“I was really fortunate with how things worked out for me in real estate. I definitely took chances when I bought a few presale condos to flip back in 2004, but I was adamant at the time that there was room to grow for Vancouver.”

“I have moved on from residential and have been working in the commercial RE industry for over 8 years now. A lot less ups and downs and I get to deal more with businesses rather than individuals who tend to be less professional. Both sides of the industry have their pros and cons, but I love working with commercial brokers and tenants. I work for a large developer in town looking after their commercial portfolio in Western Canada.

A little about what has happened [to me]:

– Sold 2 of my condos that I bought pre-sale in 2004 in downtown Vancouver just by Rogers Arena. One sold in 2010 and the other in 2012. Both were 2 bedrooms that were purchased for $280K give or take and sold around $560K each. One I lived in with my family and rented out the other.
– Used the profits to upgrade to a spectacular 3-bedroom, 1600 square feet “new” condo in Fairview
– Have 2 lovely young kids
– Love condo living close to downtown with my family for the proximity to work downtown, restaurants everywhere and just the energy that the burbs don’t offer

I was really fortunate with how things worked out for me in real estate. I definitely took chances when I bought a few presale condos to flip back in 2004, but I was adamant at the time that there was room to grow for Vancouver. I still think it is one of the best places to live in the world and I am gladly paying for it by choosing to live close to downtown. I travel a lot internationally and every time my plane lands at YVR, I feel so blessed to be back home to such a beautiful place.

I took some chances, had some luck and stayed away from the extreme negative and positive views of posters on [RE Talks forum]. I would put myself in the Bull camp always, but that is only because I think you need to be ready to seek out deals – and this requires a pro-active mindset. One should never buy what they cannot afford (everyone agrees on this), but you should always be ready to buy a home when you need one (starting a new family, for example). Most of the original bears on [RE Talks] are gone, but I must say, it is funny to look back and see how wrong on the timing they were.”

Property_Magnate at RET 24 Jun 2013 [cited by ‘WhipMaster’ (aka Johnny Horton, etc, etc) as an example of a story from a “winner” in Vancouver RE, VREAA 25 Jun 2013 7:14pm]

Nobody is disagreeing with the idea that one could have done well in Vancouver RE by buying in 2004.
And, please, nobody misinterpret the above anecdote as an endorsement for buying “a few” presale condos in Vancouver, least of all in 2013.
– vreaa

84 responses to ““I was really fortunate with how things worked out for me in real estate. I definitely took chances when I bought a few presale condos to flip back in 2004, but I was adamant at the time that there was room to grow for Vancouver.”

  1. 4SlicesofCheese

    So to be a “winner”, you have to be an employee of a developer with insider prices and selection?

    Heck if I were in the position to in 04 I would have bought a 2br in downtown for 280.

    He never mentions if he would repeat his actions in 2013, given the conditions we are seeing now.

    • Property_Magnate

      To be a “winner” you don’t have to be an employee of a developer with insider prices and selection, however it does help. Everybody knows someone or friends of friends that work for a RE developer. Don’t you?

      If you were in the same position as I were in 2004, you would not have bought. History has already occurred – you did not buy. You are only saying this with the knowledge you know now – hindsight. That is like me saying that I would have bought Apple stocks in 2004.

      Would I repeat my actions in 2013 on buying pre-sales for flipping? No.

  2. I don’t get the part in which he has done well.

    An accident of timing allowed his paper net worth to increase greatly by bumbling into riding the greatest property bubble in history in the riskiest possible manner — flipping condo presales.

    Then, in a second moment of accidental brilliance, he was successful at profit-taking at just the right time. Bravo on your good fortune sir.

    Where I lose the thread is that he then confesses to having put all the profits RIGHT BACK INTO THE SAME BLOODY BUBBLE MARKET — AT IT’S PEAK.

    The only financial “strategy” that he admits to now is owning a single condo that he paid 7 figures for at the height of a bubble. Say what you will about the bubble never bursting, (har har,) but putting your entire net worth into a single condo *after* the market has shot up several hundred percent for no reason does not qualify as financial genius.

    No financial planner who was not wearing a straight jacket would allow you to call that a strategy.

    Property_Magnate is apparently trying to repeat his bumbling luck of the past by doing the same bumbling move and hoping he accidentally times the same market on another wild bubble. Only this time he’s starting at the end of a bubble, rather than the beginning.

