The tree police

SHRUB modified

Cindy thought it would be a cool idea to carpet her lawn. So she did. Astroturf. Synthetic grass. Always green, forever clipped, no lawnmower, no trimmer, never a squirrel hole and no watering. Just green, crisp and neat.

Besides, on her Toronto street the green space in front of most homes is barely 15 feet across, once the parking pad is factored in. The urban soil is dodgy, and sunshine rarely gets through the canopy of boulevard trees. Growing healthy grass is almost a lost cause.

“So screw it,” she said. “We went for the plastic.”

A year later Cindy and Toby had another kid and decided to add to the back of the house. Fine. Drawings, permits, committee of adjustment approval – it all got done, but the project would mean the removal of a tree. Not that great a tree, either. And a private one – owned by them, in their back yard.

Enter the tree police.

The city sent a couple of guys to look at it, and determine if the slaughter could occur. In the course of that visit, every piece of vegetation on the lot became subject to inspection. Including the rubber lawn. And while it passed, the small amount of synthetic grass Cindy had installed around the boulevard tree on city property in front of their home did not.

As a condition of securing their building permit, she was ordered to remove the carpet, replace the dirt beneath and sod it, at her own expense. “I can live with that,” she says, “but not the tree tax.” Cindy and Toby were required to write a cheque for $4,000 as a ‘security deposit’ on the boulevard tree which sits on land they don’t own. If it croaks, they lose the money. If it lives for a few years, they get it back.

“This is disgusting,” she says. “Worse, it’s extortion. Where am I supposed to get an extra four thousand?”

People without houses lament the fact they can’t paint the walls chartreuse, plant a medical marijuana garden or ‘make the place my own.’ They often have absolutely no idea of the financial burden of home ownership, or the straitjacket most urban owners live inside of. On Cindy’s street, for example, old mutual driveways are too narrow to pilot the SUV down, but the city controls who can turn a lawn into parking. You can’t move an interior wall or finish your basement, let alone plant a single support for a new back deck, without a permit and a fee.

Wood-burning fireplaces are essentially banned. Fences must be three metres in height, and no shrubs can poke above them. If a garage falls down, it cannot be replaced. Of course, any city employee can come and spray paint instructions on your grass, along with the gas and hydro guys. In a country where citizens have no constitutional right to own property,  you can even have your whole house seized for an on-ramp or a park.

By the way, the people on Cindy’s street (where unremarkable houses on 30-foot lots cost a million) pay about $500 a month in property tax. They pay the city a garbage tax, as well, plus a water bill. Electricity charges are slated to rise by about 40% over the next few years, and if anyone decides to move, there’s double land transfer tax in Toronto. The average moving tax on this street is about $35,000.

Homeowners pay considerably more for insurance than renters, which is to be expected. New policies routinely come with a home inspection these days, and that normally results in a list of defects. No repairs, no insurance. No insurance, no mortgage.

Of course, houses have to be heated and cooled, which requires a furnace and air conditioning unit, which need regular maintenance, filters and duct-cleaning, lest your kids like inhaling carpet fibres and tasty dust mites. By the way, if the furnace is over four years of age, it’s probably an energy pig – which is consequential, given the increases in oil and gas prices. Outside, the garden needs attention, because the city can order you to remove any noxious weeds. Fail, and they’ll send some guys in brown shorts to do that job, and send you a bill. Don’t pay, and it goes on your property tax.

Same with the sidewalk out front. If you don’t clear the ice and snow within twelve hours of a storm, the fine is $100, plus a $25 surtax. Each time. And bugs. Watch the little suckers. Whole swaths of trendy, in-demand areas of Toronto, for example, packed with those slanty semis that hipsters love to bid for, are laced with termites. Getting rid of them can easily cost a few thousand bucks when trenching is involved. And there’s no point even starting if your infested neighbour refuses to spend the dough.

Did I mention the bed bugs? Or the white grubs in the lawn that are caviar to raccoons? The cute little guys have sharp snouts and can turn your turf into a miniature version of France during World War One in a single night. Of course, you can always come home one evening to see the bungalow next door has been demolished and a giant, smelly yellow machine is sitting on top of the bricks. Then you have a pleasant year ahead of listening to construction workers talk about boobs.

For this you hand over all your money, then shoulder gobs of debt. And pity the renters.

180 comments ↓

#1 Chris on 07.10.14 at 5:51 pm

No wonder I live in the country. The first time my friend told me that he had to remove the flowers he had sitting on his steps because they didn’t meet ‘neighbourhood standards’ I thought I blacked out and woke up in Moscow. Not so, apparently as long as you keep your mouth shut about the government, you can do almost whatever you want. And we think THEY’RE the communists! Glad to see more reasons never to move to Southern Ontario.

#2 TurnerNation on 07.10.14 at 5:58 pm

‘Agenda 21’ madness. People have no rights. In 2018 all taxis must be wheelchair accessable in Toronto. This has to mean replacing small effecient hybrid cars with large minivans.

#3 Montellino on 07.10.14 at 6:01 pm

Fourth!! :)

The one problem with the rent vs buy, that I’m currently experiencing, is finding a decent house for rent. Condos? No problem, 100% comparable units. Houses – not so much. The selection is just not there. They are beat up and outdated and there is a smelly dude in the basement (or you are at mercy of your landlord of puting one there at his will)

Thats the problem for ppl with growing families that need space and dont want to move to milton. You can rent a fully renoed house around yonge n eg or leaside but at high monthly rents and this is where the argument weakens.. at 10% down its cheaper to buy.. if it gets tough once rates rise – get your own smelly guy.

#4 kommykim on 07.10.14 at 6:01 pm

RE By the way, if the furnace is over four years of age, it’s probably an energy pig – which is consequential

And you think that the landlord is going to replace it so the renter can save money?

RE:Electricity charges are slated to rise by about 40% over the next few years

Most renters pay for electricity too….

You had some good points, but sticking to ones that only home owners are responsible for would have made a better posting.

#5 Rural Rick on 07.10.14 at 6:02 pm

Our you could buy a rural property and be subjected to regular sprays of pesticides and herbicides without notice. Can’t grow any food cause the spray drift kills it. Still taxed to the eyeballs. You have to pay 500 a year for private garbage and well as taxes. Oh yeah and your hydro bill has a delivery charge bigger than your paycheck. After all the manufacturing left can’t sell a even great house for anything now. Kids are in the city now. Renting.

#6 dipfun7 on 07.10.14 at 6:04 pm

I actually think all this regulation is a good thing. I’ve lived in countries where the city doesn’t bother with all this, and I would much rather have regulation and taxes than not.

It’s the price we pay to live in a civilized society.

#7 Ilona on 07.10.14 at 6:05 pm

Wow. Never heard anything like this from our friends and co-workers – who are mostly home owners, like ourselves.

So, if homeownership is so terrible – why don’t you sell your house and rent then?

#8 Diversify your political risk on 07.10.14 at 6:07 pm

Excellent article, people need to get it through there thick skulls that we do not live a free country and we are not free people, we have lost so many of our rights and freedoms to bureaucrats.

People who have some common sense would be pushing the bid button and selling as the market reaches new highs once again, start renting and even consider looking at a stable foreign country to buy property in. Preferably in a market that is a cash market and cheap government/bank money is not available like Brazil or Argentina.

#9 Flawed on 07.10.14 at 6:07 pm

#142 Ralph Cramdown on 07.10.14 at 3:33 pm
#131 Flawed — “I have read Mr Armstrongs blog. […]he has a more “reality” version of the way the world works as opposed to “Nope – nothing bad will ever happen”.

If you think he’s reality based, you’ve got to read his magnum opus, written on a comically busted typewriter while in jail.

http://armstrongeconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/its-just-time-martin-armstrong.pdf

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

Because the American Govt does not drone kill or put people it wants “out of the way” in jail right? Seems to me that history has taught us that the most progressive thinkers were put in jail by recessive and/or oppressive govts. Ever heard of Ghandi? Or Mandela?

FLAWED !!

#10 Happy Renting on 07.10.14 at 6:08 pm

Wow… I am going to cling to this two-bedroom, rent-controlled apartment forever.

#11 DJG on 07.10.14 at 6:11 pm

So, so typical of the average whiny, passive-aggressive Toronto “taxpayer” (as Rob Ford likes to call them). These are the same people who show up to committee of adjustment hearings to complain about the modern design of a neighbour’s proposed new house, in total ignorance of planning law. Or put signs up on their lawn complaining about the horror of a six-storey condo building 10 blocks away. Also, it’s pretty pathetic that they believe they can afford to own their house but can’t come up with a refundable $4k deposit.

#12 Captain Sensible on 07.10.14 at 6:13 pm

Garth, you are and always have been my drama queen ; )

#13 Flawed on 07.10.14 at 6:13 pm

The tree police

The global hunt for money by govt continues…..

#14 Happy Renting on 07.10.14 at 6:17 pm

#7 Ilona on 07.10.14 at 6:05 pm

I believe Garth’s primary residence IS rented. Unless he’s moved.

Anyway, these problems are only problems if you don’t have the money to make them go away. But if you don’t have $4k lying around for a tree-security deposit (or whatever it costs to exterminate pests, replace your furnace, unflood your basement, etc.), it becomes quite the headache. But it sounds like a sucky use of four grand, even if you get it back in a few years.

#15 R on 07.10.14 at 6:22 pm

No need to pity us renters.

While you can’t get horny with slabs of granite and heated bathroom tiles, you can get away with painting, as long as you’re willing to redo it when you move, or pay the landlord.

The Residential Tenancies Act of Ontario is very pro-renter.

#16 JimmyPage on 07.10.14 at 6:26 pm

As a construction worker, I am offended. We do not spend all day talking about boobs. Often, we can be heard discussing the beauty of the female bum.

#17 TimV on 07.10.14 at 6:30 pm

Dear Cindy,

If you wanted a condo, buy a condo.

I own a house in a similar neighbourhood (20′ lot standard), and part of the reason I paid 2X what it is worth is so that there will be trees in my neighbourhood, and grass or garden, not astroturf.

The tree police have my full support here.

#18 saskatoon on 07.10.14 at 6:30 pm

example situation:

15 000 contribution to spousal rrsp in 2012.
5 000 contribution to spousal rrsp in 2013.
5 000 contribution to spousal rrsp in 2014.

come jan. 1st, 2015, my wife takes out 5 000–and the tax attribution is her own, not mine?

if my wife were to take out, say, 10 000 on jan. 1st, 2015–would 5 000 of it be attributable to her, and 5 000 to me?

or, is it the case that if my wife were to take out 20 000 on jan. 1st, 2015, 15 000 would be attributable to her, and 5 000 to me?

or, is it the case that ANY contribution made during the waiting ‘term’ makes ANY money taken out by my wife taxable back to me–even if a portion of it has been sitting there for a greater amount of time than the waiting period?

any guidance in this matter would be appreciated–as i just called cra (twice) and each time receive a different response.

the second cra lady said that the first was wrong…and if i followed her advice…the government’s advice…i would have taken losses, and she (the government) would not be liable for the misdirection.

#19 Captain Sensible on 07.10.14 at 6:31 pm

The tree police?
Isn’t that a song by Cheap Trick?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjMCaw4qzjg

#20 Flawed on 07.10.14 at 6:32 pm

21st Century Gestapo – US style

I’ve been telling my associates around the world that there is the planet Earth. And then there is the planet USA. The proof just keeps piling up…..

(below the google article)

http://armstrongeconomics.com/armstrong_economics_blog/

#21 Lorraine Patterson on 07.10.14 at 6:38 pm

I would suggest that anyone who is involved in a struggle for property rights contact the Ontario Landowners Association. Things are not always what they seem and you might even be surprised at the rights you actually have.

