Crucial Question: Will People Be As Eager To Buy Homes If Prices Are Flat Or Dropping?

2017-jan-change

The average price of a Canadian home sold in January was $470,253, just 0.2 per cent more than the same month a year earlier.
The Canadian Real Estate Association reported Wednesday that sales were down by 1.3 per cent during the month, to the second-lowest monthly level since the fall of 2015.
New government rules designed to crack down on speculation in the mortgage market came into effect in October and January’s numbers suggest they appear to be working.
“Canadian homebuyers face some challenges this year, including new mortgage rules that make it harder to qualify for a mortgage and regulatory changes that will push up mortgage financing costs,” CREA president Cliff Iverson said in a release.
“It will take some time to gauge the extent to which these challenges will weigh on home buyers in different housing markets across Canada.”

‘Average Canadian house price barely increased in past 12 months’, CBC 15 Feb 2017

Longtime (and long-suffering) readers will recall that our premise has always been that, in markets such as Vancouver, people have overextended themselves to buy homes at prices far above fundamental value because they anticipate ongoing outsized future price increases. This is why we have called all buyers ‘speculators’. A significant price stall or pullback will test this hypothesis. Will buyers still be eager to overextend with the prospect of ‘barely increasing’ prices in future?
Speculators are almost all momentum buyers; they hate assets that are falling in price.
– vreaa

148 responses to “Crucial Question: Will People Be As Eager To Buy Homes If Prices Are Flat Or Dropping?

  1. Almost everyone I know who bought housing to live in themselves aren’t really counting on outsized future price gains. They don’t want price to fall but at the same time, they aren’t expected crazy price gains going forward either. They just want a home they can live in, have some control over interior deco, and can afford on a month to month basis.

    • I’m with Space889 on this one. If I were to buy, it would be to secure my place in the city– not to get rich.

      Mind you, if prices were flat or dropping (which they are, for what I’m looking for), my sense of urgency would be much weaker, as has been the case since August.

  2. I like how vreaa calls all buyers speculators. So I guess I am speculating when I bought my principal residence so that I can do whatever I want to my own place, not getting kicked out of my own place cause some douche wants to sell the place for a quick profit, and provide some form of stability for my family. I guess it is hard to comprehend that some people might want a stable place to call home and not have to worry about losing control of a strong element of family. If that is how you define speculating then sure, I love speculating, it is a very important element of my life actually. I am thankful I speculated. Speculation is great, everyone should really try it, but know your limit and play within it.

    But I agree with M. If it goes down or flatlines I suspect those who wants to buy to live will still buy but they will be much more picky and far less urgent than when the market is going straight up.

  3. It would be interesting to have statistics on those who do treat real estate as a business: the renoflippers; the new builders; the buy and holds. Out of the approx. 20 sales near us over the last 12 years, maybe 7 fell into the spec category – 4 of those houses sold twice in a year; 2 were new-builds; 1 is a buy and hold – it will be torn down – there’s no way the rental comes close to carrying the mortgage.

    • [FT] – Trump’s Canadian venture highlights conflict of interest fears: Vancouver development risks violating the emoluments clause in the US constitution

      …”Joo Kim Tiah, the son of one of Malaysia’s wealthiest tycoons, sat on stage in the summer of 2013 as his new business partner announced their plans for a C$360m luxury condominium-hotel project on Vancouver’s most prestigious downtown thoroughfare.

      With characteristic salesmanship, Donald Trump bragged that the 63-storey glass tower on West Georgia Street would be “one of the great buildings, not only in Canada and the US but anywhere in the world”.

      Mr Tiah, chief executive of Holborn Group, his family’s Canada-based property development company, was similarly effusive, saying the Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver would one day “become a new symbol” for the city…

      …The Vancouver Sun recently reported that wealthy locals as well as foreign buyers have purchased units. One investor is a company called KMF Property, whose address the Sun linked to a home “owned by Sou Lam Fong, the founder of CHTC Fong’s Industries, a Hong Kong-based manufacturing company”. CHTC Fong’s majority shareholder is the Chinese government.

      Norman Eisen, a former White House ethics adviser, says the connection with Beijing could represent a violation “since in essence a cut of any foreign emoluments are being passed through to him [Mr Trump] personally. That is the consequence of the president’s insistence on hanging on to ownership of his businesses”.”…

      https://www.ft.com/content/50495b2c-f1d7-11e6-8758-6876151821a6

  4. If the market goes into crash mode, which I don’t believe it will anytime soon at this low inventory level, people wouldn’t feel so pressured to buy with no conditions or getting into bidding wars. Frankly that’s a good thing! A balanced market that gives both buyer and seller ability to give and take some is good.balanced market that gives both buyer and seller ability to give and take some is good.

  5. If RE crashes, a lot of the people will be worried about their job. At that point, only the rich with cash can buy. Middle class buyers will still be priced out. Existing homeowners will likely facing a lot of financial pressure. How does that kind of environment make this city a more livable and affordable for young families?

    • What if your job has nothing to do with a housing crash?
      Why would I be worried in a housing crash?

    • Sure if you work in gov’t or a crown corporation with good old iron bowl job security.

      25% of our economy is now related directly or indirectly to RE industry. A housing crash will not simply be confined to the RE / construction sector. It will ripple through the entire local economy with devastating effects. Heck, even if you live entirely of things like exports, tourism, English students, you might still likely to be affected.

