Praise be

Imagine you’re poor. Disenfranchised. Every day you live in want. Those things that define us all are cruelly out of reach. In shame, you’re unable to give your kids what others take for granted. You awake at night, salty rivulets coursing down your cheeks, crying, why me? Why us?

But then, you remember you live in Calgary. Praise be.

This shiny little Albertan city, famous for its alarming white hat fetish and the condo-slinging antics of MissyBunny, is one of several (like Saskatoon) where the dream lives on. Here hardened cowpoke municipal politicians (except for that metrosexual mayor) get all misty-eyed when they think of people being homeless.

I mean, listen to this:

“Thousands of hard-working, middle-income Calgarians can’t afford to purchase their own home. They are in a never-ending rent cycle, unable to save a down payment, and priced out of a high-cost real estate market. As a result, they are not building home equity and securing financial stability for themselves and their families.”

The horror. And the clear implication is if you have a job, you deserve a house. No matter if you don’t have any money (“unable to save a downpayment”) or don’t earn sufficient income (“priced out of the high-cost real estate market”). Also implied is that homeownership is Good. It gives Calgarians things even more important than balls on Silverados – home equity and financial stability.

So what’s the city doing about it?

Welcome to the Attainable Homes Calgary Corporation, where financial assistance is available to impoverished social rejects with the following hideous characteristics:

  • Employed in Calgary
  • Earn up to $80,400
  • Assets of less than $100,000

Now, this little lesson in post-modern charity tells us much. First, we think everyone’s entitled to a house. So those who can’t afford one need public help. Second, at a time when too many homeowners in Calgary have seen falling real estate values rob their families of equity and destroy household savings, the myth that real estate brings ‘financial stability’ has somehow become government policy. Third, when houses get too pricey, unaffordability is the free market’s way of correcting things – so how does this help? And, fourth, politicians have clearly lost their minds.

In fact, delusion surrounds us today, enveloping citizens in its fuzzy embrace. While the Arab world churns, oil hits a hundred bucks and the odds of another recession mount, here’s Scotiabank, for example, forecasting rising home prices, “as the market is tilting mildly in favour of sellers.” The sunshine-blowers admit that Canadian housing is overvalued by 10%, but at the same time say the risk of “a US-style housing collapse is highly unlikely.”

But with houses already costing more than they’re worth, gas charging to two bucks a litre, interest rates set to hike, mortgage rules tightening and family debt at nosebleed levels, isn’t a Canadian-style house plop scary enough? We all get that the largest asset on the banks’ balance sheets are residential mortgages, but surely if an economist like the venerable Adrienne Warren is to retain a modicum of creds, reality must come into the equation somewhere.

Anyway, see what I mean? We’re cooked.

The same sentiments which destroyed the US economy are building head in this country. Houses are a right. Prices will only escalate. Real estate equals stability.  And leverage in the pursuit of equity is no vice.

Welcome to Calgary, AZ.


#1 Crazy on 03.01.11 at 11:10 pm

Firs tly, this is crazy. Second, nobody should buy a home if they cannot afford it.

#2 Secondisbest on 03.01.11 at 11:12 pm

Gold and Silver up big today!

#3 Crazy on 03.01.11 at 11:13 pm

This program looks like it is just an ad for a development. Who is providing the money?

#4 celine on 03.01.11 at 11:18 pm

I can’t tell you how angry the quote you included in your post makes me Garth. It makes me want to HURL, the veneer of concern for families left out of the home ownership club, hiding the self serving greed motives of many of our fine city elected officials. This city has been owned by developers for years, campaign funding for Mayoral candidates being plumped heavily by the drive to sprawl across the prairie. The exception to this is our new Mayor, who I believe had no funding from developers at all.

#5 Sunshine Blower on 03.01.11 at 11:21 pm

I am first.. if not.. so what if I am wrong.. Just like how Adrienne Warren predicts “a US-style housing collapse is highly unlikely”.

#6 Kevin on 03.01.11 at 11:25 pm

In Saskatoon it is called “Mortgage Flexibility Support Program”

#7 bashful renter on 03.01.11 at 11:26 pm

Thanks Garth for your insightful and entertaining blog. I have days where I agree that economic indicators validate everything you say and I am hopeful. Then I have shameful days where I’m convinced the blogs I follow are just support groups for the non-owning social outcasts that fell between cracks and now need to be consoled with each bearish sentence you write. I have a 20% downpayent saved in Vancouver but can’t bring myself to take on the $400,000 mortgage it would take get my girlfriend (that I live with) and I a liveable apartment in Van. Where do you recommend I invest the dough I do have at this point? Don’t worry…I know there’s no crystal ball…..

Stay tuned. — Garth

#8 Timing is Everything on 03.01.11 at 11:27 pm

#165 Not so negative on 03.01.11 at 5:13 pm

Nine out of ten new mortgages taken last year were for 35 years, because people couldn’t afford any other.


This statistic is not valid. Everytime someone asks you what the source is you make a joke and refuse to answer. If you cannot back up your numbers, please don’t post them. I come here to read a different view, not to continue to see made up numbers.

“It’s a solid number, validated by daily mortgage practitioners who have done so here. Feel free to provide evidence to the contrary.” — Garth

Solid number? Hmmm.

Page 23, Table 4-5

That industry survey claims “100%” of all resales are bought with mortgages “of up to 25 years.” And you believe this? — Garth

#9 rentinginvic on 03.01.11 at 11:31 pm

Affordable housing is a right.

#10 LJ on 03.01.11 at 11:39 pm

This program is a travesty. Socialism at its height.

The requirements are that you make $80,000 and are able to scrape together $2000 and they will insure your loan for a cheap condo (“home”) half-way to Red Deer.

The builder probably could not unload the junk and now gets tax credits. This is on top of the building subsidy of $10,000+ per suite that the city initially gave developers to build the thing.

NICE. Socialism in conservative country.

I like the part about CMHC being “Calgary Mortgage and Housing Corporation.” — Garth

#11 Crazy on 03.01.11 at 11:40 pm

rentinginvic on 03.01.11 at 11:31 pm
Affordable housing is a right.


#12 pablo on 03.01.11 at 11:43 pm

So let’s see; oil spiking, commodities same, food the same, taxes and utilities same again. Unemployment no significant change, inflation increasing, savings falling, debt increasing. How can Carney risk raising rates and drive the Cdn $ even higher or chance a recession. That’s a mighty sharp fence he’s sitting on. But then what does he care, he can always go back to an executive position with Goldman Sachs once he’s finished serving up Canada to his globalist masters.

#13 Matthew on 03.01.11 at 11:45 pm

Dear Garth,

Is there a “Made in Canada”way to be short this mess?

It seems only fair to make a few dollars after being forced to hear this drivel day in and day out.


#14 renter on 03.01.11 at 11:45 pm

Australia just LOWERED rates. No real indication today on future Canadian rate hikes, hence our dollar selling off.

So you honestly think U.S. has the ability to raise rates? Why have all the hawks resigned from the Federal Reserve? How will they service the interest on the national debt? Bernanke wants keep the money flowing for another 3 years.

Our market can and probably will remain irrational for a while longer…

#15 Saskboy on 03.01.11 at 11:49 pm

Balls on a truck are terribly funny.

#16 renter on 03.01.11 at 11:50 pm

My Mistake. I meant New Zealand expects a rate cut :)

#17 Alan on 03.01.11 at 11:54 pm

18 months ago I challenged the idea that there would not be a precipitous drop in real estate values due to the inevitable increase in interest rates, hst, amortization rates. Real estate prices continue to rise in many centers in Canada. Conversely, there are cities and areas that have not seen any appreciation.

I suggested that it was different in Vancouver due to the chinese effect and I was challenged to prove that it was offshore money coming into the city and scooping up multi million dollar homes and city condos. I was clear when I said that Vancouver has moved into “International real estate status” whereby buyers from all over the world have only begun to discover the city. People on this blog and Garth have tried for years to discount the fact that real estate is local. We cannot use old ways of evaluating real estate. It’s like making a general statement like the stock market is going to crash. That may happen but not all stocks are going to crash. We need to apply a less general evaluation parameter, one that embraces the idea that not everything goes up or goes down at the same time. BTW, It is different in Vancouver, -there I said it!

#18 obert on 03.01.11 at 11:55 pm

The cities of Calgary and Saskatoon want to maintain their property taxes – in S-toon they call it investment.
Once these homeowners cannot afford their monthly payments… let’s see… they will qualify for MMPAP (monthly mortgage payment assistance program) which surely will be created.

#19 squidly77 on 03.01.11 at 11:56 pm

•Attainable Homes Calgary Corporation (AHCC) was created on 30 November, 2009 as a wholly owned subsidiary of The City of Calgary.
•Its responsibility is to implement and administer the Attainable Home Ownership Program (AHOP) as an initiative of The City of Calgary’s affordable housing strategy.
•The program’s initial goal is to develop 1,000 quality entry-level homes for hundreds of working Calgarians and their families.
•500 units will be initially attainable to the first purchaser. The second 500 units will be retained attainable in perpetuity, by leasing land to homebuyers, who will own the home

Crap, $100,000 in assets and an income of $80,000 and they need taxpayer welfare?

This is why government is bad.

Mortgage debtors also regularly use food banks, its called maximizing their income.

#20 squidly77 on 03.01.11 at 11:58 pm

Alderman Druh no doubt.

Double crap, City of Calgary property taxes are due soon.
Glad to see my money well allocated.

#21 Timing is Everything on 03.02.11 at 12:00 am

And you believe this? — Garth

Now, did I say that? I’m sure someone has the real numbers…As usual, I think the truth is somewhere between.

#22 TheOne on 03.02.11 at 12:01 am

Didn’t the US go down a similar path?

“We’re creating… an ownership society in this country, where more Americans than ever will be able to open up their door where they live and say, welcome to my house, welcome to my piece of property.”
– President George W. Bush, October 2004.

Unfortunately it’s not just Calgary. Many towns have similar policies and all are equally ridiculous.

You know what they say about those who refuse to learn from history…

#23 InvestorsFriend (Shawn Allen) on 03.02.11 at 12:03 am

At age 50, I can’t remember a time when there was not someone whining that houses were unaffordable.

No matter how low the price some people cannot afford a house. That is simply the way the world works.

If you want a house you tend to need a good job and to be good at at managing money.

This provides us with an incentive to get good educations and good jobs and to manage our money.

If houses are too high in price the market will correct that in due course.

I see nothing wrong with the picture.

#24 Taylor Made on 03.02.11 at 12:05 am

Too funny. Having lived through Calgary’s booms and busts for over 35 years, I have this to say to you Garth.

You sir, are a fraud. I’ve spend more on massive rent increases in Calgary’s crazy economic booms than I care to recall… I can’t think of a friend or foe who had money to invest in anything during those periods, especially the friends who were renting. Maybe the friends who were landlords had money, but that was it.

And the busts? Sure the rent was cheaper, but not enough to offset what I spent during the booms… Jobs were scarce in the busts, and you grabbed what you could regardless of what it paid.

Your ilk make me sick Garth.

#25 Devore on 03.02.11 at 12:06 am

#9 rentinginvic

Affordable housing is a right.


Affordable ownership?

#26 Mate on 03.02.11 at 12:07 am

The Territorial Governments (NWT & Nunavut) have long tried to encourage homeownership with various programs that provided downpayment assistance and geared to income mortgages.

In retrospect these have failed miserably because there has been little understanding of the actual debt load that this represents.

I see no difference in the 35/5 in Southern Canada. Lack of financial literacy is the pervasive problem.

#27 Debt's Dark Embrace on 03.02.11 at 12:08 am

Just another example of the “all in” “double down” effort to keep this bubble inflated. And it’s going to last a while longer, despite all the fundamentals you mention in your post. The brainwashing has been very effective and the fundamentals don’t matter. Only a “sea change” in the way people think can change the course of the real estate market now.

#28 Matthew on 03.02.11 at 12:11 am

To Alan who thinks that Vancouver is different.

Try your luck. Then tell me how this is sustainable.

#29 Shoggy on 03.02.11 at 12:17 am

SO I was trying to determine if it was wiser to rent or buy. I went to the following website
which has a rent Vs buy calculator. Plugged in the following Mortg payment of $2100/m, 2500 pty tax, @4 % with $50,000 down vs. $1100/m current rent for a 3 brm, 2 bath, 1300 sq/ft w a yard.
According to the calculator I should buy. Why? If you buy for $409618.63 (the maximum you would qualify for) you will pay down your mortgage of $359618.63 by $103308.69 over 10 year(s) with your Principal and Interest payments of $1891.67 per month, plus your property will increase in value by $0 for a total investment growth of $103308.69.
This total is greater than your total investment growth from renting, which is approximately $41775.15 after 10 year(s). This was calculated by growing the monthly savings from renting ($1000.00) plus your current downpayment of $50000.00 at a standard after-tax rate of 4% per annum.

As per my calculations, the $103308.69 is given as growth of investment in the house but speaks nothing to the fact that a vast portion of that is lost to interest payment to the bank. Now as per my calculations, my $50,000 makes 4% simple interest /yr= $2000/yr x10 yrs = 20,000. Take the $1000/m (savings by renting)= 12,000 x4/100= 480 x 10 yrs = 4800. SO I would have made 20800 in interest. Add that to my $120,000 that I saved by renting over 10 yrs and my $50,000 down payment I come to $ 190,800. That is without the power of compounding. And that is money I get to keep, especially if I were smart in invested it within a RRSP, TFSA and dividend companies which are taxed at a better rate.
If people don’t do the numbers and just go by what these money grabbing bankers and mortgage brokers sell them, it is no wonder they get themselves into trouble. Furthermore these same clowns are advertising:
“No Money Down Mortgage financing now available in Canada. 100% financing with ZERO down payment. (Certain Conditions Apply).”
Oh, yes we are so different than the States!!!
Like Suze Orman says, ‘if the cost of carrying a mortgage is more that the cost of renting the same house, then it is usually financially smarter to rent’.

