Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Casting Call and an admission

Ms. HHV just got a job in Vancouver. It's a huge step for her in the financial world. I couldn't be more happy for her and us.

I am traveling from late March to early June. It will be for work but hardly paid. More on that later.

I'd like this blog to keep going for selfish reasons and cause I think it serves a much needed purpose in Victoria.

I can let it be dormant.

I can leave an open thread for three months.

Or you can be a guest blogger.

It's up to you.

The deadline to contact me is 3 weeks from now. If no one takes the challenge, then I'll leave an open thread which I give 3 weeks before it gets A) too long or B) too boring and this blog dies a slow and painful death...

Anyone is welcome to contact me via the email link. My only request is you maintain some semblance of balance compared to the MSM.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Budgets, economies and houses

I've neglected commentary on political budgets a purpose. There were two in two weeks and while neither had anything directly to do with houses, both had to do with fiscal houses and order.

I'm a fiscal conservative. I like governments who tax less and spend less. But that said, I think we owe each other basic human-rights-based services, so call me a liberal. Just don't call me a socialist/communist. Actually, lets leave politics alone, people just get offended.

So the BC provincial gov't announced a gas tax that has everything to do with grabbing your cash (and adding to inflation) and nothing to do with saving the Earth (despite what Dr. Suzuki says). And then the feds have a "prudent" low tax, low spend budget today. Make no mistake about it, both budgets are about stimulating consumer spending.

What we have seen this last week or two is worried gov'ts and fiscal stimulus. The economy is headed south, people have too much debt and your governments are acutely aware of it. Too bad they aren't acutely aware of the inherent problem of stagflation.

And for the record, PrairieBoy, don't go the way of VHB, stay the course my cyber-friend and hold out from the dark side. DON"T BUY A HOUSE.

Monday, February 18, 2008


First the good:

News item: U.S. housing market has worst decline in two decades.

News item: Can't happen in Canada; fundamentals are different.

News item: Calgary unsold houses jump by 7,000

News item: Edmonton and Vancouver: It can't happen here; fundamentals are different.

News item: Edmonton housing prices drop as much as 30 per cent.

News item: Can't happen in Vancouver; fundamentals are different.


Tom Parkinson


And then the bad. I can't find the link anymore, but it was pointed to in previous comments. A letter to the editor yesterday in the TC alluded to the idea that anyone who can't afford to buy in Victoria should move to somewhere they can buy, save some money and then come home.

The logical fallibleness that exists in such a lame-brained argument is unbelievable. Victoria has had a long-standing well deserved (in my opinion anyway) reputation of a city for newly-weds and nearly deads. My one simple question is who is going to make the latte, or keep track of doctor's billing, or clean homes, or work for the government, or cook meals in restaurants, or build condos for these people who seem to suggest that moving out is the best way to stop the problem of affordability.

Actually, maybe people leaving, and not coming here is the answer. Your answers in comments.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Olympic$ effect

Lots of stories in the media lately about 2 years from yesterday being the opening day of the never ending real estate party that is a bunch of athletes contesting to determine who is the best amateur at your winter sport unless you play hockey in which case you get paid and the IOC doesn't care... anyway, you get my drift.

Before I go on, for the record, I like the Olympic$, I'm glad Vancouver won the bid, hindsight being 20/20 I still wouldn't change my mind. Yes, I see the health care before Olympic$ campaign material, but I'm an athlete, and I've also used way more than my fair share of publicly funded health care in my short 30 odd years and I'll likely use more than my fair share in the future. So I get it, I do. But I still think that people get inspired by athletic performances to get off their butts and participate in sports, thus, hopefully, leading to less chronic illnesses that are preventable by exercise. So disclaimer made, I like the Olympic$, glad they'll be in Vancouver.

So think about it. What if all those millions of people who will come to see the games and the half of those millions who are expected to buy a property or four when they are here, get disappointed by the fact that it doesn't snow in Vancouver often, it actually rains, almost the whole two weeks the games are on, and it's so warm up high on Whistler and Cypress, that the moguls and ski jumps start melting thus making the games rather dull and so they don't buy a house or four? Not even a condo? Why does this whole argument hold the traction that it does? Would an Australian trade sunny skies for winter grey? Will a Norwegianer trade a quaint fishing village for an endless stretch of concrete gridlock?

I don't understand why anyone thinks the Olympic$ will boost RE prices higher. If someone out there could point to any other host city where there wasn't a significant decline in RE property prices within 6-12 months of the games ending, I'd sure appreciate it. I can't seem to find one myself.

Monday, February 4, 2008

What if...

Vancouver's bubble bursts before Victoria's? Inventory is piling up there faster. Sales are slowing down there quicker. I'm referring to Chipman's area and Mohican's.

If the bubble to end all bubbles finally implodes, will it's mushroom cloud drift East or West? Will it radiate out like ripples on a pond or create a tsunami that will make the threat of "climate change rising sea-levels" seem like a better alternative?

One thing's for certain, when it happens, the TC will go down pumping mediocre website statistics for developments with 153 months of condo inventory (based on the last 90 day sales rate) while Ozzie claims to have warned us all back in 2005.

Friday, February 1, 2008

January VREB stats


Sales of homes and other properties in the Greater Victoria area got off to a solid start in the first month of 2008. There were 464 sales through the Victoria Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January, up from the 442 sales in the same month a year ago. There were 408 sales in December. Meantime, the total number of properties available for sale rose to 3,027 - a 14 per cent increase over January of last year.

Victoria Real Estate Board President, Tony Joe, says the market remains very healthy and the strong sales and increase in inventory represent good news for sellers and buyers. "There continues to be strong demand for homes that are realistically priced and the increase in the number of properties available for sale means more choice for buyers," said Joe. Joe noted that nearly 29 per cent of single family homes sold for less than $450,000 last month while nearly 37 per cent of all condominiums sold for under $275,000 in January.

Joe added that 19 sales of over $1 million had an upward impact on the average price of single family homes, "The average price of single family homes sold in January in Greater Victoria was $606,449 but it is important to note that the median price was considerably lower at $530,200." The six-month average for single family homes was $586,338. The average price of all condominiums sold in January was $349,045; the average for the last six months was $326,904. The median was again lower at $304,450. The average price of all townhomes sold last month was $423,774; the six month average was $419,926. The median price was $392,950.

MLS® sales last month included 249 single family homes, 125 condominiums, 43 townhomes and 16 manufactured homes.
I'll let comments reign supreme on this post.