The beaver list


Missy Bunny condos the boys. Was this it?

This pathetic blog has been in existence for five years, I think. I’d know for sure, but hackers blew up the place three years ago and I’m afraid to go back there. It still smokes and glows a little.

Back in the spring of 2008 nobody thought we were headed into a housing bubble. F sure didn’t buy it, since he’d just brought in zero down payments and 40-year mortgages. The stock market and financial meltdown were yet to come and I was about to leave the House of Commons with PMO tire tracks up my rear.

Since then real estate has obsessed the nation. Sales and prices crashed after the blog started, then recovered as the feds goosed housing with emergency rates, new tax credits, incentives, no-money-down financing and so much mortgage insurance bankers were constantly aroused. People went on a debt orgy, house prices bloated, HGTV popped mainstream and it didn’t take long for a shack in Van to cost seven figures.

This brought in the age of bidding wars. Lawn Asians. Bully offers. Yellow helicopters. Brad Lamb. HAM. Panic buying in Saskatoon. And F’s fevered backpedalling. You know the rest. Today the vast majority of people have houses. Mortgages are massive. The economy sucks. The feds are scared. And it’s all wobbling.

Remember these days. They won’t come again. Somebody (besides me) should write all this crazy stuff down. Wait. Someone’s come to help us. It’s Chris.

“Hi Garth. I write for Maclean’s. Last year we put out a Book of Lists that was very well-received. We’ve decided to it again this year, with an eye to making it a regular feature. If you haven’t seen it, it basically collects a bunch of interesting and unusual information about Canada and Canadians and compiles it in list-form…ie) Top Five Canadian Maritime Disasters You’ve Never Heard Of; Top Ten Most Valuable Hockey Cards Featuring Canadian Players; Canada’s Five Most Dangerous Communities etc.  Many are factual, but some are subjective and therefore require some sort of authority to weigh in.  Which brings me to my question: we were hoping to do a “Top Five (or Six or Seven or whatever) Craziest Stories from Canada’s Housing Market, according to Garth Turner.”

“If you agree to participate, all we would need from you is your picks and a few lines explaining each. A few possible examples come to mind: the Vancouver condo developer that had its employees pose as Chinese buyers; or the example from today’s posting about the buyer of a Toronto bungalow that is now trying to sell at a loss before the deal closes. You can also take aim at a poorly conceived projects or logic defying statements made by real-estate professionals. It’s totally up to you.  Do you think you can help us out?”

Duh. You mean like female realtors in Calgary who promise billboard sex if you buy with them? Condo floggers promising 280% rates of return? Realtors from Richmond who pose as rich investors from Guangdong? Global TV reporters who believe them? Million-dollar crack houses? Multiple bids in (gulp) Regina? Or bankers giving horny young people without any money free down payments so they can buy nicer houses than their parents own, with 100% financing which the government guarantees? Crazy like that?

Of course, Chris. We will help fill Maclean’s. It’s like a patriotic beaver thing to do, so how could we refuse.


BC realtors pretend to be HAM. Was it this?

But here’s the deal. I don’t want the credit, since I already require several comely Amazons for personal protection. Instead, let’s harness the GreaterFool blog dog army to turn your magazine’s pages from mush to must-read, and hand this assignment over to them. From the Rock to the Mouldy City, the godless GTA to the flat part in between, this is bubble country. Who better to tell the tale than the gasbags who come here?

So, readers, over to you.

What do you think the craziest housing story is? (Apart from a national newsmagazine asking this blog about anything.)

The country waits.


#1 TurnerNation on 03.12.13 at 8:49 pm

2013’s runaway bestseller horror novella will most surely be this one:
“Death by Kando – with foreword by ozy”.

(Written posthumously by one of history’s great scaries – under a ‘nom de exhume’ – Albert Scritchcock.)

#2 T.J. BONES on 03.12.13 at 8:51 pm

Sir Garth : I resisted

#3 Oakvillian on 03.12.13 at 8:58 pm

add this too.

#4 Oceanside on 03.12.13 at 9:00 pm

The helicopter story has to be one of the most outstanding but although less spectacular is the way various economists representing business schools, banks, credit unions and real estate boards back-pedal on their forecasts of “no problems with Canada’s housing market” to ” we can see a 15% correction” These “experts” are no better at looking into the future of housing in Canada than the average intelligent Canadian. Often they are much worse, I can’t see how they keep their jobs. Almost as bad is Global television who seem to have given up on objective reporting and just parrot whatever the industry’s talking heads tell them.

#5 City that smells like it sounds on 03.12.13 at 9:01 pm


#6 Big Sexy on 03.12.13 at 9:01 pm

The fact that my wife and I make double the national average salary, and can’t afford a house without a 10% down payment in this wonderful sh*thole that is Thompson, MB?

#7 Brad on 03.12.13 at 9:03 pm

How about the asian who paid 1.2 million for that dump in Toronto last March?

#8 Sebee on 03.12.13 at 9:05 pm

Honestly…nothing beats the 280% return by Lamb. It’s #1.

I also liked that condo building in Alberta where people needed to be evicted as some city inspector found at 2AM while doing some bathroom reading that it could collapse any minute. What happened with that? Did they win their suit? Did they tear it down?

#9 Mr Reality on 03.12.13 at 9:05 pm

The craziest story is they are now saying
The chinese economy effects the vancouver
Housing market, without even a shred of sales data
Tracking the demographics of buyers.



#10 Ausben on 03.12.13 at 9:06 pm

A well spoken young man called me from India late last week. He was calling on behalf of a real estate brokerage to assure me that I could afford my home.

#11 Robbie on 03.12.13 at 9:06 pm

I nominate the “big lie” as a Real Estate horror story.

The lie being “Buy as expensive a house as you can afford, put as little down as possible and get as big a mortgage as the lender will allow because that gives you maximum leverage and you will make lots of money because housing prices will always rise and you will never lose money.”

Yes, and the Titanic won’t sink, the English pound sterling will always be the world’s strongest currency, nobody needs an iPad, and the Visigoths could never possibly defeat the Roman army.

Never say “never”. :)

#12 claudius emperor on 03.12.13 at 9:07 pm

Top 10 craziest stories: Just look at and you will find 100 000 of them.

Again for the record: Garth, there are people on this blog that predicted the housing bubbles long time ago (for me the revelation came in 2005)

#13 Seven Stars and Orion on 03.12.13 at 9:09 pm

No story from me, but I’ve got my popcorn and a couple bottles of smashbomb atomic IPA’s on ice. This is gonna be epic.

#14 sam on 03.12.13 at 9:11 pm

Don’t forget that economics shill for the real estate industry, always pumping it, giving misleading information under the guise of a UBC professor when his income is more dependant on real estate sponsors then it is on teaching and understanding economics.

Tsur Somerville with the title of:
Real Estate Foundation of BC Professor in Real Estate Finance Director, UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate Associate Professor

#15 mark on 03.12.13 at 9:12 pm

Geez, there’s too many to remember, but trade associations cloaking the self-interest of falling business in a press release of concern for first home buyers would have rate a mention.

That goose representing mortgage brokers being a recent example.

#16 Toronto CA on 03.12.13 at 9:12 pm

That story in Willowdale where the Chinese female college student paid $400k over asking for a tiny, ugly, bungalow (somewhere around $1.1million? I forgot the selling price)

That sort of epitomized HAM/racism, overpaying for a post-war Bungalow, bidding wars, hot neighbourhood, media frenzy, etc.

That’s my vote, anyway.

#17 Leon Sam on 03.12.13 at 9:15 pm

I would definitely have to say, its the MAC Marketing Solution shenanigans and the Employee Actors.

They just got caught, I am sure there are many other times where they weren’t. (When they didn’t use their real names..)

This is also proof of how journalism these days has gone down the drain. You almost cant trust anything you hear these days.

#18 guelphstudent on 03.12.13 at 9:18 pm

Brad Lambs investment workshop!

#19 Shawn Allen on 03.12.13 at 9:19 pm


The stock market and financial meltdown were yet to come…


Ah yes, late 2008 and early 2009… slowly being rebranded as the greatest financial opportunity of a lifetime.

I believe Garth said then, don’t sell your stocks, just rebalance.

And, I think he said something like, if you can, sell your house in Canada and rent or even buy in the U.S. if it suits your lifestyle. (It’s hard to remember because this advice was only repeated less than a thousand times or so).

Perhaps the craziest story from it all was all the doomers who predicted that America baby mansions in very desirable areas of the U.S. going begging at half of replacement cost in 2011 would keep falling.

The ones who would post links to the evils of fractional reserve banking (which in reality is credit/money creation and the finest grease the economy ever had the pleasure to feel in all its joints and other places that needed lubrication, and that, as you can imagine, is unquestionably a GOOD thing).

How’s that bunker and canned food and ammo workin’ out for you guys? (and you know you are all guys, which in itself is a bit creepy to think about).

#20 phinny on 03.12.13 at 9:20 pm

A Chinese newspaper blowing the whistle on the CBC for fradulent reporting and/or outright media manipulation in their story about an Asian girls millionaire father buying her a house in Toronto.

Thought that was pretty funny.

#21 thisiscrazy on 03.12.13 at 9:22 pm

This day, coming home from work, I have tried to weight in the advantages of buying an apartment versus renting it.
Here’s what I have come across and I know you have told people on this blog here many times, but just didn’t sink in, plus, I kinda wanted to have a place of my own, ok I am a little horny but this is treatable 
So let’s assume I get this condo for 165k with 15 down and a mortgage of 150k , the monthly living cost will be of roughly $1770 (mortgage+utilities, property taxes, etc)
At the end of my mortgage based on the ING mortgage calculator the total cost for my apartment would be 213k.
If I were to bite the bullet and continue to rent, then I could save and invest the difference between my current rent and my future mortgage I would have $430 each month.
Those $430 monthly invested at a rate of 4.5% would bring me after 20 years based on the ING Retirement Calculator will be valued at 201k after 20 years same time as the mortgage life.
It seems to me there is a balance in renting and buying in the sense that no matter what you choose you will still end up spending the same money for living.
I say this since if I buy, after the mortgage is over I will still be paying 700/month whereas if I rent I will have to come up with the difference probably from those money invested.
So what in the world is best to do?

#22 JSS on 03.12.13 at 9:23 pm

Craziest real estate story in Canada:

Average house prices in Winnipeg exceeding $200,000.

#23 bill on 03.12.13 at 9:25 pm

media that cant tell a real estate advertisement from the actual real news springs to mind….

#24 Bob on 03.12.13 at 9:25 pm

My idiot neighbour.

In his mind “real estate ALWAYS goes up” when i tried to explain to him that the city (Vancouver) was in an unsustainable bubble situation and he said i was crazy.

The example i used was a westside special that I know was purchased in 1969 for $38,900 and sold in 2010 for $1.89mm

I explained that if the present rate of price appreciation continued that same house or piece of 50×120 piece of dirt would be worth $91,800,000 that is Ninety One Million Eight Hundred Thousand dollars in 2051 and asked him if he thought that would be he case?

He astounded me by not even blinking and responding, yes of course. Thats why he was buying a second house.

At that point I made the decision to leave Canada.

#25 bill on 03.12.13 at 9:26 pm

oh and f …who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.way to go.

#26 mark on 03.12.13 at 9:27 pm

#18 guelphstudent on 03.12.13 at 9:18 pm

Brad Lambs investment workshop!

More like Brad Lamb’s future insolvency workshop.

#27 mark on 03.12.13 at 9:28 pm

The fact 40 year mortgages were allowed to begin with!

#28 X on 03.12.13 at 9:29 pm

Condo floggers promising 280% rates of return. Any other investment promising a return would be on the receiving end of legal action were they not to fulfil the stated return.

CREA’s fabricated Home Price Index….what a farce that creation is.

The media’s interpretation of RE board/industry releases. The positive spin put on the TD release from teh other day is ther perfect example….how the 22.5% drop over the next few days was conveniently omitted.

Banks handing out big mortgages with easy money that is backed by us, the tax payer. The bank hands out the mortgage, and makes profit if the borrower is good, and the taxpayer foots the bill if they borrower is delinquent.

Home builders giving you a car if you buy a home from them.

#29 Dean Mason on 03.12.13 at 9:31 pm

I think people forgot what buying a house was about. It is a place to live,raise your family and have a place to call your own. It’s not an investment to make you rich or to retire off of. This frenzy and speculation that was driven by manipulated pushed down interest rates and easy access to credit will be remembered for years to come.

People got lazy, complacent and ignorant about their
personal finances.People spend more time planning a vacation than their financial future. I posted about few days ago that a 25% maximum physical real estate allocation with 75% financial assets,investments that provide a constant,steady,sustainable stream of incomes from dividend paying shares,bonds,MBS monthly pay,GIC’s,some foreign bonds etc.

So a total net worth of $1,600,000 would have $400,000 house maximum. So $1,200,000 in investments mixture listed above should easily generate $52,000 a year in total income or $1,000 a week.

#30 six_figure_renter on 03.12.13 at 9:31 pm

Kind of off topic with the above post, but EK immigration closed shop in the delusional city of Richmond BC…a sign of things to come

#31 Ralph Cramdown Ⓤ on 03.12.13 at 9:34 pm

Frankly I don’t believe that this is top 10 material, and others have already mentioned it recently, but…

I Trade with TD Waterhouse. The firm recommends I watch a video titled “Should you invest in real estate now… or wait?”
1. They’ve already got my money.
2. Those are the only two choices?
3. If you think you’d enjoy a sweaty and uncomfortable looking Craig Alexander uttering the phrase “another leg down,” this is the video for you.

#32 Big Sexy on 03.12.13 at 9:35 pm

#22 JSS on 03.12.13 at 9:23 pm
Craziest real estate story in Canada:

Average house prices in Winnipeg exceeding $200,000.


#33 Bob on 03.12.13 at 9:35 pm

The franken Number that distorts real prices.

The deceptive and systemic hiding of REAL data by the real estate oligopoly.

That a bunch of “professionals” with a 5 week course under their belts could EVER be trusted

#34 Led on 03.12.13 at 9:36 pm

you gotta plug that million dollar crack shack website.

#35 tkid on 03.12.13 at 9:37 pm

I kinda like how yesterday’s #142 mocked the real estate’s canned lines of ‘home prices never go down’ by using the temperature of coffee. That was genius.

#36 LJ on 03.12.13 at 9:37 pm

One of the top stories should be last years introduction of the “Franken-number” (HPI) to hide the (then) upcoming problems in the housing market.

The follow-up is that even the HPI is starting to show some weakness and they will have to “re-balance” their calculations to show any increases at all.

Whatever happened to true “Median” house prices? That’s simple, honest math, boys – and it works.

#37 Foggy on 03.12.13 at 9:39 pm

I like how the Brad Lamb condo guys inventd the phrase “the Manhattanization of Toronto” to give buying their poorly built concrete boxes in the sky, some kind of cachet. I’m sure visiting people from NYC are overwhelmed by the sophistication and culture that they discover in our city.

