Monday, January 28, 2008

I really love parts of Victoria

I've lived in Calgary, Halifax, Banff, Edmonton and Victoria. Victoria is home. I wasn't born here. But if I were asked where I'd like to spend the rest of my days, if I had to spend them in one location, I'd be an Oiler fan in Fairfield.

I was at a party for a friend on Saturday night. It was hosted by a doctor. The house was really nice. It was around 1300SF. It had character. It was unique. It was small. It was livable. It was everything Ms. HHV has dreamed about. A modest house. A character house. A great neighbourhood. Too bad it takes a doctor's salary to afford it though.

Actually that's not true. It takes a doctor's salary to own it.

We used to live one block over from this house. There were three of us sharing a 3 bedroom house that had a bachelor suite in the basement. We chose not to rent out the suite because I liked having a second bathroom I could use and Ms. HHV liked having a private place she could go and paint in. The whole house, all 2000SF of it, cost us $1250/month plus utilities. It worked out to about $500 each.

That was only two years ago. We moved so I could be closer to school and we could sell a car and start saving the difference for a down payment. I believed the market was due for a correction then too and naively thought that when I was done school we'd have enough saved to put a down payment on a modest bungalow with a suite in a neighbourhood we could live long-term in. I was wrong, obviously. I didn't think we'd afford Fairfield, but I figured we'd get in Cedarhill or Fernwood no problem. Back then, small fixer uppers were around $300K; I'd been looking for a return to $250K-$260K prices. Fairfield was the goal: walk to work downtown, great coffee, short ride to the waterfront loop to Sidney, short drive to the pool, beautiful neighbourhood etc, but we could definitely live elsewhere happily.

So we've been talking about this house party. And that talk has me thinking: could we ever afford Fairfield? Turns out we can. Because despite what some would have you believe, I still think that we can afford this lifestyle choice by renting. Our rent would go up a bit, from $850 including utilities to likely close to $1200. But we'd be looking at a bigger place. If you look at some of the rentals on Craigslist and UsedVictoria, or over at duttons.com you'll see places, mostly suites, for rent in Fairfield for anywhere between $600-$1200 depending on size and rooms. Rents have increased, but not anywhere near as fast as prices.

We've decided to stay where we are and continue saving. If the market doesn't turn, we may leave, we may stay, we may move in town and rent somewhere new. It really doesn't matter. This town has beautiful neighbourhoods, despite the insanity that is the residential housing market. The point is, if you rent, there are some great affordable places. I still don't believe that the prices are remotely justified in terms of the amenities or locations. There was a stat posted somewhere in the comments over the past couple of weeks about how 3%-4% of property changed hands in Victoria last year. Talk about out of whack: 3%-4% of properties dictating what a market value is worth.

75 comments:

had enough said...

I don't think property will fall. I just don't and I don't know why. Like I said there will be the "Rich" here that will own nice properties and the rest will be paying 75% of their salary in mortgage payments. These people will be the "working poor" which is really the middle class.

I know a doctor with 3 kids who left because it was too expensive. A doctors salary of $120,000 (before expenses) does not get you much here. They went to Toronto - and downtown not the burbs.

As I said earlier I am throwing in the towel. There are "parts" of Victoria that are nice but drive around and most of it is pretty depressing.

I don't get it and I never will. Good luck and I hope for the very best for you and your wife. You will be fine.

Anonymous said...

There are a couple of options: buy a place with a suite... then live in the suite and rent out the larger portion of the house (more rental income) until you have enough money to reverse the situation.

Another option is to take out an RRSP loan, hold it for 90 days, then withdraw the RRSP loan through the homebuyers plan as your downpayment. If you each do it for $20,000, then you have a downpayment of $40,000.

When you move into your home, start a home based business. Everyone should have a home based business. You don't have to show a profit, at least initially, and the tax write-offs are significant. It is not against the law to be a lousy businessperson. Get an accountant to do all the paperwork for you. You'll spend a $300 to do your income taxes and save $3000 in income tax. After a couple of years when the mortgage payments are easier, you can shut down the homebased business.

Another option is to rent a bedroom out to an ESL student. Do it for a year or two, when you first move into the house. It's an awesome cultural experience. A lot of homestay arrangements just have the students paying rent, you don't have to cook meals for them or anything.

We bought a three bedroom rancher for $379,000 one year ago. This is close to the Saanich/Victoria border in a nice neighborhood. It has gone up some, but not a lot. We're not too concerned if it goes up or down in the near term. This is our home. We are going to live here for a long time.

