Soft landing, part deux


Two months ago a work crew screwed cement board onto the front of a mid-town Toronto semi, then glued face stone to it. They gutted the inside and turned the main floor into one big room with a SS&G kitchen in the back. Above the front door was installed a glass canopy, and the front lawn was ripped out and paved. After all, the skinny mutual drive is useless.

The asking was $795,000, and it sold in three days for $810,000. Multiple offers.

Across Toronto, semi sales so far this month are down 6% and prices are up 5.5%. Ditto for detached homes – sales off 7% and prices up (year/year) by 2%. Condos? Sales lower by 13.6% and prices higher by 2.1%. Across all housing types in the biggest market, deals have fallen over 11%, yet the average price has travelled from $516,089 a year ago to $543,838 now.

So where’s the correction this pathetic blog keeps bleating on about?

Right before your eyes.

In recent days I’ve detailed what’s going on with the new housing market. It sucks. Starts are off 25% across the country, by half in BC and 70% in the GTA. Fewer starts mean way fewer jobs, and the economy’s already crawling. So the only lift real estate has left is with resales. But in April, for the first time since the economic crisis, sales were year/year negative in virtually every market in the country – even self-obsessed Calgary.

Now, in the merry month of May when virgins are supposed to cavort in their skimpy gay apparel ‘round every new listing, we have a weird thing happening. In the bellweather 416 in the last two weeks detached homes sales are -6.7%, semi sales (as I said) are -6.0%, townhouse sales are -21.3% and condos -13%. Yes, those are all negative numbers. It’s been a long time since that happened.

And let’s remember (a) this is spring, prime time for hormonal house-hunting, and (b) you can get a 5-year fixed mortgage for 2.79% if you pass a breathing test. There’s every reason last year’s boffo market should have been replicated this year, except for one: most people you know are tapped out. Debt is endemic. They use lines of credit to make mortgage payments. They routinely increase the size of their home loans to renovate. Four in ten people now say they have trouble paying their monthly bills. And yet 70% own a house. Prices have been bloated by cheap money, not greater income.

Now a new study of Canadian net worth by Carleton University confirms the obvious: people have twice the amount of money in houses than they do in retirement savings, and half of all wealth in the country is represented by our inflated, pumped-up, bloated real estate. This is worse than having half you money in the shares of a single company, which no financial guy would ever recommend. But with your home, this asset can not only fluctuate in value, but turn illiquid. Just ask some of the 5,000 people in Vancouver trying to flog over-$1 million houses.

So why are prices not falling, if sales are? That’s simple. Same reason listings haven’t ballooned. Canadians are so invested in their houses, and have taken on such extraordinary debt in doing so, that they’d rather eat bugs than sell to a vulture. So sellers hold back on marketing their homes, hoping for better offers, while those who have listed hang tough for the biggest buck. This can go on for some period of time, and all the while we see the phenomenon of slowly rising prices on rapidly decreasing sales. It’s the mark of the beast.

The number of available buyers has dropped dramatically, but so has the choice. In demand areas like the one the faux stone semi inhabits, it still means competition among those who aren’t paying attention, or just don’t care. They will seriously regret their actions.

If only potential sellers would realize this may be the last, shining chance in a decade to cash out at the top, they’d flock to do it. But most won’t. They will need a shock to learn. It’s coming.

Be quick to sell. Be in no hurry to buy.

The numbers say again, there will be no soft landing.


#1 Bill Clinton on 05.16.13 at 9:08 pm

Been waiting since 8:30 to be Fuurst!

#2 Mike on 05.16.13 at 9:08 pm

Quick … get a pillow under that kid :)
Or a couple of realtors to hold on to him, they have nothing better to do anyways

#3 Brad J Lamb on 05.16.13 at 9:08 pm

I am first!

#4 duke on 05.16.13 at 9:08 pm

Great post Garth!

#5 TurnerNation on 05.16.13 at 9:10 pm

Was this posted? 0% down from builder, with a helper loan.

“Never before in history have so many bought so much from so few, with so little down”

#6 EIT on 05.16.13 at 9:12 pm

Lets just get this correction through our system so we can move on.

#7 Lady Gaga on 05.16.13 at 9:13 pm

So if Garth is correct (as usual) the spring real estate market will suck big time. Brace yourself!

#8 None on 05.16.13 at 9:14 pm

Isn’t a as valid explanation for the price increases that the mean is a poor measure of central tendency when you are deriving it from a skewed distribution.

I bet I’m the FIRST to say that.

#9 mmblpg on 05.16.13 at 9:16 pm


#10 GUnit on 05.16.13 at 9:17 pm

If people decide to eat bugs instead of selling as we progress into this decline, and the Canadian economy therefor slows down, does that keep pressure on the Bank of Canada to keep rates low?

#11 Tom Vu on 05.16.13 at 9:17 pm

Pop the cheap Dom Perignon

moi is 1+1-1

#12 mikef on 05.16.13 at 9:21 pm

First….to ask where do you get these numbers Garth?

I make them up. Faster. — Garth

#13 Smoking Man on 05.16.13 at 9:22 pm

So why are prices not falling, if sales are? That’s simple. Same reason listings haven’t ballooned. Canadians are so invested in their houses, and have taken on such extraordinary debt in doing so, that they’d rather eat bugs than sell to a vulture.

Told ya so……. Don’t think threat of rate hikes will make the herd move either, they know it’s not going to happen.

A sold 1/2 point hike will do it….. But no BOC governor in his right mind would play that card…. In light of currency wars…

Amazing was reading some of my posts from last year, and year before, I called it, inflate the depth away, that’s what all our trading partners are doing.

But soon as we hit July and price go into the annual seasonal decline,

The bubble head happy dance will be back on…..

Just saying

#14 Mark on 05.16.13 at 9:23 pm

LOL…feaking guy. Where do you get all those pictures.

#15 Sebee on 05.16.13 at 9:23 pm

Sounds like you are committing 100% to a crash landing to me Garth.

Let’s see what gets squished when the kid lands. — Garth

#16 Tom Vu on 05.16.13 at 9:24 pm

#1 Bill Clinton on 05.16.13 at 9:08 pm

Been waiting since 8:30 to be Fuurst!


Did Monica tell you it was time ?

#17 Adam on 05.16.13 at 9:30 pm

I’d argue that the GTA is actually seeing a price decline – despite the fact that they said the “average selling price” is up ~5% YOY. It was pointed out to me today why this is:

The cheapest segment of the market (condos/townhouses) had the biggest sales decline – fewer of these houses were involved in the calculation of the “average selling price”. The most expensive homes (SFH) therefore made up a bigger proportion of the average selling price than it did a year ago – see where I’m going with this?

Just because the average selling price increased in no way shape or form indicates that individual home values increased – I bet they actually stayed the same or even went down YOY.

#18 Adam on 05.16.13 at 9:33 pm

Another thing, what in the world kind of ungodly power does TREB have to get the piece on home sales declining off the front page of the globe online after only half a day?!?!?!?

#19 Smoking Man on 05.16.13 at 9:33 pm

It’s a miracle, there is now a record 5 house for sell in long branch south of lakeshore, out of a few thousand.

You won’t be able to vulch, but if your house horny wife is putting you under pressure, and you got 35 present to put down….

Do it…. This hood has another 35 present to go….

#20 Tom Vu on 05.16.13 at 9:35 pm

I think Garth is watching women’s mud wrestling,(Please vote as Olympic Sport !)… for next hour let er’ rip…NO DELETE ZONE

#21 Betty on 05.16.13 at 9:36 pm

Well indeed house prices are insane in this pot hole city.

#22 canadian on 05.16.13 at 9:38 pm

Hey #1 Bill Clinton, you really are a loser, can’t you think of something intelligent to post after 10 hour’s of waiting for Garth’s next post. O.M.G.

#23 Dean Mason on 05.16.13 at 9:40 pm

The Canadian real estate market is like a person that eats fatty foods,junk food,smokes 2 packs a day,watches T.V. and sits in front of a computer using the internet 6-8 hours a day.He does this for 17 years and then gets a heart attack.

#24 Dienekes on 05.16.13 at 9:40 pm

Saskatoon is opening a lot draw on Evegreen phase 6 and Kensington phase 1 development (200+lots) on May 18. I am really interested in how that is going to go, will it sell out? Rosewood still has lots available, Hamptons still have lots available. A builder in Saskabush has 53 lots available to build on. Are they selling?
It amazes me how everyone in Saskatoon thinks they are driving the economy of Canada. And the stupid realtor magazines in the city that feature “trendy new show homes” just irritate the hell out of me.
And the realtors, they always have pics of themselves by the show home and all I can say is Saskatoon has no good looking realtors. Yikes, they are magazines of lepers, and leaches.

#25 AK on 05.16.13 at 9:42 pm

#1 Bill Clinton on 05.16.13 at 9:08 pm
“Been waiting since 8:30 to be Fuurst!”


