Category Archives: 04. Changed my Career

Stories about folks who’ve changed their line of work to RE related endeavours.

Mayor Robertson Selling His House

912 W 23rd

912 W 23rd Avenue, Vancouver
2,922 sqft SFH
Asking price $1,950,000
Assessed (reportedly) $1,600,000

– for the whole story, see ‘Guess who’s trying to cash out of the real estate market in Vancouver?’, at ‘Whispers from the Village on the Edge of the Rainforest’, 9 July 2013
[hat-tip Burnabonian]

“He’s sold all his properties except his current one, which is now for sale. He explained that the market’s currently in crash mode, worst that he’s ever seen.”

“Just spoke to someone in the neighbourhood, real estate came up and it came out he’s invested in real estate over the last 15 years, buying dumps and fixing them up and flipping them. Has done this multiple times I was thinking oh no, this is going to end badly, then he told me he’s now retired and I thought even worse… Then continued to say he’s sold all his properties except his current which is currently for sale and explained that the market’s currently in crash mode, worst that he’s ever seen. He talked about 2008 and thought we were in for something far worst this time. Talked about previous declines he’s seen and thought this is going to be worst. Doesn’t follow any of these blogs. He’s getting close to selling now for about a 40K loss, and thinks he’s close to sealing the deal, but I got the impression he’d be happy taking even more of a loss just to get out.
He’s moving away from the lower mainland and buying farmland to retire on. Mentioned there are a couple others a few streets away that bought/reno’d/now trying to sell, thinks they’re already listed at breakeven and that they need to come down quite a bit more before selling. …
This was in South Surrey, I should add. Was a guy that seemed to have had some very good days in his life and has seen some very tough times…. Sounded like he was in the midst of a tough time job wise in his life in the late 90′s and is a pretty good handyman and kind of fell into the real estate thing, rode it up, and jumped off when he realized he had gained enough money to live out his life without worrying any further about money.
I was taken aback by this guy… Good for him.”

groundhog at VREAA 1 April 2013 at 4:10pm and 4:39pm

“A lawyer, a public company financier, a real estate marketer, a cop, and a real estate agent walk into a diner…”

“I went out for lunch with a few old university friends yesterday. One was a lawyer, one a public company financier, one a real estate marketer, one a cop, and of course, one of whom was a Real estate agent.
Needless to say, the conversation ultimately led to the fact that we all hate our jobs! When it came to the police officer’s turn to gripe, he expressed that after 10 years on the force he was finding his work becoming particularly mundane. In fact he had taken to framing houses on the weekend with a carpenter friend of his in return for free help with a renovation he was doing at his own residence. He said he really enjoyed the labor/results aspect of the work versus what he deals with at his 9-5. But when he began saying that this framer buddy of his and he wanted to build a few houses out in Port Moody and sell them I damn near pulled out his pepper spray and gave myself a good spritzing.
I did my best to casually offer a warning of dabbling in the dark arts of amateur development… but hell, what’s the worst that could happen?”

nom nom no at VREAA 19 Oct 2012 7:53am

We’d submit that a major reason that so many in mid-career find their jobs ‘mundane’ is the era of bubbles. In typical times, one develops a profession or a trade, strives to do it well, and is rewarded by society for one’s work.
Since the 90’s, we have heard so many stories of those speculating on tech stocks, housing, and sector-whatever, making ‘x’ times their annual income in ‘y’ months, that the fabric that holds together part of the reason for working unravels.
Why should I continue to be a perfectly competent dentist when society will reward me better for flipping condos or trading stocks in my pjs?
This distraction is part of the misallocation of resources that occurs in times of speculative mania/s.
We need police officers to be good police officers, and dentists to be good dentists; not to be taking off to build and flip houses.
– vreaa

Realtors With PhDs – “I’m a fully qualified brain-surgeon! I only do this job because I want to be my own boss!”

“While at the corner store, saw a funny ad on the monitor above the checkout. One of the non stop real estate ads had a RE agent who advertised the fact that he had a PhD! How flipping distorted is the economy in this town when a PhD educated guy abondons that considerable education investment (8 years or so), takes the 5 week RE course, and pursues the “noble” RE profession? Sad part is, he probably made more money flogging RE than applying education.”
– Re-diculous at 20 Apr 2012

“He’s not the only one. /dev/null pointed out Gina Rossi the other day: Local realtor with a PhD in molecular biology and cancer research from UBC medical school.”
– Anonymous at 20 Apr 2012 7:55pm

[image from Gina Rossi’s site previously posted here removed in response to comments below. The focus of this post is on the phenomenon of individuals with higher education ending up working as realtors. – ed.]

“After finishing an undergraduate degree in Biology at UBC, I took on a PhD at the UBC Department of Medicine at Vancouver General Hospital. I successfully defended my thesis to earn my doctorate. My graduate studies focused on molecular biology and cancer research.
I’m good at stats and math. These are helpful skills to have in real estate. I can see a little deeper into the monthly Board statistics and often come up with better resolved, more useful information.”

– Gina Rossi, Sutton WestCoast Realtor. Image and excerpt from her blog.

It is not unusual for people with PhDs to end up in occupations unrelated to their training. This happens all over the world. After all, universities produce far more PhDs than they have academic positions for them to fill.
At the same time, we think that these two sightings are significant.
The Vancouver RE mania has drawn human resources away from many useful and productive endeavours; we find it hard to imagine that these individuals’ skills couldn’t serve them, and their communities, in better ways.
Anybody know of any other examples?
Who’s the most (over?) qualified realtor in town?
– vreaa

Housing-Bubble-Headedness – “Since I want to open a wine bar one day, I figured house-flipping was one way to jump-start a savings plan at the beginning of my career, when the money is still tight.”

“George, who lives with his mother in a townhouse, wants to open a wine bar. To get a leg up given his modest income, he is looking to speculate in real estate.”

“George has the lofty goals and dreams befitting a budding entrepreneur: He wants a business of his own, easy money, and the freedom wealth brings to put up his feet and retire by the time he is 55 – with an income of $150,000 a year after tax.
Back down on earth, George is 23, recently graduated from university and has just landed his first “real” job earning $35,000 a year plus bonus and other benefits. He lives with his mother in a townhouse in the Guelph area that they plan to flip for a $60,000 profit. He wonders how best to use his share of the anticipated gain.
George’s big dream is to open his own wine bar. He aims to save $70,000 over the next 10 years as a down payment and wonders whether that will be enough to enable him to get the financing he will need. To get a leg up given his modest income, he is looking to speculate in real estate.
“Since I want to open a wine bar one day, I figured house-flipping was one way to jump-start a savings plan at the beginning of my career, when the money is still tight,” he writes in an e-mail. Mind you, that $60,000 profit he and his mother expect has yet to be realized, and they’d need at least half of it as a down payment to buy a bigger, better home.”

“We asked Kurt Rosentreter, a senior financial adviser at Manulife Securities Inc. in Toronto and author of Wealthbuilding, to look at George’s situation. /… As for house-flipping as a way of making money, “Be careful. A real estate correction in the future could leave this ending badly for a young guy with not a lot of wiggle room.”
Mr. Rosentreter says George would need to accumulate $2.5-million by the time he is 55, excluding his home. Assuming a 5-per-cent rate of return on his investments and a 32-year time horizon, he would have to save $33,000 a year to achieve his goal, so he may want to set his sights a little lower. Mr. Rosentreter’s suggestion: “Save what you can.”

– from ‘Champagne dreams with a chaser of realism’, Dianne Malley, Globe and Mail, 2 Mar 2012

See how the distorted economic playing field that results from the speculative mania in housing has perverted the thinking of the young?
It’s all very distracting.
– vreaa

“Crazy Land” – 9% of the working population employed in construction.

Chart via Kevin at saskatoonhousingbubble, who also points out “The long term average of the Canadian labor force employed in construction is just under 6%. Right now it is over 7%. … BC is in absolute crazy land with almost 9% of the working population employed in construction.” [Thanks Kevin.]

More misallocation of resources.
Sheds light on why the Provincial Government would want to keep this going.
After the housing mania ends, by the next price trough, about 40% of those construction jobs will have evaporated. Possibly 50%.
(Aside, for TA lunatics: Failed double-top.)
– vreaa

Vancouver’s Too Expensive For Entrepreneurs – “Last night during a meeting we realized that of five, only two of us aren’t thinking about leaving the city in the next year or two.”

“Over the past year I began working with a loose group of consultants; there are five of us who work together in complementary ways. We’ve taken steps towards forming a more formal business together, but last night during a meeting realized that of five, only two aren’t thinking about leaving the city in the next year or two. Vancouver’s too expensive to be an entrepreneur and have a family, and we all want other things – like retirement funds, or the ability to travel and take vacations, etc.”
Absinthe at VREAA 20 Feb 2012 11:37am

“What is Vancouver’s economy really based upon? For the answer, check out my newly devised ‘pickup truck index’.”

“I just left Vancouver, where every second vehicle on the road is a tradesman’s pickup truck, with the shiny metal tool box built into the box. All of these guys, I think, are driving off to their jobs building condo towers. I know it has often been wondered what Vancouver’s economy is really based upon? For the answer to that check out my newly devised ‘pickup truck index’.”
Heart of the World at 1 Feb 2012 11:37am

Posted because we’ve also noticed the number of these trucks, and considered their meaning and their fate.
– vreaa

Still Ignorant After All These Years – “During our lunch my friend told me that he was going to quit his job to become a realtor. He seemed surprised by my comments about the market, and said that he hadn’t heard any of this before, and wouldn’t even begin to know where to look for that kind of information.”

