“It is very difficult to live here.”

“Famously liveable and famously unaffordable.”

“For nearly 40 years from his vantage point at the top of the Empire Landmark Hotel, Yunus Khan has watched Vancouver grow up. “You would barely recognise it,” he says of the city as it looked when he took his first job at the hotel, doing maintenance. Beyond the 42nd-storey window, the jagged silhouette of the North Shore mountains, the lush surprise of Stanley Park, and the cobalt passage of Burrard Inlet are just about the only landmarks that remain unchanged.

“These are all new,” Khan says, indicating a cluster of condo towers and the ultra-modern Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre further south. Construction cranes rise around them. “Any older building you see now, it’s going. They break it down, make a high rise.”

What the view from the Empire Landmark offers is perspective: on the Canadian city’s past, present, and future. But not for much longer. The hotel, a downtown Brutalist icon from the 1970s, closes for good on 30 September. It will be demolished to make way for a proposed luxury condo development.

Khan plans to retire. He won’t miss the 60-mile round trip commute from the outer suburbs, or the frantic pace of life downtown. “Vancouver used to be a small town, easy,” he says. Now, you see all these tall buildings with the glass, it looks a bit more beautiful. But it is very difficult to live here.”

– image and text from ”We stand to wipe out a whole era’: how the 1970s could vanish from Vancouver’, Tyler Stiem, The Guardian, 27 Sept 2017 [hat-tip The (indestructible) Auteur]

And from the comments below the same piece:

‘I have visited Vancouver at least every decade and loved the place up until last year when I found that the downtown/Gastown area was being overtaken by gold-plated glass festooned high end shops a la Rodeo Drive. FFS. Oh, and there is a new Trump Tower as well. The Seattle waterfront area is going the same way, albeit without the Trump Tower. I see a pattern of homogenization of our cities. Screw that. Vive le difference. – TeeJayzed Addy

93 responses to ““It is very difficult to live here.”

  1. In the 70s, 80s, and even 90s Vancouver was actually a semi-cool town. It had something of character to it. Whistler did, too. Both have since lost part of their soul. Yes, there are more restaurants now. And a few more international flights. That’s about the only improvement. Everything else is worse — when it should be getting better.

    Crime… worse. Homelessness… worse. Traffic… worse. Architecture… (mostly) worse. Quality of residents and their mindset (i.e. navel-gazing, fixated on real estate, materialistic, etc.) collectively speaking… worse. Affordability and family-friendliness… way worse.

  2. If you’re not a millionaire, Vancouver doesn’t want you

  3. Where is it easy to live?
    Those who can afford to live anywhere, barring an earthquake, will continue to move here; raise kids here; invest.
    I’m often in the West Side and am still mesmerized by the automotive opulence. The de facto Range Rover grocery getter dog hauler is being supplanted by the Tesla X. Bentley Continentals are common. Saw one of those ludicrous Bentayagas the other day. And a new Benz G Wagon with the V12 biturbo. Those are over 300K. Even saw a Porsche Spyder Hybrid. Those are over a million bucks.
    If I were not entrenched in Vancouver, I’d probably move to the Sunshine Coast; or the interior.
    A good barometer to predict where things are going is to see how many luxury car dealerships are opening. These guys do longterm market research.
    Vancouver is going to get way more expensive.

    • Arnie dismisses all banks, all credit agencies, all global institutions, all investment research providers, and all analysts. But car dealerships? Those guys know what’s up!

      How many of those cars luxury cars are leased? How many were purchased on borrowed money? How many represent a cultural shift toward superficiality, as opposed to an actual increase in wealth?

      His luxury car “barometer” is potentially quite misleading.

      If anything it signals Vancouver’s absurd and unsustainable inequities. Inequities that are part of a broader economic and cultural gutting that have made the city a LESS, not more, attractive place to move, raise kids, and invest.

      “Where is it easy to live?” Arnie asks.

      That’s the kind of throw-in-the-towel pressure tactic that realtors use. E.g. “Real estate only ever goes up, so you better get in now”, “Everyone needs a roof over their head”, etc. etc.

      Well, lots of places are easy to live, Arnie. It’s a big world. Pick up an Atlas.

      Nice logical sleight-of-hand re: earthquakes, though. Apparently no power short of an act of God / Nature will move the needle on the almighty Vancouver real estate market and its unstoppable appeal as the Best Place on Earth / destination of choice for the global elite.

      “Honey, the chances of an earthquake are pretty low, so… let’s cut a gazillion-dollar cheque for that crack shack right now!”

      • “Arnie dismisses all banks, all credit agencies, all global institutions, all investment research providers, and all analysts. But car dealerships? Those guys know what’s up! ”

        Oh Car dealers know what’s up alright.

        Have heard from more than one (not salesmen, but people who see the whole business) that the number of lower mainland customers demanding surreal levels of leasing and financing would blow your mind.

        They will come in for $2,500 payments but have no ability to pay cash for the car.

        That ain’t wealth friends. A box with a hundred grand or a million of “proceeds of crime” cash isn’t wealth. Because you can’t DO anything with it. Hookers, restaurant tabs, leased cars, and jewellery. And you have to spend it fast because your life expectancy is measured in months.

        Real wealth doesn’t drive flashy cars. Real wealth doesn’t advertise.

        The banks and brokers know how much real wealth is in Vancouver and that’s why they are shaking in their boots about the stress test. They know that the bubble was financed in massive monthly payment by people who can’t afford it if it stops giving them 20% annual gains. Stupid nouveau riche who think that because they have a few hundred thou in paper equity they are real estate millionaires.

