The iStorm

ice modified

Did every house in Toronto just fall a little in value?

Unlikely. But confidence probably did. After all, an ice storm which has a quarter million families freezing in the dark for what may be a week in the midst of winter came just five-and-a-half months after a shocking flood filled the subway and freaked commuters who watched water snakes swim around their train. This is not what people expect when they pay an average of $804,830 for a detached house in 416.

When the beleaguered CEO of Toronto Hydro faced the media Monday morning, with streets littered and wires strewn, he blamed the environment. As bad as it may seem, he said, it would’ve been worse if they’d not already been aggressively trimming trees and installing hardened cables, as part of an overall ‘climate change strategy.’

Yikes. What if he’s right? Is it worth a lifetime of indenture to buy a bung in Etobicoke if the lights keep going out, or pay $2 million for a so-so-place in Kits when it frigging snows? Maybe Canada is just a weird, over-priced place, like the rest of the world keeps telling us.

Maybe it’s already changing, says Nik Nanos.

The jolly pollster I got to know as I was flaming out of my political career (“You,” Nik said to me one day, as the prime minister threw me under the bus, “are in big trouble.”) now tracks consumer confidence for Bloomberg. The latest results are of interest.

Confidence has been dropping in all of the four areas Nik tracks – personal finances, the economy, job security and real estate. As of today the number of people who believe house prices will rise over the next six months has fallen to just under 35%, the lowest in a few months. Presumably that means two-thirds of Canadians think real estate will flatline or decline in 2014, which is a radically different sentiment than the realtors would have you believe.

For example, just last week Re/Max scored headlines everywhere saying, “Canadian housing markets are on solid ground,” and 2014 will being “exceptionally healthy” conditions yielding a 2% jump in national sales and a 3% spurt in prices. Why the gushing optimism? The realtors claim the coming year (that would be next week) will erupt with economic growth second only to that of the US and a rise in manufacturing, thanks to strengthening global conditions.

That would be news to the Bank of Canada, which is warning of potential deflation, and the IMF which is worried our manufacturing sector has shrunk more than an accountant after a polar bear swim. In other words, the Re/Max dudes are making it up.

More important, what do average people (who spend the money) think is going to happen? The number who believe the economy will improve in 2014, says Nik, has dropped to just 20.3%. So that means 80% expect the same or worse. No better is news just 18.8% of Canadians feel they’re better off financially than a year ago, while 66% feel “secure or somewhat secure” in their jobs.

That may not be surprising after the string of lousy layoff news we’ve had in the past few months, with armies of employees punted in the retail, energy, manufacturing and technology sectors. But it’s hardly the environment in which you’d expect people to be lining up to borrow $700,000 for a house buy in Scarborough or Surrey.

And what do you make of the latest report on Vancouver’s real estate market? Long-time analyst Will Dunning says it’s, “clearly in a state of transition, from an environment of very rapid growth of house prices to a period in which price growth will provide much less impetus to housing demand, and to job creation.” And how many net new jobs have emerged in the region in the last 18 months, asks Dunning? Zero.

Weak economic growth, revised mortgage rules and higher long-term home loan rates are an unhappy mix. “In combination, these factors amount to a substantial negative change for the housing market outlook in the Vancouver area,” his report says. In fact, Dunning expect condo construction to fall by half in 2014 – and not just in the Lower Mainland, but Toronto and Montreal as well.

So there you go. So much to digest. Like Rob Ford fighting climate change. Our first irony storm.

130 comments ↓

#1 Rodney Mallaley on 12.23.13 at 7:18 pm

Food for thought, thanks for the amazing blog

#2 Yahoo on 12.23.13 at 7:27 pm

First!!! – Ice Storm, then repair, more debts

#3 Pete on 12.23.13 at 7:27 pm

References to “disturbing sexual undertones” clear now?

#4 WiseCrack on 12.23.13 at 7:31 pm

“Maybe Canada is just a weird, over-priced place, like the rest of the world keeps telling us.”

– so true, life is artificially supported in these cold climes by mans greed. God did not plan such huge populations here. Every family we import from South east Asia contributes to Global warming ina big way

#5 Marco Polo on 12.23.13 at 7:32 pm

So, when you’re on the 15th floor of your condo, in your tight legged hipster jeans and vintage t-shirt..

Do you feel cold when the power fails for a few days, how about throwing a log on your fireplace, no, can’t do? it’s a trendy electric fireplace?

Seems there’s some shortcomings with this pricy RE. A cabin in the woods can still be warm in an ice storm, and often without the same pricetag.

#6 prairie person on 12.23.13 at 7:36 pm

It’s been happening very slowly but it is happening. A house on a side street from me has gone up for sale. Not a single viewer. Across the street a former grow op in what was a nice middle class house (this is a good neighbourhood) is going to be demolished. A nearby house didn’t find a buyer and the real estate agent got it at a bargain basement price, renovated, tried to sell it, didn’t succeed and is living in it. People nearby bought, got a so called home inspector to check it first, ha, waste of money. Big mortgage and they’re up against the wall because a real inspection of the house by a professional builder comes up with 100,000 in repairs. Buy to the max and then find you’ve been snookered and you are on the hook for 100,000 extra. Sleepless nights. Three years ago,houses in this neighbourhood were selling within 24 hours.

#7 Nemesis on 12.23.13 at 7:37 pm

Finally! Now I know what my missing elf is up to.

ThankYou, GT.

Oh yes – that reminds me… the Mattel Toy company… Rather a lot to answer for – don’t ya think, SaltyDogz?

From CosmeticTopiary to LustyPropertyVirgins – everything you ever wanted to know about the ConspicuousConsumption ‘CounterReformation’ is ‘hiding’ in plain view, right here:

http://www.barbie.com/?utm_source=mattel.com&utm_medium=global%20header&utm_campaign=2011%20new%20header

#8 HD on 12.23.13 at 7:42 pm

@#4 WiseCrack on 12.23.13 at 7:31 pm

“God did not plan such huge populations here. Every family we import from South east Asia contributes to Global warming ina big way”

So tell me,

What did she/he plan for?

Best,

HD

#9 Bill Gable on 12.23.13 at 7:46 pm

Toronto and eastern climes, note to self:

‘Global warming’.

Rigggght.

Oh and a fun, frigid to core, fact.

The shadow banking system is so rife in China, the State media has been asked to ‘tone it down’. Numbers like $500 TRILLION bucks, off books, added to the bouncy $381 trillion in Derivatives, in the West – all, smelling of rat= big old interest spike.All of a sudden it’s Black Swanishly, 10%, for 7 day money in Shanghai!

Let’s look for deflation and inflation, depending on sector.
Grow food. Get out of debt and run = be liquid and diversified.

It ain’t the end of the world, ok – but, remember – there were people that thought George W. Bush could add, without using his fingers, too.

#10 etobicoke on 12.23.13 at 7:53 pm

Second power outage of the year of more than 2 days. Left town for christmas, my taps are left on hoping a pipe doesnt burst. Put my investments (hockey cards) high up just in case things get liquid.

#11 FATHER on 12.23.13 at 7:56 pm

THANK YOU GARTH TURNER
for your time and effort you put in this blog, for us. Thank you for your kind and even your rude teachings you teach us, I have learned so much and respect you for your hard work. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones and all the blog dawg’s.

#12 A Yank in BC on 12.23.13 at 7:59 pm

Sunny and 10C here on Van Island. Played golf today.

#13 Raf on 12.23.13 at 8:04 pm

Finally first?

