Hit & run


Now this sounds like a fun and illuminating media event:

TORONTO, April 13 /CNW/ – With Canada’s real estate market slowing over the past year and mortgage rates near record lows – sellers and buyers are looking for answers on what moves they should be making. Media are invited to discuss the real estate environment with an expert panel:

-   Is the market opening doors for first-time homebuyers?
-   Is now the right time to buy or will prices continue to fall?
-   What trends are appearing in the market?
-   Where is the housing market heading?

WHAT:  Bank of Montreal Real Estate Panel

WHO:   John Turner, Director, Mortgages, BMO (moderator)
Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO
Brad Lamb, Brad J. Lamb Realty Inc.
Donald Lawby, President and COO, Century 21 Canada
Phil Soper, President and COO, Brookfield Real Estate Services

WHEN:  Tuesday, April, 14, 2009 8:30a.m. – 10:30a.m. (light breakfast provided)

Sadly, I’d predict the media benches will in fact be full Tuesday morning at Hotel Le Germain there on Mercer Street in downtown Toronto. Swallowing propaganda (along with those fabulous croissants) as news content, reporters will filter back to their recession-wracked outlets to file copy.

Among the headlines:

* First-time buyers can’t resist cheap rates, bargain prices (Globe)
* Economists predict stable housing markets (Star)
* Despite unemployment, recession, real estate rising (Post)
* Homes grow a set! (Sun)

This is called ‘marketing’, not news. Two executives from one of the country’s biggest mortgage lenders. Toronto’s condo king, in the middle of flogging a new project. And the heads of Century 21 and Royal LePage. Granted, they are all trying to pump and primp and pimp the market – that’s their job – but the really distressing part is how it will be reported as “expert” opinion on a commodity being sold to naive first-time buyers.

No wonder traditional media in Canada, as in the States, is down for the count. So long as newspapers depend so heavily on developers, real estate marketers, furniture stores, electronics marketers and others in the home-frothing business, objectivity is impossible. As I reported a while back, when the country’s biggest newspaper threw its real estate editor overboard for ticking off advertisers with real journalism, the die was cast.

The future of real estate is mixed at best, definitely troubled and potentially disastrous. The faux Spring market will turn into a bitter summer and a regretful autumn, with sales levels again plunging as it becomes clear this recession is not ending and the river of jobless continues to swell. Subsequent years will only find it worse, for reasons contained in the previous post. Rising mortgage rates alone (a 100% certainty) will imperil a market whose only momentum comes from real estate jingoism and bogus media conferences. After that, demographics and the new energy crisis pretty much guarantee this is the last place average people will make money, and the best place they’ll lose it.

Can you imagine a leading brokerage-paid economist, the managing director of a securities firm and the CEOs of three publicly-traded corporations calling a presser to forecast higher stock prices and urge people – especially novice, first-time investors – to buy in now with 95% leverage?

Of course not. That would be illegal.

As this should be.

Just in - news that isn't.

Time is right for first-time homebuyers, housing experts say

By The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Panelists at a BMO real estate conference say there is no doubt that now is a great time for first-time homebuyers.  President and CEO of Brookfield Real Estate Services Phil Soper says affordability in many parts of the country is improving for the first time in a long time.  He says the housing market has shifted from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market, which is good news for someone looking to buy their first home.  And BMO economist Sal Guatieri says the average mortgage payment has fallen one-third or $600 from its peak.  He says the average resale price of a home has fallen 14 per cent from its peak and will fall “moderately further” this year.

And this… and this… and this… and this…. and this


Travel Note: If you were planning on seeing me speak at the Howe Street Money Expo in Langley, BC this Sunday morning at 10 am, forget it. Arrive then, and it’ll all be over but the lingering adulation. My start time is now 8:30am.


For today’s blog, “Armageddon in 15 minutes” click here.


#1 miketheengineer on 04.13.09 at 8:39 pm

The food bank needs your help. They are out of food.


If you can find some food in fruit cellar, to give to people who need it now, now is the time to do so.

If we all help now, we can help stop some suffering for people in Canada, our friends and neighbours.

God bless all those who can help.

#2 lgre on 04.13.09 at 9:16 pm

Inflation with high rates will fix the re market, regardless of what sopher and Lamb have to say about it.

#3 speculator on 04.13.09 at 9:21 pm

It is absolutly amazing that these food bank patrons who lost there jobs a month ago are already broke. I think half of the clients are just loosers who find it easier to beg than to buy food. Unfortunatly the people who really need it have to compete with the lazy.
15 years ago I had financial problems but refused to ask for help I felt that I would rather die than take charity. And things really went my way the harder I worked. If people will take this charity they need to pay it back 5 times when they get back on there feet. Don’t bother giving me an example of some poor single mother with 3 kids who was widowed as it is not the majority of the food bank clients. I also find it entertaining that the food bank CEO makes over 100,000 at least in Edmonton

#4 "Sir" North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 04.13.09 at 9:23 pm

Seriously Garth…your “21st Century Party” Platform

Go green…Urban Sprawl is a dead concept…move back into the city or buy a farm.

Fair Tax for all.

Outlaw all religion…they’re all made up…really folks.

Legalize Bud & Lady of the Night industries.

Free Day Care

Back to the chain gang or get’em into the armed forces.

#5 Grantmi on 04.13.09 at 9:44 pm

#3 Speculator

15 years ago I had financial problems but refused to ask for help I felt that I would rather die than take charity. And things really went my way the harder I worked.

Spec! funny you mentioned that. I’m currently listening to Amity Shlaes – “The Forgotten Man” unabridged CD book in the car to work. (Who has time to read after working!)

She talks about your very point during the depression of 1930’s. There were those that had jobs., those that took welfare… and those that had no jobs and refused to take any charity.. Those Men (mostly men in those days… please ladies no barbs) she calls the “Forgotten Men”.

The ones in the middle that we completely forgot about!

Great listen (Or read if you like to read)


PS: I see whack-o NVC Jr. is still ranting and screaming at windmills! Garth.. I thought you would have toasted him/her by now!!

#6 David on 04.13.09 at 10:07 pm

One would hope that some of the commentators are from outside the industry and do not suffer from real estate related myopia.
Someone should ask the shills about the bailouts and quantitative easing that has become standard public policy these days. Long term interest rates might deserve a comment from the experts. The negative equity trap and loan to value ratios. House price fundamentals with respect to rents anyone?
One could go on and on about what the real estate industry chooses not to discuss about housing and the housing bubble. The real estate barkers keep talking about a balanced market. It might be time for a balanced discussion.

#7 yukon Don on 04.13.09 at 10:07 pm

NVC jr , Your platform for Garth sounds like something I would vote for. I like your 5 ideas. Sometimes even you can make sense. The pot and hooker ideas generate $ , stops std,s and pulls the rug out from under the gangs. Free day care or tax break to stay at home and care for kids. Number three gets rid of a lot of over population ideas.

#8 ts harpoon on 04.13.09 at 10:12 pm

Hard Choices In Hard Times :

“While common sense dictates that the best thing for us to do in such challenging circumstances is to sit tight and do nothing, governments urge us to keep spending in order to prevent the economy from slipping deeper into recession. They are, even now, making it easier for us to borrow and spend even more. ”

“But nobody in their right mind buys a house when their employment is at risk, and prices are still near the top of the market.”

“Are there currently opportunities for new home buyers? Certainly there are, since prices are beginning to marginally decrease, and new home designs are always becoming more refined. Is it prudent to buy now, rather than wait six months, to see which way the wind is blowing? Only if you have found the home of your dreams, and you are financially stable (or what passes for that these days…). ”

“Otherwise, our advice is to sit tight. There is simply not enough information available to support any degree of risk at present. And, if Schiller is correct, the market still has a way to fall. ”

more: http://www.ottawasnewesthomes.com/ottawa-new-homes-predictions-for-2009.php

#9 paleobotanist on 04.13.09 at 10:37 pm

Dear Garth

When are you speaking in Regina? The prairies need you!

#10 CS on 04.13.09 at 10:47 pm

Speculator – I think it’s flat out unkind to judge so harshly. I’m an outreach worker and many of my clients are extremely disadvantaged – without exception, they find going to the food bank embarrassing and humiliating and try very hard to remain self-sufficient before giving in to the need for help. Many, many workers are at the very low end of the $ spectrum and could not have an entire month of food stocked up in preparation for a job layoff no matter how hard they tried – it is certainly not surprising that they are in need of food a month after a job loss. And I find most are eager to return charity whenever they can. It is hard enough to feel like nothing and have to walk into a food bank or a soup kitchen so you don’t faint on a corner from lack of food without having people judge and condemn – you found yourself in a tough place and got out of it, good for you. Others try very hard to get out and don’t succeed for many reasons; often completely beyond their control. Each story is different. Name calling and condemning is easy and can only add pain to an already painful situation. For those who take the high road and put out the call to assist their fellow man like miketheengineer – God Bless, may you be the example we follow.

#11 smwhite on 04.13.09 at 10:47 pm

No wonder traditional media in Canada, as in the States, is down for the count.

Enough said.

