Too much love

Seven years ago, they had it made. Families were pouring in, houses were going up everywhere, unemployment was low and the economy was rocking. After all, everybody wanted to move here. It was different. It was good.

That was California in 2005, one of the hottest hot spots for the great American housing boom, fueled by cheap money, lax lending, guaranteed rising values and a overwhelming sense you had to buy now, or be priced out forever. Incredibly, real estate-related activity soared to become more than 30% of the state economy.

It’s been a couple of years since I wandered down Robson Street, Vancouver’s chi-chi main drag for the funky fashionistas, body-pierced boarders, Vespa vigilantes, Starbucks addicts, willowy exotics and tourists from Mimico trying to look metrosexual. The number of vacant storefronts is arresting. Even a Starbucks has suffered extinction.

Why would this happen on the hippest street in one of the country’s most dynamic cities?

You can blame the real estate mania that’s rendered houses unaffordable. The same thing’s happened for stores. As land values spun out of control since 2008, Robson rents spiraled to an unheard-of $240 a foot – about the same as the most valued acreage on Toronto’s Bloor Street, a city with four times the population and 50% more household income. So, HMV failed. The Seattle coffee chain closed a key location. Independent retailers melted away.

But there was no line-up to replace them, now that the local economy is starting to slump along with housing prices. Just like California before its bust, BC has allowed its economy to become 30% dependent on real estate. Why should there be a different outcome?

Angela’s worried about it.

“Hi Garth: As a longtime reader of your blog I know that now is not the time to buy a house even though I do have a spouse, child and house lust. Instead, I’m writing to ask your prediction on my future job prospects. I’m a young architect in Vancouver. I know a housing correction will kill the construction industry here, taking with it the jobs of realtors, architects, engineers, builders, millworkers, carpet salesmen…etc. Then, of course, there will be secondary job losses as those on the front lines stop buying shoes, lattes, gym memberships, etc. Just how bad do you see the economy getting if/when prices drop 30%? Thanks for being a contrarian!”

For the record, Van prices are off about 15% and may improve a little during August, thanks to a few big sales. But the trend is irrefutable, and the correction will shave at least twice this amount before it troughs at a point as yet unknown. That means about $300,000 off the price of an average home – a staggering amount.

More impactful, though, is the dive in sales activity. Already deals are down by a third for resales, and falling hard for new homes. It’s not just Vancouver, either. This week Toronto builders reported a 21% crumble in SFH sales, while last month we heard about a 50% hard landing for condos. The consequences should be obvious – construction activity and trades lost first, dwindling furniture store sales, lower mortgage lending volumes and, of course, the kind of collateral damage Angela has underscored.

How much of an economic mess this turns into depends on how long it lasts, of course. The bad news is, this has every hallmark of being a long and stubborn slide. When real estate prices appreciate wildly for a decade, then don’t correct for two years, then resume the climb. It’ll take a long time for wages and salaries to improve enough to rekindle housing, especially since mortgage rates will be swelling at the same pace. As I said here yesterday, most of us will never again see prices which were achieved in the Spring of 2012.

BC will be the hardest-hit region of the country, obviously. The average savings rate in the province is minus nine. The average family can’t afford the average house in Vancouver or Victoria. The forestry sector’s comatose. Migration is way down. The Okanagan is already in a recession. And yet it remains one of the most beautiful, livable, seductive and compelling places on the continent.

Real estate’s power is absolute. It’s indebted an entire society. It’s made people obsessive and competitive. It’s emptied great stores. It’s addicted governments. And now it’s cruelly unwinding.

Is there anything more tragic than a dead Starbucks?

Harbinger.

171 comments ↓

#1 Peter Goesinya on 08.22.12 at 2:05 am

Were you with Smokingman tonight?

#2 A in Vancouver on 08.22.12 at 2:10 am

I read your blog everyday, and learned a lot.
Thank you!

#3 A in Vancouver on 08.22.12 at 2:11 am

How much has the real estate in California down?

#4 Freedom First on 08.22.12 at 2:22 am

Angela, good thinking. Garth has helped save you! Wonderful! Yes, California, mention what happened there to most house horny Canadians, and they get a look of disgust, even contempt and anger on their faces, as their lustful bodies turn instantly rigid. What is it about human beings that can make the truth so painful to them?……..is it just hearing what they don’t want to be happening or is about to happen? Emotions….they can destroy you.

#5 earlymidlifecrisis on 08.22.12 at 2:25 am

“And yet it remains one of the most beautiful, livable, seductive and compelling places on the continent.”
Oh yeah- Im so glad i’m back. I’m still trolling to see if you’re coming for the fruit basket. I suspect if you do I’ll have to drive to )))shivers((( kelowna. I’d do it for you though. (and costco)

#6 jack_the_lad on 08.22.12 at 2:54 am

Garth wrote:

“Real estate’s power is absolute. It’s indebted an entire society. It’s made people obsessive and competitive. It’s emptied great stores. It’s addicted governments. And now it’s cruelly unwinding.”

— Sounds like my ex wife.

#7 Mikey on 08.22.12 at 3:16 am

Hi Garth. What do you predict will happen in oil-happy Alberta? Can Alberta withstand, or steer clear of a meaningful housing correction simply because of oil? Sounds a little short sighted to me…

#8 Michael F on 08.22.12 at 3:20 am

Garth is saving so many people he might have to be nominated for a Knighthood.

Sir Garth.

#9 Graham on 08.22.12 at 3:27 am

Can we be upfront about one thing? The Starbucks in question was ACROSS THE STREET from another Starbucks. It was only put in place to take the traffic of THAT Starbucks as it was renovated prior to the Olympics. Starbucks Central Command™ decided to keep it open to see if both stores could run profitably after the games… both were, but not to the level that justified the expense of having both stores open.

I enjoy the blog and believe the message, but I can’t stand by and watch as this example used. There are plenty of signs the jig is up in Vancouver, but this isn’t one… despite how delicious of a terminating line it made. The only dead Starbuck in Vancouver was in Battlestar Galactica. (Spoilers!)

#10 blase on 08.22.12 at 3:55 am

I predict a 30%+ drop across the board, Calgary, Saskatoon, Toronto, Ottawa all included.

The government started this housing orgy, pure and simple. Had nothing to do with houses, and everything to do with cheap and easy money. Once that’s gone, there simple won’t be anything to stop the free-fall.

It’s no different than women who have shelves of out-of-date designer handbags that they never use, but that only a few years ago, they just “had to have”.

It’s beeny babies, it’s Cabbage Patch dolls, it’s baseball cards, it’s Paris Hilton. And it’s wrinkly-old boomers who realize they don’t need a big house and can’t afford it anymore.

#11 PeterfromCalgary on 08.22.12 at 3:56 am

Hey at least BC doesn’t have debtor prisons like Dubai. This article from 2009 show what craziness that can cause.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/world/middleeast/12dubai.html?pagewanted=all

#12 JULNICAN on 08.22.12 at 6:06 am

Thanks for writing a “Dear Abby” column, Garth.

When the average home in Canada goes down by 50%, worst than the US, I will laugh at this country and its people. I can’t wait for this mega disaster and a great depression style society.
I can’t wait to lose my job and become homeless.
Just can’t wait!!!!!
We can all be happy to be knocked back to the stone age!!!!
No more debts, no more worries, no more bills.
No more jobs. No more money.

#13 House Horny Housewife on 08.22.12 at 6:24 am

Garth,

I sincerely hope that you are wrong about the severity of the correction to come. Severe market changes can quash consumer confidence which would in turn bring the economy to a screeching halt. This is inevitably why interest rates were kept at low levels and why the government has only made a few changes to its real estate lending insurance practices.

Unsustainable consumer debt is tragic but unsustainable consumer debt belonging to the unemployed is even more tragic. On top of that, people cannot save for the future if they aren’t earning.

Ideally what should occur is a change in consumer thinking that will eventually change consumer behaviour. Unfortunately this takes time and nothing has been proposed on this front by anyone. Campaigning and educating people on the rewards of proper budgeting, moral suasion through incentives for good debt reimbursement and investment practices (along the lines of RRSP’s and TFSA’s), requiring money management courses in schools right alongside math, literature and physical education, asking parents to teach their children about money and showing them how to do so etc..

Education is key to effecting change but it takes many years to have an effect on behaviour and at this late hour the entire world seems to be standing on a precipice (into which some countries have already fallen).

Let us hope that if we crash, we will crash in a more controllable way .. like when you trip but you still have time to cushion your fall so that you don’t break anything … only bruise it a little.

HHHW

#14 Immobilier de prestige on 08.22.12 at 6:28 am

Love the picture! What a metaphore!

#15 curious on 08.22.12 at 6:37 am

All the people who bought homes (just speaking about
homes but the people who spent this much on a condos are not only pretentious but really really dum to say the least)ranging $400,000 and up are the ones who are pretentious. They are the ones who definetly went over there heads because they spent more than they could afford. Bottom line is that the majority of the Canadian population has a combined salary yearly of $60,000 so this salary could buy you a home no more than $320,000 and I mean not one sent more. So this is why they are all going to default because aside from feeling overwhelmed with expenses just wait when Christmas comes along and they need to buy gifts for themselves and maybe others how its going to hurt there lines of credit and credit cards and the savings account if they have any.

#16 mid-Ontario on 08.22.12 at 6:59 am

Reportedly, our housing prices peaked here in mid-Ontario in July at about 25% of Vancouver peak prices. What I see now is a growing sea of For Sale signs and few SOLD signs.

I think the best RE times have passed here.
Word from a realtor is that any new offer is 10-15% below the asking price. When the drop starts, I hope for a slow melt, not a major drop.

Vancouver is so far beyond anything we have here, it is like a different world. Always thought Vancouverites were a bit different – nice, but a bit different. We’ll see how they handle a correction.

#17 T.O. Bubble Boy on 08.22.12 at 7:02 am

WHY?!?!? Why couldn’t they have spared the Starbucks and taken a few Second Cups instead?

#18 Ferrari4321 on 08.22.12 at 7:14 am

any details on your Toronto presentation yet?

#19 T.O. Bubble Boy on 08.22.12 at 7:34 am

46% of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/americans-die-without-money_n_1746862.html

Someone explain to me how this is possible when U.S. home ownership is still 65% or so? A third of the homeowners die with less than $10,000 in home equity?

#20 TT on 08.22.12 at 8:04 am

Great post! It doesn’t matter how long this will play out, only the uninformed, emotional, commoner, greater fool that will lose in the end. The people who created this mess will be fine. i.e. When the news become mainstream the mass will sell and when it’s time to buy the contrarian will be there. Either way Realtor wins! Someone you know will learn a good finacial lesson.

#21 Gypsy Kid on 08.22.12 at 8:16 am

i hate starbucks….much prefer second cup.

Garth, can you do a post on which type of REITS do well during real estate melts, and the inevitable recession?

You mentioned yesterday that certain type of American REITS did/doing well. Which types are they?? Apt REITS, as people lose their homes and rent again?

