Vexed in Van


The crowd awaits my heretical presentation. (Jim Genac photo)

After my speech in Vancouver Thursday night a throng of people crowded around, most trying to convince me that my estimate of a further (at least) 30% dive in the local housing market was extreme.

I heard all the arguments. Again. Mountains and sea and no more land. Rich Chinese immigrants hoovering everything. The Olympics. It’s different here. Blah, blah, blah.

So I explained once more there is no alternative but decline, and those who fight it may well be swept away. Thirty per cent, I repeated, at a minimum by the time this is over.

Standing a few yards away talking to my wife was a willowy guy who then came to shake my hand and stuff a business card into my palm. “This gentleman is from Michigan,” my wife said. He looked at the hundreds of people filing out of the room and said, “Good job. But you’re far too optimistic. I will be in touch.”

In the car back to the hotel Dorothy said he’d identified himself as a real estate developer from a city not too far from Detroit, visiting Vancouver with his Canadian wife. Back home, he’d told her, the unemployment rate is running at 46%, and consumer spending has pretty much all dried up. Massive amounts of middle-class mortgages are coming up for resetting in 2009, and already his community has been eviscerated by foreclosures. Stores closed. Car dealerships shuttered. Hope gone. Crisis. All a few hours’ drive from Toronto.

Canadians, he said, have no idea of what lies in store. And no government now has the power to stop it.

Well, take a look at the jobless numbers on Friday morning. Another 129,000 jobs erased in Canada. So bad, so devastating, that the finance minister had to take a scrum in Ottawa and say in advance how “regrettable” they were. And this, shockingly, was twice as bad as in the US, where 590,000 jobs vanished – a country with ten times our population. At the same time – just days after the last federal budget – Jim Flaherty is already talking about a new package of emergency actions.

I’ve said here before that we have three crises. Financial. Real estate. Economic. The third is the most devastating, since massive job loss will guarantee a hurricane sweeps through stores, small business and the lives of millions of families in 2009. The severity of the situation can be seen in the extreme actions of governments – panic spending, interest rate sacrifice and rash bailouts. Our political masters know we’re at the tipping point, know what failure means, and know it can only be called “regrettable” rather than the prelude to depression this might be.

Of course, we will come out of it. And in every crisis there is opportunity. In my talks I try to stress that, while pounding reality into the minds of those who want none of it. We cannot lose hope, nor can we afford not to prepare. This year will be the worst in the memory of almost all Canadians.

In downtown Vancouver, in the warm rain, many people left wondering how they’d cope with their homes losing a third of their value. One man left wondering how they could be so naive.


#1 RD on 02.06.09 at 2:39 am

Hi Garth,

I went to your Vancouver presentation, and really enjoyed it. I think you
represented the current situation exactly right, in talking about what’s
happened and how people should deal with it. You didn’t soft-pedal
anything, but didn’t come across as an unthinking permabear. I actually
found it kind of optimistic.

The one thing that bugged me was that I thought about a third of the way
through the presentation, you had a graph of the Nasdaq, and a graph of a
homebuilder index, and claimed that the homebuilder index was a real estate
graph. If that’s truly what it was, then you probably know it’s inaccurate.
It’s like saying an index of pharamaceutical companies shows how drug prices
have increased. If the Case-Schiller index doesn’t convey the point well
enough, then Schiller’s New York Times graph would work.

Anyway, I was incredibly impressed with the presentation overall. If your
political career is truly over, it will be a tragedy for Canada. I think
it’s hard finding people who are great communicators, good analysts, and
willing to take the risk of stepping away from the herd.

#2 islander on 02.06.09 at 2:58 am

Re the nonsensical cliche “they’re not making more land.”

Think of owning property as more a collection of rights and less a collection of dirt.

That’s why you can hold title to a condo on the 45th floor that is nothing more than enclosed air, with some fancy fixtures thrown in.

When you think about “land” this way, it’s pretty much unlimited. If municipalities allowed developers to build up (within the limits of engineering, of course) how could you run out of “land” (i.e., property).

The problem isn’t lack of dirt, it’s lack of political will to densify our cities.

The real culprits behind “lack of land” are the NIMBYs next door and the spineless politicians who fold in the face of their regressive protests. That goes for municipal hacks who won’t zone for higher density and provincial parasites who create inanities such as Green Belts or Agricultural Land Reserves.

#3 Mike (authentic) on 02.06.09 at 3:16 am

Garth Said: “Standing a few yards away talking to my wife was a willowy guy who then came to shake my hand and stuff a business card into my palm. “This gentleman is from Michigan,” my wife said.

willowy guy said, “Good job. But you’re far too optimistic. I will be in touch….”

(later that evening)

willowy guy: “Garth, I am from your future, the year 2025!! And I have news for you!”

(que music: doom, doom, doom)

I think this would have been a much more interesting ending. :D


Uncle Garth, I have another quarter to put in the video game? “Real Estate Bubble Trouble” is hard to play right; those lazer shooting Realtor Bots on 1st level are hard to beat, then you have Bail Out Bonus Stage which is great as you have to grab lots of cash, then 2nd level I always die with those “Debt Invaders from Planet Earth” who shoot worthless fiat currency at you from every direction, it’s no fair!


#4 David on 02.06.09 at 3:18 am

Real estate is now officially going down the toilet like so much unwanted effluvia in the major cities in Canada. Private pensions plans in Canada lost an average of 21% of market value in the last 12 months.Those are serious numbers. It is beginning to look like those nest eggs have all been crushed.
I looked at some “official” sales statistics published by the local real estate board (who seem to be in a perennially optimistic mode) and local home sales volume equaled about 20% of the total local licensed agents. With home prices declining hourly, it looks like more months of Giant Tiger Maple Flavored Beans on Toast for realtors.
A 30% dive is, if anything, modest and conservative.

#5 Mike (authentic) on 02.06.09 at 3:46 am

When you do you sell? When you do get out?

I was thinking about that myself for those still in the “game” (I’m 100% out, sold everything, don’t even have a car anymore). The problem is everything is happening so fast for the common person who isn’t following the financial news or on a blog like this. Even gov’ts can’t keep up. So the common man isn’t absorbing how fast it’s going down hill, yet.

No one wants to realise a loss, let alone a big loss. But it’s a hump those in the “game” have to get over because it’s a reality today. So we know nothing is getting better, things are skidding towards worse. A $100-150k drop in average price is in the future; you need to act and sell now for less as in the end you could truely be the winner.

One of the big issues is not only how quickly things have happend, but also how bad things have got (and are going to get). People hang on too long in hopes that “it will be better tomorrow for $, or X) and while that’s great thinking, you can’t change the world alone. This is what happend historically in the Great Depression with stocks. The market dropped big, people held on (smart ones sold), then it bounced a few times (up, YAY, down Oh no), each time it bounced up, it lost just a little more on the down swing.

Remember history to learn the future.


#6 Murray on 02.06.09 at 6:29 am

Depressed People: Michigan has been in decline since the early 1960’s. I remember driving through Detroit in 1967 and thinking it look like London after the WWII bombings. The condition of Michigan may not be a prelude to all of British Columbia. How about just Oshawa and Windsor? Garth Fan.

#7 Da HK Kid on 02.06.09 at 7:10 am

Did the guy from Detroit get a soap box out as Detroit is in fact on the avg. back to 1991 levels. Well Detroit is the extreme look at the 50%+ still likely 15% more to go in Miami, Vegas and most of CA.

If someone missed the Case Shiller Graph from my previous post it is very clear that based on the 10 city and 20 city avg. values are greater than 40% down with no end in site.

As typical Canadians we forget that WE ARE part of the global landscape and if our US neighbors are sinking we have no escape from getting swallowed up in the suction. If you listen closely you might hear it and act before it’s too late.

Can someone explain how Canada can have 70% of all GDP related to exports to one nation. Forget 40% of that is oil which demand destruction is right in front of us to see but what about all other exports that have dried up.

We are simply in for a world of hurt. Squirrel Jerky anyone?

#8 Bruce Stewart on 02.06.09 at 7:23 am

Garth, you are spreading a very unpopular, but much needed message. (I was in Ottawa last night rather than home in Vancouver and so couldn’t attend.)

So many people I know across this country, the US and the UK believe that somehow the housing market can be reinflated. I do not believe that. I switched to renting (too soon, but that’s better than being in an unsalable position, something I saw during two years in Connecticut after its 1988 bubble burst and left the debris) to ride this out and am so happy not to worry about being underwater. (Not to mention that, as a renter, I got more house, much closer to where I needed to be, for less than my suburban mortgage in 2004. All I had to do was to stop the “you have to own” taped message in its tracks.)

So keep at it, eh?

#9 Bill-Muskoka (N.A.M.) on 02.06.09 at 7:56 am


Do not feel alone. While you are out on our West Coast trying to bring a reality message , the usual suspects are back here trying promote the same old tripe.

First we find that the Quebec Separatists are pissed at French President Sarkozy for giving them a reality check.

Sovereignists accuse Sarkozy of `contempt’

Now it appears his sovereignist siblings think he has all but committed fratricide.

Sarkozy’s remarks in Paris earlier this week, in which he seemed to accuse the sovereignist movement of “sectarianism,” are the final straw for its leaders.

And good old Preston Manning is out there with his very own Brainiac Wonderland Manning Networking Conference & Exhibition 2009

BTW, nice to know the CEO of Reader’s Digest Canada is a die hard conswervative. Another publication I can ignore. Oh, and I must write the Privacy Commissioner regarding their scoffing our address and info for their BS ‘You are already a winner’ scam.

So, the opposing forces of schmooz and truth battle on. Have a good weekend. It is forecast to be +9C and rain here. Gee, sounds like Vancouver to moi? LOL

#10 dawson on 02.06.09 at 7:56 am

at th end of the day I think this is more important than all the real estate prices:

and it just started….

#11 Calgary37 on 02.06.09 at 8:05 am

Something to read in your spare time:

Why You Should Embrace a Depression and 3-day work weeks:
The Wednesday edition at:

Another item of interest that might help to prepare you for the coming Revolution is:
The Five Stages of Collapse by Dmitry Orlov

Sprott says U.S. at start of depression that will boost gold

While many at the 2009 Davos meeting were discussing Global Governance,
here is what Vladimir Putin had to say:

and here is what some Russian citizens had to say:

Here is the latest addition to the Al Gore Chronicles:

Here is another reason why Canada should leave Afghanistan ASAP:

Power to the People. Let the Revolution Begin.

#12 POL-CAN on 02.06.09 at 8:16 am

Well we have a first in Toronto….
At least the first one I have noticed…

Fully detached house in the east end for sale for $ 1.00

MLS # E1553514

#13 Bill-Muskoka (N.A.M.) on 02.06.09 at 8:19 am

Oh, and I should have included the other MAJOR reality check coming Obama wants Canadian trip to be businesslike

President Barack Obama’s Feb. 19 visit to Canada will be an all-business affair that’s short on pomp and circumstance because of the economic crisis gripping his country, sources involved in organizing the trip have told The Canadian Press.

Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean will greet Obama at the Ottawa airport and then he’ll head to Parliament Hill for discussions with Harper.

He’ll meet with embassy officials and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, in his capacity as head of the opposition, at the airport. He’ll leave Ottawa at 4 p.m. after arriving at 10 a.m.

He will, however, hold a news conference on Parliament Hill.

Now that is real leadership according to the G.E.D. principle ‘Git ‘er DONE!’

Meanwhile, things are the same old same old in the House of Clowns.

BTW, if you want a fantastic meal try the Kobe Steak House there in Van.

#14 Mike (authentic) on 02.06.09 at 8:20 am

Breaking news:

US Job losses —

604,000 jobs lost in January 2009. Unemployment now much higher at 7.6%

577,000 jobs lost in December 2008 revised +50k

Worst January job loss since Dec 1974.

1,200+ people show up in Miami, FL to apply for 35 jobs at a Thrift Store.


#15 Bill-Muskoka (N.A.M.) on 02.06.09 at 8:25 am

#10 dawson on 02.06.09 at 7:56 am

Exactly. we can, again, see the usual suspects who live by a set of ethics that is based on the short term.

RIM chiefs hit with $77M charge

A successful Canadian product that even President Obama loves, but the head honchos never settle for earned success, and now they have jepordized their company’s future.