#38 Hurly on 03.12.13 at 9:41 pm

Even the realtors were jumping ship, and blogging about it. Sam Wyatt for one.

#39 ChickenLittle on 03.12.13 at 9:45 pm

I vote for #3 Oakvillian’s post. Nothing worse than crap selling for a small fortune. Actually there is: RE agents telling smart people that they’re stupid for not buying that same crap at such a bloated, inflated price.
So my vote goes to the media who constantly vomit the same “sold for X amount over” stories up over and over and over. We get it. People are stupid. Or zombies. I haven’t decided yet.

BTW: Oakvillian I enjoyed your coffee post!

Smoking Man: I am glad to hear everything is ok with your wife. Doctors piss me off. You go to get soemthing done and they give you a paper telling you to go somewher else, while they get paid big bucks to do nothing. The education system and health care system are two huge scams, but they’re too big to fail.

#40 Nemesis on 03.12.13 at 9:46 pm

Thank you, Chris.

Revenge is so very, very sweet.

If ‘you know who’ ever refuses to e Penske you a coffee and a sandwich on an eighteen hour stakeout I will personally UpFront you a ThreeMartini BayStreet LateLuncheonwith this site’s VenerableHost [even allowing that his motorcycle of choice is somewhat less than challenging]…

As to the question at hand… How about, “I buy three… my Husband’s gonna buy three.”

#41 White Rock Mom on 03.12.13 at 9:50 pm

Might I suggest a mix of the following:
1. F and the Peckerettes new rules that point out that they fracked it up to start with.
2. Sales declines across the country stats
3. Brad Lamb you would so get fined, lose your license and go to jail if you worked in the securities industry.
4. Media you are so stupid you make porn stars look professional
5. Real estate industry stat spins and other BS
I would use the Spring Market photo.

#42 Debtfree on 03.12.13 at 9:51 pm

They still publish the mcleans magazine? On paper and everything ? I guess nostalgic types like reading month old news .

#43 HAWK on 03.12.13 at 9:51 pm

#24 Bob on 03.12.13 at 9:25 pm


LOL that’s a really good story, I second yours as the best example so far.

#44 Julia on 03.12.13 at 9:52 pm

I vote for #24 Bob’s idiot neighbour. He says it all right there. He thinks his house will be worth $92 million dollars in 38 years.

#45 ChickenLittle on 03.12.13 at 9:52 pm

#21 thisiscrazy
‘ok I am a little horny but this is treatable ”

It’s called spring. In this barnyard collection of bloggers it’s unavoidable and to be expected!

#46 charles on 03.12.13 at 9:52 pm

Submitted for the irony category,
Houses in the frozen northern wilderness of Alberta, the smoky back alleys of Toronto or the mouldy quarters of Vancouver are worth 10 times what they can be had in the Essex County Windsor area. The best climate, the best agricutural land, bounded by water on three sides, close proximity to major US cities a world class university and the tool making capital of North Anerica sucks the cellar in Canadian property values. What’s up with that?

#47 Joanne on 03.12.13 at 9:54 pm


The magical MLS Home Price Index which can turn any real number into any number the real estate cartel like.

The fact almost no media outlets, when talking about F decreasing the max amortization length, ever highlight it was him that increased it in the first place.

#48 espressobob on 03.12.13 at 9:54 pm

The craziest housing story?


Our future Fannie & Freddie.

#49 Darklan on 03.12.13 at 9:54 pm

Hey Garth tell to add that $38+ mil tear down in BC that had fake pictures posted of what “could be built there”

#50 expat_engineer on 03.12.13 at 9:56 pm

#24 Bob

” I explained that if the present rate of price appreciation continued that same house or piece of 50×120 piece of dirt would be worth $91,800,000 that is Ninety One Million Eight Hundred Thousand dollars in 2051 and asked him if he thought that would be he case”

That is where we are heading for sure. Un fortunately Gas will be 100 $ per litre and the groceries in your fridge will be 2-3 mil.

#51 Patiently Waiting on 03.12.13 at 9:57 pm

How about the fact that Vancouver & Fraser Valley real estate sales have tanked to belown 2009 levels, and no one in the msm is saying a damb about it. This has happened inspite of the fact that there is no great financial crisis like we had in 2008, and we still have emergency level interest rates.


#52 Rob Smith on 03.12.13 at 9:57 pm

it’s best we the get the legend……… his own mind, smoking man to come up with something, I’m sure he’ll dazzle these writers with his drunken charm.

#53 Smoking Man on 03.12.13 at 10:00 pm

The crazy is the fact that the herd keeps buying and will keep buying.

The herd cares not of fun-de-mentals.

The herd does not trust financial planners nor want to part with a cent to guys in suites.

The herd are not botherd by what has happend to the hicks south of Buffalo.

The herd knows BOC can not raise rates..

The herd are willing to pay a huge premium to own and break bread on granet rather than pay a slime sucking land lord one dollar of their slave wages.

For a house to the herd is a statment and a projection of success.

No one cares how much is in your portfolio. If you cant project that celebirty life style that is sold to you every time you turn on the tube, you are the biggest loser.

And that’s crazy but it’s reality…..


#54 Andrew on 03.12.13 at 10:01 pm

The collective group mentality of every real estate agent in the nation who cheerily lead all the greaterfools over the cliff since the boom began…

The media who believed their salespitches and published it as news

and finally,

the masses who continue to believe what the realtors say making the end far worse than they can imagine.

#55 Min in Mission on 03.12.13 at 10:03 pm

“lawn asians” – priceless!!

#56 Pr on 03.12.13 at 10:10 pm

…this is bubble country… Ahaahah!
Very well said! Its getting exiting!

#57 Smoking Man on 03.12.13 at 10:11 pm

#39 ChickenLittle on 03.12.13 at 9:45 pm

Everything is scam,sorry should have used the washed word, marketing.

it’s how people down stream of front office get a check everyweek.

Owner ship is the only way to go. Steal the customer list. Learn to lie, cheat, and scam and feel good about it.

Not easy 18 years of schooling de programming.

#58 Old Man on 03.12.13 at 10:11 pm

#46 charles – I researched an alternative for a cottage property from Belleville on Lake Ontario to all parts on Lake Erie, and it came to one location only which was a small town called Blenheim, Ontario.

#59 Astronaut down on 03.12.13 at 10:11 pm

I’d like to praise G-Turn for, for once, passing the conch to the blog dawgs instead of pushing his books on this blog. My favourite housing story was how when boomers get bored with their bedroom sexscapades, they swap teeth to mix things up and to make things more interesting.

Flight 2-0-9’er, you are cleared for take-off.
L.A. departure frequency, 123 point 9’er.
Request vector, over.
Flight 2-0-9’er cleared for vector 324.
We have clearance, Clarence.
Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?
Tower’s radio clearance, over!
That’s Clarence Oveur. Over.
Roger, over!

Over & Out

#60 minus40 on 03.12.13 at 10:13 pm

CMHA going out of their way to hide the fact that a home is a repo or a forced bank sale just to keep property values up and folks in the neighbourhood happy. See Houses, Formerly Used As Grow Ops, ibid.

#61 Joe on 03.12.13 at 10:14 pm

The fact that numerous news sources generate vast amounts of revenue via the RE market and then pretend to report accurately on the market conditions is an interesting subject.

#62 Sebee on 03.12.13 at 10:15 pm

One more…

% of GDP that real estate represents in Canada (22% was it?) vs. 16.5% that it represented in California before the bass went boom.

#63 john m on 03.12.13 at 10:21 pm

The false economy “H” and “F” created adopting the same policies that caused the U.S. housing bubble…….and proclaiming over and over again “things are different here” and encouraged people to go in debt and banks to bend the rules……………….as time has proven if they had listened to Garth in the first place we would not have this housing bubble,we would have affordable housing,people would not be so over extended in debt and CMHC would not be guaranteeing 600 billion dollars in mortgages on the taxpayers tab.

#64 Smoking Man on 03.12.13 at 10:21 pm

52 Rob Smith on 03.12.13 at 9:57 pm
it’s best we the get the legend……… his own mind, smoking man to come up with something, I’m sure he’ll dazzle these writers with his drunken charm.
Seriously dazzle these writers….

Ba hahahaha they can’t write what they want, they jumped the shark long time ago….They are owned little bitches, little peeon’s

O they will go after a little guy, but the insurance industry, or who owns the universities they wont touch that one.

They spent to much time in school that sucked their imagination dry , if they ever had one to begin with they would be writing real stories not massaged, advertizing, and political correctness,

A real writer pisses people off.

#65 Lucky 3 on 03.12.13 at 10:24 pm


#66 AK on 03.12.13 at 10:27 pm

XIU has …$11.6 Billion in net assets.

Around $7.5 billion in XIU assets are held by institutional clients, at home and around the world, looking for an efficient, cost-effective way to access the Canadian market. When it comes to Canada, XIU is their first stop.

There’s only on the order of $4B or so of non-institutional money held in XIU.

And yet, Canadians have trillions invested in real estate. Go figure.

#67 Suede on 03.12.13 at 10:29 pm

1. Brad Lamb’s fictitious investment returns and how there’s no accountability

2. Mr. Yellow Helicopter touring Vancouver/VI

3. Bosa paying people to line up at their developments in Burnaby/Vancouver

4. Mortgage brokers crying to loosen the amortization controls after binging when they were already loose

5. That bungalow in Toronto that went well over asking last year to the student who withdrew.

#68 Molson Ukrainian on 03.12.13 at 10:33 pm

The “investors” who bought condos at the Trump hotel and wanted their money back when they realized they were retarded

#69 Macrath on 03.12.13 at 10:33 pm

Jennifer, Miss Bunny
“How could you forget? The Calgary modelling agency president with a propensity of promotion and bikini tops from her little kid sister has turned into a condo-flogging real estate superstar.
300 square feet for almost $160,000”

A classic sex sells story. I wonder what those dorm rooms are selling for today?

#70 FleetwoodBoy on 03.12.13 at 10:33 pm

The opening paragraph in tonight’s real estate supplement:
“If you are buying your first home in the Lower Mainland this year, you are making a good decision”….umm….not when it is likely to be cheaper to buy this time next year and you wouldn’t have lost the equity of your 5% deposit.
Even if you don’t agree with the magnitude of the price drop this year, all the recent stats and studies point to lower prices in 12 months’ time.

#71 Roy on 03.12.13 at 10:35 pm

The story of the West Vancouver tear-down asking $38 million (property assessed at $6.7 million), based on fake pictures of a mansion the realty agents and sellers say you could build there.

Vancouver is the land of the insane and delusional…

#72 Bottoms_Up on 03.12.13 at 10:36 pm

Brad Lamb advertising a 400% return on buying a condo (or whatever the number was) has got to take the cake.

#73 KG on 03.12.13 at 10:37 pm

@ #21: The math you need to be doing is the expected price drop of that condo in 3 yrs from today and see if it is worth waiting.

#74 Tom Vu on 03.12.13 at 10:38 pm

S.O.B…I was firrzzzttttt post …….not posted !

Anyway…have boat n’ babes read for Mars..NEXT Real Estate frontier !!!!

PS: Yes can have THONG space suit

#75 Bottoms_Up on 03.12.13 at 10:40 pm

The article should also mention and provide a link to the “Crack Shack or McMansion” game.

#76 Mel on 03.12.13 at 10:44 pm

The biggest propaganda by our Government, Banks, and real estate industry that it is different up here in Canada.

Since humans will never learn, we shall pay the price for our own stupidity once again.

#77 renters rule on 03.12.13 at 10:46 pm

apologies if someone has already posted this one…


“what DOES sold out mean”

#78 KG on 03.12.13 at 10:46 pm

What story could be more pathetic than millions of people saddled with public debt without their knowledge by the few minions, err… honourable

#79 Small Town Steve on 03.12.13 at 10:47 pm

That house horny people are getting mortgages 8-12 times what thier annual gross salary is instead of perhaps 1.5-2 times. The fact that no one is following the rule of 90. What is next? Generational 100 year mortgages so you can enslave your children to unsound practices too?

#80 T.O. Bubble Boy on 03.12.13 at 10:55 pm

7 Craziest RE stories of the past few years:

#7: Sub-1.5% variable mortgage rates (prime of 2.25% minus up to 0.9%) during the financial crisis. We will likely never see those rates again in our lifetimes.

#6: CMHC’s insurance in force doubles between 2007 and 2012, with nearly every dollar of additional mortgage debt in Canada being securitized.

#5: RE Cartels constantly fudging the “official” numbers via the HPI frankenumber, re-stating prior year’s data, and publishing press releases with ridiculous statements that focus on meaningless stats to avoid talking about year-over-year losses.

#4: The ultimate sign of a bubble – buildings falling apart everywhere from poor workmanship. Falling glass all over downtown Toronto, cornflake beams (sawdust and glue) providing support structures in Milton houses, and an endless hours of HGTV programming focused on Mike Holmes fixing botched renos.

#3: HAM fever in Vancouver/BC – fake helicopter tours with Cam Good, fake buyers last month, and Craigslist postings for Asians to stand in fake lineups at condo openings.

#2: For several years, Toronto having more condo developments than any other city in North America – far exceeding New York, Mexico City, and every other city.

#1: Has to be Flaherty flip-flopping on the 0/40, 5/35, and 5/30 mortgage rules that he introduced!

#81 T.O. Bubble Boy on 03.12.13 at 10:57 pm

oh ya — and add to #1 the “economic action plan” from F and Harper, with the entire fake recovery based on home reno debt via CMHC-insured HELOCs!!!

#82 Mrs Hubris on 03.12.13 at 10:57 pm

I note the blogdogs’ ‘Craziest Stories from Canada’s Housing Market ‘’ are less about properties and more about how RE and mortgage industry manipulation has replaced quality journalism.

How about changing the title to ‘Greatest media manipulations in Canadian journalism’. My latest two favourites:

This journalist’s ‘objective’ sources include:

Douglas Porter: BMO Nesbit Burns Economist
Shaun Hildebrand: Senior market analyst at CMHC
Benjamin Tal: CIBC World Markets economist
Andrew Charles: CEO, Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Co
Calum Ross: Toronto-based mortgage planner
Phil Soper: CEO of Royal LePage
Cameron Muir, Chief Economist, B.C. Real Estate Assoc.
Will McKitka, real estate agent, Macdonald Realty
Ann-Marie Lurie: Calgary R. E. Board chief economist
Betty Pach Calgary realtor
Toronto Real Estate Board
Oliver Baumeister von Bretten, broker, Re/Max, specializes in Toronto condos
Greater Montreal Real Estate Board

Or, on the latest report from TD, there’s this from the Times Colonist (compare with balanced reporting from the Financial Post, below):

‘Canadian house prices to stay flat, but Victoria will outperform, says TD report’:

The Financial Post instead read, ‘Canadian housing boom over, economists say’ and included Moody’s latest assessment, warning of a potential 44% drop:

Can only hope Macleans and the FP continue to hold out. Editors – I will subscribe

#83 Genxer on 03.12.13 at 10:58 pm

I’m still amazed that the government pledged 50 billion in support of private insurers without having to consult the Canadian public. How we can throw that much money at a private company on the public coffers is truly astounding. And yet the average Canadian has no clue.

