Monday, October 3, 2011

September stats, listings spike in the low-end

MLS numbers courtesy of the VREB via Marko Juras. These numbers are for the Victoria Real Estate Board's reporting area, including Sooke, Shawnigan Lake and the Gulf Islands.

September 2011 (last week's)
Net Unconditional Sales: 458 (352)
New Listings: 1,303 (1,065)
Active Listings: 4,940 (4,745)
Sales to new listings ratio: (35%) 33% or 10.8 MOI

September 2010
Net Unconditional Sales: 395
New Listings: 1,211
Active Listings: 4,323
Sales to new listings ratio: 32%
Sales to active listings ratio: 9% or 10.9 MOI

Single Family Home average price: $622,393 (median $535,000)
Townhouse average price: $436,039
Condo average price: $332,490

Animal Spirit has been watching the SFH market intensely for several years and provides us with this unique snapshot of listings volume over the past 3 years:


The chart shows the distribution of listings by price bracket on the dates indicated at right. It's not a complete listing snapshot, rather it's isolated to what most of us would call Victoria--that is, it excludes the penninsula, Sooke, Malahat and Langford etc. The chart clearly demonstrates that there has been a significant year-over-year listings spike in the so-called low-end of the SFH market.

Two things could be happening here: there's simply more low-end listings on the market or, and I'm more inclined to lean this way, those houses that used to sell between $500K and $600K are coming on the market for under $500K these days.

We've seen incredible "discounts" in the high-end market for over a year now, the weight is getting heavier and I'd say it's starting to push on the "median and average" properties of Victoria. It'll be interesting to see how the foundation holds up...

72 comments:

a simple man said...

foundation will falter - has to.

Nancy said...

There are so many million plus homes for sale it is just crazy. Also some people are still askiing crazy prices. I don't see any sales though.

Also why are the million and above dumping their homes now I wonder?

jesse said...

The high-end distribution probably won't show up much on your histogram because its slope is close to zero.

This is a wonderful graph to track in the years to come. Thanks for the efforts.

Just Jack said...

It looks like the slope of the line is getting steeper each year as prospective purchasers have become more sensitive to prices.

I think this is called the elasticity of demand.

A decade ago, the slope was more probably flat. The low prices of a decade ago where not greatly affected by changes in interest rates. Today, the sensitivity to changes like the interest rate or employment would quickly show up as prices would have to fall to compensate with inelastic demand.


Nice graph. Lots of work went into it.

DavidL said...

Fantastic chart, Animal Spirit ... and thanks for sharing it HHV.

Mindset said...

Also why are the million and above dumping their homes now I wonder?

One factor has to be the global volatility. People with millions tend to be better informed and act with more certainty when the time comes to act. If these are 'seasonal' owner homes, I would guess many are realizing that they can cash out in Canada, and buy an discounted piece of great RE in the US where housing is likely closer to the bottom and the dollar is strengthening.

On a related note, I'm not sure if anyone else is watching our exchange rates, but a Canadian asset is sold in Canadian dollars. Had a look at our dollar lately? I bet HAM's are very nervous RE owners, they just lost 10% of the value of their RE investments on currency conversion alone in the last month.

Alexandrahere said...

Animal Spirit: Great Chart, thanks

Introvert said...

Fabulous graph!

caveat emptor said...

The most encouraging thing is the tiny uptick in supply at the very lower end of the curve (250K to 350K). It is still a puny, puny part of the market and the properties are probably in reprehensible condition. But still, any increase in lower priced supply is good new for future home buyers.

Leo S said...

Well the market has been dead flat for 2 years now.

In the last post we talked about the wait or buy analysis tool, and the fact that you have to make too many assumptions for it.

An interesting alternative is put in the facts from the last 2 years and see how you fared. Was it smart to wait or should you have bought 2 years ago?

2 years ago we could have bought a house for about $450k. Since we decided to rent instead, we've saved $45,000 (renting an appartment). Renting an equivalent house instead we'd be up only about $2k-$10k.

Mindset said...

Well the market has been dead flat for 2 years now.

Hate to drag out the historical elephant in these conversations, but the average sale price graph you posted only shows on average what people are spending, not what they are getting.

If everyone decided to continue maxing out on their mortgages, but were getting a better house for the dollar, the average would stay the same.

It is for this reason that average graphs are useless.

On a note of savings, subjective as it is, I was talking to a collegue today that just bought a SFE, said he is has seen a pretty major correction in the lower-mid end of the market and just paid a lot less than he would have a couple of years ago, and had some time to decide, reasonable conditions, and some selection to boot.