Retail REITS?? How can this be when people will be pinching their pennies (or at least we hope they will be)?

Office buildings??

Please enlighten us!

#22 fancy_pants on 08.22.12 at 8:37 am

throw in an Israel-Iran strike and you can add rising gas prices to a world economy already saturated with debt. Not a doomer but I anticipate on the economic front that things will get uglier in the coming years.

#23 KL on 08.22.12 at 8:40 am

#7 Mikey on 08.22.12 at 3:16 am
Hi Garth. What do you predict will happen in oil-happy Alberta? Can Alberta withstand, or steer clear of a meaningful housing correction simply because of oil? Sounds a little short sighted to me…
———————————————————————–

I agree with you. Alberta has something the rest of the country seems to be in short supply of…. well paying jobs. I can see prices stagnating for a short period, but large declines seem unlikely. Especially if oil keeps hovering around $100/barrel.

#24 blase on 08.22.12 at 8:41 am

Does Second Cup still have those awesome bran muffins?

Support your Second Cup, screw Starbucks!

#25 renters rule on 08.22.12 at 8:48 am

@#9 Graham

You must be ‘new’ to Van. The double Starbucks at Robson and Thurlow had been there for over a decade before 2010, it was not an Olympics experiment. The first location (still open today) underwent renos, so they opened the second while it was closed; short term lease on the second meant keeping both open for a period of time. Starbucks was shocked to find that both stayed very busy after that, so they kept both open for lo these many years.

Recent closure of the ‘second’ Starbucks was caused, shockingly (not) by the greedy landlord, whon would not renew the lease for long term, as the landlord thought that RE was so on fire, they would redevelop the location with condos & retail. Starbucks would not stay without a LT lease, as they invest a lot in fixtures and building/maintaing customer retention to specific locations.

Garth, if you are still in town and have time: empty storefronts on Denman, West Pender (between Burrard and Cardero, retail below new condo developments, some never occupied), West 4th and West Broadway. Many apartment vacancies in the west end, many buildings with multiple units available.

People are leaving Van, and those who are staying are BROKE.

#26 bruce on 08.22.12 at 9:00 am

Being stuck in a mortgage on a house when the equity has all but evaporated isn’t pretty but sometimes at least there is a roof over your head – where the market corrects – people will face the fact that they will be paying a monthly payment for a depreciating asset – just like they do when they buy cars. When its over …..its over.

#27 eaglebay - Parksville on 08.22.12 at 9:09 am

#19 T.O. Bubble Boy on 08.22.12 at 7:34 am

It’s not home ownership.
It’s mortgage ownership.
The bulk of those homes are mortgaged.

#28 W-Hat on 08.22.12 at 9:12 am

@ # 15 – WTF are you talking about? My home is worth quite a bit more than 400k (will be mortgage free in 5 years to boot) and I can tell you it is quite modest and not pretentious at all. Generalizations by people who can’t spell “cent” make no sense.

#29 Alberta Guy on 08.22.12 at 9:22 am

Garth, looking forward to your visit to Calgary tomorrow.

Would like you to comment on how Calgary is bucking the trend..

http://www.creb.com/public/seller-resources/statsDetails.php?type=sf

Also, your thoughts on Arizona real estate.

See you tomorrow night!

abguy

#30 young & foolish on 08.22.12 at 9:30 am

We are all debt slaves now …..

#31 lawboy on 08.22.12 at 9:42 am

#9 Graham

Graham, that second Starbucks has been on that corner for as long as I can remember….about 20 years. It wasn’t ‘put in place’ due to a pre-Olympics reno.

#32 refinow on 08.22.12 at 9:45 am

Garth I too question your REIT suggestions. Is a Reit just more or less a mutual fund of real estate, mostly commercial and multi unit residential?

When I drive down the QEW through Burlington, there is not a single commercial building that does not have a “Space for rent” sign occupying the front lawns. Some of the building are sitting at less than 50% occupancy.

I agree with the liquidity aspect of the investment and the limited liability of the investment itself.

But with watching big brother in the US, does it not clearly illustrate the effects of the housing correction has on all aspects of real estate, residential, commercial and industrial.

When equity melts, loans are called, stock prices drop and even most creative accountants can’t keep companies in the “red”.

What I will never understand is the political greed in building beyond demand, it seems to be the #1 mistake.

Look at the auto industry, there is a 2 year surplus of cars already produced.

Condo markets, we all know the figures there in Toronto.

And they are making the same mistakes in office buildings and commercial condos. We have enough buildings, houses, condos already built. Who is going to occupy them???

So Garth I am going to openly challenge your REIT recommendation, as a relatively safe investment in this current market.

You paint such a clear picture with regards to the future plight of residential real estate, but you seem to join the masses that it is different here when it comes to Commercial Real Estate.

The problem will be, once this Bubble thing gets a little more momentum, everyone will be looking for investment lifeboats…

#33 Daisy Mae on 08.22.12 at 10:01 am

“That was California in 2005, one of the hottest hot spots for the great American housing boom, fueled by cheap money, lax lending, guaranteed rising values and a overwhelming sense you had to buy now, or be priced out forever. Incredibly, real estate-related activity soared to become more than 30% of the state economy.”

***********************

And the governments were responsible for this and, I’d say — culpable. Along with the banks, the developers, the realtors, as secondary influences.

The newbies made stupid decisions, granted — how could they resist under all this pressure– and so, here we are today…

How smart was that?

#34 Yuus bin Haad on 08.22.12 at 10:01 am

This time zone change is killing me!

#35 new-era on 08.22.12 at 10:04 am

Heard you on the CKNW show yesterday, your 15% in Vancouver already happened, so now your saying its could go up to 40%.

My prediction is has always been 40 to 60% from its peak in vancouver.

#36 SKRenter on 08.22.12 at 10:14 am

I think the fifth pic in this series rightly explains the future of mortgages in Saskatchewan.

http://www.leaderpost.com/news/Photos+Fire+Winnipeg+Street+North/7124929/story.html

#37 The American on 08.22.12 at 10:19 am

Being from Seattle, I can tell you that Howrd Schultz (ownr and CEO of Starbucks) is a very smart man who runs an incredibly tight ship. The company itself is a 100% cash-driven operation, with no debt, apart from letters of credit and some daylight overdraft credit extensions. If a Starbucks closes up, it means ht area is going to get nailed hard – very hard – as rent rates would have to be light years from “sustainable.” in fact, I’ve only known a handful across the global franchise of 20,000 stores to ever close. In Seattle alone, there are 450 Starbucks, none of which I’ve yet to see ever close shop. So, things must not be heading in the right direction for Vancouver as Starbucks is almost always ahead of the trend line.

#38 Ralph Cramdown on 08.22.12 at 10:35 am

46% of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets […] Someone explain to me how this is possible when U.S. home ownership is still 65% or so?

What’s the ownership rate of people who are going to die tomorrow, and what’s their average net worth, including medical bills owed?

#39 tkid on 08.22.12 at 10:41 am

#28 W-Hat, if things shake out worse than Garth’s predictions, your home will be mortgage free one way or the other.

Ba-dum-dum!

Thank you, you’ve been a beautiful audience … *runs*

#40 Rig Dog on 08.22.12 at 10:44 am

#7 Mikey on 08.22.12 at 3:16 am
Hi Garth. What do you predict will happen in oil-happy Alberta? Can Alberta withstand, or steer clear of a meaningful housing correction simply because of oil? Sounds a little short sighted to me…
———————————————————————–
#23 KL

I agree with you. Alberta has something the rest of the country seems to be in short supply of…. well paying jobs. I can see prices stagnating for a short period, but large declines seem unlikely. Especially if oil keeps hovering around $100/barrel.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Utter BS. Drilling is down 30% right now even at $100/bbl. Most of the new oil projects are so expensive that they need $85 to break even. The rules of physics and economics are not suspended because it’s Alberta.

I’m on the frontline in the oilpatch and it is slow. Last in First out is me. I’m rigging for crash. Filling the bank account, cutting expenses and canceling holiday plans for spring break up.

But that’s just me… I’ve only been to this rodeo six or seven times since I started working. Is it you first time out of the chute? Cinch down the saddle bud, you’re in for a rough ride.

#41 Van Isle Renter on 08.22.12 at 10:52 am

# 28 W-Hat on 08.22.12 at 9:12 am
@ # 15 – WTF are you talking about? My home is worth quite a bit more than 400k (will be mortgage free in 5 years to boot) and I can tell you it is quite modest and not pretentious at all. Generalizations by people who can’t spell “cent” make no sense.

==================================

Your house is “worth” what someone else will pay for it. Not a penny more nor less. Granite, Stainless and swimming pools may cost you a lot of $$$ but if no one wants to pay for them they are worth nothing.

And, sorry to say, just because your house will be paid for doesn’t make it worth more either.

Now having said all that if your house is paid for you a definitely better off. No question. But if all the houses around you drop to $250K, yours is going to $250K as well, granite, stainless and pools will not stop it .

That’s what killed the U.S. It only took 10% of homeowners to get into trouble and that sank everyone else. That is the scary part. You might do everything right, but 1 neighbor in 10 screws up and the other nine end up wearing it.

#42 Randis on 08.22.12 at 10:54 am

How about some Aroma please?

#43 Stepen Harper on 08.22.12 at 10:56 am

Garth,
Nice blog but you are still fired.

#44 Canada Watchdog on 08.22.12 at 10:58 am

StatsCan terminated their public sector employment, wages and salaries series in March: http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=1830002&paSer=&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=31&tabMode=dataTable&csid=

If consumption slaves don’t go out and spend more the Government will spend it for them. It’s as simple as that.

#45 Edward on 08.22.12 at 11:09 am

@#9 –What #25 said. Those two Starbucks were there when I lived there in the late 90s. It had nothing to do with the Olympics. Where’d you even get that from?

#46 Van guy on 08.22.12 at 11:13 am

The average price is such a volatile number. The median is more accurate and I believe it’s down 9% YoY.

#47 Echo on 08.22.12 at 11:29 am

The domino theory is going to be more extensive than this. It’s refreshing that a visual is painted to this degree but the part that is never talked about, beyond what’s described above, is the thousands of homes that will come to market across the country due to job losses in the retail sector, and many other sectors (trucking, you name it), because revenue in those stores stops. Halted wages = non-payment of mortgages = mortgage recovery by the Bank. It’s what decimated the 90’s crash. It was the heaviest stone in the canoe as it was sinking.

This is ON TOP OF unaffordable renewal rates in the near future so out of reach monthly payments are common due to too much debt already and not enough income to support that debt (so can’t keep the house, hence they sell or let it go delinquent so then Bank takes it/dumps it on market), boomer retirement (so must sell/downsize to eat/live), and panic selling (when people, so-called “investors”, or just the generic home owner with the “only goes up” attitude, come out of their coma’s and realize down is the only direction in housing and for years to come).

