Bubble Columbia


Fixer-upper in Vancouver:
Listed for $749K, Sold for 1,033,000
13 days on market, 18 offers.

Veni, vidi, Victoria.

Definitely the highlight of my evening was a guy with an iPhone who came up after my talk last night and flashed a photo. “My wife’s cleavage,” he said. That was shocking enough. More shocking was the fact I recognized the bosom.

Hard not to. It had my name on it.

“Remember that,” he asked me? “It was great. We love the blog.” Like I could forget. His beautiful wife had presented her alluring contour with one hand and a Sharpie with the other last winter after one of my previous Victoria gigs. “Will you sign me,” she asked?

Ah, the travails of a financial entertainer. Somebody’s gotta do it…

Actually the large crowd was friendly for a city epitomizing real estate delirium, and which I miss few opportunities to ridicule. But maybe they’ve been softened up a tad. After all, the average home price in October was merely $590,567, down a withering $29,369 – which is a 5% drop in one month, or an equity hemorrhage of $1,000 a day.

Meanwhile affordability levels are flashing red. It now takes 7.4 times the average income in Victoria to buy the average home – seriously unaffordable by international standards, and far worse than the height reached by US real estate just before the crash. Just imagine what even a 2% rise in mortgage rates over a year or two would do to a market like that. Victoria is also a relatively small place of about 80,000, and an urban area of about 330,000.

That means without sustained migration or major new employers, there just isn’t enough population momentum to keep the average house price 50% above the national average. Sure, there is less snow. But this week has been hellish in BC with gale force winds, flooding and little old lady tourists blowing into the sea.

What most folks in the delusional Lower Mainland don’t understand is (a) everyone else does not actually want to move here and (b) even if they did, invading Boomers would first have to sell their big suburban houses in Mississauga and Calgary. The fact is, both Vancouver and Victoria haven been rendered uninhabitable for great swaths of the population, especially the retirement-age set that Vancouver Island caters to.

So, my message was simple: You still make money by buying low and selling at the top. If you own a house in BC, this is the top. Real estate is not going to continue to rise in value forever, or even for five years, since the universe of potential buyers is shrinking fast in this age of economic turmoil. In fact, maybe last month’s dive was a harbinger of months to come.

Whatever. Whadda I know?

But I do worry for those people who fall victim to the mass psychology of insular markets, reinforced by uncritical and myopic local media. What has happened in Britain or the US is always just a few lousy weeks away. The latest news of large numbers of Americans with good credit ratings now sinking into default and foreclosure as unemployment does not diminish should give us all pause.

Anyway, nobody tossed buns at me. Or ugly questions. And there were a bunch of blog dogs there yelping and scratching in the back.

But, sadly, no Sharpies. Just a memory.


#1 Gord In Vancouver on 11.20.09 at 2:57 am

Looks Like the BC Govt. Doesn’t Want the Real Estate Party To End

B.C. hikes HST new housing rebate eligibility


#2 Reluctant Renter on 11.20.09 at 2:58 am

Well BC is no doubt a beautiful place to live… if you can find work here, and except when it rains, which only happens to be about 8 months of the year in Vancouver (including the olympic weeks).

Wonder how appealing Vancouver will be after the Olympics when all the construction jobs are gone?

Anyways, I wanted to bring attention to an article at globalresearch.ca which asks:

“What do the mid-recession housing boom and the Harper Conservatives’ rise in the polls have in common? Answer: the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s massive sub-prime mortgage scheme that is keeping up the appearance of an economic recovery.”

Once they get their majority govt they can really sell out Canada to the globalist bankers.

#3 TheFirstRick on 11.20.09 at 2:58 am

I’ve always said that after winning the lottery, my principle Canadian residence would be in Victoria. Fairfield, James Bay, Oak Bay……sweet. Who knows, maybe the local market will be sustained by dreams alone. But for now, a nice place to visit, but I can’t afford to live there.

#4 LS on 11.20.09 at 3:19 am

Very cool talk you gave. You’re an excellent speaker, and that whirlwind of slides and images was timed so well to the speech. Having read just about everything you’ve written in the past year or two I thought this evening would just be a rehash, but your talk was filled with new interesting and entertaining segments.
I urge everyone else to go see Garth if he’s speaking nearby. The full Garth experience comes out only live.

One suggestion for a future blog post is that guy’s (John?) claim that a lot of the CMHC insured mortgages are actually low ratio. Seems kind of bizarre, why would someone with only 25% mortgage have CMHC insurance? Some stats are in order.

#5 Einsam Solo on 11.20.09 at 3:47 am

“Anyway, nobody tossed buns at me.”

When 70% of your income goes to the mortgage, you dare not throw away good food. Or maybe the food bank was out of buns this week.

#6 Canuck in HK on 11.20.09 at 5:40 am

An HK condo comparison to Calgary.

This may be an unfair comparison but I think it adds to the perspective on Canadian real estate prices.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to check out a condo on the south side of Hong Kong island in area called Aberdeen. (lots of expats and people with nothing to do)

After learning what seemed to me a “sticker shock” price of 6M HKD’s (~ $816,300 CAD) I compared this to a few Condos in Calgary of almost equal features. My comparison may be off (how could they not be), but what I found was quite surprising to me.

Calgary Condo (Eau Claire)
$699,900.00 CAD

HK Condo (Aberdeen)
$816,300.00 CAD

What is surprising, is that condo prices in Calgary are easily within the neighborhood of upscale average prices in Hong Kong. Huh?

How can a city of 1.1M people compare to one of 7M people with a history of no space and some of the highest real estate prices in the world?

The HK condo price quoted above is an above average flat for sure, in an upscale part of the island in a newer building (but by no means high end). While prices for flats seem to change drastically depending on location, one could easily find an average two-bedroom condo for about $550 – $600K. The point here is that prices have both been higher and lower and as large as the market is, price volatility is alive an well.

So, in a mature condo market like HK history tells us there is room to go up, and come down. Putting this into perspective, it’s not unreasonable to believe Calgary’s record breaking prices can easily fall off a cliff sure as any other market in the world.

As far as I know there is no such thing as CMHC here in HK, but there is a competitive banking industry willing to beat the other guy for your business.

You can secure a VRM for as low as 1.9% with 10% down (5%@purchase and another 5% after 12 months) amortized over 25 years’. Oh and, there is NO penalty for principle reduction of any amount at any time after one year. I’ll stay on topic and not go into comparing the banking system; that will just make you madder than hell.

In closing, I have less confidence in the high flying Canadian real estate market now than every before.

#7 Blobby on 11.20.09 at 5:40 am

@#1: quote “”We heard the concerns from consumers and industry about how the HST might affect home buyers, and this increase will move the threshold to above the average new home price in the province,” said Hansen in a statement released on Thursday morning.”

Translation : We’re scared to shit about house prices actually correcting or even crashing as that’d knacker our economy even more than we’ve already fucked it up with overspending on the olympics. Subsequently we’re going to try to keep house prices as artificially high as possible for as long as possible, until we’ve fixed our deficity – or it looks like there’s f-all chance of us getting another term.

#8 Blobby on 11.20.09 at 5:41 am

NOTE: “deficity” was a typo.. but it describes vancouver well..

#9 NOBODY on 11.20.09 at 6:26 am

BC is one hell of a wet spot.
Why would I pay $700K for a crappy bungalow in Vancouver with a 5sq ft lot?
It rains all the time.
The mountains?
You can’t see them as it rains all the time.
The place sucks.
I’d rather keep my nice 1300sq ft 4 bed 2 bath bungalow on a 400sq ft lot in Ottawa that I paid $225K for 3 years ago.
The mountains?
I’ll cover my windows with Rockie mountain posters and save myself $500K thank you very much…
Speaking of BC… Whistler’s real estate is now an horrible joke.
They will see the biggest slide in resale prices in the history of Canada:

800 sq ft for $1/2 million… and there’s still a ton of inventory to move in Whistler. Yup, that slide in prices will be steeper than any down hill ski runs there!

#10 NOBODY on 11.20.09 at 6:27 am

I meant to say:
I’d rather keep my nice 1300sq ft 4 bed 2 bath bungalow on a 4000 sq ft lot in Ottawa that I paid $225K for 3 years ago.

#11 miketheengineer on 11.20.09 at 6:54 am


Like I said in an earlier post. June/July 2010, is when the combined HST/GST kicks in, we will see a dramatic drop. How much, who knows. I am sure your prediction of 10-20% will be accurate. From then on it will be steady sprial downwards.

Many people will realize this and jump in, before they have to pay the additional taxes, or jump out.

I believe the unemployment numbers will continue to increase, and we all know that people who don’t work, can’t pay. The US had a “real” unemployment of 20% and is still increasing. Some predict 25% will be the new norm in the US. We are a reflection of them, so this may happen here to.

My prediction is RE is good (GTA) till June 2010, then tanks. How fast, who knows. How much, is anybody’s guess.

2011, more of the same. 2012 will see the leveling affects, as all those displaced people, settle into their new lives. Prices normalize to what the market can pay. Best time to purchase will be in 2012 or after, that’s when I see a return to a “buyers” market. Not before.

#12 GregW., Oakville on 11.20.09 at 7:06 am

Hi Garth, FYI (artical)

Ron Paul’s Amendment To Audit The Federal Reserve Approved
November 19, 2009

#13 David Bakody on 11.20.09 at 7:11 am

#1 Gord In Vancouver on 11.20.09 at 2:57 am

B.C. hikes HST new housing rebate eligibility

They did that down here in East ….. prices went up with a clause rebate to builder ….


You had a good evening due in part of your forthright stand up professional presentation …. and I fully suspect you answered all questions standing on your feet. Honest people like that …. only clowns sitting at tables throw buns …

Any town, city or province needs young people and affordable housing to survive well ….. perhaps Victoria and Vancouver should stop and think ahead of the curve. There is sharp turn ahead.