      • rod_jonsson_pmd

        –begin semi-incoherent rant
        /%
        housing cannot be a primary industry – a stable config needs to produce enough in excess in order to spend a fraction of that on housing itself … the smaller the fraction, the wealthier you are … that is why the whole country is in big bad trouble … jt has no idea the pile that’s going to fall on him … and he wants to open the doors wider too? how long is that wait list for non-urgent procedures now? … the libs have some nice dreams, give them that … but they have no clue how to get stuff done … there’s no end to what they think they can do with other ppl’s money … if you consistently operate where the rubber meets the road, you get conservative (small c) real fast … it has all been enabled by abnormally easy credit (both -ve real rates and deliberately busted lending standards) plus external flows, which it turns out are also driven by abnormally easy credit … for bc and vcr to maintain these prices, ppl will need to keep bringing their cap acquired elsewhere, even if there is nothing for them to do – it can’t stop or else … as a former westsider who grew up there when parts were still blue collar, have to echo ej’s sentiments … every current or former resident i know who made out fine, or even great, – it’s really been like a lottery ticket – they all hate what’s happened … complete disaster and we haven’t got to the worst part yet … if any place could use a biblical flood to clean out and save it, that’s vcr
        %/
        –end semi-incoherent rant

    • I think that’s why we can agree that having a high percentage of your GDP be related to RE is probably pretty crazy.

      link: /www.investorsfriend.com/canadian-gdp-canadian-imports-and-exports/ (sorry, if I put a real link, it always goes into moderation, maybe vreaa can edit this into a real link…)

  6. It’s fun to watch the bulls flounder and rationalize and deny as the market crumbles. They’ve gone from “buy now or be priced out forever” to “it’s not about price, it’s about having control over home decor”. Lol. This market has turned and it will be a long and painful slide back to reality. This is still not understood, but it will be. Vreaa is right, everyone who has bought over the past few years has speculated on sustained price appreciation. You don’t spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars on a house if you think prices will come down, I don’t care how badly you want “stability”. But of course, who wants to admit they are the greater fool? Blame will be laid on everything other than their own greed and recklessness.

    • So the dude who bought a detached home in feb 08 is going to lose millions of dollars? Or the guy who bought in march of 10? Or hell april of 12? Right.. I thought so too…

    • One thing is clear, you are priced out forever. Based on what the landless said, the bears also have been speculating on their housing status, and their lives too; they speculated a trajectory 64.59% crash. Unfortunate for them, it never happened. A condo in Hope might be too much for their reach, no need to talk about Vancouver.

  7. 3240 Napier: 7yr old 2084sq’ house listed at $1.66M – question being, why did they build at .6 instead of the usual prairie dog basement .7? Could it possibly be because it sits on the massive Boundary Road Bog? Imagine the tiny size of these rooms when you have two suites on the ground; 6 bdrs total. Not even a laneway house and the incessant penetrating whine from the TransCan – this is a horrible deal, yet, if it goes under last assessed, it will contribute to the perception of falling prices.

  8. 1754 Gravely: 6,600 sq’ duplex lot listed at $300K under last assessed. Odds of you buying it for that – zero. Then the agent will drum up more business by crowing about how it went for so much over over ask.

  9. 5838 Fleming: painful to contemplate that this is considered top end of the East Van market. For $2.538M it should invoke lust – instead, it’s repellent. Shame really – I’ve taken my kids to Tecumseh Park – it’s a very civilized area, and for a cyclist, it is tops.

    Imagine – $650K down and $10K/month. Ludicrous. It’s not that some people can’t come up with the cash – there’s tons of money looking for a home – but who would want to?

    • I just Google-Mapped it. The “street view”
      picture was taken August 2015. It was for sale then too.

    • Same rodent also has 2 virtually identical new-builds listed in Burnaby – looks like the same set of plans as 5838 Fleming: 7135 and 7155 Dow Ave – $2.438M each.

      Some rodents funnel properties that are still liveable to builders, so that they can collect off the first sale, and then a get a second crack at selling when the new house is built; screwing the sellers and potential buyers of liveable older homes. More and more of these rodents are part of vertically integrated family enterprises – from the demolition, to framing and finishing, to the sale.

  10. Rent, invest the difference, and do better financially over the long haul. Now THAT’S looking out for your family. Brian won’t get it, but maybe someone else will…

    http://www.humbledollar.com/2017/02/money-pit/

  11. In the summer of 2008, a builder bought a lot value property at 3008 26th Ave E for just over $500K – a horrible high traffic location – idiots routinely wrap their cars around poles along here.

    He worked like a dervish – amazing – put up a rock solid Van Spec and two car garage in a matter of months.

    He put it up for sale at the end of 2008 – just as the market tanked. It sold in 2009 in the cruelest month of all: February, for a measly $755K. Fail.

    The trickster who bought it turned it into an illegal student rooming house – even jammed two bedrooms in the garage. He was flying high. It was a revenue machine. Then he got busted.

    The clever weasel sold it just before having to rip out all of his improvements- leaving the country the ad said – in 2011, also in February, for $870K.

    The new buyer thought he was getting a deal – buying into cash flow. Didn’t do due diligence. Bought into doo doo. Had to rip everything out.

    But, time heals real estate wounds. It’s up over $600K since then.

    • “It’s up over $600K since then.”

      It’s not up anything until it is sold and a gain is realized.

      • You can say the same thing about stocks & bonds you invest your rent difference in too.

        Yeah, yeah, I know, you can sell those things in a heartbeat with less transaction cost, etc, etc, etc. True, but I seriously doubt you are watching the real time market second by second, nor can you beat the microseconds speed of HFTs. So by the time you get that alert email about a price drop, you are already another 5%, 10%, 20% too late. Micro-crashes happens in seconds now in the market.

  12. China’s currency controls cause 84% drop in Chinese investment in foreign property:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-fdi-idUSKBN15V0DB?il=0

  13. @El Ninja – so it’s bad if house price drops and the buyer loses say $300K over 10 years. But renting for 10 years and paying $200K+ in rent is not a loss?

    And bears speculating on a house price drop isn’t a speculator? But a newly minted owner who just wants to own is? Because presumably people only buys on assumption of price appreciation? Seriously?

    Look at any big RE market crashes elsewhere – US, Ireland, Spain, Japan etc. Transaction volumes didn’t go to 0 ever. People still bought all through the crash and afterwards.

    Oh wait, I know, it’s because those buyers are all speculators morons catching a falling knife. But bears are rational beings who has prescience and knows everything, and most importantly never ever speculate on an outcome.

    Please….

    Just for the record, even if I know house prices will drop say 30% of a 10yr period, I would still buy. Why? Cuz, the loss will be about the same for me as renting, but I get benefits of ownership (and costs, yes). But again, I’m not buying my primary residence with hopes of hitting a lottery. It’s a cost of living like all other expenses.

