Prominent Vancouver Architect Bing Thom: ‘The City Has Become A Hotel’ – “I have done pretty well in my business, but I made more money from sitting on my Vancouver property than I made by working an entire lifetime. That tells you something.”

“I asked Bing Thom about the changes. The property boom has, of course, been good for the architectural profession, but Thom, who is now in his early seventies, is troubled by what is happening to his home town. “By all accounts, I have done pretty well in my business, but I made more money from sitting on my Vancouver property than I made by working an entire lifetime,” he said. “That tells you something.” Thom was alarmed that consumption has effectively replaced production as Vancouver’s growth industry. “The city has become a hotel,” he said.
– from The Golden Generation, by Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, 22 Feb 2016

213 responses to “Prominent Vancouver Architect Bing Thom: ‘The City Has Become A Hotel’ – “I have done pretty well in my business, but I made more money from sitting on my Vancouver property than I made by working an entire lifetime. That tells you something.”

  1. I laughed at this post.

  2. I don’t understand why is it that Bing Thom is so surprised given how smart a guy he is. I was told by a friend who read Thomas’ Picketty’s book “capital in the 21st century” that he argued the idea that assets grow faster than the economy. So if that is the case, then it is not surprising that those who hold assets while twiddling their thumbs could end up with a higher net worth than those who do productive work. Now, that is not right obviously. But our government seems to not be bothered by this at all. Look at our capital gains tax, we have 0 on principle residence, and only half on investments. We tax productive incomes the hardest while are very laxed on passive incomes. Why is he surprised that this would happen?

    • Impossible for any asset to outpace the economy in the long run.

      • That’s actually what I said to my friend. Not having read the book myself but rather from hearsay, I think what Picketty is trying to say is that wage growth or active income has not kept up with the growth of passive income; this is different than saying that the economy has been outpaced by asset prices. He does certainly have a point. Average american wage was 2.50 an hour in 1964, it is 21.30 today. S&P 500 was 75 on Jan 1st, 1964, it is 2000 today. So in wage terms, we have grown about 10 folds, the market has gone up 26 times. So certainly passive income has outperformed active income. If governments do not tax this gap properly then of course we will see a growing wealth gap. I do have a copy of the book with me now, so I will read it over the next month and provide an actual update on what he says.

    • Bing Thom is a talented architect with an award winning international practice. Residential real estate in most parts of the world rises at the rate of inflation. Most of his peers globally have made their money from their business, not their personal residence, so he is surprised that Vancouver is different.

      • Boomtown Rat

        the rate of inflation = real estate prices only works if supply and demand remain constant. In Vancouver, the supply of land is fixed, demand is increasing in leaps and bounds.

  3. Here’s what happens psychologically to anyone who is in the hockey stick phase of a bubble. The pace of price appreciation is so rapid that people who might otherwise have contemplated selling now hold off, as they perceive every day to bring considerable new wealth. Media, family, and neighbours compound the perception with news stories and chatter, now at a fever pitch. Cognitive dissonance, meanwhile, shuts out any skeptics. Supply dwindles. If sellers are gripped by greed, buyers are gripped by fear–fear of missing out on future prices gains. With the greatest of the greater fools piling on to a diminishing supply, prices continue to skyrocket, and the powerful up cycle renews.

    Until it all goes into reverse. The people who held of selling during the appreciation stage now release pent-up supply during the depreciation stage. Sellers become fearful. Buyers become greedy–after all, every day brings lower prices. The “skeptics” now are the ones arguing that a recovery is just around the corner. Cognitive dissonance shuts them out. Supply balloons, demand collapses. Prices drop, and the powerful down cycle renews.

    Timing? It’s only ever clear in hindsight.

    • Great, so by your rationale, if we are in a great bubble, then the depreciation of the asset prices will fall hardest on those that rise the fastest. So detached’s fall should greatly outpace that of the attached, am I correct in saying that is your prediction?

      • In dollar terms, yes. In percentage terms, I don’t know.

      • Wait, you were talking about a 50 to 75% drop in Vancouver Real Estate, as per your prediction off of November 2015 levels. To give you an idea of the volume in dollar terms, in 2015, detached in Vancouver accounted for 18 billion dollars and attached accounted for 9 billion. So.. in other words, about the only way that your prediction will work is if the detached outpace attached in percentage terms. Another way to think about it is this, a 2 bedroom 40 year old condo in kerrisdale costs about 500K, a detached 60 year old house costs 2.5 million. In dollar terms a 400K shave off of the detached house does practically nothing to affordability but would render the condo basically free. So even if we forget about your prediction, a 5 percent correction in the market would make the detached house go down more in dollar terms. But that drop is virtually useless in this market, it would be a blip. So making a statement in dollar terms isn’t actually making a statement at all.

        Btw, we can put some real numbers on your predictions. Basically, you are saying that Kerrisdale house that is now 2.5 million should be no more than a mil. The 9 million PG house that the “local couple” just bought should be less than 3 million. We will see if this happens in November 2018.

      • All housing types will likely fall about the same in percentage terms–detached probably more. Exactly when, and exactly how much, no one knows!

  4. In Shanghai, pre-owned home sales soar 167% YoY.
    “The most costly pre-owned house — a Sun Hung Kai Properties project — sold in Shanghai so far this year was a 600-square-meter duplex on downtown Xiangyang Road S. for 144 million yuan, or 241,800 yuan per square meter, last month.”

  5. Ironic that Bing Thom was actually born in Hong Kong. Wonder if he bought his Vancouver property, or was it his parents when they immigrated.

    Home grown genius architect Erickson almost lost his West Side house when his international practice imploded. Only the charity of those who knew him saved him from losing it. Fascinating to read how he developed his own property – living in the garage; turning the rest into a private refuge with giant berms and fencing. Arthur – a starchitect. Respect. R.I.P.

  6. @Brian – Why not reduce the tax on the productive income instead? why must gov’t solve all perceived in-equality by taxing something more?? Why not tax something less instead?

    Frankly, I would prefer all income to be taxed the same. No special treatment for dividends or capital gain.

    • True. I don’t mind how they do it, but they need to make active and passive income taxes the same.

    • Quick finance lesson for you novices. The reason that dividends are taxed at a lower rate is that they come from income that has already been fully taxed. So, you are advocating not only for double taxation, but higher double taxation.

      • All the money I spend in grocery stores, movie theatres, restaurants, hair dresser, clothing stores, etc are also all after tax dollar. Yet, the gov’t sees fit to tax that money fully as business / personal income (after allowable expenses) without any tax credit.

        How do you justify that?

      • You are only taxed once on personal income. Dividends are taxed twice–first as corporate income, and then again when paid out to shareholders. Didn’t you say you were a CFA?

  7. CMHC in the news again.

  8. The city buying the Arbutus Corridor is a positive story. Wonder why the existing tracks will be ripped up – surely they can be saved. There should be a streetcar interesting enough for tourists and residents: snack cars; a fruit and produce car; a historical expo car. In the competitive tourist acquisition market, this would make a splash. We’d all take it and wave at the creme de la creme.

    Noticed a listing for new construction on a 33x 105 ppty at 4789 Reid. It has the usual Gollum suites – one legal. The twist is that it advertises two suites in the laneway house. Maybe someone could weigh in on how you can shoehorn two suites into one of these mutants.

    • What did I say the difference between Wealth Migration and Foreign investment was? I honestly don’t believe there is a lot of foreigners buying places for invest and leaving them empty. It doesn’t make much sense. They have better things to do with their money frankly. However, their kid needs a house and they need a second home. Usually there is someone home, it just appears that there isn’t because the person is usually a child or a spouse who is occupying a mansion. But of course, when the hydro data and other methods show up, you have what you saw today.

  9. @El Ninja – Nice dodge there. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised what with your 20 years investment horizon. To a 30 year, tell them to wait 19 years while prices went up another 400% and then crash 75% in year 20 so they can buy a house at twice today’s price is beyond useless. And tell strut out and tell them what a great predictor you are and saved them from a devastating 75% crash is simply rubbing salt in the wound.

    • What dodge? Also, I don’t understand your last sentence.

      You misunderstand me completely regarding the “20-year” time frame. What I said was that this is the length of time over which we can begin to make solid conclusions about an asset’s likely future performance, because over any 20-year stretch regression to the mean has had sufficient opportunity to assert itself. Anything much shorter than this and the data start to lose statistical significance. A ten-year period of equity returns, for example, tells you next to nothing about prospective performance.

      • Very smart people at large hedge funds, investment banks, and academia disagree with your assertions about 10 yrs being too short.

        And your boss buy that kind of reasoning? Don’t quit the job cuz you got one very dumb boss.

      • Wow, the level of intellect here is breathtakingly low. Listen, it’s not a matter of opinion, but of statistical fact. The predictive value of an isolated 10-year period is essentially meaningless. It’s like looking at the 90s and saying that’s how stocks will always perform. Who can we contact to suggest that your CFA be withdrawn?

      • But looking at 1980 to 2000 bull market run makes everything all valid and kombanya just cuz it’s a 20 year window?? Geez…Maybe you should actually read up on time series analysis before you start lecturing people on this stuff and calling other people stupid.