Good luck. With two incomes there is no real reason why you can't buy a house in Victoria. Stop trying to time the market. Who cares... I tried to do it for a while, but at the end of the day it was more important for me to have a place to raise my family. Everybody is in debt until they die anyway. You may as well have a small piece of land to call home and enjoy life.

Tim Ayres said...

Tim Ayres:

Hi HHV, An interesting perspective on rent vs. own, and I'm glad you didn't go into the pure economics side of the cost of renting versus the cost of owning. I find that this is a useless, circular argument, and there are benefits to both renting and owning that go beyond the simple dollars and cents.

Now, regarding the statistic you reported about 3-4% of the property changing hands last year - if you think about it, doesn't it make sense that this is how prices are dictated? 3-4% of property is relatively scarce - with high demand for housing snapping up that small fraction of properties, it pushes the prices up - simple supply-and-demand.

Thanks again for your views.

-Tim Ayres

Anonymous said...

Mister you analyze to much. prices goes up. Victoria is best weather in the world. Live here is rich man privelidge. That is the cost. 1000000 peoples from Communist China moves to Victoria and Vancouver cities next 5 years. One way young coupless I know pay for house is rent all bedrooms to constriction, strit ladies, student and workers. Also, they not to have children, save $$$ for mortgage.

VicREBear said...

Yay! I now have the solution to unaffordable real estate in Victoria! I'll rent all my bedrooms to "strit ladies"! I'll sleep in a closet, standing upright, listening to my "strit ladies" at work all night, helping me with my mortgage and saving me from throwing away my money on rent!

olives said...

Tim

Why in the world are economic arguments useless?

Anon Said:

"Everybody is in debt until they die anyway."

No offence, but I think it is this kind of thought process that has led us directly to the problems we have today.

Tim Ayres said...

Tim Ayres:

Olives:

Economic arguments are not useless. What I was trying to say is that the rent vs own from a purely economic standpoint (cost to rent vs cost to own) is circular, and therefore useless to argue about. I'm sure you've seen it laid out in dollars and cents a million times on various blogs and forums.

I thought HHV's perspective on this issue was refreshing and not the simple "it's way cheaper to rent in Fairfield than to buy so it's better" argument that you see many times.

Metaldwarf said...

Anon Said:

"Everybody is in debt until they die anyway."

Wow.... seriously wow. I have never, and could easily never be in debt ever in my life. I live by a simple financial ideal, do not buy what you can't afford. I have a positive bank balance at ALL TIMES. I have a positive high interest savings accounts AT ALL TIMES. I have never EVER paid interest on my credit cards. I have no student loans. I have no car payments, I invest 20% of my earnings in RSPs. If I never buy a house and take out a mortgage, which at these prices won't happen any time soon, I will NEVER EVER be in debt ever in my life. If and when I do buy a house, it will be with a downpayment as large as I can muster, it will be for no longer then 20 years and I will not overpay for what I buy.

PERIOD

Anon, go see a financial planner, and not one from the bank that holds the mortgage on your home.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if the bear ring has seen this report yet:

http://www.cbc.ca/bc/news/bc-080128-housing-survey.pdf

and the article that goes with it:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/01/28/bc-housing.html?ref=rss

olives said...

Tim,

I agree that the cost difference between renting and buying is only one factor BUT, I think the point on the "bubble" blogs in the past couple years is that the difference between the two is now EXTREME - For example the house I am currently living in I rent in great neighbourhood for a very reasonable cost, however to purchase it, even with a substantial downpayment would be unaffordable, or at the very least very uncomfortable.

To those who can easily and comfortably pay either the rent or the mortgage payment, then maybe the discussion is totally irrelevant, but I don't think that includes that many people who post on these blogs, or your "average" person.

Anonymous said...

Compared to Vancouver, Victoria is still affordable. I do think there are affordable areas in Victoria that are pleasant places to live. They may not be trendy, fashionable or near the waterfront but decent places to live for the long haul. Trendy east side waterfront neighbourhoods such as Fairfield, South Oak Bay, James Bay etc. have been very expensive for the last 20 years or so. However, if one were to look inland a bit, there are many decent areas not too far from Downtown. Places like Maplewood, Mount Tolmie, Mount Douglas/Braefoot, Marigold are not in general posh or trendy but decent, middle class and convenient to the city - quiet and with nice walks and close to shopping. In Vancouver, any of those neighbourhoods would be outrageously priced or crime ridden. Even some higher end areas like Broadmead are not outrageously priced given the treed surroundings and big homes. There are some super nice, roomy, modern homes in Broadmead in the $700,000 range and actually the vast majority of those spacious, upper middle class homes sell for less than a million. Try looking in North Vancouver for the same Broadmead house!!! Another higher end area, Rockland, has history, fabulous, character homes and is practially Downtown. There are some reasonably priced heritage homes in the $800,000 range that in Vancouver would cost $2 million. In fact, the houses in Rockland are nicer than the small,expensive, bland ones in Fairfield. The common theme is that you can find relatively affordable and nice areas in Victoria as long as you do not insist on being on waterfront or near waterfront.

olives said...

