An unhealthy divide has formed over the fate of Canadian real estate. And somebody’s going to be terribly wrong.

On one side are the apologists you’d expect – realtors, developers, mortgage lenders and (of course) CMHC. On the other is a growing cadre of economists, global analysts, academics and (of course) the social misfits, basement dwellers, doomers, contrarians, iconoclasts and squirrel gourmands who hang around this pathetic blog.

One group claims real estate is healthy, balanced, and cooling off before it comes in for a soft landing. The other says, no.  We’re screwed. No boom ever ended well.

As the week faded, the debate spiraled higher.

Here’s syndicated business columnist Jay Bryan, for example, spokesguy for the status quo, explaining why this is no bubble:

First, a true speculative bubble requires impressive levels of irresponsibility from banks and regulators, something that took a long time to develop in the U.S. Canada never matched this achievement. A mere 10% or so of overvaluation, which is roughly what we have in Canada, is no bubble. Second, homeowners are very reluctant to sell what’s usually their biggest asset at a loss, so many will hang on like grim death rather than sell into a devalued market, making it unusual for prices to drop rapidly.

And yet business professor and author George Athanassakos was the star of yet another Bloomberg piece on the dangerous thing called Canadian real estate. His argument: so much of our GDP is now housing-related, it is simply unsustainable. A bubble.

Canada may be on the cusp of a “severe” housing correction as real estate investment surges above a tipping point relative to economic output, according to George Athanassakos, professor of finance at the Richard Ivey School of Business.  “Eventually, everything boils down to demand and supply. Whenever this ratio goes over 7%, it signifies overinvestment in housing and two or three years later, we have a severe correction.”

Canada’s housing market is booming as historically-low interest rates fuel purchases, driving up home prices and adding to record household debt. Canada’s ratio of housing investment to GDP has averaged 5.8% over the last 50 years and is currently at about 7%, based on Statistics Canada figures as of the third quarter of 2011, Athanassakos said. Housing investment includes spending on new homes, renovations and real estate transaction fees.  “We have experienced bubbles and busts before in Canada, it’s nothing new,” Athanassakos said. “I don’t know why this time would be different.”

Who to believe? You’d probably be wise to look at the motives behind the comments. For example, Bryan trots out bank economists who dis talk of a correction. A soft landing, he says, would be “hard on the reputations of would-be prophets of doom, but excellent news for everyone else. At a time when job growth in Canada is throttling back, as consumer spending slows, we’re going through a delicate transition that could be badly derailed if there were a hard landing in real estate markets.”

In other words, let’s not talk down the housing market because (a) keeping real estate values where they are is “excellent news” (he must have a mortgage) and (b) let’s not make a stuttering economy worse by warning people about  buying at unsustainable prices. Welcome to the new journalism. Give readers half the facts and you double your chances of convincing them.

It’s hard to understand how anyone can argue houses are just 10% overvalued when prices have risen 80% in six years while wages are up by one fifth and every indicator of debt is flashing red. The jobless rate is swelling and GDP’s falling. Exports are a mess, pensions are under attack and governments everywhere are swamped in unfunded liabilities. In other words, what kind of fools would willingly walk into a lifetime obligation to buy something which has never before cost so much, at a time of such risk?

Obviously Mr. Bryan would. And he sure hopes you don’t blow it.

This is a fundamental trait of real estate. Its true value hangs by gossamer threads. When there is confidence and faith, it rises. When there’s doubt and fear, it falls. I’ve told you often this is the emotional asset. As we’ve seen to the south, it matters not if houses are the most affordable ever. When they’re perceived as scary, they go unloved and unbought. Those who are caught in the decline suffer mightily. Those who saw it coming, far less.

There should be no mystery why the MSM drinks the property Kool-Aid. It’s there in George Athanassakos’ numbers. Thanks to the real estate industry, cheap rates, voracious bankers, HGTV home pumpers and your granite-loving MIL, new home spending equals 7% of the economy and all residential real estate accounts for a staggering 27%.

This is more than double the entire manufacturing sector. So clearly we don’t need the ‘collapse’ or ‘US-style crash’ that detractors scoff at as impossible, to have a crushing impact on families. Having said that, bubbles don’t slowly deflate. Hot markets don’t gradually cool. When people stop coveting houses so much they’ll pay more than the asking price, it doesn’t mean they offer less. They just fall out of love, get dressed, and go away.

Someone asked me in a tweet today why I don’t take my message ‘mainstream’. And I said that would be irresponsible.

I just want to save you.


#1 Puzni on 02.17.12 at 9:13 pm


#2 Jack on 02.17.12 at 9:22 pm


#3 neo on 02.17.12 at 9:27 pm

You know what I love about this chart.


You can see the crash in 1990 fully represented. The chart peaks at that point. Then bottoms out in 1996 when the GTA bottomed out and then it got back to it’s historical average when we returned to the 1990 average price which was 2002.

#4 Keith in Calgary on 02.17.12 at 9:29 pm


Here’s a real life example of…….”impressive levels of irresponsibility from banks and regulators” that occurred in the past 2 weeks.

A colleague that my wife works with has two temporary very short term contract jobs with a health care provider here in Calgary. They both expire in a matter of 6-8 months and then she’s out of work. If there is employment available at that time, she can apply for it, and along with everyone else doing the same thing, it will come down to union tenure and personal qualifications that determine whether or not she gets to continue working in “any” position available at that point with this particular employer……..

A bank approved her for $330K over a 30 year amortization with 5% down. Her husband has no employment, and she is a new immigrant to Canada with no history here (around 18 months in country) and is under 30 years of age.

We’re F_ _ _ ED.

#5 T.O. Bubble Boy on 02.17.12 at 9:30 pm

I’m pretty sure that the message is mainstream already… but, anyone with a vested interest in keeping the debt-fueled ponzi scheme going is trying to keep a lid on it (or, change the statistics to hide the facts).

#6 Jamaican_Gal on 02.17.12 at 9:33 pm

Firrrrst time I’ve been here so early…^ ^

Good piece, Garth.

#7 Leo on 02.17.12 at 9:35 pm

This is a very informative video, it is not all sunshine and butter cups.

#8 TurnerNation on 02.17.12 at 9:38 pm

Twerpy realtor alert.

But our man – blog dog “Ralph Cramdown ” – makes hay in the comments section.


“I wrote a blog post in March of 2008 called “Garth Turner: Bubble Boy” where I ridiculed his new book, “Greater Fool: The Troubled Future of Real Estate.” Turner predicted a massive, imminent crash of the real estate market, specifically in Toronto”

Actually I called it neither ‘massive’ nor ‘imminent’, and not ‘specifically in Toronto’. But he did get my name right. — Garth

#9 Rafinator on 02.17.12 at 9:44 pm

Vancouver market will start deflating this year:

#10 Uh Oh Canada on 02.17.12 at 9:52 pm

Garth, I don’t mind being called a social misfit, basement dweller, doomer, contrarian, iconoclast. But a squirrel gourmand? That’s just plain cruel.

By the way, the best way to chose which side to support is to go err on the side of humour. Which side has the most sense of humour and can laugh about this whole bubble thing?

#11 earlymidlifecrisis on 02.17.12 at 9:52 pm

The foreclosure surge in the okanagan was in the media this week. Any thoughts on how far it will go? How to tell when to buy? I don’t want to be a basement dweller forever, but i don’t want a mtge either. I’m watching and waiting for the right time to move back and get out of this not-the-greatest-place-on-earth for good. There’s a great deal on a foreclosure now and although tempted to bid I’m also thinking it may be safe to watch a bit longer.

#12 wheredideverybodygo? on 02.17.12 at 9:56 pm

Did anyone else miss the local news on CTV where they had a story teaser/lead of City of Toronto Council voting to sell some of it’s community housing stock? I seemingly did. I tried watching the news all the way through to see the story of what further houses were being sold. In the teaser they made it sound like quiet a few, only I never saw the story? Did it get pulled or did I miss something in between my garlic toast and my devoring of meatballs? Had to google it and it seems there will be about 76 houses up for sale? Did anyone catch the story on TV? Am I missing something, imagining something or did someone’s choke chain get yanked? (No not mine)

#13 Timing is Everything on 02.17.12 at 9:58 pm

Meanwhile, back in BC…

‘HST transition rules for new homes announced’

…new homes costing up to $850,000 will now be subject to only a two-per-cent HST, as opposed to a seven percent provincial tax.

government [BC Libs] is also introducing the rebate for new second and recreational homes sold outside the Capital and Greater Vancouver Regional Districts, costing up to $850,000. – TC


#14 guy from toronto on 02.17.12 at 10:02 pm

Doesn’t surprise me that there are contradictory statements re the RE bubble or non-bubble. It’s all about vested interests. Hard to stay on message when everyone’s got different motivations.

After all, it was just a couple of weeks ago that Harper was the superstar at Davos and told the rest of the world how great Canada is doing and that his biggest worry is that Europe et al need to get their house in order. Like he’s some master economist that has it all figured out. Bubble? What bubble?

Then Lisa Raitt comes out a few days ago and says “We believe that a work stoppage at Air Canada is contrary to the best interest of hard-working Canadians, Canadian businesses and the already fragile economy”

hmmm….”already fragile economy”…..a bit of a disconnect from Stevie’s message, no?

#15 Kelvinator on 02.17.12 at 10:07 pm

West Vancouver, 3 court ordered sales in the first 12 mls listings. It’s starting.

#16 SE Asian Expat on 02.17.12 at 10:09 pm

The crisis alert is already starting to go mainstream.


#17 Van guy on 02.17.12 at 10:18 pm

Daisy Mae,

Asking the blog always takes longer than googling. GFC= Global Financial Crisis.

#18 Fred on 02.17.12 at 10:34 pm

“When people stop coveting houses so much they’ll pay more than the asking price, it doesn’t mean they offer less. They just fall out of love, get dressed, and go away.”

Precisely. I moved back to Canada 6 years ago after 10 years in the States, selling my house there just as the crash began in ’06 (the fall of ’05 actually, but no one noticed for a year). Since that time I’ve been renting in Calgary, occasionally looking to buy. However, over that time I have found that coaching my kids’ soccer and curling is far more pleasurable then replacing a rusted-out hotwater heater or fixing a bathroom fan. My cost to rent is approximately 60% of the cost to own (trust me, I’ve done the math over and over again).

Even if prices adjust to an even-up situation, I don’t have much desire to own again. I now have other interests.

#19 MR. Lee on 02.17.12 at 10:43 pm

All asset classes regress to the mean, no matter what they are. So if one looks at the facts that have driven Canadian home prices, the only conclusion is that pricing of these homes if off of the historical mean.

The rest will be figured out by many others in due time.

#20 guy from toronto on 02.17.12 at 10:43 pm

in response to #12 wheredideverybodygo?

more like 675 will be for sale soon

but first Dumbo Ford has to go around and see if everyone’s fridges are working. what a piece of work he is. 300+ pounds of confusion.

#21 sol on 02.17.12 at 10:47 pm

nonconformist, rebel, dissenter, radical

I had to look it up, where do you come up with these

#22 vinny on 02.17.12 at 10:50 pm

Good Post Garth , And Thanks For Saving Most Of Us Here….

#23 Van guy on 02.17.12 at 10:58 pm

#16 SE Asian Expat on 02.17.12 at 10:09 pm

The crisis alert is already starting to go mainstream.

When it’s on Global, CTV, & CBC, you know the problem is out of control and nothing will stop the bleeding. As of now, we here knows what comes next. Well, except for a few that don’t. We don’t need to name them, you damn right know who you are!!!!!

#24 Snowboid on 02.17.12 at 10:58 pm

#11 earlymidlifecrisis on 02.17.12 at 9:52 pm…

Just look at all the ‘red’ dots on the MLS page for Kelowna, and keep in mind most of these were there when we moved in May of 2011 (hard to keep track because of the secretive MLS records on relists).

Be patient, prices will come down – but be careful with foreclosures to make sure you aren’t getting a place that has sat untended for months – or was a ‘dump’ to begin with.

#25 Ralph Cramdown on 02.17.12 at 10:59 pm

Second, homeowners are very reluctant to sell what’s usually their biggest asset at a loss, so many will hang on like grim death rather than sell into a devalued market, making it unusual for prices to drop rapidly.

Clearly this guy doesn’t understand the dynamics. Estate sales, job loss, divorce means some people have to sell, but there’s no buyers. Those few forced sales become the new benchmark prices.

The saddest thing about watching the US housing collapse, though, was reading about people draining their retirement savings (which otherwise would’ve been shielded from creditors in bankruptcy, I believe) in a desperate attempt to save the house. And then losing the house anyway. Remember the maxim: “First loss, best loss.” i.e. if you have to take a loss, waiting invariably makes it worse.

#26 Suede on 02.17.12 at 11:04 pm

#13 Timing is Everything

New HST rules in BC…will be interesting how it is spun. Provincial government taking credit for ‘doing something’ and no coincidence everything will be settled by April 1, 2013 likely just before the election.

Cue the printing presses to declare that all is saved once again. Welcome to the wall of worry stage, the mania (panic) always awaits at the end.

Side note:

I enjoy expanding my vocabulary by reading these posts. Where else can you learn words like ‘iconoclasts’ and ‘gourmands’ without shift-F7 in MS Word?

Other words, like ‘tax-farm slaves’ are more lucid.

#27 Sleeping Horse on 02.17.12 at 11:06 pm


What IF you are wrong on this issue?

#28 Jimmy on 02.17.12 at 11:09 pm

Hi Garth:

Thank you for your blog. Do you think the new HST transitional rules are going to re-inflate the bubble in Vancouver?

I am very worried. Thanks.

#29 TurnerNation on 02.17.12 at 11:11 pm

Whistler BC – I’ve heard banks require 30% down on these types of hotel based units.

1. http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=9784808&PidKey=-1873294807

Holiday Inn Sunspree is in the heart of Whistler Village, about 400 steps (in ski boots) to the Gondolas, to both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Municipal Phase II Covenant encourages owner revenues. PRICE REDUCED by $100,000.

2. Most everything is reduced. But free bugies from this realtor:


#30 Not on the boat. on 02.17.12 at 11:13 pm

What is mainstream?

#31 The Thing in the Basement on 02.17.12 at 11:13 pm

Garth – so we have 7% of “new stuff” produced from construction, renos and realtors (yikes) but 27% of gdp is residential real estate? What else is “produced”?

#32 Thomas on 02.17.12 at 11:26 pm

If you get a house with a basement apt, does the bank include this projected rental income into your ratios, thereby qualifying you for more?

#33 Onthesidelines on 02.17.12 at 11:27 pm

“Welcome to the new journalism. Give readers half the facts and you double your chances of convincing them.”

That’s the new playbook. The proof in one tragic word is FUKUSHIMA.

Damn, again that sticky issue of “trust” or lack there of almost everywhere one turns.

In the bigger picture, a real estate crash pales in comparison to where humanity is headed.


#34 edmonton mortgage broker on 02.17.12 at 11:31 pm

@ #24 TurnerNation on 02.17.12 at 11:11 pm

2. Most everything is reduced. But free bugies from this realtor:


you might want to forego the bungie cord when jumping from the bridge if you actually end up picking up one of these Whistler timebombs.

I love Whistler, but i can just rent a nice condo there for a month every summer for $1,500 and forego jumping off a bridge sans cord.

#35 Mister Obvious on 02.17.12 at 11:32 pm

“…bubbles don’t slowly deflate”

True, but what we have here is actually a balloon. So we can rest easy, eh?

#36 guy from toronto on 02.17.12 at 11:36 pm

they’re just ordinary words

Google or a dictionary (or a thesaurus) is all it takes.

#21 sol on 02.17.12 at 10:47 pm
nonconformist, rebel, dissenter, radical

I had to look it up, where do you come up with these

#37 TRT on 02.17.12 at 11:41 pm

Although I believe that real RE prices are unsustainable in the medium-long term, some comments perplex me…

comments like ‘its starting’ etc makes me think of the titanic. one set of people on land and the other on the ship. the ‘its starting’ crowd fails to realize thats its them that have been on the titanic for the last 10years. i guess they are comforted by the music (blog) and are blind to whats happening around them…i can see them waving to the people on ground, the greater fools….

#38 pounding sand in Peachland on 02.17.12 at 11:46 pm

Someone asked me in a tweet today why I don’t take my message ‘mainstream’. And I said that would be impossiple.

I just want to save you.

Dam straight. Impossiple/ irresponsible must have been a ‘typo’, right. you can’t go mainsteam ’cause no believes a loon.
How do keep this thing up, this doomer philosophy, 6 days a week

#39 Puzni on 02.18.12 at 12:00 am


Maintenance fee = $500 on 563 sqf ?
Price reduced by 100 K ?

Since the property is not a leasehold it smells like fire sale, I would be reading minutes of strata to see if there is an engineering assessment coming or major unaccounted expense.

#40 Ralph Cramdown on 02.18.12 at 12:01 am

How to tell when to buy? […] There’s a great deal on a foreclosure now and although tempted to bid I’m also thinking it may be safe to watch a bit longer.

Unlike the stock market, where the transition from bear to bull markets can be explosive — miss the first few months of a bull market and you lost out a lot — real estate markets seem to transition more slowly. Watch months of inventory.

#41 shanks on 02.18.12 at 12:04 am

How did you get that picture of me?!

#42 Preciousss on 02.18.12 at 12:17 am

#10 Uh Oh Canada:


#43 a prairie dawg on 02.18.12 at 12:22 am

Damn, I thought this Koolaid had aspartame.