#14 GregW., Oakville on 11.20.09 at 7:12 am

Hi Garth, FYI

Société Générale tells clients how to prepare for potential ‘global collapse’
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
November 19, 2009

#15 GregW., Oakville on 11.20.09 at 7:17 am

Hi Garth, FYI

Reports of pneunomic plague deaths in Poland
Ukraine and World Pneumonic Plague Information
November 19, 2009

#16 Onemorething on 11.20.09 at 7:27 am

Quite simply when prime mortgage holders start to get sucked into the foreclosure vortex the second stage downturn in the USA has begun.

This means the 30%+ avg. drop in US RE is going to move another 20-25% downward until a bottom in unemployment is found.

Unemployment, try this on for size compliments of Mr. Roubini,

“And, while data from firms suggest that job losses in the past three months were about 600,000, household surveys, which include self-employed workers and small entrepreneurs, suggest a number above two million.”

U3 at 10.2% – yeah what a useless manufactured number, the U6 at 17.5%, better but still doesnt reflect what Roubini is pointing out, what it actually feels like on main street.

And one more thing, which I must repeat, how do you factor 20% salary haircuts on those who still have 40 hour work weeks, how do you factor in 50% haircuts on part time worker, how do you negatively factor no haircut in salary but forced into a 60+ hour work week to keep your constant income. Add the “almost unemployed” with 90% haircuts who have not applied for unemployment but selling crap on E-bay.

Measure it all as an aggregate and you have to see current unemployment around 25% and when 1/3 of all fall into those categories above, I’m sure it will finally sink in that we’re already screwed!

It will take a much more significant event, or string of events for the GREAT GLOBAL RESET to occur!

#17 Piccaso on 11.20.09 at 7:39 am

I remember buying my first house, a 3 bdr/dble att gar/1260 sq ft house in the mid 80’s for $73,000. I think it maybe was 2.5 times my annual income and a 5 year term mortgage was 8%.
Newbies now days will be paying off a mortgage on Canada Pension if there still is a Canada Pension.

#18 Nostradamus jr. on 11.20.09 at 8:10 am

@ 2 weeks ago I posted on Garths blog site that Gold was the U.S. Dollars #1 enemy.

…It has now come to light that millions of Gold Bars may be complete fakes…replaced with tungsten.

The purpatrators……the U.S. and the U.K.

….Unknow forces continue to do whatever is necessary to keep the fiat U.S. Dollar as the world currency.

….Unknown forces continue to force the Emerging Economies into BK.

…Unknown forces quietly continue relocating the world’s elite and wealthy to Vancouver BC.

…H1N1 may make the 2010 Olympics the first “Virtual Olympics”.

….Vancouver will become the New World’s Financial, Trade, Culture and Leisure Capital of the World.

Nostradamus jr.

#19 pbrasseur on 11.20.09 at 8:24 am

So while in the US, even after years of problems, the real-estate crisis continues, now with an increasing number of prime loans in trouble. In Canada it hasn’t even started, even in areas where valuation has gone through de roof! Yet our economies are integrated and both are suffering. What gives? Actually we all know the reason behind that great disconnect, don’t we?


First the good news: The CMHC cannot go bankrupt, it’s government backed. If necessary the government could intervene to bailout or the BoC could print endless amounts of money just to buy the bad assets (something it has already done BTW). Of course that would send the dollar into a tailspin and/or public debt would skyrocket, but there will be no bank failures, no financial meltdown, and for the time being it’s all cozy.

The bad news: This market is unsustainable, especially given the economic conditions, and will eventually correct no matter what. The CMHC scheme being so robust (compared to Freddie/Fannie) merely pushes the breaking point higher, insuring the drop will be even more severe. It insures Canadians will waste even more wealth in this madness.

Not sure how this is all going to unfold in Canada, my guess is it won’t be an American style debacle (except maybe is some areas) but rather a long and slow decline that will be a burden for the Canadian economy for years to come, impairing our productivity, our growth and in the end our standard of living and ability to provide decent services to the population.

Yet because there might be no spectacular headlines, no massive bank failures, many will continue to brag about Canada being so much better. That will be a mistake because in the end the folly of the present market has the potential to cause pain for decades to come, and the CMHC robustness only insures there will be more of it.

#20 Nicky on 11.20.09 at 8:38 am

@Reluctant Renter
If our Prime Minister ever gets a majority government, it’s time to leave Canada.
I can’t decide if he’s a whore or a pimp.

#21 David Bakody on 11.20.09 at 8:56 am

More Reduced Price signs appeared this morning …. is it a trend ? … who knows? Perhaps people just want to sell before Christmas. Like Garth what do I know but many here do understand trends and even now most educated finance people ( hello these are people who got the world in the mess it is in) are now omitting we have been living in a false economy. Kinda like torture … not true or a best not on my watch.

#22 David Bakody on 11.20.09 at 9:24 am

When our housing bubble bursts and the real debt numbers are released can this happen here in Canada?

California undergraduates and their parents just got hit with a 32% increase in tuition by next summer.

With hundreds of angry students chanting outside their meeting at UCLA, the California Board of Regents approved the $2,500, two-step fee hike, which will raise the basic tuition at the 10-campus University of California system to $10,300 a year. That’s three times what it cost a decade ago. Other fees, books, and room and board adds an additional $16,000.

With the state $21 billion in the hole and slashing funding for education, the regents said they had no choice. At the same time, UC is restricting new admissions in a bid to save money.

More increases seem inevitable.

Y’all know we once had money in the bank (Billions) and soon we will have a majority government and just guess who’s fault headlines like this and others will be when they hit Canadian news agencies …..”YOURS”

#23 pezzazz on 11.20.09 at 9:45 am

The latest foreclosure or distressed housing numbers out of the US are very shocking. It amazes me how long it takes the housing market to fully realize it’s (negative) potential. The foreclosures will start in the periphery areas and they will come home to roost in the urban areas. There’s nothing like the smell of “no bid” in the morning.

#24 Martin on 11.20.09 at 10:01 am

From Steve Keen
…it was Hyman Minsky who accurately described the seven bubble stages (the following excerpt is from my book Flight to Financial Freedom – Fasten Your Finances, written during 2005/2006):

The late Hyman Minsky, Ph.D., was a famous economist who taught for Washington University’s Economics department for more than 25 years prior to his death in 1996. He studied recurring instability of markets and developed the idea that there are seven stages in any economic bubble:

Stage One – Disturbance:
Every financial bubble begins with a disturbance. It could be the invention of a new technology, such as the Internet. It may be a shift in laws or economic policy. The creation of ERISA or unexpected reductions of interest rates are examples. No matter what the cause, the outlook changes for one sector of the economy.

Stage Two – Expansion/Prices Start to Increase:
Following the disturbance, prices in that sector start to rise. Initially, the increase is barely noticed. Usually, these higher prices reflect some underlying improvement in fundamentals. As the price increases gain momentum, more people start to notice.

Stage Three – Euphoria/Easy Credit:
Increasing prices do not, by themselves, create a bubble. Every financial bubble needs fuel; cheap and easy credit is, in most cases, that fuel. Without it, there can’t be speculation. Without it, the consequences of the disturbance die down and the sector returns to a normal state within the bounds of “historical” ratios or measurements. When a bubble starts, that sector is inundated by outsiders; people who normally would not be there. Without cheap and easy credit, the outsiders can’t participate.

The rise in cheap and easy credit is often associated with financial innovation. Many times, a new way of financing is developed that does not reflect the risk involved. In 1929, stock prices were propelled into the stratosphere with the ability to trade via a margin account. Housing prices today skyrocketed as interest-only, variable rate, and reverse amortization mortgages emerged as a viable means for financing overpriced real estate purchases. The latest financing strategy is 40, or even 50 year mortgages.

Stage Four – Over-trading/Prices Reach a Peak:
As the effects of cheap and easy credit digs deeper, the market begins to accelerate. Overtrading lifts up volumes and spot shortages emerge. Prices start to zoom, and easy profits are made. This brings in more outsiders, and prices run out of control. This is the point that amateurs, the foolish, the greedy, and the desperate enter the market. Just as a fire is fed by more fuel, a financial bubble needs cheap and easy credit and more outsiders.

Stage Five – Market Reversal/Insider Profit Taking:
Some wise voices will stand up and say that the bubble can no longer continue. They argue that long run fundamentals, the ratios and measurements, defy sound economic practices. In the bubble, these arguments disappear within one over-riding fact – the price is still rising. The voices of the wise are ignored by the greedy who justify the now insane prices with the euphoric claim that the world has fundamentally changed and this new world means higher prices. Then along comes the cruelest lie of them all, “There will most likely be a ‘soft’ landing!”

Stage Five is where the real estate industry is today [2005/2006]. This stage can be cruel, as the very people who shouldn’t be buying are. They are the ones who will be hurt the most. The true professionals have found their ‘greater fool’ and are well on their way to the next ‘hot’ sector, like the transition from real estate to commodities now.Those who did not enter the market are caught in a dilemma. They know that they have missed the beginning of the bubble (gold, silver, and oil today [2005/2006]). They are bombarded daily with stories of easy riches and friends who are amassing great wealth. The strong will not enter at stage five and reconcile themselves to the missed opportunity. The ‘fool’ may even realize that prices can’t keep rising forever… however, they just can’t act on their knowledge. Everything appears safe as long as they quit at least one day before the bubble bursts. The weak provide the final fuel for the fire and eventually get burned late in stage six or seven.

Stage Six – Financial Crisis/Panic:
A bubble requires many people who believe in a bright future, and so long as the euphoria continues, the bubble is sustained. Just as the euphoria takes hold of the outsiders, the insiders remember what’s real. They lose their faith and begin to sneak out the exit. They understand their segment, and they recognize that it has all gone too far. The savvy are long gone, while those who understand the possible outcome begin to slowly cash out. Typically, the insiders try to sneak away unnoticed, and sometimes they get away without notice. Whether the outsiders see the insiders leave or not, insider profit taking signals the beginning of the end (remember who has sold their rental properties?).