Hey anon, I doubt most consider the $700,000 to $800,000 range as being affordable. It obviously depends on your financial situation, but I am thinking more of your average government-type employee in Victoria.

Check out the links posted by anon 9:44 above. Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria are all rated as "severely unaffordable" by their criteria.

Anonymous said...

Buy now before be prized out. Victoria is good place. prizes go up, up.. never stop. buy now, rent to stundents, strit ladies and pick up diesel truck with 6 wheels man from Alberta. good rent. you sleep in kitchen or storage room. make good maney.

Anonymous said...

Hehe. I'm liking the conversations on these blogs the last couple of days. Bears throwing in the towel, realtors saying that comparing rents to prices doesn't mean anything, bizarre posters coming out of the woodwork to opine that all you need to do to afford a house is not have kids and rent rooms to hookers and construction workers.

Folks - the psychology is getting twisted. I think we're near the Big Top.


FWIW, we rent a 3-bed, 3-bath custom house on 2.5 ac in Metchosin with spectacular ocean view, wraparound decks, etc. It's $1600. The same house would cost about $700k. Realtors can claim it's meaningless all they like, but I'm pocketing thousands in savings every month, and when something breaks I call a tradesperson to fix it at the landlord's expense. We'll see what is and isn't meaningless in due time.

Anonymous said...

Victoria very effordible. Good house for $700,000. Very cheap. You get 6 tenants, 3 in basement and 3 upztirs and yo get good maney. Good tenants from Alberta with diesel 6 whil trucks.

roger said...

anon 10:20 said

Hehe. I'm liking the conversations on these blogs the last couple of days. Bears throwing in the towel, realtors saying that comparing rents to prices doesn't mean anything, bizarre posters coming out of the woodwork to opine that all you need to do to afford a house is not have kids and rent rooms to hookers and construction workers.

Folks - the psychology is getting twisted. I think we're near the Big Top.


I agree with you. It will even get more interesting if we plateau or heaven forbid drop in price over the next few months.

I have a hypothetical question for the readers of this blog:

If, for some reason, prices flatten out or slightly drop in the next 6 months what do you think will be the reaction by homeowners, bears, MSM and real estate agents?

Perhaps HHV would consider this as a topic. It would be interesting to pause the heated debate on the future predictions and see what people think under a what if scenario

HADENOUGH said...

I just spoke with my realtor and he said the market is red hot. Even if we find a home suitable for our family people are only accepting cash offers. I was basically told "You don't have enough money in this city to live here". All I wanted was a stupid house big enough for my 4 kids.

I have made the decision to leave. Property will never go down. When we moved here 5 years ago I said it was a strange place and it sure is - bizarro world. We are moving to Winnipeg (which is not the greatest but I grew up there) this summer and husband will follow in the fall.

My blogger name says it all - Hadenough!

Thats all Folks!

Anonymous said...

1000000 peoples come here from China. Very expensve after. Very cheap now. By now. Very cheap.

Geoffrey said...

The market is not red hot. It is tanking. There are so many unsold condos that "investors" are just walking away. Your RE agent is telling you fibs. Look here, why are these not sold. In a red hot market, they would have been sold before they even built the thing. And, those that have been sold by the developer are on sale on MLS.

http://cieloproperties.ca/redstone/floorplans.html

http://www.vicinovictoria.com/VicinoVictoria.htm

http://www.thebreakwater.ca/pricing.htm

Anonymous said...

"I just spoke with my realtor and he said the market is red hot."

I just spoke with my local used car salesman. He says that cars are just flying off the lot.

Remember who you're talking to, there.

Anonymous said...

The RE estate industry in Victoria is out to destroy the family. No need to live here if you have children (they're an extra expense you don't need when you pay off the 40 year mortgage). If in theory this trend were to continue, the only people left in the city will grumpy old rich boomers and drug addicts/homeless/prostitutes. Certainly a very attractive place to live in.

Aleks said...

"You don't have enough money in this city to live here".

That's a bald faced lie. You don't have enough money to buy here. Rent is still reasonable.

I'm moving into a four-bedroom house with a workshop. It'll cost us $1650 a month in rent. I dunno how much it would cost to buy, maybe $400,000. But so what? I don't have to pay that. My options are not "buy or leave".

