Back to normal

After a weekend of gender innuendo, gay-baiting, misogyny, femininazism and machismo, let’s get this pathetic blog back on track. Or maybe it was. Hard to tell anymore when, like me, you’re sexually cultured and used to Amazonian sponge baths. One thing’s for sure. There will be more pictures of babes on skates. For a while.

While we all measuring hormone levels and gland size, some interesting queries found their way to the 24-hour GreaterFool help desk. From high above Toronto’s west end, here’s Mark:

If you don’t mind, would like to get your opinion and insight on Toronto’s condo market. I purchased a nice PH unit at Lakeshore and Parklawn – about 1262sq feet 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, balconies, parking spot, etc for about 486k in August of 2009. It has some exposure to the Lake, but also faces the Gardiner. The unit has received good reviews, but the Gardiner exposure has been the turned off some buyers. I originally had the price in the high 500’s, but have brought it down to 535k with still no solid offers. I have a decent realtor, but I’m debating whether I should considering renting or focusing on selling? That area has more and more condo development on the lake, but with the Gardiner exposure and maintenance fees close to $800.00, I’m leaning towards getting out. It’s a beautiful condo, great layout, well-done, but no serious offers for quite some time. Would like to hear your advice on what to do. I do live in the condo, but don’t necessarily need all that space and with that type of overhead.

Mark, I too am disgusted. Why doesn’t everyone understand what a deal it is to pay just half a million dollars for a used condo facing the spewing, fumy Gardiner Expressway, and shell out only $800 a month (plus taxes) in fees? What the hell do they want for $500,000? Actual, like, land?

The choice is obvious. Bail. There are almost 40,000 new condos in the GTA pipeline with 23,000 coming to market this year. If you can get out of that thing now for five hundred (after commission), consider yourself a lucky man. Of course, it also means that factoring in closing costs back in 2009, you made absolutely no money on this investment, while shelling out more than a grand a month. But you did have a lovely view and likely shortened your life.

My son sent me the link to your Greater Fool website in August 2011 and since then I have been following and enjoying your blogs.  My husband and I are both Chinese (with no HAM), in our late 50s, living in Edmonton, Alberta since we immigrated to Canada 31 years ago.  Our wealth, little there is, came from lifelong saving and from always living under our means.

I have been working for the Provincial Government for 28 years and when I retire, I will be entitled to a small pension of approx. $2,300/month. My husband has been self-employed for the past 18 years, running a repair business out of the main floor of a 2-story commercial building that we own.  We live on the 2nd floor apartment of the same building.  My husband does not have a work pension and when he turns 65, will have a very small CPP income.

For more than 5 years, the advisor at the bank handled our investments. However, we closed our accounts in June 2011 because he failed to produce results and safe-guard our hard earned money.  We’re very disappointed and can’t decide what to do next.  Currently all the funds are sitting in the banks in low interest GICs and saving accounts. Yikes!  But the recent stock market volatility really scares us.

Below is a summary of what we own:

$440K – Commercial building (appraised in August 2011), mortgage free
$260K – Condo in BC for retirement (included closing costs in 2009), mortgage free
$190K – RRSP ; $40K – TFSA; $230K – Cash in bank

Since January 2012, the commercial building has been listed on MLS for sale but has no offer yet. My husband and I would really appreciate your opinion on our financial status and whether we could afford to retire soon.  Also, we would really appreciate your advice on how to strategically invest the little we have to improve our retirement income. Thanks! Fay

At least you have a pension. And a genius son. Right now 60% of your $1.16 million net worth is in real estate, and the other 40% seems to be earning you nothing. This is not a good retirement strategy, especially since the commercial building has turned illiquid. So, Fay, gotta fix that – and don’t let your experience with the bank guy paralyze you.

If your building hasn’t sold or attracted any nibbles in four months, then it’s the wrong price. Change that. You’ll not like what happens to the real estate market later in 2012. The sooner you are able to convert the $400,000 there from lazy equity into hard-working assets, the better. With almost $1 million invested in a conservative income-producing portfolio (you should expect 6% or close to it from a 60/40 fixed income/growth account), you’ll see a family income of more than $90,000 – and still have a million liquid.

But get out of those damn GICs. Find a smart fee-based advisor. Stop being scared. You’re richer than you think. (Did I just say that?)

Hi Garth,  Jimmy here. I’ve been reading your blog for a long while and tend to agree with your analysis. My fiancé and I have decided to sell our Toronto condo and rent until the market feels safer to buy in. We have quite a bit of equity right now – based on similar units sold this week in our building and our current mortgage, I believe we will come out with $195k in our pockets after selling costs.

We’re not clear what to do with the $195k. We’d like to see it grow while we rent for the next 18-24 months, after which time we’re hoping the market is in a better place for home ownership. We would use this money as a down payment on a house at that time. So the money will need to be accessible. Any suggestions what we might invest in?

Selling the condo to harvest a capital gain is smart. Planning to buy again in 18 months isn’t. Thinking you can invest in assets which are totally safe, completely liquid and will augment for sure over the next year and a half is naive. Would you like a pony with that?

If I’m remotely right about the housing market in the messed-up GTA, the upward momentum of prices will continue until the number of listings starts to swell, and the first round of rate increases hits. Then we’ll be into a quick correction, followed by a lengthy flat or declining market. This is classic sucker territory – when a 10% or 15% plop looks like a buying opportunity, only to turn into a miserable decision as prices continue to erase.

Plan to stay out of this thing for at least three years. Even then there’s a good chance houses will still be fading, thanks to the Boomers, mortgage hikes and debt fatigue. As for investing, be serious about it or forget it. You and the squeeze won’t secure your future with real estate. Those days are done. If you’ve got two hundred large to use, then do it right. Ten years from now it could be doubled, and ten after that about $800,000.

Houses are easy to come by. You don’t need money anymore to get one. Cash is rare. Don’t blow it. She will never, ever forgive.  Man, you know how women are…


#1 Poorboy on 04.15.12 at 9:04 pm

My balanced, conservative portfolio averaged 7.44% over the last two years, net of fees. Or you could get 2% on your GIC.

Tough choice. — Garth

Diversification is important, but maintaining a balanced portfolio for individual investors with liquid assets under a million is akin to handcuffing themselves. The only investors that should be using balanced portfolios are set it and forget it types who don’t want to spend more than a few hours per year thinking about their investments. And they certainly shouldn’t be paying someone to create a balanced portfolio for them – DIY with some ETFs and they can save themselves 1-3% on MER.

You just ruled out 99% of people, and most of them badly need help. — Garth

#2 Gta boy on 04.15.12 at 9:05 pm


#3 LH on 04.15.12 at 9:06 pm

SFH’s in C01 and C02 are still hot (mine is up 50% from August 2009)… condos NOT.

And that has made all the difference!

#4 cb on 04.15.12 at 9:06 pm


#5 Zep on 04.15.12 at 9:10 pm


#6 Cy on 04.15.12 at 9:11 pm


#7 Not 1st on 04.15.12 at 9:12 pm

$800 per month in fees? Wow for that kind of money they had better clean the place daily and shine my shoes too.

#8 SEAN on 04.15.12 at 9:15 pm


#9 Pat on 04.15.12 at 9:21 pm

But you did have a lovely view and likely shortened your life.

I find this statement elitist and offensive. Not everyone can afford a house in the suburbs, some have to live in urban areas with high traffic.

OMG. — Garth

#10 squidly 77 on 04.15.12 at 9:23 pm

Make $32,000 as a family, or err, your a couple, you too can be a proud mortgage owner of a brand new Edmonton condo


#11 Bubble Shooter on 04.15.12 at 9:26 pm

Enough with the first! Make space for intelligent comments! Garth, it’s time to make fun of them again so they stop.

Great post.

#12 Joe on 04.15.12 at 9:30 pm

Finding a smart fee based advisor is no easy task and unless you have a big chunk of money ready to invest, they probably won’t even take you on as a client. GICs it is!

#13 Toronto_CA on 04.15.12 at 9:32 pm

I don’t understand how anyone can expect condos to keep zooming up in price (or not come down even a little bit). The revolution is coming for GTA Condos, sooner than you think.

Given that so many of these monolithic towers in the GTA are not going to be finished until 2-3 years from now, if the interest rates rise in early 2013 (or sooner) even modestly, this could trigger a crash-or OSFI changing rules or capping CMHC limits. At least for condos, I won’t speculate on SFD.

So if the crash starts and condos drop in value 20-30% and aren’t selling, what would the effect be on huge towers that are in pre-development? Not to mention the ~30% of the GTA that depends on RE boom for jobs.

PS – hot photo lol

#14 Canadian Watchdog on 04.15.12 at 9:44 pm

For those who would like a forecast on what lies ahead for the Canadian economy, I recommend to watch the video below featuring our former prime minister Paul Martin ‘unplugged’ with the elite, telling all how he managed to balance our budget during the early 90s, despite all the associated risks.

INETeconomics: Paradigm Lost Conference

(Berlin) April 13, 2012: Paul Martin, Former Prime Minister of Canada, discusses how Canada eliminated the deficit in the 1990s which was the worst of the G7 at the time. In doing so he discusses the timing and the need for governments to place greater emphasis on bringing the country’s population onside when tough decisions are required.

After you watch this video, revisit the charts below to get an understanding of how deep and complex our next recession will be to contain. Pay extra close attention to the interest rate chart as I’ve highlighted every time the BoC lowered rates to get us out of a recession, and most notably, look at where rates are today.

Bank of Canada Overnight Rate

As for Mr. Martin claiming his budget balance a success, instead, all he achieved was a transfer of federal debt to household balance sheets.

Residential Mortgage Credit

This is not a false alarm. It’s coming.

#15 Mikey the Realtor on 04.15.12 at 9:47 pm


#16 Maxamillion on 04.15.12 at 9:51 pm

The silent killer in owning a Toronto condo is the maintenance fee, forget about the falling glass, you can wear a hard hat. It’s a time bomb.

#17 JessicaJ on 04.15.12 at 9:52 pm

“But you did have a lovely view and likely shortened your life.”

Thanks for the laugh Garth!

#18 mel in victoria on 04.15.12 at 9:55 pm

Garth do you think another batch of QE , ie QE3 will occur later this year?