Stage seven – Revulsion/Lender of Last Resort:
Sometimes, panic of the insiders infects the outsiders. Other times, it is the end of cheap and easy credit or some unanticipated piece of news. But whatever it is, euphoria is replaced with revulsion. The building is on fire and everyone starts to run for the door. Outsiders start to sell, but there are no buyers. Panic sets in, prices start to tumble downwards, credit dries up, and losses start to accumulate.

This is where you may see the “lender of last resort” who is usually the government. The government, although they were talking up a soft landing, are now forced to step in to prevent the crises from spreading to other sectors. Ironically, this is where the savvy investor who profited before, really profits now. With government backing, they are asked to step in and return “normalcy” to a now damaged sector.

The government’s attempt to “put out the fire” usually works. However, the conditions into and beyond the year 2010 will require oceans of water that the government does not posses. You must be ready!

Really interesting.

#25 Gord In Vancouver on 11.20.09 at 10:02 am

Personal bankruptcies jumped 43.3 per cent in September, compared to year earlier


#26 Calgary_rip_off on 11.20.09 at 10:16 am


in Port Alice and Gold River up north vancouver island prices are good on houses. The reason many choose to live in Victoria is that many jobs are there. The Malahat, on the highway is dangerous and unless they build a train, its hard to get to Victoria. I remember driving everyday from Nanaimo to Victoria for 3 months when I was training for my job. When its sunny out you’re likely to get busted for driving 5 km/hr over the limit and when it rains there’s a big chance of hydroplaning. Some people live in Duncan, but that’s still a bit far.

Up north in Nanaimo, the city is pretty much run by the Hell’s Angels. The majority of people are always looking over their shoulder and the culture is totally bizarre. The RCMP are powerless to do anything cause they know if they intercept some gang member will show up at their home in the middle of the night.

The island culture is very depressing-you make it sound like some paradise. It’s more like Alcatrazz. The reason people are laid back there is cause everyone is holding onto their jobs for dear life. I remember applying for fast food jobs when I first moved there and not even getting a phone call. Then I delivered free papers and people actually complained if the paper was a millimeter off on their doorstep. The mindset is set back about 20 years ago. Very ignorant and very white. Not a lot of outside influence. And the natives like to keep it that way. They dont want a bridge and they dont like outsiders. I would advise anyone against moving there. Its expensive, ignorant, it rains lots, and there is a heavy drug element there. Not to mention the harassment you receive if you drive on highways. My wife is from the island, but there’s nothing I can do to get off that land mass quicker. The whole culture there is disgusting. It’s so hard to get jobs, but once you have one, likely its in a union so you can abuse this for all its worth. I know a dude that drives ambulance there and if he doesnt like his partner he calls in sick. Typical dumbass B.C. mentality.

People should move to someplace like Thunder Bay-cheap real estate and nice surroundings. If I had my way Id move to Manitoba but for now Im stuck with my job in calgary. There wasnt any jobs in B.C., so I was forced to move to Calgary and live in the bastion of conservative stupidness and houses $200K above their real value.

Keep those talks coming so real estate implodes. More reasonable house costs actually will stimulate the economy in a positive way.

#27 Grantmi on 11.20.09 at 10:34 am

You know you’re in a housing bubble when the housing industry has lobbied successfully the Government to move on the HST tax level of a new home.

They need it to keep the myth going.

#28 City with a woman's name on 11.20.09 at 10:49 am

Great presentation last night Garth, thanks.

Didn’t get a chance to ask my question last night. Hope you or someone else can answer it here:

The mortgage company owner in the audience last night defending the governments’ doubling the allowable amount of CMHC insured mortgages this year said that CMHC is now insuring low-ratio (over 25% down) mortgages – WHY? – are the banks now making it mandatory, and if not, why would anyone with a low-ratio mortgage pay the premium to have it insured?

Low-ratio mortgages are not insured, and no premiums are paid. I will be diving into this further. — Garth

#29 Grey on 11.20.09 at 10:51 am

So. While this didn’t happen in BC, my husband and me went to look at a house yesterday (East end of Toronto…by East I mean almost Pickering!!!).

This house was priced well (enticement for bidding wars) and redone, painted, groomed, styled, photographed beautifully and just marketed to a tee. The agent they got is obviously a very good agent. Had it been another one, it probably wouldn’t have caught anyone’s eye.

The listing had been up for 1 day.
We got there in the morning and there were already 30 agent cards on their dining room table.
And the open hasn’t even happened yet (that’s this weekend).
All offers are being accepted on Monday.

Needless to say we’re not putting one in.
We are not playing this game.
This is the housing market as we know it for First Time Buyers in the city.

Most of us have been officially either priced out of the market per fancy new listing prices or we are getting bullied out of the market by the bidding wars caused by the lower priced homes.

Good times!

#30 Mike (authentic) on 11.20.09 at 11:01 am

On CNBC yesterday they reported a housing poll that 70% of respondents said “Their home wasn’t affected by the drop in housing prices and their home was either flat or increased slightly”. The majority agreed their neighbours home fell in value though.

What does that tell you?

BC – “Bring cash” – Vancouver, Victoria. Nice to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. I appreciate the sun more than the milder rainy weather. Doesn’t it rain 300/365 days? Sadly the rain doesn’t seem to wash the dirt, grime, crime and graffiti away. Nice green place though.

#31 David on 11.20.09 at 11:01 am

Personal Bankruptcies Still Soaring in Canada


Japan Still Struggles With Deflation


US Housing Crisis Hits New Level of Foreclosures


My lord, the people paying buying houses right now are the most wilfully blind and ignorant people I’ve seen this side of Pets.Com

#32 $fromA$ia on 11.20.09 at 11:14 am

Marc Carneys talking to people in New York while Garth is addressing people in Victoria.

Who is Canadian? Both know whats in store ahead for the economy. One has chosen to try and help Canadians while the other keeps the wool over our eyes.

Keep it in Canada Marc, don’t leave it all for Garth…

#33 pbrasseur on 11.20.09 at 11:27 am

While personal bankruptcies reach new levels…


..the RE market is boiling hot!!!!

This is so absurd it’s almost comical!

#34 X on 11.20.09 at 11:34 am

If Malcolm Gladwell writes a Tipping Point 2 book, I am sure that the RE market deserves a chapter at least.

#35 Blobby on 11.20.09 at 11:49 am

If the government had any sort of moral soul at all – they’d tell the chmc to limit mortgages to 3 times wages.

But then telling people not to borrow money they cant afford isnt a vote winner.

#36 Contrarian in Vancouver on 11.20.09 at 11:54 am

I enjoy your blog, maybe just a little sensational (but gotta stir up things these days to get people’s attention) but lots of common sense. Here’s some breaking news you might have spotted that just lends to the absurdity of the state of the Canadian consumer.

Personal bankruptcies jumped 43.3 per cent in September, compared to year earlier

In plain English, personal bankruptcies are rising drastically while interest rates are at their lowest in decades. If one can’t manage their finances when borrowing costs are minimal, what the heck happens when rates rise, even just slightly??!!

Here’s another great quote I just came across on the Vancouver Real Estate Anecdotes website … http://vreaa.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/higher-down-payment-higher-interest-rate-don%e2%80%99t-try-to-fight-the-government/ Wow! The banks know they are taking the risk and are actually detering higher down payments.

I live in Vancouver so you’re more than aware of the Russian roulette game people out here are playing. My wife, young daughter and I are quite content to rent at $1450 a month a place that would be easily listed for $700,000 (and probably go into a bidding war to sell for more). Our landlord arranges for the lawn to be cut, landscaping taken care of, and immediately takes care of any repairs. Got to admit, he’s great…kinda makes me feel like I’ve got it too easy. We’ve got a couple hundred thousand sitting on the sidelines in safer investments earning a little interest (aside from our RRSPs which are very diversely invested, life insurance and no debt).

I’m a 40 year old investment advisor with a contrarian and value based philosophy. As I tell my older clients when recommending laddered GICs as part of their portfolio, it’s not just paying 3.35%, you’re getting 103.35% as you know you’ll get your money back (possibly delayed if things get really bad). Can’t say that about many investments these days – especially real estate. Heck, the cap rate’s got to be close to that but the risk is huge (oh wait, I forgot real estate only goes up!! – Hasn’t anybody looked at a graph of real estate in Vancouver for the last 40 years?) Luckily for me most of my clients are much older and have no debt. Bad for them is that their kids (in their 50s) can’t say the same and of course it gets down right worrisome when grandkids (who are in their 20s and 30s)situations are brought up.

Looking forward in the stock market and economy, anything’s possible and one should be positioned for any outcome. All bets are off when it comes to whether the recovery is really taking hold or not. Maybe the speculative money can keep the rally rolling or maybe it can’t. The crystal ball is cloudier now than ever…way more cloudy than at the beginning of the year. Then we felt things would get better, maybe not as quickly as it did, but now, it could get better for a while or worse at any moment. For now a bit of gold, some high quality dividend paying stocks (weighted to consumer staples, utilities, healthcare), short term fixed income with a splatter of longer term maturities, coupled with a sprinkling of real return bonds.

Meanwhile the plan for my family is that we’ll keep socking away into our RRSPs, keep building our down payment and in a few years when the @#!$ is really hitting the fan, pick up a pretty nice place and pay it off in less than 10 years. (Hopefully the banks won’t have a problem accepting a 30-40% down payment then! lol) Can’t think of any more contrarian and value based than that!

#37 $fromA$ia on 11.20.09 at 11:55 am

Blobby – If the government had any sort of moral soul at all – they’d tell the chmc to limit mortgages to 3 times wages.

That wont happen Bobby, why? Because it would add downward pressure on the RE Bubble. It’s the bubble that is keeping the Conservatives in power.