    • this concept is very difficult to understand by el ninja and the likes. otherwise, they would not whine and bitch all the time about the landless status.

      • You know you live in a trailer park when you take your dog for a walk and you both use the same tree.

    • “Even if I know house prices will drop say 30% of a 10yr period, I would still buy.”

      You don’t understand the concept of opportunity cost, do you? The “cost” of renting is compensated for by the return earned on the invested difference.

      Anyway, this line is a classic double-down on a failing narrative. Bulls have gone from “I need to buy because prices are going up” to “I need to buy even when prices fall”. Suddenly it’s no longer about being priced out, it’s about “home ownership”. Quite the about-face.

      • Uhmmm..I think it’s you who don’t understand opportunity cost – the cost of not doing the next best thing with your money – which isn’t always investing your down payment into the market. It might be appropriate for some, but not all.

        We are talking about regular home buyers who wants to own their residence. Not bulls who are gunning for huge price appreciation. A value stock buyer doesn’t buy a stock expecting it to go up a lot. Value buyers are buying for relative safety and income. Thus, the buyer isn’t necessarily buying because he’s a stock market bull. I can’t believe this difference is so hard for you & other bears to understand.

        Also, there are many type of risk. One of them which gets most people isn’t the downside crash risk, but rather volatility. Stock and bond markets can get pretty volatile, while housing market generally aren’t that volatile over the long term. That’s why people have more success investing in housing than they do in stock markets. Frankly, outside of major bull markets, most people lose money in the markets. We are lucky to have huge CB liquidity supporting the market and crush the vol in the last 8+ years. That doesn’t mean stock market is always better housing market nor does it mean everyone can be an investing genius.

    • It’s more complicated than that. In your scenario the buyer would have paid $400k in mortgage and other expenses over that time but also accrued money in the value of the house despite it going down.
      If the renter had saved and invested the money he would have needed to cover buying then he would absolutely be much better off over 10 years if the house price had gone down or even stayed the same.

    • [CBC] – Donald Trump’s sons to attend grand opening of Vancouver tower

      …”Two of U.S. President Donald Trump’s sons have been confirmed as attending the grand opening later this month of a new hotel in Vancouver that bears their father’s name.

      Public relations firm Talk Shop says Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump will participate in the invite-only event at the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Feb. 28.

      The $360-million building, which has already opened to the public, has been the site of protests, including a women’s march, in recent months.

      Mayor Gregor Robertson sent a letter to the tower’s developers in December 2015 asking to drop the Trump name, writing that the city is known for its diversity and equality while Trump was calling for a ban on Muslim people entering the U.S. as a candidate for the Republican party’s nomination.

      The Trump name was not dropped but an online prankster temporarily renamed the site Dump International Hotel and Tower on Google Maps in November.”…

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/trump-sons-vancouver-1.3985648

    • [FT] – China Inc hits brakes on foreign property investment: Spending plunges 84% as regulators battling capital flight target ‘irrational’ deals

      …”Foreign property investment by Chinese companies plunged by 84 per cent last month, as Beijing’s capital controls choked off the flow of foreign acquisitions.

      In an effort to curb capital outflows and ease downward pressure on the renminbi, Chinese regulators have in recent months imposed a series of restrictions on outbound dealmaking. The curbs came after outbound investment in non-financial assets surged by 44 per cent in 2016 to a record $170bn.

      The restrictions have had an effect. Overall non-financial outbound investment fell 36 per cent in January from a year earlier to Rmb53bn ($7.8bn), the commerce ministry said on Thursday, following a 39 per cent drop in December.

      The commerce ministry did not reveal actual figures for January, but the sharp slump in foreign real estate investment comes after an overall 53 per cent surge last year to a record $33bn, according to separate data from JLL, a global realtor.”…

      https://www.ft.com/content/787d0834-f405-11e6-8758-6876151821a6

    • Look at all those red delicious money….yummy…

  14. 3545 28th Ave. E: Quite the little post war craphole tract house – coming up for sale for at least the 7th time since 1994. Recent no permits reno – lots of debris in the butthole back yard still showing on google maps. Towered over by a huge neighbouring deck. How to feel small after laying out $1.29M.

    • [BetterDwelling] – Chinese New Year Sales of Vancouver Real Estate Down 78%

      …”Chinese New Year has always been a popular time for buying property, especially around the Greater Vancouver Region (GVR). In fact, a survey from Chinese real estate portal Juwai said that almost half of Chinese New Year travellers would consider purchasing property this year. While that might be the intention, the barrier to move capital out of China was raised much higher last month. So we checked in with Vancouver real estate agent Aaron Best to give us a peek at this year’s numbers. This year’s numbers show fewer buyers of Vancouver real estate during the lunar new year than previous years.

      Detached Home Sales Decline 87%

      Sales of detached homes had the largest drop during this Chinese New Year vs the years prior. Just 119 sales were logged this year, an 87.28% decline from last year. The average number of sales during this period going back to 2012 is 563, which leaves this year 78% below that number.”…

      https://betterdwelling.com/city/vancouver/chinese-new-year-sales-of-vancouver-real-estate-down-78/

      [NoteToIllustriousEd: Reference lede illustration… “My bad.”]

    • These people need to get their real estate mojo on.

  15. space889 says:

    “Even if I know a house is going to drop 30% I would still buy”.

    That’s about as sincere a statement as, “I would still be attracted to her if she were fat and ugly.”

  16. Arnie Carnegie, can you believe 1966 Kitchener Street? 2016 assessment was $1,325,000 listed for $1,699,000. I can’t believe real estate agents waste their resources on these listings.

  17. You mean William St. I’ve been through this area thousands of times.

    List works out to $680/sq’. Given a choice between this and a Coal Harbour condo, I’d take this. But with its tiny lot, no view, no suite, no garage, no lane … I wouldn’t touch it even if I had lots of cash.

    The agent has tons of room with which to hammer the seller on price. It could come down $400K and still be juicy for the seller. The agent’s name is Hammer – he gets a lot of mileage out of that.

    Most agents will list a donkey for a million. Eventually the ass will sell.

  18. I dunno. Maybe the market is crashing, but there is very little in the way of inventory coming online right now. Just saying…It might not be this year.