Picture the flood accurately, then sell your house, now. If you’re reading this, and you own a home, and you don’t understand what an “investment” is, that’s ok. It’s called “sell your house, get over it, you can invest the cash properly, rent, and then buy again in a few years for a lot less. If you have enough equity now your dividends from those investments will pay that rent. Even if you don’t have enough left over to get into that bracket it doesn’t matter, do it anyway. Math is all it is, and survival. And common sense.

I cleaned up a lot of the last one in the 90’s, 1200 props a month in Ontario alone, 40 per month on market, people leaving keys on steps of Bank all over the Province, just from collateral mortgages, mostly in 2nd position but large percentage in 1st, and what’s coming is going to make the 90’s look like a cakewalk. Those mortgages back then (1st’s AND 2nd’s) were granted with the new rules of today, i.e. lower amortization and you needed 25% down to buy a property, 18-20% if you went to a private broker and those brokers were tough. Wait a minute, the mainstream media isn’t talking about that either, treating those new rules like they’re some sort of revolution. Hilarious. Praying on the ignorant. Wake up everybody. If you’re grasping this, it means that those people who lost it all back then COULD afford the house. It was the domino theory, job losses, where most of the properties taken by the Bank came from. Now, and this is just repeating myself I know, there are OTHER SERIOUS FACTORS IN PLAY TO ADD TO THE PILE, as mentioned above. Oh, and you can place those dominos in a circle. Round and round. Quite fascinating really. You don’t want to be standing on the ground beside one of them.

If you don’t own right now don’t be upset about that, i.e. losing out on a chance to sell at an all time high. Just count your blessings for what they are. You, too, can buy in 5 yrs or so and win. And, you have those 5 yrs, probably more frankly, to save and invest it properly to grow those savings at the same time. Just begin it or you will miss out on a real opportunity down the road. And don’t forget, the “opportunity” comes from selling at the next high, therefore cashing in on that investment years from now. Get it? When that baby tips, it tips for the long haul. With today’s mentality of the rule makers, hoping that some future group of people will never let this happen again is a fool’s thought. It will never happen again to this degree, not in the US either (which is why NOT selling now is crazy), but lax lending (probably) and herd behaviour for house lust WILL happen again. History doesn’t change human behaviour. It never has. Not for the masses. Even if it skips a generation it will be back.

So, for all you younguns reading this, being able to afford a house or condo before you buy it is “normal”, as Garth has said before, and it only changed when Canada decided to get on the greedy, self-serving US mentality wagon for the ride. They always knew this would happen, or were stupid, does it really matter which? (I’ll let you choose the answer though). A lot of people made a lot of money, the economy had a short term boost, and that’s all that mattered. No government ever cares about long term health of an economy. Eyes get wide and this time was HISTORICAL.

If you own residential property (principal or recreational), or risky commercial retail, you can only win if you sell, and quickly. Period. So, win. Make this custom-designed mess not matter to YOU. The only viable excuse for not selling those properties now is if the majority of your portfolio is in dividend paying investments, it’s your principal residence, your not concerned with realizing the existing profit, you love that house enough to watch the equity disappear, and you can pay your mortgages no matter what. You have a right to your choices. “Carpe Diem” is a cool phrase though.

#48 Frank on 08.22.12 at 11:31 am

But RBC said that all is well in RE. So who is right?

#49 Bob on 08.22.12 at 11:38 am

Forget the predictions and all the detailed charts and analysis!!!! Open your eyes and follow the market closely. Foreclosures are spiking, sales are dropping, inventories of unsold properties are rising, unemployment is rising and savings rates are negative. The Government has changed the rules to dampen enthusiasm for real estate and now the banks have followed suit and tightened lending policies from one extreme to the other. I am convinced the banks see the writing on the wall and quite frankly just as in the stock market i never listen to all the gurus i could care less about their predictions! Instead i listen to the market itself. For what it is worth my tape is clearly indicating that the bear is growling in the Canadian real estate market and all one has to do is watch the tape.

#50 City Slicker on 08.22.12 at 11:40 am

Garth so far Calgary is holding up for the most part. I know some painters that are not getting as much work as in the past but not sure if that’s a strong enough indicator of anything.
Are you making a trip to Calgary? I saw you here last time, are you making any additions to your presentation?

#51 vangrrl on 08.22.12 at 11:45 am

Angela sounds like a friend of mine… Nice to read a letter from a sensible person for a change ;)
Robson??! Commercial Dr and its Italian cafes is where it’s at. Next time you’re in town Garth! Continental cafe on the drive. My treat!

#52 Echo on 08.22.12 at 11:55 am

#48 Frank:

The Banks have been increasing their Recovery staff for a couple of years now. Not just because of what’s coming, common knowledge behind the scenes for ages, but because of increasing mortgage, and other types of, arrears, for some time now. Our Banks don’t play a game they don’t understand, not in this country.

Thanks for the smile, and I know it’s not your fault. You may want to consider ignoring mainstream media for your daily dose of reality when it comes to Real Estate though. After all, they report what the Banks and the Real Estate organizations tell them to. Garth points this out all of the time, and proves the deception and manipulative practices on both sides blatantly.

If all else fails focus on math, and daily happenings outside your window.

p.s. Do you work for RBC? (sorry, had to ask) : )

#53 Merridith on 08.22.12 at 11:58 am

Robson Street isn’t the only street where businesses are vanishing.

I live in the West End – downtown Vancouver. For a while I have been watching storefronts shutter…..and it seems to take a very, very long time for a new business to take over the vacancy.

Denman Street which isn’t quite as tony, but is famous for it’s teaming pedestrian traffic, also has numerous closed shop fronts. I have been making a tour about once a week down that street counting……and what is striking is that the failures aren’t being replaced (at least quickly) with new businesses. (My latest count is about an bit less than 1 business per block is shut over a 14 block walk)

I just did a drive down Broadway (another busy commercial street) counting, and in 20 blocks, there were over a dozen businesses shuttered. And here some losses seem to appear in clusters, so when one business fails, it seems to have a ripple effect.

On Granville Street, I talked to a commercial land lord. He told me that his real estate taxes on the store front he leased were $55,000 @ year! This was a clothing shop! How many shirts do you have to sell just to make the TAXES? And this doesn’t include: rent, hydro, wages, inventory and miscellaneous permits and compliance issues! Where’s the PROFIT potential?????? Who wants to work for for free?

And here’s the story behind the closing Starbucks Garth mentioned. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/04/30/bc-kitty-corner-starbucks-closes.html

The landing is starting. And it doesn’t look pretty.

#54 Hicksville Alberta on 08.22.12 at 12:03 pm

#40 Rig Dog

Have to fundamentally agree with you in spades.

A lot of the increase in costs is due to the ever increasing regulations and micromanagement by the ERCB et al as well as what seems to be an almost post industrialization attitude in the patch in Calgary where costs have been allowed to spiral out of control.

Too many accountants, bankers and stock market types in the front end of the business who don’t seem to have any real sense of ownership and what that really entails.

A good asshanding in the oilpatch would be healthy and could allow for more and better ownership and participation in the industry over time, but definitely it needs a good cleanout.

#55 Brad in Calgary on 08.22.12 at 12:04 pm

Garth’s coming to Calgary tonight?! Where and what time??? I know I like to pick on him for being wrong about Alberta (and being wrong about precious metals) but would still love to hear his presentation.
Where and what time people???

#56 Vangirl on 08.22.12 at 12:16 pm

Garth….”So, HMV failed. The Seattle coffee chain closed a key location. Independent retailers melted away.

But there was no line-up to replace them….”

That’s blatant manipulation of information to provide fodder for this blog. That Starbucks closed but was replaced virtually overnight by Cafe Artigiano, a successful Vancouver boutique Italian coffee chain. Why did you not mention that? The HMV location is rumored to be home to an Apple store.
“A source close to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) has told Business in Vancouver that the computer company is slated to take space on Robson Street halfway between Burrard and Thurlow streets.
This new prominent location will be at Robson and Burrard, the former home of HMV and the Virgin Megastore (RIP CDs) and current home of CTV, notes ifoAppleStore”

I appreciate your point of view, Garth, but please don’t be monolithic. Most local Vancouverites are cognisant that our market is due for a correction, but your walk down Robson street paints a wasteland.

#57 Investx on 08.22.12 at 12:20 pm

“The same thing’s happened for stores. As land values spun out of control since 2008, Robson rents spiraled to an unheard-of $240 a foot – about the same as the most valued acreage on Toronto’s Bloor Street, a city with four times the population and 50% more household income. So, HMV failed. The Seattle coffee chain closed a key location. Independent retailers melted away.”

Why won’t this affect REITs?

#58 Tony on 08.22.12 at 12:24 pm

House prices are not going to tank 30% on a national level. And if they do, there will be more problems than a couple of foreclosures. This blog is getting out of hand with the doomers.

Real Estate is local. Even comparing houses within the same city is apples and oranges.

Owning a house is not wrong, and buying a house right now isn’t the worst mistake one can make as long as they are not over leveraged, make good coin, and understand the true cost of owning a home, arn’t flipping and understand the risk of increased carrying cost when refinancing in 2,3,4 years

Housing prices drop, they have before and will again. Garth has been predicting this since 2008. Eventually he will be right, but that’s like me predicting there is going to be another recession after this one. It happens. Get over it. The man is no genie.

I laugh at most of these losers who critize someone who bought with 30% down within the past couple of years in a good location in Toronto. No big deal. Yah, maybe a short term mistake, but not the end of the world.

Life’s good!

Go out and enjoy it, and asking for advice on what REIT, ETF’s to buy on a blog is probably dumber than buying a house in this market. Take a finance course, and read books.

#59 Exile on Main St. on 08.22.12 at 12:28 pm

@Graham: You may be right about that particular Starbucks not being the best example, but there is at least one Starbucks closure I find interesting. I live near Main Street and for the last several years the RE media has hyped the neighbourhood as the “funky, trendy Main St. area,” and promised massive house value increases as the area becomes gentrified.

As far as I can see the gentrification project has been a failure, and certainly highly unlikely to continue now with F’s new rules. Traditionally, this neighbourhood has a great deal of established ethnic diversity, students, young people in low-paying jobs, and middle class families. The extent of the gentrification has for the most part comprised a small, but noticeable influx of young uber-hot couples with insanely expensive strollers, whose houses are almost certainly funded by the parents. There’s a number of “executive” type houses built in the last 18 months which have sat on the market, totally unsaleable.

I’ve lived in the area for 20 years, and for as long as I can remember there was one Starbucks at 15th avenue with a very entrenched, not upscale, local clientele. A couple of years back, they opened a second, much more fancy Starbucks at 13th, across the street. Driving by the other day, I noticed the second one has closed, while the older one is still going strong. Could be my imagination, but I swear the trendy young things are wearing a slightly worried expression, like they were expecting to be gracing the hottest party in town and the plan’s gone awry.

#60 Carlos on 08.22.12 at 12:29 pm

Hey Garth,
Local Vancouverite here, long-time resident. While I appreciate most of what you say here on the blog, you definitely picked the wrong example with the dual Starbucks on Robson & Thurlow. While yes, the rents are pretty high there, you make it sound like everything is shuttered up… the second Starbucks has been replaced by a much nicer local coffee chain, and the street activity is still as active as usual. The vacant streetfronts don’t seem more so than any other time as before. There’s always a state of flux on Robson from Burrard to Bute.