#38 Keith in Calgary on 11.20.09 at 11:59 am

The Alberta advantage……..


As reported by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, personal bankruptices of Albertans were up in Septmber by 33% over the preceeding month……..and up 100% over the previous year.

I’ll say that again……up by 100% over the previous year.

And again……up by 100% over the previous year.

Guess the recession is over……..heh.

Gotta get me some of that thar’ real estate…….use my RRSP funds for the downpayment and my 5 credit cards to make the monthly payments…….my realtor told me that RE only goes up and they’re not making’ any more land……and I trust my realtor.

#39 JeffinPickering on 11.20.09 at 12:01 pm

To #29 – Grey.

Wait 3-5 years and go by the place at a deep discount from whatever Greater Fool buys it now and then can’t afford it when renewal time with higher rates comes along.

#40 Mike (authentic) on 11.20.09 at 12:11 pm

Just read this and thought I’d share it:

“Last night, BoC Governor Mark Carney spoke in NYC to the Foreign Policy Association. The main topic of address was the importance of freely-exchanged currencies in enabling the global economic recovery.

He gave a fairly reasoned argument against alternative instruments to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Gold was dismissed because it comprises too small a portion of the world’s money supply; the yuan was deemed as unacceptable as long as it remains fixed to the dollar and the Chinese government maintains tight restrictions on its capital markets.

He allowed that eventually perhaps the dollar may be
replaced by a basket of currencies, but this would not be the SDR, as recently suggested by the IMF, because in order for it to be effective the SDR would have to become the singular global currency. He also took the opportunity to reiterate his view that the Canadian dollar’s strength will “more than fully offset” recent signs of economic growth.”


#41 CalgaryRocks on 11.20.09 at 12:21 pm

Regarding the 25% ltv questions. Take anyone that bought in Calgary with 5% down in 2006 and before.

They started with 95% LTV.

Now, their house is appraised almost double. If they have not made any principal payment, their LTV is now less than 50%, because of the appreciation.

Add to that, low interest rates, meaning faster principal repayments, as well as prepayments, and you can easily drop your LTV to less than 30%, in 5 years!

Remember that chmc insurance is paid upfront, so it isn’t something you cancel once your ltv goes below 75%. (something you can do in the US).

#42 Dusty on 11.20.09 at 12:21 pm

Hi Garth,
I found your blog just over a year ago right after we had bought a fixer upper in DonMills for over half a million dollars. Within a few minutes of reading what you had to say I actually felt sick to my stomach because I new that we had made a huge mistake. Well, we struggled through and renovated the property and finally sold it this fall and we were happy to get our money back with a very small profit. I’m sure that people we know think that we’re crazy for doing all that work and selling but we know that it was the right thing to do for the long term. We are planning to rent for the next year or two until hopefully we can buy back into the market when we don’t have to invest 80 % of our money. Do you have any suggestions where we should invest for a year or two? Probably couldn’t handle anything too risky as this is a big part of our retirement fund (we are almost sixty).
Enjoy your blog every day – thank god for a bit of sanity in this crazy economy!

#43 gordon on 11.20.09 at 12:27 pm

I think what the mortgage broker was trying to say is that the brokers can use the CMHC computer program to estimate the property’s value for conventional mortgages of less than 80 percent. In this way the broker may speed up the process of financing the property, rather than have an appraisal performed. CMHC gets a fee, that is slightly less than appraisal which the client usually will opt for.

In my opinion, this can and does lead to fraud by both parties. The broker adjusts or does not input all the clients expenses, boosts the client’s income, and manipulates information about the property in order to get a favourable response. In this way, it is possible to make a high ratio fit into conventional financing of under 80 percent.

In Victoria, the brokers handle a lot of mortgage volume. It would be interesting to see, if in the cities with the highest income to house price ratios also have the highest use of mortgage brokers.

Market prices could not have gotten this crazy without mortgage fraud.

#44 Men With Hats on 11.20.09 at 12:40 pm

That scenery tax is a killer . Now only thirteen percent .
How is Harpo going to duck this one ?
All sorts of goods and services are going to have this ridiculous levy slapped on .
Pure genius .

#45 Dan in Victoria on 11.20.09 at 12:43 pm

Well, I went last night,took a lot of ribbing over the suit,dress shoes,haircut and shave, oh well.
I would recomend to everyone to go sit through a presentation,I kinda thought it would drone on in a flat home movie style seminar.Nope flat out like a WW2 fighter plane,merlin engine roaring, machine gun going, shell casings flying to the floor.Pass after pass.Passionate messages being broadcast to the troops.
I think my wife benefited more than me,all my incohrent ramblings of the past 5 years or so were finally put together in an easy to understand format.
My broken redneck talk was a little hard for her to understand at times.
I learned a lot in the later part of the presentation,thats the next step for us.
Had a few chuckles,human nature was evident in a few people.
Also, was nice to meet you in person,there is a real human at the other end of this computer keyboard who cares about people after all.
Thanks Garth.

#46 Reasonfirst on 11.20.09 at 12:43 pm

#26 Calgary_rip_off “they (victorians) don’t like outsiders”

I have to agree if they are all like you….

#47 kitchener1 on 11.20.09 at 1:19 pm

Im calling the absoloute top in RE for Toronto and the GTA.

Seems that 80% of all new listings for SFH are all holding back offers, people pricing their homes 10K less then real value in the hopes that bidding wars will net them 50-60K extra.

When people get into this mindset of multiple offers etc… its game over. Its one thing to have bidding wars, but to holdback offers on almost every new listing???

Same thing in any market, when all the pundits are screaming about a certain commodity (that what RE is)
its time to get out.

#29 Grey

Your post is a perfect example of whats going to happen in GTA RE market. When people start too decide that they are not going to play the game, it means that homes will not sell. Its the herd mentalilty, the same one that drove prices up will also drive prices down.

Same thing as now expect it will be a race to the bottom.

Personally, I think we are 2-3 months away from the point when people just stop buying, period.

#48 PeckedToDeathByDucks on 11.20.09 at 1:52 pm

The Oprah obsessed media doesn’t think this is newsworthy, but these items may make a real difference in our future:

– Carney is mulling the idea of making permanent the “emergency” liquidity program. A permanent umbilical cord from your wallet to financial firms in need of $$$ aid.

– Geithner yesterday described government regulatory tools as “duct tape and string” AND emphasized that this rickity mechanism is still all they have for the world’s most powerful financial entity. He was asked to resign but said he disagreed.

– Troubled huge bond insurer Ambac gets back $440 million in tax refunds as a result of new legislation.

– Flaherty says our recovery is delayed yet another quarter.

– Treasury bill rates were negative again today.

– Fed policy-makers reiterated a pledge to keep rates extraordinarily low for an extended period.

– U.S.A. has hit their debt ceiling, again.

– The rich are getting richer. (in headlines again yesterday)

– Wall Street bonuses are back with a vengeance as profits in 2009 are expected to exceed the record. Borrowing at near-zero interest rates and investing can’t go wrong, especially if your downside is protected.

I don’t know about you, but I interpret this as things being very profitable for a select few and the majority is getting drained. The path of liquidity is firmly established in a one-way direction. Why would they ever consider changing a thing?

No wonder vampires and zombies occupy the entertainment of our youth. It’s the reflection of reality.

#49 Nostradamus jr. on 11.20.09 at 1:54 pm

MIke the Engineer,

…Correct, as unemployment increases in Eastern Canada, the wealthy from the East and Asia continue to relocate in Vancouver…so it shouldn’t be too hard for others here to understand that.

…Only negative slants are posted here from local renters or back east unemployed.

The U.S. Armed Forces may one day soon “conquer” Canada for its natural resources.

…However, future U.S. middle class workers will move to Eastern Canada while the U.S. wealthy will move to Vancouver.

Thank you for pointing this out.

Nostradamus jr.

#50 Toronto C9 Renter on 11.20.09 at 2:01 pm

Hi Kitchener 1, re: holding offers in Toronto….

I believe its been pretty much standard practice for years, certainly here in the Rosedale / Moore Park area.

Generally the house is listed mid-week, there is an agent open house on Thurs or Friday, and a general open house on Sat & Sun. Offer night is often the next Mon. or Tues.

I bought my house that way back in 2000, and sold it that way in 2008. Pretty much every decent SFH here is marketed that way. As you say, it is typically priced low, and then the buyers decide what it is really worth.

If no offers, which certainly does happen, then its up to the seller to get serious about pricing

I don’t particularly mind the practice — I even bid on a samller house here last summer but lost out to someone else, there were 12 offers or something like that.

The key as a buyer is just to stay focussed on what is the right price, not winning a “bidding war”

#51 Weeping in Windsor on 11.20.09 at 2:06 pm

Any chance you will be speaking in Windsor, even though the bubble has burst here already?

#52 Mark on 11.20.09 at 2:18 pm

City with a woman’s name (Regina??):

Of course banks want the >20% downpayment mortgages insured. They know they’re garbage too.

Calgaryrocks: Most of my friends who did as you suggested (bought before 2005 in Calgary and ‘made’ a lot of equity) have long since refinanced into loans that involve HELOCs — HELOCs which are often drawn upon to meet the cost of living in Calgary that exceeds most normal peoples’ paycheques. These loans are not CMHC-insured (although the banks might be regretting writing HELOCs against such!).

#53 Mark on 11.20.09 at 2:21 pm

Oh, and just further to my previous comment, as equity starts falling, and loans become underwater — more bankers will be insisting that even existing loans be CMHC-insured.

For instance, start with 20% equity, go up to 30% equity, down to 10% equity; renewal time comes around, and wham, the banker demands that the whole loan be CMHC-insured.

This nonsense will keep going on as long as the CMHC is fed money, or all the equity is eliminated from the system.

