Happy bidding


Shortly after noon on Wednesday, if John Camara gets his way, he’ll sit down to a nice little pile of paper at his Toronto Century21 desk. He worked his contacts and prospects hard over the past few days, doing all he could to create a frenzy of greed.

“Are you interested in Buying a Home to Renovate or Flip this year?,” his email blast asked. “I have the perfect home for Investment or for a Flip. This attractive 3 bedroom semi is located in the Heart of Leslieville and is Priced to Sell!! This home is in need of extensive renovations and is a must see!! This is the perfect home for a Flip!!”

Camara isn’t selling a house, or a home. This is a commodity to toss, a pure speculative play. An ungainly pile of ancient lumber on a butt-ugly street which nobody has cared much about for half century, now suddenly a rock star listing because it smells like not only mold, but money.

Take it from John. He knows.

“This is an ideal home to make $80k in a few months. Trust me, I just did 55 Hiltz (down the street) and that was a 2 bedroom that I bought for $410K and sold for $587k with $70k in renos. That’s what’s attractive. Similar homes have been selling at an average of $585,000 renovated and one neighbor recently sold for over $700,000. There is so much potential here I had to offer this home to my network. Happy bidding!!”

Here it is, 115 Hiltz Avenue. Half a house on a lot twenty feet across, with a mutual driveway and an interior befitting its recent history as welfare accommodation. Kitchen from hell. Holes in walls. Backyard full of rubble. And god-knows-what living on the other side of the common wall. All for $415,000 which, of course, is the asking price – “significantly lower than what has been recently offered for sale.”


This is how real estate turns from shelter into a financial play, then an economic time bomb. Pity the poor Millennials or Gen Xers who will pay up to half a million (with closing costs) to own an uninhabitable structure needing fifty or a hundred more, with ninety per cent of the money borrowed. It will still be half a little house, still have a mutual driveway, still with an unusable backyard, on a street Detroit would feel comfortable moving onto.

Here’s why real estate costs more than it did a year ago, and the year before that. Cheap money and inexperienced buyers have proven to be a toxic mix. Junk housing in dodgy areas of a big city, like Leslieville, is routinely tarted up and sold to greater fools. With each value-add, debt is expanded and shelter costs swell. Suddenly a place like 115 Hiltz, built in another era as a modest home that modest people could afford is ‘worth’ $600,000. As long as the fools keep buying, the numbers keep rising. As does the risk.

It’s worth remembering there was time, not long ago, people to the south of us also believed real estate would rise without end. In 2004, a record 69.5% of Americans owned houses. Today it’s 65%, and declining. Meanwhile household debt is going down and the savings rate up – the mirror opposite of what’s happening in Canada.

Also notable is that home ownership in some of the most prosperous countries runs far below that of Canada. Just a third of the Swiss own a home, and barely more than 50% of Germans. Meanwhile Mexico and Russia are at 80%.

As American economist Robert Shiller warned this week:  “We’ve learned that the risks matter. We’ve seen the consequences of encouraging people to put all their life savings in one investment. “

And that brings us to Saskatoon.

Those who waste their lives reading this pathetic blog’s comment section will know how delusional people in Saskatchewan are. A belief that a commodity-fired economic miracle will make that flat, boring, cold and buggy place the New Eden have driven house prices to unsustainable levels. In Saskatoon (population 245,000), for example, the average house is $348,000. Says real estate board boss Jason Yochim: “Year to date sales activity continues to be strongest over $450,000 with a 28% increase in sales between $500,000 and $750,000 and a 45% increase above $750,000.”

These numbers prove there are as many idiots in ‘Toon as currently roam Leslieville. And the last 24 hours prove it.

The global price-fixing cartel which controls potash prices fell apart this week when the Russians pulled out so they can sell cheap fertilizer to the Chinese. As a result, prices are in the process of cratering, which shaved 20% off the value of Saskatchewan’s Potash Corporation in one day. Job losses and a lot of gnashing to follow.


Worse, it looks like this is the end of a $15 billion mega-mine planned for south of Saskatoon by Australian giant BHP Billiton, since it’s no longer viable at lower prices. Meanwhile the potash plop has the potential to shave $300 million from Saskatchewan’s budget and cut the province’s economic growth by 50%.

Now, imagine you just bought an $800,000 house in a small, regional city in the distant flatlands whose economy is fused at the hip with potash, and was counting on fifteen billion in new spending which just poofed. Oops.

By the way, this fertilizer thing may affect even the metrosexual, Vespa-straddling, trendoid speckers and flippers of Termite City. CIBC’s economists figure it’ll have “a meaningful, if not massive impact” on Canadian growth numbers, since potash forms a big part of the country’s exports.

Oh yeah, and 23% of Potash shareholders live in Toronto. Good thing it’s different there.


#1 HD on 07.30.13 at 8:06 pm

#141 Smoking Man on 07.30.13 at 6:43 pm

Their some kind of force out their in the universe, now don’t get me wrong I haven’t gone insane enough to believe in god. But it’s a force.


Aweee Smoking Man. You are a real conundrum.

Thanks for the laugh.



#2 TurnerNation on 07.30.13 at 8:08 pm

Bet Sask wishes it had a cash crop. Look left.

#3 Zoostation on 07.30.13 at 8:18 pm

Garth´s right about real estate in Canada. He´s been wrong for 15 years, but now he´s right.

#4 The Man From Nantucket on 07.30.13 at 8:25 pm


Guessing there’s little happiness in ‘Toon Town for a while!

Interesting 2.5% blip in the few days right before the nosedive – so, which hedge fund manager(s) called this one ?

Any experts out there have a theory as to where Canadian potash price bottoms?

#5 WiseGuy on 07.30.13 at 8:26 pm

My friends, one is a flight attendant, the other works at the beer store. They just bought a home in Mississauga for $820,000….tell me, how does a couple like this, with three kids afford such an establishment. I can tell you that neither of them have had any money passed on to them and yes, they did previously make some money from selling their old home, but my thoughts are that they are deeply deeply in debt. Furthermore, I know that their house needs anywhere between $50,000-$100,000 in immediate upgrades.

#6 TurnerNation on 07.30.13 at 8:27 pm

Paging Bigarider to the blog…

#7 The Man From Nantucket on 07.30.13 at 8:27 pm

Er, that would be a 2.5% blip in the few hours right before the nosedive!

And a peak to trough crash of something like 24%!

Oh, my!

#8 jaguar on 07.30.13 at 8:27 pm

Oh Garth! You will attract the anger of those people in Saskatchewan who sometimes come to Calgary wearing watermelons on their heads cause all they have is their beloved Roughriders. Take cover.
Keystone XL is also under scrutiny this morning due to comments made by Obama in a New York newspaper. But it is different here…..and pigs can fly.
Where is the Termite City…is that a Vancouver reference….

#9 4 AM Sunrise on 07.30.13 at 8:29 pm

John Camara sounds like those shysters that give US real estate seminars in hotel ballrooms. “I bought this house and flipped it, and if you take my course, you can learn how, too!”

#10 Fort Mac Flatlander on 07.30.13 at 8:29 pm

Hello Garth,

The implications of the end of the Russian price fixing cartel has impacts even further reaching than previously thought. It currently is funding the prices in Regina and will have retirement impacts to Canadians as the BP spill did to British retirees. Early estimates are that end user prices will drop by 25%, shedding much more off margins than are currently priced into todays losses.

Glad I’m a renter with a balanced portfolio, but I’m sick to my stomach over the shape my friends and former province will be in in the next three years.


Fort Mac Flatlander

#11 The Peg on 07.30.13 at 8:31 pm

$70k in renos? Where did it go?

#12 Fort Mac Flatlander on 07.30.13 at 8:34 pm

#3 Man From Nantucket

I’ve seen estimates to below the $300 mark. Even the Canadian farmers don’t get a break out of this as potash is barely used in Canadian farming due to it’s natural abundancy in the soil. The cost savings (if any reaches end user) will be passed onto foreign farmers.

#13 East Van on 07.30.13 at 8:37 pm

I guess the Harper and the CONs should have taken BHPs offer of $38.6bn for potash corp.

#14 AK on 07.30.13 at 8:47 pm

“The global price-fixing cartel which controls potash prices fell apart this week when the Russians pulled out so they can sell cheap fertilizer to the Chinese. As a result, prices are in the process of cratering, which shaved 20% off the value of Saskatchewan’s Potash Corporation in one day. Job losses and a lot of gnashing to follow.”

Guess what’s next? OIL…. $42.00, here it comes.

#15 Old Man on 07.30.13 at 8:50 pm

I took a drive to look at this property in question, and went round the corner by the park. Who are all these women on the corner standing around? This looks like a tuff neighbourhood to me, and will make no offer for the home in question, and will not be conned by ladies in waiting for a bus, taxi, or in my car.

#16 AK on 07.30.13 at 8:51 pm

“Take it from John. He knows.

“This is an ideal home to make $80k in a few months. Trust me, I just did 55 Hiltz (down the street) and that was a 2 bedroom that I bought for $410K and sold for $587k with $70k in renos.”
What a POS. This is beyond sad.

I will stick with my dividend paying securities.

#17 James on 07.30.13 at 8:51 pm

I’m not exactly sure what message is here, but it’s probably important that saskatchewan went totally unaddressed until this potash news. What that tells me is that the message is ‘it is different in saskatchewan, except if they have an economic crash’.