To Tim,

What do you mean when you say "circular argument"? Because from where I'm sitting, the argument is not circular, it's pretty linear. It costs more to buy than to rent, a lot more. Period. Where's the circular part? Is it where you tell people "But you should buy anyway"?

Anonymous said...

Victoria should get used to that label, said Ken Stratford, head of the Greater Victoria Economic Development Commission. "I think we will be there again next year," he said. "I don't see anything on the horizon that indicates a drop in house prices."

But it's not necessarily a negative thing, Stratford said, noting being on that list is a good-news-bad-news situation.

"As far as the economy goes, it shows our economy is hot; the fact we are the least affordable or one of the least affordable cities says we're obviously a place where the economy is thriving and doing well," he said.

http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=05cfb462-0a25-4d57-9b1c-b77d8bae03f8&k=82315

roger said...

had enough

We are moving to Winnipeg (which is not the greatest but I grew up there) this summer and husband will follow in the fall.

I hope you are not disappointed with Real Estate in Winnipeg. The type of house you want is in limited supply. There are only 11 houses in Winnipeg over 700K at the current time.

I think the people who own them might be considered rich by the locals.

slimtuesday said...

We are moving to Nova Scotia. Second best place to live according to Canadian Business Magazine. Second warmest climate in Canada. Oceanfront properties can be bought for $200-$400K. People there value family and the joie de vivre. Here it seems, all that people think about, is how much is my house worth, rent their bedrooms to strangers who don't speak English. And, by the way, they don't want children here so that they can pay for the ridiculous lifelong mortgage. What a pathetic bunch. I'll be glad to be gone.

http://www.canadianbusiness.com/rankings/bestplacestolive/list.jsp

Anonymous said...

"I don't think property will fall. I just don't and I don't know why."

Hmm. Well, can't argue with that, as it's a matter of faith. But reason would indicate the market will eventually fall. Doesn't have to fall this year, or next, and it doesn't have to fall in nominal terms. But in real terms, it has to fall eventually. That's because current price/income ratios do not allow first time buyers to enter the market in sufficient numbers to keep it afloat.

As for the conjecture that rich out-of-towners will keep prices up in the stratosphere ... that isn't happening now (the vast majority of sales are to local buyers), so if it were to happen in the future, that would represent a major change in the way the market is operating. What would account for such a change? The Olympics? Who could confidently predict such a thing?

Anonymous said...

The Olympics are guaranteed to double the price of RE. They did so in Sarajevo and in Lake Placid. Victoria is known for its winter games and abundant snow. Ski bums abound.

olives said...

Roger said:

"If, for some reason, prices flatten out or slightly drop in the next 6 months what do you think will be the reaction by homeowners, bears, MSM and real estate agents?"

Homeowners - fear and anger
Agents - silence
Bears - no difference as is already expected
MSM - Financial news is big these days

Anonymous said...

When winter games enthusiasts and millionaire junior athletes discover the Alps like amenities Victoria has to offer, the plentiful snow, the world renowned ski resort (Bear Mountain), they will set to buy in a frenzy everything in sight. The best place on earth.

olives said...

"Victoria very effordible. Good house for $700,000. Very cheap. You get 6 tenants, 3 in basement and 3 upztirs and yo get good maney. Good tenants from Alberta with diesel 6 whil trucks."

Based on some of the comments here today I'm not sure if this was meant sarcastically or not....

olives said...

VG is that you????

S2 said...

I pulled this off of the Cheap Realty blog.

"I did a search for condos in the VREB area of the MLS (008/01/28). Today there were 935 condos for sale! That's a lot of condos."

As of January 28, 2008 there are NINE HUNDRED AND THRITY FIVE condos for sale.

Come on, this is the end of January not mid-summer. If this is not significant I will eat my high heel boots.

I wonder what the number will be in March, April, May or June?

Now I am not a real estate expert by far but...

had enough:

condos is where the fall will begin then it will reach to SFH.

I am waiting for the VREB March numbers to see what is happening.

Until then I will try to stay calm and wait for the life raft and not jump from a sinking ship into the icy cold water.

Mr.4AM said...

"When winter games enthusiasts and millionaire junior athletes discover the Alps like amenities Victoria has to offer, the plentiful snow, the world renowned ski resort (Bear Mountain), they will set to buy in a frenzy everything in sight. The best place on earth."

Bear Mountain - a ski resort that parallels the French Alps!?! - hahaha!