#54 Kash is King on 11.20.09 at 2:50 pm

Globalist agenda hacked open for all to see:


#55 Calgary_rip_off on 11.20.09 at 2:51 pm

#46 Reason First

Have you have contributed nothing to the topic at hand. A B.C.’er? Typical self centred person(self righteous and arrogant)-yet another reason to live away from the “island paradise” that people in B.C. categorize Van Isle as(I consider B.C. initials to mean one thing-Before Christ). To an outsider it looks like Alcatrazz. You are probably one of those complete idiots that I delivered papers to in Nanaimo-smug, self centred, and too lazy to move to get their free paper. And probably abuse their union and dont like to work(sounds a lot like that embarassment called B.C. Ferries) You better hope that dumb island doesnt sink into the sea. A better solution would be to nuke that “island paradise”. It’s a hellhole with lunatic real estate values to match. Especially in the pseudo-British wanna bee capital, Victoria where you too can get screwed financially. What a joke!!!

#56 Two-thirds on 11.20.09 at 2:56 pm

A wonderful rant about bankers from the unlikeliest of places:

“U.S. banks sit on their cash and play the public for suckers

By Gary Lamphier, Edmonton Journal”


If bankers are hoarding cash, shouldn’t the rest of us follow?

#57 Vancouver_bear on 11.20.09 at 3:20 pm

#18 Nostradamus jr. on 11.20.09 at 8:10 am

“…H1N1 may make the 2010 Olympics the first “Virtual Olympics”.

BUT you will pay for that with your REAL money, arn’t you?

#58 My_View on 11.20.09 at 3:31 pm

Oh well,

IMHO, interest rates will stay low for a lot longer, maybe even 2 years before a rate hike. The States R/E is in the dumps, so no sense in raising rates. Canada will have to keep rates low or else the loonie soars (smells like Japan). Hard assets and commodities is king. So real estate and GOLD is what I will be investing in.

Let’s recap, people who bought homes in bubblicious 2005 are way ahead (even gold for that matter). They have seen the value soar and will be renewing @ rock bottom rates.

I know Garth is not keen to both, but that’s my view moving forward.

#59 Vancouver_bear on 11.20.09 at 3:46 pm

#49 Nostradamus jr. on 11.20.09 at 1:54 pm

You can repeat your crap as many times as you like I am not going to buy in this wet city where ALL houses smell rotten, cause wood rottens from moisture, and yet you say that rotten houses are worth millions, they simply not. I am temporary here and right now looking for some place warmer to relocate and pickup RE for pennies on the dollar, while you are going to pay for the owelympix for the rest of your life with higher taxes and lower wages. Good luck!

#60 Vancouver_bear on 11.20.09 at 3:51 pm

#36 Contrarian in Vancouver on 11.20.09 at 11:54 am

Your anecdote is so true, and after that they call Canadian banks more secure! That is a blant lie!

#61 ATP on 11.20.09 at 3:53 pm

#19 pbrasseur on 11.20.09 at 8:24 am

“Not sure how this is all going to unfold in Canada, my guess is it won’t be an American style debacle (except maybe is some areas) but rather a long and slow decline that will be a burden for the Canadian economy for years to come, impairing our productivity, our growth and in the end our standard of living and ability to provide decent services to the population.”

Death by a thousand cuts?

#62 Internal Exile on 11.20.09 at 3:54 pm

Calgary Rip Off is right: “The mindset is set back about 20 years ago.” Living in BC is a surreal experience where no one ever lets the fact interfere with their delusion.

You are a brave, brave person to commute on the Malahat! Holy crap. I drove it once in the winter (when it was, naturally, raining) – talk about white knuckle – it’s one of the most dangerous roads in the province…AND THEY HADN’T EVEN PAINTED THE TRAFFIC LINES ON PROPERLY!! But that’s just the sort of “so BC” moment you come to expect living here every day.

And the driving! I see things on a daily basis that you wouldn’t believe: yesterday – dude casually hangs a left on a red light! It’s the only place I’ve ever been where pedestrians routinely get run down in the street like dogs, and the city’s great idea: blame the pedestrians!

The most hilarious thing is the way everyone sees themselves as laid back and easy going when they’re the most uptight bunch you’ll ever meet (your story about the free newspaper delivery just struck me as one of those BC moments).

Culture: zip. I tried to take my nephew to a Geoff Wall exhibit a year back at the Vancouver art gallery. They’d played it up all over and I like his stuff…there were about THREE PICTURES there! I couldn’t believe it. I asked one of the staff where all the Geoff Wall photos were- “You’re lookin’ at ’em” was her response. I left shaking my head: “That’s so BC!”.

But honestly, don’t even TRY to bring anything that’s even the least bit critical up in conversation. BC’s other endearing trait is that it has absolutely no sense of humor about itself. You’ll be lucky if you get ridden out of town on a rail.

#63 hal smith on 11.20.09 at 4:05 pm

You guys are all picking on Vancouver’s weather…….I was recently there for week and I want to tell you : It only rained twice, once for 3 days and once for 4 days so stop exaggerating about the weather there!!!

#64 Soju on 11.20.09 at 4:05 pm

#6 Canuck in HK

Are you just making this up or are you on crack. The link you provided us for the flat in HK goes for $5,748 per square foot. Even a brand new studio in Vancouver only goes for $650 or more.

Nice story you made up!

#65 miketheengineer on 11.20.09 at 4:14 pm


I think the best place to be would be in a place like PEI. Small place, everyone knows your name. No where to go, nothing really to do. A real community. Only one bridge in or out. Prices reasonable, compared to Ontario. I bet a lot of people own their properties.

That’s my top pick of a place to live. Not as warm as the West Coast, and not as much choice in Asian food, but, the warmest, friendliest people on the planet. Never knew an east coaster, who didn’t enjoy a song and a cold glass of beer. Most of them, would give you the shirt off their back if they knew you needed it. That is just the way they are.

Sorry Nostradamus, I like BC, but when the SHF, PEI would be the place to live. Not in the most over inflated place in Canada.

Way too many people speculating in the market. Same thing happened during the 80’s boom. My best friend’s dad was selling RE in Hamilton during that time. I knew him and another guy, and they were both, buying a “flipping” homes. They made a killing in the 2 or 3 years, everything was going up. I don’t know if they got burned on the “Last trade” or not. Right now, tons of people have bought RE, just to have something they can touch. The stock market burned so many people, they will not go back in. I have talked with a lot of people and they are scared of the market. Rather leave it in an account or savings bond. I had a friend of mine, who is loaded, and never talks to me about his personal finances, tell me that he “lost” quite a bit in the market, and as things have come back up, he sold them and put things into bonds, and GIC’s. In the entire 15 years that I know this guy, he never did this. He told me he is “spooked” with the market, and he is “rich”.

Speculation is driving this market. Greed and speculation, and crazy people. June starts the spiral down.

#66 Too Old Bob$ on 11.20.09 at 4:24 pm


Just opened my vehicle insurance bill. Keeps going up, yet the vehicles are getting older. Seems like every year I have to meet with them and change my plan in order to get lower rates.
Anyone notice other items going up. Water, cable, phone plans, food, school fees, electrical/gas administrative fees, house insurance, banking. Recently the paper mentioned University fees going up especially in professional programs.
Alberta looking for ways to pay for health care now that the premiums are gone. Did someone say HST! Yup, like I said before someone has to pay for this mess and here it comes, a little bit at a time.

Renters probably think they are immune to these increases, but they will pay somehow. Let me relate some info I learnt from renters and lanlords.

One guy says his apartment is always cold, yet he has turned the heat setting up to maximum? Possibly cheap construction, landlord is controlling the flow using a damper, furnace not up to par or dip switches set to run 1 stage only.
A girl has problems with her light fixtures, door handles and water leaking in bathroom. The landord lives too far away in order to repair immediately. Girl says her boyfriend can fix it. Lanlord says ok, just send me the bill and I will reimburse you the difference. Boyfriend repairs the problems and girl gets her rent deducted. Sounds like a good plan, but the guy didn’t get paid for the labour involved. Lanlord wins.
Renter needs new toilet because there is a crack in the tank and bottom bowl is rusted so bad from age that it can’t be cleaned. After numerous calls landlord shows up to repair. He tears it apart and replaces the tank with a used one. Renter says what about the bowl. Landord says nothing wrong with it, renter argues but to no avail. Eventually renter gets pissed and buys a new toilet and replaces it himself, then tries to get his money back. He eventually gives up. Landlord wins.
Landlord pays all the electrical and gas. He sets the temperature down on the Hot Water Tank and renters complain. He says Hot Water tank needs to be replaced, but hasn’t got the time to do it. Keeps promising his renters to keep them happy.
Here’s a good one; Winter time and friggin cold out. Everyone comes home and plugs their vehicles in. Landlord lives in the building. Goes down to the utility room and shuts off the breakers to the plugins. Gets up at 6:00 am. and turns breaker back on. Some of the vehicles won’t start so they get tow trucks, or neighbour’s to help boost their vehicles and blame it on the battery. Landlord looks out the window and laughs the whole time this is going on, priceless. Lanlord wins.

These are just some of the stories I have heard, I know there are more. Just getting the point out that we all pay somehow, no matter what you do.

Did I mention the word STAGFLATION

#67 CalgaryRocks on 11.20.09 at 4:24 pm

Most of my friends who did as you suggested (bought before 2005 in Calgary and ‘made’ a lot of equity) have long since refinanced into loans that involve HELOCs — HELOCs

Get new friends!? I’m sure I can find you a couple of renters that live on their Master Card.

The point is, that a RESPONSIBLE person will do just fine and will not have to default on their cmhc insured mortgage.

#68 Soju on 11.20.09 at 4:25 pm

#24 Martin,

Thanks for the information. Very helpfull. Thank god I’m in Vancouver. The outsiders that come here normally pay $1500 to $5000 per square foot for a place. Next April will rock once most people start catching on and the market is filled with average people. Until things really climax prices won’t fall. Just like prices don’t go back up until you hear the final flush sounding.