    • Question: could that be because everybody who would normally sell and then buy a bigger home (i.e. climb the “property ladder”) can’t afford to do so? And could it also be that, after years of sustained and dramatic price increases, owners are psychologically blind to the possibility of a significant downturn, interpreting the latest “weakness” as a mere blip in the greater glory of Vancouver real estate? If either of these theories is true, and if the market continues to deteriorate, watch for a flood of listings. Aspirations of climbing the property ladder will be replaced by aspirations of not losing one’s shirt.

      • The whole game theory idea behind RE crashes seems trite. My conjecture is that anyone who tried to sell last year got great prices, and there are fewer relistings as a result. Anyways if there is a crash coming (I’m sure there will be one at some point), it is unlikely to be 2017 in my view.

        What really sucks is people will have gone over 10 years waiting for prices to drop and now they’re 10 years older. I expect few in retrospect wouldn’t have bought if they had to do it over, save a few who have convinced themselves that renting is their bag.

      • Well, hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it? But foresight isn’t, and that’s all that matters.

        Not sure about game theory — just looking at the numbers. “Mover-upper” homes have gained more in price than starter homes. Aspiring mover-uppers may thus feel trapped.

        And can it really be argued that markets, and ESPECIALLY the Vancouver RE market, are not driven in large part by collective moods? After years of abnormal price gains, it seems unlikely that sellers will be as aware of the possibility of a major price decline as they might otherwise be. Recency bias, in other words.

      • Yes I agree that every year hat passes without a severe correction, the fewer people who witnessed a correction will be around to warn us.

        It is fascinating to contemplate what will be the trigger for Vancouver to hit the skids. It appears to be the Muhammad Ali of housing markets… I am not discounting the possibility it will take HHF to subside before people wake up, in other words another 5-7 years

      • the best thing for your to do, hide in mama’s basement, no lose no gain.

      • You are losing while hiding in your mama basement cuz every year housing gets more expensive and more out of reach, while your remaining life expectancy gets shorter.

        It’s like in UP, by the time they finally saved up enough to buy the tickets to South America – their childhood dream adventure place, the lady is too old and sick to go. I bet a lot of hardcore bears probably feel like that now.

      • space889 speaks from experience, apparently.

      • You mean that he has watched the movie Up? That’s experience for sure.

  19. Also re. 1966 William St: It was built 108 years ago – no rebar in foundations back then. Foundation work = big bucks.

    The attic looks like extra space – it’s not. If you think you can develop it you’re delusional. You could haul small items up the ladder for storage, but that’s it. Don’t step on the ceiling joists.

    And there’s no upside – no possibility of upzoning or land assembly.

    • With endless such “reporting”, Arnie is like the guy on the bus talking to himself.

      That’s the internet, though. Brings out the crazies.

  20. 2821 McGill St: a stunner of a house. Shockingly repulsive in and out. Builders who have no clue about aesthetics or layout. A massively priced turkey in an absolutely horrendous location.

    On the plus side, it’s nice to have consistency between a ridiculous facade, a stupid interior, a freakishly hideous street, and an absurd price. Nothing redeeming whatsoever. The owners have hit it out of the park with this one. Top pick for turkey of the week.

    • Arnie, that house on McGill is awful. To top off your apt description, the photography is also terrible, with strange issues of panoramic effects which results in an aspect ratio that looks … wrong … for several of the photos.

      And what a hideous exterior… And that “feature wall” in the living room? Egads.

    • The builder bought the property less than 2 years ago for $800K. He could have built it out for $500K or less – the location isn’t worthy of more than that; then listed it for $1.5M, and be thrilled to get anything remotely near that. Instead, it sits in all its mishmashed pretentious fakery. Pity the rodent that has it listed – his one and only property for sale – lonelier than the Maytag repairman. Waiting for the phone call that will never come. Getting dressed up to hold open houses that feel like an eternity.

    • [G&M] – One-quarter of detached Vancouver homes could be torn down by 2030: study

      …”Given the recent, rapid rise of Vancouver real estate values, half the single-family homes in the city already have relative values below 7.5 per cent, which Dahmen and fellow number crunchers say creates a more than 50/50 chance the house will face the wrecking ball.

      They say that by 2030, if relatives values continue to plummet, 25 per cent of all single-family homes could be replaced with houses that maximize size.

      “It’s not clear how that will help affordability,” says fellow researcher and mathematician Jens von Bergmann in a release.”…

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/25-per-cent-of-detached-vancouver-homes-could-be-torn-down-by-2030-study/article34100778/

    • rod_jonsson_pmd

      pretty sad what i saw last time through … they haven’t fixed any of the roads on the westside, in 30+ yrs? … all that tax windfall is going somewhere … either a lot of absentee owners or ppl who live there just don’t care … schools looked half empty … meanwhile on eastside schools so stuffed from extra suites that ppl are not guaranteed spots in their own catchment – wonder what kind of teach ratios you get for those prices? … crash or not, the rot is clearly showing … this isn’t the kind of long-term healthy you want to be near

    • Designate every single remaining SFH as heritage home and presto, problem solved! It would drive away all those dirty HAM money who just want big huge faux cardboard mansion too, making housing prices lower and bears happy! So simple, so easy!

    • Vancouver’s heritage housing is beautiful like my children are beautiful.

    • [SCMP/IanYoung] – A Vancouver firm offers clients ‘new identities’. Its customers have included Chinese criminals: ‘Amicus is the expert you need if you wish to live a life of anonymity’

      …”At Vancouver firm Amicus International Consulting, discretion is the key to its business: providing clients with anonymity via “new legal identities”.

      Not just new citizenships and passports, but also plausible cover stories. Amicus says it furnishes clients with online profiles, “consistent … on all major social media websites”. And it advises customers on how to stick to their “legend”, with tips such as how to fake an accent without arousing suspicion.

      The company says it also arranges overseas transfers of convicts incarcerated in foreign lands.

      Who would require such a unique set of services?