#14 Paul on 12.23.13 at 8:06 pm

Interesting story,
About four or five years ago I was considering buying a house. But it did not feel right and the price was not right but my real estate agent kept pushing me with every story why I should buy. So we parted ways.
The RE agent was a high flyer, very well known city wide, his phone always ringing and drives a Benz. Never heard from him, until now.
Just received a email saying Merry Christmas and to give him a call if anyones planning on buying in the New Year.

I remember him on the talk radio news giving advice years ago; strange that he is looking for business.

#15 john mounfield on 12.23.13 at 8:06 pm

Thanks to all the wonderful hydro workers who are raking in the big overtime bucks. No one ever thanks me for collecting their crappy garbage everyday!!

#16 Smoking Man on 12.23.13 at 8:09 pm

Quads,:) you really like to torment me don’t you garth. You know I’m fighting the crazy voice in my head.

Oh well leased it’s legal now.

Your photo shop amazon could have done a better job to synic up the view screen.

#17 Soma on 12.23.13 at 8:09 pm

#8 HD
What did she/he plan for?

Obviously the opposite of what the Wisecrack stated – LOL

#18 Spiltbongwater on 12.23.13 at 8:17 pm

I am golfing on Christmas day again. Will be third year in a row doing that.

Christmas is a wealth destoyer for most, but since the golf course is closed, it means we play for free!!

#19 Shawn on 12.23.13 at 8:27 pm

CONFIDENCE DROPPING?

Confidence, power lines, and other things may be drooping in Ontario. In Alberta, not so much. I am just back from the newest Costco in Alberta in an Edmonton ‘burb.

No lack of confidence there. A cornucopia of well-priced retail. Now I know how farmers must have felt when they came to the big City department stores a 100 years ago or 60 years ago. It’s hard to impress people these days, but yeah, Costco does it for me.

P.S. Ralph I responded to you about Conrad on yesterday’s page, but I am guess I am a day late and a dollar short. Short version: Long Live (Lord) Conrad Black!

#20 DaleFromCalgary on 12.23.13 at 8:32 pm

The rule in financial markets is that trends go on longer than you think they will. The Dow Jones continues to rise because the Fed is still buying $75 billion of bonds and mortgage-backed securities (instead of $85 billion). Calgary house prices stay up because the tradesmen who built them are the ones buying, not, as popular belief would have it, petro-executives and engineers (who are being outsourced to Texas and China).

#21 jess on 12.23.13 at 8:34 pm

from the renegade economist
Sep 13, 2013

FOUR HORSEMEN is an award winning independent feature documentary which lifts the lid on how the world really works

Four Horsemen – Feature Documentary – Official Version
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fbvquHSPJU&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PL07AE1842FAD6AC6E

#22 Freedom First on 12.23.13 at 8:41 pm

I feel empathy for the families/people in Ontario, like in Toronto, Hamilton, and all other affected areas that have had damage/loss of power due to the ice storm. Hardship for many I am sure.

No disrespect intended, but I can’t help but think of the ice storm being another example of how things can happen in life that a person just can’t see coming, until it hits. Knowing the consumer debt levels in Canada, I am sure there is no doubt there is families affected who are maxed out on their debt levels and living payday to payday, as well as others who are in even more dire straits due to a variety of circumstances. May you have friends and family to turn to who can help you, and this being Christmas time too, makes it especially difficult in so many ways. I am hopeful that many people, the families affected, and the families able to help their loved ones/fellow Canadians, can come together in the true spirit of Christmas. I have been blessed in my life to have been able to help my family members who were hit by a similar event, and rendered homeless for a period of time. It seemed to me as if I gave little, but to my family members I helped, they were so grateful that I was truly humbled, as I realized I believe I received far more from the experience than they did.

That being said, for myself, be it an ice storm, housing crash, stock market crash….etc., this, and Garth’s Blog, are reminders to me that at all times, it is extremely prudent and wise to always be: Liquid, Diversified, Balanced, Debt Free, and not financially vulnerable as much as humanly possible, but to always put Freedom First. As RE/Max has once again proved, “Re/Max is looking after Re/Max, so, You, look after You and Yours.

#23 Al Berta Drill Hadist on 12.23.13 at 8:50 pm

DELETED

#24 pinstripe on 12.23.13 at 9:12 pm

Rental vacancy rates are very low in Edmonton and Calgary. Renters can expect a rent increase after the new year.

To rent or buy?

The renters will get nailed both ways.

#25 Mark on 12.23.13 at 9:13 pm

Houses not falling? The data is pretty clear that prices on ‘identical houses’ have been falling for much of the past year. The rising ‘headline’ numbers only made possible by the shifting sales mix.

#26 not 1st on 12.23.13 at 9:20 pm

#4 WiseCrack on 12.23.13 at 7:31 pm

Then do your part for god and mother nature and don’t breed.

#27 Smoking Man on 12.23.13 at 9:25 pm

So over the next few days we will abandon our wishful bias and agendas.

We will say kind things about each other all the while lying to our kids about Santa.

That’s ok, I am a big supporter of bull shit.

So what am I to say to Garth?

Thank you for turning me into a raving blog-alcoholic. Void of an off switch and no filter.

You’re encouraging words to me back when I was semi normal hooked me.

Damn you Garth Turner, Damn you.

You have created a monster.

Marry Xmas or Happy Holidays blog dogs.

Please chose which ever is more offensive.

#28 loquat on 12.23.13 at 9:30 pm

Thanks for your blog.

As a Canadian in my early 30’s who spent most of my 20’s abroad Vancouver has felt hard to live in.
It’s expensive and frankly I don’t see the value.
Jobs aren’t plentiful and everyone my age seems to needs $$ from their folks to buy.

I have chosen to bid my time and rent at no more than 1/4 of my take home. I am saving for a future, 10 years down the road, where ownership makes more sense.

#29 T.O. Bubble Boy on 12.23.13 at 9:50 pm

The iStorm is what you’d get if Apple bought Blackberry… along with the iBold, iCurve, iTorch, iPearl, and iForgot.

#30 Cyclist on 12.23.13 at 9:50 pm

12 Yank – right on. Rode yesterday. little bit of snow still on the trail. All gone today

Merry Xmas all.

#31 Steven on 12.23.13 at 9:52 pm

The only climate change people should be concerned about is global cooling as in a big or little ice age.
One means higher heating costs and bad growing conditions for up to 500 years. The other means the end of Canada for 105,000 years. In the light of all that it doesn’t make sense to put too much money into real estate in Canada. May be in Mexico but not in Canada.

#32 Kingarthur on 12.23.13 at 9:56 pm

“Soggy” Vancouver is looking pretty attractive yet again. Nine degrees and sunny two days before Christmas. And the ice and snow are up in the mountains where they belong.

#33 World According To Garth on 12.23.13 at 10:12 pm

Yes because all those overheated global warming branches fell off from years of being dried and dead.

Oh wait…..

—————————————————————

When the beleaguered CEO of Toronto Hydro faced the media Monday morning, with streets littered and wires strewn, he blamed the environment. As bad as it may seem, he said, it would’ve been worse if they’d not already been aggressively trimming trees and installing hardened cables, as part of an overall ‘climate change strategy.’

#34 bigtown on 12.23.13 at 10:15 pm

Is there any employee of a PRIVATE COMPANY able to report to his hireups that he or she is not to blame that all the problems are due to CLIMATE CHANGE…do people pay $50,000 to get an MBA that introduces them to politically acceptable excuses for failure?