Well ya, that kinda figures. That would be true anywhere, anytime. What exactly does this have to do with housing? It’s possible that it’s over-extended there as well, but this news and today’s post don’t really inform to that question. Even in a perfectly sane market, a major source of income fall-off would cause problems.

#18 TO and GTA Sales and Stats -July 30 on 07.30.13 at 8:51 pm


#19 Mr.Hulot on 07.30.13 at 8:55 pm

You are wrong about Potash just as you are about Real Estate. The Cartel will solve its differences and come back together. Every Cartel that has broken up historically eventually gets back together. It’s in their long-term interest. The Russians are not stupid to slash their wrists.

#20 DaveCalgary on 07.30.13 at 8:57 pm

Still no useful info on Calgary. Wait, let me guess, it’s different there?

#21 Evangeline on 07.30.13 at 9:00 pm

At TDW, I read the S&P research report on Potash today — dated two days ago, it ranked Potash as medium risk, undervalued at the highest level (5), and 4 out of 5 analysts had a buy rating on it at $37.15.
(closed today at $31.63).

Did find some better research and warnings elsewhere though.

#22 Evangeline on 07.30.13 at 9:04 pm


“Every Cartel that has broken up historically eventually gets back together. ”

I’m not fond of the idea of cartels, because they gouge the consumer. Maybe it would be better if they would just compete for market share make up the difference in volume.

#23 Chickenlittle on 07.30.13 at 9:05 pm

That is a crappy area. I tend to avoid the east end as much as possible.


There’s a complete gut job in Detroit for $9,900, which is LESS than the land transfer tax here in TO.

I thought these prices were a joke, but they aren’t!

We pay a LOT here in HBC-land.


Read the MLS descriptions. They are hilarious! Also, who the HELL names a bank Fannie Mae? No wonder they went under.

#24 Toon Town Boomer on 07.30.13 at 9:05 pm

Your right about them being delusional here in Saskatoon. The fools love to over pay for their houses with their itsy bitsy salaries. It’s all so stupid!

#25 Fort Mac Flatlander on 07.30.13 at 9:09 pm

#19 Mr.Hulot

“The Russians are not stupid to slash their wrists.”

It’s not their wrists that are cut if they are the lowest cost producer by 35%.

#26 takla on 07.30.13 at 9:18 pm

took an informal poll at work today,15 participants all male.Question was “how many here are home-owners carrying morgage dept”?9 raised thier hands,all were married,the 6 that didnt raise thier hands were single males.Im wondering how much the female “nesting instinct” contributes to our high level of morgage debt.All the guys without morgages{or wives/girlfriends} were happy renting,had decent bank balances and had no intention of buying

#27 AisA on 07.30.13 at 9:21 pm

And all this time I thought the entire Canadian economy was being supported by burning Pot leaving behind nothing but ash.

“In Saskatoon (population 245,000), for example, the average house is $348,000.” OH MEIN GOTT!!!

#28 Mister Obvious on 07.30.13 at 9:21 pm

“This is an ideal home to make $80k in a few months.”

Then why doesn’t he do just that?

“Where is the Termite City…is that a Vancouver reference….”

No, termites can’t afford it here.

#29 Raj on 07.30.13 at 9:23 pm

Pothas has been a fraud industry from the very beginning.This cartel was set to fall one day.This is just the beginning, the actual impact gonna be much worse
than what it appears now.
The greedy CEOs of Potash and Mosaic inflated this buuble to such an extent that it was destined to fall hard.
Lesson to learn: If any industry or economy is based on carteling ,it would look good momentarily but end result is always bad.I hope Canadian government will take steps in breaking existing cartels in Oil ,Insurance,Banking ,etc.

#30 Mr.Hulot on 07.30.13 at 9:23 pm


It’s in no one’s interest, including the Russians, to sell commodities on volume. This is a ploy to either get the Belorussians in line or get the new proposed mines cancelled.

#31 Andrew on 07.30.13 at 9:25 pm

I got crushed on POT. Did not see this coming.

#32 Condo Minion on 07.30.13 at 9:29 pm

An old bachelor friend is actively doing the dating thing, meeting women online like it’s a part time job or something. He’s been telling me some tales, including how many forty-something women are knee deep in real estate debt and he has become wary of getting involved with someone so extended.

This week he met two women of note, of Asian and South Asian backgrounds.

One, from Markham ON, told him how she had been trying to sell a condo there since last June, with no bidders and several price reductions. She gave up this spring and tried to find a tenant, and was able to get one. But the condo fees are over $700 monthly, taxes are over $300 and no tenant can cover these plus the mortgage, so every month means a loss of about $750, currently being shared by her and her retired parents just arrived from China. They see no hope of selling and recovering their investment for a few years at least. She found out this week that she has lost her job. She worked in finance for a marketing and promotional company for retailers, and consumer spending has dropped too much among their big clients, so over 20% of staff have been let go. She bargained a little and managed to get six weeks severance.

Another he just met lives in the northern GTA, Newmarket. Nice lady, never married and no kids. She laughed when she told him how she was amazed that she could get a 95% mortgage for the $700,000 subdivision house she bought there a couple years ago. (Unbelievable – a $700,000 rubber stamp house in Newmarket!!??)

She couldn’t make the payments very comfortably after a few months so immediately started renting space out. Her best tenant has been the Ontario government, supporting the rent for tenants on social assistance, but they may need to cut back they have just told her. The tenants apparently have some drug issues and loud friends who visit. She works at Magna, and is one of the lucky employees with full pay and benefits. The company has apparently been mainly hiring contract and temp employees for a couple years now. She is happy she makes $19 hourly on the assembly line.

He tells me these are only the two most recent and dramatic examples he has met recently, but it seems like in the dating world it is buyer beware more than ever since you marry not just a person but their whole portfolio.

#33 Smoking Man on 07.30.13 at 9:32 pm

Pot didn’t see that one coming. Have a buddy huge Into it.
He’s on vacation in Europe. Ouch.


Insane real estate prices, kids with student debt and internship summer gigs that pay zilch

Now that mug shot on my 20 dollar has jumped on the band wagon, of let’s exploit the kids.

But let’s all celebrity worship. Was it a boy or a girl, how many pounds did it weigh…

Humanity is screwed. One day we are going to wake up, and know one will not know how to do anything.

#34 Vangrrl on 07.30.13 at 9:32 pm

Was just reading an article in one of my old Westworld mags and came across a story that made me smile and nod my head in agreement.
David Montgomery, former teacher in Kamloops, who took his life savings and went to Nicaragua to open an eco friendly surf lodge:
He was growing increasingly agitated by the expected endgame. ”Yuo make a downpayment on a house. Then you work to pay the house off, then you get your pension. You stay put, dig the groove deeper- until someone digs a groove for you, roughly seven feet long by six feet deep. Who said life couldn’t be fun again, the way it used to be fun, when you were out every day feeling for the ragged edge of things?’

#35 Suede on 07.30.13 at 9:35 pm

Camara could be desperate and trying to make a buck and is working hard at his sales pitch. Is it ethical, maybe – maybe not.

It’s up to us to learn about offers and opportunities and if we don’t know – seek assistance from various sources and determine who is credible and who isn’t.

If you own the ETF’s XID or XSP you own cigarette companies. Cigarettes kill. Ask yourself is it moral to be getting dividends from this?

#36 Vangrrl on 07.30.13 at 9:37 pm

#26 Takla:
Oh boy, here we go again.
Has it occured to you there may be a male nesting instinct? Or that a couple of those men may be married to men? No one is forcing these guys to get married. It’s actually offensive to men as you make them sound like they have no control over their own lives whatsoever.

#37 The Prophet Elijah on 07.30.13 at 9:38 pm

Better come with the Mr Bean car parked outside.

#38 Piccaso on 07.30.13 at 9:41 pm

The Toronto mansion made my FB for my American friends. I had to add… Don’t these go for 5K in Detroit which is a 3 hour drive away?

#39 Notta Sheeple on 07.30.13 at 9:42 pm

Having, in the past, lived in Calgary through multiple boom/bust cycles, where resource royalties can make even the most smug and incompetent of Conservative premiers look like financial gurus, the residents of Saskatoon are in for a rude awakening.

Coming to a Sask bumper sticker near you:

“Please God, let there be another potash boom, and I promise not to piss it all away next time.”

#40 Timing is Everything on 07.30.13 at 9:42 pm

#17 James – …saskatchewan went totally unaddressed until this potash news.

Good point. Saskabush just happened to be on the menu today. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Meh.

Read this blog more often. You’d be surprised. — Garth

#41 Canadian Watchdog on 07.30.13 at 9:48 pm

Ha ha.. Maybe Harper will learn to keep his mouth shut the next time he condemns Russia (Putin), who happens to be the one who bailed out OAO Uralkali in 2011. You got stiffed Canada!

Don't mess with Putin and da boyz!

#42 meslippery on 07.30.13 at 9:53 pm

Had a good day with POT. Potash only had $10 000.00
to work with in my TFSA. Never held it before day trade
made 587.60 after commission could have done better,
but out now (maybe a good idea or not) but I am.
Dam good return..