      The firm promises “extreme confidentiality”. But in case studies listed on its website, Amicus says its clients have included two Chinese fraudsters involved in the theft of more than US$485 million from the Bank of China, which was laundered through the Vancouver real estate markets and Las Vegas casinos between 1991 and 2004.”…

      http://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/2073180/vancouver-firm-offers-clients-new-identities-its

    • [LAT] – Mega-mansions in this L.A. suburb used to sell to Chinese buyers in days. Now they’re sitting empty for months

      …”The mansion on Fallen Leaf Road in the secluded Upper Rancho neighborhood of Arcadia has all the trappings a wealthy buyer from China could want: a crystal chandelier in the entryway, marble floors, a home theater outfitted with a dozen reclining leather chairs and, naturally, a fortuitous eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms.

      At $9.8 million, the recently built property is a relative bargain. A similar-sized home in Beijing would cost twice as much.

      Yet two months after it was placed on the market, the house remains unsold. Not long ago, real estate like this would have been snapped up almost immediately.

      “It would have been gone in two weeks with multiple offers,” said Dee Chou, the property’s listing agent.

      Other real estate agents in the area report luxury homes geared toward Chinese buyers taking up to half a year to unload.

      “All agents are crying that the money isn’t coming,” said Sanne Lee, an agent for A + Realty & Mortgage in Rowland Heights.

      At the same time, high-end home seekers who plan to take out loans now have a fighting chance as they compete against a smaller pool of cash buyers.

      The turnaround in activity, industry officials say, is directly linked to policies in China.

      The San Gabriel Valley, long the destination of Chinese home buyers looking to provide their families a better living environment as well as safeguard their wealth in American assets, is feeling the effects of Beijing’s crackdown on capital flight.”…

      http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-san-gabriel-housing-20170223-story.html

    • This is a stunningly repulsive house. Hopefully Vancouver’s builders won’t see it and get even more stupid ideas. How do I hate it; let me count the ways. I hate the cancerous arched protuberance with the fake keystone hanging over the too thin columns. I hate the double doors. I hate the chimney. I hate the shitpile mix and match roofline with assymetrical inconsistent dormers. I hate the Juliette balcony. I hate the garage doors – imagine that section cut out and you’ll have a better sense of the absurdity of this beige booger of a house.

  21. 5594 Chester: bought 1 yr ago for $1.385M – this below-grade near the bottom of a hill viewless dung heap has had the renoflipping beavers treatment and can be yours for $1.998M. Conveniently located near the graveyard, Church’s Chicken, and the bus. Interior has been staged to a high DTES standard. Rodent’s blurb gets high marks for bs content.

    • On the other hand… 88 East 46 Avenue. A little old tear down.

      It isn’t on MLS so I asked a neighbour realtor what it was going for. She had to call the listing agent personally to find out.

      Sold in May 2016 for $1,970,000 to a person my neighbour believes is a builder. He put it up for sale again in December 2016. His preference is to “build to suit” a 2800 sq ft home plus laneway house for $3 million plus taxes. He might sell it as a building lot but is reluctant to do so for less than he paid plus PTT and other expenses.

      Since tear downs in the hood are now only asking $1.5 (who knows what they are getting) he is dreaming.

      • Actually, just went on Realtylink and it seems “asking” is still $1.9 in the neighbourhood. Last I looked it was lower.

  22. Looks like he paid $171K over ask = $489/sq’, just before the 15% foreigner tax – that double eight address must have had him cranked. With half a million down that will run $8K/mo in carrying costs. Ouch. This is an alligator. Don’t see it on Realtylink though. The location is very good, but even with a new-build selling at $3M, profits will be slim.

  23. This play by play “analysis” of individual properties is either an attempt to appear in-the-know, or it’s the rantings of lunatics. If the former, unconvincing. If the latter, sad. In either case, a distraction from the broader realities facing this most diseased of real estate markets. The prognosis is not good!

    • It’s very irritating for the landless or condo-less to listen to these kinds of RE conversation, especially at a party or gathering. Rather hide under the table, or wear a mask!

    • [SCMP] – In landmark ruling, Vancouver homebuyer is ordered to repay millions to China’s Citic Bank: Bank pursuing unpaid loan wins US$7.3m ruling – but Chinese buyer could still profit from real estate purchases

      …”“There are so many more cases with similar facts of foreign nationals from China who owe vast amounts of debt in unpaid loans that are parked in other countries, that I suspect the floodgates will open to pursuing recovery of those debts. Much of that money is in Canada,” said Duhaime in an interview.

      “In our case, the Citic bank is owned by the government of China and so it seems to me that there is greater significance in a successful outcome.”

      She said the ruling could “put a bit of a damper on outflows to Canada from China in cases where there are questions hanging over the way the person acquired their wealth”…

      http://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/2073272/landmark-ruling-vancouver-homebuyer-ordered-repay

    • [G&M] – B.C.’s empty home problem moving beyond just Vancouver

      …”Part of the empty-home problem is speculative buying, which can take the form of a flip, a property to be held, or used as short-term rental, such as Airbnb – as opposed to a dwelling that doubles as an asset over time. In Vancouver’s downtown – where Coal Harbour is 22.2-per-cent empty or non-resident occupied, and the census tract east of it is 18.2 per cent – the effect of short-term rental and seasonal use is probably playing out. But other, less obvious Vancouver neighbourhoods also show signs of emptiness.

      The Marine Gateway neighbourhood has a 24-per-cent non-resident rate, as does Joyce-Collingwood, which is an urban-oriented transit hub. There are 609 empty or non-resident units in Marine Gateway and 791 such units in Joyce-Collingwood neighbourhood, which is Vancouver’s densest neighbourhood. That translates into 24.4-per-cent non-resident homes.

      The census data was analyzed and compiled by Andy Yan, the director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program. Mr. Yan has been studying the empty and under-used homes trend for the past nine years.

      “Speculation is one of our prime suspects,” says Mr. Yan. “We don’t know why, but we know it’s concentrated in a few neighbourhoods.”

      For many, empty or under-used homes are tangible proof of the commodification, or financialization, of housing. There are those who will argue that an increased supply is necessary to subdue the market, to remove the pressure of scarcity. However, housing markets in what Mr. Yan calls “hedge cities,” such as Vancouver, are fuelled by an unprecedented wealth coming from outside. Without addressing the speculative nature of the market, how much effect will supply have?”…

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/vancouver/bcs-empty-home-problem-moving-beyond-just-vancouver/article34130746/

      • Most of the speculators, which includes some my high school classmates, are probably local speculating with local money. Unless only people born in Canada of proper heritages are considered locals, while everyone else is a foreigner.

