POS

reno1

Standing erect, its paws positioned against the inside of the lath-and-plaster wall, the mummified rat toppled out into the rubble as its century-old tomb was opened with a sledge.

Other discoveries included a hidden staircase buried inside an ancient wall and evidence of a serious fire which would have levelled a modern building. At the end of the second day, the crew had peeled back tons of material to reveal three-foot-thick stone walls, chunky pine floor boards and two six-foot-high windows long ago covered.

Welcome to my bunker. The Bernie Madoff of renos.

Some people on this blog, you may have noticed, have criticised me for recently buying a new property. For some reason they think I should be renting a sub-basement and spending my days at Costco. Poor linear souls, they believe every buyer at every stage should act the same way in every market. But that is how housing booms and busts form. In reality, there is always opportunity, and in days like these, it often comes from being a contrarian.

So, when the snows were still with us, I secured a power of sale property for a fraction of its value. That allowed me to budget for a studs-out renovation, leaving money (of course) to bury the 23 school buses in concentric circles in the back pasture.

Seriously, this gives me control over my own water, power, septic and security. More seriously, it proves that in times of doubt and deflation, cash talks. Unlike first-time buyers with more hormones than downpayment, or mortgaged middle-aged move-up couples putting all their net worth in a single address, POS commandoes don’t much care where the market is headed. Real estate, without risk.

And renovation is liberating. Ask the rat.

Speaking of rodents, I see there’s a new bank ‘survey’ out, this one on condo buying intentions. TD Canada Trust says compared to last year, twice the number of people think this is a great time to buy a condo ‘as an investment.’

“For Canadians looking to purchase their first residence or make along-term investment, condos offer a lower maintenance and lower-cost alternative to houses,” says banker Joan Dal Bianco. “This is a good time to explore a condo purchase given that mortgage rates are very attractive right now and many condos have dropped significantly in price.”

Of course, there is every reason in the world to avoid condos at the moment, which I suspect the bank would admit if it were not shilling mortgages. In major markets like Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, the box-in-the-sky market is heroically overbuilt, which will continue to push prices down. Mortgage rates are absurdly low, which only guarantees they’ll be propelling higher – starting in about a year – kneecapping affordability. In many buildings, condo fees are out of control, as property taxes soon will be everywhere.

In short, buying a condo ‘as an investment’ is a bust. You cannot rent one out in any market right now for enough to cover financing, taxes, utilities and the lost earnings on your down. As for buying it now and waiting for a capital gain in future years, well, make sure you buy a place you like. A lot.

Meanwhile in the Kingdom…


uk-house-prices

99 comments ↓

#1 dd on 05.05.09 at 10:39 pm

Garth,

What do you take about the market lift? It seems that all the bad new is behind and they (Feds) cheer that GDP is -6% “because it can only get better.” Who is playing this con game?

Too much debt that got us here in the first place. There is more debt than ever how. Are we not just going to hit the wall again?

#2 john on 05.05.09 at 10:43 pm

Garth,

If you truly felt the market would fall further why buy now? I am sure there is no immediate need for you…better opportunities were sure to follow.

Also is is not possible rates can stay low for a long long period of time and that perhaps this is the new normal. Could be that negative rates are around the corner. I just think you should weigh these possibilities as well rather than preach the gospel according to Garth

#3 john on 05.05.09 at 10:45 pm

Also is is not possible rates can stay low for a long long period of time and that perhaps this is the new normal. Could be that negative rates are around the corner. I just think you should weigh these possibilities as well rather than preach the gospel according to Garth

#4 dd on 05.05.09 at 10:48 pm

What is there to cheer about?

http://wbrussee.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/may-2009-update-of-%E2%80%9Cthe-great-depression-of-debt%E2%80%9D/

#5 Mi Too Bitz on 05.05.09 at 10:52 pm

From the title, and the picture, I thought that this blog was about a “Piece Of Shit”….meaning your house. :(

#6 dd on 05.05.09 at 11:16 pm

A little more debt will solve all ills:

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_4623.shtml

#7 Cendrine on 05.05.09 at 11:28 pm

I’m still trying to find the rat…is it at the base of the wall, near the long black object? Ick…

True, there are good buying opportunities in POS, providing you can see the gem in disguise and are willing to put in some sweat, thought and money into an abandoned property. They were not for us, though, lacking in time and skills to make such a place a nice home.

We’re glad we bought this spring and are looking forward to being mortgage free in a smaller house. But I still have a nagging feeling that we could have done better if we had waited a little longer for prices to go down. Frankly, the thought of moving twice in a year really clinched the decision to just go ahead and buy just to get the whole thing over.

Good luck on the reno – we’ll want pics of those shiny new granite countertops ;))!

#8 mike from oakville on 05.05.09 at 11:34 pm

check this out – a Halton mortgage broker is offering US style mortgages where the low introductory rate expires/resets.

There is no way in hell that the CMHC should be insuring these!!!!!

http://www.buildinghomes.ca/community/forums/showthread.php?t=9753

#9 nonplused on 05.05.09 at 11:40 pm

Buying a house or a car or whatever based on need and viewed as a cost is reasonable if the price is right compared to the need. Sounds like Garth is building a very unique project and money isn’t the prime motivator, so a simple market call might not be the primary consideration. If you really think you need what you are buying and have the money, have at it!

But I still don’t think it’s time to buy for investment or even a discretionary purchase. The summer should offer a lot of enlightenment as to where the economy really stands so I’d say look things over in August, after the spring selling season proves itself out. If it fizzles we’ll know by then.

#10 Glenn on 05.05.09 at 11:56 pm

*Points an accusatory finger and howls*

VULTURE!

*glaring frown*

Profit from anothers loss? tsk tsk

Well, could be worse, I could have called you a gold bug. Good luck with the reno. Got squirrels?

#11 Nostradamus jr. on 05.06.09 at 12:01 am

>>>Welcome to my bunker. The Bernie Madoff of renos.<<<

?????

#12 Lucy.Jordan on 05.06.09 at 12:03 am

To say nothing of sinkholes by abandoned mega-excavations materializing like swine flu in Mexico City:
http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Sinkholes+Calgary+becoming+more+common+city+official+says/1564470/story.html

#13 dbg on 05.06.09 at 12:05 am

Condo collapse.

Yeah, and you don’t even own land, just a share in it.

Rental restrictions limit your options if you are a flipper that can’t flip.

Move in and out fees that are stipulated in the bylaws can exhaust your finances. Some buildings charge $100 – $250 for move in.

Only people making money in the condo craze are developers.

High density residential living in Vancouver has basically pushed most of the business out of the downtown core.

Then if you luck out you may buy one that is built well. Otherwise “Leaky Condo” for you. Special assesments will sink your investment quickly.

Yup, a great investment!