#35 the jaguar on 12.23.13 at 10:37 pm

To #6, Prairie person……care to name the neighbourhood you refer to? Or the city? Or the quandrant of the city? There is nothing like the testimony of those present at the scene of the crime…

#36 Jimers on 12.23.13 at 10:38 pm

PBS NOVA: Mind Over Money
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYXD-_AMstQ

In this video they compare horny home buyers to lizards. Good stuff.

#37 Yepthat's me on 12.23.13 at 10:53 pm

#22 – Sorry, Freedom First, but I don’t agree that an ice storm is something people couldn’t have seen coming. People should be aware of the risks and hazards around them, and take steps to reduce their impact. It isn’t due to a lack of messages; I’ve worked in emergency management for 15 years, and can tell you that it appears most people can’t be bothered to take action to take care of themselves. They then expect to be rescued, usually by the government. Denial abounds in this country, on so many levels; the similarities between emergency management and finance are striking.

#38 raisemyrent on 12.23.13 at 10:59 pm

@27 Smoking Man
Best post yet, mate!

Happy holidays to you and all the blog dogs.

They sure feel good as I guiltlessly drink a second Texan airport pint with month-to-month rent, no debt, a job, and a solid portfolio (however in its teens).

#39 Zeeman1 on 12.23.13 at 11:00 pm

The climate has changed for billions of years, and we know this due to geologic records and even recorded history.

Carbon is an inert element that does not react with other elements, for those that lack basic scientific understanding. This means co2 is armed herring being used by those that know better.

Please see this link for an elegant explanation. Garth, please pay attention as you believe in the current baseless global warming scam.

http://www.crichton-official.com/essay-stateoffear-whypoliticizedscienceisdangerous.html

Are storms new?

#40 Tiger on 12.23.13 at 11:05 pm

So you thought you were the best , In hi school, hung with beast! means the best, yup!
who are you now fool !
Just a smoking man!

#41 jan on 12.23.13 at 11:15 pm

#31 Steven on 12.23.13 at 9:52 pm
The only climate change people should be concerned about is global cooling as in a big or little ice age.
One means higher heating costs and bad growing conditions for up to 500 years. The other means the end of Canada for 105,000 years. In the light of all that it doesn’t make sense to put too much money into real estate in Canada. May be in Mexico but not in Canada.

Amen brother !!!!

#42 Smoking Man on 12.23.13 at 11:22 pm

#40 Tiger on 12.23.13 at 11:05 pm

Not sure if your post was an insult or complimentary.

Give you benefit of the doubt.

Oxoxox

You are a female right?

#43 Obvious Truth on 12.23.13 at 11:24 pm

Our elf is jealous.

Merry Christmas Garth and thanks for the venue and the voice.

#44 45north on 12.23.13 at 11:30 pm

So, about this ice storm.

It wasn’t quite like Ottawa’s and Montreal’s 1998 storm. We had 100 hours of freezing rain, and up to 100 millimetres fell. Toronto had 40 hours and 25 mm, Phillips said.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/storm+forces+rewrite+Weather+Stories+list/9318164/story.html

#45 unbalanced on 12.23.13 at 11:32 pm

Ice storms come and go every year. Does it matter if I rent or own? No electricity for everyone. Plain and simple. I would think that people who live in these zones would, could and should have backup. Its a no brainer.As Forest says : Stupid is stupid does.

#46 Relocated Aussie on 12.23.13 at 11:32 pm

After moving back to Canada in March and unsuccessfully trying to find a house that meets my criteria and price range, I am hoping that the market will normalise in regard to prices and the number of new listings. When will this happen? The market in Canada is just as crazy as Australia. Both need a sudden shock to get things readjusted price wise as well as sellers needing to lower their expectations.

#47 Old Man on 12.23.13 at 11:38 pm

I want to share with you all a story, as am connected with hundreds of chat rooms in one site. There is this woman about 34 years old who is mentally ill, and her parents in USA are very wealthy as have seen the home with google mapping. This is sad as she is in love with Peter Pan, and gets trashed day and night about this all.

I have no idea what her parents are going through, as they are taking care of her, and Peter Pan comes into this room to play her, and go in often as a friend and she says hi Vegg, and asks me is that Peter Pan, and say no as it not so. I will never lie to her about this all, but she is living in a dream world. So, if you think in your dreams that you have problems in life better think again.

Now her parents have big money, and what if they did not? Think about having a daughter who is a bit nuts, and what would you do in life? The peeps in this chat room are always making fun of her because she is mentally ill, so go in on occasion to tell them off on a daily basis to leave her alone.

#48 TurnerNation on 12.23.13 at 11:47 pm

Hmm art imitating life at the bunker?

House in Toronto means Four More years of FordNation buffoonery. I swear the Liberal are being made to take the Big Bath now, before elections, in order for the most perfect Con trifecta allowed: H, Tim “Who-dat?” (who’ll read the Sun newspaper as speeches) and Big F.
An ethos of Tykes, Naves, and Challenged Orators.
Or, out of the mouth of babes.

Cramdown: you are saying not every Proletariat Chariot should seek 407 passage but only certain Station-in-life Wagons.

#49 Basil Fawlty on 12.23.13 at 11:50 pm

“The only climate change people should be concerned about is global cooling as in a big or little ice age.’

Where do people get these ideas? Global mean temperature continues to rise toward 2 degrees above the 1750 level, when the industrial revolution started.
The Arctic and Antartic ice continues to melt away. Massive receding of ice in Greenland and of glaciers world wide. Ocean acidification, the Great Barrier Reef one half gone, since 1970. Massive methane vents, now over a kilometer wide in Siberia continue to expand, as the permafrost melts.

Just because you get a cold storm, does not mean you have to believe the Koch Bros propoganda. Climate scientists told us 20 years ago that some areas would cool and others would warm, but don’t confuse weather with climate. Check out the website Nature Bats Last, we are in trouble.

Merry Christmas and be nice to your neighbours.

#50 Smoking Man on 12.23.13 at 11:53 pm

They say it’s a bad thing. BOZZE

I have gotten rid of more shit people in my life with liquid courage than any other form of strength. I have encouraged my wife of thirty years to post on Facebook when she’s smashed.

He now have a much smaller social circle, but ones that love us to death.

I suggest you all try it.

#51 Carpe Diem on 12.23.13 at 11:53 pm

Is a Tiger similar to a Cougar?

#52 Young & Foolish on 12.23.13 at 11:57 pm

OK, housing is expensive … so sell/rent and hand your money over to the guys who think you’re a “muppet”. They’ll make sure you are liquid all right.

Record debt levels means people are spending money … maybe on your business? Are you sure you want them to stop?

#53 Shawn on 12.23.13 at 11:58 pm

THE EARL JONES PONZI SCHEME

“Jones’ criminal case heard he never invested a penny of the money people gave him.”

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

Why would he? investing is risky. At least he did not take that risk with people’s money.

I suppose he used to tell people: “Give me your money, and you will never have to worry about it again”.

Reminds me of all those schemes where you put money offshore to avoid income tax.

Maybe he heard that the whole stock market was a Ponzi scheme and decided to just take a short cut.

Nice of Royal Bank to pony up. Or perhaps their insurer.

#54 KommyKim on 12.24.13 at 12:00 am

RE: #39 Zeeman1 on 12.23.13 at 11:00 pm
Carbon is an inert element that does not react with other elements

Oh, stop it, you silly carbon based lifeform.

#55 CD on 12.24.13 at 12:16 am

Toronto needs to raise their property taxes and should have done ages ago. One of the many reasons people in other regions in Ontario (like London or Windsor) hate Toronto is that in a lot of cases they pay less property tax overall and own homes worth three times the amount.