Geez, why do these guys all look like they were cloned from each other? Have the aliens truly taken over? Call the MiB!

#16 Gord In Vancouver on 02.06.09 at 9:06 am

After my speech in Vancouver Thursday night a throng of people crowded around, most trying to convince me that my estimate of a further (at least) 30% dive in the local housing market was extreme.

I heard all the arguments. Again. Mountains and sea and no more land. Rich Chinese immigrants hoovering everything. The Olympics. It’s different here. Blah, blah, blah.

You got just a sample of it.

I hear what you heard on a regular basis even though these Kool aid drinkers fully acknowledge that we’re in a recession.

It’s come to a point where Vancouverites who bought real estate before 2005 are starting to get very nervous. Those who bought between 2006 and early 2008 have started to throw in the towel.

If you’re a potential real estate buyer in this area of Canada, you can’t win. You missed the boat if you didn’t buy during the bubble and you’re a moron who can’t identify rock bottom prices if you don’t jump in now.

#17 North Vancouver Citizen on 02.06.09 at 9:17 am

Positive Long Term Factoids this a.m.

…U.S. savings rate reversed from 0% to over 3%

…Mortgage renewal rates have never been lower.

…Nationalizing the banks in the U.S. is a positive.

It takes them away from incompetent and crooked bankers. Nationalizing the banks protects Joe average six-pack Mutual Funds which have major/huge investments in the Banks Common and Preferred Shares.

#18 paulb on 02.06.09 at 9:22 am

Great presentation last night! I had a really good time.

I brought a friend that had heard all this stuff though me in pieces. It was great to see everything laid out in such a well organised and succinct manner. Your convincing view really clicked with him.

You definitely did not hold back which must have sent shivers down the spines of the audience.

Thanks for a great night.


#19 dd on 02.06.09 at 9:27 am

“The severity of the situation can be seen in the extreme actions of governments”

I have never seen government act so fast and so collectively. Lookout they already know what could happen.

#20 smwhite on 02.06.09 at 9:58 am

#13 Mike (authentic)

And we haven’t even gotten the final numbers for the 4th quarter…

I hope those in the market have enjoyed the small bit of stability we’ve had, because the spring and summer is going to wipe out a lot more wealth.


#2 islander

Being in Canada I never paid much attention to the lack of land issue, even in a place like Vancouver its still a weak argument, but when you fact in what you said, its undeniable hot air being blown up the wazoo of the public. Great post.


What is really ironic about this all, people have been screaming that things are off kilter and that the economy can not sustain itself in such a manor. When people like Roubini, Shiller, Schiff, Celente and our Canada’s newest “fear monger” Garth, get dismissed by the media, special interest such as RE or government as inciting fear, yet, we have an industry telling people for the past decade spewing just that, FEAR!

– If you don’t get in now you’ll never be able to afford one.

– Quick buy now, we’re running out of land here in Canada, or in this municipality, etc.

MSM and RE over the past decade have been the #1 fear monger.

#21 MikeB on 02.06.09 at 9:59 am

If people are looking for some sobering news about the stimulus packages and the future of the global economy please watch this video of Peter Schiff. References to the 30’s and comparison between Obama and Roosevelt and Bush and Hoover. This makes Garth’s views look tame indeed.,%5Egspc,QQQQ,SPY,DIA,TLT,UDN

#22 Waiting for it on 02.06.09 at 10:01 am


Actually I’ve seen that a few times on MLS, over the last few years…
I don’t know if its a typo or the listing agent just puts it that low so it shows up in most searches (as most people search with a “maximum”, rather than a “minimum to unlimited”.

#23 Sam on 02.06.09 at 10:08 am

I am a realtor and I truly believe that you are underestimating the price decline in real estate across the country. The actual decline in value will be 50% up to as much as 70% in some parts of Canada, from the 2007 prices.

This adjustment is because the banks will demand that Buyers purchase what they can afford based on their incomes. The average incomes are slipping downward, given the present recession, and this situation will get worse almost a depression. Credit will remain tight no matter what stimulus is applied.

The prices that homes will be bought at in the future will be (3) three times people gross incomes. To get to this level most homes have to drop a minimum of 50%

#24 Marie on 02.06.09 at 10:20 am

Hello Garth,

In a better world, you would be recognized at large for doing a great public service.

From a broader perspective, what is happening is the Swann Song of the belief by economists in unlimited growth in a world which has physical and biological limits. Another element of the crisis mentioned by another poster is Peak Oil. Its widely accepted by professional geologist circle. When and if we recover, the shape of things will be very different than business as usual. Resources will have to be channeled toward producing what people need, not what people want. It will not be gizmos and food, but food or gizmos. To maintain a relative level of material comfort and security, we will need a debate about resources allocation, population growth and rethink our policy about immigration and family seize. It will be a choice in between less for more, or more for less. People will have to get accointed with the concepts of carrying capacity and ecological footprint. The iceberg was in sight for a long time now, guys like James Howard Kunstler are only the last wave of a bunch of people who tried to warn the general public about it. It is my impression that power elites, who benefit from the statu quo, are blocking any kind of indepth debate about the real causes behind the crisis we are experiencing. This, so far, has effectively prevented the boat to stir in the right direction.

The great difference between the Great Depression and the one looming ahead of us is that while money was not circulating, there was still a vast pool of natural resources to tap in, oil, mineral, land and the people with the skills to make it happens. Today a lot of our natural capital has been wasted unwisely and the proportion of people in agriculture and trade has shrinked. Big cities like Toronto have expanded by subdividing and paving the surrounding farmland. How this will factor in the recovery, who knows? It does not look very good.

There is still lots of opportunities if we focus on decentralization of production and services, regional and local self-sufficiency. The book “Small is beautiful” but the economist E.F. Schumacher is still one of the most relevant.

Five years ago, people thought we were insane to sell our California property (my hubby is a Yankee). The California bubble peak was reached in 2005 and we sold in 2003.

#25 MikeB on 02.06.09 at 10:22 am

If you think the Schiff videos are disturbing have a look at this clip of people lining up for 35 firefighter jobs in Florida. Can you say depression

#26 smwhite on 02.06.09 at 10:34 am

#7 Da HK Kid

Typical Canadian and the honorable PM and Finance Minister…

Once again, its simple math that apparently has been overlooked because of greed.

The “typical Canadian” and the PM and Finance Minister were believing what they wanted to believe and not focusing on facts.

Facts, smacks, facts are only used to promote the truth and other annoyances that get in the way of sucking more people into a tax system that is getting raped by our prominent and ingenious government leaders….


Looks like my neighbor finally sold his house after 5+ months sitting empty, not bad, 5 months of mortgages for a loss of $10K on top of a price reduction in the vicinity of 10% – 15%.

$40K less then a year ago, and this for a city(Ottawa) that is unaffected by recession…

To give you an idea, in the MLXchange a year and a half ago a similar semi next door sold in under 2 weeks for full asking.

#27 Jim on 02.06.09 at 10:44 am

I really think your estimate of a 30 percent decline for Vancouver is modest. There are more head offices in Calgary than Vancouver. The city with the most head offices house prices are about half as much as Vancouver. Sure we have mild weather, but for grey skies, ugly architecture-characterless buildings sprawling up everywhere, awful traffic, and the worst transit system of any major Canadian city, I can’t see how these prices could hold up. The only things that are sustaining this no-fun city are condos and coffee shops. Even after a 30 percent decline, it is still much cheaper to rent.


#28 Ultraman on 02.06.09 at 11:10 am

Thanks Islander for debunking the stupid “we’re running out of land” argument. Yes, a lot of people are challenged by the concept of a third dimension.

They ran out of land in Manhattan 100 years ago, it sure doesn’t stop them from building more homes.

#29 North Vancouver Citizen on 02.06.09 at 11:15 am

Officially a U.S. Depression not a Recession

…The Pull-Forward is why the U.S. is in trouble in the first place…ergo: “More of the same” will not and cannot work.

A structural change must take place.

Let’s hope our policymakers can be persuaded to adopt a creative solution such as The Fair Tax rather than a destructive one such as armed conflict. All the platitudes and BS games out of DC (and statehouses) will not work, and the longer we churn around with them the more damage we as Americans (and indeed, as citizens of the world) will suffer under.

One simple (but not politically popular with the lobbyists!) way to do this would be to pass The Fair Tax. Such a tectonic shift in Washington DC’s finances would immediately tie the government’s funding to GDP, eliminate the game-playing in the tax code and make The United States the tax haven of the world, bringing in millions of jobs from other nations as multinational corporations rush from places like Bermuda to the United States.

It is precisely that sort of “structural reset” that is required to get an economy out of Depression. We took “the long way” to the goal last time around in the 1930s, and unfortunately the “structural reset” took the form of World War II, which shifted production to war goods for an extended period and, when they shifted back to civilian output “the old way” was forever gone.

…..the correct approach is always to take the pain fast and hard…..

To “structurally reset” our economy something different has to happen. The government can’t spend its way out, and it definitely can’t borrow its way out, because doing either simply tries to replace private sector demand with public sector demand. This sounds good until you realize that public sector demand comes from the private sector – that is, the government spends tax dollars (whether today’s or tomorrow’s), and therefore it can only contract the private sector or do yet more “pulling forward”!

Yet the pull-forward is why you’re in trouble in the first place; ergo “more of the same” will not and cannot work


#30 MikeB on 02.06.09 at 11:17 am

Sorry the correct link for Schiff on Yahoo Finance is

#31 WestCoast Girl on 02.06.09 at 11:31 am

PBS Documentarty: The Ascent of Money

THE ASCENT OF MONEY, a two-hour documentary based on the newly-released book The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (Penguin Group USA), will premiere on Tuesday, January 13 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). The film is written and presented by the bestselling author, economist, historian, and Harvard professor Niall Ferguson. An expanded, four-hour version of THE ASCENT OF MONEY will air on PBS later in 2009.

In THE ASCENT OF MONEY, Ferguson – whose series War of the World garnered critical attention last summer – traces the evolution of money and demonstrates that financial history is the essential back-story behind all history. “Everyone needs to understand the complex history of money and our relationship to it,” he says. “By learning how societies have continually created and survived financial crises, we can find solid solutions to today’s worldwide economic emergency.” As he traverses historic financial hot spots around the world, Ferguson illuminates fundamental economic concepts and speaks with leading experts in the financial world.

Two hours of watching, worth it.

#32 WestCoast Girl on 02.06.09 at 11:31 am

argh…need…more…coffee. Here’s the site:

#33 a renter on 02.06.09 at 11:42 am

Saw this today on (awesome site by the way!!)…

164 INGLEWOOD DR,TORONTO — Now $2,995,000

Price Change. Feb 6: $2,995,000 Jan 14: $3,495,000 Oct 29: $3,695,000

$700,000 price reduction in 3 months!

(Still doesn’t mean it’s priced right, but I just sayin’ is all!)

#34 colette on 02.06.09 at 11:47 am

Garth is there anyone in politics who has a clue?

Here we are in the midst of a 3 prong crisis and the fools don’t use the opportunity to get us not only out of the one that is causing such mayhem now but helping us in the future!

Just read the paper that the BC government has a great program that is geared to generate hundreds of short-term jobs including in pavement patching, roadside brushing, gravel crushing and hauling, bridge upgrading and culvert replacements.

hmm funny how for years all this was cut, or put out to private tender…so of course didn’t get done and jobs were lost, roads were more unsafe and taxes didn’t go down!

Now I ask you how is this going to help the future? road patching and roadside brushing needs to be done yearly wouldn’t you have thought that the infrastructure money would have been better spent helping us move into the green technology?

Oh in another article entitled New Jobs in the North…this gem:

Funding announced Thursday by the Northern Development Initiative Trust will help GLC Controls Inc. of Prince George hire for four new positions, said Janine North, CEO of the trust.
“Our company specializes in industrial automation and controls manufacturing, and the new positions we are looking at are in our production shop and in our customer service group,” said Kam Ghuman, president of GLC Controls.
The two new automation specialists and the two new wiring technicians are part of the company’s plans to expand its market reach and diversify further into the oil, gas and mining sectors.

OK give a company funding so they can hire 4 people that will then help other companies eliminate 100’s of other jobs!!!