There’s lots of other great shopping areas in the City, much more than Robson was in the 90’s & 2000’s, and making Robson not “the” place to do your shopping. Commercial Dr is getting relatively cleaner, West 4th is still hot. Main St from Broadway to 16th is hipster heaven and Gastown is getting that rep too. Lots of great little businesses have moved into older dodgier areas.

It’s unfortunate to see that 30% of the economy depends on construction and real estate. Maybe Angela should focus her architect career on fixing leaky condos for social housing or designing social housing projects. A friend in BC Housing says that’s pretty much all that the prov (& the feds by proxy) are willing to fund these days, especially for seniors.

And based on demographics and the lack of savings with the Boomers, there might be something there!

#61 CP on 08.22.12 at 12:35 pm

“Oh hey guys… I just awoke from my information slumber. Is this the end of the buyer’s frenzy? ”

LOL….

http://www.thegridto.com/life/real-estate/is-this-the-end-of-buyer-frenzy/

#62 R. Olausen on 08.22.12 at 12:38 pm

Just took a long ride through the Alberta countryside. It is spectacular and very prosperous looking. The farmers will rake it in big and then spend. In this teeter-totter country, with big cities T. and V. tumbling the electronic $’s will most likely come to rest in C. and E.. However there is a chance regulators will go to the axe and everybody in swinging distance will lose something. I hope the last sentence puts me onside with all the fear mongers.

#63 Roial1 on 08.22.12 at 12:42 pm

#19T.O. Bubble Boy on 08.22.12 at 7:34 am

Someone explain to me how this is possible when U.S. home ownership is still 65% or so? A third of the homeowners die with less than $10,000 in home equity?
___________________________________________

It,s called “Good Planning”

Spend it before you die. You can NOT take it with you.

Besides, The bible says that a rich man can as easely get into heaven as the camel pass through the eye of a needle. Sooooooooo.

Die poor.

#64 Spiltbongwater on 08.22.12 at 12:43 pm

In the last 18 years above that Starbucks, was Hooters, Kenny Rogers Roasters, TGIFridays, and now Red Robin. I may have missed one or two.

#65 disciple on 08.22.12 at 12:46 pm

#19 … Arianna Huffington is a fraud, so don’t rack your brains with anything she publishes…

#66 Roial1 on 08.22.12 at 12:48 pm

30young & foolish on 08.22.12 at 9:30 am
We are all debt slaves now …..

Not “ALL”…….

#67 Troy McClure on 08.22.12 at 12:51 pm

#9 Graham & #25 renters rule

Renters rule is right, both those Starbucks have been there for at least 12 years. The 2nd one closed because the landlord wanted to jack up the price: Starbucks balked because they have so many locations in Vancouver they know what fair lease is (this was quoted in newspaper articles). Cafe Artigiano took its place, a delicious but even more posh local chain.

#68 Cal Vulture on 08.22.12 at 12:56 pm

#23KL on 08.22.12 at 8:40 am
#7 Mikey on 08.22.12 at 3:16 am

The U shaped condo project around the corner from where I’m currently renting (after owning for the last 36 years) has been devoid of activity for over a month now.
A 48 unit, three storey building occupies one leg of the U that’s almost complete (after a year of excruciating slow construction), the opposite framed and siding being applied and the bottom of the U is partially framed to the second floor.
Otherwise, the neighbouring streets are barren of construction activity, cars or personnel. Yes, no more annoying beeping of back up equipment signals and I can finally get to my mail without double parking.

“You can own this home for $2,000.00 down” the sign reads, that is if you can find the sales office in the middle of Calgary somewhere the rumor goes.
Interestingly enough in the last bust, condos were the first to suffer the greatest decline in value.

Some claim that things are different here because of oil and jobs…perhaps you should discuss this with someone that lived through the 80’s and how THAT turned out.

This pathetic blog has been VERY clear on the direction home ownership is heading, you have been forewarned well in advance. Choose to ignore Garth’s warning and suffer the consequences.
And one more thing, don’t hate me when in a few years I come in and suck up your assets for pennies on the dollar.

Yes things are different here, I’ll be the vulture…this time.

Yours Truly,

Mr. Vulture to you

#69 West End Codger on 08.22.12 at 12:58 pm

#9 Graham

Garth is right on the money. Both of those Starbucks on Robson were there for years and years, way before we even knew we were going to host the Olympics. I’ve lived in the west end since the late 80’s and can’t remember a time that both of them WEREN’T there. Since the 1990’s sometime for sure.

#70 Devore on 08.22.12 at 1:00 pm

#9 Graham

Can we be upfront about one thing? The Starbucks in question was ACROSS THE STREET from another Starbucks. It was only put in place to take the traffic of THAT Starbucks as it was renovated prior to the Olympics.

Unless my memory is really shoddy, both stores have been at that location for several years, well before the olympics. The store that is closing was there for over 2 decades, and is closing due to the high rent asked on the new lease, which was Garth’s point.

#71 Old Man on 08.22.12 at 1:01 pm

This will not affect the qualifying REIT’S with tax advantages because they don’t invest in the average retail store on the street, but have commercial portfolios with cashflow that will weather the storm, so pick the right one.

#72 VanCity on 08.22.12 at 1:02 pm

“Van prices are off about 15%” — Not true.

The average price of all the homes that sold is 15% off, due to lower sales of high end homes. The average home has NOT lost 15% of its value.

The slow sales for the past year are clear signs of a slowing market, but no need to sensationalize prices, which have only turned downwards in the past month or so.

#73 Mark W on 08.22.12 at 1:08 pm

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12083925&PidKey=947956681

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12265106&PidKey=126218

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12247902&PidKey=-336416658

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11296866&PidKey=134167336

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12301069&PidKey=1451634629

These five very nice townhouses are located in Maple Ridge BC, a suburb of Vancouver about 30 miles east of the city in the Fraser Valley.

Beyond the influence of HAM.

Mostly white middle class & working class with a lot of people in the skilled construction trades.

These town houses were built in 2008.

Now five of them are being resold for between $60,000 & $80,000 LESS than their original selling price.

I am willing to bet that 80% of the people who live in this complex are now upside down on their mortgages.

If you want to study the downward trend in Greater Vancouver real estate the canary in the coal mine will be places like Maple Ridge simply because it fits the demographic profile of everything that is not HAM.

#74 gary wong on 08.22.12 at 1:16 pm

Angela, if you are reading this comment, can you advise what you make? my wife is a young architect… 5 years undergrad and 2 years Masters.. has been working for 3 years… and makes terrible income… well i shouldn’t say terrible but for the amount of knowledge and education she has… it is terrible… sales people with 3 years experience make 20-30K more…

I’d have to say.. being an architect is the worst profession… very low ROI from the amount you spend on education/time.

#75 GLK on 08.22.12 at 1:23 pm

How about making an offer to purchase a house with a condition that separatist don’t get a majority at the upcoming election in Quebec (see link below). That is what seems to be happenning lately in Montreal’s high end real estate market, where some think that real estate could suffer if separatists get elected (Garth also pointed it out a few days ago). Home purchases are being postponed.

Read link below (on the condition that you know french! Learn some guys, this is Canada!)

http://affaires.lapresse.ca/economie/immobilier/201208/21/01-4566733-immobilier-haut-de-gamme-des-acheteurs-nerveux-a-montreal.php

#76 s on 08.22.12 at 1:23 pm

To clarify all the starbucks talk.

Starbucks didn’t renew the lease for the location because they didn’t like the terms not because they couldn’t afford it.

The owners wanted to have the option to give a short notice if they decided to tear down the location to build condos cuz of the hot housing market.

However Robson is not what it use to be, a lot of smaller shops can’t afford the high rents with mainly teenagers shopping there nowadays.

#77 Buy? Curious? on 08.22.12 at 1:38 pm

Only 57 published comments so far? What’s going on? This is what happens when people move out to the east coast. They get all slow. Garth, just because you moved your Fortress of Solitude to some fishing village that has a hospital and 5 star restaurants (bahahaha! Yeah right!) doesn’t mean you can slack off. C’mon Garth, don’t start getting old me.

#78 gokou3 on 08.22.12 at 1:42 pm

@Vangirl,

I walked down Robson St myself on Monday (after Garth’s talk!). Things may not be as gloomy as he painted, but I do see ample vacancies on the traditionally busiest stretch between burrard and bute. Remember these are supposedly prime, >$200/SF rent stores. The landlords who bought based on these valuations must be suffering mightily (of course most landlords probably have had the properties since forever, but still they are destroying value by having them vacant)

#79 Canada Watchdog on 08.22.12 at 1:46 pm

CBA Mortgage in Arrears For June: Canada (-17% y/y), Ontario (-26.8% y/y), Alberta (-22% y/y), British Columbia (-7.2%y/y).

Thank you Genworth for paying BC’s distressed mortgages for free with taxpayers money.

#80 Toronto S on 08.22.12 at 1:46 pm

I moved to Vancouver in 2005 when I was starting my career. I learned that wages are generally lower there, since Vancouver has this mentality that people will accept working for less due to “quality of life” of being in the “greatest city on the planet”. I also quickly realized I’d never be able to afford to buy real estate there by myself since prices were already ridiculous then. I had a hunch prices would rocket higher due to the Olympics, and then the economy would suffer after the Olympics pandemonium is over. Ever Vancouverite I discussed this with thought I was wrong. So in 2006, I had the sense to pack up for TO, the last place I ever wanted to live at the time, but where I instantly made $20K more and condos were in my financial reach. I certainly haven’t looked back. Wonder how those Vancouverites that scoffed at me are doing now. I know one bought a condo in Whistler just before the Olympics… Poor guy.

#81 Babblemaster on 08.22.12 at 1:47 pm

Self serving financial institutions. Banks facing headwinds. Hidden ETF costs.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/index-funds-cost-a-lot-more-than-you-think/article4492479/

#82 truth hammer on 08.22.12 at 1:57 pm

#53 MER…..you’re right…the downtown core of Crapcouver ( being the miniscule strip mall venue it is) is not the only retail area that has lapsed into a coma. And right again for pointing out that the property taxes are a huge deterrant to opening up a business anywhere in metro Wankouver. $50,000 IS a lot of money for a funky clothing shop…..which is exactly why only chain stores in malls that serve up the same bland garbage are in place today to serve up Wankouvers not so hip pop of style-less drones.

Don’t look farther afield than Shitty halls unions and leftist admin for the problem……advisors to the puppet mayor and raking in $300-$400 thousand per year…..union street sweepers over $100K….skytrain cops…over $100K………it’s the cost of this gluttonous domination of unions that has strangled the city. And you wonder why Vancouver is often written up as the least friendly place in the world by the people who live there.