#84 Smoking Man on 03.12.13 at 11:06 pm


#85 Not 1st on 03.12.13 at 11:10 pm

“Yellow helicopters”?

Am I the only one who caught the double meaning here. Hope this is a satirical comment.

It was yellow. Deal with it. — Garth

#86 blok existentialist on 03.12.13 at 11:14 pm

I liked “lawn asians” a lot, too. I RELISHED it, in fact.
Maclean’s will be going for a quick hit — but at least they’re hot to use someone who knows what he’s talking about and is an authentic wordsmith to boot … now that the ThumbThumbs have taken over the English language and all.
I personally agree with the basic ideas/approach aired on this site, but I read it largely for the great writing/stimulation.
Best case scenario: Macleans is so impressed that they stop running those depressing obituaries in the back. Garth lands Fotheringhams’ old digs and get to do some REAL damage.
Worst case scenario: the Thumb Thumbs have lost the vestigial ability to open a magazine.

#87 brainsail on 03.12.13 at 11:16 pm

The CMHC instantaneous computerized mortgage approvals without physical inspections that even allowed buyers to go 10% over market value.

The proliferation of illegal basement suites.

#88 Old Man on 03.12.13 at 11:17 pm

The best Real Estate deal that was ever done was this old woman in Woodstock, Ontario who sold privately with a sign. She sold it to half a dozen people with deposit money for a closing, and left town. She never owned the home, but was taking care of it for those who did that went to Florida for a few months. Yep, a first class crook who fooled them all, as she made up the agreement of purchase and sale with a deposit of cash, and told all her lawyer would do the closing stuff for them all at no charge.

#89 go Bob on 03.12.13 at 11:19 pm

#24 Bob is right up there. Hilarious story.

Brad lamb a close second although it is not funny. That even-toed ungulate should be jailed.

I still have very smart friends paying off their mortgages as fast as they can. Also, sad….

#90 molded warrior on 03.12.13 at 11:20 pm

#71: the fake house at $38 millions.

#91 Scully on 03.12.13 at 11:21 pm

Smoking Man you are so right. The herd watches HGTV and uses their house as a show piece, accessorizing brought to you by HELOC. Now that’s success! Oh, and boomer parents are the worst perpetuators of this myth, giving down payments to their kids and expressing utter shame at those who choose not to spend the rest of their lives in debt. Oh…I dread writing the family Christmas letter this year! Ha!

#92 gmaz on 03.12.13 at 11:22 pm

Getting into a bidding war with yourself! Paying $90,000 over asking even though there were no other bids. Sorry but nothing tops that.

#93 Smoking Man on 03.12.13 at 11:25 pm

Ok Gartho night night….deleted wish I rememberd what I wrote….

My back is bad tonight self medicating…:) happy as hell though..u have no idea………

#94 Toon Town Boomer on 03.12.13 at 11:32 pm

How they all claimed “We are different”
Don’t forget to mention all bs F fed us as well.
It’s a big fat BUBBLE and this GREED we are seeing needs to stop.
GO Macleans!

#95 Smoking Man on 03.12.13 at 11:35 pm

#91 Scully on 03.12.13 at 11:21 pm
Smoking Man you are so right. The herd watches HGTV and uses their house as a show piece, accessorizing brought to you by HELOC. Now that’s success! Oh, and boomer parents are the worst perpetuators of this myth, giving down payments to their kids and expressing utter shame at those who choose not to spend the rest of their lives in debt. Oh…I dread writing the family Christmas letter this year! Ha!


I’m boomer parent that faked poverty…..for my kids. It’s some what working out…….

#96 Toon Town Boomer on 03.12.13 at 11:36 pm

Don’t forget to touch on the hardship this has had on many people. An example of how rent was increased by 77% in one shot in Regina.

#97 Richard and Zeus on 03.12.13 at 11:37 pm

Definately the Horny HAMs and their Helicopters buying Heaps of Horsecrap in HAMcouver……

#98 GLINTINGBEAST on 03.12.13 at 11:39 pm

1) It was crazy that the real estate industry spokespeople were complaining about “government interference in the free market” when Flaherty killed the 30-year mortgage. If anything Flaherty was reducing government interference, though long after the damage he caused was done. Without interference via government backed mortgage insurance, these mortgages would never have existed in the first place.

2) It’s crazy that we call Genworth a “private” mortgage insurer, when 90% of the guarantee is still coming from the taxpayer.

#99 Tom from Mississauga on 03.12.13 at 11:45 pm

The RBC no condo bubble in TO story in July. There isn’t one because record sales are picking up the slack and most units are finding units when they’re built. All the major media carried it.

There was a Agents sign in north Brampton I wish and a camera in December, read “Don’t wait to buy land, buy land and wait”.

#100 rainclouds on 03.12.13 at 11:46 pm

and there is todays gem from Whispers From the edge

pump and dump Vancouver Style

#101 Tom from Mississauga on 03.12.13 at 11:47 pm

sorry ‘occupants’

#102 Roberta Martell on 03.12.13 at 11:47 pm

The creation of Franken-Numbers! That’s the craziest story – that an entire industry is allowed to be led by those most self-interested in its perpetuation- realtors!

That real-estate cartels are self-governing is well, self-evident, but that their self-promotion passes without the merest of scrutiny that regulators would heap on other sectors of industry?


The poster child for this excessive duodenum expanding gas-bag of lies?


#103 Tom from Mississauga on 03.12.13 at 11:53 pm

She person that bid 90,000 over asking on a house with no bidding war.

#104 observer on 03.12.13 at 11:57 pm

How about the fine work Global TV does in researching stories:

– The desperation of real estate agent posting imaginary images in place of a run down house (“Claiming this could be built here?”) Yeah so can the Tai Mahal –

#105 Tom from Mississauga on 03.12.13 at 11:59 pm

This 1,200 s/f tear down in the industrial wasteland of Mimmico that went for $569,900?

#106 Tom Vu on 03.13.13 at 12:00 am

Home of reputed Montreal mob man Vito Rizzuto finally lands an offer

After nearly two years on the market, the sumptuous Montreal residence belonging to Vito Rizzuto and his wife might have found a buyer.

A buyer has made a conditional promise to purchase the five-bedroom, Tudor-style home of the reputed Montreal crime boss, which was first put up for sale in 2011 with a $2-million price tag.

The accepted offer on the home, now listed at $1.5-million, hinges on the buyer being able to obtain financing and the results of a home inspection — both of which must be done by March 23, according to a copy of the listing.

“So far, so good,” listing broker Leon Derestepanian says. “When they built it [during the 1980s], they used all high-quality materials.”


Hey why worry about subject to ?

Use de-odorizer and ignore smell in basement.

PS Ignore skeletons in closet.

#107 Prof ANON on 03.13.13 at 12:11 am

l nominate Brad Lamb’s fancy version of calculating rate of return along with the fact that a real financial adviser isn’t legally allowed to make the claims he is making. I think it is important for as many people as possible to know exactly how misleading and unethical his advertising practices are.

#108 Shot Ski on 03.13.13 at 12:11 am

Still the lack of transparency with mls, when will Zillow come to Canada?

#109 Sags on 03.13.13 at 12:12 am

How about people suing so they don’t have to live in Trump Towers in Toronto?


The wonderful mess they called the Vancouver Olympic Village…….what an achievement that was.

#110 len on 03.13.13 at 12:18 am

I would put forward the unbelievable story from June 2011 of a developer in Calgary who claimed that a condominium building leaking after 3 years is the result of inadequate maintenance. Assessments to owners between 50K – 180K on units in the range of 200K (penthouse asking 317K).

The really crazy part? privatized (so it says in some stories) inspectors for the city did shoddy work and builder claims “clean bill of health” so can’t be sued or as is in countless examples in this greedy city, simply goes bankrupt.

Here we are in 2013 and there are STILL virtually zero protections for condo owners and the government may get around to proposing some basic rights for owners in 2014. Best government money can buy!!!

#111 observer on 03.13.13 at 12:19 am

#9 Mr Reality on 03.12.13 at 9:05 pm

The craziest story is they are now saying
The chinese economy effects the vancouver
Housing market, without even a shred of sales data
Tracking the demographics of buyers.



I must agree with this one. The lack of regulations on the real estate industry. Allowing the real estate agents and the mortgage industry to print bogus information to brainwash the sheeples.

– No shed of info about HAM, and now its come to light HAM doesn’t really exists.
– CMHC (whom is a public agency, involve in conspiracy pumping crap to fuel the housing bubble)
– The Banks claiming how sound Canada is, and cause we don’t have zero % down, and yet they are handing these cash back loans which are essentially zero percent down. (but CMHC will cover)
– And who on the hook for all this the tax payers

#112 Torontoguy on 03.13.13 at 12:21 am

Craziest story? I like the one about the couple who got into a bidding war…against themselves! They ended up paying well over asking for a house that no one else wanted, all on the advice of a professional realtor. Hilarious.

#113 ottawa on 03.13.13 at 12:34 am

Should be something about the secrecy of RE and the ongoing fight to withhold relevant (and often publicly funded) data from purchasers. Some free market.

#114 TEMPLE on 03.13.13 at 12:34 am

Garth, I think the Carol Crabb quote, “…because we never know when interest rates will be increased to stimulate the economy” should go on the list.

You talked about it here:

It makes me laugh every time I read it. Mostly because of schadenfreude…


#115 a prairie dawg on 03.13.13 at 12:36 am

‘Quick, we need a new global emergency to blame everything on someone or something else.’

Some epic ‘best actor’ performances over the next few years, will be coming straight from Ottawa.

And as usual the ‘leading lady’ will be Miss Direction.

#116 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 03.13.13 at 12:42 am

I nominate the eighty mln. pound crackshack in London, in conjunction with the triple-dipple-doppelganger fiscal downturn that the UK is about to endure. After all, the UK is part of the Northwestern Territories, isn’t it? Also, Sinkholes on Golf Courses is another possibility.

“I was about to leave the House of Commons with PMO tire tracks up my rear. It still smokes and glows a little.” — Do you, in fact, have nuke-powered abs attached to your torso?!
#45 ChickenLittle — “In this barnyard collection of bloggers it’s unavoidable and to be expected!” — Referring to us blogdogs as barnyard animals is an extremely good observation!

#59 Astronaut down — Well said!

#86 Smoking Man on 03.12.13 at 7:48 am — “Now Moodys calling for 44 precent decline.. Lmao was the number 44 just put out there to scare HAM…”

The number four in Chinese signifies death, so double four = double death (Yuan – Renmibi).

A link from a few nights ago said the US govt. cannot afford to let China’s economy go arse over tip, as they need one another to keep their various systems in place.

Beijing seems to have nothing to lose (but a whole lotta stuff to gain), so what if they have already planned to let their economy go belly up, thereby hitting the US hard then re-introducing a new gold-backed currency? That will add to the mess already in place!

#163 Ronaldo — Thanks. See above to SMan and below to HD and HH.

#168 Humpty Dumpty and 139 Dr. Hoof – Hearted — Interesting links. Of note, no one bothers to see what effects these anti-depressants have. If they do, the results haven’t been made public. Also, this.
Citizens and Banks Banks always win, and 25:36 clip Rothschilds and banking; The Future With a good portfolio mix, yes. Anything else, no;

UK — Triple triple.Spanking GS Blankfein at 2:45 mark (5:15 clip); Police Lawsuit About time this happened to the jackboots roaming the streets.Low Mfg. since 1992; Spain and Don’t refuse this offer; Living beyond one’s means is not the best approach; Switzerland Going for Chinese money.
GMO Free German (bavarian) beer; Dental Work This will poke holes in the creationists’ theory about 6K years ago; Antelope left by mom, taken in by zookeeper; Transsexual Mishmash This is complicated; Chase Bank web site Islamists? Try CIA – Mossad hackers; In the slammer Story from a night or two back; NKorean nukes Sure, with Dumbo’s Dancers carrying them; Cheney and 9-11 “Maybe we ought to waterboard Cheney to find out what he meant by “the orders still standing” as that plane headed into the Pentagon.”; 3:51 clip Gabby Giffords — so much for gun control; Jimmy Savile Scotland Yard knew and buried the evidence, so SY is guilty as well; The BdB’s and MEast wars.

#117 simple reader on 03.13.13 at 12:52 am

blog dogs and Garth, I don’t wanna sound disrespectful, but you are taking the wrong approach here. I hate to be the contrarian today, but think about it…

if you are given the opportunity to be listen nationally, then don’t waste that bullet talking about HPI, brad lamb, MSM, HAM, Remax, helicopters, bidding wars or any other accomplice or stupidity in this mess. remember there is no such thing as bad publicity. talking about those guys or crazy facts just make them bigger. you are working for the enemy, WTF, don’t you realize???

focus on the solution…

i would take the opportunity to let the people know about the big sales decline, the huge probability of price declines, the detachment between house prices and every economic fundamental, the record % of income dedicated to pay house in vancouver (I am pretty sure it is a record worth to be mentioned), and finally of course (and with that magic writing style garth has) I would let them know they should not trust the media, the government, people from the industry, etc (they all have conflict of interests on this, they care about their interests, not yours, i don’t get why people don’t see this)

at the end of the day nobody was forced to buy at these crazy prices, so the biggest responsible on this mess is the average buyer, period. we, the people are hurting ourselves .

yes, the government should have done better. yes bankgters and realturds should have been forced to follow better practices, to disclose information, to be care a little bit more about clients interests. yes the industry is rotten. yes the media is controlled. etc. but you are responsible for your acts, so, let’s stop complaining so much, sometimes is depressing. suck it up and focus on the solution.

just my 2cents…

(and please don’t waste time throwing stones at me, i don’t work for the industry, the government, or the media. i’m a simple reader who also wants to buy but is also looking at the big picture)

i would do something like this:

Craziest Stories from Canada’s Housing Market, according to Garth Turner
1- canada is the least affordable place on earth (i would provide stats of price increase in last 10 years. i remember we had here some graphics to support this fact besides the article from The Economist)

2- people in vancouver spend 80% (or whatever the number is) of their income to pay their mortgages. how can you live like that? do you even eat properly??? dudes there is only one life, live it properly.

3- incomes have frozen, GPD growth sucks, rents are controlled, no land shortage, average immigrant is no millionaire (they wouldn’t come here if they were, with all due respect), etc etc etc. every other fundamental points to a BUBBLE.