      • I said 20 years at a minimum. Not like the 5-10 years you all are basing yourselves off of. The longer the period, the more statistically meaningful.

      • 2 words – structural break.

        As I said, actually learn some time series analysis before trying to school someone who actually does know about this stuff.

  10. If only I could use that kind of excuses at work and still get the raises & bonus & promotion. Sorry boss, I don’t know when or if something will happen, but trust me I just know it will! You just need to think for the long term!

    • Anyone who claims they know the future with certainty is lying. Unless you believe in fortune tellers?

      • Any employee who has been consistently wrong in his predictions and tells him I need to consider the long term cuz he’s still right? I would fire him in a heartbeat. Nobody can predict the future with certainty, but if you are consistently wrong and don’t admit or try to figure out why you were wrong? That’s even worse.

        btw, stock analysts / economists / etc only job responsibility is to predict the future correctly.

      • Define the timeframe associated with “consistent”. You, space889, are consistently wrong on the direction of stocks if you are looking at day-to-day movements, are you not? How about weekly? Also consistently wrong. Monthly? Yearly? You bet. You need to judge predictions over much longer timeframes.

        Stocks analysts and others make informed guesses about the future (and, on average, are as often wrong as they are right). They don’t make definitive claims. Notice in my earlier posts I used the words “exactly” and “certainty”.

        And by the way, I’m not an employee.

      • Whatever Mr. Know It All…..too bad all the HFT firms don’t seem to follow your logic.

    • Good for Vancouver. It will help offset the exodus of people who are fleeing the city for better opportunities elsewhere.

  11. @El Ninja – All the money I spend in grocery stores, movie theatres, restaurants, hair dresser, clothing stores, etc are also all after tax dollar. Yet, the gov’t sees fit to tax that money fully as business / personal income (after allowable expenses) without any tax credit.

    How do you justify that?

    That argument about dividends being after-tax money and needs to be taxed at lower rate is simply a diversion at fooling the average people into thinking it is something right and fair. The real purpose is simply to give another tax advantage to the rich capital owners.

    • It’s not a diversion. It’s a fact. Dividends are paid out of already-taxed funds. And do you think all of the pensioners are “rich”? All of the public school teachers? These people’s retirement funds are heavily invested in equities. That makes the “capital owners”.

      • Funny you mention pensions cuz pensions don’t pay any taxes on capital gains or dividends, but any payment they make to beneficiary are taxed as regular income. But that doesn’t seem to discourage people from putting $$ into pensions or prevent pensions funds are investing in the stock market.

    • These cases are not comparable. If your point is that the government charges sales tax when you spend income that’s already been taxed — it’s partly because they want to discourage consumption. (Except of what you buy in the grocery store, where consumption is generally not taxed.) The government taxes dividends at a lower rate partly to encourage investment, rather than have everyone spend every last dollar or “invest” it too conservatively, i.e. in a savings account or savings bond.
      If it’s “not fair,” there is a sensible rationale. It’s not just a giveaway to the rich. There are plenty of other tax policies that serve that purpose.
      Keep in mind the wisdom of our resident blowhard: Compare apples to apples.

      • No, I’m not talking about sales tax. Let’s say I go see a hair stylist and pay her $50 for a haircut from my after tax income. That $50 is treated as her income and taxed as income with no preferential tax treatments like dividends, even though it is after taxed money. Yes, I know about biz expenses deductions and such. But regardless, the after tax money is being taxed again.
        So why the preferential treatment for dividends? There is really no need for it aside from historically, dividends are mostly paid to rich capital owners.
        I doubt people are going to change their behavior much if dividends are simply taxed like regular income.

      • Double taxation is when taxes are charged twice on the same funds belonging to the same person, not on transactions between someone and a third party.

      • And dividends are funds belonging to the same person???

      • Yes. The shareholder.

  12. PS Or is your point that the businesses you patronize have to pay taxes again on your income when it becomes their income? Perhaps you should stick to spending your untaxed or lightly taxed dividends at such businesses.Would that be fairer?

    • That’s all businesses, and yeah if I have enough capital generating enough dividends for my living expenses, then I wouldn’t bother working and simply laugh at all the rat race mouses.

      I don’t really see what’s unfair in taxing all income as income, with no preferential treatment for how that income was derived. It would make for simplier tax system and the simpler a system is, the more fair it tends to be.

    • Double taxation is simpler? Explain.

      • You are charge a tax rate based on your income, regardless of source. How is it difficult? You add everything you earn, apply the tax rate table and you are done. None of this complicated calculating dividend tax credit, entering multiple numbers on multiple tax file lines, etc.

  13. Wow, y’all had a great party without me. I feel so left out. First of all, I am not even going to bother replying to all the threads but will do so in this message.

    I have couple of questions for El Ninja, two issues with what you are saying:

    1. Double taxation already happens. You call space a “novice”, but your brilliant expertise is showing when you can’t differentiate that we are taxed at full income rates for dividends that we earn using income that have already been taxed while we are taxed at half the rate for capital gains on the same investment. So why the difference then? So if I take my fully taxed income and invest into google, google gives me a dollar a quarter as dividend, this is taxed at full rate, ie. double taxation at full rate. However, if google went up by 1 dollar in stock price, I only get taxed for 50 cents. How does that factor into your equation?

    2. Let’s say I take my fully taxed income and hired a maid and paid her money, the government will still take income taxes from her. So in reality, the government already takes taxes whenever money is transfered from one individual to another. From one business to another. So it’s not correct to think that certain transfers are categorized as double taxation and others are not. They all are, forget about double taxation, it’s exponential taxation, but how is that a problem? The capital flows through the system and the government takes a cut whenever it goes from one to another. That’s a pretty simple concept I would think, they are toll collectors. So you are arguing that once the government takes one cut then it shouldn’t take another cut? Capital flows in a circle with no start and stop, how do we define where the government should get it?

    What Space is saying is pretty simple, if government basically acts as a toll collector as the capital transfers from one taxable entity (be it a person, a business, etc) to another, then why not make that rate the same. I don’t know if that is good economic policy but I don’t see anything semantically wrong with what he is saying as a concept.

  14. @Space, I actually don’t really care too much about the time frame of data that El Ninja speaks of anymore because he did make his line in the sand so at the very least there is something that we can measure, as have I. How he chooses to analyze the data is his own choice. I think everyone is judged by their results. If in the timeframe that he predicted it doesn’t happen then there is not much to be said for his methods. But if he happens to be correct then his methods gain more credibility. Aren’t we all just in a results oriented business after all?

  15. Everyone with an interest in this city should watch the Ted Talk on Über Pool – a disruptive development in the best way.

    Absurd that a limp dick taxi lobby could pressure the gov to keep Über out. With the pooling addition to their service, it will be harder to justify saying no; if only for the reduction in traffic and CO2. It might even make Vancouver a friendlier place.

    Harder still to stand up to really powerful interest groups: Developers and the Transit Corporation. Über Pool will suck a lot of cash out of transit and put it where people choose to spend it – on door to door service – no more walking and waiting for the loser cruiser. Transit is not convenient.

    Do Van Politicos have the backbone of a great Mayor like Enrique Penalosa of Bogota? To do what’s right? Let’s put a nail in the coffin of the dirtiest varmint in transportation – the single occupancy commuter – the pariah.

    • I don’t mind Uber if they play by the same rules – commercial insurance, regular vehicle safety inspections, etc. But Uber doesn’t do any of that.

      A good analogy is if I create an app that allows you to order online, and when you get to my place, the food is on the table ready for you with no waiters, or anything. Can I then claim I’m merely a tech company and should be exempt from all food related health regulations & fees & associated insurance/costs/laws/etc?

      I don’t think the tax medallions should be limited in number nor permanent. But it was done historical for whatever reason and for city to unilaterally change the rules would be a bit unfair. But to simply allow Uber is also not a good idea. Uber is fine until someone gets into a serious accident and insurance companies get involved.

  16. The minutiae of implementation are minor – Über and it’s competitors make cities better. The Didi system in China reportedly booked a billion trips in 2015. It is also adding a social component to the service – matching people based on interest. No doubt it will serve as a dating (hook up) app. Move over Tinder. This is a tidal wave of change that even monied interests cannot stop. It’s the printing press in the age of manuscripts; a computer in the age of typewriters; software + hardware.

    • Rather odd that Vancouver, as a supposedly avant-garde, “world class” city, is still without Uber. Meanwhile, cities throughout Latin America and the rest of the world allowed this game-changing service some time ago.

      • Those cities also probably don’t have as entrench system of regulations as developed worlds where taxi service has been in existence for what? probably 100 years now?

        Oh yeah, let’s not forget that a lot of developing countries are also rife with corruption and rule breaking as detailed many times by posters on this blog and VCI.

      • Wrong. Many of the cities where Uber operates, including two that I’m closely familiar with (Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro) have very entrenched taxi unions. There have been violent protests by the incumbent thugs. But, in the end, Uber benefits the consumer. The old monopolists are toast.