Question……why do the leftists all desire doctors wages and the trappings of wealth after they get into power? Is this a class war kind of thing? Watching the leftist politiciains transform from banner waving protesters into Armani suits and monster houses is like watching monkey’s raid a forgotten box of banana’s.

Case in point….look at sartorial splendour of the labour chiefs…..what’s up with that?

The reason there is no art scene, no cafe culture, no galleries large or small, no trendy area’s, no dance, no music, no life generally is that the city has priced these lesser revenue generating activities out of the market. Even Commercial Drive with it’s desperate poverty can’t fill the retail spaces with cool shops……instead the streets are a flop house for the working poor.

Another thing that is glaringly obvious about the Marie Antoinette city admins is their sudden appreciation for ‘gourmet’. Have you noticed that even the few food carts the city has allowed allnow have to be gourmet items…instead of having food people cab afford to eat outside because the restaurants are such gougers because of the outrageous taxes?

How did a binch of no class boots suddenly become ‘royalty? Is it the multi hundred thousand dollar wages?

You also notice that there are no street markets in Vanshithole…when an average person can sell a bit of fluff from afar for extra money….not allowed in Vancrapstick…….

Wonder why businesses large and small are folding up and leaving? I don’t. When even the high rolling tech companies are moving because of the restrictions and costs….you know that the city is dying from within.

#83 Thinking of buying in Calgary? on 08.22.12 at 2:07 pm

#55 Brad in Calgary

Garth was correct in his past predictions about Alberta real estate.

In 08-09, Calgary house prices crashed 20% in less than a year. He was right about that. The only thing that stopped the crash was a massive, emergency, unprecedented intervention by the government.

The intervention is easy to understand when you consider CMHC, as it tells the basic story. In 09, CMHC had about $300 B on its books. Today, only 3 years later, that total is almost $600 B. You see, it was in 09 that the government mandated CMHC to take on more high risk loans to stop the housing market crash.

Did you predict that the government would intervene to that extent? Correct, you didn’t. Well, Garth couldn’t have either. If that intervention was not put into place at that time, Calgary house prices would have continued down adding to that 20% loss.

If you let him, Garth will be able to offer you valuable insight with respect to the Calgary housing market.

See Brad, you are wrong and Garth was right. Garth is right.

#84 Jen on 08.22.12 at 2:12 pm

I would blame Robson street businesses closing on the American dollar parity rather than Vancouver specific problems. Personally, I used to shop on Robson 8-10 years ago all the time, when our dollar was 60 cents US and it wasn’t worth it to shop there. It is now and I hardly buy anything in Canada…..That doesn’t explain the closing of Starbucks (mind you there were two of them across one another).

#85 Mikey on 08.22.12 at 2:18 pm

#23 KL – I don’t think you understood my comment (if you’re agreeing with me).

#40 Rig Dog – Thanks for your insight. “The rules of physics and economics are not suspended because it’s Alberta”. Well said.

Does Garth care to weigh in?

#86 -=jwk=- on 08.22.12 at 2:26 pm

#57. It will. they own the building and are collecting on that rent!

REIT dont buy overpriced SFH. They buy cash flow multiunits and commercial which are still reasonably priced.

SFH suffer the most from emotional buying, duplexes next triples a little. Quads and up? Now you are making a business decision, not an emotional one.

#87 Jim on 08.22.12 at 2:31 pm

“#56 Vangirl ”

Robson street IS a wasteland, for prime commercial territory in an allegedly world class city. it looks like something in a tertiary neighbourhood in toronto.

The fact that Apple is looking forward to opening a store says nothing about the viability of robson for local businesses. What is apple’s market cap? We aren’t talking the average business here, and certainly not a local one.

I was shocked to see what Vancouver’s commercial areas are like, having been out of the city for 8 years. it looks like something out of the rust belt in the US, in comparison to Toronto or Montreal.

#88 Tony on 08.22.12 at 2:42 pm

Stockton, California fell about 70 percent at its lowest point.

#89 Timing is Everything on 08.22.12 at 2:44 pm

#56 Vangirl

Keepin’ it real…

“We have the other [Starbucks]store across the street and two others close by. They’ll get busier.”

http://tinyurl.com/8s9e2ko

#90 Timing is Everything on 08.22.12 at 2:47 pm

Sorry, dead link last post…

#56 Vangirl

Keepin’ it real…

“We have the other [Starbucks]store across the street and two others close by. They’ll get busier.”

http://tinyurl.com/bqvxd8g

#91 Old Man on 08.22.12 at 2:50 pm

I will cry a river of tears for you that bought a new home a few years ago to go underwater with debt, as should have seen the storm coming. Now, what if you had taken your surplus cash, and invested into BEI.UN which is a REIT while renting? Imao, as some of you trash Garth about the REIT scenerio, as look at it now, and look at your horny home purchase, so now what are you going to do? You are between a rock and a hard place because a home purchase was so cool with cheap money, and you rolled the dice with emotion, and will crap out.

#92 Van guy on 08.22.12 at 2:54 pm

#72 VanCity on 08.22.12 at 1:02 pm

“Van prices are off about 15%” — Not true.
—————————————–

It is true. But is it affecting all areas and property types? No. But when the average was going up did you say that it was skewed by sales of mansions? No.

Stats are stats. But if you look around and see that listings are way up and sales are way down, isn’t there clear enough signs for you?

#93 ApplePi on 08.22.12 at 2:56 pm

That Starbucks was closed down for more reasons than “high rent”. The owner wanted to keep a clause in the contract that would allow him to sell the building at any time with just short notice. In short, Starbucks thought that the deal stunk and called their bluff.

The combination of high lease rate and unfavorable terms didn’t sit well with Starbucks and given that they have a location across the street, they opted to close down.

I would hazard a guess, and this plays into Garth’s point, that the property owner wanted some flexibility to sell the place to reap maximum profit if the economy hits the fan. They know what’s coming… it’s just a question of how much retail and commercial will be affected.

#94 Miko on 08.22.12 at 3:17 pm

i’m thinking you didn’t really take a stroll down Robson or you would have noticed that the Starbucks has another coffee shop in it’s place

#95 betamax on 08.22.12 at 3:19 pm

#9 Graham — you’re 100% wrong , no matter how much you shout in all caps. (Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.) The second Starbucks has been there since when I was in university 20 years ago.

And it’s not just Robson street that is losing businesses: there are increasing numbers of empty storefronts in the malls; restaurants are failing; construction companies, roofers and tradespeople are bidding on small contracts (with miniscule profit margins) that they would have ignored two years ago. I know several people who are worried about whether they’ll have a job next year.

The collateral damage is already being felt thanks to a decade-long credit binge that’s now collapsing of it’s own weight, irrespective of laughably low interest rates. When the RE train completely derails, the fallout will be brutal.

#96 GLK on 08.22.12 at 3:19 pm

Another link about Quebec politics and real estate:

http://www.canada.com/business/politics+home+prices/6978161/story.html

#97 dd on 08.22.12 at 3:25 pm

US in recovery? Think again …

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/aug/22/cbo-feds-flirting-double-dip-recession/#ixzz24IEk1Pl6

#98 jess on 08.22.12 at 3:53 pm

154 cynically on 08.21.12 at 7:09 pm
“Sure Cheney is gone (thank God) but the real nutcases have taken over and they are even more dangerous for US democracy than the Cheney neocons”
===========

HUNT: – pleased about the selection of Mitt Romney’s running mate. Let me ask you this. What do you find more appealing – because there are at least a few differences – the Romney or the Ryan economic budget blueprint?

NORQUIST: The advantage of the Ryan plan is that it’s been scored by CBO, it’s been written down. The entire Republican caucus in the House and Senate has vetted it, can speak to it, has voted for it once, so it’s sort of been through the process.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-17/norquist-says-ryan-would-take-on-cheney-role-transcript-.html

===================
SO THE NUMBERS 2012 -2022 are actual???
CBO : “The amounts of revenues and spending to be used in these calculations for 2012 through 2022 were provided by Chairman Ryan and his staff.”

…”At the request of the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has calculated the long-term budgetary impact of paths for federal revenues and spending specified by the Chairman and his staff. The calculations presented here represent CBO’s assessment of how the specified paths would alter the trajectories of federal debt, revenues, spending, and economic output relative to the trajectories under two scenarios that CBO has analyzed previously. Those calculations do not represent a cost estimate for legislation or an analysis of the effects of any given policies. In particular, CBO has not considered whether the specified paths are consistent with the policy proposals or budget figures released today by Chairman Ryan as part of his proposed budget resolution.

The amounts of revenues and spending to be used in these calculations for 2012 through 2022 were provided by Chairman Ryan and his staff.”
http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43023
http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2012/08/saletans-elegy-for-paul-ryans-doa-budget-fantasy.html#more-2932
===================================

#99 Old Man on 08.22.12 at 4:02 pm

The Province of Alberta is a one horse town, and remember the days when the boom was on, and gals went there to earn $1000 a week, and the newfies went to return home with a used cadillac, and this all crashed. What if history repeats itself? The spot price of oil is not the net anymore, as expenses have gone up, and is being discounted in the so-called Oil Sands, so will history repeat itself like having a bad woman in bed? I will not park my money in Alberta, as is like rolling the dice.

#100 Vangirl on 08.22.12 at 4:07 pm

@#87 Jim

Not sure if you are from out of town, Jim, but I have lived in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and now Vancouver, so I have basis for comparison. Vancouver has a vibrant downtown core whereas the others are dead after office hours. There are countless eateries (yes, mom and pop local operators) along Robson and they are all bustling till midnight, on any given night. Hardly a wasteland at all! Commercial does not only apply to merchandise. What is world class anyway?? Gucci’s and Fendi’s?? Well we have that too….just around the bend from Robson toward Alberni. There’s something for everyone. Yes we have squalor too, like any other ‘world class’ city.
You would have to spend time exploring the downtown core and its proximity to the waterfront and mountains to marvel at what an incredible city this is.

#101 Just Park It on 08.22.12 at 4:09 pm

I have 2 brother-in-laws who work in the construction trades. One who just bought a new home and who’s wife is still on maternity leave while my other BIL works as a contractor in painting new homes.

They seem to think that things will move forward forever, I can only throw caution but time and time again they refute my warnings. Funny thing is, one of them who is a licensed plumber has recently had his hours scaled back but he actually looks at it as some well deserved downtime!

The ripple effect is what probably scares the [email protected] out of Harper and company. This is gonna be a nasty downturn and holding some coin on the sidelines will make you look like a financial genius within a year.

I hope we can all come together and support those less fortunate during the bleakest hours!

Peace and Love to all!

#102 Don on 08.22.12 at 4:23 pm

That second starbucks has been there for quite a while. I can remember walking done Robson with friends, we were all hung over on a Sunday Morning(s) in 1998 thinking at least we don’t have to cross the street for the same coffee. There were high vacancy rates in Vancouver along Robson in the 90’s also. Now I suspect the next to go will be the coffee shops, as $5 twice a day at minimum adds up. And Cafe Argentino or whatever it is called is pretty quiet here in Victoria, especially in the last year.