4- as a consequence we reached the limit, and now the sales have declined 30% (or whatever the number is). insist on the fact that massive sales declines are always followed by price declines (even if they don’t, you can play the same misinformation game, just say it, let hem prove you wrong, haha. you see, learn from your adversary…)

5- finally i would conclude with advise, a hopeful one: “low-ball sellers, don’t buy now, wait aside a couple of years (prepare your popcorn and drinks), you will save thousands that will make you and your family financially happier in the long run, don’t be the greater fool, etc etc etc

ps: one suggestion for you garth: keep the talk only about real estate. don’t start talking to people about financial assets (ETF, preferreds, REITs, diversified and balanced portfolios with better earning %)… that talk is not always convenient, that scares the average joe, that’s for financially educated people, that makes you look sometimes as a salesman too. just saying…

ps2: Garth I honestly 110% think you are attacking the real source of the problem: the ignorance and the house horneyness of the average people. this blog helps A LOT on that. my respect to you. for the love of god, keep doing this great work

#118 Aussie Roy on 03.13.13 at 12:54 am

Aussie Update

Please welcome Canada to the club …

Ratings agency Moody’s believes a severe economic shock should see Canadian house prices plunge as much as 44 per cent. The assessment has Canada joining the ranks of Australia, Spain and the United Kingdom in the club of high flyers where a run-a-way housing market has seen housing market fundamentals shift from sustainable to “overheated”.

“As with Australia, Spain and the U.K., we expect house prices in Canada to suffer the most due to the misalignment of current house prices with historic fundamentals,” Moody’s said.

According to Moody’s, house prices in Canada has “far outstripped” growth in incomes, leaving the country exposed to significant shocks.

Real estate directors charged over marijuana crop

The joint owners of Barry Plant Real Estate’s Epping branch and another man were charged with cultivating and trafficking a large commercial quantity of drugs after police executed 16 search warrants at properties in Epping, Wollert, South Morang and Mill Park, seizing about 3000 plants.

No let-up seen in forced sales

Western Australia is looming as this year’s distressed property hot spot, according to insolvency practitioners. They also warn Queensland will experience no relief from its wave of receiver appointments, after it represented more than half of distressed property listings last year.

PPB Advisory head of real estate Brett Lord said WA had an oversupply of residential subdivisions, particularly on the city fringes and in southern regional areas such as Busselton.

“The short answer is there’s a lot of pain to come,” he said.

#119 dawson on 03.13.13 at 12:54 am

Is this still available?

#120 Ronaldo on 03.13.13 at 1:07 am

#21 thisiscrazy on 03.12.13 at 9:22 pm

Firstly, you must understand that we are probably at the very peak of a housing bubble in Canada at this moment and this would be about the worst time to think of buying.

I presume you are looking at buying an apartment condo. Exactly what are you getting when you invest in one of these other than air space and all the troubles that are associated with it? You own nothing really.

You own the right to occupy a certain amount of square footage in a building which was probably poorly built and you are stuck with having to pay for all these deficiencies as the developer has basically passed on all these problems to the future buyers.

Next, you need to consider how illiquid one of these things may be if they have been overbuilt as has happened in certain areas of the country. You may find that you are trapped and cannot sell and if you do, it could be at a major loss. Are you prepared to take on these risks?

If I were you, and especially at this time, I would cool off the horniness and rent for a year or so while this real estate situation unwinds. And it will. There is no rush to buy right now and interest rates are not going up anytime soon.

#121 K on 03.13.13 at 1:13 am

Dear Garth You are a wonderfull writer of Wit! You masterfully write about Real Estate Bubbles very well, but Canada awaits ! IS GOOD COMEDIC COPY ! DRY BUT GOOD ! All will crumble in RE but you need a good sense of humour when financial ruin for our neighbours ensues. That doesn’t mean we won’t share a can of cold beans over the fence !And maybe a warm beer! Keep up the good work !

#122 Turtle on 03.13.13 at 1:23 am

Few stories come to mind…

To buy an average house in Vancouver you need 11 average gross annual household incomes. (Yeah, who needs food when you have a house!)

A 22 y.o. boy who bought a half-duplex in Fort McMurray, AB for $500,000 (Slow down, kids! What if it is over for oil in Alberta?)

A realtor who thinks he is a lawyer. (Always makes me smile)

Also my favorite series: “What can you buy for $450,000 … $600,000 …. $1,000,000 in Canada and around the world” (There was a whole castle in Ireland for $600,000 as a hotel and in Canada there was a parking pad of some sort… and a garden shed as a “condo for rent”….)

I think the “garden shed” was the crazy story # 1.

#123 vreaa on 03.13.13 at 1:27 am

So many stories, so little time…!

One or two of the items we have categorized as ‘Vancouver RE ‘Jumps The Shark’ – Candidate Moments’ may qualify:
see VREAA 10 Sep 2011

#6. Gangsters Move To The US To Avoid Vancouver RE Costs
#8. Moderator Of ‘Vancouver RE Bubble?’ Debate Wears ‘No Bubble’ Button
#10. Basement Suite In East Vancouver Sells For $590K

#124 The beaver list — Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate | The Affluent Boomer™ on 03.13.13 at 1:30 am

[…] via The beaver list — Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate. […]

#125 GTA Girl on 03.13.13 at 1:33 am

The 2007 failed Toronto condo at Yonge and Bloor. Where people were paid to sleep overnight to buy condos.

Weird happenings with developer from Kazakhistan and a bank under investigation for corruption and loan fraud.

No one ever really investigated what happened. Whether people lost their down payments or whether whole scheme was a fraud from day one.

But…makes you wonder about other Toronto condo projects with foreign investors from Russia, Dubai etc…

#126 GTA Girl on 03.13.13 at 1:41 am

Toronto condo property manager who ran off with condo reserve funds and fake repair charges. Leaving many condo owners to rebuild reserve funds for repairs.

This story will be repeated throughout the city. Especially if condo owners are inexperienced/uninterested investors…or just naive in daily operation of their condo boards.

#127 TheRealTruth on 03.13.13 at 1:43 am

1) Micro-condos in Surrey. 180 square feet for sale.

2) single condo divided into purchasable 1 sq foot units..

3) homeowners in vancouver living in basement suites while they rent out the upstairs while rates are at emergency levels.

#128 ironricebowl69 on 03.13.13 at 1:46 am

“Lawn Asians” was absolutely priceless. Overkill considering the lemmings but priceless.

#129 GTA Girl on 03.13.13 at 1:49 am

Who can forget Toronto’s summers of raining condo glass?

Bad construction, cheap material, and some whisper about cheap glass from China substituted for higher quality. Builders skimmed deeper into their costs and managed to close down whole roads of the city due to dangerous falling glass.

No one is even discussing the eventual and inevitable failing of the glass envelope of these glass condos. With a shelf life of maybe 10 years, many suggest it will be shorter. Condo owners can’t even complain publicly or developers will file lawsuits to SLAP down disent.

Condo/home building failure will be a big story in next few years. As people in condos realize that replacing a glass panel will cost their board most of their reserve funds..if they have enough. Lets not even talk about the UN-discussed sinking condo garage floors and leaky cement.

#130 A Nightmare on Bay Street on 03.13.13 at 1:54 am

The most insane story ?

The most overlooked and with the deepest implications ?

The Board of Directors of the CMHC members.

#131 GTA Girl on 03.13.13 at 1:55 am

Empty condos owned by foreign investors.

This is going to be a nightmare if you own a unit in a building with a good percentage of foreign investors. Condo board quorum will be a nightmare. Repair decisions will be stalled or put off.

And if the units are empty and sit as such…no one is even discussing the I durance liability issue. An empty unit with no monitoring… Is a disaster waiting to happen. If the Insurer finds out unit is empty after claims are made, they can void all coverage. Meaning any damages cannot be recouped by other owners affected..

This can be seen in recent weeks with fires/electrical failures in buildings. And residents left scrambling.

All those dark condo units you drive by at 9pm at night on a Wednesday are a insurance company and condo boards worse unrealized nightmare

#132 Fed-up on 03.13.13 at 1:57 am

The average annual salary in 1966 in Toronto was nearly $8000. Price of the average detached home in Leaside was about $20,000. The average salary has climbed upward about 600% since then, and house prices in that area, up about 5000%. Too bad the average salary in Toronto isn’t anywhere in the same galaxy as $400,000 per year huh?

#133 Waterloo Resident on 03.13.13 at 2:19 am

When I say for a person to build themselves a small starter house for around $30,000 what I’m really saying is to build just the bare walls, that’s about it. A very basic kitchen, basic bathroom, not much else. And all around 500 square feet, no more.

People complain that its not possible. Yes, it you are SPOILED ROTTEN and want instant gratification and feel ENTITLED TO IT, then yes, you won’t be getting your Granite Countertops with that little bungalow. And for $30,000 it is YOU who will be doing all of the work putting it together, no help from anyone else as that would easily double the cost.

Basically it is this way: if you want to save money, you will have to get up off your butt and swing that hammer, and work that saw, and sweat a little bit. Nothing comes for free.

Rugs? Not with only $30,000.
Blinds? Dido.
Just basic vinyl tiles, beige painted walls, cheap shingles, and you install all of it yourself, the hard way.

Of course, you will need another $50,000 for the building lot, and another $10,000 for the prep work / taxes, and to install the foundations for the micro-house. So all in all, about $90,000 in total for a shoebox. But its still better than renting, that’s my feeling. And if it falls by 50% in value, its only a $45,000 loss, and that’s not going to hurt too much.

Or, you can go out and buy a house for $800,000 if you want it that way, but I thought that this whole blog was to try to avoid stupid things like that?

#134 Bubu on 03.13.13 at 2:23 am

Dear God!
(Or, dear Garth!)

So far it’s only up to #94 comment showing, and there are enough examples to complete a book about those freakish Canada housing tales.
How in the world are those writers at Maclean’s going to choose those top five or whatever number?
I certainly believe there are more than enough horror stories to fill an entire volume about this madness.

#135 Bubu on 03.13.13 at 2:27 am

#65Lucky 3

We do?

#136 Freedom First on 03.13.13 at 2:32 am

My favorite RE story: The many Canadian Boomers who went through the 20% mortgages in their youth, and still loaned their offspring the money to buy RE even after the RE crashes in the U.S. and Europe, and the Boomers, when confronted with this fact, replied “things are different here”.

#137 Waterloo Resident on 03.13.13 at 2:38 am

Now; where on EARTH do you find a building lot for only $50,000? Not anywhere near civilization, that’s for sure.
Maybe in Windsor, but not much in the way of jobs down there.

Waterloo: Any small 3-bedroom houses available for under $300,000 in Kitchener anymore, or have they all gone over $800,000 by now?

#138 TheHappyRenter on 03.13.13 at 2:54 am

The absolute best story had to be that guy who advertised what looked to be his garden shed as a cozy little coach house rental. Before I saw the picture, his description almost suckered me in… Almost

#139 Soylent Green is People on 03.13.13 at 3:16 am

Yes, what no 92 said

Also how can had sup prime mortgages but harper kept it hush hush from canadians


#140 Emperialz on 03.13.13 at 3:26 am

Definitely catching MAC Marketing with their pants down. That one is a must.

#141 Buy? Curious? on 03.13.13 at 3:31 am

Garth, my favourite story of real estate madness was the “line-up” of people to buy condos on 1 Bloor St and not only were they bragging about being paid to hold these spots, they were peeing in Gatorade bottles!

Why do people make recycling so difficult?

#142 live within your means on 03.13.13 at 3:40 am

#27 mark on 03.12.13 at 9:28 pm
The fact 40 year mortgages were allowed to begin with!

You forgot the 0 down.

#143 kc on 03.13.13 at 3:41 am

In no order…

banks that allow retired folks to take $150K loans.

laneway housing, how greedy is that? not to mention ugly.

Retired boomers who think they can afford to live like royalty and HELOC to pay it off… (see above for banks allowing it)

We are different here… (oh this is going to backfire)

(which leads to…) not wanting to publish foreclosure properties/bankruptcies… move along people… nothing to see here.

Anything to do with HAM… unless it is served with eggs that is.

How many condos are being built in Toronto? is that Dubai N.America? the land of the delusional? build it and some sucker will buy it?

and that ol’ goody … the canadian banks are as strong as the canadian shield… yep you know they are.

M. Carney (Goldman boy) can take your BS with you there sport, now that the damage has been done.

#144 Buy? Curious? on 03.13.13 at 3:57 am

Garth, I forgot one. Do you remember a reporter for CTV in Toronto (The best city in all of Canada) by the name of Desmond Brown? It turned out he became a real estate agent, servicing the Riverdale/Leslieville area. I didn’t know journalists were paid so poorly.

#145 live within your means on 03.13.13 at 4:07 am

#42 Debtfree on 03.12.13 at 9:51 pm
They still publish the mcleans magazine? On paper and everything ? I guess nostalgic types like reading month old news .

Guess I was nostalgic. I did take a yr’s subscription ($20.) but did not renew it. At least once a week I receive an email from them which I delete. Unfortunately, I can’t block domain names. I stopped subscribing to our local paper yrs ago, partly because I could find most of the same info online days in advance. I’ve ordered a few things online & some cos. send me notices weekly of deals. Tried just deleting them then finally bouncing them back to sender to no avail.

#146 Buy? Curious? on 03.13.13 at 4:19 am

Garth, one last thing. Leafs and Raptors tickets are going up 2.5%! They said it was the “cost of living” expense. As a handsome young man who enjoys watching sports live, it sucks. Really? Do you know how much a good night at a game costs (not including Smoking Man’s short term girlfriends)? But, the more intellectual, sensitive guy (Ladies?) connects the dots. Didn’t TD just say that home prices will increase at 2% over the next decade?

What’s going on? I feel dirty.

#147 live within your means on 03.13.13 at 4:20 am

#47 Joanne on 03.12.13 at 9:54 pm

The magical MLS Home Price Index which can turn any real number into any number the real estate cartel like.

The fact almost no media outlets, when talking about F decreasing the max amortization length, ever highlight it was him that increased it in the first place.

My vote goes to you. So true, none of the MSM mention that fact. Guess, they’re too afraid of losing their subsidies.

#148 Yulyyz on 03.13.13 at 4:32 am

Thanks to Ralph C., Herb and Old Man for yesterday’s advice on my question.

My stories for the ‘List’:
1993- At 25, with a 10% downpayment and 2 years in my job at a big company: Not a single bank I approached would lend me $52k for me to buy a condo in Old Montreal without my Dad co-signing. It all worked out after a couple of weeks without having to bring my Dad into it.
Last 5 years (or more) – the banks are just giving away huge amounts to anyone, any age, job or no job, deposit or not. The lack of prudence is shocking.

TREB: How they conveniently blame the Toronto Land transfer tax when they have a month with bad sales- yet the tax came into effect Feb. 1, 2008 – and for more than 3 or 4 years it was not even mentioned on their releases, all the while during a period where there was lots of sales activity at huge dollar volumes.