        Anyway there is no question anymore that the tide is going out. Let’s see how well the “I’m rich because I leased a Lambo” set are able to keep the prices inflated in Coquitlam and Burnaby and Deep Cove. Maybe they’ll prove all the economists wrong.

      • “Real wealth doesn’t drive flashy cars. Real wealth doesn’t advertise.”


      • Actually, Arnie and El Ninja are referencing an interesting trend, going back a number of years. Woodwards, Eatons, Sears – department stores that catered to the middle middle class, all history. Luxury car dealerships have sprung up all over the lower mainland, with new hubs around Main and Terminal, Boundary and Broadway, and in Langley. New Ford, Chevy and Chrysler dealerships, not so much.

        Recent to the market luxury retailers include Brooks Brothers, Tiffany’s and Hermes. Holt Renfrew has substantially expanded. And the prices at Nordstroms made me blink when I walked through their new location. These retailers business model is not based solely on the tourist trade. Arnie is correct, there is a new wealthy demographic in this city and changes in the retail sector and car dealerships absolutely reflect that reality.

        The “absurd inequities” are a global trend. The slow shrinking of the middle class is showing up in a world increasingly of a choice of Walmart or high end shopping, with the Bay clearly in trouble. Clearly Vancouver is attractive to some people with a lot of money, money that appears to have been made elsewhere but is being spent here.

        I read a book 25 years ago, referencing a future of “sovereign individuals.” It postulated a day when the super wealthy would become so rich and powerful they would not need the social supports or infrastructure of the state. They would provide their own education, health care, policing and private services in a virtual if not literal gated community. It looks like we are continuing to trend that way.

      • The presence of overpriced retail != the presence of wealth.

        Tiffany’s, Hermes, Nordstrom, Bentley. Whistler limos and Rolexes. Sold to people without taste who think that they can spend their way into the establishment. Or people with a haybale of cash that they cannot deposit in any bank without getting arrested.

        Paid for by men whose definition of “making it” is overpriced pussy.

        I have probably been eligible to lease a Lambo or an S-Class since my income passed $75,000.

        I don’t even make six figures but if I wanted to I could buy thousand dollar jeans and every other weekend I could eat a $500 dinner at Joe Forte’s then drop $500 on cognac and hand jobs at the Granville Strip.

        That doesn’t make me rich. At all.

    • Arnie, of what relevance are you observations about Miami in the early 1980s? Those luxury car dealerships, high end clubs, high end retailers, and even banks – yes banks – flooded into Miami in the early 1980s to grab their piece of the cocaine money. Not a shred of “long term research” was done. They were chasing the hot money. Period.

      Oh wait, I see now that you’re not talking about Miami at all. You’re Vancouver today. Never mind. 🙂

  4. [CBC] – ‘Displacement is not beautiful’: Critics slam Westbank’s Fight for Beauty exhibition: Real estate developer Westbank says its exhibition is a philanthropic endeavor meant to promote art

    …”What we’re seeing here is a real estate company … co-opting the arts and culture to market luxury condos in neighbourhoods like Chinatown, which in fact at the end of the day economically and physically displace people and culture that’s already there,” Ma said.

    Ma calls the Westbank project “artwashing,” which she describes as using “arts and culture as a facade or Trojan horse to go into neighbourhoods and claim it as revitalisation, when in fact it’s a profit-driven motive that results in displacement and gentrification of the residents in those neighbourhoods.”…

    …Ma says the exhibition is little more than a marketing campaign that ultimately only benefits the developer, not the arts community. 
    “It is essentially a self-curated retrospective on Westbank’s real estate projects of past, present and future,” she said in an email to CBC News, after visiting Fight for Beauty on Saturday.

    “The exhibition is narrated by the CEO Ian Gillespie himself, complete with a $260 exhibition book and branded Westbank candles.”


    • Westbank forced The Red Gate Arts Society out of their previous location in 2011 and are forcing them out of their current location.
      And they tout themselves as a culture company. The hypocrisy is staggering.


  5. Sounds like another guy with colored filtered glasses about how great the old days are. Yeah, let’s just freeze all developments! That will solve all of Vancouver’s problems. Not! Geez…if people like him reined throughout history, we would still be living in caves.

  6. “Banks and brokers shaking in their boots”.
    ’Shakin’ all over’.

  7. Disgruntled Condo Owner

    We need a new acronym for sellers: FOMO-OMM (… on more money). I’m only very halfheartedly looking right now at tulips in YVR, Ottawa looks far more appealing to me in salary, real estate and yes I even liked living there previously. But unfortunately the GF does not agree :-/. Anyway two properties I expressed some interest in over the past 2 months both pulled their listings right after I tried to book a viewing. There is so little value now but these two among hundreds seemed to offer some hidden value that I saw. Strangely, both had been listed for many months, but right when I tried to book a showing I think they sensed they were priced below their peers, and thought hey why not relist higher? The second one had listed in 2016, failed to sell, pulled and relisted higher 2017. They are now pulling the listing again, and I’m sure it will re-appear in 2018 even higher. There is so much wealth in this city now (paper or otherwise), that a lot of people just don’t need to sell, it’s a gold bar for them, especially the empty un-rented homes where clearly cash flow is not an issue. Ergo, many months up to >1 year listings and hardly any price movement, or in some cases upwards movement. Those are the people who need to get motivated to sell, or the market here does not ever correct.

    Incidentally, the second house had “Stolen land” written in marker on the realtor’s sign, can’t really argue.