#26 Something on 05.16.13 at 9:42 pm

You don’t need to wait for a long time to see a hard landing. Our inflation(the real one) for all essentials goods and services will do the thing. At one point the budget balance sheet most of the Canadians will turn into red permanently and forever. For those who will loose a job it will be instant. I have few friends at work. We went to US for a business trip. On last day of out trip I asked them all to go buy some cheap clothes in the nearest outlet, all of them told me that they can’t do that and the reason is – “we have a mortgage to pay”. What a bunch of mortgage slaves. The average Canadian who has a mortgage has no extra room if something happened. People live from a paycheck to a paycheck and it takes just a very small push to break everything apart. What worries me the most is their attitude. They know it’s a mortgage slavery, but everybody accepts it, because everybody does. We live in the very interesting time where absurd is normal and people don’t know what they are doing.

#27 Nebbio on 05.16.13 at 9:44 pm

I have noticed that in south Mississauga sales signs are appearing, but I can find no corresponding listing on MLS? Is there a reason for this? The signs are from major players like Lepage, but when you go to MLS nothing?

#28 kenken on 05.16.13 at 9:44 pm

high consumer debt , high Canadian housing prices, big housing price disconnect between US and Canada (higher here), price correction will follow sales declines, rates increase is coming ….
over the past couple of years, this is all we have been hearing on this blog!
but nothing happened yet! … will it?
since end 2008, prices have increased by 30-40%; so what if they correct for 20%!!!
those who waited have missed the boat!
those who bought and can afford, will survive!
those who cannot afford will lose and become renters!

#29 Dr. Hoof - Hearted on 05.16.13 at 9:45 pm

Love the faux stone..ROTFLMAO.

It is glorified Z-Brick.

The masons add a little bit of mortar on the inside end , stick it to the wall ( like pin the tail on the donkey ).

Once the water gets behind, and the 4 seasons kick in…over time they will peel off , …..and/or “Generation 2 ” of leaky condo


#30 Smoking Man on 05.16.13 at 9:52 pm

#26 Something on 05.16.13 at 9:42 pm

They know it’s a mortgage slavery, but everybody accepts it, because everybody does. We live in the very interesting time where absurd is normal and people don’t know what they are doing.


Absolutely correct, the herd is the market, herd is the trend. The trend is your friend….

Due to fluoride in the water, the 12 to 18 years of obedience certificate chasing, and the trained and schooled projection of success is home ownership.

It’s as common as being a leaf fan…..

#31 EastVan on 05.16.13 at 9:53 pm

#32 RayofLight on 05.16.13 at 9:53 pm

I read this in the Financial Post this evening. One of the better chart compares the US real estate to the Canadian. It won’t be pretty.

#33 Smoking Man on 05.16.13 at 9:56 pm

#7 Lady Gaga on 05.16.13 at 9:13 pm
So if Garth is correct (as usual) the spring real estate market will suck big time. Brace yourself!
If there is nothing for sale, don’t expect big sales numbers, just higher prices…

#34 Cristian on 05.16.13 at 9:59 pm

It looks like they heard even in the UK about the Canadian bubble…

#35 Q on 05.16.13 at 10:03 pm

I watch the rental market in Vancouver and anecdotally I can say that rents in Vancouver have come down over the past year or so. Just a few years back, it was virtually impossible to find rentals in Vancouver. But now there are vacancies everywhere you look in Vancouver. In some neighbourhoods, like the West End, Kitsilano, Marpole, New Westminster, there are vacancy signs in front of just about every apartment building. This was unheard of a few years ago. Just a few years ago, landlords were evicting tenants en masse–so called “renovictions”–so they can renovate and raise the rent for new tenants. That’s not happening anymore. Now, it looks like the landlords are practically begging for tenants. I should add that these neighbourhoods have purpose-built rental buildings that are quite old and often have serious deficincies and bed bug problems. A lot of renters I know are turning their noses at these buildings and opting to rent brand new condos instead. Also, the condos have sprouted up in the suburbs, which is often closer to people’s jobs. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment in a 40-year-old bed bug infested building in the West End for about $1200 or you can rent a brand new condo with modern appliances at a suburban skytrain station for the same price. For a lot of people, it makes more sense to rent the condos. I think rents are going to keep down in this real estate crash. Especially, if more people start leaving Vancouver because of the high housing costs and low paying jobs.

#36 45north on 05.16.13 at 10:04 pm

Starts are off 25% across the country, by half in BC and 70% in the GTA. Fewer starts mean way fewer jobs, and the economy’s already crawling.

great post Garth, you know we are not going to know what a crash looks like until we know what it feels like

But with your home, this asset can not only fluctuate in value, but turn illiquid.

Mark Hanson says that in the US 50% of home owners are basically trapped in their own homes – they have to sell at a price that will cover their mortgage and selling costs. Market value is below that price therefore they cannot sell.

Look at two houses side-by-side in Georgetown. In one house the owners are trapped, in the other they’re not. Funny the houses look pretty much the same.

#37 Chopper on 05.16.13 at 10:05 pm

In Brampton, I notice a few houses that were removed from the MLS and re-listed at a lower price after sitting on the market over 40days. Garth is right people are holding for price but buyers who read this blog refuse to be dragged in to a bidding war and wait for the right moment.

But there are some who do not read this blog and buy crap and will regret it when it is too late.

If I remember correctly Garth was saying it was going to be a soft landing a few months ago but now you are saying the opposite. Which one is it Garth?

Thanks for all you do.

#38 Snowboid on 05.16.13 at 10:06 pm

Thank goodness the BC election is over. Within a day of the results, the economy in the Okanagan has taken off like crazy, and we can only thank the Liberals for retiring the debt and balancing the budget.

Not to mention free natural gas* to every homeowner (sorry renters) and a bonus turkey to test out that new gas oven.

We are so excited we are looking at RE again, it can only go up now – better get in before we are priced out forever.

Fun in the sun, what can I say?

* Homeowner must agree to maintain the well-head on their property and cannot sue Fortis for any damage now or in future caused by fracking under your home.

#39 Victoria Real Estate Update on 05.16.13 at 10:10 pm

The Teranet index showed another price decline for Victoria for the month of April that followed the biggest one-month price decline in nearly 23 years of data recording (see chart).

Negative equity is the name of the game right now for many mortgage holders in Victoria. Many of our friends were first-time buyers near the peak of the market (2-3 years ago) and are now angry that they are in a position of negative equity. They now owe more on their mortgages than the value of their homes. They followed the advice of their realtors who told them that prices would be going higher.

Do not buy a house in Victoria right now. The housing market is in correction mode and this will continue for years. Wait it out for 18 to 24 months and then consider your options at that time. All housing bubbles burst and correct/crash and Canada’s housing bubble is currerntly bigger than the one that had formed in the US in 2006.

In March 2006, this San Diego house was valued at $418 K. By September 2009, its value was $166 K.

If it can happen in the US then it can happen in Canada. Canada, afterall, has a bigger housing bubble than the US did in 2006.

When you read about the housing market in Canada, always consider the source of the information. At the peak of the US housing price run-up in 2005-2006, many US “housing market experts” wrote that there was no housing bubble and that prices could only go higher.

On October 5, 2006, Alan Reynolds, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute (US), wrote an article that appeared on Quoting:

“When it comes to homes, however, many people have spent the last four years fretting that the “housing bubble” might end. That is, they worried that overpriced homes might become more affordable. That is not quite as nonsensical as worrying the price of oil might fall too much, but it’s close.”

Many Canadian “housing market experts” have been expressing themselves with similar words about Canada’s housing bubble.

Girls and guys, don’t buy a property and become a victim of the housing market correction/crash that is currently happening in Victoria. Millions of US families are currently in financial peril because they bought at the wrong time. Much lower prices are on the way. Housing bubbles always burst and deflate. There has never been a housing bubble that did not burst and correct/crash back to much lower prices. When you do buy in the future, you will thank yourselves that you did not buy at this time.

#40 BCMovers on 05.16.13 at 10:10 pm

My in-laws have been trying to sell their house in BC for over 1 year. They have now got a bridge loan because they wanted to buy another home. I could not find any relevant information about this but I would assume that this is a bad move in a down market. I think both properties are around the same value.

#41 dosouth on 05.16.13 at 10:11 pm

So we have been patiently waiting for 2 years for some knock down or value priced waterfront in mid Van Island. Been doing most of the homework ourselves as our contact realtor feels we are dreaming…..

Low and behold just today an email on two waterfronts, both in need of TLC but actual walk-on with beach. One too far up island and the second, well our realtor said…. really the vendors are a bit high on their price (been on the market for 215 days)

We were just agog that the realtor would say “the vendors were high on their price”, let alone getting an email from her with no solicitation on our part….wonders never cease (no we are not buying…more time than money really)

Every 50k drop is 2-3 years of payments…….