Leo S said...

Hate to drag out the historical elephant in these conversations, but the average sale price graph you posted only shows on average what people are spending, not what they are getting.

Yep. Conservatively speaking, we are up $45,000. Perhaps it's more because that $450,000 house could be had for $430,000 now, but that's hard to quantify.

More importantly, 2 years ago we could have bought that $450,000 house, but I doubt we'd be happy with it in the long term. Now we're looking at a higher range, which could conceivably be good enough for the long haul and wouldn't have to be upgraded again in 5 years.

Animal Spirit said...

I'll post more on the listing price graph a bit later.

Following from our earlier discussion of the $6.1M sale in Oak Bay, in September there were 212 sales of SFH in the VREB area, for a average price of $622,393. Take out the mansion, and the average price is $596,433, or $25,960 (4.1%).

Animal Spirit said...

What does the $535,000 median get you in this market? Is it better than a year ago?

MLS 298808 - 4066 Feltham Place in Saanich East-Mount Douglas sold for $535,000 last week, 25,000 less than the 560,000 assessment (FWIW). Built in 1983, 1500 sq ft, 8200 sq ft lot, bare land strata. On a quiet dead end street, the house looks pretty good in the pictures.

"Fabulous ONE LEVEL RANCHER in prime Mt.Doug location! Quiet, private cul-de-sac easy walking distance to University Hts & Tuscany Village Shopping, banking, transit & Popular park trails! Pride of ownership shines thru & thru this Spacious, Bright home with open concept featuring Large Living rm with stone F.P plus great dining area.Entertaining size modern kitchen with large island opening to family room for relaxation plus step-out to private patio. Three bedrooms including Master suite with walk-in closet and ensuite.Large single garage plus good size fenced yard with raised vegetable garden and separate shed make this home great value in this price range!"

Would one have got something better last year for the same price? What would this house cost last year at this time? Any guesses?

Mindset said...

Leo: Yep. Conservatively speaking, we are up $45,000

Probably conservative if it doesn't include price drops. The price drops in the $450-500K range appear significant. But better to be conservative.

Animal Spirit: What does the $535,000 median get you in this market? Is it better than a year ago?

Hard to know from VREB statistics. That's why the Case Shiller index in the USA is so great. They track the actual sales of homes over time, providing very accurate trend information.

If you read through historical posts, you'll notice that Just Jack is always doing a great job of looking at home prices using the Case Shiller approach (what a house sold for in the peak and what it sold for today). This was also the approach on the great Bear Mountain / Vegas post.

To learn more: Case Shiller - Wikipedia

Marko said...

"2 years ago we could have bought a house for about $450k. Since we decided to rent instead, we've saved $45,000 (renting an appartment). Renting an equivalent house instead we'd be up only about $2k-$10k."

Well, 2 years ago I bought a Honda Civic and my friend bought an Audi S5.....my civic has depreciated 10k and his Audi S5 30k....

You have to compare apples to apples. I saved a lot of cash living at home with the old folks; however, this is not equivalent to owning my own place - trust me :)

a simple man said...

you could have rented your own place, Marco. Smarter than buying right now - you know that!

Marko said...

Well I bought more than two years ago so not buying now was not an option ;)

Leo S said...

You have to compare apples to apples. I saved a lot of cash living at home with the old folks;

5 points for reading the first sentence I wrote.

however, this is not equivalent to owning my own place - trust me :)

Minus 10 points for not continuing to read. Here it is again: "Renting an equivalent house instead we'd be up only about $2k-$10k."

So we could have rented an equivalent house for that time period and still have saved a few thousand over buying. Didn't need the space though.

Animal Spirit said...

Here's the nasty bits on the listing price distribution graph:

- around 25 separate Firefox windows, each with its own MLS price range, automatically reloaded on open
- keep search and price ranges exact over time
- transfer data to excel
- look for trends
- spit out graphs
- forget how to upload to Photobucket

Data is not usually quite so easy to interpret as the distribution I shared. The sheer volume at the lower end has built substantially over the summer. MOI is increasing in this range, leading to significant downward pressure.

If Langford and Sooke were added, we'd see the left tail get a lot fatter, bringing average listing prices down.

Case-Shiller is of course far better, but unless someone opens up the innards of the MLS database (which should be open to all if the market were actually transparent, which it isn't), I don't have the base data on which to do the analysis.

If an enterprising Realtor wanted to create a value added product, I'd crunch a Case-Shiller type product for all - wouldn't be that hard to look for matches and then clean up inconsistencies.

