Back to the future


Condo-slinger Chris Evans. ‘No one could imagine… a drop lke this.’

If you’ve been dreaming of living in a 900-square-foot box in a high rise in Richmond, beyond all those taillights on Highway 99, well, fall to your knees and give thanks.

In fact, 375 boxes across the Greater Vancouver area will be sold in a frenzied one-day orgy of condoism on March 7th – at least that’s what the developer, Onni Group, hopes. The company is slashing prices by about 40%. Reason? “No one could never have imagined the real estate market would drop as much as this,” says company veep Chris Evans. “This is a reaction to the market that’s slowing.”

Well, Mr. Evans should come and hang out here more. The Vancouver price collapse was utterly predictable and nothing – not even a debt trap like the 2010 Olympics – will solve this little problem. Vancouver gives us a great example of what local delirium can do to a perfectly fine city, rendering it unaffordable and insufferable. In a deflating world, this place – like Phoenix, Vegas and Miami – will end up leading the charge backwards. Omni’s little condo-dump is but a taste of the future.

Over in Alberta, hardly better. Oil at less than forty and on its way lower is the final straw for a city that should never, ever have seen average home prices top a half million. The latest numbers show December sales crashed 47% from last year, with prices off 10% from a year ago and 16% from the peak.

In a city of 1.3 million people, a mere 777 houses sold last month. But by June that might look like a housing boom.

Nationally, house prices were down 10% on average, which is meaningless number since it includes the relatively stable Atlantic region, plus all non-urban areas where prices have remained more static. Still, this is dramatic – since Canadians have eight out of every ten bucks of their net worth tied up in houses. As already reported, values will fall another 1o% this year – according to the Conference Board. So, that probably means 20%.

But, again, no surprise here. We’re retracing the American experience, which we lag by about two years. Media types and realtors can argue all they want that our market is not identical to the US one, but we made the same mistakes. Prices surpassed incomes. Affordability plunged. Lending standards were trashed. People who should never have bought homes did. When we let folks without money buy houses, it’s bound to end badly.

US foreclosures, we just heard, jumped 81% last year. Two and a half million houses were taken, as 2.6 million people lost their jobs. It’s now estimated 10 million families have negative equity, that five to 8 million new foreclosures will happen over the next three years, and real estate values will fall until at least 2010. Home prices have dropped every month for the last 12 and are lower by 18% than a year ago. The average home price in southern California is down 50%.

Look south. This is the future.

And this is why I have had one message here since this blog started: Prepare. Take control.

Now, back to a condo in Richmond (or Surrey or Port Moody). That box will be on sale in six weeks for  $360,000, or $400 a square foot, down from $472,900, or $525 a square foot. Without a doubt, inebriated on real estate hype, gobsmacked on by gonzo headlines in the Sun and the Province, and seduced by company cooing that ”this is a rare opportunity,” a bunch of innocents will buy.

The only winner that day will be the one cashing the cheques.


#1 john on 01.15.09 at 8:58 pm

Great post Garth–thats reality! Your honesty is priceless!

#2 North Vancouver Citizen on 01.15.09 at 9:09 pm

“”The result is a condo bulk sale, with discounts of 25 to 40 per cent in seven different developments built by the company. “”

…Garth, the above is accurate.

btw…Richmond, Surrey and Port Moody are not Vancouver.

$400 bucks a foot is a lot of dough….but cheaper than Calgary and Edmonton and cheaper still than ….Toronto….

…Vancouver gets no respect from the Centre of the Earth…that will soon change…

Actually the 40% discount was the headline-grabber in the Sun, and I’d say Metro Van is about the same as Metro T.O., unless you are some Shaughnessy elitist. As for $400 a foot to watch planes take off from YVR, you have my utmost respect. — Garth

#3 Chincy on 01.15.09 at 9:16 pm

I am here in Vancouver and this is going to get UGLY…real ugly…you can sense it in the streets…

#4 Bottoms_Up on 01.15.09 at 9:18 pm

Garth, no doubt you are on top of this, and thinking of writing your next book. What signs are you looking for for a turn around in the economy/real estate? What signals will tell you it’s time to buy real estate again? Is it as simple as ‘the average family can buy the average home’?

Good points. I will address them shortly. — Garth

#5 Peter Pan on 01.15.09 at 9:32 pm

Onni’s management group bought itself a brand new 12 million dollar jet last year…

Couldn’t happen to a better group of guys…

#6 Jason on 01.15.09 at 9:34 pm

Do you think maybe perhaps the people that swore up and down that Canada was not in a housing Bubble , that we were “different” are now beginning to finally realize that the phrase “it’s different this time” was coined by con artists trying to sucker you out of your hard earned money.

I just shake my head at what some of my fellow Albertans paid for their 1000 Square foot “shacks. When I say “shacks” I’m not kidding. We are talking extremely cheaply built houses with the lowest quality materials on a postage sized lots in the least desirable parts of the city that should never have fetched more than 125,000, yet at one point sold for three times that much. What were people thinking? That’s the problem, they were not thinking. They made the fatal mistake of taking advice from the Realty Industry.

#7 Wealthy Renter on 01.15.09 at 9:49 pm

Call me a cynic, but I wonder how many of the 40% off condos will really be available to the general public? And if they are, I wonder if the sales staff are poised to brow-beat customers into buying gold-plated coat hangers, platinum toilets, and other much desired upgrades?

This sounds fishy.

#8 North Vancouver Citizen on 01.15.09 at 9:51 pm

Ok being serious here for a moment Garth, it seems the absolutely only place to park assets is in U.S. Short Term Treasury Notes.

…The Canadian Loonie fell almost a nickel in like four days.

Wall Street says there is big money parked on the sidelines waiting to buy stocks…Mish just posted that that is not true.

Looks like the U.S. will soon Nationalize its big Banks…..will Ottawa do the same with CBIC et al?

Jim made me swear I would not tell. — Garth

#9 squidly77 on 01.15.09 at 9:53 pm

What signals will tell you it’s time to buy real estate again?

first off try and find stats on long term median price history..the one below is for calgary
buying at the historical price levels should be safe if you really need to buy..but if you can wait read on

secondly new listings must stabilize and days of inventory should be approaching 3 months before considering a home purchase as the chart below for edmonton points to definite undeniable connection
those most drunk on kool-aid buy at the peak

make sure that your mortgage payment is not more then 30% of your earnings..if you do that you can save some money for the unexpected preferably 6 months worth of your living expenses
and lastly make sure you have at least a 25% down-payment..i know i know its hard to save
but owning a home is not a right

#10 North Vancouver Citizen on 01.15.09 at 10:03 pm

The other dark meat: Raccoon is making it to the table

…Raccoon, which made the first edition of The Joy of Cooking in 1931, is labor-intensive but well worth the time, aficionados say…

#11 Eduardo on 01.15.09 at 10:06 pm

400$/ft is not bigger than edmonton or calgary. This blog is full of misinformed fearmongers from Ontario who still think they are the center of the universe even though their world is collapsing and the west is relatively fine in comparison.

I would suggest looking here:

It shows the daily stats in Calgary. The average price per foot is now ~270$. Also keep in mind that the average GDP per capita in Alberta is 54000 as of December according to RBC and the average in the CLOSEST province is more than 10,000 dollars less with some provinces almost 20,000 less.

Can someone please justify why prices should be higher in other cities than Calgary for me please? So that you can be closer to Nortel and the loser car industry? Calgary is a much nicer city and it has the Rockies within an hour drive. I would also like to mention the air quality. The employment rate is over 70% in Alberta as of December according to RBC and the closest province is around 63% if I remember right. Also there is still a labour shortage in service industries so I’m sure if Mr. EPC wants to go earn 13 bucks an hour instead of collecting UI like 30% of people in Ontario then he’ll be fine. But no he’ll earn his free lunch as long as he can as long as he’s eligible. I can list countless other reasons why the market should likely decrease a little due to the global recession although not as much as the rest of Canada.

I live in Calgary and my parents live in Edmonton and I can tell you that I do not notice much difference than earlier in terms of the quality of life people have.

Yes, it is true that some EPC contractors and people working in junior oil and gas have been laid off recently but realize that they get paid a premium over regular staff at major companies so they should have made more money in “better times”. Also, the majority of those layoffs last month were due to construction workers (who rightfully should be laid off).

Finally, unless you are willing to ride your bike to work when you find work again in your autoworker job after you take my tax money through redistribution, then I don’t think I have to worry about low oil prices forever.

Oil will touch 60$ this year and everyone will wonder why they laid off staff who got picked up by stronger companies.

Anyone who wants an oil sands lesson so they can be informed for once can ask…

#12 Eduardo on 01.15.09 at 10:10 pm

Apologies for adding a piece but I forgot to mention that there are still shortages of trades in Alberta and the construction workers being laid off are the ones building houses (which should not be built, for reasons mentioned in this blog)

#13 Mini-Garth on 01.15.09 at 10:11 pm

Garth, you once mentioned you had a theory (which you were going to share at some US Realtor conference) that with the declining stock market and general sense of unease, that people would start investing in brick and mortar again, because it’s perceived as being ‘safer’. Kinda like what people did after 9-11.

Any follow up on that?

#14 North Vancouver Citizen on 01.15.09 at 10:15 pm

“”Legendary stock guru Jimmy Rogers stated in Fortune Magazine in Dec 2008: “Virtually the only asset class I know where the fundamentals are not impaired – in fact where they are actually improving – is commodities….””

…””metals, which are the foundation of all economies and the starting point for all recoveries. Over the past year, mines have shut down and production curtailed. It is simply a matter of time before lack of production will affect the supply demand ratio and commodity prices will climb – rapidly.””

“”B.C. Juniors Play a Lead Role in World Resource Exploration.
We, who live in BC, are very much at the centre of the universe ( I kid you not) in the demand for metals. Large producers, for the most part, do not get involved in exploration. That job falls into the hands of the hundreds of mineral exploration companies called “Juniors”. It is estimated that about 60% of all world wide mining exploration is done by Canadian companies. It is further estimated that one-half to two-thirds of those companies are based in Vancouver.””

#15 checkthisout on 01.15.09 at 10:24 pm

South Florida Real Estate Crash Blog

#16 ThumbsUp on 01.15.09 at 10:32 pm

“US foreclosures, we just heard, jumped 81% last year. ”

The US mortgage modification and all bailouts actually made the situation worse, those who showed up in the bank with keys got money, while those who were honestly paying got nothing, they started to walk too!

Got “After the Crash”,my second Turner collection, thanks for the signature, very nice – a must have family asset, while I still have 70% to read – hey this is the book I’ll make sure the kids and grand kids read them.

#17 Investx on 01.15.09 at 10:34 pm

It will be interesting to see what happens with this condo sale.

North Vancouver Citizen, you sound just like the Real Estate Expert and also exhibit the liberal use of “…” to cover up your poor grammar.

BTW, on the cover of the current Toronto Life magazine issue:

“Why Toronto will be the Next Global Financial Capital”

#18 squidly77 on 01.15.09 at 10:36 pm

theres nothing finer then watching a spec/realtor unwind..thanks for the laugh on this mild calgary night
hahahaha bwabwabwa..hehe you got what you deserved
take it like a man

#19 Bill-Muskoka (Not Anymore) on 01.15.09 at 10:38 pm

‘A sucker is born every minute’ must be this clown’s motto?

You can bet the contractors have NOT been paid, and the money is already spent for luxurious fineries for the Developer. Gotta keep that Ponzi image alive!