    • You wouldn’t be saying that if you spend $1M on a taxi license on the promise that the supply is limited and you get protection from unlawful competitors who don’t have to follow your rules.

      • Poor taxi drivers. Maybe if they stepped up their game I’d have a bit more sympathy. As it is, the service is poor for what it costs.

      • oh so it’s about these drivers vs those drivers?

  17. We should just call this blog the Vancouver double taxaton annecdote archive blog.

  18. According to The Economist, the president of Didi, a former deal maker for Goldman Skunks, raised 3 ba ba ba billion for this business – that’s a juggernaut. Along with ride share, it is selling car loans: easy, because the app drivers themselves are prime customers – and make available test drives of new cars; very popular. Who wants a salesman up their ass?

    It has also partnered with LinkedIn, so, if your interests are not prurient, you could get other kinds of business done. Win, win, win.

    The “vision” of Arbutus as a transit corridor is uninspired. The streetcar should have a tourist component; a market; meals ready – maybe even a bar. Is it Prague or Budapest that already has a bar street car? Very cool.

  19. Good boy Feng Yi, a 19-year-old international students from Beijing, did not stage his own kidnapping..

  20. Pointing a finger at so-called developing countries for being corrupt is a red herring.

    Who almost brought the world economy to its knees? Indonesia? China? Or was it the financial fraudsters in the U.S. with their CDO’s (collateralized debt obligations; CDS’s (credit default swaps); securitization; bogus AAA ratings by the rating agencies who later, at hearings, said: “It was just an opinion”; investment banks betting against the very rotten products they knowingly sold, that were subsequently insured by the Ponzi AIG. The list goes on. Bailed out by people who lost their jobs and homes while these criminals walked away rich.

    Which country has the largest incarceration rate in their for profit prison system? In which country are eggs considered unsafe to eat unless cooked because of salmonella? Which country has the most disgusting factory chicken warehouses and fecal feed lots? Which country had the mad cow outbreak? What about Maple Leaf Foods?

    We are misled by corporate controlled media that the bad guys are “out there”. The nation state is a fuzzy concept. Transnational corporations are cut and dry.

    • The scenarios you painted sure sound like a dog’s breakfast.

    • What you say actually used to make sense, until I start reading VCI.

      But anyways, people are easy to manipulate and corporations & gov’t don’t pay those psychology PhD a few hundred thousand a year for no reason.

  21. It’s an odd sort of duck – the taxi industry – the bastard child of transit; a platypus. Proles exploiting proles and even PhDs.

    Should “medallion” owners be bailed out for their business decision? What is the contractual obligation? That can easily be sorted out. Many “medallion” owners don’t actually drive, so dry your tears. Let Über or Didi or Lyft kick in some bucks and kick them out, or give them jobs. Get on with it. Disrupt.

    I have no personal stake; haven’t taken a taxi in at least 30 years. Some things are just obvious. It’s not the only industry that needs to be shaken out like a dirty carpet.

  22. EAST

    East Van MacIntosh Team of two has hooked a West Side listing – and it’s underpriced by a mil. Somebody’s pissing themselves laughing. That’ll pay for a lot of ads.

    And the Emerald Chub has picked up another condo. Still has the quiet, non-thru, close to the graveyard listing.

    Bob Brackish is in as usual with his niche of investment properties. Clever.

    There’s an ad by Trassolini for crafted and “curated” homes. Do they mean curated in the British sense of clergy assisting rectums?

    And there’s a full page of Medallion Mugshots in the Courier ad rag for Macdonald Realty. Why can’t they be more creative and have some Emerald Chubs and West Side Weasels?

  23. Have been saving agent come-ons coming in through the mail.

    Favourite is Denise Mai: 3/4 frontal photo; dressed in white; crease at the inner thigh; lipsticky big seductive smile. Bio says she does a lot of hot yoga. That’s what I look for in an agent.

    Ad asks: CURIOUS?

    Come on. Definitely.

  24. A radical proposal to fix Vancouver’s real estate crisis: Build high — really, really high

  25. Wonder what home prices are like in the world’s #1 tourist destination – Paris? What kind of towers are being built there?

  26. I thought I’d take a first-time look at VCI, and what do I see?

    space889 is listed as a candidate for banning. Hahahaha. Looks like I’m not the only one who smells bullsh*t.

  27. New owners of Vancouver four llCentre Towers is splurging US$13 billion on new bid.

    Corporate China’s feverish pursuit of foreign assets has triggered a battle for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, after a group led by Anbang Insurance sought to trump Marriott with a $13bn bid for the owner of the Sheraton chain.
    Anbang challenges Marriott with $13 billion Starwood offer

  28. Turkey of the week open house offering this week goes to the repulsive East Van property at 2016 Gravely St. The odds of this house being a legal reno are zero; and the 2572 square foot size listed? Pure deception. The nasty attic is a head thumpers paradise. The horrible basement suite doesn’t even have a kitchen fan or a counter for the fridge. Nasty. If you buy this turd for the insane 1.599M, and the city inspectors come calling later, guess who’s on the hook?

  29. Mies said: Less is more.
    Venturi said: Less is a bore.

    What would they have said about Vancouver houses – these horrible boxes with makeup? These tail-finned pretentious objects of no one’s lust – not coveted, as the specious Goldman likes to say.

    Who wants the antithesis of cozy – the “open concept” – except the builder who is spared the effort and expense of building a wall with a door while charging extra?

    Who wants to see and hear the kitchen: the gargantuan stainless steel fridge echoing over quartz counters and tile floors; the clatter of dishes; the kitchen fan sucking the life out of the room? People like to congregate in kitchens precisely because they are cozy: open concepts decidedly are not. There will be an industry retrofitting kitchen/dining/living rooms with walls.

    “Custom” is the biggest joke in building. It does however have greater cachet than “Spec House”. When is the last time you heard of a new-build called a “Spec House”, which is what all of them are? It’s the Punjabi aesthetic building for Chinese buyers. Now there’s an indigestible recipe.

  30. Great blog. Thanks for all the great information.

  31. Vancouver’s vacancy study, the ‘key finding’ it didn’t find and the vacant homes it didn’t count
    The ‘finding’ that Vancouver’s vacancy rate is in line with other cities wasn’t in new research – it was copied from a previous study and inserted in the City’s summary of latest data

  32. In 2013 the city inked a plan to develop Renfrew Ravine – the park in two parts – the upper is called Renfrew Sanctuary; the bottom: Renfrew Community. Not many people know about this bifurcated nomenclature.

    The upper is mostly unwalkable without boots; a fecund mucky mess with brambles. The lower is more civilized, but still little used excepting adolescent drug smokers and Canuses (arrogant dog owners letting their bought buddies run loose – scaring people and birds).

    A park should be treated like a church – a Shinto sacred sanctuary. There should be a legal smoking site and a fenced area for dogs – both beside the parking lot; to keep the rest of the park unmolested. The only time Canuses evince any shame or apology is when Nootka School has student field trips into the Ravine. When kids and the teacher reproach them, their butts tighten.

    The plan is to develop paths, viewing platforms, the playground, and to create areas for aquatic life . Most significantly, there is the intent to daylight more of Still Creek by removing the land bridge and replacing it with a steel bridge. This is good, but would be better if it were wood as it was in the past.

    Three years later there is visible progress – blackberries have been dug up using machinery. This is not the way Chaffin Family Orchard does it. This 2,000 acre organic farm in California uses goats. The goats love it. They’re efficient, persistent, and don’t pollute. Plus, they’re useful for milk and meat.

    You want a green city? That’s green, and it would make headlines for Vancouver beyond the crazy real estate prices.

  33. “Don’t be soft. Do you think America give a flying rats ass about you or me? America doesn’t bail out the losers. America was built by bailing out winners. By rigging a nation of the winners, for the winners, by the winners.”

    • rod_jonsson_pmd

      yes, except this time the ‘winners’ have gone a bit too far and turned too big to fail into too big to bail … they also screwed up big time on pleb management 101 … if you schlong the plebs too harshly, all sorts of weird $*#& can happen … don’t think they got this one

  34. Canadian citizen, Li Ka-shing says China property prices `Reasonable’ (Bloomberg,2016-03-17). The billionaire has been dumping and no longer holds any major property investments in China.
    Given that the Vancouver residential land price index has not appreciated 973% in the last 12 years, one can deduce that our property prices too are`Reasonable’ .
    Table 3

    • To reduce the various newsreport on this story to two simple words: “dark capitalism.”.
      For those who prefer a wordless story, here comes John Baird’s paymaster.

    • Wait, Li Ka-shing is a Canadian citizen??? Did he actually stay in Canada for more than 6 months ever??

    • Another billionaire who turned 88 this year, opines that HK house prices to drop at most 30%, while government’s land revenues to drop by 60% respectively in 2016-2017.

      Why? Because the government will not allow that the market forces take their own course.
      “Home prices will fall 30% at most from their peaks. Now they have already fallen 15%,” Lee, chairman of Henderson Land told reporters, adding that prices would not fall indefinitely due to high construction costs.
      “If prices were to fall further, the government would earn nothing through land sales… Prices should bottom out by the end of next year,” he said.