Day trading is gambling. You deserve to be Hoovered. — Garth

#43 takla on 07.30.13 at 10:12 pm

re #36 vangrrl,no need to be sooo sensitive…..was just a question.One thing about that nesting instinct,it sure drives the economy….honey,we sure need those stainless appliances…….just saying

#44 meslippery on 07.30.13 at 10:17 pm

Day trading is gambling. You deserve to be Hoovered. — Garth

Yes it is… But You do have better odds than the casino.
Up or down or stay the same.

#45 FTP - First Time Poster on 07.30.13 at 10:19 pm

Anyone hear bout the $1 house on the market for over a year?


#46 detalumis on 07.30.13 at 10:19 pm

I would move to Hiltz Avenue, the first place I would check out is the Film Buff store down on Queen. It’s actually my kind of neighbourhood, not too gentrified yet, just starting, in between two streetcar lines, walkability, close to downtown, 5 minute walk to a large number of unique Queen street stores.

I would choose that over a faux small town or a suburb any day of the week and so would a whole lot of young people who grew up in the suburbs, that’s why they move to Toronto. They don’t realize that most cities had this sort of design with great public transportation and stores at the end of the street only one generation ago before we started designing everything around cars and not people.

#47 NO COMMENT on 07.30.13 at 10:23 pm



#48 RPG on 07.30.13 at 10:25 pm

I just want to say I completely agree with everything Smoking Man said on yesterday’s comment board. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, SM. Thanks for giving those toonies to the homeless kid.

#49 Joe on 07.30.13 at 10:27 pm

Just returning from P Vallarta where we bought a pad and were instantly asked to rent it out for a year at a 11-15% cap.
Lots of opportunities.

#50 NO COMMENT on 07.30.13 at 10:30 pm

It’s a real butty!

#51 Old Man on 07.30.13 at 10:32 pm

#32 Condo Minion – if ever you meet a gal who has a membership at the Granite Club then it is time to pay attention for a catch, if she invites you for dinner and just signs the chit with a smile.

#52 bRIGHT future on 07.30.13 at 10:32 pm

The link:


#53 JSS on 07.30.13 at 10:32 pm

So, smart people…
when’s an ideal entry point for POT?
At what price?

#54 Smoking Man on 07.30.13 at 10:38 pm

Sami-sami #41 Canadian Watchdog on 07.30.13 at 9:48 pmH

a ha.. Maybe Harper will learn to keep his mouth shut the next time he condemns Russia (Putin), who happens to be the one who bailed out OAO Uralkali in 2011. You got stiffed Canada!Don’t mess with Putin and da boyz!

You nailed it…… Real issue is syria, those slaves belong to Russia,

And the pipeline…..

Harpo obviously don’t play chess, a well hidden but fanatical religious zealot…

But the machine loves him. I wouldn’t be surprised if some child porn ends up on Justins computer, only way fat boy will beat him..

#55 Waterloo Resident on 07.30.13 at 10:38 pm

So POT.TO just went to pot?

#56 Happy bidding — Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate | The Affluent Boomer on 07.30.13 at 10:39 pm

[…] via Happy bidding — Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate. […]

#57 Kris on 07.30.13 at 10:42 pm

Oh yeah, and 23% of Potash shareholders live in Toronto.

Does this imply a minimum investment? Otherwise, it could be thousands of individuals with 10 shares each.

#58 shane on 07.30.13 at 10:45 pm

Garth, maybe canada will fall into a depression?

#59 OK Kingpin on 07.30.13 at 10:45 pm

Today is a prime example of why economies and societies that are over invested in one single industry that is controlled by organizations beyond their control will ultimately fail..


#60 Yitzhak Rabin on 07.30.13 at 10:48 pm

Long term, potash will be fine. Short term it could be devastating for Saskatchewan depending on how severe and how long any price decline persists.

I wouldn’t doubt it will be similar to the oil industry in 2009. A short severe slow down followed by a fairly rapid rebound.

The difference this time is that on average, citizens are deeper in debt, more exposed to the slightest rate hike and the pillars supporting the housing market are shakier every day.

#61 Tom from Mississauga on 07.30.13 at 10:53 pm

So this why the no individual stocks thing, eh?

#62 Ben on 07.30.13 at 10:57 pm

Camara – if it’s an easy 80k and you already know how why tell others?

If only people would ask themselves this as there is only one answer.

#63 Bob01 on 07.30.13 at 11:01 pm

Farmers always need fertilizer. Out in my neck of the woods, I’m amazed at land that has been unused for years except for the odd crop of hay, in soybeans or corn this year.
Easiest way to increase yield on your crop.

#64 Renter's Revenge! on 07.30.13 at 11:03 pm

@#36 Vangrrl:

You know what else I find offensive? Everyone I know keeps telling me I need to buy a house in order to attract a woman. Like a man’s nothing without his money. Now that I think about it, maybe women might find that offensive too – implying that they’re materialistic. Where is the love, people??

#65 Bob01 on 07.30.13 at 11:07 pm

Mind you, 10 years ago, Potash Corp was under $5 per share.

#66 brunette on 07.30.13 at 11:07 pm

still couldn’t find that video, just for curiousness sake.

#67 Cow Man on 07.30.13 at 11:11 pm

Commodities Tank. At last Friday’s close old crop soybeans (2012 crop in storage) hit $606 a tonne. Corn today is $4 a bushel down from a peak of $7.53 a bushel this time last year.
No wonder potash price wars are about to erupt.

#68 Uwinsome on 07.30.13 at 11:13 pm

A new article that the Canadian housing market is about to leave the soft landing and enter a full blown crash landing:


#69 TheCatFoodLady on 07.30.13 at 11:15 pm

Phew – mergers, cartels breaking up, above expected earnings, below expected earnings, HBC buying out SAKS… & it’s only Tuesday night. We’ve got the Fed meeting, more earnings & who knows what other surprises coming during the rest of the week.

But I’ll say this. I’m more grateful than anyone can imagine that I was pointed to this blog. Yes, I’d read some of the basics about investing before but while it made sense, it didn’t resonate. I’ve been reading here some months. Not a qualified Blog Dog but a barely paper trained Blog Puppy. I’ve checked out Garth’s books from the library & not just Garth’s. Just as with investing, learning about investing, (or anything), is best approached in a balanced, diversified way.

As I started reading here, books & other material, I kept going back to the little portfolio for which I’m the trustee. I was not diversified. Took care of that. I’m still not sufficiently balanced – that will be taken care of this week.

I don’t slavishly follow everything he advises – circumstances vary, as do people, the amount of money available to invest, goals, many etceteras. But the principles of diversity & balance… pearls beyond price, no matter what oyster they’re plucked from. That the oyster in question generally herds cats at this place – even better.

Long story short – months of reading – much of it here or based on stuff referenced here meant I was out of direct exposure to BHP Biliton, most potash companies & a lot of the industries that follow on to that. I expect a ton of volatality for quite some time now. I won’t lie – it’s a bit scary when I focus on daily swings too much. I have to keep reminding myself, this is long term stuff. Research initial positions to the best of my ability, try to make smart decisions & accept that the market is sometimes prone to moving like a rabid gerbil on speed.

I’m concerned when I look around. Like many here, I’m hearing the young house hornies eagerly planning to buy their ‘starter home’. They look at the types of ads that say: “If you pay xxx$ in rent, you can afford a mortgage for xxx$. Maybe, if you’ve socked away down payment, house inspection money, land transfer tax, title search, all other closing costs & have a hefty slush fund for emergencies. Those minor items are never mentioned in those ads. These kids are to the bone, convinced housing will do nothing but go up. Get in now, hurry!

I looked at the listing in the article – especially the photos. Hell – just the initial outside photo. The roof is shot, gutters, door, windows, flashing is toast & inside – oh hell, it’s a gut job. I suspect the HVAC, plumbing, wiring is in bad shape. Let’s try $100K minimum to do this place & that’s assuming no nasty surprises in the basement – drainage/sumps, decent foundation… Realtors like this should be shot & pissed on. They make it sound like a licence to print money.


#70 Not 1st on 07.30.13 at 11:22 pm

Just 5 yrs ago POT was the most valuable company on the TSX. Now it’s gutted. There is no safe portfolio out there jf companies like this can be shredded in a day. Better to invest in yourself

#71 Donald Trump on 07.30.13 at 11:25 pm

I mean ….,hey……..it’s just moi’s opinion..but should Realtors be neutered , lobotomized and/or be forced to watch Oprah’s DVD set(Ugghhhh).

…owe-pen 2 sue -jest- yunz…

#72 Dienekes on 07.30.13 at 11:35 pm

The cost of production for Potash is not only much lower with the Russians, but transportation is also substantially cheaper as they can run it by rail right into China.
Not only does Saskatchewans have to go by rail, but it must be shipped overseas. The handling alone is a killer.
Jansen will be cancelled, no doubt. BHP is in business to make money and that mine be a killer.
Mining companies wrote down 60bil in losses last year, this year is only going to be worse.
Saskatchewans oil is not going to help much either as the WTI and Brent spread are going to open back up.
Canada started on a downhill slide last year, and it is accelerating. Not good.

#73 NoOneOfConsequence on 07.30.13 at 11:44 pm


Next buy-in for POT: $26

Profit might be up, but volumes are decreasing, returns on investments are decreasing, returns on nutrients, decreasing….