#22 Vincent on 07.10.14 at 6:41 pm

A few years ago, I did a 15 month stint in a regional municipal council (MRC for us frenchies) and by the end of it, I had heard and been part of so many completely crazy situations, like the one you mention in your post, that I just could not push myself to even apply for another position in the municipal world. Ever again.
I was in charge of all water related issues, and amongst other things, I had to make entire towns pay for ditch renovation work so that a handful of farmers could drain their lands easier.
I had to read through inches and inches of legally binding documents that basically told people they could not build on their legally purchased land because a tiny pocket of water was there first. Or because their projected house was the wrong shade of brown for that street. Or the style of the windows is “wrong”… I could go on for the rest of the week.
Millions of dollars every year (for a population of less than 140k spread over 23 towns) was wasted on wages for urbanologists that were fresh out of college and completely clueless, on projects that any sane person would call insane, and on parties for employees (though if you report that to HR you’ll be quietly let go).
Hundreds of thousands were wasted on legal fees to collect a few hundreds in penalties from individuals and companies that had installed their culvert inches too high, or too low, or too wide, or too narrow, or too early, or too late, or you get the picture…
I saw tens of thousands of dollars spent on mediation consultants, because employees were all depressed, angry, and miserable.

I wish I was making some of this up, but it is all true. Right now I’m in the private sector and I see the same kind of abuse of power from different people in similar roles in a different region. For example, we got forced to install timers on interior lamps because a particularly vocal neighbor, half a kilometer away, complained of the brightness at night (what could be seen through the windows of the building). It almost went as far as being forced to install a 25 000$ film on the windows because “they reflect too much sun at noon”!!! We dodged that one because now we got a 20 page law that goes as far as controlling the percentage of blue light emitted by our indoor lights in this SINGLE BUILDING (about the size of a house) because one urbanologist decided to go on a warpath against our company.
I’m all for a society of law and order, but this is too much. Roll this back, remove 90% of permits, automate the tax processes through web apps, and fire all those incompetent people pretending to work for the betterment of the country.

#23 randman on 07.10.14 at 6:43 pm

Flawed

I’ve been harping on this here for a long time…..

Something I always ask people…if they think the USA invaded Iraq for their oil…isn’t it only a matter of time…with Canada and Mexico right next door

When and if they run into supply problems …they’ll just come and take it….who’s gonna stop them? Justin? LOL

#24 randman on 07.10.14 at 6:45 pm

Justin =Trudeau or Bieber?

Answer= Same thing, both out of control kids with big egos

#25 Ralph Cramdown on 07.10.14 at 6:45 pm

#9 Flawed on 07.10.14 at 6:07 pm
#142 Ralph Cramdown on 07.10.14 at 3:33 pm
#131 Flawed

CRAMDOWN: If you think he’s reality based, you’ve got to read his magnum opus, written on a comically busted typewriter while in jail.

FLAWED: Seems to me that history has taught us that the most progressive thinkers were put in jail by recessive and/or oppressive govts. Ever heard of Ghandi? Or Mandela?”

See, this is why I’m winning, and you’re flawed. The main point was that he’s nuts, not that he’s persecuted. Read his screed. And yes, Ghandi and Mandela were perhaps jailed unjustly. But if you stick to the rule “give more weight to investment advice from people who aren’t convicted criminals” you’ll go far, my son.

#26 Habs76-79 on 07.10.14 at 6:50 pm

#6 Dipfun7

I actually think all this regulation is a good thing. I’ve lived in countries where the city doesn’t bother with all this, and I would much rather have regulation and taxes than not.

It’s the price we pay to live in a civilized society.
—————————————————————-

You mean to point out that before many of the regs Garth noted here that life in Canada was uncivilized?

Look there is a place for suitable, well thought out and enacted regulations. Implementing more and more regs many of which are senseless except to create cash flow to civic/provincial/federal coffers is not going to make us more civilized nor safer.

Funny how when Garth notes the lack of credible regs on realtors etc. that many cry foul against him.

As to regs, over-regulation can and likely will kill civilized society as we know it. Too many squeeky wheels looking for govt. at all levels to regulate the outcome they think that they will see as good intentions. But the proverbs state that the pathway to Hell is paved with good intentions. We do not need the govt. at all levels making all rules or trying to fix all issues or problems.

Society with good minds and general fairness will work out most issues without running to the govt and its sorted bureaucracy all the time. You see there was a time when most people on the block KNEW THEIR NEIGHBOURS! Many were friendly and even sociable to neighbours and as such most little things and other issues were worked out without some guy/gal from the city, province or feds coming to be involved. Generally only when issues exceeded this point did the system have to come into play including the bureaucracy and courts.

Regs are a part of life, over-regulation is a killer to quality of life and does not make us more civilized nor again more safe.

If may? I recall hearing one of Jim Kenzies Corner segments on Motoring, that in Holland a test was done in a community. Engineers removed, covered and/or turned off all traffic lights and signage along the tested area roads and streets. They wanted to see how drivers, cyclists and pedestrians would adjust. From what I heard, yes there was an initial shock and a lot of figuring things out. But soon the people all generally adjusted and adapted to the situation to the point of actually being safer and more courteous to each other. Huh! Funny how humans have evolved to if allowed to BE ABLE TO WORK IT OUT!

#27 Smoking Man on 07.10.14 at 6:54 pm

#2 TurnerNation on 07.10.14 at 5:58 pm‘Agenda 21′ madness. People have no rights. In 2018 all taxis must be wheelchair accessable in Toronto. This has to mean replacing small effecient hybrid cars with large minivans.
……….

These tree huggers are hell bent on DE industrialization, they hate cars,, love bikes. Now that Wynne has a majority, watch auto insurance go crazy.

They believe In man made global warming, when in fact the plant is cooling. Antarctica recording highest level of ice, breaking records.

Teacher pumping the bull shit in kids minds, making little Nazi liberals, all about money driven by a select few..

The Chinese trading bicycles for Audis.

The dumb stupid brain washed kids here buying 400 sqft condos, memorizing the Star bucks menu, and men practicing how to order a Latti with girly sound to it.

Anti oil sands, which is total required because their actions will scare off business and they will soon be wards of the state, money’s got to come from somewhere.

It totaly amazes me, when you get a kid under your control at a you age.. You can basically convince them that walking of a cliff is cool…

#28 DV01 on 07.10.14 at 6:55 pm

a) Move north, east or north-east.
b) Live in a leased van, down by the river (we can snuggle)
c) Buy-it-by-the-foot from those who bought-it-by-the-acre.

Do the math, it adds perspective.

#CAP Rates = #REF

#29 kommykim on 07.10.14 at 6:56 pm

RE#18 saskatoon on 07.10.14 at 6:30 pm
example situation:

15 000 contribution to spousal rrsp in 2012.
5 000 contribution to spousal rrsp in 2013.
5 000 contribution to spousal rrsp in 2014.

come jan. 1st, 2015, my wife takes out 5 000–and the tax attribution is her own, not mine?

It will be taxed at YOUR rate. La$t in, fir$t out. Wait till 2017 for it to be at the wifey rate.

#30 Realtor #1 on 07.10.14 at 6:56 pm

And yet after all that prices remain stable

Tapering ends in Oct and no upward market for bond yeilds

Is it me or the condo market taking its time to implode?

Unemployment your only hope.

#31 Flawed on 07.10.14 at 6:57 pm

See, this is why I’m winning, and you’re flawed. The main point was that he’s nuts, not that he’s persecuted. Read his screed. And yes, Ghandi and Mandela were perhaps jailed unjustly. But if you stick to the rule “give more weight to investment advice from people who aren’t convicted criminals” you’ll go far, my son.

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

So…..the corrupted and co-opted hierarchical system of banking and govt is a game to you? Let’s see who can win? Because your the guy they will not squish when its convenient for them to do so right. That’s what you are saying?

FLAWED

#32 Kilby on 07.10.14 at 6:59 pm

Glad to live in a town where wood stoves are allowed, fences can only be 2 metres here but your shrubs can be as tall as you want, no snow to clear, plastic lawn OK.

Tenant insurance here in BC is about 75% of a homeowners but you get very little coverage for personal effects, BCAA says homeowners “are more careful”

Toronto sounds pretty awful by the description in today’s blog, we may not have access to all the entertainment and restaurants here on Vancouver Island but it is pretty inexpensive to own a home here

#33 Victoria Real Estate Update on 07.10.14 at 6:59 pm

Victoria is back to 2007 prices!

. . . . . . . . . . . . .Victoria House Prices. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Percent Below Peak. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . 0%. . . . . . . . . . . . .*. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-0.5%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-1.0%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-1.5%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-2.0%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . *. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-2.5%. . . . . . . . . .*. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-3.0%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-3.5%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-4.0%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .*. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-4.5%. . *. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-5.0%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-5.5%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-6.0%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-6.5%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-7.0% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-7.5%. . . . . . . *. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-8.0%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-8.5% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-9.0% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .*. *. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-9.5%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .*. . . . . . .
-10.0%. . . . *. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-10.5%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . *. . . . . . . . . . . .
-11.0%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . *. . . . . . . . . .
-11.5%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-12.0%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .*. . . . .
-12.5%. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . 08. . . 09. . . 10. . . 11. . . 12. . . 13. . . 14. . . .

(Source: Brookfield RPS)
(Index link)

Victoria’s June and December price levels have been plotted on this 6-month price chart. I’ve also included May 2014’s level.

May 2014’s monthly price level was lower than any monthly price level since August 2007 (except April 2014, which was slightly lower). As of May, prices in Victoria were 12.2% below peak.

We are already half way to 25%. This is remarkable, considering that this has happened while prices in many other Canadian cities are still rising and reaching new all-time highs.

Prices are down in Victoria and single family home sales are well below Victoria’s long-term average. Prices will continue to fall.

Many international economists agree that Canada‘s party will soon be over. Housing bubbles are only a temporary thing. The inflation of Canada’s housing bubble has boosted the Canadian economy for more than a decade, but that boost will prove to be temporary, as it always is with housing bubbles.

Falling house prices had a negative impact on economies in other countries (the US, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Japan, etc.) as their housing bubbles deflated. The same thing will happen in Canada and when it does, this will add more downward pressure on house prices.

Canada’s housing bubble is enormous in size. In fact, it is the largest in the world right now. The deflation of Canada’s housing bubble will involve a deep, multi-year price correction. Prices in Victoria have already fallen 12.2% below peak despite the considerable housing market stimulus that continues to be applied to the Canadian housing market (historically low interests rates, etc.). House prices in Victoria have a long way to drop before reaching bottom.

(continued below in another comment)

#34 randman on 07.10.14 at 7:00 pm

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself… Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.”
– H.L. Mencken

#35 james on 07.10.14 at 7:02 pm

#6 dipfun7

Actually, you might be dead wrong.

There is a whole bunch of recent research on the effects of over-regulation that suggests that it makes for suboptimal outcomes, and could be a major contributor to a lack of social cohesion and reduced general intelligence.

Check out the work they have done in Europe on taking away stop signs and lights at intersections. Oddly enough, doomsayers like you predicted that it would be chaos, only to be shocked when drivers were more efficient and less prone to accidents than before.

#36 Smoking Man on 07.10.14 at 7:07 pm

#16 JimmyPage on 07.10.14 at 6:26 pm

Good one, and us suits are different, we’re just a bit more discreet.

On the elevator today, got caught taking to myself, came up with an amazing few sentences for my book. So wanted to see what it sounded like. I was so into it, I didn’t see the gorgeous blond on it.

The weird thing, after she concluded I’m certifiably insane, she smiled, played with here hair, and give me one of those looks my wife gives me after she sees the old spice commercial.. Look at him, look at me.

People are God damn strange…

#37 mark on 07.10.14 at 7:13 pm

Yup, local council, where all the fascists in training or fascists who couldn’t make it at a higher level end up.

I live in a place of about 20k and the council building is almost bigger than the local CAT plant.

#38 saskatoon on 07.10.14 at 7:13 pm

#5 Rural Rick

rick,

curious: who is spraying the pesticide/herbicide?

government?

farmer neighbours?

both?

#39 I'm stupid on 07.10.14 at 7:13 pm

Don’t waste your money on duct cleaning. It doesn’t improve over all air quality. It’s the biggest scam in the industry.

A forced air heating/cooling system works like your lungs. One branch blows air and the other inhales it. The filters job is to prevent things from blowing back into your home. It’s important to change your filter every 90 days for the sole purpose of improving efficiency and not having it plug up and crack your heat exchanger.