“Recently had lunch with a friend of mine. During our lunch he told me that he was going to quit his job to become a realtor. Was quite surprised as he was just promoted and is doing very well. I launched into the usually bear arguments: debt-to-income, easy lending standards (CMHC), risk of further restrictions regarding mortgages, housing starts and that most economists are waving red flags regarding Canada’s RE market.
He seemed surprised by my comments and said that he hadn’t heard any of this before and wouldn’t even begin to know where to look for that kind of information. We’ve talked about RE before and as I pointed out to him that I’m still wrong but have been right about every other housing bust I called, from the U.S. to Ireland to Spain — Australia’s right around the corner, and that at some point I’ll be right about Canada’s as well.
In any event, I didn’t dissuade him. He is a great salesman and will undoubtedly have success regardless of getting in at the top of the market, taking on tonnes of listings and having to deal with future sellers that will refuse to lower prices because their house is worth more. I wished him luck and told him to make sure that he had plenty of cash set aside to grow his business.”

Manna from heaven at 25 Jan 2012 11:09am

Boy, this is late to the party.
Like arriving at 6.30am, after the cops have broken it up.
Mental note to self: 1. Never underestimate the ignorance of some folks, and, consequently, 2. Never (again) try to estimate how long a speculative mania can perpetuate itself.
Yeah, sure, perhaps it’s we bears who’ve been ‘ignorant’. But the game isn’t over yet.
– vreaa

“My friend in his early 40’s has basically considered himself retired for the last couple of years due to all this property appreciation.”

“Friend tells me the assessment of his Cambie corridor house has almost quadrupled in value over the last few years – now up to $2 million. The entertaining thing: he’s terrified because he doesn’t know how to pay the property taxes. He may have to get a real job. Basically he’s considered himself retired for the last couple of years due to all this property appreciation (he’s in his early 40s).”
604x at 12 Jan 2012 at 8:55pm

Guy stops working in his 40s because of assumed market value of his house. Everybody see why this is so bad? Just one example of the misallocation of resources caused by a speculative mania in housing. – vreaa

Vancouver – ‘Lazy’? Or Successfully ‘Non-Ambitious’?

Inquiring minds want to know, “What makes Vancouver tick?”.
This interesting exchange recently at RETalks [23 Nov 2011 10:54am onwards]

rofina – “The better we can understand how money flows affect Vancouver, the better we can diagnose the issues. The reality of the matter is that we need to start being proactive in other ways than just hoping for a property crash. … The solutions need to be broader, rather than just focused on asset prices. The most realistic and net beneficial approach is one of bringing high paying jobs here.”

jesse1 – “The only competitive advantage Vancouver seems to have is attracting a subset of people who are willing to work for less than other parts of the country.”

rofina – “This is an interesting topic on its own. It has always puzzled me why Vancouver attracts lazy, non ambitious people. With how expensive it is, and how little nightlife there is you would reckon its not the ideal spot for a lifetime underachiever. Its a bit of conundrum in its own right.”

jesse1 – “In my view it’s not necessarily laziness, it’s a lack of business drive. A friend of mine who worked 10 years in Silicon Valley opined at how unsophisticated the business development climate is in general.”

kramster – “Non ambitious and lazy are not synonymous. Well, non ambitious when it comes to slaving for the man anyway.
Take me for example. I have to do a career development review every year. Each year I put that I don’t want to expand my responsibilities, I don’t want to move up the ladder, I just like it where I am. Because to move up would require me to go on Salary, which means the 200 hours of overtime I work each year would not get banked into time off that I can use to do the thing in life that so many people don’t. The part of your life where you’re actually having one. Not to be confused with the life where people get up and go to work with big ambitions to work harder, make more money, get divorced, get fat, lose touch with their kids, retire, get bored and go back to work and then die of heart disease. It’s an epedemic so widespread people mistake it for being the opposite of lazy. My ambitions exclude those things.
So to counter the lazy argument, and to shed some light on why it may seem that such a subset of society has taken up home here, consider the following. This season I rode my mountain bike 134 days. I went skiing 30 times and ski touring a number of times. What I did not do is go to the doctor, take medication, get sick, miss out on my family, lose touch with my friends, suffer from anxiety, watch my weight, buy something because it made me feel better or make me cool, scream at a stranger in traffic, eat emotionally or get depressed. Before I moved to this part of the world, I lived in a place that oozed all of the above and it was very hard to meet people that didn’t ask what you did for a living before they asked what you did for fun. Here, there are a much greater ratio of people that I can relate to, and they have moved here for the same reasons. To work less and play more. Lazy? You tell me if having a resting heart rate of less then 50 is a sign of laziness, or the product of putting your ambitions in the right places. Sometimes we need a good night’s sleep before we climb a mountain, hence the quiet nightlife compared to places with nothing better to do.”

Question for readers:
Is it possible to have a sustainable, self-sufficient society where everyone lives kramster’s lifestyle?

– vreaa

High Up On The Roof

“My brother, who has zero experience in construction, answered a craigslist ad for a roofer position at a large roofing company. They offered it to him after a brief interview, 15 bucks an hour. He started work and was ‘trained’ by a crack addicted employee. The crack head, actually asked to borrow money from him for supplies, which turned out to be a lie for drugs – he obliged and offered up $200 – which he never saw again. My brother confronted his boss after the crack head went awol for a week. The boss had the keys to his apartment (the crack head was staying at an apartment of his) and offered him to go in and take whatever he wanted ! My brother quit shortly after.
If this is the quality of the people who are in the industry now, I can only wonder the quality of the output… crazy.”

– Loon at VREAA 30 Oct 2011 8:46pm

“When I was younger I did roofing for an outfit in Alberta and they had strict standards:
– sneak off to a local pub at lunch for a quick beer if you’re going to drink on the job. Or a one beer limit on the roof, but pound it so the customer doesn’t see
– smoke weed in the company truck but never ever on the roof. That would be unprofessional
– if it goes up nose I don’t want to know about it, but you’d better share
– if you’re working on the road don’t bring hookers back to the motel room you’re sharing with your fellow roofer. That’s what parking lots are for.
– be nice to the new guy. He just got out of prison, and oh by the way – can he stay with you for a while until he gets on his feet?
– all fights are to be done on the ground away from the kettle. And don’t throw hot tar at your enemy/co-worker no matter how much you want to kill him
Good times!”

– nobody you know at VREAA 30 Oct 2011 9:29pm

Concerned citizens hear these stories all the time, but they’ve gotta be exaggerations, right?
– vreaa

“Depending on what you’re looking for, Vancouver is actually a great city to live in. If you can’t be happy here, forget it and go live somewhere else where you can find your happiness…”

“Depending on what you’re looking for, Vancouver is actually a great city to live in. I don’t come from a 3rd world country, but from western europe. I’m not an aging baby boomer either, I’m 34! I’ve lived in London and Paris for years, so I know what’s living in a world class city is like. I also did my MBA at UBC (that’s the reason why I came here in the first place) and decided to get a job and live here (as did a lot of my fellow classmates). Depending on your chosen field, you can have a decent career here. For sure the opportunities might be more limited, of course you may have to compromise a bit on salary, but would I trade my life today to go back to London or Paris? Hell no! In fact, most of my work involved projects located anywhere in Canada and the US. I could be located pretty much everywhere I want, and I chose to be here.
Is everything perfect in Vancouver? Of course not. I wish so much I could afford a house here, which I can’t despite my 6 figure salary (that’s the reason why I’m on this blog!). But I’m renting a nice condo in a great location in downtown, the same way I was renting in London and Paris. I don’t have any problem with it and I’m patiently waiting (and saving) for prices to come down and be reasonable again, as they certainly will… If they don’t? well, I’ll be sitting on a pile of cash…
Vancouver is not for everyone, and there is no reason to be angry about it. I have a happy life here, and I know lots of people do too. If you can’t be happy here, forget it and go live somewhere else where you can find your happiness…”

“I agree this is not a city for everyone and a lot of my friends in Paris or London would have a miserable life living here. But Vancouver works great for me and this is where I want to raise my kid…”

“This city/province has a lot to offer, but not everyone enjoys nature and all the activities that come with it. If you prefer museums, a developed music scene and other cultural activities, you will have a pretty miserable life here.”

“When I went camping to Garibaldi Lake last month, there were all kinds of people, very young “party” folks, older mature ladies (early 60′s) and parents with young children (I brought my 7 month old baby up there and I was not alone, to my biggest surprised! Talking about family responsibilities…).
I agree with you there are a lot more important things in life than outdoor activities. It’s all about putting your priorities in order. I love great food and I have yet to find a good yet affordable restaurant in Vancouver. I’m still amazed at the costs of fruits and vegetables here, and don’t get me started about the price of cheese here. I would also love to have more music festivals in Vancouver during the summer season.
The same way some people go and spend spring break in Florida or Mexico to get sunny and warm weather, it’s possible to travel from Vancouver to satisfy your cultural (and other) cravings you can’t satisfy in Vancouver… Portland, SF or even NY are not that far away.”

Makaya at VREAA, 20 Sep 2011 at 12:44pm, 2:25pm, 2:37pm& 4:49pm.

“Vancouver isn’t vibrant or exciting, it’s as dead as a doornail. It isn’t a big city, a world class city or even really a city. It’s a large sleepy tourist village that wishes it matters on the world stage.”