    Is that success? Would anyone here be able to sleep through the night if they were in the shoes of this ostensibly wealthy “magnate”?

    • Agree.
      It’ll be interesting to view this person’s position in 5 years time.

    • I agree with you and he got lucky .I’m sick of all these people who think they`re financial geniuses because they got lucky in real estate .Let`s see what happens when interest rates go to 7%.

      • Property_Magnate

        I got lucky, but I still had to use my head and experience in RE before I went ahead and bought the condos. Lots of people have the talk, but few do the walk.

        I do not think of myself as a “financial genius.” That is a term you gave me and made me out to be.

        When interest rates go to 7%, I will be fine. I have a relatively low mortgage because I put down a huge deposit on my home. I am fortunate to have a stable, well paying job so that even if there is a significant increase in rates, I will be fine. I understand that it won’t be for some highly leveraged people out there.

  3. PS for clarification, nobody owns a crystal ball and nobody can be certain of what will happen to prices next. Nobody.

    What I am saying is that regardless of whether you personally happen to believe that the market is at it’s peak, there is no question that an unprecedented decade-long multi-hundred-percent explosion in prices has *already* taken place. This is fact, full stop.

    The second fact is that it is into this exact market that Property_Magnate has apparently chosen to put most or all of his net worth, almost certainly in a leveraged position.

    If I told you that I had taken a million dollars of my own cash (i.e. all of it) plus a half-million-dollar BANK LOAN to buy one thousand ounces of gold at $1,500/ounce, would anyone say that I had “done well in the market”?

    Taking a highly-leveraged, undiversified position in a commodity that has a history of flat pricing (condos) is a risk. Doing so *after* a historic price explosion in that market is stupid.

  4. So all I have to do is to go back to 2004 and buy?

    • UBCghettodweller

      Don’t worry. We’re working on a time machine out here at UBC. But so far it’s stuck in first gear. Reverse is more of a difficult engineering challenge than we anticipated.

    • Property_Magnate

      Yes, you have to go back in 2004 to buy. But this is all in hindsight. If I took a time machine back to 2004 and tried to convince you to buy, you probably wouldn’t listen to me anyways.

  5. 4SlicesofCheese

    Actually as Burnabonian pointed out, the story has not ended yet. All his winnings went right back into his next bet.
    I wonder what his condo fees are for a spectacular 1600 sq ft condo 🙂

  6. PPS sorry for the belt-fed posts.

    The bit about now working in commercial real estate is neither here nor there. Commercial RE is a business and a profession and not the subject of this or most other Bear forums.

    If you want to risk capital renting an asset from your business to another business, you are a businessperson taking a risk in order to earn a profit. This is what our economy is based on.

    Your loan, tax, and insurance rates will all reflect this, and everyone (the bank, the insurer, the taxman) goes into it with their eyes open and a full understanding of what is going on.

    What we’re talking about here is the destruction and risk inherent in “repurposing” your principal residence as some kind of a side business and/or speculative vehicle.

    It’s only possible because of tax, insurance, and loan regulations that were designed when nobody would ever have dreamed of doing such a thing.

    Those regulations are now being abused in order for the uninformed (such as property magnate) to take extraordinary risks with others’ money, backstopped by taxpayers, and keep the profits.

    Good for him for getting away with it once. He apparently didn’t want to keep his profits, though, as (according to the anecdote) he has given them all back to the market from whence they came.

    • Property_Magnate

      Who’s money did I take “extraordinary risks” with? My own. Not others or taxpayers. But I guess if you wanted to link the two together there’s no stopping you. I probably somehow affected butterflies in South America too?

      You are right: I “got away” with it once. But I did keep my profits. It all went back into my home – a tangible, useable asset.

  7. Joe Mainlander

    Everyone can gamble; and win or lose. But, economies grow because people produce goods, provide services, or come up with innovative ideas. Economies don’t grow because of the inflation of an asset. One anecdote misses the overall picture.

    • UBCghettodweller

      This should be common sense but it comes off as some sort of idealism in the current state of affairs.

      • Joe Mainlander

        Interestingly, I was paraphrasing Mark Carney, from an TV interview I saw on a few months ago. Carney also asked the interviewer if he thought it was normal for home prices to have doubled in the last 10 years. Interviewer said no.

  8. A question and a parable… First the question: “Why is life like a box of chocolates?”…

    And now, just for fun… Screenwriter Eric Roth employs a magnificent semiotic device to ‘bookend’ [or should that be bookmark?] his interpretation of Winston Groom’s novel – or, if you prefer, as a visual metaphor for how the world really works/is… What is it and what does it symbolize?