2010 will be the year BC RE "investors" will try (but fail) to sell their properties to the long-gone *starving* junior atheletes, a few of which will have have more $ around their necks than in their bank accts. Last time I checked you couldn't place a downpayment with a gold medal, even when gold hits $1500/oz.

Real Estate goes up, and Real Estate goes down. To the fool who said that it doesn't matter when you buy, I hope you are nice and comfy with your home and especially your boss, because you'll be spending a lot of time with both for a very very long time if that's your financial strategy. People like you spend more time trying to save money grocery shopping than you do understanding basic real estate economic concepts, and then complain that the rich are getting richer. Well I'll let you in on a little secret. The rich aren't getting richer by buying assets that are fundamentally out of whack.

Seriously, some people need to get get their priorities straight.

Anonymous said...

s2

As of January 28, 2008 there are NINE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE condos for sale.


That's less than 6 months supply based on 2007 sales. The key question is, what was the ratio of active listings to annual sales in 2006 and 2007? You can't put a number on the table in isolation and interpet that as good or bad.

Billy TwoBaulz said...

heheheheh! I'm loving these little posts that have come in lately:

When winter games enthusiasts and millionaire junior athletes discover the Alps like amenities Victoria has to offer, the plentiful snow, the world renowned ski resort (Bear Mountain), they will set to buy in a frenzy everything in sight. The best place on earth.

...as well as the badly typed ones (strit women, 6 whil trucks). Fess up, vg, if it is you! Wasn't there someone similar on the Vancouver Housing Blog that always had these wild little non-sequiturs, typed all wrong?

Anyhow keep it coming, serious or not.

BTW, I went skiing down Bear Mountain myself the other day, and I have to hand it you - it was brilliant. Pure powder. Or was that the form my drugs came in?? Anyhow, it was great. I partied in a chalet with millionaire junior athletes all night. I think Sidney Crosby was one of them.

greg said...

"I'll be glad to be gone."

Hmm, more potential buyers leave, that's not good.

As to the 900+ condos on the MLS, the truly startling thing is that more than 700 were listed with asking prices above the December 2007 median price ($293,000).

When 2/3s of the sellers think there condo are in the top 50% of the market, it seems logical that some sellers are in for a rude awakening - sales are just not happening in the top of the market like the bottom.

How many of those selling above the median are doing so based on their need to meet or beat a number (presale price), as opposed to actual demand in the market?

I agree with S2, let's wait until March to see how the market is shaping up.

Anonymous said...

What you people want to say that Victoria RE will not be remaining most expensive in world today and for all futur times?!?!

All people want best place on earth, now easier to find with easy license plates offersing such informations on the back of every 2nd 6 whil truck.

You bad peopel if you think this money train will stop to let you on board - you are surely to remain renting your sad houses while the market continue to run uphill just as sure as I ski downhill to glory in world-class Bear Mountain Alps resort.

greg said...

That's less than 6 months supply based on 2007 sales.

It's a well known fact that anything over 3 months of supply is considered a buyers market.

Don't forget, more will be added in the next 9 months. There are already as many condos listed as in August last year.

How many will be listed in August 2008 - 24 months of supply, maybe?

Billy TwoBaulz said...

a confession - that was me above at 2:37 (What you people want to say...). I just couldn't resist having a try. But I can't do justice to it - please, whoever is posting these, bring on more!

Metaldwarf said...

NY Times article on the US housing market.

"Sales of New Homes Fell by 26% in 2007"

http://tinyurl.com/yvvzbf

Anonymous said...

You maka BIG maney. Rent to many, many peoples. Put in cassules and rent to 20 -30 peoples. Rent to strit ladies, diesel 6 whil truck man and grand mamas. Invistment never go down.
Look at cassules --->

http://www.capsuleinn.com/rooms_facilities.html

olives said...

What's the one that being "buy now or be priced out forever" and ends something like - "those who don't buy now will be living in hondas...." ????

HADENOUGH said...

slimtuesday,

Funny. We were thinking of moving to the Peg but I just don't know if I can stand the winters (I grew up there and it was so cold).

We are thinking of Halifax. Friends just left Victoria last year for Halifax and they are loving it. They met all their neighbors (I have lived in Oak Bay for 4 years and met maybe 4 people).

People value family etc. We need a larger house with 4 children and plenty of pets. We could sell and our house and possibly do quite well but we can't seem to find a bigger place - even outside of Victoria. The jump in price it too huge. We are seeing the dumps they are selling for $900,000 that need so much work and just can't stomach paying that money and we can't continue living on top of each other forever.

We are not young - in our 40s and have been in the market for 20 years and still we are having trouble. If we sold now and moved to Duncan, dumped the kids, we might be okay.