Coffee, BMW’s, clothing are the first to suffer.

And HotHornyHousewife I would like to see happen what you hope for…but somewhat too late. Maybe next time.

To all those who wish for the inevitable no to happen. Try waving your magic wands, and clicking your heels together…that might just work.

#103 Angela on 08.22.12 at 4:28 pm

#74 Gary Wong

This is the letter writer ‘Angela’ here. I have to say I’m impressed that Garth publishes real letters word-for-word. I have to admit I had doubts.

Anyway, as per your question, I make just over $60,000 eight years after graduating with my masters. That is average in Vancouver. If I lived in Toronto I’d make more, but I’d also be living in Toronto. People can make more working for themselves, but the can also go bankrupt and get their pants sued off.

I don’t recommend my career to anyone who wants to make a lot of money, or even anyone who really needs financial security. Its just not that type of profession. I enjoy designing buildings for a living, and that is my biggest compensation. Honestly, when the shit hits the fan, people in my industry will thank their lucky stars to have jobs at all.

#104 Spiltbongwater on 08.22.12 at 4:44 pm

I seems harder and harder to get a decent hooker off the street these days. Seymour used to have quite a few, and the DTES was always good for some inexpensive good times. It must be the interwebs that the girls have taken themselves to. Now if only I could find a website where the girl will come over with a pizza, or some chinese food.

#105 Not on the boat on 08.22.12 at 4:47 pm

These two locations had been open for 24 years across from each other… had nothing to do with the Olympics.. please.

——————————————————
#9 Graham on 08.22.12 at 3:27 am

Can we be upfront about one thing? The Starbucks in question was ACROSS THE STREET from another Starbucks. It was only put in place to take the traffic of THAT Starbucks as it was renovated prior to the Olympics. Starbucks Central Command™ decided to keep it open to see if both stores could run profitably after the games… both were, but not to the level that justified the expense of having both stores open.

#106 optionsman on 08.22.12 at 5:29 pm

If you’ve described Robson suffering because of the housing issues, why don’t you agree REITs will also suffer?

#107 Investx on 08.22.12 at 5:41 pm

72 VanCity:
“Van prices are off about 15%” — Not true.

The average price of all the homes that sold is 15% off, due to lower sales of high end homes. The average home has NOT lost 15% of its value.”

Interesting that Garth downplayed the expected jump in prices for August due to skewing by expensive homes, but has no problem quoting the average price otherwise.

Hey, isn’t the HPI supposed to more accurately reflect prices, taking into account skewing by exceptional sales?

#108 bill on 08.22.12 at 5:46 pm

”Is there anything more tragic than a dead Starbucks?”
a live starbucks springs to mind…

#109 Brad in Calgary on 08.22.12 at 5:47 pm

#83 “Did you predict that the government would intervene to that extent? Correct, you didn’t. Well, Garth couldn’t have either. ”

Of COURSE he could have predicted that!
I don’t know what planet you’ve been on, but here in Canada and in the US, the governments ALWAYS intervene. It seems rather obvious that, of all people, a former government representative like Garth could easily have foreseen the intervention.
Give your head a shake – you’ve got a little wool in your eyes, young sheep.

#110 Tim on 08.22.12 at 6:00 pm

The hippest street in one of the most dynamic cities? Are you watching Global News again Garth?

I’d say it is the most sterile steet in one of the quietest cities. Other than condo construction there is not much going on here. Robson Street has become a characterless, sterile, generic shopping street with endless shoe shops and chain storse where Asians go to buy clothes and where tourists go when they arrive in Vancouver.

#111 curious on 08.22.12 at 6:04 pm

hey guys and gals did you see all those homes for sale in Brampton a gazillion half a million dollar homes for sale in the crappiest part of ontario – where all the crap happens – who would ever invest in brampton? the sh!tt7est place to live.

#112 Investx on 08.22.12 at 6:07 pm

81 Babblemaster:
Self serving financial institutions. Banks facing headwinds. Hidden ETF costs.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/index-funds-cost-a-lot-more-than-you-think/article4492479/
………………………………………………..

That article is basically a propaganda piece for the mutual fund industry… and the article commenters did a good job of exposing it as such.

#113 kevsta on 08.22.12 at 6:09 pm

interesting article on amongst other things, Canada’s economy and prospects from (another ;) one of the few Canadians worth listening to.

#114 Investx on 08.22.12 at 6:16 pm

106 optionsman:
If you’ve described Robson suffering because of the housing issues, why don’t you agree REITs will also suffer?
……………………………………………….

Looking forward to Garth’s answer to this as well.

Because REITs don’t buy storefronts. — Garth

#115 Tim on 08.22.12 at 6:20 pm

The disturbing number of posts about a generic coffee chain, which has blanketed the suburbs where the white trash go to try and appear as though they are sophisticated, and which sells inferior coffee compared to many independents is a sign of how boring many people’s lives are in Vancouver. It’s coffee for &%^$- sake!

#116 Mark W on 08.22.12 at 6:34 pm

When people in Vancouver speak of “Vancouver” that is a generic term for the Greater Vancouver area.

Here is a nasty little fact that people within the City of Vancouver do not want you to know.

The City of Vancouver (proper) is actually dying.

It is the suburbs that are growing.

Within a few short years (estimated about 2019) the largest City in British Columbia will be SURREY … !!!

Ratio of new business applications in Surrey to Vancouver: 17 to 1.

Elementary schools in Vancouver are being closed because rich immigrants do not have kids in school in that age range.

Elementary schools in the suburbs are growing big time.

The vast majority of people who work in the downtown core of Vancouver in offices (90% plus) no longer live in the City of Vancouver, but are from the suburbs.

Vancouver is actually dying under the weight of it’s own unaffordability … and those who do live there are taking the CASH and running to the suburbs where they can have a better quality of life, in a nicer home, and pocket several hundred thousand dollars of tax free cash.

Downtown Vancouver used to have four large department stores. Now they will shortly have ONE. Sear is closing. Sears now out in the suburbs only.

Robson Street is more of a tourist walk. It is touristy stores selling touristy things. It is not a legit shopping street.

Vancouver is becoming a theme park for the rich where the middle class has had the guts ripped right out of it.

There is a middle class in Greater Vancouver … they live outside of Vancouver … regardless of what Mayor Moonbeam says.

#117 Smoking Man on 08.22.12 at 6:40 pm

Funny thing happened, my nephew just got married, and is house hunting. So I talked with the kids, pointed them to this site and said, invest and rent grass hoppers.

None sense look at you uncle SM you lost all your money in the markets you had to sell the mansion, and are living in a tiny bungalow. My dad lost money he said house never go down and if they do not for long.

First off (he he he) my fake poverty head fake has paid off. My kids don’t sponge are of the couch and on the way to making there oun fortune.

Quadrupled my net worth when I bought into the market feb 2009. Back to story.

I said how about Bonds, Preferds, Gold, Rentel property.

Nope. These kids and there folks only think in real estate. If this is the common belief which it is.

You bubble heads waiting in the wings in the 416 are in for one hell of a disappointment.

So flash the stats, push the MSM gloom all you want.

Just try and buy a SFH in 416 at a reduced price. Good Luck

#118 Victor on 08.22.12 at 6:45 pm

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/mortgages/td-raises-3-year-mortgage-rate-to-match-rbc/article4493309/

TD raises 3-year mortgage rate to match RBC

Canada Trust is raising the interest rate it will charge for a three-year term mortgage, matching a move earlier this week by Royal Bank.

TD’s posted annual interest rate for three-year mortgages goes up by one-fifth of a point to 4.05 per cent, starting Thursday.

The bank is also offering a special five-year rate for new mortgage applications, matching RBC’s offer of 3.69 per cent.

#119 Smoking Man on 08.22.12 at 6:53 pm

Brandon Raub

Remember that name. perhaps the in sighting incident that fractures the USA republic beyond repair.

#120 young & foolish on 08.22.12 at 7:30 pm

Soooo many posts about Starbucks ….. forget it, it was just an example. It’s the economy stupid.

#121 John on 08.22.12 at 7:36 pm

Daisy Mae wrote:

“And the governments were responsible for this and, I’d say — culpable. Along with the banks, the developers, the realtors, as secondary influences.”
—–

Now that we’ve got some of the players on the table, let’s connect dots.

For example Merkel.

She’s 100% responsible…for her part.

How much power do puppets have? Not talking puppets…then we’re not connecting dots.

#122 Herb on 08.22.12 at 7:38 pm

#82 Truth Hammerer,

please tell me that you are getting paid by some neadercon foundation to produce this shit.

If you were doing this out of conviction, I would have to worry about you as some poor schmuck whose mind is warped to the point of self-destruction.

#123 $$$BPOE#1 on 08.22.12 at 7:44 pm

The reason Starbucks closed is cause people got hip, they got educated. Schultz has been pumping acidy coffee and extremely unhealthy “food” for sometime now. They should be all closed. BPOE does not need them. Sold signs are going up like gangbusters. Statistics and then there are lies. Looking better everyday. Got Crane? (envy). Latest trend in BPOE going like gangbusters.

#124 $$$BPOE#1 on 08.22.12 at 7:46 pm

1/5th of a point!!! Stop the presses. All the renters now think they will get 40% off. Laughable if it wasn’t so darn sad
******************************************
TD’s posted annual interest rate for three-year mortgages goes up by one-fifth of a point to 4.05 per cent, starting Thursday.

#125 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 08.22.12 at 7:52 pm


Fetish of the Month is Coconut Chicken Curry, swimming in hot noodles astride a bed of stir fried veggies.

Accompaniment is a litre-size jug of Mai Tai, followed by several pounds of Banana Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake. This is a meal full of good, nutritional value. Gorging is mandatory, manners are optional. Food fights are the individual’s responsibility. Enjoy!
*
Thought For The Day (wrh.com) — “I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. (Back then!)” — Thomas Jefferson.
*
4:41 clip Greek GD. Pretty much everyone is falling; The Euro is not the first of its kind to finish, September Shakes Greek exit, then the whole thing falls to pieces and UK This is on top of the Owelimpix and the UK’s soaring borrowing costs; Overcharging Watch your energy bills; China and the MEast New silk road; Gold Confiscation EO TPTB, who control (among others) the US Fed used this method to gain gold illegally, Gold and Silver Backwardation Complicated words, and and possible God rally; 3:48 clip Glen Hubbard wants Bernanke’s job; Real Reasons for high gas prices. Here, it’s taxes; Wimpish West Obviously. We’ve become dumbed down; The Daily Crux “Shall we agree that when the money people think its bad … it is worth changing the mentality that has mysteriously overtaken, and is now controlling, the leadership of the country?”; Rent White Trash See headline; In this case, it is a combination of Soros and Obomba, as Soros is pulling the strings. Obomba is a yes man; Gen Y hold most low-paying jobs.
*
Perpetual Cyber War Direct from the Pentagon; Iran and the Bovine Excrometer How much of this propaganda will contaminate our minds? Apple Pump and dump scam? Harvest the profits! Hackers The voices in the back of your head? They’re real; 1935 and CC, plus and Blue Planet, Green Chains; Brazil Good for the judge! Nuke War Ummm, not really. Nothing is worth nukes flying all around; Future Shock CIA and others predicting what will happen, mainly because they have already created it; Politics “What he (JFK) did do was go after the CIA for the bay of Pigs, and he went after Israel for their hidden nukes as did his brother. Now both of them were murdered. So hmm which one of these reasons was involved with both events? And hmm LBJ set up the USS Liberty for which country again? It’s been endless blackmail.”; Uninstall Windows 8 I’m on MS-DOS. Are there any upgrades for that? Oz Fallen off the fiscal cliff, so bring in ‘net snooping; 30:19 clip Poison on the Platter, or GMOs; Syria – Russia Friends forever.