I am sooooo pissed off….. ;)

#44 a prairie dawg on 02.18.12 at 12:25 am

“squirrel gourmands”

Whoa! Hey G, I resemble that…

#45 Timbo on 02.18.12 at 12:26 am


you do not think there is going to a default? think again and have a Kleenex ready because this is just plain sad folks.

#46 Puzni on 02.18.12 at 12:27 am

#29 There is the explanation of why maintenance fee is so high and how these units work:


#47 2muchdebt on 02.18.12 at 12:30 am

Turner Nation great link to this website


can you believe this guys logic:

Back at the top I sarcastically asked, “David, what good are you, if you can’t predict the future of the real estate market?”

That’s not the job of a Realtor. That’s the job of a fortune-teller.

I’m experienced and knowledgable about the product – real estate. I know the product better than anybody, as the exaggeration goes. I know location. I know pricing. I know houses and I know condos.

I can spot the red flags, and I can identify the up-and-coming pockets.

I know how to stage, price, time, and market properties.

I’m a top negotiator. I work seven days per week. I connect with my clients better than anybody, and make the process of buying or selling simple.

But no Realtor out there that can put “I can tell the future” on his resume. That’s not our job.

I think it’s better to be in real estate than to be out of it, and nobody makes money sitting on the sidelines. If your $500,000 condo does drop by 10% in five years, you’ll lose $50,000 on paper, but that $1,800,000 house you’re going to buy will be $180,000 cheaper. There – I just made you $130,000 by telling you to be in real estate and not waiting for the crash.

Crash? No.

Decrease in prices? Eventually. Of course.

But when that day comes, nobody can tell you.

They can’t even hazard a guess…

Some of the rebuttals:
Ralph Cramdown says:
February 16, 2012 at 7:59 am
If your $500,000 condo drops by 10% in 5 years, you’ll lose $20,000 in property tax, $30,000 in condo fees, $22,500* in commission when you sell, $12,200 in land transfer tax, $50,000 in equity, $13,750 in CMHC premiums, $74,792 in interest (30yr fixed at 3.34%) and a conservative $6,900 in opportunity cost on your 5% down payment. That’s $230,142. Offset by the $120,000 rent you didn’t pay. Sell for $450,000, mortgage balance of $424,708, and after commission, your real estate agent presents you with a cheque for $2,792, assuming you paid all the fees upfront rather than rolling them into your mortgage.

The $1.8MM house will be what it is regardless of whether I’m in real estate or other investments before I buy it. The question is, will I have a down payment? I’m not sitting on the sidelines, I’m playing in another game.

2muchdebt says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
February 17, 2012 at 11:27 pm

You are bang on…This guy is a clown, sure buy a house even if you expect it to go down in value, heck you are only going to lose your 50k and your new dream house is going to be 180K cheaper…”I just made you 130k”…ARE YOU FCKING KIDDING ME!…what the hell kind of math is this. What a load of crap. The only one who makes money out of this deal is you the real estate agent…first commission on the initial purchase, then on the sale and then on the third purchase. Secondly who goes from buying a $500k condo to a 1.8 million dollar house? WTF…hell why not buy a 15 million dollar house, there you just made your client 1.5 million dollar…what a great real estate agent you are. You shouldn’t even be selling used cars with logic like this…unbelievable. I feel sorry for anyone that follows your logic. You say you can spot the red flags I hate to tell you buddy but you are the red flag.

#48 Mr Buyer on 02.18.12 at 12:32 am

The Bubble has topped…
That would be irresponsible…I beg to differ. Allowing people to be convinced these prices are resonable is much more irresponsible. Turning our news outlets into nothing less than propaganda disseminators in the hopes of maintaining a surplus of misinformed buyers to maintain horrendous prices, this is darkness of a new shade. Running us over the edge at light speed and suggesting that some one pointing this out is irresponsible well this is plain crazy making. Maddness. What is it when I throw the family income away for an entire lifetime on basic shelter? No money for school fort the kids so they have to go into debt right off the hop. Dumping a huge portion of thier earnings into the banks coffers because the banks ocustrated price raises over a generation or two to maximise the number of people the have to pay them interest. No, this obscenity has pulled the curtain back on our financial and political sectors and to ask people to be quite because they are irresponsible if they upset the delicate balance currnetly present (the balance is upset already) well this is a new amazement. Attenuate the potential fallout by allowing more families to into debt at these obscene levels. No this whole thing has gone to far. We are soon approaching EVIL. It happens stepwise more often than not.
…Buy now before everyone can afford to…
…And they landed softly ever after…

#49 Preciousss on 02.18.12 at 12:34 am

#11 earlymidlifecrisis on 02.17.12 at 9:52 pm

Relax Grasshopper.

Wait for the surge of former OK grow ops to hit the market. The declarations will make the prices even lower.

If you do enter into a bidding contest for a foreclosure I advise that you draw a line in the sand. Be disciplined and be prepared to walk away. If you really must have the place, I advise that you have all your ducks in a row before going to the courthouse. Financing in place and no subjects. Offer to close the deal on that day or the next business day.

Sometimes the best decision in life is to do nothing at all.

#50 Mr Buyer on 02.18.12 at 12:39 am

The spelling was particularly bad in my last post. Please forgive me as I am in the middle of my work day. I usually do not bother when I am so busy but the post today really touched a nerve. I mean it when I say we do not need the banks to back or administer mortgages. All that intrest income would be a windfall for the government even at low rates families can bear and government regulation to prevent this form of criminality. I have no time to proof read at all. My apologies.

#51 Tax Farm Slave (with great job and benefits) on 02.18.12 at 12:42 am

#25 Ralph Cramdown on 02.17.12 at 10:59 pm

You forgot the speculators, who form a large proportion of the market. Once they rush for the exit — ka-BOOM, the slide (drop-off?) begins.

#52 Abitibi Doug on 02.18.12 at 12:43 am

Another factor that should, or rather, will affect housing is coming government cutbacks. As outlined in the Drummond report there will be cuts in expenditures (read job losses), tax increases, and more user fees. It’s hard to see how this won’t affect the Toronto area market. As for Ottawa, there will be cutbacks by both federal and provincial governments to get the deficit under control. As for London, all these new subdivisions with big houses have been going up all around the city. With all these job losses like the latest at Caterpillar diesel, who’s buying these houses? The legs under the housing market, in many cities in Ontario, just got even more wobbly. Even a social misfit, basement dweller, doomer, contrarian, iconoclast or squirrel gourmand like me who hangs around this pathetic blog can see that.

#53 Smoking Man on 02.18.12 at 12:45 am

Do you bubble heads have any idea how hard it is to type on ablack beery when u are a shit faced as I am

On sateraday going to talk about caves not now at falls view barley standing an wifyee poo what’s to play hide the bananna


#54 Uki_one on 02.18.12 at 12:54 am

Indians preferred…

Desperate “investor” packing 4 people in a two bedroom apartment and he prefers indian:


How come this is going unnoticed in a country name Canada ?

#55 Leo on 02.18.12 at 12:59 am

@#32 Thomas Yes

#56 zman on 02.18.12 at 1:08 am

with so much of our GDP coming from real estate industry as noted by Garth, and at this time with no other sector of the economy really producing any growth, the government will make sure that real estate does not crash and that it flatlines…..anything more than 10 percent correction will have F stepping in right away to stop the bleeding…you can take this to the bank

#57 DonDWest on 02.18.12 at 1:13 am

We’re nearing the 12th hour. What’s keeping the irrational prices going are greater fools buying at any cost with the assumption that prices always go higher. We have a homeownership rate of 72%. I remember reading a census that 25% of working Canadians earn anywhere from minimum wage to two dollars more an hour. That’s a lot of low wage workers; and they’re priced out of home ownership no matter what the market. The 3% that remain are probably the few smart enough not to buy. Game over, there are simply no greater fools left.

In order for a soft landing to occur, there has to be some bodies left over to soak into bear traps. There are none. We may witness the sharpest bubble collapse in the history of economics since that tulip fiasco. The Canadian real estate collapse will make the real estate bubbles in other countries look amateur by comparison.

#58 renters rule on 02.18.12 at 1:30 am

what IF Garth is wrong…?

Are you out of your overleveraged in over your head freakin mind?!

#59 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 02.18.12 at 1:31 am

“And somebody’s going to be terribly wrong. This is more than double the entire manufacturing sector. And I said that would be irresponsible. As the week faded, the debate spiraled higher.” — The more attention placed on something no one can do anything about, the less attention is on how individuals can take care of themselves, by not being an unnecessary burden on the fed. or prov. govts.

#18 Fred — Good cost analysis on renting vs. owning.
88 mln. out of work and not looking for a job (there aren’t any); Cost of Diesel Six pounds fifty pence per gallon in UK, highest ever and Cutting ties from Iran’s oil; Fleecing customers? Certainly seems that way; Silver Dimes worth US$3.00; Smear Campaign Germany vs. Greece; Paying Taxes The Vatican (at long last); Greedy Euro MPs Gimme Shelter; The French Franc is dead, so now they’re going with the drachma or peseto; True economic justice Let them eat dirt; Uranium to surge, but look for a shortage in a few years, and Natural Gas may be better; China No hard landing in 2012; Carbon Trade War; Are You Embarrassed Easily? BoA or Wells Fargo What’s your poison? Nazi Forgeries Similar to the fake US$6 tri. US bonds in Italy yesterday; Debunked Chart.

NBA Superstar Allen Iverson is broke; 629% Greece’s one year bond; Lehman 2.0; Loongest Period of unemployment since GD; March 23 Greek default, freezing bank accounts, etc.; Ask The Readers How much does one spend on housing; SWIFT and Iran Booting Iran out of SWIFT is an act of war; Moody’s Not sure if this means anything.
Everything Is Coordinated Smoking out the monster; Iris recognition scrapped at two UK airports; New Magna Carta for local govts.; Men Are From Venus, which could explain why it’s slowing down (women are from someplace else); EuroDrones UK making them; BBC wants to kill the ‘net and start over; Mountain Man Must be looking for The Toilet.

#60 Two-thirds on 02.18.12 at 1:38 am

Speaking of kool-aid, here is a piece that has caught little attention – released, of course, Friday of a long weekend at 6 PM:

“Tories’ TFSAs push up costs for old-age plan

OTTAWA – A popular savings program created by the federal Conservatives is exacerbating the fiscal pressure on public pension benefits — even as the government prepares to scale back benefits.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper set up tax-free savings accounts or TFSAs in 2008 to encourage savings, allowing adults to set aside up to $5,000 a year to grow tax-free.

The accounts have surged in popularity, and in the last election, Harper pledged to double the maximum annual amount, once the budget is balanced.

The fiscal problem is that when retirees start taking money out of their TFSA plans, none of that income is included in calculating whether they’re eligible for Old Age Security or the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

So there’s a big incentive for working people to save money in TFSAs while knowing they will still qualify for GIS when they retire — even if their income from their TFSA plans is high, says pension expert Keith Horner, a former Finance Department official.”

Full story: http://money.ca.msn.com/investing/news/business-news/tories-tfsas-push-up-costs-for-old-age-plan

This story outlines some of the reasons why a future government may axe or tax the TFSA. At the very least, the report gives plausible reasons why people who diligently save for their retirement (in after-tax dollars) may end up seeing GIS and OAS clawbacks if their multi-year delayed gratification results in future income from their TFSAs.

Or perhaps they will simply drop the G from GIS.

Why are savers painted in a somewhat negative light these days?

Have we finally arrived to 1984?

#61 Kevin on 02.18.12 at 1:39 am

For Jay Bryan,
unless you live under a rock, you would know that mortgage restrictions were way, way, way tighter in the early 80’s. Back then buyers needed a bigger down payment than now over a 25 year mortgage term with a price ceiling on the mortgage. At the moment there is a 30 yr term and no price ceiling. Imagine what reinstating the price ceiling back into the market place would do to Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary…..?

The following graph shows what happened to western Canadian housing markets in the early 80’s when Canada had tighter mortgage rules than now.

That’s right the housing bubbles burst.

But it gets better, remember the housing bust in Toronto in 90? That time period also had tighter mortgage regulations and….

What everybody needs to understand ( especially guys like Jay Bryan) is that Canada does not need to have an American style lending problem for the housing market to go wonky here. Because history has shown us that Canada can do a fine job with housing bubbles blowing up and busting it’s own way.

#62 a prairie dawg on 02.18.12 at 1:42 am

Some of you people really make me embarrassed to be from the same race… (ie: human)


#63 Russel Peters on 02.18.12 at 1:44 am

Somebody gonna get hurt real bad!


#64 OneMoreThing on 02.18.12 at 1:48 am

you cant help the mainstream so why bother Garth is clearly articulating!

This blog will slowly shift to include only the RE bears debating how low the numbers can go and which banks are now looking for smart well cashed up buyers looking to beat the hell out of the sellers and the banks for the best deal!

#65 Trailer Park Boys on 02.18.12 at 1:56 am

Is this the guy in the Orange Shorts aka Garth’s ghost researcher?

#66 Public Servant on 02.18.12 at 1:57 am

Hi Garth,

So glad we pulled out of a 2-bed half-million condo in Vancouver. Any opinions on co-ops? And no I don’t have dreadlocks or wear a potato sack.


#67 Al on 02.18.12 at 2:12 am

As long as the Amazons are doing well, the economy and real estate will do well too.

#68 Al on 02.18.12 at 2:15 am

Why are all the TCHC homes being sold through one real estate salesperson only?

#69 Kevin on 02.18.12 at 2:16 am

“This is more than double the entire manufacturing sector.”
This got me to dig up some stats on manufacturing and the goods producing sector.

Everybody knows that Canada has become more of service based economy. The service based economy has grown from 66% of the total economy in 1976 to 78% in 2012. Of course this means the goods producing economy has shrunk from 34% to 22%.

But if we factor construction out of the equation, the rest of the goods producing employment sector looks like this

That’s right agriculture, manufacturing, utilities and resource employment comprise 15% of all employment in Canada.

Here is agriculture employment share

Here is manufacturing employment share

Here is utilities employment share

Here is fishing, forestry, mining, oil and gas (resources) employment share

That last one is not a mistake as Saskatchewan’s rich resource’s employs just over 4% of total employment

Last but not least is construction. Hovering over 7% of all employment right now.

Last time, it did this, well… we all know that story.


#70 Devore on 02.18.12 at 2:19 am

#28 Jimmy

Thank you for your blog. Do you think the new HST transitional rules are going to re-inflate the bubble in Vancouver?

Why would it?

#71 Devore on 02.18.12 at 2:20 am

#32 Thomas

If you get a house with a basement apt, does the bank include this projected rental income into your ratios, thereby qualifying you for more?

Are you receiving this income? No? So why would the bank care. Do you think if you go to a bank and say your suites bring in $10,000 a month, do you think they’ll just happily add $100k to your income because you say so?

#72 P & T S on 02.18.12 at 2:28 am

Even following the “less lurid” predictions of the “Will Not End Well” group (i.e. the majority of us here!), there’s sure to be quite a squirrel shortage. Wonder which meaty delicacy will be the next destination on the “foodchain from hell”? I’m reliably told by friends in Entomology that most insects are in fact nutritionally excellent, however “Cockroach au gratin” just doesn’t cut it for us right now (but now is not the future!).

#73 Lee on 02.18.12 at 2:51 am

When the facts desert you, as they have the Real Estate cabal, all you have left is MOPE (Management of Perspective Economics). A term Jim Sinclair used a lot during the US ‘recession’.

They weren’t able to keep the cat in the bag, I’ve no idea why we’d be able to. Maybe it’s different here ; ).

#74 Freedom first on 02.18.12 at 3:00 am

Garth……you saying “I just want to save you”. Yes, there is people like this in the world…..I know…..I look for them and they are easy to spot in every walk of life. I call them “Angels”. Thank you Garth. I have been reading you long before I signed into your blog.

I try to help people in my life too, but unfortunately, there is many who have drank the “Koolaid”. Going back through history, there has been many “Bubbles” of a variety of assets. Regardless of the asset, it is difficult for me to comprehend anyone going “All in” for any one asset. Let alone being leveraged for that “one” asset. Looks like insanity to me. So many people today, and throughout history, are, or have been, what I call “unaware”…..to be polite. That people will argue the basic principles of prudent financial management is truly astounding. I am long past arguing, as I can see you are Garth, by the responses you give people at the end of their posts…….these responses are soooooo good, make my day!……would be nice to see even more, but now I am just being greedy:)…….keep on keepin on…..

#75 Chico on 02.18.12 at 3:31 am

Hi Garth,

I haven’t sent a note along to in a while because I’ve not been paying as close attention to the blog the last several months but…gossamer threads? I had to look it up. Beautiful!!!

And of course there’s is DA. He really does spice the place up a lot. To skim over his ramblings and the rebuttals brings a warped sense of satisfaction to me. It has that dysfunctional family sort of feel that every blog needs.

Keep up the good work.

#76 eagle eyes on 02.18.12 at 3:43 am

I was wondering if indeed we have a balance of opinions. Are most people that read this blog doomers? Can everyone just declare to which camp you belong? Optimists or doomers?

I belong to the doomer camp. Have been for the last 6 yrs.

#77 Aussie Roy on 02.18.12 at 3:58 am

Aussie Update

Interest rate rise could hit auction rate


Lets take a look at the clearance rates


Realtors caught

The number of estate agencies the NSW Office of Fair Trading has investigated for misusing trust account money has doubled in the space of a year, according to research by Property Observer.