#42 Dienekes on 05.16.13 at 10:11 pm

#28 Kenken
If you feel you have missed the boat, then you better buy a house tomorrow.
Have you Been squirreling your money away since 2008 in the market to take advantage of the massive run up in the stock market since then? You will come out ahead.
Who said the housing market will drop 20%? Maybe it will drop 40%, maybe 10% yoy for the next ten years. No ones a prophet. Just be prepared and save your cash.

#43 Boo Radley on 05.16.13 at 10:14 pm

Speaking of bloated, over-inflated gas bags/dirigibles and other things that will not enjoy a soft landing…

#44 Hard & soft on 05.16.13 at 10:18 pm

Yo Garth, until several blog posts ago you said there will be no crash, just a ver looong slow deflation of prices. Your recent post seem to suggest you now believe it will start falling apart faster. Is that so? If so, why?

#45 Hard & soft on 05.16.13 at 10:19 pm

ver –> very

#46 rosie "moving forward" on 05.16.13 at 10:19 pm

The internet is a real bugger sometimes. This should be interesting as it unfolds.

#47 McLovin on 05.16.13 at 10:20 pm

A lot of it is sales mix.

Masking the real declines.

Only a super dope would conclude otherwise.

#48 Bill Clinton on 05.16.13 at 10:22 pm

Hey #1 Bill Clinton, you really are a loser, can’t you think of something intelligent to post after 10 hour’s of waiting for Garth’s next post. O.M.G

That’s 8:30 pm you friggin idiot, how did you get 10 hours???

#49 Bill Clinton on 05.16.13 at 10:23 pm

To those that were jealous, Bill Clinton is still #1!

#50 Smoking Man on 05.16.13 at 10:23 pm

#42 Dienekes on 05.16.13 at 10:11 pm

No ones a prophet.
Excuse me, are you new here, have you not been following my posts?

#51 James Bond on 05.16.13 at 10:25 pm

Garth, Just sold my home and renting…Also like to buy some stocks…are Canadian banks still a buy? Or US banks??

#52 Roy on 05.16.13 at 10:26 pm

Some properties are still moving here in Vancouver I have noticed. The $1 million+ bracket however is absolutely cooked here with almost no movement at all, except maybe in very specific locales. Only properties in the mid to lower price brackets have a decent chance of being sold, and in spring some of these I think are still moving at a mildly OK pace.

I feel sorry for these people. It seems incredibly short-sighted (or naive) to jump into the market now. I swear some people only have maybe a 1-year telescope which simply says buy now don’t think about where you or your family might be tomorrow. This is incredibly myopic but then again this is the land of delusion.

I recall a stat from a week or two ago showing the living wage in Vancouver was $19.62/hr. For two people this apparently worked out to $71K/year, which you could live and just cover enough of the basics to raise two kids on. They then stated that less than half the working population actually made this living wage.

There was also another article recently that showed Vancouver was nowhere even remotely on the map when it came to the leading Canadian or North American cities for multi-millionaires.

This place is a debt bomb waiting to go off.

#53 FATHER on 05.16.13 at 10:37 pm

hey isn’t it time for the frickn midget and his ahole master to let garth take over

#54 Victoria Real Estate Update on 05.16.13 at 10:37 pm

The link for the San Diego house did not work. Try this new link.

#55 DIENEKES on 05.16.13 at 10:42 pm

#50 Smoking Man
Your a prophet?
Is Phillips 66 (PSX) going to takeoff above 65 or is it going to settle back down to 60-61? I just offloaded it all at 65, because I think it will drift down again at which time I can buy them up again.

#56 DIENEKES on 05.16.13 at 10:44 pm

#51 James Bond
Buy Wells Fargo and Bank of New York Mellon Corp.
BNY has 28trillion in custody, I can’t see how they can’t make money with that.
Why buy Canada?

#57 Sideline Sitter on 05.16.13 at 10:45 pm

I’m all for a crashing market… been waiting for just over a year now (albeit, was not going to buy, but am ready now).

My question is this – has any market performed similarly to the GTAs in history? The last major crash was in the early 90s, but interest rates killed that market… anyone?

#58 Ralph Cramdown on 05.16.13 at 10:46 pm

#40 BCMovers — “My in-laws have been trying to sell their house in BC for over 1 year. They have now got a bridge loan because they wanted to buy another home.”

That’s a PIER loan. Starts off intended as a bridge until the first property gets sold, but goes nowhere.

#59 Ralph Cramdown on 05.16.13 at 10:48 pm

I just saw a clip of Mike Duffy climbing into a Hyundai to leave the Hill. I guess a Kia’s just not good enough for that entitled son of a spud [tater tot? — ed.].

#60 Julia on 05.16.13 at 10:51 pm

Here’s a symbiotic relationship for you… Bug eating home owners and renters with dinner ready for them.

#61 Smoking Man on 05.16.13 at 10:59 pm

Our new premier, OTFLMOA. BA HAHAHA

What a complete and total idiot, take this to the bank bubble heads, she will be out of politics long before real estate prices drop……

#62 Darren on 05.16.13 at 11:02 pm

For what its worth I’ve been hearing a lot of commercials for new home builders on Toronto radio this week. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard those!

#63 Smoking Man on 05.16.13 at 11:04 pm

Ah Gartho Harpe threw another on under the bus, Mike Duffy, gone……

Duffys mistake, he’s not a smoking man

#64 Devore on 05.16.13 at 11:05 pm

#28 kenken

Oh no!
Cats and dogs living together!
Mass hysteria!
End of the world!

#65 Derek R on 05.16.13 at 11:21 pm

#17 Adam on 05.16.13 at 9:30 pm wrote:
Just because the average selling price increased in no way shape or form indicates that individual home values increased – I bet they actually stayed the same or even went down YOY.

Spot on, Adam! I see you’ve been listening to the sensible people again. That’s exactly what’s happening.

And there’s actually a second effect which hasn’t fully kicked in yet but it will. That’s the “shortage of cash” factor. There’s no big shortage yet but there probably will be soon.

Why? Well money comes from three sources: revenue from exports, government debt and private debt with the biggest portion coming from private debt. And what is the biggest source of private debt? Mortgages.

Now fewer house sales mean fewer new mortgages which means fewer dollars entering the economy which means fewer retail sales which means less employment which means more people who have to sell their house or get foreclosed upon.

And that’s why the “soft landing” scenario will only come about if we can replace the dollars lost from the missing mortgages by dollars from increased exports or a bigger government deficit.

Increased exports would be preferable to a bigger government deficit but neither are likely to happen in my opinion, so it looks like a hard landing it will be.

#66 Soft landing, part deux — Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate – The Affluent Boomer on 05.16.13 at 11:22 pm

[…] via Soft landing, part deux — Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Rea…. […]

#67 Shawn on 05.16.13 at 11:30 pm


Record low interest rates have covered up a multitude of sins.

Interest rates have been predicted to turn higher almost continuously for about the last 20 years… It’s now over 30 years since rates peaked. And for the past eight or so years most forecasters were certain that interest rates would turn higher and soon.

When people stretched and bought so much house eight years ago and five years ago, wise people shook their heads and said. Wait ’till their mortgage renews at higher rates in five years. They will be crushed. Did not happen. Instead they are renewing at much lower rates. Sometimes a bad decision still leads to a good outcome.

What about the 40 year amortizations? Well I suspect those are allowed to be renewed without switching to 25 years. Though with lower rates many of those people can now swing 25 years.

How much fresh money is coming into the economy by virtue of people renewing at lower rates?? My gosh it’s just like in the States except here we don’t see a house price crash. No bank liquidity crunch here , we can still borrow to make the mortgage payments if need be.

So far, so good.

#68 Smoking Man on 05.16.13 at 11:39 pm

LCBO Strike averted, lucky….. Can you imagine Millions of us lushes with out our fix…. Storming queens park..

Pay the slaves nothing, they don’t care, force them up one tunnel to track6 they don’t care. Create asset bubbles like real estate, they don’t care.

Take away there booze….


Just saying

#69 Arse on 05.16.13 at 11:43 pm

Wow, Slick Willy(Bill Clinton), makes it “furst”!!!

#70 Boo Radley on 05.16.13 at 11:49 pm

I have seen this phenomena first-hand re: fewer listings yet places sell, often above asking, purchased by people who are either not paying attention or feel forced for whatever reason, to buy now.

A RE agent acquaintance, who either plays me like a fiddle or is actually on board with my bearish RE views, told me that buyers are getting frustrated by the prices, the low number of listings, and the (usually) poor selection offered : “retro” 1950’s backsplits, original owner (read: have never updated anything), which amount to total redo’s, listed for astronomical prices), so when something half-way decent (a verrrrry generous appellation) comes up…bidding wars ensue. I have walked-through a number of these gems and am astounded that they sold anywhere near asking, let alone for 15-20k over (on a sub 300k house). Madness.

I freely admit that I’m house horny and that is why I want to throw my hat into the ring of thank you’s and general well-wishing accolades. I’ve been reading your blog for almost a year, sold my condo last year and am currently a mouldy basement dweller.