These are more examples of the The lack of professionalism shown by many (not all) realtors especially in the frothier markets…
Example 1: When I was interviewing agents to sell my house late 2010- One fellow, who marketed in the area sat at the table and just before he started his pitch, looked at his watch and let me know he had a 3pm tee off time.
Example 2: Another lad, during his pitch, told me all the wood in the house wasn’t ‘gonna work’ it would have to be painted white. I protested having spent the better part of a week staining and sealing it all myself, and politely reminded him not to put the cart before the horse.
Example 3: Wouldn’t play unless I agreed to reduce the price after 2 weeks on the market.
Example 4: Another agent calls to follow up on whether I have picked an agent yet. I advise I have 3 more to interview. He lets me know ‘that’s ridiculous, I’ve never heard of anyone interviewing 6 agents… You’re just waiting for someone to tell you what you want to hear.’
… There’s more but that’ll do.

My last comment: The Lack of transparency that causes a huge dependency on real estate agents and agencies: Those of us that like to do our own thorough research before contacting our agents need a ZILLOW product in Canada!

#149 Waiting for the bulb to burst on 03.13.13 at 4:57 am

My 60 year old modest house in North Vancouver appreciating at a rate of $7.00 an hour 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year for 12 years!

What the F*(# That’s crazy!

#150 Devore on 03.13.13 at 5:13 am

#21 thisiscrazy

I say this since if I buy, after the mortgage is over I will still be paying 700/month whereas if I rent I will have to come up with the difference probably from those money invested.
So what in the world is best to do?

After the mortgage is over? Do the math again, but this time include details like getting a job and not renting for 30 years.

#151 live within your means on 03.13.13 at 5:17 am

#152 betamax on 03.12.13 at 3:10 pm
#109 lwym: “Anyone with more insight?”

Buy ‘Eat to Live’ by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, read it, then decide. Also watch the video ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.’

Thanks for your comment, but I stopped watching Dr. OZ a year ago. I eat to live, not live to eat. Have a very small appetite & am far from fat. Due to health problems, I’m just not as physically active as I was.

#152 Canmore, Alberta - the definition of insanity on 03.13.13 at 5:19 am

Best insane story got to be….

Canmore alberta, the ground zero of stupid housing costs.

Canmore town council spending $40 million dollars building an all singing & dancing recreation center with water slides, climbing walls, etc etc for a town of 8000 people … (“…build it and they will come…”


they are currently trucking 3000 tonnes of waste (ie sewage shite) around alberta for disposal, they have had 4 or 5 different contracts in as many years as no one wants it! $$$$$

In addition the town landfill is closing and disposal costs are forecast to jump nearly 100%……$$$$$

Now the rec center is opening soon and they want $118 per month for families to take their kids to the pool….hahahaha

#153 Need Sleep on 03.13.13 at 5:29 am

My Beaver List votes:

How my local paper will give front page coverage to realtors saying it’s a great time to buy and prices will rise forever, but not giving any coverage of contrary advice from Garth, Fitch, Moody, The Economist, Macleans, etc.

CMHC telling realtors not to disclose which properties are disclosures.

Condo sellers posing as fake buyers. Fake line-ups and crowds.

The massive mortgages Canadians are signing up for in addition to having high levels of personal debt.

And this isn’t new, but the fact that a house, for MLS stat purposes, can show as selling overlist in 7 days when it was actually on the market for 1/2 year and had the price dropped multiple times. Just happened to sell for more than the last reduced price.

Macleans could honestly do a Top 100 list. The average Canadian is being so misled by their local news, realtor, mortgage broker, etc. There are so many warnings about this housing correction and most people are still oblivious to it or in denial.

#154 Hilarious on 03.13.13 at 5:55 am

I’ll Go with #8 Sebee and all of the others who nominated the “280% return” for my vote.

#155 live within your means on 03.13.13 at 5:59 am

#191 Daisy Mae on 03.12.13 at 8:22 pm

I watch NatGeo Wild. I love all animals…and am especially intrigued with the big cats.
Unfortunately, we don’t get that channel, but have watched many PBS programs of wild animals in Africa. I have a fascination with Meerkats.

#156 DM in C on 03.13.13 at 6:00 am

Well, we took the plunge.

Landlord in Calgary decided to not renew — selling instead and there are absolutely no rentals in our neighborhood right now — not moving Thing #2 to yet another school.

Thought about buying the place we are in, but the blue back splash, orange tile floor and green walls don’t do it for us.

Instead, we found a new listing of 10,000 sq ft pie shaped lot with 6 year old house and southwestern exposure and an unobstructed view of the Rockies for 3.5x salary. Lucky find. First in, negotiated price down $15k and closed within a week. Thank goodness for snowstorms.

Exactly what we wanted, and still can filter $1k+ / month over to our financial adviser.

Thanks Garth. Doesn’t mean I’m giving up the blog at all — gotta stay aware of what’s going on.

Cheers all.

#157 JO on 03.13.13 at 6:43 am

The helicopter story with fake buyers is tops. But also the CMHC program that lets you gamble with 0 down on buying a home.
I see several of these applications and most of these borrowers are broke. Why are guarantees being used secured by my income and my children’s incomes to allow lenders to make these subprime type loans ? I will tell you why…the real purpose of CMHC is to allow banks to make larger profits which mainly benefits the top layer of execs and the gov’t. By using these programs, it allows people with no money to bid up the price of housing far beyond what would be capable under regular mortgage underwriting. So when these gamblers bid on a home, they need larger mortgages to allow them to buy a home at an inflated is in effect a monetization of the debt bubble by the elites and gov’t. For the rest of us, home prices are pushed way above our incomes over time and mortgages larger and larger…it is in effect a massive tax on all of us…maybe they can do a story on the board of the CMHC and on how these 5 % or cashback mortgages are a disaster..the gov’t has effectively legislated the issuance of knowingly unaffordable debt…to me, these programs are illegal and should be stopped. The banks can no longer do the cashback/0 down but most credit unions still do them..

What a scam

#158 David on 03.13.13 at 6:44 am

It has to be the utterly clueless who believe that a condo in XYZ Canadian city should be worth 2x what those are selling for in world class cities such as Miami, Denver or LA where income taxes are less, mortgages are deductible, you can lock in for 30 years, etc.

#159 double double straight up on 03.13.13 at 6:46 am

To the Smoking Man! Enuff alllready…Go to bed. Tired of hereing aboot your self. So much yayadada. All yuu want to cee how many sheeeple you can hoook. Whatsa matter your own site to boreing. Go air your laundry somewhere else.

#160 Waterloo Resident on 03.13.13 at 7:05 am

I have a feeling that in 99% of the cases; when a senior couple retires with HUGE DEBT LOAD, and one of the partner passes away (dies), the other one will declare bankruptcy to get out from under that debt !

A lot of boomers are going to be declaring bankruptcy soon!

#161 T.O. Bubble Boy on 03.13.13 at 7:18 am

@ #130 Fed-up on 03.13.13 at 1:57 am
The average annual salary in 1966 in Toronto was nearly $8000. Price of the average detached home in Leaside was about $20,000. The average salary has climbed upward about 600% since then, and house prices in that area, up about 5000%. Too bad the average salary in Toronto isn’t anywhere in the same galaxy as $400,000 per year huh?

The average family income of people buying detached SFH in Leaside probably is $400k/year.
(or they are independently wealthy, and don’t work)

#162 T.O. Bubble Boy on 03.13.13 at 7:36 am

@ #108 Sags on 03.13.13 at 12:12 am
How about people suing so they don’t have to live in Trump Towers in Toronto?


The wonderful mess they called the Vancouver Olympic Village…….what an achievement that was.

Those are great ones… completely forgot about False Creek and the unsold $2M Olympic Condos that no one wanted.

Throw One King West (just around the corner from Trump Tower in Toronto, built circa 2007-2008) in as well — that project was the original Condo/Hotel failure, with Harry Stinson and the Mirvish Kids fighting over money during the development of the project and the hotel operator going bankrupt.

It looks like the top 7 stories (based on the 150 posts so far) seem to be:

– Flaherty’s “prudent” mortgage changes, only needed because of his own “not so prudent” mortgage changes

– Toronto family in bidding war with themselves because of the shady realtor

– crackshackormansion

– MAC marketing putting Asian employees as Chinese buyers

– Cam Good’s yellow helicopter tours with fake offshore buyers

– Constant falling glass from Toronto condo developments

– Lies, Lies, and more Lies from the RE Cartel and the Media… HPI, Misleading monthly stats, MSM articles showing “virtual” houses and printing realtor press releases as factual news, CMHC Board of Directors full of RE execs, etc. etc.

#163 domino on 03.13.13 at 7:42 am

What about that French guy who looked like your son and said that you should open a real estate company for buyers only and compared you to Don Cherry in his crazy YouTube video “The Garth Turner Project”?

#164 bigrider on 03.13.13 at 8:01 am

So long as bidding war and ‘300 people came to see this house ‘ articles appear like this regularily in our newspapers, the housing mania continues in T.O, the “centre of Canada”

#165 Devore on 03.13.13 at 8:10 am

Oh my, today’s picture, priceless.

#166 Captain Critical on 03.13.13 at 8:11 am

I wonder which would be higher maintenance, the building or Miss Bunny?

#167 Dave on 03.13.13 at 8:28 am

Asian realtors in helicopter story must be included. It’s clearly the most deceiving, oddly funny and probably even a water-shed moment for real estate in Vancouver.

#168 Grantmi on 03.13.13 at 8:40 am

#1 It’s got to be the $38M fake home in West Vancouver….


#169 Devore on 03.13.13 at 8:41 am

#129 GTA Girl

This is going to be a nightmare if you own a unit in a building with a good percentage of foreign investors. Condo board quorum will be a nightmare. Repair decisions will be stalled or put off.

Quorum is no problem. After a half hour, whoever’s there forms the quorum.

But, heavy on investors and off-shore owners does usually mean deferred maintenance and proper repairs. Investors, for obvious reasons. No one wants to throw more money at an investment that’s already barely cashflowing, or not even, seen this first hand. Offshore owners just don’t care; as long as the building is still standing when they come over 1 month a year, nothing needs doing.

#170 TSL on 03.13.13 at 8:59 am

The story where Cabinet chooses to extend taxpayer guarantees to Genworth and Guaranty, but not CMHC, thereby voiding the over-arching CMHC mandate in law to make quality housing affordable.

#171 Stickler on 03.13.13 at 9:00 am

Some good mentions.

How about some facts:
– thousands buy condos years in advance with no firm enforceable detail of their suite (materials and even the size can change with no recourse)

– MANY entered bidding wars with an unprovable mystery bidder that in many cases didn’t exist.

– Many throw down large deposits and waive the inspection because they are afraid they might loose a 80 year old house that was horribly built in the first place.

Or the simple fact that thousands of people with NO money got mortgages on $500K+++ homes. Just think about that one.

#172 rosie "moving forward" on 03.13.13 at 9:02 am


That is the most useful analysis from you to date.

#173 JustTryingToProtectEquity on 03.13.13 at 9:19 am

We’re all conversing as if the market has collapsed, as if it’s all a fait accompli. But the simple truth is this, to a large extent, Smoking Man is right, the herd isn’t listening. The herd is reading the Toronto Star (the most read newspaper in Canada), or any of the Sun newspapers across Canada, where stories still revolve around bidding wars and houses being sold for well above asking. At best, we are in the 6th inning of this mess. People are not getting your message Mr. Turner. To a large extent, because they don’t read the Globe, the Post, or your blog. 6th inning at best.

There will always be fools. What else is new? — Garth

#174 Holy crap wheres The Tylenol on 03.13.13 at 9:20 am

#64 Smoking Man on 03.12.13 at 10:21 pm

#52 Rob Smith on 03.12.13 at 9:57 pm
it’s best we the get the legend……… his own mind, smoking man to come up with something, I’m sure he’ll dazzle these writers with his drunken charm.

Perhaps Smoking Man is not a legend in his own mind but the Legend of Mind.

He’ll fly his astral plane
Takes you trips around the bay
Brings you back the same day

He’ll take you up,
He’ll bring you down.
He’ll plant your feet back firmly on the ground.
He flies so high,
He swoops so low.
He knows exactly which way he’s gonna go

#175 Dupcheck on 03.13.13 at 9:26 am

The gang of real estate: CHMC, MPAC, Banks, RE-Agents Vs. People. The gang should all be ashamed to bring the housing market inflated and unaffordable where it is now at a bubble stage. All of the gang made money and indebted the population and taxpayers with their tactics that are non-ethical.

These clowns should be held accountable and CHMC+MPAC should be abolished as they only help the gang.

#176 gladiator on 03.13.13 at 9:28 am

One of my friends overheard a conversation between 2 of her coworkers about a young couple who can’t get married “because it’s too expensive” and “too expensive” was not the cost of the wedding, but the cost of real estate “because they will have to live somewhere, right?” (note: the couple is of Asian descent, and shame on you if you consider this a racist comment – it’s about cultural differences).
So, family life is now a derivative of the housing market?
Russians have this old saying that means “there’s heaven even in a hovel when I have my honey next to me”. Oh my, times have changed…

#177 Dupcheck on 03.13.13 at 9:31 am

The fact that you can buy a great house for the same price in US and a shack in Canada. Our average house prices are double to that of US? Why? Are we two times better than US?

#178 DL on 03.13.13 at 9:36 am

Break Canada into 5 parts and pick a story for each.

#179 CREA on 03.13.13 at 9:36 am

Any story that starts with “CREA reports…..”

#180 World Traveller on 03.13.13 at 10:00 am

#46 charles

Charles, Most likely the 10+% unemployment is a factor.

#181 World Traveller on 03.13.13 at 10:02 am

Seriously, though, what is up with the waitress outfit?

#182 Country Girl on 03.13.13 at 10:04 am

The craziest story that fooled Canadians and contributed to Canada’s housing bubble was the big lie: “Canadian banks weren’t bailed out.”

The government misled Canadians (and people worldwide) by hiding $114 billion in bail-out money given to Canadian banks since 2008. This bail-out was recently confirmed by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

By putting money on the backs of tax-payers ($69-billion bank mortgages sold to the CMHC program) Canadian banks were given the reputation as the world’s strongest banks and people made decisions based on a false portrayal of their banks and economy. People bought Canadian real estate, poured money into renovations, and grew their HELOCs instead of their savings accounts, while banks made fat profits and Mark Carney got hired as the next Governor for Bank of England.

Now Canadian taxpayers are left crossing their fingers that this housing bubble lands softly and doesn’t crash. The growth in CMHC (tax-payer backed) mortgages leaves a rosy outlook for Canadian banks and a big risk for Canadian taxpayers.

#183 jess on 03.13.13 at 10:13 am

Check out the Candy bros. developers
One Hyde Park – absentee owners
Public Private Inc. (initiatives) PPI

Friday, December 04, 2009
Bank bailout: UK taxpayer on the hook for $850 billion
From the National Audit Office:
“A 20-year private finance initiative deal in which the private sector took over the management of offices for HM Revenue & Customs has so far proved poor value for money, the National Audit Office said on Wednesday. HMRC could also be in serious trouble if the downturn claims its private sector partner, Mapeley.”