#30 Rich Renter on 03.02.11 at 12:19 am

I’m shocked and amazed what is happening here in Calgary. The sense of entitlement and the myth that home owneership is some sort of satus symbol is amazing. The RE industry is running this country not S or F.
C did not even have the balls to raise rates today and here in work, I hear people without money bragging about the equity in their praire shack.
I strongly agree with all your fudamentals Garth, but i also see the rules of the game being continually changed by the powers that be.

#31 OnlyTheBankers Laugh on 03.02.11 at 12:21 am

Government intervention continually raises its ugly head and postpones the inevitable fall that a free market would bring.

0/40, cashback, provincial assistance, RRSP assistance, municipal assistance to come… any downturn here can be postponed by a wacky government program. Bubble blowing continues hoping that the asset bubble would cancel out the debt bubble as explained by any good highly leveraged consumer.

#32 Debt's Dark Embrace on 03.02.11 at 12:23 am

Without overpriced real estate and low interest rates we are screwed for at least a generation.

#33 Devore on 03.02.11 at 12:29 am

#28 Shoggy

Try this one, see if it’s any smarter.

#34 Taylor Made on 03.02.11 at 12:35 am


#35 Investx on 03.02.11 at 12:36 am

Garth, regarding your “solid numbers” you posted yesterday, I was hoping it was based on more than anecdotal evidence.

If I’m reading correctly, that CAAMP report indicates that 30% of new mortgages in the past year were for 35 year ams, as opposed to your 90% figure. Big difference.

What to believe, what to believe…

CAAMP says 100% of new mortgages for existing homes were 25 year ams. It is clearly false data. — Garth

#36 a prairie dawg on 03.02.11 at 12:42 am

@ #24 Taylor Made

You forgot to add “This message sponsored by CREA” after your post.

Stick to golf.

#37 charles on 03.02.11 at 12:42 am

Face the facts, the agenda is to crush the middle class through government financial exigency. Students graduate with crippling debt, the cost of basic housing is unaffordable and rising, our reform government that ran on financial responsibility and transparent honesty cheats at every turn and runs up record deficits.
Fight back. Set up your life to pay no tax, get rid of your debt and choke the bankers off.
The bright side is we will not have any money left to kill brown people on the other side of the world.
Buy silver. Crash JP morgan.

#38 OttawaMike on 03.02.11 at 12:45 am

So that’s 2 local govt. schemes to boost housing.

I thought you said there would be no programs to keep this blimp up?

More grants to come from the feds, stay tuned indeed.

#39 Cato on 03.02.11 at 12:46 am

It’ll be small consolation but perhaps we’ll see a voter revolt when bubbles start unwinding and taxpayers realize full extent of exposure the unholy alliance between housing and gov’t represents. Governments at all levels have had a vested interest in feeding the bubble because they all profited from it. Take a look how dramatically spending has increased over last several years when compared to GDP & population, all financed by leaching off the housing boom. Not only are renters treated as second class citizens by political leaders, there has been little oversight or consumer protection for those who did buy. How many housing projects built during boom for which city generated permit/development fees were actually inspected by city inspectors? How many taxpayer backed mortgages given out by banks actually had a formal appraisal? This isn’t going to end well on so many levels.

#40 Sasquatch on 03.02.11 at 12:52 am

God damn renters. These sub human basement dwellers that are getting better rental rates by the month. Just look at them irresponsibly letting MLS numbers for Calgary grow by a 1000 listings a month.

Don’t these property fence sitters know that the Canadian economy needs us all to buy beyond our means. How dare they give part of their income to some landlord, when they could give more than they have to the banks. I dare these poor surfs to look a starving Realtor in the eyes and say “Sorry, not buying today.” Don’t they know that buying a property at it’s highest point with 5/35 mortgages is the fuel that feeds this great nation, and not doing is unpatriotic.

If this keeps up, the Reds will take over the world!
Thank God I’m a rentor.

#41 Throwstone on 03.02.11 at 12:55 am

I think its great we subsidize peoples houses, I also think everyone should go out and buy 3 houses and Harper should have a full majority, allow 2 million immigrants in every year and stop recycling anything.

wtf is going on in this country!

#42 Bill Grable on 03.02.11 at 12:57 am

Marc Faber said essentially the same thing today.

Take a look at the Stock Market – and then take a look at Eurozone Bonds and then add – China holds a TON more US paper than we thought – THEN – add Mr. Turner’s stern warnings of the interest rate lash to come, and “Ma’am, what we have here is a massive train wreck”.

Food, power, taxes, everything UP, except the one asset everyone has bet on. REAL ESTATE.

Glue and staples and a lifetime of servitude.

Oh, the horror.

#43 City Slicker on 03.02.11 at 12:59 am

Peter Schiffs latest forcast, not good, very bold:

#44 edmonton mortgage broker on 03.02.11 at 1:05 am

from the AHCC website: “Rising house prices have locked out everyday people from owning a home including nurses, teachers, truck drivers, accountants, computer programmers and mechanic”

wow, i didn’t know nurses, teachers and truck drivers had such a hard time qualifying to buy a home! I must be an incredibly talented mortgage broker to get my nurse and teacher clients approved! That program is such a crock of shit and i suspect all it is, is the AHCC lending the poor nurse the 5% they require to go out and financially hang themselves by buying something they could rent for a fraction of the price.

At least with their limited funding of $1m ($2m since either the fed or provincial govt matched) the damage that they’ll do will be limited, as we all know the morons running it will siphon most of the funds away before it ever gets a chance to land that poor oil field services worker making $45k/yr his very own pad.

#45 Hoof-Hearted on 03.02.11 at 1:09 am

The next t$unami clusterf*ck

Local Gov’ts all over are ramping up utility costs, property taxes.

#46 wes_coast on 03.02.11 at 1:11 am

Why did we spend so much time and effort defeatinf socialists (read: the USSR) only to become like them. Have we lost our minds? No mid or long term good comes from government programs like this. I’m not surprised a polititian would introduce such populist crap. I am shocked that the people who should be protecting our very democracy (read: each and every one of us) is not up in arms at the mention of such a stupid program.

#47 tiger baby on 03.02.11 at 1:12 am

“How will they service the interest on the national debt?”
Didn’t someone say that they print money and buy their own debt? One day the difference between “prime” and non-prime debt will be painfully clear …

“People on this blog and Garth have tried for years to discount the fact that real estate is local. We cannot use old ways of evaluating real estate.”
well maybe we can describe it as a skyscraper with a foundation that is only suppose to support 5 floors …
Remember international money moves at the speed of light.

#48 Timing is Everything on 03.02.11 at 1:15 am

The ‘house’ always wins….pun intended. Couldn’t resist.

#49 Brad in Cowtown on 03.02.11 at 1:16 am

That is sickening! WTF is going on?
If anyone knows where that money is coming from, and how much these poor souls will be getting in subsidies to buy these homes, please post the info. I just can’t believe my eyes. Thank you for this post Garth.

#50 The Original Dave on 03.02.11 at 1:32 am

does anyone know of any ways to get back funds from an advisor that basically ran off with money? I still speak to him via email roughly 3 times a year. He says he’ll pay funds etc. but never makes attempt to contact and I always have to initiate.

Any tips on what I can do would be great. We’re talking 5 figures that he has of ours.

What are the details? This is a very unlikely scenario in Canada. — Garth

#51 Jeff Smith on 03.02.11 at 1:32 am

Go Go Harpie! Lets teach that middle east bully dictator a lesson! Yah! Canada!

#52 Jeff Smith on 03.02.11 at 1:33 am

That guy in the photo probably gets lots of chicks! Seems like a popular dude.

#53 rjag2034 on 03.02.11 at 1:33 am

“#9 rentinginvic on 03.01.11 at 11:31 pm
Affordable housing is a right.”

Oh really? Theres always one in every room!!!

#54 Dodged-A-Bullit-in Alberta on 03.02.11 at 1:42 am

Greetings: Not only have we outsourced our manufacturing and other jobs, but now this, thanks to Supreme Court, and I was hoping to supplement my pension!!

#55 Skeptic on 03.02.11 at 1:45 am

We’re cooked.

Yeah. We were cooked a year ago, too. Yet, behold.

I keep thinking it can’t go on. But it does.

#56 Burnt Norton on 03.02.11 at 1:53 am

#17 Alan on 03.01.11 at 11:54 pm

There was a time when I would have said that I agree with you. The reason that I no longer buy into this theory is because it involves assumptions that are are mainly conjecture & anecdote. The opposing viewpoint rests on fundamentals of human and market behaviour.

Those of you looking at what has happened in Vancouver over the past 10 years and going “see, see, it’s never going down, it has to be different here” fail to realize that it is exactly this kind of mentality which betrays you to the rest of us who understand that the more people believe that it IS different here, the closer we are getting to the bubble’s bursting point.

Do yourself a favour and read Garth’s latest book. It’s all in there.

#57 Skip Skippie on 03.02.11 at 1:59 am

How are the Capitalist going to make a killing if economic growth is only about 2%. Well the same way they have been doing it since the 1980s, create a bubble.

Ya, Capitalism has been in the dumps since the early 1900s, two world wars, a great depression, working class clambering for a Socialist economy only to be held ransom by the Capitalist world wide.

Ya, Canada will have it’s housing bubble and what ever bubble those idiot Capitalist economist scammers can think up, just to exploit surplus value.

#58 Zenith on 03.02.11 at 2:22 am

There’s nothing to see here. Canadians have debt. So what? Canadians also have over $1 trillion in cash so that’s a wash. Carney and the BoC won’t raise rates. Just relax. Don’t you bears fret tho, I’m sure Carney will throw you guys a bone – perhaps a quarter point sometime over the next year.

Commodity prices are getting stronger every day and giving our resource-oriented economy a huge boost despite the increase in the CAD. Hence our GDP continues to climb; we’re well into recovery mode.

Unemployment continues to improve. In fact, 2010 marked the fastest rebound in employment after a recession for a long long time.

Mortgage rules ‘tightening’? Whatever. Everybody can still afford a mortgage @ 3% money, even at 30 years. Non-factor.

Just like real estate, the S&P/TSX continues to be strong; up 5.1% YTD which is 36% annualized. The S&P500 isn’t doing too shabby either up 5.2% YTD. This doesn’t even count dividends. Gravy.

Canada has been the best place to invest and live and will continue to be the best place long after we’re all gone.

Go Canada!

#59 Jacen on 03.02.11 at 2:23 am

#24 Taylor Made,

It’s as simple as taking out a calculator. I’ve lived in Calgary for most of the boom times as well. When I crunched the numbers in 2001, rent was 66% the cost of mortgage+basic maintenance, give or take. in 2008 (the peak), rent was often less than 50% of the cost of a mortgage+basic maintenance. This has to be done for the SAME place, buy vs. rent.

Anecdotal references filled with emotion mean nothing. Basic math skills will put your concerns and unfounded statements to rest. As long as you have been saving the 33-50% difference, you’ll have done fine, and will be poised for cheaper purchasing in a few years, if you’re actually inclined to own ‘property’.

For me? No thanks. I’ll stick with my diversified portfolio that pays me regularly, without over-leveraging myself into sleepless nights, and have the ability to move where I want (like Australia, where I am at now).

I couldn’t have done that if I bought a home in the last 6-7 years!

#60 tmg on 03.02.11 at 2:31 am

so…are my bank stocks in danger if RE tanks?

The least of your worries. — Garth

#61 S on 03.02.11 at 2:37 am

Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Vancouver as the most liveable city in the world. Fairly credible magazine by anyone’s measure. While I don’t live there I wish I would. The RE correction will come as it always does but it probably will not make the place significantly more affordable as shelter is concerned. BTW, while keeping the roof over ones head is over the top in Van everything else seems to be cheaper. If one knows where to shop groceries are a real bargain compared to almost everywhere else in BC. Now, line up and fire at me.

#62 realpaul on 03.02.11 at 2:44 am

The Salvation Army reports that the largest group of Canadians falling into increasing poverty are senior women and families with mortgages who cannot afford to feed their kids.

And Flaherty says theres no problems with the hyperinflation in real estate prices eh?

I said this long before the Sally Ann did this recent survey but no one believes its an issue. Personally I believe that the rape of the seniors savings through artificially low rates of return on T-Bills, GIC’s and Bonds is a tactic the government is using to ‘ unlock value’ for the tax department. The rape of the seniors is what is carrying the ball for the fed right now. As long as seniors have to liquidate thier life savings and pay tax on thier lifestime accumulation of capital the government can superannuate the ‘income’ they think belongs to them and not the individual.

We saw the Finance Minister blatantly rape the income trust industry throwing thousands of buisnesses and individuals out of work and so doing force savers to crystallize their savings instead of collecting income.

The Liberal support group and other light headed dipsticks don’t want to believe that their dear socialist enterprise aka The Government of Canada civil service is capable of such Machiavellian treachery…but realpaul continues to bring forward the ugly truth which has inevitably proven to be true 100% of the time.

#63 Einsam Solo on 03.02.11 at 2:49 am

Way back in 1970, Janis Joplin sang the anthem of entitlement. Except all she wanted was an automobile and a color TV.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

#64 nomadic on 03.02.11 at 2:55 am

I heard this bs about Attainable Homes for Calgary yesterday on the radio on my drive to work. I told my wife about it, and she just shook her head.