    • Not sure how you can say that cash flow is definitely not an issue just because it’s not rented. When it gains a cool hundred thou (or two) annually in paper equity, servicing the debt is not hard.

      Lots of people see tenants as unclean and would not lower themselves to whoor out their properties for a measly couple of thousand a month; they would just as soon go dumpster diving or open a Subway franchise to help make ends meet. Too embarrassing and not necessary in recent years.

      Your Gold Bar thesis holds right up until people notice that instead of gaining hundreds of thousands they are losing hundreds of thousands annually. In Vancouver remember that that is a small correction such as is happening now in almost every other market in Canada simultaneously.

      Look at all these little red arrows:


      It cannot be said enough: One seller in an entire neighbourhood can drain everyone’s equity and motivate every “specuvestor” to consider his options.

      $50k in debt servicing seems reasonable when your net worth went up $250k (10%) this year. Seems like a cost of doing business.

      $50k in debt servicing when your net worth went *down* $250k? That sounds expensive. If your gold bars were shrinking you might think of selling them too.

      Implicit in believing that you are personally responsible for your real estate paper wealth accumulation is believing that you have the magical power to time the market.

      There are lots of people waiting for the perfect time to sell and take their profits. They are called the Baby Boomers and coincidentally they hold most of the real estate and most of the equity and most of the wealth. It only takes a few of them to turn this orgy into a gangbang.

      “The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.” –Warren Buffett

      • myrealtycheck.ca is rubbish put out by a religious whackjob hoping to collect some ad revenue.
        Tracking declines from ask prices is meaningless – those numbers are concocted by r.e. Rodents to buy listings from greedy gullible sellers – to get a signature on a contract and stick a self-promoting ad sign in the front yard. Of course most of those prices will come down. A meaningful chart would show assessed vs list and assessed vs sold – real numbers.
        List prices are pulled out of agents’ butts to get that listing and then beat the sellers down when no one bites.

      • I couldn’t disagree more.

        Listing and then reducing the price is poor form and never someone’s plan. It shows that you realized that your pricing was aspirational at best and now stand corrected. It shows desperation and weakness.

        In short, it is indicative of sentiment

        Assessments, on the other hand, are algorithmically generated guesstimates developed by pencil pushing civil servants who answer to vote-whoring political types.

        Assessments are meaningless at best. Or, worse, what a coincidence that they are constantly below market thus giving voters the warm my-neighbour-sold-over-assessment feeling in their tummies under the current administration.

        Either way, comparing to assessments is about as relevant as comparing to house numbers. (“Every house in Richmond has sold for over 8888 this year!”)

        A listing is a public declaration of the value of a property by the person wishing to do business with a stranger. Dropping a price is an admission that you either misrepresented the property or don’t know what you’re doing. Either way a distinct sign of weakness.

        I bet if all those arrows were green you would declare this data to be valid and relevant as it shows sentiment among sellers.

        So do red arrows my friend. So do red arrows.

      • That time when Burnabonian’s argument obliterated Arnie’s…

  8. @El Ninja – you know what else would help with Burnabonian’s argument? If he’s actually right once or twice….
    I’m not even asking for 50% accuracy here, just once or twice in the past decade.

    btw, how your bet with Brian going? Is the expiration date pretty close now?

    • You can prove that we are not in the midst of a speculative mania?

      All the data support my argument; as do the economists and banks and finance ministers.

      What’s supporting your argument? Anecdote, and the cooing reassurances of a realtor gently whispering sweet nothings into your ear.

    • Saying “It’s not a bubble because it hasn’t crashed yet” is like saying “Smoking’s not bad for me because I’m not dead yet”.

    • Space is happy to troll, but remains silent on the many points raised against him. Cat got your tongue, Space?

    • Wrong about what? I think I prefer Freddy’s drive by insults about “toopid renters” over your random unqualified objections to arguments you likely never even read.. At least Freddy seems to enjoy himself. “Go play with your duckie” adds more value to the conversation than your nonsensical outbursts.

  9. “Listing and reducing price is poor form”?!
    Read Freakonomics.
    This is real estate, not ballet.
    As Million Dollar Listing NY babyface Ryan Serhant said: Real estate is a bare knuckle business.
    There are three rules in real estate from the perspective of r.e. Rodents at the dog and pony get the listing show:
    Get the listing. Get the listing. Get the listing.
    Have to tongue your granny or other lol? No problem. Pimp your sister? Which one? Quote an insane list price? Just get that sucker to sign the contract. Stretch the contract time frame for as long as you can. Just get a sign into the yard and watch the other rodents hustle trying to move the product. Have an open house. Your chance to nail a neighbour looky loo for a listing.

    • You could not be more mistaken. A price reduction is blood in the water. It tells prospective buyers that other prospective buyers didn’t bite. “What do they know that I don’t know?” becomes the question. That’s huge.

      • “What do they know that I don’t know?”


        “Nobody else is buying that at that price. Month after month. Then the price drops and still nobody bites.”

        Anyone paying any attention to the market would run screaming.

        I bet Arnie has a Craigslist ad for an 86 Hyundai that contains the words “minor damage fully repaired”, and “ran when parked”.

        It’s been listed for 18 months and he increments it down by $5 a day.

        Because selling stuff is a bare-knuckled sport and you have to play hardball.

    • What does that mean.

      If selling a house “bare knuckled sport”, don’t list high then increment down like an idiot.

      Don’t signal to buyers that you are willing to drop the price if they show no interest.

      Don’t show them with your actions that you need their money.