I don’t need the corporate marketing machine bombarding me every second. The newspaper used to be sanctuary from television and its advertising.

It used to be nice when only Hefner’s magazines had glossy ads; now a full page spread is an ad for “your choice of 3000sq ft cardboard homes in Bumble-fack Acres”.

Oh the media has trained the herd well.

Now the “yucky” part of “hyping” markets, take note of the title, better yet look for the date they expect it.


Are they finally starting to put the pieces of the riddle together? Alt-A, ARMs, no more worthy credit consumers, interest rates at historic( and talk of being dropped to .25% next week) and juicy unemployment numbers.

.25%, does that bother anyone else? WTF? That’s not a healthy economy.

#12 CS on 04.13.09 at 10:51 pm

…and one other thing – about the CEO of the food bank getting a salary of $100,000 – if that’s true, I’m with you on that one – it’s outrageous – not sure what their board can be thinking to allow a salary like that in the budget.

#13 Eduardo on 04.13.09 at 10:58 pm

Squidly and Mike,

Go reply to my income related posts at the end of “The trap” post.

You guys are clowns.

#14 nonplused on 04.13.09 at 11:24 pm

#1 miketheengineer

I asked my wife to bring all our canned food that was close to/past expiry to the food bank, but my mother-in-law cleaned us out. She’s on social security, and isn’t too concerned about those date stamps. But I think this highlights the issue. There are a lot of people just a thin line from needing help. Maybe I’ll make a direct donation instead of relying on surplus, because it appears my own family already needs the surplus.

#3 speculator

I think you are being uncharitable. A large portion of the population is one paycheck away from serious problems. The day we don’t have a place in our hearts for the food bank is a sad day indeed. But for the grace of god, we’d all be living under a bridge. Not that I’m religious, but you get the drift.

I agree that people who use the food bank should become donors, but those of us who haven’t needed it “yet”, a big pregnant “yet”, might not find it a bad idea either. Pay it forward.

I agree, $100,000 a year seems high for a charitable position. But I am not in a position to determine what sort of people they need to hire. It’s certainly not out of line with say a principle at a junior high school (also charity, just government run) or the top brass at the United Way.

#4 “Sir” North Vancouver Citizen Jr.

“Free day care”??? Hey that’s a great idea. My wife could spend way more time at the gym that way! Maybe they could extend the hours until 10 PM (for people on night shift of course) so I could spend more time at the pub! While we are at it, the government could pay someone to coach my kid’s soccer team so I could again spend more time at the pub!

Money isn’t free people. And misspending it leads to social distortions.

Your point number 5 is just dumb. No one should be forced into the armed services by anyone who isn’t already in the armed services. Unless you’ve signed up, stay away from my kids.

The first point #3 is just rude. Hey, I don’t buy the premise behind religion either. But banning it is akin to banning culture. You may as well ban being Chinese. It can’t be done. And people are entitled to their opinions even if you don’t like them. So what if a large percent of the population thinks the world was created 6000 years ago? But I think you’ll find that if you try and ban that belief, what will get banned is any other belief. Never under estimate the will of the masses. Be glad that at present they leave us at peace rather than burning us at the stake.

#15 ralph on 04.13.09 at 11:25 pm

Young boy eating breakfast sees his father reading the classifieds: Don’t feel bad about being unemployed, Dad. I’ve been unemployed my whole life and it’s fun!

#16 Sam on 04.13.09 at 11:26 pm

you missed the CTV propaganda


#17 Happy Renter in North Van on 04.13.09 at 11:39 pm

I think this is the real reason why main stream newspapers are failing financially… they’ve all become “beholden”… (or starts with “Wh” and rhymes with “moors”) to the real estate industry… Most people with half a brain know they’ve been compromised financially ever since subscription revenue has fallen off a cliff. The other half can barely read to themselves without moving their lips…

#18 Dee on 04.14.09 at 12:00 am

One of the good guys,


He’s posted an update to the above entry. A little on the technical side but I thought you would appreciate it Mr. Garth.

h/t goldmansachs666

#19 average joe on 04.14.09 at 12:34 am

It has been 25 years since I finished university and as a history major we were always cautioned to “consider the source”. I am often dismayed at journalists who report what is told to them and do not check what the real facts are, especially in this global technology where public information is available to all of us. Consider the source: are real estate boards, bank economists and the heads of investments firms going to tell us the truth? It may be what we want to hear but it is not reality. Only trust a real economist that is not paid by the real estate agency, banks or investment firms. Listen to the academics, independants and Garth.

Speak truth to power Garth!

#20 No Fool... on 04.14.09 at 1:20 am

Since when is it a revelation that all media is a form of advertising. As long as media is selective, which it always will be, it will be a form of advertising. So what else is new?

#21 Da HK Kid on 04.14.09 at 1:48 am

Might as well call that seminar Ponzi’s On Ice!

Here are the scripted answers unveiled:

– Is the market opening doors for first-time homebuyers?

Absolutely Jump In Both Feet, There could never be a better time then now!

– Is now the right time to buy or will prices continue to fall?

If you wait you will be disappointed, buy now and make history!

– What trends are appearing in the market?

Unprecedented opportunities to score big time if buying right now today, this weekend, if not you will have missed it! See our developers and banks reps at the back of the room for real time sales and approvals.

– Where is the housing market heading?

Only one direction straight back to the highs and 30% more. Money has never been cheaper and we will show you the way!

What a bag of tools with horns!

#22 Simon on 04.14.09 at 2:49 am

#1 miketheengineer, #3 speculator

There was an interesting article on the subject of food banks and their new patrons published back in Dec ‘08/Jan ’09… I think it was in the National Post (on-line). I can’t seem to locate the article now…

Anyway the author of the piece talked about how he went down to the local food bank to drop off food as he does every year in December. This particular visit he noticed big changes in the types of folks he saw lined up to pick up items from the food bank. He stated that in past visits the types of people he saw lined up to us the food banks actually looked poor, old worn clothes, no fancy bling, humble folks etc. However, this particular visit, to his surprise the clientele was much different. They were younger people dressed well in a very young urban professional manner, tapping away at their black berry phones as they waited in line. The author observed two of these people leaving the food back after picking up their food, one in a relatively new Lexus and the other in a luxury SUV.

Times have definitely changed.

The big question I have is, is the food bank serving the truly needy or are some fiscally irresponsible lazy [email protected]#$%ds leeching the system because they are now over leveraged?

#23 Da HK Kid on 04.14.09 at 3:08 am

Government Ponzi Schemes
Bank Ponzi Schemes
Whole System Triple A Ponzi Scheme

Is this what caused the crisis we are in?

See this very good PBS report on Liar/Ninga/Non-Verification Loans – INTERNATIONAL FRAUD!


If you subscribe then you understand the market will need to fully reset – all asset and savings vehicles!!!

Reduced jobs and wages also to hit the skids!

#24 Munch on 04.14.09 at 4:59 am

Nice article Garth!

Too often the media confuse marketing with reporting – in fact, many news media around here choose the cheapest route to the “news”, and inevitably they get the quality they deserve

#25 Coho on 04.14.09 at 5:12 am

#3 Speculator,

So what’s your solution to the so called 50% losers that take advantage of the food bank? Not to give?

I suppose the term “Loser” could be applied to someone living in a 750K house, who drives a Mercedes, and stashes thousands of dollars about the house telling me she wishes she could afford to flip a $10 food hamper into the food bank bin at the local Safeway every now and then. Unbelievable isn’t it? Unfortunately, there are many others like her.

While on the subject of poverty, try coming down with a visible disability in this country and we’ll see how fast you go broke. Discrimination against people with “disabilities” is still very prevalent in Canada, despite the so-called legislation against it. Disability and poverty go hand in hand in Canada because very few will take a chance on hiring a “gibble” despite his/her ability and qualifications. That says a lot about where government/insurance companies are on this issue…nowhere to be seen…no backing of employers, who otherwise might consider hiring disabled persons based on their ability and not whatever “disability” they may have, if they weren’t discouraged by insurance companies from hiring them.

Where do many people willing to work despite health or mobility problems wind up? In lines at the local food bank or the welfare office because employment doors are shut in front of them. And I’m sure they hear comments from the insensitive, ignorant, and unaware that there is no reason for them to be taking charity because they are capable of gainful employment.

The branches of governmnet created to help disabled people get work or supplement their income are just fluff. There is no substance to them. The real evil part is that government rejects many people who are forced because of discrimmination to apply for a disability pension claiming they are capable of working, while knowing full well the rampant discrimmination among Canadian employers.

For any of you who’s had the misfortune of becoming ill or disabled or know of a loved one that is disabled, I’ll wager the facade of a benevolent and caring government to its most vuilnerable citizens has been shattered to pieces.

#26 wjp on 04.14.09 at 5:50 am

#5 Your P.S….comic relief…funny to some…insulting to others…consider the source and ignore.

#27 Madame Guillotine on 04.14.09 at 5:52 am

You will likely find no true journalists or reporters there, just repeaters.