#20 Gold Bug on 01.15.09 at 10:38 pm

#8 North Vancouver Citizen and Garth,

TD either needs money badly or they know something we don’t. TD didn’t have as many toxic assets as other big banks, did they?

#21 squidly77 on 01.15.09 at 10:51 pm

Eduardo consider this
A boom based on extracting oil from tar sands turns bad

and this
CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – More than C$40 billion ($31.5 billion) in canceled and delayed projects in the oil sands of northern Alberta are derailing the province’s

and this
Oilsands projects delayed or dead – Shell canada’s 100,000-barrel-per-day carmon creek in-situ oilsands project near Peace river: regulatory application withdrawn; – Shell canada’s 100,000-bpd athabasca oilsands mining project expansion, Phase 2: decision delayed until costs come down; – Fort hills $25-billion mine and upgrader, proposed by Petro-canada and two minority partners: mine delayed, upgrader on hold; – Suncor energy’s $20.6-billion Voyageur expansion: delayed by a year; – long lake integrated thermal oilsands project, Phase 2: Partners nexen and opti canada delay until next year a decision on twinning the $6.1-billion first phase; – total canada Joslyn mine and upgrader:mine delayed, upgrader on hold; – north west Upgrading’s $4.9-billion redwater upgrader: on hold pending financing; and – Ba energy heartland upgrader: Partly built and then abandoned.

if there something else you would like to know
please ask..

#22 poorguy on 01.15.09 at 10:52 pm

Garth,I like this :)

“In a city of 1.3 million people, a mere 777 houses sold last month. But by June that might look like a housing boom.”

#23 Heed the Blastard on 01.15.09 at 10:55 pm

40% off is a joke. The question is, is it 40% off of something that was overpriced by 200%? Or is it 40% off of the long run (40 year inflation adjusted) median price for that area?

All specs and realtors are selling now is an idea. The house itself is not worth asking price, so they are now selling an idea.

Now if some of them weren’t so stupid, maybe they would make a sale or two.

#24 Torquemada on 01.15.09 at 10:56 pm

“Can someone please justify why prices should be higher in other cities than Calgary for me please?”

Have you heard the adage ‘buy land cause they ain’t makin’ any more of it’? Well, it doesn’t apply in prairie cities where growth can go unchecked in all directions. Land has nowhere near the inherent value that it does in Vancouver and Toronto.

This is why, even before I learned about declining affordability and historical averages, I refused to buy into the ridiculousness of Alberta real estate.

#25 Nanaimo Dude on 01.15.09 at 11:05 pm

Thanks for the signed copy of your new book!!! Been reading your blog for the past 8 months. You have saved me thousands!!!

#26 squidly77 on 01.15.09 at 11:15 pm

just in case you thought that StatoilHydro was still a go
CALGARY — Alberta’s investment boom is taking another hit, after Norwegian oil and gas firm StatoilHydro ASA shelved a $4-billion upgrader
it isnt

i have worked in the oilsands since the late seventies when i was still in my teens..there is a future here in the tar-pits but the future is not now

#27 john on 01.15.09 at 11:15 pm

#6 Jason on 01.15.09 at 9:34 pm Do you think maybe perhaps the people that swore up and down that Canada was not in a housing Bubble , that we were “different” are now beginning to finally realize that the phrase “it’s different this time” was coined by con artists trying to sucker you out of your hard earned money.
>> and lets not forget the Harper government is that not what they have been telling us? (some do it for money others for votes). A very good indication of where we are headed considering the people managing our future!

#28 john on 01.15.09 at 11:23 pm

Eduardo—Can someone please justify why prices should be higher in other cities than Calgary for me please? ——–lol well my typing skills are inferior but if i could type 150 words a minute id fill the page :-).>> Calgary is a dust bowl in the summer with unattractive lots–bitter cold in the winter–rampant crime–high taxes– and the worst air in Canada (thanks to the oil sands ;-) )

#29 Larry on 01.15.09 at 11:26 pm

#11 Eduardo. How nice to have a pure redneck that has never travelled elsewhere other then highway 2 between Edmonton and Calgary and not knowing any other Canadian province other then Ontario tell everyone how it is in Calgary and Oilberta. Your smoking crack with the guys downtown if you really think oil will be $60 a barrel by the end of the year. You must be blind if you have not noticed how crippled the infrastructure in Oilberta has become in the past 4 years not to mention the number of average people who can no longer afford an average home here. There is no way anyone working in the service industry could afford to live here unless they enjoy paying $1000 to live in a basement. It’s ignorant people like you that give us such a bad rep elsewhere, shame on you. The world is going into a serious recession and Alberta will not be spared. You read it here.

#30 $fromA$ia on 01.15.09 at 11:28 pm

Oil…Gold..= G20 has something to do with all the markets. If you watched gold the last two days, in the morning there must of been a joint G20 sell off, Gold slid hard then when it was rebounding it slid again.

I do not doubt for a second that the governments are controlling commodities such as oil and gold right now.

These are very fragile times for Americans and Canadians, I include Canada because like Garth says we have our own form of subprime.

These fragile times will collapse if oil rises and inflation gets hold. Although inflation has hit us in other areas not noticed or admitted such as obviously Real Estate!!!

#31 kitchener1 on 01.15.09 at 11:33 pm

“This blog is full of misinformed fearmongers from Ontario who still think they are the center of the universe even though their world is collapsing and the west is relatively fine in comparison. ”

Don’t know if you’ve noticed but nobody wants to live in Calgary or Alberta- most workers go there on a temporary basis from Ontario/BC or the east coast. Sorry but its a hard sell when you have 7 months of -15 or below temp.

#32 Gord In Vancouver on 01.15.09 at 11:42 pm

Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)- Help Us Now !!!!

Now the CREA wants to increase the maximum amount you can take out of your RRSP for a down payment to $25,000 from $20,000.

What the heck? With housing prices tumbling, $20,000 will be more than enough for disciplined buyers/savers in all regions of Canada.

#33 Ed79 on 01.15.09 at 11:56 pm

Nice to see little old Richmond feature so prominently on my favourite blog.

To #7 Wealthy Renter:
“As well, all exclusive private homes at FLO Richmond will have authentic hardwood flooring in both the dining room and living areas in two colour choices … an interior option that no other Vancouver pre-construction condo has provided before.”

Didn’t bother reading it all but I think I saw platinum toilets in there somewhere. Hey, at least if metals turn out to be such a good investment the buyers might be able to recoup some of their losses.

The fairy tales continue:
“If you are looking to purchase a presale or new condo residence in Richmond, now is the time to do so”

(btw it’s Onni, not Omni for those doing some googling without success)

#34 Bobby in Victoria on 01.16.09 at 12:13 am

I laugh when I see 40% off. Off what? Some ridiculous initial price in the first place.

Reminds me of Sportchek and their ridiculous sales. Jackets that were supposedly $399 on sale for $99. The reality was that most stores were already selling them for $99 full price in the first place.

The real starting point for these condos is 40% off, then offer them a much reduced price. The problem with realtors is that they believe their own hype.

It’s gonna get really ugly!!!

#35 Zoronqueen on 01.16.09 at 12:48 am

My parents, age 56, have a house in Coquitlam, supposingly worth 630K from 3 years ago to move there which they live in and took out a equity line of credit based on their Pitt Meadows house of 500K, to pay for. They are currently renting out their Pitt Meadows house and hoping to sell when the Pitt river/Surrey bridge is done as they hope the house prices would be better then. I don’t see that happening…. anyone care to comment?

HM–Being on EI, you can only make about $200 a month and you net $1600 max, which is not enough to pay for even a cheap mortgage at $800 a month.

If you are in desperate need of cash then selling your home may be the answer. Waiting means losing more equity on your home.

I suggest getting your name pronto on low income housing or at least finding out how to apply. Wait list are about 1 year in Edmonton. Also when you fall in to the “low income” catagory, there are lots of programs for families to apply for to get free formula, clothes, recreational gear ect. My aunt whose husband (single income) seem to make 40K or below always qualify for these “benifits”.

Also there are community programs for low income families that buy food in “bulk” so it is realitively cheaper.

I always wonder about some of the people who choose to keep themselves under that tax bracket, live in govt subsidy housing and take advantage of all the “freebies”. Of course not all of the “freebies” are going to exist once the middle class, over mortgaged and over credited people become “poor” as well.

Got your book today from….

#36 nonplused on 01.16.09 at 1:22 am

#14 North Vancouver Citizen

Buying juniors is like picking your NHL pool “dream team”… only 20 years early while all the tykes are learning to skate! Only a small % of the kids will actually make it to production, less of them profitably, and picking a Gretzky out of the millions of tykes wobbling around out there is a task suited to the luckiest of us only. Everyone else is throwing their money away. The lottery returns better than the broad junior pool. It does! Lotteries pay out at least 30 cents on the dollar. Juniors pay out nothing on average.

Nice to see that the government is trying to impose some sanity on the cheque kitting exercise that is the VSE.

To Garth’s post

$400/sqft is better than $525/sqft so at least it’s going the right way. This company is smart to try and get out in front of this thing with aggressive reductions. But I wonder if even that reduction can bring qualified buyers. Banks are reducing lending in Canada too, and tightening standards. Why not? Why on earth would you lend money to a business or homeowner at 4.5% and face potential default when you can buy government bonds at 3%??? And the stimulus program is going to make all this much, much worse. Oh yes, unintended consequence are going to rear their ugly heads once again. With the government now going to the market for say 30 billion, well, someone is going to have to lend them the money! That’s 30 billion not available to the real economy any longer. Bound to have an impact.

Forget what those Ivy Leaguer’s tell you. Borrowing for “infrastructure” to “stimulate the economy” caused the Great Recession to turn into the Great Depression. Taking valuable capital out of the economy to have one group of people dig holes and another group fill them does not lead to prosperity! It leads to impoverishment!

You can and should take all of Garth’s “worst case scenario maybe 5% chance” advise as the “probable case”. The governments of the world are using misguided fancy math to justify doing all the wrong things and they are going to cause the problem to get much, much worse before it gets better, just like last time.

The sad thing is, they say last time a world war got us out of it (balderdash, it just justified defaulting on all the debt through inflation). But this time no one will be likely to survive a world war if that’s what it comes too. That’s your real 5% case now.

#37 Derrin on 01.16.09 at 1:23 am

What does this mean?
“buying at the historical price levels should be safe if you really need to buy..but if you can wait read on” -Squidly77

I sure hope everyone follows your guidance that way I can continue to obtain rents for rental properties.

25% down……..????????
The CMHC is there to aid potential buyers. That’s one of its mandates.
Who can save 25% down for a $300,000 home(and up)??? Not many people.

I follow a few blogs and I usually only post on this one but Squidly77 you sure have a hate on for real estate and the market. Remember it is a market where buyers and sellers meet and transactions take place. Nobody twists your arm to buy a house.
And I do agree with you “owning a house is not a right”.

The last few years the market has gotten crazy so we see a correction. It could be 20% or it could be more. Who Knows where the bottom is. But it will hit a certain point where people won’t be scared out of their skull and a new generation of buyers will emerge and begin to purchase real estate again……and the story continues.
Do you blame Nike sports when you buy an overpriced pair of shoes. Do you blame the marketing group for creating such riveting ad campaigns. Do you blame the salesperson at Footlocker for selling the overpriced pair of shoes to you?
It’s just the market……folks.


