Sunday, June 1, 2008
Sign, Sign, everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind, do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?
Just got back from a fantastic weekend in Vancouver, enjoying the West End and running the trails in Stanley Park. Mrs. HHV's new pad is great, close to everything and costs us $50 a month more than we were paying in Victoria. Which, turns out, is a net savings of $100 a month because she walks everywhere and the gas bill for our 4 cylinder car is less than a quarter of what it was here. But I digress.
Man, are there a lot of properties for sale there. Everywhere we went downtown, there was either a place being built or a building with a half dozen or more for sale signs. And lots of rental suites available too. We even drove out to Pitt Meadows to her boss's place today and on one corner of their fairly new development there were 8 For Sale signs. I had a bit of a perma-grin going on all weekend. This sure is fun to see some of the regular posters on this blog's predictions play out.
The writing is on the wall. Anyone who hasn't seen it yet is either not paying attention or is blinded by emotions. The peak was sometime this spring.
Back on the homefront, my neighbours still haven't sold their place, but they did tell me they got two lowball offers on the same evening last week (why their Realtor couldn't parlay this into competing lowball offers is beyond me). Looks like they may take one of them. The last three weeks has demonstrated that the market is indeed different now and their confidence isn't what it was.
Every few months, the Mrs and I take some time to review our finances and our plans to see how well we are on our way to making them happen. We've decided that number one priority this year is to eliminate any debts (we still have a bit left in student loans to go) and number two priority is to preserve savings. She has a great stock purchase plan through her employer and I happen to believe bank stocks are starting to get back into value range, all factors considered.
We expect this market to turn slowly. First new condos will burst. They already have in Victoria. I believe it will take the Vancouver condo market to turn ugly to be the "climber falling over the precipice" that drags the rest of the market kicking and screaming with the MSM coverage of bursting bubble. SFH in outlying areas and re-sale condos in urban centres will go within a few months of one another.
We set our benchmark for coming into the market: no more than 35% of our pre-tax income for a SFH or very nice townhouse (without a suite) in a neighbourhood we like. Until this happens, we don't buy. If the market doesn't correct to what I believe it should, then we won't buy here. We have had no trouble finding good quality rental accommodations. We don't believe that we will in the future. If we can't find what we'd like when it's clear the market has run its course, we will consider leaving for the right opportunity.
In the meantime, as Patriotz says, we'll just "grab a bag of popcorn and watch as this show plays out for the next couple of years or so."
It will be pretty cool when we buy our first place and our parents and friends say to us: "are you crazy, real estate sucks, what are you thinking?"
What are you waiting for? When will you buy? And what will it be?