This sense of entitlement is so out of control that society as a whole is taking the bait. Even with no debt, and 4 years of living expenses tucked away, I can’t help but feel at a disadvantage with all of the retards who are participating in this swindle. Surely my wealth will be taken from me in some way, and re-distributed to those who are more entitled to it than I.

This will end when inventory vastly outstrips demand, and there are far fewer buyers left in the stock. 2011 is probably the year it becomes undeniable.

I’ve seen my utilities increase by 30% in the last 2 months, and that is with natural gas at a multi-year low. Lets see how well those new occupants of the Attainable Homes, who have been shoe-horned into debt, make out when gasoline increases along with every other variable cost of living that they need.

Perhaps we will see a Calgary Attainable Vacation program, or a Calgary Attainable SUV program?

#65 Peter Pan on 03.02.11 at 3:01 am

Stupidity is contagious on the Prairies… First Saskatoon, now “theoretically” free-enterprise Calgary…

Privatize CMHC…
Stop the “grants” to deadbeat renters…
25 year Max Amortization/20% Down Minimum
Stop giving banks a free-ride on taxpayers…

Solving affordability is pretty easy, but there are too many entrenched interests here…

#66 Aussie Roy on 03.02.11 at 3:04 am

14 renter

RBA kept rates on hold in Oz. Yes with a $15B price tag to rebuild Christchurch lower rates and recession are clearly a possibility in NZ.

In Australia, APRA did change ratio requirements, which in turn will reduce credit.

With no first home buyers in the market someone finally see the first home owners bribe for what it was.

Tourism, consumer spending and debt growth all falling in a hole.

Excellent article.

We all await the finance figures and the home price index release on March 9th.

Home prices slump as buyers flee – Nice headline.

But all it means is, its a buyers market – LOL

For those interested the comments on most of the above are also worth reading to gauge the feelings of the average Aussie Joe. Is the delusion finally fading?.

#67 Ground Zero on 03.02.11 at 3:04 am

#13 – I asked Garth the same question about a week ago. You should read The Big Short, but that won’t work up here.

#68 nomadic on 03.02.11 at 3:08 am

Anyone here paying any attention to the battles brewing in the US over Public Union compensation and pension plans?

There are entire cities and states that are being bankrupted by Public Union Pension obligations and compensation that is massively out of line with private industry. Most people are focused on the bailouts and Wallstreet’s capture of the USG, but the Public Union greed is a multi-trillion dollar problem as well. Everyone in private industry can suffer, but Public Employees should never have to take a pay cut, or miss a pay increase…

Perhaps we will be behind in public policy response, but I suspect that we will be seeing serious escalating violence in the US within a year. And like in Greece, it will be Public Unions that are responsible for it.

Like the housing bubble, this problem too will come to a head in Canada, and neither F or CMHC can prevent it.

#69 Coho on 03.02.11 at 3:11 am

People and countries alike are going broke, but the money is going into the pockets of some people somewhere. People have to work harder and longer to buy the same things they used to. Governments must tax the people more and borrow more money from the Central Bank to keep the country going. Who is this good for? Well, of course the Central Bank, misleadingly called the Bank of Canada, which brings money into existence from nothing.

The more expensive things become and the more money (credit) people and countries need, the richer privately owned central banks get from the interest they charge from their right to create money. How nice, and do we think the “free market” drives prices and the economy? Manipulate the world economy so sovereign nations need to keep coming to you with their hands out is a pretty good business plan. And soon you’ll control and own the countries! This endless debt will not end well for nations and their people, but it serves the ruling class well.

It’s really an undeclared war (like all the other wars these days) on the middle class from faceless elite of the elite with the MSM and governments as the enablers. In the 60’s it took about 1.5x yearly income (mainly one income families?) to buy a single family home, and now…? All for the illusion of affluence where most people are being enticed into so much debt borrowing against their house. It is a sick way to keep the economy going, but it serves the purposes of “our betters”.

To The American from yesterday:

Canadians are subjects unto the British Crown. We do not have the rights and freedoms of Americans, so it is not surprising that real estate information which is free and accessible in the USA isn’t available here in Canada.

In my opinion, Canada (the government) has a much better reputation than it deserves. The closer you look, the more disappointed you will become. America on the other hand, by actions of its leaders who appear to be serving the Ruling Class rather than their own people, often to the detriment of oppressed people under the despots they support, has damaged its reputation as a beacon of freedom and liberty.

At least you guys have had the real article in the Bill of Rights, although there were forces against it even seeing the light of day and it has been under attack since the day it was written into the Constitution. George W Bush was cavalier enough to actually say what most leaders think but won’t say in public — and that is: “Things would be much easier if this was a dictatorship, so long as I am the Dictator”.

In Canada and in many other countries, we have a cheap knock off of freedom and liberty. Just like there are Rolex watches and Rolecks watches — we have phreedom and liburtie. It looks like it, feels like it, but won’t stand under stress and duress. For example, at the G-20 in Toronto, the illusion of civil rights was shattered.

#70 Alan on 03.02.11 at 3:40 am


It’s a relative. If you’re moving from a place that costs you millions of dollars for a house, spending a million for a crack shack and building makes sense. Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. Without this foreign investment, we would definitely be in a real estate downturn. Please look at San Diego as a US city that has recovered most of it’s real estate losses but you can still buy a house in Phoenix for $150K

#71 Bilbo Bloggins on 03.02.11 at 3:43 am

Holy man o mighty… Garth I know how you’re not a big gold/silver fan, but ,I am utterly gushing with drunken stupor this week.
Threw about 25 grand into SVM back in Jan. Since then up over 35%. Took a gamble on this one.
The rest of my portfolio is pretty conservative w/
sector ETFs as per your suggestion.
Anyway, sold off 75% of the SVM position this week.
All within my RRSPs so no taxes (yet).
This bull market is probably going to die off pretty quick in the summer or so but it’s a great time
to be in equities and not the lingering death of over
priced RE.

#72 Sargon on 03.02.11 at 3:45 am

Affordable housing….what a fiendish plan to foist toxic assets onto unsuspecting Joe and Jane Sixpack.

Where can I sign up to unload my failed flip? I’m fully committed to this ‘hand-up’ paradigm.

Selling anyone a condo or house north of Stoney Trail is simply cruel.

#73 BPOE on 03.02.11 at 4:13 am

If you truly believe all this fear mongering about higher interest rates (will not happen for a long long time), Canadians indebt etcetc. Then your investment game plan is to short the banks.

#74 Gary in Alberta on 03.02.11 at 4:38 am

FWIW they don’t call Calgary “Calgreedy” for nothing and perhaps in the Canadian scheme of things just demonstrates how effed up and extended the “Canadian Way” has become so far removed from any sense of historical reality.

Fits real well with record low interest rates embedded in the economy as they continue to trash the actuarial value of the CPP and all other pension plans and destroy the purchasing power of real savings.

Any wonder why any thinking person wouldn’t cash in their chips and turn to the barbaric precious metals and sit out the insanity as an attempt to try to preserve their purchasing power and savings?

Over the past ten years that has been THE winning “bet” and the way these bozos at all levels of government are providing governance there is no reason not to think it won’t continue to be the best bet regardless of anything one wants to throw at it.

#75 Devore on 03.02.11 at 4:51 am

This is how the big boys crash their real estate:

#76 Brian1 on 03.02.11 at 4:56 am

Ever since I stopped by Motley Fool they are continyously in my mailbox. I would like to ask my fellow bloggers if they are as good as they claim? They seem very bullish about everything.

#77 TheBigLebowski on 03.02.11 at 5:37 am

“Central banks have deliberately chosen higher inflation rather than face reality. That decision is going to cost them dearly. Inflation can be contained but that comes with a price, less money and credit, higher interest rates and deflationary depression. As you can see they are trapped in a box and they cannot get out, worse yet, they are well aware that there is no escape.”

thats why the price of commodities is rising.

#78 CalgaryBoy on 03.02.11 at 5:42 am

In Calgary:
“This is an unremediated grow-op. A minimum of mask protection should be worn at all times and, if possible, buyers should be accompanied by a remediation specialist. Property is being sold on an “AS IS, WHERE IS” basis.”

Yes, do look at the photos! It’s disgusting in there! But, hey, it’s lovely Calgary, anything to make a quick buck! In this case, $199,900!

Since there is a few more weeks until rules change, maybe there is a greater fool out there who will rush in to buy this lovely home.

#79 Brian1 on 03.02.11 at 6:09 am

Fractional Reserve: I have been able to give Mr. Friedberg a better read than last (I will do better) and I think he is a man to watch and I might pursue him after 2012. Unfortunatly, I think in this business you have to tell the future or, at least, the trends.
For me, he was unable to recognize the housing crisis in better time. For me, Garth did a better job, as well as Harry Dent and possibly Mr. Shilling (still reading). If this correction occurs then I will take a more aggresive investing approach, unless I like what Mr. Turner offers us soon. I liked Mr. Turner’s suggestions but lacked the guts to follow through. I’m not set up to invest yet anyway. I am currently in the process of setting up with TD though I still may lack the guts. I also am sqeemish about the $30 price tag. Originally it was the $7 possibilty that roped me in but I’ve discovered that you have to buy a lot to get that. I think that is unfair. Anyway, I think Mr. Friedberg is an excellent technician.

#80 Brian1 on 03.02.11 at 6:22 am

Me again. I was recently on the bond buying kick and needed info. I was considering buying Bonds for Dummies but was turned off by the price tag. I suspect it is an excellent book but I decided to google ‘bond examples’ instead and found what I needed. $5,000 is necessary to get in. If I had 200,000 I would diversify into different bonds, but I don’t. I thought of buying ETF but, as O’leary warns, you don’t know who is running it and from Shilling’s book, so far, I think I see it. My only alternative is a bond mutual fund which will need some study.(Mutual Funds, ugh.)

#81 duesouth on 03.02.11 at 6:30 am

#24 taylor made “…Your ilk make me sick Garth..”

In reference to your short diatribe (oxymoron). Your post made it on the site so you did well. You also made it on the site hence you have a soapbox but are your golf clubs and balls getting too heavy to carry….

Me thinks so.

#82 MythBuster on 03.02.11 at 7:29 am

Re: #24 Taylor Made

Your historical observation (and experience) are valid: If you rent all your life – you get nowhere.

What Garth says is this: Rent when you see a bust approaching. Buy when a boom gets underway – not when it is clearly near its bust point.

Canada is at the ‘bust point’ now. CONDITIONS for a substantial tsunami in RE and in the financial system are clearly in place. However, when will conditions turn into the actual tsunami is hard to tell with certainty. Some triggering event needs to happen first, to begin the process of changing mass psychology about RE. That has not happened yet.

#83 Calgary Hat on 03.02.11 at 7:45 am

Calgary changed for the worst with the 2nd boom.

Calgarians wished (when the 1st boom ended) with bumper stickers and T-shirts “Please god bring another boom, I promise I won’t piss it all away this time”. Well wish granted, they got a 2nd boom. What did they do? The same mistakes again.

This time, Calgary has been remade from the “Small town that’s a city” image to the what can you do for me “Greedville”

Now, ironicly, I’m Calgarian. I can afford, in cash, to buy in ANY neighbourhood in the city. But I choose to RENT, yes, rent. They say follow where the smart money goes and if that doesn’t tell you what some of the Calgarians with money are doing right now then…

I want our fun, little city back that cared about people, community and events. The money, greed and the illusion of debt = wealth destroyed that.

Calgary may be richer due to it’s debt, but it payed a sore price indeed for it.

#84 SaraBeth on 03.02.11 at 7:53 am

I can understand why a city might want to “help” people buy houses… they are protecting their tax base.

#85 TS on 03.02.11 at 8:14 am

#38 Alan on 03.02.11 at 3:40 am

It’s a relative. If you’re moving from a place that costs you millions of dollars for a house, spending a million for a crack shack and building makes sense. Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. Without this foreign investment, we would definitely be in a real estate downturn. Please look at San Diego as a US city that has recovered most of it’s real estate losses but you can still buy a house in Phoenix for $150K.

Alan….if you are going to make a post claiming “San Diego as a US city that has recovered most of it’s real estate losses” please substantiate such an outlandish claim with a factual source.

The links below shows that the San Diego market has NOT recovered and that asking prices and selling prices are still significantly below their peak levels. Posting unsubstantiated opinion on Garth’s blog and passing it off as fact is a waste of our time to read it. Please do your homework in the future.

#86 TS on 03.02.11 at 8:21 am

#79 Brian1 on 03.02.11 at 6:22 am

With macroeconomic factors pointing towards higher interest rates around the world are you sure you want to make a play on bonds at this time? Bond prices have been falling recently as the market has been discounting the value of longer term, lower interest rate bonds in order that the yields remain competitive.

#87 David B on 03.02.11 at 8:25 am

Head west young man …. oh how great life will be eh partner. There is gold in them there foothills of the rockies. Buy not one but two homes and life will be grand.

Stop and think for just one moment …… even if it was true is that what life is all about? Working for the mortgage industry.

#88 fancy_pants on 03.02.11 at 8:57 am

#9 rentinginvic on 03.01.11 at 11:31 pm
Affordable housing is a right.

And what are you doing to help make housing affordable? And for whom? How much of your income do you give to charitable organizations who for example help the dalits in India? I didn’t think so.
Affordable housing is not a right, it is a priviledge if you are so lucky to have access to such.

#89 Macrath on 03.02.11 at 8:59 am

My apologies Garth, I had not read the link just stumbled on it while researching. POS can be a sensitive subject. I`m off to inspect some knob and tube wiring and drool over the ashlar masonry.

#90 rent vs buy calculator on 03.02.11 at 8:59 am

#29 Shoggy, here is the best calculator I’ve found to date.

