water with lemon slices….

    • Vancouver Hipster

      This guy’s spouse is Asian and she, very likely, is the driver behind this reckless RE decision.

      • Would it have made you feel better if she was Italian? Cause everyone knows the Italians are the most real estate obsessed people on the planet. Just look at parts of Toronto as an example. And by the way…..I was thinking she looked Native you racist.

      • Vancouver Hipster

        Get a hold of yourself. You can’t make an honest comment these days without some self righteous goof ball screaming racism.
        I am saying about Chinese what you are saying about Italians. Does that make you a racist too?
        It is a culture thing and most people tend to blindly follow the crowd. My MIL and wife are like that too. So, if I point that out, does that make me a racist or sexist.
        You, sir, are a small man.

      • No Hipster. Your comment was not a legitimate remark representing “honesty”. It was bordering on racial profiling. More akin to saying Scots are cheapskates, Jews run all the banks or most Indians are drunks. I don’t have any objection to hearing that Asian money may have played a role in influencing Vancouvers prices but it is just irritating when I hear someone point to an Asian and come to a quick conclusion like yours. Did you consider meybe she is a Canadian….you know…..just like you?

      • Racist.

      • anonymous poster #888

        Farmer does not live in Vancouver and it shows. There is an absolute real estate obsession among Chinese, especially the most recent wave of Chinese immigrants from PRC. It just comes up all the time when you talk to these people, they love real estate and they love condos.

      • Yeah, what would I know. Only spent 45 years living there (since before you were born I am sure) and still have my principle residence there. My class was 30% Chinese back then and that was decades ago. We called them Canadians because they were born in Canada. A little hot money meanwhile did not really change anything when you consider that it flowed from North America to Asia at a different point in history and we North Americans were once on the giving end of speculation too. What’s your point?

      • anonymous poster #888

        My point is that recent immigrants from PRC are real estate obsessed. I am not talking about immigrants that came here before I was born. I am talking about immigrants from China who have arrived in the past 5 to 10 years. You want a badge because you called people born in Canada “Canadians”. Does that mean immigrants who were not born inCanada were not called Canadians? That’s racist! Someone is Canadian as soon as they complete the citizenship process, irrespective of where they are born! My class was 90% Chinese. I refer to Chinese immigrants as Canadians and I am sure I know how to be even more politically correct than you. But the point is Vancouver is changing because of recent immigrants from PRC and these are absolutely the most real estate obsessed people I have ever met. Another thing about the recent immigrants from PRC is that most of them absolutely hate Japan and Japanese people. They are the racist ones. It’s because the PRC state media has propagandized Chinese people in recent years to hate Japanese. The long time Chinese in Canada never received that propaganda because they haven’t been to China for a long time. They also don’t get that propaganda in Hong Kong. So the point is that recent immigrants to Vancouver from PRC are different from earlier waves of Chinese immigrants and unless you have had much interaction with the recent arrivals from China in Vancouver, you wouldn’t know much about what I am talking about.

      • Vancouver Hipster


        You are just trying to be argumentative like a teenager.

        There is no racism in saying that most Chinese (or Indians, or Italians as you pointed out) are obsessed with RE and if this guy’s wife is Chinese then she may well be the driving force behind poor RE decisions.

        As far as being “Canadian” is concerned, please spare me the jingoist commentary. Racism is alive and well in Canada. More so than many other countries.

        No one is profiling anyone. From your posts, I am assuming that you are a guy in his late middle age who has lived for 45 years in Vancouver. I would have expected a mature response.
        But hey, age does not necessarily imply maturity, does it? Just like one could be literate but not necessarily educated!

      • I don’t even pretend to be mature, Hipster. Nor politically correct for that matter either. I just call it like i see it. Same as you perhaps. By the way, just because racism is alive and well is not an endorsement that it is OK. Your portrayal of my comment as jingoistic is kind of pathetic.

      • Vancouver Hipster


        You can call other people whatever you like, esp. hiding behind the anonymity of your computer.
        I am sure it makes you feel good about yourself.
        I think it is just a manifestation of poor self esteem. BTW, how is that working out for you guys?

      • Vancouver Hipster is your real name? Your Mother must have hated you.

      • Okay, if you guys won’t behave, I’m turning the car around and we won’t be going anywhere. OK? Worse, if you keep bickering, it’ll be paddywhacks all around [very non-PC antiquated form of child punishment. -ed.].
        So, play nice or it’s everybody out of the pool.

        [above intended playfully, so please don’t take it any other way.]