When you clean your duct they vacuum the dust out of your system which will in theory improve your air quality. The only problem is that the dust maximum is reached in less than 30 days. So unless you’re cleaning your system every month you’re wasting your money.

#40 MarcFromOttawa on 07.10.14 at 7:18 pm

Any thoughts on Vanguard’s new ETF VXC?

How does it compare to VTI and VXUS using Norbert’s Gambit?

#41 Mark on 07.10.14 at 7:26 pm

“Any thoughts on Vanguard’s new ETF VXC?

How does it compare to VTI and VXUS using Norbert’s Gambit?

My personal feeling about small, low-volume, and relatively illiquid ETFs — let someone else (not you) build them up and let them mature into investments worth buying. Personally wouldn’t invest in any ETF that didn’t have at least $5B of AUM (BTW, this means that XIU is basically the only Canadian ETF I invest in!).

Otherwise, you’re susceptible to large bid/ask spreads (which don’t seem to go in your favour). The risk of a fund being wound up prematurely leaving you with an unwelcome realized capital gain. The risk of management raising the management fee to cover the inefficiency of running a small ETF. The risk of a mandate change that might not be what you were looking for (see: XIC and XTR). Etc.

#42 Steve on 07.10.14 at 7:30 pm

Escape to beautiful glenrosa the non Scottish themed ghetto of west kelowna. Bring a map and a compass because the roads all start with “mc” and were layed out by tracing the intestines of a road kill marmot. The obvious upside there is the near total lack of policing, permitless construction and chain saw wielding tree haters. Burn as much wood or garbage in your 1960’s fireplace as you want. Don’t bother with plastic lawn! Just let it all die and you’ll be amazed just how absorbent it becomes! All manner of antifreeze, used motor oil, and deer blood will simply disappear into the grass like substance. Just remember to get fire insurance because when not if that festering pine stand goes up in flames, you’ll want to deck out your new hovel with the latest crap. Don’t delay! Prices are crumbling fast! Go bend over in front of any of our local bankers and they’ll make sure you get your fill of beautiful Glenrosa!!!

#43 Westernman on 07.10.14 at 7:33 pm

As I’ve said before – this country is governed by Communists – plain and simple, in the style of 1958 Soviet Union…
And yet for all the complaining and whining Canadians do every election they vote even more of them in…
Strange ignorant docile pathetic creatures these Canadians are…

#44 saskatoon on 07.10.14 at 7:33 pm

#22 Vincent

dude…this is such an insightful and eye-opening post.

thanks muchly for taking the time to write.

also, garth: one of your best entries to date.

#45 ILoveCharts on 07.10.14 at 7:36 pm

I liked this one.

#46 Ilona on 07.10.14 at 7:48 pm

#40 MarcFromOttawa

In case you haven’t read this: http://canadiancouchpotato.com/2012/09/17/foreign-withholding-tax-explained

I’m relatively new to investing, so thought that withholding tax outweighs currency conversion risks, so decided to go with US-traded ETFs. But watching my first Norbit’s Gambit transaction – and it looks like I already lost ~$500 (was converting 16K)

Wouldn’t consider VXC yet though as it just started trading yesterday, and the bid-ask spreads are usually too big in low volume ETFs. And I really liked DEM (for my own stupid reasons :) and have two limit orders for VTI (for 10% and 20% correction :)

#47 devore on 07.10.14 at 8:02 pm

Home ownership is certainly no panacea. There is a never ending stream of work to be done. You can’t walk past a Home Depot isle without coming out with a handful of widgets for your pride and joy.

But the fact is renters can do pretty much everything owners can. Except move walls. Maybe. I haven’t tried yet. You will find if you have a normal working relationship with the landlord, you can ask and do almost anything. Depending on the work, they will even split the cost with you.

And if you’re fearing your hard work is improving for free a property you don’t own, don’t fret, vast majority of home improvements and renovations don’t actually add any value whatsoever after a couple of years. How appealing is a bathroom or kitchen that is not brand new? As soon as you spy a spot of grunge on the grout, it’s yuck regardless of whether it’s 2 or 20 years old. Ditto for carpets, light fixtures, hardware, cabinets, etc. A brand new furnace or roof might get you reasonable asking price, a year old one will get a tick on home inspection report and a yawn.

The only way home improvements actually retain their value for resale is if they are brand new done immediately before the sale. As much as you might love it and think it’s awesome, no one else cares how much it cost. Trust me. Even if it’s new, unless they love it as much as you do, a hefty discount will be applied.

As for the proverbial pink walls, well, renters can paint their walls too. But you’ll have to paint them back, whiners will whine. Oh really? A can of paint really that expensive? A home owner who has pink walls will lose FAR more than a can of paint if they try to sell their place without repainting in boring pastels. As a renter, you move out, come back one evening before inspection and do the dirty deed. As an owner, repaint while still living there, stage, list, and live with the boring colors until the place finally sells.

Hope the flourescent walls were worth it. Most of us just accessorize; it’s easier to fix impulse-induced mistakes.

#48 Panhead on 07.10.14 at 8:05 pm

This hit’s a nerve … rant on:
Wanted to take down 2 trees that were right next to each other as my drain tile was plugged so went to city hall to ask what to do. Oh – there is a covenant on your subdivision that protects the existing trees … but don’t worry. Fir$t you have to have the covenant removed then you can take down 1 tree a year. If you want to take down 2 you will need an arbori$t’s report specifying why. And some ca$h of course. Oh and you will also need a signed letter from your neighbour concerned. So over to the neighbour’s I go and tell him the story. He laugh’s and say’s “go get your chainsaw and I’ll give you a hand to remove them right now.” Good neighbour, good idea … DONE. In my burb the city will take away unlimited green trash so I bundled them up and away they went. Rant off …

#49 not 1st on 07.10.14 at 8:15 pm

So much for Garth’s Calgary prediction;

http://business.financialpost.com/2014/07/10/calgarys-energy-boom-is-fuelling-record-surge-in-luxury-home-sales/

I predicted risk. It’s here. — Garth

#50 eddy on 07.10.14 at 8:17 pm

But wait there’s more: over and above the $4,000. deposit is the ‘Tree Protection Zone’
That’s right, I expect in Cindy’s case it will be her entire front lawn. The Committee of the Mal-Adjusted always add a condition at the bottom of their proclamations- ‘conditional on urban forestry approval’, which means the tree police must be paid, and tree protection must be in place, then the permit is issued. I hope Cindy’s husband is handy.
Every city owned tree must be physically ‘protected’ during construction.

http://www1.toronto.ca/city_of_toronto/parks_forestry__recreation/urban_forestry/files/pdf/TreeProtSpecs.pdf

#51 Spectacle on 07.10.14 at 8:21 pm

Amazing territory and important connection with Real Estate and Investing, thnx Garth.

Re: #2 TurnerNation on 07.10.14 at 5:58 pm
‘Agenda 21′ madness. People have no rights…….

Thanks for the posting TurnerNation ; yes, it begins with bike lanes, wheelchairs…who doesn’t love bikes, and wheelchairs can’t be criticized…..until they come for You , and take everything you own.

Re: #34 randman on 07.10.14 at 7:00 pm
“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself… Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest………..”

Excellent inclusion tonight. We must share our information, and thanx to Garth for giving us a starting point and allowing us to join in! Thnx Garth .

If you are interested to find out why they want to rip out the road to your cottage, or charge you for trees that are still standing……..

Here is a world class link. Share it , please.

http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com

#52 Not an economist on 07.10.14 at 8:25 pm

So, a million bucks. For a slanty semi that’s over 100 years old, and limited or no parking. All to live in downtown in the middle of the congestion.

A million bucks… foregoing 40k or more per year in dividend income… indefinitely… trade it all, for what? For an obligation to pay for a ton of stuff? For $500 a month in property taxes alone? And not even get to have a pool, ample parking, or the ability to landscape as you please? But hey, you’re a 5 minute cab ride from dingy bars that are happy to charge you $20 or more for a run of the mill domestic beer (including tip). I guess if you’re horny enough (and I’m not talking about housing), it makes sense. Young, dumb and full of c**.

Insanity. Not even the ultra-rich spend their money with such disdain.

#53 Freedom First on 07.10.14 at 8:25 pm

Well said Garth. I owned and lived in 2 properties in my life. Only bought when my net worth was higher than the house price. And, when the price I paid was less than half what the owner had paid, even after he renovated and put in new appliances. Both properties cost me the same as what a 1 bedroom apartment would cost me to live in. I did well, would I do it again. No. I knew the possible dangers you described today Garth, and I love not having those possible headaches hanging over my head. 1 other huge danger with a 50% probability of happening. A guy has a wife and kids and a house. The wife decides that she likes the kids and the house but you gotta go. You’re gone. Vast majority of divorces are initiated by the woman.Divorce courts give the house and kids to the wife, but you get to keep the mortgage payments and child support. Facts, easy to google all about what goes on in the divorce courts.

Always putting my Freedom First is the best, in everything. I know the odds.

#54 Catalyst on 07.10.14 at 8:30 pm

Found an interest report on housing from TD. Somewhat balanced.

http://www.td.com/document/PDF/economics/special/QuarterlyRegionalHousing_July2014.pdf

In this report is a current theme often parroted by Garth that interest rates are going to rise. I’m just not certain this is the case. According to the bank of Canada, mortgage rates have not risen (over a 3 year period) since 1981. To compare the economy now versus anything in the 70s or earlier is to completely ignore globalization, the internet, or iron maiden.

http://www.bankofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/selected_historical_page57_58.pdf

Can someone please explain the logic that interest rates must rise?

#55 Mr. Reality on 07.10.14 at 8:34 pm

The funny thing about sheeple is that they cannot envision home ownership as a form of slavery. Its quite funny really.

You are owned by the bank, your employer knows you rely on your paycheck to contribute to your mortgage payment and you are at the mercy of the rules of the town, city, district, county or municipality you live in.

Then, when you sell your home you pay taxes on money that has already been taxed in addition to all the other taxes you pay with your money that has already been taxed.

Then the same sheeple are horrible at math and cannot calculate the compound interest they are paying on their mortgage and other debts. And……these same sheeple blink and stare at you funny when you tell them they have a mortgage in which the interest payments are paid off on the front end……bahhhhhhhhh

Silly sheeple

Mr. R.

#56 Jimbo on 07.10.14 at 8:35 pm

Great post Garth.

A special thanks to the home owners who own million dollar homes and pay the lion’s share of taxes, hidden or up front. Keep up the good work and may your house reach 2 million one day.

Another special thanks to all of those who have huge mortgages on behalf of those of us that have invested in big 5.

Don’t rush to pay your mortgage off.

#57 Victoria Real Estate Update on 07.10.14 at 8:36 pm

(continued)

House prices in Victoria are extremely overvalued and Victoria’s housing bubble is similar in size to the bubbliest US markets in 2006 (Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami, etc.). The US housing bubble began to deflate in 2006 and the deflation of their bubble continued until house prices were supported by underlying fundamentals (incomes and rents). The same will happen in Victoria and the rest of Canada.

Victoria’s price correction is well under way, but has a long way to go before reaching bottom.

Canada and the US have similar incomes so house prices should be similar as well. However, this is not the case as the Canadian housing bubble continues to inflate as a result of stimulus (extremely low rates, etc.).

In most areas of the US, house prices are supported by incomes and rents and are not in bubble territory. Let’s take a look at house prices in Omaha, Nebraska:

House criteria:
* min. 3 bed, 2 bath
* min. 1800 sq. ft. of above ground primary (main) living space
* 2004 or newer
* attached double garage

In Victoria, a house like this would probably cost $700 K or more.

In Omaha, the combined value of these 5 houses (that fit the above criteria) is about $679 K.

$132 K ( 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,806 sq. ft.)
$133 K ( 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,852 sq. ft.)
$134 K ( 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,988 sq. ft.)
$135 K ( 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,875 sq. ft.)
$145 K ( 3 beds, 3 baths, 2,330 sq. ft.)

Girls and guys, houses cost 12.2% less in Victoria than they did in 2010, but that is no reason to buy now. Prices will be much cheaper in the future. Wait for that to happen.

If you buy now (near the peak of Victoria’s housing bubble) you will be forced to watch the value of your house drop significantly in the future. Victoria’s price decline will continue.

