Chat Thread

For those who have continued to chat here regardless.
Stay well, everybody.

156 responses to “Chat Thread

  1. I was happy for a moment, thinking that this blog was back. 😦

  2. From VCI just now:

    RFM Says:
    April 26th, 2013 at 8:26 am 7

    Ripples in the pond…………
    Yesterday, I talked to a lawyer friend of mine whose office exclusively handles real estate closings. He’s been in business a long time and has a varied and deep clientele.
    I asked him how the downturn in sales has affected them. His answer: they have done away with the receptionist position. All their paralegals and legal assistants have been on part time status for many months. They work 3 days a week, for which he pays, and get 2 days a week unemployment benefits. According to him, this is a plan to save jobs by recognizing that if he laid off part of his staff, the government would pay full unemployment compensation to them, so it’s better to pay partial benefits for more people.
    He mentioned that the benefits will end fairly soon. I asked what he would do then. He said ‘I don’t know.”

    • Pity… in MapleRidge however, you could be excused for saying that BusinessIsBlazing…

      [CBC] – Fire destroys 2 Maple Ridge homes

      …”Lougheed Highway was closed in Maple Ridge as fire crews investigated a fire that destroyed two apparently unoccupied houses. The fire began in the early hours of Friday morning in the 22100 block of Lougheed Highway. Maple Ridge fire crews arrived sometime just after 3 a.m. PT.

      An official with the Maple Ridge fire department said at least one of the buildings appeared to be a grow-op.”…

      [*Not mentioned in that CBC piece: numerous eyewitness reports of MapleRidge FireFighters bravely eschewing their Scott AirPacks and immediately wading into the smoke… neighbourhood convenience stores and donut shoppes apparently did a rip-roaring trade afterwards.]

  3. 4SlicesofCheese

    Former BC Finance minister hired by real estate developers. Politicians in bed with real estate industry.

  4. Real Estate Tsunami

    Meanwhile in Ditchmond….

    • Outstanding! TeeHee!…

      …”I’m not going to put up charts for this analysis. I’m just going to share a few observations. Primarily in Richmond, most people who bought in the last 3 years are technically under water. What I mean is that they are for sure going to be unable to sell their property for more than they purchased it; they are definitely likely to have a selling price net of commissions yield proceeds of disposition less than the amount owing on their mortgage.

      When one looks at the wall of new inventory where the underlying property was purchased at a relative market high from 2010 and later, and adds to that pile the impending inventory of property that might attempt to sell before refinancing in year 5 occurs, on the assumption that prices would otherwise be relatively stable or declining, I think there will be additional downward price pressure down the road.”…

      Mr. Shucat was doing so well up to that point… and then someone at REBGV aggressively typed his unique ElektroShokMLX™ personal identification number into their MasterSpinControl terminal and PoorArnie instantly reverted to type… on the brighter side though, his concluding remarks do afford a chortle or two:

      “As it stands now, most Richmond condo owners are still better off that they bought 3 or more years ago when their current scernario [sic] is compared to how they would have fared had they thrown away their rental dollars.”

      Yep, ain’t nuthin’ worse… Nuthin’! Then throwin’ away yer Toonies on Rent.

    • remarkable .. the observations are chilling and surprising considering this guy is a rep for Sutton

  5. I’m calling the stock market correction for Tuesday. Slight change… is going down. Sorry to have to tell you. Going short. Wish me luck.

    • It does look that way, doesn’t it? Copper, CAD, even TD have broken out of the wedge to the downside. However I will advise you to be very careful in shorting anything. Whatever you see, you just don’t know. Calling for a change of trend is risky and fraught with error. In my opinion, I don’t think a Canadian crash is worth betting on, other than I’m not going to buy an overvalued house.

      I’d look for the next structural bull market. They are always there, with the obvious signs of undervaluation, and they are completely ignored. Even relatively large gains are dismissed. I think this is the case for Japan right now, but I have no idea if it will pan out. My strategy is to buy a bit and wait.

      • Yes, I agree we need to be careful putting in short orders. I was incorrect about the correction back on April 26th but have since revised by call for this Monday.

        Market timing is usually a fools game but I make my best effort anyway.

        Calling an interim top is a feather in your cap if you can do it accurately though. So here we are now on the weekend during which the article came in in the WSJ suggesting that the Fed will taper off its unprecedented, interventions and it seems highly likely we will see such a correction early in the week.

        On the other hand…..if we do not see a correction then the Fed will have been successful in shutting up the crowd who insists that the stock markets are only afloat on the back of massive stimulus and bond buying.

        They will have answered those who claim the Fed can NEVER end its bond buying program.

        That is the kind of message they would dearly love to get across as it will free them of the accusations that all markets are rigged or being manipulated higher (you all know what the conspiracy crowd says) by intervention and equity supports.

        So this is a test run aimed at both lowering expectations and seeing what the market is really made of. On my part I do not expect more than a 5% shallow and short lived decline. The Fed has seized the moment here and is using the recent good news on the economy as a backstop to limit damage to a “tapering of intervention” message.

        It is brilliant as far as I am concerned. And when might they get a better chance to start that kind of a communication? Now of course. We all (should) know that the QE’s cannot go on forever. They MUST end at some point in the future or the markets will impose discipline of their own and that usually means rates will rise and bonds fall.

        An exit strategy is essential. Over in Japan meanwhile money has started to flow out of JGB’s and into their own stock market. A great deal is now finding its way into US stocks and Treasuries too though. That has the potential to create a floor under price declines as the Japanese seek both yield and security outside their own country.

        So will Monday morning bring drama to US equities? Perhaps. I tend to think it will and at the same time expect gold to take another tumble below 1400 dollars (sorry bulls!). If I get this right and call the interim top within two weeks of the event I will award myself a small feather in my cap (and hopefully a few bucks in the bank for the short side).

      • Well Farmer, since it’s just feathers we’re playing with, I’ll call a top for the TSX on Tuesday May 14th, a top for the S&P 500 of Wednesday May 15th, and the generational low for global interest rates is in, and the next structural bull market is in Japan of all places, after their debt crisis, which is starting now, is addressed by unsterilized monetization.