#28 David Bakody on 04.14.09 at 6:29 am

For the Real Estate people to throw this crapola out to an uneducated public when jobs continue to head south is a sure sign of “Panic” I would like one serious buyer in the audience to ask the Realtors to lower their commissions to 1% and lawyers to $250 if they are themselves serious and truthful that 2 million + lost jobs will return in 6 months! Of are they afraid all is going south and they want their share first?

#29 Munch on 04.14.09 at 6:58 am

“Undeterred, Somali pirates attack 3 more freighters”


Now the world will get a glimpse into the psyche of a “desperate African”

See what we are trying to deal with, down here in South Africa?

No fear!

That’s the motto!

With nothing for them to lose, how to you reign them in?


Coming to a Murrika near you, soon!

#30 hagbard on 04.14.09 at 7:06 am

“Sir” North Vancouver Citizen Jr – I’ll pass on voting for anyone or party, except, pehaps the Libertarian Party if they ever get their act together. Maybe Garth should contact them, they could use a leader.

#31 OttawaMike on 04.14.09 at 7:46 am

#25 Coho on 04.14.09 at 5:12 am
Well said, Coho. Many of the so called middle class are living one to two paychecks away from social assistance. All it takes is a life changing incident such as critical illness or auto accident to place you in the disabled category.
(And yes this is on topic with a real estate blog because the 2 issues are related.)

We should all remember that before sneering at the unfortunate.

#32 Coho on 04.14.09 at 8:02 am

Real estate cartel story:

I know a person who runs a website designed to help people sell their own homes, who’s received a lot of flack from realtors and real estate agencies to the degree of his life even being threatened. The threats on his life were made from what he described as MLS headquarters in Colorado.

In Australia, I believe realtors charge a flat fee of $4000 as commission for selling most homes.

#33 Devil's Advocate on 04.14.09 at 8:48 am

If we could re-educate the public about the realities of real estate we could reduce the commissions we charge to sell a property. For example; fancy ads in the newspaper to not sell a home. The Multiple Listing System (MLS®) is the single most effective tool we have in getting a home sold.

Experience is everything. As they say “Education is a bargain at any price and there is no education like experience.” Yes the enthusiasm of a fresh young new REALTOR® does count for something but it is experience that gets the job done right. If you choose a fresh young REALTOR® choose one who is in a mentorship program where they can draw upon the resources of their experienced mentor sponsor. There is a story of a plumber who charged an outraged customer $150.00 just for hitting a pipe with a hammer. When questioned by the customer who said I thought your minimum service call rate was $50.00 the plumber responded “That is correct”. The customer then said “Well then why is the bill $150.00? All you did was hit the pipe with a hammer.” The plumber responded “The $50.00 is for the service call and the $100.00 is for knowing exactly where to hit the pipe with the hammer.” An experienced REALTOR knows where to hit the pipe with the hammer.

No home will sell if it is priced too high. Yet no-one wants to price too low. An experienced REALTOR® knows instinctively where a home should be priced in order to sell for the highest price in the shortest period of time with the least inconvenience to their seller. That experienced REALTOR® will provide the impartial unemotional market data to back up that price.

The Multiple Listing System was developed by the real estate profession over many years. It is used by REALTORS® as a database of available inventory that they can search for that specific home their buyer seeks. It is the single greatest tool used to buy and sell homes. No other source, not any newspaper nor any internet website gets as many qualified hits by real buyers as the MLS®, not by a long shot.

A good REALTOR will act as a sales manager in the sale of your home. They will manage the real estate community in your town just as a sales manager, just as does any sales manager in any other industry, toward the effective sale of YOUR home. Think about that for a moment… You employ a single REALTOR who employs a sales force of hundreds. In that regard you want them to be able to offer incentive to sell your home. While commissions are completely negotiable, good incentive does a whole lot to compel them to put forth a whole lot more effort. While there is no standard rate of commission it is wise to offer a competitive remuneration to the REALTOR who might sell your home.

The cost of running ones real estate business are a lot higher than you might think. A lot of that expense is money wasted on ineffective advertising expected by the public. Yet the biggest expense is that of taking a listing that never sells even after spending thousands trying to market it. Unfortunately that lost revenue has to be made up somewhere and it is the successful sellers who pay more than they ought due to the high cost incurred for those who don’t sell.

Want reduced rates? We’d love to give them to you. To do that we need to eliminate those expenses that never bear fruit at the end of the day so we can pass the saving on to you.

a.) Hire an experienced REALTOR you have a comfortable confidence in.
b.) Price your home right, price it competitively.
c.) Negotiate the commission but understand there must be competitive incentive.

#34 Keith in Calgary on 04.14.09 at 9:09 am

Canwest/Global Media are the biggest pack of RE shills out there…..what they do is, IMHO, criminal.

#35 dekethegeek on 04.14.09 at 9:34 am

#29 Munch – Just curious
Who are the “them” your referring to?
Anyone, you, me would chew on the neck of a dead chicken( a la a circus GEEK ! Get it?) if we were hungry and desperate enough.
the “them” be “us”.
So while agree with most of your Souf Effriken statements . Take a look in the mirror to see one of “them”.

#36 smwhite on 04.14.09 at 9:52 am


I don’t know about Toronto, but I know in Ottawa AFTER the removal of the 40 year mortgage, so, November and December, sales were down by HALF compared to 2008, 2007, for the same months.

HALF folks, removing the possibility of 5 years of amortization reduced buyers by half.

I haven’t seen the glossy brochure from the RE board for spring 2009, but historically low interest rates are not enough to artificially prop up overpriced shelter.

They called the bottom in December. Now that sounds like the NAR’s broken 2007 record…

#37 CBC Listener on 04.14.09 at 10:11 am

CBC Radio is the impartial media. No advertising. No shills. Why do you think we spend $2 billion a year of our tax money on them?

#33 Devil’s Advocate, that was an excellent piece. The fact is, anyone can start up a parallel MLS system if they don’t like what’s out there now. Ask yourself why it hasn’t happened.

You got it. Very expensive, very time-consuming, and it would take years. Would you deserve fair compensation for undertaking such a project?

No one is forced to use MLS to sell their home. It’s proven to be the most efficient and cost-effective tool there is.

#38 CBC Listener on 04.14.09 at 10:15 am

#34 Keith “Canwest/Global Media are the biggest pack of RE shills out there”

They’ve got you hooked. You read them everyday. You comment on their stories online. Why do you support them if they’re so awful?

#39 Devil's Advocate on 04.14.09 at 10:24 am

With regard to that media which originates from such “self serving organizations” as your local, regional or national real estate associations, understand that it is “marketing”. There are two sides to the buying and selling of real estate – Buyers and Sellers. Sellers deserve nothing less than our best efforts to market their properties for the highest price the market will bear.

Buyers, on the other hand, are owed an equal duty of care but of conflicting interest to that of the seller. A buyer who enters into a Buyer Agency with a REALTOR should and can trust, if they select an experienced professional they have a comfortable confidence in, that their agent will be motivated to do nothing less than the best job possible for their buying client. Their REALTOR should and can cut through all this marketing hype and help you determine not only what you should buy but if you should in the first place and how much you should pay regardless of the asking price.

There is a reason organized real estate services have consistently been the catalyst behind ninety-five percent of real estate transactions – they bring value to the process. If they did not or do not they will cease to exist.

#40 rory on 04.14.09 at 10:28 am

33 Devil’s Advocate
I have read your previous posts and was thinking that you are a good & ethical Realtor. But, alas, as soon as the subject turns to money and commissions you show your colors – “Protect my overpriced value”.

Of course the MLS is the most effective – duh. It is also fiercely protected so that higher charges can be charged.

As to your costs it is mostly self promotion anyway + no barriers to entry has too many people trying to sell homes.

In reality a wide open MLS system, a few pros sitting in an office supplemented by clerical/admin staff could sell homes for $2k Max and still make loads of money. Anything else said is BS dude.

#41 Keith in Calgary on 04.14.09 at 10:46 am

#38 CBC listener……

I don’t support them. I read pretty much every major CAN and US news publication that is out there on a daily basis. That is not support. Support would be paying them for advertising, or being complimentary of their pro RE bias.

The Calgary Herald is starting a 6 week “news campaign” about how first time home buyers are coming out of the woodwork and driving the market. First of all, this is patently untrue, and secondly, what “news” is worthy of 6 weeks of solid PR ? That “news” which is paid for by your largest, and pretty much last remaining advertiser of any size, the “REIC”.

#42 Devil's Advocate on 04.14.09 at 10:48 am

#40 rory on 04.14.09 at 10:28 am
“Of course the MLS is the most effective – duh. It is also fiercely protected so that higher charges can be charged.”

Best Answered by…

#37 CBC Listener on 04.14.09 at 10:11 am
“The fact is, anyone can start up a parallel MLS system if they don’t like what’s out there now. Ask yourself why it hasn’t happened.
You got it. Very expensive, very time-consuming, and it would take years. Would you deserve fair compensation for undertaking such a project?”

#43 CBC Listener on 04.14.09 at 10:51 am

#40 rory

Heck, it’s easy and lucrative. When are you going to start? Or were you just BS’ing?