I wonder how much of the gains have been market hype of one form or another.

With the shedding of value today, a cyclical slowdown coming in October, and the typical over-reaction of the market, adjust for the trading range..probably early Nov we will see that low. Take your profits at the cyclical high in late Jan.

But what the hell do I know. Don’t listen to me.

#74 Dienekes on 07.30.13 at 11:47 pm

Calgary flooding, Toronto flooding, Potash Armageddon.
Whats coming next?

You have to respect Germany, a country with no resources, but an economic powerhouse.
Canada? Why can’t we be Germany with resources?
How could we fail like this? It’s pathetic.

#75 Cowpoke on 07.30.13 at 11:50 pm

Saskatoon! You have got to be kidding. Who would want to live there? Try Visalia California dudes. Way nicer down there.

#76 Justin on 07.30.13 at 11:54 pm

Hi Garth,

I hope you are wrong about BHP. I am on the design team downtown Toronto and that would be a loss of over 300 jobs in the Toronto core. Great paying jobs…..

#77 Mithan on 07.30.13 at 11:57 pm

The chumps are playing the sask angle already. Uranium and oil will keep us going.

Now everybody knows that uranium mines don’t employ as many people as other areas.

As for oil, a lot of smart people are thinking oil could be in the $50-70 range by 2015 or 2016.

Saskaboom is probably going to mean revert quickly.

#78 Snowboid on 07.30.13 at 11:59 pm

How is Kelowna RE doing from June 2008?

Residential SFH:

June 2008 Av – $512,867 Med – $475,900
June 2013 Av – $478,433 Med – $438,000


June 2008 Av – $332,994 Med – $267,000
June 2013 Av – $265,151 Med – $219,500

Residential Waterfront:

June 2008 Av – $2,743,000 Med – $2,370,000
June 2013 Av – $1,848,113 Med – $1,711,250

If we add inflation of about 6.5%, the SFH average is down close to 13.4%.

Adding inflation to the condo figures the average is down about 25.3%.

Waterfront with inflation? It’s down about 36%

Makes you wonder how our favourite Kelowna RE pumpers (no relation to Arnold S) can keep up the smiles.

Is it the altitude or?


#79 POTASH on 07.31.13 at 12:03 am

I own potash shares, not a good day. I think they will eventually recover and its a buying opportunity since potash corp is one if the biggest and food is essential. Eventually the Rusians will burn themselves(volume vs price). Meanwhile a lot of employees maybe out of work and the TSX is already hurting from the resources sector, wonder if the finacials will hold or is it different here (our bullet proof banks).

#80 Faith on 07.31.13 at 12:19 am

Hi Garth. Great post. My pension plan is with SunLife. I was wondering if you think I should continue to hold a portion of my pension investments in the BlackRock US Equity Index fund. I noticed it leveled off in July, but since you say not to bet against the US, I think I should continue on with it.

#81 Ken on 07.31.13 at 12:26 am

I’m not saying that it is a good investment to flip or that it is a good time to buy now, but I quite like that area of Toronto. It is certainly somewhere I’d love to live. All amenities are walkable and it is just a street car ride to downtown.

#82 Donald Trump on 07.31.13 at 12:49 am

What’s potash?

Is that what’s left after you have smoked whackee tobaccee?

#83 Ahead of the Curve on 07.31.13 at 12:52 am

I was very surprised to see the POT downturn. Most importantly, it’s potential impact on the Canadian GDP.

If GDP will fall as a result, this would imply that growth will be stalled and interest rates will likely not be increased.

This alone appears more significant than Potash Corp’s stock.

#84 Randy Randerson on 07.31.13 at 12:57 am

re #52 If someone knows the answer, he has the power of foresight, and he would already be sipping his cocktail in a beach while admiring his million of dollars, instead of reading this blog.

#85 MEANWHILE IN EUROPA on 07.31.13 at 1:09 am

Europe does not need Potash, we still use good old fashioned human crap to fertilize our veggie gardens……


#86 dosouth on 07.31.13 at 2:42 am

I guess one of your realtor friends in Victoria doesn’t quite see bidding as anything other than a job well done by the Realtor…… (head shake)

..quote from House Hunt Victoria – July 30 @ 1026 pm

Marko said…

Ultimately, that house would never sell for $591,000 if it were priced at $591,000. The only way to get that money is to price at $499,000.

Great theory but zero evidence to support it. If the maximum sale price was to be achieved by pricing a home below market value you would think more people would be doing it.

Reality is you take a massive risk. What if the perfect buyer for the home is on vacation during your three days of showings? Sometimes you can get more pricing higher and waiting. It all depends, there are a million variables.

Plus, who cares about competition? I’ve seen people get caught up in ridiculous emotional bidding wars in court on foreclosures…..I don’t remember the judging say, “hmmm, this is unethical, the competition is driving up the price.”

When representing my buyers in multiple offers I always tell them, “ignore the fact that there are other offers and offer what you are comfortable with.”

My final thought is if a REALTOR® executes a successful bidding war and gets his client, the seller, the most amount of money seems fairly ethical to me.

#87 Jane24 on 07.31.13 at 3:48 am

If John’s deal is so good then why doesn’t he buy and do it up himself.

Obvious question for the fools.

One tip I’ll give is that in my life I have brought and renovated houses but I ALWAYS ensure that they are houses and hoods that if the market turned and I was stuck there, it would be ok.

Cheers, heatwave here coming back and that doesn’t happen very often in England.

#88 Minion on 07.31.13 at 5:15 am

Uralkali can produce at $65 USD /ton and are well positioned to take advantage of a shift to a volume based industry. Leaving the cartel could be a bluff, but I think people need to accept it’s a viable business model for them to go it alone. By contrast Potash is at about $100 / ton. Both can increase production from current levels and if they get into a war for market share it is inevitable that lower prices for the commodity result. Bad news for those banking on Jansen being built.

#89 Sam on 07.31.13 at 5:50 am


This 20% drop is a gift.
Buy all you can, and if POT slides some more, buy more.

#90 Tony on 07.31.13 at 6:19 am

Potash just like all commodities except uranium has been grossly overvalued. It will probably fall further in price.

#91 Tony on 07.31.13 at 6:23 am

Re: #47 RPG on 07.30.13 at 10:25 pm

At least there’s a place for Canadian proxy servers on this blog Smoking Man.

#92 jerry on 07.31.13 at 6:55 am

Finally found a couple of web sites that post price reductions and some sale listing history for GTA and Niagara. What started out as a couple of web pages of price reductions has now accelerated into pages and pages, especially on prices that had pushed into the next level. Was $8250000….now $769000, was $699000 now $629000 and so on. Apparently fools are becoming in shorter supply.

I don’t understand why sites such as in America; Trulia, Zwillow etc are not allowed in Canada.

#93 T.O. Bubble Boy on 07.31.13 at 7:12 am

@ #69 Not 1st on 07.30.13 at 11:22 pm
Just 5 yrs ago POT was the most valuable company on the TSX. Now it’s gutted. There is no safe portfolio out there jf companies like this can be shredded in a day. Better to invest in yourself

So, if a commodity stock rises 10x-15x in just a few years (look at 2004-2008), the fact that it fell at some point means that all equities are bad investments????

Where does this stuff come from? What about taking some profits — was the run from $5 to $60 not enough for you? Sounds like the gold bugs have some competition for most myopic investment strategy.

#94 T.O. Bubble Boy on 07.31.13 at 7:25 am

From June 22 (after the Calgary floods)…

#83 T.O. Bubble Boy on 06.22.13 at 9:00 am
The insurance hit from the Calgary flooding looks like a big one… more headwinds for Canada’s big banks?
(at least the ones that are heavy into homeowner insurance, like RBC and TD?)
And, headline from yesterday:
“TD insurance business to take hit from flooding in Alberta, Toronto”

(stock is still up 8% since June 22nd, so good luck trying to out-smart the financial reporting shell game that the Big Banks play each quarter)

#95 Mikey the Realtor on 07.31.13 at 7:45 am

#52 JSS on 07.30.13 at 10:32 pm

So, smart people…
when’s an ideal entry point for POT?
At what price?

LOL, entry point….

the entry point is be lucky you’re not in it and stay out, as I have been saying, the robmarkets will destroy the average person, one stock in a portfolio can make a difference of a positive year or negative one. The very few things I agree with Garth on is invest in ETF’s if you must take part in the robmarkets, not to mention the TSX is absolute garbage, almost the entire index is made up of energy and materials.

#96 fancy_pants on 07.31.13 at 7:46 am

#52 JSS on 07.30.13 at 10:32 pm

Way back when I was youthful I used to pay $10 a gram but I probably got fleeced and I’m sure prices have changed. Haven’t touched the stuff in decades.

#97 Marco on 07.31.13 at 7:59 am

I had a dream on Monday night that POT was going to crash. Spooky. Stay tuned

#98 LP on 07.31.13 at 8:04 am

#68TheCatFoodLady on 07.30.13 at 11:15 pm

If only for posts like this one of yours and Garth’s of yesterday, coming to this blog would be worthwhile. Add in the occasional one of Smoking Man’s (his yesterday about the young beggars) and I’m a happy camper. Don’t stop contributing, please.