#38 PKS on 01.16.09 at 1:31 am

Let’s do the comparison on renting vs that now “discounted” condo in Richmond, shall we?

A mortgage of $330K (assuming 20K down, big assumption I know…) will give you payments of around $2500/month. Add in say, $200/month in condo fees, you’re up to $2700/month.

But, to rent a decent (actually pretty nice) apartment in Richmond will run you something in the range of $1500-1600/month.

So you’d end up paying almost twice as much per month, for the privilege of owning a condo who’s value is likely to drop by at least 10% per year for the next 3-5 years. And you tied up 20K that you could’ve put into something useful.

#39 bumbum on 01.16.09 at 1:43 am

“The sale, which will see discounts of 25 to 40 per cent off current market values, involves 375 suites at seven new condominium developments in Richmond, Port Moody, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam and Surrey”

note, it’s from 25% to 40% off the list price. list price is over-inflated. it’s likely only a select few that going for 40% off. we’ll sêe what happens in march 7, the one day sales event.

#40 supersocco on 01.16.09 at 1:56 am

@ Eduardo
“A boom based on extracting oil from tar sands turns bad”

#41 Bobby on 01.16.09 at 1:58 am

Does anyone have a comment on the Canadian banks?
What are the chances of the top five experiencing
a US style meltdown? I couldn’t believe my ears when
I heard BMO was buying a piece of AIG. Is there
anything out there scarier than those guys. Any
suggestions where to safely parking some cash?
It’s a sad time when one feels nervous keeping money
in a bank.

#42 nonplused on 01.16.09 at 2:01 am

It dawned on me that many readers will not naturally be incline to accept my idea that stimulus can’t work. So here is a simple argument:

The government is now looking to the cities and provinces to come up with a list of “shovel ready” projects that can be started in 120 days or less, to stimulate the economy. Everyone is quite excited. Apparently, the crises is solved.

But hang on here. If these project were really going to add to our GDP and produce positive rates of return, why in the hell didn’t we build them when times were good????? If it’s a good thing and the overall return to the economy is greater than the cost of borrowing, why didn’t we build them before??? Was the government asleep at the wheel?

No, the truth is we didn’t do them before because it never makes sense to spend money on a project that doesn’t have a net benefit to society that exceeds it’s net cost to society. But now we are going to do that in spades.

Stimulus = bailout = wasting what little we have left = poverty eventually.

#43 Mike (authentic) on 01.16.09 at 2:12 am

The price drop and sales decline is not as bad as buyers thought…or so CREA wants to let you know, they changed (again) the way they are reporting sales and prices:

“Maybe it’s appropriate that the CREA is changing its methodology to be more inclusive, but now seems to be an awfully convenient time to be doing so.”

Thanks to Squidly77 for the article.


#44 Richmond Rich Renter on 01.16.09 at 2:25 am

The chickens are coming home to roost!

It might not be squirrel meat, but it’s another idea that the City of Vancouver is tossing around to help us “city folk” sustain our food supply in uncertain times.

#45 Steve on 01.16.09 at 2:48 am


Excellent post. I like learning about that. This website is all about educating ourselves not making THE big mistake. Keep going.

I am presently living outside Canada and will return in July 09 to Canada. Can you believe, that my friends are still telling me to buy another house??? I tell them I will rent and they are still trying to convince me to buy, that by the spring, prices will stabilize…

Now who’s the misinformed greater fools believing this economy is bulletproof??? I myself, refer them to this website, so that they can re-educate themselves on our downward spiralling economy.


#46 North Vancouver Citizen on 01.16.09 at 3:41 am

Part #2…“”Legendary stock guru Jimmy Rogers……..

“The global food crisis captured the world’s focus early in 2008 but attention and capital is currently being diverted by economic issues. This does not mean the food crisis has been resolved. In reality, it could become more severe, increasing the need for and value of fertilizers, especially potash.”

…It seems Saskatchewan is a go to Province as well.

#47 TS on 01.16.09 at 5:42 am

As things tighten up all kinds of interesting things are beginning to happen. Here is a link about the Russia/Ukraine natural gas distribution dispute and some possible resolutions that are being tabled.

#48 TS on 01.16.09 at 6:10 am

Eduardo, it is difficult not to interpret your comments as being crass, smug and self-centred since you and your close associates and family members apparently have not been personally affected by the economic slowdown that is impacting so many people in Canada, and is starting to impact Alberta.

You appear to be living in a dream world. As the price of commodities continues to flounder the impacts on the economy in Alberta will escalate. I have some clients in Alberta and I know from discussions with them that they are definitely feeling pressure and layoffs in the near term are being planned as we speak. Many began to feel initial pressures in early 2008 as the gas industry slowed.

The slowdown in economic activity will hit many sectors of the Alberta economy, and certainly not just the housing market. The gas industry has already been hit hard and the ripple effects are only now starting to roll out across the general economy in Alberta. Most of the major players in the Tar Sands have announced cutbacks and/or are postpoing investments. In its most recent report Statistics Canada reported an increase in Alberta unemployment from 3.4% to 4.1%. It is impossible that all of these layoffs would have been construction workers in the home market. I wonder if you would appear so smug if you were one of the folks who just received a pink slip in Alberta….or may receive one in the weeks and months ahead.

Comments on the blog about the price of oil doing an about face do not appear to be based in reality. The world economy is currently in decline, and attempts by OPEC to shore up oil prices by cutting demand have not worked.

Even China, the main driver of world economic growth is slowing down dramatically. China has experienced 5 quarters in a row of declining growth.

The Chinese government has officially reported that in the first half of 2008 alone 67,000 factories have closed their doors across the country. In November 2008 the Chinese government announced a $586 BILLION stimulus package (mainly in infrastructure) to attempt to create more jobs and quell growing social unrest in the country.

Over the past year, experts on Far East economics have been predicting more contraction in Chinese economic output with some going as far as predicting that growth in China could slow to “0” growth by the end of 2009. If that actually happens it would mean a contraction in growth rate from about 12% to 0 in less than three years. In North America we are currently experiencing the effects of 2.3% to 2.5% growth slowing to -0.5% to -0.8%. Imagine the potential impact in China, and the downward impact on commodity prices and countries like Canada that depend on commodity exports.

It is easy to be smug and feel secure when wrapped in a oil-based caccoon. The time is fast approaching when those will crack open exposing many, many vulnerable butterflies to reality.

#49 OttawaMike on 01.16.09 at 6:27 am

#11 Eduardo,
You make some good points and yes Calgary is a very livable city. I know this as my mother lived there for 30 years. BUT, I would be willing to bet you are under 40 years old and were not around or too young to remember the Alberta bust of the early 80’s. It’s still a one horse petro town and lacks the true diversification to weather low oil prices. I wish I were wrong as Canada could use an economic bright spot now.

#50 613 Happy where I am on 01.16.09 at 6:58 am

Hey North Vancouver Citizen:

The Joy of Cooking also mentions “Possum” … don’t know what that tastes like, but the Coons are nice and plump where I live!!!!

I just ventured outside of the box and tried rabbit for the first time… not bad actually but my smart alec son kept saying “What’s up, Doc???” as we ate it.

Next timeI see buffalo, I’m going to try it… may even try coon, possum and, yes, even squirrel if I can find it…

No squirrels to be seen downtown…

#51 TS on 01.16.09 at 7:07 am

“Forget what those Ivy Leaguer’s tell you. Borrowing for “infrastructure” to “stimulate the economy” caused the Great Recession to turn into the Great Depression. Taking valuable capital out of the economy to have one group of people dig holes and another group fill them does not lead to prosperity! It leads to impoverishment!
by Nonplused.”

Nonplused, you seem to be taking a very simplistic view of the economic factors that contributed to the Great Depression, and trying to rewrite history as well.

World renowned economists like Milton Freidman have spent years analyzing contributing factors and their findings point to government monetary policy and readily available credit as major factors that led to The Great Depression.

Investments in infrastructure were done AFTER the Great Depression was underway so your position has no substance in fact.

For some detailed analysis and viewpoints regarding the impacts of government monetary policy on the Great Depression interested readers can go to the links that follow.

Keep in mind that these articles represent a number of different philosophical perspectives. There is significant debate on what should have been done differently back then to limit the impact of the depression. Many of these viewpoints are also included in the linked articles.

Having taken the personal time to wade through these articles some common themes emerged for me:

1) Economic growth based on easy consumer credit is unsustainable.

2) Rapid growth ‘bubble’ economies always burst (i.e. Japan in the 1980’s….and China today?). Economies that feed the bubbles burst with them (Canada’s resource markets?)

3) Underestimated risk always bites you hard in the ass and compounds the downward spiral (e.g. sub-prime mortages, high ratio mortgages, over-valued stocks in terms of P2E ratios)

4) Massive government spending ends depressions (e.g. WWII was the economic driver that ended the Great Depression, European reconstruction investments after WWII fueled the North American economy in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, and resulted in the US world economic leadership in the 1960’s and 1970’s).

#52 Kash is King on 01.16.09 at 7:23 am

Garth:====> “Nationally, house prices were down 10% on average, which is meaningless number since it includes the relatively stable Atlantic region, plus all non-urban areas where prices have remained more static”


Are there any stats( ex-rural) being published now that aren’t the new-and-improved stats, ?

Rural stats were recently included in the overall stats, since they are “moderating”?.

Funny how they didn’t dream that trick up when prices were climbing. Hmmm.


#39 bumbum: ====> “note, it’s from 25% to 40% off the list price”

Make sure you know which unit is directly above the farking garbage room…!


#53 TS on 01.16.09 at 7:29 am

Some interesting insights from “legendary stock guru Jimmy Rogers”…certainly worth a read.

#54 Grantmi on 01.16.09 at 7:57 am

Downturn leaves Development in hanging – Literally!

Now the MSM are hiding bad news on the housing front IN THE MOVIE section of the paper.

Vancouver Sun ran this piece today (by John Mackie) about the financing meltdown on the project The Jameson House Development on the 11th page of the movie section of the Sun……

It’s almost comical!

#55 Grantmi on 01.16.09 at 8:11 am

Peter Pan: Onni’s management group bought itself a brand new 12 million dollar jet last year…

Couldn’t happen to a better group of guys…

Yea! So they can fly their money out of the country! If anyone really did any DD on these group of guys behind ONNI…. you wouldn’t be surprised!!

I agree with you Peter!

#56 OntarioHouse on 01.16.09 at 8:24 am

In the Toronto Star today there’s an article about slumping home sales. The article goes on to say that realtors are asking the federal government to increase the amount that first time home buyers can withdraw from their RRSP’s.
Will these realtors ever stop?

#57 PTDBD on 01.16.09 at 8:42 am

Non-backed, non-assetbacked, non-commercial paper market update:

– Zimbabwe to Launch 100 Trillion Dollar Note

So, how large is the bloated American paperprestidigitizer Dollarzilla?

Are you losing track of millions, to billions to trillions bunky? Well you are not alone. Our politicians are losing their grip on it also. Desperate times for desperate measures. Er, eh, no…how does that go again?

Here’s a neat graph detailing the initial bailouts. It looks like the the first microseconds of the start of a nuclear reaction.
The Slate Bailout Guide

#58 Gord In Vancouver on 01.16.09 at 8:55 am

Laugh at Onni (not Omni) all you want but give them credit for not listening to market pumpers who are saying that Vancouver real estate prices will pick up again in spring 2009.