      • Vancouver Hipster

        Okay Farmer. My last post on this topic.
        Let me guess…
        A guy likely in his late middle age..with nothing else to do except sit in front of his computer..calling people names and telling them how their mothers hated them..all this to feel good about himself.
        That’s you. Isn’t it.

        You still haven’t my question. I think Chinese are obsessed with RE and you think Italians are. How does that make only me racist?
        Insulting others while sitting behind the anonymity of their computer is the easiest thing to do.

      • Leaving 604 very soon! :P

        Pure Chinese people are very unlikely to make RE decisions like this.
        I bet she is like 2nd or 3rd Gen. Chinese.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        Who the hell isn’t obsessed with housing.

      • Realtor behavior

        The bottom line is, not all asians are Chinese. The woman, whether she is the driver behind the RE decision or not, looks totally like a Phillipino, whatsoever…

      • “You still haven’t my question. I think Chinese are obsessed with RE and you think Italians are.”
        I am Italian. I would know.

      • Robert Dudek

        Cause everyone knows the Italians are the most real estate obsessed people on the planet.

        It’s not a real estate obsession… they simply need a place to grow tomatoes and make wine and you need a place to call your own.

      • Robert Dudek


        There is a distinction between someone of Italian/Chinese/whatever ancestry who was born and raised in Canada and someone who came to Canada as an adult from those places.

        My parents are/were the latter and you can never get the old country out of their cultural identity. Citizenship-wise they are Canadian/dual citizens but to call them Canadian in a cultural sense is not accurate IMO.

        Their children (like me), who grow up here, are Canadian, although a lot of us have more than a little sprinkling of the old culture left in us.

  2. You can get real estate crackheads out of cracktown, but you can’t take the crack addiction out of the crackheads.

  3. I buy three…in PG !

  4. Ralph Cramdown

    “Developers have had to keep up with demand, not just from new families, but from investors […]”

    I love that double counting. New demand can only come from net in-migration and household formation, whether the household chooses to rent or buy.

    One of my formative real estate experiences was renting shared accommodation with a young homeowner in Mississauga. He’d made some money from a land sale and come to the big city intending to buy a townhouse. “With that downpayment, you could buy TWO townhouses!” gushed the agent, so he did. When I moved in he’d unloaded one and was desperately trying to unload the other in 1990, which wasn’t a cromulent time to sell in the first place, and the paint bubbles on the upstairs ceilings from a leaky roof, plus an impending special assessment for same sure weren’t helping.

  5. Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell is attempting to back out of her condo purchase at the Hotel Georgia because the developer did not complete the project before the deadline promised. From CBC:

    “In her statement of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court Campbell says she paid a $368,000 deposit on a condo in the new residential high-rise at the Hotel Georgia in 2007.

    Her lawyer Bryan Baynham says the pre-sale agreement with Georgia Properties Partnership was that that the condo would be finished December 2011.

    “The project wasn’t finished on time. They were more than a year late and not surprisingly the people don’t want to complete and they want their deposit back.”

    Campbell and the 12 other pre-sale buyers are suing Georgia Properties Partnership, Georgia Trust, Hotel Georgia Management Ltd and a numbered company to get their deposits back with interest.”

  6. Some small evidence how severe a beatdown housing would need to truly fall out of favour.

  7. Seeing as we’re talking about Global TV, they just ran two RE spots (within an hour of each other) on this morning’s news featuring Joannah Connolly, editor of the highly acclaimed BIV and holder of a BA in Eng Lit. Not surprisingly, the very eager to please “Mr. Mom”, Steve Darling, seemed more the willing to play along (as evidenced by his recent decision to use the same hairdresser as all the other female anchors).

    In segment one, she commented on the 0.1% rise in the Cdn new HPI (for Jan) and implied the housing market had “reversed course”. Colorful, animated bar graphs (a la CNBC) were used in the presentation to drive home the point that home prices are still way higher than they were in 2009. I believe the years of 2011-12 were conveniently omitted.

    In segment two, she talked about how hot the commercial RE was and that properties were getting snapped up left, right and center.

    Unfortunately, links to videos currently not available (or I can’t find them). Worth following up imho…

  8. “The Canadian Real Estate Association is cutting its outlook for home sales in 2013 for the third time since last summer, as the number of homes that changed hands in February came in 2.1 per cent below January’s level.”

    I wonder how they do their forecasts?

    Or perhaps they should do a weekly forecast.

    Or a daily one, like the weather reports…

    Which are always wrong.