Millions of American families bought near the peak of the 2006 US housing bubble. Many of these (near peak) buyers ran into major financial problems as house prices in the US corrected. They found out the hard way that mortgage debt is not good debt and that house prices don’t always increase.

You can avoid these financial problems by staying out of Victoria’s housing market for now.

There will be a much better time to enter Victoria’s housing market than now. Wait for lower prices.

Until next time – Cheers!

#58 Tiger on 07.10.14 at 8:42 pm

#6 dip fund
Your an idiot !
#4 komykim your the reason I got a divorce!
Yeah most people know they have to pay there hydro, not included in the rent or the mortgage !
So shut up unless you have anything intelligent to post!

#59 mr-b on 07.10.14 at 8:47 pm

I don’t feel sorry for anyone in Ontario. They voted in that bureaucratic nightmare themselves. How’s your socialism now?

Same as those idiots that buy a condo and complain about the condo association and their regulations.

Grow a brain. If you live in a liberal utopia, you will have to follow their rules. What did you expect? Independent thought? Freedom? Silly liberal.

Buyer beware. Examine where you are planning to buy before you make the jump. No one cares if you can’t do anything because of the politicians.

They only have this power because people give it to them.

#60 Ilona on 07.10.14 at 8:48 pm

#53 Freedom First on 07.10.14 at 8:25 pm
Always putting my Freedom First is the best, in everything. I know the odds.

Imagine the world full of single child-free renters. It’d be wipeout in one generation! So maybe you should be somewhat greatfull to those who “subsidize” your Freedome? Like, you landlord? And your neighbor with two kids? Whose son will be driving a bus that you take to the hospital where his daughter will treat your geniatric illnesses? :)

New suggestion for the blog name: ungratefulfool.ca :D

#61 DML on 07.10.14 at 8:51 pm

“The short-term and long-term prospects for the real estate sector are horrifically scary.”

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101826458

#62 Mark on 07.10.14 at 8:55 pm

“Can someone please explain the logic that interest rates must rise?”

Rates over the long term are cyclical. The cycle tends to be an entire ‘generation’ or the investment lifecycle of an individual.

We start earning money at 25 (sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later), accumulating savings. And most of us die around the age of 85. So figure around 60 years is a full long-term economic cycle.

No individual, of course, sees the same behaviour twice, so if we haven’t studied history, then we get lulled into the trap of thinking that our own recent memory is all that can happen economically.

The past 30 years, since 1980-1984, have been a falling rate environment. It is highly probable that the next 30 years will constitute a rising rate environment.

#63 };-) aka Devil's Advocate on 07.10.14 at 8:56 pm

It’s just money };-)

Taxes, utilities, blah,blah,blah you think the landlord isn’t passing it on to the tenant. Ya right… And as far as carrying an underwater condo… they’re back. Many bail from it now for what thy paid at the peak. But guess what… they don’t want to. Why? Because they don’t have to and prices are only going up (for now at least).

Yes indeed SHIFT certainly does happen.

Oh and BTW….
LAST!!!
from previous blog lol
#155 };-) aka Devil’s Advocate on 07.10.14 at 7:21 pm

#64 Retired Boomer - WI on 07.10.14 at 9:02 pm

Interesting story. When the “tree police” come to see about removal of a private tee on private property, where do they get the authority to request a security deposit on a boulevard tree?
What if that dam boulevard tree is an American Elm and croaks from dutch elm disease in the next few year? Or, what if the tree is a Locust, or Beech subject to similar pest infestation?
Yeah remove the rubber rug, replace the dirt, but tell them to stick their 4 grand where the sun don’t shine. You will replace the tree if it croaks.

Now you understand why American’s own guns, and sometime it pays to display and clean them when idiots like the “tree police” arrive.

Several posts talk of strange, and idiotic rules in various provinces, where did, and who comes up with this crap?

Apparently Canada is not the friendly open place it seems to the unconnected. Thank Goodness we have no such idiocy here locally, but I would not assume it is the case all over. A good reason to take up the art of consuming adult beverages however.

#65 ozy - is this typical canadian or just toronian.... on 07.10.14 at 9:06 pm

dying with laugh

is this typical canadian or just toronian….???

lots of power for these little post-colonial era’s municipalities

#66 Drill Baby Drill on 07.10.14 at 9:22 pm

#6 dipfun7
You are an idiot and deserve to live in such a neighbourhood. This over regulation does degrade your quality of live and is only suited to supporting many levels of non-productive persons in the workforce. There is no payback to the tax payer by having inspectors lurking around the corner making sure your hedges are cut.

#67 silver on 07.10.14 at 9:24 pm

Government employees get paid by threatening to have you violently assaulted if you don’t pay their made up extortion to pay their over rated wages and graft. They have the police and guns. And yes they did try that with me. So I asked them if they like to have people assaulted for their sexual pleasure…. the look on their face was priceless. By laws are made up prices of sit to raise wage revenue for their 30 percent pay raises. Real laws are based on violence not bylaws. Silver

#68 Jsan on 07.10.14 at 9:28 pm

Garth, I know that you are not a big believer in the theory that Chinese money is driving luxury sales in the large Canadian cities which in turn is also fueling less expensive houses also. I am on the fence on that one. I do believe that allot of Chinese money has been fleeing China into World wide real estate. If this has been the case, it looks like it may be coming to a halt.

Did China Just Crush The US Housing Market? (and Canada’s?)

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-10/did-china-just-crush-us-housing-market

#69 Cow Man on 07.10.14 at 9:39 pm

Sir Garth:
What you document is a “walk in the park” in comparison owning a farm in your old Halton riding. First we got the Niagara Escarpment controls. Then Dalton added on the Greenbelt. Then the Region of Halton added on Natural Heritage Designation, and now the City of Burlington is adding Cultural Heritage to the over lay of designations farms. Oh I forgot the Region of Halton tree cutting by-law. Every remaining farmer wants out. Problem is no one wants in. It is just insane.

#70 Hooray WE SOLD! on 07.10.14 at 9:40 pm

Lived here 10 Years
Never spoke a word to over half the neighbourhood
Now they come out of the wood work?
“I see you’ve sold”
yup moving on
“Where you Moving?
dunno yet
“You sold without buying?”
yup
awkward pause as they ponder how to ask “How Much?”
not gonna give to up
“Uh, who bought your house?”
dunno
awkward pause as they ponder how to ask “Are they Canadian?”
“When do you move?”
around end of month
“Really you don’t know who bought?”
never saw them (kinda lied)
Various similar conversations over the past weeks
HOMEOWNERS MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Smucks!

#71 Mark on 07.10.14 at 9:42 pm

“Did China Just Crush The US Housing Market? (and Canada’s?)”

If any meaningful amount of “Chinese” money was coming to Canada, it would lift more boats than just one single asset class, residential RE. And we’re really not seeing that at all. Leverage is, and remains off the charts (actual “money” coming to Canada would imply de-leveraging).

Canadian RE has spent the past year declining in price because of the CMHC cutbacks to subprime credit, so the theory that the Chinese are driving it higher is highly problematic.

#72 Hammy McHammerton on 07.10.14 at 9:46 pm

Has anyone in Vancouver seen the commercial for the “vancouver house” condo development on global? the announcer speaks in english but all of it is translated into chinese text on the bottom of the screen. it’s their commercial and they can do what they want and market the condo to whoever they want, but it’s obvious who they are REALLY marketing it to.

Do they get Global in Guangzhou? Or do you think the target market is Richmond? — Garth

#73 Andrew Woburn on 07.10.14 at 9:51 pm

#115 John Prine on 07.10.14 at 12:03 pm
Fairwinds from June 1st 2014 to June 30th 2014 had just 6 sales from 81 listings. From $560k to $799K (started at $934K) Not exactly a hot market and prices are down as well.
=============================

Nobody, not even the realtors, is claiming the Island is a hot market. However 6 houses out of 81 is a one-month 7.5% turnover which would probably look like a land rush in Victoria.

That said, our opinion of Fairwinds is that it is relatively pricey for what you get and who wants to drive 20 minutes each way to buy milk?

#74 Hank on 07.10.14 at 9:58 pm

One of my Family members own an old home in North Vancouver that is run down and needs replacing. That was their intention until they ran into health problems.

They moved out, rented an apartment and are trying to recover. They tried to get a demolition permit but the City turned them down saying they needed to obtain plans to rebuild first. That includes architectural and engineering plans, geotechnical tests, soil samples, landscape plans. They also need approval from the neighbors because the driveway touches the current property line. Because it would be new construction, they would have to apply for a new variance.

So the city would rather see an eyesore with blue tarps rather than issue demolition permit. It’s been sitting that way for 3 years now.

#75 Paully on 07.10.14 at 10:02 pm

The Toronto tree bylaw is totally ridiculous! The city does not own or maintain the trees on your private property. They have no business telling anyone what to do with their own privately-owned trees. What if you want to plant a garden, but have no sun? Or maybe you would like to replace a crappy tree with a bunch of useful fruit trees?

If you like the tree bylaw, make sure that you vote for Olivia Chow this fall. If you thought Miller was a horrible, lefty of a mayor, just wait until you see what Chow does!

#76 Mean Gene on 07.10.14 at 10:12 pm

Pull the plastic turf, sod and wait till spring, then start the process again.

#77 Ret on 07.10.14 at 10:17 pm

Come to Hamilton!

Over the counter building permits let you submit Plan A and then build what you really wanted, Plan B! No one cares what you do or if you make changes along the way.

Renovation permits are never followed up on and everyone knows it.

Committee of Adjustment 90% lot coverages, routinely passed! Who really needs a backyard anyway?

Apparently a “esthetics type spa” is a legitimate home business to start up in your basement. Got one around the corner from me but my wife, for some reason, has forbidden me from making any visits to it. I don’t get her. Lots of other guys go into the place.

Wow. Think how much money you could make with that little mortgage helper business in your basement in a downtown Toronto neighbourhood!

#78 FiendishThingy on 07.10.14 at 10:20 pm

Desperation update:

Headline of RealEstate Weekly insert in local Maple Ridge paper:

“Co-ownership: An Affordable Way To Buy A Home”

Yup, just sign here to share 100’s of thousands of debt, as well as your home, with complete strangers, or worse yet, someone you’re related to!

#79 efficientsense on 07.10.14 at 10:28 pm

I especially dislike how the government tries to control what time I do my laundry with their high time, mid peak and low peak rates!

#80 Hank on 07.10.14 at 10:41 pm

On the wet coast we also have to deal with the leaky condo crisis. Your home owner’s association has to have an annual inspection. If the inspectors find deficiencies, the building has to fix it and can assess the home owner ten of thousands as their part of the repairs.

What was once thought of as necesary has now become a racket. Building repair contractors often state that additional repairs need to be performed when it is not really an imminent problem.

The title of the property gets slapped with comments that this fix is required, reducing the property value.

#81 gut check on 07.10.14 at 10:42 pm

#59 mr.b
Yeah, I hear you but if you’ve got it figured out I’ll gladly take your recommendation for a place to move to where the people are more libertarian minded & the community reflects personal freedom, true market economics and a commitment to common sense governance.

Seriously, where is that?

#82 Nemesis on 07.10.14 at 10:54 pm

#TreePolice? #Hah! #That’sJustAnImposterInAGhillieSuit!

#RealTreePolice:

http://youtu.be/l8WyXv7hQvE

[NoteToGT: Notwithstanding his having ‘paid handsomely’ to putatively obtain planning permission and the accompanying permits, no one was more surprised than the EvilHogTownPropertyDeveloper SarumanTheWhite when the Ents took it upon themselves to unilaterally enforce MiddleEarth’s building codes and MasterDevelopmentPlan… and demolish Isengard. More’sThePity, SarumanTheWhite realized that, not withstanding excellent presales to expatriate Oligarchs, this particular setback could not but embolden his ArchNemesis, DonaldTheTrump.]

#83 Shawn on 07.10.14 at 11:01 pm

GIVE THANKS FOR THE SYSTEM

Be thankful especially for the division of labour and the supply chains that allow a drone turning a nut on an assembly line to make $100k and live in relative luxury compared to 100 years ago and even 50 years ago.