“Downtown Vancouver isn’t vibrant or exciting, it’s as dead as a doornail. I lived in False Creek for 11 years so I know how bland and lame that town is. Dining was also bland and uninspired. Vancouverites to this day are the most arrogant closed off unworldly bunch I have ever met. Far worse than Americans, and I’m in the Southern USA now. What baffles me is that people actually pay to live there. I love living in the USA now, as a dual citizen and we’ll never go back to Canada. I couldn’t justify doing my MBA with zero real career prospects in the Vancouver ‘business district’ (laughable) and then driving up and down Broadway, Granville and Seymour thinking that bubble tea, camping, fishing and the Canucks is actually worth living there for and deluding myself in thinking it’s cosmopolitan. It isn’t a big city, a world class city or even really a city. It’s a large sleepy tourist village that wishes it matters on the world stage and the propaganda there just proves it. I hate Vancouver so much it makes my blood boil and get angry even thinking about it. I went to GNS private school in Victoria BC in Oak Bay. The lot of my old classmates either moved away to live in real cities and have real lives or went to private school and didn’t become successful at all. Canadian schools don’t seem to that much better. It’s what silly Canucks tell themselves to spite and convince themselves to the USA. No more Granville Island, no more skiing, no more small town people. A buddy of mine just become an oral surgeon, he moved to NYC to start his practice, why on earth would he choose NYC over the “best place on earth”? Maybe Vancouver isn’t on the map for educated people. Way to go Vancouver!!! the only people that live there (or want to) are aging baby boomers and the 3rd world… what a city !!!!! And one final comment, I never lived in a city like Vancouver where people pretended to be rich like they do there, what the hell kind of careers do people do there? I never figured that out. I know engineers that bag groceries at save on foods in east van, my realtor was an engineer but realized that he would never have a real career as an engineer there so in 1986 became a realtor. Vancouver is a poor city, with piss poor opportunities. I only stayed to do my MBA and watch my property values rise from when I got in during April of 2001. I cashed out to some foreign fool. I’m so happy I left.”
Reality Check at VREAA, 18 Sep 2011 7:26am

Wow. We don’t share Reality Check’s vitriol; we at VREAA like many aspects of life in Vancouver, that is why we live here.
At the same time we acknowledge that in many ways, in many quarters (particularly amongst locals), Vancouver is simply over-rated. An unrealistic over-assessment of the city has undoubtably contributed to the speculative mania in housing prices.
– vreaa

UBC Staff And Faculty Housing Demand Study – “Inability to settle in Vancouver may lead me to leave UBC, despite being ranked as top faculty both in terms of teaching and research”

Thanks to ‘Durr’ at VREAA 30 July 2011 for alerting us to a report, prepared for UBC Campus Planning, by McClanaghan & Associates, and dated more than one year ago, July 2010. pdf here.
The commissioned study was aimed at assessing “housing choices and housing pressures for staff and faculty members” in order “to provide important research and data for UBC to understand the potential implications that the cost of housing can have on their recruitment and retention of staff and faculty members”. The study used census data, MLS data, CMHC data, a web-based survey, UBC income data, & UBC focus group sessions held in April 2010.

The entire report is of interest and worth the read. We will relay a handful of the reported statistics, and then, given the major focus of VREAA, record many of the personal anecdotes ‘snippets’ that the survey gleaned.

UBC employs 12,700 staff and faculty members (1% of Metro Vancouver workforce)
36% faculty, 64% staff
34% originate from outside Metro Vancouver
41% want to live closer to campus
31% take transit to work (69% drive)
Average annual faculty income: $93,524
Average staff income: $51,754
[For comparison, City of Vancouver incomes –
homeowner households: $66,087
renter households: $34,872]

Given lender guidelines, income thresholds required to purchase –
a 2BR condo or Townhouse ($611K price): $138K p.a.
a Single detached house ($1M price): $195K p.a.

Only 29% of staff or faculty members live in a detached SFH.
24% of those have a secondary suite in their home that they are currently renting out.

Renting or owning:
39% own
45% rent
(16% no response)

Average rent: $1,229
Average mortgage cost: $1,901
Average monthly condo fee (46% of owners): $260

Satisfaction with current housing situation:
Satisfied 60.2%; Dissatisfied 20.9%

When surveyed on what is important to them about housing, the UBC respondents indicated as follows (selection):
Affordability 90%
Close to employment 83%
Close to social opportunities 64%
Close to friends and family 62%
Close to schools 34%

FOCUS GROUP RESPONSES (excerpts from various question categories):

How long have you lived in the Metro Vancouver region?/Are you a recent arrival to the Vancouver housing market and how does this affect your housing choices/arrangements?
• Recent arrival from US (last fall). Recognize that this is a very expensive and difficult to read market and will not consider buying for at least 2 years until they can comprehend the local circumstances and context.
• Shortly returning to UBC after a sabbatical but the return will be ‘very tough’ due to housing market conditions.
• Recent arrival from US. Coquitlam resident, renter. Unable to afford any housing closer to UBC. This move have made it challenging to find housing that is adequate and affordable.
• Has moved to Vancouver in recent years. Busy establishing career. Has one child with second on the way. Likes access to UBC and rents a house in close proximity. But is unable to purchase a home.
• Long time Vancouver resident with large family. Previously lived at UBC but unable to find suitable housing arrangements at UBC. Proposed co-housing option but UBC expressed no interest.
• Arrived in Metro Vancouver in 2001, but never got a chance to enter the real estate market, as budget was taken up by childcare expenses for young children.
• Housing has been a big disappointment with UBC & Vancouver and a perpetual source of struggle.

Describe your experience in looking for housing in the Vancouver market. (Difficulty, vacancy rates, market conditions, narrow range or choices, type of neighbourhoods, trade off with commute time to work, etc.) What challenges, trade-offs did you have to make?
• Luckily, were able to land one of the few rental options with not too great an effort. Anticipates market will go down as in US and thinks that may be a good time to buy. But is generally leery of buying if market remains high.
• Challenging. Bought 5 years ago and even then, had to share a mortgage for a single family home with another family/household. This was not preferred option even though it has worked out well. Wife is so frustrated with local housing market and lack of opportunities that she would happily accept offer of employment from a university in another city.
• Difficult. Live on campus at Acadia Park and am entertaining the UBC housing offer. Realize that there are few strong opportunities in local housing marketplace and thinks that UBC may be best opportunity. But it, too, is a challenge.
• Sticker shock. Housing is very expensive and rental market is narrow. Came from US and had to move to Burnaby Coquitlam boundary to find suitable rental housing. This involves a long public transit commute. Would give up UBC employment if better situation could be found.
• Very difficult for young couple still paying off student loans. Forced to live with in-laws in east Vancouver basement suite to attempt to save money for down payment (get a rent break). Would like a family but the housing situation is putting planning on hold. Car pools to UBC.
• Complete unaffordability of 4BR option for a 2 child family as a long-term option ($3,000+ to rent; $6,000+ to buy).
• UBC should be a leader, as proposed by our president, on reducing the environmental
footprint and addressing climate change. Yet faculty are pushed far off campus & into private vehicles.
• There is no solution to housing problem off campus with $1,000,000 homes not accessible to UBC faculty income.
• Could afford $750K-$800K for type of housing household requires, but nothing is available.
• Very tight market, very few options, short-term leases. Very hard to settle down in durable way.
• Willingness to stay at UBC over time is eroded.

Metro Vancouver is recognized as a high cost housing market – what implications does this challenge have for you/your household in terms of the choices that are/were available?
• Generally speaking, this has severely constrained options.
• Buying and settling down is “beyond hope” for young tenured professor with family
• Unable to buy, Forced to rent, Forced to live in a basement suite
• Forced to live with in-laws
• Forced to share mortgage with another family.
• Unable to move up in housing market as they could do in most housing markets.
• Forced to wait to see where the local housing market goes (delaying decision).
• Forced to put off having a family.
• May have to limit the size of planned family.
• Forced to consider options that are long distance from employment.
• Also has implications for UBC with faculty who would spend less time on campus or with students due to imposition of a long commute.
• Off-campus market is “very very tight” with very few rental options available
• The few suitable rental options are “around $3000 to $3500 per month”
• Family would consider offers from elsewhere (other universities) as a function of the local housing market.
• Inability to settle in Vancouver or at UBC may lead me to leave UBC (despite being ranked as top faculty both in terms of teaching and research)

If you were advising a potential new recruit to UBC, what type of housing advice would you provide?
• Rent and observe the market for some time.
• Plan your family size carefully as larger families are particularly challenged in this market.
• Be prepared to make extensive trade-offs (location, amenities, affordability, commute time, size and age of housing, rental vs. ownership).
• Be realistic about lack of housing for families, as it can make life quite tough. Vancouver and UBC are not attractive anymore, due to the inability to settle down in a durable way.

Unconventional Offer for Adventurous Home Owner (Vancouver) – “This is the only way you will ever have your pet dinosaur, and the only way I will ever be able to acquire a house in Vancouver.”

Thanks to all readers who have forwarded us the following ad from craigslist:
vancouver, BC craigslist > vancouver > housing > real estate wanted
Unconventional Offer for Adventurous Home Owner (Vancouver)
Date: 2011-06-26, 8:16PM PDT
Reply to:

This offer is not for everyone. Those of you who have saved every penny for most of your life to afford a down payment and currently work around the clock to make mortgage payments, I commend you on your efforts, but this post is not for you.

Do you own more than one property? Do you have so many rental homes with no mortgage payments, yet you still feel unfulfilled? Tired of your illegal tenants whining that there are rats in the walls? Have you always wanted your own dinosaur? Now is your chance my friend.

In exchange for one of your properties, I will be your personal dinosaur for one year. I will be at your beck and call, 24 hours a day, wearing a dinosaur costume. The type of dinosaur is negotiable. I can babysit your children (references upon request), scare the mailman, wash dishes, entertain and impress your guests, and much more. (No sex stuff though, sorry.) I will make realistic dinosaur sounds, eat what the particular dinosaur eats and maybe even sit on a fake dinosaur egg, if you are so inclined. I am well educated, fluent in English and French (as well as dinosaur), can play several musical instruments and have no criminal record or outstanding warrants.

All this and more. This is the only way you will ever have your pet dinosaur, and the only way I will ever be able to acquire a house in Vancouver.
Serious offers only please.
Thank you.

PostingID: 2464265874

“Without the Vancouver housing bubble I would have probably spent 3,500 hours working on building my business instead of getting addicted to learning everything I can about finance and economics.”

“I hate to invest in things I don’t understand, so from the age of 18 to 28 I invested in the thing I understood best: myself. My investment involved spending enormous amounts of time studying computer science, marketing, sales, accounting, the basic skills needed to operate a business, and IT management practices. In the first 3 years after finishing university I had spent $25,000 on computer books (crazy, but true). I am sure some RE bull observers would say that I would have been better off buying a house and watching it appreciate in value but they would be wrong because I loved every minute of reading hundreds of books on all things comp sci, IT management and geo politics. End result I have a consulting business where I am tax optimized, and only work 100 days of the year, generating 140K to 200K of revenue per year while being able to live anywhere in the world, so I effectively own my job.