I initiated the sale before I found your blog, but came to appreciate the opportunities if offered after I became a reader. You and the blog dogs provide me with a steady-drip of salt peter to quash my sub clinical, but ever-present house horniness.
Every time I find myself moving beyond just haunting the MLS and actually thinking “meh, how bad could losing 15%(‘ish) be? I just want a house!”, I log on, read the post/comments and am soon able to talk myself down, no cold shower necessary.

Sometimes though, I think I should maybe shower anyways for even though I read”Better Homes and Gardens” strictly for the articles *ahem*, I still feel kinda dirty when I find myself fantasizing about SS and G…smooth, cool, unyielding G….

#71 The Truth on 05.16.13 at 11:55 pm

In addition to Garth’s explanation, isn’t the main reason the average sale price went up in May because the sales mix has changed (i.e., more detached homes are being sold this year than other types of homes which is actually skewing the average sale price upwards due to sales mix)?
To illustrate this, an extreme example would be to assume: (a) this year, May sales were comprised of only 2 detached homes at $1.25 million each = $2.5 million in total or an average of $1.25 million; and, (b) last year, May sales were comprised of the same 2 detached homes at $1.5 million each and 2 semis at $0.5 million each = $4 million in total or an average of $1.0 million. If we simply compare total averages, there appears to be a 25% increase in the sales price (i.e., $1.25 million this year vs. $1.0 million last year). However, when we look at detached homes, the average price has actually declined 17% (i.e., $1.25 million this year vs. $1.5 million last year).
Thus, it would be much more appropriate to compare average sale prices of detached vs. detached, semis vs. semis, condos vs. condos, etc. to see which way prices are really going rather than how TREB calculates the average price.

#72 Shankar on 05.16.13 at 11:57 pm

Garth, you were right about the 30 year amort with 20 down under attack. You have us history before it happens.

Your like a politically correct Canadian version of Gerald Celente.

#73 saskatchewan roller on 05.17.13 at 12:20 am

#24 Dienekes Dont get too caught up in all the bubble hype. Saskatoon and Regina home prices are still below the national average. Yes the national surge is easing, but the gradual build is still on for our market.
As long as the world buys our materials, oil, potash and grains
. use our synchrotron for world class science. The resources we have America starts wars over!! And were willing to sell below market value in exchange for a pipeline. im not saying were immune to prices being stagnant or even reduced slightly due to a correction. But for so long we werent even in the same realm for housing prices.

#74 Jonah on 05.17.13 at 12:22 am

Having been on the hunt for decent priced home; I have recently noticed that the houses prices are being dropped steadily.

An offer that we had made on 3K square foot house, which was off by 30K from the listed price and the seller was insulted to have such an offer and had refused to bargain, has recently relisted the house for 10K off the listed price. Their agent contacted me and verbally offered 20K off the listed price which I refused with a note that i will wait till the prices are “corrected”.

check Zolo, Relator and many MLS listings, you will notice that prices are indeed going down. Wait one more year before interest rate rises by half point, and you will see the domino effect.

#75 GenXer on 05.17.13 at 12:23 am

The RBC household credit report showed that mortgage debt advanced 5.6% YOY in March, despite a 17% YOY drop in home sales that month.

This can’t be good. The last round of entrants into the market are requiring much higher leverage.

#76 Notta Sheeple on 05.17.13 at 12:38 am

#1 Bill Clinton on 05.16.13 at 9:08 pm
“…Been waiting since 8:30 to be Fuurst!…”

#48 Bill Clinton on 05.16.13 at 10:22 pm
“…That’s 8:30 pm you friggin idiot, how did you get 10 hours???….”

#49 Bill Clinton on 05.16.13 at 10:23 pm
“..To those that were jealous, Bill Clinton is still #1!…”

Think I’d rather watch a two-time re-run of the Leafs game 7, 3rd-period, than spend 38 minutes of my life clicking the refresh button of a computer keyboard.

Do us all a favour. Tomorrow, try the blog euthanasia button…(Format C, Enter)

#77 Nemesis on 05.17.13 at 1:01 am

Don’t do it, SM – stick to bourbon.

#78 Soft landing, part deux — Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate – The Affluent Boomer on 05.17.13 at 1:07 am

[…] via Soft landing, part deux — Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Rea…. […]

#79 Uwinsome on 05.17.13 at 1:10 am

#35 Q

“I watch the rental market in Vancouver and anecdotally I can say that rents in Vancouver have come down over the past year or so. Just a few years back, it was virtually impossible to find rentals in Vancouver. But now there are vacancies everywhere you look in Vancouver.”

I have to disagree with your anecdotal findings Q. Maybe in the outlying suburbs you might be correct. But in Vancouver (downtown, Kitsilano, the west end, etc…) North Van & West Van rents are higher than they’ve ever been. It might be easier to find some places, but only marginally. Sorry, I’ve been looking for a new place to rent and I respectfully disagree.

#80 Uwinsome on 05.17.13 at 1:23 am

“So why are prices not falling, if sales are? That’s simple. Same reason listings haven’t ballooned. Canadians are so invested in their houses, and have taken on such extraordinary debt in doing so, that they’d rather eat bugs than sell to a vulture. So sellers hold back on marketing their homes, hoping for better offers, while those who have listed hang tough for the biggest buck. This can go on for some period of time, and all the while we see the phenomenon of slowly rising prices on rapidly decreasing sales. It’s the mark of the beast.” -GARTH

Garth, correct me if I’m wrong. But in the housing crisis in the States, there was a huge run up in home listings right away. It didn’t go on for some period of time. It happened fast because of the onslaught of foreclosures.

So if you’re theory is right, what will be the catalyst for the big build up in Canadian listings? Gently & slowly rising interest Rates? Demographic shifts? These don’t sound like the impetus for a hard landing. Real estate may not be a good investment, but a hard landing?

#81 Patiently Waiting on 05.17.13 at 1:26 am

Combined sales of Single Family Home sales in Greater Vancouver & the Fraser Valley for the last 30 days are 47% below 2012, 54% below 2011, 52% below 2010, 55% below 2009, and 45% below 2008. Hard to imagine that the sales are actually substantially below the levels of the financial crisis, but there is no mention of this anywhere to be found in the media …

Here are the numbers straight from the real estate board computers:

2013 1153

2012 2180

2011 2532

2010 2391

2009 2549

2008 2102


#82 cynically on 05.17.13 at 1:37 am

#38 Snowboid – Have another glass of that Okanagan wine and you’ll have some even wilder dreams about real estate in Canada but be careful you don’t own downtown Kelowna before sobriety sets in because there’s nothing there.

#83 Vangrrl on 05.17.13 at 1:54 am

#35 Q- I agree. I check Craigslist list from time to time mostly out of curiosity and to gauge how the rental market is going. I too noticed a couple months back there was more available- esp in two bedrooms and as a pet owner. Whereas 5 years ago when I moved to my present rental a “dog ok” search left one very limited, now there are pages and pages that allow pets. It’s basically not any different than a regular search. I think the tide has certainly turned in that the tenant can wield a bit of power now, whether they realize it or not.

#84 FutureExpatriate on 05.17.13 at 1:59 am

#16 Monica Crowley.

#85 Buy? Curious? on 05.17.13 at 2:19 am


#86 Different here on 05.17.13 at 2:22 am

#87 Buy? Curious? on 05.17.13 at 2:42 am



#88 willworkforpickles on 05.17.13 at 3:02 am

How to make renting a new 3brm condo pay off.
Start by growing a cornfield in one bedroom, peas and carrots in the 2nd bedroom and potatoes and tomatoes in the 3rd bedroom . You may have to sleep in the livingroom if you have room between the leechs and onion rows. Round it off with cabbages in the hall and your very own mobile farmers market set up a few hours per day down in the parking garage. Just don’t tell your customers exactly where or how you came by all the fresh produce.

#89 Notta Sheeple on 05.17.13 at 3:04 am

“….Canadians are so invested in their houses, and have taken on such extraordinary debt in doing so, that they’d rather eat bugs than sell to a vulture…”

Unless, of course, that Canadian family is
1. growing (child-rearing),
2. shrinking (divorce)
3. disappearing (estate sale), or
4. is otherwise losing a spousal income (layoff, off-shoring, or a slowing economy).

Then the same of the family home is pretty much a certainty. I’m guessing the last option (4) will be the spontaneous combustion that begins the flattening of the housing market.

#90 bill murray on 05.17.13 at 4:18 am

cumon garth real estate ain,t going anywhere but up unless they raise interest rates ,so get a real job !

#91 Asse on 05.17.13 at 5:53 am

Lots of comments tonight…keep them coming!
Buy the way, average debt and median debt may be completely different. Same as wealth. I spent 4 months deciding whether or not to Keep a $150 watch. Money’s become much more valuable now that life’s not all about me. What’s funny is I have absolutely no qualms about giving gifts. Self sacrifice, get it? I have no real money but I have all the wealth in the world, get it? It’s good to be wealthy, get it? Some will, and some will need a crayon colored picture. Hopefully, at some point in their lives, everyone GETS IT!

