The perfect Canadian


At his final media fling, central bank boss Mark Carney looked patrician, cocked a pinky, arched a brow and warned darkly. If people don’t stop borrowing money, he said, rates are going up. So there.

Do we have a debt problem? Does Justin Trudeau have good teeth?


But first, let’s go to Winnipeg, where you know winter is ending when the flooding starts. At least in bad years it drowns the mosquitoes. Here’s Gwen. She’s pissed at me.

Garth: I’m sending you a link to a Kijiji listing for a house for sale in my neighborhood in Winnipeg.  It listed for $419,900 and sold last fall for $375,000.  I know because we looked at it then, and decided not to go for it – although it has a better location than our current house (this one looks on to a manicured park), we felt $375,000 was too much money, especially how comfortable our current house is.  We thought the best move was to just stay put and stay conservative with our money.  Now the house has new paint and countertops and is apparently worth $45,000 more?!

I thought real estate was cooling?  It can’t be different in Winnipeg, can it?  I am starting to think I am the Greatest Fool ever…had we bought the place we’d be $45,000 richer.

BTW: Our family income is $190,000 per year, we own a house appraised at $330,000, a cottage worth $150,000, hubby and I have $54,000 in RRSPs, between the two of us $14,000 in RESPs and owe $367,000 total in mortgage debt on the two properties and about $18,000 owing on student loans. We’re 36 and have two little kids.

Could Gwen be the perfect Canadian? Methinks. She and her husband are house horny (check), they owe lots (check), they make good money but obviously piddle it away (check), most of their net worth’s in real estate (check), they think debt is equity (check), and she blames me for not having a sexier house (double check). Gwen is also consumed with greed or envy (hard to tell which), and now believes if she’d borrowed more money to buy a better house she’d be richer than she thinks. Or whatever.

This couple, of course, could be in some trouble if Mr. Carney waves that finger and adds some basis points to the cost of borrowing. Looks like Gwen & her squeeze have 73% of their modest net worth in real estate, which is about 20% too high according to my Rule of 90. Worse, they have two properties to maintain, pay taxes on, insure, heat and buy giant cans of Manitoba bug spray for. They have no non-registered investments, only fifty grand in taxable RRSPs, plus no TFSAs. And what’s with that non-deductible student debt?

Like I said, perfect Canucks. Go ahead a buy a cabin with money borrowed against your principal residence when you have university debt hanging around at age 36. And then covet the house across the road. By the way, here it is:


Is it any wonder Sir Mark’s so full of ennui? So fed up with the insatiable antics of the beaver-chasing colonials that he’s embraced a gig in Britain, where the collapsing economy is at least made up of earls and not Earl’s? How can you blame him?

Face it. Debt’s like alcoholism or watching W. Once you’re hooked, it’s so hard to go back to normal desires. You know all that stands between you and a bigger igloo in The Peg is a cheesy forty-five grand at 2.89%. You know the local Bolshevik Credit Union will lend you all the money you want to move across the street or acquire a useless, godforsaken shack in the woods. If you happen to make almost two hundred grand a year, you have endless credit, even when you’re too undisciplined, voracious or endorphonic to save for your family’s future.

Carney’s right. You know it. Household borrowing has never been higher. Mortgage debt has bloated epically. CMHC has doubled, to almost $600 billion, the amount taxpayers are now on the hook for. For every dollar earned by a family, $1.65 is owed.

As I’ve been detailing lately, the Canadian economy is traveling an opposite road from that of the States. Jobs lost, growth stalled, housing swamped and a constant brush with deflation. Carney knows raising rates at a time like this would shove us over the edge. But he also knows how many Gwens are out there, pulling back the curtains, gazing across the curbs, and salivating.

“Had we bought the place,” she told me, “we’d be $45,000 richer.”

Screwed. We are.


#1 Nietzsche on 04.18.13 at 8:58 pm

Carney doesn’t care, he bails soon. Jumping into a real mess.

#2 Mississauga on 04.18.13 at 8:59 pm

For every condo investor there’s a renter key is don’t buy a condo for more than $125k and be able to service the debt with rent.

#3 T.O. Bubble Boy on 04.18.13 at 9:00 pm

You’re richer than you think!
(and, worse at math)

#4 HD on 04.18.13 at 9:01 pm

#184Joe on 04.18.13 at 5:35 pm
158 Smoking Man.
If you think some corpse raiseing from the grave is hard to believe then try to wrap your head around everything having evolved from nothing….that’s nothing, no planets, no air, no water, no sun, no life, zilchola.
You have to think outside the man made bubble.
Nothing+Nothing=do the math…

Have you ever heard of Lawrence M. Krauss?

I thought so….

Well, allow me to enlighten you:

Still not willing to reconsider or rethink your views?

Never mind then…forget I said anything.

Time for some folks to catch up with the 21st century.

Rational thinking and secular values are the best way I found to address any issues in the ‘real life’ (Finance, relationships, etc).

Until someone comes up with something better I’ll stick to it.

Smoking is actually bang on.



#5 Justin Trudaeu on 04.18.13 at 9:02 pm


#6 HB on 04.18.13 at 9:02 pm

FIRST!! hope I got this one!

#7 mortgagebrokeron on 04.18.13 at 9:03 pm

First!!! to say “Let us pray”

#8 Victoria Real Estate Update on 04.18.13 at 9:04 pm

The price declines continue in all areas of Greater Victoria. Victoria is in the beginning stages of a major multi-year price correction after about 13 years of lax lending standards and excess credit that caused house prices across Canada to reach deep into bubble territory. Canada’s price bubble is similar to that of the US (in 2006) and all Canadian cities have either started to correct or will be starting soon.

The following Victoria SFH price declines (to the end of March 2013) were calculated using 3-month average and 3-month median data.

Average (-11.6%) since July 2012 /// Median (-10.3%) since May 2012

Oak Bay:
Average (-11.8%) since April 2012 /// Median (-6.1%) since April 2012

Saanich East:
Average (-10.0%) since July 2012 /// Median (-7.9%) since July 2012

Saanich West:
Average (-14.0%) since April 2012 /// Median (-15.8%) since April 2012

Central Saanich:
Average (-10.5%) since March 2012 /// Median (-6%) since March 2012

Average (-8%) since July 2012 /// Median (-10.8%) since July 2012

Average (-28.1%) since May 2012 /// Median (-28.7%) since May 2012

Average (-7.2%) since Oct. 2012 /// Median (-5.4%) since Nov. 2012

Source: VREB

Girls, I know what it is like to want a house and to want it right now. I’m a Victoria girl in her 20s and I know what it is like to deal with the pressure of buying right now. However, I know that lower prices are on the way. If you wait another 18 to 24 months you will be buying at much lower prices and you can spend the money you will save on other important things and not have to spend every penny you earn on the roof over your head. These high prices are not sustainable and they are dropping. This same situation has played out in dozens of countries in the past 7 to 8 years and it is playing out in Canada now.

Guys, be smart and hold off from buying until prices correct more.

Until next time – Cheers!

#9 Nietzsche on 04.18.13 at 9:06 pm

But seriously tho, Gwen is a knob. It almost doesn’t sound like a real comment when she says “we could have been $45k richer”.

But then as you pointed out already Garth, Carney is pissed because canadians keep sinker deeper into debt.
So yeah maybe gwen is a real person (buffoon).

#10 FBOMB on 04.18.13 at 9:07 pm

Wow!! I wish I made that much in Van let alone the Peg. We are so screwed if rates go up quickly.

#11 Same old on 04.18.13 at 9:08 pm


#12 AgAu on 04.18.13 at 9:09 pm

History repeats itself. History teaches us that people learn nothing from history. Those who don’t learn from their mistakes are bound to repeat them. From “Casa mia” to “Mama mia”.
Thank you Garth for your tireless useful blogging.

#13 Old Man on 04.18.13 at 9:15 pm

I still have my eye on a trailer park, as might need it one day.

#14 Ryan Perich on 04.18.13 at 9:16 pm

Garth, it’s a little hard to take that graph seriously, as it shows the US income : debt ratio capping out at 120 %. there are many, many sites (including yours in the past) which constantly quote 150-170 %….what gives ?

#15 Kessel on 04.18.13 at 9:16 pm

Why can’t they just raise rates on mortgages or just pull back on CMHC insurance on homes over 700k.

#16 Kenken on 04.18.13 at 9:17 pm

Carney is leaving and full of …
Why did he not raise rates but kept threatening
Everyone knows increased rates will not happen given current economic conditions local national and international
All he is doing is talking and if the shit hits the fan in the future he can claim he advised to raise rates but nothing done!!
He will make a good politician
Rates wont rise n the house porn will continue

#17 salonist on 04.18.13 at 9:18 pm

it’s obvious, your obnoxious.
hugs and kisses your place or mine.
garth can watch.

#18 shane on 04.18.13 at 9:21 pm

Garth, how can this market not tank just as fast as it went up? i just dont get it???

#19 Geeks on 04.18.13 at 9:21 pm

Had you bought a house in Miami in 2006 for $600,000, it would be worth $300,000 today.

This is real and I discovered the RE index below after my friend told me that the house that he bought in 2006 is now worth half of it original price. May be the Canadian fools still believe that crash in RE is not possible or happens only in other countries!

#20 Member for Selkirk-Interlake on 04.18.13 at 9:21 pm

Mr. Turner,

Once again you have insulted my great Province based upon the usual tired clichés, and up with this I shall not put.