My obsession with finance and economics was born around 2007 when I decided that I would stay in Vancouver. The plan was to live in Vancouver, enjoy the great outdoors, start a family, buy a house, and put what I learned into hitting a home run with a product based business (still swinging for the home run; have not hit it yet).
What really pissed me off is that, even though I had done something totally crazy [in a good way] compared to the average 28 year old (starting out as an immigrant kid with no connections and no money and lots of student debt), I still could not afford to buy a house in Vancouver. At this point I owned some commercial RE in Ontario and had cash accumulating in the bank at a healthy rate. My definition of affordable is minimum 25% ideally over 50% down payment and prices close to fundamentals.
My obsession with finance and economics became an addiction in 2008 as the world economy was blowing up. As of now I estimate that I have spent over 3,500 hours reading finance and economics books, and blogs. For fun, I wrote the CSI exam to see if I had learned enough, and I had no trouble passing it.
After 3,500 hours of research I have learned how to tell if something is a bad investment. The problem is that I have no idea what the [current] good investments are, other than my business, and myself.
I don’t have enough money to afford the seriously good money managers that know what they are doing and I know that the financial advisers at the banks and insurance companies really don’t know anything that I don’t know and will probably not advise me on anything and just sell me some product from their company.
It also seems to me that the markets are fundamentally corrupt and rigged against those who don’t have servers in the stock exchanges, or friends in government, or 100 million +.
Buying a house and putting all my money into it would have freed me from dilemma of figuring out what to do with my savings because I would have worked to pay off the house in 5 to 8 years and get mortgage free.

Now it seems to me that my options for my money are:
A) Put my money into a grossly overvalued housing and lose lots of it – I have worked too hard to let that happen.
B) Put my money into the fundamentally corrupt politically rigged and manipulated public markets.
C) Keep it in cash and let the bank gamble with it and loan it to fools who buy over valued real estate while my taxes “guarantee” the loans (current strategy)
D) Spend it
E) Try my hand at investing and see if I learn anything useful (I like learning and creating things not buying things in hope of selling them for more not really who I am the game just does not appeal to me but maybe I could grow to like it)
F) Invest it in my business and work to increase my revenue to $300K per year while only working 60 days per year. Use increased time and cash flow to search for business model with a personal 25 million + exit where I bootstrap the business from the ground up.
G) Raise money from investors for a business idea that I have developed business models for, then work 60 hour weeks 50 weeks of the year, be in perpetual raise capital mode, baby sit investors, lose my time to learn and grow, and then maybe exit if my interests are still aligned with the interests of the investors by the time an exit opportunity shows up.
H) Keep learning more and see if I learn anything new to change my mind about what my options are.
I) Leave Vancouver and hope that by doing so I don’t end up being obsessed about finance and economics any more.

Now that I have written this rather long post, it seems to be too personal and revealing to post online. But … I share my story for sake of contributing to this blog’s effort to capture the impact of the housing bubble.
So, without the Vancouver housing bubble I would have probably spent 3,500 hours working on building my business instead of getting addicted to learning everything I can about finance and economics.”

ams at VREAA 5 Aug 2011 4:36pm

Thanks, ‘ams’, for sharing your illustrative story so openly. You are by no means alone, as the pressures applied to you through these profoundly abnormal times have been felt by many of us. And the perversion of behaviour you describe has also affected many; each in their own way. Witness the very existence of this blog as just one small example.
A few thoughts:
1. The speculative mania in housing has distracted many from usual productive activity. This is just one of the many ways in which asset bubbles misallocate resources.
2. Despite ‘austerity’ talk internationally and nationally (BOC Governor Mark Carney, etc), economic pressures continue to punish the prudent. ‘ams’ still feels pressure to use his accumulated wealth in an arguably unwise fashion: to speculate, to buy overvalued assets, or to squander it (spend unnecessarily).
3. The speculative mania in Vancouver RE was very clearly underway by 2007, and it was prudent of ‘ams’ to avoid the market then. Price action in the four years since then has punished him psychologically. This is a common phenomenon in bubbles.

Having said all this, if one lives through abnormal times, and if one is naturally drawn to examining one’s own behaviour and the behaviour of those around you, isn’t it normal to be fascinated by these massive social forces, to study them, to document them, to discuss them, to attempt to take advantage of them? Isn’t that a particularly human thing to do under the circumstances? – We are all to a certain extent products of our times. The results of ‘ams’s 3,500 hours spent studying ‘finance and economics’ are perhaps as much an important part of who he is as his business career, or the business that he has built, or any other valued aspect of his life.
– vreaa

“I was born in Victoria BC. I bought a condo in False Creek in 2001 for $275K, sold it for $735K in 2010 and moved to Orlando Fl.”

Z at VREAA 28 May 2011 at 5:55 pm “I was born in Victoria BC I bought a condo in false creek in 2001 for 275, I sold it for 735 in 2010, with mortgage as a dual citizen I moved to Orlando Fl. The cost of living is way, way, way less. You can get a palace for 300k with a pool. we have better weather more entertainment and cool cities to visit like Miami beach and Tampa, Daytona beach etc.The only thing vancouver has over us is, less driving, a better view, and less crime. Sometimes I miss the rain at night and how easy it was to get around van. but I would never go back. Vancouver is bland, boring and the people were rude, unfriendly and dull.And Plus the people here look cleaner and less wore out for some reason( I cant put my finger on why). I notice here in Florida, they also have more manners. Vancouver is a weird place”.

Very Late To The Party – ‘KVOS Real Estate 101 TV’ – “One-part reality TV, one-part lifestyle talk show, one-part investigative biography. Featuring the hottest trends in real estate.”

From 10 Mar 2011 [Hat-tip to ‘Proteus’]
“Real Estate and developments make Vancouver headlines constantly for good reason. We have the highest housing prices in Canada, one of the highest rental rates and a loyal following of development fanatics. Presenting KVOS’s Real Estate 101 TV, running each Sunday, featuring everything about real-estate-savvy Vancouver.

“One-part reality television, one-part lifestyle talk show, one-part investigative biography, Real Estate 101 TV will change the way people think about real estate,” Co-host, Crystal Carson shared. “Maggie and I will be taking the city by storm and showing the reality of real estate. We’re going to be answering every question you’ve ever had about real estate.”

Hosted by media personality Crystal Carson, and radio and TV broadcaster Maggie Cox. The dynamic duo will interview big-name real estate and development moguls and trailblazers. Feature segments go behind-the-scenes at the new BC Place Stadium and interview development industry leaders like David Podmore of Concert Properties and world-famous architect James Cheng, to the visionaries behind the Woodward’s project in downtown Vancouver.

With Real Estate 101 TV, Crystal Carson combines her unique blend of media, fashion, and real estate experience to blow the lid off real estate myths and help homebuyers and sellers navigate through an array of complex decisions. All the while, featuring some of the hottest trends in real estate.

The television series focuses on providing industry advice to help homebuyers and sellers gain an advantage in today’s competitive real estate market. Each episode features a “Real People, Real Problems” reality-based segment which showcases the real stories and real solutions behind common real estate problems.”

Very, very, VERY late to the party. Sign of a top?? (Nah, we’ve said that too many times before to be taken seriously…) – vreaa

RE 101 TV episodes available here. [Hat-tip to Aidan for the links.]
[“I just threw up in my mouth a little…” – ‘Polly’, on discovering this show.]

“I moved to Vancouver from Holland 3 years ago, planning to buy a business, house and settle. Last year we moved to the States.”

left already at VREAA 20 May 2011 8:53pm
“I moved to Vancouver from Holland 3 years ago because my wife’s family lives there and many of my friends and family also.
Planning to buy a business, house and settle.
We had approx 10million CAD in cash. After looking at all possible businesses for sale for two years, we realised that there was really no opportunity to buy smth decent with cap rates higher than 3 to 4% same as what our money was earning on a savings account (most businesses were franchises, restaurants and other retail).
We rented for 2 years thinking that the RE prices will fall to reasonable levels.
It was not so much that we could not afford it but having come by our money the hard way, we realised that there was really not value in paying 1.5 million to live in very ordinary poorly build house. Weather was not so much an issue for us are we are used to rain and we really did not have bad whether the two years we lived there. The summers were beautiful, we liked it so much.
Last year we decided to invest in the States and moved here on an investor E2 visa. We bought an apartment building (42 apartments for 3 million USD) with a cap rate of 6.5%. The same building in Vancouver would cost 6 to 8 million.
And since we are here, I can tell you that once you get used to the San Diego sunshine, you can hardly dream of another place.
We just bought a house four ourself ( 860 000USD) with swimming pool and ocean view, lots of oranges in the garden, they are ripe and sweet now. Unbelievable how far the money goes here compared to Vancouver. Evth is cheaper. Vancouver is a TOTAL RIP OFF anyway you look at it. I will never regret the decision to leave.
Also, having worked for 27 years as an electro-mechanical engineer in Holland and having registered 7 patents during this period, and managed countless projects around the world, I thought I might get a part time consulting job in the industry , mainly to do smth useful and not get bored rather than to make money.
To my surprise no body recognised my credentials, I had to be registered to practice engineering there, and to do that is going back to school, pass all exams again, and once you do that you have to be coached for about 3 to 5 years by another professional engineer, almost mission impossible. I was stunned. It was the same thing for my wife, architect graduated from one of the most prestigious schools in Europe. Impossible to practice here.
Now, when you look at all the architectural junk that Vancouver is filled with, I really don’t know were they get those creative architects / designers…
I am so amused checking from time to time the blogs that helped me so much understand RE craze in vancouver and feel sorry for the people waiting on the sidelines.
I wish you good luck and hope things return to sanity sooner in the rainy city.
My advice:
Don’t let RE prices dictate your life plans, move on to where the sunshine is and life opportunities await. There are very little in Vancouver.”