If Onni can cover a large chunk of their expenses with the March 2009 firesale, look for other developers follow their lead. Not what speculators expected when they waited in line for 12 hours to buy pre-sale units.

#59 David on 01.16.09 at 9:13 am

People with no grounding in real estate fundamentals or basic finance could not imagine this. Mr. Evans became a VEEP no less, and by all accounts had an over active imagination not grounded in reality.
Remember to circle March 7 on your calendar. The dumb and the desperate who over developed condos with easy money have some of the greatest deals ever. Sign on the dotted line for a lifetime of penury.

#60 dd on 01.16.09 at 9:26 am

#55 OntarioHouse

$5,000 is going to add up to nothing.

#61 squidly77 on 01.16.09 at 9:30 am

derrin #37
i was going to explain what it meant to you
then i thought of this blogs address and figured why bother..

#62 dd on 01.16.09 at 9:32 am

“That box will be on sale in six weeks for $360,000, or $400 a square foot”

Wow. Still overpriced.

#63 dd on 01.16.09 at 9:35 am

North Vancouver Citizen on 01.15.09

“Looks like the U.S. will soon Nationalize its big Banks…..will Ottawa do the same with CBIC et al?”

They are in trouble. Look at all the equity and debt that is coming to the market from the big 6.

#64 dd on 01.16.09 at 9:38 am

#24 Torquemada,

Demand was a lot more than supply for a very short time in Calgary because of the huge migration during 2005 and 2006. Now it is the other way around and prices are coming down hard.

#65 smwhite on 01.16.09 at 9:39 am

Feel no pity for these smart asses that decided to look the other way despite the obvious.

Long before Garth ever poked his head up into the line of fire, Robert Shiller pegged Vancouver as one of the bubbliest cities, in the world, let alone Canada.

A Yale economics professor getting no media while realtor Betsy was pasted all over the mass media telling the herd to get in line before its too late.

“Hurry, get in” (before sediment changes and the RE industry goes back to sleep for a decade).

All the voices of reason have been ignored, so should be the cries for help from specuvestors.

#66 questioning on 01.16.09 at 9:42 am

#12 Eduardo:

I guess it is a matter of time before you see the “ugly”.

When I talked with some friends in US in last September, they told they felt almost nothing about recession in Virginia…2 month later, they were laid off..

Let’s see what will happen in Calgary/Edmonton in the next 2 month.

Good luck.

#67 Richmond Rich Renter on 01.16.09 at 9:45 am

Onni can go ahead and put their units up for auction. I wouldn’t touch one of those even if the price was cut by 75%. They’ve become known as a developer that cuts as many corners as legally possible with quality that truely doesn’t stand up. Couple that with mass building during a boom (can you say sub-standard workmanship thru un-experienced 19 year old workers?) and you have a leaky condo situation within less than 10 years.

No thanks. I’d rather continue to rent here in Richmond. My rent is only $750.00 per month and I’m 2 blocks away from the 6 plus condo developements that have recently completed (a couple are still half finished near the Lansdown mall). BTW – rents in Richmond are less than Vancouver. Most are between 700.00 to 1000.00 for 1 bedroom and approx 1200.00 for 2 bedroom (depending on age and location of the building).

#68 PTDBD on 01.16.09 at 9:52 am

Anglo Irish Bank Nationalized – “meow” goes the Celtic Tiger
Reportedly 87 Million of loans by Chairman concealed over eight years.

#69 Richmond Rich Renter on 01.16.09 at 9:54 am

Another thing about Richmond’s Onni Condo’s: They’re all situated near the Olympic Oval.

I hope the people that purchase them look into the property tax assessments before signing on the dotted line! The property taxes in the area around the venue have doubled in the past year for all of the businesses in the area. I can’t see why the home owners wouldn’t have seen the same increases.

It’s sorta like buying a new car (well…on a smaller scale). Just because you like it doesn’t mean you can afford to insure it! It’s the extra costs that kill you. Makes me also curious about strata fees – with the possiblity of getting a leaker, does that mean those fees will also increase over time as well?

#70 Mike (authentic) on 01.16.09 at 10:29 am

#27 john on 01.15.09 at 11:23 pm Eduardo—Can someone please justify why prices should be higher in other cities than Calgary for me please? ——–lol well my typing skills are inferior but if i could type 150 words a minute id fill the page :-).>> Calgary is a dust bowl in the summer with unattractive lots–bitter cold in the winter–rampant crime–high taxes– and the worst air in Canada (thanks to the oil sands )”

Hold the phone. I’m from Ontario originally (28 years there), lived in the Yukon (1), BC (2) and Nova Scotia (1). Each place has a gem and Calgary (8) is no different.

To the east you have the most beautiful mountain scenery in all Canada, lakes, hiking, skiing in winter, fishing and awesome roads. To the South you have foothills, rolling over the ranches. To the North you have dark, rich, black soil farms, little towns and great camping spots. To the West you have the praries, jaw dropping landscapes that follow the curve of the earth under always sunny clear skies and yellow Canola, brown hay and green pastures that go on forever.

As the song goes, give me land, lots of land…

You can build forever and never fence yourself in. Try that in Ontario.


#71 gord on 01.16.09 at 10:48 am

i’d bet anyone on this blog who has some money to lose that oil hits $100 a barrel again in 2009 (front-month WTI futures contract) …it’s a foregone conclusion with trillions in fiscal stimulus hitting the ground this year

There will be no inflationary bounce of any kind in 2009. This is a year of loss and decline. — Garth

#72 Diabolo on 01.16.09 at 10:57 am

#37 Derrin Said
Do you blame Nike sports when you buy an overpriced pair of shoes. Do you blame the marketing group for creating such riveting ad campaigns. Do you blame the salesperson at Footlocker for selling the overpriced pair of shoes to you?
It’s just the market……folks.

Derrin, the problem is when the footlocker guy saya that I can wear my shoes and fly (basketball guys :) not superman)… I might be an Idiot and believe him.. and thats what realtors and the board are doing. They put out lies and manupultive data out there and say ” you better buy or priced out forever” and some idiots believe that and make the biggest mistake in their life…

#73 CalgaryRocks on 01.16.09 at 11:00 am


Just wanted to let you know that we will be doing some spring skiing here in Alberta this week-end.

Enjoy freezing your ass in -30 degree weather in craptario.

You’re a perfect example of an Ontario moron that has probably never been west of the Manitoba border.

Idiotic comments like this will get you thrown off this blog. — Garth

#74 Mike B formerly just Mike on 01.16.09 at 11:01 am

Love this attempt by the Condo builder to call this a SALE.
As others have pointed out, this is mighty expensive for a small little cubicle even at the “sale” prices. I guess my question is why not put them on sale now … why wait till March ?? More real estate marketing BS..
They should hold an auction and see what kind of numbers they get. I have been to a ton of auctions and by and large the stuff gets pennies on the dollar at best.

#75 TomOfMilton on 01.16.09 at 11:09 am

#4 Bottoms Up

“What signs are you looking for for a turn around in the economy/real estate? ”

I’ve been telling people it would depend on two possible reasons for purchasing:
1) You are renting and don’t yet own a house
2) You are investing in further properties besides the one you live in.

In the first case it is the easiest…basically you make some guess on how far it will go down AND a price that will make it affordable and comfortable for you…then you make offers for THAT amount now…especially if you determine a house is a “Power of Sale” (The bank is selling it). And after buying…stop caring about further declines or increases because house prices are not likely to increase sharply for a long time…

But if you are investing…perhaps it won’t be a very good deal for you for about 10years no? Unless you catch a bank in a real panick and they accept something lower than the leveling point is guessed to be…

Hope I’m giving good advice…but I’m careful to let people know that it is up to them to figure out what they think is comfortable buying price and if that is the low point. Probably what everyone is thinking…I’m just not sure if others are thinking that they should make those offers now…especially when it is a bank. I think they should. It’s good practice. You’ll be more of your own expert.

#76 David on 01.16.09 at 11:12 am

It is way different here. The industry tells you so.

#77 North Vancouver Citizen on 01.16.09 at 11:23 am


“”Roger Martin, the dean of the Rotman School of Management, calls Manhattan the supernova of greed and excess. “It’s the place where the number one goal was making money for me, not my clients,” he says. “And because so many people were ill-served, its reputation may never fully recover.””

“”Toronto isn’t growing in power and influence; we’re simply shrinking more slowly than other cities.””

“”Realistically, Toronto may have no choice but to pursue this path—witness the sunken look in Dwight Duncan’s eyes, the one that says, “I need to find jobs for hundreds of thousands of displaced manufacturing workers.””

….Very informational article….I’m skeptical but anything is possible….Ontario is an overpopulated Manufacturing Province adjacent to overpopulated Ohio & Michigan Manufacturing U.S. States.

lol, the blurb on Regis and Kathy Lee was important with only a passing mention on China and Asia.

#20 Gold Bug

thanks for that article

“”TD Bank issues $1-billion of notes””

Yup…seems like all financial institutions speak out of both sides of their mouths.

#32 Gordie Howe in Vancouver

“”Now the CREA wants to increase the maximum amount you can take out of your RRSP for a down payment to $25,000 from $20,000.””

Hmmmmm…..actually this might be an excellent idea, along with the Renovation Tax Credit.

why?…if the Banks, Insurance Companies and RRSP Funds are illiquid and questionable….where and how are you supposed to save for retirement?

…If either or both are passed….you have the credits available but wait to purchase when the time is right…you know, once bitten, twice shy.

Investex…yes I was Real Estate Expert….and I acknowledged earlier that “expert” was over the top..hence the new moniker.

…course my dogs think I’m g-ds gift and the “…”…me no speaky engrishy so velly good.

Did I ever mention Vancouver will be the next Financial/Trade and Leisure capital of North America?

#78 kitchener1 on 01.16.09 at 11:57 am

#72 Calgary Rocks

I’ve been out west many times, however, I have never resided there. In my field of work I interact with different HR professionals on a daily basis. One of my best friends went to work as a recruiter for a large multinational that has offices in Calgary. According to her the reasons its difficult to recruit people to work and LIVE in Calgary because of the:

COLD weather and the HIGH cost of living compared to other city centers. People are willing to go and work there on a temporary basis but few are willing to pick up an move their entire life there.

It is difficult to sustain a economic boom without a net increase in either migration or immigration. If houses are less affordable then Toronto,Montreal,Vancouver then people will not stay there.

As much as everyone hates the GTA or greater Van city, those cities offer options for people that have been laid off.

#79 blackout on 01.16.09 at 12:03 pm


just wondering if you needed to use your generator last night?

Not me. But if I had needed it, the unit would have come on automatically when the transfer switch sensed the grid going down. A standby unit never needs to be turned on or shut off. Leaves more time for blogging. — Garth

#80 Marc on 01.16.09 at 12:06 pm

Well a barrel of oil is down, and gas prices are up. We are driving more we are told, so that is the reason gas is going up when oil is dropping. Glad I have that figured out, as with all the snow, and cold weather, I thought collectivly we would be driving less, but who am I to know.

I used to find it entertaining that people would buy condos thinking they were good investments. When meeting with our financial planner, I was informed my wife bought a condo in Oct 07. She would talk about buying one as it is a good investment she said. I told her in 2006, they were overpriced and due for a price plummet. Her friend made 100K in equity in 3 yeras, so she did not believe me. My wife bought a pretty much the top of the market, likely with a 0/40 as I have not seen any large money transfer. I don’t know how she was making the payments without my knowledge, so perhaps she is a part time whore? I take it I will be on the hook for half the loss, even if my signature is not on any purchase agreement, and I am not listed as an owner or co owner? Looks like I will be heading for the Big D, and I don’t mean Dallas.

