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.