And who is Mapeley? Britain’s parliament was informed a few years ago that …”the main contracting party is Mapeley STEPS Contractor Limited, also registered in the UK; and that the majority of the assets are held by Mapeley STEPS Limited, registered in Bermuda. Mapeley told us that in PFI contracting the private sector contractor is “typically a special purpose, bankruptcy remote, corporate vehicle…Mapeley “structured its tax affairs to minimise exposure to Capital Gains Tax.”
2001 Britain’s own tax authorities sold off 600 buildings to a company, Mapeley Steps Ltd., This is not new, but it still staggers us to know that Britain’s tax authority offices are managed by an offshore-diving, tax-avoiding, private finance initiative company. And private finance, of course, is effectively the British government’s wheeze to get a bunch of costs off its balance sheet (but not off the taxpayer’s back.) And what has the NAO just found?

“HMRC had no long-term plan when it handed over its estate to Mapeley in 2001. It has already paid out £312m ($520m) more than planned – a figure that could rise to £570m, the NAO says.”

Read more in the parliamentary report.

#184 Dorothy on 03.13.13 at 10:27 am

#53 – Smoking Man

You are quite right in your perception of “the herd” mentality. I agree with what you’ve said in this particular post. It’s behaviour I’ve observed in my own adult children (both in their early 30s), as well as in many of their friends.

#185 Doug in London on 03.13.13 at 10:37 am

You could quote some of the absurd comments some posters have made on this blog, trying to justify these high house prices. They will seem as absurd as some comments I read years ago. Two examples come to mind:

June 1998, when oil was $11 a barrel. “There’s so much surplus oil out there it could go to $5 a barrel

June 1999, gold at $230 per ounce. “Nobody’s interested in gold anymore, except for electronics it’a useless metal”. It could drop to $150 per ounce.

Yes some of the comments we have read here will likely seem just as absurd in years to come.

#186 TSL on 03.13.13 at 10:38 am

#62 is my #1

If true (verify, verify again), it is a clear shocker. Bitumen, real estate, and government subsidized autos = Canada?

#187 Ronaldo on 03.13.13 at 10:39 am

#158 Waterloo Resdent –

”A lot of boomers are going to be declaring bankruptcy soon!”

Firstly, the boomer generation spans 18 years – 1946-64. Which segment of this generation are you saying are going to declare bankruptcy soon. What are you basing your assumptions on? Do you have anything to back up this?

#188 Daisy Mae on 03.13.13 at 10:43 am

I have to agree with #80 TO Bubble Boy.
Very well written.

#189 futureexpatriate on 03.13.13 at 10:46 am

The fact that it took this blog this long to come up with the first blog post without someone going “First!”?

#190 Daisy Mae on 03.13.13 at 10:47 am

#81T.O. Bubble Boy:
oh ya — and add to #1 the “economic action plan” from F and Harper, with the entire fake recovery based on home reno debt via CMHC-insured HELOCs!!!”


Perfect! Well done!

#191 Stoopid Idiot on 03.13.13 at 10:56 am

70% of our GDP and that of the U.S. is derived from the service sector… Stoopid is “Dumb On Purpose”… Ralphy my boy

The Top 1%

#192 Holy Crap wheres The Tylenol on 03.13.13 at 10:57 am

Boomers: Do as I say, not as I do.
The adult children of baby boomers are turning to their parents for retirement advice. Here’s how to respond wisely….

#193 Mike on 03.13.13 at 10:58 am

Damn, if I had known I was going to be tested, I would have taken more notes.

#194 Ronaldo on 03.13.13 at 10:59 am

Garth, a whole lot of good examples so far. What you need to emphasize though is the fact that we were ”not different” in Canada than anywhere else including the U.S. when it comes to banks lending practices and CMHC.

The people of Canada must be made aware of this since most of the people I speak to even today say, ”it’s different here or it’s different in Vancouver, it’s a different market, it’s the chinese money, etc, etc.”

And surely there must be something that you can include from the ”roundhouse discussions” with the star performers, Brad Lamb and Sherry Cooper.

My own top pics are definately the media’s gullibility when it comes to airing stories such as the “yellow helicopters”, the phony “condo lineups and campouts”, the phony ”buyers” employed by the realtors, and the other scam where the ”Cam’s” of the real estate industry were trying to mimic the ”groupon” sales technique and once again interviewing their own personnel posing as prospective buyers.

This industry must be exposed for the frauds that they are and partly responsible for this real estate mess in our country.

Keep up the good work Garth and I look forward to the top pics for the MacLean story.

#195 In the cold from Toronto on 03.13.13 at 10:59 am

The fact that the conservatives became a majority party on the back of “solid economic performance” driven by the RE bubble (which they engineered).

Using the taxpayer to provide the stimulus for the economy made them look soooo smart.

This is the one that takes the cake.

#196 Ronaldo on 03.13.13 at 11:04 am

#183 – Doug In London-

Most of us know who you refer to regarding the absurd comments and rather than make any comments in regards to them I think its best to just ignore him/her.

#197 Calgary Rip off on 03.13.13 at 11:08 am

Craziest housing story? Depends on your perspective of where you live and your position.

In Calgary, it is hard to believe that the average house cost around $250K pre 2006. If you had purchased your mortgage around 2007 however you would not have made a cent in increase on the property.

It is argued here repeatedly to rent. Problem is, there are no rent controls in Alberta, and rents are the same if not more than a mortgage. A renter obtains the ability to move quickly. And due to the high rents it is difficult if next to impossible to invest. What cash is left? Starter homes dont exist. Depending on the area in Calgary, you will pay $700K for a 1200 square foot place. Only in real estate do things get more expensive and supposedly worth more as they age.

All of these problems are compounded by the crazy timing of the Calgary housing market. Essentially it consists of waiting and waiting while some of the deluded sellers decide to sell their place, and then negotiating all the frustrating dynamics. The best example is to wait like a Jaguar in the bushes for the antelope to walk along and then spring into action with lightning speed. Fortunately for anyone that does want into this stupid market, there is unlikely to be any bidding wars on any places as many are worried about their jobs, etc in an economy which was built around one source: Oil and for which budget projections were based on an assumed oil value in excess of $100/barrel.

Calgary is not a small town, it is vicious here.

#198 Turtle on 03.13.13 at 11:09 am

RE: #116 simple reader

“ps: one suggestion for you garth: keep the talk only about real estate. don’t start talking to people about financial assets (ETF, preferreds, REITs, diversified and balanced portfolios with better earning %)… that talk is not always convenient, that scares the average joe, that’s for financially educated people, that makes you look sometimes as a salesman too. just saying…”


Absolutely DISAGREE.

Garth, for your information, I am one of those who come here for financial advice. I live a modest life in a modest home and everything you write about RE doesn’t affect me directly, but I like your writing and read it as a good book day after day.

Your financial advice is very much appreciated. I don’t need to sell or buy a house, but financial security for my family is what keeps me going to work every day. Your financial advice doesn’t scare me at all, I can actually absorb much more.

#199 IM in C on 03.13.13 at 11:15 am

@129 gta girl. you can get insurance on a vacated property. It will just cost you more.
When I moved out to C some years ago I took out renters insurance on my apartment. Do you actually live in the apartment asked the insuaranc broker. She then explained. She also noted that she gets calls all the time asking about the cost of insuring a vacated prperty. When she tells them, there is a gasp from the other end of the line, and they then hang up.

#200 JW on 03.13.13 at 11:24 am

1 Mr Yellow helicopter
2 His competitor MAC boss Cam Mc Neil and his two curious investors aka employees
3 the fact that just about everyone really thinks it is different here. see Raincouver
4 Media ( Global tv ) blinding the masses into believing the market will never correct and is still such great value.
5 rental yields so low and virtually unchanged for years in spite of huge price increases.
6 low wage increases that are now completely detached from house prices. 11x income in Raincouver. Yikes.

#201 JustTryingToProtectEquity on 03.13.13 at 11:26 am

#196 Turtle

Totally agree. Selling my house last spring was one thing. What to do with the tax free return, quite another. The investment advice Mr. Turner imparts is more important than knowing there is a housing bubble.
The Rule of 90, his RRSP and TFSA advice and his ongoing insistence on diversification are what many of us are returning for.

#202 David B on 03.13.13 at 11:28 am

Go for it Garth …… nuff said!

#203 Westcoaster on 03.13.13 at 11:32 am

I think one of the top 5 should be the willingness of the media (?including MacLeans?) to be bedmates with the CREAs, Lambs, and ReMaxes of Canada only serving to add volume to the gasbag that is Canadian RE, thus making the fall that much more difficult for those who drank the Kool-Aid (and went back to the cooler for more). Not a poster child for “investigative journalism”.

#204 Tony Right on 03.13.13 at 11:47 am

1. Granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

2. Mainstream media flogging whatever the real estate cartel tells them (see Global, CBC, every major newspaper)

3. Young people getting mortgages financed at 100% for million dollar homes and they work at Costco.

4. CMHC insuring this whole fiasco. Taxpayers left holding the bag, while bankers make out like bandits.

5. How dumb these buyers are when the United States, a country 10x as big as Canada and the number one economy in the world, just had a nuclear bomb go off on its real estate and Canadians think, “it’s different here.”

#205 thisiscrazy on 03.13.13 at 11:47 am

Thanks to everyone who answered my post. I value your opinion since this is something that bothered me for awhile. Ronaldo, I will re-read your post every time I feel the urge of doing something stupid :-) at least for a year, maybe things will get better. It is so disheartening seeing families getting into so much debt for something so basic : a home. I hope I will keep my cool and my freedom too.

#206 Grim Reaper/Crypt Speculator Ⓤ on 03.13.13 at 12:09 pm

Holy Mackerel….

Change a blog photo and the comment #’s are almost 200 before NOON…Mid week…

What could it be due to ?

#207 Not 1st on 03.13.13 at 12:20 pm

How about mcleans actually doing some investigative journalism in their own and really digging into this bubble market instead of parroting other MSM like Global news and the crap coming from marketers. There are no reporters anymore, just screen readers.

#208 Dr. Hoof - Hearted on 03.13.13 at 12:20 pm

Craziest Story ?

Tough call.

Probably those staged condo pre-sale line-ups ( which I don’t hear about anymore).

#209 Mike on 03.13.13 at 12:23 pm

“You’re richer than you think”

#210 Bottoms_Up on 03.13.13 at 12:24 pm

#203 thisiscrazy on 03.13.13 at 11:47 am
If the 2% per year thing holds true for the next 10 years, I will owe $250,000 on a house worth $500,000. How can that be a bad thing? I suggest everyone do their own calculations…and everyone has their own unique situations with multiple variables to consider. Buying a home is still a viable option for many.

#211 Bottoms_Up on 03.13.13 at 12:29 pm

#183 Doug in London on 03.13.13 at 10:37 am
What might be absurd at this point in time is telling people in general not to buy a house if in fact there’s 2% annual appreciation over the next 10 years. Sure, there’s no rush to buy, and in some markets you might gain by waiting, but in modest and stable markets it seems the right choice of what to do really should be up to the individual to assess their own circumstances.

#212 Reasonfirst on 03.13.13 at 12:29 pm

I think the #1 craziest story is how much a “conservative” government intervened in the housing market to carry Canada through the GFC and the resulting consumer debt levels. I think most Canadians don’t have a clue that they were pawns in this.

#213 SRV on 03.13.13 at 12:29 pm

Miss Bunny for 100 Alex…

#214 Bottoms_Up on 03.13.13 at 12:31 pm

#174 gladiator on 03.13.13 at 9:28 am
Asian as in Russian? Czech? Chinese?

#215 rosie "moving forward" on 03.13.13 at 12:35 pm

Hard to believe but this ad campaign is 40 years old, just when boomers started buying big stuff, like houses. I have always associated this line with the entitled attitudes of our generation and the generations that followed.

#216 Ronaldo on 03.13.13 at 12:39 pm

#203 thisiscrazy – thank you. My own son just sold his home in a N.Alta town getting about $10,000 more than he paid for it back in 2007 (basically because he finished the basement), otherwise no gain after selling costs are factored in, maybe even a slight loss.

However, just prior to the purchase of the current home, he sold his home in Calgary at the peak and pocketed around 90m in just one year so he is still ahead of the game. One of the lucky ones and even more fortunate to have sold his current home at a time before the flood of listings hits the market.

When you consider that this provinces revenues are down 47%,and their recent austerity budget, the consequences for real estate going forward cannot be great. I believe he will find that selling now as he did will prove to be an excellent decision. He will now be renting and watching this all unfold.

With interest rates at their all time lows and the government running out of ammunition to try and get this economy going, I expect that we have not even begun to see the worst of what is to come. All that has been done so far is put off the inevitable.

If this situation which they classed as one of the worst since the great depression is correct, we have not seen any pain yet.

The mid 80’s recession which caused the government of BC to layoff 1/3 of its workforce and thousands of jobs in the private sector disappearing must still be ahead of us. The unemployment levels today are nothing compared to what they were back then. And normal interest rates were around 10-12%.

Too many young people today who are going out and blindly getting into these huge mortgages were not around or too young to witness events such as these. The worst is yet to come.

#217 Dr. Hoof - Hearted on 03.13.13 at 12:45 pm

” Drive By ” inspections:

One of my neighbours told me his experience with his house. What is interesting is he bought it during the last crash…early 1990’s.

The builder had built a few homes and got caught as the market turned. My neighbour bought the place (approx 5000 sq ft.)for about 60 cents on the dollar.

However, after he had bought it, he noticed his septic system was failing. Long story short, it went to court,(my neighbour won) and it was found that the City Inspector had not actually inspected it, he did a “drive by” and ticked it off the list as” passed”.

So, my point is, when the dust settles after this latest boom, never ASSUME that because a newer condo or house “passed “inspection that it actually WAS inspected. In a boom…..the Cities do not have enough staff and will take shortcuts.

#218 robert james on 03.13.13 at 12:47 pm

Yeah,,pretty hard to beat that goof with his helicopter show.. The “5 F s ” of Vancouver real estate.. 1. Fake Chinese buyers in helicopters .. 2. Fake Chinese buyers in the Mac scam.. 3. Fake condo line ups… 4. Fake 38 million dollar mansion.. 5. ??? (got to be another one..)

#219 Bottoms_Up on 03.13.13 at 12:56 pm

#151 Need Sleep on 03.13.13 at 5:29 am
Maybe Maclean’s should do an article on the front page of a mag they wrote in 2011 that asked the question: “Could now be the best time to buy a house?”

#220 Sparky55 on 03.13.13 at 1:03 pm

How about PID 40729337

2009 – $1.2 million
2010 – $880,000, with several drops to $799,900
2012 to 2013 – $2.5 million

Same house, no significant changes, not even on lake like houses surrounding it, although property is fairly big.