        Regardless, these moron bulls are winning so far and sitting on 2 to 5 years of after tax income in tax free capital gains.

  24. 3512 Point Grey Rd: open house Feb 27/28, 2016 – listed at $1.79M – sold Feb 29 for $2,400,100, i.e. it sold before the open. The $100.00 tacked on to this insane price is telling – the bidder thought to elbow out anyone else rich and insane enough to offer $610K over ask.

    This 2 bed 2 bath sits on a minuscule 1,577sq’ lot in Point Grey’s “golden mile” = $1,522/sq’. This locally born and raised purchaser is renovating.

  25. 5891 Boundary Rd: the purple masterpiece. The house with virtually everything in one room: kitchen, washer-dryer, living room set, exercise bike. One room has three cloth wardrobes worth at least $50.00. Another room has an upside down bicycle beside the bed. Outstanding decor. You too can live on a truck route for just $1.2M.

    The owners bought this purple pustule 20 years ago for $234K. Has to be worth more than that now.

  26. 4672 Clarendon – bought early 2015 for $845K as a scraper. Decent location; near Skytrain; a bit skanky, but not a crazy busy street. No view, and worse – no lane.

    It has morphed into a duplex. Buy half a house for one and a quarter. Buy both for two and a half. Live large as a landlord near Church’s Chicken; the discount bread store; the Syrian refugees at 2400 Kingsway Motel.

    • [CBC] – Native ‘sisters’ post Craigslist ad looking for ‘full status donor’

      …””We haven’t had a lot of success with dating either Native men or non-Native men. We’re just ready to have kids and want to cut through all of that and get to the good part about raising kids together,” one of the women said.”…

      http://tinyurl.com/jb62fyy

      [Note to IllustriousEd: “My bad.”…]

      • rod_jonsson_pmd

        quick question … how will they verify sample matches donor?

      • Yvrhousing

        It’s posts like these that get us into trouble…Donors may be anonymous but are not entirely random either.

        I had heard one can be status but can also be excluded from participation in certain extracurricular activities for somewhat complicated and uncomfortable reasons…

  27. After weeks of zero new house listings in Renfrew Heights, there are finally a couple: 3075 19th E @ $1.178M = $113K under last assessed; and 3369 23rd E @ $2.78M = $914K over last assessed.

    The first is a liveable old timer in a superior location – a rare as a hen’s tooth agents screwing the seller listing.

    The second is a typical unpleasant Van Spec at the ass-end of Chong Lee Grocery which is slated to be demolished and developed into a pile of cheap multi-family housing.

  28. 2255 Turner St: You’d be hard-pressed to find a more dismal depressing property than this one. People live like this? Yours for one and a quarter million.

  29. 3239 Fleming St: renoflating beavers at work lipsticking – bought June 23/2015 for $850K – now listed for $1.399M = up $549K; $888.00/day for 618 days.

    Great location if you enjoy the view of a parking lot for a kindergarden and the hustle bustle of devoted parents plugging the street for their precious cargo. For the rest of us it’s called: Hell next to a Catholic school.

    House has the weirdest arched doorway.

    • [Tyee] – How Global Elites Profit from Unaffordability: And why they make it harder to fix Vancouver’s housing crisis.

      …”“If you have an understanding of where the wealthy are putting their money… you can potentially glean insight into how investment trends in the future will pan out for a broader range of people,” said Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank. Right now, elites are pouring money into real estate. And that is why in cities like Vancouver, Bailey added, “you are seeing governments and local authorities trying to manage the impacts of wealth flows on local market affordability.”

      This is a relatively recent phenomenon. The first major financial organization to begin tracking it was Citigroup. In 2005, it coined the term “plutonomy” to describe the rapidly widening wealth divide in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. In such countries, Citigroup argued in a series of now famous reports, “there are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take.” And then, it added, “there are the rest, the ‘non-rich,’ the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.”…

      https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/03/03/Global-Elites-Profit-Unaffordability/

  30. im one of those vehicle dwellers. Work on Vcr Island for a property developer, park in his Office Admin lot, no less. Loves my cheap labour.

    Got a daughter in New west. She’s 3 inches taller than me, thin, blonde, beautiful. You swarmy mothfckers touch her, i’ll give you a cigar, good luck.

    Houses and rent are for idiots (you knew that was coming), unless you got kids under 18… that is all.

    • [G&M/KATHY TOMLINSON] – British Columbia: The ‘wild west’ of fundraising

      …”Lobbyists and other power brokers are routinely buying their way into British Columbia’s political inner circles by donating generously to the party in power several times a year, a practice industry insiders consider the cost of doing business in a province with an entrenched pay-to-play culture.

      …Those unfettered donations would not be allowed almost anywhere else in Canada, because most other provinces and the federal government now have annual caps on how much individual donors can give. B.C. has almost no rules governing political donations, making it a holdout and an outlier and leading many critics to brand it as the “wild west.”…

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/wild-west-bc-lobbyists-breaking-one-of-provinces-few-political-donationrules/article34207677/

    • [ChinaDaily/Europe] – Chinese investors buy 35% of residential land in Australia

      …”In 2016, Chinese investors spent A$2.4 billion purchasing residential land in Australia, accounting for 35 percent of all Australian real estate trade, according to Knight Frank, a global real estate consultancy company.

      That’s an increase of 9.4 percent on the previous year.

      Knight Frank’s report said the amount of real estate bought by Chinese consumers was seventeen times greater than in 2012.

      “The three most popular cities in Australia among Chinese investors are Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane”, said Yang Dong, general manager of an investment company in Shanghai.”…

      http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2017-03/04/content_28432686.htm

  31. Interesting article on “retired” short seller chicken farmer Vancouver real estate bear Marc Cohodes in Bloomberg, Feb. 9, 2017.

    Terms like “short and distort”, “bear raids”, “front running” – head of one brokerage says shorting and recommending selling is morally wrong and should be illegal.