#19 Dave on 04.15.12 at 9:59 pm

I couldn’t agree more with your advice to Mark.
I used to own a beautiful condo in one of the older buildings on the waterfront there. A 180 degree unobstructed view of the waterfront and Lake Ontario. I bailed when my maintenance fees hit $500/mo (.53 sq/ft all in) and just as they started selling for the new buildings just being finished now.

The person that bought from me sold less than 18 months later and ended up losing money.

$800 a month maintenance fees? Nice that it’s a larger 2 bedroom place, but thats still crazy.

#20 zeeman on 04.15.12 at 10:02 pm

garth did you say just say tht prices will go up for the next three years in the gta…..what happen to the correction you have been talking about…

No. — Garth

#21 Herf on 04.15.12 at 10:08 pm


For $800/month, they should wash, polish and vacuum your car, and sweep out the parking stall. If the stall is outside, in winter, shovel it. And if it’s winter and your car is parked outside, sweep/scrape it clear of snow/ice, and clean the snow/ice or road grime off the mirrors, head and tail lights.

While we’re at it, maybe they should also change the car oil and filter, check and top up all the other fluids, check the pressure in the tires, and check for any burned out light bulbs (assuming they are light bulbs and not LEDs). And if the car’s been sitting there for a couple of weeks, undriven (because you walk or take transit to work), charge the battery (wouldn’t want the plates to sulfate now, would we?).

( I’m a low maintenance guy, but my truck isn’t).

#22 Marco on 04.15.12 at 10:14 pm

On one side of the street I have a friend that pointed out the house he was renting 2 years ago and moved after some Taiwanese bought it for $1.5 m is now listing for $2.4m. On the other side of the street i have another fiend with a $3m cool home that was renivated in character that has been on the market for 9 months without a single viewing (no HAM or BACON or SAUSAGE or EGGS whatsoever).

This is in Shaugnessy. Oh yes his $1.9 “pad” in whistler, not a single offer after 8 viewings.

Some pump up, and those pumped don’t pop!

#23 Money Thats What I Want on 04.15.12 at 10:19 pm

@SM – your post about the loogans who wait for the screen at the union GO station is dead on. Anybody that calls you arrogant or macho for telling the truth is just to scared of their own shadow and probably has too much pride to acknowledge that they lived their life without taking risks.

Just think of the herd as an anology to electricity(electrons). They follow the least path of resistance. They are expendable just as a battery cell. The ones that stray from the herd(stray current) must be stopped as an electrical machine/motor/transformer does not operate as efficiently when it has eddy current losses – may wanna look that one up.

BTW, if you wanna observe some more loogans in their habitat try working a shift at the beer store.

#24 ozy - nuke the condo sites, they are doomed anyway on 04.15.12 at 10:22 pm

Nuke the condo sites, they are doomed anyway.

Torontonians are doing a very stupid thing “buying kondos” !!!

You can mate a nice girl somewhere else (e.g. motel) no need to buy a 500 sqf in downtown of boringtown.

#25 JoeTheBruce on 04.15.12 at 10:25 pm

Riddle me this batman; why are yields on Spanish bonds rising when the ECB is lending Spain as much as they want?????
The house party in Canada won’t be over until interest rates rise and I don’t hear the fat lady singing yet.

#26 Mark "the talk" Carney on 04.15.12 at 10:32 pm

Fascist CHMC has created a bubble that dwarfs the US housing bubble and Canadians with their smug attitudes are in for a rude awakening. Vancouver and Toronto are beyond stupid to the point the spin doctors no longer try to spin the numbers. Anyone with a calculator can see what madness and illogical behavior taking place in Canada. Why Mark “the talk” Carney hasn’t raised interest rates or why the fascist conservatives haven’t shut down fascist CHMC and allowed the FREE MARKETS to correctly price risk which the fascist conservative seem to hate more then democracy . The free markets would NEVER allow this madness and they would crash home prices 50% . Everyone in the biz knows what I am saying as 100% true.

#27 Smoking Man on 04.15.12 at 10:33 pm

Garth, Curious? to you ever get email saying.

Ban the Smoking, that loser drunk, pretending to be rich when we all know he is a homeless person at the internet cafe. His crap is boring and off topic. He’s stupid, doesn’t know anything, why do you allow these kinds of idiots to post.

The hate mail count has to be high.

#28 City Slicker on 04.15.12 at 10:36 pm

17 mel in victoria on 04.15.12 at 9:55 pm

Garth do you think another batch of QE , ie QE3 will occur later this year?
Of course. Once you start you can’t stop, otherwise all behind you collapses. They should have let it happen in 2008 then start over. QE to infinity, until you can’t kick the can down the road anymore, then bust.

#29 Smoking Man on 04.15.12 at 10:40 pm


Unload the condo and buy a bungalow between 1rst and 40th south of lake shore Rundown one will cost under 5ook

Try and get something with in walking distance to Go Train long branch. The wave has not hit the area yet, Beaches West

Just watch

#30 BC Bring Cash on 04.15.12 at 10:42 pm

This picture I believe is a rerun. But that’s OK. I get the message.

#31 Smoking Man on 04.15.12 at 10:46 pm

#13 Canadian Watchdog on 04.15.12 at 9:44 pm

Residential Mortgage Credit

Nice Spin but you forgot the asset value chart.

And the amount of Track number 6’s out their

#32 John G. Young on 04.15.12 at 10:50 pm

Another one of those entries where the heading and the photo are juxtaposed… or are they….???

Thank God Friday’s blog is history.

#33 Min in Mission on 04.15.12 at 10:55 pm

$800 / month for condo fees!!! I have friends whose mortgage (including interest and taxes) payment isn’t that high!! Yeah, I have friends!! Surprise!

How can anyone think that those kind of fees, plus a mortgage payment, is normal?

I had lower total payments than that and I at least got a half decent sized lot, with a two storey house!

#34 T.O. Bubble Boy on 04.15.12 at 11:00 pm

Given where the U.S. is now (not even at a bottom yet, 6 years after the peak of 2006), 3 years seems very optimistic for the Canadian market to settle/melt.

The speed of the bubble bursting all comes down to interest rates. If rates stay low, listings will be the trigger — if rates spike a couple of percent, the lack of listings won’t matter.

#35 GeneticistX on 04.15.12 at 11:01 pm

i am so confused… How is it that everyone can aford the nonsense going on?

#36 GLK on 04.15.12 at 11:07 pm

I did hit the send button before the end of my previous post.

Fay, Jimmy,

One can generate income income with relatively low volatility using a balanced protfolio. That is why it is good to start investing in the stock market while young in order to lean, built experience and confidence. Few ETF tips:
– XPF (CAN and US preferred shares), 5.2% dividend
– FIE (preferred+bonds+bank stocks), 7.3% dividend
– CPF CAN Preferred shares, 4.3% dividend
– CYH Global dividend stocks, 3.7% dividend
– CLF 5year laddered gov bonds, 3.7% dividend
– CBO, 5y laddered corporate bonds, 4.5% dividend
– ZMI, 4.9% dividend
– ZRE (Real estat inv trusts), 5.3% dividend
– ZUT (utilities); 5.2% dividend
– ZEF (emergings markets bonds), 5.3% dividends
– Add more for regional and asset type diversification
– Adjust relative weight to your risk level and you do better than mos investors.

#37 island renters on 04.15.12 at 11:11 pm

Where do you find these photos?

The reason the majority of buyers under 34 are women is not that men are investing in riskier or smarter assets, but rather that women in this age category are the higher income earners. The majority of professional programs (law, medicine, ot, pt) are now female dominated. While men in this age category live in the parents’ basements, spending hours refreshing their browsers so that they can post ‘furst/phirst/fyurst’ on some pathetic blog. So Garth, spread the word. Save this new generation of power-Amazons from losing their shirts in the real estate market. After all, someone has to keep the butt-flossing carpenters in business.

#38 This is Wonderland on 04.15.12 at 11:23 pm

can you comment on this and how it could effect Canada.

#39 Rog on 04.15.12 at 11:29 pm

Its sure suckes to work and live in vancouver bc , house prices suck and so do bank interest rates that are well below inflation rates of canada or Inflation Rate of Vancouver

#40 Canadian Watchdog on 04.15.12 at 11:31 pm

Realty Sellers Condo Stats April1-13

#41 daystar on 04.15.12 at 11:37 pm

#311 Smoking Man on 04.15.12 at 6:10 pm
#321 John on 04.15.12 at 8:48 pm

Respectfully replied on the last thread.

#42 timbo on 04.15.12 at 11:56 pm

#38 This is Wonderland,


China is in a bind and now must try to fuel home-grown consumption while keeping inflation down. It will raise the yuan to help with import prices relief. Unfortunately everything it exports will become more expensive.

#43 Canadian Watchdog on 04.16.12 at 12:09 am

#31 Smoking Man

Oh, you must be one those people who have fixed/variable deficiency. I understand.

#44 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 04.16.12 at 12:14 am

Shit happens, so Back To Normal.

“. . . you’re sexually cultured and used to Amazonian sponge baths. For a while.” — Sure beats the heck out of the fiscal drivel!

“. . . let your experience with the bank guy paralyze you.” — Ain’t that dude in the pic [email protected] doing his job properly?
Six Price Tricks Fool me once . . .; Sarkozy’s Economic Skid Row; No Comparison GD1 to GR1; Asia Riches await; Taxmageddon Same in Canada; Ten States where buyers are saving on 4closed homes.

Rothschild Merger of UK and France; CFR Not happy with Odear’s Buffett tax. Exit stage left? 8:09 clip Silver to hit low this week? Cashless Society The banxters wet (and ultimate) dream; ECB Inflated Pensions; Stockton suspends police vacation payouts; Iran – EU Counter sanctions from Iran; Burger King choked on itself; Four Reasons Commodity super cycle is ending; Credit Suisse Axing 5K jobs? Spain’s strange chart; Disturbed Investors? Last hour of last week’s trading;, RE and Economic Bubbles.
Chinese Spellchecker They have a lot to learn about phoenetics; 48% Where would all these Brits. go? Tit for Tat Politics has ‘different’ people in; Sudan (Oil) drums of war, because the west wants it; Quantum ‘Net on the way. Is it controlled? 16:47 clip The Church of Malthus; 9:45 clip Hitching a ride with a great white shark; Smart Grid Not so smart; 3:09 clip Colorful images of The Mountain, day and night; Soccer player dies on pitch in Italy, and Aspartame sports drinks may be linked.

#45 Poorboy on 04.16.12 at 12:28 am

You just ruled out 99% of people, and most of them badly need help. — Garth

Fair point.