#69 Kate on 11.20.09 at 4:35 pm

Vancouver weather is not so bad as people are made to believe but it doesn’t justify the RE prices;)

#70 vic mike on 11.20.09 at 4:35 pm

Hi garth, just found this blog last week through the ticker forum, very interesting reading here.
I live in vic and bought my house back in 1999 for 230k. 2500 sq/ft house on a 10k sq/ft lot in the westshore area.
Market value is now over 500k and is my home not really an investment. if the shtf how much equity should i expect to lose in the coming years? we just renewed last feb at 4% for 5 yrs.

#71 S on 11.20.09 at 4:40 pm

Both, #62 Internal Exile and “Calgary_Rip_Off” have a point. And these comments may apply to any small BC town. Prevailing belief is that everyone wants to be here if only they could afford it. When asked why they stay here whilst they could make a better living elsewhere a common reply is “what else is there?” One reason may be the relative isolation most small BC cities exist in. Surrounded by mountains, horizon is just a few hundred meters away. In any case, it is a huge adjustment living here. Anyone contemplating such a move would be well advised to spend a year or two in the province before making it permanent. Making such a decision based on a few vacations one may have spent here is a fools bet.

#72 Reasonfirst on 11.20.09 at 4:45 pm

#55 Calgary_rip_off

There’s a lot of hate in you dude..chill…

#73 shifty on 11.20.09 at 4:59 pm

55 Calgary_rip_off

I can understand your frustration of having to look up at the backside of paradise. Have fun in the snow cow boy.

#74 Been There on 11.20.09 at 5:00 pm

#64 Soju
Keep in mind Canucks’ link is a listing in HK dollars.
HK $5,748 is about C$800.

#75 Calgary_rip_off on 11.20.09 at 5:01 pm

#62 Internal Exile:

For commuters to Victoria the Malahat is scary. You can hydroplane and end up dead easily. I wouldve taken the job at the hospital there when I was done training in Victoria, but there was no work, in spite of the totally bizarre island culture. To an outsider it was very very uncomfortable there. I always felt extremely afraid on Vancouver Island and still do. I remember when my wife said “why dont you go work on an oil rig in Alberta?” That thought stuck in my head and what with her working at the call centre and me juggling three jobs and having lunatic pot smoking neighbours downstairs in Nanaimo, I swore I would do everything to get out of there, to the point of death. And I succeeded. The traffic in Calgary and the cost of living in Calgary is horrible, not to mention the political mindset, but other than that, it’s a great place to live!! I think this may contribute to Calgary’s real estate slow decline, if at all, because so many people like it here. The mindset is very very different than Vancouver Island. Luckily my daughter directly benefits from all the opportunities for training available to kids here. I would have been stuck driving the Malahat daily if I had stayed in Victoria. Many of my hospital buddies there still drive that commute. Scary. And yes, the lines on the road are an afterthought. Now that I managed to create my own rail out of Nanaimo I am dealing with saving to buy one of the crap shacks on the prairie. To pay $250K or thereabouts isnt too much to ask for a 3 bedroom 1500 sq footer with a basement. Stay tuned to Garth’s info on inflation vs. raised interest rates.

#76 jess on 11.20.09 at 5:16 pm

greg at oakville

so what are you saying greg? the poor have no medicine?

Pneumonic plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis the disease is carried by rats
Streptomycin, gentamicin, tetracyclines, and chloramphenicol are all effective against pneumonic plague.

#77 Vancouver_bear on 11.20.09 at 5:29 pm

#68 Soju on 11.20.09 at 4:25 pm

Very helpful indeed, so sell your rotten shacks while they are worth something!

#78 Vancouver_bear on 11.20.09 at 5:51 pm

this is Vancover future prices:


#79 The Great Gazoo on 11.20.09 at 5:57 pm

This is the last great real estate bubble in North America and banks and re swine are milking it.

Sorry, but United States and Canada are dimishing economic powers and in fact diminishing nations, there will never be anymore abundant industrial growth which is the true measure of sustainable economic prowess (not stimulus and service sector jobs).

Don’t believe it? Check out the BRIC theory of what the emerging powers are:

And guess why? Cheap industrial labour markets is the common denominator in Brazil, Russia, India and China – yes industrial manufacturing is the heart of a nation’s wealth and we’re losing it forever in Canada.

In order to balance the stagnant and deteriorating wealth, demand for housing and housing value will decrease, its already happened in the States big time and it will soon happen here… FOREVER

#80 Vancouver_bear on 11.20.09 at 5:57 pm

Here is more:





Connecting the dots?

#81 EB on 11.20.09 at 6:10 pm

“You are a brave, brave person to commute on the Malahat! Holy crap. I drove it once in the winter (when it was, naturally, raining) – talk about white knuckle – it’s one of the most dangerous roads in the province…”

Yeesh, some pansy drivers around. The Malahat is trivial – I’ve driven in thousands of time and so has just about everyone else on the island. Victoria is smug and irritating, but also an awesome spot to live in – CRO just sounds insane.

The real pain is going to be in the homes of millions of BCers who have relied on endless real estate growth for their retirements – apart from that a hell of a lot of people have literally nothing.

#82 TJ on 11.20.09 at 6:28 pm

# Obviously enjoys hot summers, and the second coldest Capital City in the world.
I love it when people dump on Vancouver, when they live in a swamp on the Rideau.

The shots at Vancouver in this blog are usually from people that have the ignorant notion that it rains 8 months of the year.

That is about as smart as buying anything in Canada right now, because we have not yet even BEGUN to see the pain.

The CHMC sell out is a National disgrace and now in BC, sane people don’t get a break, it’s the schnooks that buy a new condo that get a break.

Come on in – the water’s fine…but ‘lo to the Politico that bales these cretins out with my tax money.

Mr. Turner is telling it straight – and no one in the ‘game’ wants to hear it.

I will spell it for you –


Tag – you’re it.

#83 Jeff Smith on 11.20.09 at 6:57 pm

Or even more scary, we might end up like Japan did.
Deflation for decades where interest rate stays low but wages and prices go down. I guess in that scenario the home buyers of today end up being winner because they can just keep refinancing at low rates

>#61 ATP on 11.20.09 at 3:53 pm #19 pbrasseur on
>11.20.09 at 8:24 am
>“Not sure how this is all going to unfold in Canada, my
>guess is it won’t be an American style debacle (except maybe is some areas) but rather a long and slow decline that will be a burden for the Canadian economy for years to come, impairing our productivity, our growth and in the end our standard of living and >ability to provide decent services to the population.”

>Death by a thousand cuts?

#84 Boombust on 11.20.09 at 7:28 pm

“Marc Carney’s talking to people in New York”

Just another toady.

#85 Boombust on 11.20.09 at 7:33 pm

FYI, I am seeing a sales slowdown and price drops in the eastern suburbs of Vancouver.

#86 Internal Exile on 11.20.09 at 7:55 pm

Calgary Rip Off – oh yeah, I forgot the mandatory Vancouver pot-smoking neighbors!

Every day, sometimes twice a day, ALL FREAKING SUMMER – we had to put up with our next door neighbor smoking the herb and filling our entire apartment with heavy, pungent pot smoke!

and if it’s not that douche, it’s the neighbors behind us…or the kids in the park…or the dude casually strolling down the street joint in hand. I’m not exagerating when I say there’s an almost permanent pot haze out here (at least in the V-Rock).

…which would go a long way towards explaining why everyone here seems permanently stunned, and why people getting run down in the street (I’m not exagerating – there were three pedestrians killed in a single day two summers ago – the city’s solution: paint big lime green “look” arrows on the pavement at intersections. In other words “If you get run over, it’s your own damn fault!”.

#87 kitchener1 on 11.20.09 at 7:56 pm

RE#50 Toronto C9 Renter

In certain parts of the city it is standard practice and I can appreciate that. However, when I see the same practice being used for properties in less deseriable areas, east end- Malvern, Rexdale, W3, E1,2,3 etc..

To me that means the gig is up. More importantly, if perspective buyers start balking at this process, its game over. The market turns on a dime and is all emotions based. If the herd starts thinking its better to wait to buy, they will. And we all know what happens then.

Last year RE fell off a cliff from Oct(08)-Mar(09). It was’nt a slow market, it was a dead market and that happened virtually over a few weeks and then it was like someone turned off the switch.

Thats how markets go, when the DOW was at 9000, no one was buying, when its a 11 000 people are jumping over themselves, its all about momentum and what side your on.

#88 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 11.20.09 at 7:58 pm

Interest on debt — Lotsa Moolah Who is responsible for payment? Not the taxpayers — they never signed anything.

It’s Washington’s turn.

Goldman bonuses — another conspiracy theory!
A thrilling and invigorating conspiracy theory hoax may just have been put to bed — Fraud? “This is clearly not the work of some hacker, but of an insider who’s now blown the whistle.” (Courtesy wrh.com) — and — Cooling
The comments following the lead-in pic show how the m$m are easily bought, then sheeple are mindlessly led. — and — Now it’s Norway as well.
New and improved version of the Taser.

JFK’s anniversary arrives shortly. Why was he murdered? Oswald, as many know is a patsy. JFK There are people who know, but I’m not one of them!

#89 Toronto C9 Renter on 11.20.09 at 8:17 pm

#87 kitchener1 on 11.20.09 at 7:56 pm

True enough! Hope you’re right

#90 Devil's Advocate on 11.20.09 at 8:18 pm

Those who say B.C. sucks, it rains ALL THE TIME, real estate is way over priced, our provincial government is either far left or facist right, blah, blah, blah… you are absolutely right. Best you stay where you are. It really does such here… really… who would want to be here? Worst damn province in Canada. I’d leave in a minute, trust me, but I have too many commitments here so I am stuck I gotta stay. I hate it but that’s just the way it is. But it does suck… really… all that fun stuff they talk about well that’s just BS… don’t believe them…. rains here ALL the time… over the whole province. Terrible really…

#91 ontheshoreline on 11.20.09 at 8:23 pm

Wow. A million plus bucks doesn’t even get you a pressure washed fence.I guess the fence gets torn down with the rest of it in their dream flip?