#99 maxx on 07.31.13 at 8:06 am

#34 Vangrrl on 07.30.13 at 9:32 pm

What a truly excellent post.
When you do the maths, you quickly realize how little actual lifetime is left to enjoy life itself.
I much prefer spending it traveling and running a small business (winters off), rather than trying to pay off a hyper-inflated piece of second-rate Canadian RE.
What a waste of life! And hard-earned money…..

#100 Chickenlittle on 07.31.13 at 8:18 am

#63 Renter’s Revenge!

“Everyone I know keeps telling me I need to buy a house in order to attract a woman. Like a man’s nothing without his money.”

Well, sort of. As a woman, I would want to make sure the guy wasn’t just a bum and had ambition.

Owning a house used to mean that a guy was at least responsible enough to hold down a steady job and pay bills on time. It required at least a bit of self control.

Now, I am not so sure. Maybe his parents paid for the house. I would not go for a guy like that in a million years! I would never be as good as him mom.

As an old Dr. Dre song says: “What ever happened to falling in love with a man with a bus pass, just because you love him?”
(The edited version of course.) :)

#101 Ralph Cramdown on 07.31.13 at 8:46 am

#74 Dienekes — “You have to respect Germany, a country with no resources, but an economic powerhouse.”

World’s #8 coal producer, just to point out an obvious commodity that German industry was built on. Maybe you’re thinking of Japan?

#102 neo on 07.31.13 at 8:49 am

Let’s see. Q1 GDP revised down from 1.8% to 1.1%. Q2 GDP at 1.7% (and we all know that will be revised down at a later date). So 1.4% growth so far this year with zero interest rates and $85 billion a month in QE. Great “recovery” Garth. So they have a little over a 1% economy so far this year with the S&P up over 18%. No disconnect there…

The Dow is ahead this year 20% and the S&P 18%. I gather you have not enjoyed that, being a doomer. Pity. — Garth

#103 Evangeline on 07.31.13 at 9:10 am

The CatFood Lady

While reading your posts, I’ve often thought that you’ve got a goldmine of a writing talent. Just think how you could crystallize all you’ve learned and are learning about investing into a guidebook for newbie investors. Garth’s financial writings are so good because he makes understandable things that are hard to understand, and in the financial writing genre that is rare, imo. I have several books on my shelf that are unread because after I reach about page 5, I don’t understand what the hey they are talking about. My guess is that you have a similar talent for simplifying difficult concepts.

I was leafing through “Money Road” last night and part of his “dedication” uncannily pre-reflected his recent donation choices: …”To those who care for others in want, and all creatures .”

#104 T.O. Bubble Boy on 07.31.13 at 9:14 am

Some interesting stats around the types of investments held in various demographics (U.S.):

Respondents making six figures prefer stocks (34%) and real estate (32%). People making less than that prefer cash investments (29%), real estate (23%) and precious metals (18%).
So, if you make less money, you are more likely to hold cash and gold (no mention of the # of guns held).

#105 CrowdedElevatorfartz on 07.31.13 at 9:14 am

@#74 Deinekes

“You have to respect Germany, a country with no resources, but an economic powerhouse.
Canada? Why can’t we be Germany with resources?”

Well, first we’d have to go to war against the US.
Then we’d have to let them bomb all our old factories to dust. ( All 10 of them)

Then we’d have to let the US loan us billions to rebuild the stuff they destroyed.

Then we’d actually have to get skilled workers and trades to help us rebuild…..

one potato, two potato, three potato, four……

#106 Evangeline on 07.31.13 at 9:18 am

“Oh yeah, and 23% of Potash shareholders live in Toronto.”

The potash debacle may affect residents of New Brunswick worse than Toronto. The potash mine there already had layoffs in 2012, and employment is one of N.B.’s biggest challenges.

#107 TorontoBull on 07.31.13 at 9:23 am

@Mr Hurlot:
2 words: prisoner’s dilemma

#108 Steven on 07.31.13 at 9:32 am

Real estate market and prices equals economic and mental illness. It is one of many mental diseases that afflicts the western world. As a consummer good real estate should have no more importance as an investment than a bottle of ketchup or a stick of chewing gum. A good place to start would be to ban all lending related to real estate and make home purchases a cash and carry deal plus sales tax. That might bring people to their senses. Get the banks and realtors out of the loop.

#109 Evangeline on 07.31.13 at 9:36 am

“Eventually the Rusians will burn themselves(volume vs price). ”

are you sure? I read somewhere that sales were down because so many farmers couldn’t afford to buy it any more.

#110 Rob_in_TO on 07.31.13 at 9:42 am

“Offers Must Be Registered By 12Pm On July 31st”

Hurry…don’t want to miss this deal. What nerve this RE guy has…what a vulture. And anyone that would get into a bidding war on this dump has to be just stupid, for a semi yet. The pictures tell it all, go for it handymen. Wonder what the neighbour is like, if there is one even living there.

I read the MLS and listings for new homes sometimes just to see if anything changes and it appears not – pricewise. The market is insane, depressing as hell.

As for POT, sure glad I don’t own that one.

#111 Agio on 07.31.13 at 9:46 am


The US continues to plummet, the end is near, God is coming but only to save those who have stashed Gold & Silver. You’re 1st in line if you had the dough to buy Gold. Silver……not so much.

#112 Dmitri on 07.31.13 at 9:53 am

Just to clarify about 80% home-ownership in Russia. It has nothing to do with development and prosperity of the country. It is just the echo of the communism era. Before 1991 almost everybody was renter, they rented cheap from the government for life. After 1991 the new government privatized it to the tenants, for FREE. That is the reason for high ownership. If you use incorrect examples to prove your point it undermines your credibility.

You just made my point. Home ownership levels have nothing to do with national wealth. — Garth

#113 Bernanke on 07.31.13 at 10:11 am

You don’t know what I will say this afternoon but I know!

#114 sciencemonkey on 07.31.13 at 10:13 am

@108 Steven,
I like the idea of cash only purchases of RE, although I’m sure the machine wouldn’t let it happen since the banks make good money on mortgages.

Additionally, I worry that cash only RE purchases would lead to wealthy individuals or corporations buying all the RE for rental income. Depending on the rent the wage slaves can afford to pay, RE has a certain price that is profitable for a wealthy cash buyer to invest in. For example, in the US it’s hard to get a mortgage, and we see news stories about Blackstone buying up huge numbers of houses.

The idea behind a mortgage was that it made it possible for those with moderate means to compete pricewise with the would-be landlords and thus eventually be owners instead of lifelong renters. The unintended consequence of cheaper and cheaper credit is that created astronomical prices, which ironically leads to many lifelong renters.

Therefore, I think a ban on RE lending needs to be combined with some limit on owning multiple rental properties. One problem with my argument is that we do benefit from having a rental supply, because plenty of people enjoy the convenience and freedom of renting. So how do we find a balance?

#115 Penny Henny on 07.31.13 at 10:13 am

Seems that participation rate in the workforce and home ownership rates go hand in hand in the mighty USA.
Both peaked at 69% and both are now 65%.

the American dream is no longer home ownership but instead, please let me find a decent job.

S&P-record earnings
Joe Public-not doing so well

#116 jess on 07.31.13 at 10:52 am

from shelter into a financial play

The investigative report on assisted living centers is shameful and outrageous!
The lobbyists anti -regulation cry babies , memo’s on damage control and words to educate the public …do they mean the share buying public?

No skilled/lack of staff? to profit the bottom line

The mayor of Richmond California is threatening eminent domain . A city that according to the new york times 1/2 are underwater

..”3 1/2 million workers make either minimum wage or less than it — that’s at most $15,080 a year, well below the poverty line for a family of two — and millions more Americans make something only slightly above it.

#117 Daisy Mae on 07.31.13 at 10:54 am

#67 Uwinsome: “A new article that the Canadian housing market is about to leave the soft landing and enter a full blown crash landing:



Others may experience what I’m experiencing.
If you don’t have a paid subscription, Vancouver Sun blocks access.

#118 wonderingwhobenefits on 07.31.13 at 10:57 am

“Tax his land, tax his wage,

Tax his bed in which he lays.

Tax his tractor, tax his mule,

Teach him taxes is the rule

Tax his cow, tax his goat,

Tax his pants, tax his coat.

Tax his ties, tax his shirts,

Tax his work, tax his dirt

Tax his chew, tax his smoke,

Teach him taxes are no joke.

Tax his car, tax his grass,

Tax the roads he must pass

Tax his food, tax his drink,

Tax him if he tries to think.

Tax his sodas, tax his beers,

If he cries, tax his tears

Tax his bills, tax his gas,

Tax his notes, tax his cash.

Tax him good and let him know

That after taxes, he has no dough

If he hollers, tax him more,

Tax him until he’s good and sore.

Tax his coffin, tax his grave,

Tax the sod in which he lays

Put these words upon his tomb,

“Taxes drove me to my doom!”

And when he’s gone, we won’t relax,

We’ll still be after the inheritance tax ”

Most of these taxes didn’t exist 100-years ago. Which brings me to a rather obvious question: Has public education gotten better of worse, you think?

Near as I can figure it, when teacher pay started coming from taxes, the education community responded with a long-term “teach them to love taxes” strategy.

The old management axiom holds: What gets rewarded gets done.