Few of us do a whole job or produce a product or service ourselves (ladies of the night excepted) we are all dependent on the system, we are all on some sort of assembly line.

Be thankful. Without the assembly line we are worth more like $10k instead of $50 to $100k or much (much) more.

#84 Snowboid on 07.10.14 at 11:01 pm

Rents in Kelowna don’t come close to covering an owners’ expenses, not by a long shot.

You can pay $ 1500 a month to rent luxury condos as big as a house, complete with stainless, granite, etc.

Now the owner who bought in 2009 pays $ 2400 a month for strata, taxes, maintenance, and mortgage (assuming they put $ 250,000 down on the $ 500K purchase price).

Oops, but then there is the additional $150 a month upcoming special assessment.

Oops, don’t forget the lost investment income on the $ 250K down payment.

Oops, better not forget the condos are currently selling at nearly $100K less than the original 2009 price.

Not to mention the new S/S gas range just installed to replace the unrepairable

#85 Snowboid on 07.10.14 at 11:07 pm

Oops, the transition from laptop to tablet isn’t going that smoothly…

Let’s just finish by saying the smart money isn’t going into RE purchases in Kelowna, despite the ramblings of the golden god of RE. Rents have a long way to go to catch up, but the vulture in me says the prices are still coming down.

Things must be going okay for the GG, at least he had an ad in last weeks RE rag, sadly the offerings are pretty stale in a listings sort of way.

#86 GenXer on 07.10.14 at 11:10 pm

Garth – I was going to write a nasty note about the lack of coverage regarding the Poloz press conference today – then I thought about the title of today’s post and burst out laughing.

On a day when Poloz made the analogy that the Canadian economy is like a cracked tree – as long as no major storms or stresses pass through, we will be ok – you write about the “tree police”.

Great double entendre – and a poetic way of assessing the current BOC and Finance Minister’s stance. Protect the cracked tree at all costs.

But storms always come eventually, don’t they?

Brilliant post. I’m going to have to read more carefully from now on

#87 Aggregator on 07.10.14 at 11:11 pm

The Canadian dollar on its trajectory for a 30% loss over the next five years. Chart

This is how non-major economy households and investors lose most of their wealth without even noticing. Your domestic currency matters most to retain purchasing power, not dividends or interest payments.

#88 NostyVlad Juggly Jiggled Snugglebombed on 07.10.14 at 11:15 pm

Good post. See if you can guess what the common thread running through it is —

#1 Chris on 07.10.14 at 5:51 pm — “No wonder I live in the country.”;
#2 TurnerNation on 07.10.14 at 5:58 pm — “Agenda 21′ madness. People have no rights.”;
#6 dipfun7 on 07.10.14 at 6:04 pm — “It’s the price we pay to live in a civilized society.” [Curious perspective.]
#8 Diversify your political risk on 07.10.14 at 6:07 pm — “Excellent article, people need to get it through there thick skulls that we do not live a free country and we are not free people, . . .”;
#13 Flawed on 07.10.14 at 6:13 pm — “The global hunt for money by govt continues…..” and “21st Century Gestapo – US style”;
#23 randman on 07.10.14 at 6:43 pm — “Something I always ask people…if they think the USA invaded Iraq for their oil…isn’t it only a matter of time…with Canada and Mexico right next door”
Pelosi and Petraus are hot, or very keen to get the NAU motoring again, and Canada has plenty of water to go to drought-ravaged states (that’s pretty much all we’re good for). Sadaam was about to ditch the petro-dollar and go with the Euro — that’s why the US flattened Iraq;
#27 Smoking Man on 07.10.14 at 6:54 pm — “These tree huggers are hell bent on DE industrialization, they hate cars, love bikes.” [plus they want sheeple to buy tiny boxes in the sky and leave the larger homes for their well-to-do families and friends];
#30 Realtor #1 on 07.10.14 at 6:56 pm — “Unemployment your only hope.”;
#43 Westernman on 07.10.14 at 7:33 pm — “As I’ve said before – this country is governed by Communists – plain and simple, in the style of 1958 Soviet Union…”;
#53 Freedom First on 07.10.14 at 8:25 pm — “A guy has a wife and kids and a house. The wife decides that she likes the kids and the house but you gotta go. You’re gone. Vast majority of divorces are initiated by the woman.Divorce courts give the house and kids to the wife, but you get to keep the mortgage payments and child support.” So much for the feminine mystique. There is a lot to be said for a singleton’s life, ‘tho we’ve been together for nearly four decades. One ladyfriend is more than adequate!
#59 mr-b on 07.10.14 at 8:47 pm — “How’s your socialism now?” The (soon-to-be) NAU appears to be headed in a socialistic direction. Evidently, the UN has suggested the US re-classify the Mexican border jumpers as refugees, not illegal immigrants and should be entitled to all benefits (link). Shit happens.

A21 links — Oligarchs — Pro or anti?, Genocide of the highest quality (notice Gaza / Palestine (link) and Ukraine (link) lately?) and The Age of Destruction, Pink Slips. Time to go fully solar powered / dependent?

#89 Nemesis on 07.10.14 at 11:20 pm

#ObligatoryBonusZen.

http://youtu.be/5zey8567bcg

[NoteToGT: As per the fabled and oft maligned GreekSailors of yore, a prudent rural BritishColumbian spurns all offers of assistance from LonelyLumberjacks. Not for nothing are they called BackWoodsmen.]

#90 Andrew Woburn on 07.10.14 at 11:23 pm

#72 Hammy McHammerton on 07.10.14 at 9:46 pm
Has anyone in Vancouver seen the commercial for the “vancouver house” condo development on global? the announcer speaks in english but all of it is translated into chinese text on the bottom of the screen. it’s their commercial and they can do what they want and market the condo to whoever they want, but it’s obvious who they are REALLY marketing it to.

Do they get Global in Guangzhou? Or do you think the target market is Richmond? — Garth
====================================

Don’t know about Guangzhou but the South China Morning Post runs a regular blog feature called “Hongcouver”.

http://www.scmp.com/article-type/hongcouver

#91 kILlaBoY50 on 07.10.14 at 11:38 pm

Meh. I still like owning my own place.

#92 Andrew Woburn on 07.10.14 at 11:41 pm

Here’s one theory about tonight’s topic.

Liberals love big government. Liberals love equality. Liberals love university education and think everyone should have one because everyone should be like them. Nobody should be condemned to a life of not understanding clever jokes, driving domestic automobiles and drinking coffee at Tim’s. Above all nobody should have to work with their hands. Ever.

Liberals flock to the centres of major cities to hang out with their tribe. This decreases personal living space and creates conflict. Since liberals like big government this is a welcome opportunity to create rules. These rules create more conflict, so more rules are created.

Liberal kids would rather die than get dirty fingernails so they gravitate to government because there are now way more graduates than productive jobs. As cities need more rules, liberal university kids arrive to supply them. As they compete for promotions, “programs” get developed which somehow we all lived without twenty years ago . More kids get hired. Managers get raises.

It is often observed that the biggest political divide in the US is not between the red and blue states, its between the cities and their own outlying rural areas whose knuckle-dragging residents still believe in primitive concepts like, “Live free or die”.

#93 Teulon on 07.11.14 at 12:06 am

Mr.Reality at #55
I think you’ve got it wrong when you’re explaining to the “sheeple” that interest on a mortgage is all paid at the front end of the term. Under the Canada Interest Act, mortgages secured by real property typically have blended (principal plus interest) repayment schedules in which the principal is reduced monthly by the portion of the payment not attributable to interest. The interest is calculated semi annually, not in advance, but paid monthly. It is incorrect to state that ALL the interest on a mortgage is paid at the front end, but correct to say that more interest will be paid in the early years, since the principal amount (on which the interest is calculated) is higher.
Simple enough for “Mr. R”?

#94 KommyKim on 07.11.14 at 12:31 am

RE #58 Tiger on 07.10.14 at 8:42 pm
So shut up unless you have anything intelligent to post!

Make me.

#95 KommyKim on 07.11.14 at 12:34 am

RE: #58 Tiger on 07.10.14 at 8:42 pm
#4 komykim your the reason I got a divorce!

I didn’t know that we were previously married. You’ll be hearing from my lawyer. Are you male? If so, it was a gay marriage.

#96 aaron on 07.11.14 at 12:37 am

Do they get Global in Guangzhou? Or do you think the target market is Richmond? — Garth

Target market is rich non-canadian citizen Richmond living of asian descent.

What is a ‘non-Canadian citizen’? — Garth

#97 chapter 9 on 07.11.14 at 12:43 am

How about fence gestapo! Folks at the end of our block recently spent a small fortune landscaping and replacing scrubs with a white picket fence. Looks awesome right out of a magazine. The problem it is made from recycled plastic never have to paint, never warps, rots,easy to maintain and your helping the environment right. Wrong!! The home owners received notification from out fearless local government that they had to tear it down and replace it with wood and if they did not comply it would be done for them.
The fence is now wood. Big brother is out of control!

#98 Flawed on 07.11.14 at 1:01 am

#67 silver on 07.10.14 at 9:24 pm
Government employees get paid by threatening to have you violently assaulted if you don’t pay their made up extortion to pay their over rated wages and graft. They have the police and guns. And yes they did try that with me. So I asked them if they like to have people assaulted for their sexual pleasure…. the look on their face was priceless. By laws are made up prices of sit to raise wage revenue for their 30 percent pay raises. Real laws are based on violence not bylaws. Silver

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

And what does the Hunt for Money by govt mean?

Class Warfare – Public vs Private

#99 Freedom First on 07.11.14 at 1:10 am

#60 Ilona

I’m okay, thanks. You however, can’t handle the truth. By the way, the world needs population reduction, so we’re good. As always, Freedom First.

ps. There is lots of women looking for men like me, as they prefer living alone and know the world is over populated. Someone having kids so they will be looked after in their old age? Now that’s selfish.

#100 devore on 07.11.14 at 2:13 am

“This is disgusting,” she says. “Worse, it’s extortion. Where am I supposed to get an extra four thousand?”

Lives in a million dollar house, can’t spare $4k for a couple of years. A likely story…. in Canada.

#101 Nemesis on 07.11.14 at 2:21 am

#BreakFastZen #ForSaltierBetterTraveledDogz #NeverMindTheBaumPolizei #HaveYouSecuredYourSunbedYet?

[Bloomberg] – Germany Uncouples From Past With Post-Wall World Cup Bid

“We have learned that we can be proud,” said Christian Boellhoff, managing director of Prognos AG economic research institute in Berlin. “And that we can be relaxed about it, too.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-11/germany-uncouples-from-past-with-post-wall-world-cup-bid.html

#Deutschland über alles #StrandtuchStil

http://youtu.be/BO9pGQ-7mWg

[NoteToGT: ToldYaSo.]

#102 observer on 07.11.14 at 2:31 am

When we built a bridge to connect our properties, it cost us 250,000 to build including inspection and government form and etc.

Now to add to that we had to plant 6000 plants. A whole list of trees, types of fern, wild roses etc etc. We got the order list from the environment dept and had to manually plant those. That set us back quick few bucks, which we were able to buy at wholesale at the auctions thank god, otherwise that would of cost us about 5 X as much as we paid.

All a part of the upkeep guys.

#103 MinInMission on 07.11.14 at 2:37 am

#23 – thumbs up

Garth – Awesome as usual

#104 Mark the troll on 07.11.14 at 3:43 am

Mark,

You are such a troll. Too painfully obvious. Having good grammar hardly makes one intelligent.

#105 Rob in Munich on 07.11.14 at 3:59 am

Ha ha Canadians are learning what Europeans have lived with for years. Expats are shocked to learn the sheer numbers of rules and regulations one must live with. But with time you adjust. The only real difference is most people live in apartments.