  6. anecdote.. I’m eating my lunch on a park bench near Duncan city hall. Out comes the owner of a tapas bar, who had recently served a citation for exceeding the facility capacity. He’s chatting with a few City Hall officials . Acknowledges that he’s closed for a week and that it’s Saving him money. Because his business is losing money is why he got greedy in the first place and went over the allowable seating..

    Anyway.. i thought to myself.. this is a classic ‘bull trap’

  7. Watching this market chug along defying logic for so long had put me mostly to sleep. Tragic I thought that my sleepwalk should begin to abate just as vreaa takes a break!! Well at least there is still Nem and a few of you characters about. I actually watched the vid clip links this eve which I never do, good times!

    • [Blush] OK, TCG… It’s VREAA SundayFunnies time!

      “A Realtor™’s Revenge”

      It had been a ToughOld 4Years for MaximusRealtus’ principal OkanaganGladiator, CraigBroderich… But today was different. Indeed.

      He’d just performed the Realtor’s™ equivalent of an Orchidectomy on his favourite WhippingBoy. Life was good.

      Craig could already smell the upholstery on that new Audi A5 Cabriolet.

  8. i was at an open house and the realtor (with a straight face) told some foreign buyers that Vancouver has a warm climate,…..perhaps akin to Los Angeles???


    “EA has announced restructuring worldwide, laying off an estimated 10 per cent of its staff – a move that equates to hundreds of jobs lost in Metro Vancouver.”

    • “It’s very big. It’s coast to coast. It’s huge and it’s every company,” said another worker.

      [CBC] – Insiders say Canada ‘scammed’ by foreign worker industry
      Claims include faked resumes, visa violations and discrimination against Canadians

      …”Several information technology industry insiders have come forward to expose some of the inner workings of multinational outsourcing companies from India, which they claim exploit Canada’s temporary work visa system and bring no real benefit.

      “I need to stop this scam. I am hurting,” said one experienced Canadian IT worker, originally from India, who told CBC he’s been pushed out of his industry as a result of outsourcing.

      He and others told Go Public that they have seen up close how the Indian companies operate in banks and other major Canadian corporations, where the multinationals have large contracts to do IT work.”…

      [NoteToEd: On the brighter side, we can always hope that our former provincial minister of finance’s new employer is outsourcing their payroll to one of these firms.]

  10. Real Estate Tsunami

    Just came back from a 2 day visit to Victoria.
    What a beautiful place. I think Victoria has kept it’s old World style, while Vancouver has sold out to Asian interests.

    • Vancouver has been gentrified , asiafied and senior citizenfied. Most of the people you see driving around are elderly asian’s going to their doctor’s appointment’s. Seattle appears to be way more liveable.

  11. because Vancouver has no economy, who wants to waste their life there unless their sick,on welfare needing handouts and free healthcare

  12. Oh woe is us… GoodZen is so hard to come by these days… Fortunately, your spectral foreign correspondent encountered some on the weekend…

    DearReaders, your MondayMorning BlastRadius REsnark from the ParkingLotCapitol ‘o Columbie Brittanique:

    “Live The Front Street Dream!”

  13. ANONYMOUS 101

    Does anybody follow Greater fool. I’ve been censored twice on that blog… once for saying he has a conflict of interest as he is now a financial adviser so he has to pump up investment instruments and again for saying that the world is controlled by old male farts. Any experiences of censorship?

    • Me no, but why is it a Conflict of Interest if he promotes investment instruments? Its not like he controls the market. He has no influence on how well companies do or thier profitability.

      • ANONYMOUS 101

        No but his recommendations and comments can really sway his blind blog readers. He uses his blog to advise people on how to invest. It’s like Ozzy Jurrock, whose income is based on real estate so he’ll sell you condos that were stratafied from a previously existing apartment building. He trumps it up and you buy it. Then you own the condo to find that it is not cash flowing and there are a lot of repairs.

        Anybody with self-interest can not be the best adviser.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        I think the main difference between a good investment professional and a real estate pumper (or goldbug, for that matter) is that there is such a breadth of financial instruments available that it seems almost inconceivable that there aren’t a few asset classes or countries that aren’t great values at any time, so an investment pro can always recommend something. If he doesn’t have any good ideas, he can tell you to keep a lot in cash waiting for opportunities. The real estate pro is different — he can only make money if you transact in his local market, so it’s always a good time to buy or sell real estate, right here, right now.

    • Randy Randerson

      Jesus Christ! How is that even conflict of interest. Is he selling you anything? No! Is he advertising his service on his blog? No! Is he telling you to dump your adviser and move all your assets to him? No!

      Yes, Garth is a financial adviser, so obviously his opinion is that RE isn’t the way to go and financial assets are the future for Canadians. He is not a market pumper, because he’s not recommending the readers to buy a specific stock because it can go up. The only thing that Garth does is to advocate the use of a diversified portfolio using ETF’s to build a better retirement, instead of plywood and shingles. He didn’t even specify whether it should be iShares, Vanguards or BMO. Now how is that even consider conflict of interest.

      It’s like asking your dentist whether a manual or an electric tooth brush is better. Whatever your dentist recommends, you would call it conflict of interest because your mind can’t handle people giving out honest opinions.

      • Howdy There

        What Garth does is pretty similar to what the real estate agency does. RE agents will tell you it’s a good time to buy and that you should use an agent. Garth tells you it’s a good time to invest and you should use an advisor.

        What makes me leary of him is that he pumps REITs even though they’re highly leveraged investments in RE. He strikes me as a yield chaser.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        Which REITs strike you as highly leveraged? I find most of them to have quite sane balance sheets. The smarter ones have staggered the maturities of both their mortgages and their leases.

        Disclosure: I’m a yield chaser. I like my cash flows to be predictable and soon, rather than nebulous and far in the future.

  14. 4SlicesofCheese

    National Geographic has to get out more :p

    • “Canada’s most adventurous metropolis”…

      Metropolis? Adventurous, defined as “participating in risky or exciting activities”, might apply… if we allow that housing bubbles are exciting.

      Ah yes, and then we have NG’s choice ‘o beach. EnglishBay… which, from a linguistic and demographic perspective, is a MostDelicious NeighbourhoodMisnomer.