#14 Soylent Green is People on 05.06.09 at 12:11 am

You have such a way with words, or did you hire a comedy writer to tweak a bit? In any case, you’re a talented writer and you should be writing books!

#15 Vik on 05.06.09 at 12:34 am

Another good reason to not buy a condo in Calgary;

http://www.calgaryherald.com/Life/Condo+repairs+recently+laid+Calgary+couple/1560686/story.html

#16 Munch on 05.06.09 at 12:56 am

Yeah!

#17 Barb the proof reader on 05.06.09 at 12:57 am

That’s interesting Garth, you really were looking to be self-sufficient for many years now. Glad you found a spot. Those old homes are fun. My siblings have been renovating nineteenth century buildings for decades. Lots to discover, lots to appreciate, very rewarding labour of love and money and history. Keep as much of the old house character as possible.. but not all.. too costly to be obsessive about preservation. Just honour the old building wherever possible. In turn it will be good to you.

#18 . . . fried eggs and spam . . . on 05.06.09 at 1:20 am

#75 Claudius Emeperor on 05.05.09 at 7:30 pm — “It is the classic sacker’s trap/rally on equity markets, . . .” — followed by —

#80 Basil Fawlty on 05.05.09 at 8:34 pm — “This article inticates strong insider selling in the equity markets.”

Equity Markets Question: Who are the people involved in this insider trading, and why is it happening so quickly? Who will profit from this? There have to be reasons for it. Something’s up, and yet no one is telling.

Think Bernie Madoff again.
——
“. . . as property taxes soon will be everywhere.” — Our beloved city hall informed the local populace that we can expect property taxes to continue rising at about 3.5 – 5% per year for the forseeable future, yet homeowners are saddled with inflation via food / fruits & veggies / meats and other costs, declining wages and a barf-spew-vomit economy which doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going anymore.

Paid a visit to the Kelowna Daily Courier, and it was like a zombiewoof-type funeral parlor there. One or more dozen friends have been laid off, not being replaced, composing room where I used to work was told to cut back to a four day week or two people would be cut. Given a few days to make up their minds. They are running a skeleton crew now anyway, on both shifts.

Does this have something to do with the financial downturn? I guess so!
——
GM is planning a 100-for-1 stock split, essentially wiping out small shareholders. Do I smell Zimbabwean-type figures here? — http://tinyurl.com/dh2evz
——
Political lies, liars and m$m BS about the slug flu hysteria. One reason why papers are folding, blogs are increasing in popularity and why BIG companies want to control the ‘net. — http://tinyurl.com/dj39wr

#19 Happy Renter in North Van on 05.06.09 at 2:01 am

Garth, with talk like that, how can you ever expect to become a board member of one of the big 5 banks and rake in your fees and restricted stock units… ;-)

#20 WestCoastGirl on 05.06.09 at 2:09 am

Listen to Bernanke at your own peril. Good post. Just plain common sense really.

Funny. With all the ‘good news’ being thrust at us, my other half half-heartedly questioned that we’re doing the right thing by staying the course (renting, not buying for another 1-2 years, dependent upon the correct opportunity appearing)…however when we do the math, the jitters go away. It just does NOT add up. Patience is tough, especially when it’s contrary to popular opinion =)

Speaking of which, anyone else out there have family members who think you are crazy and wondering “how can you miss out on this great buying opportunity right now”? Feels like they should also be tacking on the “..and did you want fries with that…” spiel too.

#21 Future Expatriate on 05.06.09 at 3:35 am

Congratulations, Garth. Sounds like you’ve got a real winner there and plenty to keep you busy for awhile.

Reno while you’re still young I always say!

#22 [email protected] on 05.06.09 at 5:42 am

Is the reno done? Any windmills or solar heating/panels? Backup power?

#23 Sean in E-Town on 05.06.09 at 6:15 am

I cannot argue with that one remotely, Garth. I do want to eventually put myself in a home, a cute little bungalow in a working class section of town with a guest bedroom, and more importantly, a guest home-brewery/poker room, but, after seeing what my province has done in the last month to yank us all more sharply to the right, socially, economically, I finally give up on this city.

If I buy, in Edmonton, I buy a city with schools and doctors touched by Ted Morton and his cabal of un-reconstructed, un-conservative, rightists. I buy a regressive government that won’t provide stability for me or my family, or any semblance of support, should we be harmed by that volatility, for that matter. For the first time in 25 years of my life, I don’t feel welcome in the city I grew up in. I don’t want to buy coal power and a thirty year mass-transit infrastructure deficit, and $1.50 a square foot rent. I’m going to find myself a job in Winnipeg, and there, where my dream home starts in the $50,000s, I’m going to live and work and play and have a generally easy time doing what I want to do with my life. And hopefully, actually meet some fellow red, red, Duff Roblin Tories for once.

#24 Da HK Kid on 05.06.09 at 6:17 am

Garth, I hope this puts the harassing posts to rest re: your home purchase. I think you referred to your bunker 1000x but some didnt get it!

Ah, the self sufficient home, low tax regions, little to no reliance on regional hydro-water-sewer and all the other stuff we get skewed on with after tax income.

Kids, there was more month at the end of the money in the boom years and get used too deflation as the name of the game is cash and liquidity and being able to bargain so heavily it will make your head spin with opportunity.

As for condos, hate them, just like the rats that live in them! BUT, at great alternative to rent when the chips are down.

#25 Chris in England at the moment on 05.06.09 at 7:48 am

23 school buses in concentric circles? Won’t that be providing the watching aliens with a target that can be detected from miles in space? (Quite apart from the danger posed by any sullen school bus souls finding themselves buried in a ritual pattern). You don’t want to be wandering in your grounds one day and find (a la “Carrie”) that a school bus door has opened, grabbed your foot, and is dragging you down to its lair.

But anyway – more bad news today for the UK housing market. Prices still going down and slated to continue on the downward trend.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8035363.stm

#26 Ontarian on 05.06.09 at 7:59 am

I live in Toronto.

The Ontario government’s move to harmonize the federal and provincial sales tax into a single 13% HST on July 1, 2010. So, we will need to pay 8% more for a new house worth more then 500K. Well, it is hard to find a 4 bedroom double gargage single in Toronto for less then 500K.

Garth, should I buy now or anytime before July 1, 2010?

#27 Will the real garth please stand up on 05.06.09 at 8:31 am

So it’s OK for Garth to buy property whereas he tell posters here to sell their properties or not to upgrade?
But now Garth has two properties….
But if Garth bought, regardless it’s OK because it’s Garth.
Garth can’t obviously do no bad…

I now know how this website is working…

“Do what I say, not what I do… And buy my books”.

I got it.

To Ontarian #26:
Buy now. Garth did.