#46 Aussie Roy on 04.16.12 at 12:38 am

Aussie Headlines

Speckers guide to Negative Gearing

According to the Australian Taxation Office, more than 1.1 million people claim negative gearing deductions yearly and receive tax benefits to the tune of $5.5 billion.

Having a negatively geared property allows you to deduct an investment loss from your income, including your salary, but it shouldn’t be seen as a panacea for a dud investment choice. There are smart ways to use negative gearing, yet there are also hidden traps that can catch out the unwary and those who don’t research thoroughly.

If you borrow to buy a house or unit and the expenses are greater than the income, you are negatively gearing. The ATO gives you back a percentage of this loss, to the extent of your marginal tax rate (that is, if you pay tax at 37 per cent, you’ll get back 37 per cent of the loss).

There has been an increase in listings from investors wanting to offload stock that they believed had reached their capital growth potential.

We have seen a drop in price over the last 12 months from the asking price of around 10 to 15 per cent.

Rents never go down?.

SYDNEY’S haute couture shopping precinct is facing its biggest ever crisis as desperate landlords slash rents by up to 50 per cent in a bid to stem the tide of fleeing tenants.

Once the city’s prime fashion strip, Paddington’s Oxford St is now riddled with cut-price sales and vacant shops as battling boutiques struggle to survive in the retail recession.

#47 getreal-tor on 04.16.12 at 12:52 am

#16 Maxamillion on 04.15.12 at 9:51 pm

“””The silent killer in owning a Toronto condo is the maintenance fee, forget about the falling glass, you can wear a hard hat. It’s a time bomb.”””

At least the guy has a condo downtown as I remember visiting some condo’s near Promenade and also on Disera which also had 700+ maintenance fees.

Many condo fees are like the “System Access Fee” that was tacked onto our cell bills – nothing more than a money grab considering what you get in return.

#48 Mark "the talk" Carney on 04.16.12 at 1:09 am

Will mark ”the talk” Carney continue his talking and warning ways or will this useless moron actually do something and rise rates? We all know that useless eater will be concerned about debt levels but leave rates unchanged. Wow you shocked everyone mark “the talk” Carney. Well you heard it here first that rates will be unchanged. Surprise surprise. Why do we pay that useless man?

#49 Wise guy on 04.16.12 at 1:11 am

I live about 5 minutes from that condo at lakeshore and parklawn and what ‘Mark’ failed to mention was the stench that he must smell from the sewage plant that is located there too!

As for housing prices correcting Garth in just an 18-24 month period, that is crazy and I agree 100% with you! It will be a slow long burn downwards and in thinking it will be much like the housing correction that started in 1989, where house prices went down for 8 years straight!

#50 obert on 04.16.12 at 1:11 am

From Globe and Mail:

Monday, April 16

The Canadian Real Estate Association reports on existing home sales for March. Economists expect a 0.3-per-cent year-over-year drop in unit sales and a 0.1-per-cent rise in average prices.

… hmm, if that is true than considering inflation this would be a loss of more than 2 % year-over-year for RE investors.

Not a nominal price decline, but a tipping point rather…

#51 TimV on 04.16.12 at 1:17 am

Actually, a penthouse view of the Gardiner is quite relaxing, and you’re definitely too high to smell it. $800 maintenance fees is none to pretty, however.

#52 a prairie dawg on 04.16.12 at 1:22 am

#25 JoeTheBruce

why are yields on Spanish bonds rising when the ECB is lending Spain as much as they want?????

– — –


Yields are rising, to price in all the risk aversion. The ECB backing just means that other EU members are footing the bill. And they want a premium for that risk.

#53 daystar on 04.16.12 at 1:53 am

#14 Canadian Watchdog on 04.15.12 at 9:44 pm

Thanks for the links CW. I especially liked revisiting Paul Martin’s take on Canada’s hard choices and how he dealt with building a conscensus and delivering these choices to the rest of us Canadians.

I do however, disagree with your assessment of Paul Martin using housing to get our way out of deficit spending and into surplus. Commodities and GDP growth helped by the dollar had much more to do with diluting our intergovernmental debt to GDP ratios than juicing housing valuations.

Your chart:

Residential Mortgage Credit

Should be compared to average income & inflation. Run these charts by us with the inclusion of CMHC regulatory changes over his 12 years as finance minister & PM and maybe then you can have evidence to make that claim but I doubt that you’ll find what you are looking for to support your hunch. I looked for income charts to help and couldn’t find anything but you are most welcome to try.

#54 Devore on 04.16.12 at 2:09 am

$800 condo fee for a 2 bedroom is pretty much what they should be paying, maybe a little too low even. Remember these towers are being thrown up very quickly, and are a massive ticking timebomb of a maintenance liability. The condo needs to build up a large reserve fund very quickly to fund ongoing preventative maintenance and repairs, as well as the inevitable replacements and refurbishing. Skimping on the ongoing stuff only means owners will be facing large assessments for emergency repairs that much sooner.

#55 scib on 04.16.12 at 2:57 am

I wonder if Mark and all you other high condo fee paying slaves ever wonder how you got sucked into it in the first place?
Usually the builder lies about the condo fees by setting an unsustainable condo fee and proudly advertising it as a very low condo fee. This helps you get into the place to begin with as the fake condo fee is factored in your income calculations by the mortgagor.
Then did you ever wonder why anyone would volunteer for such a job as a condo board member?
Because of the big under the table kickbacks from the contractors of large jobs of course.
Out here in the Wet Coast every Condo needs a building re wrap after a few years.
If you don’t think there are a lot of brown paper bags stuffed with cash passing under tables, I have a bridge in Manhattan to sell you.

#56 Ship on 04.16.12 at 2:58 am

That pic is hot

What’s wrong with me?


#57 Debtfree on 04.16.12 at 3:52 am

@johnny young . Thank Garth that Fridays blog is gone ! On the other hand lets not let our guard down . The wild rose party in that bastion of progressive thinking of albertard . Are going to let or demand gays and lesbians spend an eternity in a lake of fire . I think that is southeast of fort Mac. The story is on . The nuts are sprouting in wildrose country . Country without an o. It’s amazing to me that a place with so few “humans”can produce so many douchbags.flanagan must be proud of his spawn. Flanagan the thing that crawled north.

#58 ANONYMOUS on 04.16.12 at 3:56 am

== That photo is clearly photoshopped ==

– Here’s the lowdown this weekend in K-W area of Ontario: THE ECONOMY IS REALLY PICKING UP !

I see construction cranes and trucks everywhere, construction everywhere you look, and homes that were selling now have ‘SOLD’ signs on them.

From what I can see, inflation is going to really pick up as people are getting jobs left and right and the government will need to raise rates soon to keep the lid on this pressure boiler.

With the new jobs popping up everywhere I can see that this spring is going to be just BOOMING for real estate sales, I predict that the average home prices here in the K-W region will rise 28% from the same time in 2011.

Does anyone have feelings that differ?

#59 TomOfMilton on 04.16.12 at 5:45 am

Condos the new swear word one day?
One of the pushes behind us having sold our townhouse this week was that strong possibility. It doesn’t have to be a building and it doesn’t have to be in Toronto.
But once once condos become a swear word around the water cooler (once ANYTHING is) it’s too late and old news.
So…even though we are happy here…imagine trying to sell anything with “cono fees” once enough people are burned to make it water cooler news.
I’ve been on our condo board for almost all of the 14 years we owned this townhouse. It is tough to keep fees in check. And the REAL inflation rate (not the BS being spouted for justifying low interest rates) is huge.
Our largest bill, water and sewer went up 10% one year and then 8% the next. You really have to be on the board to see it happening. Fees MUST go up even when a board is well managed…imagine when it is not!
I’m grateful forth warning from this site…and grateful for a spouse who discusses (argues) fairly.
SOLD by the lady in the second row
…she’s an 8 she’s a 9 she’s a ten I know
Ruby red lips, blonde hair blue eyes
We’re about kiss our house goodbye!


#60 Superman on 04.16.12 at 6:07 am

Garth… this blog is getting boring now. I get it – it’s tough to write something 6 x a week while staying fresh. But that being said, I just think we need some stories of the actual crash happening. Stories like the college girl who paid $400k over asking, or stories of people lining up around blocks. Why didn’t you do a story on how the Vancouver mayor was complaining that his own son couldn’t afford to buy a house? I’d like to see more coverage on Vancouver please. Okay, I’m bias, but seriously, Vancouver just seems far more interesting than Toronto. In Toronto, the crash isn’t happening yet, but in Vancouver it is, and Vancouver is NUMERO UNO in Canada for overpriced. I know every Torontonian bear would like to think that Toronto is ground zero, but it’s definitely going to be Vancouver.

For a bush league city, Van has received big coverage here. BTW, your myopia is boring. — Garth

#61 FTP - First Time Poster on 04.16.12 at 6:48 am


We need not worry anymore about housing prices, so long as Carney, et. al follow the well timed advice in this article.

I want my $10MM a good 6-12 months ahead of the herd tho.

#62 TurnerNation on 04.16.12 at 6:56 am

Smoking man has it correctly pegged: today’s advanced education is designed to confuse, and to obscurify, its initiates.

At no point do they teach you money-making ideas. But they certainly assist while filling out those student loan forms that ensure a lifetime’s worth of debt.

They need to sit you down and say: OK, we’re going to figure out how to be the next Red Bull.

But, you gasp, how ever to take on a market leader?

Who dared take on market leading PALM?
RIM did.
Who dared take on market leading RIM? Apple. And so on.

O bubble heads, O tax farm slaves: sign on the dottted line and by age 25 you too will have a lifetime of student loan, mortgage, and car loan debt.

#63 Work & Tumbel on 04.16.12 at 7:54 am

In reply to post # 60 Anonymous, homes up 28%
There are so many homes for sale in and around Waterloo (RIM) nice Homes over 500,000 in KW. No the price will Not Go up in KW.

#64 Brandy on 04.16.12 at 8:33 am

Hey Mark, suggest you advertise your condo facing the Gardiner on an exhibitionist website. For an exhibitionist, the opportunity to face the Gardiner is worth half a mill!

#65 Aaron - Melbourne on 04.16.12 at 8:34 am

Repeat after me…

A costly six degrees of separation
April 14, 2012

Kate Thompson was one of Australia’s top 10 mortgage brokers. She wrote more than $100 million in loans in a single year and, by her own account, was more likely to close a deal with a “hug and a kiss” than a handshake.