      Forgive me for preferring an isolated WalkOn TheElementalWildSide, any day…


    demographic perspective for the bears…. listen carefully for the reference to ‘escape velocity’ which our former top Banker made illusions

  16. Real Estate Tsunami

    Sign of the times!
    In my hood, For Sale signs are staying in place forever, even after the Sold sign has been affixed.
    Looks like the realtors don’t need them for new listings, sign that things are slowing down.
    There are two houses which were sold over 3 months ago and the sign is still on the front lawn.
    In both cases the new owners have already moved in.
    Maybe the realtor is paying the owners for keeping the signs up for so long, as a way to advertise their services.

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      Another funny phenomenon is I see a different realtors sign pop up (probably the buyers realtor) with a sold sign on it right beside the listing agents.

  17. Vancouver is slowing, 20 year olds in LA make more than 50 year olds in Vancouver

    • Randy Randerson

      Not a surprise, considering there is no industry in Vancouver. It’s just people selling each other their houses and calling it economy.

    • ANONYMOUS 101

      When has Vancouver been fast?

      • …”As the lands of the former Expo 86 site were developed into the billion-dollar condominium development by Concord Pacific, debates raged over whether the Indy made Vancouver a “world-class city” or an “urban nightmare.” Such debates were chronicled by Mark Douglas Lowes in his 2002 book, “Indy Dreams and Urban Nightmares: Speed Merchants, Spectacle, and the Struggle over Public Space in the World-Class City.”[1]…

  18. Real Estate Tsunami

    One of EXPO’s legacy are the leaky condos which continue to rear their moldy heads.
    Also, the myth of BPOE was born then.

  19. Boiling the frog in hot water syndrome is what Vancouverites are suffering from!!! I learned that a mortgage broker sold his home workth 3.5 million in South Van to relocate closer to downtown. Do people not bat an eye at purchasing material (worth at most 500k on a piece of land outrageously ridiculous. We’ve been boiled because most people in Vancouver think that price is ok. This city is F*ck

    • Tyburn Gallows

      Don’t let that mortgage borker out of your site. When this thing crashes… he/she is still on the hook for All the money he/she borrowed… it’s pay up, or bankruptcy… show no remorse for the debt pigs…

  20. Just for kicks go visit the Craigslist super rentals (3bdr and up). When you find ones that disclose an address google it and find out how long it’s been on the market, or one of my faves how underwater it is for sales that occured just before the latest assessment :). I actually saw one of those ‘professional’ outfits advertise a house with a 500 dollar move out/cleaning fee…. Ummm not permitted by the RTO… Nearly all of these are for sale or have recent sales history.

  21. Well… it’s not exactly Zen… But for HousingAnalysts and other FortuneTellers today’s RT HeadLiner dissecting the Yanqui Housing ‘Renaissance’ definitely falls into the category of “MustRead”…

    Oh yes, and a prescient Quote’OTheDay from everyone’s favourite economist:

    “You can’t have a housing recovery without a jobs recovery.” – Prof. Robert Shiller, YaleEcon

    [Reuters] – Special Report: Cheap money bankrolls Wall Street’s bet on housing

    …”Michael Marchillo, a plumber, has been trying and failing for months to buy a bigger home for his family here in Sin City. He was pre-qualified by a bank for a $130,000 mortgage, which a year ago would have landed a typical three-bedroom home in the area. No more. Now, the 36-year-old says, it’s hard to compete with “greedy investors” who come to the table flush with cash for quick deals.

    Marchillo is on to something. The once-beleaguered Las Vegas housing market has been on fire since investment firms led by Blackstone Group LP, Colony Capital and American Homes 4 Rent began buying homes here some eight months ago, backed by $8 billion in investor cash to spend nationally.

    These big investors and a handful of others have bought at least 55,000 single-family homes across the U.S. in the past year. In the Vegas area alone, they have accounted for at least 10 percent of the homes sold since January 2012, according to a Reuters analysis of housing transactions.

    That added firepower helps explain why home prices in this metropolitan area of 2 million people are up 30 percent over a year ago, far more than the national average of 10 percent. Permits for new home construction are up 50 percent, twice the national average.

    Local real-estate broker Fafie Moore says private-equity firms and hedge funds have largely “crowded out” local buyers like Marchillo. That’s because the investment firms have broadened beyond their initial focus – buying homes at foreclosure auctions. Now, they are also bidding for homes listed by private owners and banks. In a sign of how freely the money is flowing, Moore notes around 60 percent of all sales are in cash these days.”….

    • Is that what you think, RET?… ‘ShameOnYou’….

      [NoteTo???: I think not… TeeHee! Literally&Metaphorically speaking, I’ve been there {both of those ‘places’}. Surprisingly… I’m StillAlive. JustLucky, I guess. NoteToEd: AbsentVREAA… the nightmares have returned… last night’s ColdSweat? I dreamt… that I’d been ShotGunned into a 2ndMarriage & HomeOwnership. Seriously. I had to RideHard today to vanquish that. BeWell, All… Especially you, OnHolidayIllustriousEd.]

  22. Hope everything is OK.

    Come back soon!!

  23. nom nom non

    … I just found this and couldn’t resist posting it.

  24. Were it not for our kind host’s current absence, this sort of article would have made the front page. There are so many levels of irony to this article, and the RE kicker at the end is the cherry on top.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      “we both believe that a home should be a refuge or sanctuary,
      It should be a place of rest, where things are calm and serene and where one can unwind”.
      So they should have no problems living in a prison cell.


  26. Maybe people are turning to theft or illegal means due to the pressures of wanting to buy a home and not being able to afford it. Real Estate inspired crimes.

  27. GP, thanks for the link to the article on the UBC fraudster. That bit about her “dream home” was priceless…..


  28. Egads! Finally, some local Zen… and a Quote truly worthy of the moniker SaturdayMorningFunnies… [and be sure to check out the splendid LeaderIllustration]…

    “There was a group within the march and the protest that wore masks and covered their faces and carried torches.” – Const. Brian Montague, VPD

    [CBC] – Police concern grows over Vancouver protests

    …”Vancouver police had to ramp up their presence on the Downtown Eastside this week, amid ongoing anti-gentrification protests and an anti-capitalist May Day march.