#92 economictsunami on 05.17.13 at 7:06 am

While not the same tune as the US/RE calamity, it will surely rhyme.

It is so eerie to hear the exact same script from government, regulators, bankers and people from the RE industry.

We tend to forget and overly focus on subprime in the US situation and we revelled in pointing a financially condescending finger.

What many failed to realize, was the 2nd leg down in US RE, were those who seemingly did all of the right things but through no fault of their own lost their jobs. The down draft from the 2nd leg was much more prevalent and decline much more precipitous.

Unfortunately, you have been consistently been correct GT. Now people are blaming bloggers and the media for shining the light on the unsustainability of Canadian RE.

They will burn you in effigy. The only question is: would you prefer to be slow roasted over charcoal or hardwood smoked?

And now a parting quote from our former BOC Guvna:

““Real wealth is built through innovation, and it’s gained through hard work,” Mr. Carney explained in an interview taped before this weekend’s G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Moscow. “It’s not through some magical asset inflation.”

#93 bigrider on 05.17.13 at 7:21 am

Lots of Italians in the GTA so this phenomenon of rising prices on declining listings will continue for a very long time.

They buy houses faster than pomodore…LOL

#94 Herb on 05.17.13 at 7:29 am

You’re on a roll, SM! Eight posts last night, none of them having any redeeming value.

#95 AK on 05.17.13 at 7:37 am

#49 Bill Clinton on 05.16.13 at 10:23 pm
“To those that were jealous, Bill Clinton is still #1!”
Give us a break, will you.

How the hell do you keep track of your other 35 ID’s on the blog?

#96 Hey SM on 05.17.13 at 7:48 am


#97 Mr Buyer on 05.17.13 at 7:52 am

The numbers say again, there will be no soft landing.
This has been my understanding of real estate bubble collapse world wide and my direct experience in Japan. The collapse is on now across the country and irreversible, even if mortgage rules were to revert back to those that instigated the steeply exponential phase of this real estate bubble.
This is the beginning of the beginning of the collapse. Let May turn to June and grind forward. Buyers absolutely should not be buying now or for the next few years for that matter. There are more than a few massive bear traps coming and massive losses in equity to be endured. There is absolutely no reason for houses to be priced as they are anywhere in Canada.
How anybody can look at data and misrepresent it to others is beyond me. How this can be done on a massive and systemic measure is frightening. We are descending into a darkness that has health care practitioners use their knowledge to extract the largest amounts of money from those they are supposed to be healing. Computational power and knowledge increasing exponentially but not in the service of one another and the curing of disease but rather to more thoroughly exploit weakness in one another.

#98 AK on 05.17.13 at 8:04 am

“Shares bounce off lows after talk of Fed QE exit”

They obviously don’t have much choice.

Talk of QE exit

#99 TurnerNation on 05.17.13 at 8:13 am

Here ya go a million buys you an old semi in Waspy Roncesvalles, Toronto. Van Delusional.

#100 maxx on 05.17.13 at 8:19 am

“Prices have been bloated by cheap money, not greater income.”

Never has this been so relevant- and there had better be a greater fool somewhere down the pipe.

Used to be that actually owning cash meant you had purchasing advantage. Nowadays, the ability to acquire debt is just as much of an advantage. The only concern is that you can actually GET the cash. So much for the consequences.

If you own cash, its value and power is currently eclipsed by the ease with which it can be borrowed. It is all too easy to think that since returns are low, why bother saving? It is therefore far too easy to simply pay ridiculous “market” prices for RE.

One of the worst feelings is looking back and thinking about the money you could have now, if only you hadn’t wasted it.

#101 Smoking Man on 05.17.13 at 8:42 am

For all bubble, bust, basement Wana be voulchers,

Canada inflation, what inflation… I’m feeling a rate cut.

1precent BOC rate=the new normal.

Sorry, B heads…. I just report it

#102 Smoking Man on 05.17.13 at 8:44 am

#94 Herb on 05.17.13 at 7:29 am
You’re on a roll, SM! Eight posts last night, none of them having any redeeming value.

You a stocker herb, counting my posts now…

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…..

#103 bigrider on 05.17.13 at 8:45 am

An in-depth analysis of the GTA housing market follows:

Approximately 10% of the GTA is comprised of Italian immigrants and their first generation offspring.

Conclusion: House prices aren’t going down anytime soon.


#104 Ballingsford on 05.17.13 at 8:51 am

Why isn’t that lad wearing a helmut???

Prime example of bad parenting!

#105 I am in C on 05.17.13 at 9:09 am

Bottom line:
House prices still rising. And will continue to do so until people put their homes on the market en masse.
Which they are not doing.
People age 60 are demographically the peak of the baby boom. My parents didn’t sell their house till they were 80. Don’t expect a real estate crash anytime soon! I think what you will see is at best (worst) a real estate market stagnate.

#106 Rational Optimist on 05.17.13 at 9:13 am

80 Uwinsome on 05.17.13 at 1:23 am

“Real estate may not be a good investment, but a hard landing?” You’re right, but that’s hard for people to accept, too. For those of us waiting to make a home purchase in the future (which probably means the relatively near future, being humans), we suspect that home prices are going to suffer going forward. But we have to believe that it will be a sudden drop, even though that would be bad for everyone. Otherwise, there’s a pretty good chance that the housing bears (to be a housing bear, you need to be somewhat preoccupied with real estate, which probably means you will be in the market soon enough) will wind up catching a falling knife.

Like I say, you’re probably right. The run-up in prices, after all, is into its second decade. That alone suggests that the decline could easily be a decade long, but the factors you mention (particularly demographics) grind even slower than that. That means that there may well not be any compensation in two or three years for our patience, but rather that every home buyer for the next decade or longer will have made a bad investment.

Maybe there will be neither a hard landing, nor a soft landing, because there will be no landing at all, just a slow decline that lasts for what most of us feel is the long run.

#107 Ballingsford on 05.17.13 at 9:20 am

You are my SENShine, my only SENShine. You make me hap-py when Penguins are gray. You’ll never know dear, how much I love you, so please don’t take my SENShine away!

#108 Spirit of the West on 05.17.13 at 9:31 am

#59 Ralph Cramdown “… I just saw a clip of Mike Duffy climbing into a Hyundai to leave the Hill…”

I call bullshit. How in the blazes did that fleshy-faced-fool fit into a Hyundai? And I suppose Rob Ford was driving?

#109 Herb on 05.17.13 at 9:36 am

#103 SM,

my mistake. I thought Greater Fool was about truth, not beauty.

#110 Herb on 05.17.13 at 9:37 am

Sorry again, directed at #102 SM.

#111 bee on 05.17.13 at 9:56 am

That’s exactly I told my co-worker. He bought a bigger house recently before selling his old house. I told him he has to do it quick. He sold his house back in early March. He is pleased that he is off the hook, for now.

#112 Rational Optimist on 05.17.13 at 9:58 am

First to break the Ontario earthquake (I’m pretty sure it was) on Greater Fool. Beats hitting refresh for six hours and scrolling past the post to comment.

#113 someone on 05.17.13 at 10:01 am

This is an interesting read:

“Parasites must balance their drive to maximize what they extract from their host with the risk of losing everything by killing their host. This is the dilemma of the parasitic partnership of the central state and financial Elites everywhere: to extract the maximum possible in debt payments and taxes without sparking rebellion and revolution. The 30 million whose labor funds the parasitic status quo don’t have to rebel; they simply have to stop going to work, stop starting enterprises, stop being productive. They just have to tire of being the host, tire of being debt-serfs, tire of being tax donkeys. The trick to suppressing revolution is to keep debt-tax serfdom bearable. The parasitic Elites are keeping the host going, but at a high cost in resiliency. Let’s see how long the host lasts once a crisis hits.”

#114 thiscountryis going down the toilet on 05.17.13 at 10:01 am

Hilarious…….monster realtard trys to float the idea that Boomers will be stepping in and paying cash for kids homes now that kids have been priced out of the market…..bwahahahahahahaha. Rennie….you’re such a dick.

Hilarious 2…..civil service unions using kids to attack the PM over ‘not nice ads’ against the union hero zero…..

Can we agree to leave the children alone? Apparently nothing is too low in the Canadian moral free fall.

#115 Roni on 05.17.13 at 10:03 am

My apartment just shook. Couch rocked. Anyone else in Toronto feel that? Earthquake? I wonder how much glass is falling right now?

The earth moved when you started to read this? How is that news? — Garth

#116 White Rock Mom on 05.17.13 at 10:06 am

We renegotiated our rent down 19%. A very similar house close by came up for rent quite a bit lower than what we were paying. So we talked to the landlord. She understood that good tenants are hard to find and why would we pay so much more when we could move down the street. If you like where you are talk to your landlord.