ANZ plans to slash 1000 jobs. Qantas announces 500 jobs to go. Billibong will shed 80 local jobs. Air Australia enters administration with 300 staff stood down.

Jobs are going left, right and center. Above is a subset of higher profile jobs losses announced just this week.

Yet, despite all the doom and gloom on the jobs front, the ABS announced yesterday the unemployment rate has actually decreased 0.1 points to 5.1 percent in January. – WTF is going on.


Roy Morgan – ABS job figures defy belief


Bursting house bubbles cause unemployment.

Spain’s ghost towns: Built during the boom years but now lying empty… as jobless total tops FIVE MILLION


#78 Freedom 55 on 02.18.12 at 3:59 am

LMFAO… What bubble?


#79 DT on 02.18.12 at 4:15 am

#32 Thomas,

That was how it was done for a friend at least 10 years ago, even though his basement was never rented out after. I am sure the banks are even more lenient nowadays.

#80 a prairie dawg on 02.18.12 at 4:42 am

#21 sol

nonconformist, rebel, dissenter, radical

I had to look it up, where do you come up with these

– — –

the·sau·rus (th-sôrs)
n. pl. the·sau·ri (-sôr) or the·sau·rus·es
1. A book of synonyms, often including related and contrasting words and antonyms.
2. A book of selected words or concepts, such as a specialized vocabulary of a particular field, as of medicine or music.

#81 a prairie dawg on 02.18.12 at 5:09 am

#27 CREA Trojan Horse


What IF you are wrong on this issue?

– — –

What actually matters, is if he’s right…

Millions of people will be financially devastated.

If he’s wrong, Pippa Middleton’s pink jeans will out-trend him on Yahoo.

OK, bad example… ;)

#82 First to last on 02.18.12 at 5:43 am

The TFSA must be good:


#83 poco on 02.18.12 at 6:02 am

i have been using this handle (poco) for over 2 years on this site, trying to offset the pumpers of real estate with my postings of the decline in the housing market within the tri cities

I’ve noticed another poster in the last while using the same handle (poco) on several of the other local blogs—not really caring until tonight, when i read “vreaa wordpress”–see the link below–when low and behold there I ?? am again—read it –it’s quite BPOE

it was not the fact of the post so much (another troll i thought, using the same handle)– and now i would have to try and disprove his pumping, while using the same name—quite confusing i thought. It was the responses after, that hit a nerve and annoyed me somewhat
As i scrolled down –as i hope you will–i find no other than” Van guy” posting his glee at the resposes to the (phony) post –enough said there—if you’ve read our little quips back and forth you’ll know what i’m talking about–(yes, i’m as guilty as he)
i responded as you can see, advising the host of vreaa that i strongly felt that Van guy and the phony poco were one in the same–you can read his confirmation that the posts were done by the same person on the site–Van guy is done !!!

my point of all this is –many times monikers are used by others ,and as recently as this week, in the case of Smoking Man and Junius to name two,— should it be allowed?
should the host allow it on an annonymous blog–especially if the real poster complains—-can be easily stopped i think–whether the phony poster is named –i don’t know –maybe the threat of being named would be good enough to prevent it

as you can see vreaa didn’t think it appropriate —maybe another vote??

And Van guy—as i said before–Grow a set!!

sorry for the rant and the whining


#84 Q on 02.18.12 at 7:51 am

housing is an economic “result” or effect of the economic environment in which it is located (regional and national), not causal. When economic times are good and jobs both secure and plentiful, real estate sells and increases in value. When average parents fear losing their jobs, are under employed, or having trouble putting shoes & clothing on their children…the whole fiat ponzi system becomes vunerable, with recreational properties, “investment condos” and leased mercedes becoming the first casualties. Next (and not so subtly) comes the foreclosures of primary residences and the ceasing of 200″ big screen television purchases. Both the government(s) and the bankers will do what they historically have done….the exact opposite to what should be done…until “finally getting it right” doesn’t matter. It’s too late, damage done. The market erodes from the bottom up…not the top down…and both politicians and bankers are far too insulated from reality to see it coming.

#85 John on 02.18.12 at 8:01 am

The possibility of a mild correction is zero. There is no need to look at a housing “market” wrapped up in the emporer’s new clothes. Look at world commodity dynamics. Follow the trail of bailout money to the Big Six ( very old news). Consider the future of money supply. Look at the irreversible export of productive capacity through the use of slave labour, stocking malls to the roof with cheap goods. Check out eerie and draconian changes to law, passed at freaky hours ( 8:30pm Dec.31st), ex. NDAA, indefinite legal detention of US citizens. Consider dead-end unfundable liablities of all sorts in government. Think about November 2012 and the army of disenfranchised non-boomers, with nobody to delude them into the next chapter of the “big six banker boy Obomination debacle”. Think impossible debts, both personally and nationally, and a guy like Rob Ford in charge of a city selling boxes in lowly Mimico for 700.000.

There’s no guessing of any kind here. “Canadian” housing is just a long dead branch on a dying tree. Willing fools have been sucker punched.

The law of life is just that. A law. Change. Big change.

#86 Ralph Cramdown on 02.18.12 at 8:51 am

Any opinions on co-ops?

The good: Banks won’t finance them, you have to go to a credit union or specialist finance, and put 25% down. Somehow that 25% down requirement thins out competition considerably.

The bad: Toronto taxes them at a higher rate than condos.

So they’re cheaper when you buy AND when you sell, and they typically take longer to sell than other stuff. Your market may vary.

#87 Deb on 02.18.12 at 8:52 am

Excellent post, Garth. The psychology of consumer confidence is the dominant factor in this scenario. It always has been, it always will be, and it can change before we know it. Whether we are looking at low interest rates, high household debt, rising unemployment and job uncertainty, the sustainability of both public and private pensions, or the pending realization of the majority of Boomers that their home is the only significant asset available to fund their retirement, the cumulative effect of these factors on consumer confidence now and in the coming weeks and months will be significant. The expected measures in F’s March budget, which will contain a further tightening of mortgage rules, will confirm that the winds have indeed changed. As the pool of first-time buyers is rapidly drying up, and the many who could have sold at the top finally begin to think, those who chose to be the last to the party (2008-present with a minimum dp) will be in for one devil of a hangover.

#88 Sp on 02.18.12 at 9:17 am

Do we really need all these “services”?


#89 maxx on 02.18.12 at 9:23 am

….the value of Garth’s outlook and advice: a fortune. The value of Garth’s prose: priceless!

#90 Form Man on 02.18.12 at 10:20 am

There are pessimists, optimists, and realists.
While economic growth, interest rates, etc, play a role in the health of the housing market, the law of supply and demand has the final say.
By any measure, for many years now, Canada has been building more homes than population or wage growth can justify.
This is an unhealthy market.
Only a lengthy period of below trend housing starts can re-balance the market.
This is a fact, not a ‘doom and gloom’ opinion.

#91 Ayn Rand on 02.18.12 at 10:24 am

#87 Sp on 02.18.12 at 9:17 am

Do we really need all these “services”?

Obviously not.

“Government “help” to business is just as disastrous as government persecution… the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.”

#92 raider on 02.18.12 at 10:26 am

#88 totally agree on that!

#93 cto on 02.18.12 at 10:30 am

#14 guy from toronto

If i was an unemployed American, i would feel especially slighted by our GREAT Leaders (Steven H) attitude.
Ontarios economy always was manufacturing based, we really have nothing else to support the masses. The larger percentage of manufacurers are American owned.
Now that our “superior” canada requestes $35/hr wages to support our $500,000 housing sector with no appologies!, there seems to be no reason why struggling America shouldn’t bring their outsourced jobs back home and up those production numbers by paying poor Americans low wages!
But, don’t worry Ontario citizens! Steven is building great strides with the far east regardless of the 1000s of miles we are appart and differences in our currencies, we will sell them Canadian made wood carvings for $$$!

#94 Samson on 02.18.12 at 10:34 am

O Love, come now, this land turns evil slowly.

– Ezra Pound

#95 TurnerNation on 02.18.12 at 10:55 am

Weekend greenwashing/economic rant: Excess Packaging.

Recall some time in the 90s when excess packaging was the latest fad (along with Acid Rain and Ozone Layer – sadly, those may not be taxed so they went away). Products advertised at the time Now with x% less packaging .
Whatever happened to this fad?

Today we have the most indcidious case of selling-ice-to-the-eskimos trickey: bottled water container, once emptied of its under-regulated product, never disappears or breaks down. Ever. The Earth is littered with these.

K-cups! The latest coffee craze. Single, plastic, disposible cups that are tossed upon use.

Mini Coke cans – all the manufacturing and transport costs, half the size. A few gulps then toss it (ideally into the recycle bin).

Disposable coffee cups: how many un-recycleable Timmies and Starbucks cups are tossed each day in Canada. 1 million? Not one city has the guts to say: either you work with us to make these recycleable, or you do not do business in our city. Not one.
Corpoations run roughshod over this process.

Enjoy your carbonnazi tax – common sense is gone. Strict state control is here.

#96 md on 02.18.12 at 11:32 am

Please take a moment to read

#97 Nemesis on 02.18.12 at 11:49 am

SquirrelToasting, Inconoclastic Contrarian Existentialist… check. ;)

#98 Nostradamus jr. on 02.18.12 at 12:00 pm


…Vancouver is now rated, the new Centre of the Earth of North America…ahead of New York and Los Angeles.

…I predicted this 500 years ago, Vancouver would become the new Financial, Cultural and Leisure Capital of North America in 2012….and i was correct, as I am with all my predictions, 100% accurate.

All bow to the affirmed and validated…

Nostradamus jr.

Nothing. You are still banned. Scram. — Garth

#99 Maya on 02.18.12 at 12:03 pm

And finally the laughable story of Toronto’s condo market even makes it to The Economist: “IN FEW corners of the world would a car park squeezed between two arms of an elevated highway be seen as prime real estate.”


#100 Van guy on 02.18.12 at 12:18 pm

According to http://www.yattermatters.com , sales in Van have picked up. Historical data shows that this trend have been the norm in the market. I give up now. Maybe next year it will happen. Or the next.

#101 UK Love Calling on 02.18.12 at 12:20 pm

Canadians need to get a grip. Get over yourselves and expect all of these things to happen:
1. Canadian property values will drop at least 30% across the board. Probably even more in areas like Toronto and Vancouver.
2. Canadian dollar will drop in value (a lot)
3. Canadian jobless numbers are going to skyrocket within a year, but probably more like 8 months
4. Canadian jobs are going back to the U.S where they should be in the first place.
5. Canada will experience a banking crisis and bailout, and the CMHC is totally screwed.
6. Canada will understand what it feels like to be the rest of the world its been thumbing its noses at for a few years like the U.K., U.S.. Actually it will end up in worse shape than most of the other countries.

Funny thing is that Canadians are now deemed more obnoxious as travelers than even Americans (who have come up the ranks quite a bit in the last 8 years). Ugh I had to sit next to a few groups of Canadians in the past year and a half in my travels. It is the same stupid discussions between the people in the group. Everyone talks about real estate and how diverse Canada is. You all have been drinking the kool-aid for way too long. Canada, diversity is not half Asian half Caucasian. Diversity is so much more than that, but you wouldn’t know because you can’t think for yourselves. No innovation or creativity whatsoever.

Oh, how pride commeth before the greatest fall of them all. You should have used the brains you were given and not been so damned snide to think you could behave worse than any other country on Earth and not experience some kind of economic collapse.

Now tell us what you really think. — Garth

#102 GregW, Oakville on 02.18.12 at 12:21 pm

Hi Garth, FYI anyone. some highlights from some articles

(This sound very promising.)
‘Dark state’ could mean a brighter future for solar energy.
-The efficiency of conventional solar cells could be significantly increased,…
-They discovered that it is possible to double the number of electrons harvested from one photon of sunlight using an organic plastic semiconductor material.
-The maxium theoretical efficiency of silicon solar cells in use today is approximately 31%,…
-Capturing hot electrons could potentially increase the efficiency of solar-to-eectric power conversion to as high as 66%. That efficiency can only be achieved with highly focused sunlight,…
-The team found an alternative to circumvent the ploblem,…
-Exploiting that mechanisum could increase solar cell efficiency to 44% without the need for focusing a solarbeam, which would encourage more widespread use of solar technology. http://www.utexas.edu


New high-performance alloy for SOFC applications.
Crofer 22 H
For use use in high-temperature solid oxide fuel cells…

Uof China engineered silkworms to spin silk containing spider silk proteins. The fibers are stronger than those normally spun by silkworms and almost as tough as spider silk. The development opens the door to what could be the most efficient and economically feasible way of producing spider-silk-like fibers for human uses,…

Research prepare inexpensive quantum dot solar paint.
When coated on glass electrode, the paint has an overall power conversion efficiency exceeding 1%, which can be increased…

#103 Snowboid on 02.18.12 at 12:32 pm

#99 Van guy on 02.18.12 at 12:18 pm…

Sorry, MSM person – you’ve been outed for what you are – a professional troll.

Go away.

#104 TurnerNation on 02.18.12 at 12:32 pm

#472muchdebt on 02.18.12 at 12:30 am

Yep, realtor “logic”.

For this reason DA must never be allowed his own blog!!
Best we allow him here, where we can keep an eye on him.

“In Soviet Russia, blog dogs you” :(

#105 Van guy on 02.18.12 at 12:36 pm

#53 Smoking Man on 02.18.12 at 12:45 am

Do you bubble heads have any idea how hard it is to type on ablack beery when u are a shit faced as I am

On sateraday going to talk about caves not now at falls view barley standing an wifyee poo what’s to play hide the bananna



We should hang out together. I’m on your side now. Bubbleheads here are driving me nuts. We are still winning here- screw them all!

#106 GregW, Oakville on 02.18.12 at 12:45 pm

Hi #59 Two-thirds, re: 1984?

Prehaps we were their then or always have been but just didn’t know it. It could be much worse or does it just seem to be getting worse? But I hope it gets better.
Some things seem to get better. But some days it seems like we take one step forward and then two steps back as the human race.

Yes it’s funny how ‘it’ is released, of course, Friday of a long weekend at 6 PM:
At least its still being released, for now. So there is still some hope.

#107 Leo on 02.18.12 at 12:48 pm

-zMan says the Fed “will step in right away to stop the bleeding if prices fall more than 10%.” – While his statement is true they would LIKE to do that, the fact is rates are as low as they go, we are bottom feeding as it is, there is simply nothing the Fed. can do. They have fudged the numbers as far as they go, lowered rates, printed money, more deficit would be adding napalm to the fire, no the FED could build bridges but that will not bring back real estate, they will likely build a bullet train from east to west but that to will not fix the problem. Until payroll figures go up, not just pretend go up, we will likely never see a recovery in our lives. We need real jobs stupid. Good Luck dreamers.

#108 Herb on 02.18.12 at 12:48 pm

#90 Ayn Rand,

you ask whether we need all of the services rep;resented in the Ontario “Sunshine List”. Probably not, but the devil is in the detail of what should be cut. How about you and your ideological confreres putting your heads together and letting the government know what the province can do without. It’s easy to prescribe a “haircut”, but someone has to determine how much and from where. Without that, you’re just sloganeering.

As to a government hands-off approach to business ensuring prosperity, how did that work out in the USA a few years ago?

#109 Snowboid on 02.18.12 at 12:50 pm

#38 pounding sand in Peachland on 02.17.12 at 11:46 pm…

Really, you are pounding sand in Peachland? Is that from a high-level of anger – or are you just delusional?

If one considered real estate on a scale of 1 for realistic to 10 for crazy over-priced – Peachland would sit about a 16. That’s about 8 points higher than Kelowna.

Of course Peachland has its attractions: it’s on the bend in the highway, it has a beach, it has the interesting wave action called Ogopogo, it’s on the bend in the highway and it has a beach.

What a privilege to pay $ 1 million for a teardown across the road from the beach!


#110 Al on 02.18.12 at 12:56 pm

25 King’s Inn Trail, Markham sold for $1 million which as $110,000 over asking in 4 days to an iranian buyer. I think they could have got $1,100,000 if they had listed at $1,100,000

#111 Mr Buyer on 02.18.12 at 1:09 pm

#100UK Love Calling…Easy there. Canada was the only nation in the empire shipping goods to England during THE war, and what did we get for this honour? Absolute silence from Great Britain when there was talk about Russia and other countries claiming possesion of Canadian territory in the artic a few years back. one of my epic bus rides across Canada was sitting beside a loyal British subject. He came over to Canada to ply his trade as a Machinist. Well he decided to save some money on air fare and took a flight to Halifax and jumped on a bus to Vancouver for his job interview. I joined him a day and a half or so into realization of just how much of the earth the colony of Canada occupies. Just because you guys got you nads handed over to you because of real estate already there is no reason to go trashing us provincial types. We seem to be easy targets but we are as tough as we are dense. You have to have grown up here to understand. The last disco in my home town closed in like 1992 or something like that. I got to enjoy the 1960s all the way through the 1970s and arguably right up until Much Music started broadcasting although there is a good argument that Saturday night fever may have finally started the end of the 1960s in my home town. If you guys would stop kicking balls into nets large enough to park an aircraft in and threw on some skates we would be happy to hand your asses to you for then next couple of centuries.

#112 Ronaldo on 02.18.12 at 1:44 pm

#38 Pounding Sand in Peachland


I’d be pounding sand too if I lived there. If I could find any that is.

#113 Timing is Everything on 02.18.12 at 1:50 pm

#100 UK Love Calling – Ugh I had to sit next to a few groups of Canadians in the past year and a half in my travels.