      Better known GVRD properties under his flagship are Tinseltown and International Village. Anyone remembers Balmora Surrey?

  35. This year Greedy
    Turns 88
    The greedy little Spamster
    We love to hate
    Will we shed a tear
    Have no fear
    We’ll be grinning
    From ear to ear
    The end draws near
    That is clear
    For the greedy little Hamster
    We love to hate

    the horse has left the barn

  37. Sometimes you will read that a house is European-built or Italian-built – implying a quality build. Have you ever read that a house is Punjabi built? What is one to infer?

    There is much talk now of the ecology of buildings vis-a-vis construction standards – triple glazing, HRVs, rain screen …, but the most important rubric is long term livability – the enjoyment of a house – the third element in Vitruvius’ famous dictum: Firmness, Commodity, Delight.

    The “Vanglo” house at 135 e 17th Ave was trumpeted as something special. It was not.

    The most important window in a house is the one over the kitchen sink. That deserves repeating. It is the alpha and the omega. Get this wrong and the penitude of doing dishes is like solitary confinement. This house does not have a spectacular view – just the street below – but that’s okay. There’s natural light. The problem is that the top of the triple pane blah blah window is only 5.5 feet high. So, unless you’re short, you have to hunch to look straight out. That’s crazy; so aggravating.

    The tactility of the bannister is unpleasantly sharp. One must imagine being blind and navigating a space. Fail.

    There is no laundry room. A stacking washer/dryer in a closet do not a laundry room make. Why is it that kitchens and bathrooms have become important and sexy while builders continue to jam laundry appliances into closets and the corners of kitchens? Why? Because builders don’t do laundry. If they did, laundry rooms would become like garage man caves. Important.

  38. Agents use an arsenal of absurd attributes to promote a property. Here’s a new one from Stacey “I am not a crook” Nixon for the s’hole at 2201 E 41st: “NO transformer bucket in the view & quiet inside thanks to the new windows!”
    No transformer bucket – let me call my friends and let them know: hey, Marge – come look out the back. Wow. There’s no transformer bucket. Can’t wait to tell Fred. Hey, look – no transformer bucket. I hate transformer buckets. Don’t you hate transformer buckets. Vucket the buckets. That’s what I say.
    Stacey suggests it’s a good place to build your future dream home. On 41st? Is there a nastier location? 41st and Victoria – OMG. Vucket Stacey.

  39. There is a one percenter that isn’t a psychopathic parasitic excretion of his mother’s rectum: Ricardo Semler. The rest of the billionaires should be sodomized with cattle prods until dead.

    Born rich, this Harvard educated Brazilian was given his father’s business at 22 and has not pursued the path of the Super Greedy. A good question he poses, to a roomful of billionaires, who like to call themselves philanthropists, is how many of them have paid for the building of a hospital building called anonymous. Zero.

    They all insist on having their stinking names on them – it’s great self promotion; self aggrandizement. He neglects to add that unless the money was spent on “philanthropy”, it would be lost to taxation. How many of Pattison’s 30,000 wage slaves feel good about what he’s doing with the fruits of their labour? They’d live longer healthier happier lives if they were not slaves; would need fewer hospitals. Wage slavery is death by a thousand cuts.

    Kevin O’Leary talks about a dynasty; other aging slave owners talk about succession. You will be dead mofos. Maggot meat. You are a cancer. If you believe in God, may you have the Devil ride your asses for eternity. The billboards above that pollute our land will be taken over and will read: Good Riddance.

  40. New listing in East Van at 3066 E 20 Ave @ $2.88M.
    That’s $1.32M over the July assessment.
    It’s 3 yr old house with laneway on a measly 3630sq’ lot.
    That’s $764/sq’ to move in.
    It would be shocking to see it sell for anywhere near this kind of froth – and one of the “suites” is illegal.

  41. Being house horny is a lot like wearing beer goggles – even the hole on a busy street starts to look good – a house with metaphorically hairy nipples, saggy butt and a shrill voice.

    There is essentially nothing good for sale. When there is, the clever little bunny ag nuts price it low and pretend they’re magicians when the price goes way over list. They trumpet this so that gullible sellers will list their nothing properties, conned into thinking their s’holes will also go over list. Not.

    Why is there so much effort expended to attract first time buyers? Because they’re unsophisticated. A knowledgeable buyer has a checklist of wants and needs: south facing; near Skytrain; quiet street; laneway; lot big enough to build one; near a library, pool, community centre, schools; view view and view.

    Each one of these wants and needs can be assigned a percentage value – plus or minus. City assessments reflect this. The same size lot on a busy vs quiet street has a 10-20% + price spread – and the busy street location is not going over list. Odds are it will sell for under ask after floating for a long while, like the turd it is, in this seller’s market.

    Some might say they don’t care if the lot is north facing, or an east-west orientation. They are deluded.

    Proximity to Skytrain is the first question out of every potential renter’s mouth. They’re not interested in the stinking bus. You want gollums in your skanky basement, you need Skytrain.

    If there’s no laneway you lose backyard privacy; and you have to park in front of or under your house. Fail.

    If you can’t have a laneway house, the property’s value is dropped by at least 25%.

    The view – the gold standard – regardless of age or ethnicity is critical. Ask an architect.

  42. Sold in 2014 for $1,458.000 to a 26yo then, current estimated value at over $2 million.
    One source reported the house has had 4 different owners in the last 5 years.
    Another source said it changed hands 10 times in the last 2 decades.
    Neighbors observed a drove of Ferrari and other high-end cars congregated at that address.

    • The current owner was renting in Toronto, while his property in York was left vacant.. In 2015 November, the property in York was remortgaged for $1.105 million. In between 2015 November and 2016 January, the house was used as a collateral to borrow $600,000 from three private lenders.

    • Protagonist arrived in Canada from Shenyang China as an international student, and has since became a permanent resident of Canada.
      source: singtao [2016-03-24]

  43. Mistake on the sq ft cost of 3066 E 20 Ave. It’s actually higher – an astronomical $798.00/sq ft to buy that property. Insane. It’s not even south facing and it’s not the best street; not the height of the Heights.

    Renfrew Heights climbs up from the gulley called Grandview Highway and mostly plateaus at 29th with a bit more altitude going up the Skytrain route to Joyce Station. 29th Ave sucks because of the traffic and most of it doesn’t have a view. 28th Ave is better, but still lacks views.

    27th Ave on the south facing side is the premium location both for the sun and for the views. It is on the crest of the hill. The north facing side, though so close, does not get the views even though it’s 3-4′ higher – it is blocked by houses on the other side.

    Oddly, the school catchment is split down the middle of the street. The south facing side is Nootka School; the other is Norquay School. The Nootka side is preferable not just because of it’s arts program, but also because the library/community centre/pool is on the way. When you walk your kids to school a couple of thousand times this makes a huge difference. Huge.

    The best part of 27th starts half a block west of Nootka Street and runs to the Ravine where there’s the pedestrian land bridge. 26th is also excellent in this regard. These blocks are so quiet you can lie down in the street; or play badminton. Some people do. Badminton – not lying down.

    The avenues below 27th drop precipitously. In a car with no gas or brakes, you’d be hitting at least 60km/ by the time you reached 20th Ave: 70 + by the time you reached Grandview. This is the significance of Vancouver topography – the top of the hill is the penthouse view.

    2066 E 20th does have a good view of the mountains, but with its laneway house at the back, the main house is going to get a lot of shade.

    This is a sliver of a genuine comparative analysis – not the nonsense ag nuts pick off the net – comparing sold prices of a turd on Namaimo St to a quiet residential. At least 90% of houses for sale are on turd streets. Always.

  44. “New” listing at 2955 E 29th for $1.19M – it sold just last year for $1.025M – a bump of $165K, but it has new “paints”. Offers submitted on Monday – odds are it will go over even though this location sports two massive cedars that ensure the house will be in perpetual shade. The good thing about the trees is that they afford you a modicum of privacy because there’s a bus stop right in front. A busy street – and a bus stop – talk about amenities.

    We explored the massive new River District development yesterday – took 30 min. to get there on bicycles. By transit it would have taken 40 – plus getting to and from the bus stops and waiting for the loser cruiser – figure on 1 whole hour just to go one way. Transit sucks. It does not work. It’s an expensive boondoggle and would go the way of the dodo if it wasn’t so sexy to city planners and profitable for developers.

    Cell phones + car share – it’s the new technology – it’s the right thing to do. All those private cars sitting around – they should be used. Our streets are littered with parked cars. We could reduce the number of cars on the streets – and free up parking. How many people drive to work by themselves? Stand and count – almost all of them. Shame on you. Why are there so many psychos on the road? Because they’re by themselves in their expensive cocoons. Pupate you idiots!

    How many seniors would be happy to become car share drivers?

    Remember the last time there was a transit strike and buses stopped clogging the streets? Traffic flowed. It was amazing.