#117 The American on 05.17.13 at 10:11 am

At #52: Roy, just for fun, here is a list of all cities by population of high-net worth individual millionaires (this means more than $30,000,000 in assets) on the North American continent.

10.Toronto, ON 1,765
9. Dallas, TX 2,020
8. Washington D.C. 2,395
7. Houston, 2,495
6. Chicago, IL 2,695
5. Seattle, WA 3,270
4. San Jose, CA 3,645
3. Los Angeles, CA 4,295
2. San Francisco, CA 4,590
1. New York, NY 7,580

#118 LP on 05.17.13 at 10:14 am

It’s “bellwether”, BELLWETHER, damn it. Has nothing to do with weather, belle or otherwise, and everything to do with sheep, or maybe even sheeple.

#119 newb on 05.17.13 at 10:18 am

What’s a SS&G kitchen?

#120 Realtor #1 on 05.17.13 at 10:21 am

Let me guess next spring.

#121 Ronaldo on 05.17.13 at 10:39 am

#57 Sideline Sitter -”My question is this – has any market performed similarly to the GTAs in history? The last major crash was in the early 90s, but interest rates killed that market… anyone?”

If high interest rates and overbuilding was the cause of the downfall in RE in the early 90’s then this time we can safely say the LOW interest rates and overbuilding will the the downfall of RE today.

When prices rise to a point where the average wage earner is unable to even afford just the interest on a mortgage with even 15% down at the lowest rates in history, you know the gig is up. Imagine what will happen when rates are forced to rise and can no longer be held down artificially.

#122 Canadian Watchdog on 05.17.13 at 10:40 am

The Economist: Global Property Markets – Boom and Gloom

On this basis Canada’s market is especially vulnerable. A large bubble now looks set to burst. Home sales in March were 15% down on a year earlier. Buyers are in short supply. A recent poll showed that only 15% of Canadians are likely to buy a home in the next two years, down from 27% last year—the steepest decline in the 20-year history of the survey. After a big boom, the housing bust will be a wrenching affair.

Jump to interactive graph here.

#123 Grantmi on 05.17.13 at 10:42 am

Garth.. where have all the gold bugs gone? Long gone everyone….

#124 Grantmi on 05.17.13 at 10:43 am

#119 newb on 05.17.13 at 10:18 am

What’s a SS&G kitchen?

Stainless Steel & Granite

#125 yel on 05.17.13 at 11:19 am

“Landing” (soft or hard) in Calgary? Not likely.

#126 Bill Clinton on 05.17.13 at 11:30 am

Dam..The dry cleaners still didn’t get the stain out of my laundry.

#127 Pat on 05.17.13 at 11:37 am

Why is this kind of stuff still happening?

#128 Snowboid on 05.17.13 at 11:42 am

#82 cynically on 05.17.13 at 1:37 am…

Wrong, beer — not wine.

Sun, sand and sagging condos – what’s not to like about downtown Kelowna?

BTW, with sarcasm off – own in the US, rent in the Okanagan!

#129 TS on 05.17.13 at 11:44 am

“The numbers say again, there will be no soft landing.”

You bet, but you may not win.

#130 erebus on 05.17.13 at 11:53 am

SS&G –> Stainless Steel and Granite, you newb

#131 rosie "moving forward" on 05.17.13 at 12:03 pm

According to the Pigg woman and a realtor all we need is a couple of weeks of good weather. Are wild crickets louder than urban crickets?

#132 rosie "moving forward" on 05.17.13 at 12:15 pm

What should they do? I think they should sell. But memories are important too. Maybe they should think about it for a couple of years.

#133 Tony on 05.17.13 at 12:18 pm

Re: #8 None on 05.16.13 at 9:14 pm

That’s because prices have been falling since March of 2012. The only thing is prices aren’t falling fast enough yet so this downturn could last decades or several generations. Only time will tell but it looks like it’ll be at least forty years before another upturn in Canadian real estate.

#134 Humpty Dumpty on 05.17.13 at 12:33 pm

Dr. Hoof – Hearted

Study: GMOs linked to leukemia and anemia

World’s first GM babies born…..

The world’s first geneticallymodified humans have been created, it was revealed last night.

The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics.

So far, two of the babies have been tested and have been found to contain genes from three ‘parents’.

#135 Humpty Dumpty on 05.17.13 at 12:41 pm

Here comes the trade wars…..

China has urged the EU to stop raising new trade barriers or face consequences. This comes in response to EU punitive tariffs on Chinese solar exports and EU efforts to launch a probe into the country’s telecom products.

“The abuse of trade remedy measures in a reckless and arbitrary manner will do nothing for solving trade frictions and will severely dampen confidence in economic recovery,”

#136 Humpty Dumpty on 05.17.13 at 12:46 pm

Speaking of tin hats…

Usually, people claiming their governments are spying on them are considered merely paranoids or conspiracy-lovers. But in the last several years, it has become hard to really tell the difference between those conspiracy theories and reality.

During the last couple of weeks, India’s government has started rolling out what it refers to as the Central Monitoring System – a project that gives it access to everything its citizens do over the country’s communications services. The system tracks phone calls, SMS and online activities like chats and e-mails, and gives authorities a way to easily monitor citizens.

Such systems aren’t a new idea. The U.S has been considering such an idea since September 11, and maybe even longer. The problem with India’s implementation, passed as a bill after the Mumbai bombing in 2008 and again in 2011, is the lack of rules to prevent what privacy advocates are calling an “abuse” of the system. Many activists, both in India and abroad, are worried that the government will interpret the basic principle allowing it to use the tool for “reasonable security practices and procedures” as widely as it can, preventing anyone from criticizing it without facing allegations like treason or support of terrorism.

India, however, is not the only country trying to get the ability to monitor its citizens’ behavior on-line.

China and North Korea are the most known cases, blocking access to websites and logging all internet activity. It is believed the Chinese government even uses local tech companies exporting communications systems to other countries (i.e Huawei, ZTE) to spy on governments, companies and civilian life.

Last February, The Guardian uncovered a spying software developed for the U.S military in 2010 by Raytheon, called Rapid Information Overlay Technology (Riot). The software is able to track social network users, logging images, location etc. from Facebook, Twitter and other major internet services, mapping people’s travel habits and connections.

Have a great long weekend dogs….

I get out – lauren hill lyrics

#137 thiscountryisgoing down the toilet on 05.17.13 at 1:03 pm

“So why are prices not falling, if sales are? That’s simple. Same reason listings haven’t ballooned. Canadians are so invested in their houses, and have taken on such extraordinary debt in doing so, that they’d rather eat bugs than sell to a vulture. So sellers hold back on marketing their homes, hoping for better offers, while those who have listed hang tough for the biggest buck. This can go on for some period of time, and all the while we see the phenomenon of slowly rising prices on rapidly decreasing sales. ”

As a veteran of many real estate cycles I can say from experience that thew slow grinding sideways phenomena is nothing new. Spec house/condo builders will be crushed and there will be forced COC ( course of construction- commercial loan from the bank usually encumbered by personal obligations) loans (albeit at a lesser extent than when rates were 16%) being called…..but new product will dribble rather than gush onto the market due to rates where they are.

The HAM speculators have two motivators…one is lack of patience…the other is loss of face……the million dollar props will dribble onto the market.

Anyone hoping for a 50% drop by next Xmas is either had a lobotomy and can’t remember or they are too young and/or inexperianced to have weathered any previous storms.

Some of you may or may not know that the wording of a COC contract may oblige a builder to reduce asking prices 10% p/m until sold.

There will be no crash…as G has pointed out the lunch box crowd is invested in the houses and have the luxury of time to wait it out….the way the lunchbox crowd always do…..suffering for years of bad press under the weight of ugly mortgages.

Looking for a bargain…….follow specific builders projects and find out who’s weak…..or cruise sub areas where speculation was rampant and look for signs that weren’t there the day before……make super low ball cash offers frequently….thats how a vulture will make a buck long term…..people act emotionally and may explode today tomorrow. or the day after…you won’t know until you ask.

It used to be easier when a turk could phone an owner…now the majority of spec owners are overseas……but there are also greedy realtards to do the leg work…..and after all they get paid by the vendor. In a crisis…and I agree one is coming in the spec arena……cash is king…..and every realtard will throw a client under the bus for a quick closing to make a car payment…use that greed to your advantage.

The burbs are safe…as always the fringe groups at the high end are toast….see you in ten to fifteen years.

BTW…a friend in Valley Ranch just bought a house….built in ’97…..3 beds…3 baths…great location…pool…..2 level……$250……….suck it up Canada.

I hit an all time personal best …platter sized steaks were on sale in club packs for $3 bucks a piece……and you still want to protect the marketing boards?

#138 Tom Vu on 05.17.13 at 1:09 pm

#130 erebus on 05.17.13 at 11:53 am

SS&G –> Stainless Steel and Granite, you newb


Is that a Law Firm?