When an underpass floods or some trees knock out a large portion of the power grid, officials don’t blame themselves for not improving the infrastructure years ago (or the infrastructure policy). Toronto, you need to double your property taxes and then 1) get a new subway line or two; 2) improve your power system, like bury cables, like make portions redundant; 3) put more money into social programs – there is just way too many homeless and/or addicts on the streets and we would all benefit if they had serious help. Someone elsewhere in the province should have to pay for this

#56 DocInWaitingRoom on 12.24.13 at 12:26 am

Great living down town. Garage is still heated. Power on. Million dollar crap granite with no sense for backup power, efficiency and alternative energy I guess santa brings coals for them.
Only way I will buy a home is if its first efficient and second has energy generation. All else including kitchen counters are for geniuses. Make sure you pay extra for that trim… same ignorant people honking at me in my hyrid for hyper milling
Im guessing that is why I am getting fast Internet

#57 Greetings Earthlings on 12.24.13 at 12:30 am

More free advise.

Never, never, never pay retail.

#58 screwed on 12.24.13 at 12:33 am

In much of Europe the power lines are where they belong. Underground and out of harms way in any storm, caused by wind or rain or ice.

Canadian infrastructure in several cities and burbs is bullshit compared to what less money will get done in Europe which lies on the same latitude and has some of the same weather patterns.

Long power outages are pretty well unknown and unheard of.

Why not address the real issue? The Canadian form of Central Planning is backwards. Oil and gas are the one trick pony of the Canadian economy. Everything else takes a backseat. Especially apparent with the current federal and several provincial governments talking all day and night about pipelines, transport by rail, tar sands, oil platforms and so on and so forth.

The rest of the world has no idea how Canada operates and what Canada stands for. IF they did, they wouldn’t come and want to live here. Takes a few years to figure this out.

#59 Paully on 12.24.13 at 12:44 am

Maybe if Tree-hugging-former-Mayor Miller had left the management of private trees on private property in Toronto to the private citizens that owned them, there would not be so many trees down in the storm?

#60 Holiday Elf on 12.24.13 at 12:50 am

We’re in the middle of a real estate perfect storm a long time in the making and Garth still thinks the crash won’t be dramatic. Mass psychology brought us this irrational exuberance and the same mass psychology will prevent an “orderly retreat of prices”. There will be nothing orderly about how our economy will rebalance itself.

I for one am just waiting for the inevitable deleveraging and the reallocation of capital and labour to more appropriate places. The youth of this country are pissing their future away while greedy old men insist on playing this game of musical chairs for just a bit more profit before the music stops. Just a bit more. Just one last hit.

I wonder though… will this blog get even more spicy when the time comes? Will Garth resist slapping people with the “I told you so” stick? Will Smoking Man ever stop drinking? Tune in tomorrow for the show that never ends.

#61 Marco Polo on 12.24.13 at 1:03 am

I’ve read Garth’s repeated expectations of a correction, not a crash.

I note today’s announcement of Evan Siddall, formerly of Goldman Sachs, to head CMHC. This choice wasn’t made in error, its timing is obvious, particularly now with Toronto more worried about candles and coleman stoves than condos any longer.

As a survival tip; you can build a campfire on a granite countertop, and use Ikea furniture as kindling if you need to…

The Bank of Canada is concerned the supply of new condo units may not be absorbed in Toronto. As we can all agree, it hasn’t been a free market in Canadian housing for many years now.

An important question; what will the government do, to ensure frozen would-be buyers continue in this spring, continue moving up the ladder, post ice storm. Who in Toronto would want a condo for winter camping any longer?

#62 Julia on 12.24.13 at 1:49 am

Warm and snug in my rental downtown. Had to rescue my mom today from her freezing dark house in North York surrounded by fallen icy branches. That house and my mother who refuses to leave it are a constant source of worry. Message is, if you are a parent and you think you are doing your kids a favour by keeping the house for them, don’t.

#63 MEANWHILE IN FRANCE on 12.24.13 at 1:55 am

Merry Christmas from France. May you not freeze too much in Canada.

#64 Jon on 12.24.13 at 2:01 am

I wish all the best to the familys stuck without power, food and or presents, take time to give to those in need if youhave few extra bucks. Take care and i wish you all a happy holiday, you too smoking man!

#65 Tallet on 12.24.13 at 2:07 am

@14 Paul

Did you buy and make 50% gains over the past five years when first instructed to purchase?

#66 Blobby on 12.24.13 at 2:47 am

@39 “Zeeman1”

Wow.. Just when i thought i’d read it all on this site.. Just when i thought i’d read the most dumb comment ever.. Someone comes along and tops it.

Well done!

My mind is now blown…

I think it’s brilliant that you get your science from the bloke that wrote Jurassic park though…

#67 Mike T. on 12.24.13 at 3:14 am

I am one of the 18.8%!

Yay me!

It should be noted that I kinda sorta pretty much follow the advice of this pathetic (scotch fueled?) web-blog.

Merry Christmas.

#68 Freedom First on 12.24.13 at 3:16 am

#37 Yepthat’s Me

Perhaps someone could help you read my comment. I also made what you said very clear in my post. Take care, Freedom First.

#69 Tony on 12.24.13 at 4:06 am

Re: #24 pinstripe on 12.23.13 at 9:12 pm

Both cities remind me of Detroit. Both Edmonton and Calgary can’t even fund themselves without massive property tax increases. Next step bankruptcy just like Detroit.

#70 Tony on 12.24.13 at 4:14 am

Re: #13 Raf on 12.23.13 at 8:04 pm

That elusive “Furst Poast” maybe next time.

#71 Buy? Curious? on 12.24.13 at 4:40 am

Hey Garth, is this what you meant by a “Slow Melt”?

Call in the Army!

#72 Observer on 12.24.13 at 4:41 am

You think your rich now. Just wait til you get your insurance bill. This freakin ice storm will cause lots of $$$. And its all going to be paid by your insurance bills.

Face it Canada, we don’t have climate like Hawaii. Thoughout history Canada has always had cold weather.

Thats why the Americans think we all have igloos.

We are different. Winter-Pig is at -25 probably with wind chills of -45. Try wearing your bikini’s in that weather.

#73 Burnaby Boy on 12.24.13 at 4:45 am

Ice storms are not new. They have happened before. But don’t bury the cables. Keep hanging them on poles where trees can fall on them. And people, please shut up as I don’t want to hear the same whines again. Sorry for being a grouch.

#74 Observer on 12.24.13 at 4:46 am

41 jan on 12.23.13 at 11:15 pm

No jan. Its Global warming, after all thats what the carbon bill is for. While Al Gor is lighting up his freakin manson like a Xmas Tree. He’s now changes it to climate change. Pif Pif…

Its funny how the paid scientist now admits they were paid to say the BS just to get funding.

While they all knew Mars and Jupiter and the rest of the Solar System had warming temperature.
The Earth was alot warmer back in the Dino Days. With a bigger Ozone and Atmosphere too.

Your right with all the polution in the air it will deflect the sunlight back in space and never hit the ground. Causing cooling, just like in the ice age.