  9. I find it interesting he says “Most of the original bears on [RE Talks] are gone, but I must say, it is funny to look back and see how wrong on the timing they were.”

    Like they were wrong on the bubble pop timing but not the bubble itself?

  10. @Anon:

    The article says:

    “The average resale price rose 4.8 per cent, looking from May of last year to May 2013.

    Teranet site says:

    Index Period: May 2013
    Index Level” 166.87
    % change y/y: -3.24%

    I am confused. Is it the same Vancouver?

    • Allow me to clarify, CJ… the Sun’s piece is based on a press release by… wait for it… none other than the Conference Board of Canada.

      “Ok.”, you may well ask… “but who are they?”… Well, as StadiumBarkers are wont to intone… “Ya can’t tell the Players without a Program!”…

      Here’s your program: the statisical analysis was performed an external consultant Robin Wiebe, the SeniorEconomist at something called “The Centre for Municipal Studies” [sorry, ED – but I don’t have time to rake through their muck, too]…

      Here’s Mr. Wiebe’s biopic:

      …”Robin is a contributor to the regular municipal forecasts. He also co-authors housing reports for external clients. Previously, Robin was a market analyst with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for 18 years, serving in Thunder Bay, Windsor, Ontario and Ottawa. His expertise on the housing market was well-respected by both internal and external clients and earned him the position of CMHC spokesperson for the media.”…

      More to the point, who does Mr. Wiebe work for? As it happens, this guy:

      …”Dr. Daniel F. Muzyka is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Conference Board of Canada and the RBC Financial Group Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. He was previously the Dean at the Sauder School of Business at UBC, as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Management at UBC Okanagan… Dr. Muzyka is currently Vice Chair and a public director of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). He serves or has served on various government councils, including The Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC), The B.C. Competition Council, and the B.C. Premier’s Technology Council, among others.”

      Well. There it is. Dots. Connect. Much?

      • I also noticed that I could only find that article on the Vancouver Sun. No other news site had it. Unless I missed it somehow.

        Things that make you go mmmm.

    • Even if we read in his stats conclusions:
      “the benchmark price for a detached single-family home in the Fraser Valley was $549,200 in May — a 0.2-per-cent increase over the May 2012 price.
      The composite benchmark price for all Metro Vancouver residential properties was $598,400 in May — a 4.3-per-cent drop from May 2012”
      – it means that even though by his stats SFH grew at the 0.2 rate, the rest of RE fell more than 4.3 % (since the homes grew – I do not know the proportion of th SFH in the overall sales but the fall for the condos+TH would be about 4.5% YOY) – speaking about the genius Property_Magnate already loosing the money at the 4.5% rate!

      • Property_Magnate

        Olga62: You can’t worry about 4.5% price drops in your primary residence or home. It’s a place to hang your head, raise a family, entertain your friends. Neither would I celebrate if it went up 4.5%.

  11. We need Property_Magnate to stop by and clarify some of the finer points of his “success”.

    Who was that troll who prompted this post in the first place? I know you’re reading this.

    Can you call your buddy and see if he will grace us with his “wealth” of knowledge about how to get rich by flipping presales (so long as you start in 2004?)

    • Property_Magnate

      Here I am! Need clarifying? I would be more than happy to help.

      As for getting rich by flipping pre-sales, yes, you have to go back in time to 2007 or earlier to do so. If I could go back in time, I would have leveraged everyone that I knew to buy 20 presales.

  12. pick yer poison

    Success?
    Well, here we are half way through 2013, and I don’t owe anyone anything. Nadda. Not one dime do I owe a broker, banker, or candle stick maker. Not one dime does a Landlord collect. Not one dime does a credit card company abscond. Neither do I have a Margin Account -which is all the rage these days- the new way to get you hooked to gambling, and being gamed. The government does not support me through the Welfare system.

    What is success? Some people think not having debt, and what it buys, leads you to the land of poison. Read Forbes mag sometime.

  13. ^Interesting.

    Your description makes it sound as though your condo flipping has made you freer than others, and that you live without financial obligation or liability.

    If you are Property_Magnate from RET, can you discuss why you do not owe condo fees or property taxes on your property, and will never need to pay a $xx,000 special assessment on your “new” 1600sf condo — despite the fact that it was built to a code that is known to have major flaws and not be compatible with coastal BC’s climate?