      Don’t stand there with your dick in your hand leaving an increasing amount of money on the table with each passing day.

      The people doing this daily (the red arrows) are either bad at what they’re doing or smell blood and are cutting their losses before it gets any worse.

      Freakonomics? In that book, a Ph.D economists says that realtors statistically get significantly less value for clients than they do when they sell their own personal properties.

      It says that realtors are financially incented to give poor advice to clients and to get them less money than they could if they had skin in the game. That realtors are the wrong place to get advice about selling a home or participating in the real estate market.

      Did you read the book or maybe just the jacket?

      • It says that realtors are financially incented to give poor advice to clients and to get them less money than they could if they had skin in the game.

        That’s exactly what Freakonomics says. From the realtor’s standpoint, it makes much more sense to push the owner to drop the price for a quick sale, and then get to work selling another house. Realtors will ALWAYS make more money on volume than on fighting hard to get better prices for their selling clients.

        As expected, days-on-market stats for realtor-owned houses are far higher than DOM for their clients. This proves that they are willing to work harder for a higher price on their own home than for a client.

        Fun with math: Realtor A sells 4 identical homes for $500K each in a month. Realtor B talks his owners into dropping the price, and sells 6 identical homes for $480K each. Say commission is 4%. I’ll leave the basic calculations out of it, because we can already see who made more money. Realtor B makes far more money than realtor A, despite doing a lousy job for his clients.

        Not only that, but Realtor B gets an award at the annual real estate board banquet for being a “top seller”. Other realtors clap and adore him. He rewards himself with a new leased BMW. To add insult to injury, he gets laid more than Realtor A, and doesn’t hesitate to remind him about it.

        Conclusion: Realtors have financial incentive to do a lousy job their their clients. It’s built right into their compensation model.

      • “Realtor” is too dignified a term for most. I prefer “used house salesman”.

  10. white_angelos_detached_defagitability

    the leads are weak?

  11. Compensation for r.e. Rodents is completely skewed in their favour, as Freakonomics points out – a front-loaded kaching. There’s no incentive to work for the percentage at the backend – cash that would be significant to the seller, but peanuts to the agent. The payment structure should be reversed.

  12. Oh this is funny bear logic….well I’m right! It’s a BUBBLE! Doesn’t matter the price history doesn’t support my thesis and basically went up ever since I started shouting BUBBLE!!! It’s wrong, I’m right, and that’s that!

    Reality bites bears. Simply history proves you are wrong and that’s that. Keeping saying that the crash is just around the corner for 10 years doesn’t make you right and a genius when the market eventually turns. You still lost, especially if the after crash price is still significantly higher than when you are started. You are wrong and that’s that. Admit it.

    As for the future? Well, aside from El Ninja, I haven’t heard any concrete predictions from the other bears about when and how bad this crash will be. If you are so sure, post your prediction. Otherwise, shut up because until you are at least willing to make a prediction, never mind putting $$$$ where your mouth is, it’s just farts coming out of your mouth.

    • Space, what grade are you in? Serious question. 9? 10?

    • What are you talking about.

      Housing price bubbles routinely last >10 years before ending in apocalypse.

      Here are a bunch of blowhard economists explaining that there is no such thing in America because it hasn’t crashed yet:


      …in early 2008.

      Sound familiar? Does the curve of that graph look familiar?


      • PS the soundbites in that article sound surprisingly familiar. Is this where you bears get your material?

        With the benefit of hindsight, all the “insight” by these “experts” distills down to your pilot saying “Well, I guess that mountain goats living in clouds is the new normal. I KNOW that we’re not flying to low because we aren’t currently dead!”

        “Paul Krugman terms this analysis “strange,” noting that past bubbles took around six years to fully deflate and that the housing futures market is expecting a continued decline for the foreseeable future.

        Megan McArdle agrees that there’s a new equilibrium but is baffled as to why it should be.

        Fester figures the combination of cheap, easy credit and rampant speculation in the housing market constitutes a bubble no matter how you slice it.

        Our own Dave Schuler, moonlighting at his own site, lists seven reasons why the whole thing is unlikely to “blow over” any time soon.”

      • “Is this where you bears* get your material?”


  13. Does change the fact that bears have been wrong, and is currently wrong, and their explanation for why housing prices should crash hasn’t panned out.

    At least the bulls got some of the reason of why housing prices going up right.

    So, if this “bubble” doesn’t burst for another 10 years and prices double again, are you bears still going to be claiming how right you all are then?

    • space889 – The bears who correctly called the U.S. housing meltdown (Schiff, Celente, Taleb, et al), also understood the reasons why housing prices exploded in the first place. It’s why they knew it was a bubble. Listen to the blowhards in the Peter Schiff Was Right video dismiss his assertion that the U.S. was in a bubble. Your comment “reality bites bears” looks very silly in this context. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgRGBNekFIw

      Saying price history doesn’t support the bear’s thesis is no different than saying “I haven’t died yet, therefore I’ll never die.”

      • Uhmm…no…it’s more like bears saying – you will die within 1 year if you don’t listen to me – for 10 years straight, and the person is still alive. Doesn’t mean the person wouldn’t die, but when the person does die, it doesn’t prove bears are right. It just proves that bears don’t know what they are talking about and simply repeating themselves in hopes of being eventually right.

        If Vancouver RE is as expensive and Vancouver income is pathetic as Burnabonian claims then how do you explain that debt is driving RE, when the income is too low to support the debt? There is a limit to much you can borrow. You can’t borrow $1M on a $50K income, no matter how hard you fake your loan application.