#75 Bob Rice on 12.24.13 at 6:11 am

Is the Cdn economy really doing that badly?

http://business.financialpost.com/2013/12/23/tsx-rises-loonie-surges-on-upbeat-gdp-data/

#76 ponerology on 12.24.13 at 8:09 am

Regarding ice storms. The insurance industry did a study about 5 years or so ago and published an article in an underwriting mag (wish I could remember where). The gist was that there is a band between Montreal and lake Huron where it is pretty much a given that there will be ice storms every couple of years. There claim was it was only a matter of time before we got unlucky enough for something like this or worse and that this type of thing should not be a surprise and will probably happen multiple times in our lifetimes. There conclusion? Ontario and Quebec should pony up to bury the powerm lines to minimize damage. Ontario’s conclusion? We don’t believe it is as bad as you say and this is too expensive. Reminds me somewhat of the transit debate. The doomsday scenario is ICe taking down the main lines that feed most of Toronto and south which thankfully didn’t happen

#77 economictsunami on 12.24.13 at 8:43 am

This is just one of the many problems when you engineer a juicy market and then allow reality to resettle; leaving a dried up pulp behind.

U.S. mortgage applications fall as refinance hits five-year low: MBA

“Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell for a second week and hit a 13-year low as mortgage rates rose due to a bond market sell-off following the Federal Reserve’s decision to pare its bond purchase stimulus in January, an industry group said on Tuesday.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/24/us-usa-economy-mortgages-idUSBRE9BH0IK20131224

QE distorts data.

We interpret the new data as a positive development.

We remove the stimulus, as it is seen as no longer necessary.

New economic data sours = Japan-ification

My prediction for government leaders and the BOC?

The same as always:

Act surprised.

Show concern.

Do nothing.

(All the best in 2014 G and fellow posters; as we march along in our continued quest to find the Holy Grail…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eMkth8FWno )

#78 Bob Rice on 12.24.13 at 9:25 am

@#76

Interesting… makes sense.. a comment from a European relative visiting this summer – “You still have above-ground power lines?”

#79 Zeeman1 on 12.24.13 at 9:51 am

#66 bobby.

Crichton is a fully trained surgeon and medical doctor, trained in the scientific method.
He also had a long history of speaking and contributing to scientific panels, etc.
So, what was wrong about what he said?

I’m waiting for your answer, genius.

Did you even read his article I linked?

#80 gladiator on 12.24.13 at 10:13 am

@76 ponerology:

If you look at Toronto’s satellite map, you can see the high-voltage power line stretching across the city’s north side from West to East. I live near it and during the ice storm we could enjoy a light show like no other: there were lots of flashing from short-circuits, accompanied by explosion-like sounds. I went for most of the night – before and after we lost power. Wifey and I were thinking that some of those wires may be down and that the city will lose power for days if not weeks – it looked armagedonnish to us.
Those who decided not to bury wires into the ground should be put under them during an ice storm and then should be asked to decide again.

#81 Mel on 12.24.13 at 11:01 am

It is easy to put your power lines under ground in a country with a large population and land mass the size of PEI

#82 Penny Henny on 12.24.13 at 11:01 am

#62 Julia on 12.24.13 at 1:49 am
Message is, if you are a parent and you think you are doing your kids a favour by keeping the house for them, don’t.
——————————————————-
Translation- We are too scatterbrained to maintain a house, please just leave us lots of money.

#83 Merry Chaos from Haarp on 12.24.13 at 11:11 am

global warming didn’t fly
climate change didn’t fly
hey, let’s try ‘weather events’,
haarp weather events=insurance claims= premiums up= profits up, yes it’s the haarper economic miracle on Yonge St

It would appear the evidence of climate change is irrefutable. The economic implications cannot be ignored. Except by the knuckle-draggers. — Gartth

#84 frank le skank on 12.24.13 at 11:12 am

This ice storm really exposes the shortcomings of staffing a skeleton crew and being cheap. All these companies (including Toronto Hydro and the city of Toronto) who are leaner and meaner are not able to handle emergencies like they use to. It all stems from customer demands for lower prices. Customers for big telcos have the same issue (cheapness), they nickel and dime for lower prices on services. Then the same customers are scratching their heads when they experience longer down times because of the lack of resources available due to lower operating costs. I will haven’t seen a Toronto Hydro truck in Scumborough yet. Bah Humbug!

#85 rosie "moving forward" in the knowledge that, "this won't end well" on 12.24.13 at 11:28 am

I don’t think they still want to “do this”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPIxrzmatq0

#86 Stickler on 12.24.13 at 11:35 am

” Disrupted transport networks and power cuts wreaked havoc in Britain and France on Tuesday, one of the busiest travel and shopping days of the year just before Christmas, after hurricane-force winds and torrential rain lashed the region.”

…amazing, other parts of the world have storms that interrupt power too! Must be climate change!

One storm does not make a pattern. But a pattern does. I guess Toronto Hydro (and most utilities) has a climate change strategy for a reason. — Garth

#87 Penny Henny on 12.24.13 at 11:37 am

It would appear the evidence of climate change is irrefutable. The economic implications cannot be ignored. Except by the knuckle-draggers. — Gartth
——————————————————-
ooh Garth make funny, me go hunt dinner now

#88 Chris L. on 12.24.13 at 11:42 am

Garth, I can’t believe you buy into ‘climate change.’ It’s basically an error in reasoning. Of course the climate changes, it’s what it does, every second of every day.

If the “experts” can’t agree on the direction, warmer or colder or find evidence of a human cause, then there is one less thing to worry about.

You preach and preach about all the things we can and should worry about, an ever changing climate isn’t one of them. Global warming, errr Climate change as it’s been presented is bogus. A non-event. NEXT!

I’m just a layman (as you, probably) but I don’t see experts disagreeing much anymore. Why would we not adapt for change? — Garth

#89 Richard on 12.24.13 at 12:03 pm

I read the Dunning report. Oddly you forgot to mention his main point which is that he previously, and everyone else still, underestimates the demographic demand for condos. But since that goes against your condo owning hipster bashing mission in life I guess it’s not of interest to you.

I read your blog with interest because as an investor in both real estate and other asset classes it’s always good to hear the contrarian argument. But I wonder if you will ever admit you were wrong

Nobody disputes that naive virgins will continue to buy condos, but that does not make them a worthy investment, as Dunning asserts. As for admitting to being wrong, I already did. I assumed more people enjoyed independent thought. — Garth

#90 RVP on 12.24.13 at 12:10 pm

I am in Vancouver and I remember the ice storm of 1998. I had to take care of some business and the company I was dealing with had its head office in Montreal and it was shut down for about month, if I remember correctly. That delayed my business here in Vancouver. I remember thinking how shocking it is the the economic heart of Canada could go without power for so long and it could effect people all across the country even in Vancouver because the head offices are all back east. Absolutely Ontario should have seen this ice storm coming. Southern Ontario and Quebec are pretty much the only region of Canada that gets ice storms on a regular basis. The 1998 ice storm was the warning that went unheeded. The GTA is the economic heartland of Canada and the 1998 ice storm put our country on notice about the vulnerabilities of our national heartland’s electrical system to ice storms and the government and hydro authorities seemingly did nothing over the past 15 years to prevent a repeat of the destruction of 1998. They do need to put the electrical cables underground there, as they do in many countries. Someone who said on this blog that natural hazard planning is similar to financial planning is absolutely correct. We have scientists who have studied these things for years and we have reams of data. We know with certaintly that ice storms are going to keep happening in Southern Ontario from time to time, we know they are severe enough to take out power lines, we even know the statistical probabilities of how often they occur. The fact that the governments of Ontario and Canada and the hydro authorities out there have done nothing to make the electrical network more resilient from ice storms speaks to gross incompetence on the part of those authorities–they are simply shirking their mandate to provide reliable power to the central most important part of Canada. The tie in to real estate is that it underscores how overvalued the real estate prices are in Ontario–when people pay these nosebleed prices for real estate it is reasonable to expect a reliable source of electricity and that the electrical utilities in the region have taken steps to make the infrastructure resistent to the weather that they know is going to come out that way every so often.