Now she faces multiple charges of theft and fraud in a Perth court and her broking operation, Mortgage Miracles, has closed.

Thompson was one of the more vivacious vendors of low-doc loans. The actual loans for brokers such as Thompson came from the likes of Perpetual, Westpac, Suncorp, Macquarie, RHG, ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank.

Things may soon get uncomfortable for some in this low-doc star chamber, should recriminations arise between the banks and their brokers. Defiant and desperate to spread the blame, Thompson promised the State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia last month she would deliver 15 witnesses to show how bankers beat a path to her office and wrote loans for her customers.

”The banks gave Australia these products so anyone with some equity and a pulse could qualify for a loan,” she said.

”As a result, tragically the banks are now the owners of that equity and as far as I am concerned the banks stole it from them.”

It won’t be as simple as that. When it comes to low-doc loans, there are six degrees of separation between the banks and their borrowers.

Julia Eastland is a 71-year-old pensioner from Perth and one of Kate Thompson’s clients.

Eastland took out a “low no-doc loan” on the advice of Thompson for $248,500. She used her family home as collateral. As she had very little income, she was unable to afford the repayments.

She defaulted. A consumer rights advocate, Denise Brailey, helped Eastland petition the Financial Ombudsman Service which, despite a governance ring to its name, is itself funded by the banks. FOS found the loan application had been doctored by the broker. It also found “maladministration” on behalf of the lender, Macquarie.

However, it saw no evidence that Macquarie was the agent of the mortgage broker, Thompson’s Mortgage Miracles.

So FOS recommended – despite the doctored loan documents and the fact that Eastland should never have been lent the money in the first place – that liability be apportioned 75-25.

In other words, the bank would not change the locks on the Eastland family home but its septuagenarian borrower would still owe one quarter of the loan.

For their part, the banks are distanced from the low-doc borrowers by a fancy structure that entails six degrees of separation.

Although the loan contract itself is between the two parties, the borrower and the lender, and article 25 of the Code of Banking Practice says the banker ought to establish if the borrower can afford the loan, the banks contend that the brokers are not their agents.

This agency issue lies at the heart of the handful of low-doc disputes which have made it to court. As low-doc loans squarely targeted those at the lower rungs of the credit food chain, few can afford to sue. And how do you sue a “structure” anyway? A letter from Perpetual about the Julia Eastland situation describes “The Structure”:

The banks and other lenders are the “investors”. The investors lend money to the “trust”, of which Perpetual is the trustee. The “program manager” and the “servicer” of the trust is Macquarie Securitisation Ltd.

Using this money from the banks, the trust then buys a pool of loans from the “mortgage managers” (parties such as Mortgage Ezy, Macquarie Mortgages and AFG).

These “mortgage managers” then organise finance for the “loan introducers” such as Thompson’s Mortgage Miracles.

There you have it, six degrees of separation. There is a corpse but no murderer, just a mute, multi-headed structure-beast lurking near the crime scene.

The Perpetual account of how things work is as structured as The Structure itself.

In reality, the big brokers such as Thompson are smothered with love by the lenders because they bring business in the door.

The risk to the banks is probably contained to PR and legal costs. Save FOS, which is an industry body, no regulators are involved.

The low-doc clients are often elderly and financially unsophisticated people, so the “media noise” from their cases is unlikely to get too loud. Though, according to Graeme Hancock, a lawyer who has represented some victims, the loc-doc loan debacle is systematic and widespread.

“There are 3500 people who have been done over – and they’re just the ones we know about,” Hancock says. That includes two 80-year old pensioners who were encouraged to take out a loan from Westpac.

“Why are there six degrees of separation between the lender and the crook who fudged the details (on the loan documents)?” he asks.

There are a number of variations on the low-doc “scam” as Hancock describes it.

One, the client is enticed by a property deal and sold a loan on the proviso that the property will be flipped (sold again) before the loan is settled.

Two, the loan is made for whatever worthy purpose but the client is told not to worry about repayments as the repayments can be made from the principal of the loan. Sound familiar?

Who wrote the script? The low-doc loans appeared almost 10 years ago. Originally designed to help small business, they were soon piggy-backed into investment loans and, by about 2005, they took off as a popular way of financing investment in Queensland property.

Read more:

#66 Vex and silence on 04.16.12 at 8:41 am

Wise guy on 04.16.12 at 1:11 am
I live about 5 minutes from that condo at lakeshore and parklawn and what ‘Mark’ failed to mention was the stench that he must smell from the sewage plant that is located there too!

Word. I used to rent in Port Credit and drive/GO past this locale twice daily on my way into the city. I occasionally even worked very close. The smell is exquisite at times. Sometimes you even get this exotic blend from the Humber TP and the Mr. Christie cookie factory across the highway…..mmmmm, cookies ‘n shit!

scib on 04.16.12 at 2:57 am
……….Then did you ever wonder why anyone would volunteer for such a job as a condo board member?
Because of the big under the table kickbacks from the contractors of large jobs of course……….

Bingo. That’s the only reason I’d work myself on the board if I ever opt into a condo scheme.

I’d like to at least have right of refusal of the contractors’ pitches for “Pick me to replace your boiler plant/parking garage/……etc. at my slightly unreasonable price (or slightly substandard work at full price), and all of the other unit holders can pay for a full re-model of the inside of your suite!!!!”

#67 Market Bull on 04.16.12 at 8:47 am

The City of Toronto (Districts C01 – W10) attracts money.

TREB stats for the month of March, 2012 indicate that there were 330 sales in excess of one-million dollars in the City proper.

#68 maxx on 04.16.12 at 9:20 am

#7 Not 1st on 04.15.12 at 9:12 pm

Agree completely. Condo fees have gone berserk everywhere. What an outrageous wealth siphon! Worst service value on the planet! Our landlady pays over $300.00/month in fees for almost zero service on a 2 bedroom unit. No security guard, no gym, no pool, no recreation facilities of any sort, no utilities and very sketchy cleaning. The building has 1 super for about 220 units, earning about minimum wage and for this works like a dog as well as doing administration (mainly fielding complaints) in the front office. A pop-up cleaner swans in about twice a month when the super threatens to leave.
Another fine example of “just about enough” and “just in time” management techniques.
Human “capital” is expendable, profit is not.

#69 Bigrider on 04.16.12 at 9:30 am

Seriously Garth, so long as financial markets continue to go up and down ,with indexes no higher than they were 12 years ago, people will continue to gravitate to real estate, which has doubled or tripled in price over same time period, with no gyrations.

People skate to where the puck is unfortunately, not where it’s going.

Keep trying to shine the light though.

‘No gyrations’ in real estate in 12 years? You just blew it. — Garth

#70 getreal-tor on 04.16.12 at 9:59 am

#66 Brandy on 04.16.12 at 8:33 am

He lives on the penthouse which means you either have eyes like an eagle or the exhibitionist has to retrofit the unit with red lights to draw attention to it.

#64 TurnerNation on 04.16.12 at 6:56 am

You are proposing that people start detaching themselves from the herd and start thinking on their own… I think I’d see a polar bear run for Prime Minister before this happens.

#71 Dontcallmeshirley on 04.16.12 at 9:59 am

My balanced, conservative portfolio averaged 7.44% over the last two years, net of fees. Or you could get 2% on your GIC.

Tough choice. — Garth


Is that 7.44% actual cash return, or is there an unrealized cap gain element?

Without using options or leverage, 7.44% is pretty sharp – tip o’ the hat sir!

Aggregate return. Most investors want growth, not income. — Garth

#72 John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt on 04.16.12 at 10:02 am

Eaglebay – Parksville, relative to populations there aren’t hardly any Americans in BC along the coast or on Vancouver Island like you want to think. There aren’t hardly any Americans at all living in Canada when referenced against the U.S. population. It goes to show how naive you are. Relative to populations there are about 10 to 1 Canadians living in the U.S. compared to Americans living in Canada. I think that paints a pretty clear picture where someone would choose to live when given the opportunity.

#73 johnny5z on 04.16.12 at 10:04 am

#9 Pat has a point. In the interest of fairness and equality, all condos should be built to face freeways, not lakes, oceans, and parks. Crabs in a barrel, AKA scientific socialism dictates that everyone must live in the same squalor (except for the political and bankster elite).

Down with the LA Kings of Los Angeles opressing the Canucks!

#74 45north on 04.16.12 at 10:09 am

Smoking Man: Drank 2 bottles of mouth wash.

pretty funny, I don’t like it even when I spit it out

everybody’s missing the big play – Kirkland Lake! The gold mines are opening. Houses which 2 years ago cost $100,000 are now $200,000. Hotels are full. Great hunting and fishing. Only a 3 hour drive to downtown (North Bay).

#75 JoeTheBruce on 04.16.12 at 10:13 am

#53 Prairie Dawg

Do you remember what happened to yields on Italian bonds when the ECB stepped in…..they went way down, that’s the intention of the ECB. Investors aren’t demanding higher yields because they aren’t buying the bonds, the ECB is. The fact that Spanish yields are rising
suggests to me that things are F****D up out there and we are entering a new phase of the euro zone crisis.

#76 Toronto_CA on 04.16.12 at 10:15 am

“Toronto’s average residential price last month was $504,117 — up from $456, 147 in March 2011. Vancouver’s average residential price in March was $761,742, down from $786,311 in the same month last year.”

Why does Vancouver always get to go first?

#77 Daisy Mae on 04.16.12 at 10:24 am

#55 DEVORE: “The condo needs to build up a large reserve fund very quickly to fund ongoing preventative maintenance and repairs….”


I know an owner of a ‘leaky condo’ in BC who took out a ‘reverse mortgage’ to pay for repairs totalling just under $100,000.

#78 Ian - Ottawa on 04.16.12 at 10:46 am

In regards to pollutants and Criteria air contaminants (CAC’s) I am often baffled at why living close to a highway, whether the 401 or QEW is a good thing for your health. The C02 won’t do much but make it smoggy and mugging to human health. But the more dangerous Nitrogen Oxides (N0x) (You can’t see it FYI) being emitted from all those transport trucks is going to have VERY SERIOUS EFFECTS on your health, Canada does not yet make them equip their exhaust after treatment with SCR Catalysts or UREA which would drop the emissions greatly! As and FYI Don’t worry about a pension longer than 70 months, if your in this category, you won’t need it.