I offer a finger to you, sir.

#21 doomsday prepper on 04.18.13 at 9:22 pm

“useless godforsaken shack” ?
I think not. That is where Gwen will go when the shit hits the fan…

#22 The perfect Canadian — Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate | The Affluent Boomer™ on 04.18.13 at 9:24 pm

[…] At his final media fling, central bank boss Mark Carney looked patrician, cocked a pinky, arched a brow and warned darkly. If people don’t stop borrowing money, he said, rates are going up. So there. Continue reading → […]

#23 Member for Selkirk-Interlake on 04.18.13 at 9:24 pm

Mr. Turner,

And if I did make a rude hand gesture, I definitely apologize if it was taken offensively by the opposition member.

Now THAT’s accountability in the F n H government.

#24 Milionaire Machini$t on 04.18.13 at 9:24 pm

Sometimes it SEEMS I’m the only person on the whole planet NOT making 95g’s per year…Who are these people, and what do they work in?? (I know they’re not in my line of work!) Oh well, at least I’m not packin’ tons of debt like these “rich” people….

#25 Andrewski on 04.18.13 at 9:25 pm

Notice the listing date for the home Gwen has her knickers in a knot over… April 1st. Who’s the Greater Fool?!

#26 poltawadiva on 04.18.13 at 9:25 pm

I have been persistently bearish on the US economy, not really believing that it is picking up. Yesterday I spoke with my brother who lives in Washington DC. and asked him what he is seeing. Turns out he has a very simple test to check the state of the economy: the humble taxi driver. Seems they are a good barometer of where things are going. And they are difinitely getting getting better in the US of A. I guess more people are taking those short $7 taxi rides instead of walking the five blocks. (Rides from the airport don’t count).

So, do we have anybody out there talking to taxi drivers in Toronto, Vancouver, et al? What is their take on the Canadian economy?

#27 smoking mans herb dealer on 04.18.13 at 9:26 pm

gwen is a chi chi..if thats the shack shes talking about then the woman is wacked..crack is wack, i keep telling my client that but he dosent listen…yall know what i’m sayin

#28 J.T. on 04.18.13 at 9:28 pm

Hey Gartho, big time fan. I’m just prepping myself for a big white water rafting ride down the St.Lawrence. People have been telling me to watch out and don’t pet those pesky beavers. Did you hear Garth? A beaver actually killed a man in Belarus. I have such pearly whites, I just adore them as I stare at my reflection from the water. I am going to be the next prime minister soon Garth. You can be my minister of finance. So what is it again? Ditch real and go liquid or something to that effect? Well text me later the details and go Habs! Au Revoir Monsieur Garth


#29 not 1st on 04.18.13 at 9:28 pm

Garth, those household debt figures mean nothing without context. I mean is that people who have splurged on kias and vacations, or are they entrepreneurs with some business debt or are they borrowing to buy RRSPs or some other investment strategy.

If we are really 165% in consumer based debt (ie depreciating stuff we don’t need), then I sure don’t see it in the malls. People must be shopping online or something.

#30 Balzac on 04.18.13 at 9:29 pm

Over the past 10 years, downtown and suburban Toronto has been in what I call condomaxium phase of economic development. The new condo towers mushrooming in every pocket of Toronto are dwarfing everything that came before them, belittling the neighbourhoods they have sprouted through. A drive on the freeways in many parts of Toronto is now like a trip through mighty fjords or canyons that leaves you awestruck but feeling insignificant. These mighty towers can attract only those whose main desire is to be close to their work or school. These towers will never create communities, but will serve as fortresses. Future generations will look back and search for the reasons why these towers were ever built with such haste.

#31 Bottoms_Up on 04.18.13 at 9:32 pm

Wow, Gwen just doesn’t get it. Asking price means nothing. Selling price is everything. And you’re only ‘richer’ when the money is in the bank after all the fees have been paid.

She and hubby obviously made the decision not to move. Funny how she points the finger elsewhere. Remember when you point a finger at someone, there are 3 pointing back at yourself.

#32 stop lying on 04.18.13 at 9:33 pm

420k for that dump, and it’s in winnipeg? you have to be sh!tting me.

#33 old & smelly & watch too much telly on 04.18.13 at 9:33 pm

You ever watch Yes Prime Minister? I still think Carney in over his head…

#34 RE Observer on 04.18.13 at 9:34 pm

Garth I come back everyday for my daily dose of reality. We live in a nice townhouse and will be mortgage-free before 40 if we stay, but I really, really want to upgrade to a single house. Thanks for telling me that it is not a good idea to upgrade if I ever want to retire or help my kids through school. It is getting so difficult to resist the siren-pull of the new homes sales office…

On another note, there is a house (circa 1979) in my area that sold for ~$500k 2 years ago that is for sale again, at a $16k discount from the last selling price. Feel sorry for the people who bought and now need to sell (nice people), but I’m glad I wasn’t that Greater Fool!

#35 Godth on 04.18.13 at 9:36 pm

Like shooting fish in a barrel or clubbing baby seals, eh Garth. The biggest gamble of all is that people won’t awaken from this spell. A good war should take care of that.

#36 Mister Obvious on 04.18.13 at 9:38 pm

#18 shane

“Garth, how can this market not tank just as fast as it went up? i just dont get it???”

But don’t you see? That’s exactly what is happening. The market didn’t double overnight (unless you call a decade “overnight”). I think a large number of falling knives will be grasped in the coming few years.

#37 Old Man on 04.18.13 at 9:38 pm

This Canada that I have always known in my life has changed, as too many factors are coming into play that tells me something big is about to happen. Not sure about anything, but do not like the feeling, or the perception at all with the economic stats that are seen and unseen, as so much is being covered up. Things can turn for the worse quickly with a snowball effect, and that is my greatest fear. There is something wrong in Canada with a reality that has become an illusion for many.

#38 old codger on 04.18.13 at 9:39 pm

Mark Carney has absolutely no credibility anymore. He has cried wolf too many times and is no longer believable. Had he increased rates when he first had opportunity instead of trusting your so called house-horny people to act responsibly, we wouldn’t have the real estate fiasco we have now, where Canadian real estate values are more than that of our neighbors to the south. I’m not sure though if he ranks better or worse than F. with regards to screwing up our real estate values. It is now a moot point as our beloved Mr. Carney heads to Britain to see what damage he can do there.

#39 Smoking Man on 04.18.13 at 9:44 pm

Why are Japan and the USA printing money like no tomorrow… Now people say that will eventuly devalue currency there buying power.

Now all the fiat bashers are out raged, not real sound money..they say..

Now if anyone should be pissed, it’s wealthy people. Cause printing money like no tomorrow their stack loses labour credits fast…A poor guy well if his savings little savings get devalued so what…not much to lose…

Now if your up to your eyeballs in dept and you own real estate paying off that place will get a whole lot inflation will show its face and slaves demanding raises.

Which brings me to this, Canada being an exporter, see this happening and there currency creep higher.

If they ever wana sell a hot chocolate to the Eskimos. They will fallow. Canada will fail if our currency gets to high.

How do you do it, drop the of night rate , and print print print. renters will get crushed………

#40 AK on 04.18.13 at 9:46 pm

It listed for $419,900 and sold last fall for $375,000.
$419,900 for this Dump?

I wonder what their house looks like?

#41 Luke on 04.18.13 at 9:47 pm

#15 Kessel

There’s a very simple yet politically fraught solution: kill CMHC. Without the taxpayer assuming the risk of precarious lending, the free market can do what it does best. That would be price discovery; in this case the price of money.

You can bet that without CMHC backstopping them banks would not be charging 3% for 5% down mortgages. Bankers may be crazy but they’re not stupid.

#42 HDJ on 04.18.13 at 9:49 pm

Isn’t there a good chance the improving US economy – assuming this current improvement has legs – will significantly moderate the Canadian real estate and economic problems predicted on this blog?

#43 lawboy on 04.18.13 at 9:53 pm

Ummm….student loan interest is deductible. But I doubt it makes any sense to keep paying student loan interest (high student loan interest) when you have liquid assets to pay it off. They should not be carrying student loan debt, despite the tax deduction.

But more to the point, what is this silly woman really complaining about?? That they didn’t move two years ago, and therefore are not now seeking to move again, all to pocket (at best) 45k for their trouble? Lady. Paying all the selling costs, twice, and moving expenses, twice, would eat that up. And no doubt all that work at moving house would impinge on your ability to earn 190k per year, and I of course absolutely believe you when you say you make that, in Winnipeg. *wink*

#44 Godth on 04.18.13 at 9:53 pm

#38 old codger

Mark Carney is ex-Goldman Sachs, need I say more?
He’s proved himself worthy to enter the belly of the beast. The “City of London”, now there be dragons.

#45 Cash is King on 04.18.13 at 9:56 pm

THAT is 400K?????

Does the manicured lawn hold trailers?

If you move that home to the Red Neck of Southern Ontario it would not generate 6 figures of interest. At least there, flooding would not be a concern.

#46 AK on 04.18.13 at 9:58 pm

#38 old codger on 04.18.13 at 9:39 pm
“Mark Carney has absolutely no credibility anymore. He has cried wolf too many times and is no longer believable. Had he increased rates when he first had opportunity instead of trusting your so called house-horny people to act responsibly, we wouldn’t have the real estate fiasco we have now, where Canadian real estate values are more than that of our neighbors to the south.”

He already took the rates as far he could. There is already a sizeable spread between U.S. and Canadian rates.