    The River District: if you like living 4m above sea level; looking at a muddy river; hearing the constant din of machinery; putting up with canuses and smokers in the strip of “park” – this is the place for you. To compare this master planned development to Yaletown is like comparing Rotten Ronnies to In-and-Out; polyester to cashmere; Victorian architecture to an industrial park.

    The ag nuts will be in overdrive on this one.

  45. It is deplorable how the most basic tenet of kitchen layout – the work triangle – is routinely ignored.

    You should be able to reach your fridge stove and sink with, at most, a pivot. No, a pivot is not an 8′ kitchen tool. There must be no passageway between these critical three. It’s dangerous and unworkable unless you live and cook by yourself.

    There must be counter space on either side of the sink and stove; and space beside the fridge for landing provisions. Get this right and the cooking grind is less so. This is not rocket science.

    The sink must face the best view window – ideally one canted on the corner to create maximal diagonal views. That would leave the fridge and stove on either side.

    The sink, backsplash, and drain pan should be a restaurant quality piece of stainless – not some absurd piece of granite with holes cut through it and all that other tile nonsense. Whose idea was that idiocy? It will go the way of orange shag carpet and green toilets – along with all those ugly stainless steel gurgling buzzing farting fridges.

    If you do want a piece of stone counter for aesthetics or pastry rolling, fine, but keep it as one solid piece. To cut holes in it for a sink and faucet? That’s insane – and they’re almost impossible to reuse.

    What we so often see now is a sharp angled kitchen island between the work triangle, so not only do you have to constantly scurry around it, but it’s a real hazard for kids. Some people glue soft objects to the corners so their kids don’t bash their heads. How’s that for an upscale look.

    All builders should study Universal Design. They should also try sitting in a wheelchair to see how they get in out and around the nasties they’re building. Buyers could do the same. That’s a real acid test for liveability. Pretty much everything being built today fails.

  46. “In short: capital flight from China has created a massive housing bubble in cities like Toronto and Vancouver.”
    “according to National Bank’s Peter Routledge who did some “back of the envelope” calculations, fully one-third of all Vancouver real estate purchased in Vancouver last year was bought by Chinese investors.
    “Chinese investors spent about C$12.7 billion ($9.6 billion) on real estate in the western Canadian city in 2015, or 33 percent of its C$38.5 billion in total sales,” Bloomberg writes, ..”

    • Comparing Garth’s title “REALLY” with that of the major Chinese blogs “Vancouver is like a Swiss safe-deposit-box, Chinese tu-hau bought 1/3 of all houses sold in 2015.”

  47. Breaking news from Zhejiang, famed for its Wenzhou house-fliping investors in the GVRD in the last decade.
    China has uncovered its largest underground banking network involved in transferring 900 billion yuan (HK$ 1.07 trillion or US$138 billion approx.) abroad in 2015, using dozens of foreign companies with NRA (non-resident accounts) in China. .

    At the same time, new policies are being launched to curb uncontrollable housing bubble in 1st and 2nd-tier cities, with each city implementing its own restriction to cool the housing market.

    Good news is that Vancouver real estate market will benefit from this spillover effect of capital flight.

  48. Open (town) House at 3455 Porter St. – $1.099M: near Trout Lake.

    Sandwiched between Vroom Vroom Victoria Drive; an alley with the ass end of commercial buildings with razor wire parking lots; old folks homes; and the Expo Line, this gem is highly resistible.

    Sit on your south facing deck and listen to the Skytrain squealing past; wave to the oldsters; gaze at the grungy alley – the good life.

    Inside is like a movie set – a weird movie. It’s “open [bad idea] concept design”. Just in case you don’t get the idea that there’s “design” involved, that word is repeated three times in the same sentence:
    “This home has an open concept design … , modern design … , and a flowing floor plan which incorporates well through-out (sic) storage and design elements.” These are good reasons to hate it besides the execrable location.

    The fridge has its own yellow turtle shell – a nod to the quaint notion of enclosure – you know, like those days when real carpenters built real walls and doors to kitchens. A yellow turtle shell for the fridge – someone has been taking psychedelics.

    There’s a stainless steel covered eating island. Who on Planet Earth asked for this – to rest your elbows on a sharp angled piece of metal. Nobody wants this. Wood with a comfortable roundover – that’s what normal people want.

    The backsplash is stainless – that’s good, but the counter around the sink, illogically, is not. And it faces the wall. Did this hopeless “designer” ever do dishes? Guess we’re just not hip to their “modern design, open concept design, design elements”. Maybe the “designer” just doesn’t have a clue.

    The kitchen hood is a microwave combo unit. On the face of it, these seem good – space efficient, but try using one. They’re very awkward. Try cleaning one – dirty micros is the number one reason they get turfed. There’s a lot more effort involved in replacing these expensive puppies than just waltzing down to a big box.

    And where is the laundry room, i.e. laundry area – not happening. It’s a crapper stacker in a closet.

    “Designers” and builders must wear ankle bracelets and do dishes and laundry for six months before they’re let loose to inflict their bad ideas on innocent people.

  49. rod_jonsson_pmd

    decision_2016 <- best_reality_entertainment_ever
    # and the participants get to command real world economies
    # and massive nuclear arsenals!
    # pffft! …

  50. Spotted a for sale sign in front of 2781 E 27th – not yet on the net. It sold in 2011 for about 650K; then in 2015 for 825K. What will the bump be 13 months later? The agent has zero listings besides this one so she’s going to fight tooth and nail for a double ender. What kind of a whack job picks an agent with no listings?
    House and property were last assessesed for under a mil – the house is valued around 12K. Great location but for the fact that it’s adjacent to the Hungarian Presbyterian and will be forever in its shadow. The side of a church is not considered to be a view. Creepy.

  51. 2781 E 27 Ave: after purchase in 2015 at $825K it was offered as a build to suit: house + laneway for $1.699M. Didn’t happen. 13 months after purchase it’s listed for the Walmart price of $1,298,233. Was there ever a more convoluted price – very tricky – as if 3 dollars is an issue with a million-plus listing. Playing with buyers’ heads.
    That’s a bump; a bounce; an all star punt of $473,000. after 13 months of ownership – over $36,000./mo – over $9,000./week.
    The photos of this prize no doubt were difficult – how do you squeeze out a church that’s 8 times bigger than the house? Interior pictures – not worth trying; back yard- no pictures, Whalley worthy as it is.
    Open house this weekend: Get your shoes off and elbows out.

  52. One of the things slimeball ag nuts do is put 9999 for the age of a house – as if that’s unimportant. Case in point: 1917 E 22. Let me sweat my nuts a couple of seconds looking it up: 1910. Boy, that was tough.

    The list price, at least, is honest – ridiculous, but honest: $1.5M. It’s a good little 105 year old house with no yard and no view. The walk to Skytrain is 14 minutes – a bit far – you wouldn’t be happy humping groceries back home.

    Judging by the pics, the house is Chinese-owned – they know the value of south-facing and aren’t giving this puppy away. At half-a-mil over last assessed, getting a mortgage is not in the cards – need lots of cash at the table.

    Like the corner cantilevered bay – not many of those around – requires real carpenters. Stunning view of the neighbour’s roof and chimney – can’t get enough of that. Can’t tell what the kitchen sink faces – odds are it’s not good.

    This part of 22nd is okay but for the twice daily crush of soccer mom suvs ferrying their elementary school cargo. Overall, it’s a decent location – but that price is a bolus.

  53. Study reveals foreign real estate investors profile (with infographic)

    Collier International – During the second half of 2015, foreign investment in the Canadian commercial property market reached US1.4 billion, an increase of 143% over the same period the previous year. US funds accounted for 48%, closely followed by China funds at 42% a big jump from 5% in 2014.

  54. Last week’s listing at 2955 E 29th Ave which was bounced $165K from when it was sold just last year has been jacked within the week by another $165K – that’s $387K over last assessed – $1.35M for a house on a busy street with a bus stop in your front yard. Dreadful.

  55. The puzzle in this week’s real estate war zone is 21 Malta Place. It is clearly heavily renovated including a massive parallam between kitchen and l.r. The listing states that there’s also a new two bdr suite. It states that this massive structural reno is recent – not if it’s legal. If it is legal, this property is underpriced by $400-500K. Who is the ag nut? There’s nothing “about Bill Dritsas”: no listings; no info – nada. If the listing is legitimate, it was sold before the ink dried on the contract. Check with City Hall before springing for this one – or not – the list is way below lot value.

  56. This May, MICC will resume its QIIP (Quebec Immigration Investor Program).
    Out of the 1900 applicants accepted, 1330 will be allotted to Chinese investors each with a net-worth of $1.6 millions and above.

    QIIP differs from Federal IIP and other Provinces’ PNP as follows:
    1) Successful investors are not required to babysit a business in Quebec, they only need to put down the money stipulated. by Quebec.
    2) Quebec still allows investors-applicants to obtain a bank financial option without contributing the full amount of C$800,000. In reality, each invetor only need to cough out a lumpsum of C$200,000+, and the bank will take care of everything.