#44 Kilt on 04.14.09 at 10:53 am

Time is right for first-time homebuyers, housing experts say
by Canadian Press.


Funny thing, when an analyst tells me to buy a stock, I would hope he believes that the stock price will go up. Wonder if these guys feel the same way. Wonder how long it will be a ‘buyers market’.


#45 CBC Listener on 04.14.09 at 10:53 am

#41 Keith

They charge for advertising based on readership. You’re a reader. A statistic. Money in their pocket. Get it? You’re on their website everyday.

#46 CJ on 04.14.09 at 11:10 am

Bang on, Garth.

For years, there’s been pressure on media to create content with less dollars, fewer people. You could just as easily have illustrated the point with headlines about automobiles, investments or waffles.

When I was in the private sector, I got very good at using this to the advantage of whatever company I was working for by offering “content” (marketing pieces) to media outlets hurting for content. Sometimes I hosted Q&A events, other times I actually wrote the pieces they published. This cost nothing but my time and bought instant “street-cred” with the consumer.

Why would I trust newspapers or radio? Their writers are less informed than I am about topics that interest me, as evidenced by your example.

Check out this blog, if you haven’t: http://eaves.ca/
Dave Eaves and you seem to speak the same lingo.

#47 guava.ca on 04.14.09 at 11:15 am

Food bank article:


I think it’s Richmond Hill.

The author of article posted here in January, when he wrote it. Perceptive guy. Good writer. — Garth

#48 JET on 04.14.09 at 11:19 am

I find this pretty incredible and couldn’t resist sharing. Look at page 10 of Goldman Sachs’s quarterly report: http://www2.goldmansachs.com/our-firm/press/press-releases/current/pdfs/2009-q1-earnings.pdf

They just reported results for January-March, but because of a convenient shift from what should have been the quarter from December-February, they have left out the loss of 2.15 per share for December 2008!

Pure craziness… and markets around the world, including Canada, cheered.

I would say that’s another hit and run! Actually, the hit-and-run victims are cheering. Amazing times.

#49 CBC Listener on 04.14.09 at 11:33 am

The media is not credible, yet everyone is posting links to stories in the media to prove their points. :)

#50 Alberta Ed on 04.14.09 at 12:02 pm

Woo, woo! Better dig out our savings and get out there and buy, buy, buy… I can hardly wait for the Calgary Herald and CREB shills to pick up on this… assuming that CanWest doesn’t take the big swirl first.

#51 TJMikey on 04.14.09 at 12:13 pm


Let’s see, so if I understand it, the bankers, brokers, real estate agents, economists, governments and media all had a fair bit to do with our current world-wide dilemma.

So their lack of greed and foresight got us into this, but it’s all good, look at the the buyers market they have helped us create.

Like the idiots have done us all a favour or something.

Yeah….OK, I’ll step right up and finance with one slimeball and buy from another.

If you are stupid enough to believe this crap you deserve what you are going to get.

#52 Got A Watch on 04.14.09 at 12:15 pm

#3 – It is absolutely amazing to me that you seem to lack any human qualities like sympathy, empathy or charity. Your “holier-than-thou” lecture there reminds me of what you get from the newly born-again – anybody who hasn’t done it your way is “lazy”. You disgust me. You must have noticed by now that not everyone can live up to your standard. Not everyone in society is fully capable or smart enough to be like you, except in the dream perfect world you inhabit. And what do you know about “the average” food bank client anyway? I’d say nothing, but your own assumptions.

# 1 miketheengineer, #10 CS, #14 nonplussed, #25 Coho, #31 OttawaMike, #47 Guava.ca – thanks for being great human beings.

What they said ^

#53 David Bakody on 04.14.09 at 12:17 pm

#49 CBC Listener on 04.14.09 at 11:33 am

The media is an integral part of any countries democracy and is well worth it’s salt …. having said that the responsibility is on the reader to investigate by reading other sources and if all seem to say much the same chances are the story has truth. We all know many news agencies are bias to some point. A headline is a headline and the reading public demands that headline news be front page. Remember any government with the sole intent on taking full control of any country must either shut down all local news media or hold them hostage. For what is worth public broadcasting is the first to go ……hello Canada?

#54 Got A Watch on 04.14.09 at 12:23 pm

Too bad I was not in downtown Toronto, I could have gone too that little schmooze and mutual back-slapping festival.

With a protest sign, like “Clueless Realt(ho)rs (TM) Will Destroy You Financially! Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid!”

Garth, you should show up there and hand out some books to the “journalist(shill)s” in attendance.

#33 Devil’a Advocate – Living up to your name, I see. As a Realt(ho)r ™, my contempt for you and your industry is boundless. You, the “MLS”, and all “Realt(ho)rs ™” deserve to go bankrupt, for all your pumping, bad advice, over-charging and in general, a complete lack of any real value in your industry for end-users. Goodbye, and good riddance, you and yours won’t be missed.

I used to be a Realt(ho)r ™ myself, when I was younger and dumber, but I had to leave the “industry” when I realized what an ethical sewer it is. And I made some good money, but I always felt I was over-charging on “commission”, back then it was 6% across the board, now it’s 5% or 4% but home prices have gone way up – you are still wildly over-charging your suckers (customers). Your propaganda is laughable, if it weren’t so pathetic.

#55 squidly77 on 04.14.09 at 12:35 pm

Devil’s Advocate

realtors poor public image can be blamed on there reckless behaviour and never ending spinning and distortion of the market place

we have a realtor (who i wont name) that has put on his (fully censored) blog unimaginable nasty and cruel words and has been forever trashing certain parts of our city and citizens alike and what does the real estate board do about him..nothing thats what

some simple advice to improve realtors public image

* quit whining about what it cost you to advertise a house

* dont compare yourselves to actual professionals as realtors are not..you simply took a short course

*report just the facts and leave the spin behind

*police your own members as failure to do so indicates that you approve of there actions

the only realtors that get a hard time in alberta are the loud spinning obnoxious ones

you dont hear a peep about the other 98% that work hard for their clients..dont bragg and keep to themselves

#56 CBC Listener on 04.14.09 at 12:51 pm

#54 Got A Watch

“I used to be a Realt(ho)r â„¢ myself”

Now you’re just a regular (ho)r? :)

#57 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.14.09 at 12:52 pm

#38 CBC Listener

Ah, but their techniques still work as well as when they were used throughout history. FUD is the key element coupled with a sense of ‘getting a deal’.

As Hitler said :
“The masses will accept a big lie over a smaller one.”

His views of propaganda were many, but perhaps this exemplifies the crux of his control philosophy?

“The great masses’ receptive ability is only very limited, their understanding small, but their forgetfulness is great. As a consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda has to limit itself only to a very few points and to use slogans until even the last man is able to imagine what is intended by such a word. As soon as one sacrifices this basic principle and tries to become versatile, the effect will fritter away, as the masses are neither able to digest the material offered nor to retain it. Thus the result is weakened and finally eliminated.”

In today’s world we now love to use acronyms and innuendos, and one of the most misstated is ‘WMD’s’ which actually have been proven to mean ‘Words of Mass Deception!’

#58 pbrasseur on 04.14.09 at 12:52 pm

“There’s a fair amount of evidence out there that the market has bottomed and is starting to come back,” Lamb said, adding that while prices may not fall any further, they probably won’t rise in the near-term either.”

What evidence, where? Yeah right there is a month to month sale increase, big deal!

All I see is evidence sales have declined sharply YTY (almost 50%) and listings are piling up like an ice jam, it’s only a matter of time until sellers say uncle.

#59 Bob Loblaw on 04.14.09 at 1:02 pm

#45 CBC Listener said:
They charge for advertising based on readership. You’re a reader. A statistic. Money in their pocket. Get it? You’re on their website everyday.

True enough, but I am a bit of a S___ disturber. I have actually contacted firm’s public affairs department to tell them that I use Firefox Web Browser with AdBlock and NoScript so I see absolutely none of the ads on the newspaper web page. I also make sure I regularly and routinely inform the papers I read online of this fact.

I WILL not block ads of non MSM sites. The sooner MSM packs it in, the better.

#60 smwhite on 04.14.09 at 1:04 pm

#49 CBC Listener

What does media credibility and marketing have to do with articles with relavant quotes from industry “experts”? To quote a gentleman I’m sure you’ve heard many a time on CBC radio, “Its hidden there right between the lines”.

Keith is bang on as is Garth. Its marketing not news, thats the point. Maybe if media outlets hadn’t been so biased in its attempt to generate revenue there’d be a little more trust from the public.

#61 Devil's Advocate on 04.14.09 at 1:08 pm

Dear Got A Watch posting #54

You would be surprised to learn I dont’ disagree with you on many of your contentious points pertaining to organized real estate.

I have long been an advocate of increased scrutiny, higher entry levels of qualification, minimum education qualifications, a period of articling and more for one to become a qualified REALTOR.

Fortunately, like smoking reduces smokers, poor REALTORs reduce poor REALTORs. You have to ask yourself; why did you really leave the business? You don’t smoke by chance do you?