#221 elchavo on 03.13.13 at 1:05 pm

the MAC marketing situation was hilarious and a very good indicator of how stupid or RE market is in this country of ours. Within that story, this quote really caught my attention:

“…Emotion and real estate, that reminds me of the MAC Marketing Solutions scandal. I ask The Realtor his opinion. He laughs, “It’s not just what they did, but that they did it so badly. They could have just found a waitress or whatever, somebody who didn’t obviously work for them.” ”

extremely happy to be a renter.
There will be so much blood running on the streets… It’s gonna be epic.

#222 panhead on 03.13.13 at 1:09 pm

Surely their should be some mention of the future. If this mother of all gasbags does implode the bill is going to have to be paid by the old taxpayer again.
Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad…

#223 Sparky55 on 03.13.13 at 1:11 pm

Or how about the builders continuously upping the prices, when hardly anything new is selling?

Some stuff sitting on the market for a few years, after many price increases, and then it gets upped again. I’ve noticed some that were upped over $100k

The odd thing is once in a very long time one will have a price increase and sell right afterwards, sometimes well above the asking price. I suspect it is due to the builders buying their own stock to make it look tile they are selling… There is also a very small possibility the purchasers wanted a lot of extras.

Here’s a small example that had it’s price increased today:

#224 Dorothy on 03.13.13 at 1:12 pm

This is a little off topic, but I wanted to be sure you blog dogs all had the opportunity to read this article from the Financial Post. It made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants!!!!

#225 Buy? Curious? on 03.13.13 at 1:12 pm

Garth, what about Sherry Cooper going on and on about how housing was so great and then turns around and sells her house?

#226 555 on 03.13.13 at 1:14 pm

Taxpayers backing CHMC, CHMC backing banks, banks allowing mortgages to all people, this cycle is a pyramid scheme. Only the ones at the top win. RE agents are the hyenas guiding the crowd forward. MPAC, Banks, Gov, RE cartel, Construction Companies, looking on the sidelines counting profits while sheep get slavered.

#227 DL on 03.13.13 at 1:17 pm

1. The misconception that 1% of realtors have made the other 99% look bad.

2. That the BC economy has been misrepresented because no one (well, many realtors do) takes into account cross border shopping savings into annual income gains (upwards of 25%) and basement suite income (another possible 25 to 50%).

I think that these two alone should be the BC/West Coast topics. I know that a minority of tin foil hat wearers will try to discredit my points with gibberish but the unspoken majority agrees and I thank them for their continued support.

#228 Mark W on 03.13.13 at 1:22 pm

HAM & Champagne in Vancouver.

#229 Tom Vu on 03.13.13 at 1:25 pm

Colour of next helicopters will be black Apache

#230 Old Man on 03.13.13 at 1:49 pm

I still cannot figure out the retail trade coming to an end on March 1st, as all business has come to a halt. Could it be something related to income taxes payable? Yet, cannot file mine until April because so much stuff comes in late.

#231 observer on 03.13.13 at 1:52 pm

Listened to CKNW this morning. There were several companies such as Angela Calla, who is getting into the game.

The ad goes something like this:

You find your mortgage is more than your house is worth! Call Angela Calla for help and advice. (LOL) just a few months ago the were selling mortgages, saying that houses would never go down. They win from both ends. And like Tom Vu famous line. YOU LOSER for buying that overpriced house!!!!

#232 Extreme stuff on 03.13.13 at 2:00 pm

How about the fact that on a street 40km from downtown Ottawa, where 2300 sq/ft McMansions recently sold for $500K, the population largely consists of 30 somethings with young kids. Is the economy on fire? When in history have 30 somethings invaded a whole block of cookie-cutter McMansions worth half a mil?

#233 afraidit allmightend on 03.13.13 at 2:11 pm

C’mon..the ad-fo-mercials that have been foisted off by ‘crack reporters’ doing ‘walk throughs of ‘signifigant buildings’ over at Global have to be on the list.

When the media has been shown to be in sleazy cahoots with the real estate pimps to screw the public in exchange for paid advertising to disguise a sales pitch as human intrest stories have to make the list.

What about the Banks working contrary to the Bank Act and lending to unqualified buyers with zero equity, disguising HELOCS and family gifts as downpayments?

What about the non disclosure of commercial interest in real estate advertising contrary to the Consumer Protection Act.

What about the abdication of responsibility by the Finance Minister and the BOC Governor by abusing the power to manip[ulate interest rates against the best intersts of the nation?

How about rich foreigners getting CMHC insurance to buy spec houses with no money down?

How about the CRA asking no questions about where the money has come from when it is in fact illegal to export currency..more than $50K, out of China?

God darn….I could go on and on…..the entire fiasco should be a hit list at election time….but will the media even burp out a simple truth about the ponzi scam?

#234 jess on 03.13.13 at 2:20 pm

… is yet to be uncovered …one has to wait for the fraud to learn the most crazy unless they quietly settle without press

#235 Old Man on 03.13.13 at 2:20 pm

What you need to understand about todays Real Estate market is that the market prices do not reflect an increase in wage income; not to mention the debt load per capita. Now lets take a look back to the 1970’s when Real Estate boomed, and doubled, but there was no material collapse in market values. The average wage for a university graduate in 1970 was about $7,200 annually, and by 1975 came in at about $16,000, and so on, as by 1981 was making $40,000 annually. Thus the increase in Real Estate values going higher were supported by wages earned. This is not the case today, so the Real Estate market will have a melt down, and in some areas a crash.

#236 Dr. Hoof - Hearted on 03.13.13 at 2:30 pm

New Pope announced soon !!!

#237 Cautious on 03.13.13 at 2:31 pm

Two items for inclusion in the top five crazy list come to mind:
1. The main stream media’s publishing of house pumping ‘news’ directly from inherently biased sources, without any sort of balanced opinion. Journalism at its finest indeed.
2. Guaranteed returns of 280% by one particular condo developer in Toronto, the calculation of which included return of capital.

#238 Paully on 03.13.13 at 2:40 pm

I would vote for the Willowdale bung that hit the news for selling for $1.1M or $400k over asking to a “foreign student” yet strangely ended up on MLS a month later for only $2500/month. There was so much BS in the original story they told to The Globe that you needed a front-end loader to read it!

#239 Old Man on 03.13.13 at 2:47 pm

I want to put this all within context in terms of the buying power of the dollar, as worked at the TD Centre and moved to the new Commerce Court building a year later. This was all so long ago, but will pick a year and it will be 1973, as could go to the Skyline Hotel to the English Pub with friends to see the best show in TO, and for dinner they had a small buffet and all you could eat for 75 cents.

Now the best place in TO with no exception was just a block south of both towers on Wellington called the Coal Bin with a massive buffet; entertainment; a dance floor; and all you could eat was $1.00. Guess where all the hot babes went from all those business towers after work? Yep, and ate many a dinner there as hooped more dates than Sinatra has ever had.

#240 Adam on 03.13.13 at 2:49 pm

I agree with this part of #151’s comment:

CMHC telling realtors not to disclose which properties are foreclosures.

Definitely a top 5 story.

#241 I am disappoint on 03.13.13 at 3:01 pm

#22 JSS on 03.12.13 at 9:23 pm
Craziest real estate story in Canada:

Average house prices in Winnipeg exceeding $200,000.


MREA stats are out. February 2013 saw an 11% decline in sales volume from Feb. of last year. Average sale price was the highest of all Februaries since 2008. What madness is this?

The pattern of rising prices on declining volume is typical of a turning market. — Garth

#242 mac on 03.13.13 at 3:04 pm

In Vancouver: the mystery of condos “selling out” when there are months of quiet in the showroom.

#243 jess on 03.13.13 at 3:04 pm

see Singenberger’s list

snail mail faux pas reveals wealthy tax evaders in swiss accts. sham foundations in Liechtenstein and phony corporations in Hong Kong and the British Virgin
see Singenberger’s list

#244 Beach Girl on 03.13.13 at 3:13 pm

Old Man, good story on the old lady selling her house, to a million people. Is it that easy?

Smokin Man so glad you got good news.

Loved Garths’ comment on tire tracks up his ass. But my favourite Politician was Asian and told the populace to eat tuna. I like tuna. LOL. What was his name? That went over like a lead balloon.

But the best scam ever, is TD Bank. If I make a major purchase in the thousands, I put it on MasterCard. Then after a month pay it of with the TD Bank VISA at 2.9%. Then I just pay it off. Deferment of 60 days. Liking that.

Next, do any of these houses or condos have any furniture or blinds. Or is that why the Brick has bailed?

#245 broadway skytrain on 03.13.13 at 3:35 pm


bbry wins huge order 1M Z10 – stock is going ballistic

#246 Holy crap Wehres The Tylenol on 03.13.13 at 3:40 pm

Does the Donald count as crazy, he’s not Canadian but his scheme was.
Crazy Investor = Trump Towers

#247 Tyrone Asauras on 03.13.13 at 3:47 pm

I’m a say Waterloo’s theory @ #131 –

that one should buy a patch in deliverance country and build a $30K tarpaper shack on it

– is the housing story of the year.

There are lots of other gems.

#248 HogtownIndebted on 03.13.13 at 4:03 pm

The RE condo-clave has missed an historic opportunity.

But what the Hell, this new fellow is apparently already nearly 80, so there will be another chance to select the right guy in a few years. Just as RE climbs to new, blessed eternal highs with 40 year mortgages and condominiums on every block.

Heard of the Lamb of God?

THIS guy should be the next RE pope. it’s obvious.

“Nil illegitemi realtor carborundum”


#249 TakingResponsibility on 03.13.13 at 4:14 pm

Craziest Trending Terminology:

“Free Money” – pertaining to low interest rates and easy access to credit. Mostly promoted along the same lines as “get in the market now” and “get that free money before it’s taken away.”

Garth has addressed the fallacy of ‘cheap’ money a few times on this blog.

Best Terminology from this Blog thus far:

“Advernews” and “Frankenumbers”!

#250 jess on 03.13.13 at 4:32 pm

…”In 1986, Reagan ended the FCC doctrine that required radio and TV stations to actually carry “real news” as a “public service,” and within two years the money-losing news services had come under network entertainment divisions and all news decisions since then have been made based on ratings.”

#251 Old Man on 03.13.13 at 4:48 pm

#242 Beach Girl – this took place decades ago, and at that time yes, as the old woman became a friend of mine back in the 1990’s, and told me all about her sordid life; not to mention another gal that this was related to from Woodstock who was old, so called bs on her. One day May took me to her apartment, and one room was filled with clothes and jewelry that she had boosted with tags, and said if you have a sweetie can give you a good deal for cash. I have so many stories in life that can tell, but not here, as omg these women were in there 70’s.

#252 Doug in London on 03.13.13 at 5:00 pm

@Bottoms Up, post #209:
What you said makes sense if what we’ve experienced to date is a stable market. However in many runaway markets, now at bubble valuations, the market has been anything but stable. If you want to buy into a stable market in Ontario, you need to go to a place where property values have already fallen like Windsor. Other stable markets are northern towns where prices have been flat for years, or just keeping pace with inflation, like Thessalon or Kapuskasing.

#253 Uwinsome on 03.13.13 at 5:09 pm

Mohamed El-Erian says there won’t be a housing crash in Canada. The Bank of Canada won’t cut rates and soon the Cdn$ will become attractive again.

“There is concern out there — we think it’s exaggerated – – about your housing market in terms of you may get a housing crash,” Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer and co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., said on Canada’s Business News Network. “We don’t think that is the case. We also don’t think the Bank of Canada will be forced to cut rates. So, at some point, the currency will become attractive for us.”

#254 Smartalox on 03.13.13 at 5:29 pm

My recommendations:

1. The fact that Vancouverites lauded themselves for their own Trump Tower AFTER the news broke about all the lawsuits raging by failing specuvestors at the Trump Tower Toronto.

2. Craigslist ads to hire Asians to stand in line outside of condo projects, to convey the appearance of demand.

3. Specuvestors’ profits not reported as income when flipping condo assignments.

4. The realtor who tried to offer a free Fiat to sweeten the deal for his flip in Kits.

5. Cities not recognizing rental properties, particularly un-occupied properties, as commercial entities, and taxing them accordingly, thereby missing out on a huge opportunity to keep commercial taxes lower for merchants, companies and citizens who actually DO live in their cities, and who DO contribute to local economies.

#255 Sebee on 03.13.13 at 5:32 pm

…because of your newly updated photos of Missy Condo Bunny…

Honestly, I know taste is a personal thing, but anyone who drops 500K on a condo because they think their realtor is hot deserves it. And anyone who thinks Missy Condo is hot deserves the $3M condo colonoscopy.

#256 Angry But Not Unhappy Twenty Something on 03.13.13 at 5:45 pm

I don’t like bankers, brokers or RE agents…but I can’t help but feel that sometimes the greater public can be hypocrites too.

They didn’t put a gun to your head and force a mortgage upon you; you willingly signed on the dotted line and you got a home out of it. The home where you host family and guests and show off to your less-successful university buddies.

Are homes supposed to be given to people for free?

People complain that interest rates are too low (whether artificially or not) – are you going to be happy when they’re high?

#257 Humpty Dumpty on 03.13.13 at 5:50 pm

I guess Miss Bunny fell into a rabbit hole while trying to cross the beaver damn…

What is interesting however, is that many countries around the world being incredibly different culturally, went down into the rabbit hole of housing mania as well. If you ever think Southern California home prices are outrageous, you need only look at Northern California. If you live in the Bay Area, all you need to do is look at Canada. There has never been, from all the history I’ve reviewed, of a universal and unified housing bubble that touched nearly every continent at the same time at such a big magnitude.

#258 I.Muvrini on 03.13.13 at 5:50 pm

The fact that banks will give mortgages more readily to buyers with 5% down than with 25%

#259 Dr. Hoof - Hearted on 03.13.13 at 5:50 pm

Good Investment advice (from me) coming in Garths’ next post.

Stay Tuned !!!!

Care to share? — Garth

#260 Old Man on 03.13.13 at 5:57 pm

#250 Doug In London – do not mention that town called Kapuskasing as in my young took a trip across Canada and was broke to get back home, and drove into a gravel pit there to sleep in the back of my car, so some idiots came to rock my car back and forth, and all was not well at midnight, and scarred the hell out of me. I told them to FO, as no woman here, and they left.

#261 Steven Rowlandson on 03.13.13 at 6:05 pm

The crazy thing is that real estate prices are still in cloud cuckoo land when sales and income are at best limited. What does it take to restore sanity to the real estate market?

#262 Tom Vu on 03.13.13 at 6:14 pm

#249 Old Man on 03.13.13 at 4:48 pm

#242 Beach Girl – this took place decades ago, and at that time yes, as the old woman became a friend of mine back in the 1990′s, and told me all about her sordid life; not to mention another gal that this was related to from Woodstock who was old, so called bs on her. One day May took me to her apartment, and one room was filled with clothes and jewelry that she had boosted with tags, and said if you have a sweetie can give you a good deal for cash. I have so many stories in life that can tell, but not here, as omg these women were in there 70′s.