  32. 3568 Falaise Ave – a listing languishing for an eternity at the ask for the moon price of $3M – now “dropped” to $2.68M. It is still a ridiculous price for a property last assessed at $1.827M. So this shows up statistically as prices dropping.

    • [VancouverSun/SamCooper] – Landmark ruling for Chinese bank can’t be collected from Metro Vancouver homes

      …”A Chinese bank has won a landmark ruling against a Chinese man who allegedly disappeared from China with an unpaid $10-million dollar loan in 2014, and quickly purchased four Vancouver-area homes.

      China CITIC Bank won a freezing order against three luxury homes in Surrey last summer. But the bank won’t be able to collect payment against the properties in the case…

      …The three Surrey homes bought in 2014 and originally subject to CITIC’s freezing order have been sold and “collection remains difficult,” according to Christine Duhaime, the Vancouver lawyer who obtained the so-called Mareva injunction against Yan’s B.C. assets…

      …“They said that the homes were owned by a trust, and that there is a beneficial ownership structure,” Duhaime said in an interview, explaining Yan’s application arguments. “And therefore other people like his wife were the owners, and he wasn’t. So CITIC bank wasn’t entitled to take the proceeds of the homes…

      http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/landmark-ruling-for-chinese-bank-in-b-c-cant-be-collected-against-vancouver-luxury-homes

  33. 3371 Napier – why we hate real estate rodents. The blurb for this excrement – the only listing this loser has – proclaims: Location, Location, Location! It’s missing the word garbage in front of each of those words; or the word BOG! If he doesn’t know it’s on a bog, he’s incompetent. My guess is he knows.

    He shouts that it is on a QUIET street. The street might not have a lot of traffic on it, but it is within Frisbee throwing distance of the howling Trans Can. He also writes that it is just minutes from school, shops, and banks. With a walk score of 68?

    The honest part is that he writes: sold “As is, where is”. He knows he has a turd in his hot little hands.

    • This does look like a horrible location. Just out of interest Arnie, how do you know it’s on a bog?

      • I have a map, but you can find stuff online if you punch in keywords like lost streams of Vancouver. Plus I’ve been around these areas to identify them just by driving around and seeing and feeling the road. It’s most obvious in Richmond where light poles are tilted. Drive along Westminster Hwy and observe.

        You can also surmise that there is a bog when none of the houses have basements.

        Vancouver’s biggest bogs are 18th Ave W to Prince of Wales School; around Heather Park; the monster one going from St. Joseph’s Hospital to Inverness; from Memoria Park South to Tecumseh Park; the massive bog around Trout Lake; around Templeton Park; the huge Toilet of Killarney – a bog surrounded by unstable soil; and the colossal Boundary Road Bog. There are other, surprisingly small pockets – and not at low levels as one might suspect. The city will let you know should you decide to build. You will need a geotechnical engineer.

        The Tea Swamp in Mount Pleasant is so deep, they can’t even measure in places.

  34. 2245 Rupert – a crap Location! Location! Location! Another renoflipper caught with their pants down. Bought just over a year ago for $1.2M, and a stated “Fully newly more than $200K worth of renovation …” yours for $1.678.910.00.

    How long did the real estate rodent take to come up with that convoluted price. Considering it’s his only listing, he had a good long think. He sat and he thought. He thought and he sat. And he squeezed out that price.

  35. 408 17th Ave E is curious. It sold in 2013 for $998K – $82K less than what it sold for in 2011. Now the ask is $1.858M – $300K over last assessed.

  36. 3398 26th Ave E – bought new in 2014 for $1.238.095 – a strange bid. Offered now for $1.875M. Agent Cortney Lessard counsels that there is the Bonus of adding a second illegal suite in the basement … possibilities galore! How do these rodents get away with this?

  37. 2767 1st Ave – Turkey of the Week – yours for $2.15M. It has the best virtual tour of a recent build – in a nightmare location. The piece-de-resistance is the view from the most important spot – the kitchen sink window. You will be enthralled by vista of your neighbour’s repulsive roof. You will suffer here. A million dollar discount would not tempt me – a ridiculous stupid ugly pretentious house in a poisonous location. Money bulldozed into a hole.

  38. 6828 Ontario – award for most repulsive real estate rodent pictures. And they list it as a custom house when it is a standard piece of spec.

  39. 2604 46th Ave E – clueless builders and a garbage location – will depreciate like a brick. Bought for $750K six years ago – new-build listed at $3.45M – the real estate rodent’s only listing. Come to the Open and see his only suit.

  40. OCD much?

  41. Please keep it civil, everybody. For instance, we’d rather you didn’t call specific individuals “rodents”. We don’t want to be bothered fielding complaints (tedious). Thanks. -ed.

  42. Understood. I still like Arnie’s posts for the “anecdote” part of this blog. Seeing which properties are most egregiously over-priced is always interesting.

    Arnie… Bad! No more rodent comments. But keep on with the posts about really over-priced RE.

    • [CBC] – ‘This is Vancouver deja-vu’: How Seattle’s housing market is making way for foreign buyers: B.C.’s foreign buyers tax continues to funnel foreign investors into Washington state, says Seattle broker

      …”We have networks with brokers in Vancouver that are referring buyers to us in Seattle,” said Jones, the CEO of Realogics Sotheby’s International. “We have numerous clients that have said that they’re selling in Vancouver and going to do it all over again in Seattle. “In many ways, its’s just Vancouver deja-vu.”

      Jones says the introduction of a foreign buyers tax last summer almost immediately sent a ripple through Seattle’s housing market. By the end of the year, roughly half of the luxury homes sold in the area were to foreign buyers, up from a third in 2015, and 25 per cent in 2014.

      “We’re seeing an almost exponential interest in investing in the Seattle-Bellevue metro area.”…

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/this-is-vancouver-deja-vu-how-seattle-s-housing-market-is-making-way-for-foreign-buyers-1.4021262

  43. 2773 23rd Ave E: spec builder at work. Bought Feb. 2016 for $1,301,000.00. = $421.00/sq’ – pretty much on the money for the time. The extra thousand is telling. The builder wanted to elbow out other bidders. Offered now as a build-for-you at $2,298,880.00. The builder wants to cover his ass.