    Is it your contention that those who buy condo presales, then rent and flip them and put the returns into another condo, are likely to achieve the same financial independence that you describe above?

    And if so, why not put your own money into even more presales, so that you can become well and truly wealthy? Why not leverage? Why disregard your own proven formula, when you could keep working the system and end up spending the rest of your life truly farting through silk?

  14. Leaving van. for good 2nd time!

    Downtown vancouver has “energy”? Another BPOE vancouverite…

    The best thing happening to me is that I will be flying out Vancouver for the second time in my life, for way better job and future! (i m in my 20’s)..LoL every time when I come across comments like this…just sounds delirious and absurd like how much vancouverites loves to protect their little bubble aka vancity…living in DT Vancouver, big deal…I bet this guy is lecturing RE with his Supersized StarFxxk latte and pretending to be a PRO, sharing his “success story” with other delusional vancouverites, I guess vancity has So Much to do…

    I m out! Tomorrow will be just another day for most of you, better enjoy it!

    • Property_Magnate

      Vancouver downtown has energy versus the burbs in the Lower Mainland. I am not comparing it to New York, London, Hong Kong, etc. You are right – living in DT Vancouver is no big deal in the big scheme of things. I was just saying that I enjoy living in downtown Vancouver in my own corner of the world (BC). My post on Real Estate Talks was not a lecture (if you read it in context, you would know this) and I am not pretending to be a PRO. I didn’t even call it a “success story.” It’s just my own personal experience.

      I am interested though in why you are leaving Van for the 2nd time and where you will be moving to? I like to hear stories about where people are moving to and for what type of money. I agree that there are few high paying jobs in the Lower Mainland. But $$$ aside, I love living here.

      PS: What kind of coffee do you drink if you don’t drink “Supersized StarFxxk latte’s”? I don’t drink Starbucks myself, but curious about what an anti-Starbucks person drinks instead.

  15. Real Estate Tsunami

    Does anyone have a graph of Vancouver Re price increases from 02 forward.
    If memory serves me, 02 and 03 had the fastest increase in prices.
    So this guy may have left a lot of money on the table by coming to the party late in 04.
    Maybe not a RE genius, after all.

  16. when my plane lands at YVR i see a cold rainy, grey dead looking city,

  17. Since I started in RET (and I still troll there) condos are down about 5% in real terms.

    The tragedy is once some of these guys make large on RE it becomes more difficult to diversify away from it.

  18. there is no “energy” in Vancouver whatsoever, not in the burbs , not in the city…it’s a quite dead city you’ll know this if you travel to real cities

    • Property_Magnate

      ted: Which real cities have you travelled to and visited? Name 3 cities anywhere in the world where you consider it better to raise a family, not taking into account cost of living. We all agree that it is prohibitively expensive to live in Vancouver and that incomes do not match housing costs.

  19. VREAA, I admire you for having the courage to post this one although I felt that your disclaimer at the beginning may skew the readers opinion.

    This is an anecdote suitable for this forum even though it happens to be one with a positive connotation toward real estate ownership. I requested that VREAA post this particular anecdote as positive anecdotes are severely under represented here.

    What it shows is that for all the bearishness expressed over the past 10 years, the market has bucked the bearish sentiment. So ask yourselves, how and why has it managed to avoid disaster when a crash looked inevitable?

    Is there some fundamental facts that you are not aware of in your careful analysis? Something is obviously being overlooked.

    Whipmaster

    • Everybody wants to live here, there is nowhere else to go, Vancouver is the new Manhattan, etc.
      This? Anything else? Why don’t you enlighten us?

      • I moved to Japan shorty after their bubble popped (stayed for 10 years – the first lost decade). Real Estate corrected to around 70% – they to thought that the good times would never end. I am sure they do not share the same view some 20 years later – talking recently with my father in law about the good ole days of the late 80s early 90s. Looking back he sees how things were out of control there. Some day many of us will be in the same boat.

        Recently I was reading this (older) article about the fall out of Japan’s bubble in which it touch on some of the same garbage we here all the time here…

        “Land development is scarce because of the nature of the Japanese terrain, this made it look certain that real estate values would always rise due to its scarcity. However, that proved to be a false assumption.”