Pass the squirrel

#35 kc on 02.06.09 at 11:53 am

One thing that people FORGET in these employment numbers and job losses….

Self employed people DON’T get counted. Take vancouver for example. If the stats are true there are estimated 120K self employed contractors in the construction trades alone. In a falling economy with exploding layoffs, who fall throu the cracks and AREN’T counted.

#36 Observer on 02.06.09 at 12:07 pm

Marie 23,
Nicely put. However there seems to be little consideration in most discussions regarding recovery of how China and India factor into the equation. We continue to believe that the western world is still the only ones at the helm, when in reality this is no longer the case. Our views and concerns about the depletion of resources and our ecologic awareness is not necessarily shared by all. Especially the ones who claim they have not had their turn.
One thing is inevitable, it will be a different world when we come out the other side of this.

#37 vulture says 50% by spring on 02.06.09 at 12:16 pm

Hey garth
I was there last night and I thought it was a review of your blog over the last 6 months…
A great review though!
I heard Fred S. of dundee wealth management throw the crowd a few common sense life lessons…un quote
“If you have enough money to live month to month
and nothing extra you are doing ok.”
” If you dont have enough money to live month to month you are in big trouble….
“And if you have a little extra every month come see me”
I think these are what people will have to look at in the near future with investments / realestate.
I think everyone can gage themselves with these three statements.
I also agree with you that the 30% drop you mentioned last night is very conservative… considering that the 30% drop is now in the msm.
Vulture says 50% by Spring

#38 RJAG2034 on 02.06.09 at 12:22 pm

Had lunch yesterday at the venerable Empress hotel in Victoria in the Bengal lounge. Right next door is the Victoria conference centre where I heard your talk last week. Well this week there is a REMax conference taking place. Never seen so many glum faces in one place!

My companion commented that it could be Jonestown next door and they were all going to share the kool-aid!

Seriously though, reality is setting in here big time. Been following a few 1/2 acre properties in Cadboro Bay and the surrounding area and all have been listed for at least 3-4 months. Prices have dropped from $1.2million to $924k on 1 and still no bites.

On a personal note 10 years ago we bought up near UVic and busted our a$$ paying off our mortgage while all our friends went on holidays. Now we are mortgage free for the last 2 years and are watching our friends have nervous breakdowns.

Our mantra in that time was pay ourselves first and reward ourselves later. Now we are enjoying the benefits of our commitment.

The difference between my friends with their head in the sand and the ones that are preparing is obvious. The ones thinking someone else will fix it are employees (work for a wage) and the ones that are preparing are employers (work for themselves).

#39 JET on 02.06.09 at 12:26 pm

Regarding the $1 asking price – that’s how they try to determine how much “the market” will pay for a property. The seller doesn’t have to sell if the offers don’t reach his desired price. That’s sometimes how they sell things like churches, etc. where it’s hard to value.

#40 supersocco on 02.06.09 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for the talk last night. Even though I know most of this stuff, I still almost had a panic attack when you released the gauntlet of bad news in your intro.
You did an awesome job with the power point presentation. Great timing with your slides, very impressive. I hope you come through town again.

#41 crs on 02.06.09 at 1:01 pm

Thanks for the great presentation. I’ve read both of your recent books and this blog for a while, so it was nothing alarmingly new, but a great recap. Had me thinking about what sort of energy stocks I might want to invest in when the bottom is near (I don’t think the stock market has hit bottom until at least the Obama optimism is over). I don’t remember seeing the “jump” picture before, can you repost it here?

When Mr.Snyder was speaking, I was smug knowing that I don’t need a retirement plan because I know that retirement as we know it is an unattainable fallacy for many. I plan to “Die Broke” as it were, with a phasing out of work, but never full retirement with a monster equity in a house or any other sort of solitary investment. But I will likely contact him one day, since I don’t have an advisor and I’m no expert. I only want to direct the broad strokes, he can take care of the details.

Thanks again. Being the miser that I am, I had more than one cookie.

#42 Re-diculous on 02.06.09 at 1:10 pm

I also attended last night in Vancouver – great presentation! I brought my wife along as well as she has become tired of hearing me rant about how insane RE had become in this city. Thanks!

#43 Got A Watch on 02.06.09 at 1:29 pm

“Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) — Canada lost a record number of jobs in January, pushing the unemployment rate to a four-year high of 7.2 percent, as companies struggle to cope with the country’s first recession since 1992.

Employers cut a net 129,000 workers, three times the loss forecast by economists, after a drop of 20,400 in December, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. It was the largest drop since the methodology for the survey was changed in 1976. ” [Biggest drop in history. Now that’s a Depression print. Canadian stats = roughly 10% of US, so that’s comparable to a 1.3M print in the US.]

Things are no better in Canada. The economy has stalled.
We governed by imbeciles. The exact same arguments. Every locality wants a bailout, but some aren’t getting what they were under the delusion they deserved, so they’re whining.

Their solution is not to cut back on absurd spending by all levels of Government. No, it’s to yell louder for more Federal spending. Maybe they think the Federal Government draws revenue from some other planet.

Today it seems the Federal Conservatives fast tracked the money to the areas where they won election. Areas who did not vote their way will see the money later. LOL. Now that’s typical.

At least the money is alleged to be spent on key infrastructure, but we’ll see about that. Of course they’ll wildly overpay for everything.

I am still mystified who convinced all these people that the solution is for the Government to spend more money they don’t have.

Garth, keep spreading the truth. Western Canadians who are still in denial will take the biggest hit of all, they are 18-24 months behind the curve now.

I am in Ontario, and this is a Depression.

#44 dd on 02.06.09 at 1:33 pm

“#11 POL-CAN on 02.06.09 at 8:16 am Well we have a “first in Toronto….
At least the first one I have noticed…Fully detached house in the east end for sale for $ 1.00 … MLS # E1553514”

A house for a $1.00. Bet you have to take on the mortgage or that it is waste dump.

#45 Chris in England on 02.06.09 at 1:39 pm

POL-CAN #11 writes:

Fully detached house in the east end for sale for $ 1.00
MLS # E1553514


Decisions, decisions. Is it still too early to jump back into the market? I don’t want to waste my money.

#46 K on 02.06.09 at 1:42 pm

Please don’t let the politicans ecomonists and realitors fool you. A depression is enevatable! January 2010 and several years after that is going to make 2009 look like the good old days. If you are mortgage free and have stable employment ( tee hee ) then stay put. If you are mortgaged and up to your eyeballs and carrying a large debt load then you should be selling off what you have. It always hurts to sell at a loss but it sure beats bankruptcy and foreclosure later. Did we not learn anything from the people in the U.S.A?Try renting with any money you have left. That way you can give 30 days notice to vacate and join all the other greater fools riding in a boxcar across Canada looking for work. Its time to shead the delusion of grandeur people. Its no longer IF a depression happens its WHEN the depression happens……..

#47 East of Eden on 02.06.09 at 2:14 pm

Across the board, we have senior level management engaging in less than ethical behaviour – RIM is just one more. From taking obscene salaries and bonuses while laying off employees to out and out illegal activity (Madoff, for example), it is running rampant and we, the ordinary folk, are being burned.

The banking debacle south of the border is a contributor to our current recession, overextending credit on an individual level…the list goes on and on. Nortel – once a juggernaut is now in bankruptcy protection. Why? Really bad management – management which still walked away unscathed and with platinum bank accounts while investors like myself lost their shirts.

Enron, WorldCom, Bre X…just to name three. Personal punitive damages and jail terms in real jails, not Club Fed may send out a serious message to stop this sort of activity. Although it may be considered “soft” crime, it is still serious crime because the effects are felt deeply and widely.

Even when perfectly legal, some of the practices of our large corporations are, in a sense, criminal. TD Bank, for example, tried to add a $35 penalty to line of credit clients who showed no activity for 360 days. It’s legal but it is robbery, just the same. TD was forced by outrage to recind the charge. Personally, I am in the process of switching to the PC bank because I am a TD customer and am very offended by this blatant hand in my pocket.

The housing market is over manipulated and, although it will hurt many people, this current situation may send a message or two. As for losing wealth – as long as a homeowner remains in his home, he has lost wealth on paper but not in real-time dollars. As for retirement funds – I have never invested my RRSP in stocks or mutual funds – always fixed term and interest guaranteed investments. I may have missed opportunities for huge gains but I may also have missed opportunities to lose all of it. It has grown steadily albeit slowly at times but I have never lost one thin dime of value.

A consumer must be very wise and do his homework before spending one cent – be it on a home, an RRSP, a car or any other expensive acquisition. We also need to think before spending – do we need iPhones when our current cellulars work just fine? Do we really need granite countertops when arborite will do? Do we need a car with bells and whistles? Do we need four bedrooms when three will do?

It also amazes me how people suddenly become interested in jobs at which they formerly turned up their noses during the good times. Our expectations are far too high and we are manipulated by slick marketing. We have, as a society of consumers, become sheep. It’s time to become the sheep dog, instead.

As Garth says – we’ll pull through this recession just like we always do. The lessons we learn will, unfortunately, be soon forgotten. Look what happened after the early 80s – yuppy-ville; massive consumption and overspending and so the cycle begins again and again. Will we ever learn?

#48 No Fool.... on 02.06.09 at 2:26 pm

Sorry to say, but you’re wrong about this being a 3-pronged crisis. It’s actually a 4-pronged one (you missed one). You got Financial, Real Estate and Economic, but in Canada’s case, you missed our Political crisis.

Regardless of who your allegiance is to, the Political crisis we have going on in this country is resulting supreme levels of inaction, second-guessing and trashing of everything from national bailout plans to our affairs overseas. This is killing us, and will be a serious factor that will prolong the pain that we’re all collectively going to feel over the next year or four.

Without the ability to govern, any government is sitting in a wheelchair by the sidelines, left powerless. This scares me as much as the other three crises you mentioned.

At this point, I just want a majority leader who can get stuff done. I don’t care who takes the reigns,….just please not Uncle Layton, please!

#49 Andrew toronto on 02.06.09 at 2:46 pm

Why is the 6 Percent Commission Finished?
can this be the new wave in canada as well..

#50 David Bakody on 02.06.09 at 3:28 pm

The sad part is we still do know just how far Harper/Flaherty have driven us in the “RED”. The AG mentioned on CBC last evening the books have been turned over to a secondary source (?) who look after them and report back to government on their spending or something like that ……. Hello ???? just wait until March we can only imagine which set of books are provided to the taxpayers ….. Remember those economist who said Harper cooked the books ….. oh well Mike Duffy will straighten it all out ….. OMG … we are really in trouble!

#51 George Popovic on 02.06.09 at 3:35 pm

“another 129,000 jobs erased in Canada. So bad, so devastating, that the finance minister had to take a scrum in Ottawa and say in advance how “regrettable” they were. And this, shockingly, was twice as bad as in the US, where 590,000 jobs vanished – a country with ten times our population.”

The scariest part is that both New York and Toronto markets shot up on the news because “the market” saw this as a positive in that the govermnets will be forced to do more to fix the problem….you’ve got to sit back and have a good laugh.

This “market” needs a good cleansing.

#52 K on 02.06.09 at 4:09 pm

I am seeing alot of sleep deprived people out there. When I ask why they they are not sleeping the comment is because they fear losing everything. Heres a simple solution…SELL..SELL..SELL…Sell the mortgaged house sell the second car and sell all that “stuff” that you can live without. Remember to be fair in the pricing this is not the time to worry about making a huge profit. Take a look around.. nobody is. Now with cash in hand change your thinking from BUY..BUY..BUY…To RENT..RENT..RENT..This should help keep the re-po man away from your door. Not to mention that you have beat the banks and the credit card companies at their own game! Think about it …….

#53 George on 02.06.09 at 4:17 pm

A depression is not merely a pause it is the end. A Depression is when a whole economy declares bankruptcy. The economy changes it’s business plan – All Bill Bonner Dailyreckoning. Hey Garth you dropped my other post. sorry if it was irrelevant to the discussion board.

#54 Dave Fort McMurray on 02.06.09 at 4:19 pm

You want to talk about pending real estate disaster, in fort mac the average price of a cracker box house is 650K. They have been mortgaged by renting out basements and rooms to temporary workers at ridiculously high prices to workers that received significant living out allowances. For the most part LOA is gone now. In the last couple of months 16 of the 24 thousand camp workers have been laid off, along with thousands of base contractors. The economic retrenchment is in the billions of dollars. I have seen it in the past here, but the world economic situation was never as dire as it is today, it only leads me to believe that we are in for a much more intense and prolonged downturn in the oilsands.