I do find the overall cost of ownership to be cheaper, taxes and condo fees are cheaper but other costs are higher

Rob

#106 Crossbordershopper on 07.11.14 at 7:15 am

well right up my alley. You Canadians speak so poorly of our southern neighbours, but in the end freedom is what its all about. The only thing. Your lesbo leader and all the other gays who have infiltrated the entire Canadian civil servants have created a false utopia society up here. Canada has crazy prices for insurance, car and home, I pay $23 per month in car insurance for my NY car. I pay $127 month for mine in Ontario. Oh ya, i never got a bill when i was on the 407 with my NY plate. a perfect example of the outright lies the Ontario and Canadian government tell their people every day.
Live Free or Die, Canadians don’t even understand the question, are the pills free?, Well we dont have people living under a bridge!, Dude, he likes living under a bridge, he’s free, no one to answer too, no responsibilities , in Canada its simple, “who gave you permission to do that” was told to me in conversation. I said, wow, Freedom, Canadian version, like everything else up here a cheap imitation of the real thing and they dont know the difference. Canadians have to cheat to get ahead, simple poison the tree, it will die on its own, then call the tree nazi people and they will give the blessing to cut it down and you can do what you want with your own property after getting the proper permission of the government authority of course.

And you think we want to be like you? — Garth

#107 World Traveller on 07.11.14 at 7:23 am

The Tree Police, I love that Cheap Trick song.

#108 rosie "moving forward" in the knowledge that, "this won't end well" on 07.11.14 at 7:50 am

The millennial has her head on straight. The boomer has his head up his passt.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-11/daughter-doesn-t-buy-dad-s-cheerleading-for-u-s-homeownership.html

#109 Kevin on 07.11.14 at 8:00 am

Of course, houses have to be heated and cooled, which requires a furnace and air conditioning unit, which need regular maintenance, filters and duct-cleaning

I think this is being vastly overstated. I live in a 2600 sq. ft. home that we bought 13 years ago. We’ve never touched the air conditioner (a 3-ton central air unit). 3 years ago, I called an HVAC guy to come and take a look at it, just in case it was in need of any maintenance. He said it’s holding pressure just fine, no issues, call him again in 10 more years. $70.

We’re also still on our original furnace. Granted, a few years ago, we did have a “limiter switch” fail on us, but that was our fault because we’d been delinquent in changing the air filter, which became clogged up with cat hair, choked off the air supply to the furnace, which overheated and kept switching off the gas supply until the “limiter switch” eventually failed. $300 repair, but our own fault. And over 13 years of ownership, $300 is not a bad expense.

The filters we buy in bulk at Costco and swap twice a year. Not a real hassle. And I’m not really that worried about inhaling “carpet fibres” 13 years after they were put down (half the house is hardwood anyway).

#110 Kevin on 07.11.14 at 8:00 am

Oh yeah, I forgot to add, the “duct cleaners” are a scam. We’ve never once had it done in 13 years. Doesn’t stop them from calling 3 times a week from Pakistan though to try and book me an appointment. Totally unnecessary.

#111 Detalumis on 07.11.14 at 8:18 am

#60 Ilona, stop with the moral superiority. You aren’t doing the world a favour by having kids and expecting them to say quit their job in the U.S., leave their husband and come to Canada to look after you in your old age. That’s what my neighbour did. I don’t find mothers very altruistic, it’s just an extension of me-me-me. It’s the singletons who get less services that allow us to fork out 10K per kid in education or allow stay-at-home mothers to get CPP survivor benefits and nobody else.

If we have a problem with finding enough senior butt-wipers, then just open the immigration floodgate, we don’t need your kids to do it. If you had adopted orphans from third world countries you could claim to be morally superior but most mothers are all about producing mini-mes.

#112 Dr. Talc on 07.11.14 at 8:31 am

#92 Andrew Woburn on 07.10.14 at 11:41 pm

Here’s one theory about tonight’s topic.

Liberals love big government. Liberals love equality. Liberals love university education and think everyone should have one because everyone should be like them

All true. And they love the moral high ground, to make themselves look good. Just look at Toronto City council all (but Ford) voting for 2 million dollars for gay shelters. The taxpayers will have their revenge in October

#113 Smoking Man on 07.11.14 at 8:33 am

Boom unemployment rate jumps to 7.1 from 7.0

Hello rate cut.. Usdcad spikes in anticipation..

Poloz stuck between a rock and hard place.

#114 WhiteKat on 07.11.14 at 8:56 am

Take the new Macleans Canada-US housing bubble quiz:
http://www.macleans.ca/economy/realestateeconomy/who-said-it-the-canada-u-s-housing-bubble-quiz/

I ‘sped-read’ through it (is sped-read a word? lol) and got 61%.

#115 WhiteKat on 07.11.14 at 9:00 am

Re: Macleans “Canada-US housing bubble quiz”, After you do the quiz, don’t forget to read the link to the new report from Morningstar debunking many myths given for why Canada is immune from a crash.

#116 Dupcheck on 07.11.14 at 9:12 am

All in the article is true. Gov can play games the way they want in Canada. Not so much in the states, and that could be because in the states the home owners do not want to give up their right of owning guns. So the Gov is more afraid of wrong doing a home owner as they please.

#117 Toronto_CA on 07.11.14 at 9:12 am

Ontario job numbers for June were *brutal*. Loss of 34,000 jobs. That’s scary.

#118 elmsley on 07.11.14 at 9:13 am

Protect our trees! Homeowners this is a privilege. Condo builders have a unfortunate benefit not to need to plant as many trees as total units being built. Yes, gov’t needs to push back on the builders, but all they’re going to do is pass on the cost to the buyers in exchange for a fancy “artistic rendition” drawing which may or may not get implemented.

#119 Realtor # 1 GTA on 07.11.14 at 9:32 am

Construction hiring increased
And more full time positions

I know “wait till next spring ”

Unemployment just went up. — Garth

#120 Grantmi on 07.11.14 at 9:37 am

Here we go.. Unemployment on the rise! and this is summer time! jobs should be plentiful, as everyone East of the BPOE (BC) is coming out of hibernation!!

http://bit.ly/1y3fwv4

OTTAWA — Canada’s official unemployment rate climbed to the highest level it’s been in half a year in June, rising one-tenth of a point to 7.1 per cent as the Ontario economy shed 33,900 jobs in the month it was preparing to re-elect the provincial Liberals.

Not good!

#121 Grantmi on 07.11.14 at 10:01 am

SO! All you pre=boomers (70-80) and Boomers (50-69).. who’s going to be buying your home when you need 100% of the capital to move into assisted living????

Daughter Doesn’t Buy Dad’s Cheering of U.S. Homeownership – http://bloom.bg/1jjCquL

David Stevens, chief executive officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association, has spent his career lauding the merits of homeownership. One person still isn’t buying it: his daughter.

#122 Ilona on 07.11.14 at 10:02 am

#99 Freedom First on 07.11.14 at 1:10 am
#60 Ilona

I’m okay, thanks. You however, can’t handle the truth. By the way, the world needs population reduction, so we’re good. As always, Freedom First.

I believe that to each his own. Some like to rent, others prefer to own. Some love their attachments, others prefer to remain single. Some are gay, some are straight, some are somewhere in between. Some will adopt if they can’t have their own children, while others will abort if they get pregnant. As long as you’re happy with your choices – and take responsibility for your actions (or inactions) – you have your freedom.

As for population reduction, some believe that thanks to people like you our grandchildren will have to learn Chinese ;) Not the worst that can happen I guess. But I think it’s YOU who can’t handle the truth: your “freedom” is based on fear…

#123 Pre-retiree on 07.11.14 at 10:30 am

Garth, I know you will have no patience with me but I do not always understand fully the meaning of your posts. This one for example, describes well the facts and realities home owners must face; that would discourage almost anyone from owning a house. And yet, you do, like a lot of us on this blog. I would not want to live anywehere else right now than in my house.
I understand the concept about not buying at the top of the bubble, and do your due diligence when buying, etc.. However, when the blog is written with no nuance, it leaves the impression that one should never own a house under any circumstances. I may read the blog the wrong way since English is not my first language but aren’t there ever some cicrcumstances in your view where home ownership makes sense? It is not always easy to find a house to rent in a particular area where one wants to live, especially when there is a fair amount of certainty about not having to relocate soon.

I have covered this ground often. Buy a house if you can afford it, handle the costs, and if it does not represent too great a portion of your net worth. If that’s not the case, you are gambling with real estate. The goal of life is not to own a house. It is to relish time. — Garth

#124 Ilona on 07.11.14 at 10:36 am

#111 Detalumis on 07.11.14 at 8:18 am
#60 Ilona, stop with the moral superiority.

If we have a problem with finding enough senior butt-wipers, then just open the immigration floodgate, we don’t need your kids to do it.

Case in point – I’m an immigrant ;) Paying more in taxes (combined with my husband) than Fearful makes, so hopefully some of it goes to support poor singe mothers :) Just celebrated my 27th wedding anniversary, living with in-laws (who wouldn’t survive on their own) and my mom (who raised me on her own) rents nearby. We’re originally from Donetsk, Ukraine, so glad we’re all here. Now that the mortgage is paid off, started saving and investing so my husband and I can become the first generation in our family to NOT depend on our kids to support us after we retire.

Did I justify my right to feel morally superior? ;) If not – I’m sorry for not having much respect for spoiled first-world whiners :)

#125 randman on 07.11.14 at 10:50 am

“The goal of life is not to own a house. It is to relish time.” — Garth

well played sir!

#126 Paul on 07.11.14 at 11:13 am

Garth, I just moved out of my parents basement. Had I not have found your blog 2 years ago, I was going to put a down payment and own a house.

Now I rent a brand new 600 sq ft box across the street from work from an older couple. I’m sure they affectionately refer to me in private as the dumb ‘Gwai Lo’ who pays their mortgage. I’m debt free, diversified, and loving it. Thanks Garth!

#127 Alex n Calgary on 07.11.14 at 11:20 am

The goal of life is not to own a house. It is to relish time. — Garth

Hey thats great!! You know I like to think of things like that as we have a pretty short bike commute downtown here in Calgary in this rental house, to buy in this, not that close to downtown area is the mid 500’s, 1000$ more a month then renting (excluding a sewer explosion cost etc) we get a lot of time back and happiness not sitting in traffic, I wish we could afford to buy here, well we could afford it, but one job loss and we’re toast, its a delicate balance of the low interest rates and incentives vs the super high price of houses isn’t it!

You probably know of the restrictions in Victoria on what you can do to houses, totally nutso! you can’t do anything!

#128 ForwardThinker on 07.11.14 at 11:54 am

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2014/07/11/no-sale-by-owner-americans-with-lower-mortgage-rates-hold-tightly-onto-homes/

I haven’t seen this impact discussed here yet. It’s another nail in the coffin of house prices.

#129 Rational Optimist on 07.11.14 at 11:59 am

Comment #126, while a nice story, includes a racial slur…

#130 Avg. Guy on 07.11.14 at 12:04 pm

#68 Jsan on 07.10.14 at 9:28 pm

Similar to the article linked in the above post, here is another….

http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/why-the-chinese-are-snapping-up-real-estate-in-the-u-s/

Seems that the Americans are starting to worry about HAM. But the article agrees with Garth that HAM focuses on expensive homes, not the slanted semis favoured by hipsters.

It also points out that HAM loves the West Coast in the U.S. as well. Maybe Vancouver will lose some of its HAM. haha!!

#131 Toronto Fact Check on 07.11.14 at 12:06 pm

The boulevard is CITY PROPERTY, in other words not belonging to this lady. She decided to rip up the grass and install astroturf on CITY PROPERTY which is obviously not allowed.

All of the other stuff is just the cost of living in a nice house in a nice city. I’ll pass on living in a bug-out cabin in the woods, thanks very much.

#132 Tony on 07.11.14 at 12:11 pm

Re: #120 Grantmi on 07.11.14 at 9:37 am

As you can plainly see the jobs numbers out of America are bogus as Canada slides back into recession. It’s nice to see “real” job figures out of this country instead of something pulled out of a hat in America each month.