        (http://history.econtrader.com/japanese_bubble.htm)

    • This anecdote would have been a positive connotation toward real estate ownership if that person had exited it and pocketed the surplus money and invested it elsewhere. Right now he made some money on a rising market and invested in back in a falling market (consult the above quoted article re. YOY decline rate for condos and townhouses – he did not buy the SFH to he does not even get to show 0.2% growth!).

      • Property_Magnate

        I took the surplus money and put it into my home that I live in (not treating the home as an investment). Bigger deposit, less mortgage, higher equity. It can still be a positive connotation toward real estate ownership with the money put back in to real estate. My condo home is still considered dirt (or air parcel in RE terms!) and a tangible asset that I use everyday. Compare that to buying stocks, seeing the value go up and reinvesting in another stock. It’s all paper until you cash out. Not so much in RE.

    • Condos have been dropping in value for 5 years with rates falling. What is there to be overlooked?

    • 2013 the year of the bubble pop, its gonna be a rocky ride!

  20. So you must’ve noticed there has not been a crash. The U.S. market peaked in 2006. It got crushed but our market kept going up. Ever wonder why?
    As adamant as you are about the market crashing and with all the data, and graphs, and statistics, and calculations, and good evidence, for the last 10 years, have you ever wondered why all your predictions never came true?

    Whipmaster

    • We are arguing something that cannot be disproven: that a crash is coming.

      You are also arguing something that cannot be disproven: that a crash is not coming.

      Stop trolling like an angry child. You have made your claim and we have made ours. Go back to your corner like an adult and wait to see who is right.

      (Don’t worry; you won’t have long to wait.)

    • Troll. If the data don’t support reality, perhaps innuendo can fill the gap. With that I but d you good day. The RET cage door beckons. Back you go.

    • A crash has never happened in the last 10 years, so it CANT happen in the next 10? Thats pure hubris, bubbles dont work that way and its that sort hubris of why the bubble has grown to the point it has. The bubble will pop towards the end of this year, pirces will fall dramatically for the next 2-3 years and then a slow melt for 5 years or more after that. Copy this message, stick it on your wall/fridge and refer back to it for next few years its gonna creep you out how accurate it is.

  21. can whipmaster tell us why Vancouver will keep going up forever more
    what are the city’s good points if any?

    • Yawn. We get it, tedeastside: you hate Vancouver.

    • UBCghettodweller

      Not having to shovel snow for six months of the year (unless you live in the upper parts of North or West Van.) Not that the weather is great, it’s just not hostilely cold.

      Criminally cheap good Asian food.

      Hot women in Yoga pants.

      It looks pretty.

      Public transit is pretty good if you live downtown or on the Broadway, Main, Cambie, or Commercial corridors so that you really can make it alright without owning a car.

      …. and I’m spent.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Anyone who spends a lot of time outside, like soccer and baseball players will tell you the local drizzle at around 2 degrees feels much colder than 15 degrees in the prairies.
        You just can’t keep warm. The moisture penetrates everything.
        Witness the leaky condos.
        I give you the insanely cheap and good Asian food.
        But, where has the Schnitzel and Bratwurst gone.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        UBC, this one is for you.
        Feel free to substitute Berlin for Vienna

      • Real Estate Tsunami

      • Property_Magnate

        Real Estate Tsunami: Schnitzel? Jagerhof Schnitzel House in North Vancouver. The best in Vancouver that I have tried.

    • “What are the city’s GoodPoints, if any?”…

      Funny you should ask that question TedEastSide… for much the same conundrum appears to have exercised the imagination of the Mop&Pail’s regional editorialist, Stephen Quinn this weekend.

      Here’s his [presumably TongueInCheek] response – entitled, “Come to Vancouver! Damp, grey Vancouver” – to a recent NYT ‘BeautyPiece’ promoting YVR as a destination not to be missed…

      “I would like to offer a true insider’s 36-hour Vancouver experience.” – Stephen Quinn

      http://tinyurl.com/nk9t28l

      [NoteToEd: Just between the two of us, I’m guessing that piece is Mr. Quinn’s way of begging TheManagement to repatriate him to Toronto. Either that, or he’s fed up with his TransitPass and angling for a fully-expensed personal automobile. “SillyRabbit! TrixAreForKids.”]

  22. Gawd you people are h.o.s.t.i.l.e.
    Good thing I have a tough skin otherwise all you mean people calling me “troll” and telling me to go away would hurt my feelings. You people are in so much anguish over this issue it’s quite apparent that you can’t even discuss the issue in a rational and adult manner.