[We are now satisfied that this anecdote is likely genuine, so we have headlined it. -ed.]

“The idea of a highly paid surgeon leaving because he can’t afford to live in Vancouver is absurd.” [“No, it isn’t.”]

Pat at VREAA, 17 May 2011 8:11am, writes in response to the anecdote: Doctors Leaving Vancouver – “My friend, a surgeon at Children’s Hospital, said he couldn’t have the life he wanted in Vancouver because of the insane real estate prices here”, 16 Feb 2011
“Even though prices are obviously too high in Vancouver, the idea of a highly paid surgeon leaving because he can’t afford to live in Vancouver is absurd.
It says more about that person’s idea of ‘lifestyle’ than anything else. How is it that I can live here very comfortably on a self-employed salary ranging from $35,000/year to $50,000/year with my mature student spouse who earns maybe $15,000 part-time?
It’s ridiculous that someone says they can’t afford Vancouver on, what, $200,000/year. Utter nonsense.”

Pat –
Many thanks for your comment. Arguments similar to the one you make are made regularly and in various forms, so we’ll headline a discussion here.
We don’t find this surgeon’s decision absurd at all.
It is important to realize that, when “prices are obviously too high” in a RE market, they seem so to people at all levels of wealth and income. The surgeon takes a look at Vancouver RE, and realizes that he cannot afford the type of property that he’d expect to be able to live in, given his training and income. In actual fact he likely earns substantially more than you suggest, perhaps over $300K, or $400K, or even more. He could prudently afford a property selling for, say, $1.6M-$1.8M. But, take a look at what he gets for that on the westside at present. Then compare those properties with the houses that surgeons earning similar incomes, living in Washington State, or California, or Hawaii, or New York, or even Ottawa, get to call ‘home’. That’s the point. The surgeon in Vancouver cannot afford to live a lifestyle commensurate with his training and income. So he moves. This is a completely sane decision.
It is inevitable that a speculative mania in real estate should causes such forces to take effect; the misallocation of resources is characteristic of a bubble. In this case, valuable human capital is squandered and lost to our community. Many skilled professionals have made similar decisions, by either leaving or not migrating here to Vancouver in the first place. There have been anecdotes on these pages of business executives and university professors, amongst others, avoiding Vancouver for these reasons. [See the ‘Avoiding Vancouver’ post category for some examples.]
So, yes, it may seem that it is unfair for the surgeon to say that they “can’t afford” Vancouver; but their conclusion and their move is also perfectly sensible. It would be more accurate for him to state: “I can’t afford the kind of home in Vancouver that I can afford in every other North American city.”
This line of thinking is relevant to all Vancouverites. You may think you can ‘afford’ Vancouver, but have you considered what a similar income (or your home’s current market value) would get you elsewhere?
We’re not concerned that this specific force will leave our city deserted. Everybody can’t leave at once. It’ll only take a small percentage trying to cash out for the market to crash.
While the bubble remains in existence, however, it is sorely damaging our community by the many perverse pressures that it applies; having professionals leave town is one of them.
– vreaa

BC Realtors Who Are Federal MP Candidates

CelicaMan at April 21st, 2011 at 12:44 pm“I just found out that the Green Party candidate here in the Quadra federal riding is a realtor by day. Yikes! They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere!”

Some examples of BC Federal MP candidates who are also realtors:

Laura-Leah Shaw – Green Party – Vancouver Quadra
“Laura-Leah is a realtor with RE/MAX, is a Hall of Fame Award Winner, Medallion Club Member, and has been licensed since 1988.”

Alice Hooper – Green party – Kelowna – Lake Country
“Alice Hooper is currently a Real Estate Representative for Royal LePage Kelowna.”

Louise Boutin – Green Party – Vancouver Kingsway
“She works as a REALTOR for RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside and sells in the Vancouver, Burnaby & Richmond areas. She recently bought a home in the Kensington area and is already very active in the community.”

Pam Dhanoa – Liberal – Fleetwood Port Kells
“Pam has been a realtor in Surrey for the last 16 years.”

Realtor DashCam Gallery

“Take Realtors’ self-promo, for example… Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that a preponderance of these clips (I think it’s de rigueur for the genre) are recorded in their automobiles (often while driving)?”Nemesis at VREAA 31 Mar 2011, who refers to them as “cultural artefacts”. No, it’s not just you, we share interest in these clips, and have featured a few before. A collection is a good idea. Still-shots, links to videos, and occasional quotes from Realtor DashCams will be archived in this Gallery post, which will be linked in the sidebar. We will update with any new material that becomes available; please send along dashcams you stumble upon. -vreaa

“If you’ve ever been to Winnipeg, you realize that Vancouver is ten times better. Our average price should be 2.5 million dollars for an average house in Vancouver.” – Ian Watt, Vancouver condo realtor, undisputed King of the DashCam, 600+ uploads at his VancouverPenthouse youtube channel, previously featured at VREAA 9 Nov 2010. Great production values; Specializes in back-alley shoots.

“I don’t see a bubble happening right now”– Barry Connerty, New West Realtor, self posted video at youtube, 15 Jan 2010

“If you are waiting for the Vancouver real estate market to go down – don’t hold your breath.” – Lisa Gibson, Vancouver Realtor, self posted video at youtube, 18 Nov 2010

Lisa Gibson, making video, while driving, in rain, with eyes closed, 17 Dec 2010. [Lucky she’s not simultaneously using cell-phone, that’d be illegal. -ed.]

Rob Balasabas, Vancouver realtor, self posted video at youtube, 2 Feb 2010

Rudy Balasabas, Vancouver realtor, self posted video at youtube, 29 Nov 2009

Roland Lewis, Vancouver realtor, self posted video at youtube, 25 Nov 2008

Shamus Baier, Victoria realtor, self posted video at youtube, 8 Jul 2010

“Hi, today we want to talk about how the low number of recent sales is affecting our market” [Victoria market, Sep 2010. -ed.]… “Sellers became quite panicked when they realized that their houses might not sell. I mean, people in Victoria are used to their homes selling right away… People are now faced with marketing their homes knowing that it may very well not get an offer, even though it’s in a good location, in good condition, priced well.” – Aaron Hall, Victoria realtor, self posted video at youtube, 20 Aug 2010 and 14 Sep 2010

Updates; ongoing:

Darin Chamberlain, Vancouver realtor, self posted video at youtube, 13 Jan 2011. Daring into-the-sun shots; Broody, reality-cop-show delivery; Nice work.

Dave Burch, Whistler realtor, self posted video at youtube, 12 Nov 2008. Yeah, you guessed it, filmed while driving the Sea-To-Sky.

Kevin Hardy, Vancouver realtor, self posted video at youtube, 9 Nov 2009. Impressive. Agent Hardy makes a video while staying cool at the wheel, at moderate speed, in rain.

Paul Albrighton, Vancouver loft specialist, self posted video at youtube, 6 Sep 2009. The dashcam avant-garde? Through the wheel camera angles, messing with focus, obscured view. Adventurous, but is it true to the story?

More to follow…

Twitter Vancouver RE Chat [‘YVRREChat’] – Three Realtors, Four Mortgage Brokers, One Home-Stager, and Three Civilians Discuss The Market

“Gold, Jerry, gold.”
Recorded here for those of us who don’t ‘tweet’, this ‘twitter chat’ between realtors, mortgage brokers, home-stagers, and three regular civilians, 22 Feb 2011, 9am-10am [#YVRREChat]. There were a number of ‘threads’ to the chat stream, and we have done our best to parse the various threads. Our summary/analysis of the discussion follows at the end.

The cast:

Scott Dawson [mortgage broker, moderator]

Leah Bach [realtor]

Christopher W. Earl [realtor, ‘earl of condos’]

Jason Krist [ex-nurse, mortgage broker]

Rossana Wyatt [mortgage broker]

Heather Stewart [homestager]

Teri Conrad [realtor]

Conrad DeJong [mortgage broker; RE investor]

Gary Jones [financial security advisor]

Jonah Lewis [website builder, prospective FTB]

Lynne Robson [web designer, non-owner]

The discussion:

Scott Dawson: Welcome to YVRREChat. Hope everyone’s been having a productive start to the week. I have noticed a definite uptick in business. Today’s topic is an open discussion on the YVR Real Estate market. Does anyone has anything they want to start with?
Lynne Robson: All I know is the market is way out of control…this from a third party perspective.
Leah Bach: I’m really interested in why you feel that way.
Lynne Robson: I just don’t quite get it…I have a cousin in wpg who is an agent…heritage houses sell here for 1 mil, same homes in wpg 300g.
Leah Bach: So, your thought is that it is the price disparity between yvr and wpg (for example)?
Lynne Robson: I have no idea how someone can be a 1st time buyer here. With cost of living, and home prices, there is no way an average person with an average income can even think about it…I know I can’t.
Scott Dawson: Vancouver has been rated as ‘most liveable city’ in the world. This has to have effect on pricing.
Leah Bach: The drivers of this market are two fold. First time condo buyers (get into the market), and upgraders.
Jonah Lewis: Compare Vancouver to New York, a 300,000 apartment here is bigger and more affordable.
Lynne Robson: I am not going to pay 300g plus for an apartment.
Leah Bach: Of course not, because you don’t see the value. If however, you want land 300g gets you Mission.
Christopher W. Earl: location, location, location.
Scott Dawson: You may not pay $300k but many people do. Like Earl_of_Condos says, location, location.
Lynne Robson: But what is the location? the view? the weather? what makes this “the location”?
Leah Bach: My first house was $147k at the time, I thought we were going to eat KD for the rest of our life.
Lynne Robson: The market in Vancouver makes me crazy…I should just be quiet…
Leah Bach: No, I LOVE that you will talk to us about how you feel about the market. Your info is like gold to RE’s.
Lynne Robson: I know I keep saying wpg, but you can still get a very nice home in wpg for 147k.
Christopher W. Earl: Location is demand, first and foremost. Like anything, the more the demand, the higher the price.
Leah Bach: Exactly which is why we see strong immigration in Richmond condos. Scarcity drives prices (less listings/more offers) and people who “get in” the market eventually “move up”.
Jonah Lewis: What I find unreasonable is the average cost of a house 1-1.5 million. Who can afford that!?
Lynne Robson: I agree, there is no way to get into the market with that family home.
Leah Bach: AND the fact is we all feel a pinch when we get a mortgage, however, our earning power grows over time.
Scott Dawson: You’d be surprised. Homes that price [1-1.5M] are going into multiple offers.
Lynne Robson: But what happened to the day when you got married, bought a home and lived in it while your family grew…?
Jason Krist: A lot of people are doing it with a rental suite now.
Leah Bach: can do that in a three bedroom condo in Maple Ridge.
Leah Bach: The whole affordability argument is earning power does not rise in step with housing prices, but those in the market make equity.
Lynne Robson: Back in the day you actually saved for a down payment.