#55 Whybuywhenucanrent? on 02.06.09 at 4:34 pm

Hi Garth,
Thanks for the Vancouver commentary.
Question for you–on what basis do you forecast a 30% drop in Vancouver Real Estate (45% drop from peak)? Why not 30%, 67% or 80% drop from peak?

Take a look at a chart of Vancouver home prices over the years —

* A 45% drop from peak only takes us back to about 2000 pricing ($750K to $400K).
* A 67% drop takes us back to 1988 ($750K to $275K) when Vancouver’s Asian immigrant housing bubble began (and never finished bursting).
* An 80% drop brings us down to the “house prices = 3x average annual income” metric, which is what most of Canada is normally at. ($750K to $150K)

Thanks in advance,

#56 The Coming Depression on 02.06.09 at 4:41 pm

Ok wait a minute. I put this on my blog this morning without reading your blog. Perhaps not as eloquent as yours. Are we in the same mindset? Looks like it.

#57 Ed79 on 02.06.09 at 4:49 pm

Enjoyed the presentation last night. As others have said, the content is all here on the blog for those who can’t get to one. Was good to take my wife though – she’s a slow reader, and working FT, studying PT means it’s hard to get her to read anything. She learned a few things and has changed her tune.

#2 islander: “The problem isn’t lack of dirt, it’s lack of political will to densify our cities. ”

Is increasing density necessarily a good thing? I like the ALR and the fact that there is still farm land and a lot of green space in and around Vancouver. I think that a limited supply is very much part of the reason prices are so high here. The areas that are the most expensive are the exclusive older suburbs with large mansions – and this type of real estate does have limited space within the city.

Not everyone wants to live in a box in the sky. Do I think that means prices will miraculously avoid the huge declines that are coming? Not at all – because prices are unaffordable for the average person who lives and works here, with financial and economic depression confidence is declining, and along with that real estate for speculation and investment will decline. Even the exclusive established mansions with a fixed supply will have to fall in price as the demand for them dries up and people have to sell for other reasons.

As a recent immigrant who hasn’t got firm roots in any particular part of the world greater Vancouver is very attractive precisely because of the lower density. We, and our 100 lb alaskan malamute who refuses to stay inside for more than half an hour, don’t want to live in a condo. We have the freedom to relocate to wherever price, amenity and lifestyle are right for us.

#58 Lando on 02.06.09 at 4:59 pm

Does anyone know if Garth does presentations in Alberta ? I live in Edmonton and my fiance got pissed at me last night when I told her we should wait a year to buy a house. By the way, the houses we are looking at are new 1800sq footers for 350k (which is the best deal in town: most are 420k). I told her they would probably come down to 300k by the end of the year and she thinks I’m nuts. She seems to believe the “Buy Now” while you still can crap coming from the realtors. Is it just Vancouver prices that are projected to drop? Am I crazy for thinking that Edmonton will go down as well, or are we truly living in the land of milk and honey where prices won’t be affected? Opinions please.

#59 Makeorbreak on 02.06.09 at 5:03 pm

#60 sail1 on 02.06.09 at 5:30 pm

#43 Chris in England

No impulse buying, discuss it with the wife first.

#61 Cendrine on 02.06.09 at 5:33 pm

I reserved two spaces for the Feb 18 7pm seminar in Listowel. Glad I did not procrastinate much longer because it’s filling fast and will be full soon. Any Grey -Bruce-Huron-Perth peeps going? Garth, a review will be fine with me as I hope to drag DH along – he may be starting to come around to the fact that RE is going to decline.

#62 eddy on 02.06.09 at 5:44 pm

i agree with the bloggers and the man form Detroit who say Garth may be a bit low in his forecast. think of 1989. in toronto the drop was 25% from peak. this recession is much worse and the levels of debt and price inflation are a lot higher. i recall that interest rates in 89 were around 12%, when those rates come back, I’m thinking we’re back at late 80s prices.
can you imagine paying a mortgage for 20 years and then selling for the same price you paid?
i know a lot of people who stick with the ‘buy and hold’ long term approach, but i think it’s out of date

#63 North Vancouver Citizen on 02.06.09 at 5:46 pm

Your Lordship Garth,

…Enjoyed the informative evening last night as you attended to your flock.

Also note you haven’t lost any of your good looks after nearly thirty years.

Too bad you must return to your castle somewhere near the Centre of the Earth.


#64 bumbum on 02.06.09 at 6:24 pm

“I heard all the arguments. Again. Mountains and sea and no more land. Rich Chinese immigrants hoovering everything. The Olympics. It’s different here. Blah, blah, blah.”

i’m surrounded by the same people(colleague, family and friends that bought at mid2007 prices in vancouver) who have this mentality. sadly, they don’t want to hear the truth. the more evidence you give them, the more they get mad or think you’re crazy.

my sister in-law listed her old-timer house 33×120 lot at $820, 000 in May 2008 and adjusted down four times since and still no takers at $600, 000. no offers either.

most of us can’t handle or want the truth cuz it’s too painful. no one likes to hear pain upfront but we are only delaying the inevitable. only difference is the pain magnified for the latter.

garth, please give more insight into our canadian banks. it seems our banks are under capitalized as well and also getting bailouts.

#65 kitchener1 on 02.06.09 at 6:26 pm

Yup, Detroit and Vancouver …….same thing.
That’s sarcasm for anyone that doesn’t get it.

No its more like SO CAL, Nevada,Arizona are the same thing as Vancouver

#66 all vultures look here on 02.06.09 at 6:40 pm

Attention vultures,

Here’s a really good friend and he been trying to sell his place, he dropped his house $129000 so far, i don’t know what to tell him, cause he is one of the best priced house in Edmonton (sqf price, and the best insulation on the market) and he’s willing to bargin. i guess this is proof that the market in edmonton is really starting to crash? DELETED

This blog is not for selling houses. Scram. — Garth

#67 double mike on 02.06.09 at 6:46 pm

#57 Derrin

“Yup, Detroit and Vancouver …….same thing.
That’s sarcasm for anyone that doesn’t get it.”

Nope, not the same thing.
Detroit actually has highways around so you can get from A to B.
Detroit has some sunny days.
Real estate is pretty cheap down there.
There is a world-class university nearby.
Earthquake probability is pretty low in Michigan.

So they are not the same. I’ll choose Detroit any day.

#68 Rhino on 02.06.09 at 7:01 pm

#54 Dave Fort McMurray on 02.06.09 at 4:19 pm

Hey Dave…
I lived through a similar thing a decade or so ago here in Quebec, when I lived in a boom town called Sept Iles. At that time, we had the HIGHEST standard of living and income per family in Canada. It was iron mining, but mining is mining, and like all commodities, when a cheaper source is found, capital moves and to hell with those left behind.

Our once Prime minister, Brian Mulroney (‘member him?), was hired by the American masters who owned the company, to make the moves to close out operations of an entire town, Schefferville, and reduce operations in Labrador City. This also had huge impact on our port city of Sept Iles (once renowned for shipping the most tonnage in the world since iron is heavy…), as jobs moved away – many to Brazil where they found a mountain of Iron and cheap workforce. Bye Bye Canadian workers after YEARS of loyal service. Schefferville was giving houses away, and local aboriginals got great opportunities.

My parents got out just before the collapse, so basically did not lose on the house and even made a small profit. However, two years later, the price of houses dropped like stones. An entire subdivision, owned by The Company, was letting houses go for $1.00, as it removed holding and maintenance costs.

This is the gamble of a boom-and-bust economy. This is a problem with over dependence on commodities – particularly if they are for foreign companies and not local consumption. You only need housing when you have people to house. You only need people when you are making money. Once your commodity price is above the lowest on market, bye bye folks – I’m outta here.

Ft. Mac will see a slowdown, and lots of folks will be losers. From my Sept Iles experience, some grossly reduced operations will keep the town “alive”, but without another diversification, you might as well move on. Entire towns in Northern Quebec have been bulldozed, leaving only the streets and driveways. It is a very sad thing to see.

BTW, now the economy in my hometown is split 50/50 mining/tourism. It is a truly beautiful port city, where you can whale watch, see porpoise and dolphin, fish halibut, flounder, catch shrimp etc., with one of the best eastern salmon rivers in Canada, camping, beaches, etc.

What has Ft. Mac to fall back on…

#69 K on 02.06.09 at 7:08 pm

#58 Lando, Please read my posts #46 and #52…..I will bet you 10 to 1 that you and your finance oops fiance will be able to get the same place one year from now for 350k divided BUY 2…..

#70 poorguy on 02.06.09 at 7:09 pm

#51 George Popovic,

u r very right.this is manipulation by mm.
I shorted followings : AMZN,RIMM,MOS,FCX
I know I am gonna make good money out
those names

#71 kc on 02.06.09 at 7:13 pm

31 WestCoast Girl

assent of money is actually 6 hours in multi parts. (I know for I did download the works) well worth the time to grab it off line.

#72 kc on 02.06.09 at 7:33 pm

Garth, Now that you have spent a week on our side of the world, what is your real opinion of how you see our lives here? I feel you are getting the reality of exactly how people (general population here) sees that this is paridise from the rest of the world and we are so special that NOTHING is going to happen to us… What is your honest take and impressions of the west coast?


#73 Chris in England on 02.06.09 at 7:35 pm

#61 Sail 1:

I knew I should cut down on the beer and hot dogs and speak in a higher-pitched voice. I AM the wife! I expect your advice still holds good, so I will discuss this potential purchase with the husband tomorrow – at which point he will reel in shock as I have never asked his opinion on real estate before. He just goes along with what I say … (do I detect sympathetic head-nodding from the men on here?)

#74 WestCoast Girl on 02.06.09 at 7:49 pm

#72 kc on 02.06.09 at 7:13 pm

correct – sorry folks – the first installment is 2 hours, the next is 4 hours later this month. Thanks for the heads-up/correction kc, cheers.

#75 Boffo on 02.06.09 at 7:50 pm

#58 Lando

It’s coming to Edmonton too, this site offers plenty of food for thought. Here’s one of his graphics that should back up your argument.

Edmonton’s looking like they’re going to get it as bad or worst then most

#76 WestCoast Girl on 02.06.09 at 8:06 pm

#74 Chris in England on 02.06.09 at 7:35 pm

I just wet my pants you made me laugh so hard – sounds like our households are run the same. I do the “what if I got hit by a bus” scenario regularly and have contingency plans in place, just so hubby can find the money, etc.

#77 dekethegeek on 02.06.09 at 8:26 pm

#69 – Rhino
…”Sept. Iles Quebec had the highest standard of living and family income in Canada…”
First i’ve ever heard that one, the municipality of
West Vancouver has consistantly, for years, been the highest per capita income Postal Code in Canada and it is within eyesite of the poorest postal code in Canada, The Downtown eastside of Vancouver.
Perhaps you meant the Sept iles. has the highest income in the country of Quebec?

Garth, great seminar last night, the slide presentation and your non stop monologue was timed perfectly. I’ve sat through tons of seminars and Fred was right that one was excellently well paced.
Unfortunately I had a bunch of Mutual fund brokers surrounding me. ( he was the guy that asked an investment question that you handed over to Fred, good one! They were trying to get you stuck in a corner. Fred wasnt buying either” There is no right answer”.). They were mumbling in denial when they weren’t on their cell phones!!!! Annoying 30-40 year old sales types shaking their heads listening to you while trying to deny there is a market meltdown.
Keep up the good work. Eventually they’ll figure it out

#78 North Vancouver Citizen on 02.06.09 at 8:57 pm

Soooooo Friends to the South,

…Will the U.S. utilize Protectionism, go to War or close down the IRS as we know it and instead intiate a Flat Fair Tax for all….citizens and corporate?,-Not-An-R-Folks.html

#79 john on 02.06.09 at 9:05 pm

“Of course, we will come out of it. And in every crisis there is opportunity. “…..Yes the next generations will..not in mine i don’t believe..the domino’s are falling faster and faster and as the working man’s jobs close all of the perks that we enjoyed with a pocket full of dollars they are closing also! A few can not sustain a lifestyle supported by many. Before this is over “in my opinion” wealth and quality of life will be determined not by the dollars in the pocket but by ….the ability to survive.