    I don’t think it would serve any purpose other than my sadistic nature, to torment you any further.

    • It’s not that we don’t like your supposition, we don’t like that you’re bringing nothing of value to the conversation. Try suggesting some reasons why prices are high, cite some evidence and make and argument.

      Instead we get begging the question amateur hour.

    • There is definitely a lot of frustration, anguish, and heartache, but not for the reasons you think.

      This manufactured and exploited “RE never crashes so Canadian families should leverage to the max and put all their money into this single investment vehicle forever” zeitgeist has hurt a lot of us and/or our loved ones directly or indirectly, and will bring immeasurable misery to millions of Canadians this year and for the rest of the decade.

      Many of us are frustrated that this illusion and puppet show have been allowed to persist, and even supported by the entities that Canadians are supposed to be able to trust to have our best interests in mind and to communicate clear and rational guidance to us. Instead, they (the government, MSM, lenders, central bankers, etc.) allowed and even advised millions to make the worst possible financial decisions.

      It stinks and, although there will be a reckoning and a trial by media after the crash, the billions lost by Canadian families will of course be irreplaceable.

      There’s your anguish.

      Where’s your empathy, friend?

    • What is your motivation? Are you too deep in debt that you can’t sleep? Did you bet everything on never-ending price increases?

      • Little secret: you might recognize whipmaster if you saw his face in real life.

      • Maybe. Maybe you could be more specific?

        I had a quick look at RET and found this gem by “whipmaster” – another brilliant reason why prices in Vancouver will not crash:

        Maybe they know that we are about to have the mother fawker of all World Wars in just a few moments and there will be so many people clamouring to get here that they will have a huge supply of monied people to fill up these places if we are all still alive.

        😀 🙄

      • Whipmaster is basically a troll, used to be called Johnny Horton, but got banned from RET (which is an achievement in itself), and managed to get another account under a different name. It got so bad RET deleted all its archives pre 2011 or so in part because it was too difficult to extricate his obscene posts from the rest.

        He met up with a few other forum dwellers a couple of years ago. They know who he is and were shocked when they saw who he was. That’s all I know on his identity.

        What I do know is that most of his time on the forum is useless trolling, I’ve seen maybe 5 useful posts from him ever, so he does have a bg in re but not enough motivation to actually comment in a helpful manner. His world view is distorted by the usual central bank conspiracy, dollar deflation, rise of Asia, can’t-spend-more-than-you-earn mindset; though he comes across as a bull his views in these matters fit nicely with some of the refrain I hear from re “bears”. Long pond world view, way short on data and sound analysis.

        Vreaa doesn’t need his type, unless he steps up. This is for the most part a house of good repute. 🙂

      • Ah yes… houses of “repute”.

        …”Oh mother tell your children
        Not to do what I have done
        Spend your lives in sin and misery
        In the House of the R. E. T.”…

        [NoteToEd: It’s surprising how well that lyric substitution fits the meter.]

      • With apologies to TheAnimals…

        There is a house in New BC
        They call the R. E. T.
        And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
        And God I know… that’s me

        My mother was a Realtor ™
        She sold them HousingDreams
        My father was a MortgageMan
        Down in New BC

        Now the only thing a Realtor™ needs
        Is a suitcase and a phone
        And the only time she’s satisfied
        Is when she’s showin’ homes

        [Organ Solo]

        Oh mother tell your children
        Not to do what I have done
        Spend your lives in sin and misery
        In the House of the R. E. T.

        Well, I got one foot on the ‘ladder’
        The other foot on SkyTrain
        I’m goin’ back to New BC
        To pay off that ball and chain

        Well, there is a house in New BC
        They call the R. E. T.
        And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
        And God I know that’s me.

  23. And now…. for your WeekEnd Zen, DearReaders…

    DateLine: Kabul/Afghanistan…

    “I get a lot more confidence from looking at these awful buildings. It kills me as an architect, but from an economic point of view it seems to be quite a vote of confidence.” – Jolyon Leslie, South African [with several decades experience of restoration and urban planning in Afghanistan]

    [UK Guardian] – Kabul property boom confounds fears about Afghanistan’s security: Afghan capital’s skyline transformed by luxury high-rise buildings as new rich prepare to weather Nato’s withdrawal

    …”There is a lot of negative propaganda, but I think that eventually the rich Afghans who take money out of the country will regret it,” Barakzai said after a tour of his glitzy penthouse suite.