#81 Another Albertan on 01.16.09 at 12:14 pm

70/Gord – I don’t want your money that badly.

Crude is in massive contango. The reason is that traders are placing a bet that they can commercially purchase oil now, store it and then commercially resell it in the future. This works as long as storage facilities can found and rented.

The rub is that the oil being traded at the front month for medium-term storage isn’t being consumed. It’s only being deferred.

If energy consumption stays flat or decreases over the next year, the futures pricing – as it becomes the front month pricing – will likely tend to trend downward. Why? Because if demand doesn’t increase, the stored crude only adds to supply.

Betting on oil hitting $100 in the next calendar year is a fool’s bet. Will oil hit $100 in the much longer term? Absolutely. When? Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?

As a “foregone conclusion” about hyperinflation, remember that the major central bankers are deathly afraid of inflation. They will extract liquidity out of the system at any hint. The extraction will be painful but don’t think for a second that Bernanke and his ilk won’t do it.

Your mileage may vary.

#82 prairie gal on 01.16.09 at 12:17 pm

Hmmm… I bet some of these Torontonians shivering in the cold with no power are wishing they had a few items from Xurbia right about now. I gotta say, Garth – your timing is impeccable on this one.

#83 smwhite on 01.16.09 at 12:29 pm

#72 CalgaryRocks

-15, wow, that should help you take your mind off the impending layoffs and sinking home prices.

It wasn’t much more then 6 months ago, when morons like yourself were prancing around like peak cocks because of your vast “inherited” wealth via the dirty oil patch.

Guess a year ago when the finance minister predicted that Ontario was going to be a have not province, you didn’t understand it was because of the drop in demand for Canadian manufactured products.

Guess you also looked the other way a year ago when the largest consumer of Canadian oil was teetering on recession.

Little shits like yourself, no matter what part of the country your from, with your heads securely fastened to your backside, are getting a good taste of crow and will be eating more.

Enjoy skiing sport, don’t worry about fastening your helmet, can’t protect what you don’t got.

#79 Marc

Check out the definition for Backwardation, its my new word of the week. Also, isn’t refining capacity still maxed out, I know there was a shortage in of all places, Alberta.

#84 Alex on 01.16.09 at 12:30 pm

To #41 Bobby:

I don’t trust Canadian banks even though the TV is repeating again and again that they are ‘different’

Buy honest money – gold and silver bars or coins.
Avoid paper fiat money as it’s not backed by any real assets and will be precipitously loosing value as the Fed collapses.

#85 Rural Rick on 01.16.09 at 12:34 pm

So at 55 my house is paid for. ( Thanks Garth for your sage advice over the years) I have some debt about 10,000 and have been unemployed for 2 years except for some part-time hours. EI is expired. And employment in my area doesn’t look too good. Anyone got any ideas.

#86 kitchener1 on 01.16.09 at 12:44 pm

Great read on the forums over at LATOC regarding the situation over at Fort Mac

I haven’t been that active on the forum because I’ve been working in Fort McMurray (aka Fort Mac) for the better part of the past year.

When I arrived here it was absolute madness. It was rush hour 22 of the 24 hours in a day. To describe the whole town, area and pace, in a word – chaotic. If you were breathing you were employable. Now…dodgy.

The guys that have been here 20 years of more, say it feels like the 80s and think it’ll get worse. Every day we hear of a new company either getting demobbed off site due to budgetary constraints or is going bankrupt altogether.

Six months ago if you laid a guy off, he had a new job the next day. Now, who knows when he’ll get another job?

The Alberta economy lost something like 16000 jobs in December. I think we lost that much just this week in Fort Mac.

In the 80s, the old timers said people closed their doors and walked away from their houses, the place was a near ghost town. But that was back in the 80s, when you might only be on the hook for 20 grand or so, on a trailer. However, the big difference now from the 80s is there is more houses and the town probably grew 50 fold. I personally know guys on the hook for 750,000 for a mobile trailer. 750 grand for a friggin mobile home!!!! Some of them even have more then one. One guy I know has 5 and bought three at the peak of the housing market. He’s 22 and in for a real rude awakening, since he is probably won’t find too many renters real soon.

Continued at,35810.0.html

#87 613 Happy where I am on 01.16.09 at 12:44 pm

Rural Rick:

Start selling generators and wind turbines on the net to other like minded survivorists!

Nothing about “survivorist” for 22,000 people in Toronto today, at minus 25. It’s about daily life. — Garth

#88 marcus aurelius on 01.16.09 at 12:49 pm


Calvin Coolidge Limberger, President of CRETIN, is now calling on the government to re-write tax policy to enable ordinary, hard-working sheeple to access what’s left of their tax sheltered funds so they can better overpay for residential real estate. “As most of our members are telling the public, what’s good for us is good for Canada” Limberger explained, “Generating actual commission income is something our members haven’t done in weeks, so we see this as a national emergency”.

“We were pretty good at selling you the concept of ‘real estate only goes up’, and later, ‘you can afford it, your banker will lend you whatever it takes to buy this crapcan’, and later still, ‘this will all be over by Christmas’. So we figured that calling a natural price correction a ‘federal emergency’ wouldn’t do much more violence to our public credibility” said Limberger, as he adjusted his clip-on tie.

“My tin-can Mercedes C-series in ‘genuine real estate agent gold’ is coming off-lease, and most of CRETIN’s membership are going through career readjustment, and in many cases, lifestyle divorce, so we really need the Government to kick-start a slow quarter by helping us with sales turnover. Anyone who disagrees is clearly unpatriotic.”

The sentiment was echoed by the many hairdressers, car-washes, metrosexual waxing/hair removal and fine dining industries dependent on a healthy Canadian Real Estate Sales industry. “By the way” Limberger added, “we really don’t like the term ‘real estate professional’. That term is so bound up in oversight, regulation, valuing ethical conduct and actually knowing something about real estate, so we feel it’s demeaning. We prefer ‘Ludicrously Out-of-touch Parasites”.

Read more from this respected organization in the link.

Hats off to Globe and Mail real estate reporter Lori McLeod, who at least ended this little smelly piece of enabling disinformation with a quote from Benny Tal (of all people) basically calling the story a waste of effort by the sales weasels.

#89 CalgaryRocks on 01.16.09 at 1:05 pm


I’ve lived in Montreal, Ottawa & Naples, Florida as well as Calgary.

I will take Calgary’s climate any time over the humid cold and windy winter climate of both montreal and Ottawa.

I guess if ignorant people don’t want to move here there will be more jobs for us. They can stay in Ontario and wonder how the hell it managed to become a have not province.

#90 CalgaryRocks on 01.16.09 at 1:10 pm

#82 smwhite

We are at +9 Celsius in Calgary right now. Enjoy the great Ontario climate, stay warm buddy.

#91 Rural Rick on 01.16.09 at 1:11 pm

Re#86 613 Happy where I am

I don’t think I could compete successfully with Garth. Nor would I want to. However I can get you some chickens this spring if you like.

#92 North Vancouver Citizen on 01.16.09 at 1:12 pm

#84 Rural Rick

“”EI is expired. And employment in my area doesn’t look too good. Anyone got any ideas.””

…humming jeopardy’s theme….dah dah dah, dee dee dee, dah dah dah, dup, dee dee dee dee dee etc etc

…become a cross dresser and change your name to Rachael…people always need nannies

#93 Internal Exile on 01.16.09 at 1:16 pm

Personally, I think “unaffordable and insufferable” would make more sense on BC’s license plates than “The Best Place on Earth”.

#94 $fromA$ia on 01.16.09 at 1:37 pm

#70 Gord,

Perhaps the concept of inflated oil basically inflates everything else we import or move around the world.
It’s fairly basic, put in mind that homes are already over inflated, North American mortgage/home owners couldn’t handle an inflationary period.

We have a tonne of mortgages that are barley being supported right now considering all the ongoing and upcomming job losses and if they go belly up the losses will push on a DEPRESSION. The G-20 is organized as a coalition to controll and resist the impact of a very harsh worldwide ressession/depression.

#95 squidly77 on 01.16.09 at 1:51 pm

i dont know why any canadian feels the need to bash another canadian pounding his chest proclaiming mine is the best and yours is crap
i am an albertan who has worked pretty much clear across canada and trust me canada is great everywhere all provinces have good and bad weather and great and not so great areas
most importantly people from bc to ontario are truly wonderful

when alberta had it rough and we did from 1983 pretty much till 1998 thousands of albertans worked all over canada supporting their families
the rest of canada was there for us and we have been there for them during the past 10 yrs

beating up on them when they are going through extraordinarily rough times would be like punching your big brother in the face just because you could as he has 2 broken arms and cant protect him self

those arms will heal and it would be nice to know that they will be there for us in the future

when i read those sniping comments about east v west
it turns my stomach

#96 rory on 01.16.09 at 1:53 pm

This article is about price-rent ratios in the US for 54 metro markets.

Does anyone know a comparable site for our Canadian markets.,8599,1870442,00.html

#97 dd on 01.16.09 at 1:58 pm

#86 613 Happy where I am,

Burn that Alberta Natural Gas.

#98 dd on 01.16.09 at 2:03 pm

#70 gord,

$100 a barrel in late 2009. We could only hope but wishful thinking. With layoffs mounting inventories will build because less oil will be used in factories and car driving. I don’t think the OPEC cutbacks will take much affect until there is a floor to the demand destruction.

#99 dd on 01.16.09 at 2:06 pm

Condo-slinger Chris Evans looks like a “deer in the head lights.”

#100 Dawn in Calgary on 01.16.09 at 2:15 pm

Craigslist in Calgary is certainly optimistic today …. realtors using it to post listings — hey, it’s free.

Why, here’s a GREAT deal — only $433/sq foot!

#101 Patrice on 01.16.09 at 2:24 pm


circuit city close.
usa – 30,000 employees and 567 stores.

USA keep falling.

Never forget they are our biggest trading partners.

The first wagon of the roller coaster train is still falling hard.
We are the last wagon of the train; just beginning to fall.

#102 Nathan in Edmonton on 01.16.09 at 2:26 pm

Most Albertans (and Canadians in general) are in the denial stage: our current crisis will blow over quickly is a common statement. People just can’t imagine that the Alberta boom is finally over. As recently as the fall people where still saying Alberta and boom in the same sentence.

A big misconception is that commodity prices will rise again in the second half of 09 and the newly unemployed from other provinces will flock to Alberta.

Personally I think we’ll see an Alberta exodus as more and more people are laid off and go back to where they came from. Alberta is an expensive place to be unemployed.

Oil prices will rise but the mad rush of investment in the tar sands growth is probably over, hopefully it can continue in a smaller more sustainable way (Lougheed’s original vision), if that is possible.

Side note: I’ve been shopping for a used vehicle and have visited some Edmonton dealers. I don’t think they are hurting yet as my low but not ridiculously low offers are being rejected. The vulture in me wants a deal; I think I’ll hold off a few months.

#103 vtj on 01.16.09 at 2:33 pm

Enough already with this ridiculous “I’m better than you are” nonsense. Every part of Canada has its pros and cons which makes this a great country to live in, period. Let’s get back to more interesting discussions/observations.