Your pokey little insecurity thing is showing. – Garth

#28 JGoh on 05.06.09 at 8:53 am

What happened to the common wisdom that your primary place of residence wasn’t an INVESTMENT, per se, but a place where you live? If it’s going to be the place where you settle down, it’s a giant liability for the rest of your days. You put money into the upkeep and taxes, and you’ve always got work to do, and time is money, right? Even if you’re handy, you’re not getting that time back.

In return, you get a place to live where you can control your fate, more or less. Landlords won’t kick you out, raise your rent, or renovate around you.

Sean in E-Town, give up on Edmonton. I did. I moved to Montreal, and it’s a completely different, interesting city. I can get around without a car. There’s lots of interesting restaurants and shops within walking distance. It’s an amazing cultural experience. It’s not without its own problems, obviously, but I regret nothing and miss very little. (Spend more time in the River Valley; it really is a unique gem.)

Garth, I’ve noticed that you’ve said very little about the markets in Quebec (and Montreal, specifically). Is the data harder to get to? This place seemed unaffected by the boom and so doesn’t seem to be moving much with the bust. Any idea if that’s normal? I got out of a house in Edmonton (walked away with a profit, even after you consider the renovations and work I put in), and now I’m renting and idly casting my eye around to see if there’s anything worth buying. For now, I’m keeping about half the proceeds relatively liquid; the rest went into RRSPs. I figure if this market really doesn’t shift that quickly, I can buy any time, so there’s no use in rushing when things are so hazy in every other sector.

(Incidentally, the one thing that I like more now that you’re out of politics is that you post something to read every day. It was so sporadic when you were an MP. Still, it was better than the nothing I get now out of the government.)

#29 Patrice on 05.06.09 at 9:15 am

i want to see the rat.

please send a picture.

How did all this stuff got covered? All wasted space?

send more pictures please

#30 Just a Carpenter on 05.06.09 at 9:16 am

Maybe you should have buddied up with Mike Holmes on this one and had his sponsors pay for your reno.

My observation from the pic…. obviously no hardhat, saftey glasses, and hard to tell if he’s wearing steel toed boots. Hope your liability and course of construction insurance is paid up. Always amazes me that people post pictures showing safety violations for all to see.Don’t be surprised if WCB pays you a call.

Bite me. — Garth

#31 Jonathan on 05.06.09 at 9:17 am

hey dd,

re: The Market Lift

I don’t know if anyone had a chance to read the Saturday (Toronto) Star on the weekend talking about bear market rallies. The fact is, we can only compare the events of 2008 to the events of 1929. All other recessions were due to a shrinking of monetary policy rather than a bubbling of credit.

In June 1930, 10 or so months after the great crash, Hoover declared that “the depression is over”. Stock markets had rallied, almost identically to today’s rally. Like then and today, the rallies were caused by a string of “not so bad news.” When you have an winter season like 1929 or 2008, you get beaten and numbed to negative news. You begin to see anything postive through rose coloured glasses.

By July 1930 the stock market collapsed to new lows and didn’t stop falling until 1932. 1931 and 1932 were the worst years of the depression – by far.

Things are different this time, sure. Governments are spending trillions. But the fact of the matter remains is that they are borrowing money – they are adding to the problem and possibly making it worse. It has to be paid back. Like Japan, the government deficits will probably never cease until the bond markets collapse – when investors begin to fear the safety in government bonds. Japan is still borrowing 20 years later and owes 200% of its GDP. America is following the exact same path. It’s a bubble, it can’t be sustained, although noone can tell for certain when it will pop. But when it does, a depression greater then all depressions will form – for not even the governments will be able to spend – all they will be able to do is print money, which will make the matter even worse.

#32 $fromA$ia on 05.06.09 at 9:23 am

Garth, you ever thought about canning squirel or putting the squirel in peanut butter?

Food prices are rising fast.

#33 Dodged-A-Bullit-In Alberta on 05.06.09 at 9:59 am

Greetings: From experience, I have learn’t that the type of reno work you are undertaking is a bottom less money pit. However IF the owner is capable of doing much of the work themselves, and has the time as well, this is one of the most rewarding aspects of home ownership, plus over the years, I have accumulated a number of neat and specalized power tools. The key word of course is HOME. I was involved in a project where the goal was to “flip” the reno. It was ok but there was always the pressure to “not” do the work to the standard I would carry out in my own home. Every day I open this web site, I am relieved we did not get suckered into a condo purchase in Calgary. When minutes of the condo board reference “engineering reports” on a 10 year old complex, warning bells should go off and it is time to walk.

#34 Glenn on 05.06.09 at 10:08 am

Lordy, just when you think it cant get any worse in Calgary.

Of course, every single one of the blood sucking land developers in question must be an American.

No Canadian would ever in a million years behave in such an irresponsible manner.

THIS AINT FLINT!

#35 Brian on 05.06.09 at 10:08 am

check this out…apparently the 12 people who were evacuated from their homes in winnipeg for the non-flood accounted for 15% of the buyers and sellers, and a whooping 12% decline in the value of homes.

I have my doubts…
—————————————————
Flood dampens home sales?
By SUN MEDIA

Last Updated: 6th May 2009, 8:37am

It seems Winnipeg’s spring flooding woes put a damper on the city’s real estate market.

Winnipeg Realtors Association is blaming the extreme flooding of 2009 for lacklustre April sales.

Last month, the number of homes sold dropped 15%, from 1,355 to 1,150, and the amount they sold for fell 12%, from $272.6 million to $239.5 million, when compared to the same month last year.

The WRA says the trend echoes sales declines seen in 1997, the year the Flood of the Century ripped through Manitoba.

The realtors believe the decline is due to property owners’ shift in focus from house hunting and selling to sandbagging and otherwise protecting existing homes.

#36 Flip on 05.06.09 at 10:29 am

I know what Garth is going to do with the 23 buses… Bushenge…
(essentially a larger version of carhenge as seen here: http://www.carhenge.com/ )

He’ll make a fortune on tourism!

#37 LS on 05.06.09 at 10:30 am

To the people wondering why Garth is buying a place after telling everyone else not to buy, it’s simple. Garth has the money to buy the place, most others don’t.

Most of the time people are wondering whether they should take on bigger debt to buy a house, and that is of course a bad idea in this market. But if you have the money outright, and you’re planning to live in the place till you croak, then you might as well just buy it.

Garth probably isn’t exactly wealthy (after all, he is a _canadian_ author), but I’m sure after a full career in various pretty decent jobs he’s got the money to pay for a POS in cash. Having enough money gets you the luxury of not always having to time the market at its most opportune moment, but getting to buy based on your desires instead.

Nothing wrong with that. Still doesn’t change the message that the average Joe shouldn’t be pouring 15x their life savings into a house right now.