    Once a sleepy mountain town of low-rise homes, Kabul’s smartest areas are now a grid of multicoloured, multi-storey family palaces studded with mirrors and stucco, one even boasting a rooftop lion enclosure.

    The rich gather to celebrate their children’s unions at opulent wedding halls, one guarded by golden elephants, another by a looming model of the Eiffel tower. There are bowling alleys, supermarkets crammed with imported clothes and food, and leisure centres with pools and saunas.

    The lavish lifestyle has been funded by an influx of foreign money and the proceeds from drugs, which have enriched a tiny elite while most of the country still grapples with desperate poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy and some of the lowest life expectancy in the world….

    …The country’s new rich may like to show off their wealth, but they are less keen about discussing where it came from. Barakzai said his apartment plot was built on family land that once held a bungalow and garden, building on a long family history of entrepreneurship. Funding came from advanced sales of apartments, he said, even though he put the average unit price at a modest $90,000, and admitted that his commercial empire now includes another construction site near Kabul’s parliament and a wedding hall, hospital and supermarket in southern Kandahar.

    The Barakzai family clearly have powerful connections. Among the vehicles in the basement car park are those of a deputy provincial governor and a senior intelligence official, both among the new tenants of the 32 apartments. Their luxury armoured SUVs are a subtle boast of Barakzai’s impressive neighbours, but may also hold a clue to one prop for the Kabul property boom as western cash dries up and an escalation of violence looms.”…

    http://tinyurl.com/oybdk65

    [NoteToEd: Finally! We can now identify the fount of DonaldTrump’s architectural inspiration. In other news, any passing resemblance between the PoliticalEconomy of Kabul and certain RainForest’Metropolises’ is most assuredly… purely co-incidental.]

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Afghanistan was a thriving country until the Brits, the Russians and the Amis rediscovered its strategic importance.
      I wonder though: Why aren’t the Taliban beheading developers?

      • Question par excellence, Tsunami!… as it happens… they like HotTub parties, too… [starting at 1:30]…

  24. I was really fortunate with how things worked out for me in Cesar’s Palace. I definitely took chances when I bought a few 100k chips to place on Red, but I was adamant at the time that there was room to grow for Red.

    • Property_Magnate

      It is spelled: Caesar’s Palace. When you are betting on Red in roulette, it is purely luck/chance. When you are putting money into real estate (be it commercial or residential), there are elements of understanding demographics, location, timing, build quality, etc. I would equate roulette with buying a lottery ticket, but with better odds and equate buying real estate with buying stocks. There is much more analysis required on the “buyers” part with RE and stocks versus roulette and lottery tickets.

  25. Been chatting with some Irish blokes who are here working post Irish Bubble. Its kinda funny that 3 unrelated guys all said that this mess in Vancouver/Canada is unfolding EXACTLY like the mess in Ireland, one headline at a time. Good luck Canada !

  26. Property_Magnate

    OK folks. I am on here to answer your questions since many of you want additional details on my “quick update” on the Real Estate Talks forum. To clarify, my story was not intended as advice to get rich quick by flipping condos. It simply was a story to tell some old RET members, lurkers, etc. of what has happened since 2004, nothing more. I also never said I was a “genius” by doing what I did. Luck was a part of it for sure, but I also had the balls, fortitude and my own insight to make the decision to purchase multiple condos. Back in 2004, there were people in my office, in the media and general public who thought that RE prices were at the peak. I thought there was much more room to grow, so I bought. I took a risk and it paid off. How? I am able to live in a nice home with my family with a relatively low mortgage close to downtown Vancouver. It’s not considered an investment for me. I am taking my gains by flipping condos and putting it towards my new HOME with a larger deposit, and hence a lower mortgage. As for posters like ‘tedeastside’, I won’t argue with you about whether or not Vancouver is a nice city to live in. Everyone has their opinion and experience. Vancouver does not have the energy like New York, London or San Francisco, but to me, it is a better city to raise a family in. Cleaner air, more parks, healthier people and lifestyles, safer in most areas (apart from a few blocks in the downtown eastside) and cheaper real estate ;).

    Life is good!

    • Well done! you are at the envy and jelousy of others. Life is good in the best place on earth.
      Anyone loves vancouver is classified as trolls from those elites in this blog. Now, let the swearing begins!

  27. Yep, Property Magnate, always a gentleman.
    Thank you for coming on and taking the time to explain to people a little more about your own story.

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