For example, Bloomberg reports that the US Treasury is toying with the idea of setting up a so-called “Aggregator Bank” in an effort to remove bad loans from lenders’ balance sheets:

I’m amazed that such a concept could even be conceived of. I’d be curious to know the plan for ultimately dealing with such “toxic assets”. Perhaps the plan is to just let them sit in the books for the next couple of decades and let inflation or hyper-inflation take care of them. I’m shaking my head in disbelief – amazing times we’re living in.


#104 Bertie on 01.16.09 at 2:48 pm



YOU, could not be more wrong or misleading. I fiercely question your angle, or what it is you are up to by giving completely false data about Calgary.

I’ve lived either side of Kitchener (Guelph, London) for 24 years and lived in Calgary for 29 years. Calgary is vibrant, fun and innovative. And chock full of good people. Any friends I know who left Calgary did it because they wanted to be close to family. But here’s the catch you don’t know about.. many, many close friends have returned because they simply love this city.

And I’ll add this:

Your inaccurate smearings of Calgary posted here are fallacies, which you base on other people’s writings, and ‘one gal from HR’. That is laughable at best.

Your falsehood of Calgary is rude and ignorant to say “Sorry but its a hard sell when you have 7 months of -15 or below temp.”

Take a gander at our temperature & climate chart. See what a foolish judgement you made:

I love Calgary’s comfortable arid climate, much better than sticking to your kitchen chairs in Kitchener’s humid mass.

You’ve never experienced northern lights like Calgary has
nor a brilliant chinook arch
right out one’s front and back windows.

Moving from Ontario was an eye-opener. I love my hometown of London, but found Kitchener and Guelph were not interesting, not at all. Until you get out and go where people are a bit freer, you will never know what Calgarians know about having an exciting lifestyle. The sky’s the limit in Calgary, quite literally. I do not like Alberta’s con artist politicians, and I’m not proud THEY went ahead with oil sands development so quickly before better methods could be developed, but the PEOPLE in Calgary are simply fantastic. Hey, maybe it has something to do with a big thingy we call the sun.

Calgary is the sunniest city in Canada with 2,400 hours of annual sunshine on average.
Calgary has the sunniest winter: 367 hours
Most sunny days year-round: 333 days
Most sunny days in cold months: 132 days

Do you have any idea what that much sunshine does for you?

No, you don’t. Obviously.

Hey, by the way, it’s plus 15 and warm and brilliantly sunny on my back deck right now (officially +10C right now). The forecast is double digit highs for the next week and all sunny (our local stations here are always more accurate than the national pablum). Beautiful bright blue skies today and not a cloud anywhere. Not a trace.

Hmm. What’s going on in Kitchener? Oh, I see, cloudy and, oh! minus -15 for a high today, outch! and low of -22, windchill -26, pop 40%. Gee, I’d NEVER move to Kitchener since that’s what it’s like, eh.

In other words, kitchener1, stop playing the divide & conquer game. The Hatfields and McCoys were related you know.

#105 Judy on 01.16.09 at 3:09 pm

Guess Calgary Rocks isn’t listening to Stelmach….he came with hat in hand looking for Federal funds….says he will not spend but will cut…..look out health care and education. Stelmach says Alberta’s economy cannot sustain on $30. a barrel oil.
That bubble didn’t last long…..

#106 dekethegeek on 01.16.09 at 3:16 pm

#92 – Good One !
Either that or “The Be$t place on Earth”

#107 whiterock on 01.16.09 at 3:17 pm

Googled “onni” developments. Seems to be a lot of disatisfaction with their business practices and the quality of their projects. But they’re not unique here. I’m sure there is going to be a lot more grief for condo owners in the near future. Not only will many have negative equity but will have to deal with huge assessments for ‘wringing out’ their units prior to sale.

Oh, and by the way, northvancitizenrealestateexpert, why take 6 posts today when zero would suffice?

#108 Mathematically Challenged on 01.16.09 at 3:19 pm

“… $360,000 … down from $472,900″ is not a 40% reduction made.

No wonder we have this financial meltdown.

People in North America is really bad with math. You should invest in upgrading your arithmetics skillk, Garth.

#109 Bottoms_Up on 01.16.09 at 4:01 pm

I’m pretty sure Garth knows math. He just listed a 25% decrease instead of 40%.

#110 Bottoms_Up on 01.16.09 at 4:02 pm

Got the book today by mail (I’m in Ottawa). Thanks for the signature. Funny thing, the envelope corner was ripped open, as if the post office suspected drugs or something…

#111 Mike B formerly just Mike on 01.16.09 at 4:03 pm

THE WORD OF THE DAY … as our friends at Yahoo Finance in the not so good ole USA say “delaying the inevitable”
Although little attention has been paid to this by most people … today was another ear shattering day of bad news south of the border. One that will rock our system very shortly. Bank of America gets a bailout and Citi Group splits into various Jekyl Hyde personas .
Please watch this;_ylt=AmFRAiq2rcUX7mq3ZCvJvIK7YWsA?tickers=C,BAC,XLF,%5EGSPC,%5EDJI,SPY,INTC

#112 Kanata on 01.16.09 at 4:22 pm

I lived in richmond for 3 years and my backyard was just flooded each winter. Property prices never considered that fact that this island will flood in 30 years with the Climate Crises … These condo building are built in a SWAMP!

Man did I dodge a bullet due to Garth’s wise word in 2008 and left BC and now live on hard rock.

Thanks Garth!

Now I just need my wife to read your new book and agree to sell the home in Kanata before this market starts sinking.

#113 questioning on 01.16.09 at 4:25 pm

#99 Dawn in Calgary: when this house is about 150k, it is the time to consider buying. it is not called crash, it is called to go back to normal.

that is not a good area in Calgary at all…crazy pricing!

#114 The Tallyman on 01.16.09 at 4:39 pm

The story behind the story.

Looks like the developers & realtors are planning to slash and run before the herd starts to stampede.
Many of that ilk will sell off and land on their feet to scam another day.

Homeowners listen close….
Do you not hear their tip toeing toward the exits?

#115 Eduardo on 01.16.09 at 4:54 pm

To everyone who is knocking my comments, please reply with something other than “HAHA oil sands are dead”. The OPEC basket of countries can’t balance their national budgets without at least 53-58$ oil depening on who you ask and the oil sands are barely profitable at these levels.

That being said, I work in oil sands and I can assure you that they are alive and kicking. Anybody who thinks that development has completely stopped to a standstill obviously does not know. Another thing is that Calgary and Edmonton aren’t just oil sands, The University of Alberta is becoming a center for biotech and it has the most biotech startups in Canada. Keep in mind that Alberta is still very much a rural community as well. Beef and grains are still important here too.

While I can agree with some of you who posted facts, the majority just said things that people have known for a long time. Just a little tidbit of secret infor for all the people who don’t know better… psssst.. “cancelled” means it is being revamped and more work is being done… psssssst “delayed” means schedules were behind due to staffing and otherwise and are now being worked on at a more reasonable pace. Certainly, the oil price does not help anything but all you people who are like “ZOMFG… Calgary is too cOld and uGLy and YOURE A REDNECK, and WE R IN A RECESSION” don’t get much respect from me… squidly77 obviously the worst.

Commodity prices ARE NOT THE SAME as oil prices. One is a generalized term to describe raw goods. The other is a specialzied term used to describe a commodity necessary for transportation, heating, and creation of end products. While there is no way oil will return to 60$ it is clearly forming a base between 30-35$.

Thank you Bertie for posting facts. squidly77 if you are an Albertan, you should realize there is still a general labour shortage and if some of the people from other provinces came here, the ywould find work.

OttawaMike, I can respect your opinion although I respectfully disagree that this is the end of oil prices above 40$. 40$ is still profitable for E&P companies, just not oil sands. You are correct that I am under 40 although I see the repercussions of the 80s in the form that there is nobody between my age and people who are almost ready to retire. There is a 15-20 year gap because those people were laid off in the past and moved to other industries never to come back. The age demographics are another reason why I don’t feel that companies other than the juniors and contractors will feel the pinch and will in fact hire through this downturn.

TS, you call my world an oil cocoon I call your world (likely Ontario?) an old pillar of strength who is unwilling to change and one wrapped in perpetual ignorance of everything happening outside of Southern Ontario, and Quebec.

#116 Eduardo on 01.16.09 at 5:02 pm

I forgot to finish my oil argument but it is mostly centralized around decline rates and the cost of exploration and production increasing worldwide but you all simply need to refer to Matt Simmons and others for that tidbit. China, India, etc… I won’t go into it here…

The whole point of my original and this previous follow up post was to say that:

In relation to Ontario and (somewhat) Quebec, the west is better positioned going into this downturn to come out of it better. As a result house prices should not tumble below those in Toronto when the current status quo there is falling at a rapid pace and even after a drop from 147$ to 35$ today, Alberta is relatively ok. Going back to the Gross GDP per capita numbers, Alberta is much stronger, housing affordability is still high relative to traditional standards but the outlook for Alberta is extremely strong considering the Heritage Fund and assuming that the world isn’t going to shrink forever. This is not the view of any of the big oil companies and, as such, they will not lay off people like it is the end of the world. They will likely just trim the fat (contractors and levered juniors).

#117 Kettle...Pot Calling on 01.16.09 at 5:03 pm

“People in North America is really bad with math. You should invest in upgrading your arithmetics skillk, Garth.”

Perhaps you should master English before criticizing others. Two sentences…two errors.

#118 North Vancouver Citizen on 01.16.09 at 5:14 pm

#105 Whiterock

“”Oh, and by the way, northvancitizenrealestateexpert, why take 6 posts today when zero would suffice?””

…My darling Piranha Fish,

Obviously you read them all….you have much free time to do so….oh yes I see, you still live in White Rock…the municipality that wishes it was closer to Vancouver instead of Surrey.

#119 islander on 01.16.09 at 5:24 pm

TS, I admire Milton Friedman for a lot of things, but monetarism is going down in flames. He and Bernanke (another self-proclaimed student of the Depression) and the entire Chicago School have got it all wrong and we’re seeing so right now. You ought to read up on the Austrian School and find out where we’re really headed with all this government spending.

Nonplused, excellent post, but don’t expect people to buy in. Everybody wants something for nothing. That’s why we get the governments we do.

Derin, don’t feed Squiggly. He’s pathologically anti-market. He blames his mom for having him. He lives in Rundle, which for those who don’t know Calgary, is to Calgary what Surrey is to Greater Vancouver, Beverly is to Edmonton, Esquimalt is to Victoria, and a pimple is to my rear end. But he wants us to believe he’s a world traveller spreading peace, love and understanding.

#120 The Tallyman on 01.16.09 at 5:33 pm

This link is from Nov 25/08
True costs of Recession

I post it only to point out that when hardship hits your life, the social net might not be there.

In a worse case scenario after masses of unemployed people exhaust EI and are forced to seek social assistance a.k.a “welfare”
they might discover that “homeowners” are not eligible.

Each city/region have their own rules.
Personally I had to seek assistance in Calgary during the last bust in the 1990’s and with the sensitivity of an axe murderer was coldly told to “Sell my home”
Now I know why these govt workers sit smuggly behind their bullet proof glass cages!

I don’t know if Cowtown has developed a heart or soul but since then I have made my own emergency/survival plans should another down on my luck situation occur.