#79 Smoking Man on 04.16.12 at 10:47 am

I just got back from an overnighter at the casino, I was down $20,000 but managed to ring in $55,000 by the end of the night.

That is how you do it bubbly heads and tax farm slaves, ur govenrment will never teach you that.

I’m meeting my only friend at the bar in 30 so I got to run, looking to swing back a 2/4 hopefully I dont puke all over myself like last night.

#80 cramar on 04.16.12 at 10:52 am

60 ANONYMOUS on 04.16.12 at 3:56 am

… I predict that the average home prices here in the K-W region will rise 28% from the same time in 2011.

Does anyone have feelings that differ?


28% is way excessive. Houses under $350k are still selling like hotcakes, especially sub $300k entry level ones. *IF* prices do not stall this year, I can see maybe another 10%+ increase on the lower end. Not sure on higher priced units. Prices might not drop on them, just take little longer to sell.

#81 Canuck Abroad on 04.16.12 at 11:00 am

62 Superman – Vancouver is completely and utterly irrelevant. Everyone on the planet knows this, except for the delusionals who have the misfortune to live there. When its silly bubble explodes, and it will, the aftermath will be epic. But it will be contained to Vancouver. Just like the still deflating Whistler bubble. There are lots of other blogs that chronicle the Vancouver bubble, if you like pain.

#82 This is Wonderland on 04.16.12 at 11:03 am

I have been noticing alot of open houses in Oakville during the week day, last Wensday I drove by four and that was just along Neyagawa Blvd; Today Iv seen another 2 in Glen Abbey.

Is anyone else seeing the same thing in their area?

#83 Bigrider on 04.16.12 at 11:04 am

Garth to Bigrider-“no gyrations in real estate in 12 years? You just blew it.”

You know what, that comment of mine was written to fast and not thorough or thought out. Criticism warranted.

What I meant to say, is that at least for T.O and only for T.O, the upward momentum for RE has been steady, save the temporary pause in 2008/9 financial crisis and since there are no red and green ticker symbols below prices of homes, unlike financial assets, most people perceive a steady, upward trajectory.

This plays more deeply into the psychology of the investor than you are ready to admit.

#84 Makavelli on 04.16.12 at 11:05 am

#36 GLK on 04.15.12 at 11:07 pm

Is this what you have in your portfolio? But Garth says don’t buy Bonds right now. Or equities.

#85 Bigrider on 04.16.12 at 11:27 am

‘Growth’ oriented financial investments have definitely fallen out of favour over past 5 to 10 years as well , as investors gravitate to investments that are ‘value’ based and that pay them to own them. It has been the correct strategy, to emphasize size, valuation and dividends over growth. Well done with the advice Garth.

I can attest to this as I have not been on the efficient frontier of a 60/40 split Garth often preaches, more like 75/25 with less of an emphasis on dividends and leaning towards the much shunned growth category. I have payed the price for this, being down 16% from my peak in February of 2010. I would imagine you have done most certainly better Garth. I would also imagine a slew of comments coming, expressing how dumb I have been and how much better said commentator has down. I’m sure , alot of ‘experts’ on this blog to be sure.

Here is my point.

I would ask all to pull up the Businessweek magazine from 1979 titled “The death of equities” front page.” The main quote in the article “for better or for worse, the U.S economy has to regard the death of equities as a near permanent condition, reversible someday but not soon” This date coincided with the greatest bull market run for stocks the world has ever seen. They could not have been more wrong. The prevalent behaviour and thinking today, almost identical.

History repeating itself? Time to load up on growth investments? Maybe?

#86 Sticky on 04.16.12 at 11:33 am

@ #48 getreal-tor

“Many condo fees are like the “System Access Fee” that was tacked onto our cell bills – nothing more than a money grab considering what you get in return.”

>> Spoken like someone who has never read a condo’s financials / budget. Maintaining a high rise is expensive. Any many condos do not have a high enough reserve fund…and guess what? They don’t go down…only up up up!

If you close your eyes at night you can imagine the traffic noise from the Gardiner is really a waterfall…that makes it all worth wile ;)

#87 Sticky on 04.16.12 at 11:37 am

@ #50 Wise guy

“and what ‘Mark’ failed to mention was the stench that he must smell from the sewage plant that is located there too!”

>> YES!!! glad to hear someone besides me acknowledge that. I have always wondered why anyone would live there.

#88 maxx on 04.16.12 at 11:39 am

#71 Bigrider on 04.16.12 at 9:30 am

“People skate to where the puck is unfortunately, not where it’s going.”

Trouble is, a huge part of the masses doesn’t have a clue as to where the puck actually is.
As for “no gyrations”, I visited a property last Friday, cute little waterfront, not too badly priced relative to the others in that area. Back in 2010, this type of property literally flew off the shelf, with multiple offers. Said the realtard, “The sellers are very motivated. They’ve had four offers so far, and all fell through on financing.” The harder debt is to repay, the fewer idiot, free radical borrowers will be affecting RE prices. It’s only just begun….

#89 John G. Young on 04.16.12 at 11:41 am

#59 Debtfree on 04.16.12 at 3:52 am

Thank you.
I was molested (by a family member) as a preschooler, and grew up in a world where hatred of gays was — believe it or not — even worse than it is today. (Condemning gays to “hell” is a joke — what do these people think having to live with THEM is?)
Being on guard 24/7 is part of my nature now. There is no “letting my guard down”, ever.

#90 Kilby on 04.16.12 at 11:41 am

Watching CBC News “Business” segment right now and they are discussing an article on CBC News net stating that over 10% of Canadian mortgages are sub prime loans. Although most on this blog are aware of that, it is interesting to see it on MSM. Also that CREA is saying that the Fraser Valley’s real estate is down over 9%. Is this the beginning of CREA and bureaucrats finally admitting that things are not well here?

#91 mad vancouver on 04.16.12 at 11:43 am

vancouver prices:
March: $730,998
February: $823,749


#92 Kilby on 04.16.12 at 11:46 am

#67 Aaron.

Wow, 5 mac screens to get through, that may be the record holder for loooooong post.

#93 Dontcallmeshirley on 04.16.12 at 11:49 am


I’d really like to believe that Harper and Flaherty had a fully thought out 10 year plan when they started the RE bull market.

All the moves we’ve seen, interest rates, mortgage under-writing, gov’t insurance, tax code changes, etc. must have been by design?

Our leadership can’t be improvising month to month right? They must envision a beggining, middle and end to the saga?

#94 daystar on 04.16.12 at 11:54 am

Interesting link this morning on MSN concerning higher risk mortgages. There is a mis-conception that alternative mortgages don’t leave taxpayers on the hook because they aren’t insured by CMHC. Thats not true. CMHC offers 100% insurance to the banks they insure loans for, we all know this. What most taxpayers don’t know is that CMHC insures 90% of all other private mortgages so technically if there was housing crash, CMHC is far more exposed to a severe downturn than we are led to believe. Thats substancial considering Canada has 1.1 trillion worth of mortgages at the end of 2011 according to the BoC.

I thought this was interesting as well just to show readers how much misconception there is concerning Canada’s RE market:

“Toronto-based investment firm M Partners says Canada’s alternative mortgage market could potentially be worth as much as $85 billion within that. That’s approaching 10 per cent of the market and it’s growing, fast.” – msn

“Martin Reid of Home Capital suggests that the total size of what Home Capital calls the “non-prime” mortgage market is about 20 per cent of the overall market, or $200 billion.” – msn

If memory serves me, its closer to $220 billion but one thing we can all agree on is that its growing fast.

#95 Miss Woodles on 04.16.12 at 12:04 pm

Interesting commentary from CBC on subprime market in Canada:

As an aside, the blog rules say: “Abusive, obscene or disrespectful commenters will not be published, and are subject to banning from this forum.”

Tons of abusive and disrespectful commenters on this site, and I think you know who you are…..get a life. Plenty of hate sites out there for you to spew your garbage on.

#96 Victor on 04.16.12 at 12:16 pm

Toronto condos surge, new singles dry up

#97 GL on 04.16.12 at 12:19 pm

Canadian home prices fall in March:

So we have
in the lowest interest invi

#98 Dontcallmeshirley on 04.16.12 at 12:25 pm

Aggregate return. Most investors want growth, not income. — Garth


Understood and sympathetic.

However, you’re advocating using capital in financial assets, rather than RE, to fund housing, savings and living.

That obliges the financial assets to produce a cash flow.

I appreciate 7.44% on $1 mill produces a different set of circumstances than on $200k. I’m just reconciling your statement with your blog’s message…no criticism intended.

#99 GL on 04.16.12 at 12:28 pm

Canadian home prices fall in March:

So this is the picture
– decreasing house prices with raising sales volume
despite the lowest interest environment possible
– a shrinking pool of buyers (~70% home ownership)
– a raising pool of sellers (Boomers)
– A capped CMHC mortgage insurance ceiling
– highest consumer debt load ever
– Lowest savings rate ever
– Raising prices for gas and other necessities

The picture is scary. It is easy to guess how this will end.

#100 Ronaldo on 04.16.12 at 12:34 pm

This is for Sherry Cooper:

#101 Daniel on 04.16.12 at 12:40 pm

To put things in scale….

I have a condo in Penang, Malaysia with a nice pool and tennis courts, gym, etc. 480 units 1000sqft each in two 39 story towers near Gurney Drive (best place in Penang, possibly Malaysia, possibly Asia, possibly the world).

Maintenance is .25sen (12 cents per sqft), $80 per month. Complete concrete building 10 years old.

#102 Montrealer on 04.16.12 at 12:49 pm

Prices are down last month.
We know what tonight’s subject will be about.

#103 disciple on 04.16.12 at 12:56 pm

Barry Fenton of Lanterra says there is no housing bubble because people need a roof over their head…

#104 };-) aka DA on 04.16.12 at 1:34 pm

For a bush league city, Van has received big coverage here. BTW, your myopia is boring. — Garth

“Bush league”? }:-( Well now that we know what you really think…

#105 Can it be? on 04.16.12 at 1:39 pm

Vancouver down…. Just waiting for Toronto… Donald trump like a realtor is saying that everything is great until he sells the last 20% or so of his condos.