#91 Herb on 03.02.11 at 9:09 am

For those who think that partisan ideology shapes the economy, consider this:

The economy doesn’t care who wins” –

As I used to say, “It doesn’t matter which party is in government, the Power Corp. is in power.”

#92 appraiser on 03.02.11 at 9:10 am

Garth. It would be much more helpful and add to your credibility if you would simply cite the source for your down-payment “statistic” regarding mortgage origination percentages.

It appears that you are merely side-stepping the issue by attacking the credibility of others.

My sources are live, not a link. If you are in the business, you know I am correct. — Garth

#93 Sleepy D on 03.02.11 at 9:17 am

I am hoping someone can help me!!
I had come across a Canadian website that:
– lists MLS homes but it also
– includes lots of demographic info about the area the house is in and also lists the length of time the house has been listed with price drops.
Any one know this site? I can’t find it again.

#94 TS on 03.02.11 at 9:25 am

Looks like the Chinese housing market is building into a bubble….once it bursts the impact on global growth could be significant….

#95 AG Sage on 03.02.11 at 10:18 am

>#14 renter on 03.01.11 at 11:45 pm
>Australia just LOWERED rates. No real indication today on future Canadian rate hikes, hence our dollar selling off.

“RBA Keeps Key Interest Rate Unchanged, Extending Pause as Inflation Eases”

Are you looking at the expectation that the Kiwis are going to lower rates, maybe?

#96 SK on 03.02.11 at 10:53 am

According to the Renovation and Home Purchase Detailed Tables – Major Markets Combined report issued by the CMHC, released in 2010, Table 10, 6% of homes purchased had less than 5% down and 8% had no down payment in 2009. Now it lists that 32% of purchasers had between 5% and 19% down payment. My guess would be that the bulk of that bracket would be located towards the bottom end. Keep in mind that this table represents all home purchasers, not just first timers. It wouldn’t be hard to assume based on these numbers that first time home buyers represent all 13% of the total home buyers who had 0-5% down, and a large portion of the 5-8% range. Given this, it is not crazy to assume that a high percentage 70-90% of all first time buyers only put down between 0-8%. Not sure on the length of amortizations. This info was for 2009, things have generally got more expensive and thus the percentages will increase in 2010, when the figures come out.

Source: Table 10:

#97 Ex-Cowtown on 03.02.11 at 10:59 am

#57 Zenith:

There’s nothing to see here. Canadians have debt. So what? Canadians also have over $1 trillion in cash so that’s a wash.

Utter B.S. Canadians have a $trillion in unrealized paper gains, much of it from the RE market. Very little of it is in cash. As the insufferable, irrelevant and pathetic GT points out, asset values can rise and fall, but the debt is forever.

Calgary is a screwy market. It’s up and it’s down. The price of oil is less of a driver than you think as finding oil today is very expensive, so the windfall profits are’nt there any more. The big problem is natural gas prices, which suck… brutally.

Take one look at the AB provincial budget. They are running a massive deficit, with gambling revenues exceeding the take on natural gas royalties. That is the backdrop to the Calgary economy. Everyone is focussed on the price of oil, but Calgary is a Natural Gas Town. That makes for some bad times ahead.

RE booming? Forget it. You missed the run-up. Now you get the run-down.

#98 maxx on 03.02.11 at 11:08 am

#30 Rich Renter: Highlights the difference between legality and morality. Those who make the laws are always a step ahead of (fiscal) morality. Rich renters have the luxury of deciding where in the world they may decide to live. Being nimble and liquid is a beautiful thing.

#99 Mackie on 03.02.11 at 11:11 am

Sometimes I think Peter Schiff is the only sane person left in the US. The arrogance of those jerks on cnbc is laughable. Listening and following Peter has made me a lot of money. Thanks Pete.

#100 jess on 03.02.11 at 11:19 am

There was something disturbing about that timmy’s -turn -waiting room. Who wrote that story with those exaggerated numbers ?
200 ? 100 which is it? half of half of half

incorporated: 1860
First Capital of BC: 1859-1868
Employment: 32,330 (2006)
Labour Force: 34,260 (2006)
Households: 27,050 (2006)
Population: 58,549 (2006)
Total number of occupied private dwellings: 27,050 (2006)
Land and water mass: 18.4 sq. kilometres (7.1 sq. miles)
Land mass: 15.3 sq. kilometres (5.9 sq. miles)

Doctors had to set up temporary beds in the closed coffee shop Monday night between 11:15 p.m. PT and 12:45 a.m after the hospital was swamped by about 200 patients

…Plug said about 100 patients checked into the emergency room, half the number later cited by Hansen

#101 Shoggy on 03.02.11 at 11:20 am

Thank you Devore and #89 for the calculators. Both are quite good. The first one allows for more inputs.

#102 appraiser on 03.02.11 at 11:20 am

“My sources are live, not a link. If you are in the business, you know I am correct.” — Garth

To be clear then, you are stating that your sources are merely anecdotal and not based on any empirical or verifiable data. Thought so.

Simply declaring that “you are correct” may cut it for the majority of fellow doomers who apparently frequent this site, but it hardly qualifies as objective in-depth analysis.

Little wonder then that there appears to be not one legitimate news source that will any longer quote you or your increasingly preposterous “predictions.”

You sir are unabashedly in the business of selling fear, knowing full well that there is always a market.

Looks like you suffer from a lack of credible data, but not invective. Regardless, I won’t attack you – whoever you are – since all views add to an overall understanding of what happens next. What I do not understand is why an admission that we’ve let young buyers pig out on 35-year loans is “selling fear.” I think this is information we need to have. Why do you wish to suppress it? — Garth

#103 bigrider on 03.02.11 at 11:43 am

David Rosenberg has definitely changed his tune on housing here in Canada.

From today’s Breakfast with Dave quote “housing market in balance in most metro areas : no foreclosure supply coming.

I think we will be waiting a long while for this melt as much as I want it.

#104 Kevin in Winnipeg on 03.02.11 at 11:54 am

My sources are live, not a link. If you are in the business, you know I am correct. — Garth

Why is it so hard to find these stats published and accurate? If CMHC is insuring a majority of the mortgages and it’s a government department, as a voter I have the right to see these statistics. There needs to be some accountability.

Obviously a majority of mortgages will be 35 years. I am sure borrowers are encouraged to do so for flexibility. This does not mean people can not afford the same house at 30 years. The real life stats will become clear after March 18.

#105 Jesse on 03.02.11 at 11:55 am

Garth – I stumbled across your “Survival Guide” at Value Village. I assumed I’d find recipes for squirrel sorbet, but instead I was surprised to read you say that home ownership is an important part of building wealth (or something like that – I didn’t buy it).

Do you still agree with that, or has this latest bubble changed the way you look at real estate altogether?

#106 Adventures in Sea-Tac with Moneta on 03.02.11 at 11:55 am

Garth – re 35 – I think that column is for owners who had
no mortgage, then got a new mortgage for whatever
reason. There are separate columns for new purchases
and renewals. Zero is much more believable in that case.

#107 Mr. Plow on 03.02.11 at 12:00 pm

#50 The Original Dave

Depends… Is he/she really an “advisor” or is it someone who wanted you to invest in something and “advised” you to do so?

In that case the Securities Commission would be a good start, otherwise I have no clue. I’m sure there is some regulative body that you could report the financial advisor to if that is what they are. The police aren’t a bad idea either.

Good luck, I hope you get your money back.

#108 Traveling Renter on 03.02.11 at 12:04 pm

Always been a renter. Lived in multimillion dollar homes in SW Calgary, lived in downtown Vancouver condo with ocean views and now have a beautiful ocean view home on an acreage on the west coast.

I have negotiated my rent to have always been at least $1000 cheaper than a mortgage for the place and my lifestyle has been fantastic. I live a life of experience rather than accumulation. My quality of life is 100 times better than if I would have bought because I have lived in places most buyers my age dream of. If I want to move, I give notice and I’m gone in 30 days. All of this is exciting for me because when the supply of rental homes rises because people can’t sell them my rental cost may even go down.

Greed and entitlement is what fuels this house horny society.

This is not going to end well for over leveraged home owners.

#109 Herb on 03.02.11 at 12:08 pm

#96 Ex-Cowtown –

“… the insufferable, irrelevant and pathetic GT …”

Smile when you say that, Stranger!

#110 Mr. Plow on 03.02.11 at 12:10 pm

#77 CalgaryBoy…

I don’t think it is being sold with the intention of someone living in the house, I think the expectation is that it is being sold for land value only.

I used to live in Calgary, that’s a surprisingly good neighborhood for a grow op is it not?

#111 Mr. Plow on 03.02.11 at 12:12 pm

A couple of thoughts…

Perhaps the municipal governments want to get in on the big profits that come with banking? i.e., loaning down payments etc…

Also, perhaps they want to increase their tax base by adding another 1,000 home owners.

Lastly, perhaps they want to get in on the big dollars that come with land development… I know the City of Edmonton does.

Not saying it is right, just saying that maybe their motivation has nothing to do with “helping” people get into a home, and more to do with helping themselves.

#112 tonguestump on 03.02.11 at 12:13 pm

We’re scroomed we’re doomed we’re cooked we’re baked, we’re crispy. Don’t fear change. A lot of wisdom will be grown from eating our pets as special holiday treats. Hey Big Lebowski – you rock! I’ll read anything you have to post. Carry on. Take your time and keep up the “ain’t it awful”piss and moan. Thanks for keeping a close eye on Turd Watch 2011 Garth. Myself I’d get a little weary perching over a big dump and sifting and sorting through it. You probably were a sump pump technician in a past life.

#113 Jeff Smith on 03.02.11 at 12:14 pm

>#57 Zenith on 03.02.11 at 2:22 am
>There’s nothing to see here. Canadians have debt. So
>what? Canadians also have over $1 trillion in cash so
>that’s a wash. Carney and the BoC won’t raise rates.
>Just relax. Don’t you bears fret tho, I’m sure Carney
>will throw you guys a bone – perhaps a quarter point
>sometime over the next year.

I have to agree, Carnie has shown time and again he won’t raise rates.

#114 Madame Guillotine on 03.02.11 at 12:18 pm

Where is the Mad Vlad?

#115 Jeff Smith on 03.02.11 at 12:20 pm

>#39 Cato on 03.02.11 at 12:46 am
>It’ll be small consolation but perhaps we’ll see a
>voter revolt when bubbles start unwinding and
>taxpayers realize full extent of exposure the unholy
>alliance between housing and gov’t represents.
>Governments at all levels have had a vested interest
>in feeding the bubble because they all profited from
>it. Take a look how dramatically spending has
>increased over last several years when compared to
>GDP & population, all financed by leaching off the
>housing boom. Not only are renters treated as second
>class citizens by political leaders, there has been little
>oversight or consumer protection for those who did buy. How many housing projects built during boom for
>which city generated permit/development fees were actually inspected by city inspectors? How many
>taxpayer backed mortgages given out by banks
>actually had a formal appraisal? This isn’t going to
>end well on so many levels.

Why would government loves renters? We are bad for their pocket. who pays transfer tax, property taxes, gst/hst/xst(whatever) every time a property changes hands? Right, not renters! So I think the govt will just tell the renters to [email protected]#$k off! Govt loves buyers; shackle the sucker into a 30/35 years property tax revenue source.

#116 Steven Rowlandson on 03.02.11 at 12:23 pm

Hello Garth.
Interesting times isn’t it?
The sunshine blowers are wrong! Real estate prices are over valued by 80 or 90 percent. Either that or most workers are grossly underpaid. Something has to give before things bottom out and start to grow again.
Like I say people have to find out the hard way.


#117 Jeff Smith on 03.02.11 at 12:26 pm

>#46 wes_coast on 03.02.11 at 1:11 am
>Why did we spend so much time and effort defeatinf
>socialists (read: the USSR) only to become like them.

USSR is not a socialist country, more like a fascist/dictatorial only much worse. They like to call themselves socialist but they are not. Canada however is a socialist/commie like country, but we just call ourselves Canada without all that title.

#118 Evan Richard on 03.02.11 at 12:26 pm

When I was out in Calgary last week, saw those adds on the 72/73 bus route. Looks like a to sell slow moving condos, as they are not actually homes at all.

#119 Alan on 03.02.11 at 12:31 pm


I speak from my own personal experience. I purchased a condo in San Diego a year ago. Similar units are selling for exactly what they were selling for three years ago today.

#120 jess on 03.02.11 at 12:32 pm

An Animated short:

misleading ads and the supreme court
by the author the story of stuff

#121 Calgary renter on 03.02.11 at 12:34 pm

First time poster, long time faithful reader.

Here are the details of the Attainable homes Calgary corporTion:

You must:

– Earn within the income range (if you are a little below but can get mortgage approval that is fine, if you are above, unfortunately we cannot accept you).
– Income range is $52-80,300
– You must be working in Calgary
– You must be a citizen of Canada or permanent resident
– You must qualify for a mortgage
– Once you purchase your property it must be your sole and primary residence
– You will be required to attend an information/education session (approx. 2.5 hours)
– You need to apply to the program – there is a $100 fee
– You will need a down payment of $2,000.

We Provide:
– 10% down payment towards the purchase of a condo style unit – currently in our Beacon Heights Development
– We have a charge on title, and share the appreciation of the unit down the road – 3-5 years recommended time frame
– After 3 full years we would ask for 25% of the appreciation – leaving you with 75%
– We will not ask for the down payment to be returned provided you stay within the parameters of the program
– We have 8 floor plans to choose from in Beacon Heights
– Prices range from $177,000 to $253,000
– All of our homes come with granite kitchen countertops, tile flooring in the entryway, kitchen and baths, 9 ft ceilings, 6 appliances…

What if it depreciates? Do they pay you 25%???