        Bulls got the reasons right and they have correctly identified that such forces have not run its course yet. Bear refuse to believe and change even when the facts and reality are proving them wrong. They simply dismiss the facts and reality, call people who disagree stupid, and say look, I’m going to be right, I will be right year after year after year. Guess what? After 10 years+ of being wrong, you have no credibility and you aren’t right. You are just wrong because whatever process or model you are using is not right. It’s that simple.

        Also, if bears are so confident about their views, state them out – when and how much RE will decline? I still lhaven’t seen anyone, beside El Ninja, putting anything in writing. El Ninja meanwhile is rapidly losing time in his predictions too, but I’m sure he will come up with some excuse to say he was right anyways, just that reality failed to reflect it.

      • “such forces have not run its course yet.”

        Westside detached owners would like to know what happened to your forces. Please explain to them that they have taken a temporary leave of absence but will return soon and push prices to new highs.

    • van city tulip bulb guide dot com

      Tulip bulbs selling for 10,000% gains in local pubs!

      Those “in the know” becoming wealthy; all others left behind!

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  14. About Steve Saretsky vancitycondo..
    My mommy is a real estate agent. She makes lots of money. I want to be a real estate pundit, and make lots of money too. When mommy moves on or croaks, I’m going to get all her leads. Thanks mommy. I’m a big boy now.

    • Luxury retailers, ten years late, chasing bubble / drug money: “Sign of a real economy”.


    • Vancouver barely *has* any office space and there’s nowhere to build any more.

      This is because most of the downtown land zoned “mixed commercial/residential” was permanently sold off for 100% condos long ago. City planning fail.

      Result = you can’t build a thriving business sector in part because there’s nowhere to set up shop. (Also no major industry but that’s another story.)

      Vancouver has very few office towers relative to the population.

      If you get drive into downtown Calgary. Endless rows of high-rise office towers. You take off your sunglasses when you get into downtown; locals call them the Concrete Canyons.

      And that’s a city with half the population, in the middle of a downturn.

      Vancouver boosters need to get out more. It is NOT world class or vibrant or dynamic or wealthy. It is well-studied and the studies and censuses and tax data and economy clearly demonstrate a small, sleepy city full of poor people.

    • #InOtherNewsCNTower…

      [FP] – Aecon takeover expected to get warmer reception from Ottawa

      …”The takeover of Calgary-based construction company Aecon Group Inc. by China’s CCC International for $1.5 billion will face scrutiny from Ottawa, including a test of whether the sale provides a “net benefit” to Canada.
      But it is unlikely to have to weather the bumpy and ultimately frustrating ride experienced by other foreign investors in recent years, thanks to a softening tone from the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau…

      …We’ve seen Trudeau be much more positive on foreign investment,” said John Emanoilidis, co-head of the mergers and acquisitions practice at Toronto-based law firm Torys LLP. “In particular, (he) seems to have less philosophical concern about investment from China.”

      The proof, Emanoilidis said, is in the recent approval of two controversial investments involving Chinese firms: conglomerate Anbang Insurance Group Co. bought Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts, and Hytera Communications Co. purchased satellite communications firm Norsat International Inc.

      “Both transactions were approved despite widespread negative media coverage,” Emanoilidis wrote in recent a note with two of his colleagues.”…


    • #WarmerReceptions…

      [Global] – The fire that ravaged a $14M Shaughnessy home “may” have been set deliberately

      …”The home’s registered owner is Miaofei Pan, who is from Mainland China but who has lived in Vancouver for more than two decades.

      Pan has numerous real estate holdings. He was previously in the news last year, when he hosted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at his home.

      The fundraiser proved controversial, and prompted the opposition to accuse Trudeau of using his position to grant access in exchange for money — at fundraisers that cost as much as $1,500 per plate.”…


  15. Disgruntled Condo Owner

    To those pointing to a US style crash here by showing graphs of US run-up and crash, please overlay that 2008 crash with the Fed funds rates between 2004 and 2008. Wasn’t that crash precipitated by a constant and cumulatively very big increase (totaling a huge +4.25% increase from 1 to 5.25%) in interest rates over a short period of time (3 years or so)? Yes there was massive household debt preceding, but without the interest rates rising so insanely fast many/most of those who were making payments beforehand would keep doing so, and not default. The Bank of Canada will never seriously raise rates (they are back to the 1% joke of a rate now and making every excuse not to raise). They don’t care one bit about the CAD, inflation (do you really believe their numbers? and to those who say deflation, PLEASE), they just worrying about popping the bubble and the damage it would do. That is ALL they really care about.

    Thus everyone’s variable rate mortgages are nice and low, and will be staying that way essentially forever. I fear free money is the new normal (is a decade of free money enough to convince you), and those “prudent” enough to hold off buying a home, or in my case a detached home, are going to be permanently SOL. Add to that the fact that every level of government in Canada/BC will do their best to preserve prices while pretending to do something (like the OSFI stress test that is essentially pretending rates will rise when we all know they never really will — and without a real rate increase people will always find a way to borrow more from someone) or an NDP government who ran on housing and now will do nothing (who’s left, Greens? We’ll not see a Green majority for decades if ever). Add to BC the ultra rich immigrants who are so welcomed here in droves by Canada for all their money that only buys houses and luxury cars, and whom can afford much higher home prices than locals while avoiding FBT (they are no longer foreigners once PR). This all means “prudent” local savers are going to SOL here in YVR indefinitely.