    A strongly-worded editorial on a local blog called The Gastown Gazette detailed the May 1 event and warned the public that soon “there will be blood” in the neighbourhood.

    The editorial showed photos of a masked mob carrying lit gas torches outside the Pidgin restaurant, on the boundary between Gastown and the Downtown Eastside.”…

    [NoteToEd: PressGalleryRumours abound as to QueenChristy’s response, reliably reported as, “Those peasants are revolting! Why can’t they wear LuluLemon? And what about those 15 new StreetFoodCarts we gave them!? UngratefulWretches, no more Macaroni&Cheese for you! – “]

  29. I just realized that living in Vancouver is like being in a bad love relationship. S/He treats you bad most of the time and the few times s/he shows/says they love you, you say it’s worth being in this relationship. It rains here sometimes from end of Sept into May, but the rare one or few days during April and May and during the summer, we say to ourselves we live in the best city ever and that is why we live here. Twisted.

  30. tedeastside

    i’ve heard people say Vancouver is world-class because it’s not too hot in the summer……true!! its also not too hot the rest of the year

  31. This week in the HillBillyRiviera… More or less…

    [NoteToEd: 86 in Osoyoos and 94 in Princeton this afternoon.]

  32. Hmmm. I am getting up-voted tonight for my comments on down-voting the VCI blog. As the site moderator notes, that is rather ironic (and I agree). I think it just shows though that others feel as I do. Open dialogues lead to better communication even when we cannot all agree on a point of view.

  33. WednesdayMorningZen… courtesy of the GendarmerieRoyaleDuMission…

    “These are not the classic marijuana grows in a closet in the basement or even ones seen in typical residential homes.” – Sgt. Lindsey Houghton, SEU

    [CBC] – Underground grow-op found under fake horse paddock

    …”The people went so far as to construct a fake horse paddock and stable overtop of this bunker. Officers walking up to it initially thought it looked exactly like a horse paddock would but it is, in effect, just a movie set,” Houghton said.

    Venting for the underground greenhouse was camouflaged by a fire pit and “a fake dog house made out of beautiful wood,” he said.

    Houghton also said the grow-op properties each had a natural gas generator, worth an estimated $100,000 apiece.

    “Enough to power a large Metro Vancouver hospital or even small northern towns,” Houghton said.

    Police had to bring in a crane to remove the generators from the properties.”…

    • rod_jonsson

      nice pix … for a sec thought i was in one of these …

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      First we had fake RE buyers and fake mansions.
      Now fake dog houses!
      How is the dog house RE market doing these days?
      I hear there is talk about a bubble.

    • Bubble? What bubble?

      “OMG… it’s full of stars.”

      [NoteToEd: it’s true… A fella could definitely have a pretty good time in Vegas with a USAF SAC SERE kit.]

    • moustache and eyewear

      Faber study his accordion and he will learn his triggers. Farmer study is navel and understand his debility.

  34. BonusZen!!!… If industrial GrowOps with enough electrical generating capacity to power Vanderhoof aren’t your thing, DearReaders… How about DryWallers with CookIsland shell corporations and Realtors with a lively SideLine – or should that be ‘lines’ – in Moguls O’ DryWhitePowder (and we’re not talking skiing, either)…

    [CBC] – Missing B.C. man kept secret offshore accounts

    …”A B.C. man who vanished a decade ago in a possible underworld killing set up offshore companies and bank accounts before he went missing, and is among the 450 Canadians named in the recent massive leak of tax-haven data… Cyr, a 40-year-old drywaller, disappeared in 2003 after heading to a meeting in Vancouver with what police later told Miriam Byrne were her former husband’s “underworld connections.”…

    The documents show that the year before Cyr disappeared, he set up two companies through a firm called TrustNet, which provides offshore services in the Cook Islands, a South Pacific tax haven.

    Cyr used one of his companies, Sentinel Holdings, to buy a $1.5-million property on Beach Drive in Victoria. The area is an exclusive waterfront neighbourhood adjoining the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and Victoria Golf Club. But Cyr kept his ownership of the house a secret from his ex-wife, even as he did construction work on it. “I thought it was his employer’s,” she said….

    …The Vancouver Police Department still lists Cyr as missing person on its website, even though in 2010 Harney was successful in getting the B.C. Supreme Court to declare Cyr dead. The department declined to discuss the case, but Harney thinks investigators might be interested in a discovery CBC News made after examining the leaked TrustNet files.

    Those documents show Cyr shared details about his secret company with a friend, Robert Chernochan. Cyr authorized Chernochan, who was a real estate agent at the time, to handle details connected with the Victoria house he bought.

    Last September, Chernochan was arrested in California at a truck inspection station. He was driving a tractor-trailer north to Canada. Highway patrol officers found 66 kilograms of cocaine in a hidden compartment.”…


    Now the fat cats start sniffing..

  36. FridayMorningZen….

    “Without international investors, most residential developments in London wouldn’t happen and the housing crisis would be even greater.” – Adam Challis, head of residential research at Broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

    [BloomBerg] – Foreigners Buying Half of London New Homes

    Half of London’s new-home buyers come from abroad as the city’s reputation as a safe haven attracts rising investment and sustains development.

    Foreigners spent more than 3 billion pounds ($4.7 billion) on new homes in the U.K. capital last year, a 25 percent increase from 2011, broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL) said in a statement today.

    …Home prices in London rose 10.6 percent in the year through March 13, led by a 38.7 percent gain in the City of Westminster where prime districts Mayfair and Belgravia are located, Acadametrics Ltd. said in a study released today. Rents in London were about 8 percent higher in March than a year earlier, LSL Property Services Plc (LSL) said last month.
    Rental Purchases

    Only one in seven foreign buyers of new London homes will live in the property and the remainder plan to rent them out, Chicago-based Jones Lang said, citing a survey of buyers.