#114 boomorbust on 02.18.12 at 1:50 pm

#87 Sp on 02.18.12 at 9:17 am

Do we really need all these “services”?


Un-Fnnnn real. 308 pages of positions and not one that pays less than 100k a year. That’s without all the extra perks. No wonder taxes are so damn high.

#115 Ogopogo on 02.18.12 at 1:51 pm

#24 Snowboid on 02.17.12 at 10:58 pm
#11 earlymidlifecrisis on 02.17.12 at 9:52 pm…

Just look at all the ‘red’ dots on the MLS page for Kelowna, and keep in mind most of these were there when we moved in May of 2011 (hard to keep track because of the secretive MLS records on relists).

Be patient, prices will come down – but be careful with foreclosures to make sure you aren’t getting a place that has sat untended for months – or was a ‘dump’ to begin with.

That’s a very good point, Snowboid. As the video on the CBC that exposes the staggering rise in Kelowna foreclosures show, many of these properties are dumps. Caveat emptor.


We now need to see a fall in rental rates too so I can put the squeeze on my landlady when my lease expires.

#116 The Thing in the Basement on 02.18.12 at 1:56 pm

68 Kevin – thanks for the links.

Further to my query at 31, I googled “is rent included in gdp” and quickly reviewed several sites. It seems at least a portion of rent is included, typically as a personal consumption expenditure if using the expenditure approach. While I understand the principle of the two methodologies (expenditure and income) it becomes very tricky not to double count items, especially when considering the “imputed rent” of a homeowner.

Now this leads us to a little puzzle. While Garth sounds the alarm at 27%, would his oft-recommended option of
renting in fact contribute to this percentage?

#117 Junius on 02.18.12 at 2:17 pm

#184 Ralph Cramdown (previous blog),

You said, “From the bank’s point of view, banking is productive.”

This is the problem. You are treating bank’s like they are people. They do not have a point of view. No corporation has a point of view. That is what people have.

You are placing the needs of the corporation ahead of the good of society. This reverses the reason we have corporations and puts them ahead of people. This is the problem.

Our banking system serves a clear purpose but it has grown well beyond that and become highly parasitical as it tries to grow beyond its intended purpose. This over extension is at the core of the world’s financial problems.

#118 Junius on 02.18.12 at 2:20 pm

#107 Herb,

Good points. The libertarian cult of Randroids have failed to recognize how the adoption of their theories in the US has led to the crash along with the destruction of the middle class. They continue to call for more ideological purity in the face of mounting evidence that their theories are bankrupt and lead society to bankruptcy.

#119 TOUGH TIMES on 02.18.12 at 2:20 pm

Garth thanks for the blog.

Canadian RE is doomed in Canada.

*CHECK – Just left the bank and my bankster informed me that all RE deals she is working on are falling apart due to the tougher lending standards. Finally, I won’t have to compete against 5% down Refugees and self employed people that make no money! It is tough being part of the 2% income bracket with combined income of wife and unable to buy anything that makes financial sense.

*CHECK – We continue to lose private sector jobs everyday.

*CHECK – Now many public sector jobs will be cut, H & F have plans for 60,000 federal jobs, Ford in Toronto plans for 7000, Mc Guinity possibly 20,000, we will find out this year.

*CHECK – Canada cannot even compete against the USA for jobs. They work for half the wages we due and there homes cost half the amount vs Canada. Look at all the factories moving back to the USA, not China or India my friends. Your president H lied to you all!!!

* CHECK – Inflation exploding on the real goods we buy. Soon you won’t afford to fuel the car.

* CHECK – CDN is building more condos than NY city. I don’t know why as we have no jobs. Many empty condo’s will be thrown onto the mkt at FIRE SALE DEALS

* CHECK – CDN has not created any jobs in last 6 mths. Unemployment is up!

* CHECK – China slowing down have there RE bubble with prices falling 50%. They won’t want Canada’s resources anytime soon!

* CHECK – Europe is in a depression

* CHECK – US is high on Trillions of debt.

* CHECK – 50% of canadians living pay cheque to pay cheque and 40% cannot even pay there bills now. We are becoming a 3rd world country!

* CHECK – All Federal & Provincail Gov’ts have loaded up on record debts – YUP, Canada may be the next Greece!!!

* CHECK – Bottom line is that many Canadians will soon be joining the new under class!!! Buy, Buy Middle Class!!!


For all of you basement dwellers out there this is what you have to start doing today. Go to MLS.CA or have a RE agent start sending you listings on areas you are interested in. After this take the MLS#, past it into http://www.mls.ca, email the agent listing the property and start low balling F*** out of any property you are interested in. This is what I am doing and getting very motivated RE agent results. The RE market is dead my friends. Start pounding those prices lower. Negotiate the price on-line by e-mailing the agent. If agent wants to play with the price you want to pay, then only then do you go in and see the place with your house porn wife. Don’t waste your time going to open houses, wasting your gas etc when you can do everything on-line. Remember the RE agent you have working for you will not put in LOW BALL OFFERS on your behalf because they work on commission.
The more house horny they get you the more your RE agent can fool you with the buyers agent and rape your you. However, you may want to use your own agent to close the deal and always ask them want the last 8 selling prices were on the property you fools, your RE agent has this info. I can’t wait till they open RE History pricing on specific RE to the general public similar to a stock price on the exchange.

Remember a home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay. WAKE UP YOU FOOLS and start low balling TODAY!!!
Next time I will charge for this kind of advise!!!

#120 These pretzels are making me thirsty on 02.18.12 at 2:47 pm

#100 UK Love calling

Do not necessarily disagree.

All this jingoism about “winter” Olympics, “best place on earth” less than honest “academicians”, duplicitous media, and constant annoying references to “multiculturalism” are very embarrassing.

Seems very insecure.

#121 Ayn Rand on 02.18.12 at 2:48 pm

#107 Herb

“As to a government hands-off approach to business ensuring prosperity, how did that work out in the USA a few years ago?”

The U.S. Government hasn’t had a hands-off approach in quite some time.

#122 comfortably numb on 02.18.12 at 2:58 pm

This morning I came across an article in Feb10 edition of the Tri City News here in Vancouver. Highlights of the article include: Overall real estate price in Coquitlam down 2.6% from six months ago, Port Coquitlam prices down 1.7%, Port Moody prices down 3.1%. Townhouses saw the largest price declines in the Tri Cities. In Port Moody the average townhome down 6% in six months and in Coquitlam townhomes down 4.3% . In Port Moody SFH down 3.8% in last six months. Additionally the number of listing across Metro Vancouver rose to levels not seen since 1995. There has been a 19.9% increase in the number of people trying to sell their home from Jan 2011 to Jan 2012. The total number of listings across Metro Vancouver in January showed a 12.5% increase from the month before and a 20.2% increase from the previous year. Increased listings causing downward pressure on prices…sounds alot like what Garth has been preaching, no ?
As to DA…personally I could care less if he posts here 100 times a day. It’s his chicken sh*t personal attacks that bother me. Talks more to his character than anything else. Poco, Form Man and others…keep up the good work. There are some of us out here who actually believe in due diligence !!

#123 bill on 02.18.12 at 3:29 pm

”Creating Vancouver real estate news is a interesting business.”

question for larry or vanguy or whomever…

could you tell me where the ancient musqueam midden is in relation to that property.
as I recall it must be fairly close by?
does the band consider that section of land theirs?
if there is a line of broken clamshells anywhere on that escarpment ? that would be the midden.

#124 Form Man on 02.18.12 at 3:50 pm

#117 Junius

agreed. Repeating failed policies in the hopes of a different outcome is the definition of insanity ( and of neocon ideology )

#121 comfortably numb

Thanks for your kind words. It is remarkable how many people refuse to accept facts……..

#125 robert james on 02.18.12 at 4:08 pm

#108 Snowboid I enjoyed looking at that Peachland MLS listing… I live in Peachland and I only know of 3 people that this realtor has talked to and she lied to all 3 of them.. And that is a fact.. This realtor is really bad news !!!

#126 Snowboid on 02.18.12 at 4:37 pm

#114 Ogopogo on 02.18.12 at 1:51 pm…

I don’t think we would consider a foreclosure unless the building contractor we know was involved during the inspection – too much risk.

Here are some examples of foreclosure pics from a Phoenix blog:


It appears by the number of rentals that rates may fall anyway – we will talking terms with our property manager when our lease expires as well.

#127 Snowboid on 02.18.12 at 4:47 pm

#124 robert james on 02.18.12 at 4:08 pm…

I hope you didn’t think I was knocking down Peachland (too much), I was trying to make a point about real estate there and how grossly over-priced it is.

There are some nice properties there, but with current prices way out of our league!

#128 robert james on 02.18.12 at 4:51 pm

# 124 In regards to my last post regarding the MLS listing in Peachland.. This realtor approached a senior citizen in her 80 s ,,who I know very well,, that owns a house on a prime location for a condo s.. The realtor told this lady that her next door neighbor was going to sell,,which was lie#1 ..Then the realtor approached the neighbor,,who I also know very well and told her that the senior lady was going to sell ,which was lie #2.. Of course in time they both found out that they were both lied to.. A friend of mine used this same realtor and looked at a house that they really likes but was told that there was an offer or something on it.. I can`t remember the details but anyway they later found out that they were steered away from that house to another house that was the realtor`s own listing for lie #3.. Those are the only 3 people that I know of that dealt with this realtor..You know the old saying,,if you see one rat there is probably a 100 more..

#129 Herb on 02.18.12 at 4:52 pm

#120 Ayn Rand,

then what happened to the markets that conveniently were “deregulated” during Bush II?

#130 robert james on 02.18.12 at 4:54 pm

Not at all Snowboid.. I thought this realtor was long gone so I was surprised to see her house was for sale.. People like her really give realtors a bad name..

#131 Nostradamus jr. on 02.18.12 at 4:54 pm

“Scram, I’m still banned?”

…Exactly what kind of Hockey Game is this?

I make a prediction about Vancouver, you ban me for a year, for a competing prognostication to yours…and I win the one on one competion.

…I don’t require a Canada Order, or a Real Estate Peach Blossom insignia ring.

….I want to post my new predictions please.

Your readers are emailing me, and asking me to post them here.

…Are you going to rob your readers from this precious information?

Nostradamus jr.

Yes. — Garth

#132 Junius on 02.18.12 at 4:56 pm

#120 Ayn Rand,

You said, “The U.S. Government hasn’t had a hands-off approach in quite some time.”

Try never. The most “hands-off” period was probably the 1870-90s which was characterized with the rise of the Robber Barons. That didn’t turn out very well did it?

We are getting closer to that every day now with the rise of the Financial Robber Barons.

Your ideology is both impractical and bankrupt. It has never worked and never will. It is just used as a philosophical justification of inequality and concentration of power.

#133 Don on 02.18.12 at 5:22 pm

Van guy on 02.18.12 at 12:36 pm

#53 Smoking Man on 02.18.12 at 12:45 am

Do you bubble heads have any idea how hard it is to type on ablack beery when u are a shit faced as I am

On sateraday going to talk about caves not now at falls view barley standing an wifyee poo what’s to play hide the bananna



We should hang out together. I’m on your side now. Bubbleheads here are driving me nuts. We are still winning here- screw them all!

If every thing is fine and there is no bubble….why then are you still here wasting your time on us. Or is it that you need us to buy to keep the Ponzi scheme afloat.

GO AWAY! Articulate but no substance. Substance will be the trend in the coming years. No more listening to people who talk the talk…those days are coming to an end.

#134 poco on 02.18.12 at 5:36 pm

#102Snowboid on 02.18.12 at 12:32 pM

#99 Van guy on 02.18.12 at 12:18 pm…

Sorry, MSM person – you’ve been outed for what you are – a professional troll.

Go away.

I’m glad someone checked —here’s the link i referred to in post #82………………….

Vancouver In The Rearview | 17 February 2012 at 11:13 pm | Reply
Looks like Van Guy has linked his profile to his real identity. Hello Torben Rolfsen! You may consider yourself a writer and comedian, but you don’t seem skilled at either, given your weak trolling efforts

oh yes, linked to the phony post and to his real identity—how low can you go? ?I guess working for the Province newspaper gives you all day to try to honne your skills
here are a couple of links for you to peruse–



i wonder how many computers this guy has to post from–i recall on this blog he’s mentioned, while posting, that he wasn’t at HIS computer

I doubt this guy is as dumb as he makes out –maybe he was the one posting for Smoking man and Junius–our host may tell

funny…even after being outed, our standup comedian still says it’s not him–it’s easy to remove a picture from a post isn’t it Van guy

#135 Van guy on 02.18.12 at 5:43 pm

#99 Van guy
#104 Van guy


You little punk. Posting with my name. Van guy has now retired. I’m posting under a new name now.

#136 45north on 02.18.12 at 5:53 pm

Poco: many times monikers are used by others — should it be allowed?

no it shouldn’t, discussions become illogical and just ridiculous – Garth needs to authenticate monikers.

Kevin: good stuff Kevin

DonDWest: for a soft landing to occur, there has to be some bodies left over to soak into bear traps. There are none. We may witness the sharpest bubble collapse in the history

My feeling is that we are headed for a collapse steeper than the Americans.

#137 Westerman on 02.18.12 at 5:58 pm

Sleeping Horse @ # 27,
Garth isn’t wrong, he just can’t predict the exact timing – nobody can – but rest assured this real estate fantasy musical chair game will come to a grim ending – wait…watch…

#138 Westerman on 02.18.12 at 6:05 pm

[email protected]#56,
Damn boy! What’s happened to you? You are actually starting to make sense…will wonders never cease…

#139 maxx on 02.18.12 at 6:32 pm

#14 guy from toronto on 02.17.12 at 10:02 pm

Excellent point. It would appear that the status of Canada’s economy depends on the context: if TPTB wish to pontificate, finger wag and grandstand, our economy is second to none……if social contracts are to be whittled away because private industry dictates to the TPTB that it must be so, we have a fragile economy.

#140 poco on 02.18.12 at 6:37 pm

#121comfortably numb on 02.18.12 at 2:58 pm

I too appreciate the comment….i missed that in the Tri City News—they had stopped publishing the real numbers about 2 years ago and lumped us in with the entire VREB–i guess to hide our dismal numbers compared to Vancouver
As you know we’ve been heading downward for 2 years now–the condo market is a disaster–1st time buyers for small condos have basically disappeared

If you look at the realtor map for the downtown area of Port Coquitlam (and it’s not very big–a 10min walk from Pitt river Rd -along Shaughnessy to Lions Pk)
as of Thurs there were 127 condos for sale in this area—of these 35 were new builds-1st time on the market though many have sat unwanted for months = 27.5%of the total for sale

there are 22 resale units sitting empty (from the photos)= 17% of the 127—total empty =44.8%
there are also 10 units that show no photos–one might guess they are either rentals, empty or disasters–many of these resales are basically underwater or in forclosure–i do have some of the numbers

The new highrise at Lions park–pocos first –shows 11 units for sale –might be more–these were listed on MLS in early Nov–no takers yet

My favourite right now is 2191 Shaughnessy–i think the builder got up one morning in the fog and thought he was in the Shaughnessy area of Van-originally listed one of his condos– 977 Sq ft– at 498k–has since reduced it to 409.8k–still won’t sell at that price
MLS shows 4 for sale—there are more

two other new builds had several units for sale for approx 18 months–they have been delisted and now i see several of them for rent on craigslist–many don’t think it can go lower, i’m not betting on it–i think we’re screwed

#141 Van guy on 02.18.12 at 6:40 pm

#132 Don on 02.18.12 at 5:22 pm

If you have seen my posts, you know that’s not me. poco thinks I’m using his name so he did the same to me. poco posts under different names like the ” math wiz”. Look poco, I made you look dumb and then you get all pissed off? I’m here as a honest contributor and have never used anyone elses name for posts. If you wanna do that, sure go ahead. Garth does know that’s not me anyways

I am not involved. Period. — Garth

#142 poco on 02.18.12 at 6:46 pm

#134Van guy on 02.18.12 at 5:43 pm
#99 Van guy
#104 Van guy


You little punk. Posting with my name. Van guy has now retired. I’m posting under a new name now.


see what i mean–maybe our host can intervene here –i think our Van guy has lost it–give me DA any day

PS: Torben—please tell us where your next gig is –i may just come to it

#143 Bill Gable on 02.18.12 at 7:19 pm

PLEASE – Mr. Turner works his face off on this blog – stop the jerking around, and stay on topic.

You can also drop the aggression.

No place for that here.

Van Guy – shut up and sit down.

Poco, you too.

#144 Van guy on 02.18.12 at 7:20 pm


Since you know who I am, come bring me some Kim-chi. Your relative William Kwon has fed you bunk info. Larry had to confirm that you were wrong. I’ve always said I believed you on some of your posts. You keep bringing up the bs and then somehow you think you are right. If you spend all this money at the land title office because you are so nosey, good for you.

#145 maxx on 02.18.12 at 7:20 pm

#25 Ralph Cramdown on 02.17.12 at 10:59 pm

“Second, homeowners are very reluctant to sell what’s usually their biggest asset at a loss, so many will hang on like grim death rather than sell into a devalued market……”

Good catch Ralph. “Grim death”, how transparent. That’s the first reaction you get before panic sets in and then capitulation. Most of those who will supposedly “hang on” will see an ever declining and less desirable asset with the pension funding clock ticking ever louder with each passing day. “Grim death”….give me a break- the canned rhetoric would be laughable were it not so boringly repetitive and predictable.