#62 pot/kettle on 04.14.09 at 1:11 pm

#55 squidly 77
“nasty and cruel words and has been forever trashing certain parts of our city and citizens”

Here’s what squidly77 has said about calgarians on his blog:

“calgarians are the stupiddest idiots in canada”

“anyone that would pay over $600,000 to live in regal terrace probably needs to be medicated”

“you are responsible for the mess your in don’t blame me don’t blame the realtor blame yourself”

“do you know how fu___d you are?”
bwabwabwabwabwa !!!

“what a loser! sucker. idiot.”

“most of them are short fat middle aged wannabes”

“burn baby burn. I cannot wait for it to be like 1982 again.”

“your a worthless human being”

“ha ha. you don’t own anything. the bank owns you bitch lol.”

“they have sent over supposedly skilled tradesman from india the philipines and a host of other countries
they are not near the level of Canadians”

“if your a stupid buyer..whos to blame..not the realtor
you are”

That’s a small sample. Go to the alberta Bubble Blog to experience Squidly’s love of Calgary.

#63 pot/kettle on 04.14.09 at 1:19 pm

#58 pbrasseur

“All I see is evidence sales have declined sharply YTY (almost 50%) and listings are piling up like an ice jam”

That must depend on where you are. Sales this month in Calgary are down about 5% compared to last year, and new listings are down about 40%. Inventory is way lower than last year.

#64 pot/kettle on 04.14.09 at 1:40 pm

MaW said on 04/06/2009 4:40 pm…

“squidly77 –
I’m liking the abundance of interesting stats on the bobtruman website you linked.”

Squidly, MaW gave you a compliment for posting a link to Bob Truman’s website because the information was so interesting.

You give no links or evidence about his “nasty and cruel” words. Ad hominem attacks on a realtor who appears to be doing a helpful and much-appreciated public service makes you appear petty.

I know your problem with Bob Truman. He reminds you of things you said last year. Things you don’t want to hear because they were so outrageous. Don’t say such crazy stuff if you don’t want to be held accountable.

#65 Paolo on 04.14.09 at 1:46 pm

This is hilarious…


Wow! That downturn was short and sweet – – how do I get into this new boom! Why it’s too good to pass up!

#66 cbc listener on 04.14.09 at 2:04 pm

#60 sm

“Maybe if media outlets hadn’t been so biased in its attempt to generate revenue there’d be a little more trust from the public.”

The situation will take care of itself. If a media outlet has lost the trust of its readers, what happens? No readers. No advertising. Bankruptcy.

People will go to the places they trust for information.

#67 Got A Watch on 04.14.09 at 2:17 pm

#61- LOL. Sure, you “agree” with me, but then you slip in the “You have to ask yourself; why did you really leave the business?”

I told you why – Realt(ho)rs (TM) are parasitic scum, and I did not want to be associated with such. I was young and naive, did not realize what it was all about then. I did make good money in the 2+ years I was in, before I quit in disgust to go earn an honest living.

If you don’t want to be called scum, get a real job.

Since then, I have pursued several careers and made some good money. Nowadays, I am semi-retired, at 47. I found my last pay-check a while back, it was dated ’01, so I guess I have been retired since then.

Nowadays, I make money trading stocks etc, going on 9 years now. Yes, I am an arch-capitalist.

And I ain’t your dear.

#68 malbadon on 04.14.09 at 2:41 pm

pot/kettle on 04.14.09 at 1:19 pm

That must depend on where you are. Sales this month in Calgary are down about 5% compared to last year, and new listings are down about 40%. Inventory is way lower than last year.
Where do you get your magic laced statistics from?
Right off the CREB website:
Mar 2007 sales = 4077
Mar2008 sales = 2478
Mar 2009 sales = 1844
I don’t know how you do math, but mine says thats a 25% drop in sales.
You are correct that inventory is down, but I wouldn’t exactly go around touting a drop from 12500 to 10200 as a sign that the future is suddenly going to be lollipops and sugarplums.

#69 john m on 04.14.09 at 2:41 pm

Curiously the people who are trying to reel in the suckers now are the same ones who got us in this mess in the first place. Our jobs are disappearing,our country’s going deeper in debt,the future in every walk of life is dismal……guess the list of victims isn’t long enough yet?……..but they have no fear after all our government will bail them out!……………….again!

#70 David on 04.14.09 at 3:05 pm

Real estate experts huh? Prices slid 15-20% with historically low interest rates, government bailouts and minimal down payment requirements. Shudder the thought of interest rates resetting due to quant easing, a declining number of potential buyers with actual stable well paid full time jobs or an adequate down payment. It is always a good time to buy or sell for the folks who get 6% commission on either side of the transaction. For first time buyers, I am not so sure. The historically low interest rates are unlikely to last once the recovery begins. Historically high bubble prices will not advance when mortgage rates start to climb or young folks decide to rent or it takes 5 years to save for an adequate down payment that will not be stuck in the negative equity trap.
The safest best would be to ignore the real estate experts for the sake of one’s own pocket book. The free lunch programme is over for these people and the sooner potential customers wake up to this greedy Ponzi scheme the faster matters will correct. The whole real estate industry is looking for sheep to shear. The industry is pretty much down to lost lambs at this point since the supply of greater fools has diminished.

#71 TS on 04.14.09 at 3:30 pm

Great post Garth!

These folks are so-called ‘industry experts’…what a joke! A panel full of people with a vested interest in leading the lemmings over the cliff to buy real estate right now. The public needs to think not only about what they hear and read…but also WHO is the source of it.

#72 Bruce on 04.14.09 at 3:33 pm

Here’s an excellent editorial that I read today, and I think he hits it right on the head. Some of you people still don’t seem to “get it”…

“There are lessons to be learned from the economic crisis. Perhaps the most significant is that this troubled era will force us to reconsider how we define the good life.

North Americans, driven by an ethos and expectation of increasing affluence, are wealthier than citizens anywhere else.

If Americans have taken the “pursuit of happiness” exhortation to obscenely materialistic lengths over the years, accumulating possessions like there was no tomorrow, Canadians have held on to Uncle Sam’s coat-tails, intoxicated by our own extended buying spree.

The current recession has been a painful wake-up call that easy credit doesn’t mean you should go hog wild on that bigger house, fancier kitchen, top-of-the-line home theatre, trips to Europe, and a jazzier car.

Why did we think we could go deeper and deeper into debt without serious consequences?

Even though the median earnings of Canadian workers have remained unchanged for about 25 years (hovering at about $41,000 in 2005 constant dollars), we have spent like drunken sailors. Generations “X” and “Y” will bear the greatest brunt of this big romp, leaving them with virtually nothing once the boomers have cleaned the system out.

Somewhere along the way, the “American Dream” moved away from the idea of working and managing one’s expectations, writer David Kamp notes in a piece in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair.

“Never before had money been freer, which is to say, never before had taking on debt become so guiltless and seemingly consequence-free,” he says of the 1980s.

David Kamp wonders about the widely accepted view that each generation must live better than the one that preceded it and he suggests that we ratchet down our expectations. He cites how Generation “X”, while carrying its own debt burdens, will be saddled paying for their parents mistakes–and likely have nothing to look forward to in retirement.

The U. S. became the world’s largest debtor nation and Americans happily sailed along on that sea of debt, he writes.

Yet the “American Dream” gradually became virtually unattainable, Kamp argues, because it was “a moving target that eluded people’s grasp; nothing was ever enough.” ” It was the classic scenario that the more they had, they more wanted,” he said.

A case in point: I know a well-off couple who live in a custom-designed, 4,000-square-foot mansion in Toronto. It is one of those neighbourhoods just north of downtown where almost all the tiny, original post-war bungalows have been knocked down and replaced by massive palaces to fulfill the desires of wealthy boomers.

Now, ironically, many of the affluent residents in the area are fighting the plans of an even richer family that wants to build an 8,500-square-foot mega-mansion on the street. Keeping up with the Joneses can snowball into the stratosphere.

In his Vanity Fair piece, Kamp wonders about the widely accepted view that each generation must live better than the one that preceded it and he suggests that we ratchet down our expectations.

His solution? “The time has come to consider the idea of simple continuity: The perpetuation of a contented, sustainable, middle-class way of life.”

It’s an intriguing challenge — that we redefine the North American Dream so it’s not purely about bigger, better possessions and flashy excess. What about our emotional well-being? Haven’t you ever noticed the increased amount of frustration and uncouth behaviour people today are displaying?

Because median income has stagnated, most Canadians will not be better off than their parents, warns Andrew Sharpe, executive director of the Centre for the Study of Living Standards. “The burden of having a lifetime of serviceable debt will certainly fall on anyone born in the 1970s and ’80’s. Their financial future and economic security certainly doesn’t bode well,” says Sharpe.

Still, we live well compared to most people in the world, he points out. “You’re not going to get happy just because you have lots of goods.”

Clarence Lochhead, of the Vanier Institute of the Family, agrees that we need a new debate about what constitutes the North American Dream. “We’ve really had a culture of tying well-being . . . to the notion of how much you can consume,” he says. “We need to collectively look in the mirror on this one.”

Truly these are unprecedented times.

EXCELLENT article…. Garth, what’s your take?