Animal Spirit said...

Oh yes, and the TC would reprint the Realtor's name (and parrot the text) every month when the new summary came out.

Leo S said...

If an enterprising Realtor wanted to create a value added product, I'd crunch a Case-Shiller type product for all - wouldn't be that hard to look for matches and then clean up inconsistencies.

Would be nice eh? We wouldn't have to resort to scraping data from crappy web pages by hand to get what should be public to start with.

However, despite some moves to relax the restrictions on how homes are sold, it seems enterprising realtors are on the decline. Our own Double Agent and his excellent charts remains lost, and Agent Will in Vancouver also moved away. As far as I know there is no one left doing anything interesting with the data they have access to.

a simple man said...

Marco - sounds like a real opportunity for you - are there rules against such analyses from vreb?

Marko said...

I am working on a long term project right now that I hope to publish one day - statistically dispelling the myth regarding "full service" vs. "discount" real estate services.

I've been collecting vast amount of data and so far my snapshot is....

Seller lists property for 525k at a "discounted commission" of 10k. Property does not sell.

Seller relists property for 499k with "full service" commission of 18k-22k. Property sells.

Above type of example outnumbers the reverse (higher price, full commission first than lower price, lower commission second) by about 200 to 1 (limited data so far)...

Conclusion, what really sells your home in this day and age? The number #1 way (survey VREB) buyers find their home is the automated matrix emails which do not even show the listing agents name. All the buyer can see is data, photos, and price.

For some reason people still associate "discount commissions" with discounted service...which I know is certainly misleading.

Marko said...

When I did my masters at UBC we had to take 3 stats courses, financial accounting, basic finance, economic evaluation...list goes on to 24 classes in all.

Now that I have worked for my father in residential construction for a number of years I have thrown out most of what I have learned when it comes to buying and selling property. It is great to know formulas like return on equity, etc...but they all assume you know what the end result is.

For the most part, in my opinion, purchasing property that will be a wise short or long term investment comes down to intuition.

The market is impossible to time and sometimes you have to take risk. We bought a property in April 2009 when everything was looking grim (any economic evaluation would have suggested not buying) and that turned out to be our most successful project ever, by far.

If we developed an index and it showed that the average Gordon Head Box is selling this year for 580k and last year it was 600k - does it really help someone looking to buy right now?

And as I have said many times before picking the right property is much more important than trying to time the market. We've seen lots of people buying in 2006 making a ton of money, but there are also examples of people buying in 2006 losing a ton of money. Same will apply going forward.

a simple man said...

forgive me, Marko - but none of those course you listed actually sound like they are statistics courses.

Marko said...

I can't remember all of the stats courses names of the top of my head by I know one was "Application of Statistic in Management - SPHA 5xx."

Above post meant to read I did three stats courses plus financial account...etc...

a simple man said...

completely forgiven, Marko.

In other news, families in Victoria are starting to gasp financially.

How much more can we take before the walls come crumbling down?

Just Jack said...

Intuition comes from surrounding yourself with people more knowledgeable than yourself. Taking credit for the successes and passing the failures on as someone elses.

SilverSurfer said...

But, but, but... they are saying we'll have 'free money' for at least another year!!

Marko said...

2566 Bowker - Realtor notes..."Please note, offer accepted with 2 back up offers"."

That is pretty crazy.

jesse said...

"Renting an equivalent house instead we'd be up only about $2k-$10k."

I think you're underestimating home ownership costs, though I haven't seen your calculations. There are always (always) extra costs with owning, whether it's multiple trips to Rona or a weekend spent doing some repair that wouldn't show up if you rented.

Further, you are carrying risk by owning, first on "long tail" events like structure damage or other mishaps that happen from time to time, second on price volatility where if priced were to drop you would be out significant coin if you had to sell (for one of those "long tail life event" reasons).

Owning carries lots of "shot noise" risks that makes 95% of owners look like geniuses for having a pulse, but 5% look like horror shows, this in a "normal" market. In current conditions, even the lucky ones will take a hit.

jesse said...

I should also add, you need to factor in 2 years of depreciation into your calculations. If a structure is $300K to build and has a 60 year lifespan, that's a straight-line $5K per year in depreciation allowance, never mind allocating to a existing structure replacement reserve fund for major repairs. Add in those expenses and you're probably even more better off.

Renting should come with a premium, much the same as paying more to rent a car than to own it.

DavidL said...