#126 Junius on 08.22.12 at 7:56 pm

#116 Mark W,

Your description of Vancouver as dying is inaccurate and overblown. The actual City of Vancouver has continued to grow over the past few decades with nearly 100,000 people being added to the down core in the past 25 years.

It is certainly true that Surrey and the outer areas are growing faster but the City is not shrinking as it continues to grow by density.

#127 TurnerNation on 08.22.12 at 7:57 pm

Earlier this year I was in Vancouver, two times.
Downtown – the area within walking distance to the Convention Centre – was flooded with For Lease signs. Very noticibly so.

#128 renters rule on 08.22.12 at 8:09 pm

Vangirl (not to be confused with Vangrrl) sounds like a realtor troll… talk about a walking sales brochure!

I currently live in downtown Van and have lived in the area for decades, you do not accurately depict the city in which I live…..Garth is generally on the money with his observations.

#129 lotuslander on 08.22.12 at 8:11 pm

The dead Starbucks on Robson Street was killed because of a demolition clause in their lease. From what I understand, they considered that location, where they have been in business since 1987, as too great of a risk to commit into another term.

However, at the dead Starbucks at 18th and Dunbar Street, which closed it’s doors Sept 30, 2010 a “for lease” sign in the window appeared just last week.
http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/1485372/restaurant/Dunbar/Starbucks-Dunbar-18th-Vancouver

#130 Music Lover on 08.22.12 at 8:28 pm

The fact that HMV failed means nothing. They have a dead business model that has been replaced by internet downloading. HMV has failed all across Canada. There is no correlation to Vancouver or to real estate here.

#131 boringzzzz on 08.22.12 at 8:34 pm

zzzzzzz. Garth. Your greatest skill is your ability to write and communicate. But even you are getting way too predictable. We get it: BC is down and trending further. Toronto on its way. Real estate goes up and goes down: always has, always will. But the key point of your column was this: And yet it remains one of the most beautiful, livable, seductive and compelling places on the continent. Which is why it will go up again when the global economy sorts itself out, which it always does. HAM will return in abundance – you think the first wave was something. Wait for the next wave – several times larger and several times richer. There are a lot of Chinese, in case you haven’t noticed. It’s just the start of a century long event. Its much bigger than you or I. I couldn’t be more bullish on BC – just waiting two years…..

#132 jess on 08.22.12 at 8:52 pm

mercy me where was the regulator

United Catholic Credit Union of Temperance, Michigan
August 10, 2012 – 5:12 am United Catholic Credit Union (UCCU) of Temperance, Michigan, was shuttered under the weight of allegations of criminal activity.

An OFIR examination found that UCCU was operating in an unsafe and unsound manner and insolvent.
A federally insured, state-chartered credit union, UCCU operated one branch and served more than 200 members belonging to Catholic parishes in the Temperance/Erie area. Chartered in 1961, UCCU had deposits of approximately $303,000.
===========

#133 lee on 08.22.12 at 9:03 pm

Garth, there cannot be more than 300000 detached homes in toronto. There are at least 300000 professionals, teachers, fire and police, professors, actors, ex hockey players, builders, doctors, nurses, financial advisors, criminalsn, entrepreneurs and people with family money to keep prices of these properties from falling more than 10 per cent. Either way the dreamers reading this blog who think they are buying a million dollar house in toronto for 500 should keep dreaming. This delusion is what sells your blog to them. l know you tread carefully on this issue, but they are still fools.

You’d know. — Garth

#134 PeterfromCalgary on 08.22.12 at 9:03 pm

Saigon’s (Ho Chi Minh City for you communists) property market is crashing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/business/global/23iht-vietnam23.html?_r=1&ref=global-home

#135 bcgirl on 08.22.12 at 9:16 pm

Thanks Garth for a another great article about BC, it is real estate doomed. Honestly, people do here do not like hearing this.

I have a young house horny family member who is talking about seeing a mortgage broker with his girlfriend this week. The want to borrow $300,000 for their “starter home.” I can’t tell them anything, they know I read your blog. I’ve informed them, but they already know it all.

Must be great to know everything already.

Of course they want to do this before November 1st. They’re so naive, simply don’t get that they’re borrowing over a quarter of a million dollars. Ummm, for a “starter home,” wtf?

Anyway, I’ll just have to meditate and chill or something to let go of the disaster in the making. Not my problem, and no, I’m not co-signing for the little gaffers.

#136 Nathan on 08.22.12 at 9:20 pm

I noticed the Robson St a few months back, although I am sure it is far worse now. I have lived in this city for over 12 years and have noticed a decline in the standard of living. As an entrepreneur who works with reality, one of my hobbies is checking out all neighborhoods to see where things are going. I have seen the gentrification wave hit Commercial Drive first, changing the landscape as they ‘cleaned it up’ pushing people further west to Main and the process being repeated there until Cambie, Oak and now Granville and Arbutus and beyond. I now find myself shopping at shoppers drug mart to buy milk, butter, eggs, bread and pasta. I now find myself being arrested in front of my own apartment for breaking in as I no longer belong in this neighborhood and was unshaven. I see the frequency of men (and now women) with carts collecting junk in my back alley garbage cans increase weekly. I am now harassed all the time by people who moved here after the Olympics who live in some type of TV induced hypnosis based fantasy world and not reality because I choose not to spend my money on things I don’t need. This is very much evident in the social landscape of the city. It is obvious if you interview any minority, ‘poor looking’, business owner, free thinker or religious person as now the fools who got large loans and bankrupted our fine country are now miserable and behaving like high school children. It is very much the psychology of this city which is united through materialism in an environment of cheap credit. I am a business owner and am very much considering leaving here and taking my business elsewhere as I see no value in Vancouver anymore. The news paper stories about how great it is are just advertisements to move this real-estate. I do not want to pay for the 600 billion bank bailout from the CHMC that’s coming. I am tired of seeing black people on the CHMC website on the mortgage insurance section. I don’t want to pay any tax anymore. I am thinking of leaving the country or moving into the wilderness and growing my own food. I am sick of it. I’d hope for the crash if it wasn’t for all the poor and innocent people who had nothing to do with it being forced to shovel gravel for the BC provincial government’s friends in oil and gas. (http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20120313/KAMLOOPS0101/120319953/-1/kamloops/bc-looks-to-send-welfare-recipients-north-for-job-training). Any suggestions?

#137 jess on 08.22.12 at 9:27 pm

was this what old man was crowing about –insurance wrappers

life insurance wrappers offered by Credit Suisse Life Bermuda to German tax evaders. Credit Suisse ran bank accounts in Switzerland in the name of another financial institution, the Credit Suisse Life Insurance, without identifying any beneficial owner. Credit Suisse Life Bermuda in turn provided these life insurance wrapper accounts to their German clients using the disguise that the accounts belonged to a financial institution, thereby avoiding the European Savings Tax Directive (EUSTD) withholding tax. Such an arrangement would avoid the scope of the bilateral Swiss deals with little chance of remedying this problem without a multilateral platform or a bank account registry which allows checking for accounts held allegedly in the name of other financial institutions…
tjn
===========

The products, known as “wrappers,” exploit a Swiss tax loophole exempting insurance payouts from income tax, a person familiar with the matter said. A very small insurance policy is wrapped around an initial down payment, which is returned with interest in a payout at the end of 12 years. Swiss tax regulations accept the product as a tax-free insurance policy.
=============

#138 El Flamo on 08.22.12 at 9:31 pm

Most posters: I heard…; I think…; I feel…; someone told me…; was talking with an RE agent, who said….; I was driving around, and it sure looks like a lot of for sale signs….; I saw less birds today, therefore…; et cetera.

Most of you don’t know what you’re even talking about, do you?

Big drops in Van and TO? Sure…in Van. TO? In a few neighbourhoods, sure. Calgary? Nope. Most elsewhere? Nope. Slow decline of maybe 5-10% over the next several years? I’ll buy that. But I ain’t buying no 20-40% drops country-wide. Not going to happen. I’m happy to be wrong, but I don’t see it happening.

#139 Junius on 08.22.12 at 9:54 pm

#122 Herb,

I have also wondered if Hammerhead was simply a paid Randroid or Neandercon because it is hard to believe someone could be so ideologically bent out of shape. However I recently had a trip to the US where I saw more than few similar knuckle draggers on TV. Perhaps he just watches Fox News all day and comes here to throw up.

#140 syd on 08.22.12 at 10:09 pm

http://vancouverpricedrop.wordpress.com/

#141 Aaron - Melbourne on 08.22.12 at 10:18 pm

http://michael-hudson.com/2012/07/veblens-institutionalist-elaboration-of-rent-theory/

“After a wave of financial speculation and corporate fraud led the dot.com stock market bubble to burst in 2000, banks nurtured an even larger and more burdensome real estate bubble.

Indebting the economy has enabled the financial sector to absorb most of the revenues squeezed out by the insurance and real estate sectors, along with the major monopolies (minerals, fuels and power, radio and television, telephones and transport) and privatized infrastructure sold off from the public domain to become rent-extracting opportunities.

On top of the landlords – and now over industry – stand the bankers, lording it over them and using debt leverage to take control of governments as well. Yet neither socialist critiques nor those of mainstream economic futurists have focused on the financial takeover of society and its symbiosis with real estate and monopolies…”

#142 Roial1 on 08.22.12 at 10:19 pm

#77Buy? Curious? on 08.22.12 at 1:38 pm
Garth, just because you moved your Fortress of Solitude to some fishing village that has a hospital and 5 star restaurants (bahahaha! Yeah right!)

As point of fact, one of the best meals I have ever had was in Lunnanburg.
There was a resturaunt on the hill overlooking the warf.
We ordered lobster and scallops. (unbelievably cheap). The waitress asked us if we could wait about 1/2 hr.
We asked why? So she took us to the window overlooking the warf and asked us if we could see the man on the warf with the buckets. We could. She then said if we waited the man would bring up some FRESH scallops he was shucking as we watched.

We waited.

WOW! 5 star?? hell 25 stars. And a diamond to boot.

#143 vangirl vs vangrrl on 08.22.12 at 10:30 pm

really? Are you kidding? (re this comment “Not sure if you are from out of town, Jim, but I have lived in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and now Vancouver, so I have basis for comparison. Vancouver has a vibrant downtown core whereas the others are dead after office hours.)

wow. just wow. you are so out to lunch, girl. please stay in Vancouver, thx.