#47 John in Mtl on 04.18.13 at 10:02 pm

If Mr Carney is so concerned about people getting into more debt, especially with housing; why doesn’t he just “order” a sizable raise in the friggin’ mortgage interest rate?

Naw,.. maybe its too simple.


#48 canadian on 04.18.13 at 10:05 pm

I find it interesting that foreigners aren’t allowed to purchase controlling interest in a lot of Canadian Corporation’s, such as bank’s ,cable, oil companie’s etc.. but they can buy up every house in your city and drive you out of your neighborhood and that’s o.k.I guess you’re protected when connected and tough luck for the rest of the sucker’s in this country.

#49 DJB on 04.18.13 at 10:06 pm

BMO survey on financial literacy best quote is:

“Furthermore, the study revealed that nearly all parents polled (96 per cent) believe that schools need to do more to teach children and teenagers about finances.”

96% is because the parents have no financial where withal.

#50 Thomas on 04.18.13 at 10:06 pm

# 37 Old Man
” … something big is about to happen …”

I get that same feeling friend, wonder if it will coincide with the departure of one Sir Carney or within a short time that follows…?

#51 Uh Oh Canada on 04.18.13 at 10:12 pm

Annihilation of the Canadian Middle Class- circa 2015.

#52 FTP - First Time Poster on 04.18.13 at 10:14 pm

I know this isnt a gold blog Garth, but thought your readers, being the inquisitive type, might want to watch this on CBC tonite:

#53 mark on 04.18.13 at 10:15 pm

Someone slapped a coat of paint on and bumped the price a year later and she believes that’s what the house is worth?

You’re dumber than you think.

#54 Mixed Bag on 04.18.13 at 10:17 pm

The new commercial from the bank is “It’s time to save”.

#55 JE on 04.18.13 at 10:18 pm

Can’t believe the photo of the house; in Detroit the city would have paid you to buy a house like that. When reality sets in people are going to realize that such houses are just junk.

#56 antiflakflak on 04.18.13 at 10:21 pm

I think I was in this house in the late ’80’s looked at it when it was for sale, it has asbestos shingling on the sides.

#57 nocte_volens on 04.18.13 at 10:26 pm

Carney is the typical boy who cried wolf. He has no credibility. Rates should go up (they never should have come down as much as they did), but I doubt they will until rates begin to rise in the states. As to that house in the Peg, it seems to be being sold as a quick flip…after real estate and legal fees, they need that 45 grand just to break even. And Gwen, just because it is listed for $420,000, doesn’t mean it will sell for that much. The current owners could wind up with a house that sits on the market for a long time and suffer a substantial loss. And let me get this earn 190,000 per year, are in your mid 30s and have a net worth of only $100,000? Time to wake up.

#58 Money talks on 04.18.13 at 10:26 pm

Trying to rent an affordable decent house in South West Winnipeg is also insane and leaves one to wonder what is going on here. Do mosquitoes carry some sort of virus that makes people lose their senses???

Landlords we have spoken to, who all happen to be new/newer to Canada…., are asking 2k to $2500 and more a month, not including utilities. Many homes don’t have garages or sheds yet you are expected to look after the yard so where to put the mower/tools you are to bring? None so far have grass in the back yard and it’s just tall weeds/mud/rocks which you are expected to deal with. When asked about grass in the back, we were told they may do it at some point. Most don’t have A/C either.

Our current rental is ~2300 sq ft, high traffic area ie LOUD location, has a garage and central A/C. No grass in the backyard (house is ~4 years old). Rent is $2300/month + utilities. We negotiated that down from $2500/month after it sat for a few months last year and it was our only option at the time as nothing else was available (sold our home, needed to get the kids registered for school and settled somewhere). Lease is coming up and we cannot find anything decent for 1700/month (yes there are a few ads on kijiji for less however we’ve had no responses after several attempts, what gives?).

Many of the homes currently up for rent are also listed for sale and have been sitting for a while, some have dropped in price.

My question is this, at what point do rental prices go down in a “softening” housing market…. or will they?

#59 Julia on 04.18.13 at 10:27 pm

Who buys these condos? It’s a mere 19 million.

MLS® C2571660

#60 McLovin on 04.18.13 at 10:30 pm

How is Kelowna doing? I wonder if DA would still call it balanced? or Doing fine?

#61 salonist on 04.18.13 at 10:31 pm

“Aging Canadians confront cruel financial reality of ‘grey divorce’”

you don’t even want to go into common law.example,property owned by female. male cohabitates for 25 years.
it only takes one of the common law marriage to say the marriage is over.
she changes the locks to the house she owned before it was a common law relationship.and you can’t enter,not your property. sure you can sue later.but your living in your car for now.

#62 Money talks on 04.18.13 at 10:32 pm

Here are a few of the rentals I mentioned… Is it like this all over Canada for prices?

#63 Jimbo on 04.18.13 at 10:36 pm

People are victims of their own decisions, they just haven’t realized it yet. So I just play along because there is no point in reasoning with the unreasonable.

My buddy just (today) bought a house and is the proud owner of a $500,000 mortgage. This is after years of me preaching to live below your means and not to put everything in a house.

I tell him what he wants to hear. “That’s an awesome house”. “Can’t wait for your BBQ parties”. “Great investment”.

Once someone’s mind is set on home ownership, good luck in changing it. Even if they took GARTHO101 and were slapped upside the head with this blog, they would still take the plunge.

Keep things simple folks and just enjoy your friends’ McMansions.

I have felt that after your health and family, time is your most important asset. I see a mortgage as a time thief.

Afer time, ETFs, DRIPS and REITs are good too.

#64 LJ on 04.18.13 at 10:36 pm

Calgary’s real estate paper (The Calgary Herald) seems to disagree with the reality stated in Gwen’s situation.

From today’s paper:

“…top-tier single-family homes start at $2 million dollars

…demand is predominantly driven by younger buyers, largely in the 35 to 40 year old range . . .

. . . Buyers of top-tier homes in Canada are more likely to pay in cash…”

I, for one, am certainly not buying this argument. Gwen’s story is probably closer to reality than ads stating that 35 year old kids are plunking down $2 million in cash for a house.

And, the link (if you want to read it):

#65 Buy when they cry, sell when they yell on 04.18.13 at 10:38 pm

Gwen should say what her take home pay is instead of giving the couples combined gross as $190,000/year is an illusion. You can’t budget with your gross pay. It’s so funny how these people are okay with the idea of going $40,000 deeper into debt because of their emotions. The city has only assessed the value of the house as $300,000 (current as of April 2012).

#66 Dorf on 04.18.13 at 10:41 pm

Just make minimum payments until you die, then your kids can take it over and do the same. You can tell people you own it, instead of “renting”.

#67 Godth on 04.18.13 at 10:42 pm

#56 nocte_volens

“Time to wake up.”

Too true.

It’s about time you did.

#68 Smoking Man on 04.18.13 at 10:43 pm


Would you expect anything not bang on from a man who sees god when he looks in the mirror. Lol

I checked out the link didn’t understand, can you tell me what it means in English….

#69 Lilyflor on 04.18.13 at 10:44 pm

I thought prices werecrazy in Montreal, 420 for that shack in Winnipeg no way

#70 Smoking Man on 04.18.13 at 10:54 pm

Julia I love your typing life force, how about a description, age, beauty marks, dress size, age.

Don’t worry I don’t work for Csis yet… Altho I want to, can you image my and there servers…..

All spy agents are working for the stats quo. Being a drunken member of the stats quo.. It’s in my best interest to help the idiots

Life sucks, I have no worthy advisarys, professors at university, top dog yellow highlighter grads working for machine.

I feel like bugs bunny in the episode where he gets jealous of daffy duck who had a higher bounty on his head…

This post will fkup the algo3s….

#71 lady gaga on 04.18.13 at 10:54 pm

garth, is there a stock market bubble?

#72 Retired WI Curmudgeon on 04.18.13 at 10:54 pm

That’s a very nice $89,000 shack in my hood. Just keep it up there in the Peg.

So we are having our “overdue” stock correction here, gold got crushed, but seems to be recovering somewhat already.

DEBT doesn’t recover quite so easily, especially when you owe twice your annual income, sorry kids. Wait for your correction.

New day, same old blog complaints. (sigh)

#73 T.O. Bubble Boy on 04.18.13 at 10:56 pm

Gail Vaz-Oxlade gets into a new market — divorce planning!

Is this what mortgage brokers and realtors will be doing soon?

#74 Dean Mason on 04.18.13 at 10:56 pm

To A.K. #46

Mark Carney did not have the guts to raise interest rates like he said he warned us he would do for almost 3 years now. I’m sure he said to Flaherty raise mortgage costs another way by changing the mortgage rules so you can cool the real estate market and reduce Canadians from using their houses,condos etc. as ATM machine.

A 0.75% difference in short term interest rates or central bank rate is not a sizable amount.i don’t believe that when times get desperate that the Bank of Canada and the finance department of Canada are independent of each other.Desperate times call foe desperate measures.

#75 Bottoms_Up on 04.18.13 at 10:56 pm

#57 Money talks on 04.18.13 at 10:26 pm
Your rental prices are on par with Ottawa, what gives? Are there a lot of federal jobs in Winnipeg?

#76 Bob Zurunkel on 04.18.13 at 11:00 pm

If Gwen wants to get away from the snow, the wet coast might have something nice in her price range.