Scott Dawson: Your first home is never your dream home it’s a stepping stone.
Leah Bach: Exactly. I tripled my investment in 5 yrs and moved up.
Heather Stewart: Wasn’t that an extreme anomaly, though?
Leah Bach: Which part? the buyer or the return?
Heather Stewart: The return, so quickly. [No specific reply to this point. -ed.]
Lynne Robson: My parents did not buy their first home with the thought that it was a step stone, they bought it because they loved it.
Scott Dawson: Previous generations also settled down at one job for 35 years. Didn’t move as much.
Jason Krist: Homes are like jobs there days, people rarely keep the same one for long right.
Scott Dawson: Exactly! I rarely see a client that’s been employed longer than 3yrs at current job.

Christopher W. Earl: Average Vancouver home buyers can afford average Vancouver homes.
Lynne Robson: I don’t want an apartment…I want a house where my kids (if i had them) can play in a yard, or I can plant a real garden.
Jonah Lewis: It’s a question of wanting average or not. I’d rather live somewhere affordable if I could.

Leah Bach: I have clients that paid cash for a 750k place (dinks under 35)
Rossana Wyatt: Nice for them!
Gary Jones: Really? How did they amass that much wealth in such a short time?
Leah Bach: One good job (overseas) one well educated, some inheritance, one car, no kids, good investing etc.

Teri Conrad: Seems to me I’ve read somewhere that ratio of income to mortgage not far off from parent’s generation here in Van [Nobody responded to this statement. Too ‘facty’. -ed.]

Rossana Wyatt [mortgage broker]: hello evry1. We pd 190000 4 our condo at City gate and were lucky 2 get tht when we sold – now worth 400000 😦 [Example of flat market. Ignore. No responses to this either. -ed.]

Gary Jones: Is every home an investment or not?
Scott Dawson: I believe so. You have to live somewhere why not pay your mortgage instead of your landlords?
Jason Krist: As someone who has tenants it’s great, I tell clients all the time how much they waste on rent
Gary Jones: All the money savings books suggest renting is cheaper.
Scott Dawson: The first step when thinking of buying is to do a budget. For some it might make sense to rent.
Jason Krist: Renting may be cheaper but it doesn’t mean it’ll get them further ahead
Conrad De Jong: That’s why homeowners are rich and renters are poor; FACT.
Leah Bach: The fact remains, renters are covering somebody’s mortgage.
Conrad De Jong: I encourage people to start somewhere, even if its a 500 sq ft condo, you create leverage, you can rent it out
Lynne Robson: As someone not in the industry, I don’t want to have to look at buying a home as only an investment, I want a home
Jonah Lewis: It’s hard to go from a good size rental deal to 500sq of nothing and be house poor though. 1st time buyer.
Leah Bach: The secret to getting in is usually sacrifice. Save for the downpayment and buy the best you can afford.
Jason Krist: I agree, sacrifice for long term gain. Rent $1,000/mth = 60K over 5 year period would you rather build your equity or someone else’s?
Scott Dawson: Owners realize this once they’re in the market. Most wish they got in sooner.
Conrad De Jong: I think its worth the sacrifice in the longer term
Rossana Wyatt: Yes, pays off in long run!
Lynne Robson: Do people even save for a down payment now a days?
Jason Krist: They should be saving, problem is they walk into a bank, open a savings acct and feel relieved.
Scott Dawson: People are saving more than you think. Most of my current files are not high ratio.
Lynne Robson: Back in the day you had to save 25% for a down payment…how the hell do you save 25% of a mil…?
Leah Bach: You can always try the “bank of dad”
Christopher W. Earl: Get a REALLY high paying job 😉
Lynne Robson: So 25% of $1mil.. $250,000.. will buy me an ocean front property with a rental in barbados…hummm let’s reconsider..
Jason Krist: 25% was a lot less “back in the day”, now if you get 5-10% as a down payment, get into the market, smart purchase
Leah Bach: You don’t need 25%, mortgage people…where are you? and can you get a work visa in Barbados?
Lynne Robson: lol, actually I can…I have a virtual business, and a husband who is retired…

Heather Stewart: Best time to buy is always last year!
Jason Krist: Trying to “time the market” rarely works out for a FTHB
Scott Dawson: You can’t time market & mortgage rates. Buy when you’re ready.
Christopher W. Earl: You should buy where you see value…that fits your budget.
Rossana Wyatt: If u wait too long, never a rt time

Scott Dawson: Contrary to belief by some it’s the market that sets housing prices in YVR not Realtors. [Mentioned out of the blue and for no apparent reason. Agreed with repeatedly by realtors. Not sure who the ‘some’ are who are arguing this in the first place. -ed.]

Christopher W. Earl: Housing prices always trend towards affordable.
Lynne Robson: Exactly what planet are you living on?
Christopher W. Earl: I didn’t say affordable for whom 🙂
Conrad DeJong: Vancouver hasn’t been affordable for 27 years
Leah Bach: It’s affordable [to renters? -ed.] because renters aren’t paying for the initial deposit, carrying costs, infrstrcture mtnc.
Heather Stewart: I guess when rent is almost unaffordable, coming up w/dnpmt and maintainence can be seen as unaffordable – investment or not
Heather Stewart: Market is what market will bear – it’s just too bad the market is out of reach for so many, now

Leah Bach: So, then let’s talk bubble….[..with minutes to go. -ed.]
Scott Dawson: Ohhhhh nooooo for the RE bubble chat we’d need hours.
Heather Stewart: Or days!
Leah Bach: It’s 10 anyway [time to end the chat hour]… bubble chat next week…
Rossana Wyatt: Thx evryone for gr8 chat – gotta run. Have a gr8 day! 🙂
Scott Dawson: Thanks for the chat everyone! Some great discussion today!
Lynne Robson: Sorry if I stepped on anyone’s toes
Christopher W. Earl: It’s important to have a wide range of opinions…otherwise, there is no discussion.
—/end of twitter chat/

Okay, let’s breakdown the “wide range of opinions” offered in this discussion:

1. Why pay a landlord’s mortgage?:
– You have to live somewhere why not pay your mortgage instead of your landlords?
– I tell clients all the time how much they waste on rent
– Homeowners are rich and renters are poor; FACT.
– The fact remains, renters are covering somebody’s mortgage.
– Rent $1,000/mth = 60K over 5 year period would you rather build your equity or someone else’s?

2. Other people are buying; Therefore there must be some logic to buying:
– You may not pay $300k but many people do.
– Homes that price [1-1.5M] are going into multiple offers.
– I have clients that paid cash for a 750k place

3. Overextend yourself to buy; This is normal; It pays off; Always:
– My first house was $147k at the time, I thought we were going to eat KD for the rest of our life.
– The fact is we all feel a pinch when we get a mortgage, however, our earning power grows over time.
– …earning power does not rise in step with housing prices, but those in the market make equity.
– I tripled my investment in 5 yrs and moved up.
– I encourage people to start somewhere, even if its a 500 sq ft condo, you create leverage
– The secret to getting in is usually sacrifice. Save for the downpayment and buy the best you can afford.
– I agree, sacrifice for long term gain.
– Most wish they got in sooner.
– It’s worth the sacrifice in the longer term
– Pays off in long run!
– If you get 5-10% as a down payment, get into the market, smart purchase
– You don’t need 25% mortgage, people…

4. Accept less than you reasonably expect:
– If however, you want land, 300K gets you Mission.
– can do that in a three bedroom condo in Maple Ridge.
– Your first home is never your dream home, it’s a stepping stone.
– Average Vancouver home buyers can afford average Vancouver homes.

5. Don’t try to time the market; Buy now:
– Trying to “time the market” rarely works out for a FTHB
– You can’t time market & mortgage rates.
– If u wait too long, never a right time
– Vancouver hasn’t been affordable for 27 years

6. Always keep in mind the compulsory RE wisdom:
– location, location, location.
– Vancouver has been rated as ‘most liveable city’ in the world. This has to have effect on pricing.
– Location is demand, first and foremost. Like anything, the more the demand, the higher the price.
– Scarcity drives prices (less listings/more offers)
– Market is what market will bear
– Contrary to belief by some it’s the market that sets housing prices in YVR not Realtors.

7. Ignore counterarguments; Avoid logical consequences of sensible statements/questions:
– Isn’t it an anomaly to triple your investment in 5 years?
– I have no idea how someone can be a 1st time buyer here. With cost of living, and home prices, there is no way an average person with an average income can even think about it…I know I can’t.
– But what is the location? the view? the weather? what makes this “the location”?
– What I find unreasonable is the average cost of a house 1-1.5 million. Who can afford that!?
– All the money savings books suggest renting is cheaper.
– Ohhhhh nooooo for the RE bubble chat we’d need hours. [And we’d have to consider actual facts and arguments! -ed.] – gotta run

8. Silence the dissidents; Or, rather, just keep talking to them until they silence themselves:
– The market in Vancouver makes me crazy…I should just be quiet…
– Sorry if I stepped on anyone’s toes
[Note to Lynne Robson -> Next chat, no need to apologize for your sensible observations. -ed.]