#146 earlymidlifecrisis on 02.18.12 at 7:35 pm

@ 24 snowboid. I would NEVER move to Kelowna, no matter how cheap it gets. (but i have noticed that it is cheaper than where i want to move) I grew up in the OK, it’s a hellhole, and always has been. Nothing but strip malls and urban sprawl. A very poorly planned city. My dads old place was nice, but it was out of the ‘shitty.’ I do really want to move back to the OK though. I have been watching real estate in desired city for years, well before the OK ‘took off’ and i got out of the condo. So, watch and wait b/c i dislike van almost as much as i dislike Kelowna.
@ # 49- preciousss. I would suspect that you are my brother except you seem to have more knowledge on foreclosures. Yes, i will take it easy, and call mom.

#147 MarcFromOttawa on 02.18.12 at 7:36 pm

#128 Herb

Exactly which piece of legislation was deregulated under Bush?

#148 AprilNewwest on 02.18.12 at 7:37 pm

#118 Toughtimes
Why bother low balling when the correction is only getting started, unless one has to buy now. Wait it out for a yr or two and then low ball.

#149 Monster Cookie on 02.18.12 at 7:38 pm

Programming Announcement

Tonight on CTV at 7pm on W5

“The stories of hard-working Canadians whose financial well-being has been put in jeopardy by the Criminal Revenue Agency”

The CRA, being worse than organized crime, it’s legalized crime!

#150 Westerman on 02.18.12 at 8:22 pm

UK Love Calling @ # 100,
You called it dead on old chap… there is nothing, I repeat NOTHING as stomach churning as a self-rightous, smug, arrogant, self-entitled, socialist, smarmy Canadian…
I give you Form Man and Herb as perfect examples…

#151 robert james on 02.18.12 at 8:57 pm

899 K in Vancouver…http://www.mls.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11550341&PidKey=-1891207159 895K in Florida…http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/7945-Cranes-Pointe-Way_West-Palm-Beach_FL_33412_M67326-12135 Insanity !!!!!!!!

#152 Daisy Mae on 02.18.12 at 9:10 pm

“Did you hear the one about the little B.C. town that was offered $2.6-million of free money and turned it down?

True story. The town of Peachland – population 5,000 – in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, was all set to receive economic stimulus funding from the federal and provincial governments that was to go toward construction of a new curling rink.

The cost of the rink was $3.9-million, so the stimulus money was contingent on the town coming up with the balance. Town council looked at its empty coffers and realized the only way it was going to do it was through a $34 property-tax increase. It decided to put the matter to a referendum.

Earlier this month, the town overwhelmingly rejected the tax increase and so local politicians had to kiss the $2.6-million gift it had been drooling over goodbye …”


Nothing ever changes in Peachland. I lived there for seven years…the only thing I appreciated was my view, unobstructed, 180 degrees. Beautiful! But the politics? Didn’t matter what was proposed by eager contractors — whether it was marinas, shopping malls, hotels, whatever — council vetoed it.

“Don’t let anyone in or out — close the gates. The beach is mine!” That was the standing joke. Keep it a sleepy little hollow. BUT, the property taxes rival Kelowna. With none of the amenities.

Sad. Because Peachlands’ Beach Avenue has so much potential….

#153 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 02.18.12 at 9:18 pm

#59 Two-thirds — Good post. What if present and future govts. leave the TFSA as is, and remove the OAS – GIS altogether once this generation has passed? It reduces the paperwork, and thus govt. employees.

#94 TurnerNation — “Strict state control is here.” — Exactly what the US is, and why the NAU – SPP is being furthered quietly ahead, why the CPC intends to build prisons, etc. — to keep the fruitcakes like us under lock and key. — Here.

Well I’m an old fart, don’t give a flying f*^k about anything a double-crossing liar tells us from Oddawawahahaha and I sure as hell don’t intend playing footsie to these whacknuts!
Iceland’s Viking Victory Congrats. to Iceland, and the banxters here can be hung, drawn and quartered! Credit Ratings Agencies rule the world. Politicos are just ornaments; 10:41 clip Manipulation explained; Collapsing? Euro super state; Cashless Society Using a barter system in tandem is better, and Moonshine; First 100 items to disappear when TSHTF; Guns 4 Greece, but healthcare declining; Greece Soup kitchens and suicide.
0:47 clip Ron Paul does win some (probably a lot) and they are announced; 2:04 clip good description of the m$m; Danny “The high-profile Syria “Activist” that CNN simply refers to as Danny asks for help from the Israel military to overthrow Assad.” Danny is a gigolo; Inevitable So China or Russia will remove all Israel’s nukes, just to even things up in the MEast; North Dakota “Or maybe Iran (nudge nudge wink wink say no more) wants to make an example of the only US state that has a state-owned central bank.” wrh.com; Christianity This is the trouble with organized, orthodox religion — the meatheads give the rest a bad name; CC Two months alive living on snow (no food); Green Taxes Extra 15% for nothing; China scolds US Take drones away from Syria; Turmeric Great healer; 6:06 clip SOPA has new name in Senate.

#154 Form Man on 02.18.12 at 9:21 pm

#159 westernman

nope sorry, not a socialist. I am a Liberal. The very best of all……….

#155 Daisy Mae on 02.18.12 at 9:24 pm

Population in Peachland has increased to 5200 as of 2012. So now the property owners have crossed the threshold and are now responsible for a greater percentage of policing costs…

#156 truth hammer on 02.18.12 at 10:10 pm

The key concept in this article is ‘expansion of gov spending’. Bad news for the bathtub philosophers who think that the status quo is going to be around forever.


11 years….against the blowhard wind……..this ship must be headed in the right direction.

#157 truth hammer on 02.18.12 at 10:32 pm

BTW…Herb….and the leftist nutz that Garth ‘allows’ to post versus any conservative opinion whatsoever. The CAW-CAT debacle is a harbinger of the future. We’re simply out of money. 100% taxation is here…there is no ‘wriggle room’ left with taxpayers at 165% debt/income. I think the old saw ‘you can’t get blood from a stone’ is appropriate at this juncture.


The status quo that has entrnched itself in the CDN public service is a dinosaur that we taxpayers cxan no longer afford to feed.

Unfortunatley, there are still too many main stream blogs and media pundits who would prefer to see Canada wander into the same tarpit as the CAW workers at Caterpillar. I think its time for the punters to consider the common good rather than their own.

#158 poco on 02.18.12 at 11:15 pm

#144Van guy on 02.18.12 at 7:20 pm
Since you know who I am, come bring me some Kim-chi
_never know when to quit eh—i’ll be coming Torben–you just don’t know when–no i’m not Korean–home grown whitey as they say–you might want to add racist to your blog though

i’ll be off for a week –maybe you can sort out all your phoney blogs and get them straight in your head –adios

#159 Smoking Man on 02.18.12 at 11:17 pm


#160 Herb on 02.18.12 at 11:31 pm

#147 MarkfromOttawa,

there was no specific legislation deregulated under Bush II. My apologies for suggesting such a thing. What actually happened is described in this short paragraph:

Historians will devote much attention to the similarities between the Bush administration and those of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover in the 1920′s. There was the same disregard for the oversight function of government and the same obeisance to business interests. For this crisis to occur all we needed was a captain asleep at the wheel during the late stages of the deregulation frenzy.


#161 Herb on 02.18.12 at 11:35 pm

#157 Truth Hammerer,

yawn …

#162 East Van on 02.18.12 at 11:39 pm


Saving for retirement? Real estate is your best bet

By Andrew Renton, Vancouver Sun February 18, 2012

I am amazed financial gurus seldom suggest buying a second property. We live in a real estate hot spot. If you buy a house or condo with 25 per cent down and it appreciates by 25 per cent, you have doubled your money.

Rents in Vancouver have seen stagnant periods but have rarely dropped, allowing the investor to wait out temporary downward blips in the market.

There is no tax payable on appreciation until the property is sold and then capital gains tax apply based on the owner’s (retirement?) income.

Obviously such an investment requires some management effort but in the past 35 years a 33-foot lot in Vancouver’s West Side has risen in value from $14,000 to over a $1,000,000 ($28,000 per year!) and I’m sure the next 35 years will bring golden returns to lucky owners.

I wish my RRSP (registered retirement saving plan) had done that well!

Andrew Renton Vancouver

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Saving+retirement+Real+estate+your+best/6174958/story.html#ixzz1mnNWitCX

#163 Form Man on 02.18.12 at 11:40 pm

#157 truth hammer

The Conservatives had their chance. They made a mess of things. The Liberals cleaned the mess up. They will again after Harper.

#164 Dmitry on 02.19.12 at 12:02 am

“Give readers half the facts and you double your chances of convincing them.”

Great writing, even better thinking!

#165 kim on 02.19.12 at 12:05 am

No offense but for a hot blooded blonde…
this guy .. in the koolaid outfit???
Come on Garth .. you always put up hot chicks…
what the heck is this????
Where is ‘my hot sho’ Garth??
I mean honestly most of your readers must be women…
I mean men cant be ‘that’ smart…

#166 MarcFromOttawa on 02.19.12 at 12:09 am

#128 Herb and my reply at #147

I’ll give you a hint. Bush junior did not deregulate the financial sector. He actually added regulation through Basell II and grew the size of the federal goverment. He is a CONservative just like Nixon was.

If you want to look at who deregulated the banks you have to go back to Bill Clinton and Timothy Geithner when they deregulated the Glass-Steagall act in 1999. The Glass-Steagall act was enacted in the Great Depression to seperate the commercial banking sector and the investment arm of those same banks.

Ever wonder how Goldman Sachs could sell CDOs and CDS to pension funds and at the same time short those products?

The left/right paradigm is a false dichotomy that pits blue collar vs white collar while the financial elite pick up public assets for pennies on the dollar.

#167 MarcFromOttawa on 02.19.12 at 12:13 am

I meant to compate George Bush to Richard Nixon as two CONservatives who grew the size of the federal government.

Much like our current prime minister.

#168 MarcFromOttawa on 02.19.12 at 12:14 am

I did it again. Ronal Reagan.

Enough wine from me tonight.

#169 Leo on 02.19.12 at 12:21 am

Canknuckleheads are cheering our countries race to the bottom. Many advocate this “austerity” none sense as if feeding the beast of greed is going to tame it. Humanity should be making life better not making it worse. Are we going to throw away all the progress and quality of life we have built for the last 200 years just so we can send all our good jobs to China? “Stay Competitive”, to stay “competitive” we will need to reduce min. wage to $2, no vacation, sick days, stats, medical, disability, work 6 days a week 12 hours a day, etc. Why would we do that? Until we can produce and keep GOOD jobs here in Canada our economy and certainly our real estate will flounder. Before you write me off as a lefty, communist, pinko (which I am) remember I just want to save you.

#170 Westerman on 02.19.12 at 12:22 am

Form Man @ # 154,
Liberal, Socialist – the same thing…

#171 Van guy on 02.19.12 at 12:23 am

Hst rules changing this year for BC


#172 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 02.19.12 at 1:03 am

Podcast How banxters and politicos cause economic turmoil; Forced labor at Tesco? UK Pensions with chart; Lottery winner in BC. Bittersweet story; War Debts Germany seems to forgotten to pay Greece back for WW2 claims; Garage Sale! Everything must go — Offers! Splitting Hairs By design? Clutching at Straws Economic straws, that is; The West Banxter occupied; Tsunami of Events leading to inflation (link in); Oil and plenty of it in the Bakken Fields.

China; Germany and Greece; Respectfully Disagreeing with Buffett; Peak Everything An orgasm of epic proportions; Swervin’ Mervyn Inflation on its way; Keynes vs. macroeconomics (that’s a big word); Money Where is it? When debt is more important than life; Cdn. bank (unnamed) sues JPM for derivatives debacle.
3:20 clip Smoking Man — Kids are being turned into zombies by the education system — no critical thinking; 1:53 clip China will not tolerate US pressure on Syria; 1:07 clip Tornadoes on the sun; The World according to America; Famine Pandemic across the world; Super Flu BS Our physical bodies, or clay temples are temporary homes, that’s all; Social Workers Somewhat harsh in England; Questions to avoid.

#173 Mr Buyer on 02.19.12 at 1:04 am

#157truth hammer…Dear truth hammered, it is your conservatives that have lead us into the seventh circle, not government. What is bloated is the profit margins versus services provided by your privatised profit public risk entities. The efficient bussinessman/capitolist is nothing but a myth. There will indeed be yet another new deal in the works but it will not be less government. The stone has been bled white by private for profit entities not your public servants. Nice try at playing Nero’s “its BIG government that is robbing us of our future.” It is an unhealthy alliance between politicians and for profit entities that is doing us in. ADSL, and Cable internet in 2012, give me a break.

#174 Ozy - Job losses everywhere in TO/GTA on 02.19.12 at 1:41 am

Job losses everywhere in TO/GTA, my employer let go 72% of folks in our office downtown. FYI, jobs were outsourced to India. Advisor told me he knows more people that got same thing happening to them, all levels of govt, banks, hydro-one, etc are cutting personnel in last 4 months.
This is the STRAW that breaks camel’s back and one day the rumour on the GO will be “do no buy now, you’ll regret it” or sell if you can (e.g. you bought before 2008).
Many people from my office FEAR a major price correction, but avoid talking, as do not want to speed-up the events (they just purchased at big cost from the builder).
Draw your conclusions.

#175 Mr Buyer on 02.19.12 at 1:49 am

For the record. My username “Mr Buyer” has been used only by myself even though a few people on the blog suggested from time to time I was somebody else. It is more likely that I have some sort of undiagnosed and thus untreated fracture of my personality that manifests itself as polarised and unrelated views in successive posts. I just wish one of these entities could spell or at least proof read prior to pressing the Submit button.

#176 Roland on 02.19.12 at 1:50 am

Yeah, it’s unfortunate that Canadians have gradually, unconsciously, become rather haughty and loud-mouthed. A few years of good commodity prices and high real estate, and they think they’re better than everyone else.

I was travelling in Egypt and Jordan a few years ago. The people in the Western world as a whole are often pretty arrogant to begin with, but strangely enough the Americans I met in the Middle East were mostly respectful of local customs, and behaved circumspectly. The Canadians and Australians, on the other hand, were often insufferable; they would sometimes openly disparage both the countries they were visiting, and their fellow travellers. They treated local people as if they were obstacles in the way of their sightseeing. Ironically, some of them were fond of lecturing the American tourists.

The thing that disgusted me in 2010 was the conduct of my fellow Vancouverites during the Games. Here their city was hosting people from all over the world, and all the Vancouverites could do was wave our national flag in their faces the entire damned time. How embarrassing, especially when they congratulated themselves on how patriotic they were…

You know, Westernman, the funny thing is that back when Canada was more “socialistic” than today, Canadians were more modest, even self-effacing, and were better regarded around the world. But now Canadians resemble the way Americans became during the 1980’s. That’s not a good thing.

#177 eagle eyes on 02.19.12 at 2:11 am

For anyone who is interested, this article was in the South China Morning Post, the leading english language newspaper in Hong Kong:

Emily Yao admits to disappointment when her bid on a three-bedroom condominium in this desirable West Coast city was turned down in October last year. But a month later the systems programmer, who moved to Vancouver from China six years ago, snapped up the still-unsold condominium on Vancouver’s East Side for C$550,000 (HK$4.27 million), C$9,000 less than the original price tag. It is a pattern being replicated across the Pacific port city, in a dramatic turnaround from the bidding wars, show-day stampedes and above-market offers that long dominated North America’s costliest property market. “Since October, it was like someone turned off the tap. It became absolutely dead,” said long-time realtor Pam Allen. What is taking the sizzle out of Vancouver prices and putting the brakes on sales are expectations that rock-bottom Canadian mortgage rates will stay low, so there is no rush to buy. At the same time, Chinese investors, who have long helped to underpin the city’s red-hot market, are holding back because property-market curbs back home mean they have less cash available. But with immigrants still streaming in from China and elsewhere, and the city frequently rated one of the most liveable on the planet, most experts see prices fizzling rather than imploding with a bang. Hemmed in by mountains on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other, land-scarce Vancouver cannot build homes fast enough to cope with demand from locals, immigrants and Chinese investors, who see Canada as a perfect place to park their cash. In a report published last month, Demographia, a consultancy on urban development, tagged Vancouver as the second most unaffordable of the housing markets it surveyed, with median house prices at 10.6 times income levels. Hong Kong is No1 at 12.6 times. The average price for a residential property in Vancouver in December was C$734,766, more than double the national average of C$358,480, according to Canadian Real Estate Association data. A single-family home in Honolulu, the most expensive US metropolitan market in data from the National Association of Realtors, fetched a median US$597,000 in the fourth quarter, while Detroit homes were worth a paltry US$50,800. Nearly 20 per cent of Vancouver’s 2.1 million people are ethnic Chinese, according to 2006 census data, by far the highest proportion for any city in Canada. No official figures are available on the percentage of Vancouver home sales to investors from China or Chinese immigrants. But realtor Tom Gradecak says that in popular areas such as the West Side, a leafy block of land flanking the university, it could be 50 per cent, rising to up to 75 per cent for homes selling for more than C$3 million. “Chinese money is a big factor today as it was in the period after 1986,” said David Ley, the author of Millionaire Migrants, which examines the impact immigrants had on Vancouver’s housing market. “House prices in greater Vancouver bear no relationship to the local labour market. Prices are kept high by offshore capital arriving from immigrants and from foreign investors.” Money from Hong Kong investors, who were edgy ahead of the city’s handover to Beijing’s control in 1997, is credited with changing Vancouver’s skyline as immigrants streamed into Canada and funds poured into new residential towers that now dominate the waterfront. The factors that tempted immigrants then remain today: the chance to learn English in a city that is a virtual home away from home with Chinese restaurants, television channels and newspapers. Beijing is 11 hours away, versus 14 hours from Toronto. “I can see more and more people in the coming years going to Canada, and Vancouver is the No1 city they want to go to,” said Derek Lai, a director of international property at real-estate consultancy Colliers in Shanghai, who specialises in helping Chinese clients buy homes in Vancouver. Despite a mid-recession dip in 2008, Canada’s housing market has remained resilient for the past decade, and the Vancouver market has outperformed the rest of the country for seven of the past 10 years. Vancouver price rises peaked at a stunning 19.8 per cent in 2006, dipped in 2009, and came roaring back with double-digit growth in the past two years. A house bought for C$500,000 in 2001 would have fetched about C$1.2 million a decade later, based on average price changes. But the latest month-to-month figures show Vancouver prices fell in five of seven months from June to December, including drops of more than 5 per cent in November and December. There is always talk of bubbles, but experts do not see the Vancouver market crashing as the US one did. Mortgage rates are at near record lows just above 3 per cent, but Canadian borrowing rules are tougher and the subprime market that sank the US housing sector is tiny. With inflation muted and the economy recovering only slowly from recession, interest rates are likely to stay low for years. Chinese investment is still the wild card. Reliable statistics are hard to find, but analysts expect Beijing’s moves to cool its own property market may hurt Vancouver. Gradecak, who specialises in property in Vancouver’s pricey West Side, says it is too early to see any impact, although he expects there will be some domino effect. In the business for the past 20 years, he remains sanguine about Vancouver’s real-estate prospects. “We will see ups and downs, but I think five years from now the prices will be higher than they are today.”