#80 Michael on 02.06.09 at 9:36 pm

I think 30% drop is a bit too optimist. From peak to bottom I see something more in the range of 80%. Why?

Because it is not only a “housing crisis” or “economic crisis”. These two are feeding on each other.

As people have used their houses as ATMs a lot of the economic spending was based on the assumption that the house would increase in value, convincing people to spend more than they should.

This in turn lead to an increased economic activity.

Now that the party is over, not only are houseprices deflating but so is the economy with it. As a consequence not only will people think twice before they get a mortgage (if they can in the first place) but they will also be able to afford less due to the economic depression.

It will eventually find a bottom, but that bottom will be a lot lower than people think, not in the least because the correction will go at least a good bit the other way.

#81 North Vancouver Citizen on 02.06.09 at 11:57 pm

deke the geek,

…Missed you at the seminar.
We were sitting beside a couple who lived in White Rock…They were surprised at how bad things are getting worldwide and the ramifications.

So have you yet listened to Geek in the Pink, Jason Mraz?
another of his songs is up for song of the year at sunday nights grammies.

G in the P is a great song…you won’t feel insulted.

#82 Zoronqueen on 02.07.09 at 1:11 am

Thanks for the link and pointing out the correlation of immigrant money and Vancouver nay sayers argument. Tempted to send this link to my dad but don’t he’ll get it as Vancouver is “different”.

Some of you might have read this from 2005. Too bad the author is already dead, might have been intresting to heard what other papers he has written. Let me know if there’s other links….


I have read after the crash and planning to read greater fool when I it gets sent to me. One of your old books mentions bonds as the next big thing? Any comments if this is still true?

Also I am still confused with this hyperinflation/stabilization after delation deal… After paying off Mortage A & part of B, still have a 400K mortage, and only 60K left in equity. Should the 60K be left for rainy day fund which is 6 months wage or be put into reducing Mortgage B?

#83 dd on 02.07.09 at 1:22 am

#81 Michael,

80% drop … you might want to recalculate your estimates on fundamental analysis. Even in a depression shelter is worth something. 80% drop is 60% of the people are unemployed … and that is not likely.

#84 dd on 02.07.09 at 1:26 am

#53 George,

Actually a depression is serval quarters of negative growth. It is not when the whole economy is bankrupt.
When the whole economy is bankrupt it is call civil war.

#85 Bailing in B.C. on 02.07.09 at 1:36 am

#11 Calgary37

The first link that you posted refered to Mortgage burning parties. From what I know they are a thing of the past. I just paid off my mortgage in September. I would never in a million years have a mortgage burning party. Infact I have told very few people that we have no mortgage. This post made me think “why no mortgage burning party?” and the answer is scary. We have no party because all our friends have no hope of paying off their mortgage anytime soon. Go to such a party and think “this will be me in 3yrs/5yrs/10yrs/one day and it’s a thing to celebrate. Go to a mortgage burning party and know that your mortgage will be paid in 40yrs, if your not dead by then and it’s just other people showing off. Paying off your mortgage used to be a rite of passage, now it’s an impossible dream or an unreasonable expectation to eternal children.

#86 Bailing in B.C. on 02.07.09 at 1:42 am

Just as a follow up to my last post, who on this blog would feel comfortable/happy attending a mortgage burning party? Has anyone actually been to one? How did it go?

#87 Bailing in B.C. on 02.07.09 at 2:03 am

64 North Vancouver Citizen

Glad to know that you were there last night. Would have liked to have met you. I spent quite a lot of the night looking around trying to match the user name to the face. We need a Garthapalozza so we can all get together and discuss whether Vancouver will become the next fiancial capital of the world:)
You heard it here second!

#88 Bailing in B.C. on 02.07.09 at 2:14 am

78 dekethegeek

It could have been worse. I had a pack of giggily twenty somethings sitting in front of me who never got told by their mothers that it’s rude to speak when others are speaking. From what I heard of their conversations they are waiting for prices to bottom. Unfortunately for them by that time they will all be unemployed.

#89 Glenn on 02.07.09 at 3:22 am

I speak with my wife, who is from the former Soviet Union, about financial issues every once in a while. One of the things that stuck with me was a story about her aunt. This little old lady had, right before the fall, 30,000 rubles tucked away in a bank. Thats about, say, $130,000USD in comparison. One day she woke up, communism “failed”, and all her life savings were gone, poof, just like that. I doubt I am preaching to the choir here, but here is what I am doing. Consolidating debt, buying silver, gold, storable food, and ammo, and getting away from any large cities. You too may wake up some day to find your hard earned money to be worthless.

#90 The Tallyman on 02.07.09 at 3:49 am

article on Garth here

Keep banging the drum Garth!

#91 seadoo-bear on 02.07.09 at 3:56 am

Hi Garth
I’m the guy that spoke to you before your talk in Surrey. Enjoyed your talk. Anyhow, I just came back from from Las Vegas. Spoke to a knowledgable ex-Canadian that used to tour with Raveen the Hypnotist. He told me that unemployment is 10 % in the city. Casinos are laying off thousands. Rooms are dirt cheap. I paid $26.00 CDN at Hooters. Lots of other casinos were advertising the same. One of the larger ones was advertising that if you play a $25.00 slot that they would comp you a room. Lots of project that are partially built on the strip with no one working on them. The tall cranes are not moving. The steel frameworks are rusting. It was kind of spooky. I passed a concrete plant on the way out of town. Their yard was full of parked mixer trucks at 1:00 in the afternoon and the yard deserted. Lots of foreclosures also.
In the casinos there were lots of 1 cent and 5 cent slots.
Man o man are they huting down there.
You can book a return flight from Bellingham Wa. for $114.00 return.
I guess they will be turning off the lights soon and then you won’t see it from space anymore.
Hang on to your socks everyone, it’s coming North too.

#92 Noz on 02.07.09 at 4:01 am

I can only hope that prices drop 30% or more in Vancouver. I think prices there are ridiculous….as ridiculous as LA.

From the airport to downtown, we passed through a nice area with beautiful streets and nice homes. The cabbie said the prices there are well over a million dollars.

People in Vancouver are high..literally. Come back down to earth folks.

I can’t wait to buy when the prices crash…just can’t wait.

#93 sail1 on 02.07.09 at 7:44 am

#74 Chris in England

My apologies Chris, I couldn’t see you to well from the back of the room. I guess we will have to start using gender symbols. Well, you know the old saying about assumptions.

#94 josh on 02.07.09 at 7:56 am

here’s my question to people saying they can’t wait to buy when it crashes,
Are you even going to have a job? There’s reason why you didn’t buy when the market was going up, and when would you buy as you don’t know if/when the market hits bottom.

If you lose your job will you buy then/wont you be nervous with no income? Will you get approved to buy? So really I’m wondering how many vultures will have enough cash to buy a house out right? I’m not trying to offend anyone, just trying to under what people are thinking, I understand people that cashed out before the big bust

#95 Midas on 02.07.09 at 8:25 am

Garth wrote: “Of course, we will come out of it. And in every crisis there is opportunity.”

I beg to differ; no one over 40 will come out of this, at least not in better shape than we are today or even half as good. This is a problem of Biblical proportions and when the dust settles, multitudes, as in billions, will have returned to dust. As for opportunity, the only opportunity now is to plan for survival, and pray for mercy.

Vancouver will drop 70%-80% by 2012, it will be down 30% by the end of this year.

#96 eddy on 02.07.09 at 8:39 am

-anyone thinking of buying and taking out a large mortgage right now should use 10% rates (or more) in their affordability calculations. 5% maybe affordable today but when the term is up, who knows?. unless of course you’re planning on selling soon

#97 Future Expatriate on 02.07.09 at 8:49 am

#60 Derrin: That’s right, NO comparison between Detroit and Vancouver whatsoever.

In Detroit, you can actually see the sun.

#98 K on 02.07.09 at 9:28 am

#95 #96 #97

Good Posts!

#99 Chris L on 02.07.09 at 9:51 am

The first link that you posted refered to Mortgage burning parties. From what I know they are a thing of the past. I just paid off my mortgage in September. I would never in a million years have a mortgage burning party. Infact I have told very few people that we have no mortgage. This post made me think “why no mortgage burning party?” and the answer is scary. We have no party because all our friends have no hope of paying off their mortgage anytime soon. Go to such a party and think “this will be me in 3yrs/5yrs/10yrs/one day and it’s a thing to celebrate. Go to a mortgage burning party and know that your mortgage will be paid in 40yrs, if your not dead by then and it’s just other people showing off. Paying off your mortgage used to be a rite of passage, now it’s an impossible dream or an unreasonable expectation to eternal children.

You are right. I don’t talk about this anymore either. People don’t get it or get jealous and neither is good. Now I just say that I’m banging away just like everybody else, nothing to see. It’s sad to see so many people mortgage their future on a liability. Housing was never an asset, only fools bought into that idea. I always recognized that you needed at least two homes to be ahead since if you sold, you’d still need a place to stay. Aside from that a home never made any money, it only cost money so it could never become an asset unless viewed from your estate after you die.

When the time comes, invest in profitable income property, for the time being save up your cash. Find a nice small house and live well below your means. With this comes great freedom and choices and this is what life is all about (I think). I know damn well its not about your job or work.

#100 Dave on 02.07.09 at 10:01 am

I beg to differ; no one over 40 will come out of this, at least not in better shape than we are today or even half as good. This is a problem of Biblical proportions and when the dust settles, multitudes, as in billions, will have returned to dust. As for opportunity, the only opportunity now is to plan for survival, and pray for mercy.


forecasting is good, but stuff like, where does it come from? how do you make these presumptions so far into the future? so someone who is forty, with a life expectancy of over 80, (40 years from now), is doomed?

how does this poster see 40 years into the future and know things are grim? lol

#101 Dave on 02.07.09 at 10:09 am

Actually a depression is serval quarters of negative growth. It is not when the whole economy is bankrupt.
When the whole economy is bankrupt it is call civil war.

there is no technical definition of a depression

#102 Bill-Muskoka (NA.M.) on 02.07.09 at 10:28 am

#98 Future Expatriate on 02.07.09 at 8:49 am

Not to mention the gun!


While you are out there in Lotusland how about smacking this White Collar Criminal for the rest of us?

China’s most-wanted man hopes to sell real estate here

Gotta admit, nothing like a fraud artist billionaire smuggler from China to really help the rep of the RE industry!

#103 CalgaryRocks on 02.07.09 at 10:32 am

#96 Midas,

Hope that you are wrong. My friend who is ex special forces and now gives the firearms course tells me that all his classes are full.

Praying may prove itself to be secondary.

#104 Calgary37 on 02.07.09 at 10:46 am

Garth said:
“I’ve said here before that we have three crises. Financial. Real estate. Economic.”

“Of course, we will come out of it. And in every crisis there is opportunity.”

“This year will be the worst in the memory of almost all Canadians.”

There are many people who will not be affected by any of these 3 crises, either directly or indirectly. However, most of us will be affected by the Breakdown of our Society. There is a big difference between the Society of the 1930s Depression and our current Society. To use an analogy, it is like comparing Kindergarten to High School.

Those of you who are preparing to Survive in an urban community will be picked off one by one by the packs of two-legged predators who will be roaming our streets and back alleys. If you want to be a successful Survivalist, then you have to make an attempt to make the concept of “strength/safety in numbers” work in your favour. Look at what has been happening in a variety of European countries where people have been demonstrating against their governments for a variety of reasons.

In Calgary, our local city government (out of touch with reality) deserves to be demonstrated against for high taxes and poor spending decisions. The Alberta Government has also made poor spending decisions as our Health Care System is falling apart due to a lack of funding.

The only way to try and escape this Societal Breakdown is to establish a Survivalist Community (Commune) or to move to an existing small town or village out in the country, far away from large urban communities. You will be in a position to defend yourselves in these rural communities. However, this does mean learning how to use firearms.

You could start by reviewing the Mad Max Movies with Mel Gibson.

You have to be in a position where you can grow your own food and provide your own energy and fuel sources.