#122 Not so negative on 03.02.11 at 12:35 pm

#165 Not so negative on 03.01.11 at 5:13 pm

Nine out of ten new mortgages taken last year were for 35 years, because people couldn’t afford any other.


This statistic is not valid. Everytime someone asks you what the source is you make a joke and refuse to answer. If you cannot back up your numbers, please don’t post them. I come here to read a different view, not to continue to see made up numbers.

“It’s a solid number, validated by daily mortgage practitioners who have done so here. Feel free to provide evidence to the contrary.” — Garth


Here you go:
CAAMP, which represents the mortgage brokerage industry, released a study late last year that showed mortgage debt in Canada surpassed $1-trillion for the first time in 2010. About 22 per cent of all new mortgages had amortization rates longer than 25 years, up from 18 per cent the year before.

Also, your number is NOT a solid number. Speaking to a few people who told you thats the percentage of mortgages they give out is not a valid statistic. I don’t know anyone that has taken a 35 year mortgage, does that mean the % of people who take them out is 0% no. Thats not how stats are compiled.

Actually CAAMP’s number was 32%, not 22%, and it does not jive with reality. My observations are just that – the result of actual in-the-field conversations and originations. I am totally open to knowing the source of your conviction. But if it’s CAAMP, don’t bother me. — Garth

#123 Ex-Cowtown on 03.02.11 at 12:41 pm

OK GT, Riddle me this:

If rising interest rates will cripple the RE market, they should also whack the stock market. So if you’re sitting on a bunch of unrealized capital gains in the stock market, would it not make sense to cash them out as well prior to increasing rates?

From where I’m sitting, it looks like the risk of staying in stocks, even dividend paying ones, is getting quite high now, especially with the threats of higher energy costs de-railing any recovery?

Looks like short term bond ETF’s are an attractive alternative (again).

#124 Mr. Reality on 03.02.11 at 12:48 pm

I love these pereptual optimists. When everything takes a dump Mr. Reality will be knocking on your nieve door to take that house from you at a 50% discount!

Mr. R.

#125 Eric on 03.02.11 at 1:04 pm

Pat: 250 (on the $2 mil thread.

“But you’d have missed to cash out for a $350,000 after-tax profit. This blog is named after people like you.”

I have to live somewhere, Pat. I bought to have a home, not to do a financial ‘play’. Were I to sell and pocket the tax-free profit I could certainly trade up but the larger place would have more monthly carrying costs. I don’t need it. I have a great view in an excellent location. I feel a bit sorry for people that are stuck renting at escalating rent costs because they listened to doom prophecies that haven’t yet come true.

There’s a huge difference between being stuck with a mortgage when interest rates go up and markets go down – and jumping into the market and paying one’s mortgage off.

#126 Zenith on 03.02.11 at 1:16 pm

#96 Ex-Cowtown

Sorry to disappoint you oh non-believer. Canadians are sitting on over $1 trillion in cash.

Now that you mention other assets; you are right – Canadians have a LOT more assets than just cash!

Go Canada!

Household debt is $1.5 trillion. Nice try. — Garth

#127 Nemesis on 03.02.11 at 1:48 pm

“Welcome to Calgary, AZ.” – Hon. GT

Funny you should say that, GT… Here’s a little ‘ground truth’ from the real Arizona:

[PrescottDailyCourier] – Column: Arizona’s failed policies only getting worse

“Arizona is dangerously close to becoming a “failed state,” and it’s not only because of our immigration policies… A new report based on U.S. Census data shows that more than one-fifth of Arizonans live in poverty, with only Mississippi faring worse. Children here are hit particularly hard, with nearly one-third found to be impoverished, tying Arizona for second-worst in the nation with the District of Columbia. A separate report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis found that even among those not living in poverty, Arizonans fare worse than people in other locales…”

Of course, in the ‘ShowMe’ state – Missouri – they’ve already figured out to deal with child poverty (hint: let them work – if they can find any)…

SB 222 – This act modifies the child labor laws. It eliminates the prohibition on employment of children under age fourteen….

#128 Canayjun on 03.02.11 at 1:53 pm

I’ve been keeping my eye on the price of acreage properties in Langley, BC for over a year now. A decent property there that I might buy has always been around $1.1 to $1.2 million since about 2009. I’ve tracked these properties for a long time. You can now buy these same types of properties for under $1 million (just barely).

When RE prices start to fall, looking at only average house prices isn’t going to reveal the underlying trends. High end properties outside the Asian zone are going to take a beating first, then lower priced properties outside the Asian zone will take a beating next. Eventually even the McMansions in the Asian zone will take a beating.

When things fall they are going to fall unevenly and at different speeds. I’m seeing acreage properties in Langley that have been listed for a year.

In the late 80’s even the Asians suddenly stopped buying. Then the RE market did a major reversal.

#129 morry on 03.02.11 at 1:54 pm

“I’d rather have all the farmland in the U.S. than all the world’s gold.” & “Gold is a way of going along on fear.”
– Warren Buffet

#130 Another Albertan on 03.02.11 at 1:54 pm

Oh, the irony…

Look up the general technical definition of the term “zenith”.

Everyone else’s mileage may vary.

#131 jess on 03.02.11 at 1:59 pm

…fighter jets seemed are so passe the “robotic killers” are the all the rage.
Remote Control War
Thursday February 24, 2011 at 9 pm on CBC-TV

#132 BrianT on 03.02.11 at 2:05 pm

#60S-Did it ever occur to you to think things through for yourself rather than rely on the judgement of some young journalist (maybe an intern). Just on RE prices alone Vancouver could never be considered “liveable” for the vast majority of the population-that is ignoring all the other obvious negatives of the place.

#133 Throwstone on 03.02.11 at 2:06 pm


Same old tune….Trillion dollars in cash ..blah blah blah…

Money is like a can of paint. Does’nt do much good stashed away.

#134 BrianT on 03.02.11 at 2:17 pm

343City-Another ludicrous MSM interview-Schiff flat out says that within 3 yrs the Dow will be below the price of Gold and the bubblehead says that ISN’T SPECIFIC ENOUGH. She wants the day and hr stated. His continual patience with these idiots is really quite remarkable.

#135 Throwstone on 03.02.11 at 2:19 pm

where are you?…

Garth has asked why you choose to have this information repressed?….

Just get it out…let it all out…you’ll feel better…

#136 BrianT on 03.02.11 at 2:19 pm

#128Morry-“Do as I say not as I do”-Warren Buffett (Welfare Queen).

#137 new_era on 03.02.11 at 2:26 pm

#29 shotty

You forgot the intangibles.

– In ten years especially with an older vancouver house, expect minor and major maintenance charges. both material and time

1. fix roof
2. drainage tiles outside
3. furnace, hot water tank (which has an average of 10 to 15 years life)

1. mowing the lawn, which is your landlords responsibility
2. Gardening,
3. Painting the deck, fence, and house

and the list goes on

#138 USDilemma on 03.02.11 at 2:26 pm

Garth, Help.
I got my hands on (thru inheritance) around 110kUSD. My instinct tells me to wait 6-12ths for a 1.08 exchange rate but it hurts watching it go the other way.

What you think? Thank you.

#139 stealthhunting on 03.02.11 at 2:29 pm


Now that the stock market is “not on sale” any more and has rapidly advanced since August 2010 (maybe too rapidly), where do we start now?
What would be basic step 1 for someone getting into the market and what would be his/her carrot to proceed to step N?


#140 triplenet on 03.02.11 at 2:32 pm

#89 rent ys. buy
#29 Shoggy, here is the best calculator I’ve found to date.

Canadian and American residential mortgage calculations are NOT the same.

#141 GPC on 03.02.11 at 2:35 pm

Does anyone remember the “First Home Program” that the city of Edmonton came up with a few years ago? The same as Calgary’s program, except the city held a lottery because they thought there would be such a rush to get in. Well almost nobody showed up because it was obvious to everyone that it was a bad deal.

#142 john m on 03.02.11 at 2:40 pm

#24 Taylor Made on 03.02.11 at 12:05 am

Too funny. Having lived through Calgary’s booms and busts for over 35 years, I have this to say to you Garth.

I’ve spend more on massive rent increases in Calgary’s crazy economic booms than I care to recall… I can’t think of a friend or foe who had money to invest in anything during those periods, especially the friends who were renting. Maybe the friends who were landlords had money, but that was it.

And the busts? Sure the rent was cheaper, but not enough to offset what I spent during the booms… Jobs were scarce in the busts, and you grabbed what you could regardless of what it paid……………<<<< and you think no one else has had to do that in the rest of Canada?..get real and stop whining poor me………… for the massive rent increases any time there is any prosperity..yes that is soooo true for Alberta..your province has done this over and over again,gouging people till they no longer want to live there and scooping up every spare nickel they make thinking it will last forever (how many times has this happened?) Ah yes Alberta is unique in eliminating any of the prosperity going to their citizens…(ever think of rent controls? really should be standing up to your almighty politicians instead of trying to blame the rest of Canada all the time for your own mistakes……B.T.W. your ilk makes me sick as well :-)

#143 dd on 03.02.11 at 2:46 pm

The government buying it own debt is not inflation. Think if they did not buy? There would be a great depression.

#144 Another Albertan on 03.02.11 at 2:55 pm

#109/Mr Plow –

A friend of mine is an inspector with Alberta Health Services and is one of the people who nails the notices to the front door upon the police taking down grow-ops.

Her comment is simple. “There are grow-ops in every single community in Calgary. I’ve written a notice in every type of home over the last 5 years, from Forest Lawn to Mount Royal and everything in between. You’d be surprised at the number of high-end, rented homes are turned into grow-ops and end up completely wrecked.”

Everyone else’s mileage may vary.

#145 Mr. Plow on 03.02.11 at 3:02 pm

#141 john m

Hey John… How is your province enjoying all of those transfer payments we send?

Compliments of a gouging Alberta citizen, enjoy from my family to yours.

#146 Todd on 03.02.11 at 3:04 pm

I often wonder if the hubris of perceived immunity from a “US-style housing correction” comes from the identity of Canadians in general as non-Americans. I think people may automatically think “well, something bad happened in the US and since we are not Americans and we are smarter, it cannot happen here.” In general, I think it stifles debate in the country (saying something is “US-style” automatically kills the debate, lest someone with a countering argument be thought of as a yankee sympathizer or some such nonsense) and in the specific context of real estate, it allows us to put our blinders on, not look at the facts as they are in the context of present day events, history and economic fundamentals. To think that American real estate failed because they are not as smart as Canadians is just dumb. Do Canadians think we as a country live in a place any more desirable than San Francisco or New York or Seattle or Chicago? I imagine many worldwide would disagree on that point. Do we think we get more immigrants than the US? We don’t even come close. Then why do we think that given very similar (in some cases worse) real estate conditions in comparison to fundamentals, do we think we’re immune from a crash of similar magnitude? We can learn a lot from our quadraspherical brethren and vice versa, both what to do and what not to do.

Just for the sake of context, if Vancouver’s (where I live) average home price of ~$1.1M continues to rise for the next 10 years at the average rate it’s risen over the last 10 years (over 6% per year), the average house price in 2020 will break $2M. That means the average Vancouverite would need consistent 6% raises every year for 10 years just to be in the same crap situation of real estate at 11x earnings as they’re in now. Nagannahappen.

#147 Edmontonian on 03.02.11 at 3:09 pm

ALberta Foreclosures starting to go “through the roof” triple that of most provinces and the interest rates are still at record levels. This realtor says it is “a good time to buy” i say wait 2-3 years…
I can’t believe so many Canadians are piling on debt like there’s no tomorrow… we’re the most in debt of the whole G-20 now, ab ALbertans are the most indebt in all of North America!

#148 Liquidity Rules on 03.02.11 at 3:10 pm

I tried the “Rent vs Buy” calculator on the website referred to in comment #29. Holy deception Batman!

Or perhaps fraud is a better term. Doesn’t matter what numbers you give it, you’re always better of to “BUY!” What a crock of ____. No wonder people are being lead to slaughter with financial “professionals” giving advice like that.

I wonder if people will be able to sue the provider of this information for breach of fiduciary duty when the wheels come off this whole thing and the fraud is revealed?

In regards to the Calgary Attainable Homes nonsense. Looks like a clever marketing ploy by a substandard builder. Very little taxpayer $$ going into this thing. Scratch the surface and it is just a way to sell crappy condos on the bald-___ praire.

I am living in one of this developers high-end projects. $500K+ condo. Brand-new concrete building. Thermostat set to 28 degrees in here. Actual room temperature 17.5 degrees (with an assist from an electric heater). One more reason to be glad I’m only renting!

#149 poco on 03.02.11 at 3:12 pm

RENT to OWN Calculator

this is the best way to know whether to rent or buy–just a few examples
v808391-listed feb10–399.9k—–now asking– 364.9
v872670-listed may10–214.9k—-now listed –179k
v872687-listed jun10–614.9k—–now listed– 579.8k
v872728-listed mar 10–789k—–now listed –739.k

i’ll sit back and watch this melt until these numbers start turning the other way—it will be a long wait
price reductions add up to alot of rent

cherry picking you say–do some research

#150 Edmontonian on 03.02.11 at 3:16 pm

Alberta needs to have a control on rent to reflect inflation rates in ALberta. Rate ent up 50% in some buildings in 2007, but has gone down another 35% again.

I believe living in Alberta the Government, much like the current minority government is a corporatocracy.

Time & time again we’ve put massive cutback and bonuses for corporations while plunging the public into massive debt. This won’t end well. Our standard of living is collapsing. Many peoeple forgot the conservative government was heel-bend on privatizing healthcare, do you think anything has changed?