Old Man and brother Smoking Man (same last name aha!) pay much alimony !

Ex wives bought white wedding dresses . However, piss off wives when say the reason women wear white is it matches colour of other appliances.

#263 Suede on 03.13.13 at 6:19 pm

#233 Old Man

The reason the price to income ratios and such don’t tell the story of when house prices top or bottom is because there are many, many factors that are difficult to measure.

Capital moves from one place to another and it seems a lot of it is going into the DOW these days, and from all around the world.

To some people, a house is somewhere to park capital in a diversified portfolio. To others, it’s a status symbol.

Right now Singapore is the hottest RE market in the world and they have introduced foreign ownership resetrictions to cool it off. Wait till their Price/income ratio goes through the roof and to the sky. All about capital movements to where it feels is safe to park money.

#264 World Traveller on 03.13.13 at 6:24 pm

As I look at the picture, her smile is really, really first…I mean forced.

#265 Rural Rick on 03.13.13 at 6:37 pm

I vote with #193
This the story unfortunately it’s not very funny.

#266 maxx on 03.13.13 at 6:38 pm

ZIRP, used to prop up a sham RE wet dream, causing untold stress and suffering, most especially as regards seniors, in the most fragile years of their lives.

Removing the hope and optimism of younger generations, who likely will not recover from this lunacy.


#267 Nostradamus Le Mad Vlad on 03.13.13 at 6:45 pm

#114 a prairie dawg — ” ‘Quick, we need a new global emergency to blame everything on someone or something else.’ ”
— and —
#219 elchavo — “There will be so much blood running on the streets… It’s gonna be epic.”
— plus —
#224 555 — “Taxpayers backing CHMC, CHMC backing banks, banks allowing mortgages to all people, this cycle is a pyramid scheme.”

Aahhh but the play of life is intriguing, mais non?

The new Pope Francis is from Argentina, but the Queen is head of the Anglican Church. Hence, the Protestant Reformation Part II (23:17 clip ). Then, the UK and Argentina are getting a tad upset with each other over the Falkland Islands, while both countries are sinking in the fiscal quicksand.

Pope Francis is #266, who (supposedly) will be the last, during and after which the Catholics and Christianity, as per the west end their current cycles. The prophecies of St. Malachy take the lead role here. Chances are good that the karmic speed of time will increase greatly, and the planet will be akin to scrambled eggs at the end of it.

#134 Freedom First — “The many Canadian Boomers who went through the 20% mortgages in their youth, and still loaned their offspring the money to buy RE . . .” — One difference with us was that we paid off our mtge, in 1982, and our two children are doing just fine renting. No hand- or bailouts from Mom and Pop!

#164 Captain Critical — “I wonder which would be higher maintenance, the building or Miss Bunny?” — I would hazard a guess toward Miss Bunny — constant, never-ending maintenance.

#268 Old Man on 03.13.13 at 6:48 pm

#261 Suede – I appreciate your comments, but not Singapore in a New York minute, but Phnom Penh as might be old but know better. :)))

#269 TurnerNation on 03.13.13 at 7:03 pm

TD Bank’s plastering ads for their mortgage “Payment Vacation” plan. Will not end well?

#270 wallflower on 03.13.13 at 7:16 pm

Debtfree on 03.12.13 at 9:51 pm
They still publish the mcleans magazine? On paper and everything ?
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
HILARIOUS; Counter: Real Estate Agents/Brokers. We still have realtors? Like a job category that exists with actual people in these jobs, and everything? — That’s even more hilarious. Good story for Maclean’s.

Julia on 03.12.13 at 9:52 pm
I vote for #24 Bob’s idiot neighbour. He says it all right there. He thinks his house will be worth $92 million dollars in 38 years.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
EXCELLENT CHOICE; Counter: None. Idiots are everywhere – Maclean’s should run with that theme, for housing, equities investing, handing over earnings to Ponzi-schemes like First Leaside Investments (2011-2012 blow-up, ongoing story. Lazy Chris could contact Barb Shecter at Financial Post for that one).

espressobob on 03.12.13 at 9:54 pm
The craziest housing story?
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
BRILLIANT CHOICE; Counter: Well, if a reporter/writer is contacting Garth for help for simple story line with lists…yah, no… CMHC way out of the league of the possible. Far too complicated. Let’s table that one. Just like our government does. Year after year after year after year.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Nod to A Nightmare on Bay Street
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Not 1st on 03.13.13 at 12:20 pm
How about mcleans actually doing some investigative journalism in their own and really digging into this bubble market instead of parroting other MSM like Global news and the crap coming from marketers. There are no reporters anymore, just screen readers.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– This is my way of saying your way.

#271 Herb on 03.13.13 at 7:19 pm

#230 Extreme Stuff,

it was easy. The “Homes Section” of the Ottawa Citizen showed them pretty pictures every Saturday complete with articles about happy yuppies who had bought in, the RE industry told them that prices were fair and housing always went up, and F and the banksters made ownership easy.

And as long as nothing happens to the local economy or mortgage rates, they can enjoy this “lifestyle” until their chipboard palaces fall apart in five or ten years.

#272 45north on 03.13.13 at 7:28 pm

Old Man: Now the best place in TO with no exception was just a block south of both towers on Wellington called the Coal Bin

they let you have all the potato chips you wanted but they were hot. You had to buy a beer just to stop your mouth from burning.

#273 Dr. Hoof - Hearted on 03.13.13 at 7:31 pm

Heard on the radio that the one of the latest TOP options to have in a house is…not granite,….not stainless steel…..drumroll……ELEVATOR. ( Approx. cost is $20,000-$30,000.)

Makes sense….I get the feel that many do not want to move…may pursue the option of extended family in the house….you get my drift.

When you think about it…the old folks would save on buying and selling commissions…(ie sell house/buy condo)…and the death chambers called hospitals

Whole new dynamic may evolve ?

#274 Munster on 03.13.13 at 7:32 pm

While I understand its all fair and well to speak negatively about all Canadian real estate transactions, I also in the same breathe understand the meaning of zero sales. You see when you look at a graph or a chart, what are you to interpret? How do you interpret? Well let’s tackle this question as objectively as possible. Say for example you owned a condo in Toronto and it hadn’t sold for 4 years. Number one your a complete idiot. Number two just because it hasn’t sold doesn’t infer that the entire condo market is collapsing either. Let me explain. Now let’s also include all real estate sales across Canada across all different product types. The franken numbers on parcels of real estate on mean nothing. Rid your brain of those values entirely. They are dreamt up values, not representative of market values, or perceived market values. That is why you have zero sales. That the majority of those same properties all trade hands for “franken” or a lower number skew data. The actual trades count as sales. Be it for higher or lower. That also skews data. That a property is sitting on for over 5 years and hasn’t sold ought not to be skewing skeptics of a market collapse either as those same sellers if desperate would have sold ages ago. Clearly the numbers behind the numbers must be examined more carefully before coming to the complete and utter conclusion that bond yields in Canada are rising and that The Bank of Canada is poised to raise interest rates between sometime now and 2072. Just saying.

#275 Tonya on 03.13.13 at 7:33 pm

My vote is for the creation of frankenumbers. Not only is it super shady and makes for good reading, but it’s super important for people to know.

#276 Ret on 03.13.13 at 7:45 pm

7:25 pm, The Stompin’ Tom tribute is not on the CBC??? Unbelievable.

Am I ever screwed up. I thought that we should get rid of the Senate first. The CBC goes to the top of the list for this act of stoopidity.

Hold it, 7:34 pm, the Lang and O’Leary show goes off and the tribute comes on. Have they come to their senses at the CBC? Phone lines burning with outraged Canadians?

No. 7:38 L& O’L back on talking about dairy farmers. What duh???

So much for Canadian culture on the CBC.

#277 Brucecounty Girl in Fort Mac on 03.13.13 at 7:52 pm

I think the craziest thing I ever saw out here in Fort Mac was an Ad in the local paper back around 2007-2008 for a 1979 trailer up in Gregoire that was for sale by a realtor. The ad read and I will never forget, 1979 trailer for sale, handyman special, ONLY $375,000.00! Won`t last long so grab your checkbook!

#278 Ogopogo on 03.13.13 at 8:27 pm

The MAC marketing scandal takes the cake for me, especially as the TV networks fell for it hook, line and sinker.

I must point out a very recent blog favourite though: the realtress who thinks she’s a lawyer.

That had me in stitches for hours. My wife thought I was watching Seinfeld when she heard me laughing so hard.

#279 StocksRHot2013 on 03.13.13 at 8:27 pm

Lol… Now that’s funny… Over $4000 a square foot hahaha!

#280 Country Girl on 03.13.13 at 8:27 pm

For the craziest stories list:

Auctions induced by real estate agents who set the selling price below market value to attract multiple offers on a set deadline, and the greater fools who placed bids without evidence of other bids. And if the auction was unsuccessful or the highest bid too low, the seller was able to immediately re-list at a higher price. And, the stories about fake bids faxed by real estate agents.

#281 StocksRHot2013 on 03.13.13 at 8:30 pm

The funniest news of all is the banks and their tv commercials trying to con people into paying their mortgages off sooner…. Like Canadians actually have the money to do it….? Oh and let’s not forget the average savings account and rrsp is almost nil….

#282 Old Man on 03.13.13 at 8:35 pm

#270- 45 North: am laughing at you as my cousin from KW who was knockout was at Ryerson and came as well as were tight, as will never bed a family member, but was temped to do such, as hung out together in TO, so she took the high road and at our table at the Coal Bin would bring the gals from Ryerson to meet me, for me to get dates.

#283 Ogopogo on 03.13.13 at 8:36 pm

#113 TEMPLE on 03.13.13 at 12:34 am
Garth, I think the Carol Crabb quote, “…because we never know when interest rates will be increased to stimulate the economy” should go on the list.

You talked about it here:

It makes me laugh every time I read it. Mostly because of schadenfreude…


Hilarious. And it just occurred to me that the fact that I understood the joke is evidence of how far my understanding of economics has come since joining this blog and educating myself on investment and finances. It’s like taking the blue (or red?) pill in The Matrix.

#284 john m on 03.13.13 at 8:37 pm

I think the real story is—-it should never have happened as i stated in my comment #63

#285 T.J. BONES on 03.13.13 at 8:44 pm

Sir Garth : Is Miss Bunny wearing a Bullet proof vest???

She’s just proud. — Garth

#286 Johns on 03.13.13 at 9:41 pm

What about cmhc not wanting foreclosure information made available at time of sale?

No doubt this place is foreclosed…but they want market value. Whatever that is.


#287 linda on 03.13.13 at 10:04 pm

Agree with a lot of the comments especially #151, #201, #204.

The real estate agents have a bad reputation for fudging the figures and statements so people will buy. Who can you trust after this big scheme? The news & journalism do a one-sided reporting and is backed by whom?

Banks are a business like any other business which means balance the books and protect their assests. Why the low interest rates? Attraction, less and less people buying. Seventy percent people own so they dangle that carrot, get the people through that door. They need buyers for what reason?

I also agree with Interesting Times for buyers to ask for 50% off asking price. Why? House value will steadily decline. I say offer what you have saved in savings and walk away as if you don’t care then move to the next seller. Now that is a buyers market. With the baby boomers being the biggest population, where do you think house prices will go?

The joke or no joke is on all of us. We need young people to be free of debt and have the money flowing which in turn helps the ecomony.

#288 Fed-up on 03.13.13 at 10:45 pm

@#159 T.O. Bubble Boy on 03.13.13 at 7:18 am

The average family income of people buying detached SFH in Leaside probably is $400k/year.
(or they are independently wealthy, and don’t work)

Lol, I seriously doubt that. And that was a single earner back in 1966 ;)

#289 b on 03.14.13 at 7:19 am

I say the boomer trifecta of 78% home ownership, 70% without corporate pensions and 66% without 100k in savings is the perfect, depressingly laughable encapsulation of why real estate in Canada is screwed.

As I have been saying. — Garth

#290 Snowboid on 03.14.13 at 11:01 am

My vote goes to the Wolfman of Kelowna (and his son)…

RE spin with an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent! – Hilarious

#291 elchavo on 03.14.13 at 12:51 pm

#85 Not 1st

yeah, he totally meant yellow as in asian yellow. Call the human rights commission ASAP.


#292 T.O. Bubble Boy on 03.14.13 at 1:04 pm

@ #288 Fed-up on 03.13.13 at 10:45 pm
@#159 T.O. Bubble Boy on 03.13.13 at 7:18 am

The average family income of people buying detached SFH in Leaside probably is $400k/year.
(or they are independently wealthy, and don’t work)

Lol, I seriously doubt that. And that was a single earner back in 1966 ;)

Laugh all you want… but that’s the only way someone is buying a $2M SFH.

#293 fisheman on 03.14.13 at 6:18 pm

The best story I heard on real estate this year was from a buddy who was foreclosing on a 1st. mortg. that he owned out in the Fraser Valley. The original owner was going through his principle living for free & smoking crack. The City, the police , everbody wanted them out.The water, sewage,& electricity had been shut off months ago. It takes about a year with a good downtown lawyer to get a recalcitrant out. Finally he goes in with a server & just as the guy is handing the owner the papers some little skinny girl says”Don’t take em, don’t take em, I got my lawyer on speed dial”

#294 Daisy Mae on 03.14.13 at 8:21 pm

#184 Dorothy: “SM’s….perception of “the herd” mentality…”


Nothing new. Garth talks about this all the time. And that is chiefly our downfall.

#295 Daisy Mae on 03.14.13 at 8:27 pm

#195In the cold from Toronto: “The fact that the conservatives became a majority party….”


…with their very impressive 38%.

#296 Daisy Mae on 03.14.13 at 8:37 pm

198Turtle on 03.13.13 at 11:09 am
RE: #116 simple reader

“ps: one suggestion for you garth: keep the talk only about real estate..”


That is very rude! Who is ‘simple reader’ to tell Garth what topics to cover. Garth is a FINANCIAL ADVISOR. And quite qualified to talk about all things financial.

#297 Daisy Mae on 03.14.13 at 8:43 pm

209Mike: “You’re richer than you think”


Scotiabank, right? Isn’t that just the most stupid statment you’ve ever heard? LOL And people believe it. Wow!

#298 Daisy Mae on 03.14.13 at 8:48 pm

Anyway, Garth, I hope you’re having at great day. This is, after all, your 64th birthday. Hope you and Dorothy have a lovely evening.

#299 charles on 03.14.13 at 8:59 pm

kldlkfjdls lskdjf lkdfj

#300 Arborg on 03.16.13 at 9:28 am

The fact the feds had the politically suicidal balls to actually lower the amortizations to 25 years. I didn’t see that one coming.

Good on them.