#77 Smoking Man on 04.18.13 at 11:01 pm

Dogs when apple hits 430 I take profit and reverse, have faith, hhallelujah I’m god, I wouldn’t lie to you….

#78 visorman30 on 04.18.13 at 11:01 pm

I’m really surprised by her financial situation. At first, I thought she put that info there as a kind of humble brag. She might have intended it as a humble brag but ended up looking pretty silly after the final tally.

I mean, when I read how much in RRSP they had combined my first reaction was that’s it? Combine that with the continuing student debt as of 36 I do not see a reason to brag about their financial situation when the combined income is $190k. It certainly felt as if she was quite happy with her situation but looking at the numbers I don’t see why.

In your opinion, given how apparently poor personal finance literacy is with many Canadians, does the school system need to make learning personal finance mandatory? What impedes the Province’s from incorporating personal finance since I’m sure this has been discussed at length before?

#79 Elmer on 04.18.13 at 11:08 pm

LOL 420k for THAT and it’s in Winterpeg?!

A house like that would cost about 60k in Windsor. Example:

and it’s a lot warmer too and you can pop over to Detroit for shopping

#80 Money talks on 04.18.13 at 11:13 pm

#66 Bottoms_Up on 04.18.13 at 10:56 pm
Your rental prices are on par with Ottawa, what gives? Are there a lot of federal jobs in Winnipeg?

I don’t know what the per capita rate is for Feds but I did hear on the radio this morning our Provincial civil service is the highest per capita in Canada.

We don’t want to buy a house here (ever) again hoping we can transfer out in the next few years. Just checked kijiji again, more houses came up for even higher rent, insanity.

#81 Old Man on 04.18.13 at 11:18 pm

#57 Money talks – there are lots of places to live in Winnipeg for half the price that you are talking about as checked it out in the location you want. They are called apartments and townhouses, so why do you need 2,300 sq. ft. for a small family? Let the kids have some fun with bunk beds and call it camping out, as they will find it so cool. Stop your whining about life, as life is what you make it, as you have not looked at the alternatives in life, or does you wife wear the pants in your marriage? Save your money for a better day.

#82 Cici on 04.18.13 at 11:18 pm

#13 Old Man

I think a trailer park could be a really good investment if the price is right.

But, don’t forget that although the overhead is probably low, you’ll probably have to deal with a lot drama (domestic disputes, clashes between neighbours, etc.), so if you are too old to deal with that, factor into having to hire someone full time to maintenance and damage control.

#83 Cici on 04.18.13 at 11:21 pm

#13 Old Man

Oops, I’m already that tired…meant “factor in having to hire someone for full-time maintenance and damage control.”

#84 Dr. Oblivious on 04.18.13 at 11:21 pm

I looked at the picture of that house, scrolled back up to thee price because I was sure I’d misread it. Scrolled back to the price a couple of more times and then it dawned on me. Gwen made a mistake in the way she wrote the number to you and you just repeated what she gave you. She said $419,900 and what it should have been was $41,900.00 or at least that’s about all I’d be willing to pay for a house like that virtually anywhere. Then again riverview, wow that probably does justify the 360,000 difference from what I was thinking.

#85 Money talks on 04.18.13 at 11:21 pm

Just for sh*ts and giggles, check out this condo in Winnipeg:

Take a peak at the pictures and see what’s inside…

Literally, you can own a concrete box for a cool $999,000.00….in Winnipeg. Help.

#86 Godth on 04.18.13 at 11:25 pm

#70 Smoking Man

Hilarious man, I have to admit it, that was hilarious.

#87 HD on 04.18.13 at 11:33 pm

#68Smoking Man on 04.18.13 at 10:43 pm

Lawrence M. Krauss is basically saying that it is possible to create something from nothing.

His findings offer clues on how the universe was created.

Check out his book and his videos on youtube for more info.



#88 Cici on 04.18.13 at 11:33 pm


Love the last two posts: great topics and writing style.

So, I’ve been a good girl:
Slaying debt (just 5,470 in student debt left to go) – check
Building liquidity (modest savings due to paying down the debt, but still more liquidity than Gwen, whose annual salary in about 33% higher than mine) – check
Happily renting for way less than we could buy – check
In loving relationship – check

BUT I don’t rock yet because I missed the Garth conference call = FAIL

Please post it somewhere Sir for all of us unfortunates that didn’t get a chance to tune in…You’ve done so much for us already…just one more favour…please? (I ain’t too proud to beg).

#89 Money talks on 04.18.13 at 11:36 pm

#81 Old Man – We don’t need a 2300 square feet and have been looking at much smaller homes. This was the only home available when we had to move. The only other house available then had black mold all over the drop ceiling in the basement and stunk like weed, for $1600 per month. The pretty pictures online do not reflect reality in all cases which we quickly discovered.

Sure we could live in an 2 bedroom apartment for $1200 a month or perhaps even share a rooming house with some students to save more cash at $600 per month per room. The point here is, people are gouging renters on rent compared to what they are offering (yet none are being snapped up and I’ve counted about 25 in our area alone that haven’t moved in a month).

Where did I whine about life? I stated rent is inflated, no need to start assuming my level of happiness.

If you believe paying inflated rent is worth your time, go for it. I have zero respect for people who insult others online behind a screen. Carry on.

P.S. I am “the wife”.

#90 Old Man on 04.18.13 at 11:38 pm

#83 Cici – know of one which has it all in spades for peanuts, as the best lawyers in Canada and USA set it up years ago as a corporation to hoop all laws, and $millions have been spent with no debt. The total expenses to live there will be no more than $5,000 a year, and you own the lot with a share, and can do anything with it. Just buy an existing property as is or buy an empty lot which is about 50′ x 100′ to do your own thing. How about a golf course, and satellite TV for $180 per year, and the list is long. I will not tell where this is located with the tennis courts; the club house; and the indoor pool; not to mention too lakes and one is stocked with trout to catch your dinner.

#91 Cici on 04.18.13 at 11:39 pm

#15 Kessel

Because they are to manufacture a SOFT landing; if they do that right away the house of cards will tumbling down.

They’re hoping that those of who can’t REALLY afford homes at these prices will smell the coffee and exercise restraint, while the horny rich keep up the buying spree. Hence, a soft landing.

#92 earlybird on 04.18.13 at 11:41 pm

She can’t be serious….crazy..Im speachless. Heavanly read once again….many thanks!!

#93 Rich Renter on 04.18.13 at 11:42 pm

Carney can’t raise the rates even if he wanted to as the lack of economic growth does not support it.
There is also talk that rates may even go lower once he’s gone to BOE.
Add in the bond market and rates are going no where dramatic for a long time.
The only option left for F is to abolish CMHC and let everyone deal with the banks directly.

#94 Smoking Man's Old Man on 04.18.13 at 11:53 pm


If we can get the Olympic Committee to consider including “Household debt to income ratio” as an Olympic event we would get the gold medal!!!!

#95 Cici on 04.18.13 at 11:55 pm

#42 HDJ

I’ve been sort of wondering the same thing, but I’ve decided that a US boom might not be enough to carry us through, especially if they are less-dependent on our oil and other resources, and having been building up manufacturing and production while we’ve been sitting on the fence.

Even if we do manage to reap some of the rewards, I’m not sure it will be enough to keep us cruising along at the current pace.

I may be wrong, but if I’m right, this will at least give the Americans an opportunity to return the favour by laughing and pointing their fingers at their dear, holier-than-thou Canadian cousins.

#96 tkid on 04.18.13 at 11:59 pm

Hrmm, let us see:

$15,000 to sell the principal residence.
$1500 for the lawyer
$1000 for moving expenses and other minor things.
Gotta break the old mortgage – depends on how many years they had left on it. We will go cheap and call it $5000.
$5600 for land transfer taxes.
So we are at $28,100 to get the kids, furniture, and the breakfast cereal in the door.
New paint plus countertops – smells like granite! $6000.
Now we are at $34,100.
Over ten grand profit sounds pretty good eh? Oh wait … you and your hubby are cunning negotiators and get $10,000 knocked off the price.

Gwen, does it sound to you like the new owners of the home can’t afford the sucker and are trying to get you to pay their selling/moving expenses?

And Gwen, even by Toronto standards the place looks dreadful.

#97 Cici on 04.19.13 at 12:02 am

#26 Poltawadiva

I’m sure the Canadian taxi drivers are still “investing” in real estate; there’s still a bit of Kool-aid left to guzzle.

Mind you, better that than alcohol? Well, at least when they’re on the road…

#98 Cici on 04.19.13 at 12:09 am

I should be having sex right now; talk about addicted to this blog.

Garth, what drug are you putting in these posts that are making me a less horny, boring saver.

If I could just kick this addiction, I’d have it all-and all on a line of credit, until I don’t and the savers are bailing me out.

But seriously, this addiction is probably better for me in the long-term scheme of things.

OK, seriously gotta go, time for bed. Dear Future Husband? is waiting…IMPATIENTLY!

#99 winterpeg on 04.19.13 at 12:15 am

>I live in Riverview, Winnipeg and saw (snooped in) that place at an open house a few weeks ago. It is a desirable neighbourhood (I’m in the cheap seats a few streets over)
It is character home with some nice renos. Layout was OK; Had some of the usual issues of older home: narrow staircase, smaller closets. Probably expensive to heat. The view of the park is is worth coveting, but worth $419,000? Nope. It did sell shortly after. I wonder if they got the asking price.
>Another blog dog mentioned the high rent prices in Winnipeg. It is true.
>Final note: Manitoba’s PST goes up to 8% in July. yuck

#100 Godth on 04.19.13 at 12:19 am

#87 HD

“Lawrence M. Krauss is basically saying that it is possible to create something from nothing.”