#91 Dual Citizen in Canada on 12.24.13 at 12:11 pm

Climate change is inevitable, be it man made or natural forces. The earth doesn’t care, tectonic plates shift, sunspots change weather patterns. We are only witnessing a small event in the life of the planet. What’s more important is to have government make proactive changes to allow residents to live comfortably now and into the future. Put money into infrastructure to help us through these types of events.

#92 Mixed Bag on 12.24.13 at 12:13 pm

#55 CD on 12.24.13 at 12:16 am

“3) put more money into social programs – there is just way too many homeless and/or addicts on the streets and we would all benefit if they had serious help”

Used to know a guy from northern Ontario who came to Toronto to live on the streets. I’ll venture that he’s not the only out-of-towner on the Toronto streets. Should his original municipality pay for the social programs assisting him? Toronto?

How about all the out-of-towners who drive into the city for work creating traffic and congestion, and pollution for Toronto neighbourhoods, while their neighbourhoods have cleaner air? Should those folks’ municipalities be taxed for the increased traffic and pollution loads they contribute to in Toronto?

How is fair determined?

Not so cut and dry, is it?

#93 Chris L. on 12.24.13 at 12:15 pm

“I’m just a layman (as you, probably) but I don’t see experts disagreeing much anymore. Why would we not adapt for change? — Garth”

Experts do in fact disagree. The 9/10 who were supposedly in agreement has been fabricated. There is no conclusive evidence beyond simple environmental fluctuations to explain what, if anything is happening. Just big government money being spent on biased environmental research.

While we should prepare for the future, if it deviates drastically from the norms we know and changes too fast, either cold or hot, then the only protection will be guns and ammo i.e. Armageddon.

Climate getting too cold or too hot is likely not something we’ll need to worry about in our lifetimes. But if it is…perhaps moving to the equator would be advisable because global cooling is far more dangerous than global warming. Food.

Ninety per cent of experts were ‘fabricated’? That was credible. — Garth

#94 omg on 12.24.13 at 12:19 pm

The Canada economy will be dragged from the brink by growth in the US and rest of the world.

No DEFLATION and NO BIG CORRECTIONS ON HOUSING.

Sorry folks, you’ll have to wait for a major UP-TICK in MORTGAGE RATES to see any move down in house prices in Canada.

And as the last 5 years have shown, NOBODY, but nobody, can tell you when INTEREST RATES will be going up.

Mortgage rates went up in 2013. They will rise again in 2014. Try to keep up. — Garth

#95 Deadmountain on 12.24.13 at 12:26 pm

When I went into comp sci over 10 years ago, they all hyped it up as if this would be the information age.

Now I know, this is not the information age, but the age of mass immigration and housing / real estate age….. also financialization.

The housing culture will continue. Most people have sunk all their wealth into their house, so wont the government that is a reflection of them just increase the immigration rate to guard against any price drop ?

Either way, yes I have bought into the housing culture, and why not ! Its an important necessity right next to food.

#96 Derek R on 12.24.13 at 12:27 pm

#88 Chris L. on 12.24.13 at 11:42 am wrote:
Of course the climate changes, it’s what it does, every second of every day.

Er, no. You’re getting confused between climate and weather. It’s the weather that changes every second of every day. Climate changes more slowly.

#97 Ralph Cramdown on 12.24.13 at 12:41 pm

I never understood the public’s fondness for white collar criminals. Somebody robs a gas station for a few hundred bucks and a plurality of people will say that he should go to a high security prison for a long time, and light on the rehab. But if a highly intelligent, clean-shaven shirt-and-tie guy with a briefcase fraudulently relieves thousands of people of millions of dollars, a year in a minimum security facility with tennis courts seems harsh?

Dennis (Tyco International) Kozlowski (~$100mm) could be granted parole this January.

Conrad Black* ($85mm) has done his time and has been welcomed back into our country under the non-citizen convicted criminal express visa program by our “law and order” government.

Martha Stewart (small potatoes, but definitely knew better, as usual for insider trading defendants, claimed there were no victims) got five months in a country club for insider trading while a member of the NYSE’s board.

Steven Cohen of SAC Capital reached a civil agreement to disgorge 10% of his profits and not do it again after demonstrably running an insider trading hedge fund for years.

“Kenny boy” Lay’s (Enron) conviction was vacated as it was under appeal when he died, and that put the kibosh on civil suits against his estate.

I invest in stocks in spite of, rather than because of current corporate governance. Poison pills, staggered board elections, prior notice required for independent director nominations, shareholder votes being taken as merely advisory, “Independent” directors who aren’t, sitting on compensation committees which pick much larger “peer” companies to benchmark officer compensation against… Much as foretold by JK Galbraith decades ago in books such as The New Industrial State. Management often sees its duty not to shareholders, but to keeping itself well-fed and entrenched.

* http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=e088d77e-c3a5-4dc8-be04-db72025445af

#98 World Traveller on 12.24.13 at 12:50 pm

I don’t think they still want to “do this”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPIxrzmatq0

LOL, I love this video, captioning win, Judging from the kitchen they have a pretty good sized house already. Nothing like having two women gang up on some poor tax farm drone, hahah.

#99 World Traveller on 12.24.13 at 12:51 pm

Merry Christmas to everyone on GF!

#100 Stoopid people need smart meters on 12.24.13 at 1:04 pm

One storm does not make a pattern. But a pattern does. I guess Toronto Hydro (and most utilities) has a climate change strategy for a reason. — Garth

Two floods last summer in Calgary and TO are a pattern.
Hydro ‘strategy’ is to keep you on a collar and leash and empty your wallet: roll over, retire our debt, beg, beg nice. Haarp is the military industrial complex’s way of rattling the cage to empty the pockets.

#101 Ralph Cramdown on 12.24.13 at 1:06 pm

#88 Chris L. — “If the “experts” can’t agree on the direction, warmer or colder or find evidence of a human cause [for climate change] …”

I think your reasoning is backward, lil’ buddy. The question as originally stated was “can we pump billions of tons of carbon dioxide and other chemicals into the atmosphere without any effects?”

It’s ironic that we used to think of the oceans as being so vast that we could dump any amount or type of waste into them without ill effect. Now we’ve got a crackpot who shows up every few days on this forum claiming that radiation from Fukushima may cause the whole West coast of North America to glow… And the paper that this theory is based on posits that the increased observations of dead animal life in one area of the deep Pacific might be caused by… global warming.

But you’re not unique. I live in a city full of idiots. A few days ago some of them were quoted in the news that their Christmas might be vegetarian/ruined this year because electricity was out and their fridges/freezers were experiencing local warming; the outside ambient temperature was below zero. Today I learn that “Carbon monoxide poisoning calls in Toronto jumped to 110 a day from the typical 20” Seriously? 20 cases a day, normally, of people who can’t keep themselves supplied with oxygen?

#102 TEMPLE on 12.24.13 at 1:08 pm

#79 Zeeman1 on 12.24.13 at 9:51 am

Crichton is a fully trained surgeon and medical doctor, trained in the scientific method.

A medical doctor and a Ph.D. are two different things. Medical doctors are not scientists and they haven’t received any more training in the scientific method than any other science undergraduate. Also, and I am surprised you need this pointed out, but medicine is not climatology.