    • Cutting its outlook, oh my, what a Surprise. Another gap down in RE prices, across the board!. “Revisions” in this day of instant communication and data analytics, is just a visage to keep us focused on the circus.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Don’t insult the Wheather Man, they are much more accurate than then the RE pundits. 🙂

  9. ANONYMOUS 101

    I’m sorry but PG is no Vancouver no matter the price. I’m not saying that the Vancouver prices justify the lifestyle you get here but I would rather rent and live in Vancouver than own and live in PG.

  10. No one wants to move to Prince George, too cold.

  11. “In 2011 Prince George’s population grew by 1.4% over a five year period.”

    Too good.

    “Prince George’s population is supposed to get even higher over the next few years.”

    Couldn’t that be said of almost every place?

  12. Prince of Darkness

    PG…..why would anybody want to be there to start with ? Place sucks in so many ways I don’t even know where to start !!!

  13. Moving to PG isn’t getting off the property ladder, it is missing a rung, falling off and landing with a splat on cold, hard pavement.

  14. Spoke to someone at a dinner yesterday and all were still RE bulls (except for my high school friend). One of my friends who is a renter was faced with the “you’re stupid not to buy”, RE has gone up so much and will double in 10 years. I told her, yeah, if you just bought index funds in 2009 your fortune would’ve more than doubled. Whereas RE has been stagnant and illiquid the past year. SO where is the money coming from to keep pumping prices higher?

    • Seeking knowledge...

      It’s all about greed. A spec RE buyer can leverage ~10:1 with his money. I don’t think the bank will let you have that kind of leverage for stocks; unless you’re buying futures (immediate margin calls if things go sour) or indirectly with options.

  15. mick-shauna mick-harper mick-investing for mick-growth

  16. Here’s another headline worthy article. Methinks this gentleman will be creamed in short order and rue the day he bought his condo.

    • The notable one-liner in that article cannot be overlooked without blanching just a little. They wrote “His mortgage payments of $1,900 will be considerably higher than the rent of $1,200 he was paying before he bought the condo”…….

      Only 700 per month more outlay for accomodation plus condo fees, taxes, legals, move etcetera, etcetera (you all know the drill) and no mention that all his savings were wiped out during the purchase.

      Live and learn. Got to get on that ladder even if it only leads to a periscope.

      • Agreed, great stuff.
        Will headline this guy’s story, naturally.

      • He paid over $412,000 and put 5% down.
        Mortgage: $1900 a month
        Maint Fees: $300 a month
        Taxes: $100 a month
        Utilities: $50 a month

        Total: $2350 a month, or $28,200 after tax dollars a year just to pay for the condo.

        Thats absolutely mind blowing.

        I hope being a general manager at a linen and uniform service company pays $90,000+ a year.

    • “I can spend for Myles”,
      by: Who ‘Dat’s Wife, b.1968

      I know you’ve deceived me, now here’s a surprise
      I know that you have ’cause there’s magic in my eyes

      I can spend for Myles and Myles and Myles and Myles and Myles
      Oh yeah

      If you think that I don’t know about the little tricks you’ve played
      And never see you when deliberately you put things in my way

      Well, here’s a poke at you
      You’re gonna choke on it too
      You’re gonna lose that smile
      Because all the while

      I can spend for Myles and Myles…….

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      “He put down the minimum five per cent, which was about what he had saved in his tax-free registered retirement savings plan”

      What the hell is a tax-free registered retirement savings plan? I want one of those.

  17. Froogle Scott

    Prince George is to Vancouver as Vancouver is to New York?

  18. more like PG is to Vancouver what Vancouver is to Milwaukee

  19. 4SlicesofCheese

    My BIL is an electrician who works for an electrical company that does residential and commercial buildings. ( He also did some work on the OV back in the day and said do not touch that place)

    His company sent him to do some electrical work in yaletown. The original owner is also a client of the electrical company and recommended them to the new owners for some rewiring work.

    My BIL’s boss gave some back history to the original owner, she owns 9 properties around Vancouver and regularly uses the companies services and the one she just sold to the couple has market value of around 3 million, but sold for 1.4. Also said she bought a place on West Hastings with a cheque.

    Not sure of the accuracy of the prices but this is the information that is being spread around. She is not HAM.

    • You can not say that something has market value of around 3 million, but sold for 1.4. It simply means that the current market value of that property has fallen down and it is now 1.4. May be its assessed value is 3 mil?

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        I agree market value is what people are willing to pay not assessed value.
        I think he was implying that she sold for way less than comparables, even in a slow market, like she did not care.

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