Another axiom: Don’t post US crap here (there is no inheritance tax in Canada). — Garth

#119 Toronto_CA on 07.31.13 at 11:08 am

#80 Faith on 07.31.13 at 12:19 am

Faith, you should read up on investing yourself rather than asking Garth for answers on his blog. You should have an asset mix based on your risk tolerance for investing (a combination of things with your time horizon one of the more important factors).

Eg., If you think you want to be 60% in your Blackrock US Index Equity Fund and because of the surging in US markets this year you are now at 70%, it may be prudent to rebalance your portfolio at Sunlife so that it is back at 60% and invest the excess in areas that have fallen to a lower % of your portfolio than your targets. Buy low, sell high and all that good stuff.

Garth has previously given % weightings for a balanced portfolio on this blog, although some of his recommendations wouldn’t be available at Sunlife, you’d need a self directed brokerage account like Questtrade or TDWaterhouse.

#120 GsAmazon on 07.31.13 at 11:16 am

“Camara isn’t selling a house, or a home. This is a commodity to toss, a pure speculative play.”

The Speckers & The Tossers! I like it, Uncle Garth.

Is the greater fool population dwindling?

Heard on the radio that the “Property Brothers” have a new show! Brother vs. Brother.

I laughed, I cried, I thought – yep, that’s the whole homegrown incestuous greater fool double-dutch-rudder real estate ‘gasbag’ in a nutshell….

#121 Vanngrrl on 07.31.13 at 11:17 am

#100 Chicken Little:
That’s a very old fashioned (made me think Don Draper :) measure of ambition. Ambition is a subjective idea, really. All tied in with that other creepy word, success- haha!
See my post #34. That’s a real man ;)

#122 jess on 07.31.13 at 11:25 am

The taggered coats on a stick must be in fear of all those youthful rogue truth seekers


He called on all those who cared for the future of the country to join him and the reform stream and break their silence on Al Saud corruptions.


new product securitizing rentals

#123 Doug in London on 07.31.13 at 11:28 am

@Evangeline, post #21:
It goes to show you that even the analysts don’t always get it right. There was an article in The Globe recently on that topic where Warren Buffett, who chooses investments primarily on fundamentals, said: the only purpose these analysts serve is to make fortune tellers look good. That said, sometime before the year ends it could be a good time to buy shares in POT. It couldn’t be any worse an investment than that tiny house for 415 grand which, to add insult to injury, would be bought largely with borrowed money.

Forget the overpriced house (or those overpriced houses in Saskatoon for that matter), when and at what price would be a good time to buy POT? I don’t know, my crystal ball is broken and it never really worked right all the time I’ve owned it. Say, how’s your crystal ball working? May I borrow it?

#124 Rockylal on 07.31.13 at 11:42 am

John Camara – $70K profit on a flip? Rule number 1 for me when approached on these types of opportunities: Why isn’t the guy trying to sell me the opportunity taking advantage of it? Pass.

#125 Old Man on 07.31.13 at 11:43 am

#117 Daisy Mae – The Vancouver Sun is a great paper and always get around the block with my cheat software. I use a stealth search engine that backdoors google, and enter Vancouver Sun to read all with an IP elsewhere in the world. I assume they are blocking out Canadian readers only. :)

#126 Westernman on 07.31.13 at 11:44 am

CrowdedElevaterfartz @ # 105
The quote ” Why can’t we be Germany with resources?”
The answer – because the German people are clever,resourceful,inventive,logical and ambitious and Canadians are lazy, ignorant,government-dependent, self – entitled witless drunks…
There’s the answer to your question…

#127 jess on 07.31.13 at 11:52 am

encrypting the software

offshore leaks


The report by U.S. PIRG, which analyzed the public filings of the top 100 U.S. publicly traded companies, also found that 82 companies maintain subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions located abroad.

Key findings of the report include:

◦82 of the top 100 publicly traded U.S. companies operate subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions, as of 2012. All told, these 82 companies maintain 2,686 tax haven subsidiaries. The 15 companies with the most money held offshore collectively operate 1,897 tax haven subsidiaries.
◦The 15 companies with the most money offshore hold a combined $776 billion overseas. That is 66 percent of the nearly $1.2 trillion that the top 100 companies report holding offshore.
◦Only 21 of the top 100 publicly traded companies disclose the amount they would expect to pay in U.S. taxes if they didn’t keep profits offshore. All told, these 21 companies would collectively owe more than $93 billion in additional federal taxes, which is close to the entire state budget of California. The average tax rate the 21 companies currently pay to other countries on this income is a mere 6.9 percent.


#128 Peter S on 07.31.13 at 11:53 am

Regarding the Russians and Commodities.
Disney did an interesting comedy based on behind the scene commodities traders and the Russians.
1997 “Jungle to Jungle” starring Tim Allen.

#129 Donald Trump on 07.31.13 at 11:55 am

Another axiom: Don’t post US crap here (there is no inheritance tax in Canada). — Garth


In BC there is an inheritance tax…called a “probate fee ” of 3% of the estate’s value.

Probate is everywhere. It is not an inheritance tax. — Garth

#130 Siva on 07.31.13 at 11:56 am

#78 Snowboid on 07.30.13 at 11:59 pm

Do you have same comparison for GTA?

#131 Suede on 07.31.13 at 12:11 pm

If the numbers don’t fit, just re-organize the data set!


Such pretty colours

#132 marco on 07.31.13 at 12:16 pm

Guys what will happen if QE gets pushed higher cause of the low gdp number?

#133 CantRememberMyName on 07.31.13 at 12:21 pm

#76Justin on 07.30.13 at 11:54 pm
I never thought I would see the words Design Team + Downtown Toronto in the same sentence. Well done.

#134 CantRememberMyName on 07.31.13 at 12:25 pm

#126Westernman on 07.31.13 at 11:44 am
Nice. The unfortunate kid who got shot on Saturday will be forgotten by Saturday. Sad country this is becoming. The officer is devastated?!?!?! He fired 9 shots. I’m sure his devastation comes from not being sent on paid vacation, I mean suspension, for an even longer period of time. This is becoming a very dangerous city to live in. Slowly yet steadily. Maybe the powers that be are trying to follow Germany. By becoming Nazis? Go figure…

#135 Form Man on 07.31.13 at 12:28 pm

#126 western infant

childish, racist, rantings…….( I thought you were leaving
Canada because it has too many liberals )

unsurprisingly, no country wants you.

#136 Old Man on 07.31.13 at 12:32 pm

Now am planning to kick a few corporations under the bus to save me some money and get my revenge. My first project will be the TV cable and placed my situation under a computer analysis. I am facing in the right direction that can bring in about 40 stations for free in HD and analog with a cheap converter box and programming the LED. I will try a trick with a 50 foot wire antenna to see what happens, and if all else fails will cost me $400.00 for a tech to set up a proper legal system. My next project is with the telephone, so might just buy a Magic Jack for phone calls on the cheap, and then there is my computer connection for a bargain rates. Hey, will save enough money to pay for food and my car gasoline, and this is all called transferring cashflow into my pocket away from the corporations who are ripping me off.

#137 Buy? Curious? on 07.31.13 at 12:46 pm

Potash going down like crackhead $5 short of his next and now Torstar? Canada’s economy is circling the drain. The only people that can right this ship is either Rob Ford or the cross dresser that goes by the name of Enza. People with iffy jobs, cancel that BMW lease soon.

#138 PoltawaDiva on 07.31.13 at 1:13 pm

And Germany along with Japan was barred from having a military after WW11. Their resources and energies went into rebuilding productive industries, not the military sector that consumes resources.

#139 bill on 07.31.13 at 1:26 pm

pot still looks a bit expensive….
I think I will wait a bit and see what the news is going to be….
#73 NoOneOfConsequence on 07.30.13 at 11:44 pm :
sounds like a plan to me…
thanks for the ‘suggestion’. hmmm I wonder if there is an etf for say, agricultural products somewhere ? might be down a bit eh?

#140 bill on 07.31.13 at 1:32 pm

hmmmm remind me not to get the sweet and sour bonelss pork….


#141 Dupcheck on 07.31.13 at 1:35 pm

How can it possibly be that a flipper? Even if you rebuild it, you are attached to another ugly say “flipper”. If both are not fixed the first one will not sell no matter how good you make it. Who buys these delusional ideas? Are people that dumb…wow.

#142 Dupcheck on 07.31.13 at 1:39 pm

#126 Westernman

I second that, but i would add: Majority not all of Canadians are like that.

#143 bill on 07.31.13 at 1:47 pm

Hi oldman
check this out:
lots of homemade hdtv antennae stuff on the net.
I dont think your 50′ wire will do for hdtv
better for dx-ing really. which is fun too…

#144 Tripp on 07.31.13 at 1:49 pm

#74 “You have to respect Germany, a country with no resources, but an economic powerhouse.”

Wrong! They have the most important resource, the human one!

I worked there for few years. There was a quest for excellence in my company regardless of the person’s position or pay. The work ethics was very high and the quality of their work was obvious and undeniable.

#145 Donald Trump on 07.31.13 at 2:06 pm

In BC there is an inheritance tax…called a “probate fee ” of 3% of the estate’s value.

Probate is everywhere. It is not an inheritance tax. — Garth


BC last NDP Gov’t ( in the 1990’s)added the probate fee on top of whatever may have pre-existed.