Another interesting thing unfolding is the new media hype about “networking” as being the ticket to salvation.
Yes people have to have hope…
but most unemployed in this depression will come out the other end of this gauntlet bruised.

“Networking” is going to be the most puke inducing and overused word for the next few years.

#121 Jessica on 01.16.09 at 5:45 pm

I just checked the popular craigslist board to see what price previous “fools” are asking for their Onni pre-sales units: 1Br at FLO (Richmond) for $299.8K

Onni is probably looking to sell off their unsold units before clients start dumping pre-sales units on the market for lower prices in the spring.

Also, regardless of how well or poorly the liquidation attempt fares, the development company will likely tell the public that “all units were cleared out in the first hour.” This will give people the false perception that the condo market is still hot and may fool some people into holding on to their pre-sales, or buy other units that Onni wasn’t able to previously sell, at higher prices. Pretty smart tactic.


#122 Mathematically Challenged on 01.16.09 at 5:55 pm

“Perhaps you should master English before criticizing others. Two sentences…two errors.”

Duh, so I am not a writer and English is my fourth language. Unlike other people, I read between the lines and verify the facts presented before making judgement call.

Unlike the sheeples who just follow the herd.

Kettle = good at arithmetics = bad English!
Pot = bad at arithmetics, good at … economics?

Oops! Bad at arithmetics = Financial collapse!

#123 AH on 01.16.09 at 6:04 pm

#94 squidly77 …

Well said Squidly77…
Go East or west Canadians are the best…I love this beautiful country…ups and downs are part of life…they bring out the real character in humans…we should stand together…

#124 eddy on 01.16.09 at 6:12 pm

i think it’s ok for crea to ask for an increase in rrsp withdrawals. i don’t think it will make any difference to the sales numbers, but it will provide flexibility for some people. i just can’t see the logic in putting a roadblock between people and their own money.

#125 kitchener1 on 01.16.09 at 6:15 pm

#102 Bertie

Wow, that was a long rant about all things wonderfull and Calgary. There is no east vs west divide, except everybody west of Ontario seems to be giddy that we are now a “have not” place to live.

Here are the two weather charts:

You can discount my real life experiences.
Why are so many workers in Alberta only there on a temp basis? Why don;t they relocate for good?
Its because the enviroment and cost of housing.

Why would someone live in Calgary if it costs more then Toronto/Van city or Montreal?

Why do so many snow birds go to Florida or BC in the winter months? nothing to do with the weather right….

Enviromental factors have a huge impact on people relocating to different regions to work. I know of two co-workers who used to live in Calgary, there always joking with us when we complain about it being cold here in Ontario.

#126 squidly77 on 01.16.09 at 6:15 pm

#117 i was wondering when you would come out from under your rock

Calgary Price Drops, Price Drops and More Price Drops
by the end of january calgary will have an approximate 16 month supply of inventory

#127 North Vancouver Citizen on 01.16.09 at 6:32 pm

How Savings stats will help the U.S.

“”To put it in context, a U.S. savings rate of minus 1 per cent meant roughly $2-million a minute was flowing out of U.S. consumer savings into other things, mostly consumption, like TVs and home renovations, and so on. Or, on an annual basis, that worked out to almost $1.3-trillion exiting the U.S. banking system for other places.

Turn that around, however, and things get very different, very quickly. At a 3-per-cent savings rate, the United States will see $3.8-trillion showing up next year in the banking system just from domestic savers. At 7 per cent, almost $9-trillion will come rushing in as part of the savings tsunami. It is a fire hose of money pointed at the banks, and it’s just beginning.””

#128 wjp on 01.16.09 at 6:43 pm

Got the book, great read…
Already taking some steps….

#129 CalgaryRocks on 01.16.09 at 7:08 pm

Why would someone live in Calgary if it costs more then Toronto/Van city or Montreal?

Because it doesn’t, but I will welcome your analysis if you decide to provide more than annecdotal evidence from your imaginary friends/co-workers.

In fact, higher salaries, lower taxes including property taxes, better houses for the money, mountains at your door, fresh air among other things, make Calgary a very competitive city.

Why don’t you take your salary add 10-20% (you would be making more here) and stick it into a tax prep program and figure out how much extra taxes you pay in Ontario. Add double property taxes, add the provincial sales tax.

Why are so many workers in Alberta only there on a temp basis? Why don;t they relocate for good?
Its because the enviroment and cost of housing.

Why don’t you look at a population growth chart for Alberta so that you can prove yourself wrong. Again.

#130 dd on 01.16.09 at 7:10 pm

#101 Nathan in Edmonton

“Personally I think we’ll see an Alberta exodus as more and more people are laid off and go back to where they came from. Alberta is an expensive place to be unemployed”.

You hit the nail on the head.

#131 dd on 01.16.09 at 7:15 pm

#113 Eduardo,

Low oil prices are only here for a short while. It might be tomorrow or 2 years. Short term. Long term all this reduction in capital expenditure will do is drive the price of energy even higher in the future.

Nothing fixes low oil prices like low oil prices.

#132 dd on 01.16.09 at 7:19 pm


What ever happend to Calgary Riff Off?

#133 Dependent on myself on 01.16.09 at 7:24 pm

Thanks #20 for tip. As a new person to world of finance, I’m beginning to see the picture,… but excuse me for my obvious ignorance, but I can’t seem to find any real gold anywhere. Any suggestions.
[email protected]

#134 squidly77 on 01.16.09 at 7:33 pm

#117 just to let you know
i travelled around canada plying my trade in a older model truck staying in cheap motels as i had a family to support

your loathing of blue collar workers will be your undoing when we dont work eventually you dont work
or in your case you wont be able to sell any real estate
just look at the mess the realtors are in down south
when employers read there resumes they trash them
and there fearless leader david liar has been banished from everyday society

#135 Bonnie N BC on 01.16.09 at 7:37 pm

Home is where your hat is…

I’m a bit confused as to why in this fusion of really difficult times there is I don’t care for you – posters declaring why they live in the best place ever and try to denigrate other parts of the country.

You know what sucks right now? It’s really crummy here with the fog. Do I love this place? – not so much today. People in Toronto today, aren’t too happy with a power failure and the darn freezing cold. Calgary? Jeepersm I remember January.

The point is the subject of the day – carnivore condo developers – not my place is best.

My home is where my hat is but my heart is where Canada goes.

#136 Eduardo on 01.16.09 at 8:08 pm

squidly re 124, Yeah a 15 month inventory of january sales or a 2 (3? 4?) month inventory of midsummer sales?

re 123… People would live in Calgary because the average person gets paid 15000 more a year than in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver (assuming the provincial stats are representative which I’m sure they aren’t). Not to mention 1 hour from the rockies.

We could argue the merits of the cities but the fact is that if salaries are higher, people can afford more expensive houses.

The other facts are work opportunities (employment rate of 70% and unemployment rate of 4%). I can honestly say that anecdotally, I don’t really know many people who have come here to work temporarily other than people from the Atlantic Provinces. But this has occured for years and years, it’s not a product of the “boom”. There is still a shortage of trades…

I have an idea… rather than complaining for a bailout, autoworkers should come work in Alberta where there are still opportunities? I’m sure some autoworkers have transferrable skills.

#137 dekethegeek on 01.16.09 at 8:16 pm

I think that line should go,
Unlike the sheeples that follow the “heard” ( herd was the correct context but Hey! If your speaking and writing badly in four languages you might as well go for the gusto. Gusto is a small south african fish that tastes WONDERFUL. Remember that “Gusto tastes better when fried in Yellow Snow! Yummy ! I’m hungry, arent you?) Gotta go eat now!
Bye bye French Fry

#138 Eduardo on 01.16.09 at 8:28 pm

Hey supersocco re 40

Go read the comments on that article. They all say the exact same thing as myself about how much of a hyperbole that journalism is. There’s even a comment saying “that correspondant must be writing from Toronto”.

Please, if you live in Ontario, you should not be telling me how doomed I am without knowing the current situation.

#139 Eduardo on 01.16.09 at 8:31 pm

re supersocco in 40… Go read the comments in that article. They all mention how it was written by someone in Ontario without a clue. They all call it hyperbole and laugh at the attention this loss of jobs is getting… UNEMPLOYMENT IS STILL only 4%. LESS THAN HALF OF ONTARIO THIS MONTH?

#140 Torquemada on 01.16.09 at 8:49 pm

“People would live in Calgary because….blah blah blah…Not to mention 1 hour from the rockies.”

I’ve lived in Calgary for the past two years and I think it’s a great city. That said, I always chuckle when people cite the Rockies as a reason why Calgary is great.

Let me get this straight. If the city is so great, then why does everyone leave it to go to the Rockies every chance they get?

#141 TheFirstRick on 01.16.09 at 8:49 pm

#76 North Vancouver Citizen on 01.16.09 at 11:23 am
Did I ever mention Vancouver will be the next Financial/Trade and Leisure capital of North America?
Yes, comparible to cronic pain………after a while it becomes manageable.

#142 Gord In Vancouver on 01.16.09 at 8:53 pm

#91 North Vancouver Citizen

”EI is expired. And employment in my area doesn’t look too good. Anyone got any ideas.””

…humming jeopardy’s theme….dah dah dah, dee dee dee, dah dah dah, dup, dee dee dee dee dee etc etc

…become a cross dresser and change your name to Rachael…people always need nannies

Hey “real estate expert”.

We all go through tough times. I’ll be the first to laugh when you lose your job, home, or wife.

March 7, 2009 (Onni’s fire sale) could be your 9/11.

#143 Torquemada on 01.16.09 at 8:53 pm

“I have an idea… rather than complaining for a bailout, autoworkers should come work in Alberta where there are still opportunities? I’m sure some autoworkers have transferrable skills.”

Unfortunately, I imagine that many of these workers own homes that are now incredibly difficult to sell. The CREA won’t tell you this but this is another reason why home ownership isn’t a good idea for everyone. Home ownership impedes labour mobility which of course, impedes recovery from a recession.

#144 Susan on 01.16.09 at 9:19 pm

Anyone know any realtors in Vancouver who have taken off their rose-colored glasses and are ready to help me be a vulture? I’m about to fire my second realtor. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

#145 Jake on 01.16.09 at 9:49 pm

#69 Mike (Authentic) said, speaking of Calgary,

“To the east you have the most beautiful mountain scenery in all Canada, lakes, hiking, skiing in winter, fishing and awesome roads. To the South you have foothills, rolling over the ranches. To the North you have dark, rich, black soil farms, little towns and great camping spots. To the West you have the praries, jaw dropping landscapes that follow the curve of the earth under always sunny clear skies and yellow Canola, brown hay and green pastures that go on forever”

Your comments on Calgary were spot on…however, you need to get your East and West figured out. An easy way to remember it is Never Eat Soggy Wieners. Point north to edmonton and then move in a clockwise direction.

#146 kitchener1 on 01.16.09 at 10:11 pm

#127 Calgary Rocks

Why would someone live in Calgary if it costs more then Toronto/Van city or Montreal?

Because it doesn’t,

Are you sure?


“The average price of a single family Calgary metro home in November 2008 was $435,471


“In the last quarter of 2007 19,874 properties were sold in the Greater Toronto Area, at an average price of $394,382”

Sorry, Calgary is more expensive then Toronto and Montreal but cheaper then Vancouver(by approx 100K).

As for the net migration charts, can’t find any domestic migration charts, however, Ontario population as well as Alberta have both seen growth.