#38 Alberta Ed on 05.06.09 at 10:37 am

Mario and the CREB are once again (still) heralding the ‘revival’ of the spring real estate market, much as you’d expect from a rag that depends on hefty ad revenue from developers. Meanwhile, Alberta jobs continue to erode, the city is jacking up taxes, the oilsands aren’t going to revive any time soon and the Alberta government wants to add four more $100,000+ pigs to the trough. Sounds like it’s time to head east (past Ontario).

#39 north van man on 05.06.09 at 10:40 am

@Westcoastgirl

yes, i get pressure to buy under these conditions, not from family members but from friends who are already home “owners”.

We recently moved back here from the UK, and we were not off the plane 2 minutes before people asked us if we were going to a buy a place. I think their interest in my personal financial arrangements stems from their need to validate their own decisions by having others do as they do.

I think many people are counting on the game continuing in Vancouver, and are in for a wake-up call. I have friends trying to sell places now and are realising that few people really want to put down $800k on a bungalow when they feel their jobs are at risk.

To quote Nassim Taleb, losing the approval of family and friends only matters if their approval is what you seek.

#40 Dave on 05.06.09 at 10:42 am

When you have an winter season like 1929 or 2008, you get beaten and numbed to negative news. You begin to see anything postive through rose coloured glasses.

By July 1930 the stock market collapsed to new lows and didn’t stop falling until 1932. 1931 and 1932 were the worst years of the depression – by far.

————————————————

you’re assuming this all happened in september 2008 which is not the case. There were significant losses in the stock market starting in august of 2007. Maybe a lot of people weren’t paying attention. Also, crashing real estate prices started way before august 2007.

Maybe we’re already in 1932 or even past it.

#41 dave99 on 05.06.09 at 11:30 am

The G20 are deficit financing 5.5% of GDP (half via stimulus and half via existing economic stabilization programs such as EU,Welfare, etc).

Consider Canada with a forecast GDP contraction of 3%, or the EU with a forecast contraction of 4%.

Consider that those figures would be 8.5% (or 9.5%) if we didn’t have our huge Gov’t fiscal policy support.

Now consider that the GDP contraction in 1930 was 8.5% ( the first of 3 such years).

My conclusion?

The G20 gov’ts plan on fiscal policy supporting our way through this, and we’ll likely see a 20% increase of Gov’t debt over the next 5 years.

We may see GDP contractions of 3% for the next several years (more for some countries) ,but it won’t reach depression levels for Canada because even in 1930-32 it was only in the 8% a year range. (and our 5% fiscal policy support will offset that).

#42 Lucy.Jordan on 05.06.09 at 11:36 am

More rat problems:

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,1548031,00.html

#43 Lucy.Jordan on 05.06.09 at 11:40 am

This stuff is hilarious.
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,1548031_1221769,00.html
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,1548031_1221782,00.html

#44 Lucy.Jordan on 05.06.09 at 11:46 am

Never forgetcher hard hat and workboots!

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20264127_20592599,00.html

#45 JosephK on 05.06.09 at 12:29 pm

Those who think Garth is stupid to buy should remember that he probably has more money and a more secure financial future than most on posting here. His government pension, indexed to inflation, would probably cover any loss he would take.

For at least the fifth time on this blog, I will state what my MP’s pension is: $26,000. Try a little research before you make a bigger ass of yourself. — Garth

#46 Roial1 (AL) on 05.06.09 at 12:34 pm

Garth, I love the description of the walls. I grew up in a house like that outside of Grand Valley Ont.
It was built, by settlers from Scotland some time in the 19th century, from the field stones that they had to pick up and mover in order to farm. There are also miles of stone fences in that part of Ont. for the same reason.
Is it like that where you are?
Sure brings back memories for me.

#47 Lucy.Jordan on 05.06.09 at 12:38 pm

“I wonder where the toilet drain goes?”

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20264127_20592619,00.html

#48 PTDBD on 05.06.09 at 12:44 pm

re: The Market Lift

The Confidence Game seems to be restored. If you are puzzled about market reactions, the following theory may offer guidance.

“Grand Unified Theory” GUT

“Throw away your charts, lose your ticket. They are controlled by the drum-beat strains of the night. Can you hear them…you must have the ears of the kat.

Only those with the program get to make money. Get with the program.

The DOW and NAZ stocks swoop and sway like the birds of the sky, united, connected, in sync. They are NOT controlled by human trading. They are traded by the Program. The Program is distributed to a certain few who lounge, sail and watch the flailing of the lights. Their accounts build on the short and long. Androids shear their sheep while they sleep.

The Program updates macro parameters from the central source to flip euphoric exuberance into suicidal depression and back. The moving average moulds the sine wave of your financial future.

THEY control your horizontal and vertical.

So who are THEY? Easy…the big money. The boyz with the cash can make this market crash and dash. They make it dance they make it sing.

But, but, all these companies were going down the tubes, didn’t the big boyz lose money? No! Buy and hold stockholders and mutual fund holders lost money. The Program trades in and out, long and short and is never wrong because they control the rhythm.

When they can’t control the game anymore….they change the rules.”

#49 smwhite on 05.06.09 at 1:04 pm

#32 $fromA$ia

Loblaws has claimed that the inflation in food has helped prop up their balance sheets, to the point where the stock is up almost 10% in a day.

The other side of that is our dollar racing to 85 cents.

So for those that are betting on a recovering starting now, it will be short lived in RE and equities. That rise of 5 cents is enough to “frost” over any green shoots in Canadian manufacturing… And its only going to get worse.

#50 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 05.06.09 at 1:17 pm

Garth, you ever thought about canning squirel or putting the squirel in peanut butter?

#32 $fromA$ia

As Jon Stewart has pointed out the have already marketed mayonaise with bacon, aka, ‘Baconaise.’ One can readily tell the satisfaction is brings to the pallete by watching Jon’s expression! A little squirrel or ‘possum should be no problemo for the Mystery Food Masters.!
LMAO!

#51 john m on 05.06.09 at 1:24 pm

Got “sheeple” yesterday Garth and just started reading it–excellent book and an excellent view into the inside workings of politics (very sad)……Looks like you are undertaking an interesting project (i renovated an old stone house once..limestone blocks 2ft thick) im sure you will have a beautiful place when your finished.When real estate prices are crashing and sustained value is hard to find—independence from cash gouging utilities will be priceless in the future…good luck with your new home.

#52 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 05.06.09 at 1:25 pm

Garth,

Ah, reno of such a POS. Well, hope you have good respirator to filter out all the nasties like the Hanta Virus from the mouse crap? Nothing like rodent corpses and droppings to add to the biomix of potential diseases.

Also hope you understand structural engineering because you can end up discovering the gravity of the situation.

I also suggest people watch the program on ‘Bricks’ on Discovery Channel (maybe National Geographic?) when they decide to buy into some centoury home to ‘flip it.’