    I’m sorry to be pessimistic (I think realistic), but the idea that changing sentiment alone ever changes this market in a substantial way, without really changing the policy that caused this is just a dream. Yes sales have slowed a bit in pace and there are even tiny price reductions here or there (for now, lets see what 2018 brings), but pre-1970’s asbestos infested dumps in Van are still 1.5MM, the cheapest detached in Burnaby is still 1.1 MM (and a POS it is), and 20 year old okay houses in Langley are also 1.5MM, albeit nicer homes in so-so neighborhoods, included is your 1.5 hour commute each way. I feel a 50% reduction is in order to still be at a 50% premium vs. comparable houses in Ottawa, check Zolo, some there are just beautiful for 700k, brand new mansions in upscale neighborhoods. 50% seems a fair premium for Van vs. Ottawa, but not 3 times. The 50% crash that is needed in YVR (as I estimate) will simply never happen under the current policies (incl. OSFI) and governments at all levels (incl. Canadian Liberals, BC NDP and notably our impotent BoC).

    • “Forever”, “never”, “indefinitely”.

      These are words that do not apply to markets.

      • Yes. For one, you used definitive language for an evolving system. “Never”, “forever”, and so on. Markets are dynamic and they revert to the mean. Nothing is forever, including asset prices, interest rates, and prevailing sentiment. That’s lesson number one.

        Lesson number two: the government cannot orchestrate a soft landing. Or were the Americans just suckers for punishment? There is no free lunch.

        Lesson number three: there is more to life to buying a house. You sound depressed over it.

      • Disgruntled Condo Owner

        “Lesson number three: there is more to life to buying a house. You sound depressed over it.”
        Says the guys who spends his life on this blog LOL

    • This entire, sad post is just another variation of buy now or never.

      • Disgruntled Condo Owner

        Nice analysis, perma-bear. Is any one thing I said incorrect? Didn’t think so.

    • That’s why our bubble is now bigger than theirs was. It has had an extra ten years to inflate, as opposed to popping a decade ago. That cannot possibly offer any comfort to a homeowner who bought in the past few years. Also, US rates plunged in 2008, and it wasn’t enough to arrest the housing bust. So extremely low rates offer no inoculation. We don’t even have that cushion to aggressively lower rates. They’ve just come off rock bottom.

      So no, it likely won’t be an aggressive tightening that sinks Canadian housing. We will need to wait for some other external shock. They do happen.

      • One of the most perverse things about our bubble was being given the 2008-2009 extreme bailout – essentially zero interest rates – when the market/ our citizens did not need it.

      • The seeds of the next crisis are always sewn in the resolution of the last.

        In 2008, central banks chose to punt.

        They printed 12 trillion dollars of new free extraneous paper money and then loaned it to everyone to basically spend on whatever they wanted.

        This prevented our civilization from literally reverting to the medieval era which was a good thing.

        But it has had unintended consequences small and large.

        Small = Vancouver bungalows changing hands for 5 million or 100 years’ income. Ridiculous.

        Large = The Everything Bubble means that the next Black Monday is going to visit with the same certainty as death and taxes. It will arrive any day of any week and the carnage will be unimaginable.

        The only thing that everyone knows for sure is that nobody knows what’s going to happen next.

      • Disgruntled Condo Owner

        Yes, it’s hard to imagine this thing actually ending without some change in policy, aka shock. Looking back on it it’s quite amazing that u.s. raised interest rates like they did.
        However stories of slow down in Victoria, and the fact that realtor for that house I mentioned in an earlier post that pulled their listing, just yesterday contacted me and said they would accept one last viewing.. little tidbits like that give hope ;). I think I’m going to go see that property mainly out of curiosity. they’ve rather succeeded in turning me off wanting to buy it but of course I’m not going to tell them that.

      • “Thus everyone’s variable rate mortgages are nice and low, and will be staying that way essentially forever. I fear free money is the new normal (is a decade of free money enough to convince you), and those “prudent” enough to hold off buying a home, or in my case a detached home, are going to be permanently SOL. ”
        -Disgruntled, yesterday

        “Yes, it’s hard to imagine this thing actually ending without some change in policy, aka shock.”
        -Disgruntled, today

        Which is it, friend?

      • …are we in this “permanently” and “forever”, or are we just waiting on the next macro shock…macro shocks being as reliable as the tides and this one being long overdue?

      • “they’ve rather succeeded in turning me off wanting to buy it but of course I’m not going to tell them that.”

        Because portraying oneself as a motivated buyer is advantageous.

      • Disgruntled Condo Owner

        Basically I was saying this thing was going to never end because I don’t foresee a shock. I never I think I meant within the next 10-15 years. I do think we need a shock to really bring this thing down but the government will do everything in its power to avoid a shock. However it has been dawning on me that the intervention that was needed maybe was China cutting capital outflows many months ago. if China manages to keep that up and maybe tighten their claws even more perhaps they could be the macro intervention. I believe the Chinese government is motivated.

        To Ninja,
        Yes I think the motivated buyer impression is what did it, what they don’t realize is they just turned me into a very unmotivated buyer of that particular house LOL. Of course that won’t stop me from wasting their time and romping through the place tomorrow to give myself a really good first hand idea of where things are at.

      • “I was saying this thing was going to never end because I don’t foresee a shock.”

        Nobody foresees the shock. That’s why it’s a shock.

      • theragingranter

        Honestly, I wouldn’t even be sure interest rates won’t go back up. No credit expansion has continued forever. Any attempts to keep force a credit expansion to keep going indefinitely ends in either an implosion (1929 USA, 1989 Japan), or an explosion (1930s Weimar Republic , 2000s Zimbabwe).