“One of their contemporaries just came out of retirement because they cannot sell their home.”

manna from heaven at 29 Aug 2010 3:27 pm“Just came back from a little visit with the folks. One of their contemporaries just came out of retirement (he had only retired two months), because they cannot sell their home. He is in his late 60’s, has had some recent health scares and is going back to a boss that fired him in the past.”

[One of the most urgent sources of inventory that the Vancouver market will have to face over the next five years is that from boomers selling homes that constitute their entire net-worth; their entire retirement prospects. – vreaa]

Bull Stories – “I am Up .wayyyyy up. Im in my early 40s have 3 places ,1 paid off Two with renters in.Even if the markets tank 50% I will still have $1.2m in collateral to go play with.”

We look hard for bull anecdotes*, really, we do… We’d post them if we found them, but there aren’t many new bull stories out there actually written down or otherwise stated. This is possibly simply the result of selection bias: perhaps the bears write and discuss, while the bulls get on with their lives, servicing their properties, spending paper profits, and so on. Regardless, we did come across two bull anecdotes in the Vancouver Sun comments section, 21 Aug 2010

turvey at 5:49pm“I am Up .wayyyyy up.
Im in my early 40s have 3 places ,1 paid off Two with renters in.Even if the markets tank 50% I will still have $1.2m in collateral to go play with.I came here with 10 G 15 years ago.
Im retring at 45.I have had enough with working .Im blue coller non union.
I just bought here because its a bargain ! and its still a Bargain .
You will get nowhere in this life if you dont buy property.Thats a fact.
Enjoy your rental pad and keep paying losers like me !”

Zooper at 6:01pm“I retired early as well and have done well in buying real estate. It’s funny how people don’t see it as such a good investment, especially if you are patient and view it long term. In a few years I bet people will think 400,000 for a 600 sq ft condo downtown was a bargain.”

[* Note that we are discussing bull anecdotes here (stories of actions), not the voicing of bullish opinion, which is very easy to find. -vreaa]

“She was struck by how many open houses signs there were in the area, but the thing that really caught her by surprise was that several realtors came up to them ON THE STREET and asked “What are you looking for?”

omega at 25 Jun 2010 10:32 pm

“I was chatting with a friend whose sister is looking for a condo in the Tinseltown area. Last weekend they thought they would pop into a few open houses. First she was struck by how many open houses signs there were in the area, but the thing that really caught her by surprise is when realtors (several in fact) came up to them ON THE STREET and asked “what are you looking for?”. She said it felt like she was in a developing country.”

“The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is about to break its own membership record; it surpassed 10,000. There is nothing more predictable or more assuring that the Vancouver real estate market is about to tumble as the number of Realtors® in the business.”

Larry Yatkowsky discusses how numbers of realtors ebb and flow with housing cycles [ 18 Jun 2010]. Excerpt –

“There is nothing more predictable or more assuring that the Vancouver real estate market is about to tumble as the number of Realtors® in the business. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver today proudly published that it is about to break its own membership record which on June 10th of this year surpassed 10,000.”

“I am Canadian and my wife is British. I lived in Britain from 1997, until we returned to Vancouver in 2009. Despite the fact that we love it here, career-wise and economically it has been a disaster. No one I know is buying a house or even thinking about it – that’s for the crazy locals.”

northeast canuck at 22 May 2010 10:08 am

“I am Canadian and my wife is British. I lived in Britain from 1997 – 2009 (the whole of my adult life and professional career). Never intended to stay so long, and we tried to come back to Canada for many years but there was always something in the way – usually the job situation. But, last summer we did it anyway. Despite the fact that we love it here, I think career-wise and economically it has been a disaster. I hate to admit that but it is true. We know quite a few expats who moved here around the same time – all professional with loads of experience and had highly paid, sometimes prestigious jobs in the UK, and all with lots of pounds in UK banks. No one is currently working in their chosen profession, all are either seriously underemployed and unemployed. Myself – I have been able to find work – in Japan. We have all found that Canadian companies are seriously reluctant to hire anyone with experience that is not Canadian. They won’t admit it, of course, and many probably don’t even realise they are doing it, but if you don’t fit the standard cookie-cutter job applicant mold here, you are going to struggle. We are all watching our life savings vanish before our eyes as the pound gets more and more feeble by the day.

Vancouver is a beautiful place, and wonderful to live in if you have lots of cash. Just make sure you have that cash in dollars, and a job arranged before you come.

Immigrants want to come here. But we’re not going to stay. Unlike many locals we are able to leave whenever we want and we will not accept a life of stacking shelves or driving a taxi. Oh, and no one I know is buying a house or even thinking about it – that’s for the crazy locals. I just hope that house prices crash faster than the pound.”

UPDATE – “Now I realize why I can’t take this CMHC Economist seriously…”

Post Olympic Job Losses – “The show’s host had to ask her several times how many people were hired who will now be out of work. After much dodging she finally came up with a ballpark figure. Over 50,000”

bestplaceonmeth at 2 Mar 2010 at 5:31 pm“I was listening to a spokesperson from Adecco Employment Services on CBC this morning, they’re the ones who hired people for the Olympics. The show’s host had to ask her several times how many people were hired who will now be out of work. After much dodging she finally came up with a ballpark figure.”Over 50,000″ was her answer.”

Visual Group Anecdote – 50% of Construction Jobs Will Disappear

Employment growth in BC over the last decade has been solely related to the housing bubble and the closely associated Olympic construction projects. At one point in 2008, the number of individuals involved in construction represented 250% of what one would expect under more normal market conditions. This chart is from the indispensible local RE blog, Housing Analysis, run by bloggers jesse and mohican. In a 7 Feb 2010 post, they predict that, with “the continued completion of construction projects through the spring and summer”, the number of construction jobs will drop from current 200K to the 2001 levels (100K), very rapidly. We agree with this outlook. -vreaa


“Leaving Vancouver is like leaving an insane asylum… To question RE is like questioning the existence of a God to a group of Christian fundamentalists.”

Cult-like sentiment. Misallocation of human capital. ‘Junius’ lays it out; we agree. -vreaa

This from junius at 23 Jan 2010 10:27 am “Vancouver is the epicenter of RE insanity in Canada. There is no market like it. I speak to friends who have moved from here to Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa or Montreal – or abroad – and they all say it is like leaving an insane asylum. It is much, much more than the outrageous and inflated prices. The culture in Vancouver is so deeply tied to the notion that RE prices cannot do anything but go up forever you can easily find yourself outcast just for expressing a contrary opinion. It is like expressing an opinion questioning the existence of a God to a group of Christian fundamentalists. I worry most about how deeply a crash would impact the Gen Ys who have both pursued a career in RE and leveraged themselves to the ceiling in debt. I cannot tell you how many bright young people I have met who have left traditional careers – teaching, engineering, law, etc. to pursue the easy riches of a career in RE. Some are agents, some are in marketing, some are in mortgage lending and finance. However in each case they left because a career in RE paid better and appeared to be more solid in the long run. I am sad for this group because many of them have really just started in the last decade when things could not have been better. They will find it nearly impossible to replace the income they enjoyed over the past few years and in many cases will have to in order to keep their investments. A crash will hit them hard in so many ways.”

junius adds some specifics, at 10:35 pm – “My favourite place to watch the insanity of Vancouver prices is on the Prompton Board at the Roundhouse on Davie Street. It has a bevy of current listings for premium apartments in Yaletown. If you are in the areas pass by and take a look – more than a little amusing. What you will see are mostly condos in the 900K to 3 million range. The majority lately are in the 1.1-1.8 range which is what a 2 bedroom in the 1100 sq ft. range lists for. Over the past few month almost all of the movement has been in the under 800K range. I noticed that yesterday only one unit out of about 40 listings had sold. It was a 1 bedroom that was listed at 650,000 that sold for 580,000 – more than 10% off list. Just one listing but it could be a sign of things to come.”

Crucial Kitsilano Boomer Anecdote – “Selling her valuable home might be the best option for woman hankering to retire”

BC is on the cusp of the Boomer Retirement Years. The number of people turning 65 in any given year is about to almost double. A large number of those boomers are overdependent on RE for retirement funds, and will have to sell. This will result in a significant increase in RE supply and will apply downward pressure to prices. Falling prices may in turn increase the rate of retirees cashing out, as they see their retirement funds (aka market value of home) dwindling. Here is an anecdote from a boomer, reproduced in full because of its crucial relevance to the Vancouver RE market. -vreaa

This from Dianne Maley in the ‘Financial Facelift’ section of the Globe and Mail, 22 Jan 2010 6:06 pm

Hard choices, changes are called for : Selling her valuable home might be the best option for woman hankering to retire

January 20, 2010. Vancouver, BC. Ruth plans to travel when she retires. For Facelift. Photo: Laura Leyshon

“At 61, Ruth’s thoughts are turning to the day when she can quit her stressful job with its long hours and spend more time travelling, doing yoga, hiking and taking courses at the university. While she is active and in good health now, Ruth had a health scare last year. “An incident like that makes you think and reflect on what’s really important in life,” she writes in an e-mail.

What’s most important is being able to help her 21-year-old son, who graduates in July, to pursue a career in the theatre.

Ruth’s main asset is her house in the trendy Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver, which she figures is worth $1.35-million. We asked Gina Macdonald, financial planner and portfolio manager at Macdonald, Shymko & Co. Ltd. in Vancouver to look at Ruth’s situation.