I also hope they understand the requirement of the Building Code because they may get seriously fined for violation and fauilure to have a permit/inspections.

Oh, and when the insurance company later denies a claim or they get sued by the buyer, I hope they made enough to pay for the costs as well. Yes Sir, DIY renovations and ‘flipping’ is a really profitable venture for amateurs.

#53 pjwlk on 05.06.09 at 1:33 pm

#31 Jonathan I concur with you 100%. Yeah, everyone still thinks things are different now, or here, or whatever, and that “we have hit the bottom”.

Seems to me the US announced they hit the bottom at least 5 or 6 times already and they’re still sinking…

A real eye opener of a book titled: Manias, Panics, and Crashes – A History of Financial Crises by Charles P. Kindleberger is a good read and illustrates very well why we have not hit bottom yet…

#54 cowgirl kiss on 05.06.09 at 1:37 pm

Bushenge. I love it. Some people have all the best ideas first. Visions of aging hippies congregating at the summer solstice …

#55 PTDBD on 05.06.09 at 2:10 pm

Biggest laugh of the day….

“The sources were not authorized to speak because the stress test results are not public.”

– but they spoke, and it got published and then more sources spoke contradicting it and said it was not really that bad and that made the market rally despite the rules that no one was to speak and all that restored confidence for the game is as it ever was.

#56 @Garth 2 on 05.06.09 at 2:16 pm

I expect the #27’s to come out of the woodwork, and heavy moderation will be required.

Toronto TREB numbers are out and OMG!!! we’re down 3% over last year.. This is a disaster!

Any takes on the faux fall market?

The US market has been in collapse for 4 years. We have been in decline for one. Patience, little one. — Garth

#57 Grumpydawgs on 05.06.09 at 2:24 pm

Regarding ‘condo fees out of control’. What many people don’t realise is that the property management and maintenance contracts are often multi year death grips which have been disguised as such to hide the fact that the developer has kicked back the contract to a close relative, like a daughter or son in law etc. The maintenance contracts can be really aggregious in the are of $300 to $600 per month ++ for a period of 5 years. What goes through a condo buyers brain causing them to blank out of the responsibility of reading the contract before signing has always been a mystery ( not) to me. A marketer hangs a few copper pots on a cheap rack above the faux granite counter tops in the kitchen and voila, instant stupification.

The maintenance and management contracts are a joke and way overcost the reality of maintaing or managing any building or complex. If you are paying a strata fee you are either really dumb or just plain stupid and lazy.

Ever think of doing it yourself? Do you think the State demands that you hire a property manager? If you have a strata council then prepare them to do the hard work of writing about four cheques a year tio the independant contractors who actually come in and do the work. Oh, yeah, you need a bank account which costs nothing to set up like the ones available at CIBC or Van City.

If you’re paying thousands a year in fees you’re double dumb. A) you bought a condo B) you’re letting yourself get ripped off each and every month.

#58 hobbygirl on 05.06.09 at 2:57 pm

I am out of the closet as well.

We are building a new home this spring. Why you ask? For many reasons that make sense to us that have nothing to do with booms and low rates. Firstly pay in CASH, second, my husband and I are moving into a home we better designed for my elderly mother to have her own space, third, is handicap friendly if needed and she doesn’t have to live alone or go to long term care, fourth, my husband works for a local building supplier where we get better than contractor pricing, and lastly, where I live housing prices have been shot down for many years now and is half the cost of anywhere in this country.

As you mentioned Garth, there are still opportunities to be had in this market.

A tip for your reno Garth, rebuild it for old age, make it handicap accessible, not only for yourself but if you plan to sell which I think will put it in demand for our aging population. If you can, build wider door passages, hallways and staircases to allow for a motorized chairlift between levels. Use lever door handles instead of knobs for ease of opening and closing, allow for a walk in and sit down shower stall if you become to frail to stand long periods or are unable to get in and out of a tub, install grab bars, put in sinks where a wheelchair can move in under which means no direct cabinet underneath. You can install pull down wire cabinet shelving in upper kitchen cabinets for items that are hard to reach (same applies to closet rods). These are a few of many things that can be done to help you live in your home for as long as possible. We are building 1300 sq ft and are able to incorporate all these ideas with smart planning and cost effectiveness. You’ve given me some good advice so here’s back at you.

#59 lgre on 05.06.09 at 2:58 pm

“you’re assuming this all happened in september 2008 which is not the case. There were significant losses in the stock market starting in august of 2007. Maybe a lot of people weren’t paying attention. Also, crashing real estate prices started way before august 2007.

Maybe we’re already in 1932 or even past it”

Loses did start 07 but they werent siginificant, significant didnt start till about the spring of 08. Speculating about the market is just that..speculation.

This is a different era from 1929, it could be better or it could be worse. Watch a doc called IOUSA..it will give everyone a perspective of the US economy. It dosent matter which way we slice it, the US of A is a goner..these crisis will get more and more rampant as the years pass..if they are able to stabilize this problem, it will be a matter of a year or 2 before the next crisis starts. So, people should be getting out of debt and not over paying for assests and investments..otherwise, you will be burned. But, each their own.

#60 lgre on 05.06.09 at 3:08 pm

“What goes through a condo buyers brain causing them to blank out of the responsibility of reading the contract before signing has always been a mystery ”

LOL, funny you mentioned that..an aquintance of mine was paying life insurance for 15 years because he wanted coverage just in case he got cancer, as it runs though his family..besides his contract he was given a certificate, and it clearly says 5 lines down in big bold letters ‘ this policy does not cover any form of cancer’ the stupidity is unreal.

#61 JoeCalgary on 05.06.09 at 3:08 pm

“Restart mills, Ottawa tells U.S. Steel”

http://business.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090506.wussteelstelcoStaff0506/BNStory/Business/home

“Industry Minster Tony Clement is threatening legal action….”

Why did we allow foreign takeover of Stelco???

#62 Jonathan on 05.06.09 at 3:16 pm

Garth – Business Idea..

So many people come to you for investment advice on real estate. You need to capitalize on that.

Perhaps, when the time is right, you should offer real estate consultation. Get classes of 30-50 people for $75-100 for the day. Give them an idea of what you consider is good real estate and has investment potential.

You spend all your day doing it here for free!

Good Luck.

#63 john m on 05.06.09 at 4:04 pm

52 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 05.06.09 at 1:25 pm—building codes vary with municipalities.I have been a builder renovator for many years,anyone who does a major renovation on a century home for sure is going to follow the rules—but you can run into an asshole no nothing building inspector–in that case you spend a couple hundred and hire an engineer (i have done that many times) they over rule building inspectors and you can progress with your renovation with no worries.