Anyway, our friends are just loving it.

olives said...

It’s a new paradigm, and everybody who doesn’t buy, now, will be priced out forever. Anybody who does buy will be rewarded with a lifetime of riches, as their property will continue its 30% yearly price increase.

Renters, and anybody born in a future generation, will not be able to afford a $10,000,000 starter home in 15 years. They will live in tent cities, and Hondas.

This asset bubble is different than all of the others - it will never slow down, or pop. The gains are permanent.

Anonymous said...

Another way to save for mortgage payments is to use wood as your primary source of heating (you can sneak out at night and chop some down at Beacon Hill park). Also, use candles and don't buy milk and orange juice (you can steal your tenants' food at night when they are sleeping in your bedrooms, and blame the theft on the other tenants). Finally, make sure that the hot water tank is set to off.

roger said...

hadenough said
We are thinking of Halifax. Friends just left Victoria last year for Halifax and they are loving it.

You should ask your friends if they ever leave the house.
Halifax tops violent crime stats

Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly says he's concerned by new statistics that suggest the municipality is the violent crime capital of the country.

Now your first choice Winnipeg has highest homicide rate of big cities

Winnipeg had the highest homicide rate among Canada's nine biggest cities last year, with almost twice as many victims as the year before

Why not take a test drive. Bring the whole family to downtown Victoria for a stroll on Friday evening. Then when you move to Halifax or Winnipeg you will feel right at home.

xox said...

hard not to comment on the current discussion.......

1. read the "Marlet" (the UVIC student paper). Students were recently evicted from a Haultain st home because Saanich bylaws do not allow more than 4 students per house. Just so you know.......

2. relative recently listed her Vic 2 bed condo at an absurd price. Now the listing agent is telling her to drop the price (little interest) because "it just did not feel right to him". And this is a well-established realtor in Victoria.

3. My own realtor let 2 condo listings in Bearspaw expire - only 2 showings over entire period and not worth continuing to advertise.

4. A 'desirable' rancher on Midland got alot of interest this weekend at an open house - realtor said there were 5 offers - but it sold for only 10k over asking and asking was under assessed value.

5. I get discouraged too about ever increasing asking prices and the fact that a few places are still selling - BUT (as my partner reminds me), the US market was very robust right until the end - and then it justed dropped off a cliff. I truly belief we are just a few steps away from that cliff edge.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Roger,
Your article about Halifax is from 2005. Man, are you smoking something, we're in 2008! How about the little old ladies whacked on their heads here in Victoria by wackos, the lack of police, the potheads and constant harassing by urine stinking drunks and heroin addicts. The syringes, feces and garbage littered all over downtown. If you like that, good for you. Read what the National Post has to say:

"Disgusted in Victoria, Sept. 1, 2007"

http://www.nationalpost.com/
news/story.html?id=a7ae7e29
-0353-4cb8-8dd4-d9e4dca85ad8

hhv said...

greg,

if you pop by, how do you read the comments on your site? I only get the first 5

roger said...

anon 7:14 said

Your article about Halifax is from 2005. Man, are you smoking something, we're in 2008!

You are right. The crime rate in those places has probably dropped drastically in the last three years - not.

greg said...

hhv -

are you linking to the RSS feed? It only has the titles from the stories on the front page - around 5 sounds about right.

The actual comments themselves are just like here - if you are on the front page or in the archives and click on a story or video it should take you to a specific page (node) for that item, and below it give you a running commentary.

The other option is to click them in the recent comments block in the sidebar - those could be from any item - it is just the most recent comments, so they might not all be from the same post or video.

S2 said...

Olives. Your post at 4:22 says that you have obviously been brain washed...

or you are being completely sarcastic and pretty funny too.

hhv said...

greg,

i've tried what you suggested, clicked comments, clicked comments on the sidebar, etc.

Either I'm an idiot outside blogger, or your site doesn't like me. Probably somewhere in between I'm guessing...

olives said...

Hey S2 - haven't you seen that one before? I don't know who wrote it but I laugh every time I read it somewhere.

Hondas...LOL

S2 said...

Olives. I haven't seen that one specifically but I have seen variations.

Just those words coming under your user name gave me a bit of a shock.

I thought that that was it...we lost Olives too. :)

greg said...

hhv -

can you access this link? I see your comment in the thread at #8.

Not sure why you can't see the comments by clicking on the topic and scrolling down. If you are on the front page, not in a particular story, at the bottom of each topic is a "read more" button - that will also get you story+comments, or should.

hhv said...

greg,

weird, i can see it in IE, but Firefox won't let me get past #5. Stinking browser incompatability

vg said...