#178 Pokey on 02.19.12 at 2:14 am

“when prices have risen 80% in six years while wages are up by one fifth and…”???

I am a senior manager in a bank and work just off Bay Street in Toronto. I am considered an above average performer and my income has NOT increased 20% over the past 6 years nor has that of any of my colleagues in a level junior to me (I have access to this data) within my area of the business unless they were promoted. Even then, not 20%. Who’s getting this kind of increase? Unionised workers? Public sector? So much for bankers (albeit those below VP level) being fat cats!!!!

#179 Don on 02.19.12 at 3:39 am

Van guy on 02.18.12 at 6:40 pm

#132 Don on 02.18.12 at 5:22 pm

Van guy.

My apologizes, I do read your comments. I should have known it was someone else. You sound like one of my Vancouver buddies. Juggernut ring a bell?.

Take care,

Poco – Man-UP

#180 Maya on 02.19.12 at 4:28 am

Canadian housing bubble, or Vancouver housing bubble?


#181 VMD on 02.19.12 at 7:23 am

Garth, Fort Wayne had just joined the rank of Bangor to publish about Canada’s housing bubble!


#182 eaglebay - Parksville on 02.19.12 at 7:27 am

#154 Form Man on 02.18.12 at 9:21 pm

“nope sorry, not a socialist. I am a Liberal. The very best of all……….”
Form Man and Bob Rae are giving the liberals a bad name. Thank God, the liberals are out of the picture.
Bob Rae as PM, imagine that.

#183 neo on 02.19.12 at 8:33 am

There are two types of real estate investor in China. The first are pure speculators who treat residential real estate as a source of value, far removed from its original residential use. These investors purchase multiple properties without bothering even to remodel the units for actual use. They are responsible for the spooky flats of empty condo buildings that have become so common in all of China’s cities.

The second are the normal citizens who purchase real estate as their primary residence. The high prices of the real estate bubble created by the speculators have created much pain for these normal home-buyers. Recent policies of the central government designed to contain the real estate bubble have been designed to benefit this segment of “normal” home buyers. However, it is probable that the recent collapse in real estate values has damaged these normal home buyers as much as, or even more than, the speculators.

A recent story in the local Qingdao newspaper illustrates the situation very well. The article is about Mr. Li (age 31) and Ms. Zhao (age 28), both of whom are successful young professionals. Both are college graduates. Both work in good jobs in the visual design sector. Mr. Li earns RMB 6,000 per month and Ms. Zhao earns RMB 2,000 per month. These are good salaries for young professionals in Qingdao.

For three years, this couple has been planning to marry. The obstacle has been that they have not been able to purchase a home. Their families do not have the resources and they have not had the savings. Mr. Li proposed that they forget about owning a home and just live in a rented apartment after marriage. As is typical in this region, Ms. Zhao refused: no home ownership, no marriage. With great reluctance, Mr. Li agreed to work on purchasing a condo.

In April of this year, they found a suitable unit in Li Cang. Li Cang is a village to the north of Qingdao city. Services there are bad and transportation is inconvenient. However, they determined that a 90 square meter unit on the 15th floor of a sprawling condo project was just about the only thing they could afford in the Qingdao area.

They completed the purchase in April on the following terms:

•The price of the unit was RMB 9,300 per square meter. Compared to the 20,000 to 40,000 RMB per square meter price in Qingdao, this seemed reasonable to them.

•The total price was RMB 830,000. Of this, RMB 350,000 was required as a down payment.

The couple was able to come up with the down payment by using their savings, by Mr. Li moonlighting, and with a contribution from their parents. The down payment was accumulated from the struggles of the couple and both their families over the past 10 years. For payment of the remaining RMB 480,000 of the purchase price, the couple obtained a 20 year bank loan. Payments on this loan will be RMB 4,700 per month for the life of the loan, over half of their combined total income, before taxes.

Consider the following:

•Their down payment was actually a deposit on an uncompleted unit. The project is far from completion. At best, the project will be complete at the end of 2012. Thus the down payment money is tied up and yet the couple still have to pay rent until the project is complete. If the project is not completed there is a substantial risk that the down payment will never be returned. This risk is never discussed in China, but the risk is substantial in a declining market as we know from our experience in the real estate markets around the world.

•This young couple has now joined the ranks of the Chinese “house slaves” 房奴”, or what we call “mortgage slaves” in the U.S. The total household income of this couple is RMB 8,000 per month, before taxes and their mortgage payment consitutes more than one half of their monthly income. They are in their early thirties. How will they save for their child’s education? How will they save for retirement? How will they save for medical emergencies? How will they save for the care of their four parents? How will they even live a normal life with about RMB 3,000 per month in disposable income? No one knows other than to say that they will suffer.

•The total price of this 90 square meter unit is RMB 830,000. This is ten times the annual income of this young professional couple. Most economists believe that the cost of housing should not exceed 3 to 5 times annual income. The unit is therefore about twice as expensive as recommended. All of this for a condo in a not particularly nice exburb of a second tier city.

In October, the couple became uneasy when they heard rumors that units in their project were being offered at a 90% discount. At the end of November, the couple was shocked to see advertisements in the local newspaper offering units in their same project at the price of RMB 6,300 per square meter, a 30% discount off the price they had already agreed to pay. A group of buyers formed and demanded that their purchase price be reduced to the new price or they would cancel their purchase contracts. Some members of the group picketed the sales office. The developer refused their requests. Mr. Li states that he has reviewed the purchase contract carefully and concluded that none of the buyers have the right to a refund or cancellation. He is therefore resigned to his fate and sees no reason to participate in the protests.

Ms. Zhao calculates that over the life of the loan, the couple will pay RMB 400,000 in mortgage interest that is in excess of that amount that would be paid if the unit were re-valued at the new, lower price. This makes her sad. It makes her husband resentful that she insisted on purchasing the condo unit when he had proposed that they just rent a unit. Their excitement at becoming new homeowners is now drowned
by the sorrow of the economic disaster they face. The prospect of 20 years of “home slavery” is not a good way to start a marriage. The couple has not even considered the two additional disasaters that may
be waiting for them:

•The price drop has only just started. The couple hopes that prices will recover over time. The more likely scenario is that prices will continue to fall next year after buyers truly face the fact that the bubble has burst.
•Once it is clear the bubble has burst, the developer of their uncompleted unit will not be able to sell units at any price. This means the project will fail, and the units will not be completed. What will happen to the substantial deposit this couple has already paid? No one knows. Chinese law provides that it must be returned. However, there are no good controls in place to guarantee that will actually occur.

Our couple and their fellow buyers are already upset with the fall in price. What will happen if the project fails and their deposits are not returned? What will happen to their bank when their mortgage loans turn out to be worthless? What will happen to the development lender when the project fails and the development loan is not repaid?

The story above is being repeated in every city in the coastal provinces in China. The impact is personal and direct. Every person in China knows at least one person who has been impacted. The effect on the economy is incalculable. Just when the government is promoting a new program to increase domestic consumption, the collapse of the residential real estate market is pushing Chinese consumers in the opposite direction. The extreme uncertainty likely means that they will freeze up, greatly reduce their spending and move into an even more intense savings mode. The result will be to freeze up the economy for a considerable period.

I must emphasize again that what I have described has already happened. It is not a projection. The situation is China’s current reality. A government cannot prevent what has already happened. It is too late. All we can do is wait and see what will be done about the situation. Current indications are that nothing will be done at all. Given the way governments work, that may be the best possible result.

What will you do to adjust to this new reality?


Use a link, or be deleted. — Garth

#184 Form Man on 02.19.12 at 8:34 am

#182 eaglebay

let’s imagine Harper as PM. Grew spending faster than any government in history. Largest deficit in history. Contempt of parliament……..etc. etc…….

#170 westerman

forgotten how to spell your own moniker ?
really stupid people sometimes confuse Liberals and socialists. Smarter people don’t.

#185 maxx on 02.19.12 at 9:07 am

#49 Preciousss on 02.18.12 at 12:34 am

Sometimes, the best deal of all is the deal you didn’t make.

#186 Linda Pearson on 02.19.12 at 9:11 am

#159Smoking Man on 02.18.12 at 11:17 pm

Garth there is enough in that post to at least ensure a ‘time out’ for Smoking Man. When I was growing up, referring to Jews as “heebs” would have earned me a mouth-washing with Lifebuoy soap. And Smoking Man used other offensive terms too. What say you?

Agreed. It is now deleted, and I will try to edit his material more carefully, without throwing up. — Garth

#187 Cow Man on 02.19.12 at 9:32 am

#17 wheredideverybodygo

The story was carried in last Saturday’s Globe & Mail.

#188 Cow Man on 02.19.12 at 9:40 am

Why would our collapse not be worse than the US. Now that things are soft south of the border, the parent companies are closing down the Canadian Branches and repatriating the jobs to the US. For example Catipillar in London, PPG in Owen Sound, Stelco in Hamilton. When things slow down in Canada we have very few, branch plants to close, and return the jobs to Canada. There is no floor under our structure to cushion the fall.

#189 Uh Oh Canada on 02.19.12 at 9:50 am

When the tables have turned and Canadians become like the Americans to the rest of the world, know that it’s uh oh time for Canada. As a well traveled person, I bet many of the tourist criticized in the above posts are from B.C. – just get that feeling. It’s time for a reality check and a humbling. See, that’s what greed does to a nation- it makes them unbearable.

#190 Ayn Rand on 02.19.12 at 10:30 am

#129 Herb

“then what happened to the markets that conveniently were “deregulated” during Bush II?”

“The past few decades have witnessed a significant expansion in the number of financial regulators and regulations, contrary to the widely held belief that our financial market regulations were “rolled back.” While many regulators may have been shortsighted and over-confident in their own ability to spare our financial markets from collapse, this failing is one of regulation, not deregulation. When one scratches below the surface of the “deregulation” argument, it becomes apparent that the usual suspects, like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, did not cause the current crisis and that the supposed refusal of regulators to deal with derivatives and “predatory” mortgages would have had little impact on the actual course of events, as these issues were not central to the crisis. To explain the financial crisis, and avoid the next one, we should look at the failure of regulation, not at a mythical deregulation.”


#191 NFN_NLN on 02.19.12 at 11:07 am


For quite some time you’ve been emphasizing the importance of a balanced portfolio. You’ve also stressed that bond yields are going up and therefore bond prices going down. I’ve been a long time follower and bought bonds long ago, I also sold them when you first mentioned it was time to lock in those gains and sell. Thanks.

Several posts ago someone mentioned bonds and you again stressed the same points above. Anyways this got me wondering. If buying bonds is a bad strategy then is buying “inverse bonds” a good strategy? I know you don’t like to mention specifics but in general does this make sense or is there something I’m not aware of?

I know an inverse ETF isn’t the same as shorting, but I am leery of shorting stocks even for companies I’m certain are failing. Why? Because I understand the pitfalls of shorting. Am I missing something with inverse ETFs? It seems like a natural and conservative play if things go the way we think but I wanted some input from you or anyone with any insight.

Life is full of enough risks without buying inverse, leveraged or triple ETFs. No doubt bond yields will be rising and prices falling, which is why I recommended getting bonds more than a year ago and suggested lately this is not the time to enter the fixed income market. Why not go long equities instead of short bonds? — Garth

#192 neo on 02.19.12 at 11:12 am

Use a link, or be deleted. — Garth

Funny you mention that to me and not #177. Who did the exact same thing. I rarely copy of paste but this is the exact story of a house horny fiance who drags the male counterpart into home ownership when he wants to rent that you’ve written here a hundred times. Only this time they speak mandarin.

I was willing to overlook one. Not two. Real estate on this site is more precious than in Leaside. – Garth

#193 disciple on 02.19.12 at 11:42 am

#43 a prairie dawg on 02.18.12 at 12:22 am
Damn, I thought this Koolaid had aspartame.

I am sooooo pissed off….. ;)

————— It probably did…Aspartame causes you to gain weight, not lose it. Oh, it’s a nasty little bio-weapon. Thanks to Donald Rumsfeld who helped get it approved for mass circulation… Unknown knowns or something like that?



#194 Job Losses in the GTA on 02.19.12 at 11:48 am

There is great worry in the GTA about the housing crash as many continue lossing their jobs. People at my office and fighting for OT. On the Go i over hear money problems and worry as people get reduced hours or lost jobs. Many in Canada have been able to avoid going bankrupt by being able to borrow money they don’t have or able to pay back. banks have tightened credit and you can see the effects its already having. Canada has been living a huge lie and that lie will be exposed. Cheap and easy credit is the only reason we haven’t crashed. People are stupid and they will spend until the banks say no more. In late 2008 when credit dried up Canada was crashing hard since we were living a lie. The CONs allowed Canada to live the lie longer and have caused the lie to grow to unseen heights . Canada and Canadians have been swimming naked while laughing at the naked exposed world for their short comings . Soon the world will see we are not as big as we claimed.

#195 eaglebay - Parksville on 02.19.12 at 12:08 pm

#184 Form Man on 02.19.12 at 8:34 am

“let’s imagine Harper as PM. Grew spending faster than any government in history. Largest deficit in history. Contempt of parliament……..etc. etc…….”
Harper had a minority government. Where was the opposition?
Guess who will reduce the size of government?
Guess who will reduce the deficit?
The Canadian economy is in much better shape than the doomers make it out to be.
Most of the doomer’s examples given here are from South West Debtario. Thanks to the liberals.

#196 Timbo on 02.19.12 at 12:14 pm


A good read on how wages have dropped down south.

It seems that we are going to have a major problem competing with a higher dollar and higher wages that support higher home prices.


Home prices in 47 of 70 cities fell in January, while the remaining 23 were unchanged from December. Volkswagen AG (VOW), Europe’s largest car maker, says sales in China, the company’s biggest market, fell 4.5 percent last month.


This is life today in Jefferson County — Bankrupt, U.S.A. For all the talk in Washington about taxes and deficits, here is a place where government finances, and government itself, have simply broken down. The county, which includes the city of Birmingham, is drowning under $4 billion in debt, the legacy of a big sewer project and corrupt financial dealings that sent 17 people to prison.

coming to an area near you… and yes that is $4 billion.

#197 Junius on 02.19.12 at 12:20 pm

#190 Ayn Rand,

The CATO institue has been exposed time and time again as a stink tank prepared to say anything that suits its right wing agenda including making up facts where no can be found. Their anti-regulation rant is one of the cornerstone of what some commentators such as Barry Ritholtz calls “The Big Lie.”

The premise of the argument is that because regulators such as the SEC failed to detect the mortgage fraud and because government organizations such as Fannie Mac and Freddie Mae were involved in the mortgage scandals then it is over regulation that caused the crisis.

This analysis, of course, is backwards. The SEC has been gutted and underfunded for years. It has been left going after the Bernie Madoffs but lacking the leadership or resources to go after the big banks.

Freddie and Fannie were late to the subprime mortgage party and their involvement was far less than private companies such as Country Wide. The argument does not fit the facts.

The entire CATO argument is a crock of sh*#. The blame regulation but then do not even try to make the case that no regulation would have solved the problem. Please find me an unregulated financial market that is successful. Just one.

The truth is that we need better regulation. It is not about more or less regulation. It is also about deciding what we need to keep competition high and ensure the markets work for consumers and not for the financial institutions.