#106 Can it be? on 04.16.12 at 1:40 pm

Daily I am hearing more and more how people are cash strapped. FYI… My realtor called me cheap on the weekend and will be fired as a result :)

#107 Bigrider on 04.16.12 at 1:56 pm

Garth- “aggregate returns, most investors want growth not income”

True and because of that most investors are still down from their portfolio peaks achieved in spring of 2008, just prior to the financial crisis and current.

Hence the fascination with real estate.

#108 Junius on 04.16.12 at 2:02 pm

#67 Aaron-Melbourne,

Thanks for posting. As many of us have stated for years there are subprime loans in Australia and in Canada. Those who were either smug or naive enough to think otherwise are soon going to see just how bad it is in both countries.

It is just a matter of time before the changes in the market expose just how much crappy paper is out there. As the tide recedes there will be much to see.

#109 SaraBeth on 04.16.12 at 2:13 pm

Front page story on Huffington Post Canada:

Mortgage Market Tiptoes Toward Subprime

Be Very Afraid Of The Canadian Housing Bubble

#110 canadarocks69 on 04.16.12 at 2:21 pm

#80 ian ottawa: large trucks have been running egr systems since 2003 dpf systems since 2007 and urea injection since 2010 catapiller were the only engine manafactur out of using egr and paid a penelty for every engine they built untill they ran there own system using twin turbos and then opted out of the hwyway truck engine business with intro of dpf’s. Yes you do still have older trucks out there running around that don’t use any of these systems but over time they will be fazed out. not sure about the rest of the country but here in vancouver the buses have used egr and dpf’s since 2007 allong with hybrid’s and will start using urea in 2013.

#111 Canuck Abroad on 04.16.12 at 2:30 pm

Should that guy be working without a shirt? Pretty sure that is in contravention of health and safety regs. At least his boots are sensible.

#112 coastal on 04.16.12 at 2:35 pm

I get a kick out of reading the sudden increase of comments by all the homeowners and agents on most housing blogs and MSM wake-up-call bearish articles. The panic level is clearly setting in as they weakly try to deflect the obvious. Now we have 10% subprime combined with maxed out CMHC and still the usual lame excuses are given why we are not in a bubble.

Bottom line, if I was a homeowner I would not waste a single second of my life posting on bear blogs weakly dissing every single article that is explaining the truth unless I was one pay stub or two away from serious financial devastation.

#113 truth hammer on 04.16.12 at 2:39 pm

For all the politically correct die hard deniers that HAM money is tolen , pilfered, ripped off and dirty…even is proof…case close…nuff said. It is a fact that huge amounts of money ios being moved off shore….Canada included , by illegal means by nefarious characters.

Vancouver is one of the biggest laundromats….even the Swiss have mentioned that they may have a problem looming….so why do all the Liberal deniers have such a problem owning up to the fact that ?

#114 disciple on 04.16.12 at 2:45 pm

You’re gonna love this, I promise: Baby-switching in Hollywood is a very common practice.

“The Caesar family, as the name suggests, were surgical experimenters who pioneered the cesarean-section technique of removing babies by cutting open their pregnant mothers at a planned moment in time, whether due to a belief in astrology or to allow baby-switching to occur with undetectable precision.”

So, with that background, you would not believe some of the things outlined in this link…

#115 getreal-tor on 04.16.12 at 3:00 pm

#89 Sticky on 04.16.12 at 11:33 am

What is there to read? Some condo’s charge less fees and are better maintained than others… If I only had a dollar for all the stories I heard about condos – such as the A/C breaking and replacement parts not being easily accessible so every unit becomes a sauna. The pool being closed for weeks on end, the gym being closed for weeks, garbage chute not working.

I will maintain, many condo fees are money grabs to compensate for cheap parts and quality of work… Why cut into the builders profits when you can pass on the cost to the herd.

#116 jess on 04.16.12 at 3:01 pm

No worries … the king was busy putting food on those Botswana tables at 15k /elephant while his subjects are eating austerity.

the five-year credit default swap on Spanish debt jumped to 520 basis points today, up 21 basis points overnight. In practice, that means it would cost €520,000 per year to insure €10m of Spanish debt for five years.…/eurozone-crisis-spain-bonds-euro

Spain is due to hold two debt auctions later this week.

#117 jess on 04.16.12 at 3:05 pm

116 truth hammer on
Mr. Heywood was cremated how would one prove this?

#118 Canadian Watchdog on 04.16.12 at 3:10 pm

The Red Pin Weekly MLS Stats

Listings up 10% w/w. 62% m/m.

#119 Realtors and home sellers in a PANIC! on 04.16.12 at 3:33 pm

coastal #115

Realtors and sellers are in an outright PANIC as they hope to sell their inflated bubble home to a greaterfool before the housing bubble comes crashing down . The condo market in Toronto is beyond a bubble and will look like miami with 50%+ drop in prices. It is different in Canada….we have an even BIGGER HOUSING PONZI/BUBBLE then the US. Many Canadians used their fake equity in their Canadian bubble homes to buy US homes. LOL can you say POP. Americans will be coming to Canada in a few years to laugh and pick up cheap RE. Americans have set up the trap via Mark Carney a GS boy. GAME OVER. It’s going to be a nasty crash!

#120 penpal on 04.16.12 at 3:36 pm

@ #98 Ms Woodles

Apples to oranges.

You pay for the Globe and they censor anything they don’t like.

This site is free and allows free speech.

That entails differences of opinion which sometimes get heated.

Garth and crew do a damn good job at editing the really bad stuff.

Don’t like it, go back to the milquetoast Globe.

#121 };-) aka DA on 04.16.12 at 4:05 pm

Top 6 Places to Buy in the U.S.ofA.

Home affordability is at its highest level on record, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. With fallen home prices and mortgage rates near all-time lows, several housing markets are showing signs of a turnaround and becoming known as good housing buys. recently highlighted the best places to purchase a home right now, based on February housing data (including listing, sales, and inventory trends) and jobs data for 146 metro areas. Here are the top six places to make the list:

1. Tucson, Ariz.
Median list price: $170,000
Price drop from housing peak: 45.1%
Inventory: Down 23% year-over-year

2. Austin, Texas
Median list price: $229,500
Price drop from housing peak: 2.9%
Inventory: Down 19% year-over-year

3. Kansas City, Mo.
Median list price: $134,150
Price drop from housing peak: 8.8%
Inventory: Down 21% year-over-year

4. Baltimore
Median list price: $239,500
Price drop from housing peak: 22.3%
Inventory: Down 25.5% year-over-year

5. Fort Worth, Texas
Median list price: $160,000
Price drop from housing peak: 4.7%
Inventory: Down 26.5% year-over-year

6. Salt Lake City Utah
Median list price: $195,000
Price drop from housing peak: 19.4%
Inventory: Down 31% year-over-year


Encouraging Stats I’d say…

#122 };-) aka DA on 04.16.12 at 4:14 pm

“US home-buying season finally signaling a recovery”


“Close to bottoming, home prices may rise in 2013”


“Fading ‘Fear Factor’ Among Home Buyers?”

Yes, I’d say things are getting “Back To Normal”. While those are U.S. Stories… Canada tends to follow the U.S. not lead it or even follow a different path but follow the U.S..

Cheers };-)

#123 waiting on 04.16.12 at 4:28 pm

This week’s Business in Vancouver headline
“Condominium glut to drive prices lower in 2012”

#124 SRE on 04.16.12 at 4:29 pm

#125 John G. Young on 04.16.12 at 4:50 pm

#98 Miss Woodles on 04.16.12 at 12:04 pm

Re: #123 penpal on 04.16.12 at 3:36 pm

Don’t feel bad — just be thankful you’re not one of his male “friends” (Facebook I guess) whom he regularly calls out for their lack of “masculinity” (#299 penpal on 04.15.12 at 4:48 pm).

#126 Bottoms_Up on 04.16.12 at 4:52 pm

Best Ottawa area real estate agent quotes from the past few months:

House 1 (Me): ‘I think their asking price is way too high’

Quote #1: “I’ve looked into it, they are asking that because of the acreage. Just make an offer.”

Result: 10% price reduction a few months later, and house has since been pulled from the market
House 2 (Me): ‘this house is really rough around the edges’ [needs $100,000 maintenance/repair]

Quote #2: “The person bought the place a year ago sight unseen….I guess you’re kicking yourself not having bought in this area a few years ago”

Result: house has been on market for several months, no price change
and the best one of all:

House 3: on the market for 1 year and recently had a small price reduction

Quote #3) “Check out this listing, it won’t last long at this price.”
[agent’s email to me was accompanied by (an unread) seller’s declaration: house has been a rental unit for >5 years, basement has been flooded in the very recent past, and house sits atop unstable land]

#127 Van grrl on 04.16.12 at 5:05 pm

Today’s Globe and Mail, ‘What will make the housing boom go bust. Greed’ :

“I’ve got too many crazy Canadians bidding against me…”

#128 coastal on 04.16.12 at 5:09 pm

“Industry experts suggest the big banks are currently rejecting as much as 20 per cent of mortgage applications because they don’t qualify for CMHC insurance.”

No worries in La La Land, anal agents are touting masses of mortgage free people who don’t give a crap cause “we’re different”. Arrogant elitism has a history of coming back to bite one’s ass bigtime.

#129 Freedom first on 04.16.12 at 5:13 pm

Smoking Man: You remind me of the character Nick Cage played in the movie “Leaving Las Vegas”. Except the character in the movie was trying to drink himself to death on purpose, while you are still under the impression that you are having fun. I am not mocking you, as I honestly simply feel very sad for you, and I sincerely wish that you would get help.

#130 Canadian Watchdog on 04.16.12 at 5:18 pm

Brampton’s newly listed Power Of Sales.

#131 Devore on 04.16.12 at 5:28 pm

#111 Junius

It is just a matter of time before the changes in the market expose just how much crappy paper is out there. As the tide recedes there will be much to see.

The blinders are on. When I was buying 5-6 years ago, I couldn’t even fathom that people were buying with 0 down. Had I known I was competing with people who were buying with no money, I might have reconsidered. But all I knew was the media mantra as the US market was imploding: Canadians are conservative, Canadian banks are prudent, no subprime here. And I was conservative and prudent (20%/25 year mortgage with comfortable payments), I naturally assumed everyone else was too.

I think many people will be in for a very unpleasant surprise when they learn what kinds of mortgages were handed out to people who had no business buying houses, and guaranteed by the government in full.

#132 Devore on 04.16.12 at 5:37 pm

#118 getreal-tor

I will maintain, many condo fees are money grabs to compensate for cheap parts and quality of work… Why cut into the builders profits when you can pass on the cost to the herd.