    “Without international investors, most residential developments in London wouldn’t happen and the housing crisis would be even greater,” Challis said.”…

  37. BonusZen…

    “A dark power has found a way back into the world.” – Radagast the Brown

    [CBC] – Vancouver Hobbit house facing sale and rezoning

    …”One of two so-called Hobbit houses in Vancouver is up for sale, and heritage advocates are worried its days are numbered because of its prime location.

    The early 1940s thatched-roof-style house at 587 W. King Edward Avenue sits just a half a block from a Canada Line rapid transit system in an area undergoing fast change.

    The property and the 2,416-square-foot character house is listed for $2.86 million.

    “Infamous Vancouver Hobbit House. Character intact. Fabulous VIEWS!” says the MLS listing by Sutton Group realtor Mary Ellen Maasik.

    The listing also notes the lot is “1/2 block from Canada Line. In the Heart of the Cambie Corridor, with huge potential for rezoning as a part of the City Cambie Corridor Plan.”…

  38. And now, DearReaders one final treat… courtesy of Nemesis’ NSFWcorp subscription, a fascinating case history of the RE/CorporateMedia nexus of particular interest to students of the KochBrotherBillionaires and their assorted political machinations…

    [NSFWcorp] – The Trouble With Harry Koch, By Yasha Levine

    There’s a rumor going around that the Koch brothers are interested in buying up the Tribune Company, which includes the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun… And there’s a lot of speculation about what would happen if they did.

    Some worry, and rightly so, that the Kochs—whose combined wealth makes them the biggest billionaires on the planet—would integrate the Tribune Co. with the rest of their free-market thinktank-industrial complex, and turn its newly acquired news media property into a gigantic business propaganda machine. Half the reporters at the Los Angeles Times even took a vote saying they’d quit if the Kochs bought the paper.

    Others are positively enthusiastic about the possible takeover. Slate’s Matthew Yglesias, for one, argued that “America would be better off for it” because the Kochs would spent lots of money building a better “conservative media product.”

    But while the country’s media commentators busy themselves trying to predict what Koch ownership would mean for newspapers, many of them are overlooking one important fact: We already know. Because the Koch family has a long history of newspaper ownership.

    The Kochs and newspapers go waaay back, right back to their grandfather Harry Koch (yep, that’s a real name), who emigrated to America from the Netherlands in 1888 and bought a newspaper in a podunk railroad town in North Texas called Quanah. With the power of the press behind him, ol’ Harry Koch went on to make a fortune for himself and his brood by aggressively rah-rahing on behalf of railroad and banking interests, fighting organized labor and savaging New Deal programs.

    Not much is known is known about Harry Koch. Charles and David Koch don’t like to talk about him much. And when they do talk about Grandpa Harry, they don’t tell the truth. Like a lot of billionaires, they want the public to think they’re self-made, that they came from humble beginnings, and so they portray their grandpa as if he was a po’ immigrant who lived on the edge of poverty, barely scratching out an existence from his tiny newspaper business.

    “The whole area was very poor and people didn’t have the money to pay for their subscriptions. So they would pay in produce or chickens or eggs,” Charles Koch recalled.

    When I travelled to Quanah for the Texas Observer in 2011 to investigate the life of Harry Koch, and to understand the environment that spawned the most powerful brother-oligarchs of our time, I discovered that the truth is much more interesting than Charles’ tale. Quanah, Texas, is the world as Harry Koch made it, through his newspapers and railroad. His sons have been remarkably true to the Darwinian-capitalist views Harry ceaselessly proclaimed in his newspaper. So, if you want to know what the Koch brothers have in mind for our country, start by taking a look at the newspaper that their Grandpa Harry Koch ran….

    [NoteToEd: That link will expire in 23 hours… & pity the carcass of the once great LA Times… carrion fodder for vulture capitalists.]

    • Oh yes, speaking of HobbitHouses&Hollywood…

      “From an economic point of view, the land now simply has a higher and better use.” Jack Liebau, President, BetfairHollywoodPark

      [LA Times] – Hollywood Park to close after final autumn meeting race Dec. 22

      …”After 75 years of horse racing, Betfair Hollywood Park will end its operations following the final race of its autumn meeting Dec. 22.

      The words “sad day” were repeated often Thursday afternoon at the Inglewood track, where owners, trainers, jockeys and fans reacted somberly to the news.

      The official announcement came in a letter from track President Jack Liebau sent to the California Horse Racing Board on Wednesday informing them that Hollywood Park Land Co. would not be requesting any 2014 racing dates.

      Since the track was sold in 2005, developing the land has been the primary goal, especially since the business model for horse racing has been facing severe challenges from a dwindling horse population, lagging on-track attendance and continual infighting within the industry.”…

      [NoteToEd: I wonder if Hollywood’s dwindling equine population has anything to do with EuroLand’s ‘food labelling’ problems? Just a hunch, mind you.]

    • Nem, thanks for the link… particularly relevant considering we basically have the CATO Institute driving the agenda at 24 Sussex Drive for the time being…..
      More Temporary Foreign Workers!!!! That’ll larn all them thar “Union Bosses” that are running wild and ruining our otherwise perfect resource-based Economy….
      Somebody call Amanda Lang – STAT!!

  39. earth to ed … elvis impersona issues appeal … appropriately accorded of course … pffft! …

      • FatFinger…. Make that, “Bravo! Bravo! Encore!”

        [NoteToEd: At the considerable risk of blowing my cover… Nemesis does, actually, briefly appear in that clip. Naturally, I’m wearing a CowboyHat and holding a can of Tecate.]

  40. Even though I appreciate free discussion here, I would like to get it back on track. It is about Vancouver housing situation after all, even it should be taken less seriously than on the other blogs.

    I think that the last Vancouver housing market report was quite balanced for both townhouses and detached houses. Where I can see constant decline is the apartment market. The price does not correspond at all. I mean who the heck would pay that much for a rabbit cage in the current situation? I suspect that the reason why the price is not going down that much is because too many big investors and corporations hold their money in it, and refuse to sell it under the level they bought it. But it is hard to determine it now.

  41. Real Estate Tsunami

    Let’s keep an eye on the stats on the Whisperer’s blog.
    May 10th,
    New listings – 232.
    Sold – 32.
    If these numbers become a trend ……

  42. Real Estate Tsunami

    Not that I think something is afoot, but Vancouver Price drop is also taking a break.
    Probably just the water.