#198 Mr Buyer on 02.19.12 at 12:21 pm

#177eagle eyes…The bubble has topped…
So what I just got to read, repeated ad nausium was the same baseless pumping of real estate . The jig is up and saying it is cooling off because people are not worried about rates rising is just theater of the ridiculus. BUYER BEWARE. Bedtime stories are for children. The media is being inundated with ever more brazen real estate pitches in the hopes of keeping the fire under the bubble that has topped. More accurately the media is inundating the general public. All stops have been pulled out. Propaganda, low rates, easy loans and yet the BUBBLE HAS TOPPED. BUYER BEWARE. It is over and you are going to be left holding the bag. BUYER BEWARE…remember when you were a kid and the emergency broadcast network would interupt Saturday morning cartoons and they would say… “This has been a test of the emergency broadcast network.”…BUYER BEWARE. THE BUBBLE HAS TOPPED. THE BEST CASE SCENARIO, A SOFT LANDING, TRANSLATES INTO FALLING PRICES. DO NOT BE LEFT HOLDING THE BAG. Your family and all the families of Canada are at risk of extreme poverty for a very very long period of time. Everyone is depending upon bankruptcy as the worst case scenario so why not take the risk as so many others have and walked away loaded after starting out in debt. I can not adequately counter the immediacy of that rationale. I can only describe what everyone is doing now is playing russian roulet with four or five chambers of a six shot revolver loaded and everyone around you is telling you there is only one chamber loaded and you can get rich. The bankruptcy act protects you from actually dying so while the odds are slim and getting infinitely slimmer each day after the bubble topped it is still the easiest to understand way to take a shot at making money you did not actually have to produce something for. Understand this, THE BUBBLE HAS TOPPED.
…buy now before everyone can afford to…
…and they landed softly ever after…

#199 Ret on 02.19.12 at 12:27 pm

Lost Harper funding in Hamilton. We don’t need federal cash?

$5.7M of stimulus money for Hamilton goes bye-bye. Harper tries to help Hamilton but the Council, construction unions and contractors can’t get’er done.


No Happy Meals at Ronald McDonald house either after missing two construction deadlines and losing $900,000 of federal funding.


This winter the weather in Hamilton has been the warmest and most snow free that anyone can remember. The job sites on the rebuilding of two bridges over the 403 highway in the west end have sat vacant for over 4 months in perfect weather.

Harper needs to forget about offering any future money to this town. Missed deadlines are Harper’s fault? I don’t think so.

The politicians, construction unions and contractors are clearly not up to the job in Hamilton unless we are talking about making excuses for poor performance.

#200 Junius on 02.19.12 at 12:28 pm

#169 Leo,

You said, “Until we can produce and keep GOOD jobs here in Canada our economy and certainly our real estate will flounder.”

I think we all agree with this. The real question is how we go about it.

The problem with a credit driven economy is that is masks the fact that we are being unproductive because people feel wealthy. It also pulls resources away from productivity and towards speculation. Finally, when the debt cycle ends people realize they have been living a lie for a long time but are often left without anyway to recover.

It could be very bad in Canada. We need to change a lot of things starting with our attitude about many things.

#201 Mr Buyer on 02.19.12 at 12:32 pm

#180Maya on 02.19.12 at 4:28 am
Canadian housing bubble, or Vancouver housing bubble?
My home town has half the population it did when I was a kid and house prices are ten times what they were then and triple what they were ten years ago and double what they were 5 years ago. It is a Canadian housing bubble. Nice try though.

#202 Junius on 02.19.12 at 12:36 pm

#166 MarcfromOttawa,

You said, “The left/right paradigm is a false dichotomy that pits blue collar vs white collar while the financial elite pick up public assets for pennies on the dollar.”

You are right, of course.

I would add that while you are correct that Bill Clinton signed the bill that did away with Glass-Steagall the person who created and pushed the bill was Republican Senator Phil Gramm.

As for George W. Bush his greatest economic crime (as opposed to his war crimes which are too numerous to mention in one blog post) was his tax cuts. Cutting taxes at the same time that he went to war and increased spending was a colossal mistake.

It was the proximate cause of the current financial meltdown when combined with the financial deregulation of the late 90s.

#203 Junius on 02.19.12 at 12:40 pm

#170 Westernman,

Good thing you can revert to labels because you sure don’t have any arguments to make.

There are significant differences between liberals and socialists. As even you will see in the coming years.

#204 Junius on 02.19.12 at 12:47 pm

Harper is muzzling our scientists regarding environmental issues says a BBC article. More proof of just how out of control this PM is. Who needs science anyway when you have NeoCon ideology?

Here is the link:


#205 Junius on 02.19.12 at 12:57 pm

Good article on a former Wall Street insider who is blasting them for their corruption. Good commentary on how the regulators failed to do their job because they have been co-opted by the industry.

See below:


#206 Ronaldo on 02.19.12 at 1:04 pm

Real estate in this country is due for a rude awakening.


The above article was written in November 2005. It could not have been more accurate. This is likely what we are about to witness on this side of the border as well. People were feeling pretty smug too at that time regarding their real estate investments. Our government has only prolonged the inevitable. Time has a way of making things right again.

#207 Gord In Vancouver on 02.19.12 at 1:12 pm

Vancouver desperation continues….

At least this guy revealed his name:

Saving for retirement? Real estate is your best bet


#208 maxx on 02.19.12 at 1:35 pm

#60 Two-thirds on 02.18.12 at 1:38 am

I say from experience that savers are painted in a far more than “somewhat” negative light.

The adjectives and body language are as follows:
-if you are a saver, many refer to you as “cheap” (fill in your own from experience), no matter that you contribute to charity, community, etc;
-if you are a saver, you are often seen through the filter of deprivation and/or having no life;
-if you are a saver and you walk into a bank, private investment counsels’ eyes invariably glaze over when you tell them that you do not want your hard-earned money put into risky investments;
-if you are a saver and a great negotiator to boot, you often (but not always) get a supercilious attitude from retail floor staff that generally have no net worth compared to you (who cares, they don’t matter a damn);
-if you substitute “businessperson” for “saver” in any of the above observations, you are considered astute and competent.
Therefore, the manipulative tug of war for your dollars continues and as far as I’m concerned, the other end of the rope can bite me.

#209 AG Sage on 02.19.12 at 1:38 pm

>#147 MarcFromOttawa on 02.18.12 at 7:36 pm

When the state AGs tried to clamp down on predatory lending Bush directed the feds to block it, even though banking is traditionally a state-overseen industry.

In 2004-5 when 10,000 appraisers signed a petition complaining about widespread appraisal fraud and blackballing of appraisers who would not fudge their numbers upward to the banks specifications. Bush not only ignored it, he closed down and laid off most of the single federal office that had any oversight capability.

The most active prosecutor of Wall Street misdeeds through the 2000s was Eliot Spitzer. He was investigated by the feds for paying for a high class prostitute. All well and good, except that the feds never before bothered to investigate something as run-of-the-mill as prostitution, and there was never a conviction.

The deregulation necessary for the conditions of the credit bubble were put in place in the 80s through to the 90s, peaking with the Commodities Futures Modernization Act and the repeal of Glass-Steagall, both of which Clinton signed. want to see what deregulation does for bank failures? it’s pretty blatant(note this is # of institutions, not $ value. Banks got huge in the 2000s)

By the Bush era all that was necessary was blocking funding for the various oversight offices so they had/have no resources to do any actual oversight. Something the Republicans still filibuster on (for example, they filibustered to remove a provision that would require a standardized mortgage cover sheet for consumers. Yeah, it’s that bad…)

#210 TurnerNation on 02.19.12 at 1:45 pm

#153Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 02.18.12 at 9:18 pm

From your link: http://12160.info/forum/topics/2649739:Topic:780604

“100 Items to Disappear First”

Notice gold & silver are not on list.
I’m quite serious when stating: if ATMs close, the new currencies will be booze, smokes, and toilet paper.
The addicts will go nuts. Small fortunes will be made.

As a corollary, today on “dry” indian reserves, work camps you hear stories of black market booze fetching multiples of its value….

Speaking of which, sam.i.am still working on the head gasket of your Toyota Corollary? ;)

#211 Rural Rick on 02.19.12 at 2:01 pm

I love this pathetic blog. Thanks Garth for all your efforts. Got some great insight and advice available here. Great characters too. I can always get a laugh or two from someone who has his knickers in a twist cause someone “stole” his moniker. Or better yet the language and grammar police teaching us all the write way. Posters yelling that this guy or that guy should be banned. The best ones are the idiots who argue the most ridiculous things between themselves while trading asinine insults. Most posters are helpful and respectful of one another but the ones that don’t get that part are very amusing. Specially the ones that get whipped into a frenzy over “First”. This blog can be a mirror take a look into it. Thanks again Garth this is the most fun I ever had getting educated.

#212 TurnerNation on 02.19.12 at 2:02 pm

The lasest distraction after twitter:


You post pictures. Even more primordial than short tweets. What’s next, grunting? Cave sketches?

I notice our forum host double-bylines each new weblog post on his Twitter feed. Always a master of media!

#213 TurnerNation on 02.19.12 at 2:22 pm

169Leo on 02.19.12 at 12:21 am

Like I say, they are economically bombing us back to the stone ages. Whereas the 2nd and 3rd World countries get real bombs (“We know he has WMD; He’s killing his own people!!”).

The Green movement is a wash to take away easy access to energy. Soon only the rich may afford 24/7 hydro for heating, cooling. Other will huddle around fires and candles, Soviet Bloc style.

Rolling brownouts due to solar/wind will become the norm, further hurting our manufaturing base. The Japan disaster – possibly man-made – resulted in instant nuclear repudiation amongst 1st World countries. Did ya notice? Who gains when our plants are shuttered – why, it’s the new movement. A very dark movement.

Energy control is but one tenticle of their inky plan. You’ll see. Rationing, green/carbon taxes.

#214 Cato on 02.19.12 at 2:34 pm

The press seems to finally be shifting gears from outright denial to minimal acknowledgement the bubble exists. If you look at the press leading up to housing crash in other areas of the world each were predicting a soft landing as well but they turns out they were wrong.

We are different but not that different. We resemble our Australian cousins in many ways, both countries suffer under a high degree of economic central planning. A resource rich country with a low population density has no other choice.

When the free market is allowed to work without interference it will flush the excess from the system. Often this is a brutal process, but its healthy. I would argue most countries that saw a sharp unwinding never truly experienced the full cycle of the bubble. The free market showed up and popped the bubble before it could run its full course. There is profit to be had in economic blood letting and this profit motivation often ends economic bubbles prematurely.

I suspect countries like Canada will see the economic cycle to its natural conclusion, so our experience will be different than our American neighbors. In relative terms our bubble will likely overshoot until it comes to the final conclusion. The final conclusion often doesn’t end with a bang but a wimper, we could be seeing that wimper now.

History has shown time and time again that its far healthier to have bubbles unwind rapidly. Economies that can flush the excess quickly and start the process of rebuilding come out stronger. Bubbles that unwind slowly are often economic killers for an entire generation. It brings economic malaise and lack of opportunity for long periods of time. The end result is far worse than it would have been had the system been ridden of its excess debt.

Perhaps its better to prick the bubble now by exposing the banks to risk to the mortgages they are issuing and allow the free market to have its way with them. Take our medicine and get the process over with so we can start rebuilding now or else risk being left in a perpetual state of never ending recession.

#215 TurnerNation on 02.19.12 at 2:36 pm

176Roland on 02.19.12 at 1:50 am

But it was the Harper Government’s
jingoistic “Own the Podium” campaign that exulted us in coming together in slavish worship of the Motherland? A classic pulled from the playbook. Works each time, they know it.

And we got the Owe-limp-ics in retun. Bread and Circuses.

#216 TurnerNation on 02.19.12 at 2:47 pm

194Job Losses in the GTA on 02.19.12 at 11:48 am

My employer – <2000 employees worldwide, but still very profitable – announced a wage & bonus freeze this year :-(
When will homes get the message.

#217 Form Man on 02.19.12 at 3:01 pm

#195 eaglebay

The opposition was led by Ignatieff, one of the least effective leaders the Liberals ever had.
The Liberals will choose a new leader next year. Harper will have done unimaginable damage by then, but we can hope that it is not irreversible.

#218 a prairie dawg on 02.19.12 at 3:10 pm

#193 disciple

You caught me. It was the vodka talking on Friday night. I was celebrating too much. But I have now comfortably resumed my sobriety. I’m so ashamed… ;)

#219 45north on 02.19.12 at 3:14 pm

Junius: As for George W. Bush his greatest economic crime was his tax cuts.

There are a lot of things which are bad ideas but are not crimes.

#220 sam.i.am on 02.19.12 at 3:22 pm

@turnernation yes still working on it 22re pickup spent 120 on machine shop so far, still cheap, but more importantly a skill building exercise and a test of will

#221 Junius on 02.19.12 at 3:33 pm

#219 45north,

You said, “There are a lot of things which are bad ideas but are not crimes.”

Tell that to future generations of the 99% of Americans who did not benefit.

#222 Junius on 02.19.12 at 3:34 pm

#209 AG Sage,

Agreed. Good post and good points.

#223 Canadian Watchdog on 02.19.12 at 3:37 pm

Luckily someone has TREB’s data plotted (wink* wink*) and can share statistics that nobody else has formulated. Below are Toronto zones ranked by the average number of days on the market from 2006 to present. The figures shown with * are the top three areas that had the fastest rise in number of days during the 2008 downturn (September 2008-May 2009).

District Average

Toronto E02 17.8
Toronto E01 18.9
Toronto W01 24.5*
Toronto W02 22.3
Toronto C10 22.8*
Toronto E03 24.1
Toronto C08 25.2
Toronto E06 24.8
Toronto C04 27.2*
Toronto W07 26.8
Toronto C11 27.3
Toronto C03 29.4
Toronto C09 29.0
Toronto C13 27.9
Toronto C01 27.9
Toronto C02 27.9
Toronto C14 28.1
Toronto C15 29.4
Toronto C07 29.1
Toronto E05 29.7
Toronto E10 29.1
Toronto W08 30.7
Toronto C06 30.3
Toronto E07 30.4
Toronto E04 30.2
Toronto W03 32.5
Toronto W06 32.5
Toronto C12 35.9
Toronto E08 33.2
Toronto E09 34.0
Toronto W09 36.5
Toronto E11 36.9
Toronto W04 38.8
Toronto W10 39.3
Toronto W05 42.1

TREB Map (click zone to zoom in) http://www.torontorealestateboard.com/buying/district_map/index.htm

The bigger they bid, the harder they fall.

#224 Van guy on 02.19.12 at 3:44 pm

#179 Don on 02.19.12 at 3:39 am

“poco man-Up”


#225 Kilby on 02.19.12 at 3:47 pm

3195. Eagle Bay.

A lot of Ontario’s financial problems were caused by the Davis government, I believe Baird and Flaherty had a bit to do with that. Rae inherited the problem.

#226 Sh on 02.19.12 at 3:52 pm

Nother seeking alpha warning about the beginning of the end:

#227 Herb on 02.19.12 at 3:59 pm

#190 Ayn Rand,

after Mark’s challenge at #147, I started to refresh my memory. There were 2.4 M hits for “Bush and Deregulation” on Google. After going down the links on the first few pages, it struck me that the opinions were neatly divided on the basis of left/right ideology, and that there was no way of coming to an objective conclusion. History has always been the handmaiden of politics, but here it has become part of the political process itself.

That’s why I settled on the citation I quoted at my #160 as the best rational explanation. If you haven’t done so, do read it and the short article it concludes. You remain at liberty to cherry-pick and proclaim anything you want to, but you won’t find many hard facts to back it up. Objectively you’d have to conclude that nothing happened, so there could not have been a financial crisis.

#228 Alberta Ed on 02.19.12 at 4:10 pm

I just heard on CBC Radio this morning that condo constructing in Cowtown is booming, according to two impeccable sources; CREB and a condo developer. Whoopwhoopwhoop… get in line before it’s too late! And shed a tear for the puerile CBC reporter who regurgitated CREB’s press release.

#229 Snowboid on 02.19.12 at 4:14 pm

#195 eaglebay – Parksville on 02.19.12 at 12:08 pm…

“South West Debtario”?

Really, when you live in the province with the worst financial future of any – in a short 11 years having gone from a ‘have’ province with huge provincial assets…

…to a province that held ‘garage-sales’ for their corporate masters and gave away almost everything like it was the last day 90% off sale! A province where there is so much value placed on piping oil-sands dil-bit to the coast for export to Asia, resistance will be futile.

At the same time BC is a province where few people can afford to buy or live, and poverty has gone from a solvable issue to an epidemic.

Oh yeah, thanks to the liberals.

#230 Form Man on 02.19.12 at 4:32 pm

#229 Snowboid

of course the BC Liberals are liberal in name only. They are the former Social Credit party…….with strong ties to the Federal Conservatives. The Federal Liberal party has no connection to the BC provincial party.

#231 Bobby on 02.19.12 at 4:52 pm

For # 217 Form Man,

So please tell me what irreparable damage has Harper done so far? Oh yes, he cancelled a bloated public gun registry. Didn’t he say he would do that in the election. Or did you miss that.

The loopy left always pontificates about what Harper and the Conservatives will do. The supposed hidden agenda. Yet, they have yet to bring in any of these scary policies, none that I have seen anyways. Ask a Liberal or an NDP member what they would do if they were in power and they run for the exits. Or they will repeat how bad Harper is.
At the federal level, fortunately the NDP is a shambles as it allows the Liberals to gain traction. A prospective leader in Rae, I doubt it as I saw the downward spiral of Ontario under his stewardship. One would expect big ideas after their recent convention but wait, they want to legalize marijuana. Cutting edge? No, that’s scary.
Here in BC the Liberals will be tossed out and we will wake up to a NDP government under Dix. Remember, this is the one with the integrity who doctored documents while working for Clarke. Apparently he has had an epiphany and has seen the error of his ways. He locked onto the coattails of Vander Zalm in denouncing the HST, yet has not said how he will recoup the lost revenue.
So tell me again what scares you about the Conservatives.