#139 Canadian Watchdog on 05.17.13 at 1:24 pm

So why are prices not falling, if sales are? That’s simple. Same reason listings haven’t ballooned. Canadians are so invested in their houses, and have taken on such extraordinary debt in doing so, that they’d rather eat bugs than sell to a vulture.

Not quite Garth. The problem I see is that everyone is using traditional means of measuring market conditions when our housing market has drastically changed over the last five years. What I'm referring to is our very opaque presale market, or forward market as economists call it in Hong Kong. A presale or assignment is equivalent to a long contract (with no hedge) in a futures market for forward delivery. In laymen's terms, a buyer is betting that home prices will continue to rise and has committed to taking delivery at a set price at a future date.

Any forward market has a direct and significant impact on the spot price (resale home price), the same way overnight trades on Globex Futures has on the S&P500 Index every morning on opening bell. A futures price (new home price) is an early spot price indicator, but more importantly, tells us what expectations are.

A spot and forward market are very different because the former is an actual physical asset while the latter is nothing but paper obligations to an underlying asset. The way these two markets are usually measured (oversimplified for the blog) is by looking at the premium or discount between the two and determining whether conditions are in cantango or backwardation. Basically, cantango means the future price is higher then the spot price while backwardation means the spot price is higher then the futures price. Whenever these conditions reverse, something major is happening in the market.

So how does this apply to real estate?

Going back to what I mentioned above: when everyone is referencing resale prices, they are only observing one market — the spot market — while the forward market is indicating something else. Chart

As a broad measure of conditions, the above chart for GTA is calculated using prices x sales to estimate total dollar volume for both markets. As can be seen, the right side of the black line (futures or forward market) is declining faster then left side (spot market) compared to a year earlier. What this tells us is that buyers are turning away from new homes because i) they don't expect prices to rise and ii) demand is shifting from new to resales since prices are now being discounted.

So while it appears that resales are somewhat holding steady, the forward market is, well, crashing. Because of this demand shift, we're likely to see problems erupt in new housing first, i.e., lower sales, rising inventory, delayed projects, speculators suing developers, etc. These knock-on effects (losses) will eventually spill over into the resale market causing inventory to rise, in turn, forcing all home prices downward.

Our real estate industry has adopted a method of selling without any knowledge about its risks and unintended consequences, and like all bubbles, the upside has its positives and feels great while it lasts, until a day of reckoning comes.

#140 FutureExpatriate on 05.17.13 at 1:27 pm

#87 …. ties to “Family Values” conservatives.


#141 FutureExpatriate on 05.17.13 at 1:28 pm

#115 Spring is bustin’ out all over…. ditto molten hot liquid magma….

#142 Ballingsford on 05.17.13 at 1:28 pm

The only way that I can see the young fella getting a soft landing would be for him slowly inch his way upward and the move sideways until he came to a door jamb. He could then grap the moulding at the top of the door with his fingers and then release his feet and then he’d be vertical. Then, he just has to let go and voila; a soft landing!

#143 frank le skank on 05.17.13 at 1:36 pm

#28 kenken on 05.16.13 at 9:44 pm
Are you new here? Lets assume your house was worth $400,000 in 2008.

$400,000 + 40% = $560,000
$560,000 – 20% = $448,000

In that case your house went up $48,000 in 5 years. That’s an increase of $9,600/year, congratulations, inflation is eating you alive. The boat you speak of is the titanic, you better hope you only lose 20%.

#144 Bill Gable on 05.17.13 at 1:42 pm

This is the kind of blarney that people believe?

Consider the source: Bob Rennie – “The Condo King”

“Vancouver’s real estate market in the next 15 years will actually be two separate markets financed by one chequebook, real estate marketer and “condo king” Bob Rennie told an Urban Development Institute audience in Vancouver Thursday.

Those two markets will be downsizing, aging baby boomers on the one hand and their first-time-homebuyer kids and grandkids on the other hand. But in both cases, the purchases will be financed by the baby boomers, who will be selling their fully-paid-for single-family homes, Rennie predicted.

>> Who are the boomers going to sell to, Rennie?


#145 Canadian Watchdog on 05.17.13 at 1:57 pm

Real dollars transacted figure from CREA.

Canada unadjusted sales dollar volume. ($M)

Jan-Apr 2012 $58,276.7
Jan-Apr 2013 $53,065.4

That’s down 9% or $5.2 billion, which means Canadian realtors’ buy-sell side commission have been slashed by 9% so far this year. I sure hope they saved those earnings and didn’t do something stupid like speculate in real estate.

#146 Dr. Hoof - Hearted on 05.17.13 at 2:08 pm

#136 Humpty Dumpty on 05.17.13 at 12:46 pm

Are you aware that much of the worlds telecom etc traffic goes through Israel ?

#147 Ogopogo on 05.17.13 at 2:23 pm

#38 Snowboid on 05.16.13 at 10:06 pm
Thank goodness the BC election is over. Within a day of the results, the economy in the Okanagan has taken off like crazy, and we can only thank the Liberals for retiring the debt and balancing the budget.


#148 happy renter on 05.17.13 at 2:24 pm

Buy a 4 plex in Phoenix for under $150,000 and have a cap rate over 10%.Please tell me if I can do that in Canada?Canada sucks for rental investing.

#149 Dr. Hoof - Hearted on 05.17.13 at 2:24 pm

My prediction:

A demographic wave ie GEN Xers and younger etc etc. will come through and create a major shock wave. The early BOOMERS will have ” For Sale ” signs growing cobwebs.

Detroit -itis will start to manifest itself, moreso when people realize the gold old days are in the rear view mirror and looking smaller.

The younger wave will become very politically active when they realize what has happened.

I don’t sense a Marxist swing….but something new will come out of the ether.

#150 Ogopogo on 05.17.13 at 2:26 pm

Could the headlong plunge in Toronto real estate account for why Mayor Ford is seeking comfort in the glass pipe?

Or maybe he’s just an emo goldbug who failed to heed Garth’s warning to cash in last fall.

#151 Canadian Watchdog on 05.17.13 at 2:39 pm

TO condos sold csv data for mid-May can be copied here.

No analysis needed here other then to say out of 1526 condos sold, 155 or 10% sold over asking.

#152 FleetwoodBoy on 05.17.13 at 2:42 pm

#143 Brilliant – it’s the best comment of the week. I just love it when these bubble-deniers come out with this stuff.
Just to update on my area, of the eight SFH that were for sale my area (most of them since Feb), two have sold, four are still on at same price, one has reduced $849 to $799 (but still no takers) and one is off the market. Interestingly the two houses directly opposite me are on sale now too, one at $699 and one at $749….but neither has a board up (and have been on for about 3 weeks)????

Another house two blockswas listed and sold in a week – don’t have any info on it, but a couple more have also come on the market three blocks away at +$1m. Nothing has really moved in the last 6 months and I’ve only seen two price reductions.

#153 Dr. Hoof - Hearted on 05.17.13 at 4:07 pm

Family member (senior)took advantage of the Leaky Condo Repair Loan from Gov’t @ 0% interest.

However, BC Gov’t apparently is calling in all these loans. aka pay them back and borrow from banks if you have to to do it.

This is gonna hurt a lot of people.

#154 rosie "moving forward" on 05.17.13 at 5:03 pm

This was a lot harder than I thought it would be. See how you do.

#155 jess on 05.17.13 at 5:18 pm

Pilot Flying J was the subject of an April 15 FBI raid after a whistleblower alerted federal officials that the company was not paying customers properly for rebates they earned for diesel fuel purchases

“managing the discount,” and “jacking the discount.”
“Some of ‘em, some of ‘em don’t know what a spreadsheet is,” Mosher said. “I’m not kiddin’. So, again, my point is this: Know your customer.¤.¤. If the guy’s sophisticated and he truly has gone out and gotten deals from other competitors and he’s getting daily prices from us, don’t jack his discounts, ‘cause he’s gonna know, okay?”

Special Agent Robert H. Root in the affidavit alleged a “conspiracy and scheme to defraud executed by various Pilot employees to deceptively withhold diesel fuel price rebates and discounts from Pilot customers … for the dual purposes of increasing the profitability of Pilot and increasing the diesel sales commissions of the Pilot employees participating in the fraud.”


Earlier court documents illustrate a pattern in the developer’s activities during the housing bust that fit what mortgage industry experts call a “builder bailout,” which entails inflating the value of homes to help allow developers to maintain a more robust line of credit during down times….

Seeno company paid $30K per loan to get mortgages for unqualified ……/feds-seeno-company-paid-30k-per-loan-g…‎CachedDec 21, 2012 – A federal complaint unsealed Friday detailed a kickback scheme … The scam helped the struggling home developer sell houses at … more than 1,000 loans totaling about $384 million, the complaint alleges. … In a criminal complaint unsealed last week, the FBI alleged the same Seeno company, Discovery …

#156 espressobob on 05.17.13 at 5:55 pm

#90 bill murray

Actually I’ve met the real Bill Murray. He’s a cool dude unlike your comment. Dis our commentator all you want, I’m sure he can handle ignorance. But please change your handle!