#64 john m on 05.06.09 at 4:19 pm

#52 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 05.06.09 at 1:25 pm

Garth,

Ah, reno of such a POS. Well, hope you have good respirator to filter out all the nasties like the Hanta Virus from the mouse crap? Nothing like rodent corpses and droppings to add to the biomix of potential diseases.—-when you are totally exposing the interiors of walls etc in a renovation–a $1.99 gallon of bleach in a pressure sprayer will kill just about every rodent bacteria known to mankind :-)

#65 john m on 05.06.09 at 4:24 pm

#52 Bill Muskoks NAM Yes Sir, DIY renovations and ‘flipping’ is a really profitable venture for amateurs.——-Obviously and that is why people like yourself who are so critical and misinformed should stay away from that :-)…………..im pretty confident that Garth has been down this road before—listen and learn…:-)

#66 Dan in Victoria on 05.06.09 at 4:27 pm

Got a chuckle out of that picture”Hey honey theres a picture of me ripping the basement apart.”She comes running to look.”Jerk thats not you”Ah so predictable.The house we are in now was bought at the bottom of the last crunch,nobody wanted to buy anything around here.”Are you crazy buying that POS(piece of [email protected]#)was said to me by more than one person.It had over a hundred holes in the walls, old plumbing,sketchy wiring etc.Took me most of a year to fix it up but still was into it for about 25% less than the comparibles in the area.Got quite a chuckle when the boom was on, had many people come to the door wanting to know if we would sell.Classic Herd mentality.The house has turned out even better than I thought it would,I’ve got the back up generator,transfer switch,Wood heat,electric heat backup,just looking at a small gas boiler for some in floor radiant heat.Got some other projects on the go around the house,got more than a few raised eyebrows from people that think i’m a screwball.I started probably 5 years ago,When I saw the ice storms and Katrina,and when we had the big wind storm here that sealed the deal for me.

#67 Patrice on 05.06.09 at 4:30 pm

from the TREB monthly report
“The seasonally adjusted annual rate of
sales in April, at 80,900, was up 26
per cent from March and up two-thirds
compared to January’s ten-year low.”

what the hell does this mean?

they really have to come up with twisted stuff to show a positive light on the market.

or I’m just too dumb to understand; which is perfectly possible.

#68 The Tallyman on 05.06.09 at 5:27 pm

Great move on acquiring the reno property Garth.
In any market good or bad it’s a good time to secure the land that provides the autonomy that cities just can’t provide.
As in: Your own food & off grid options

About that Rat…. I placed a magnifying glass up to the monitor and I’ll be damed.

The rat is wearing a sweater!!!
no escaping Ottawa.

#69 $fromA$ia on 05.06.09 at 5:43 pm

Garth, build your bomb shelter in Chicano. Not only can you watch the Blackhawks lose the series with Vancouver, you’ll have the largest supply of squirels in Amerika.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/30602700#30599574

Check it out. What are you going to do with all your squirel pelts? Ah yes you can make $$$ selling Kinky squirel G strings. Woohoo!

#70 Lucy.Jordan on 05.06.09 at 6:20 pm

#62 $fromA$ia –

They don’t make G-strings from squirrels, they make them from weasels.

http://wickedweasel.com/en-ca

#71 905er & Spouse on 05.06.09 at 6:40 pm

Garth,
Be sure to let us all know when the big “deflation keg party/housewarming” is and we’ll all be there!

#72 905er & Spouse on 05.06.09 at 6:47 pm

PS: Send out all those buses to pick us up for the party! ;)

#73 $fromA$ia on 05.06.09 at 7:10 pm

Lucy.Jordan

LOL, there you go. Garth can try out his new fashion in blazer, cowboy boots and a Squirel pelt G string.

Stuningly prrrrfect.

Too small. — Garth

#74 Nalini Sharma Fan Club on 05.06.09 at 7:15 pm

#26 Ontarion – wait to buy…sure a spring market has given the home prices/sales some life, but the market will be down by this time next year (it is our first year of a downward market, the US had 4) and when the harmonized tax is introduced, alot of those houses listed at 520-550K will probably list closer to 499K to get your attention in a weak market.

So wait. Don’t know about you, but it takes me awhile to save that extra 50K after taxes.

And there is nothing wrong with getting a great deal on a POS home to use as a home or business. At least it isn’t a condo, with a $200 a month maint fee that could have went towards paying your mortgage, financed over 35 years with $0 down.

I am curious to Garth’s opinion of whether he feels this is a market rally or a true rebound. Personally, based on the continious stream of bad employment news, I don’t think we are ready for our rebound yet. Despite agreeing with Garth that the market will recover before the economy.

Also….to fight inflation or deflation….where could the BOC put interest rates? What could we be in for? I do have enough faith in our governement (and the US) that it won’t get as bad as Germany did around 30’s or 40’s (not sure on which) Many of us are too young to remember the oil crisis of the 70’s, and the inflation of the early 80’s.

Now like a true Canadian…I am off to watch Crosby vs. Ovechkin.

#75 . . . fried eggs and spam . . . on 05.06.09 at 7:15 pm

There is only one thing that matters in the world now.

Wednesday, May 27 is the UEFA Champions League Cup Final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. The final score is: Barcelona 2 – Manchester United 3.

You heard it here first. After that, the world resumes normal service!
——
When preparing and mixing all the ingredients of the planet that lead to this absolutely magnificent cake for baking, it blows up in our faces!

http://tinyurl.com/d82rzb /\ http://tinyurl.com/c9y2qd /\ http://tinyurl.com/cf7k6j /\ http://tinyurl.com/d2uxa8 /\ http://tinyurl.com/ckv8j5 /\ http://tinyurl.com/ddqqhx /\ http://tinyurl.com/cjwok4

More to the point, however — http://tinyurl.com/c7k2ou — Would these be the ones who are doing insider trading very quickly in equities?

#76 dd on 05.06.09 at 7:54 pm

#61 JoeCalgary

“Why did we allow foreign takeover of Stelco?”

Why not?

#77 Will the real garth please stand up on 05.06.09 at 8:48 pm

The TSX closed at 10,144 today… first time in 6 months.
Out of the many leading indicators in an economic recovery, the stock market is a small player, but still an indicator of a recovery.
I remember all the posters here that laughed and ridiculed – if not crucified Stephen Harper when he said there could be some good bargains in the stock market during the crash…
You were ALL wrong.

Looks like some of you should have bought some stocks at fire sale prices, eh?
Double digit returns would be fun by now, eh Squirrel meat eaters! LOL!

#78 Dan in Victoria on 05.06.09 at 8:54 pm

Not sure if you’ve got land there Garth but a Uni Mog with all its attachments would be handy.Easier to place the buses, And a little bio diesel plant also. http://www.redcougar.ca/u500.htm

#79 The Real Players Who Control the Markets on 05.06.09 at 9:07 pm

#43 PTDBD is bang on. His posting about the “Grand Unified Theory” is excellent.

btw, these are the same big players who own and run the Fed. They set rates and policy.
They co-ordinate and rescue a major down day (when they want) with huge buy programs near the end of the day, as well as vice-versa, making money both long and short.