Mr. Harper has presided over the accumulation of the largest federal deficit in history. Scary. — Garth

#232 maxx on 02.19.12 at 4:53 pm

#93 cto on 02.18.12 at 10:30 am

…and the US will continue to repatriate jobs as it sees fit. What transpired mere days ago was H traveling to China with great fanfare to promote Canada-Chinese trade on the heels of yet another US company repatriation. A few days later, Chinese officials traveled TO the USA to promote the same thing. Canada will settle for whatever China will toss its way. Period.

#233 45north on 02.19.12 at 5:04 pm

Canadian Watchdog: Treb Area: what a huge area! 2 years ago my sisters and I sold the family home – it was in W05 – days on market says that the sellers think more of their houses than the buyers – not my problem anymore.

The map shows the conundrum of the political parties. The area needs a 50% reduction in price. The area will get a 50% reduction in price. The political parties have been de-balled (but in a nice way).

#234 DonDWest on 02.19.12 at 5:12 pm

As for the topics that speak how Canadians are viewed as arrogant throughout the world; this hardly surprises me. I saw it throughout my travels. Let’s just say, very soon the only place that will be safe to sow a Canadian flag on your backpack will be Israel.

We were kicked out of the security council of the United Nations, the very organization we founded, for valid reasons that the average Canadians is just too arrogant to contemplate.

We’re the country with the highest debt to income ratio. We smugly broadcast throughout the world our big houses and our precious real estate. We have a Prime Minister who has called “Islamicism” an enemy of the state. Meanwhile, we’re inviting some of the most arrogant immigrants into the country I’ve ever seen, mainly criminal aristocrats from both China and India that we give safe refuge. In Canada, all we care about is that you bring cash, damn if you know English or French and who cares how you got the money in the first place. As long as you bring a wad of cash, you’re in, the nation is for sale. This Prime Minister also has a nasty habit of withdrawing ambassadors from countries just because the said country disagrees with him. This Prime Minister arrogantly goes parading around nation after nation babbling how wonderful our economy is; creating nothing but resentment. This Prime Minister also seems to have little hesitation drawing the country into WWIII to fulfill some sort of Evangelical prophecy. This Prime Minister also seemingly has a habit of deporting people out of the country who disagree with him and labeling them as terrorists (George Galloway comes to mind here). This Prime Minister also pressurizes MP’s who disagree with him into resignation. Harper is an oxymoron to democracy and freedom through and through. The man is a fascist.

Canadians somehow think multi-culturalism means only having Caucasians and wealthy Asians who speak bad English, French or Mandarin. It’s perfectly fine to have the natives locked in welfare camps. It’s perfectly fine to randomly arrest people because they don’t fit into a certain criteria of race, wealth, or political views. It’s perfectly fine to develop ghettoized segregated neighbourhoods based on income, race, educational attainment, etc. There used to be a time in Canada not long ago the CEO lived a few blocks from the janitor; not anymore. We’ve become an anti-social and callous society.

Did I also mention that if you try to bring any of these hot button issues up; Canadians smugly respond with the attitude “well, why don’t you just leave from the best place on Earth?!” Great guys, nice Bolshevik logic there, “behave or get out of mother Canada!” Then they proceed to drive away on their loaned Civic, Lancer, or Viper because they’re too good to walk fifteen minutes away to the grocery store. That overpriced Dodge Viper (with shitty handling) often contains bumper stickers that read “Canada, best place on Earth” as well.

Hmmm, where have we seen this attitude before and from whom?

#235 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 02.19.12 at 5:18 pm

#193 disciple — “Aspartame causes you to gain weight, not lose it.” — Well, I had aspartame sandwiches for lunch today, washed down with a pint of GW koolaid. Tasted weird, to say the least!

#207 Gord In Vancouver — “Vancouver desperation continues….Saving for retirement? Real estate is your best bet” — Actually, TFSA’s, using the buy low / sell high are a better bet, ‘tho from a realtor’s perspective, I understand why they are still trying to flog a dead horse.

#210 TurnerNation — “Small fortunes will be made.” — Gold and silver are good in a portfolio, no more than 10%. Owning a home free and clear, or (better) renting is a smart move.

If one has any significant debt, they put themselves over a barrel by having to fork over more and more fees, a lot of which can be extinguished by pre-planning and forethought.

#213 TurnerNation — “Energy control is but one tenticle of their inky plan. You’ll see. Rationing, green/carbon taxes.” — Fortis and BC Hydro are jacking up their rates, Terasen will soon follow, then water rates — the list is endless. Prov. govts. are in cahoots with the feds — they’re all a bunch of crooks.

#236 Form Man on 02.19.12 at 5:22 pm

#231 Bobby

what damage has Harper done so far ? lots, but nothing like what is still to come.

#237 Smoking Man on 02.19.12 at 5:29 pm

#186 Linda Pearson on 02.19.12 at 9:11 am

Your right linda, I am out of control.

I will take a self imposed time out. Probably see a shrink. AA and rehab…..

The plane is going down fast, don’t want to hit the ground.

See you you when I see you.

Take care kids

#238 Canadian Watchdog on 02.19.12 at 5:33 pm

#233 45north

Data shows prices in this area (on average) have been falling for years. http://i39.tinypic.com/wslmps.png

#239 Canadian Watchdog on 02.19.12 at 5:38 pm

#233 45north

Sorry I meant sale to list price data shows sellers have not been receiving more then list price. http://i39.tinypic.com/wslmps.png

#240 Ralph Cramdown on 02.19.12 at 5:54 pm

So please tell me what irreparable damage has Harper done so far? Oh yes, he cancelled a bloated public gun registry.

Well, that right there would be one. Furious as I am about the vast cost overruns building the thing, they were a sunk cost, and annual running costs were low. With a promise to shred the data, he’s turned my return on that $1B from ‘low’ to ‘nil.’

I’m a post-Keynesian myself, but I can live with a government that holds taxes and spending roughly constant as a percentage of GDP over the business cycle. The “conservatives” I’ve seen since 1980 (on both sides of the border and in Europe) cut taxes in good times and cut spending in recessions. There’s no empirical economics behind this — it just makes the business cycle worse.

#241 eddy on 02.19.12 at 6:18 pm

“So tell me again what scares you about the Conservatives?”

how about-

“Lawful Access Act”


#242 TurnerNation on 02.19.12 at 6:45 pm

#220sam.i.am on 02.19.12 at 3:22 pm

If head is not cracked might as well get it cleaned up. And if they plane too much off the bottom you’ll need a thicker head gasket. I hope you have a good torque wrench.

#243 Snowboid on 02.19.12 at 6:52 pm

#230 Form Man on 02.19.12 at 4:32 pm…

I know that all too well, but even the Socreds had more regard for the province than these ‘Liberals’.

#244 TurnerNation on 02.19.12 at 6:58 pm

235Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 02.19.12 at 5:18 pm

Fortis, eh? Fight fire with fire? I notice they are publically traded – yielding 3.65% – and have five Preferred stock series listed! All of them are paying out ~.30/month div.

Common is trading at ten-year high of $33. ‘Nuff said, I guess.

I’m still adding to the Canadian payday loan/sub prime loan sharking company CSF.TO at current levels.
7.5% yield and some insider buying. They are also expanding in the UK (desperation central).

#245 Westerman on 02.19.12 at 7:11 pm

Form man @ # 217,
Poor Form Man – still a cheerleader for higher taxes and still MORE regulation… courtesy of Liberal ( Socialist ) government.
You STILL don’t get it, do you chump? People have had it with taxes… NO ONE is getting elected if they even have a whiff of increased taxation on their political carcasses – hence, no more Liberal governments for the foreseeable future.
And good riddance to them I say.

#246 Snowboid on 02.19.12 at 7:12 pm

#231 Bobby on 02.19.12 at 4:52 pm…

Funny, how about comparing apples to apples?

The list of the other parties political indigressions is short, but the BC ‘Liberals’ list would fill a book.

And don’t forget the ‘Liberals’ took lack of morals and character to a low never seen before, even dictatorships would have been toppled by now.

I realize H is trying hard to match our provinces’ snake-oil sales – and suspect he may have already beaten us.

At least we love our Koolaid in BC!

#247 Devore on 02.19.12 at 7:21 pm

#240 Ralph Cramdown

Well, that right there would be one. Furious as I am about the vast cost overruns building the thing, they were a sunk cost, and annual running costs were low. With a promise to shred the data, he’s turned my return on that $1B from ‘low’ to ‘nil.’

Sometimes, you just need to cut your losses. You propose the government keep spending money of pointless programs because of “sunk costs”? A database that is not being updated, and will become (even more) out of date and inaccurate overnight is worse than useless, it is dangerous.

#248 Mr Buyer on 02.19.12 at 8:44 pm

#245Westerman on 02.19.12 at 7:11 pm
People have had it with taxes…
I think people have had it with paying interest to banks even at these historic lows seeings how the bank risks the tax payers money. No, after hearing over and over again about the largess of government and evils of taxes all the while bussiness gouges more and more while providing less and less (along with fewer and fewer lower and lower paying jobs), I think it is about time we started focusing upon getting more value for our money from these private profit public risk entities. Never mind 28% interest credit cards and the like. There are alot more than 5 or 6 talking heads now that the internet has penetrated to the degree that it has. If like minded editorial blogs co-ordinated their efforts and added some solid facts and state of the art production values it will bring a whole new meaning to the term grassroots. There is little fear that the profiteer anti-unwashed masses types will be able to answer such an eventuality because it would involve actually doing some work rather than gouging money out of the masses while directly producing nothing. There is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water. A few key laws will change EVERYTHING.

#249 Mr Buyer on 02.19.12 at 9:22 pm

#234DonDWest …
You are actually trying to make a case for the poor captitolist. The same person that has rationalised the decimation of the North American Economy through the logic of globalisation. The same person that has reduced our media to propogandists. The same person that is richer than he or she has ever been in history. Along with this you wish to frame it in the capitolist/communist reality of the cold war (where the art of propaganda dissemination through the media was perfected). The human imagination can not develop an alternate reality derived from reflection upon the two systems noting their strengths and weaknesses. This is not possible for those with vested interests but the beauty of democracy is that if a large enough proportion of the poulation is disenfranchised by the powers that be (be they capitolists, industrialists, socialists or communists) an educated unwashed population can vote them out of power and elect another entity that has a better deal for the population as a whole. My advice to those that would seek power would be to master the art of the blog, raise the production values, have unasailable facts, canvas door to door and through classifieds directing people to the on-line message. A focus on technology (read further penetration of the net with two way communication between the public and its government), health care and education as well as repatriation of jobs and even a much stronger military (with a new homegrown military industrial complex that produces goods not for sale to the world as we do not need yet another arms dealer on the world stage ) with and eye upon retention of our non-renewable resourses for either sale at much higher prices in the future or our own use. Throw in acceleration of the adoption of thorium technology, as well as the full spectrum of renewable energy options and bring the hydrogen economy online as soon as possible. Cheap energy is a key part of any revitalisation. Politacal leaders in such an environment should be required by law to report all conflicting interests and provide justifications on the net for every descision that went against the popular vote (yes we could vote on just about everything with near 100% penetration of the net). How is that for a five minute vision for the future. Along with all this there should be fact finding truth hearings for the economic devastation of one of the richest countries on the planet. Accountability must be seen to be expected and enforced. No one goes without and state of the art free education should be availabe on-line. And it is not commrade Mister Buyer, it is fellow thinker Mr Buyer.

#250 Form Man on 02.19.12 at 9:29 pm

#243 Snowboid

I agree. Especially the administrations of WAC Bennett. He was pragmatic, not an ideologue.

#251 Bobby on 02.19.12 at 9:47 pm

For #236 Form Man,

Please don’t tell me about what is supposed to come, tell me what has happened that is so scary?

It’s simple.

#252 Bobby on 02.19.12 at 9:54 pm


In my post at #217 you spoke of the largest deficit in history. I will agree with you there. However, recall under Ignatieff the Liberals complained the government wasn’t spending enough to help get through the downturn. Then a short while later, Iggy said the government was spending too much. He said the Liberals would clear the $50 billion deficit without raising taxes. When asked how by a journalist, he said he would tell us all later. I still cannot recall him offering an explanation and we went through an election.
Imagine the hew and cry if in the impending budget, Harper skewers spending, reducing for example our bloated civil service. What most Canadians cannot grasp is that you cannot have ever increasing spending, first class services and low tax rates.
As Margaret Thatcher said, “Socialism ends when we run out of someone else’s money”.

#253 Herb on 02.19.12 at 10:03 pm

#251 Bobby,

and capitalism ends when capitalists have everyone else’s money.

Don’t you guys ever get tired of flogging shibboleths? Why don’t you find out what economic advice Ronald Reagan got from Bonzo.

#254 Bobby on 02.19.12 at 10:08 pm

For # 246 Snowbird,

I was comparing apples to apples.

There is little doubt that the BC Liberals are in trouble and it has to do with the HST. I suspect that they will be turfed out and we will wake up to an NDP government under Mr Dix.

The reality is that a consumption tax is the fairest of all taxes but the NDP is capitalizing on the hatred of this tax. Yes, the Libs were underhanded in bringing it in after the election, but they would have been turfed out if it became an election issue.

The Conservatives under Mulroney lost largely in 1993 due to anti GST sentiment. The Liberals campaigned on killing the GST, recall Chretiens clarion call to “ax da tax”. Ironically it still exists and the Liberals have become it’s biggest supporter.

Ask Dix how he will replace the revenue of the HST and he dances around the issue of raising taxes like an Aurther Murray graduate. Ask him directly if he will raise taxes and he heads for the exits. Ask him how much the BCTF deserve for a raise and he will talk about how bad Christy Clark is.

I suggest a tax on idiots. I think there is enough in the NDP caucus to clear the deficit and pay off the debt.

#255 Bobby on 02.19.12 at 10:33 pm

For Herb, #253,

A big word, I like that. Maybe I should ask Bob Rae for economic advice. I understand he did well in Ontario. LOL

#256 Snowboid on 02.19.12 at 11:44 pm

#254 Bobby on 02.19.12 at 10:08 pm…

Sorry, Bobby – you didn’t answer the question.

The ‘Liberals’ on BC continually bring up the integrity issue, as if the entire province is ‘brain-dead’.

Unfortunately history will show the Campbell/Clark Liberals by far had and still have the most secretive and corrupt government in provincial history.

Oh and by the way, a consumption tax is not fair – it penalizes the very people taxes are supposed to help.

A clue, it’s not the wealthy.

Insulting the opposition by suggesting they are idiots only confirms you have drank too much Koolaid.

#257 Herb on 02.20.12 at 12:18 am

#255 Bobby,

and of course what you and your kind would never admit is that Rae had to deal with a recession in Ontario. We’ll see how Harper and Flaherty make out with this one.

#258 Bobby on 02.20.12 at 12:31 am

Ah, Snowboid you are back.
Yes, I did answer the question and where are the examples of this history you are referring too.
I would suggest that you read up on consumption taxes. The vast majority of recognized economists have always stated that this form of taxation is the fairest. The reason, the wealthy have a greater disposal income that they can spend. Look around the world, in particular Europe, the vast majority of mature economies have significant VAT taxes, some which are rather high.
In the meantime, until you can back up your rants with facts, I will stick with the idea the NDP are idiots.

#259 Form Man on 02.20.12 at 9:08 am

#251 Bobby

I agree with you about consumption taxes. I also agree that was one of the smarter things that Mulroney did. So tell me why Harper ( a trained economist ) cut the gst by 2 points ?

40 year mortgage amortizations and zero down is another Harper policy, which undoubtedly has played a big role in Canada’s housing bubble, was known to be dangerous after the U.S. experience. So tell me why Harper ( a trained economist ) did that ?

Either he doesn’t have a clue about economics. or he purposely sabotaged the Canadian economy in order to win power. What a hero

#260 Snowboid on 02.20.12 at 12:32 pm

#258 Bobby on 02.20.12 at 12:31 am…

The post I responded to singled out Adrian Dix as having a lack of integrity.

The question was how do you compare minor issues like altering a document, bingo scandal, free deck, etc with a government that allowed almost all the provincial assets to be sold off like a liquidation sale – all the while insisting they weren’t doing that. Integrity is a term that couldn’t be used with any current or past ‘Liberals’!

You want examples? Where have you been the last 11 years? How about BC Hydro, BC Rail, ALR, Delta Superport, Olympics, Fish Farms, Public-Private Partnerships, Gambling, User Fees, BC Ferries, PAB… should I go on? The list is several pages long.

Even the Auditor-General accused the government of “serial lying”

Lest you think I am an NDP ‘idiot’ let me confirm I am not affiliated in any way with them. I did, however, have an insiders view of the operation of several provincial governments and have a pretty good idea of what each one did or didn’t do for BC.

On the issue of consumption taxes – yes I saw them first hand in Europe and in Great Britain. It certainly made you watch your purchases very carefully.

I have also watched how much these 20-25% consumption taxes have helped the EU and the UK weather the current economic storm.

Of course, don’t forget the income tax rates in Europe and the UK are much higher for upper income earners than Canada. For example in the UK 50% on incomes above CAD $240K.

While the concept of a consumption tax obviously helps simplify business processes, the implementation in BC shifted too much of the tax burden from corporations to the average tax-payer.

Not to mention adding the tax to items previously untaxed.

So I guess I agree we will have to disagree.