#157 Tom Vu on 05.17.13 at 6:09 pm

I tink Rob Ford should be left alone.

Being in Toronto = any mental state less than a coma would drive you insane

#158 Old Man on 05.17.13 at 6:09 pm

#142 Ballingsford – not so easy, as happened to me late at night in my bare feet walking in the dark down the hallway, and stepped on something. So I reacted and went down, and tried to get up with a sprained knee and went down hard against the wall. No way to walk or get up, and was bleeding, so took a nap for a few hours. I had to crawl to the nearest bathroom to boost me up by grabbing the door frame, just enough to walk into the bedroom and crash out. In the morning there was blood everywhere.

#159 Stuck in Vancouver on 05.17.13 at 6:13 pm

Garth! Totally agree with everything you’re saying about the bubbly overpriced real estate market in Vancouver. Currently renting a 1 bedroom + den but have a baby now and need more space for her and all her stuff (toys, etc.). What do u recommend we do for our living situation as it will probably be another 5 years before prices bottom out to the point it’d be worth buying! Renting a decent sized 2-3 bedroom condo/townhome in Vancouver will be around 1500-2000. Is that the best we can do while we wait for everything to unfold? Prefer to stay in Vancouver due to family and friends and rather not relocate to the burbs like Surrey.

#160 Asse on 05.17.13 at 6:22 pm

Today was likely an expensive day for the ‘Fords’. I wonder if they will claim it as a promotional video on their tax return?
Bet u it was the brother in law they shooshed away…..

Yes, I’ve read all the posts. Appropriate actions will be taken. Thankyou. I’ve more, but in a more appropriate setting. Be gentle with her. You know in her own way she did what she thought was right. Sad.

#161 TurnerNation on 05.17.13 at 6:25 pm

Anther Con cacus sucker steps down, from the Senate. Greetings from the Duke of D.

#162 Andrew on 05.17.13 at 6:28 pm

Garth, looks like everyone ‘s been doing realestate these days , even my tax account got a realestate license a few yrs ago and has been pushing it .. part time. Here’s an email I recieved one of many .. looks like the bubble is alive and well. so much for what F knows .. hope it blows up in his face..


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You will have the opportunity to invest or live in triple AAA real estate at prices far below what will be offered to the public.
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where so screwed !!! when politcans let this mayhem continue

#163 Ballingsford on 05.17.13 at 6:29 pm

Earthquake today because of Duffy stepping down or because the SENS are putting their skates down?!?!

Garth, do your magic with an early post! You have the power to influence the outcome!

Wish I had that power; I’d be rich to be able to influence outcomes by the timing of a post.

It’s the long weekend; let’s have some fun blog dogs and Go SENS Go!!!!!!

#164 Saskiboy on 05.17.13 at 6:52 pm

Throw paint on it, spin it forward and reverse, Canadians will realize we are not a island. They will know financial distress and all the attendant emotions that come with an arrogant fall. It will be a fall without grace, as most Canadians care not for grace, morality, ethics, etc..we are a country made up of the screwed and the screwers. I am afraid that Smoking Man may be the only one on this blog that knows whats really going on. Fortune favours the bold. Unfortunately.

#165 dilan on 05.17.13 at 6:53 pm

Man I am a Vulture but I had lost weight waiting for an opportunity but the only I see is Sold signs every where in toronto and vicinity.

#166 Saskiboy on 05.17.13 at 6:56 pm

I invest in silver. Deadringers out of New Zealand. Note for Garth, check em out. The best skullrings on the market. Your hog will appreciate it. Thank me later.

#167 espressobob on 05.17.13 at 6:59 pm

I thought ‘malathion’ was banned? It seemed the goldbugs got snuffed! Oh well.

#168 Daisy Mae on 05.17.13 at 7:22 pm

#119newb: “What’s a SS&G kitchen?”


Well, newb, let me tell ya….’stainless steel appliances and granite countertop’.

Try to keep up! :-)

#169 Dienekes on 05.17.13 at 7:28 pm

73 Saskatchewan Roller
I am not caught up in the hype, it’s everyone that is believing Regina and Saskatoon is different that is caught up in the hype.
And just because we are not as Stupid as everyone else does not mean we should accelerate our stupidity to catch up.
Resources are nothing, if they meant anything, Africa would be the place to live. Our oil is worthless and will remain so for a very long time. Do not be fooled by everyone who is saying pipeline capacity will help, it will not. The bottleneck is refining capacity, not pipelines. By the time any pipeline capacity is added, sky rocketing US production is going to be enough for those US refineries.
Why is Canada not building Refineries?? I just don’t understand it.
As far as mines creating jobs, it’s a fantasy. Our contracts are primarily in mines, and once a mine goes into production, it takes very little manpower to operate it. Trying to find a person in an operating mine is like trying to find sales associate in Canadian Tire. You go to newer mines in Nevada, nobody is around.
As far as that glorified flashlight, the synchrotron; if it is creating so many jobs, why is the university eliminating all the different departments administrative positions and combining them all into a pool of support staff whom the department heads now have to phone if they need them. Is that to create jobs, or eliminate them?
Jobs, wages are not driving the house prices in Saskatoon, cheap credit is. That credit is now stretched to the max and shrinking, thus house prices with it.
Perhaps Saskatoon hasn’t caught up with the rest of the country in terms of house values, that just means it will ride the downhill slope a little later. So yes, it will eventually catch up with the rest of the country.

#170 Roial1 on 05.17.13 at 7:39 pm


#171 Ronaldo on 05.17.13 at 7:55 pm

#123 Grantmi – ”where have all the gold bugs gone?”

They are loading up the truck. The stuff is on sale right now. Didn’t you know? Buy low, sell high.

#172 Old Man on 05.17.13 at 7:58 pm

#168 Daisy Mae – an SS&G kitchen might be something else, as has a darkside, and a bit kinky, but will say nothing as Mr. Turner will delete me, so will accept your interpretation in full, and bet my bottom dollar that you would love to know lol.

#173 jess on 05.17.13 at 8:03 pm

Churnalism US

CBS News’ Major Garrett confirmed that it was a GOP source who leaked the altered emails.


..”The public has a right to know about the communications of legislators, just as it has a right to know what emails the governor or a city councilor is sending out to discuss public business.” Public officials are elected or appointed to do the people’s business, but what happens to transparency when they do that business through private channels.”

e.g. Madison – Five Republican legislators this week settled an open records lawsuit by two liberal groups by agreeing to turn over emails from their personal accounts to and from a conservative organization that works with corporations to draft legislation.

oct 30 2012
5 Wisconsin lawmakers settle suit with groups seeking ALEC emails

As part of the settlement, the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison and the national group Common Cause will receive $2,520 in attorney’s fees and costs from the state and the lawmakers will turn over any records from their email accounts that fit the groups’ open records request.
That’s the real scandal here — without robust disclosure rules, the big spenders roam free while the grassroots get caught up in red tape.

#174 Tom Vu on 05.17.13 at 8:09 pm

Mike Duffy stepping down?

Very surprised..Canadian politicians are whirled renounced for the honest and integrity.

I nominate Rob Ford…with Mr. Dressup and Friendly Giant next in line.

#175 happy renter on 05.17.13 at 8:37 pm

Canada’s cental bank won’t raise rates because they want a lower dollar for our exports.Big goverment,large deficits,weak economic growth and big stimulus is are goverment mandate.We need the opposite of what their doing to have a strong economy.

#176 Dave on 05.17.13 at 8:51 pm

“Canadians are so invested in their houses, and have taken on such extraordinary debt in doing so, that they’d rather eat bugs than sell to a vulture.”

So true and so funny!!

They’ll have to cave to us vultures eventually. We are very patient……

#177 Not Spending on 05.17.13 at 8:57 pm

Great story, explains a lot of what’s happening in my part of the world.

I live in Western Australia and this is exactly what’s happening here. Reduced properties on the market from same time last year (-46%), reduced sales (-19%) but prices have gone up about 6% in the last 3 months.
I just couldn’t figure it out. I’m seeing multiple bids, bids over asking and the RE cartel claiming we’re on the road to recovery.
And when the mining boom winds down, there is nothing in WA to sustain the high property prices.

#178 Asse on 05.17.13 at 9:05 pm

Andrew and fellow like minded folks. You don’t get it. If any of this is true I would rather that family be whole than have you punished.
Rumors, gossip, innuendo be dammed my friend. Theirs a reason I’m still around 11 years on, and no I’m not and will never be A like minded fellow. I don’t use the union. I don’t see the point because I take all responsibility for my actions.
Funny, I thought you were Harold and banned from the web. Guess I was wrong. Sorry.