#151 Brian1 on 03.02.11 at 3:20 pm

#85 TS: Gary Shilling says exactly the opposite and, according to his book, he has been right forever.(He is for deflation and maybe it has to do with being in America, but Canada will soon follow). I may have to look into mutual funds which involve treasuries.(Still reading).

#152 dd on 03.02.11 at 3:22 pm

As per Garth … QE doesn’t add to inflation. Well Rosenberg thinks otherwise today. Rosenberg comments on this stuff for a living and he is usually right:

“The complexion of the FX market has also changed materially. The U.S. dollar,always a safe-haven in troubling times as it was in the aftermath of the global
credit collapse and periodically last year amid the European debt fiasco, is no longer playing that traditional role during this latest round of turmoil overseas.Gold, silver, the yen and the Swiss franc have emerged as the safe-havens this time around. Could be a sign of the U.S. dollar losing its allure as the place to gowhen the going gets tough and no doubt spur talk as to whether the reservecurrency status will ultimately be relinquished.

The weak performance of the U.S. dollar would certainly seem to reflect, at acertain level, a lack of confidence over U.S. policy making. Nothing in Ben Bernanke’s sermon yesterday should alter that view, especially his dismissive response to the Fed’s role in fuelling the surge in the commodity complex since last summer. He claims that since commodity prices have risen in all currency terms, hence this is not a weak-dollar story. To us, this misses the point. The Fed’s stated intent was to encourage risk-taking behaviour with QE2. He even mentioned the Russell 2000 on CNBC recently. Well, emerging equities have a tight correlation with small cap stocks, and by igniting a huge rally in those
markets, their economies boomed from the hot money investment flows. And since it is this part of the world that is the marginal buyer of raw material, it is
little wonder why the supply-demand balance for commodities was thrown further off kilter by the Fed’s quantitative easing.

Ben Bernanke said his concern was that inflation had fallen last summer to uncomfortable levels. So the main aim was to reflate and the stated goal was a
wealth effect on spending. But only 20% of Americans own equities directly. And the inflation that the Fed has helped generate are in necessities.”

#153 Mister Obvious on 03.02.11 at 3:36 pm

I got to wondering why boomers seem particularly slow to sell off their outsized city homes and downsize to more manageable accommodation. Most of them know the time is near to reap the tax-free profit from 30 years of unprecedented real estate growth. This generation has been around long enough to remember when real estate was not a panacea of endless gains. They are aware, at some level, the party is nearly over.

The holdup is ‘material inertia’. I drove over the Lions Gate Bridge this past weekend and looked down to see yet other a freighter from China chugging into Burrard Inlet. It was positively laden with shipping containers. Hundreds of them, stacked six or more high. This was only one of thousands of such ships that have arrived in our ports over the last few decades. This is the real destructive ‘Asian Influx’, not those insanely rich businessmen from Shanghai bidding up house prices in Richmond.

These containers represent the real Trojan horses responsible for crippling our once vibrant Western economy. There are practically no items at Costco, Wal-Mart, The Bay, Sears or indeed, any outlet furniture store that did not originate in Asia. We are certainly capable of making our own dinettes garden furniture, but the Chinese can do it so much cheaper. Never mind that ‘cheap’ applies to more than price. Asian manufactures are absolutely brilliant at making junk look good. And we love to play along. Besides, if the junky-ness of an item becomes too apparent we can simply go out and buy… you guessed it… more junk.

Of course, none of the above is news. But look in any suburban garage, basement or storage shed. There is a mind numbing assortment of long forgotten consumer chaff crammed into every available cubic inch. It gathers dust yearly and severely interferes with freedom of movement. It’s hard to forget too, that at one time actual retail dollars were forked over to obtain it.

Sadly, nobody wants this refuse. (Your kids don’t. They have plenty of their own and the necessary credit to get ever more). It’s hard to even give away. Go ahead, put stuff on Craigslist. You’ll waste days fielding phone calls and get pennies on the dollar, if you’re lucky. Visit a flea market. See table upon table of… plastic things… pointless things… tedious things. Very little of it sells. At the end of the day the vendors haul out ninety five percent of what they hauled in and don’t even clear gas money.

Many have been sucked into believing the litter filling their home still holds some kind of value. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that your worldly possessions are worthless, even if you have been ignoring them for decades.

If you sell a large suburban home of thirty years you will have no choice but to face the outfall from years of thoughtless purchases. Procrastination is the only option that does not bring you to tears. Anything else is too daunting to contemplate. You will open the doors of your double car garage (long since devoid of any automobiles, which are now parked in the driveway), shudder with anxiety and go back to watching the hockey game on your 42 inch TV.

Some other day…

#154 dd on 03.02.11 at 3:37 pm

QE and Inflation by Peter Schiff:

#155 Devore on 03.02.11 at 3:45 pm

Oh yeah, this graph looks completely normal and sustainable. You just draw a straight line out for 10 years, and invest accordingly.

This looks quite consistent with the bottom of the market (affordable condos and homes) slowing considerably, while the sexy and photogenic high end stays bubbly.

I sold my downtown condo in May last year. Today, it would fetch about the same price (probably less, market is more stagnant), while costing me mortgage and strata payments.

All around metro Vancouver things are quiet and slumping, while a few select areas are seeing certain types of properties flying off the shelf. This is speculation of the highest order. Anyone who can comfortably afford to buy today, should at least wait until summer to see how much demand has been brought forward by the new rules and how the market changes, rather than plunging head first to beat the deadline.

#156 jess on 03.02.11 at 3:54 pm

Published: March 1, 2011
Federal prosecutors who arrested a senior private banker at Credit Suisse in the United States in January in connection with a federal investigation into offshore accounts learned his identity from an indicted UBS banker, according to court papers unsealed on Tuesday.

From 2000-2010 ten years

…”Gadola advised an I.R.S. agent on Jan. 26, 2011, that he and Christos Bagios were part of a team of UBS bankers who serviced hundreds of undeclared accounts at UBS owned and controlled by U.S. taxpayers,” the indictment said, which was filed in Federal District Court in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

#157 Smart Blonde on 03.02.11 at 3:55 pm

Some more information I came across regarding our housing market:

By the Way – “Appraiser” – Common Sense Buddy! I don’t think it takes too many brain cells to realize that our housing market is a mess. When you make $2 – 300 000 a year, and purchasing a house is a struggle in some of our major centers, you know there has to be a correction. Especially when that kind of income buys you a Sh** Shack! You don’t need to be an economist to figure that out.

Garth, next house party you are invited! We need some of your humour!

#158 Hoof-Hearted on 03.02.11 at 4:03 pm

Coming to Richmond BC….

Turning Point Recovery Society previously proposed a 32-bed recovery centre at 8180 Ash St. before the neighbourhood vociferously fought to quash it.

Now city staff are recommending approval of a pilot project to build six “affordable” single-family houses on the 25,069-square-foot litter-strewn lot.

“By developing in accordance with the site’s single-family zoning, the existing character of the neighbourhood is maintained,” noted planner Diana Nikolic in her report.

The Provincial Rental Housing Corporation, which is BC Housing’s land holding company, is requesting variances to squeeze six lots on the site, which is surrounded by other single-family homes.

According to Naomi Brunemeyer, manager of regional development for BC Housing, the houses would be made available to first-time homebuyers with a maximum income of $61,233—defined by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as low to moderate.

“The goal of the development on Ash Street is to create an affordable homeownership opportunity for families and individuals with low to moderate incomes,” said Brunemeyer in a letter to the city.

Each house will include a secondary suite that can be rented to help the homeowner with their mortgage payments.

To keep the purchase price low, BC Housing will contribute the land at no cost and provide construction financing.

“The value of these contributions would be reflected in a reduced purchase price for the houses,” wrote Brunemeyer.

BC Housing has never done this before, confirmed a spokesperson, who said it’s too early to say how the buyers will be selected. The Crown agency plans to register either an affordable housing agreement or an alternate form of security on the title.

The subdivision is permitted under existing zoning, and construction should be complete within two years—provided city council approves the variances.


This is token, and never works out.

Either create a co-op…or forget it.

What often happens is the parties who win to get in ae connected. One farce is COV False Creek Housing, where people earning 5-6 fig salaries manipulated the system and are living dirt cheap.

All these do is create photo -opps for the politicians, and leave 99% of the rest who need this on the outside looking in.

#159 Mackie on 03.02.11 at 4:05 pm

Warren buffet is yesterday’s investor. I’ll take gold….

#160 morry on 03.02.11 at 4:05 pm

How can we get a listing of selling prices for Condos in the Vancouver area? Once a place is sold it is very hard to get actually selling prices… there must be a databank of numbers.

#161 Devore on 03.02.11 at 4:15 pm

#152 Mister Obvious

George Carlin already said it: we buy houses, and then bigger houses, to hold our stuff. I’ve been essentially downsizing my stuff with every move to date, and find I’m not missing anything. I don’t understand the drive and preoccupation people have to fill their houses with stuff, most of it useless junk and trinkets. Is this what a 60% consumer spending economy looks like?

#162 TS on 03.02.11 at 4:30 pm

The Attainable Housing Corporation is an interesting concept.
who in turn are marketing slow housing product for Cidex Developments Ltd. Beacon Hills Project.
Nice $2 million affordable housing investment by Government of Alberta and City of Calgary.
Can you say due diligence? Or does this have more to do with political connections….

#163 BrianT on 03.02.11 at 4:33 pm

#142DD-Think about what you just said. The US government is issuing bonds which it then turns around and buys itself (as the chart says currently 70% of supply). If that isn’t the definition of a Ponzi scheme then what is?

#164 LS on 03.02.11 at 4:37 pm

#152 Mister Obvious

You are so correct about junk. When we went to sell our house we de-cluttered radically.

To store it all we had to rent a rather LARGE storage locker for $400 a month. There are quite a few tools in there as my husband is a trades person, but the rest of it , ¾ – if not more, is junk.

It’s so great to live with what’s left in our house (which we are still trying to figure out if we can rent back). Room in closets, drawers, no junk/toys/clothes spilling out of every corner. And actually we weren’t that bad to start with.

So yes, when I see my MIL’s house it does give me the heebie jeebies and it does reinforce why we all think we need so much space. And quite correctly if you’re no longer using it in your day to day life, get rid of it, no one else wants it!

Coincidentally big collectors of clutter and junk usually have big issues with managing their money as well. They go hand in hand. Their lives are out of control.

My plans for that stuff at the locker are that we will try and get rid of at least ½, if not more of it, once we’re clear where we’re headed to live.

#165 VICTORIA TEA PARTY on 03.02.11 at 4:44 pm

# 96 Ex-Cowtown (and some others)

Calgary has grown and grown over the years; way too fast for its own good.

So many people have moved in and brought with them their various goods and bads. The result is that the old Cowtown culture of self-reliant, friendly, helpful, trusting good people has withered in at least partial measure.

So, for the city of Calgary to institute an easier-to-buy home program is completely nuts, but probably not terribly surprising.

From a straight economics point, the result will not only be a soiled nest, but no nest at all should this program wind up being “wildly successful” or whatever.

Calgarians should reject this so-called initiative. All it does is to bring foward more future demand and a future more lean and mean than many will want to see, when it arrives at their door-step.

Given low natural gas prices, and until oil prices move up so much that gas suddenly becomes far more popular than it is now, the city and the rest of Alberta need to trim their financial sails and proceed very carefully for some time to come.

Given the astounding events in the Middle East, the advent of serious inflation and mixed economic stats, there seems to be no way other than the practice of fiscal restraint by government and private citizens to see them all through these interesting times.

#166 Dodged-A-Bullit-in Alberta on 03.02.11 at 4:50 pm

Greetings: # 152 [Mr. Obvious]

You are right on the money about the accumulation of “stuff”. The thing about the senior generation and todays’ group is that much of the older posessions are well made and last many years. I do a lot of renovation shopping at thrift shops and garage sales, it doesn’t take long to find things that were made when companies had pride in their product. Bathroom fixtures are a good example, solid chromed brass instead of cheap plated steel. Even plasticwares have suffered, Rubbermaid used to be quality, not anymore unless you can find some that was not made in China. I presently know a senior couple who will be forced to move soon, and they have no idea what to do with a lot of their posessions, children live to far away and don’t want more stuff anyway. I scooped a small locally made bench the other day, 15 bucks and now undergoing transformation into a gift for my grandaughter, the pine wood is worth 3 times that amount. Is it any wonder the landfills are bulging, most stuff today was crap new, and is not worth attempting recycling. Sad part is how much petroleum is being consumed to make this shit.

#167 realpaul on 03.02.11 at 4:54 pm

While the truth may be unpopular, it doesn’t change the facts. I reveal this snippet from a speech by Peter Schiff,

“Dollar devaluation means that much of the ‘gains’ we see are really just losses by people holding dollars. In other words, if your dollars lose 50% of their value, it’s going to take twice as many of them to buy the same ounce of gold.”

I know most people don’t like to be ‘outed’ as stupid ( some take for granted what they hear and are simply ignorant)but the fact is that this simple quote has gone right over the heads of many advisors and members of the general public. You see…the appreciation of your real estate assets are entirely illusory…you have made ZERO money over the past ten years. The number of pieces of paper you have to exchange for the same asset has simply ( as in the gold example) gone up.

In the same time frame as your house price has doubled so has your grocery bill, your gasoline bill, heating bill, your tax bill, the price of a car…a case of beer etc etc etc. There has been no appreciation in real value…only a depreciation of the medium of exchange.

#168 BrianT on 03.02.11 at 5:04 pm

160Devore-Another in the endless list of I don`t understand why everyone needs a big house posts. YOU ARE A GUY-that is why you don`t need a big house to store lots of furniture. Your comment is like a female poster saying I don`t understand why so many rich people want a classic car collection.