  43. Real Estate Tsunami

    Have been at some open houses here in Ditchmond over the weekend.
    Dead, dead, dead.

  44. ElectionDay’Zen’ for psephologists whose sense of humour cants towards the macabre… or, it would appear that at least two stalwart BC Liberal ‘constituencies’ may encounter some difficulty reaching the polls today…

    [CBC] – Vehicles crash into restaurants: Both incidents involved elderly drivers

    Police are looking into two separate incidents of vehicles crashing into restaurants. The accidents happened within one hour of each other in West Kelowna and Langley and both involved elderly drivers.

    In West Kelowna, police say a grey Dodge minivan accelerated from the parking lot and smashed through the patio of Kelly O’Bryans restaurant during the busy lunch rush…

    In Langley, a driver in his eighties drove his SUV into a local bistro on Langley Bypass, police said… Police believe the driver mistook the gas for the brake pedal.

    [CBC] – Speeding convertible involved in Richmond crash: Convertible was travelling at an extremely high rate of speed, police say

    “An Aston Martin convertible was westbound on Westminster Highway and collided with a Mercedes SUV that was standing still in traffic, causing a multi-vehicle chain reaction,” RCMP Cpl. Sherrdean Turley said Thursday in a statement. “The convertible was travelling at an extremely high rate of speed.”

    [NoteToEd: TimeDivisionMultiplexing is the preferred survival technique for ‘accident’ averse riders – i.e. don’t be on the road when they are. Not surprisingly, when Depends and Metamucil are running a promotion many south central interior supermarket parking lots resemble demolition derbys.]

  45. By the way, DearReaders…. When the Hiatus has concluded [yes, as and when are entirely at IllustriousEd’s pleasure and… Indeterminate, as it were]… I can assure you… we’ll not only be back…

    We’ll be back… with a… Ferocious…

    VENGEANCE!!! [Quentin can only wish he could conceive of such a Vengeance]….

    “It doesn’t matter how far you run… There are some Daemons you just can’t escape.”

    “A New Evil will make him embrace his power.”

    [NoteToEd: I wonder who writes that shit? Yes. ThatWasARhetorical. Accordingly, forget all that – and just remember this, instead: “The FirstDraft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway]

  46. This article in the Financial Post a couple days back is just so mind blowing we really need to make note of it here. Canada’s banks may be on the hook to recapitalize CMHC in the event the insurer becomes insolvent.

    OK. That seems about right. Puts the responsibility back where it belongs.

    Of course, Canadian bank depositors and mortgage customers would probably pay the bill though higher fees or increased interest rates anyway, but still…..this is quite a change in reasoning.

    Good to know that the Federal Government and its regulatory bodies are on the job. They seem to appreciate that the whole concept whereby public money is shifted from taxpayers in order to make private enterprise whole is not fair nor is it popular.

    The direct beneficiary of past Federal largesse should indeed carry the burden, not the taxpayer who in many cases is not even a participant in the home buying process nor a mortgage holder.

  47. For your holiday weekend listening pleasure… Especially if you’re feeling ‘Gypsy’…

    [NoteToEd: File this under #StrangeButTrue – but musicologically speaking, Czárdás’ origins are martial.]

    • also strange by true … pffft! …

      • Dimitri and Vladvena knew they were on to something when, having adorned themselves in traditional Kulak costume and borrowed their cousins’ wagon, they discovered that the householders of DunbarSouthlands would willingly pay hundreds of GoldenLoonies for each one of their certified organic, free range, artisanal, ornamental lawn chickens….

        “Soon, yes – VerySoon! my beloved Vladvena, we shall have our tractor! And once again, I will serenade you on my concertina…” said Dimitri as, wiping a tear from his cheek, he embraced Vladvena and envisioned a better future together… astride their new MightyVolgograd… awash in a golden sea of rippling wheat.

      • rod_jonsson

        what kind of blog are you running here … pffft! …

  48. Real Estate Tsunami

    Check out 7888 Nanaimo Str.
    Price drop from $1,999,999 to $ 1,199,999.
    40 % drop !!!!!

  49. It hardly qualifies as ‘Zen’… but it’s certainly indicative of a trend well understood by readers here. On the brighter side, we are at least afforded a truly formidable/prescient Quote’O TheDay…

    “There are only two markets, ultraluxury and subsidized housing.” – Rafael Viñoly, Architect/Designer of NYC’s “432 Park”

    [NYT] – Boom In Luxury Towers Warping NYC RE Market

    …”Only 10 floors have been completed in what is intended to be the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere — a slender, 84-story tower on Park Avenue at 56th Street in Manhattan. But the top penthouse is already under contract for $95 million.

    Other buyers have snapped up apartments on lower floors for prices that are almost as breathtaking. While their identities are not known, it is likely that many are the rootless superrich: Russian metals barons, Latin American tycoons, Arab sheiks and Asian billionaires.

    Ultraluxury housing and construction is booming across Manhattan, which is now beginning to rival London in popularity with the world’s wealthy. The number of condominium buildings in the borough with apartments selling for more than $15 million has risen to 49, up from 33 in 2009, according to CityRealty….

    … The rush to build these towers underscores the gap between rich and poor in New York City, said James Parrott, chief economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute, a liberal research organization supported by unions. He said that median family income in the city had fallen 8 percent since 2008.

    “Manhattan’s superluxury condo boom, along with rocketing foreclosures in Queens and record homelessness, present an unobstructed view of accelerating polarization in this recovery,” Mr. Parrott said…

    …The cheapest apartment in the building, a 351 square-foot studio, costs $1.59 million, according to the offering prospectus.

    About half the buyers are foreigners, Mr. Macklowe [Developer, 432 Park] said.

    As with many of these buildings, only about a quarter of the units will be occupied at any one time.”…

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      No wonder, the Anarchist are marching.

      • Sadly, RET… it gets worse…

        “From an audience perspective, in the house, it’s the best theatre in the city.” – Brent Belsher, Executive Director, Belsher Entertainment [better known perhaps as the BrilliantImpresario who managed to bring Cuba’s National Ballet to Vancouver without so much as a single dancer requesting either refugee status or political asylum.]