#92 mk-kids on 11.20.09 at 8:39 pm

No Delusionalcouver dates scheduled Garth? Would live to bring hubby out to see you, especially after all the great reviews of last nights Victoria gig… maybe we’ll try to hit Langley…

Great timing on your Feb BC dates, maybe you can get one of our politicians or crown corp bigwigs to give you some of their tax-payer paid for tix to the Owe-lympics…

Yeah, I’m so not bitter…

#93 vic mike on 11.20.09 at 8:49 pm

#75 calgary rip off.

Its funny, they say we cant handle driving in the snow and yet you cant even handle the rain? The malahat is a pretty simple road to travel ALL year around! perhaps its those cowboy boots and lack of horse that has you all screwed up. And it doesnt rain here 8 months per year, how much snow do you have to shovel per year? Yeah, sure islanders like their pot just like albertians like their crack…but drugs are drugs and they are apart of every city on the planet. Victoria and the island is a beautiful place to live and if you bought pre-bouble and were responsible and didnt cash in on equity most will be fine. Just cuz we dont frequent rodeos weekly doesnt mean we’ re bizzare. We would just rather go fishing, hiking, mountian biking, surfing, scuba diving , sail boating, snow boarding, bunji jumping, whale watching, golfing, or just walk along our miles of coastal beaches ALL YEAR AROUND!
I’m not trying to be a prick, but your evaluation of vancouver island living was certainly un-called for.

#94 Ian McDonald on 11.20.09 at 9:06 pm

Hey! 4 incomes at 50k per year in the same house and presto, 1 million smakerini’s. Whats the big deal here? That’s only 5 times house hold income. Do the math!

#95 dd on 11.20.09 at 9:23 pm

“Fixer-upper in Vancouver:
Listed for $749K, Sold for 1,033,000
13 days on market, 18 offers”

Ya … hopefully it is right downtown. Has to be all land value .. has to be.

#96 viewwest on 11.20.09 at 9:25 pm

re #6 HK vs. Calgary condo. The HK place is LEASEHOLD.(timeframe unspecified).
This is par for course in much of Europe and Asia… rare in Canada/US. What leasehold means is that sometime in future years, the owner of the land gets to re-lease it to the owners of the buildings. That’s a fun big expenditure to look forward to! And, it lowers resale values as the renewal dates loom.

#97 dd on 11.20.09 at 9:31 pm

#75 Calgary_rip_off

“For commuters to Victoria the Malahat is scary.”

Too funny. It is nothing like the Deer foot 500.

…pot smoking neighbours…

Lots of grow ops in Calgary.

#98 Dan in Victoria on 11.20.09 at 9:32 pm

Hey C’mon now Victorias not all that bad.
Winter poem
It’s winter in Canada
And the gentle breezes blow
Seventy miles an hour
At 35 below
Oh how I love Canada
When the snows up your butt
You take a breath of winter
And your nose freezes shut
Yes the weather here is wonderful
So I guess I’ll hang around
I could never leave Canada
Cuz I’m frozen to the ground.
Waaaaaay back when we were teenagers and we had some snow here,Victorians would say”Oh crap”before going in the ditch on Goldstream Ave.
Us idiots from Langford would say”Hold my beer and watch this.” (E mailed to me from an old friend, tongue in cheek)

#99 dd on 11.20.09 at 9:35 pm

#49 Nostradamus jr.

….The U.S. Armed Forces may one day soon “conquer” Canada for its natural resources…

What a clown. If you knew anything … why “conquer” when you can buy it on the stock market? Not a shot will be fired.

#100 dd on 11.20.09 at 9:40 pm

#18 Nostradamus jr.

…Unknown forces quietly continue relocating the world’s elite and wealthy to Vancouver BC…H1N1 may make the 2010 Olympics…and all the elite and weathly die off in Vancouver over the Spring… Vancouver becomes the H1N1 hotspot in the world. People leave the coast by the droves, but are locked in by the US army. Real estate takes a kicking …

#101 The truth on 11.20.09 at 9:46 pm

Hst threshold is up. 30 year fixed rate mortgages on their way to canada. 1 million annual immigration on its way. A stop to urban sprawl (a moratorium on new sfd lots in all major cnd cities) on its way. Policy will propel house prices to the moon. Buy now and sell in a year if u want to make money. I know it sounds ludicrous but its the truth.

#102 Canuck in HK on 11.20.09 at 10:05 pm

#64 Soju

I can see how why you reacted the way you did since the link did not specify HK dollars. Now multiply $5,748 HKD/ sq. ft. by 900 sq. ft. = $5,173,200 HKD/7.3 (conversion rate) = $708,657.53 CAD.

Again, the point being Calgary condos are now entering the price range for upper mid scale condos in HK. That’s it, this simply adds another perspective to the cost of real estate in in Canada.

#103 Taxpayer like you on 11.20.09 at 10:06 pm


Didnt you read? CRO is “afraid” of the island. Look at all the bad things that can happen:

Sprain you ankle hiking – in January
Crash your road/mountain bike – in January
Get hit by golf ball – in January
Eaten by killer whale while diving
Drown when fishing
Shot while hunting
Killed by Dan commuting from Langford (anytime) or
Alberta tourist (also anytime)
Get harrassed by the cops and the HA – at the same time

Now I’m scared too…….and oooooo that rain……..

#104 artisuseless on 11.20.09 at 10:15 pm

A wee bit off topic, but Roubini had warned of the risks of a giant US dollar-carry trade unwind that could trigger a global financial crisis similar to that which happened last fall.

Other bloggers, traders, etc. have noticed an inverse relationship in recent months between the US Dollar index (as it trades vs other currencies) known as DXY and pretty much every major stock market index & oil. Basically, DXY goes down, everything else goes up. DXY goes UP, everything else goes down.

Well, twice this past month, DXY surged suddenly and the trades were cancelled by the InterContinental Exchange


What does this mean? One could see this as a growing sign of instability to the financial system – like the quiet rumbles that happen before a volcano blows. If DXY had been ‘allowed’ to spike (i.e., the trades had gone through), we could have seen stocks plunge hundreds of points, possibly triggering the exchange circuit-breakers. Short positions in the USD would have to be covered (and there’s LOTS these days) and long positions in commodities would probably trigger massive selling.

Short term US treasury yields went slightly negative for a brief period of time yesterday too, and the Ukraine (pop 40+ million) is on the verge of default – huge loans owed to European banks.

Why am I sharing this here? TS could HTF much sooner or much more suddenly than any of us realize and the window of opportunity to sell might be much smaller.

#105 alf on 11.20.09 at 10:22 pm

I tend to agree that Victoria itself is extremely overrated as a city, there are too few good jobs and way too much ego these days. The island itself, however, is incredible. I can fish and cycle year round and the fall rains bring an astounding variety of edible mushrooms. The rain is not a big problem if you layer your clothing and have good quality rain gear.

I have driven tractor trailer over the Malahat 5 to 6 nights a week for the last 3 years and I do agree that it has the potential to be a very dangerous drive. I have seen numerous serious accidents including several fatalities. It’s not that it is a particularly difficult drive, other than maybe one month a year, the problem is that people fail to adjust to driving conditions.

I agree that house prices here are ridiculous but I have always managed to find a relatively affordable rental unit. I presently rent a nice 1 bedroom close to town for $800, I pay half my girlfriend pays half. I have lived in Victoria on and off for 14 years and have never, as an individual, paid more than $500 a month.

My theory is that if real estate corrects I buy a house, possibly a foreclosure, if it doesn’t I get a real estate license. If you can’t beat em, rob em.

Just kidding! I’m really super nice like everyone else.

#106 squidly77 on 11.20.09 at 11:35 pm

Its all a ponzi shim scam

fully supported by your elected politicians

#107 Peter on 11.20.09 at 11:45 pm

#73 shifty

Did you see snow in Calgary clown? We are hope but
since 2000 winters is changed. No snow at all !!!!

#108 Calgary_rip_off on 11.21.09 at 1:09 am

#93 Vic Mike:

Yes I would rather live with cowboys and rodeos in a province where people actually like to work-hard. People are either stoned, criminal, retired, ignorant, or clueless on Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island has nice things to offer, when you have a union job or any job and have TIME to do what you mentioned. I worked as a night cleaner, ecg tech, fitness trainer and attended school, all at the same time, while my wife worked, just to rent a duplex, in which my promiscuous downstairs neighbour would frolick with her many boyfriends while being stoned. I remember distinctly studying cardiology while listening to this. Sure I could have moved, but it was Nanaimo. If anything, Vancouver Island is INSANE. Im not and I proved it by getting the hell off the island. A major source off revenue is marijuana there. I hate the stuff, think its garbage, however why the government isnt legalizing and taxing it like crazy is nuts. I believe that is for pure trade relations with the Americans.

#103 Taxpayer like you: You wont have enough time to do all those things on the Vancouver Island unless you are loaded with cash. If you are working class good luck. The island mentality makes it hard to get ahead. Good luck landing a job at McDonalds, for example. Again, I would have stayed even despite the lack of culture and whacked values and attitudes, but Im glad I didnt. I wouldnt want my daughter to grow up there. I may vote similar to my of the island voters, but the similarities stop there. I vote left of centre not because I want some union to shield me from work or because I expect a handout, but because I expect my taxes should help people when they need it. Innocent people shouldnt be deprived of benefits just cause some lazy idiots abuse the system.