    The bank gets a lumpsum of $200k+ hassle-free interest money for the next 5 years, Quebec receives $800k from the bank. Meanwhile, the investors head for Vancouver or Toronto, and they wait for the next rounds of QIIP gravy trains to arrive

  57. The chart below is from the Economist “For whom the bubble blows?” dated March 12th.

    Three weeks later, scmp (March 20th) and now iFeng (April 5th) reported home prices plummeted in Shanghai and Shenzhen since the weekend before last. – some by as much as 14% overnight drop in price..
    In Shanghai sales have decined 40%. With the new rules in place, 30% of buyers who are on-residents will no longer be eigible to purchase a home in this city.

    Why is this news relevant? Because the 30% buyers may be looking to buy in Vancouver and Toronto now, since our policy makers are sticking to the 18th Century laissez-faire economy to win friends.

    • Hey hey, there, easy, are you suggesting that we are at this valuation because of chinese buying? I didn’t know that, I thought we are here because locals leveraged the farm. So foreign investment should have relatively little effect on this market. Why do we bother even looking at China? There is little correlation between Chinese money and Vancouver market, it’s just a few neighbourhoods that the locals couldn’t have afforded to buy anyways, like the entire west side.

      Oh and the QIIP, who cares, there is no chinese trying to come here from Quebec, that’s just a myth. Don’t look here, nothing to see, keep on focusing on local leverage as your lead story please, it will all get solved in due time on its own. Dont’ focus at all on the effects of foreign money cause you are just barking up on the wrong tree.

      • If we could get into a pitbull fight over something so mundane as real estate, this blog would generate more traffic than the other one guided by the Ottawa sage. I saw the “2009” coming, however I did not put all my eggs in one basket but it turns out well in US$ property.

    • Oh and btw, you are racist for suggesting that the Chinese has anything to do with our prices.That’s just not acceptable, we should never single out a group of people like that.

    • Website run by Shanghai-based company lists Vancouver properties before buyers can see them on the MLS public site
      “A Chinese-language website run by a Shanghai-based company is listing and arranging tours of Vancouver residential properties, and splitting commission fees with local agents.”
      “ gives its users a jump. It features information about properties, translated into Chinese, from the Multiple Listing Service site used by real estate agents, ahead of when buyers can see the listings in English on the MLS public site..”

  58. Billionaire owners of Vancouver’s Aspac Developments are in the news again.
    #River Green (Richmond) #Harbour Green Place (Coal Harbor) #Waterfront Place (Coal Harbour)

  59. One trend in Vancouver is to take a Van Special, tart it up, and sell it on, to wit, 3208 Euclid (numbers rounded for clarity): listed 8 months ago for $1.1M and sold in a week for $100K over: $1,198,888. (How’s that for well thought out offer), which is almost exactly actual assessed. The listing of the time said the property had been renovated.

    It has been renovated and listed again – the blurb piles it on thick – even more odoriferous than the repulsive sneaky peak crew and the price has jumped to $1,890,000. – up almost $700,000K.

    It is not a great location. Vehicles never stop passing by – making the connection between Joyce and Rupert – two of the nastiest streets, and because it’s a corner lot the stop signs will ensure you will never relax. There is no view. There is no garage. There is no laneway house – never will be because there isn’t enough room.

    You do get a new chain link fence – feebly disguised by cedars. And the house and chimney have been painted black to hide the original ugly stucco. There are bigger windows and doors. The soffits have been replaced by wood. The inside is white white white. Look how airy this shithole is.

    The backyard is gravel and concrete with a little pressure treated gardening box – about as appealing as lip locking your grandmother.

    There’s a Pods storage container in the street outside. As soon as someone pops for this turkey, all the staging materials are going to be out of the house and carted away before you can say OMFG this was a bad idea.

  60. Oops, got a couple of numbers wrong – it actually sold 8 months ago for $200K over list, so the renovated bump is closer to $600K – still in the realm of the ridiculous.

  61. How may golf courses did they buy in B.C., if any?
    FGI*, a donor to Donald Trump’s election campaign, is being investigated in China for financial irregularities. FGI bought properties in the U.S. (including 40 acres land, 27 golf courses, hotels, luxury residences & yachts) at low prices, and then sold them at inflated prices to its Parent Company** in China. It is not considered a crime in the U.S. or Canada since the cash flow appears legitimate.

    * Founders Group International
    ** Easy Richness Group

    • ** Easy Richness Group
      Aa few of its 500+ branches, murshrooming in the mon & pop neighborhoods all over the country.
      5% up to 24% potential returns

    • Good for all political election campaign coffers, the donations had to be in cash. Undoubtedly all the golf courses and development lands bought in the North America are paid for in cash too. All winners here, since the funds collected from depositors in China had dissipated in thin air, and their North American subsidiary companies with no business record information are but shelf companies.

      Para#2 – “Easy Richness, had its accounts frozen by authorities as it was accused of taking deposits illegally. “

  62. Real estate ‘chaos’ sends millennials scrambling before they’re priced out

    • [NYT] – Chinese Scions’ Song: My Daddy’s Rich and My Lamborghini’s Good-Looking

      …”Asked what his parents did for a living, Mr. Jin said his father was a successful businessman back in China but declined to provide details. “I can’t say,” he stammered with evident discomfort.”…

    • Here is a tongue-in-cheek recommendation offered in liueu of #5 on ways to save for a downpayment in Vancouver.

      “Moral principle is a looser bond than pecuniary interest”

  63. The post about the killing of Julie Paskal in Newton is painful. Imagine her 16 year old son coming out of the arena to find out that his mom’s head had been bashed in.

    Ricardo Semler suggests asking three why’s in business to get at the core of an issue. If we ask: Why did this man bash her head in? To get money. Why did he need money? To buy drugs. Why does he need drugs? That’s the core of the issue.

    The most important book ever written about drug use is: Chasing the Scream. Clearly, no amount of policing is going to change drug behaviour. Neighbourhoods will be destroyed; lives ruined. Police will go home after their shifts and have a couple of stiff ones – their drug of choice. City planners don’t live in those neighbourhoods.

    So, a mother is dead. A family weeps. The killer is now in prison – costing taxpayers a million dollars. Before, his economic value was nothing.

    Let’s just address the tobacco drug. Is there a drug user that doesn’t smoke this legal poison that is pimped by vile businesses – from corner stores to drugstores? A tobacco addiction is a $5,000./yr habit. Where does that money come from? As a start, why not have registered tobacco addicts get their supply free from the manufacturers and sellers – as a condition of their being permitted to continue in this putrid business. It will save people from being mugged and murdered. It’s a start to saving neighbourhoods.

    • Let’s not call these people “investors”. Financial fugitives and speculators, yes.

      • It’s very hard to say really, there certainly is a lot of questionable money but you have to understand that it is almost impossible to become rich in China without doing some form of what we would consider to be corruption here in the West. So to me it’s hard to say one person’s money is clean while the other is not.

        Speculator part, there certainly is some, but I bet you a lot of them just want to get their money out from the crackdown cause in a communist country god knows justice is a bit of a loosely defined term. So making zero percent is a lot better than making negative one hundred percent.

      • I detect a tone of reason in your writing. Is this the same Brian??

      • It’s the same, false alarm dude.

  64. Tip of the iceberg ….
    On the brighter side, if these properties were purchased with corrupt monies, China might split it 50:50 with us.. $^_^$

    The Yunnan Connection
    Re: Point Grey, 4100 West 48th Street
    Owner: Huaican REN

  65. The Yunnan Connection
    Re: various properties in BC & SK
    Owner: Gang YUEN (diseased

    ZeroHedge is onto this piece as well.

  66. There is no denying that the Central Banks policy of easy money encourages purchases of shares and property, inflating asset prices. However, all the state bailouts and negative interest rates have not come to the rescue of a global “Lost Decade”. They are seen as either clueless, or passing the buck around.

    Negative Rates Around the World: How One Danish Couple Gets Paid Interest on Their Mortgage
    In Denmark and Sweden, savings accounts pay nothing and real estate is booming

    By Charles Duxbury and
    David Gauthier-Villars
    Updated April 14, 2016 10:14 a.m. ET

    AALBORG, Denmark— Hans Peter Christensen got some unusual news when he opened his most recent mortgage statement. His quarterly interest payment was negative 249 Danish kroner.

    Instead of paying interest on the loan he got a decade ago to buy a house in this northern Denmark city, his bank paid him the equivalent of $38 in interest for the quarter. As of Dec. 31, his mortgage rate, excluding fees, stood at negative 0.0562%.

    It has been nearly four years since Denmark entered the world of negative monetary policy, and borrowers and lenders alike are still trying to make sense of the upside-down world it has brought.

    “My parents said I should frame it, to prove to coming generations that this ever happened,” said Mr. Christensen, a 35-year-old financial consultant, about his bank statement.

    Denmark isn’t the only place where central bankers are experimenting with negative rates. The European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan, grappling with stagnant economies, are using subzero rates to stimulate growth. Switzerland and Sweden, like Denmark, are trying negative rates to keep their currencies in line with the struggling euro.