It’s not a money grab, it’s money required to maintain the (poorly constructed) building. This is the fault of buyers, who do not care one bit about quality, and only about the cost. The cost to buy, and the cost to maintain. Unfortunately, when you cut costs, you also cut the quality. The builders are giving buyers what they want. If buyers wanted quality, and put their money where their mouths are, then you would see much better constructed condos.

This is very typical of bubble construction. Buyers will buy anything, on the premise someone else will buy from them for even more money in the future, hopefully before the warranty runs out or any major problems are brought before the condo board and recorded in the minutes. Once the market cools down, it’s a game of musical chairs to find the greater fool in time and unload the shoddy goods.

Many of the towers constructed decades ago, mostly rentals, are much better built and will outlive the glass towers of this decade, because the owners were serious real estate investors who expected cash from from their properties not headaches, so they didn’t put up with builder problems.

#133 jess on 04.16.12 at 5:43 pm

HFT trading real time/ latency issues

Schapiro asked Congress for a 2013 budget boost of $245 million, to $1.566 billion, from this year’s level.

SEC Fails To Monitor More Than Half Of Stock Trading, Former Agency Lawyers Say

“..the Fed makes a profit, about $70 billion a year. At the end of the year, it remits the money to the Treasury, which uses it to offset budget deficits”

#134 I'm stupid on 04.16.12 at 5:50 pm

I’m going to buy my next house with my good looks.

I was talking with a friend who just bought a home for 650k. In his words ‘who has 170k for a down payment?’
Yet he does not see anything wrong with that statement. I did have the heart to give him my opinion. Looks like retirement 95 for him and his wife.

#135 I'm stupid on 04.16.12 at 5:51 pm

Didn’t have the heart.


#136 Timing is Everything on 04.16.12 at 5:55 pm

Where’d everybody go?!…Nobody likes me any more. :-(

‘In Windsor, the vacancy rate for two bedroom rental apartments is 10.0 per cent. The vacancy rate for three bedroom rental apartments is 10.5 per cent. This is the proportion of rental apartments that are vacant and ready for move-in.

The proportion of apartments that are either vacant or the present owner has given notice to move-out is 11.4 per cent for two-bedroom apartments.’

#137 getreal-tor on 04.16.12 at 6:01 pm

#131 Canadian Watchdog on 04.16.12 at 5:18 pm

Thanks for the power of sales…

Quick question to everyone, are these worth it? I don’t see them selling way below market value and some do require quite a bit of work since the tenants didn’t really care once they headed down the path of delinquency.

Under Ontario law a POS cannot be offered for sale at a price less than market value, lest the bank be sued by the owners. — Garth

#138 getreal-tor on 04.16.12 at 6:03 pm

#135 Devore on 04.16.12 at 5:37 pm

Well said.

#139 Devore on 04.16.12 at 6:08 pm

#125 };-) aka DA

“US home-buying season finally signaling a recovery”
“Close to bottoming, home prices may rise in 2013″

These are headlines we have seen every year for the last 5. Something about broken clocks maybe?

“Fading ‘Fear Factor’ Among Home Buyers?”

The fear factor has never been higher. Seen the anti-real estate ownership articles recently? (How about this one just off the first page from a quickie Google search

There is always little fear factor amongst home buyers, that is why they are buyers, so it’s a meaningless headline.

#140 Van grrl on 04.16.12 at 6:17 pm

Daystar- The Supreme Court had overruled the gov’t on Insite and it remains open:

#141 Junius on 04.16.12 at 6:22 pm

#134 and 135 Devore,

I agree. The smugness of Canadians about how fiscally responsible we are as a nation is just so unwarranted.

Your comment about bad construction in times of a bubble is dead-on. My father was a general contractor and he always warned me to never buy anything built in boom times for all the reasons you pointed out. It is a game of hot potato once you own one of these shoddy new homes.

#142 Junius on 04.16.12 at 6:26 pm

#125 DA,

You said, “Canada tends to follow the U.S. not lead it or even follow a different path but follow the U.S.”

By that logic are you suggesting that we will crash like the US in 2006 and recover 7 years later like they will in 2013? Or something else?

BTW – many other people are predicting another leg down for housing in the US with more foreclosures coming after the bank mortgage settlement but I digress from your theory.

#143 Junius on 04.16.12 at 6:30 pm

#124 DA,

Very encouraging stats if you want to see Canadian real estate prices fall by 50-75%.

What justifies an average house price in Canada being 3, 4 or even 8 times higher than some of these US markets? What should that tell you?

Hint: We are way, way over-priced.

#144 Golden Stu on 04.16.12 at 6:38 pm

Canmore Condo Fees

Solar Mountain Resort went into bankruptcy a few years ago…. their condo fees were unto $1700 a month and that didn’t include the use of the “luxury onsite spa”

Post bankruptcy, not only has the sale price tanked from the insane levels but the condo fees are now down to a manageable $1000 per month, not including he $800 special assessment, just handed out.
To be fair the fees are supposed to include replacing furnishings for units in the rental pool but you would still have to be insane to buy into it.

#145 daystar on 04.16.12 at 6:46 pm

#98 Miss Woodles on 04.16.12 at 12:04 pm

You aren’t alone in your observations, but to help solve this problem or deal with it more effectively instead of merely react to it we should be asking ourselves why:

Emotions are at the heart of psychology now:

… because of what we now know with early development:

If infants don’t get the proper environmental stimilation, their genetic development within the brain goes atrophed and dies off. Here’s an example. If an infant doesn’t see any light for the first 5 years of life, they will go blind for the rest of their lives. Environmental stimulation and genetic development are so intertwined…

So what we are seeing when we witness abusive, disrespectful comments that lack empathy or can’t connect to the needs of others a growing reason for this could be, at least in some cases where such behavior is chronic… is that the sources of such comments have themselves either been abused or didn’t get the environmental needs they needed to grow up normally.

Does that make sense to you? Sometimes… we lose our way in life and most of us if not all of us at some point lose ourselves and if we lose ourselves as parents, especially during the most formidable time of our children… if we aren’t present for whatever reason:

1) Post natal stress syndrome
2) Death of a parent
3) Both parents work or are workaholics
4) One or both parents have pychological issues such as depression or addiction

Obviously there are more reasons than this. It could be long term separation of infant and child for medical reasons but the point I’m making here is that when one becomes aware of whats going on, someone has to step in and take over and if that help doesn’t come…

Bloggers who can’t relate normally on a social level likely have a history of abuse or neglect and its early on. They are themselves victims and they’ve likely been victimized by either circumstance or others who have themselves been victimized and its all playing out so we need to ask ourselves whether we are going to continue to be reactionary and contribute to this cycle of abuse and neglect…. or break the chain.

This blog as I see it, isn’t just about real estate. All blogs are never “just about one thing”. We can’t ignore the economic factors that influence RE and we shouldn’t by any means ignore the social factors because it doesn’t just relate to buying and selling habits and other micro/macro economic factors, it gets right to the heart of how and why we communicate the way we do on this site and because communication is such an important factor, certain negative forms of communication need to be addressed and it BEGINS WITH AWARENESS as to why its happening to begin with not just to have our guards up, but to take it to the next level and break the cycle, break the chain.

#146 };-) aka DA on 04.16.12 at 6:51 pm

#142Devore on 04.16.12 at 6:08 pm

Yes… something about broken clocks… might not that be equally said of bulls or bears?

Try being a little more generous with yourself. Look at the positive once in a while – you’d be surprised how much happier you’d be for it. A negative mind is counterproductive to all the riches life has to offer – all of them.

He who hesitates is lost. I’m just trying to help you find your way. };-)

#147 daystar on 04.16.12 at 6:51 pm

Forgot this link, it explains a great deal:

#148 Saskatoon Housing Bubble on 04.16.12 at 6:57 pm

Mortgage Market Tiptoes Toward Subprime

As the big banks get choosier about who they’ll lend money to in this hot housing market, people with questionable credit are benefiting from Canada’s once-small but now booming subprime mortgage industry.

Proportionately, Canada’s subprime market is about the size today as the U.S. market was in roughly 2004 or so, Tal notes. After 20 years on the fringe of the housing market, by 2007, about a third of U.S. mortgages were subprime.

Here is how the US looked like for 2004 subprime originations.

We should also remember that subprime lending in Canada does not include those who are given a free downpayment because they can barely make ends meet and can not save for a down payment.

Not only are we following in the same footsteps as the US when it comes to subprime lending, we are also experiencing an explosive expansion in mortgage credit compared to GDP and disposable incomes.

Here is a graph of Canadian GDP, personal disposable incomes and mortgage credit growth indexed from 1982

Here is a graph of US GDP, personal disposable incomes and mortgage credit growth indexed from 1982

Yup, it’s different here.

#149 Westernman on 04.16.12 at 7:03 pm

John G. Young @ # 32,
” Thank God Friday’s blog is history”
You probably cried all weekend, didn’t you?

#150 jess on 04.16.12 at 7:09 pm

t or f

The Canadian mint has allowed 500 developers to enter a contest to create a new digital currency. The currency would allow micro payments using electronic devices. From the article: ‘Less than a week after the government announced the penny’s impending death, the Mint quietly unveiled its digital currency called MintChip

#151 smarta$$ on 04.16.12 at 7:30 pm

I guess you are too “raw” for these clowns Garth:

“Called away from this year’s panel at the last minute, real estate author, former minister of national revenue and roundtable veteran Garth Turner requested to pose the first question, by proxy, to Dr. Sherry Cooper:”

#152 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 04.16.12 at 7:57 pm

#96 Dontcallmeshirley — “. . . interest rates, mortgage under-writing, gov’t insurance, tax code changes, etc. must have been by design? Our leadership can’t be improvising month to month right? They must envision a beggining, middle and end to the saga?”

A line from Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark comes to mind . . . “I’m just making this up as I go along!”