Keep up that high and mighty attitude, if oil stays below $50 for the next 6-8 months your going to need that “positive” mind set.

Nothing wrong with being a one trick pony, just don;t try to sell your self as an award winning show horse. It was the oil boom the fueled Calgary’s rise and it will be the oil bust that takes it down as well.

Same is true for the GTA in regards to manufacturing, the loss of the auto sector jobs will greatly hurt the GTA.

“make Calgary a very competitive city” compared to what? Minneapolis……

For the record, I don;t have anything against Calgary or Alberta or any other Canadian city. I do not think that Toronto is the center of the earth. The best place to live is were ever you call home.

#147 Check 2nd graph -it is SCARRRYYY Mother! HELP! on 01.16.09 at 10:12 pm

Price-To-Sales ratio between January 2005 to December 2008 for the Greater Toronto Area

Check 2nd graph (the 3D one)

#148 Sail1 on 01.16.09 at 10:37 pm

Garth, Xurbia Franchise opportunities , are definitely a reality in Toronto. If the buy in is reasonable count me in. By the way I’m still waiting for a deal on the Air-X Land Wind Turbine.

#149 Richmond Rich Renter on 01.16.09 at 10:39 pm

Susan (142)

check out Paul B. Also read his blog and stat’s page. He’s as good as they get.

#150 CalgaryRocks on 01.16.09 at 10:50 pm

“The average price of a single family Calgary metro home in November 2008 was $435,471

Wow 35K. yikes! That doesn’t count mayor Miller’s new tax does it?

On MLS I do see lots of houses in Calgary in the 200s & 300s in well established neighborhoods, meaning large lots, lots of trees and greenery and close to downton, schools and everything else.

Also for the record I don’t have anything against Ontario but unlike you I know what I am talking about because I have lived in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta and further I could live pretty much where I wanted and I choose to live here. If I do move out east, it will only be so I can be close to my aging parents not because I am ‘cold’ in Alberta and it will only be temporary.

#151 EW on VI on 01.16.09 at 11:50 pm

145 2nd graph – price to sales ratio
If this is average price of SOLD homes the graph itself proves very little because it is a ratio. If prices are low, and sales are low (dead market) you can get the same ratio as high prices divided by high sales (hot market – even bubble).
What is more important is just the number of sales. If you have the same number of sales each month, but the market absorbs any price increases, the market can be healthy and quite sustainable, even though the graph would show an increase. The spike you see may just indicate that that fewer but more expensive homes sold.

Just remember all those “experts” are trying to prove their own points, and see what they want in the numbers.

#152 prairie gal on 01.16.09 at 11:56 pm

Eduardo: I think the point that you are missing is that Alberta isn’t going to magically remain a productive economy in an unproductive world, particularly given the situation in the USA as they take the majority of the product. Here in Saskatchewan we are facing the exact same fate. It just hasn’t reached us yet. Tsunamis appear to move slow from a distance, but once swept past, you’ll see the destruction all around you and say, “I never saw it coming – it all happened so fast!!”.

Yes, Alberta does have a very strong economy and thus some absorptive capacity. However, like the middle east countries, it is very heavily reliant on energy, the demand for which has the very likely potential to drop much further as the economy continues to slow. Yes, there is grain here, but remember US farmers like to protect their own. Don’t even get me started about beef producers. The signs don’t look good. I know its hard to accept, but there will be definite consequences for a large portion of the population over the next couple of years. Quite simply, demand for our resources is likely to wane for some time to come, regardless of Obama’s ambitious spending plans.

Its time to go beyond the denial stage and into the anger stage. The stage where we can start thinking about how to prevent this from happening again and getting off this oil-dependent rollercoaster of greed and fear. Its not healthy.

I’m actually quite optimistic about the future because I didn’t invest in a lot of “stuff” to begin with. I think that in the future people will look back at this moment in history and laugh at what silly, self-indulgent barbarians we were. So hell-bent on over-consumption and decadence, all advertised to us repeatedly 24/7: buy a house! buy a car! get a hot tub! Everyone just herded along dutifully, credit cards in hand, spending like there was no tomorrow because their house will pay for it(?!?!)

At the end of the day, none of that crap makes anyone genuinely happy, no matter what HGTV tells you. When will everyone wake up to that?

#153 CZ on 01.17.09 at 1:04 am


In relation to Ontario and (somewhat) Quebec, the west is better positioned going into this downturn to come out of it better.

I would assume that the “west” does not include BC/Vancouver at least, which has highest living cost in Canada, with lower income standard and less supporting industry as a whole. The only booming business was residential construction, but already being hit hard and seems this situation will last for a very very long downhill ride.

#154 Bertie on 01.17.09 at 4:01 am

#123 kitchener1

From what you stated, now I know that you have no clue about Calgary. Two couples we know very dearly, both from Ontario, lived in Calgary about a decade each, moved back to Ontario for ten and five years respectively, both moved back to Calgary within the past few years. This, is the life they love, and the place they chose. Your argument falls flat on it’s face.

And I question your worldliness in this instance: If you think “Snowbirds” are strictly a Calgary phenomenon, I shake my head at how small your world must be. Obviously you are not qualified to say a word about Calgary, or any other place for that matter. Your beef with Calgary is caricature and hysteria.

#155 Bertie on 01.17.09 at 4:13 am

#138 Torquemada wrote: “Let me get this straight. If the city is so great, then why does everyone leave it to go to the Rockies every chance they get?”

Torquemada, I’ll just turn it around on you… If Toronto is so great, why does everyone have a cottage in the Muskokas?

The oversimplifications about cities I’ve read today are childish. Why is everybody geography-bashing?

If you actually want an answer to your question, I’ll answer it: Personally, I don’t go to the mountains, except every few years because they are an amazing geological wonder. Try them sometime.

From my years of travel back and forth across Canada, I can tell you that people who bash places they’ve never lived, are just displaying their ignorance and fear.

#156 Future Expatriate on 01.17.09 at 5:46 am

Susan… it’s WAY to early to be a vulture… wait 6 months, a year if you can, and trust me, it will be a LOT MORE FUN.

#157 Ron on 01.17.09 at 7:26 am

Some places are warm, some are cold.
Some places are dry others are wet.
Some places feature scenic views, mountains, prairies, lakes, rivers, wildlife, natural resources, exciting night spots and wild wild women.
All of these places are lovely and wonderful to behold,
It’s just the egos that suck.

#158 Kettle...Pot Calling on 01.17.09 at 8:36 am

“Unlike the sheeples who just follow the herd.”

1) A group of sheep is a flock, not a herd.
2) You are the 4,000th person I have heard use that phrase. So, actually, you are just following the herd. Let me guess – you have a tattoo of barbed wire around your arm because that makes you different, right?

Besides – Garth was quoting others on your little math problem. He didn’t make the numbers up. And it has already been discussed (at length) that it is not clear what the 40% drop is relative to.

#159 Jelly on 01.17.09 at 11:20 am

Calgary Rip Off is now Real Estate Expert

#160 Jelly on 01.17.09 at 11:30 am


I appreciate that for whatever reasons you really like Calgary. However, trying to justify your thoughts using ONE couple as an example does not prove anything.
I have lived in Calgary as a teen, and then with my family, there is not a lot to do, really. I have lived here almost 20 years. I will admit it is nice there is not much rain and a lot of sunny days but really, I have lived all over the world and it is NOT a special place. It really isn’t. Totally over rated, not trying to get all hung up on geographical argument but you can hike and go to parks in many, many cities.
The night life is so boring compared to Europe and pretty much ANY big city, The people tend to be more shallow and not as interesting, intelligent, and funny as Europeans. Sorry, I know I am generalizing but I have met a lot of people in many different places, an observation you can dispute if you wish, I know what is true…

#161 kitchener1 on 01.17.09 at 12:14 pm

#152 Bertie
Because you know two people who moved to Calgary from Toronto that makes Calgary better then Toronto?
Wow, now that is a simple mindset.

Point about snowbirds was that people migrate to places that are warm. From a numbers standpoint there are probely more snowbirds from Ontario then Alberta because Ontario’s populations is larger.

Very few people in the GTA have cottages in the Muskokas, relative to our population.

#162 TheFirstRick on 01.17.09 at 4:03 pm

Let’s save the “west vs east” diatribe for some of the more useless blogs to be found online.

We should all be glad we live in a country without civil war, armed conflict between regions, terrorism and the fear of living with same.

#163 Eduardo on 01.17.09 at 4:40 pm

Prairie gal. I agree with you, but energy demand has already taken a massive hit and I don’t believe it has a whole hell of a lot further to go considering the capital spending cuts and the decline rates of major fields.

#164 Barry on 01.17.09 at 9:06 pm

Garth, have always enjoyed your thinking. My wife and I just closed on the sale of our Ottawa house and bought one two-thirds the price, using 50% cash and 50% RRSP mortgage, that I first read about in a piece you wrote years ago; my bank thought it was great idea but had to do a lot of research to create it and admitted its not something they promote for obvious reasons; the old house had a Generac automatic generator that came on once for 15 minutes in 5 years and I probably won’t invest in another. Do have a generator at our country place, along with solar for most hydro needs and can heat the country place by wood alone. I don’t seriously think these alternatives will ever be needed but I share your concept of insuring against the unknown. We have most of our financial assets, other than debt free real estate, in guaranteed certificates, spread amongst several dozen accounts/providers. In your opinion are the GICs always safe and what is your recomendation for having hard cash on hand? How much and what currency? I am thinking that I should venture into the stock market, dividend stocks, and wondered what you think re. timing of same?

Thanks for your great efforts and insights!

#165 Bertie on 01.18.09 at 4:55 pm

#158 Jelly #159

kitchener1 and jelly you seem to dish it out, but to what value and goal? And try to hear what people are saying, and not twist their words.

I defended Calgary from YOUR type of narrow-minded attacks. I point out that Calgary is equal to all other cities, and you reply back with some smug minimization of what I said. Shame on you.

First of all you just ignorantly dumped on Calgarians. Yet there is constant international compliments of Calgarians from people all over the world who come here again and again, including dozens of visitors we personally greet over and over again. Perhaps you missed the Olympics. My friends in the travel industry also travel extensively so we have many ears out there who know.

I can’t help it if you need some sort of stimulus to make your life interesting.

You complain about night life? It’s certainly there. Besides, I sounds like you just haven’t discovered people get invited to each other’s houses where we have wonderful social engagement and intelligent conversation, not to mention a LOT of fun, friends and acquaintances from all walks of life, plumbers to doctors, electricians to accountants, bankers, artists, government, dental, store clerks, underwriters, free lance, oil and gas. We bike, walk, lunch, swim, yoga, dance, hike, fondue, celebrate, theatre, movies, concerts, pot luck, travel, shop, museum, book club, raft down the Bow, recycle, zoo, help neighbours, volunteer.

If there’s something missing in your life, you’re just not looking, and you only have yourself to blame. Try volunteering.

And I did not limit my example to two couples, I only mentioned two. There’s dozens and dozens of examples over the years. I lost track long ago of all the people I have come to know in this wonderful place, who dearly love Calgary and have made it home, because it has so much to offer. Get off your duff and get out and enjoy life, instead of bashing someone else’s place they love. Your simplistic, narrow thoughts add nothing at all to the conversation about this great country.

#166 Jeff Smith on 01.19.09 at 7:56 pm

anyone saw this story over at ??

Forclosure hits even well to do people, not just Sub-prime. Who can be safe?