Now, to your first comment:

#39 Zeeman1 on 12.23.13 at 11:00 pm

Carbon is an inert element that does not react with other elements, for those that lack basic scientific understanding. This means co2 is armed herring being used by those that know better.

I am with Blobby on this one, that is impressively stupid. You really have to look up what is meant by “carbon” in reference to emissions and how shorthand like that doesn’t mean elemental carbon. Maybe you should also rant that greenhouse gasses don’t exert a warming effect on the planet because the planet is not a greenhouse? You are playing at semantics while the house is burning down.

In any case, do you feel used by the neocon pro-oil agenda? Because you should. You are essentially the yappy lap dog of the people who are wrecking the world for their own personal gain. It would be funny except for the fact that people like you (i.e., right wing echo chambers) are allowed to vote.

TEMPLE

#103 45north on 12.24.13 at 1:13 pm

buried power lines: here’s some advantages of having power lines above ground:

– cheaper
– cooler
– resistent to flooding
– cheaper to inspect and repair
– it’s what we got

#104 Just some guy on 12.24.13 at 1:13 pm

Government at all levels is trying to respond to climate-related events. If anyone is interested, check out the home page of Emergency Management Ontario. I am not saying they are doing it right but at least they are trying, or at least they want to be seen to be trying…

As a freelance IT consultant, I would say that about 80 percent of my business in the last five to six years has been related to business continuity, disaster recovery, infrastructure, and other efforts to operate, maintain, and restore IT systems that may be affected when “stuff” happens. And it is not just government as most larger and a lot of mid-size companies have realized that they have to get their “stuff” together.

On the home front, I am seriously considering installing a good backup power generator. Yes, it is one more toy although I seriously doubt the wife would believe me if I said that a Road King is a part of that system. Really, Honey, I just ride it into place, attach the belt drive, and let ‘er rip.

#105 Nemesis on 12.24.13 at 1:19 pm

Hey! Where did my Elf go?

The AfterParty?

http://youtu.be/2vFOzG3GYqo

#106 Blacksheep on 12.24.13 at 1:20 pm

“It would appear the evidence of climate change is irrefutable.-Garth”

“I’m just a layman (as you, probably)-Garth”
————————————–
Agreed. Natural climate change is happening, like it always has.

Carbon or green taxes, applied to the Cattle or industry will do nothing to influence said natural climate events. Yes, additional costs to infrastructure and insurance
will be required.

Any C.C. believer by default, must hate the oil sands and it’s financial benefits?

IF, man made climate change ‘believers’ are convinced we need to reduce Co2 production, then put industrial limits on it’s output.

Not a tax, No buying your way out via credits, a limit. Period.

Watch that Idea sink like a lead balloon.

This is just a long planned, global tax scheme.

Merry Christmas to Garth & Dogs.

#107 Only love matters on 12.24.13 at 1:27 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IS5dCkGXZI

#108 Lurker on 12.24.13 at 1:36 pm

#87 penny
Ha ha good one!

#109 Shawn on 12.24.13 at 1:41 pm

economictsunami at 77 frets about U.S. mortgage applications being down…

Meanwhile my Toll Brothers (luxury home builder) stocks were up 4.7% yesterday as there was positive news yesterday about the home builder industry.

“When you are good with a hammer everything looks like a nail.”

When you are a doomer, all signs of economic revival in the U.S. are simply due to the FED pumping money and to unsustainably low interest rates.

For those who have been in U.S stocks the past two years the average gain has been 45% (S%P 500). For Canadians that was further boosted nicely above 50% by the decline in the Canadian dollar, if one is measuring wealth in Canadian dollars.

It’s going to heck a heck of a drop to wipe out those gains. Dooming has not been a wise investment move.

#110 Shawn on 12.24.13 at 1:54 pm

UNDERGOUND POWER LINES

In Edmonton the power lines in the City have been underground in new subdivisions since right around 1960. Burbs are underground too, although not sure when that started. Not a lot of overhead lines left except in the oldest neighborhoods. Downtown all underground.

Thing is in Edmonton you just scratch the ground to make a trench, no rocks.

It does work. In 24 years of living in Edmonton area I think the total numbers of outage hours would be far (far) less than an hour per year. It’s unusual to even get a momentary outage of the kind that makes some clocks start flashing.

We get some freezing rain but probably not the kind Ontario and Quebec get. A bigger issue is the odd late September snowstorm that hits when trees still have most of their leaves. This has happened.

Also I suppose we simply don;t have trees in many areas especially southern Alberta.

I am sure Ontario and Quebec will work on the problem. It’s not easy. Once a line is built it’s pretty hard to think about moving it underground.

As always a disaster brings action, it’s human nature.

#111 Son of Ponzi on 12.24.13 at 2:08 pm

Shawn,
What else, than the FEDs pumping money and ridiculously low interest rates, has sustained the stock market advances?
Fundamentals?
Chinese are declaring 2014 as “The year of the Doomer”.

#112 frank le skank on 12.24.13 at 2:11 pm

#102 45north on 12.24.13 at 1:13 pm
– cheaper
– cooler
– resistent to flooding
– cheaper to inspect and repair
– it’s what we got

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

Scalability is another benefit.

Downside
– looks like shit
– susceptible to poorly trimmed trees

#113 Son of Ponzi on 12.24.13 at 2:14 pm

#109
homebuilding is up again.
Well, is this not what caused the collapse in the first place.
American and Canadian economy mostly based on RE.
If you live by the 4×4, you’ll die by the 4×4.

#114 Derek R on 12.24.13 at 2:15 pm

#106 Blacksheep on 12.24.13 at 1:20 pm wrote:

Any C.C. believer by default, must hate the oil sands and its financial benefits?

Not at all. The oil sands are a pinprick, not worth bothering about from a CC standpoint. In fact burning all the World’s natural gas and oil put together would barely make a difference to climate change.

The big villain for man-made global warming is coal burnt in electrical power stations. That’s where we need to make a reduction and that’s where people worried about climate change should be concentrating their efforts.

#115 Ralph Cramdown on 12.24.13 at 2:43 pm

#111 Son of Ponzi — “What else, than the FEDs pumping money and ridiculously low interest rates, has sustained the stock market advances?
Fundamentals?”

Yep. If you don’t know that the S&P 500 companies made more dollars in profits this year than they did last year, and are expected to make more this year than last year, they you’re reading the wrong stuff.

Also, they’ve been buying back shares, so each remaining share gets a larger share of the profits.

Also, investors are more confident than they were a year ago, and are willing to pay more for a dollar’s worth of earnings.

Besides, whay say that the stock market wouldn’t have gone up so much this year if it weren’t for the Fed doing ‘x,’ when the Fed did exactly what it said it would? Were you fighting the Fed all year? How’s that workin’ out for ya?

#116 Ralph Cramdown on 12.24.13 at 2:44 pm

Um, “expected to make more next year than this year.” I’m blaming the eggnog.

#117 Zed on 12.24.13 at 2:51 pm

Merry Christmas and a very profitabe new year.

Storms happen, so do stock markets crashes or house prices declines.

Prepare yourselves by diversifying your investments between locales and asset classes.

Thanks again Garth.

#118 bentoverpayingtaxes on 12.24.13 at 3:09 pm

We may see Canadians feel the brunt of local economic conditions……while the stock market continues to forecast global recovery. The market after all is a forward looking indicator and cares not for the foibles of the unwashed. The news out of China is encouraging…growth at 7.5% will mean many more HAM buyers coming to Vancouver while the locals shiver in the dark conditions of a Canadian downturn.