It’s Advaita Vendanta, Hinduism,the Kaballah, Bhuddism, Islam, , Pythagorean number mysticism, Platonic, neoplatonic, Christian/Alchemy, . Welcome to the mysteries. Your brain has two hemispheres.

#101 wallflower on 04.19.13 at 12:20 am

Money talks
Here are a few of the rentals I mentioned… Is it like this all over Canada for prices?
I live in a dumpy, frumpy townhouse Unionville/Markham for $2100+ util per month. Seems pretty standard when I was looking at what was available. Some very sketchy cheaper single family homes owned by Hong Kong people who vacated leaving their mess and dirty dishes in the sink. Houses seemed vacant for months. Houses stunk so much I couldn’t see paying less for that kind of discomfort. Paid $2500 to Hong Kong landlord for condo apartment in Markham before this dumpy townhouse. $2100 seems pretty good for a dumpy townhouse around here.

#102 Dr. Hoof - Hearted on 04.19.13 at 12:24 am

I was Fiirsssztttt …………..Dammit

Garth can’t handle the truth.

Now I feel Ben Johnstons’s (circa 1988) pain.

#[email protected]*& *&%#@

#103 Smoking Man's Old Man on 04.19.13 at 12:27 am

Congratulations Gwen, for being both married and owning real estate in Winnipeg, you forego the usual rigamarole and are hereby immediately inducted in the “Greater Fool” hall of fame….

#104 Old Man on 04.19.13 at 12:29 am

#89 Money talks – sorry as will stick solid to my major premise with no apology whatsoever, and just knew you had to be the wife. :)

#105 [email protected] on 04.19.13 at 12:30 am

Hi Garth, enjoy your blog. I live in BC, am 51 and separated with no kids. My corporation grosses about 420K annually with a net of 65%. It has 740K stocks, a 410K rental condo (paid for, and being rented out), and 110K cash. I draw from it about 70K a year to live on. My house is assessed at 710K (paid for). I have 365K RRSP, 39K TFSA (yes, it is up about 50%), 65K non-reg stocks, and a piece of residential land assessed @510K with a mortgage of 138K. Using your rule of 90, am I overweighed in RE and should I sell the land? By the way, I earned all this. No inheritance whatsoever.

#106 Hurly on 04.19.13 at 12:34 am

I come here for the financial education but stay for the vocabulary lesson.
I would like to thank you for teaching me a new word everyday.

#107 Johnnyk on 04.19.13 at 12:34 am

I once watched an episode of Jerry Springer. I thought the people on it were all actors as normal people couldn’t possibly act this way. But then I talked to my ex-sister in law (who grew up in a trailer park in Arizona) and she said she knew all kinds of people like this.
This is what I thought about when I read about Gwen. She can’t be a real person because nobody can be this dumb. But then I remembered living in a rural community in NS, and knowing families that made similiar incomes. They also had large mortgages, and other debts such as student loans or others.
Someone else commented on financial literacy or lack thereof, and I think it’s true. Gwen’s situation is taken as normal, or even perhaps she is a bit proud of her financial situation. When in fact she should be embarrassed about having such a low net worth with such a high income.

#108 Coho on 04.19.13 at 12:36 am

Poor Mr. Carney. Look at all the flack he’s getting. After all, he’s only following the same dictates given other central bankers. It’s all coordinated. He, like the others implement policies which in he long run disadvantage regular folk, but that is what he gets paid the big bucks for. Same as H and F. See why monarchies establish governments in the countries they rule/own? This not just to adminmister to the affairs of the country, but to be the main targets of grievances about important policies many of which they (our politicians) have no real control over. Things are made to only appear so. This works well for the Monarchy as very few criticize the true Head of State. Many are under the misconception that in these modern times Monarchs are no more than a country mascot. Nothing could be further from t he truth.

So, yes, lets direct our criticism and frustration at the F, H,and C’s for that is part of their job detail. However, we shouldn’t forget that they are a fair ways down the power structure ladder.

#109 Agio on 04.19.13 at 12:40 am

Do you comb your emails until you find that oh so close to perfect one that is sure to really piss me off then spin a magical tale sprinkled with pithy comments around it?
Gwen n spouse aren’t the all time winners but they’re close.
Seriously, get out of my head.

#110 Carpe Diem on 04.19.13 at 12:41 am

You cannot blame anyone but yourself in terms of investments, lifestyle or career. You cannot blame your situation but yourself.

You take input, compute and bring forward output.

From what I can see

2 kids with 2 parents working + some ugly home + a b#$$?$y woman + super debt = family problems!!!!

Meanwhile, I rent, make more than you, my wife stays home and I live on an 2 acre estate + tudor castle for less than your mortgage, taxes and other costs. Actually, my neighbors that owe their places aren’t doing so well financially.

My kids also have a full time parent and I come home to a happy family for diner and homework already done! OK .. OK … we have family issues with some kid not wanting to eat chicken or round corn or peas …

My 3 kids have almost full RESPs …. how about yours?

You are a whiner wanting more when you have nothing but a salary and future misery.

45K is nothing if you cannot sell.

45K is also only 3 months of salary. If you have no debt, that is nothing but a nice 3 months vacation living!

Example: Summer vacation kayaking, camping and swimming on crown land, parks and lakes – who needs a cottage in Canada??

#111 Garth Is A Loudmouth on 04.19.13 at 12:53 am

“Carney says touching Canadian deposits ‘hard to fathom’ in a new bail-in scheme”. See:

#112 Smartalox on 04.19.13 at 1:03 am

Looks like REBGV senses an opportunity to keep the party going for their members. They understand that cutting the cost of real estate transactions might spur home buying, not that REBGV members will be dropping THEIR Rates any. Instead, they sensed an opportunity:

The best part? They don’t even seem to know which party they’re supposed to endorse!

#113 tunano on 04.19.13 at 1:08 am

What does it matter if it looks out on to a “manicured park” if there’s snow on the ground 8 months out of the year? If that’s what $419 900 gets you in Winnipeg, it can’t be a vacation to take a trip to their $150 000 cottage.

#114 Found a Home on 04.19.13 at 1:15 am

I rented.

#115 Devore on 04.19.13 at 1:17 am

“Had we bought the place,” she told me, “we’d be $45,000 richer.”

List price is meaningless.

#116 King bubbles on 04.19.13 at 1:19 am

Gwen could be renting a brand new home in a better neighbourhood and be better off. Seem to be more and more house rentals available in Winnipeg these days.

#117 Gunboat denier on 04.19.13 at 1:25 am

58 Money – Bloggers have been telling us for years what a great deal renting is compared to owning. Now you’re seeing the delayed but inevitable result of rents rising in a market where the rental stock probably hasnt increased significantly.

76 – Uncle Bob – looks like a nice place. And people say that VI is overpriced. Average price has come down
about 10% since 2008 and I believe is now under national average.

#118 An Cat Dubh on 04.19.13 at 1:28 am

Here is a song for you house horny people who can’t wait.

Fool’s Paradise by Buddy Holly 1957. About getting into love,(Why any guy would want to with high divorce rates and his-fault divorce) but suits this blog’s main theme also. How many songs from the last 25 years will you hear 55 years after their release.

PS – Anyone know what CBC radio hosts get paid. They sure seem to have alot of DJ’s. One to read the weather, news, another for this. Private radio doesn’t have as many on air personalities as CBC Radio

#119 Stomper on 04.19.13 at 1:36 am

“where the collapsing economy is at least made up of earls and not Earl’s”

Gold – PURE GOLD!!!!

#120 Devore on 04.19.13 at 1:56 am

Oh, I just looked at the listing. I bid…. not a penny over $100,000.

Some problems with Gwen’s “analysis”:

1. She has No idea how much was spent on renovations, and what the charges were to hold the property for 6 months.

2. Transaction costs will eat up a good chunk of the “profits”.

3. As I said, list price is irrelevant. You’re only richer if you sell it.

Gwen can instantly feel better about herself going to Vancouver Price Drop to see what the value of a list price is.

#121 Tony on 04.19.13 at 2:17 am

Re: #26 poltawadiva on 04.18.13 at 9:25 pm

Wrong, the best barometer has always been and will always be for the foreseeable future the daily handle at the casinos and daily handle at the race tracks. Not the amount of people that attend either but the handle. Both are turning back down both at the casinos and at the race tracks in America. America is already back in recession but won’t admit it.

#122 A Yank in BC on 04.19.13 at 2:33 am

To further cement Gwen’s idiot credentials.. she is confusing asking price with selling price.

#123 shut up and take my money on 04.19.13 at 2:37 am

Beautiful wood box for 420K. I also liked those pipes in basement. Snow in pictures will really help sell.

My 5 year price target for this house is 150K (plus any inflation adjustments from today)

You guys really need hormone treatment. Low interest and lax lending can’t take all the blame.

#124 Humpty Dumpty on 04.19.13 at 3:21 am


#125 Buy? Curious? on 04.19.13 at 5:39 am

That, Garth, was your best post!

I’m telling you, From one Dancing God to another, get yourself a YouTube channel and elevate yourself to Rockstar status! Don’t be typically Canadian like Gwen (BTW, I love the name Gwen. It reminds me of volleyball at Naturalists’ Camp sites in Sweden). Turn the bravdo dial up to 11 and do it up!