You are a real comedian. — Garth

#133 Pre-Retiree on 07.11.14 at 12:17 pm

The goal of life is not to own a house. It is to relish time. — Garth

Yes, I like and agree with that statement above, and also with #122 Ilona: “I believe that to each his own. Some like to rent, others prefer to own. Some love their attachments, others prefer to remain single. Some are gay, some are straight, some are somewhere in between. Some will adopt if they can’t have their own children, while others will abort if they get pregnant. As long as you’re happy with your choices – and take responsibility for your actions (or inactions) – you have your freedom. ”

I guess my underlying comment was also a wish that some of the contributors to this blog would reconsider putting the other camp down (renters vs owners). There is no “right” solution for everyone. Each one of us has to examine their own situation, and decide what works best for the situation at hand.
Garth provides us with free guidance on the dangers of the house dream and its potential risks for financial freedom. Coming from Montreal, I have never witnessed house envy as I have seen here in Toronto.
But it does not stop to houses, it extends to cars, clothes, jewellery, even for crying out loud: where you buy groceries, and appliances. Appliances!!
I don’t think we have a house envy problem, we have an entire ‘lifestyle” problem. I despise that word. It embodies the problem itself. When did we stop living and started having “lifestyles”?
Is it like that outside of the GTA? Thinking about moving to Ottawa, and maybe escape this madness.

#134 Piano_Man87 on 07.11.14 at 12:28 pm

Most homes in Saskatchewan right now come with swimming pools.

The only problem is that they are in the basement.

#135 Bargains everywhere on 07.11.14 at 12:31 pm

#104 Mark the troll on 07.11.14 at 3:43 am

Mark,

You are such a troll. Too painfully obvious. Having good grammar hardly makes one intelligent.

_______

Yes, I’ve pretty much come to the same conclusion and just skip over his posts now. They sound intelligent enough but the ideas are mostly nonsense and I couldn’t be bothered trying to refute all of them. Mark is a troll.

#136 Aj on 07.11.14 at 12:35 pm

“citizens have no constitutional right to own property”

Sounds like we all need to do some homework. While property rights isn’t blatantly installed in the constitution like in the US (I wish it was), it is still there…we just all don’t know about it and governments are loving that fact. People – if you own land in Canada, you most likely will have a Land Patent Grant. This document was issued by the crown (Queen Victoria actually) and grants land to the original owner and to all heirs in perpetuity. The only issue could be reservations in the land grant which would deed certain things to the crown like the white pine, mineral rights, etc. If there is no reservations, you own everything. Liz Marshall who is with the Ontario Landowners has mentioned that “They are binding contracts that overrule legislation,” She also mentioned that “land owners in Ontario have property rights under common law, but not under civil law.” When looking at our laws provincially in Ontario, the Municipal Act and the Building Code, among others, essentially stipulates that if they don’t own it they can’t plan for it, zone it, or designate it. In other words, if the City of Toronto buys your property or enters into an agreement with you regarding the building codes and the by-laws against tree cutting allowable within the OMA, they can’t do anything about it because they don’t own the land. If the tree isn’t on your property but poses a threat (likely to fall down on your house for example), you can sue under Tort law for removal, or damages.

Anyway, don’t take my word for it, research the Landowners Association, Land Patent Grants, Tort Law in Canada, etc. and draw your own opinions.

#137 gmc on 07.11.14 at 12:36 pm

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect
Mark Twain

#138 Holy Crap Wheres The Tylenol on 07.11.14 at 12:45 pm

#27 Smoking Man on 07.10.14 at 6:54 pm

#2 TurnerNation on 07.10.14 at 5:58 pm‘Agenda 21′ madness. People have no rights. In 2018 all taxis must be wheelchair accessable in Toronto. This has to mean replacing small effecient hybrid cars with large minivans.
……….

These tree huggers are hell bent on DE industrialization, they hate cars,, love bikes. Now that Wynne has a majority, watch auto insurance go crazy.

_____________________________________________

Old friend in Toronto had the Tree Nazis tell his neighbor same crap before he put in addition. My old friend learned from them, drilled holes into his not wanted trees and poured in poison! Within 4 weeks trees dead, removed and did his reno. I hate these tree hugging commie pinkos and their social adgendas. Tell them all to go to tree hell. City of Toronto has been infiltrated by socialists. So much for a treed city in the next ten years, last Decemebrs Ice storm took care of the tree huggers. Gods wrath!

#139 Holy Crap Wheres The Tylenol on 07.11.14 at 12:53 pm

Had enough of the Tree Police for today, going sailing on Lake Erie all weekend now where there are NO GOD DAM TREES, and no God Dam Tree Police. Just told a buddy of mine from New Work about this blog, I think he’s been converted. Holy Crap im getting to old for this sailing from Lake Ontario to Erie stuff, it took two full days and now I’m stuck up here for one week. By the way cell phone works for at least 10 nautical miles out on the lake, bug bonus!

#140 Holy Crap Wheres The Tylenol on 07.11.14 at 12:57 pm

#121 Grantmi on 07.11.14 at 10:01 am
SO! All you pre=boomers (70-80) and Boomers (50-69).. who’s going to be buying your home when you need 100% of the capital to move into assisted living????

______________________________________________

Don’t care if I ever sell, got enough cash and as for assisted living well, I hope I die before that! If not I’ll have to go for a walkabout!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=594WLzzb3JI&feature=kp

#141 Ilona on 07.11.14 at 12:59 pm

#133 Pre-Retiree on 07.11.14 at 12:17 pm

I guess my underlying comment was also a wish that some of the contributors to this blog would reconsider putting the other camp down (renters vs owners). There is no “right” solution for everyone. Each one of us has to examine their own situation, and decide what works best for the situation at hand.

Thank you, that was the point I was trying to make, but slipped into offensive/defensive mode :)

#142 Sheane Wallace on 07.11.14 at 1:24 pm

Smoking Man, you are getting it. Foreigner?
The school system need to be privatized. It is the biggest enemy as it grows couch potatoes and conformists. No critical thinking, individualism is suppressed, as well as competitiveness. Kids are brainwashed and given agendas without the parents right of approval. At the same time teachers don’t teach something that they should be doing: learning habits. They barely pass some (in most cases) unstructured material and then score the tests. No incentive to teach as their salary is not based on the achievements of the students. No wonder we score pretty low on productivity. The enforced need to be politically correct in everything creates individuals that can’t survive outside of this specific herd, we simple can’t live outside of Canada as we can’t adapt or accept change. Every time I state the above I am getting blanks stares. We simply cant’ communicate openly (outside of the blogosphere) and question the status quo/ mainstream view. It is simply depressing, like being in a mental institution all the time. Hence the need to drink Smoking Man..

#143 Sheane Wallace on 07.11.14 at 1:28 pm

It is very interesting to chat with for example Americans who recently moved to Canada and get an open outsider view of our culture, it is a mind blowing feedback.

#144 What about CMHC? on 07.11.14 at 1:29 pm

While we are busy arguing about buy or rent… there are innocent people being bombed and killed elsewhere:

Why would a Texan care? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYNf-mNm5ko

Ms. Sawyer had to apologize? http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/diane-sawyer-apologizes-world-news-error-24513856

#145 Mr Zipper on 07.11.14 at 1:40 pm

Here you go Garth…… Millionaires with $1,000,000.00 in real estate ‘assets’ …bwahahahahahahahahahaa…but pooched because of a 20K loss in invetments. Now…you could say that these people are safer with RE investing than equity….because they have lost money in the markets while maintaining ‘millionaire’ status from holding real estate……or can you?

http://business.financialpost.com/2014/07/11/living-six-figure-lifestyle-on-five-figure-income-contract-workers-struggle-after-20000-investing-loss/

Personally I don’t consider real estate an asset because it is not fungible…and borrowing against real property only creates debt….but many will disagree for emotional reasons. I guess some people need to feel that ‘they’re richer than you think’. If you’re not a cash millionaire then you are not a millionaire…..period.

#146 Gainsaywhodare on 07.11.14 at 1:44 pm

It is true that home ownership comes with financial burden. But I can also assure you that those who want to create gunja garden will do it regardless of their home ownership status.

I am not here to debate whether to rent or own. I am just saying that if you rent, you better have a good landlord or property manager. There are many deadbeat slumlords out there. If you think that all the landlords will take care of the regular maintenance, filters and duct-cleaning, etc., things you would normally have to do if you own the property, well, you may be in for a big surprise. Just because someone owns a property or a basement suite does not mean they should be landlords. Landlords love to collect rent cheques but very few actually want to do the work. If you rent a house that will be tear down later to build an infill, good luck getting the landlord to spend any money on maintenance or repair. Some landlords are not even aware of what fall under their responsibilities under the residential tenancies act. I am telling you, whether you are a home owner, a landlord, or a renter, do your homework.

#147 Carolyn on 07.11.14 at 1:53 pm

You should move out of the province, lots more space in the rest of Canada

#148 Ralph Cramdown on 07.11.14 at 2:10 pm

Liz Marshall who is with the Ontario Landowners has mentioned that “[Land Patent Grants] are binding contracts that overrule legislation,”

I always get a chuckle out of non lawyers who believe that they can find a loophole on a magic piece of paper that would override and nullify 150 years of jurisprudence and land use planning, and that a Judge would say “Your logic is irrefutable and your case is watertight. So ordered!”

Here’s the dope: Unless your precious Patent was a treaty between Queen Victoria and a sovereign nation, it’s just a piece of paper.

#149 4 AM Sunrise on 07.11.14 at 2:12 pm

#92 Andrew Woburn on 07.10.14 at 11:41 pm

As a tutor, I see this liberal agenda at work every day. Sometimes I work with what we would call the “slow” kids. These are NOT “special needs” – they’re just a little slow on the uptake. Back in my day, the slow kids didn’t get extra help from the system. They got their C’s, graduated, and eventually found their place in this world (hopefully). Nowadays, they get extra time on tests and homework clubs after school. All these university graduates in education, child psychology, etc. are hell-bent on lowering the bar so these kids can just step over it. One of my students stops to ask for help at the first minor roadblock. I said to her, “lookit, I think the system is over-helping you guys. What if you don’t need extra time on tests? We’ll never know if we don’t give you a chance to shine.” It’s my easiest hour ever when all I have to do is encourage her (if I think she knows the answer) and then leave her alone. Yeah, it may take 15 minutes to do one problem, but the point is, she’s doing it herself.

As my self-imposed duty to society, I talk to kids about money, too, where appropriate. I had a 12 year old whose (parent-directed?) aspirations in life were:

1. Career as an optometrist (or was it ophthalmologist?)
2. House
3. A million dollars in the bank
4. Nice car

…yet he didn’t strike me as some medical nerd who’s passionate about eyeballs. I talked about how there’s nothing wrong with wanting these things, but it’s more important to let your strengths and interests guide what you want to be when you grow up.

And that’s just one of the many ways the seeds of house horniness are sown.

#150 4 AM Sunrise on 07.11.14 at 2:19 pm

#142 Sheane Wallace on 07.11.14 at 1:24 pm

I work at a tutoring centre, and I joke to my students that my job security hinges on their rate of improvement.

Mind you, a lot of teachers in DC helped students cheat when the authorities tied school funding to students’ performance on standardized tests. That was a doozy.

#151 killaboy49 on 07.11.14 at 2:37 pm

The lesson here is don’t mess with city property. Duh!

#152 Dupcheck on 07.11.14 at 2:37 pm

Something to think of: Mankind has in common is that we are all going to die one day, rich or poor, renter or home owner, and 30% of our lifetime is spent sleeping. Sleeping is so important that we ignore it. It repairs the body and brain function.

#153 WTF? on 07.11.14 at 2:42 pm

Job numbers down. The 15-24 age group loses -43,000 jobs.

Yet Foreign Worker inflows from programs such as TFW, International Mobility Program, Intra-Company Transfer, and International Experience Canada CONTINUE TO GO UP.

Is it me or does something not add up???

Job losses yet job growth.

#154 Mark on 07.11.14 at 2:45 pm

“Yes, I’ve pretty much come to the same conclusion and just skip over his posts now. They sound intelligent enough but the ideas are mostly nonsense and I couldn’t be bothered trying to refute all of them. Mark is a troll.”

What do you think is nonsense? Why would you call me a troll?

The idea that falling housing prices in Canada will be profoundly deflationary, and highly supportive of a rising CAD$ is not nonsense at all. When people have less $$ in their pockets due to the home equity extraction/rising asset price parade ending, what do you think happens?