  67. One of Pee-wee Herman’s great double entendre lines is that everyone he knows has a big but. This “but” can be useful when looking at real estate; that or the more wistful delusory “if”.

    E.g.: It’s a convenient location, but it’s on a crap street; or, it’s a great old house, but just painting it is going to cost a fortune; or, it’s got a great roof, but it’ll cost 50K to strip, sheath and shingle.

    The “if” gets traction in lines like: If this house was on x street it would be worth y. The reality is that the house is on Poop Street. No amount of pretending is going to move that lump. Why are there so many houses for sale on Poop Street? Because builders can buy the lots comparatively cheaply. Wistful house horny buyers are blinged by the granite countertops and blinded to the fact that thousands of vehicles are polluting their way past. Life will be hell. There will be lots of turnover.

    There are five houses for sale on 29th Ave E in Renfrew Heights. Why are there so many? Three of them have the exact same ludicrous price which evidently the genius agents pulled out of the same asshole. It’s because 29th Ave is a Poop Street along with just about all of the other listings like Nasty Nanaimo and Skanky Slocan.

    Maybe this is how agents can justify their commissions. To be actors. To keep a straight face flogging these nightmares.

    Note: Eviston, who has mastered the art of making sellers think he can conjure up insane bids regardless of the quality of a property’s location (not going to happen), hasn’t been advertising for buyers. Buyers, in this market, are a pain. It’s all about nailing a seller.

  68. An interesting comparison is in Falaise Park between 10 Dieppe Place and 50 Dieppe Place – two houses literally feet apart. #10 is 20 years old – the list is $900K more than #50 which is 68 years old. Which is the better buy?

    Although #50 looks like a nothing sandwiched between Specials, it is a vastly superior purchase. Vastly. The problem with #10 is that it is T-boned by one alley, and flush with another. The house, as good as it may be, is raked by the headlights of cars and could be penetrated from the side. Theoretical, unlikely or not, this is a fail. Unnerving. Better to spend the two and a half mil elsewhere.

    Falaise Park is an odd duck of a neighbourhood. Steep. Very steep. Lots of parks. Kind of like it but wouldn’t want to live there. The locations near Brutal Boundary Rd, Godawful Grandview Hwy and Rotten Rupert St are to be avoided. The part along 22 Ave also totally sucks.

  69. Shanghai Avg $ / sq m = $24,000 CAD
    Vancouver Avg $ / sq m = $4,000 CAD

  70. There are actually 6 houses for sale on 29th Ave, Renfrew Heights. No matter how proximal to Skytrain, schools, parks, etc., a quiet location trumps all – no sane person wants to live on a traffic street. Now is their chance to get out. Stick it to someone else.

    Poop floats in a sellers market.

    But, there’s a but.
    If zoning changes – “the big if” – then the houses closest to Skytrain could have a value spike. Like to gamble?

  71. The little nothing house at 2781 27 Ave E that was listed last month for the insane price of $1,298,233. has been dropped by $218,233. to $1,080,000. – with offers invited. Case in point for why we see agents as bullshit artists. Bullshit specialists. Bullshitting bullshiters.

    If the government can sell property by bid without an agent excrescence why not private sellers. It can be an open or sealed bid; with or without a reserve. It’s simple. Transparent. No bullshit.

  72. The piece of garbage Van Special at 3208 Euclid listed last week at $1.9M has been reduced by $10K. Be still my beating heart. It would take a drop of $250K to get traction on this turkey.

  73. Unknown. Did it sell, or was it taken off the market? At any rate, if the ask was $1.18M, that’s way too low. It’s a choice spot.

  74. You guys are worth a chuckle. These dumps will be selling for 500K before long.

  75. 295 30th Ave E – an Excremental Special: sold exactly two years ago for $950K – now listed for $1.98M. Absurd.

  76. The Walrus Magazine has a front cover real estate article in the May issue. To summarize: foreign investment – China, China, China. It mentions that no one wants to be accused of promulgating fears of a “yellow peril”. Quack quack quack. The article is pregnant with talk of China. Like listening to Donald Drumpf.

    Why doesn’t anyone talk about Pattison? Nothing, nobody, has impacted the city like this former curbstoner. It would take an earthquake and a tsunami to compete. Why do we let some geriatric pollute our visual world with billboards and enslave thousands in garbage jobs for his megalomaniacal entertainment. What a bunch of dumb-ass sheep we are if we flush money his way. What is his stake in Vancouver real estate? It is huge. Why is so much energy expended sleuthing “foreign” investment? The culprit is here.

    There are different forms of dictatorship: religious, military, political, economic. An economic dictator may not put a bullet through your head, or torture you until you confess, but he destroys your life nonetheless. Imagine a life without hypercontrolling dictators.

  77. Apparently, novelist Frazer Nixon is a fan of ‘Jimmy’:

    “We didn’t know it, but Vancouver in 1983 was at the end of its old life as a logging town, a railway town, a pioneer boomtown.”

    It’s baffling to consider how long it takes a populace to realize its City has changed (me included).

    Think of all the ‘smart’ people who have failed to recognize what was happening right before their eyes (Bing Thom is a definite exception). Clinging to their old prism, they try to bend reality into a shape that somewhat resembles their preconceptions. The deafening miasma of cognitive dissonance overwhelming their ability to acknowledge what has happened to their Old Town.

  78. So, Greedy Jim says: You gotta wanna.

    Everyone wants a decent life. No one wants to be a wage slave. No one wants to compete on a playing field where the odds are you’ll be crushed. Greedy Jim has parlayed curbstoning to corporate raiding. It’s his game to beat everyone into submission and feel full of himself for doing it. Cash is king and he’s loaded. Kowtow everyone.

    The big difference between Greedy Jim and Chinese investors is that they’re bringing money in instead of him sucking the life force out of Canadians.

    How much more does he control than these scary investors? A thousand times more? Who knows? Don’t point the finger at “foreign investors” until you acknowledge his foot stuck up your ass.

  79. To analyse the value of the house on the cover of Walrus Magazine: 2236 25th Ave E. – an ordinary post war box. It was listed at $2.198M. Yes, sounds crazy. Last assessment was $1.349M, so, a bump of $849K.

    Topographically it’s very good – on the Vancouver plateau – people are always willing to pay a premium for altitude. View trumps altitude however – there’s none here.

    Orientation is North – not as good as South, but infinitely better than blinding baking East/West.

    Proximity is good, but an 18 min walk to Skytrain is too far. Likewise, it’s too far to walk to the library. Depending on your tastes, you might have a hard time finding a food store.

    The most important proximity is the distance to the surrounding horrible traffic streets of Victoria, Kingsway, 33rd, and 41st. It’s excellent – good distance to all this poison.

    Sound: It’d be wise to stand there at different hours – if the neighbours are good, it’s a good location.

    There are two salient attributes that the magazine neglects to mention: it’s a duplex lot; and it’s oversize: 6171 square feet. Those are rare. The list price works out to $356/sq. ft. If a lot this size had a view; if it was close to Skytrain; if it was walking distance to other amenities; if if if, the price would be much higher.

    It’s an area with a bit of character – not bland like Falaise Park and excellent if you’re a cyclist. Thumbs up if you bike.

    The editor writes that the median price of a Vancouver house is $750K – off by a mil – must be the slip of a Freudian bear.

  80. When was the last time we heard someone quoted “Cash is King!”?
    Forget CPI. Inflation has gone through the roof. A family member bought a farm in the Okanagan area in 2005 for half-a-million dollars, the asking price now is ten times the purchase price.

    Oh, and that famous last word!
    “On Wednesday, the NDP’s Mike Farnworth asked Liberal Premier Christy Clark in the assembly if she thinks “it’s fair the offshore speculators get first crack at homes that hard-working British Columbians are trying to save for and buy?””
    “Her answer contained a little verbal grenade. “As the member knows,” she began, “people from around the world (live) in British Columbia, which is still a free market … until we make that great leap forward, we are still a capitalist society where people can invest from around the world.””

    • Booooommmmm…… let’s all LEAP toward good socialist society where every home is solar powered and equal pay for all regardless of ability, good job NDP, way to fumble the ball again. I am kind of loving it.

    • No fan of Christy, but that’s some good wordsmithing.

      NDP is an ossified politburo of careerists and lifelong bureaucrats – can’t get out of their own way.

      “Hey, let’s demonstrate our (in)competence by launching a controversial campaign in the most inhospitable province in the country while we fire our leader in front of national media.”

      • #lesseroftwoevils

        At very least with Christy you know what you will get. Has there been scandals? Sure, but she has done very well for many people’s wallets. If you are right of center, you know who you are voting for. With the NDP, god knows what you will get. They can’t even get their own platform in order. Frankly just make up your mind whether you are left or middle and stick to it. Hey, if you do love the LEAP so much, go for it. I would love to see how many people want to go full socialist in BC right now.

  81. China’s residential lease/land-use rights span 70 years, whereas the industrial and commercial lease/land-use rights expire in 50 years and 40 years. However, in some cases lease/land-use rights last only 20, 30 and 35 years. This policy was introduced and implemented in the 1980s.
    To re-apply for a land-use certificate, some home owners are paying now about one-third to half of the sale price.