#126 Buy? Curious? on 04.19.13 at 5:39 am

Do I have to do a video montage for you?

#127 Crash Calaway on 04.19.13 at 5:45 am

Yes, Gwen is the perfect Canadian.
Drowning in debt with her back against the wall she believes all she needs is a bigger house!

#128 Crash Calaway on 04.19.13 at 5:53 am

That house Gwen is lusting after looks like a rundown crack house in Detroit. (one of the ones that escaped the dozer & wrecking ball)
And a bargain at $419,000!!!

#129 NoName on 04.19.13 at 5:54 am

Interesting read, how excel is ruining a world’s economy… If excel can do all that I can only try imagine how powerfully is power point.

#130 live within your means on 04.19.13 at 6:23 am

#73 T.O. Bubble Boy on 04.18.13 at 10:56 pm
Gail Vaz-Oxlade gets into a new market — divorce planning!

Is this what mortgage brokers and realtors will be doing soon?
She has experience. On one of her shows she said she’s on her 4th marriage.

#131 Tony Right on 04.19.13 at 6:38 am


#132 Victoria on 04.19.13 at 6:56 am

How skillfully you draw attention from the main point your correspondent is trying to make. The house went UP withing the past year, not DOWN, as you have had predicted and the lady had believed it would. This is the important message of your letter, not how indebted this particular gal is.

The house did not rise in value. It’s owner is asking more for it. My point is proven: human emotion again defeats financial reason. — Garth

#133 Bigrider on 04.19.13 at 7:11 am

The rich increasingly looking at Toronto as a safe place to park their wealth.

Perhaps T.O RE not over valued afterall. I mean, no drop in prices yet ,that’s for sure.

#134 Piccaso on 04.19.13 at 7:14 am

That POS in Winnipeg sold for $375,000 ????????

Here in Dallas it sells for $59,000

#135 fancy_pants on 04.19.13 at 7:28 am

Is the shepherd boy crying wolf again? I know, the wolf is real but come on already.

Less people like Gwen living in this country and the sheep herder could stop wagging his finger. It’s getting boring now. It’s so yesterday even though it is more applicable that ever. rolling eyes. yawn.

Have fun across the pond. not sure they need you but we don’t. bye bye

#136 TurnerNation on 04.19.13 at 7:38 am

The perfect Kanadian is the one that meets which ever criteria – on the govt’s and large corps’ hiring matrix or quota list! And, whosoever has the correct program on their ‘Obedience Cert’? That’s how most will get ahead. The rest of us, suffer.

#137 Mr. Frugal on 04.19.13 at 8:01 am

What I’d like to know is how someone that stupid makes $190K per year. But then what would I know about such things. I’m 9 years older than them, make considerably less money, and have accumulated alot more money.

#138 -=jwk=- on 04.19.13 at 8:04 am

@money talks. Kijiji is full of amateur ‘investors’ who think rent should cover all expenses on a newly bought flipper. Get a realtor. Use mls listing only (realtor. Ca). Go professional. We found in Toronto the same problem and worse. How about 2500 just for the main floor? Another 600 if you want the basement too…

We are in a 1500 side split in a decent area. Go pro or buy.

#139 Craig on 04.19.13 at 8:06 am

Garth great post and a great mix with my morning caffeine.


#140 macduff on 04.19.13 at 8:10 am

#8 Victoria Real Estate Update
I appreciate your updates on the Victoria market. I used to live in Langford (05-09) and witnessed the runup in prices. It definitely felt like a house of cards at the time. Thanks for the update.

#141 Dupcheck on 04.19.13 at 8:11 am

From the above graph. I thought US was ~167% in 08-09. It looks like it was 120%. Which one is true? Who to believe?

#142 Herb on 04.19.13 at 8:16 am

#90 Old Man,

wot? No hot and cold running women?

#143 World Traveller on 04.19.13 at 8:32 am

Just for sh*ts and giggles, check out this condo in Winnipeg:

Take a peak at the pictures and see what’s inside…

Literally, you can own a concrete box for a cool $999,000.00….in Winnipeg. Help.

and the lobby sculpture looks like a scene from the walking dead, how appropriate as that is what you’ll be if you try to get any equity out of it.

#144 Vinnie's' "Schticky" on 04.19.13 at 8:53 am

a)She lives in Winterpig
b)She loves debt
c) She has absorbed anything Grath has written
d) She hasnt ordered my “schticky”!


#145 Jeff in Moose Jaw on 04.19.13 at 8:57 am

Wow look at our debt to income…. like 2008 never happened?
Here in town I met a lady at the library.
Turns out she and her husband just moved to MJ, rent a house but are looking to buy or build soon except prices are ridiculous.
All renters are building or buying soon – that is the cover story.
Really in a world of 70% ownership you have to say that cover story.
I rent and am proud of it (I don’t have a cover story of buying or building soon), a two bedroom apartment.
But we were talking like it was some underground cult – (while being inconspicuous) you rent? Me too! Shhhhhh

#146 salonist on 04.19.13 at 9:06 am

income in canada
statistics canada

#147 Mrs. Riverview in Winnipeg on 04.19.13 at 9:25 am

The house sold for $419,900.

#148 World Traveller on 04.19.13 at 9:31 am

Wow, what’s going down in Boston today!

Sometimes it’s nice to live in a country that doesn’t attract all the batS%3t crazies.

#149 Cow Man on 04.19.13 at 9:42 am


I would say an over riding theme of your blog is integrity. CBC last evening had a documentary as follow:
As covered earlier on your blog RBC that supports 60,000 families in Canada also out sources jobs to short term workers. The above link covers the gold windows at the RBC Toronto head office. According to the Doc, there $147 Million dollars worth of gold leaf baked into the glass to give the gold reflection. Just wonderful. Wonderful operating integrity.

That gold was applied 40 years ago. You are free to visit and lick. — Garth

#150 Kris on 04.19.13 at 9:46 am

Like the debt-to-income graph..

Anyone have a graph showing housing prices in major Cdn cities (T.O., Van, MTL), along with major cities of the US, Europe & Australia over the past few years?

#151 Morgan on 04.19.13 at 9:46 am

@money talks – the rental market is a unique creature with its own oddities. Some overinflated areas, some owners trying to make a quick buck and yes, many many misleading ads. But don’t give up. A professional landlord knows that a good tenant is worth their weight in gold. Put together a folder with your resumes and references and come with a cheque ready for a deposit. Every time a tenant turns over the landload loses $1000 minimum, use that info when you’re bargaining. Approach low-rise buildings for units and leave your contact info. Try viewit or mls listings too. Also know that certain areas have very little rental stock available, just like some areas have no detached properties or high rises. Knowing the ins and outs of the market will help.
Here in Toronto, one set of friends just dumped their condo at a profit and then turned around to max themselves out buying a SFH for too much money, but it’s in a ‘good’ school area they say. Another set sold their place in 24 hours for over asking, in the sweet SFH at $600K range in a semi-decent area. Across the street, the $1.4 million semi just sits and is starting to look lonely. Real estate is local – very, very local.

#152 Bottoms_Up on 04.19.13 at 10:03 am

Great article on taxes by Jeffrey Simpson:

#153 Bottoms_Up on 04.19.13 at 10:19 am

#147 Mrs. Riverview in Winnipeg on 04.19.13 at 9:25 am
Sold to the Greatest Fool!!

#154 new on 04.19.13 at 10:36 am

@143 World Traveller, you forget to mention that the buyer actually need to come up with over $4K, i.e. maintenance, tax and insurance just to keep that shoe box even without utility services hooked up and mortgage paid. That’s a money pit!

#155 cramar on 04.19.13 at 10:59 am

Great post Garth!

The Gwens of Canada are in for a dose of fiscal reality. $45,000 richer!? She is totally financially clueless. She believes liabilities are assets. She would have bought the house for $45,000 more than hers—plus transaction costs, presumably adding that amount to their mortgage. Then with the added expense of paint and countertops, it would be worth now (on paper) $45,000 more. In reality they would be further in debt than they are now. Clueless!

How many people who live within their means would love to have $190,000 household income? With coming future events, Gwen is destined to lose her apparent wealth and heading to a life of misery.

Perfect Canadian. Perfectly clueless!

#156 not 1st on 04.19.13 at 10:59 am

Garth, simple question, do you see any scenario where holding debt is a better option than having no debt? What if the debt is tax deductible, like RRSPs, business debt or like mortgages in the U.S?

You just recently said instead of paying down the mortgage faster to invest that money at 6-7% which is a better deal than clearing off a cheap money mortgage.

#157 Cow Man on 04.19.13 at 11:00 am

# 149
Garth said…. “so feel free to visit and lick”. I am not interested in being a “boot licker” for banks. Suit yourself Garth. You may also find that it was finished 30 years ago not 40. It was still a glorification of Greed in its day.

North tower, 1976. 37 years old. — Garth

#158 FML I AM A SKRenter on 04.19.13 at 11:00 am

Let’s assume Gwen’s household income is equally gained, $95 k a piece paid in a salary. That would mean they would net approximately $10,200 per month. Their mortgage would be somewhere in the range of $1,500-$2,000 per month depending on interest rate, etc. Being conservative, that leaves approximately $8,000 remaining. RESP is for the kids and they should not consider it in “personal” wealth calculations. Why this couple has any student debt remaining is mind boggling, but many of the excuses I have heard from others are “the payments are so cheap, no reason to pay it down.”