"VG is that you????"


nope,not me, but I like his humour but it is somehow becoming reality in this town. If you don't mind the cops dropping by then load up those hookers and truckers...what a combo ...lol


greg,
I am having the same problem as HHV on your site,made a couple of posts and they don't show up and cant view all of the others just 15 or so.
Help !

Anonymous said...

Well, its getting near the end of the month and the board stats will be out soon.

But, I need a little help with the would be "spin doctors" out there.

How about these stats for NEW condominiums for Greater Victoria.

Total number of new condos for sale is 632
Total number of new condos sold in the last 90 days - 103.

Giving an absorption rate of 18.4 months.

OR

Total new condos listed in the last 90 days - 478
of these listed - 34 have sold.

Giving a Sales to Listings ratio of 0.07

Alright, you would be "spinners"
how do you pump this as a "hot market".

Signed
Deep Throat

Geoffrey said...

I went on-line at mls.ca and found 1269 condo's for sale in the Victoria area.

Metaldwarf said...

the median price in Vancouver would have to be $179,700. That kind of drop could destroy the economy for decades.

This got me thinking, WHAT IS THE AVERAGE HOME IN VICTORIA?

To figure that out we would need to how many homes (apartments, condos, townhouses, duplexes, SFH) are there in Victoria? What the average cost is per category and what the average income of the people who live in them is.

This is mostly just the ramblings that goes on inside my head but its an interesting thought experiment. PLEASE NOTE: my numbers are purely fictional.

Lets assume there are 100,000 homes in Victoria. of those 40,000 are SFH, 30,000 are condos and 30,000 are rental apartments. For the sake of simplicity there are no duplexes, townhouses, rented houses etc. only SFH condo and rental apartments.

Assume the cost of the homes evenly follows the distribution of wages in Victoria. The average wage can afford the cheapest 50% of the market but not the higher 50%. Therefore, the average wage earner can comfortably afford a high end condo or just barely afford a low end SFH. People below average income can afford condos of various quality and the poorer folks have to rent an apartment. Conversely those slightly better off then average can afford bigger and better SFH.

If this is the case (and it is not)then the average home is a pretty nice condo that costs $179,700. That doesn't sound too bad. I could happily live and afford an upper class condo development (Bear Mountain, Richmond gate, Hudson etc) for $180K

Of course if the distribution of homes and incomes was not even like in my example the average would be different. My challenge to the community. What is the average home in Victoria? We know what the average SFH and condo prices are but if you counted up all the homes in Victoria what is the average is it a condo a SFH or something entirly different?

Metaldwarf said...

I actually could go a little further with my last post.

Once we know what the average home is, how much does it cost in real life. And how much of a correction does it need to fall in line with the $179,700 number?

Anonymous said...

As of June 2005
Greater Victoria consisted of the following number of homes and strata (condos and townhomes). And the population of each area was:

Houses
Colwood -4092
Victoria -10484
Central Saanich- 4063
Esquimalt-3014
Saanich-28219
Oak Bay 5504
Langford-6008
North Saanich-4035
Metchosin-556
Sooke-2897
Highlands-264
View Royal-3000
Sidney-2968
Total 74,204

Stratas:

Colwood-334
Victoria -10,101
Central Saanich- 899
Esquimalt-1200
Saanich-6,771
Oak Bay-761
Langford--739
North Saanich-75
Metchosin-3
Sooke-299
Highlands-0
view Royal 616
Sidney-1879
Total 23,869


Population
Central Saanich 16,819
Colwood-15,122
Esquimalt-17188
Highlands-2114
Langford-21616
Metchosin-5300
North Saanich-11273
Oak Bay- 18,311
Saanich -110,382
Sidney-11,861
Sooke-10116
Victoria-78296
View Royal-8255
Total 351,425


signed
deep throat

phil said...

A bit off topic but has everyone seen what prices are in the previous bubbles of Florida, Cali, and Arizona? It's amazing, and bound to keep dropping.

How about Tampa where it was sunny and 25'celcius today:

http://tampa.craigslist.org/rfs/557195982.html

Or San Diego, where you get an average of 300 sunny days a year:

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/esd/rfs/554730110.html

Finally Phoenix, where you get 7 inches of rain per year vs. 26 inches in Victoria:

http://phoenix.craigslist.org/rfs/557775526.html

Maybe all those folks have left to move here?

Anonymous said...

there is no reason for prices to drop much in the short term - why would they when we are going into the 'peak' selling season. So all of us that anticipate a drop will have to wait out the next few months

Anonymous said...