    Imaging paying $200,000 for a 20-year land-use rights, a homeowner is in reality a renter. This would make GVRD freehold condos very attractive.

  82. Someone of my acquaintance once “leased” a space off Commercial Drive. The duration? Two years. That’s not a lease – that’s a joke. Worse, he bought out the craphole business that was in there to get this nothing lease. Plus, he paid to fix it up while paying rent.

    The landlord proceeded to ratchet up the rent – eventually tripling the original amount. Bye bye business. There are lessors, lessees, and patsies.

    In the greatest culinary memoir ever written, Blood, Bones, and Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton mentions her New York lease was for thirty years. That’s a lease – enough to make a living, sell out, prepare to croak.

  83. Ian Young never fails to regale, The gist of the story with lurid details:-

    a) 1075 & 1059 Nelson Street, valued at C$15.6 million by BC Assessment, was sold for C$60 million and promptly then lipped at C$68 million,
    (owned by a company, with an address of a penthouse in the downtown Shangri-La Estates. Peter SHE was the director then, before the directorship changed to GAO Shan – presumably the real owner.)

    b) 5826 & 5860 Tisdall Street, valued at C$11.7million, sold for C$30million.
    (owned by a holding company “5826&5860 Tisdall Holding Ltd”, whose directors are Suncom president Davidson GUO and Denise Dan Wei SHE.)

    c) Richmond’s Silver City entertainment complex changed hands with C$103 million worth of shares.
    (owned by “14111 Entertainment Blvd Investments Ltd”, Davidson GUO and Denise Dan Wei SHE.)

    As Mr, SHE (Peter) only acted as an interim director in the first property deal, perhaps Mr. SHE (Denise) is in an acting capacity as well until the real owner(s) showing up in due course when the coast is clear.

    • Vancouver Disconnection: A Stampede in the West End
      April 21, 2016
      by pricetags

      Ian Young has produced another remarkable story for the South China Morning Post.

      The implications are profoundly disturbing. Not only is the real-estate market disconnected from local supply-and-demand considerations but increasingly the ability of the City to plan for its residents looks to be threatened. When the West End plan was being considered a year or so ago, no one imagined the deal outlined below: a 60-storey tower priced out of the realm of even affluent Vancouverites, valuable accommodation being left empty, and unimaginable pressure being put on the West End and its affordable housing stock.

      This will only add to the seismic forces that are building just under the surface, waiting for a political earthquake to shake the status quo – that sense that our leaders, public and private, are incapable of responding or, at higher levels, do not care about the consequences.

  84. What’s the bet this little plot of prime RE will be put under the hammer and sold to RE developers. Notice that the assessment value went up to $86M while VSB can collect at best $2M/yr in rents.

    • I am not familiar with that area. Kingsgate Mall has quite a reputation. The leaky Gardenia Villa is just 8-minutes drive away. If VSB can attract local quality developers, that will be great, and negotiate to own and operate themselves the first ten to twenty commercial floors, with the developers selling off the condos on the higher floors..

      • I used to live there when we were poor immigrants and back it was a working class neighborhood with the usual problems. I think the last few years they did some minor reno after the VPL Mt Pleasant branch moved out. It is still a working class area without any of the brand name stores. The area I think maybe got a little bit worse in terms of homelessness and druggies.

        It is actually a very nice & large area that’s bordered by Kingsway, Broadway, & Main St. There is more than enough room for a few towers + a complete 3 or 4 level malls & 1 or 2 office buildings. If VSB does the smart thing and develop it themselves, they can rake in a lot of rent $$$$.

      • I used to pick up pirated dvd movies (the copyrighted dvds took too long to appear on store shelves) from the then King Edward flea market. I now regret not putting my money there after listening to a friend who grew up in that area that it was infested with gangs. Personally, I find the neighborhoods around there vibrant with real personality types, unlike the pretentious Yaletown, False Creek.

  85. Kingsgate Mall is an s’hole. It’s anchored by Greedy Jim’s skankhole Buy Low Sell High. It’s a thoroughly depressing place whose only saving grace is the liquor store. It used to have the second crappiest library after Kensington – patronized mostly by those who couldn’t afford the internet at home. Now both have new locations and are much improved.

    Buy Low Sell High – sticking it to you. Can’t believe people shop in this overpriced dump. How entertaining for Greedy Jim.

  86. Just when you think you’ve seen everything – the turd of a house at 2781 27th E has a couple of new pictures – agent is obviously working hard; so very very hard. Linda Tom is sweating bullets.
    One shows the kitchen sink facing the wall with three house plans taped to the cupboards in front and on either side. And there’s a stunning box spring visible through the doorway leaning against the wall. Talk about a view. The contract sheet is on the counter. Odds are if you want this puppy you have to buy the whole package.

  87. I clicked on this one first – some nice 2011 pricing there…

  88. 3227 21st Ave E – post war nothing box – listed at $1.48M = $419/sq ft. has the Prize for worst kitchen: “Let’s shoehorn in a massive stainless steel fridge and stick a stove alongside the passageway. Counter space? We don’t need no stinking counter space. We got stainless. If they want to cook that’s their problem.”

  89. The area adjacent to Kingsgate Mall – north of Broadway between Main and Knight is seriously nasty; chock-a-block with three storey walk-ups. Had acquaintances who managed one of these buildings – lots of drugs users.
    You used to be able, just a dozen years ago, to buy a condo for well under a $100K – it was that undesirable. The big change is what’s happening on the other side of Great Northern Way: BCIT and Emily Carr. They’re changing the tenor of the area. There’s a bit of spillover from the Olympic Village building frenzy as well – so close, but much cheaper for these old walk-ups. Doubtful though that this area will improve significantly in a normal lifetime. Better to invest in Wacky Whalley.

  90. Piece of crap Van Special at 3208 Euclid, listed at $1.89M, has a sold sign. Shock and awe – the neighbours must be soiling themselves. That’s an insane price for this turd. Shocking. There will be many more rat rodded Specials when the renovators catch on to this – way easier than building new, or struggling through go the permit process to put up a mutant laneway.

  91. The blurb describing this turd is so over the top – shovelling it with a bobcat. Gotta see who bought it – sold on the first Open House – the second was cancelled. Insane.

  92. Toronto in the late 80s reminisced about someone we knew. He bought a waterfront condo and when its price dropped by half, his parents had to bail him out. I always suspected that the story was repeated to me for the moral behind it.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    What’s That Sound — an Echo?
    April 23, 2016
    by Ken Ohrn

    On July 15, 1988, Michael Salter wrote in the Globe and Mail on the hot, hot housing market in Toronto. Familiar echoes in this of the media frenzy now going on in Vancouver. The differences are almost as interesting as the similarities.

    What rings the big bell for me is the analysis point that real estate was seen in 1988 as a good investment due to poor stock market performance.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  93. 4143 Boundary – a 59 year old box on one of the worst streets in the city – @ $500K over last assessed. It would be agony to live here. Buy it? Are you crazy. Garbage. A garbage location.

    • Sure, garbage until it’s land assembled then upzoned to C2 and resold for 4 times the current price then 8 houses become 24 townhomes or 48 condos. This is how real estate works. It’s land value. Nothing else. The house and location are irrelevant.

  94. In the last couple of weeks, news of a wanted Yunnan real estate developer fled to Vancouver has been circulating on the Chinese media. Reportedly after spending $50,000, he assumes the high-profile post of Vice President of the United Chinese Association of Canada, where the murdered businessman Yuan GANG was the Vice-Chairman of the same association. He is also said to have donated $100,000 to chair the 1029 Cafe of CCSF (Canada-China Sports Foundation).
    His name is phonetically “FAN YanJia”, however there was only a Bobo FAN in this CCSF photo, which appeared in the story.

    On August 17, 2015, CCSF (a non-profit organization according to their Facebook account) was led by both the Chairman (FAN YanJia) and Vice-Chairman (YANG) to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of their Seattle MIRADOR project. The MIRADOR is a joint-venture with Seattle developer Daniels to construct high-end condos.

    • On October 11, 2011, an electioneering dinner for 300 people in support of Wang Jin as a Burnaby city councilor was hosted entirely by FAN Yanjia and other volunteers.

    • From the last photo-op write-up, Canada-China Sport Foundation’s (CCSF) vice-chair is Yáng HóngPéng, aka Tom Yang of Seattle’s Create World America, a subsidiary of Create World Group.Beijing. The group has an impressive Ad that spans from Santiago, China to Seattle. Its silent but powerful persuasion includes Li Kashing, who has been dumping his real estate holding in China, and China’s top developers acquiring and developing real estate abroad.

  95. The dwarf house at 2781 27th E has a yo-yo price. A month ago it was $1,298,233; then it was $1,080,000. Now it’s $1,388,233.

  96. Vancouver’s China Syndrome – a Karin Wells documentary

  97. It tells you that the price of land is going up because a) we’re not making any land and have supply constraints and b) more and more people want to move here.

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