There will be a few years ahead where Canadians watch the elite civil service jet off to the Caribbean and Chinese nationals buy their homes at discount prices…and wonder where it all went wrong…..Merry Christmas.

#119 Not 1st on 12.24.13 at 3:18 pm

When a “soft” city like Toronto or Montreal has some weather trouble well it’s climate change and we should all jump in some half cooked scheme to address it

Maybe some easterns should visit the prairies some time. We have storms like that every week. We have had -50 in the winter and +34 in the summer here for 100 yrs. just about all of this month has been -40 overnight. None of our infrastructure even flinches. You have no idea what weather is until you have lived in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina or Winnipeg.

Congratulations. Stupidest, most wildly prejudiced comment of the day! We are sending you a special GF magnifying glass so you can enjoy in-depth views of your own magnificent, self-reliant western navel. — Garth

#120 eddy on 12.24.13 at 3:20 pm

The real disaster in Toronto is the Dept of Urban Forestry.
In the city there are massive trees on city property most of which are on the front lawns of unsuspecting homeowners (city usually owns several feet onto the owners front lawn). Hydro lines run through the trees everywhere. This Hydro guy on the news who said they have been doing extra trimming before the storm is full of shit. Regarding trees, the city won’t act on complaints, they just wait till it collapses. Then they want you to claim the damage on your auto or household policy, they will not pay, that’s their policy and this guy form hydro is just covering his and the city’s asses in advance of the deluge of small claims court cases. remember where you read it, the city will not pay unless you sue them.

You as owner cannot trim their tress, even with your own tree service and aorist report. A city with trees is more beautiful but the owners who are impacted ,In fact they have taken away your rights to your own backyard with their “private tree bylaw” believe me its worse than it sounds and I hope it’s not coming to your town , if it does, fight it.

#121 Shawn on 12.24.13 at 3:21 pm

STEP BACK NON-BELIEVERS (thought the rain has already come)

Son of Ponzi just above asks me:

Shawn,
What else, than the FEDs pumping money and ridiculously low interest rates, has sustained the stock market advances?
Fundamentals?

******************************************
Yes, fundamentals. S&P 500 earnings are up.

And yes low interest rates support higher P/E ratios.

To what extent has FED actions supported both and to what extent are earnings and low interest rates therefore unsustainable? I don’t know and neither does anyone else.

When the Fed buys bonds from banks they credit the bank’s reserve account at the FED. For the most part the banks have left those funds on deposit at the FED where they earn 0.25%. The notion that this somehow pumps money into stocks is unconvincing. It does push down interest rates by creating demand for bonds, no doubt about that.

If the market believes that 30 year bond yields would stay at about 4% for the next 30 years then stock P/E would be at least 25. (Why buy a bond that pays a fixed 4%, if you could buy stocks with an earnings yield of 4% where the earnings grow over time?).

Believe what you want. Let’s check back every year at Christmas. Five years ago I was here agreeing with Buffett that stocks were a buy for the long term. What were you saying five years ago?

#122 James on 12.24.13 at 3:33 pm

Nobody disputes that naive virgins will continue to buy condos, but that does not make them a worthy investment, as Dunning asserts. As for admitting to being wrong, I already did. I assumed more people enjoyed independent thought. — Garth

When will you admit or realize that all this talk about a ‘potential’ correction is no more then a condo problem and NOT an SFH. SFH is the safest longterm bet. Leveraged and tax free. Beats the market hands down.

There is absolutely no evidence to support that. A balanced, diversified portfolio has run the wheels off housing for decades. — Garth

#123 frank le skank on 12.24.13 at 4:00 pm

#119 Not 1st on 12.24.13 at 3:18 pm
When a “soft” city like Toronto or Montreal has some weather trouble well it’s climate change and we should all jump in some half cooked scheme to address it

Maybe some easterns should visit the prairies some time. We have storms like that every week. We have had -50 in the winter and +34 in the summer here for 100 yrs. just about all of this month has been -40 overnight. None of our infrastructure even flinches. You have no idea what weather is until you have lived in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina or Winnipeg.
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Spoken like a true Hillbilly!!

#124 Squatter on 12.24.13 at 4:02 pm

Congratulations. Stupidest, most wildly prejudiced comment of the day! We are sending you a special GF magnifying glass so you can enjoy in-depth views of your own magnificent, self-reliant western navel. — Garth
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Very funny Garth! I see you already started to distribute the Christmas presents!
Merry Christmas Garth and the Dogs.
Thanks Garth for your not-so-pathetic blog!

#125 Old Man on 12.24.13 at 4:06 pm

The year was 2002 and had a guest at my residence from Europe. He could not believe the hydro wires being above ground on poles that looked so ugly, as where he was from all were placed underground. It is a fact the hydro wires in Canada cost less to repair, as if they are underground with a problem costs so much more. This is an economic equation that Canada must look into, but such should have been done decades ago.

#126 Doug in London on 12.24.13 at 4:07 pm

It would appear the evidence of climate change is irrefutable. The economic implications cannot be ignored. Except by the knuckle-draggers. — Garth
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Makes sense to me, no argument there. What I don’t get is why, in this day in age when there’s more knowledge and information than at any other time in history, so many people still don’t get it.

#127 John on 12.24.13 at 4:15 pm

Garth:

Thanks for the time you put into a great blog. The Doomer stuff gets a bit much in the comments but really appreciate your insight and sense of humour. All goes as planned might need your services in 2014.

Merry Christmas,

John

#128 Shawn on 12.24.13 at 4:42 pm

ASHAMED TO BE A SHOPPERS DRUGMART CUSTOMER

I am proud to be a Costco shopper.

As to other stores, not so much.

I was at Canadian Tire yesterday and they were selling a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner for $269, 40% off. That’s great, except the regular price at Costco was about the same or less (we bought one the other week). How does Canadian Tire explain this to anyone who bought at their regular price of $449? I own a lot of shares in Canadian Tire and made big money on them this year and sold half on the way up. I love that they are a Canadian success story going back to about 1923. But too often the prices are too high. Their auto service department is very convenient and I have had good satisfaction with that.

I am just back from Shoppers drugmart. Okay my fault for going last minute. But I paid $9.99 for a pretty normal looking Christmas card. I grabbed a 12 pack pf pepsi and no prices were to be seen. No wonder, $6.99 at the till as opposed to more like $3.99 at the grocery store. Same thing happened a while back I grabbed some two liters and they were double price. Okay, my fault for being lazy but this feels like they are taking advantage.

We all love to buy what is on sale but we’d all be better off to get back to more everyday prices (that can be trusted) and a lot less sales. The only way to regularly have 40% off sales is to regularly price too high in the first place.

I am just tired of this crap. Yeah, I will go to Costco more often. For everyday little items also Dollarama can’t be beat.

#129 economictsunami on 12.24.13 at 7:40 pm

#109 Shawn

“economictsunami at 77 frets about U.S. mortgage applications being down…”

I usually avoid replying to someone who so totally and utterly misses the obvious point.

You’re welcome…

#130 Chris L. on 12.24.13 at 9:08 pm

#96 “Er, no. You’re getting confused between climate and weather. It’s the weather that changes every second of every day. Climate changes more slowly.”

Now you’re just splitting hair.

If Garth and everyone else wants to worry about 0.75 oC over 100 years, be my guest. If I feel worry, I’ll ramp up ammo collection.

Those scientists that Garth refers to as “in agreement.” are not representative voices – they are lock step in the pockets of government grants and research. Global climate change is the biggest conspiracy going.

The earth’s climate has been changing since the beginning of time. Watch gonna do about it?