#97 dd: I like the Deerfoot Trail in Calgary. That isnt scary. The Malahat sucks everywhich way. If it isnt raining and you’re worried about hydroplaning, there is some idiot cops out with their radar ready to harass you if you go 5 km/hr over. They have nothing better to do. Its poorly lit, too narrow, and tailgating drivers. Just rude!!! Sure the Deerfoot gets dangerous when it is icy, but Ive always found it to be a useful thoroughway, though crowded at 4 pm. The B.C. Highways suck!!!

#105. Alf: “edible mushrooms”. Right. Try nutmeg instead sometime. Driving a tractor over the Malahat is even scarier than a car. Id have to go get a prescription for one of those dont urinate drugs prescribed by a doctor and almost did when I was commuting from Nanaimo to Victoria. Between the hydroplaning, the cops, the rude drivers, the whole thing was like roadwarrior-gone wrong.

#109 nonplused on 11.21.09 at 1:14 am

#64 Soju
#74 Been There

One of you is a troll. Not the big hairy half human type that eats children but the type that posts on blogs for the hell of it, without regard for fact checking. Given that Canuck did originally do the conversion for us, I am going to provisionally vote Soju. And given that some commentators who make their living selling advice are now calling Canada “the most expensive real estate market in the world” (presumably accounting for value, wages, scarcity, etc.), I’d have to say I’m really leaning towards removing the provisional part.

#96 viewwest

All property in the western world is “leasehold”. Try skipping your property tax a couple times and see what happens. But even more amazing, in the western world, if you make improvements (ie build a building), you get to pay lease (tax) on that improvement too! Every 50 years the government repossesses your land and improvements, 35 with compounding, and that can only get worse. Maybe the HK property has an additional lease which might make things even worse, but hardly would that mean a Calgary condo should be worth the same. It’s Hong Kong versus Calgary!

#102 Canuck in HK

You are being way to kind. Only a moron would compare international properties without converting currencies. I now convert my provisional judgment of Soju the troll to finalized.

PS. Real estate in the US is becoming really cheap compared to Canada. Why on earth wouldn’t everyone in Vancouver move to Seattle???? It’s a nice city, the unemployment rate is bad but only 2% worse, and by selling your house here and moving there you would be mortgage free, at least for anyone who bought prior to 2006. Certainly mortgage free beats a 2% difference in unemployment.

#105 alf

You can do all that in Calgary too, except we have to swap our bikes for skis, cross country skis, and snowshoes for part of the year. And snowmobiles for those so inclined. The climate is what you make of it. We even have soccer all year round and play real indoor soccer just like in Europe. (Not that phoney baloney “Fusol” soccer for leagues that can’t afford boards, but real indoor soccer. Plays a lot like hockey for anyone who hasn’t seen it.)

Your rent is lower out there than in Calgary by the sounds of it, but not by a huge stretch.

#110 skier on 11.21.09 at 1:44 am

The difference between Canadian house prices and US house prices will be short lived once currencies are considered. Let’s look at some factors:


The US has railways everywhere and Canada has 2 lines running east-west, but about 10 running north-south into the US.

The US has an extensive interstate highway system. Canada has the TransCanada highway, which is 1 lane in either direction for long lengths and is so efficient that many people choose to drop into the states and come back up if they have to drive cross country.

The US has extensive inland water navigation. Ontario and Quebec have one good waterway that will be closed down when Quebec separates.

The US has nuclear power. Ontario has nuclear power.

The US is the leader in the world in developing technology. Canada has the Blackberry, made in China.

The US has Boeing. Canada has a skidoo company making regional jets with big government subsidies. Quickly to be replaced by the Brazilians.

The US has productive farmland. Canada too. But they get twice the yield stateside per acre because we are so damn far north. By the time you get to Edmonton, it isn’t worth converting forest to cropland. One hour north of Edmonton and you are truly in the bush.


Texas still out produces all of Canada.


California, as hard up as it is, has a higher GDP than Canada.

Cost of living:

Better, US side.

Cost of housing:

Half state side as here.

Social Security:

They have it too.

Health care:

Ok, Canada scores one point to finish behind 10-1.

Buy your ski chalet in Whitefish, not Fernie.

#111 betamax on 11.21.09 at 2:04 am

“The shots at Vancouver in this blog are usually from people that have the ignorant notion that it rains 8 months of the year.”

I live in Van, and it rains often. (This last 12 mths has been a dry exception, not the rule). I don’t mind the rain and prefer it to snow, but I don’t know why locals here pretend that it doesn’t rain often and get defensive when others point it out. Does the blind jingoistic patriotism really run that deep? Are we Vancouverites becoming as unthinkingly defensive of our little backwater as inbred hillbillies?

It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes and no one wants to admit the obvious: it’s Raincouver on the Wet Coast; just admit it and get over it already.

#112 Kelly McMae on 11.21.09 at 2:22 am

#20 Nicky on 11.20.09 at 8:38 am
@Reluctant Renter
“If our Prime Minister ever gets a majority government, it’s time to leave Canada. I can’t decide if he’s a whore or a pimp.”
What’s the difference?

#30 Mike (authentic) on 11.20.09 at 11:01 am
Please leave Vancouver separate from Victoria. Really not comparable, save for inflated real estate.

#35 Blobby on 11.20.09 at 11:49 am
Unfortunately morality has exited politics for some time now.

#113 alf on 11.21.09 at 9:29 am

#109 nonplused

I have nothing against Calgary, after growing up in Ontario and then living in Vancouver for 5 years I’m
just not a big city guy any more.
Not to mention, I haven’t heard of too many 200 lb halibut, or 50lb springs coming out of Calgary.
Sure miss the pike and walleye back East though.

#108 Calgary rip off

You forgot to mention the drunk drivers and the little blacktail deer all over the place. I see your point.
Incidentally, I am 100% drug and alcohol free, have been for many years. I tend to do stupid things like missing major buying opportunities when I abuse substances.

#114 Dan in Victoria on 11.21.09 at 12:48 pm

Post#103 Taxpayer Like You,Yeah CRO has some good points that are 100% correct,but I guess I’ve lived here to long to really notice anymore.If I go out downtown I usally run into one or two people that I know,so to me everyone seems friendly.
Drives my wife batty at times,good example we were going through the drive through at the local Timmies out post, got to the order box “Hi Dan, regular?”
“Yes Thanks, one for the boss also”
She just curses” Is there any one you don’t know?”
As more and more people have moved here I have noticed that the overall mood is changing,but its still “home” to me.
But I did have my passport with me to get in to the “Union Club”for Garths talk.
Just in case, what.

#115 Taxpayer like you on 11.21.09 at 12:51 pm

108 rip-off. Good morning.

I had to re-read your post about living in Nanaimo. I got Calgary and Nanaimo mixed up. Seriously. And I have lived in both. Where did you live in Nanaimo?

What you’ve described applies to anyplace where you are
a starving student and working part-time just to
survive. You need a certain amount of time and money to
enjoy life. When in Calgary, and asked how I liked it, I would usually just shrug. People would say “but look at all the work”. I’d respond that I can work anywhere, but I want to live where I want to live. I had a job on the island set-up before I graduated.

As far as the activities go, I manage 2 quite easily, with a smattering of the others. I have friends who do up to 4.
Most often, people pick the one or two they really like and go crazy. And they are both “working-class” and
“business-owner”. And we can do winter activities too.
The tough thing is that for a few months a year, you
have to decide is it ski/fish/golf that day?

Similar again with culture. We have orchestras large and small, theatre groups etc. We may lack some visual arts,
but who needs it with the scenery?I found your reference
to VI as “white” hilarious. We have a large native population (maybe not so much in vic), indo-canadian, vietnamese. Again, Calgary surprised me at how anglo it was. And cowboys? For one week in July sure. Stop at the local feed store here you’ll see more cowboys then you will in 11 months in Calgary.

But the island is not for everybody. When interviewing job applicants, I explain “We’re not Toronto, Calgary or
Van”. If you’re looking for top $$, you won’t find it here.
You have to decide you want to live here first. So, if you want to move or retire here, rent first.

#116 Internal Exile on 11.21.09 at 1:43 pm

105 Alf is dead on – no one adjusts for weather conditions here in BC – which is why Vancouver comes to a complete standstill whenever more than half an inch of snow falls. Rain or shine, day or night, everyone has the pedal to the metal.

That’s why being a driver or pedestrian in BC is so deadly: no one here can drive, but everyone has an ushakeable belief in their driving prowess, so they drive FASTER (“Hey, the Malahat, no prob!”). Like every other area of life in BC they’re completely (and dangerously) deluded.

#117 Selkirk on 11.21.09 at 6:58 pm

I live in Victoria and I absolutely hate it. I mean, who wants to pick daffodils from their garden in February when I could be shoveling a path to my front door like a real Canadian? I can’t stand that Victoria gets only half the annual rainfall of Vancouver. And, seriously, I really wish I could cover my shoes and my car in road salt for several months of the year. Why would anyone want to live here?

#118 viewwest on 11.21.09 at 7:57 pm

taxes and leasehold not the same thing. You need to do more homework before you jump in on this topic. Also, I wasn’t saying HK and Calgary comparable…just saying you can’t compare one price that is leasehold to one that isn’t.

#119 hagbard on 11.22.09 at 12:19 pm

Can someone give Dan in Victoria a keyboard with a spacebar, please!

#120 hagbard on 11.22.09 at 5:33 pm

Yes Selkirk, who’d want to walk down the street, say hello to a passer by and get a snarl in return? I’ll take the happy people in small town Ontario over the grumps I left behind in Victoria.

#121 Dan in Victoria on 11.22.09 at 8:52 pm

Post #119 Hagbard,Thanks for the constuctive criticism.
Alas, I find the intricacies of a keyboard harder to grasp then the controls of a John Deere excavator.
What comes easy to some,doesn’t to others.
Now if you need something built or fabricated out in my shop,I can teach you that.
Or if you want to learn how to get around on the west coast ocean in the fog,I can teach you that.
It’s only been a little over a year since I learned how to type,be patient,I’m still learning this.