Clearly Gwen is living above her means to only have so much, or else they just started making that much money. IMO, if you are blowing over $1,000 per month on “personal pleasure items” (coffees, cigs, booze, eating out, vacations, etc.) then you need to rethink your outlook towards what is really valuable in life and stop bitching that you could have bought a house that would have grown in perceived value slightly in a city no one in their right mind would pay $400k for what is in that picture.

#159 Tom Vu on 04.19.13 at 11:12 am

Re Blog Photo

Things very tough in Manitoba, especially when have to sell Manitoba Legislature Bldg.

At least roof looks good.

#160 Grantmi on 04.19.13 at 11:22 am

#148 World Traveller on 04.19.13 at 9:31 am

Wow, what’s going down in Boston today!

Sometimes it’s nice to live in a country that doesn’t attract all the batS%3t crazies.

True! We only seem to attract our own home grown worst sadistic, sick mass murders!!!

Mark Lepine
Robert Pickton
Clifford Olsen
Air India Bombers (Still at large)
etc, etc

(Throwing rocks at glass houses, can result in shards of glass blinding your eyes!)

#161 Macrath on 04.19.13 at 11:30 am

#149 Cow Man

The gold is in the glass for insulation purposes, it was an early high-solar gain low-E glass , it did however produce a stunning building only recently surpassed by the opulent granite of the Scotia Tower. Within the basement levels lies Canada’s only gold bullion bank vault.

#162 My Name Is Baytor! on 04.19.13 at 12:06 pm

*That* place is what’s considered “Stunning” in Winnipeg?! I live in craptastic North Bay, Ontario and such a “stunning” mansion as that is where the po’ people live.

#163 jess on 04.19.13 at 12:26 pm

…. In December 2004, Indonesia was the country hardest hit by the historic tsunami that killed some 170,000 Indonesians, and millions in international aid flowed to Indonesia to assist with the relief efforts. As a result of increased scrutiny of international financial flows, Indonesian authorities discovered and acknowledged that some post-tsunami assistance funds were being diverted by graft and corruption. Indonesian Corruption Watch, an independent non-governmental organization, released a 2006 report alleging irregularities, corruption and collusion in at least five major government managed projects valued at a total of $2.6 million, including the publication of reports, the appointment of staff and the procurement of office equipment. Following the money trail in the case of tsunami relief funds contributed to anti-corruption efforts in Indonesia.

More recently, strengthened anti-money laundering measures to track Mexican cartel money led to the February 26, 2013 arrest of the most prominent teacher union leader, Edna Esther Gordillo on corruption and embezzlement charges. According to Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam, investigators from Mexico’s treasury found that more than $200 million had been routed from union funds into private bank accounts abroad (including some managed by Gordillo) between 2008 and 2012. Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit determined union funds were used to pay for $3 million of Neiman Marcus charges on Gordillo’s account and more than $17,000 for bills to plastic surgery clinics and hospitals in California. It was discovered that Gordillo was living large with significant real estate holdings in Mexico City as well as two luxury properties in Coronado, California. The Gordillo case is yet another example of how financial forensics, intended to pursue terrorists and drug traffickers, are yielding promising corollary results in the fight against corruption.

#164 jess on 04.19.13 at 12:28 pm

check out the face!

#165 Canuck Abroad on 04.19.13 at 12:35 pm

Anyone care to guess where Vancouver will end up in another 38 months? Which US city will Vancouver most resemble? I think a drop down to the 60% line is reasonable, which would make a $2miilion Vancouver home 10 months ago sell for $1.2million in 3+ years. That seems reasonable. Garth could we do a poll?

#166 cramar on 04.19.13 at 12:45 pm

Hey, retirees are starting to clue in!

Cheap Windsor lures retirees away from costly GTA

#167 panhead on 04.19.13 at 12:45 pm

Wow … hate to say it but that shack starts to make Vancouver look good … in Winnipeg?

#168 Tom Vu on 04.19.13 at 1:02 pm

#98 Cici on 04.19.13 at 12:09 am

I should be having sex right now; talk about addicted to this blog.


Perhaps go to nearest “Love Shop” and buy a mouse shaped like Smoking Old Man (BDSM section).

#169 CP on 04.19.13 at 1:05 pm

Garth does this change your opinion on bail-ins being a possibility in Canada?

Of course Not. No bank will fail. No deposits will be taxed. — Garth

#170 DON on 04.19.13 at 1:13 pm

“Let’s assume Gwen’s household income is equally gained, $95 k a piece paid in a salary.”

Hopefully, their income is not dependent on the continued rise of real estate, meaning brokers etc.

#171 worried boomer on 04.19.13 at 1:29 pm

poor Carnye, he is bluffing, he can’t control the rates. He is just a miserable hostage of the monetarist policy, he’s been part of. Thanks to that policy there is one thing left for him and for all of us is to hopelessly watch how country is getting down on its knees under the burden of debt. Debt has never been constrictive… by it’s nature – debt is destructive. Carney will never dare touch the rates, despite it would be good for the country – by very simple reason – any rate hike will instantly flash away him and his political comrades. That’s an awful economic experiment what is performed on Canada and canadians now…

#172 watchitnow on 04.19.13 at 1:42 pm

Some folks are dumb leveraging themselves, but with 50% of the population today living paycheck to paycheck with both parents working, and, in 1970’s one parent working and the average family with savings – what happened? Did the general population themselves erase that much of their own purchasing power over the last 40 years?

Harp and Marky have followed the USA in both Canadian bank deregulation and unprecedented low Central Bank interest rate policy even though the USA demonstrated years in advance what that does to bank stability and the housing market. Translation: they really care about homeowners in Saskapatch?

#173 Piccaso on 04.19.13 at 1:50 pm

The real estate price pyramid in Canada would end if the idiots would stop spending the ridiculous amounts of money for it.

Canadian wages are crap… in my field of telecom looking for work up there all I see are a few low $20 an hour jobs and down here there’s tons of telecom jobs paying up to $65 an hour.

Everything down here is a half to a quarter of the price it is up there as well…. so wake up and stop spending ludicrous amounts for nothing you nutjobs and maybe prices would start coming down to a normal level.

#174 Waterloo Resident on 04.19.13 at 1:58 pm

(“Our family income is $190,000 per year,
—- and owe $367,000 total in mortgage debt”)

Lets see: $190,000 income; keep about half after taxes, so that’s about $95,000 per year.

$367 / 95 = 3.86 times. So they can pay off their mortgage debt in only 4 years.

I fail to see any problem here?

#175 workwork on 04.19.13 at 2:27 pm


#176 GTA Engineer on 04.19.13 at 2:39 pm

Yawn.. Growing bored waiting for people to see the light – that the economy worldwide is in a tailspin and nobody, not the US, Asia, Europe, or anyone else – is immune.

Tout the markets all you want – eventually the fundamentals will shine through. Increasing corporate earnings? Not quite:

#177 Old Man on 04.19.13 at 2:44 pm

#142 Herb: I just know you cracked a funny on me, as have spent my entire life trying my best to understand women. One night a nurse called me and asked me out for dinner to this expensive restaurant, and picked me up in her car which was so kind of her. Now when this huge bill hit the table she excused herself to go to the powder room, and was stuck to pay the bill, so when she came back said gee thanks. So you be the judge.

#178 jess on 04.19.13 at 2:48 pm

Cost of the Iraq War
EPS Fellow Linda Bilmes spoke to The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace about the economic impact of the Iraq War 10 years later.
Linda Blimes spoke about the costs of the war in Iraq, which she projected to reach $5 trillion. Those projections exceed the original figures in her book The Three Trillion Dollar War, which she co-authored with economist Joseph Stiglitz in 2008. She outlined the various sorts of expenditures, including rising veterans benefits, and criticized the government for lack of proper war accounting. She theorized that the war triggered Federal Reserve decisions that contributed to the financial crisis of 2008. She responded to questions from the audience. 

“The Trillion Dollar War-And Counting” was part of the program “America’s Second-Longest War: Taking Stock” held by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on the tenth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

#179 BPOE's BrainFart on 04.19.13 at 3:01 pm

@#168 Tom Vu


#180 Sebee on 04.19.13 at 3:22 pm

Holy shiitake mushrooms Batman!

I honestly never looked at Kijiji as a place to sell your real estate. I did however look there for a vintage turntable. And today, I finally look at the real estate section.

I am amazed to find out that Kijiji has more listing for houses and condos than for a geographic area. for example shows 6000 condo/strata listings for GTA, while kijiji has 9000. What is going on?

#181 Old Man on 04.19.13 at 3:52 pm

#177 Old Man – This is a true story, and know that some women will be smiling and laughing at me and that was my intent, and thinking oh boy did he ever get hooped bigtime by this nurse who conned him, so present a bit of humour in this room at my expense, as it hurt, but such if life, as can take the hit. Now at the end of the evening she shook my hand, and said thanks for the wonderful dinner date :(

#182 dangeresque2 on 04.19.13 at 3:55 pm

Gwen, been there, done that – this is the same greed that happened here in Alberta during the run-up… It’s musical chairs and believe me once the music stops it’s hard to get going again, *no matter how much you make* – reason is because you’re already spending it on whatever you’re spending it on.

Stop trying to compete with others or your friends/family – or the other person who magically got “your” deal and thinking that you are missing out on something greater – or that you are punishing yourself for staying put where you are.

#183 whosaidthat on 04.19.13 at 4:07 pm

Baltic Dry Index at 2003 levels, this cannot be manipulated.