If it goes to Gov’t, its a tax, no sense getting into semantics.

A % tax(versus a flat tax ) is a rip-off.

#146 Godth on 07.31.13 at 2:07 pm

Happiness is a warm gun

#147 Donald Trump on 07.31.13 at 2:19 pm

” All wars are banker wars “.

Germany was “guilty” of a couple of things. It had created a focus on producing high quality products and attempting to rid itself of international bankers.

Of course, this would set a bad example that other countries may have copied, or allying themselves with the German economic model.

It took two World Wars to take out Germany….. FOR ECONOMIC REASONS ……and even now it is still an occupied country. Anybody that swallows that History Channel bullsh*t /court historian version of the World Wars is an idiot.

This is what we are seeing in the Middle East… bankers and their proxies taking out countries(Libya…Syria…Iran) that are standing up to the international bankers.

#148 main street is hurting on 07.31.13 at 2:31 pm

In the GTA people are drowning in debt and business are feeling the pinch as sales are down for both big and small. People are trying to find employment as many are losing their jobs. For lease signs all across the gta as many are going under. The house of cards is falling apart. Look at Toronto star taking a hit on profits and will soon be losing money at the rate profits are dropping. If it wasn’t for realtors pumping money they would be hurting more and that money is drying up. RE in Canada will have to drop back to historical norms just like the US or more and more job will be lost on Canada. Canada economic bubble is falling apart.

#149 Old Man on 07.31.13 at 2:31 pm

#137 Buy? Curious? sorry as the name Enza is wrong, as it is a Drag Queen called; sorry as cannot disclose my sources. Now in regards to a BMW the leases might come off, but a base price starts at about $54,000 in Richmond Hill, so for a roadster is a bargain to pay cash for a good ride, as can no longer write it off, and need some fun in life.

#150 Godth on 07.31.13 at 2:37 pm


Why should we care about Catherine Austin Fitts? — Garth

#151 Form Man on 07.31.13 at 3:03 pm



#152 Old Man on 07.31.13 at 3:07 pm

#143 bill – I am at great height, but want to do a few test runs with nothing, and know will need a tech coming here with a package for $400.00 to set up a good format for me. There was this guy years ago on the 5th floor of an apartment building that bought something at radio shack, and was bringing in 10 stations on analog; he was on welfare to save some money. I will never forget the day in the late 1990’s that he was sending me email, and was not even on the net. He was cash poor, but smart with technology.

#153 marco on 07.31.13 at 3:24 pm

If I were sipping tea and thinking about the US, I’d say the good ship lollypop is takin’ on more than water. GDP drops and they cheer. Revised number will drop again and the final revised will be .75%. Yeah!
Postal Service Reports $5.2 Billion Loss for Quarter and they still deliver on Sat.?! huh.
100,000’s of jobs to be cut.

The “real” gdp is a negative….shhhh.

#154 brainsail on 07.31.13 at 3:28 pm

I vote for Donald Trumpet out of here!

#155 Network Admin on 07.31.13 at 3:31 pm

Re #146
A % tax(versus a flat tax ) is a rip-off.

Not all provinces have % tax, also certain assets held by the deceased are excluded from the estate for probate purposes. These normally include assets held in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, insurance proceeds, and registered accounts (i.e. RRSPs & RRIFs ) with named beneficiaries.

Source: http://blog.taxresource.ca/tax-rates/probate-fees-by-province/

#156 neo on 07.31.13 at 3:36 pm

The Dow is ahead this year 20% and the S&P 18%. I gather you have not enjoyed that, being a doomer. Pity. — Garth

Oh I’m sorry. Did you sell all your real estate holdings in 2009 when you started this blog? You have been a housing “doomer” from that time. I’m guessing you didn’t and I didn’t sell my equities in a panic or abandon it since. Like you with housings continued ascension, that doesn’t stop me from reaching across the stage and pulling away the curtain and seeing things for what they really are…

So, that’s a no? — Garth

#157 Westernman on 07.31.13 at 3:40 pm

Form Man @ # 135
The fact that you don’t like the statement does not make it any less truthful…
Sounds like you may be regretably like the type of Canadian I described…
You can now go back to your half finished case of beer and continue watching golf reruns on T.V.

#158 sciencemonkey on 07.31.13 at 3:51 pm

@153 Form Man,
The picture for that article reminds me of my daily commute that includes the 401 between Allen and the 404. All the half-finished condos give my drive a fun post-apocalyptic look. Maybe when the condo market crashes they will leave some buildings without windows, like how the Ryugyong hotel stood for decades.

#159 Godth on 07.31.13 at 3:51 pm

Why should we care about Catherine Austin Fitts? — Garth

I appreciate intelligent, straight talking macro-analysis. Simply a different perspective that ironically builds on some of what you have to say but includes elements that often go unspoken.
Who is the “we” you’re speaking on behalf of anyway? You don’t care what she has to say, o.k., others might appreciate it though.

#160 Bill Gable on 07.31.13 at 4:00 pm

This is interesting, if not rather intense –
From CBC.ca:

“Once a growth leader among big industrialized nations, Canada’s reign at or near the top may be coming to an end, says a new forecast from Capital Economics.

The projection, issued Tuesday, calls for the economy to advance by 1.5 per cent, followed by an even softer 1.0 per cent in 2014, as the country’s over-built housing market moves from soft to crash landing.

That would likely put Canada behind the U.S., Japan and possibly Germany — among the G7 countries — in terms of growth in at least one of the years.

Capital Economics analyst David Madani, who wrote the report says, given the under-performance, he expects the Bank of Canada will keep interest rates at current super-low levels until late 2015.”


#161 jujubean on 07.31.13 at 4:00 pm

Fed statement today :

“Unemploment rate remains elevated… but mortgage rates have risen somewhat and fiscal policy is restraining economic growth. ”

Yup, printing 4 trillion locally and 26 trillion globally has not generated growth since 2007.

And, the same thing that caused the detonation in 2007 hasn’t been dealt with.

Still waiting for the hailed USA economic renaissance.


#162 Dean Mason on 07.31.13 at 4:08 pm

When the markets opened this morning July-31-2013 U.S. and Canadian bond yields jumped 7 to 8 basis points.The Canada 10 year was 2.58% from 2.50% and Canada 30 year was 3.08% up from 3.01%.

The U.S. 10 year was up 8 basis points from 2.61% to 2.69% and the U.S. 30 year went from 3.66% to 3.73%. Just now markets closed and Canada 30 year is 2.97% and the Canada 10 year is 2.45% down 4 to 5 basis points.The U.S. 10 year is now 2.58% and the U.S. 30 year is 3.64% down 3 to 9 basis points.

Ben Bernake talks and bond yields drop.He is not ending or cutting his 85 billion U.S. bond buying program QE1,2,3,4 etc.It looks like big bad helicopter Ben does not like bond yields approaching 3.75% to 4.00% U.S. 30 year and the U.S. 10 year 2.70% to 3.00%.30 year fixed rate mortgages at 5.50% to 6.00% will dismantle all of big bad helicopter Ben’s bond buying hard work,monopoly and manipulation.We can’t have that.

#163 shiny mirrors on 07.31.13 at 4:09 pm

Garth, the mop and pail says HAM is alive and well.

“And at the 11th hour, a Globe and Mail contributor is informed that “media have been banned” from entering the first house on the tour….”


#164 Future Expatriate on 07.31.13 at 4:10 pm

Remember, kids…. fertilizer by any other name is still stinky s**t.

“on a street Detroit would feel comfortable moving onto.” – Garth


#165 45north on 07.31.13 at 4:20 pm

Pity the fool who will pay up to half a million to own an uninhabitable structure with ninety per cent of the money borrowed. It will still be half a house, still have a mutual driveway, still with an unusable backyard, on a street Detroit would feel comfortable moving onto.

Garth, I liked your comment that these were houses built for working class people. Except in the day they had to pay for them.

In Ottawa there is a beat up old house on Albion Road. I told the new owner to call in an air strike.

WiseGuy: my thoughts are that they are deeply deeply in debt

like $500,000 but I’m thinking that they have 20% equity which means that they will be reluctant to bail.

East Van: I guess the Harper and the CONs should have taken BHPs offer of $38.6bn for potash corp.

well they did block the deal, doesn’t look like such a good move now

old man: I took a drive to look at this property in question, and went round the corner by the park. Who are these women on the corner?

thanks for the update

Condo Minion: He’s been telling me some tales, including how many forty-something women are knee deep in real estate debt and he has become wary of getting involved.

it seems like in the dating world it is buyer beware more than ever since you marry not just a person but their whole portfolio.

good story

#166 marco on 07.31.13 at 4:23 pm

#161 Godth on 07.31.13 at 3:51 pm
Why should we care about Catherine Austin Fitts? — Garth

I appreciate intelligent, straight talking macro-analysis. Simply a different perspective that ironically builds on some of what you have to say but includes elements that often go unspoken.
Who is the “we” you’re speaking on behalf of anyway? You don’t care what she has to say, o.k., others might appreciate it though.

Next time she goes on TV she should hire someone to assemble that IKEA bookcase that’s sober.

Kind of reminds me of the old saying, you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s…..

I’m sure she’s very nice, when she’s not talking.