  16. 4016 Rupert: rodent hard at work – this “as is where is” post indicates an open house for July 16th. You’d think she’d have found time to take the post down considering she has zero listings. This hideous location sold in March for $1.079M. The not too desperate as is ask was $1.478.800 – a coy $399.800 bump after fewer than five months.

  17. 2510 21st Ave E: wonder if the agent is the same guy who was a CA at Bright Star that was banned from trading for 15 years and fined 70K. What would the r.e. industry say to a guy like that? Come on down.

  18. We Vancouverites may have trouble remembering when having a $1M house was a sign of significant wealth…
    But that still seems to be the case in most parts of the world.
    Like Boston, for instance…
    This from a comment below an article on Senator Elizabeth Warren, at The Intercept:
    “Meanwhile, her house in MA is valued at $1M. Because senators normally get paid that much. Nothing to see here.”

    • Possession of a million dollar property a sign of poverty in our corner of the world.

      If you live in a million dollar property in Vancouver, you are a provincial pauper who is beholden to a strata and parks on the street.

      You are probably a hairdresser or a stable boy.

      I wonder when Massachusetts Senators will become as wealthy as Vancouver stylists.

  19. Given that most people work 35 to 45 years, sitting out of RE market because of a wrong belief in RE market bubble for 10 years now, and maybe another 10 or 15 years is pretty much forever for the person. You sat out for 20 years because you think prices are too high, while prices quintupled. Well, good luck buying a house in your 50 or 60s.

    • “It’s always a good time to buy”, “buy now or never”, “RE only ever goes up”, “everyone needs a roof over their heads”, “get off the sidelines”, blah blah blah. The permutations are endless. The guilting and shaming is endless. So sleazy.

      By Space’s logic, those who cautioned against stocks in the late 90s were wrong, because for many years stocks had gone up.

      This is rearview-mirror thinking. Trouble is, investing is a forward-looking exercise.

    • No matter what you invest a given dollar in, that dollar has missed out on everything else.

      Your argument is nonsense.

      All the people who bought in Kerrisdale missed out on bitcoin and all the people who bought bitcoin missed out on kerrisdale.

      It doesn’t make either group wrong.

      • You are never out of the market. Even if you buy nothing, you are in the currency market. Hold CAD and you miss out on USD.

        I am thinking that Space is feeling panicky because he has worked for years but without a mortgage to pay he indulged in the expensive trappings of the Vancouver “lifestyle” set and now has nothing to show for it years of work but a big Visa bill.

        Having a house as a forced savings plan would have prevented his current reality and (to add insult to injury) made him wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. So he is regretfully hoping that it’s not too late to get in on the riches. “Better late than never”.

        That’s why he takes such personal exception to the clear, simple, logical arguments presented daily on these forums. Because they take away his dreams and his peace of mind.

        They take away the reassuring fantasy that if he can just dive aggressively into the market now (bull speak for speculating with a lot of borrowed money) he will be out of the weeds within a few years and rich by the end of his working years.

        Sorry old boy; we don’t have the heart to patronize you.

        Borrowing money to buy into the peak of asset bubble will not undo your past misdeeds; in fact they will be amplified tenfold.

        You will lay awake at night with tears streaming down your cheeks.

  20. It’s all a speculative bubble. End of story. This includes housing prices in Vancouver (and elsewhere in Canada), as well as The Everything Bubble. (sorry this is a bit disjointed, but I’ve got other things I need to do today 🙂

    Again, as Burnabonian noted, any fool can lease a high end car. It doesn’t make you rich. It makes you fake – you live in a world of make-believe, which has been working out fine so far. But, all the wealth effect of rising housing prices here can be reversed in a heartbeat.

    All bubbles mean-revert. Always. And the results are phenomenally painful, especially to the late-comers who thought the party would go on forever.

    I’ve thought since early 2010 that Vancouver housing was in a bubble, and have refused to buy a house for this reason. I’ve felt that the risk of mean-reversion was far higher than the risk of missing the upside. Of course, I didn’t foresee interest rates staying at emergency levels for so long, and more stupidly, being actually lowered in 2015. I don’t really feel badly for having not bought, as it’s impossible to time the market and we could easily have been buying right at the peak at any time in the last 7 years. But, emotionally, I very much want to buy a house, so that my kids can grow up with better stability (my 7 year old is already living in her third rental house). Not that owning a house is a sign of stability, and our family’s/our marriage’s stability have not really been impacted by renting, but moving frequently is a huge drain of time and money. (and our credit scores are 832/850, with six figure investments/retirement savings, so we could buy if it made sense).

    Now that Canadian (and Vancouver) real estate appears to have peaked and to be dropping though, I’m questioning if I even want to buy in the Lower Mainland in the foreseeable future. That would be buying into a declining asset class, which could even drop below the mean and stay there long term, due to upcoming structural demographic problems. I know this is considered impossible by the vast majority of Canadians, but if they would read about (1) asset bubbles, and (2) Japan’s economic situation for the last 20 years, a few might understand what I’m talking about.

    I know many here at VREAA get it, and I appreciate the brilliant analysis by so many, including VREAA him/herself, Burnabonian, El Ninja, Raging Ranter, and many more. (And YVR Housing/Jesse, is he still around?)