And you thought the Fed was a govt. organization!

#80 Sun Yat-sen suit on 05.06.09 at 9:14 pm

leaving money (of course) to bury the 23 school buses in concentric circles in the back pasture.

Wasn’t that a President Nixon thing – you know circle the Whitehouse with school busses to keep the war protestors out?

#81 Anon on 05.06.09 at 10:29 pm

So here are some of the results of number crunching from the TREB Market Watch publication.

(Hopefully the formatting isnt too crappy, and if it is, I will perhaps repost with less info. I may repost following Garth’s post tonight as well. Undecided.)

Again, these numbers are for DETACHED HOUSES in the Central District.

Compared to this time last year, both the average and median prices for detached houses fell by $61G and $54G respectively. (That works out to a 6 % drop in the average prices for such a residence in the Central District.)

It is interesting to note that in some areas, the average price went up YOY (C02, C09, C12, C14). But the majority went down. Two areas I am looking at, C11 and C13, were down significantly. Both were down 20%!! (C11 -$205G Avg-YOY; C13 -$118G Avg-YOY).

(Sounds too good to be true? Please feel free to verify.)

With respect to the comment about TREB numbers being down a “whole 3%”, then break it up. I think 416 numbers are off 5.7% and the 905’s are off by 2.2%.

Date Sales Avg $ Mdn $ %YOY Δ Avg$ ΔMdn$
Apr09 384 $905,594 $744,017 94 -$61,223 -$53,958
Mar09 237 $774,365 $696,294 85 -$135,007 -$85,328
Feb09 183 $865,454 $742,180 88 -$113,731 -$94,271
Jan09 107 $750,865 $649,757 83 -$156,949 -$95,005
Dec08 105 $961,842 $839,238 91 -$92,141 $22,040
Nov08 142 $950,362 $753,819 102 $16,916 -$58,412
Oct08 183 $807,689 $739,990 85 -$142,952 -$59,773
Sep08 235 $812,416 $700,338 89 -$103,407 -$93,599
Aug08 202 $801,833 $681,663 90 -$88,727 -$63,025
Jul08 281 $857,192 $720,100 93 -$65,197 -$16,746
Jun08 369 $932,625 $768,535 100 -$3,777 $4,176
May08 402 $962,197 $803,413 112 $100,889 $77,528
Apr08 404 $966,817 $797,975 107 $59,887 $51,662
Mar08 216 $909,373 $781,623 111 $92,164 $54,701
Feb08 256 $979,185 $836,452 105 $48,486 $49,264
Jan08 224 $907,813 $744,762 105 $40,408 $28,381

#82 TJMikey on 05.06.09 at 10:32 pm

Hey Garth,

You do realise that POS has more than one meaning.

Food for thought.

Did you just think of that? — Garth

#83 Comrade Okie on 05.06.09 at 10:53 pm

# 77 Will the real garth please stand up

A market propped up by trillions of dollars worth of tax payer indebtedness gives you the right to gloat?

Listen moron, Casey Stengel once said ” it ain’t over til it’s over”.

If you have the capacity to understand that, some reflection might be in order.

The one thing Garth has written recently, that I had time to read that is an absolute is this, interest rates will go up.

Where will that leave the common person?

To which I will add, if nothing else, the one thing that has been proven, is that this economic structure the western world operates with, is based on perception. Smoke and shadows. Ask yourself how comfortable you are with committing your money and ultimately, your future, based on that?

Old saying, “A fool and his money are soon parted”.

New saying, “A greedy fool, can be parted from his money far quicker.”

#84 dbg on 05.06.09 at 10:59 pm

#57 Grumpy …..

Management contracts in BC are regulated and you wouldn’t get away with what you have proposed.

I don’t disagree that condos are a bad investment but don’t blame the mgmt co’s in BC they work hard for their money.

Years ago what you have stated was the case but they changed the legislation that disallows property mgmt co’s to be in bed with developers.

Cheers,

#85 dbg on 05.06.09 at 11:00 pm

sorry should have said “allows”

#86 Dave on 05.06.09 at 11:51 pm

some of us did and its triple digit returns ;)

#87 Dave on 05.06.09 at 11:57 pm

his is a different era from 1929, it could be better or it could be worse. Watch a doc called IOUSA..it will give everyone a perspective of the US economy. It dosent matter which way we slice it, the US of A is a goner..these crisis will get more and more rampant as the years pass..if they are able to stabilize this problem, it will be a matter of a year or 2 before the next crisis starts. So, people should be getting out of debt and not over paying for assests and investments..otherwise, you will be burned. But, each their own.
—————————————————–

yes, but luckily enough, a super power has emerged like no other and they have over 1 billion people there. The world economy will revolve around China, India, Brazil, Russia

#88 rup on 05.07.09 at 12:20 am

Ontarion – please wait to buy.The spring market has given the home prices/sales good life ..but is caused by following incentives introduced by the Federal Government such as:
– $2000 off the Land Transfer Tax for first time home buyers
-Another $750 rebate
-First time home buyers being able to take $25000 out of RRSP (opposed to $20,000 )for their first home purchase.

This coupled with decreasing mortgage rates created
a upward spring market.In short the Federal government is artificialy pumping the market with incentives and monetary policy.No wonder this spring rally is being caused majorly by first time home buyers.

But this may end starting July1 ,2010 when the Harmonization tax gets implemented all across Ontario.The honeymoon with real estate will become officially over and most of the houses will try to list close to $400,000.

Also every house sold will have to go through the mandatory GREEN ENERGY AUDIT.This audit would further put a downward pressure on selling the house as the seller based on this audit will have to do some upgrades before selling or on basis of the result of the audit the buyer will get higher negotiating power.

So for Ontario definitely the Harmonization Tax coupled with rising unemployment …and in case inflation also kicks in forcing fed to increase morgage rates moderately……the house prices would start a downward spiral.Also after the implementation of harmonisation tax ..the real estate agent fees ,lawyers fees,moving fees all goes up.

#89 Sean in E-Town on 05.07.09 at 5:19 am

JGoh, thanks for the advice. I’m actually considering Winnipeg, myself. Tell me though, if you can, are there a lot of employment opportunities in Montreal for a uni-lingual anglophone with three years university?

#90 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 05.07.09 at 10:10 am

#64 john m

Oh by all means go spraying a chlorine based anything throughout your home their Genius. When the Chlorine comes in contact with your heating system’s heat exchanger it will form HCL (Hydrochloric acid) and eat right through your heat exchanger allowing the combustion gases to enter your home and KILL YOU from CO poisoning. Please, follow your own recommendations. It is known as Natural Selection!