#167 Old Man on 07.31.13 at 4:25 pm

I have seen on this blog men trashing women and women trashing men over money about Real Estate; potential divorces; and financial problems, and such will occur over the next few years, as you will turn against each other. Some women want a man with some bucks, as she needs security, and don’t we all, but for the men in life take note, as am going to turn the table.

There are young women in this world who have big money that is hidden, and they will never brag about this all, but pay attention. All that they want is a simple date for a movie or a meal at a cheap joint for good conversation, as she judges a man with her heart, and nothing more; and the women who are looking for a man must spend big money on her, or will move on to someone else in life.

Ok what I am saying is never judge a book by its cover in the world of romance to hookup for marriage in life, as pay attention guys, and am ready for some women in this room who will trash me, but am ready for the hit, as have seen this all.

#168 Form Man on 07.31.13 at 4:26 pm

#159 westernman

Your constant whining and blubbering is tiresome. Saskatchewan is one place that may accept you as a resident. You will enjoy the solitude…..

#169 Devore on 07.31.13 at 4:32 pm

#161 Godth

Who is the “we” you’re speaking on behalf of anyway? You don’t care what she has to say, o.k., others might appreciate it though.

Yes, “we”. You posted a link to a 45 minute video, with no commentary. Why should “we” care what an apparent nobody that no one has heard of has to say about anything? Others, and even Garth, might appreciate it, if you provided some background, maybe?

#170 marco on 07.31.13 at 4:35 pm

#169 Old Man

Using a dirty crack pipe is unhealthy.

Think about that…..

#171 Nick on 07.31.13 at 4:52 pm

#74 Dienekes

Yeah, but you would not want to live there.

I did it for 21 years.

It stunk to high heaven!

#172 Godth on 07.31.13 at 4:57 pm

#168 marco

#171 Devore
Good lord, you’re sitting in front of a computer, no? Let me hold your hand…unbelieveable.

Anyone with their light on that’s trying to understand what they’re experiencing, anyone, anyone?

#173 Herb on 07.31.13 at 5:05 pm

So Russia leaves the potash cartel, threatens to introduce competition into the market, and the bottom drops out.

Isn’t the Great God Marketplace great? What would we do without curtains!

#174 mississauga on 07.31.13 at 5:37 pm

“Pls. Bring Flashlight!”- to an open house ($529,000 home)

#175 Westernman on 07.31.13 at 5:41 pm

Form Man @ # 170
Your mentality is very much at a high school level, isn’t it?
I’ll just bet you can be found hanging out at your local Tim Horten’s… you know, sitting around nursing overpriced coffee bullshitting with other generally unemployed and self-entitled Canadians telling each other how important you are personally and how important your frozen 3rd rate country is in the larger global socio-economic chessboard…you know – fooling yourselves…assuaging your inferiority issues…
Oh yes, I know your “type”…

#176 CantRememberMyName on 07.31.13 at 5:46 pm


#177 Herb on 07.31.13 at 5:46 pm

Wife and I drove to Brighton and Cobourg on Sunday because we are going to relocate closer to Toronto next year, half way between two children, one in Ottawa, the other in TO. Real estate agent had called us with a $50,000 reduction on a waterfront bungalow we had seen on MLS last year and liked.

Well, it turns out that there are good reasons why this house had been on the market for a year and been reduced by now $100 K. It was full of cost-cutting improvements, and, with future stately homes staked out beside it, offered all the charm of tight-knit suburbia, including views of neighbouring house walls as close to property lines as bylaws allowed. Not in Markham or Orleans, but on the shores of Presqu’le Bay, not far from nowhere.

Had a look at another house next door offered for a reduced $600K, but decided that that was too rich for a two-storey on a slab. At least it had a useable waterfront, but it still was in major-city suburbia out in the sticks.

On to Cobourg on our way back to Ottawa, but eliminated that from consideration too. Just too many condo developers and homeowners trying for riches in a city of no other significance.

Conclusion after two years of searching for our next home: this over-priced RE market will implode, and richly deserves to do so.

#178 brainsail on 07.31.13 at 6:08 pm

This is a sad! Garth did the right thing with his donation.

“Edmonton Humane Society refuses unwanted pets”


#179 calgary rip off on 07.31.13 at 6:24 pm

@#20 Dave Calgary.

You are correct there in general is much info on this website regarding specifics of Calgary other than yes, real estate is unaffordable and yes, people do profit off of refurbishing houses and then reselling them.

When I moved to Calgary in 2007 it took a while to accept the reality of price stagnation that is Calgary. Anyone living here knows the lack of rent controls and the slow upward and downward fluctuation of prices. Neighbourhood by neighbourhood the prices vary slightly, however the reality is that present day prices are at least $200K above 2004 levels. No amount of complaining or whining will change that reality. It is like negotiating with police or some authority. Unless you are peers with that individual, it is in your power to refuse to negotiate by accepting the situation, or looking for solutions around the annoyance. Look at the variables involved: 1)Age of the prospective mortgage owner: If you are or will be working for quite some time in a for the most part stable job, consider acquiring a mortgage with room to spare when interest rates go up. 2) Rents in Calgary are the same prices as mortgages: If you will be retiring soon or want to be mobile, rent. Otherwise, consider acquiring a mortgage. 3) Be patient in considering the positives and negatives of which community in which you want to reside: Many of the communities dont have schools and if you have kids they may have to be bussed. Also, in the northwest King Nenshi and clan overlooked sewer capacity so likely some of the communities there will not be completed soon due to lack of wastewater removal plan.

It may take some time to realize that financially Calgary is a complete rip off. It is not a prairie town but a New York wanna be with attitude to match. Given that the zoning on houses is made to cram ’em in, the best strategy is to look at houses realistically from all angles as mentioned above. There is nothing exciting about Calgary housing and once you realize this you can focus on interesting things.

Garth is correct regarding how flipping and real estate investing has driven prices upwards. However just because it is legal doesnt equal ethical standards.

#169 Old Man: Your positioning is all wrong. To be successful a man must look at a woman as a partner but expect nothing from her but what he can give to her. It will never be the same as the relationship you would have with another guy. As a guy you can expect to learn and grow from being with a woman, not all of which is comfortable. However as a payoff you get to reproduce which makes you successful. If you look for more than this in a relationship with a woman you will always be seriously disappointed. Women cannot offer you salvation or emotional comfort they are just humans just like you, lower your expectations, start to think about what you can give them rather than what you are getting and you will have a woman.

#180 johnnny on 07.31.13 at 6:31 pm

#60-tom from mississauga:
Yeah.A number of years back I had a stock that was the darling of the TSE.It was a biomedical stock that could do no wrong.
I remember phoning from an isolated work location”talk broker”for a quote and listened as the quote was down 60%.Later I found out a big German pharma company pulled out of the deal they had.
The rest of my day sucked.

#181 Form Man on 07.31.13 at 6:45 pm

#177 westernman

Dead wrong on all accounts, but no one is accusing you of being overly bright.

I realize you are struggling with some anger issues, and I want you to know there is help for you. In fact, you may be able to qualify for government assistance. In this case I would be more than happy to see a portion of my tax dollars directed toward some therapy for you. As angry and petulant as you are, there is an insecure little westernboy inside you, crying out for acceptance from your peers. Rise above your rage and sadness and embrace a ‘new you’, westernman……..

#182 Westernman on 07.31.13 at 7:50 pm

Form Man @ # 183,
Typical liberal physcobabble as usual from you – but since I’m certain you are government supported your tax dollars are in actuality my tax dollars…
So just send my money directly back to me if you please…

#183 Snowboid on 07.31.13 at 11:15 pm

#131 Siva on 07.31.13 at 11:56 am…

Sorry, only looking at Okanagan RE – wouldn’t know where to start in the GTA.

#184 bill on 07.31.13 at 11:25 pm

#155 Old Man on 07.31.13 at 3:07 pm
height is always nice with any antenna.
presumably you are after an fm signal and the hdtv signal and some way to hack a starbux wifi near you?
anyway…fm = rabbit ears and the hdtv should be like those to little wires on the coax from the link.
it seems to me all you need is your TV to have an ATSC tuner, the chances are that you can receive digital TV channels over the air no sweat .

#185 sadko on 08.01.13 at 5:13 am

Garth, you should know that after the collapse in Russia, the people were not only allowed to stay in their state owned apartments, but they were able to buy them from the state for peanuts. The prices went up and they are house rich. Exact opposite of what is happening in the west. It makes me sick in my stomach.

#186 broadway skytrain on 08.01.13 at 3:20 pm

#187 bill on 07.31.13 at 11:25 pm
#155 Old Man on 07.31.13 at 3:07 pm
height is always nice with any antenna.
presumably you are after an fm signal and the hdtv signal
leave it to the old guy to make an ultra simple task into brain surgery.

many of these for 20ish bux https://www.google.ca/search?q=hd+antenna&rlz=1C1GPEA_enCA313CA325&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=CrT6UZy4LKmCjALAmYDQBg&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1163&bih=622

just plug it in and aim it at the source – how hard is that? (of course , with a non antique tv)

i get ALL the BC HD stations (cbc ctv glob ctv2(victoria) city omni)in better resolution than HDcable can provide for free.

we cut the cable 2yrs back and it has been great for kids and adults.