#144 CriticalQ on 08.22.12 at 10:45 pm

Imho, as this mathematically inevitable RE collapse gets underway, everyone considering REIT’s as an investment option should focus on residential REIT’S (rental apartments to be more precise.)

I would not touch commercial REIT’s.

What do you think Garth ?

#145 Baron von Munchouses on 08.22.12 at 10:54 pm

#82 truth hammer on 08.22.12 at 1:57 pm

Do you not like Vancouver or something?

#146 Tron on 08.22.12 at 11:08 pm

Starbucks has a commercial real estate division and their job is to plan, negotiate and find good space to lease. They work with local commercial real estate firms.

The decision for the two locations kiddy corner to each other was because they always wanted to have a good negotiating position just in case one of the landlords wanted to squeeze them for more rent. The location was considered to be prime at the time.The two stores were around since the late 80’s; one of the stores was the first in Vancouver and Canada.

Starbucks 2011 sales were $11.7 billion. Tim Hortons 2011 sales were $2.9 billion. I guess more people like Starbucks.

#147 Gary Wong on 08.22.12 at 11:21 pm

#103 Angela

Thanks so much for responding!!! i didnt mean to pry but wanted a bit more visibility into the industry.

I guess that makes sense… my wife will need another couple of years of experience… i think shes slightly underpaid right now…

architects also have a place in the gov`t and with universities, project mgmt companies etc.. they will surely pay more than architect firms.

#148 nocte_volens on 08.22.12 at 11:31 pm

#48 Frank But RBC said that all is well in RE. So who is right?

Not RBC

#149 Smoking Man on 08.22.12 at 11:47 pm

Vlad. You rock. The machine and u know who that is.

The force that co opt the art of war .

But the chapter they did not read. Psc about spending the treasury . Prediction. USA. Millitary coup

Coming to a white house near you. The burning man in the street. The guy I noted in abovE post.

HLS. Buys 750 mil of hallow points. A fleating attempt the trops won’t shoot. Les off cource they are brown skin.

The machine spoild off spring from true masters has over stepped the bounds, in fighting in the compound.

Its over troops will not pull the trigger.

Go long on muskoka real estate

Ya had afew

#150 Tyrell Pronghorn on 08.23.12 at 12:07 am

#9 Graham on 08.22.12 at 3:27 am

There’s been two Starbutt’s on that corner for twenty years. Are you talking about Expo??

#151 Steven Rowlandson on 08.23.12 at 12:12 am

Is there anything more tragic than a dead Starbucks?

Yes Garth there is. A dead Tim Hortons!

#152 Tyrell Pronghorn on 08.23.12 at 12:13 am

#138 El Flamo on 08.22.12 at 9:31 pm

Information doesn’t materialize out of thin air. It has to come from somewhere, sometimes fabricating in the recesses of our little minds based on some other fabrication from someone else’s little mind.

For the most part it emerges from lived experience, through the conversations, events, and observations we participate in on a daily basis.

#153 Van grrl on 08.23.12 at 12:18 am

#128 Renters Rule
“Vangirl (not to be confused with Vangrrl) sounds like a realtor troll… talk about a walking sales brochure!”

Thank you. I’m not all that impressed that she couldn’t have been a little more creative (unless she hadn’t noticed the name is taken). *sigh*

#154 Derek R on 08.23.12 at 12:24 am

#141 Aaron – Melbourne on 08.22.12 at 10:18 pm quoted Michael Hudson.

Ah, Michael Hudson. An economist with a truly different way of looking at the economy. Always worth listening too.

#155 TRT on 08.23.12 at 12:39 am

The empty storefronts on Robson?? They’re reserved for some American chains coming North soon..

Stores like Espirit had to close up shop because of the new lease terms they were offered..they couldn’t afford it…loophole to hold for new clients..

#156 TRT on 08.23.12 at 12:40 am

But we can pretend..

WOW!

#157 new canadian on 08.23.12 at 12:41 am

#19 bubbly boy
It says “no financial assets”, not no assets. Second of all, as someone pointed out, you could just transfer it to someone else or to a trust, and spend his money since gov’t will confiscate it after you are gone.

#158 renters rule on 08.23.12 at 12:50 am

@#131 boringzzzz

Wow, you are so deluded. The chinese will NOT continue to come here, nor will the SE Asians. Immigrants go WHERE THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE. North America is in for 20 years of “Japan malaise”…. we will be very low growth; anyone who wants to “strike it rich” will be in China and India and other Asian countries that are growing rapidly, because that is where the economic opportunities are and will be for the foreseeable future.

RE is dead dead dead money on this continent also for the foreseeable future.

Yet another realturd, or, sadly, overleveraged RE specuvestor…same same same

#159 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 08.23.12 at 1:02 am


#149 Smoking Man — “The force that co opt the art of war . But the chapter they did not read. Psc about spending the treasury . Prediction. USA. Millitary coup”

Would this include the upsurge of ammo sales to DHS, TSA, the military and regular cops? An article tonight (not posted here) said a cop in LA shot a woman, she was in her back yard and was not screaming or yelling at him. Obummer may try to pull a fast one, declare martial law and suspend the elections.

Keep the posts coming!
*
Savage cuts due to skyrocketing debts (the ‘limprix); Pension chaos People haven’t bothered to save and the govt. is broke; Further Increase Yesterday, a link told of the high cost of fuel bills. This is tonight’s link; Scrapheap Generation No job, no education; Mtge. fraud increasing; Gas Tax Just as here, the UK also has an exorbitant gas tax; Rothschilds “The monster’s hand rocked the Greek cradle.”; Japan and Europe Going down; Bankrupt Whose next? Tax Churches? An idea whose time has come; RBS and Iran plus Commerzbank; The US is creating false enemies where there are none; Heineken Woes mean less sales; Some of BHP Billiton’s projects on hold; Smart Lady Austerity could be self-defeating; US Fed More QE; Good Oil Vietnam! Too powerful Where does Carney fit into this? Boomerang kids; Overwhelming Headline says it better.

Bailout Time Again Where are the taxpayers? Many Roads to retirement; Straitjacket CPP; Indiana’s voucher system doubles; Middle Class Bad decade; Cdn. Retail Sales fall; Don’t bother buying here Too unstable and expensive; 10:50 clip Jim Rickards covers a few things; Short clip New depression? China’s PMI drops to nine month low; ChIndia Tanking together, and India’s state owned banks may be in trouble; Stock Market collapse In living color; Silver Output drops Confiscation befire it’s produced? MF Global It ain’t over ’til it’s over.
*
Smart Meters in UK; Hover Bike Star Wars is here; New Rat Not from GS or JPM; Weird and Strange Takes all sorts to run this world; Doggone good luck 100 foot fall and lives; 1955 Maserati sells for one mln. pounds; These brands want to kill GMO labeling in California; The Left Was Right For the left- and right-wingers out there; Assange Why does the US want him out of the way? Perhaps it is a few things he knows about them; Texas Judge Re-electing Obomba would lead to a civil war (and handing the presidency over to Romney guarantees WW3); YouTube How to block ads, and a few other things.

#160 Tron on 08.23.12 at 1:05 am

OK it’s official. People in Vancouver know more about Starbucks then they do about real estate…lol

#161 renters rule on 08.23.12 at 1:31 am

@#153 Vangrrl

VanGIRL realtor troll HAS no creativity….if she did, she would have chosen a different path. Imagine, coming to Van in the last year or two, to latch onto the residential RE teet….what a moron.

Original thought is not her forte.

#162 donald trump on 08.23.12 at 2:05 am

damm it there no price reductions here in toronto!

#163 mark on 08.23.12 at 2:07 am

You writing tonight, old boy? Or am I going to have to suffer a day without you?

BC time. Tomorrow Cowboy time. Friday Vespa time. — Garth

#164 cynically on 08.23.12 at 3:00 am

So Vangirl #100 thinks Vancouver is “world class” because it has both a Gucci and a Fendi store, well I’m sure Toronto and Montreal and maybe even Calgary since there is money there, have those two names but none of these cities are “world class” because of it. You’ve only known the 4 cities you mentioned so that hardly makes you an expert on world class cities. Rather than describe what the term comprises as I did in an earlier posting, I would suggest you plan a little trip to New York for a couple of weeks and you’ll understand how foolish your statement was. Incidentally if you take my advice, go in June or September because even w c cities have no control over the weather and finally, Vancouver is “world class “in its beautiful location. Even #82 truth hammer would have to admit that, I hope, if he can get the pronunciation of the city right.

#165 B P O E $$ on 08.23.12 at 3:08 am

Mr BPOE you are now truly grasping for straws

Best trade in your RE license for a thinking cap

#166 Gord In Vancouver on 08.23.12 at 9:39 am

Looks like Tal is starting to get heat from his superiors.

Housing crash fears overblown: CIBC

http://www.bnn.ca/News/2012/08/23/Housing-crash-fears-overblown-CIBC.aspx

#167 van insider on 08.23.12 at 10:43 am

The real starbucks/artigiano story

From what I hear, Cafe Artigiano’s lease at Robson & Thurlow is month-to-month, at half the rent Starbucks had. This is also why they did so few alterations to the space. The plan is to move the Gap into the entirety of the two-level space when the other leases run out (Dynamite, Red Robin, and the optical shop). The current Gap on Robson will then be replaced with an Old Navy.

Starbucks didn’t make any money at that location (after expenses) so it’s illogical to think that Artigiano would have moved in with an even greater rent.

#168 Kang on 08.23.12 at 8:18 pm

This “site” is populated by a pathetic bunch of losers who work for hourly wages and hope for a RE crash which will never happen in the Lower Mainland. Asian migration will continue to dominate this “Top Down” market, so get use to it. If you and your significant other do not combine wages at more than $98.00 per hour gross, than simply move; your are not wanted in Vancouver. Just go, and don’t let the Starbucks door hit your hipster ass on the way out, you whiners!

#169 Vangirl on 08.24.12 at 10:56 am

3500 sq. ft of bras and panties coming soon to old HMV location on Robson. ! Who said there’s no line-up to fill the empty storefronts on Robson? Victoria Secret must have gotten wind of all the lusting on this blog. Did VS beat Apple for the space??
Thumbs up @168 Kang.

http://www.vancouversun.com/Business/Commericial-Real-Estate/Victoria+Secret+unveiled+Lingerie+chain/7136600/story.html

#170 Vangirl on 08.24.12 at 10:59 am

Oops…that should have been 35,000 sq. ft….thousand!
And on 2 levels too! That’s a whole lot of sexy lingerie for us girls :)

#171 deja view? on 08.24.12 at 8:09 pm

Canada’s top seller, for those who like to travel light.
Enjoy a kaleidoscope of scenery from your mtn/ocean view chalet.
Has sm sleeping loft, kitchenette/dining/wine cooler.
Excellent sound system.
Property tax exempt!
save-your-money.

VW eurovan