This is now Canada’s most pathetic blog. Officially. No, the honour does not come because of yesterday’s comment section, which nearly qualified as a race riot, but thanks to the power of the ballot box.
Some months ago you were asked to pick the country’s best financial blog (hence, pathetic in the eyes of normal people who watch Big Brother and care about the Royal Baby) from among a field of more than 80. Thousands scampered over and made their choice. The result was convincing. We mashed the couch potato dude. We canned the jar lady. We deboned the Canuck capitalist. God, I love the smell of burning websites in the morning.
“As expected you dominated the final round of the voting for the top Canadian finance blogs poll,” says organizer Jeremy Biberdorf. And we did. The Greater Fool secured 91% of the vote, while the Couch Potato garnered 9%, with Brighter Life and Gail Vaz-Oxlade in a dead heat at 6% each (please note Jeremy cannot add).
The question now is what to do with that honking big pot ($100) of prize money. Buy LED sex lights for the Harley? Gas up the Hummer and go joyriding for 20 klicks? Build a balanced, diversified portfolio? This is so hard.
Actually, you should decide. You elevated this blog to its exalted status, so you should direct the money. And let’s make it a thousand bucks, directed to a good cause. I’ll toss in the extra nine bills, you tell me where. Okay?
When the demigod F said he was worried about Canadian real estate, he singled out the Toronto condo market. And why not? Almost 150 new towers under construction. Over 50,000 new units in the pipeline. Over 70% of sales to amateur speckers and flippers – many soon-to-be reluctant landlords. Plus the finest collection of exploding glass balconies on the planet.
The latest report this week from the real estate board shows sales down over last year by 6%, while listings are up, and prices largely unchanged. To the condo floggers, this is way better than they’d expected, and the marketing machine has revved up. “Buyers sitting on the sidelines hoping for prices to soften should be more concerned that rising mortgage rates will make condo ownership more expensive and they should be locking into a 90 rate guaranty with their preferred lender,” says the city’s leading high-rise broker.
And this encouragement to greed: “Sellers of many condos should also not be feeling too smug. Many owners at Maple Leaf Square and other buildings will be losing their views in the next few years and they should look at selling now to lock in their price gains.”
The complex of almost 900 units spread over two 50-storey towers was completed just three years ago. There are currently dozens and dozens of units for sale, from a 275-square-foot closet for $315,000 to a 1,990-foot, almost-penthouse on the 53rd floor for $1.5 million. “Over 200 Degrees Of Sw Views Of Lake Ontario And Downtown Core From Every Rm. Next To World Famous A.C Centre. Wake Up To Sunrises, Sun Bathe All Day Until Toronto Night Lights Fill Each Post Card Window.Step Out Into Fastest Growing Metropolis In N.A Tower Over The City From Your Retreat That Will Never Lose Its Foothold.” But hurry. Soon you’ll have a world-class view of the condo tower next door.
F was right.
By the way, I hope this comment, buried among the comments this week, did not escape your attention:
As a Realtor in the Greater Victoria area, I can assure you a correction has been underway for a while…varies according to area and property type but, as an example, I just saw a price reduction on a townhouse that now has the asking price 20% less than it sold for over 5 years ago! Remember, asking prices are not selling prices. In this market, sellers are resisting dropping their prices and it can take many months or even years for the prices to be reduced to where the listing will sell. Sadly, that ends up with the Sellers “chasing the market down” and the price reductions are usually too late.
The housing adjustment in Canada is coming. In places like Victoria, Halifax, Montreal and most of the Lower Mainland, as well as swaths of SW Ontario and almost all of the Maritimes, it’s here. Over time, it will affect every market, since nowhere is different. The event will not be a US-style crash, nor will it be swift. But every year for the next many you should expect declines in prices, as debt accumulates, the economy slow-walks, then as interest rates normalize.
Buyers who delay will do better. Sellers who wait will get less. The next upmarket won’t happen until growth resumes and incomes swell. Don’t hold your breath.
Now, about that thousand bucks…