#73 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.14.09 at 3:33 pm

Perhaps this will explain a number of things?


Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for £ 10 each.

The villagers, knowing there were many monkeys, went to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at £ 10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort.

He then announced that he would buy monkeys at £ 20 each. This renewed the villagers efforts and they started catching monkeys again.

Soon the supply diminished and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to £ 25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort to even find a monkey, let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at £ 50 each! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would buy on his behalf.

The assistant told the villagers, “Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that my boss has already collected. I will sell them to you at £ 35 and when my boss returns, you can sell them to him for £ 50.”

The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys for £ 700 billion.

They never saw the man or his assistant again, only lots and lots of monkeys!

Now you have a better understanding of how the


It doesn’t get much clearer than this……..

#74 David Bakody on 04.14.09 at 4:01 pm

The rumour is Harper’s Cons have a plan to give “Bailout Money” to Can West and CTV. I wonder how that will effect what is written and political questioning?

#75 Got A Watch on 04.14.09 at 4:09 pm

What is with Realt(ho)rs (TM) and the truth? Have they ever been in the same room together? It seems not, from reading that press release.

You would have to look pretty hard to find a more reality-challenged bunch than the Realt(ho)rs (TM). They are all from Planet Delusion. And in this world, that’s saying something.

I guess it’s the money. Or it’s the group omerta. Maybe it’s in the unwritten part at the bottom of the ‘Codes of Conduct’:

“I will never, ever tell my clients the simple truth.”
“I will always say ‘Never Been A Better Time to Buy!’ with a smile, regardless of any facts”
“I will always claim to be an expert who knows what I am talking about.”
“I will serve up fresh kool-aid daily”

And some wonder why I hate Realt(ho)rs (TM).

As for the MSM, it’s just money. Can’t upset paying advertisers, and these days, the Realt(ho)rs (TM) are it. No mystery there. No Realt(ho)rs ads, no MSM any more. Not like the car dealers can pick up the slack these days.

#76 Mike B formerly just Mike on 04.14.09 at 4:10 pm

You honestly can’t expect accuracy and ethics from a mortgage company and a condo salesperson. They know more about investing than a stock broker knows whether the market will go up or down next week. What else would you expect them to suggest ////As David pointed out .. it is always a good time to buy real estate if you are a commissioned sales person who makes 6%. Some of these clowns can make around 500K a year … more than alot of doctors and some lawyers who actually need to have educations.
Perhaps Garth can spin out some stats on Mortgage applications if any exists. That would tell the story on where the market is going. Living here in Toronto I find that stuff is still very very expensive and the sellers want to put a coat of paint on 40 year old cabinets and call a kitchen renovated. Truly a sheister market..first timers should be very cautious…

#77 Grumpydawgs on 04.14.09 at 4:21 pm

#32 Coho, FYI, most real estate in Ozzie is auctioned, not listed. Commissioned salespersons organizations are available at various rates as they are in Canada.

#33 Devils Advocate, if you begin by misrepresenting your status as a Realtor then why would anyone believe anything else you have to say? As most people know you are not legally entitled to refer to yourself as a “Realtor” in the province of British Columbia or use that specific term on your buisness card unless you are seperately licensed as an agent-licensee under Sec. 9.15 of the Real Estate Act of British Columbia.

A real estate salesperson also referred to as a sub-agent are 99.9% of the sales force in ‘everytown’ BC. The office manager will have a agent – licensee permit issued under sec. 9.15 acting as principal and incorporate officer . By misrepresenting this very basic principle it tends to make you look like either a liar or an incompetant overall.

#78 squidly77 on 04.14.09 at 4:27 pm

mortgage applications were way up..now way down

this is one company only..

#79 My_view on 04.14.09 at 4:30 pm


You seem to be in better spirits on the Howe St. show.
Heck whats that you say about our banker?


#80 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.14.09 at 4:42 pm

#74 David Bakody

One guess!

#81 dotava on 04.14.09 at 4:53 pm

#40 rory on 04.14.09 at 10:28 am

Well said, and as

#23 Da HK Kid on 04.14.09 at 3:08 am


William K. Black on Bill Moyers Journal

MLS is just another puzzle in rotten system.

#82 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.14.09 at 4:56 pm

#66 cbc listener

The purge of the MSM is underway! They greedily tried to buy up their competition and now are in serious trouble to the millions. Tick! Tick! Tick!

I call it AADD = Acquired Asset Deflation Debacle!

#83 Devil's Advocate on 04.14.09 at 5:19 pm

#77 Grumpydawgs on 04.14.09 at 4:21 pm #32 Coho,

“#33 Devils Advocate, if you begin by misrepresenting your status as a Realtor then why would anyone believe anything else you have to say? As most people know you are not legally entitled to refer to yourself as a “Realtor” in the province of British Columbia or use that specific term on your buisness card unless you are seperately licensed as an agent-licensee under Sec. 9.15 of the Real Estate Act of British Columbia.”


Just to set the record straight; I am a REALTOR®.


The Brokerage is the real estate company under which the individual is licensed.

The Licensee is the managing broker, associate broker and/or representative of a Brokerage.

REALTOR® is often used interchangeably with licensee, real estate agent or representative and, in BC, is licensed under the Real Estate Services Act. A Licensee can use the term REALTOR® if he/she belongs to a local real estate board or association that enforces a strict Code of Ethics.


REALTOR® Code of Ethics

#84 jess on 04.14.09 at 5:27 pm

… merge or perish time

#85 Devil's Advocate on 04.14.09 at 5:53 pm

The further qualify myself… and these are simply my opinions not necessarily shared by my peers nor the associations I am licensed under.

In Kelowna, B.C., the city in which I do business, the median price of a single family home in January was $396,000. In February that jumped to $400,000 and in March it jumped again to $410,000. Currently for the month of April it is trending toward $415,000.

The historical trend line suggests that the median price of a single family home in Kelowna at this years end (2009) should be $350,000. In order to return to the more recent historical trend we would have to see the market drop about 17% between now and the end of the year. Is that likely to happen? Well, obviously, it depends on who you talk to. Right now we are headed in the opposite direction after a year to date fall of about 19%. Why? The answer is logical illogic – a Bear Market Rally of sorts, an Elliot Wave “B”. Is it sustainable? In a word “No”.

As H.S. Dent wrote “demographics tell us all we need to know about our economic future” My bet is that Harry Dent, Peter Schiff, Ron Paul, The Mises Institute, Garth Turner and the likes have a more correct insight on the logical outcome of this economy than do many. I would not take, in any way, what the mainstream media says as gospel.

My job as a REALTOR®, at the end of the day, is to help my clients get to where they want to be. Each client has different wants and needs. It is not for me to judge those wants and needs but to act in such a manner as to help them obtain them.

I do encourage everyone to read the writings of the aforementioned authors.

Want a copy of my newsletter… email me. But before you condemn me as “another one of those” take a moment…

#86 Herb on 04.14.09 at 5:58 pm

David Bkody @ #74

don’t fret. Canwest has been earning CPC support for years. They won’t have to change a thing.

#87 Jazz on 04.14.09 at 6:06 pm

The plight of the downsizers: Record number of middle classes desperate to sell homes


Coming our way?

#88 Jazz on 04.14.09 at 6:15 pm

Hi Garth,

Looks like squirrels can breathe a little easier for now…

Grandmother cooks snails from garden to beat credit crunch


Includes a recipe (no kidding my fellow Canadians) for Snails in Wild Herbs

Hopefully not, no definitely not, coming our way! Wow.

#89 pot/kettle on 04.14.09 at 6:33 pm

#68 Malbadon

Your March numbers for Calgary are out of date. These are up to April 10:

“For the first 10 days in April, sales of single family homes are down 1% compared to last year, and condo sales are down 3%. SFH new listings are down 48%, and condos are down 41%.”


Take a look at the first item on there. Sales on low-end homes up 159%.

#90 Happy Renter in North Van on 04.14.09 at 6:33 pm

Everybody knows first time buyers are useful as knife catchers… Here’s a nugget from the Sacramento Bee from November 2006… Plus ça change…

FIRST-TIME BUYERS MAKE IT HAPPEN – Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, CA) Publication Date: 12-NOV-06 Byline: Jim Wasserman Nov. 12–For the first two years of their marriage, Janend and Devina Singh lived with parents in Sacramento and saved for that ultimate newlywed’s dream — their first house together. In August they found it: a new home in the $300,000s in Elk Grove. “We could have waited,” says Devina Singh, 25, a medical assistant for a downtown Sacramento cardiology group. “That’s what my husband was going to do, to wait and see if the market goes lower. I said, ‘What if the price goes up? You never know.’ We took a chance, and we got what we were looking for.”

#91 dekethegeek on 04.14.09 at 6:34 pm

#73 Bill- Muskoka
The Monkey story was hilarious and very appropriate.

#92 Grumpydawgs on 04.14.09 at 6:35 pm

#85 Devils Ad, another ignorant desperate realtard trolling for suckers to burn. The median price published by the realturd board means nothing. It’s # 25 in a field of 50. It has no relation to value whatsoever.