#169 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 03.02.11 at 5:05 pm

#37 charles — “. . . the agenda is to crush the middle class through government financial exigency.” — and — #68 Coho — “An undeclared war on the middle-class . . .” — Both correct and happening all too quickly.

#40 Sasquatch — “If this keeps up, the Reds will take over the world!”

The Yellow and Red Race (Chindia, Mongolia, Russia and others are about to replace the Causasian Race for their turn at the top, so you are correct.

#45 Hoof-Hearted — “Local Gov’ts all over are ramping up utility costs, property taxes.”

Happening already. See #37 Charles and #68 Coho’s excellent posts.

#61 realpaul — Good post on the reality of life here in North America.

#67 nomadic — “. . . to the battles brewing in the US over Public Union compensation and pension plans?”

Yep. Public (and some private) pensions are in the process of being gutted, which is why the TFIA (see below) is so important.

#76 TheBigLebowski — Good post, and #90 Herb — “The economy doesn’t care who wins”

But whoever does control the economy does win, at the expense of sheeple. That is why we are where we are.

#107 Traveling Renter — Greed and entitlement is why a major downturn in fortunes is now upon us. Experience and life are the greatest teachers; they will learn from their own experiences.

#113 Madame Guillotine — “Where is the Mad Vlad?”

Still here, alive and kicking! Thanks for the link. Goes with The Big Lebowski’s and other’s comments. Heading off for a nice break shortly.

Remember the sentence from The X-Files — “The Truth Is Out There”. Don’t listen to or follow the paid-for and controlled m$m, nor any of the spin doctors. Listen to and follow one’s gut feelings, inner hunches instead.
4:06 clip Balance and stability? Not finance. Try this, with nice music.

BTW, thanks to Garth for the Tax Free Investment Account. Through simple investing in penny stocks, acquiring tax-free gains, putting net proceeds into a 40%-60% mix-match (which he suggests) non-registered account, I will be relatively free of govt. help (except basics) when 65 comes calling, and the Blue Cross – ManuLife benefits disappear.

The TFIA is an enormous and economic boon for us middle- to aging-boomers.
A definition of Utopia can be found here, although it is generally a place that doesn’t exist, so one can conclude that Utopia’s, Roial1’s and Prophet’s posts are not needed; these three self-appointed Gestapo-police trollers, who make judgment calls on others and things they know nothing about, can be passed by.

Hell is to good a place from them, as Lucifer has more important things to do. Lost In Space, where they can do no harm at all is adequate.

As long as they post, I’m an observer, that’s all.

#170 duh, yeah on 03.02.11 at 5:16 pm

Reply to “triplenet”.

#89 rent ys. buy
#29 Shoggy, here is the best calculator I’ve found to date.
Canadian and American residential mortgage calculations are NOT the same.
I get it pal, yeah there is a subtle difference.

The point is that the NYT calculator is the only one that factors in all the multiple assumptions including acquisition/disposition costs, appreciation/depreciation, rent changes etc.

That is all.

You are right. Yay for you!

#171 Timing is Everything on 03.02.11 at 5:36 pm

Actually CAAMP’s number was 32%, not 22%, and it does not jive with reality. My observations are just that – the result of actual in-the-field conversations and originations. I am totally open to knowing the source of your conviction. But if it’s CAAMP, don’t bother me. — Garth

I do not believe 90% of “new mortgages taken last year were for 35 years”. Although anything is possible. I’m totally open to knowing the truth.

If not CAAMP maybe CMHC has the ‘real’ number?

Anyone know?

#172 Mr. Plow on 03.02.11 at 5:40 pm

#143 Another Albertan…

Interesting, makes sense I guess when you think about it. All I meant was, that if the listing was land only, the neighborhood looks decent (from what I remember when I lived there) that the asking price may not be out of line for the market. I don’t know that the listing expected someone to live in the house, but who knows.

#173 edmonton mortgage broker on 03.02.11 at 5:49 pm

#120 Calgary renter on 03.02.11 at 12:34 pm

Here are the details of the Attainable homes Calgary corporTion:

We Provide:
– 10% down payment towards the purchase of a condo style unit – currently in our Beacon Heights Development
– We have a charge on title, and share the appreciation of the unit down the road – 3-5 years recommended time frame
– After 3 full years we would ask for 25% of the appreciation – leaving you with 75%
– We will not ask for the down payment to be returned provided you stay within the parameters of the program

Sounds like a smashing deal to me. put $2k down (to cover legal fees) and make a speculative gamble that the Calgary market is going to appreciate. If it all goes to shit, walk away and hand back the keys. where do i sign up? i’ll take 10

Nice point. While you;re here, tell us what percentage of your new originations in 2010 were 35-year ams. — Garth

#174 TheBigLebowski on 03.02.11 at 5:55 pm

When you are about to enter stage 2 of a 4 or 5 stage bull market you don’t “Harvest Profits”. When the possibility exists that its the biggest bull market in history , cashing in now is dumber than dumb because then what does one do with any short term profits? You get paid in cash and then are stuck with the decision of how to protect the value of your proceeds in a devaluing fiat currency. When interest rates outpace inflation would be more of an appropriate time to take money off the table and redeploy it in another venue. You certainly don’t do this when interest rates are at the lowest level in recorded human history and we are looking at 14% inflation this year. Interest rates would have to reach at least that level to trigger a major selloff in hard money.

What drivel. — Garth

#175 squidly77 on 03.02.11 at 5:57 pm

Check out the cheapest homes available !!

#176 prollywrong on 03.02.11 at 6:06 pm

#62 Einsam Solo

Way back in 1970, Janis Joplin sang the anthem of entitlement. Except all she wanted was an automobile and a color TV.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

…and 41 years later, Mr. Solo *still* doesn’t understand artistic irony…

#177 Dan in Victoria on 03.02.11 at 6:21 pm

Dodged a [email protected] 165

This is a good watch “The story of Stuff”

#178 tkid on 03.02.11 at 6:26 pm

Thank you, thank you very much prollywrong. I now have the song playing on repeat in my head.

#179 BrianT on 03.02.11 at 6:28 pm

This financial summary of the USA is one of the most shocking things you will ever read (makes Charlie Sheen’s lifestyle look awful tame)

#180 Dan in Victoria on 03.02.11 at 6:29 pm

Vlad @ 168
Always enjoy your unique perspective on things.
On more than one occasion I’ve gone off on internet searches because of your posts.
Its all about learning.
Some can, some can’t.
Some are afraid, some are brave.
We must learn from the past,
To change the future.

#181 jess on 03.02.11 at 6:32 pm

Does anyone have the numbers on how many people have had job loss because production has shifted to contract manufacturers in the usa.

Ethical Investors?
Industry’s answer has a new line of nutrient-dense soups, to fight canada’s /world hungry and to be more socially conscious.

The provincial government is helping turn a former factory into a poultry processing plant, eventually creating 500 new jobs in North Perth, as part of its Open Ontario Plan. Erie Meat Products Limited, owner of their new Listowel Cold Storage site, is expected to hire and train 500 workers over the next three years to process chicken and turkey meat for sale around the world.

#182 Abitibidoug on 03.02.11 at 6:36 pm

In response to posting #125 by Zenith: It wouldn’t be such a big problem if the people with 1 trillion in cash were the same ones owing all that money. If they were, then all that would be required is to use the cash to pay down debts. They are 2 different groups of people, and the ones with a large amount of debt could be in for a rude awakening if and when interests rates rise and they have to renew.

In response to posting #152 by Mister Obvious: you are so right. Many baby boomers have wasted a large amount of their life energy collecting large amounts of junk, and requiring a larger house to contain it all. If and when the housing correction comes, and you need stuff for your more cheaply purchased house some time in the future, There will be plenty of cheap second hand stuff to buy. That can’t be good news for retailers.

#183 Sail1 on 03.02.11 at 6:39 pm

Madani had forecast earlier that home prices in Canada were as much as 25 per cent overvalued.

Scotiabank chief economist Warren Jestin said 2011 will bring a softer housing market, but unlike Capital Economics, is not forecasting a major price adjustment.–are-condo-prices-set-to-fall

Time will tell.

#184 David on 03.02.11 at 7:01 pm

We moved to Calgary just after the Olympics. After a short adjustment period, I enjoyed the city immensely: it was young, super friendly, outdoorsy, and crazy optimisitic…a really great place. Houses were actually dirt cheap given the jobs and money people could make, and taxes were stupid reasonable for the services provided. We lived inner city, and walked to work. It was great.

Lived there 20 years, we bought and sold 3 houses (all inner city), the 3 sales by myself. Met a lot of realtors over the years, probably 70 or 80, ranging from ‘unqualified by earnest’ to complete idiots. I could not be more unimpressed with an entire industry if I tried.

We sold and left Alberta on June 1, 2007….’the peak’, as it turned out. My job and investments in Calgary had allowed me to reach Freedom 55 before I turned 40. Not easy, many times not fun, but we did it.

In some ways we were very sad to leave, but completely convinced that it’s best days (at least IMO) were behind…very poor urban planning, terrible traffic congestion, mean spiritedness, cost of living through the roof. It all took a big toll on The Little City That Could, and it’s very sad for anyone who knew it as we did.

But it was very good to us, and I cherish that I got to experience it before it went the way of the very Toronto it smugly ridiculed.

That’s it.

#185 Gord on 03.02.11 at 7:12 pm

#159 Morry
How can we get a listing of selling prices for Condos in the Vancouver area? Once a place is sold it is very hard to get actually selling prices… there must be a databank of numbers.

Pay about $10 per property at the Provincial Land Registry.

#186 realpaul on 03.02.11 at 7:13 pm

hee hee….more ‘drivel’ to swallow.


The petro currency is in play..what effect will this have on ….everything. Theres no controlling inflation now as the conflagration of the staus quo will be years in the burning. All bets are off… might be said ‘it really IS differant this time.

It just may be that projections of a ‘mere’ 14% inflation will be wishful thinking 12 months from now. If that is the case then bond and fixed income holders will get smashed…while hard assets will rise to compensate.

Intrest rates will be the wild card. Canada and the US are already buying 70% of their own bond issues to keep rates artificially low and selling $C dollars like crazy to keep buyers out and rates down….how long can that charade continue before the national debt trebles then quadruples?

The ‘official’ national debt is stated at $1.5 trillion ….in Canada……Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha …liars can’t figure eh?

The same agency ( stats can) also states that each of the 34 million Canadians owes $100,000. Pray tell…….how do you get $1.5 trill out of that? I get double that at 3.4 trillion and that doesn’t include all additional personal or provincial, municipal, quango, crown corp, city, unfunded liabilities etc etc etc etc etc .

These ‘stats can ‘ issuances are so laced with BS that its impossible for the average person to follow along. The facts are so obscene that the stats can people themselves can’t keep the story straight. As I said…..Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha !!!! ad infinitum !!!!!

Boy, do they ever think you’re stupid !!

#187 Thetruth on 03.02.11 at 7:18 pm

Click to see where a 15% correction and a multi-year melt of 5% a year would get prices. Assume it starts at christmas this year, then by New Years day in 2016, you have a 30% total correction!

Still priced out?? The only number you have to remember is 559,000 newcomers to Canada every year!

#188 edmonton mortgage broker on 03.02.11 at 7:21 pm

Nice point. While you’re here, tell us what percentage of your new originations in 2010 were 35-year ams. — Garth

I’m not as active as i used to be placing mortgages, but i can tell you that as far as first time buyers, approx 9 in 10 of my clients are 5-10% down and regardless if they’re first time buyers, mover uppers or investors, almost 100% go with 35 yr amortization.

there is no question, within my small subset of buyers, a lot of folks are marginal. lots of folks going fixed lately, not by choice but because they could never qualify for the variable rate (the qualifying rate on variable is typically 5.4% or so).

word from our Vancouver office is that the offshore buyers are buying with huge downpayments (35% or more)

word from our Calgary office is that a condo near the university just sold out two phases in three days.

Toronto office is dismal, but that’s more due to the proliferation of mortgage brokers on every street corner.

there you have it. try not to get hurt out there boys and girls.

The actual experience of local mortgage lenders yields more credible data than the report of a mortgage lobby group trying to save 35-year amortizations. — Garth

#189 Devore on 03.02.11 at 7:38 pm

#167 BrianT

160Devore-Another in the endless list of I don`t understand why everyone needs a big house posts. YOU ARE A GUY-that is why you don`t need a big house to store lots of furniture. Your comment is like a female poster saying I don`t understand why so many rich people want a classic car collection.

Well, if it was some gender-specific attribute, you might have a point.

Rich people collect classic cars, because they can afford to buy them, store them, maintain them, and they appreciate in value when well taken care of. A house full of cheap trinkets, shoddy furniture, and even entire rooms you use once a year, at best, is just a waste of money and energy that people can hardly afford.

My manager (a GUY, with a wife) is thinking of upgrading to a larger house soon, because he feels he does not have enough room for a workout space, while at the same time contemplating getting rid of his large dining table set (which he won’t do), that he NEVER uses, because he never has people over, and doesn’t use it himself, so there it sits, taking up space, collecting dust. An entire room, that has to be heated, cleaned, furnished, maintained. Rather than pay 20 bucks for a gym membership, or get rid of the JUNK and throw a treadmill in there, he’s gonna buy a bigger house. So he has room for his STUFF.

It has nothing to do with being female, or single, or old, or young, or whatever. The same way some people go gaga over a fancy hotel room, when all they need is a clean place with a bed to get 8 hours of sleep a night in. Spend the difference on real lifestyle (instead of the trappings of the make-pretend one you’re maintaining as an image), or save and invest it.