Pay attention to potential Earth Changes and Cosmic Events. According to recent news items, there has been a spurt in volcanic and earthquake activity. For example, if that Alaskan volcano erupts, the current Jet Stream could spread that volcanic ash over a broad area of North America.

Our Planet and Solar System are due for some major cycle endings. The natural Climate Change is just part of one of these cycle endings. The Precession of the Equinoxes is one of these cycles.

Everyone who has been thinking about buying or selling a house should reassess what kind of future that we are really facing. You might decide a move into the country might be your best bet.

If none of the potential negative events that I have been expecting happen, then at least our rural communities will have been given a deserved new breath of life by all of the new activity from the Survivalist Communities.

Power to the People. Let the Revolution Begin.

#105 dd on 02.07.09 at 10:47 am

#102 Dave

“there is no technical definition of a depression.”

There will be after this round.

#106 North Vancouver Citizen on 02.07.09 at 10:49 am

#98 Future Expatriate

Still angry I see.

…As you are so bitter that Canada sucks….so where exactly do you plan to move to and live?

Let me guess…Russia/Ukraine?…North/South Korea?…Pakistan/India?….Middle East?…Europe?(even Switzerland is imploding)

Lets see, where can you find a decent job/housing and healthcare better than in Canada……hmmmmmm
…thinking, contemplating, thinking…….
I got it…..ready for it….sitting down Future Expatriate…

Enroll in a couple of Stand up Comedy Classes…hone you natural negative outlook into a shtick and BOOM, you got a 24-7 gig, you can travel the world and not have to call “anywhere” home.

You have potentially great material…. Canada sucks, living sucks, rich people suck, govt sucks….but hey!…Detroit Michigan is really really great….lots of sun, two extreme seasons….homes for $1 thin dollar…lovely guns in every pocket….no jobs, but who needs jobs when you can have food stamps….american cigarettes…your material could be endless.


#107 Richmond Rich Renter on 02.07.09 at 10:49 am

Thanks Garth! I had the opportunity to hear you at the Vancouver Feb 5th seminar along with my father. Well done, excellent, to the point, never boring and a lot of what you said….really hit home.

I hope others heed your warning before it’s too late. In the land of lotus leaves, bud and denial, there is no telling where a lot of people are going to end up within the next few years. I fear for a lot of them.

That brings me to a question that I’m not sure you would be able to answer, nor would you have the statistics, but here goes: I heard on an amerian TV station news cast that 29% of Seattle mortgages are now higher than the current price of what they could sell their homes for at today’s rate. Do you have any idea what the percentage is for Vancouver? Is there a way of researching and finding out exactly how bad the storm cloud on the horizon is? A partner at a firm I work for said that “Vancouver doesn’t follow the same fundimentals of housing/price etc. as the rest of Canada because of the great amount of wealth in this city. It is hard to establish exactly how much money is out there and how much of it is through the illegal sources trades/gangs/drugs” etc.

I’m waiting patiently for my opportunity to purchase a house when the price makes sense or when it costs less to own the home as apposed to renting it.

Thanks again!

#108 Richmond Rich Renter on 02.07.09 at 11:05 am

Chris L said: on 02.07.09 at 9:51

“It’s sad to see so many people mortgage their future on a liability. Housing was never an asset, only fools bought into that idea.”


Only fools or …someone that needed to hide large amounts of money? I agree with you that there were a large amount of speculators/flippers but we can’t dismiss the drug trade that also helped push up real estate. When you think that over 6 billion dollars a year goes into the local economy (tax free) there is no denying that impact on the cost of housing either. Buying at 8 or 9 times the average person’s annual salary just to put a roof over your head is nothing to someone that needs to hide or wash illegal cash.

Am I bitter about that? Yes. I work my butt off, pay taxes and do everything legal and without hurting anyone else in the process. I feel like I’m being punished for being an honest, nice, decent person.

#109 dd on 02.07.09 at 11:05 am

K on 02.06.09 at 4:09 pm

“Heres a simple solution…SELL..SELL..SELL…Sell”

People have to learn to sell into a rising market. It is getting to the point that you have to sell at less than you bought for. Not a good way to make a living.

#110 Bill-Muskoka (NA.M.) on 02.07.09 at 11:08 am

#102 Dave on 02.07.09 at 10:09 am

Actually, a Depression is what happens to all the mindless believers in pissant economic theories when reality rises to squash their dreams of grtandeur. For the average person it is just another Clusterf**k

What the government needs to do is gove OUR money to US and we will rejunenate the conomy’s credit ability by paying off the debts these Guru’s of Gluttony tricked us (the masses) into burdening ourselves with.

After the credit cards are paid off, eliminate them, and go with InterAct and a line of credit at a low interest rate. Let Visa, MC, and the rest suck air.

Let the corporate execs and investors learn what a real job is, if they can find one.

Now, we will see if there are any ‘leaders’ with the cajones and spine to do this? Don’t hold your breath, especially here in Canuckistan.

Giving money to failed CEO’s and supporting the investment market is like giving drugs to an addict.

Afterwards, then we can turn Bay and Wall Street into a museum, like the Holocaust Museum, or homes for the homeless, excluding the ones who made this FUBAR’d mess.

#111 dd on 02.07.09 at 11:10 am

#34 colette on 02.06.09 at 11:47 am

“Garth is there anyone in politics who has a clue?”

It is the voter that elects. Most believe what is being said during an election or at lease voting for the lessor of the evils.

Honesty? Do we want someone in power to actually do what he or she says?

#112 dd on 02.07.09 at 11:18 am

#69 Rhino

Interesting Post.

“What has Ft. Mac to fall back on…”

I still believe Ft Mac is not going to die (house prices aside). If this is the mother of all depressions well … fuel consumption will fall off the map and then we will have a problem in all of Alberta and NE BC.

But consumption will pick up. Currently cheaper oil finds are not coming on line. A commodity is a commodity but until we find a replacement for oil … we need it.

#113 Bill-Muskoka (NA.M.) on 02.07.09 at 11:22 am

At this point Jon Stewart on his ‘The Daily Show’ has more sound advice than the ‘movers and shakers’ in the financial market.

I think the U.S. should do another Mount Rushmore project, only this one will be called Mount NoMoreRush featuring the faces of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, George Dubya Bush, and Dick Cheney. Call it The National Moron Monument.

(Zorpheus, if you come here anymore, please do your artsy thing and create that image, send iot to Garth for posting, or let us know where to find it. Thanks)

#114 dd on 02.07.09 at 11:28 am

#96 Midas

“Vancouver will drop 70%-80% by 2012, it will be down 30% by the end of this year.”

So a $million home will be $200K. The medium $700k home in vancouver will be $140K. Wow BOLD predictions. Sounds like all of BC will be unemployed.

#115 dd on 02.07.09 at 11:31 am

#90 Glenn ”

“You too may wake up some day to find your hard earned money to be worthless.”

Gold might be worthless too. Food or water at least you can drink and eat. Survival skills might be worth the most.

#116 Marie on 02.07.09 at 11:34 am

Midas #96,

Before we start playing the Trumpets of the Apocalypse and sent everybody in a panic, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, Canada is not overpopulated. We are one of the few countries which have some leg room in our carrying capacity. Which means that if we keep the seize of our population in check and change our lifestyle, we can provide the essential to our people. If we tie our happiness to buying the latest plasma screen tv, and our self-worth to status symbols like SUV, than yes, we are in deep shit and condemning ourselves to self-inflicted suffering.

Second, the shift from denial to panic is just not the right move. Fortunately, a lot of people have already taken steps in the right direction. There are alternatives to “Gloom and Doom”:

Karavans (

Ecoreality in BC

Yes, there is a storm ahead, but there is no point of jumping straight into the frigid waters. If you have to jettison cargo to stay afloat, then do it. Keep your cool, stay at the helm and watch for the closest harbour.

#117 dd on 02.07.09 at 11:35 am

#43 Got A Watch

“Their solution is not to cut back on absurd spending by all levels of Government. No, it’s to yell louder for more Federal spending. Maybe they think the Federal Government draws revenue from some other planet.”

Governments should pull back on spending in the boom years (save) and spend in the bad years. They (we the government) should run counter to private spending and investment.

#118 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 02.07.09 at 12:11 pm

All the fuss is about preserving the illusion that the economy was real. That is quid essential for those whose lives are centred on the love and power of money. The rest will be living as usual.

When it is all over, the houses will still be there, people will have felt like they have been freed from the Matrix, and life will go on.

However, along the path of destiny, those who have all their faith in materialism will be sadly disappointed.

We have lived through the Dark Ages, the Age of Enlightment, the Industrial Revolution, The Robber Barons, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and numerous clusterf**k smaller ones, the Age of the Burning Bush, Globalization, and now, finally, a sense of reality is rising.

All you survivalists, listen up. You are not in control. You think you are, but you fail, as you have failed, to realize that you are not alone and are dependent on others for your lifestyle.

We need more people like the 81 y.o. that was awarded Global Nationals’ ‘Everyday Hero’ Award. Sheesh he can outwork most teens or twenty-somethings because his heart is in what he does…helps out at a food bank for the less fortunate.

Yes, there will be adjustments, but that is part of real life. There is no reset button, no winning enough points for another life. There is only this reality.

Yesterday is history

Tomorrow’s a mystery

Today is a Gift.

That is why it is called the Present!

Use it wisely.

#119 Pete on 02.07.09 at 12:36 pm

OK, now I like this blog but some of the survivalist comments are getting a bit much. Just talk to anyone over 70/80 who has lived through depressions, recessions and world wars to see that generally people pull together in crisises. There is no reason society will break down in the way some of the more hyperbolic contributers think, for the following reasons:

– Canada is huge and underpopulated – plenty of room and resources to both house and feed everyone
– Canada’s population is generally law-abiding. The great Toronto blackout of 2003 is a great example of that.
– Canada has more than enough homes for everyone. The average suburban home in Canada can easily house three generations of a family if needed (does a family of 4 really need 5 bedrooms when it comes down to it?)
– Even if inflation rises, say 15%, it will be easy for most people to cut back spending by 15% to compensate. Most could do it just by cutting out takeaway food and drink, vacationing at home and taking the bus or walking to work.
– Even at its worse, 75% of people still had jobs during the Great Depression
– It’s amazing how little we can live on if we have to
– Service jobs are going to be particularly badly hit during this recession – mostly women unfortunately for them. This means we may well get back to one-parent working and one looking after the kids. Might be a good thing for families. People may get married earlier and kids may live at home longer. Old people may stay with their kids. This is the situation for many people in many countries worldwide – and guess what, they survive.

Anyhow, just wanted to strike a more optimistic note.

#120 Rhino on 02.07.09 at 1:10 pm

#113 dd on 02.07.09 at 11:18 am

I think we are on a similar wavelength. In Sept iles, they reduced operations significantly, and The Company is still the major employer, but gone are the good times experienced when I was up there. Ft. Mac boomed at $200 a barrel, and until it gets back over the tipping point, decline will continue. After all, I think it is Syncrude who have been up there “forever”.

Ungava ore is over 53% iron and one of the great iron reserves in the world. Commercially viable still, it is hard to compete with South America where an entire mountain is reported to be over 70%, and labour costs about 1/10th of Canada. Add to that the decline in North American steel making, and the picture is compete. The Company fed Bethlehem Steel, Stelco, and the Pittsburgh mills… A lot of the foreign countries once clients now go to the cheaper providers. Therefore, less demand, less jobs result.

With a population once at 45,000, census figures gave it a “true” population of over 200,000 over the 10-year period, due to turnover of young families using the well paying jobs as a way to get started. Population now hovers around 25,000.

A wonderful place to live then, with new people to meet every year when school started. A great way to learn about folks from all over Canada – particularly Maritimers and Newfoundlanders.

The first automated rail switching with the longest trains in the world at that time, with possibly one of the first use of slave units, largest natural port in east coast, largest kiln in the world, it burst with leading edge thinking. And now, another footnote in history, but it was fun.

Oh, and for:
#78 dekethegeek on 02.06.09 at 8:26 pm

You may have a point, but I was talking about the 70’s, which makes me feel REAL OLD! We certainly lived like money was no a concern – party time!!!!