    My own opinion is that, while both overseas buyers and local speculators have been absolutely desperate to get into the Vancouver housing casino game, that solid and sustained drops in prices here will have an ice water effect on their FOMO. I think that, like speculators everywhere, they will not want to actually lose money, and will do their very best to get their money out if at all possible. Those who can’t will ride it down. As it drops, the flood of speculative/store-of-value foreign “investors” will run, not walk, away from Vancouver and into safer markets in other countries.

    Although I’m a 3th generation Canadian, born in Vancouver, I have lived in 4 other countries, and I understand there’s nothing magical about Vancouver. There are many special places around the world. Our ease of money laundering, ease of bypassing inconvenient and toothless taxation laws, and perceived strong laws and banking system have made us a magnet for all kinds of stolen money worldwide, money that in fairness should be helping to increase living standards in the countries of origin, not enriching a lucky corrupt few who managed to smuggle it out.

    Please don’t see this as racist or against any particular ethnic or country group – I’m strongly opposed to corruption worldwide, and while I’m under no illusions, one of the things I love about Canada (and most of the other developed countries) is that levels of corruption are far lower here. You can be pretty sure that the police will help you when you need them, (without incentive payments), and not let you get away with things you shouldn’t, just because you’re rich. I welcome productive, honestly-earned foreign investment in Canada, and welcome productive, committed immigrants.

    All those flashy cars bought for cash, top end clothing and jewellery being bought, dollars splashed around by young “rich” people? Well, when the money comes from dubious sources from one’s parents, it’s easy come, easy go. Or, it’s fake – the truly rich would not need to mortgage their purchases of Vancouver property, or lease those high end cars. But then, the truly rich don’t feel the need to buy such flashy excess.

    Additionally, I am horrified at the massive expansion of credit and therefore debtload of all levels, worldwide – individuals, households, corporations, municipal and provincial governments. It is unprecedented and shocking — and unrepayable.

    I see the result as nothing short of total economic collapse. The party simply can’t go on forever. “You can’t cure debt with more debt”. And, you can’t really inflate your way out of it, when trillions of QE mysteriously has not resulted in more than very minimal inflation. No matter how governments worldwide may try, I can’t see any way to avoid collapse, deflation, and depression. This is a terrible future vision, and I’m very saddened for the fate of my young children, and their possible children and so on. I worry so much that they won’t have health care when they need it, and that their safety will be at risk from desperate idiots who didn’t have the forethought to plan ahead and not consume beyond what they could afford. I worry about what we’re going to do when faced with seeing neighbours’ children going hungry – I can’t stand to see children hungry, but I can’t possibly feed them all.

    It comes at a very bad time already, with climate change (yes, eventually the naysayers will have to admit it’s happening, whether they ever admit to the anthropogenic aspect of it or not) becoming an existential threat to populations worldwide. All it will take is one epidemic virus, with no money left to fight it, to devastate a large swath of humanity (not to mention the huge damage that so many billions of humans have already caused to every other form of life on this planet).

    I’m sorry to be such a doom-and-gloomer, but I wish I could see a way forward for humanity that didn’t have this outcome. Yes, humans are incredibly adaptable and clever, especially in coming up with insane financial weapons of mass destruction (like CDOs, CDS, derivatives, rehypothecation, and all the other things that keep me up at night). These are nothing more than clever ways to transfer money from large numbers of middle class people/taxpayers to a small set of people who know how to play the game very well.

    I’m not left wing, nor right wing, just somewhere in the middle like most Canadians, but I’m appalled at what we are doing to ourselves by taking on unrepayable debt just to keep up with the Joneses, to pretend we have lifestyles which we haven’t actually earned. This debt is merely pulling demand from the future, and it won’t be there when we need it – in the future, we can’t rely on the “consumer” to support our GDP growth or increasing quality of life. (and, nor is infinite growth in a finite world a real solution either)

    Sadly, I can only see a return to a much more hand-to-mouth existence for much of the population of the developed world, and an even worse existence for the bulk of the world’s already poor and starving populations. The can can only be kicked down the road for so long. We just can’t extend and pretend forever, as much as our politicians don’t want to admit. I sure hope I’m wrong though.

    • JCH, thank you for your thoughtful analysis. However, I do not agree with your opinions n that Vancouver is in a speculative bubble. I believe it is a new normal with one strong fundamental – foreign money. The buyer are ‘local’, all right. Permanent residents do not count as foreign buyers, but the money is foreign.

    • JCH: Thanks for the comment, and the embedded personal anecdote. I will headline this (with v v light editing), I trust that is okay with you. Thanks.

  21. #Just1DayInTheLifeOfCBC/BCGVRDLedes,Or… #TransnationalCapital:PatternsOfColonisation,Displacement&CriminogenicEtiology?

    [CBC] – Visible minorities now the majority in 5 B.C. cities: Richmond is now more than three quarters non-white and Coquitlam is just over half, census says


    [CBC] – East Vancouver becoming less diverse, census shows


    [CBC] – Immigration consulting firms need to be better regulated, says NDP MP: Jenny Kwan said federal government needs to do more to protect temporary foreign workers from being duped


    [CBC] – Island Health issues warning after rash of overdoses: VicPD reports 7 overdoses in a half hour; warning also issued in Campbell River after increase in ODs there


    [CBC] – 5 people die of overdoses in Abbotsford within 9 hours on Friday
    Police say the victims — three men and two women — all died alone


    [CBC] – 1 dead, 1 injured after Friday night shooting in Surrey


    [CBC] – Shooting in Abbotsford, B.C., sends 1 man to hospital


  22. #RoboRedaktorHasACaptive,IllustriousED… #ModerationQueueAlert

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