A good political title for future reference.
Executive Order Feds. take control of natural gas production; 6:13 clip The withdrawal of money (less) and the increase in civil unrest (more); 5:01 clip Competing currencies vs. Monopoly Money; US$179 Mln. buys a global hawk, a drug epidemic and WW3. Blame and collusion is equally shared; Exaggeration Mtge. debt forgiveness has / is happening, but not to the extent most think; Ellen Brown explains money; The IRS is going down! What of the CRA? Gold and Silver Rothschild and Johnson Matthey connection; No retirement, just drop dead at work.
Agreement closer and GG Bridge Nuked; Monsanto in Nepal Street riots; 1:05 clip Farrakhan says citizens are going to kill their leaders; Mexican Volcano Awakens The Ring of Fire is currently enjoying itself; Suicides 1 – 25. One soldier killed, 25 vets. killed themselves; Syrian Destabilization Obomba’s doing his best to avoid his own advice; Hillary Dances with Wolves “SS stiffs a hooker, and now Hillary twirls the night away for the Paparazzi. What they are NOT telling you is that Obama has run into a brick wall at these negotiations and things are not going well at all.”; Cuba Latin America supports, the US doesn’t; Trojan on Mac OS X; Fukushima Still lumbering along.

#153 Smoking Man on 04.16.12 at 7:59 pm

#132 Freedom first on 04.16.12 at 5:13 pm

don’t feel sorry for me, half the smoking man post are fake
I quit drinking 1 week ago, down to five smokes a day and MR Happy is Back :)

#154 Mikep on 04.16.12 at 8:00 pm

Hi Garth,
First time poster, short time reader! I’ve been enjoying your blog for the last few months (and some archives!) upon the referral of a friend. Have happily avoided the Toronto condo market ever since moving back to the city a couple of years ago (albeit mostly due to lazyness last year and said friend’s advice and referral when he saw me starting to look). Have been saving and RRSPing and TFSAing and paying down never-ending student debt for a few years now, and trying not to spend too much on gluttony (ok just a little). Recently I’ve been diversifying and solidifying the base with some REITs and other dividend producers, and a few gamble stocks too for fun. My question for you today is, with respect to the real-estate bubble scenario in Canada, if things turn sour and spread, how do you think this would affect something like the REITs in Canada? Would commercial/industrial REITs be immune? or would everything start tanking like it seemed to in the US a few years ago. Love the dividends and such, but worried it could all disappear including share prices, for the next few years. Have been thinking, perhaps US REITs (in the RRSP account anyway) would be ”safer” at this point with their real estate world on the mend? Fairly new to this financial and investing world, though trying to catch up. Nevertheless, not sure if that thinking is correct or if indeed there’s a big risk with Canadian REITs once prices start to drop. Any thoughts/opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Keep up the great work,

#155 a prairie dawg on 04.16.12 at 8:12 pm

#77 JoeTheBruce

– — –

Just more risk added to the existing pile.

When it was just Greece, the EU risk bar got raised.

Add in Spain and then the bar gets raised again.

Italy is next, and could drag down the whole EU.

Hope you have airbags.

#156 Stevenson on 04.16.12 at 8:25 pm

Wrong again fools. Just saying.

#157 The American on 04.16.12 at 8:26 pm

At #122: Realtors and home sellers in a PANIC!, I would have to say I am going to agree with you on this. The bubble is going to be nasty in Canada, and it will be a fire sale in a matter of a few years.

#158 };-) aka DA on 04.16.12 at 8:27 pm

#145Junius on 04.16.12 at 6:26 pm

N, I expect, just as has been the case so often in the past, The U.S. recovery will forestall any further economic failing in Canada as we ride their coat-tails to recovery.

As far as those who predict the coming of a “second leg down” happening in the U.S., there are equally as many who predict otherwise. None have a crystal ball. Maybe what I saw on my recent travels through the U.S. was the beginning of that “dead cat bounce” so many were predicting a couple years back. From where I stand, based on the information I have and what I’ve seen first hand, I believe I have good reason to be optimistic. You should do whatever floats your boat though.

#146Junius on 04.16.12 at 6:30 pm

What justifies an average house price in Canada Being 3, 4 or even 8 times higher than some of these U.S. markets you ask? Well first of all I draw your attention to your statement “some of these U.S. markets”. I was in a few U.S. markets recently where the price was quite a bit higher than even the equivalent of our lofty B.C. real estate prices. But why are shoes more expensive in Canada? Why is a Starbucks product pricier in Canada? Why are magazines and books pricier in Canada.

Junius real estate has pretty much ALWAYS been pricier in Canada and I expect it will remain so for quite some time to come.

#159 Devore on 04.16.12 at 8:32 pm

#149 };-) aka DA

Yes… something about broken clocks… might not that be equally said of bulls or bears?

Certainly. But bears at least have fundamentals on their side, if not timing. While both are important, I will stick to fundamentals (ie value investing) any day. You may call that hesitation if you like. I don’t like to play roulette, and I don’t practice momentum investing. Maybe that’s why I don’t like Jim “mad money” Cramer, whose motto is “buy buy buy!”.

For what it’s worth I think the US market (nationally) is ready to bottom out, probably in 2013, but the headlines you point out appear every 6 months, so pardon me if I’m not falling all over myself to see the positive side THIS time as well.

#160 Sticky on 04.16.12 at 8:34 pm

#108 Can it be?

Donald Trump doesnt sell condos…he sells him name for use on Condo projects. Nice work if you can get it huh?

#161 Al on 04.16.12 at 9:26 pm

I’m paying about the same ( 0.63/sf) for my 900sf 5 year old condo next to Square 1 in Mississauga. Comes to $567/month plus $200/mo for Taxes and $600/mo for property taxes. The Units is rented for $1,450/month

#162 John G. Young on 04.16.12 at 9:32 pm

#152 Westernman on 04.16.12 at 7:03 pm

“You probably cried all weekend, didn’t you?”

No, actually I spent the weekend with my father, visiting my mother who’s in hospital because her dementia is getting worse.

But thanks for your concern.

#163 John on 04.16.12 at 9:40 pm

When you hear ridiculous comments like “Beaches West”, you know that it’s gone too far. Lowly Longbranch now a chic upscale neighbourhood in the making.

I don’t know if anyone has done the math, but all those people in devastating debt positions when the party stops are too numerous.

You don’t get to have even a remotely similar economy
( in any way) without the maxed out debtor barely afloat and being bled out long term.

Without admitting that, it’s pretty difficult to talk about realistic expectations. Unless of course you own a chic house in Beaches West. Then anything is possible.

#164 eddy on 04.16.12 at 9:42 pm

Does C actually read this blog?
I wrote a joke for him-

What’s the difference between C and the average Canadian?
The average Canadian thinks a Swiss Chalet is a restaurant.

and a joke with no punch line-

“A Greek and a Banker walk into a Turkish Bath”

#165 penpal on 04.16.12 at 10:12 pm

@ # 128 John G. Young

Why don’t you stick to the RE topic at hand?

I guess divulging your personal life history in all its gory details on a RE blog is more dramatic and attention getting.

#166 John G. Young on 04.16.12 at 11:05 pm

#168 penpal on 04.16.12 at 10:12 pm

“Why don’t you stick to the RE topic at hand?”

You are not the moderator of this blog, Garth is. But you must already know this, because you’ve had posts deleted by him.

“I guess divulging your personal life history in all its gory details on a RE blog is more dramatic and attention getting.”

My post was intended for Ms Woodles, not for you or anyone else; if you chose to read it, and it offended your sensibilities, that is your problem.

You are a “hate-full” person who is trying to gain control by abuse and intimidation. It’s not going to work, but by all means keep trying — I’m sure that your sense of masculinity depends on it.

#167 Dave on 04.16.12 at 11:16 pm

RE: Parklawn and Lake Shore – I lived there for 4 years and never smelled the sewage treatment plant at home. Mind you I was west of Parklawn. Unfortunately, I didn’t smell the Mr. Christie cookies being baked either. Those new condos on the old “hotel strip” would be in a better position to experience the smell from the treatment plant.

Also: I don’t think condo fees are a cash grab. Spend some time on the Board of Directors for a real eye opener. You want to talk cash grab you should see how contractors gouge as soon as they find out there’s a condo corporation involved. I sat on our Board for a year and even though we got 3 quotes every time something needed to be done, all of them were always quite steep.

#168 TurnerNation on 04.17.12 at 7:02 am

133Canadian Watchdog on 04.16.12 at 5:18 pm

Someone very strange with this one:

Is the picture from a time machine? The two vehicles in driveway: one is a Chrsyler minivan circa mid to late 90s, an the Buick Le Sabre is a body style of the late 80s/early 90s! Or perhaps the owners, with their McMansion, could not afford a car refresh….

#169 disciple on 04.17.12 at 9:07 am

#154 smarta$$… good link. I wonder how G-man convinced Post to get that initial question? Here is an example of the elitist Bathurst mentality of Sherry Cooper:

“Sherry Cooper: People also want to have public transportation for their cleaning lady.”

Yes, that is a major factor in deciding which overpriced property to buy, eh? I can’t think of a better reason to stop listening to these “clowns”?

#170 Arshes on 04.17.12 at 12:59 pm

#125 };-) aka DA on 04.16.12 at 4:14 pm “US home-buying season finally signaling a recovery”


“Close to bottoming, home prices may rise in 2013″


“Fading ‘Fear Factor’ Among Home Buyers?”

Yes, I’d say things are getting “Back To Normal”. While those are U.S. Stories… Canada tends to follow the U.S. not lead it or even follow a different path but follow the U.S..

Cheers };-)

2013 may be actually cheaper than 2012:

#171 Arshes on 04.17.12 at 1:23 pm

#60 ANONYMOUS on 04.16.12 at 3:56 am == That photo is clearly photoshopped ==

– Here’s the lowdown this weekend in K-W area of Ontario: THE ECONOMY IS REALLY PICKING UP !

I see construction cranes and trucks everywhere, construction everywhere you look, and homes that were selling now have ‘SOLD’ signs on them.

From what I can see, inflation is going to really pick up as people are getting jobs left and right and the government will need to raise rates soon to keep the lid on this pressure boiler.

With the new jobs popping up everywhere I can see that this spring is going to be just BOOMING for real estate sales, I predict that the average home prices here in the K-W region will rise 28% from the same time in 2011.

Does anyone have feelings that differ?
Cranes everywhere??? Those projects were probably planned many years ago, when the prices were higher. Money and time has already been invested so what choice do they have but to keep going. Condo prices here in Edmonton have plummted, but they havent stopped building and even towers/developments that havent sold all thier units are still going ahead with thier plans to build new towers.

#172 Al on 04.17.12 at 1:24 pm

Re: #170 Dave:
I’ve found that you get the best contractor and prices once you get a reputable engineering firm to request quotes though a tender process.