        [G&M] – Tragedy Besets Vancouver Theatre “The Centre”

        “When internationally acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie designed what is now called The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts, he was challenged to do a lot in a confined building space.

        And he succeeded brilliantly, giving Vancouver one of the most remarkable stages in the country.

        Surprisingly, that theatre will soon be lost to the city’s cultural scene – and hardly anyone seems to have noticed.

        …Westside Church, an evangelical congregation that now gathers on Granville Island to celebrate the teachings of Jesus and listen to sermons about the sins of homosexuality, is in the process of buying the Centre from Denver-based Four Brothers Entertainment.

        The Centre recently sent out bulletins to the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Goh Ballet, cancelling their bookings for later this year.

        So, out with the arts and in with the preaching of pastor Norm Funk, who has declined to be interviewed.”…

        [NoteToEd: I’m really not sure what’s worse… Losing another arts venue to RabidChristianFundamentalists or to RapaciousCondoDevelopers. Perhaps we should genuflect for a moment before the Altar ‘o Rennie to request spiritual guidance and/or divine intervention.]

      • When you wrote anarchist you meant Anti-Christ….right?

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Farmer, I meant the Anarchists that burned down some new condos in East Van.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        More sad news. My favorite (cheap and easy to play) golf course has been sold to make room for, guess what, another town house development in Ditchmond.
        Mylora on 5th. 5th road and Williams.
        No wonder the Anarchists are marching.

  50. If you love interactive animated charts, DearReaders… here’s your Zen….

    [TheEconomist] – Location, location, location – Interactive Guide to Global Housing Markets

  51. And last up, some genuine Zen… Think you’ve got problems? Are you tired of longing for “affordable housing”, DearReaders?… Then clearly you haven’t reflected upon upon the comparably pitiable misfortunes visited upon the MarineBrokers and SuperYachtOwners of HongKong, et al…

    “With no berth, there’s no point in buying a yacht.” – Broker Mike Simpson [in Hong Kong, sales have slimmed to almost nil over the past two years, mainly because buyers worry they’ll have no place to park. Simpson further adds, that he could sell many more boats if there were a place to dock them—”especially to rich mainland Chinese businessman who are eager to obtain a flashy status symbol”…]

    [WSJ] – Nice Boat No Dock

    “OWNERS OF THE WORLD’S superyachts are running into a new problem as they set sail across the crowded seas: finding a place to park.

    After years of rising yacht sales—including those of so-called superyachts, which exceed 30 meters in length—the most coveted marinas in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and parts of Asia are telling owners there’s no room at the dock, leaving some boat captains high and dry. Boat owners have reported shortages from Florida to New Zealand, while prices for berths are surging to new highs across the Mediterranean and elsewhere.

    A berth in Antibes, in southern France, for instance, now costs the equivalent of about $2,600 a day or $78,100 a month for a 60-meter-long boat. Local real-estate agents are offering up to 16-year leases of prized docking space for as much as $6 million, according to reports by Lloyd’s Register. “There is a huge shortage in high season,” says Franc Jansen, director at yacht-management company Hill Robinson, which has offices in Antibes. “There are more boats, they’re bigger, and finding space is getting really difficult.”The traffic jam is hardly surprising considering that the world’s fleet of superyachts has ballooned in the past five years by 25 percent, to around 4,600, according to Marina Projects, a U.K. consultancy firm. On average, 200 new boats are delivered each year.”…

    [NoteToEd: At last! The mystery of the Kitsilano CoastGuard station closure has been solved. Clearly, it was all about the parking. Right?]

    • Ahhh but there is plenty of space in Japanese harbours lately, Nem. That is the ticket for the Uber Riche Chinese (seems obvious to me anyway). Rising tides lift all boats as they say. Perhaps Mr Abes inflation target will partially materialize in a growth for “berthing” rights in the land of the rising Sun.

      • [NoteToEd: I know. That was abominably inscrutable. But it works on so many levels!]

  52. how supremely unnatural not to think cat thread … 125 more armies! … norm funk (?) – truly rings a bell though not sure where … sounds of anarchy – pffft! …

    • Chat thread, Rob…..not Cat thread.

      Maybe it is time for a chat thread #2 to reinvigorate the crowd.


    • Try as I might to promulgate those very messages, RJ… you might say that it’s been something of an UphillBattle here, in the HillyBillyRiviera…

  53. Real Estate Tsunami

    There’s plenty of beaches in Vancouver that could be turned in Marinas.
    Bob Rennie, get on with it!

  54. Then again… if truth be told, DearReaders… UltraPrime/Lavish/Luxury [adjectives are so much fun!] properties aren’t always such a great ‘hedge’… which brings us to today’s Zen and Quote ‘O The Day. Top ‘o the mornin’ to ye…

    “Even the bathrooms are quite huge: you could have a small party in the bathrooms if you wanted.” – Jim Thompson, Irish-American founder of closely held moving company Crown Worldwide Group [who bought a country home with about 500 acres of land outside Stradbally in southeast Ireland last year for about 7 million euros]

    [BBG] – John Malone Buys Irish ‘Green Banana’ as Castle Prices Fall

    “Billionaire John Malone is the largest private landowner in the U.S. Now, he’s expanding his reach to the land of his forefathers.

    Malone, the 72-year-old chairman of Liberty Global Inc. (LBTYA), paid about 8 million euros ($10 million) for the neo-Gothic Humewood Castle in Ireland after it captured “my wife’s fancy,” Malone said in an interview this month…

    …The chance to buy a slice of Irish countryside comes courtesy of the country’s property developers, many of which went bust when the market crashed. They, along with local business executives, were once the main buyers of the biggest homes, according to Harriet Grant, head of country-house sales at the Irish unit of broker Savills.

    “In the boom times, the market was purely domestic,” she said.

    Some Irish country mansions are now selling for about a third of 2007 levels, when the real estate market peaked, said Tancred Lidbury, head of European sales at Christie’s International Real Estate in London.