USA corporations – what earnings?!?

Commodities – mostly all down

BDI – too many ships. — Garth

#184 thiscountryisgoing down the toilet on 04.19.13 at 4:17 pm

$190,000 income in Winnepeg….a city with no industry…..ahhh duhhhhh let me think….civil service jobs….right?

No wonder they save nothing….they are told they don’t have to….their income bewteen pensions will be $161,000 for life…… guess how much they contribute to society….net zero.

#185 Doug in London on 04.19.13 at 4:35 pm

Wow, by those measures I’m not a very good Canadian. I better check my passport to make sure it’s not a fake. What ever happened to those stereotypical thrifty Canadians? Most of them appear to have gone the way of Underwood typewriters or open reel tape recorders.

As for that house in Windypeg I say, 420 grand are you nuts? Invested at a yield of 5%, that’s 21 grand a year. You could probably rent something good for that amount, avoiding taxes and maintenance and having your mobility to boot.

#186 whosaidthat on 04.19.13 at 4:37 pm

“BDI – too many ships. — Garth”

Exactly, providing capacity growth above demand growth, just like commodities, housing market, etc.

#187 Snowboid on 04.19.13 at 4:38 pm

$375-420K for Winnipeg properties such as Gwens’ examples?

Within a couple of miles of us of our NW Valley (Phoenix) home $375K will get you a:

2600 sq ft, 15 year old high-end home on a 10,000 sq ft golf course lot, mature pineapple palms, orange, lemon, grapefruit trees and hundreds of native cacti and succulents, custom outdoor kitchen with built-in bbq/fridge and sink, two covered decks, full size pebbletec pool and spa with waterfall. Spanish style with tile roof, 3 car garage – vaulted ceilings, plantation shutters, new appliances, granite, travertine tile, etc. etc.

BTW, two years ago similar homes could be purchased for $ 275-300K!

#188 Were would you get $420K? on 04.19.13 at 4:41 pm

Dougy, where are folks gonna get the $420K to plop down for a juicy 5%?

#189 Steven on 04.19.13 at 4:52 pm

Milionaire Machini$t you are not alone.
I don’t make $95 grand either.

#190 Van guy on 04.19.13 at 4:52 pm

No negative reactions to the markets today even with the Boston lockdown. Unlike Monday, the fear has left.

#191 Old Man on 04.19.13 at 5:14 pm

I have no idea why you all are putting down Winnipeg, as have this old woman in her 80’s across the hall from me who is a founding member of the Birks scenerio, and she loves the winter months, and hates the summer months, so takes off to her summer home in Muskoka, as cold is fine, but hot weather is not for her at all. I am still waiting for her to invite me.

#192 Smoking Man on 04.19.13 at 5:23 pm


#193 David W on 04.19.13 at 5:35 pm

House prices need to come down to the reality of what average people earn. Only then will people have money to spend and stimulate the economy!

#194 Worried realtors on Greaterfool on 04.19.13 at 5:45 pm

Alot of out of work and hungry for money realtors on greaterfool as the housing crash goes from bad to worse. Many houses on MLS have BEEN FORECLOSED ON BUT THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT IS TELLING REALTORS TO KEEP QUIT AS THE HOUSING CRASH IN CANADA IS GETTING OUT OF HAND.

#195 Humpty Dumpty on 04.19.13 at 6:11 pm

159 Tom Vu on 04.19.13 at 11:12

I believe you were referring to this building

#196 baddog on 04.19.13 at 6:21 pm

That house would be a couple of million in Vancouver or Toronto. It’s located in the Tuxedo area of Winnipeg which is a fairly well to do established area. That same house in the north end of Winnipeg would sell for about half or a third of that.

#197 Epic Fail? on 04.19.13 at 6:29 pm

#68 Smoking Man on 04.18.13 at 10:43 pm

Would you expect anything not bang on from a man who sees god when he looks in the mirror. Lol

God doesn’t make mistakes by running his mouth.

Cover blown, damn, gotta take down website… Hardly God-like.

#198 Junkieman on 04.19.13 at 6:34 pm

After reading this blog, I’ve lost all house hornyness. One of my good friends has decided to put his north end Oshawa town house up for sale, for a whopping 314600, mind you it backs onto a lovely firehouse and, pretty much next to major road and is only 50 minute drive to downtown Toronto. Ive already told id love to meet the person who buys this home to see what kind of fool, would throw that kind money away.

#199 Tom Vu on 04.19.13 at 6:48 pm

Oh…to be a fly on wall and see what Smoking Old Man is thinking.

#200 Tom Vu on 04.19.13 at 6:51 pm

Fellow posters:

Do not be alarmed, Smoking Old Man has monkeys (and ugly -ex’s) on typewriters….typing randomly….

They do all the work..he just posts.

#201 [email protected] on 04.19.13 at 6:53 pm

The 1979 RBC Plaza’s exterior is largely covered with glass, together with the North Tower there’s more than 14,000 windows. The windows, manufactured by Canadian Pittsburgh Industries, were coloured using 2,500 ounces of gold valued at $70 per pane when installed.

-my calc

How did cbc get 147 million?

#202 Smoking Man on 04.19.13 at 7:12 pm

Garth. They don’t fit the profile but then again this is a money blog, my apologies. :)

#203 jess on 04.19.13 at 7:14 pm

is it better in texas? ”
We found that 41 percent of construction workers, regardless of immigration status, were misclassified as subcontractors…means you are not paying for their labor but for their business services.
With this arrangement, the contractor — you — don’t have to pay Social Security taxes or payroll taxes or workers’ compensation or overtime. ….

Construction Booming In Texas, But Many Workers Pay Dearly
by Wade Goodwyn

April 10, 2013 3:20 AM

#204 Keeping up with the Joneses on 04.19.13 at 7:20 pm

#184 :):( Ying Yang on 04.19.13 at 4:15 pm
#70 Smoking Man on 04.18.13 at 10:54 pm
Julia I love your typing life force, how about a description, age, beauty marks, dress size, age.
Don’t worry I don’t work for Csis yet… Altho I want to, can you image my and there servers…..
All spy agents are working for the stats quo. Being a drunken member of the stats quo.. It’s in my best interest to help the idiots
Life sucks, I have no worthy advisarys, professors at university, top dog yellow highlighter grads working for machine.
I feel like bugs bunny in the episode where he gets jealous of daffy duck who had a higher bounty on his head…
This post will fkup the algo3s…

Hey Smoking Man, What the hell is an algo3?
Just Googled algo3 nothing came up except alga3, some ex dehavilland guy doing VBA stuff.

Small world we live in.

#205 jess on 04.19.13 at 7:28 pm

#184 :):( Ying Yang

big O

#206 Old Man on 04.19.13 at 8:06 pm

I went last week to Hy’s Steakhouse on a date, and had a dinner meal that cost me $300.00 with a lady, and then off to a play, and before the night was over it cost me $600.00, so ask myself whatever happened to the old days for a cheap date? I say the best first date in the world is at Tims for a donut, and a coffee, but no takers for me. :(

#207 Nodebt on 04.19.13 at 8:54 pm

#206 Oldman

Almost 18 years ago that was my first date
At Tim hortons! After the play where did you go:)?

#208 :):( Ying Yang on 04.19.13 at 9:06 pm

#205 jess on 04.19.13 at 7:28 pm
#184 :):( Ying Yang

big O

Still confused on this? Who is Donald Knuth?
What the hell I’m going for another beer!

#209 GenXer on 04.19.13 at 9:35 pm

@ #168 The reason there are more kijiji listings than mls listings is because many posters can repeat-post — so there may be 2 or 3 or more ads for the same item (or in this case condo / strata / property)

#210 ??????? on 04.20.13 at 7:42 am

BTW: Our family income is $190,000 per year, we own a house appraised at $330,000, a cottage worth $150,000, hubby and I have $54,000 in RRSPs, between the two of us $14,000 in RESPs and owe $367,000 total in mortgage debt on the two properties and about $18,000 owing on student loans. We’re 36 and have two little kids.

Looks like Gwen & her squeeze have 73% of their modest net worth in real estate? I get 69%

#211 Doug in London on 04.20.13 at 11:19 am

@Were would you get $420K, post #188:
Good question you ask. A good start is living within your means, not chasing status. also don’t buy a house you can’t afford at the top of a runaway market, and investing the money in something other than GIC’s. You should also buy into equities during times when they are cheap (there have been many such times in the last 5 years), reinvest dividends, and don’t be afraid to take some profits from investments that have had a good run. In other words do the opposite of, as Garth has told us here many times, most investors do.

As I’ve said in past postings, your investing strategy should be like a governor that gives the engine more fuel when the speed is below the set speed, and less when it is above the set speed. You see how simple that is? Even an idiot like me who failed a college economics course can figure that out.

#212 The Weather Guy on 04.20.13 at 11:51 am

When you go downtown, don’t forget to bring your umbrella.

There’s will be a chance of foreclosed yuppies raining down on your head.

#213 Yitzhak Rabin on 04.20.13 at 5:47 pm

Don’t forget that our province is rapidly falling down the debt tunnel. PST was just raised on top of a bunch of new taxes last year. Manitoba has 23% more public employees per capita than the national average. Once the SpenDP party gets voted out a lot of bean counters will be fired and/or pay cut. Transfer payments probably won’t be going up either if real estate starts crashing.

Plus the weather sucks. Recent home buyers here will be screwed royally.