#93 pot/kettle on 04.14.09 at 6:36 pm

Calgary average prices have risen since Dec 31. Condo prices up $12,000 and Single family up $4,000.

#94 Bonnie N BC on 04.14.09 at 7:00 pm

Don’t you just love dogs?

No, not bad real estate deals but energetic dogs that capture a moment in time. Yes, a dog that through no fault of his own is the centre of attention internationally.

Gosh you watch the video and you know the Obamas’ have a lot to learn about dogs.

They, the Obamas, are a quick study and they will figure it out if they understand what they are asking of this first pooch as their first dog ever.

Puppies don’t behave – they take time, patience and structured training and a lot of chew bones to keep them from eating shoes or in his case antiques.

My dog, a Lab. isn’t perfect but she is a friend and understands consistency. It has always been me who fails her.

Dogs are the best because just when you lose your temper they have a way to turn it around and make you laugh.

Welcome Bo, you will never know what positive energy you will bring to the President as he tries to fix a tangled web of deception and well literally, stop a bunch of crooks who will never go to jail.

That unconditional love helps – not a panacea but they say a dog relieves stress.

I believe that this is a positive development for the President.

Oh and for all you “experts” speculating on the path forward with opinion there is no magic bullet – get a dog.

At least you will lower your blood pressure.

#95 gold bug on 04.14.09 at 7:09 pm

Garth writes: “Can you imagine a leading brokerage-paid economist, the managing director of a securities firm and the CEOs of three publicly-traded corporations calling a presser to forecast higher stock prices and urge people – especially novice, first-time investors – to buy in now with 95% leverage? Of course not. That would be illegal.”

Get serious, Garth. That wouldn’t be illegal and it’s done all the time. It’s called BNN and CNBC.

Give a reference. — Garth

#96 Simon on 04.14.09 at 7:13 pm

#47 guava.ca
Thanks that’s the article I was looking for.

What I don’t understand is how does one end up at the food bank (after job loss) and still retain the luxury wheels? Looks these people are free riders depriving the truly needy.

I wonder whether the current shortages experienced at the food banks is due a mass influx of recently pink slipped leased luxury SUV/auto driving 0/40 McMansion/over priced condo crowd?

#97 gold bugger on 04.14.09 at 7:26 pm

Devil’s Vested Interest writes: “The Multiple Listing System (MLS®) is the single most effective tool we have in getting a home sold….Experience is everything. Yes the enthusiasm of a fresh young new REALTOR® does count for something but it is experience that gets the job done right.”

Which is it? Does MLS sell houses or is it realtors you call “experienced” who I call “working for the Blue,Red,White balloon cartel.” The number one reason for high fees is the cartel. The blue,red,white balloon cartel exists because consumers like Squiddly whine and moan for more and more regulation. And organized real estate, which is controlled by the blue,red,white balloon cartel, lobbies government for more regulation, which reduces competition and drives up prices. Read some Milton Friedman. Wreck the cartel and you get lower fees. I was on the inside. I know.

@ Squabbly: Who died and made you pope, able to decide who is and isn’t a “professional”? You’re on every real estate-related board and you never change your whining. Take responsibility for your own bad choices in life. Stop blaming realtors that you live in Rundle. You push tools for a living. You’re in no position to devine the moral, ethical or professional qualifications of anybody.

@Got A Watch: You’re bitter. We get it. You’re unemployed, sitting in your basement, day-trading stocks. Labelling realtors with your Marxist invective reveals you as a fellow traveller of Squimly, who never met a decision he accepted personal responsibility over.

Nobody is forced to use a realtor. There are value-priced realtors who can give you access to MLS in every major city. If consumers like Squamly and Got a Watch would stop whining and stick to the millenia-tested concept of Caveat Emptor, we’d all be better off as consumers.

But in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Canadistan, everybody wants the government to protect them, from the first little bit of diaper soil to the last bit of earthly soil that gets thrown on their graves.

#98 JO on 04.14.09 at 7:29 pm

I agree this needs to be stopped. RE has been the foundation upon which the credit bubble fraud has been built on in most Western European and Anglo Saxon countries. That massive mountain of debt, much of it used to “buy” overpriced RE and responsible for the illusion of wealth from at least 2001-2007, is now contracting. Anyone who bought since 2001 face a catastrophic situation. They are, in effect, paying high priced rent to the banks. For many, espcially those whose mortgages make up more than 80 % of the “value” of their house, it will seem surreal – houses selling occasionally in their neighbourhood but going for 10-20K less than the last one…and on and on it goes…much of the “equity” they thought they had evaporating because it never really existed..yet, had they been prudent and responsible, they could have rented and stashed that cash in the bank for the rainy days that are here.

As usual, blatant government intervention of markets and useless “regulation” is the root cause.

Central Banks, large banks, media, RE industry, and gov;t agencies such as CMHC/CDIC did everything possible to put as many people, most of them marginal/weak borrowers since 2001 or so, into overvalued homes – which will bring many highly leveraged people to financial ruin, and worse yet, end up punishing the prudent taxpayers and homeowners who own or put down 20 ore more. So next time you hear a politician blame “free markets”, remember, markets were never free – but manipulated as a result of gov’t efforts to please the large special and corp interests that own them.

The world is in the early stages of witnessing what a debt based, fractional reserve, fiat money system really is: A long term wealth confiscation scheme as first inflation, then deflation, in combination with stiffling tax rates, bleed the working and middle class alive and leave them homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…


#99 john m on 04.14.09 at 7:40 pm

A gamble is only good if the odds are very good you will be a winner.Personally at this time in Canadian history i see nothing out there whether it be real estate,stocks or even security in employment that is even close to even money……with one exception… law enforcement—it will be desperately needed to control the people that have not prepared or have the life experiences to survive………The downhill slide has nothing to stop it until it hits the bottom and reality hits home.The boomers will lose much of their wealth but they will survive …they have been there…money does not buy success….the ability to face reality does (someone should tell our leaders that) IMO

#100 Argentum Aurum on 04.14.09 at 7:45 pm

I recently read “Economics in one lesson” by Henry Hazlitt. I strongly recommend it – written half a century ago, and still has valid comparisons with today.
Now I can see easier many things that are wrong with how the economy is being fixed.
Educated is forewarned…

#101 Jimster on 04.14.09 at 8:00 pm

How can any home buyer trust a realtor whose main profesional interest is getting the highest commision possible from the highest sale price possible? That in itself is no doubt a major factor in the nose bleed home prices we are seeing.

#102 eddy on 04.14.09 at 8:06 pm

thanks for the update Garth-the press took the bait, hook, line and sinker, like bottom feeding scum suckers- no offense to Catfish.
thanks to the internet and blogging, journalism is in serious decline. i hated the star, but i like the on line version- because of the reader comments. buyers should boycott the market for a few months.

#103 john m on 04.14.09 at 8:07 pm

#98 JO on 04.14.09 at 7:29 pm…..good post jo..how true

#104 squidly77 on 04.14.09 at 8:09 pm

gold bugger

hilarious comments..whining is for real estate clerks who cant sell houses in todays economic environment

whats wrong with working with tools..what do you work with or need i ask ?

more regulation is not wanted by me as i would like to see much less and much more transparency and have the realtors back up their bloated claims by opening their books

in the US realtors fought these guys real hard and lost
its now only a matter of time until realtors go the way of the blacksmith

punch in an ameriacan address at zillow and get all the information you want..for free

these guys are coming for your industry as well

free and instant access to the MLS and all past sales info

#105 Coho on 04.14.09 at 8:18 pm

#83 Devil’s Advocate,

I’m no realtor. How did you jump to that conclusion? If I was pretending to be anything, it wouldn’t be a friggin realtor….perhaps pretending to be an architect or an astronaut would be fun, though.

But, I’ve certainly dealt with realtors when I was trying to sell my own home. They’d come around when they seen my “for sale by owner” sign to try and make a deal with me. They had all kinds of approaches. Some appeared professional but others were either arrogant, rude, pushy, or downright duplicitous and conniving even against their partner. One woman tried to make a deal with me where somehow her partner would get screwed out of his share of commission! She was trying to screw over her own partner!!!

On another occassion, this same realtor came with her partner to my house. They asked me how much net proceeds in my pocket I wanted from the sale of my house. I quoted what I thought would be a fair price which would leave room for up to 10K commission for them. Rather generous considering they didn’t have to list or advertise my house. They said they’d sell the house for what they could get. It was a hot and rising market at the time (Spring 2005) and they thought they had an opportunity to make upwards of 20K profit on my 200K home! I told them it didn’t feel right for either myself or a prospective buyer. These two were like vultures and I felt like I was making a deal with the devil! Luckily the buyer or two they had lined up passed on my house.

Not long after this fiasco, I took my sign down and waited 2.5 years to list with a decent realtor and got 35% more for the house.

Real estate commisions in Queensland, Australia are maximum 5% on the first 18K, and 2.5% on the remaining balance. There is also a 10% GST charge on commissions made on the 2.5%. These are absolute max figures and can be negotiated down.