    “There is a market, but it’s at this level,” Lidbury said. “It’s disappointing for people out there whose house may have been worth 20 million euros five, six years ago and may only be worth 6 million or 7 million euros now.”…

  55. I couldn’t resist… accordingly, one last morsel ‘o Zen…

    “Last year we felt the decline but it wasn’t a killer. But since Christmas the business has fallen off a cliff and we’re trading at between 40 and 50 per cent of the level we are at last year.” – Nabil Bouri, Jumbuck’s Aussie Pie Co in Shepherd’s Bush, West London

    [UK Independent] – Strewth mate. Aussies wave goodbye to Britain as it becomes too pricey to stay: The recession has seen Australian expats leave in droves, damaging a specialist economy

    …”Take the shrimps off the barbie and put the stubbies back in the fridge: the Aussies are leaving Britain and the companies which served them are going bust.

    The Australian population in Britain shrank by 22,000 between 2010 and 2011, according to the latest government figures. Tighter immigration laws, an unfavourable exchange rate and the greater impact of the recession in Britain have made leaving the sun behind a less attractive proposition. (And besides, the Ashes are just around the corner, which they might want to miss.)

    Spending several years working in the UK as a base to explore Europe used to be a rite of passage for young Australians and New Zealanders. But now the practice is on the wane – and the shops, pubs and cafes which sprung up to cater for them are going under.”….

    [NoteToEd: Just a WildAssed HeuristicHunch mind you, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover more outbound YVR traffic to Seoul/Manila than inbound.]

    • Evidently, I should have added Taipei and HongKong to my conjecture, AnyMouse… my favourite takeaway from that piece:

      …”Metropolis researchers Shibao Guo and Don DeVoretz found few ethnic Chinese people who departed from Canada “expressed regrets about leaving”…

  56. I was just talking to an Aussie friend who has been here for over a decade. They are going back to Oz. She stated that they were returning for better education for the kids, cheaper housing and a better standard of living. Originally they came here for the mountain lifestyle but she’s found that over the years with raising kids and whatnot they are just on a treadmill with no time or money to enjoy what this part of the world has to offer.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Exactly my feelings.
      But I can’t just leave. Kids in school and sports.
      Gotta soldier on.

      • Kid have better adaptability skills than adults

      • If I had American citizenship I would move to Seattle in a heartbeat, but unfortunately I don’t meet the job requirements for a visa. I guess they already have enough graduates with liberal arts degrees :/

      • Perhaps this will help, JJ…

        [NoteToED: It was a long time ago, but under the terms of the original CanadaUSA FTA… special provision was made for the unhindered cross border movement of “Bovine Inseminators”. Under NAFTA, the language has since changed, of course… to the horribly bland if admittedly somewhat more PoliticallyPalatable category of “Animal Breeders”. At the time, as journalism wasn’t an A-Listed occupation, my partner and I hatched a devious plan to arrive at PeaceArch dressed in FarmerJohns and accompanied by a cooler chock-a-block full ‘o dry ice and test tubes brimful of, well – yoghurt, for arguments sake… not to mention elbow length, industrial rubber gloves… together with an urgent testimonial from some Washington state DairyFarmer that it was NowOrNever for SweetBessie. I’ll bet it would have worked.]

      • [NoteToDearReaders: That will make a lot more sense after RoboRedaktor releases my reply to JJ. Alternatively, you could always interpret it as a parable for QuantitativeEasing and/or EconomicPumpPriming.]

      • Oh yes… I am reliably informed that the entire procedure is best facilitated by musical accompaniment. Yes. That kind.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Artificial insemination usually works, whereas QE 1,2,3 just did’t do the job.

      • rod_jonsson

        149 more armies! … did we do this one already? … pffft! …

  57. Don’t leave us Ed. Who needs life when you have…..real estate bubbles. And Scottish Zen.

  58. Or the other way to quit the bubble blogging habit.

  59. Real Estate Tsunami

    I can’t believe it!
    My neighbor and his wife, who are in their late 60s just put their house on the market.
    I talked to them often before, and they said they would die in that house and leave it to their only son.
    But now they say they are worried that with the housing market going south they may be losing a lot of equity and they better sell now before it get’s worse.
    To make matters worse, 1 year ago they took out a HELOC for $30k to help their son buy a condo.
    Two week’s ago their son received a note from his strata that a special levy of $40 k to cover inefficiences in the building envelope has to be paid.
    Another leaky condo!
    Needless to say, the old couple has no other assets than their rapidly depreciating house, so they are panicking.

  60. DearReaders… your FridayMorningBubbleZen… courtesy of the Rarefied&Esoteric world of TrustafarianCulturists.

    “It’s not a bubble. It’s a Seasonal Inflatable Structure.”

    [WaPo] – Smithsonian bursts the Hirshhorn Bubble?

    …”The approximately 150-foot-tall seasonal inflatable structure, which would cost an estimated $15.5 million, would be inflated during clement months for special events, symposia and programs supporting the Hirshhorn’s exhibition schedule… Thursday’s vote made it clear that the Smithsonian is at a cultural crossroads, and Clough’s decision will do more than decide the fate of what is officially called the Seasonal Inflatable Structure…

    …The brilliance of the Bubble idea, as designed by the New York-based architecture firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is that it would cost less than one-tenth of the projected cost of the Gehry wing at the Corcoran, yet would have an outsized impact on architectural thinking in Washington. Koshalek and his architects have finessed one of this city’s hardest design challenges: How to make something new, in the center of the city, but in such a way that no permanent violence is done to the historic character of the Mall and its environs.”

    [NoteToEd: Loathe though I am to suggest it… if the Smithsonian nixes the HirshhornBubble perhaps our VeryOwnHomeGrown Patron ‘O TheArts Bob’s ‘R Rennie could acquire the plans? I can see it now… The NewHome of the Vancouver Art Gallery, it’s MorbidlyHumungous TorquoiseTumescence billowing above the flickering neon phosphorescence of “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT”.]

  61. Pingback: “My neighbours, in their late 60s, just put their house on the market. They had said they would die in that house, but now they are worried that with the housing market going south they may be losing a lot of equity and they better sell now before i

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