What our Expert Says If she continues to work until she’s 65, Ruth’s income will still fall short of her retirement goals if she continues to live in her Kitsilano home. Without paying off her mortgage, Ruth will need $59,000 a year after taxes, the planner estimates. That number would fall to $42,000 if the mortgage is paid off. Ruth’s two indexed pensions will only give her about $696 a month. She will be eligible for full Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits of $17,414 a year, which will raise her monthly income stream to $2,147, or about $26,000 a year. This does not even cover her housing expenses of $2,632 (mortgage, property taxes, insurance, utilities, telephone, repairs), Ms. Macdonald points out. As well, the interest rate on her 24-year, $230,000 mortgage could rise from the current 5.1-per-cent rate, requiring more than the $1,430 a month she currently pays. With the mortgage, her income shortfall is $2,770 a month, about $33,000 a year. Even without the mortgage, she’d be short about $1,353 a month, about $16,000 a year. The mortgage is clearly an obstacle. If Ruth continues to rent out her basement suite at $933 a month, the shortfall (with the mortgage) would drop to $1,837, about $22,000 a year. One option for Ruth is that she could apply for the B.C. Property Tax Deferral program, saving her another $458 a month and shaving the shortfall to $1,379.

Ms. Macdonald offers several possible solutions for Ruth to make up the shortfall. First, Ruth could withdraw money from her registered savings to generate enough income to stay in her home. She would need to take about $22,000 a year in order to get after-tax income of $16,548. (This, plus her pension income of about $26,000, would raise her income to the desired $42,000). At a 3-per-cent rate of return in her RRSP account, she could do this for up to 13 years before she ran out of money – and the mortgage still would not be paid off in full. At that point Ruth would have to sell her home. Other possible solutions include renting out more space in the house or even moving into the basement apartment until the mortgage is paid off or until she receives a possible inheritance. Alternatively, Ruth could downsize to a house that costs no more than $850,000, which would leave enough money to generate an income stream (with her other income sources) of about $50,000 a year. “The new house could have a basement suite to generate additional cash flow for travel goals and for big ticket replacements such as a new roof or new furnace,” Ms. Macdonald says.

Critical to Ruth’s success is a revamping of her investment portfolio, Ms. Macdonald notes. “A 100-per-cent equity portfolio is inappropriate for a 61-year-old woman nearing retirement with limited resources.” Given the relatively small size of Ruth’s RRSPs, Ms. Macdonald recommends a diversified portfolio of index funds because of their low cost and the diversification they offer. She also suggests a bond or GIC ladder, in which a portion of the fixed-income securities mature each year. Finally, Ruth has the capacity to save about $1,000 a month as long as she continues working, which she can use to replace her 17-year-old car with a new used one, catch up with her $10,000 in unused RRSP room, open a tax-free savings account and make repairs to her house.”

“I have friends in their mid 50’s to early 60’s who have stopped working. Cheap money creates a high level of complacency among existing home owners.”

Surging housing prices have led many homeowners to change their retirement plans. Whether they decrease their rate of savings, spend their savings, or retire early, it all adds up to a dangerously disproportionate reliance on future RE prices. -vreaa

Summed up well by Direct at 22 Dec 2009 1:44 am

“Cheap money creates a high level of complacency among existing home owners. I have friends in their mid 50’s to early 60’s who have stopped working. These homeowners believe they will sell their houses in five years, make a killing, and move to a beach in Mexico. All their equity is embedded in their homes.”

“I am Realtor. Nothing Realtorian is Alien to Me.”

Okay, only kidding, the quote is fabricated, there aren’t any Vancouver realtors who routinely paraphrase Terence. But the recently released National Film Board of Canada film series ‘GDP’, ‘Measuring the human side of the Canadian economic crisis’, does feature a raw and strangely poignant portrait of a  27 year old Vancouver Realtor named Keith Roy.  Keith is a former restaurant manager who is recently married. In the three short films (released Sept-Nov 2009), Keith, who works the Marpole area of South Vancouver, shows remarkable confidence and even more remarkable candidness as he describes his dreams & strategies, and tells us what it takes to muscle in as a RE ‘professional’.  Dressing for ‘gravitas’, becoming a celebrity, poaching assistants, ‘taking it up a notch’, quick profits, bribing tenants. As the NFB site itself puts it: “Did somebody say bubble?” -vreaa

Extracts from  1. Dressing for success:

[to his tailor] “I’m a pretty skinny looking guy, and I look rather young, so when I walk into a room and I am going to say to someone, “You know what, I want you to pay me tens of thousands of dollars to sell a multimillion dollar asset”, I need to have some gravitas.”

“My goal is to achieve local celebrity status. I want to walk into a coffee shop and have people say, “Hey, you’re the guy from the real estate sign”.”

Extracts from 2. Competitive edge:

“I have got a new assistant starting. I headhunted her from another real estate team in the city.”

“I do a lot of work with lawyers, accountant, doctors, engineers, basically six figure income earners under the age of 35 with professional degrees. I like working with that clientele for a couple of reasons. One, I am just like them.”

“I am very good at an open house. I’m on, I’m professional, I’m I would say better than 95% of people out there doing open houses so I get clients at open houses. And the 20% of us who sell 80% of properties do things a little different. We take it up a notch. We do things on a higher level. We do things more professionally.”

Extracts from 3. Hot property.

“A lot of my clients are lawyers and it’s because a lot of my friends are lawyers. I did a degree in political science. All my friends went to law school and I went on to become a real estate agent. So I am fairly used to lawyers as a type. M_ is also my lawyer and I got in a car accident a couple of years ago. He is a personal injury lawyer and he got me a great settlement, substantially more than I had initially been offered by the insurance company so we have a pretty trusting relationship.”

M_: “He [Keith Roy] told me in March when I bought a townhouse and at that point I was contemplating selling this existing property. He told me at that time that it was not a good time to sell. That is very trustworthy advice. If a realtor who was going to make a profit and commission, tells me it is not a good time to sell, that’s a guy I can trust. Today, when he tells me I should sell, I take his word for it. Frankly, I have made a lot of money in equity on that place already. We bought it at the very downturn of the market in March [2009] and we bought it for less than what it would have cost at that point. I think myself at least $100,00 more than I paid for it.”

“…in [marketing] a condo that’s mostly open houses and it is a matter of access and we will negotiate that with the tenant in such a way that it appeals to them. Now I have Canucks tickets, I have Giant’s tickets, I have a pretty good selection of stuff that I bribe tenants with.”

[Full transcripts of each segment posted in the comments section].

[Update 1 Jan 2010 – Realtor Larry Yatkowsky has a post at his blog YatterMatters 8 Dec 2009, discussing Keith Roy and the NFB production. Roy has himself added a comment, which is archived below.]

Keith Roy at YatterMatters 12 Jan 2010 8:56 pm – “Happy to see that people are watching the videos and in some cases enjoying them – whether for real interest, comical value or just killing time. I will say, this is not a commercial – it is an actual documentary. We don’t do outtakes and there are errors that occur. A camera follows me around and offers the public insight into what I do as a realtor and a community member, day to day. I was approached by the NFB and offered myself up for their project. I would be happy to take a call from any of the anonymous bloggers to discuss the matter further. And – as for the suits… The suits I get at Samson’s tailors are usually $600 – $800. For a hard fit like me (tall and skinny) that is a great deal. Previously, I would buy a $500 suit at the Bay, spent $150 on alterations and still not have a well fitting suit. So, the really lesson here is for a great deal on a suit, visit Samson’s tailors.”

Bizarre Reason For Becoming A Realtor #47- To Avoid Insulting Your Mother-In-Law

Perhaps this kind of family politics occurs regardless of market conditions. Or perhaps it is indicative of a market in which unusual behaviour of all sorts has become the norm. This dialogue in a series of posts on RE Talks, started by househunting on Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:55 pm

househunting: “I am house hunting right now and it is not looking good. I am probably going to rent until more listing show up in the spring. Is it worth it to get my license to purchase my my home? What is the process and what is the cost? … I don’t have much faith in realtors, and would rather pay myself the commission.”

Lost Soul: “You do realize that having a Realtor is not a pre-requisite to buying a place, don’t you?”

househunting: “It is in my case. Got a realtor in the family that kinda have to use. Rather get my own license and do it myself.”

islandlandlord: “If he/she can’t do the job then I’d cut him loose and find someone who can. Maybe things are different in your family, but I wouldn’t hesitate to drop him.”

househunting: “I wish it were that easy. When it is your spouses immediate family it’s a little hard. Any info on how long it takes to get a license?”

Multiple Offer: “Since there is a realtor in the family, why not offer to split the commission with him/her and save the trouble?”

househunting: “Thanks for the response. It has nothing to do with the commission. If I could use another realtor I would. I just don’t want to have to deal with my current realtor (MIL [my mother-in-law]) and the only way is to be my own realtor without opening up a can of worms. I have many friends that are realtors that I could use, but that would cause a lot problems.”

“The [Mortgage Broker] course was useless, boring and easy. Seriously, it’s a joke.”

A newly minted Mortgage Broker, Marco911, describes the course and the exam over a series of posts at RE Talks, starting on Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:09 pm

“I just finished my [Mortgage Broker] course a few days ago. Three weeks of my life I will never get back. … There is only one official mortgage broker course, [in order] to become licensed, offered through UBC. It is very similar to the Real Estate course that Sauder offers. The requirements to write the exam, and the course itself, was beyond easy. This means the mortgage industry is not concerned about saturation, which makes me wonder what duty they serve to the existing mortgage broker community (the answer is inherent). … The course was useless, boring and easy. You need a 65 and I managed to get 98. Seriously, it’s a joke. … I am not going to do anything special with the course for a while. Once my house is finished and I’ve settled a few issues with some investments I’m going to start a business plan so that in 2 years I can run my own brokerage. We’ll see what happens.”

“I’ll never have to work another winter in my life”.

This from your moderator, vreaa on ‘3. Changed My Life’.

“A professional who was a longstanding resident of North Vancouver told me in the Summer of 2007 that he was selling his house and moving with his family to a city on the Canadian prairies. The market value of his house had reached a point where this move was irresistible to him.”
Quote: “I’ll never have to work another winter in my life”.