Man, I wished we were here like in the European Union (free trade and free movement of labour). I'd go anytime and live (if I could work there legally) in Florida, Az or CA.

Geoffrey said...

I am really puzzled. If we have all these millionaires and rich people in Victoria, why don't we see BMW's, Mercedes, etc. All that people drive around here are VERY old polluting rust buckets or diesel spewing VWs or trucks. Where are all the rich people picking this one condo here for $750K, this townhouse for $1M and this other house $1.5M. Are we living in a fraud?

greg said...

VG -

no wonder nobody comments on my site if you can't see the comments - I am investigating, if it is a browser issue like Firefox vs IE, any input is appreciated?

I never notice any problem but I am usually signed in there as the webmaster.

Any help beta testing (or maybe, considering the site has been around almost a year, zeta testing), of user functionality is much appreciated. After a year, it would be nice to get everything working smoothly.

If things are working better now, can someone let me know? If so, it could be the page caching function.

Anonymous said...

Scotiabank offers mortgages for homes in the sun/paradise (not Victoria).

http://www.scotiabank.com/
cda/content/0,1608,
CID11951_LIDen,00.html

S2/Harmony said...

metaldwarf said "PLEASE NOTE: my numbers are purely fictional."

Deep Throat's numbers aren't fictional btw.

Metaldwarf said...

OK I am no pro with excel charts but this is interesting. I did some searches on MLS today (Jan 31 2008) for SFH and Condos.

GRAPH

DISCLAIMER: I divided my searches by $100,000 and only searched "Victoria" in MLS to keep the searches easy and to avoid micro bubbles like uplands, oak bay etc. I feel that the area I searched is fairly indicative of greater Victoria as a whole. Victoria aslo has approximately the same number of condos and houses where other areas are much different. I don't know how this might impact the results but feel free to share your thoughts.

There are currently 487 condos for sale in Victoria. This equates to 4.82% of all condos available according to deep throats numbers. The cheapest is $159,000 the most expensive $1,799,000

There are currently 71 SFH for sale in Victoria. This equates to 0.68% of total available according to deep throats numbers.

The average condo in Victoria seems to fall into the price range of $300,000-$400,000 so lets call it $350,000 for the sake of argument.

The most common price range for a SFH is between $400,000 to $500,000. There are 23 homes in this price range. There are 15 between $500,000-$600,000. Again for argument sake lets say the average home is $475,000 It is worth nothing there are almost as many homes priced above $500,000 as below. The houses below $500,000 are all very compact in their price range and those priced above are more spread out to high high dollar amounts.

So the average condo is $350,000 and the average SFH is $475,000. according to deep throats numbers there are around the same number of condos as SFH in Victoria (10484 SFH vs 10101 Condos).

So if you are an “average” condo owner your condo is $350,000. Sticking with the idea of “average” we are going to use the average financing method to pay for this house. 25 year mortgage. 10% down, 6% interest rate, no taxes or other ancillaries (the average person doesn’t think about taxes and maintenance costs they are too busy watching football and drinking beer so I'm going to ignore that too.)

Monthly mortgage cost: $2015.40
Annual Cost: $24,180
Following our 30% of gross income rule you need a household income of $80,600

For the average SFH worth $475,000 the numbers are
Monthly Mortgage cost: $2735.18
Annual cost: $32,822.16
Household income needed: $109,406

I'm starting to forget where I was going with all this…. Anyways

so what was the average household income in Victoria again?

greg said...

Average household income is much lower, last reliable number I found was about $58000.

Go to page 35 here.

Back in 2003 City of Victoria published the number $72,000 for a couple where both are working.

Any way you look at it, wages are too low to support current prices - so they are not being supported by current wage earners.

Deep Throat said...

Nice bit of mental masturbation Metaldwarf but may I suggest you

"follow the money"

Deep Throat

Metaldwarf said...

Nice bit of mental masturbation

hahahaha :)

Anonymous said...

"I am really puzzled. If we have all these millionaires and rich people in Victoria, why don't we see BMW's, Mercedes, etc. All that people drive around here are VERY old polluting rust buckets or diesel spewing VWs or trucks."

Are you talking about Victoria, BC? The Porsche Boxster capital of Canada? I can't imagine what part of town you might live in. Expensive cars are everywhere in Victoria. Heck, there's no shortage of truly exotic cars in Victoria (Ferrari and such). Open your eyes.

"Any way you look at it, wages are too low to support current prices - so they are not being supported by current wage earners."

Check out the average incomes in East Vancouver and then check out how much houses go for in East Vancouver. If you can't comprehend how people are making it work in Victoria, then I'm sure your head will explode when you consider the situation on the mainland.