The 4K flat fee figure I posted earlier was given to me a few years ago by an acquaintence who lives there. At that time average home prices in his area were probably in the 150K range, which would jive with the 4K figure. My apologies for the outdated info.

#106 squidly77 on 04.14.09 at 8:32 pm

hey gold bugger

why do you still have a hate on for the average joe six pack blue collar worker..i think that your gonna found these average calgarians as your bread and butter clients
once all your “wine and cheese party flip this house” speculators are bankrupted

and as far as rundle being a bad neighbourhood keep in mind that i am a 5 minute walk to the c-train that gets me downtown in 7 minutes i am 5 minutes away from the peter lougheed hospital and sundridge mall
have never had or had any criminal property damage the entire 11 years that i have lived there

#107 taxpayer like you on 04.14.09 at 9:04 pm

Got a Watch – Pretty intense blogging today. You hate
realtors. Thats what this site is kinda for right? Lets list
some of their traits/habits etc.

1) They misrepresent (at least some do some of the time)

2) They accept no risk (no skin in the game). Just a few hours work.

3) They overcharge for their service (you can just as well buy/sell yourself given the info available)

4) They provide no added value to the product they sell.

Would you basically agree? I take it you quit the biz for ethical reasons which probably include all the above to a degree, and maybe others I havent listed.

And you semi-retired at about 40? You must have had some good-paying jobs during that time (ie great added value), and they must have been highly moral/ethical.
Brain surgeon maybe? Developing a highly effieicent solar panel perhaps? Edmonton food bank? (somebody said it paid $100k a year?!)

And now you trade stocks? I dont see how this provides any service to anybody and I dont see any value added.
Granted you have skin in the game, so you are a step up
on the realtors, but your a step down from house
flippers, as they can add value.

I just want to know what parameters you used to draw the line. Thanks.

#108 JT on 04.14.09 at 10:09 pm

I’m confused by Garth’s mixed message around interest rates. In the post above, Garth claims that rates are guaranteed to rise, and quickly we assume. However, at other times, such as the Post’s roundtable discussions, he’s claiming rates aren’t likely to change in the next year, even quoting Mark Carney.

Garth – if you’re reading this…what are your thoughts on Mortgage rates in the near and long term?

#109 kitchener1 on 04.14.09 at 10:57 pm

To all of those that suppose the Real estate agents add value let me ask you this.

Lets assume that the public had access to list their homes on MLS for a nominal fee, lets say $3000 CAN per listing. That money would go directly to the people that run MLS to maintain and advertise that site.

What do you think the effect would be on real estate agents? How many would be out of work? How many would protest? if so why? as if they truly beleive in their value propostion it should not matter, they are obviously (in their mind) bringing more value then $3000 to the table.

My point is why not let their clients, the general public at large decide on the value propsistion.

#110 redfin-disguise on 04.14.09 at 11:00 pm

regarding redfin- it is obviousthey are a discount broker offering less service a traditional ( and good) agent does becasue their whole M.O. is for you to do all the work, then the slimy broker takes $7500 of the total $15,000 commission ( on buyers agent side ) for doing nothing, and “gives” it back in cash to the buyer. The agent whoes neck is on the likne gets next to nothing… this will never last. Look at the agents on the website, do they look professional? Like skilled business people, like skilled negotiators? Your agent shouldnt be someone who does real estate because they “just love people, like, totally, OMG”. It should be a business person does love money. Only people who have a healthy love of money know how to make it for themselves and thier clients. Ok, you get $7500 back on a $500,000 purchase. An agent who was getting paid their worth could likely save you much more than that in negotiating the price down. Basically all redfin is doing is a modern day hocus pocus smoke and mirrors trick of the broker taking commissions from the agent like they did in the old days of real estate, before re/max changed the biz by having its brokers offer their agents 100% of the commissions. It was often a 50/50 split broker and agent in the old days, and redfin is just going back to that model in a “high tech” way. Anyways…the agents on that site are very unprofessional in how they look, act and sound. In one video clip of an interview with the owner of redfin, he admits over and over he doesnt know if his business will work and that his model is impossible to hold up when scrutinized.

#111 VivaViva on 04.15.09 at 12:26 am

Basically, a popped bubble needed another bubble to prop up the economy and the housing market (perhaps) is one of them that govt have partly ENDORSED with DIRT CHEAP INTEREST RATES (which encourage those brainwashed drunkers to get whatever they can get and forget those high interest rate forever..), LIQUIDITY INJECTION (Push banks to lend, lend, lend more money out and popped up the economy) & QUAN. EASING (Dilute our buying power, liquidate our savings and chequing account in order to sacrifice a bunch of the savers and the working class)…

#112 Happy Renter in North Van on 04.15.09 at 1:26 am

Don’t you just hate it when used home sales people use the “REALTOR®” moniker to give themselves a patina of professional credibility? Hey, REALTOR®, anyone who puts a picture of themselves and their “BA” degree on a business card is not a professional… OK?

#113 dd on 04.15.09 at 1:51 am

Phil Soper says … shifted from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market, which is good news for someone looking to buy their first home.

Always trying to milk the market

#114 JoeCalgary on 04.15.09 at 2:03 am

Farmed squirrel:


You could buy canned squirrel in grocery stores in Portugal in the ’70s.

#115 Jimster on 04.15.09 at 2:57 am

They shoot real estate agents, don’t they?

All I wanted was a good job I couldn’t lose. I didn’t realize I’d end up bringing down the global economy.


Great comments too.

#116 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.15.09 at 10:12 am

#105 Coho

Very interesting tale. It is the type that should be made public in the MSM. I find few things worse than having to deal with unscrupulous people who try to put me in the middle of their game.

I am sure their Broker would love to know about their little ‘side deals’, eh? They obviously have a contract and such actions violate their contract unless the broker is a complete moron.

#117 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.15.09 at 10:25 am

#109 kitchener1

We paid our lawyer a mere $700 plus filing costs and he did all the title research, handled the money transfers, and actual closing.

Why would a realtor be worth more just for listing on the MLS or filing out a few forms? I laughed at the ‘contract’ they now use guaranteeing them their commission. They have had the lawyers bullet proof their arse as well.

Seems to me they overrate themselves and have neither the education, training, or liability of real propfessionals. Pretty much like car salespersons.

Both must be licensed by the province, but that was brought about by their own organizations to limit competition more than anything, and to present some form of ethical standards. Regardless, I do not see how realtors justify their charges. They simply do not earn such money very much like too many others like line workers in the CAW.

Perhaps, the current economic evolution will deal with them as they should have been long ago. The secret key is opening access to the MLS, which has happened a tad.

Bottom line is they confiscated a public right by FUD and legislation. It certainly played well for decades for the speculators, but not the people. It became a huge industry of graft and corruption with misleading claims made to people who trusted in the advice they received.

#118 Give me a Break on 04.15.09 at 2:31 pm

#109 kitchener1

What makes people feel the Multiple Listing System, developed and paid for over many years, should be a public domain. It is no different than any other proprietary software. There are software systems business pay hundreds of thousands of dollars up front and then more tens of thousands for support to use. The Multiple Listing System is owned and operated by the real estate profession to facilitate co-operation between it’s members. Want to try selling without it? You are certainly welcome to list your home for sale on any one of the many private “For Sale by Owner” Website. They will charge you of course a smaller fee, upfront by the way. You get what you pay for.

If you are ever in my city on a cold winter night why don’t you come knocking on the door of the house I paid for demanding shelter? Same reason I won’t come knocking on the door to the house you paid for, it isn’t mine to demand such.

But you do want me, with my tax dollars, to bail out your failing industry don’t you?

Ask your lawyer to do an open house on Sunday. Ask them to advertise your house. Ask the whole lot of them in your town to bring you a buyer and if they do you will pay them $700.00 and see how far that gets you.

#119 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.15.09 at 5:17 pm

#118 Give me a Break

Like all software…It can be written again by someone else. Stand by!

#120 frank on 04.15.09 at 5:22 pm

People it’s time to fight propaganda with propaganda. Everyone here should try to call CP24 and offer real situations of just how bad the RE market has become and how it is getting worse. When you call in you have to tell them something positive about RE like you want to buy a house or you sold for above asking. Once they aprove(they screen callers)when you get on air you tell them just how bad the RE market become. You can talk about how you are about to default on your mortgage or you can’t sell since you are now upside down on the mortgage . Stuff like that.

#121 Give me a Break on 04.15.09 at 7:00 pm

#118 Give me a Break

Like all software…It can be written again by someone else. Stand by!

Gee… didn’t someone say something to that effect previously. Of course they can, they are welcome to and so they should try.

Why was not everybody trying to make it “public domain” when we used to use a printed catalogue? The Multiple Listing System has only for a small fraction of it’s life been a computer based system. Prior to that, as it is in essence today, it was and is a “system” of co-operation between REALTORs. How does the public possibly think they can force such a “spirit of cooperation amongst a professional body” to be forced to include them.

Hey, I want in the girls locker room! Really, give me a break.

#122 Rural Rick on 04.15.09 at 8:38 pm

So feeling bummed out?Lost your job? Economy sucks!
Madoff stole your millions?
This will make you feel better.