#155 Tony on 07.11.14 at 2:55 pm

Re: #123 Pre-retiree on 07.11.14 at 10:30 am

Good luck when the Canadian housing market implodes. I guess you didn’t get much from this blog.

#156 bdy sktrn on 07.11.14 at 3:08 pm

if its your own tree on your own land, just be sure to drill the holes at a downward angle, so the poison does not drip out.

#157 Sheane Wallace on 07.11.14 at 3:12 pm

Marc,

There would be no deflation as it is equal to formal default. Let’s not mix declining house prices (credit derivative) with deflation, please. Deflation is when gas goes back to 30 $, which is never.
The banking system is based on constantly expanding debt and inflation. And stagflation it is: under-reported inflation (officially 2.3 %) rising, employment goes down, there is no other way to fight credit boom, the growth is not enough specially if not present. There is global competition for commodities and food and their prices are not going down. Services are actually also going up everywhere. Deflation would apply to a contraction in a local isolated economy, in global economy where everyone is trying to stimulate there is no such ‘danger’. Otherwise I would love it when my money are worth more and more every day. Not gona happen.

#158 Fire Ants on 07.11.14 at 3:16 pm

Here in Vancouver, we now also have an infestation of fire ants to deal with, and property owners refusing access for surveying.
http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Effort+eradicate+invasive+fire+ants+faces+tough+slog/10019368/story.html

#159 Scott on 07.11.14 at 3:31 pm

A friend of mine built a new house with had a large oak tree on the front off the lot and the City told him that they were planning to cut it down before he started building. He and the local community got vocal about the removal and had it stopped after a long battle. The City then charged him a $5k ‘security deposit’ in case it died while he was building, he wished he kept his mouth shut.

#160 brainsail on 07.11.14 at 3:39 pm

“Downside of low mortgage rates? Less selling”

“WASHINGTON – Would-be home sellers across the country are grappling with a once-in-a-lifetime problem: They have mortgage rates so absurdly low it would hurt them financially to sell.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/downside-of-low-mortgage-rates-less-selling/

#161 Omg on 07.11.14 at 3:52 pm

110 Kevin – Duct Cleaning

yes duct cleaning is a complete scam, it’s one of those things that actually makes air quality worse.

In the late 1980s I worked for a gas utility in sw Ontario. We were thinking of offering duct cleaning as a service and did some testing. The duct cleaning knocked all kinds of crap loose that would otherwise happily stayed put. made a real mess of the air quailty.

If you are going to get duct cleaning done do it in the summer and leave all your windows open with the furnace fan running for a couple of hours after.

#162 mr-b on 07.11.14 at 3:52 pm

RE: #81 gut check

I left soviet socialist Ontari-owe for Southern Alberta ten years ago.

If you can stand the locals, this place is really libertarian.

Everything except Edmonton is conservative. People leave you alone and you leave them alone. Everyone is happy.

If you really want to see a contrast between Ontario and Alberta, go shopping somewhere. Watch how grumpy people are in Home depot in the east then try it here. Totally different worlds.

#163 LTL_FTC on 07.11.14 at 3:54 pm

#54 Catalyst on 07.10.14 at 8:30 pm
Found an interest report on housing from TD. Somewhat balanced.

Read that TD Report too. The thing I found interesting was the number of times the phrase “soft landing” was used – as if by repeating the mantra often enough it will come true. I’d say the jury’s still out.

#164 David Hawke on 07.11.14 at 3:55 pm

“In a country where citizens have no constitutional right to own property”

This plus, as stated, the government can expropriate it at any time for any reason paying any price they deem fit, not to mention that one can only use the property for what nosy neighbours decide makes me give my head a shake when anyone claims Canada to be a ‘free’ country.

#21 yeah the ‘right’ to pay taxes!

#24 Team Justin will bury Herr Harper in 2015

#8 Spot-on “The most industrious people don’t always hit the streets to demonstrate; they hit the road.” Bob Adams-Retirement Wave What I did in 2008 with NO regrets

For the Kia naysayers from the other day https://picasaweb.google.com/101406064280344293884/TrucksOfTheWorld#5661296028461814914

#165 Mr Zipper on 07.11.14 at 3:56 pm

#158 FA….Never mind the fire ants…..they’re outside…..the real ( unreported ) issue in Vancouver is the massive infestation of bedbugs in most major hotels and apartments ( condo buildings are crawling…look at Bed Bug registry). People in houses, condo’s, public buildings are screaming crazy about Vancouver’s bed bugs….but the news comes out infrequently…at best.

In the past month alone we have had health and safety warnings about the out break of rats due to peoples organic ‘composting’ ( throwing wet garbage into the back yards at Mayor Moonbeams direction)

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/North+Vancouver+getting+eaten+alive+bedbugs/10021152/story.html

I have gone blah blah blah about Crap-couver pouring millions of liters a day of raw untreated sewage and hospital waste into the Bay and Harbor every day. I have talked to pest control experts who have said ….and I quote…” If you saw the number of rats and cockroaches in the restaurants kitchens you would never eat out again”……I took his advice….I don’t.

I was on a plane recently telling two American tourists about the DTES and all the junkies…..the drunken battles on Granville…..the sewage hemming the coastline and all the rats , roaches, bedbugs, fecal matter on the beaches….the Suzuki report on 99% of the ground fish having pre-cancerous lesions and not to eat the seafood if caught locally.

I had an odd looking, obviously local Vancouverite menacing me with the ‘hairy eyeball’…..as if these ‘secrets were supposed to be kept among the locals…..shushhhhhhh….don’t let anyone know that Van Dump-O is a fetid trash heap.

#166 Flawed on 07.11.14 at 3:58 pm

#153 WTF? on 07.11.14 at 2:42 pm
Job numbers down. The 15-24 age group loses -43,000 jobs.

Yet Foreign Worker inflows from programs such as TFW, International Mobility Program, Intra-Company Transfer, and International Experience Canada CONTINUE TO GO UP.

Is it me or does something not add up???

Job losses yet job growth.

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

Someday Canadians will learn the definition of Fascism.

fas·cism [fash-iz-uhm] Show IPA
noun
1.
( sometimes initial capital letter ) a governmental system led by a dictator (ANY Prime Minister or Premier) having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism (BS Canadian Democracy), regimenting all industry, commerce (companies in Govt’s back pocket),

#167 bdy sktrn on 07.11.14 at 4:48 pm

damn non-canadian ants, i hear they are about to buy up the entire small condo supply!!!
(their furniture is really small)

#168 bdy sktrn on 07.11.14 at 5:00 pm

hard to argue with many of your points. (other than the oil/gas price)

#157 Sheane Wallace on 07.11.14 at 3:12 pm
Marc,

There is global competition for commodities and food and their prices are not going down. – yes

Services are actually also going up everywhere. – sure as hell are here – 118/hr shop rate at the boat canvas place today

Deflation would apply to a contraction in a local isolated economy, in global economy where everyone is trying to stimulate there is no such ‘danger’. – stimulate? who would do a thing like that? other than all cb’s at once.

#169 devore on 07.11.14 at 5:03 pm

#113 Smoking Man

Boom unemployment rate jumps to 7.1 from 7.0

Boom? Implying a surprise. A curious thing to say for someone as plugged in as you claim to be.

#170 Smoking Man on 07.11.14 at 5:03 pm

#154 Mark on 07.11.14 at 2:45 pm“Yes, I’ve pretty much come to the same conclusion and just skip over his posts now. They sound intelligent enough but the ideas are mostly nonsense and I couldn’t be bothered trying to refute all of them. Mark is a troll….
……..
I’m called troll… I don’t even know what it means.

From what I see, you get a shit fans, you will get about same amount of enemies. Humans. Communists and no Communists.

When you get enough, law off averages they start calling you a troll. Which means your message is getting out.

#171 Pre-Retiree on 07.11.14 at 5:14 pm

Re: #123 Pre-retiree on 07.11.14 at 10:30 am

Good luck when the Canadian housing market implodes. I guess you didn’t get much from this blog.

Dear Tony.
Please read my post #133. Your post is exactly what I am referring to. You know nothing of my situation but you presume to know, and I dare say, send some hateful wishes my way.
I will not give you details, but I can assure you it will make no difference to me whether the housing market goes up or down. Actually, I would prefer it would go way down so that I can purchase real estate where I want to move next. I do expect a downturn, and I never buy at the peak of the market.
Good luck! I do hope your wish comes true.

#172 Entrepreneur on 07.11.14 at 5:17 pm

Rules and regulations…more and more everyday…not a healthy environment. Wonder how long these government workers would last in their own business?

The new places are not allowed to burn wood and existing chimnies have to be inspected…where I live on Vancouver Island. In fact, in certain areas no backyard fires allowed.

Climate change…scientist do not know if we are going into cold or hot…the fight is on. People who do not believe that the climate is shifting have not worked in the outside environment in their lifetime (and generational).

As for Liberals, take out the b, take out the r, take out the a, l, and what do you have? B.C. has that too.

#173 Pre-Retiree on 07.11.14 at 5:17 pm

Forgot to say that I was referring to Tony post #155 in my reply above.

#174 Dean Mason on 07.11.14 at 5:25 pm

BANNED

#175 Tony on 07.11.14 at 7:20 pm

Tony makes the MarketWatch poll:

Coining the phrase: “ponziland” for what phase is the bull market in. When the market crumbles feel free to use the term.

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2014/07/11/bull-market-has-longer-to-run-marketwatch-readers/

#176 Nemesis on 07.11.14 at 7:31 pm

“Unless your precious Patent was a treaty between Queen Victoria and a sovereign nation, it’s just a piece of paper.” – Ralph

Well… strictly speaking, Ralph… they’re all just pieces of paper. Historically speaking.

For example…

YothuYindi’s “Treaty” [Hint: The Anangu, Bama, Koori, Murri, Noongar, Nunga and Palawah peoples don’t really have a lot of time for ‘Mrs. Brown’]

http://youtu.be/S7cbkxn4G8U

And then there’s the FrancoGerman Armistice 22JUN1940 – Compiegne

http://youtu.be/S7cbkxn4G8U

[NoteToSaltierDogz: Without googling it, who here can explain the significance of that particular railway car in Compiegne… and why the guy with the funny moustache chose that venue? BonusPoints for those who also know what happened to it immediately after everyone tucked their fountain pens back into their uniforms? Put your hand down, Ralph… let’s give someone else a turn this afternoon.]

#BonusZen #’Mrs.Brown’akaQueenVictoria

[UK Telegraph] – Victoria ‘did become Mrs Brown’

…”Newly published diaries provide the most compelling evidence yet that Queen Victoria married John Brown, her devoted servant, in a secret ceremony.

The diaries of Lewis Harcourt, a politician and minister in Asquith’s Liberal government, claim that the Rev Norman Macleod, the Queen’s chaplain, made a death-bed confession that he had married the couple and regretted it for the rest of his life.”…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1429127/Victoria-did-become-Mrs-Brown.html

#177 Nemesis on 07.11.14 at 8:05 pm

#BonusZen. #ThisIsWhatHistoryLooksLike. #”IsParisBurning?”[Brennt Paris?]

http://youtu.be/3AWQYKfUQPc

http://tinyurl.com/may8rkq

#178 b on 07.13.14 at 10:15 pm

Garth,

Of all the reasons not to own, the two that stand out for me are bed bugs, which I fought in a building I owned/managed for years, and neighbours who you end up despising (although this has never happened to me, I hear it causes people to move). Mobility and the feeling that your landlord is on the hook for most crap is fab.

I recently helped convince a smart friend to rent a house instead of buy. It proves I have one smart friend!

#179 green slave | UN Agenda 21 on 07.14.14 at 10:43 am

[…] http://www.greaterfool.ca/2014/07/10/the-tree-police/#comments […]

#180 Aj on 07.14.14 at 12:29 pm

@ #148 Ralph Cramdown

These papers were signed between Queen Victoria, sovereign of Canada at the time and are protected within the BNA Act (I can’t recall the specific sections of the act off the top of my head) which last time I check, does bind Canada to respect them.

But hey your right, what would I know, I am a non-lawyer!

Although I am a paralegal….but I wouldn’t have any remote idea about what I am talking about or why…