This is reflected in the kind of world we’ve built ourselves. With cavernous McMansions, with room-fulls, closet-fulls, drawer-fulls, and shelf-fulls of… stuff. Consume, consume, consume. It might even be fine, if we could afford it, but clearly we cannot.

But I’m sure it’s just because I’m a guy.

#190 S on 03.02.11 at 7:58 pm

131 Brian T,

That is just lazy. Do your homework before you tell others to think for themselves.

Economist Intelligence Unit is hardly “some young journalist (maybe an intern)”. For more info on the organization check here Then proceed to dismiss it as I am sure you will judging by some of your other post on this thread.
And to reiterate my point, BC is expensive regardless where one lives. In Vancouver it is shelter that empties ones pockets, everywhere else it’s other life essentials.

#191 Fiendish Thingy on 03.02.11 at 7:59 pm

@ Nomadic #67

There are entire cities and states that are being bankrupted by Public Union Pension obligations and compensation that is massively out of line with private industry. Most people are focused on the bailouts and Wallstreet’s capture of the USG, but the Public Union greed is a multi-trillion dollar problem as well. Everyone in private industry can suffer, but Public Employees should never have to take a pay cut, or miss a pay increase…

Utter BS/Fox News propaganda;
the majority of deficits in public pensions (in the US) are due to 2 factors:
1) Pension fund losses due to the economic crash (has your 401k/RRSP recovered fully?)
2) tax cuts for corporations/richest 2% that result in a predictable lack of tax revenue funding for the pensions (and schools and police, etc)- this is especially true in Wisconsin.

As a public employee in California, I haven’t had a raise in the past 4-5 years, I’m paying more for my medical benefits, and have a mandatory increase in my share of my contribution to my pension.

In California, the pension underfunding was made worse by “advisors” appointed by the Governator, who steered PERS investments (which had run surpluses for years) into high risk real estate investments for hefty “finder’s fees”; the investments tanked, losing billions, and the advisors are being prosecuted, but of course it’s all the union’s fault.

I’m in the process of relocating to BC, hopefully by this summer; my wife and I both work in healthcare and we look forward to getting jobs with BC union pensions, as well as paying cash for a home in the lower mainland 3-4 years from now for a fraction of the current cost, and investing it in the meantime.

#192 john m on 03.02.11 at 8:00 pm

#144 Mr. Plow on 03.02.11 at 3:02 pm

#141 john m

Hey John… How is your province enjoying all of those transfer payments we send?……………actually i haven’t seen any actually we are all reeling from “H’S” tax grabs..hmmmmmmmm he has a home in Calgary doesn’t he? Just a suggestion but you should really be better Flaherty stated the other day the oil revenue from Alberta has very little effect on the federal governments coffers……….now does that not make you wonder why???……………well take some time and figure it out ok …:-)

#193 The American on 03.02.11 at 8:33 pm

At #67: I have to interject here. There is NO such thing as a “bankrupt” state. Legally, fiscally, and policy-wise it is impossible.

#194 Markey on 03.02.11 at 8:41 pm

#50 The Original Dave – have you called either of the SROs – the MFDA or IIROC – or your provincial securities commission? It is unlikely they can get your money back but they can put the guy out of business — unless, like Earl Jones, he is unregistered and flying under the radar.

#195 CalgaryBoy on 03.02.11 at 8:44 pm


if that were the case, then why bother printing: mask protection should be worn at all times and, if possible, buyers should be accompanied by a remediation specialist.

Then the ad should have read: Great location, great neighbourhood! House ready to knock down and create your DREAM home for you and your family!

Just knock down the darn house and call it a day! LoL, they are definitely looking for a greater fool!

#196 bboomer on 03.02.11 at 8:45 pm

re:#173 and Garth’s reply “What drivel”. LOL, that was exactly what I was thinking when I read it, so funny, so precise.

#197 ballingsford on 03.02.11 at 8:48 pm

Update on not spoiling my 3 yr old son and my failing snow selling business.

Lesson #1:
Son had a plump white rabbit at his daycare today for ‘show and tell’ and asked me on the way home if we could get one. “Son”, I said, “We cannot afford a rabbit, we can only afford squirrels.”

Spent the evening with him reading nighttime squirrel recipes. He’s sleeping like a log right now, but I haven’t seen him drooling while asleep like this before. He must have caught something at daycare?!?!

Lesson #2:
Told him about his daddy’s failing snow selling business and the loan I took out on the shovel. Told him he wouldn’t be the kid in the neighborhood with frozen snowballs this summer. He would have to be like the rest of the kids and only have a water gun.

That will teach him a lesson or two about life and what it’s like to be a spoiled kid and what it’s like to be an unspoiled kid.

I won’t tell him though that the water gun he’s going to get will be a long range super soaker with a backpack water reserve.

I think my unspoiling strategies are right on so far. A fella’s gotta do what a fella’s gotta do in the best interest of their children.

Don’t give in!

#198 jess on 03.02.11 at 9:01 pm

Side Pockets

…”the taxpayers do not contribute to the public employee pension programs so much as serve as insurers. ”
…”Payola for politicians became so rampant in municipal bonds that in 1994 the Securities & Exchange Commission banned muni underwriters from contributing to the campaigns of public officials. The SEC’s chairman at the time, Arthur Levitt Jr., sought to extend the ban in 1999 to firms handling public pensions. The financial industry derailed Levitt’s bid. “Wrongdoing is still clearly going on in how business is rewarded,” Levitt says.
June 26, 1997

…”What is “pay-to-play”? Sy Lorne, who served as General Counsel at the SEC, once described an odd experience he’d had in private practice:

Levitt: “An investment banker called me up and told me that a state political figure had told them that they needed to make a five-figure contribution to his campaign, or be excluded from all state finance activities. They asked me what they should do.
I was shocked by the question. After considerable research and evaluation of the law and circumstances at the time I was forced to tell them that the answer was probably to write a check. There was no clear illegality. I did not like giving that answer.”

That is a real-life example of “pay-to-play,” the practice of making political contributions to elected officials or to candidates for local office, to influence the award of contracts relating to municipal bonds. Such contracts are assigned on a negotiated, rather than a competitive, basis. They can be for legal, underwriting, or advisory services.

There’s little doubt that “pay-to-play” damages the integrity of the municipal bond market. It creates the impression that contracts are awarded on the basis of political influence, not professional competence. The investing public can easily pay more, and citizens of the municipality receive less, when bond services are not bid competitively.”…

“In some states bribery is at work. Maryland’s pension fund kept using an underperforming manager who had made illegal contributions to the governor. The manager was convicted of fraud in 2004 that cost Maryland $4.7 million. New Mexico’s past two treasurers got jail time for seeking bribes from outside fund managers.
N.C. Treasurer Buried $771 Million Securities Lending Loss

Lawsuits filed by both large corporations and public pension funds have accused the nation’s top securities custodians of wrongdoing.

Mary L. Schapiro, the chairwoman of the S.E.C., called pay-to-play “an unspoken but entrenched and well-understood practice.” The commission has made several attempts in recent years to crack down on pay-to-play, which Ms. Schapiro said could “favor large advisers over smaller competitors, reward political connections rather than management skill, and — as a number of recent enforcement cases have shown — pave the way to outright fraud and corruption.”

#199 Macrath on 03.02.11 at 9:01 pm

322 unemployed by year’s end as Hennegis Automotive announces Welland plant closure.

Gotta wonder how much more of this the Niagara region can take. Things are already serious around here like in no jobs nowhere . Steady plant closures for the last 10 years running.

#200 TheBigLebowski on 03.02.11 at 9:02 pm

195 bboomer

Like I said, Stockholm syndrome is the most common ailment suffered by the sheep and when the cure is offered to them they turn tail and run to their sheperd , sad.

#201 shanks on 03.02.11 at 9:03 pm

Yes Vlad, its your posts that keep me coming back to this blog (dont take it personal Garth, I have learned a lot from reading your blog still, and I appreciate it!).

Dont let the negative dissuade you from disseminating the knowledge!

#202 S.B. on 03.02.11 at 9:06 pm

A chink appearing in the armour? No pun…I swear ;) (This is Toronto, anyway) :p

Are condo prices set to fall?
March 02, 2011

Tony Wong

Condo construction continues west of Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto. (Jan. 28, 2011)

TIM FINLAN/TORONTO STAR The condominium market in Canada shows “emerging signs of oversupply” but there is no crash imminent, says a report by the Bank of Nova Scotia.

“We have a situation of rising multi-housing unit inventory which has been trending up since 2008,” Adrienne Warren, senior economist for the bank told a real estate forum Tuesday. “The current outstanding stock of unsold new homes is higher than average.”

The supply overhang means that “soft pricing conditions” for the condo market will characterize 2011, said Warren, especially “if first-time homebuyer demand weakens more than expected.”

However, Warren is not calling for a crash in the condo market. The severity of any potential correction depends on future building, which would impact supply, she says.

“Barring a further ramping up of multi-unit building, we expect these excess units can be absorbed without a major price adjustment,” said Warren. “The overall number of units under construction has stabilized, with current starts being matched by an equivalent level of completions.”

Capital Economics analyst Dave Madani said in a separate and more downbeat report Tuesday that any correction in the housing market is likely in the second half of 2011.–are-condo-prices-set-to-fall

#203 Kits on 03.02.11 at 9:10 pm

to #54

looks like the Nasdaq chart in early 2000

#204 duesouth on 03.02.11 at 9:14 pm

Sorry you felt my posting for Taylor Made was too suggestive Garth but it looks like others presented my viewpoint rather well…….

#205 Makes Cents on 03.02.11 at 9:15 pm

# 172 Do you provide the bedbugs too?

#206 jess on 03.02.11 at 9:43 pm

.#198 Macrath on 03.02.11 at 9:01 pm
converting soy bean fields to solar fields

Because the Cooks Mills farm will be operated remotely from Axio’s Kingston headquarters, no full-time jobs will be associated with its operation — although there will be “a few folks” hired for maintenance and inspections.

And there will be a number of local construction jobs created during the six to nine months it will take to build it.

“We’d love to use local construction workers as much as possible,” Tinline said.

The solar panels will be constructed by Canadian Solar Inc., a company that’s building a manufacturing facility in Guelph.

Any Welland-based solar power equipment companies could potentially become “part of the supply chain” for the new solar farm, Tinline said.

The Welland solar farm is part of an application to the province’s feed-in-tarriff program to generate 90 megawatts of electricity at sites throughout Ontario. The application was approved in early April.

#207 Timing is Everything on 03.02.11 at 9:54 pm

#183 David

Calgary’s just a city.

Where do you hang your stetson these days, Davie?

#208 Timing is Everything on 03.02.11 at 10:03 pm

#172 edmonton mortgage broker

Fair enough Garth…Irrefutable proof. 90% of “new mortgages taken last year [in Canada] were [amortized] for 35 years”.

I wonder if ‘edmonton mortgage broker’ is a member of CAAMP?

#209 JO on 03.02.11 at 10:09 pm

Hi # 50, I am a compliance officer.What you need to do is contact the compliance officer at the investment dealer-the company that should sponsor the advisor’s license. If you’re getting statements (you must get them, but if the advisor is really doing something bad, they might be fake) the name of the advisor’s dealer is listed on the front.

If you lent the advisor money, and/or made a cheque payable to him/her personally or a company controlled by him/her, you should still try to contact the dealer’s compliance officer.

In any case,if you can’t find out the dealer the advisor was registered through, do contact the MFDA if it is mutual fund investments only that you bought, and if you bought stocks/bonds/Mutual funds in one account,then contact IIROC.

You need to act fast. You should check the advisor’s registration standing by going to for Ontario based advisors, or outside of Ontario, you should be able to check the advisor out through the CSA (Canadian Securities Administrators site).


#210 Adventures in Sea-Tac with Moneta on 03.02.11 at 10:45 pm

190 FT – So you now feel like most workers in the private
sector. Life’s tough. Or are you entitled?

185 RealPaul – check your figures. IIRC the $1.5T is
consumer debt including mortgages. There are 12-13M family “units”. Gives $100K+ debt per unit.

#211 edmonton mortgage broker on 03.02.11 at 10:46 pm

#207 Timing is Everything on 03.02.11 at 10:03 pm

“I wonder if ‘edmonton mortgage broker’ is a member of CAAMP?”

yes and what’s your point?

#212 JT on 03.02.11 at 11:05 pm

We who laugh last, last and laugh.

#213 Fiendish Thingy on 03.03.11 at 12:24 am

@#209 Moneta-

Just pointing out that public employees in my neck of the woods aren’t living high on the hog- I don’t feel entitled to anything besides what has been negotiated in the binding contract with the county I work for.

Here in Silicon Valley, home of instant Google Gazillionaires, unions have been making sacrifices in contracts for the past few years as the collapse of the housing market has reduced property tax revenues dramatically.

Meanwhile, California is the only state in the union that still doesn’t charge any kind of fee or tax for pumping oil out of the ground…

#214 Adventures in Sea-Tac with Moneta on 03.03.11 at 2:44 am

212 FT

“I don’t feel entitled to anything besides what has been
negotiated in the binding contract with the county I work

My life motto stops after the 6th word. There are no
guarantees about anything. Despite your contract
agreements, you don’t live in an isolated world. The
sooner you understand this, the better. Of course you could always elect to take your chances with the private

#215 Mr. Plow on 03.03.11 at 5:10 pm

#195 CalgaryBoy


#216 malbadon on 03.03.11 at 5:32 pm

Just to finish off the discussion on that Calgary grow-op house, my wife was able to look up the history on the house. It has been a grow-op TWICE now.
Once in 2007, and now again in 2010. So if it wasn’t mold infested the first time…..