Any other Whiz Kid ideas you want to offer?

#91 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 05.07.09 at 10:23 am

#64 john m

Oh, and definitely use Chlorine so the wiring and plumbing rots through as well. Chlorine is a poison and the vapours are very dangerous.

Down in the southern U.S. all those homes that were rebuilt using Chinese drywall have to be redone because the sulphur content was so high the copper wiring and piping was destroyed.

Chinese-made drywall ruining homes, owners say

As to hiring a PEng. to override the building inspector, you better make sure the PEng. actually knows the Building Code because even with coursework training they may not.

#92 CalgaryRocks on 05.07.09 at 11:01 am

#89 Sean, I was raised in Montreal and it is one of my favorite cities. That being said, the good jobs go to ‘pure laines’ francophones and the rest pay huge taxes to support this minority.

Yes, great chicks, night life etc but don’t expect an easy time as an unilingual Anglo. Looks like you’re still young. Concentrate on increasing your skills and experience rather than decreasing your expenses by moving to dead end locations. Move to Asia for a while or somewhere that has a future. Just my opinion.

#93 gold bugger on 05.07.09 at 11:18 am

@Just a Carpenter.

This Just In: Some people ride bicycles without helmets. Some people eat fast “food.” Some people drive over the posted speed limit.

#94 john m on 05.07.09 at 12:37 pm

#90 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 05.07.09 at 10:10 am

#64 john m

Oh by all means go spraying a chlorine based anything throughout your home their Genius. When the Chlorine comes in contact with your heating system’s heat exchanger it will form HCL (Hydrochloric acid) and eat right through your heat exchanger allowing the combustion gases to enter your home and KILL YOU from CO poisoning. Please, follow your own recommendations. It is known as Natural Selection!

Any other Whiz Kid ideas you want to offer?—–LOL well first off im probably older than you secondly who mentioned anything about spraying bleach on a heat exchanger??? (other than an overly dramatic person like yourself).Reality check please!

#95 john m on 05.07.09 at 12:45 pm

#64 john m

Oh, and definitely use Chlorine so the wiring and plumbing rots through as well. Chlorine is a poison and the vapours are very dangerous.

Down in the southern U.S. all those homes that were rebuilt using Chinese drywall have to be redone because the sulphur content was so high the copper wiring and piping was destroyed.

Chinese-made drywall ruining homes, owners say

As to hiring a PEng. to override the building inspector, you better make sure the PEng. actually knows the Building Code because even with coursework training they may not.——–Well sonny i was a building contractor for 20 odd years and your attempts to make yourself appear to know what your talking about would not impress the simplest of minds :-).—-Chinese drywall??? -where the hell did that come from??? —-Oh yes and one really has to be careful about an engineer taking the time to read a section of the building code before putting his approval on it ———That my friend is so ridiculous its absurd!!!

#96 Flip That Bus on 05.07.09 at 1:36 pm

#90 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) –

It seems that the real problem with housing, not only reno’s but also new construction, is that people keep trying to extend old-fashioned materials and construction methods, instead of using new materials and ways and architectures.

Far too much modern common residential construction uses garish, silly, ugly facades on houses to be fashionable or to ‘fit in’ to a neighborhood, or otherwise be psychologically appealing to the average buyer. Multi-peaked, multi-surface steep roofs are put all over tiny detached chipboard doghouses, for example, to make them look bigger. That drives the cost way up and makes them look like spooky ‘herman munster’ haunted houses. Almost as bad are individual entrances off of the street for each and every unit in a row-house, instead of using fewer weather-secure grand entrances and then hallways.

A better solution would be so-called ‘townhouses’, or properly-built condos, using pre-cast or pre-stressed concrete panels both for exterior envelope and inter-unit barriers. These are made in a factory then assembled/erected on site with big cranes and a few welders. No dry rot -liable beams and trusses anymore, no on-site measurement, cutting, and assembly under big pressure to make a quick buck. No more vermin or insect destruction. Even modular, manufactured houses made in a factory make more sense than hammer-banging for months on site.

Note that Condos, although a much better use of land than suburban sprawl, should really be apartment buildings (but NOT REITs). High-rise apartments are (theoretically) administered better, built better, and provide a much more stable place to live, not subject to all the horrible, typical RE capital price swings based on emotion, marketing, and political financial manipulation. Condos unfortunately are designed to make each unit as cheap as possible, for one single use, with as much cosmetic crap on the inside to squeeze the selling price out of it as high as it will go. Long-term maintenance is hardly a consideration. High-rise apartment buildings on the other hand are designed for more use and wear, by many more people in each unit over its lifetime. Proper replacement of worn fixtures still has to be done however.

Houses were all designed and built for a limited lifespan using cheapest common materials, and highest amounts of labour used in traditional ways. Trying to emulate that now leads to all sorts of problems, whether in picking apart dry-rot beams and blue-mold walls or carpets, chimney replacement, other structural and envelope replacement, plumbing and wiring replacement, or roof replacement. Hanta virus, mold spores, and septic plumbing unmentionables are the least of your worries. Better to bulldoze, start fresh, and do it right. Over 99% of old houses are NOT ‘historic treasures’ whatever the hell that is, just worn-out junk.

http://apple20.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/04/27/inside-steve-jobs-tear-down-mansion/

#97 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 05.07.09 at 2:52 pm

#94 john m

Well, Sonny (LMAO), if your use chlorinated solvents and they are sucked into the cold air return where do you think they will go? Trichlorinated solvent are just as bad as bleach, only a lower concentration. Same goes for off-gassing of some flooring adhensives.

#95 john m

Re: Chinese drywall.

Try reading the article. You sound like almost every contractor I have known. Knows everything and then goes ballistically defensive when confronted. I am sure that works with your workers, but not with me.

Oh, and I have been an in engineering for many decades and know how little some engineers actually know.

Contractors are usually skilled, but usually lack specific knowledge regarding chemicals and environmental hazards. In fact, most can barely read and MSDS, much less comprehend one.

Did I mention I was once Vice-President of a construction company? Maybe I will get to handle a suit against you someday? Hope so!

#98 john m on 05.07.09 at 6:13 pm

#97 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 05.07.09 at 2:52 pm—–give it a rest already lol. Your obvious knowledge of the construction business is as limited as your feeble attempts to impress. As far as you ever handling a suit against me is a joke! I have built over 250 buildings and renovated many–i have never had a “suit ” against me or a dissatisfied customer nor have i ever been in violation of any building codes. Considering your apparent lack of expertise and if i might add BS i seriously doubt there is anyone foolish enough to hire you to handle a suit against anyone——sooooooo please “give it a rest” ok :-)

#99 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 05.08.09 at 9:38 am

Well John, your arrogance is like a trap waiting to spring.

Have fun when it does!