As an aside, not directed at anyone in particular, why do so many in Van seem to have the need to brag about Lotusland. I lived in Coquitlam, and while a nice place, it had its drawbacks like Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and other cities. Personally, I preferred living in the interior, in the Columbia valley.

#121 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 02.07.09 at 1:17 pm

#120 Pete on 02.07.09 at 12:36 pm

Right on! The MSM makes a great huge deal about it all, but when the Big Picture is looked at one finds things are not so bad.

The Survivalists are a hangover from the Cold War mentality where living in a bomb shelter would have been necessary because of the radiation. That, too, never came to pass, but they make great wine cellars. LOL

These types are also the ‘Tough Cowboy’ mentality that still think it is 1900 and they can survive all on their own. I hope they get a clue about things like disease treatment, because if there were a pandemic their little guns and caches of supplies would not help them at all.

#122 Chris S. on 02.07.09 at 1:18 pm

Time to stock up on Quorn.

#123 TheComingDepression on 02.07.09 at 1:31 pm

Pete I think you are lost in space. Do you actually believe when the US does down in flames, like it’s doing, Canada can stand on its own two feet and SURVIVE? When the US sneezes Canada gets a cold. Canada relies on US trade. If (or when) a Depression hits the US with their fake unemployment figures, our trade will come to a halt. They will be trying to feed their own people. For instance worse case scenario, the Depression were to hit Monday morning at 7 am and trade abruptly stops. Are YOU PREPARED? All our food either states USA, MEXICO or CHILE etc. The trucks stop driving, riots start in the US, food rationing,banks shut down, stock market shut, civil servants told to stay home (California) 46 States file for bankruptcy (On the verge), Hyperinflation begins and the list goes on. Now your sitting in your room in Calgary Alberta its minus 25 and your watching this on CNN. They say it will last one week, you look in your fridge….then your cupboards..HELLO?
Garth I am getting 500 hits an hour you may get some US sales on your book?

#124 Jan on 02.07.09 at 1:45 pm

Thanks for signing your book for me in Nannaimo. After readng your book I understand why you reccommended that I wait till 2010 to buy in the Okanagan.
It is frustrating for me to wait but like you I noticed in the summer of 2007 Northern BC real estate was giving itself Vancouver style prices. Then in summer of 2008, because I keep everything; I started to notice my fav parcels being sold within 30 days of listing only to reappear a couple of months later at $100,000 more than the old selling price. Disgusted I didn’t buy -now it appears I have to wait another year to get my retirement home. Oh well ..I can’t save at the same rate of these price declines so I am bettor off waiting. Might even get a nicer place in the sunshine.
Your “After the Crash” book reminds me a lot of “Howard J Ruff” a guru of the early 1980’s. He also predicted economic hell which didn’t materialize BUT I did follow his instructions and bought a 2 acre parcel in 1983 and built my house in the depths of the recession at bargain prices. Planted lot of friut trees which I have enjoyed all these years too. Also for the past 25 years I always carry $100 cash . Comes in handy when going to small vendors who don’t take credit cards and occassionally when they have computer problems. Likewise storing up canned goods etc also comes in handy when you suddenly lose your job. So even in good times it is smart to stock up. Never did get that generator though..hmmm.

Well real estate in Japan is still 87% less than it was in the 1990’s don’t know if it will happen here but better to be safe than soorry.

#125 K on 02.07.09 at 1:50 pm

The reason most 70/80 year olds survived was because they didn’t know any better i.e. You don’t miss what you don’t have. Most of them had very little. No car no house in the burds with air conditioning and central heat no indoor plumbing no t.v the list goes on.I can’t believe that our selfish, greedy, society of today will survive the way they did. When all the irrespossible people of today start losing all their “stuff” let the meltdown begin. Hell now most people can’t make it through the day without an antidepressant. The only depression my grandparents / parents knew was the economic one.

#126 Dave on 02.07.09 at 2:13 pm

its funny, during the real estate bubble, the majority of books sold at book outlet stores were real estate books. People like ourselves were preparing to buckle down for the worst – which was bang on! It seems that most of you are stuck into that frame of mind…You know what books are at the front display right now, you guessed, recession/depression books.

My guess is most of the people who answer to this blog will get stuck in hiding and will be late on the next trend. During optimistic markets people hate the pessimists and during pessimistic markets, people hate the optimists….

I enjoy calling it! Most of you will be left behind hiding underneath your covers. Stop patting yourselves on the back for being ahead of the game in regards to real estate and the major bear market we’re ENDURING (which is occurring). Look over the hills! Its not the end of the world.

Too many people are completely and utterly opposed and almost disgusted with hearing anything positive in the future….thats a tell- tale sign ;)

#127 Bottoms_Up on 02.07.09 at 2:45 pm

The news is finally starting to sound like Garth’s postings. Too bad they’re 6 months late.

#128 Internal Exile on 02.07.09 at 2:53 pm

2 -Islander – I couldn’t agree more – I got that line when I first moved here: “there’s no more land”. A quick walk around any area of the city and you’ll pass abandoned muffler shops, single story storefronts, parking lots – and I’m talking around Yaletown, not Burnaby. All perfectly suitable for development.

I read that one reason London has such outrageous RE is that they’ve created artificial demand by creating a huge green belt around the city that forces it to densify (sp?). Vancouver has the same thing – except it’s like an internal “green” belt – developers and city politicians supported by homeowners make sure you can’t put a structure up more than a few stories high in most neighborhoods.

The “land shortage” could be ended with the stroke of a pen.

#129 Barb the proofreader on 02.07.09 at 3:40 pm

#119 “There is no reset button, no winning enough points for another life.” — Bill Muskoka (NAM)

Good one Bill, quite a thought for the day.

#130 Mike (authentic) on 02.07.09 at 3:49 pm

120 Pete : – Even at its worse, 75% of people still had jobs during the Great Depression”

As a history buff of the Great Depression, I have to correct you and say that… unemployment statistics were not taken at the time, it was an assumed number that 1 in 4 people were unemployed, it was not an official number by the gov’t. Stats were not officially recorded until the 40’s.

The 1 in 4 number is highly debated amoung professionals, many believe this number to be too low and should be revised to 1 in 3.

One of the important differences to remember between the Great Depression of the 30’s and the Great Depression of the New Millenium is we are not a society based on agriculture and industry, we are a service based economy today. People are not as self sufficient as they were in the 30s and there was more food and land available to sustain a population 1/3 of the global population today.


#131 canuck on 02.07.09 at 3:59 pm


It’s encouraging to read your posts.

The house in which I grew up was many generational. My grandmother, trained as a cook in England, knew how to grow food, store, can and make preserves.

It very well could be that this economic downturn will bring people back together each discovers the value of generations in which they are not a member.

#132 go green on 02.07.09 at 4:48 pm

100 Chris L on 02.07.09 at 9:51 am The first link that you posted refered to Mortgage burning parties. From what I know they are a thing of the past. I just paid off my mortgage in September. I would never in a million years have a mortgage burning party. Infact I have told very few people that we have no mortgage. This post made me think “why no mortgage burning party?” and the answer is scary. We have no party because all our friends have no hope of paying off their mortgage anytime soon. Go to such a party and think “this will be me in 3yrs/5yrs/10yrs/one day and it’s a thing to celebrate. Go to a mortgage burning party and know that your mortgage will be paid in 40yrs, if your not dead by then and it’s just other people showing off. Paying off your mortgage used to be a rite of passage, now it’s an impossible dream or an unreasonable expectation to eternal children.


Most on my small street (12 houses) , except those in $350K plus houses, when they extended our street, have paid off their houses. The majority on the extension of our (cul de sac) street are not ‘community’ minded. We’ve had a street party for the last 20 yrs. For 2 years those who bought those $350K houses at the end of the street were invited to our street party. Some came once or twice but, as much as we tried to include them, the majority stayed alloof (sp?). Last, or 2 years ago, the original street neighbours were frustrated & decided the hell with the newcomers on our street. Most all of we older residents figured these newcomers weren’t interested in community, but rather bought their homes strictly as an investment. We’ve already seen ‘For Sale’ signs on several of those homes.

We’ve no intention of selling our ‘paid off’ HOME. My hubby, at times, gets fed up with the house maintenance and has thoughts of renting or buying a condo. Yeah right. Where the heck would he work on his 80’s BMW bikes.

#133 David Bakody on 02.07.09 at 5:03 pm

Not quite sure how to respond to those who make reference to past other than to quote Mark Twain.

A historian who would convey the truth must lie. Often he must enlarge the truth by diameters, otherwise his reader would not be able to see it.
– Mark Twain, a Biography

There are only a few if any alive to-day who remember in detail the crash of 29 and it’s events and history has clouded the past with more fiction than fact. Of course many survived but many untold deaths went untold as did crime and family destruction.

To-day is 2009 and stories of crime and destruction still will not be told and the same is true to-day as it was then, many will do just fine as they are well prepared to weather this economic storm. Yes Canada as does the the US have much available land to grow food …. but do we have the rivers and streams and climate to support the growth, do people have the training and knowledge to mass produce and deliver to millions of people who for the most part have never lived beyond the city limits, never felt the earth’s soil in their hands or spent hours in the hot sun tending crops ….. most land to-day has been overworked with chemicals and river /creeks, cricks from where came from all dried up and once fertile land is nothing but weeds or has been sub divided. The transition should be underway now, yesterday matter of fact but NO! government will wait until the well runs dry ….. people will scream then they will act …. think what are they talking about in this stimulus package …..roads and bridges and yes pet government projects ….. why? because they have their heads in the sand …. and nothing really grows in sand. Forget 1929 this is 2009 and we must find a way to live until 2015 or longer under harsh conditions and then the real work will start how to survive with the full impact of global warming about to strike. They had nothing like that in 1929! oh did I mention a world full of old people>

#134 Terry on 02.07.09 at 5:30 pm

Large populations are not sustainable in Canada.

Typically, we only get 1 crop in per year and we use a lot of energy to heat our homes with over the winter months.

The Vancouver region grows less than 1/3 of the food it needs to survive, yet developers which to gain access to the remaining farm land and build more single family homes.

To be a self sustaining region, you need food, water & shelter, varying amounts of renewable energy, public transportation and various services to maintain a healthy educated lifestyle.

Anything less is a lifestyle built on fragility. We must begin to look at everything through the optics of sustainability anything less is doomed to start crumbling from its weakest links.

#135 David Bakody on 02.07.09 at 5:31 pm

#69 Rhino on 02.06.09 at 7:01 pm

Hey Rhino …… wonder if they ever sold this ….. much the same as Quebec. These big multi nations just do not care, I imagine that BC taxpayers sprung for much of the cost of building the town.

#136 go green on 02.07.09 at 5:51 pm

132 canuck on 02.07.09 at 3:59 pm


It’s encouraging to read your posts.

The house in which I grew up was many generational. My grandmother, trained as a cook in England, knew how to grow food, store, can and make preserves.

It very well could be that this economic downturn will bring people back together each discovers the value of generations in which they are not a member.

Canuck & Pete

I too grew up when my grandmother & my mother preserved all kinds of fruits, veggies , fish, etc. ‘for the winter’ in a cold cellar. I’ve kept a jar, strictlty for posterity, of foxberries, that my mom preserved 67 years ago, the year my eldest bro. was born. That jar has moved about 35 times. I used to make all my jam, freeze my veggies from my garden, vacuum seal them, & make my garlic powder from the garlic I grew. Health has prevented me from doing it the last few years. But, I know I could do it again if I had to.

My PIL, as many Europeans do, preserve fruits in liquor – layer upon layer. Yummy. :-)

#137 Marc on 02.07.09 at 5:56 pm

#121 Rhino on 02.07.09 at 1:10 pm

I think me and you must have headed in opposite directions. I was born in Quebec, lived in various cities as my Father was in the military, and we settled in Coquitlam. Now other then having to pay $6 dollars to drive to work in a few years, will be the only drawback to Coquitlam living in my opinion.

#138 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 02.07.09 at 5:57 pm

#126 K on 02.07.09 at 1:50 pm

Regarding ‘Stuff’…I suggest they listen (repeat as necessary) to George Carlin’s routine on ‘Stuff!’ LMAO!

#139 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 02.07.09 at 5:58 pm

Thanks Barb. Good to see you here.