    Big problem with deals like this is that after the contract is signed, everything will be to a bare minimum standard to put more cash in the builder’s pocket. You can’t see what you’re going to get. You’d be insane to sign and hope for the best. You’d need to pay professionals to examine the contract and construction details. That’s hugely expensive. Spec houses are bad enough without getting into a contract where it hasn’t even been built.

  44. Sorry, purchase per sq’ was $329/sq’. Don’t know how that happened.

  45. 2786 46th Ave E: a refreshingly weird house; ugly in and out. In the heart of the massive Killarney toilet bog. Bought just a year ago for $1.57M. Listed at $1.75M – a curious reversal of digits. Agent’s only listing – come to the open and see him in his only suit.

  46. 125 Boundary Rd: really nice heritage registered. A house built in 1928 assessed at $340K. Wow. Too bad it’s on a crappy little no lane lot with stunning views of the gargantuan power poles that tower horrifically over the front. Creepy and freaky. A but what if property. If it had a better location it would be swarmed. As it stands, it’s just technically in Vancouver, but it’s really Burnaby.

  47. Big news in the East Van RE Weekly – no, not there is a listing worth looking at. No, not that it’s festooned with smiley West Side agents. The big paid news is that there’s a new wannabe looking for listings. Qualified? He played lots of tennis. And taught tennis. That’s qualification enough. Just lob a listing his way – because he doesn’t have any. He specializes in having no listings. Don’t let that smiley turn into a frown. Feed the real estate industry cesspool.

  48. 3105 24th Ave W: there’s a full page of absolute stinking marketing bs about selling this property over ask. They crow about setting a record price. All prices are records. This ultra desirable property sold immediately for under last assessed with multiple offers. Donkeys could have sold this house for half a million more.

  49. 444 38th Ave E: fantastic – if you like living in a graveyard.

    5540 Windsor: renoflip bought a year ago for $1.5M – listed at $1.768M.

  50. 3161 6th Ave E: agent has a good listing in his hot little hands – $259K over last assessed.

    • [G&M] – B.C. relaxes foreign buyer tax with refunds for workers

      …”British Columbia has loosened its 15-per-cent tax on foreign home buyers to exempt several thousand international residents on provincial work permits and will hand out refunds to some who already paid the tax.

      The government announced the policy change Friday, seven months after introducing a tax that has been criticized for being unfair to new immigrants living and working in B.C. The tax was applied to home purchases in the Vancouver region involving buyers who aren’t citizens or permanent residents.

      Now, those who were on these visas when they bought a principal residence can apply for an exemption from the tax, which is credited for slowing down the region’s frenzied market after it was introduced last August. People in that group who have already paid the tax can apply for a refund.

      Beginning this August, B.C. will also start giving rebates to foreign buyers who became permanent residents or Canadian citizens within one year of their purchase. But this group must have a principal residence and live in that home full time for a year, the release stated.”…

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/vancouver/bc-relaxes-foreign-buyer-tax-offers-refunds-to-those-with-work-permits/article34337503/

    • [Telegraph] – Qataris own more of London than the Queen

      …”Qatari investors own more property in the capital than the Mayor of London’s office and three times more than the Queen, according to new data seen by The Telegraph.

      Canary Wharf Group Investment Holdings, which is co-owned by Qatar Holdings, part of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and American investment group Brookfield, is the capital’s largest property owner, with almost 21.5m sq ft of space on its books, according to data from the research firm Datscha.

      The government of Qatar also owns 1.8m sq ft, making the Middle Eastern country by far the most dominant force in London property. In contrast, Her Majesty owns just under 7.3m sq ft.”…

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/03/17/qataris-london-queen/

  51. 35 54th Ave E: sweetness truthfulness and light agent was suspended, forced to complete a remedial course, and slapped on the wrist with a $1,000.00 fine back in 2008 for some slick double dealing with a 90-year-old dementia victim. Posted on CBC news, May 12, 2011. View his one and only listing. Marvel at his one and only suit. Open house Sat/Sun 2-4.

  52. 2737 Duke St – a 3-year-old head banger for $1.128M and only 1,271 sq/ft. Agent doesn’t bother to mention that this is half a house on half a lot. He only has the one listing, so this is hardly an oversight. It’s slimy when agents list this way.

    • just a thought

      Arnie – have you thought about starting your own blog? You could say whatever you like and not have to deal with the negative comments here. Besides, this blog is essentially dead, you will likely reach a larger audience. And its very easy.

  53. I have actually – in a lazy lukewarm way. There’s a need for an antidote to all the machinations and trickery of the real estate industry. And to just review properties the way people post about food. I guess I’m just coasting on the wheel of memory of Froogle Scott’s past posts – some of the best writing ever – and don’t really want to reinvent the wheel. And I like the layout and history of this blog – even though I think the bear raison d’etre is wrong.

    In the meanwhile – 3880 Glendale St: agent was fined $10,000. plus costs last year for “professional misconduct”. Said he’s sorry. That he did the deed because he was stressed. That’s a good one. He’s still in business.

  54. 199 Renfrew St: a classic example of people throwing a lot of money into a crap location. There’s a dubious aesthetic to this house; someone’s misguided dream.

  55. 7975 Elliott St: Turkey of the week with most over the top bs blurb – so much cash bulldozed into this worst orientation west-facing hole with clueless kitchen design. It sits high pronouncing to neighbours and passerby that you screwed up. Consider drowning in your outdoor heated pool.

  56. 3318 22nd W: fresh turkey – bought at the end of 2005, last assessed at $2.23M – listed at $3.388M; $1.158M extra. Agent’s only listing – wake her up and make an offer. Marvel at the beauty of the city’s buzzing electrical box and the perpetual summer shade. Awful. Truly awful.

  57. 4450 Osler: an exemplar of the absurdity of Vancouver real estate. This Shaughnessy 3747 sq’ house is assessed at $36,700. If it faced south this would be so desirable. The big If.

  58. Arnie Carnegie has Chinese-water-tortured this blog to death with his self-talk. Sad.

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