#140 Patrick from Mississauga on 02.07.09 at 6:10 pm

The economic tsunami has just begun to hit Canada. Last month unemployment number is just the start. Many Canadians are still sheltered from the brutal reality of what might happen in a few months. It is all because of our incompetent government claims about Canada is not the U.S., as a result many Canadian are ill prepare for the future. With easy credit, irrational exuberance in the stock market and the housing bubble, Canadians have even a higher debt to income ratio than our U.S counterpart. However, instead of curbing our spending and encourage saving, our stupid government encourage more spending and try buy itself out of trouble with more deficit. We all assume that deficit will stimulate the economy. All around the world, we see governments try to do the same thing, but can we really spend our ways out? If the stimulation fails, what then? Just watch the bond market, will it be the tell tale sign of future trouble? Hopefully, we won’t see high interest rate combine with high inflation.

Even thought Canadians will be in for a hard time, I don’t share the doom and gloom of many survivalists. Like many said in this board, it is a good time to rethink our way of life. Being less depend on foreign good and material, being more conservative in our spending, being green for the future of our children and a reasonable price housing market. We have survive many economic upheaval and we will survive this one too.

#141 dekethegeek on 02.07.09 at 6:40 pm

#121- Rhino
Sorry didnt mean to Quebec bash, just got carried away, the 1970″s in Sept Iles sounds like it would have been interesting. I visited a Alcan company town in Kemano B.C. in the mid eighties for a few weeks and it was a great place to raise a family,very remote but they had all the amenities and great salaries. But , 90% of the people seemed to blow their money on “toys” and vacations. Human nature i guess.
I agree with you about the Lower Mainland ( sorry North van Dude), the city isnt the same one I moved to in 1981. I figure ten more years here tops then retire back ( yup ,I’m a maritimer)to the east coast of Canada where property is still affordable and people are friendly.
– Oh, to all you other Bloggers from Vancouver. At Garth’s Fandango , I was “this close” to walking up to the mike and asking, ” Where is Real Estate Expert!” before the show started. Didnt want to get booted out so i restrained my “urge” to meet the North Van Man. Next time. I promise.

#142 go green on 02.07.09 at 6:40 pm

131 Mike (authentic) on 02.07.09 at 3:49 pm 120 Pete : – Even at its worse, 75% of people still had jobs during the Great Depression”

As a history buff of the Great Depression, I have to correct you and say that… unemployment statistics were not taken at the time, it was an assumed number that 1 in 4 people were unemployed, it was not an official number by the gov’t. Stats were not officially recorded until the 40’s.

The 1 in 4 number is highly debated amoung professionals, many believe this number to be too low and should be revised to 1 in 3.

One of the important differences to remember between the Great Depression of the 30’s and the Great Depression of the New Millenium is we are not a society based on agriculture and industry, we are a service based economy today. People are not as self sufficient as they were in the 30s and there was more food and land available to sustain a population 1/3 of the global population today.


Mike – I agree re agricultural sustainability.

My parents were in their 20’s during the GD. I grew up hearing about how mothers would sell their bodies for a loaf of bread to feed their children. My mom was one of the lucky ones & mostly shielded from the devastation. My father, a new immigrant, was not. He & a few buddies shared a bed. They took turns sleeping on it during shift work. It was a nasty time.

I shall never forget (as a 20 YO) visiting elderly relatives in Cape Cod who, because they had gone through the GD, had a fridge & huge freezer overflowing with food. They were in their 70’s at the time. My sis & I were astonished that 2 elderly people would have so much food in their house. They were not big eaters. We later understood why.

#143 Michael on 02.07.09 at 6:44 pm

#84 dd,

Yes, shelter is still worth something, but the majority of the houses aren’t basic shelter, they were bought and build as “investments”.

Yes, people need to live in a place, obviously, but that doesn’t mean that housing is going to be at the “lower end”. People will start renting, and they will continue to find other ways to keep shelter. The end result will be that a house that at it’s height may have caught 500K could easily fall down to being worth 100K.

Think about what makes the house currently so attractive at 500K? Sure, there is the general hype, but the “location location location” piece falls into this as well.

If you assume that economic activity is going to deflate then people will look for jobs closer to where they live, and even if that is only because they cannot afford the gas for the car or the car in the first place. Your 500K house will be sitting in some nice neighbourhood far away from everything though.

Also, the constant comparison the Great Depression and the “it wasn’t that bad, we made it out of it” etc. lingo misses the point. The majority of people was still working in the field or in production, most jobs these days are “white collar” with very little practical application to make anything REALLY worthwhile.

#144 go green on 02.07.09 at 6:49 pm

Derrin on 02.07.09 at 6:00 pm #124 The Coming Depression
Nice level headed post. I imagine Pete will want to sign up for your rant(blog). What a joke.
It’s nice people like you stay stuck to your own blogs all day that way the rest of us people can enjoy our lives with out being sucked into your negative vortex.
Bullying people into your position does nothing and it is nice to see that Garth has allowed you to be a promoter of his products of fear. Enjoy the circle j**k.

Derrin – If Pete & otherss are jerks because they read Garth’s blog what are you?

#145 K on 02.07.09 at 7:35 pm

I was talking to a friend today. You must understand she has never been the brightest bulb on the tree. 30 something and she and hubby are up to their arses in mortgage and c.c. debt. She thinks that if the banks and c.c. companies go balls up she will not have to pay any of the debt back. Thought you guys could use a good laugh!…However it makes me wonder how many more that think like her are out there.

#146 TheComingDepression on 02.07.09 at 7:36 pm

Darrin nice to see someone else in lala land. You must live in Vancouver where they walk around in the fog. When it hits you you’ll be graveling around Hastings st with your “friends”

#147 go green on 02.07.09 at 8:59 pm

Sorry this is totally OT. Hope Garth lets it go thru.

Was on Skype with my niece last eve. She was accepted to 2 universaties to do her masters. Carleton in Ottawa offered her free tuition , IIRC, for 2 years. First yr. she’d get $17K as a TA & 2nd yr. $13K TA. The other university in Mtl, where she got her degree, could only offer her $11,390. as a TA in the 1st yr & no commitment in the 2nd year. She has to make a quick decision & I gather she is leaning towards Carleton. She had applied for a SHIRK scholarship but gather only about 2 are available in Canada.

Does the above sound reasonable re Carleton. I’m concerned whether she could find a sharing arrangement with that kind of money? I shared a place with 2 other gals yrs ago but can’t recall how much I paid in relation to my salary. I know I biked to Carleton for eve. classes.

Any comments would be appreciated. She’s my niece & I love her dearly.

Its been

#148 go green on 02.07.09 at 9:18 pm

Derrin on 02.07.09 at 8:44 pm #146 Go Green …….try reading my post again and the one I referenced.
I didn’t call Pete a Jerk.

2009 The Boom in Doom and Gloom.

Sorry Derrin. I might have misunderstood. So many people respond to others without quoting comments that I find it difficult to keep track of who said what. My bad. I just wish people would provide a no. & quote a sentence to which they are responding. Hope I’m making myself clear.

#149 In the Vancouver echo chamber on 02.08.09 at 1:46 am

Just want to add my own opinion here-I am bearish on RE but it seems to me that the alot of people truly do not understand the Vancouver market. There are very few empty houses -many empty condos but very few empty houses. The few that are empty often have grow ops! Most of the fast money-spec money is in condos and there truly is a glut here and condo prices are heading south at an accellerating rate.
Houses almost seem like a different market-yes they are headed lower but I do not agree they are going to zero-they are down 14% already and I think more to come-I see them losing a third.
Even in the suburbs almost one in three have suites and the density is higher than the “official number”. In Vancouver proper, almost 1 in 2 have suites and this has contributed to higher prices.
Land is truly in short supply and it is very difficult to find a building lot.
House prices are going down but they have been high in BC for years due to wave after wave of immigration from the rest of Canada and around the world. Many people buy a home here just to live in while they enroll their kids in school while Dad works at home in Hong Kong or Korea.
Not to mention all those who come here from rest of Canada to escape cold weather while still access CDN healthcare. In an aging population I do not see this trend disappearing.
VCR is not dependent on manufacturing and head office layoffs do not really affect it as there are very few. Forestry is already down and out for 5-8 years. VCR will see some construction layoffs as Olympic projects are done and Condo boom crashes but the population will still grow putting some buying pressure ion the market-I don’t see it going higher due to economy but it should help slow down the decline and create a floor. Just my opinion.

#150 Pete on 02.08.09 at 4:11 am

#124 Hmm – The Coming Depression. Your blog appears to be about America. Are you American? You do realise we are talking about Canada here don’t you? The economies of both countries may be intertwined but they are two completely different countries with very different populations and social morals/beliefs/systems – eg we don’t believe in the death penalty and lax gun laws as you do but we do believe in healthcare for all and good social services, which you don’t. As i say – VERY different outlooks on what’s important in life.

So just because you believe society will completely break down in the USA (which I tend to agree with and my biggest worry for Canada is sharing a border with a country containing millions of gun lovers used to getting what they want) does not mean the same will happen in other, smaller, different and – no offence – better-mannered, calmer, more socially responsible countries where people are less prone to knee-jerk, extreme reactions and hyperbole. By all means comment on the world’s economic situation on here (largely caused by your fellow Americans’ seemingly endless enthusiasm for buying “stuff”), but don’t start lecturing me about my country.

#151 TheComingDepression on 02.08.09 at 8:58 am

Pete are you completely out of the loop? Canada is run by the USA. They own our mineral rights given to them by Paul Martin in 1994. If they want our electricity the don’t ask, its lights out for CANADA. They own the box stores, tons of businesses, supply our food, buy our steel,oil, the list goes on. When 911 happened what happened to us? When the DOW collapsed what happened to the TSE? If (and when) the US collapses you honestly believe we will carry on as usual? Are you delusional? Do you think “manners” have anything to do with the food in your fridge or the fact that the US is our lifeline? Do you know anything about your COUNTRY?

#152 Pete on 02.08.09 at 11:35 am

#154 What nonsense. The US economy affects everywhere – Canada more than most due to our proximity – but in case you hadn’t noticed this is a global crisis. Canada is not run by the USA any more than any other country with MacDonalds and Starbucks lining their high streets. My post was about how the various populations would respond to, for example, a serious depression. You appear to think Canadians in downtown Toronto or Vancouver will react the same way as Americans in inner-city Washington or Los Angeles. I’m, saying they won’t.

#153 Sean on 02.08.09 at 2:43 pm

Hi Garth,

I’m a Vancouver-based sales professional selling software into sub 300 million dollar businesses in Michigan. Couple of very short points:

1) The economy is very poor there but I can tell you that business is not grinding to a complete halt…I’m still making a living selling companies $30K+ software suites.

2) To compare Michigan to BC is outrageous. Comparing Michigan to Ontario is more apt.

3) Never underestimate the human spirit for a better life – people aren’t just going to lay down, give up and take this without making some changes. This correction could finally be the impetus for BC to go out and build strong and meaningful trade relationships in the Asia/Pacific. The US is the new Great Britain and China/India will be the new US and maybe now that our collective backs are against the wall, we will truly seek out these new opportunities.

#154 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 02.08.09 at 3:44 pm

#157 Sean on 02.08.09 at 2:43 pm

I concur with your assessment. Actually, when one looks at history, the re-emergence of the Indo/China trade power one finds it is merely a return to a former time.

I suggest reviewing the story of Petra and the trade routes they created, along with applicable tariffs and facilities. The East has been about trade and business for millenia, and have forgotten more (and learned more as well) than the West has in their collective clue.

How they must laugh at American arrogance! The newbies have fallen flat on their face, and maybe, just maybe, they will now be willing to listen to the Wise Sage of experience? Patience is their ultimate strategic tactic, collective good is their sword, unlike the West which has yet to learn such a valuable lessons from experience.

#155 dd on 02.08.09 at 10:30 pm

#145 Michael on 02.07.09 at 6:44 pm #84 dd,

“Yes, shelter is still worth something, but the majority of the houses aren’t basic shelter, they were bought and build as “investments”.”

Michael … you are throwing out numbers. That is all you are doing … 70-80% down. If you say it is going down that much have some analysis to back up the claim.

#156 Higloglou Manatee Amanitou on 02.21.09 at 2:35 am

> One man left wondering how they could be so naive

May I?

Serge M Thill