@jesse wrote: I think you're underestimating home ownership costs, though I haven't seen your calculations. There are always (always) extra costs with owning, whether it's multiple trips to Rona or a weekend spent doing some repair that wouldn't show up if you rented.

On my house, I spend $210/month for property tax, $75/month for property insurance, and another $200/month for basic maintenance (periodic replacement of flooring, appliances and the roof, etc.).

That's close to another $6000/year that can be saved by renting a house.

jesse said...

"$200/month for basic maintenance"

Depends on the size of the property. Not sure if you're doing the work yourself or paying someone else to do it but for a ~2000sqft place I would usually be putting close to twice that including labour costs, and that's including doing regular repairs to keep the place at "ready for occupancy" standard. That involves provisioning for kitchen/bathromm renos as well after they get too dingy. Keeping a property in "decent" condition usually costs a little extra compared to what I see many amateur landlords budgeting.

So if we're going to apples-to-apples owning vs. renting I would provision adequately for "decent" repairs.

DavidL said...

"$200/month for basic maintenance"

This only covers material costs for the house. I consider my labour free. It does not include any substantive improvements.

My 32-year old house is needing some TLC ... If I include modest upgrades (which likely would be needed if I were to rent out) closer to $500/month would be needed (still not including labour).

Leo S said...

@jesse I think you're underestimating home ownership costs

Probably. I was just trying to encourage people to put their own numbers into the Wait or Buy Tool. Put in your actual maintenance costs, your actual rent, your actual utilities, and your actual investment returns and see what you get.

I only posted the "equivalent house" because I knew Marko would jump on the fact that we're renting an apartment instead of a house. By including the apples to apples comparison I tried to preempt that (in vain, obviously).

jesse said...

"I was just trying to encourage people to put their own numbers into the Wait or Buy Tool. "

Yeah it's a nice tool but it doesn't explicitly account for depreciation or for "long tail" risks. This is always a deficiency with buy vs rent calculators (and this is not really a criticism of your tool), and why owning should be cheaper than renting.

Large diversified REITs have figured out the required return and my bet is they wouldn't touch Victoria detached with a 10 foot barge pole. There's no plausible way for them to make their money back once they aggregate the risks across multiple assets.

Owner-occupiers have it even worse because they cannot diversify. From that POV they should be asking for an even steeper discount. In olden times this was why nobody wanted to own and the GSEs (in the US) and Canadian-based federal housing programs were born out of the '30s. Just read the articles out of the US these days where few people want the burden of home ownership when prices are low, not least I'm sure because they have friends and family hit by severe downside risks of ownership and their "call options" are way out of the money.

Nancy said...

It is all good. This guy said so. He is the head of the Victoria RE Board. Prices will only go up in Victoria!!!

http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_south/victorianews/news/131066118.html

Leo S said...

This is always a deficiency with buy vs rent calculators (and this is not really a criticism of your tool)

Just to clarify, that tool isn't mine. All credit goes to (I believe) Roger, a former contributor here.

Animal Spirit said...

Marko - my guess is that the segment of the market that initially wants a discount broker for selling their house also has not gotten real about how much there house will actually sell for.

One the house does not sell for the inflated price (which unforunately the discount broker still said yes to listing at), then they switch to a full service realtor who blames the discount realtor, but realistically it was the seller's own greed that prevented the discount realtor from making a sale at actual market value.

More discount realtors listing at market value rather than desired value will occur over time, dispelling part of the discount realtor myth.

patriotz said...

Seller lists property for 525k at a "discounted commission" of 10k. Property does not sell.

Seller relists property for 499k with "full service" commission of 18k-22k. Property sells.

Conclusion, what really sells your home in this day and age?


Price is what always sells a property. Not the broker.

You could just as easily have given an example (JJack and others have) where the property was listed with a full service broker both times. Or just one listing with a price drop.

a simple man said...

the bloom is coming off the rose - even global is finally reporting how unaffordable it is in bc now and how it has resulted in a net emigration.

And the essentials in life (food, utilities, ect) things just keep getting more expensive.

The camel's back is bowed and soon will snap with the addition of the smallest of straws.

Marko said...

so.....the first family wants a nice house, a backyard, a dog, and for their son to play hockey. Isn't hockey like 10k/year? Never have owned a dog but they can't be cheap either.

I think people want too much...just my opinion.

AB said...

This may be dumb, but would not the mean monthly sale price over BC assessment provide a good index of price trends, both for the market as a whole and for individual market sectors?

Introvert said...

Victoria is in demand, damn it!

From today's Times Colonist:
Boomers eye retirement in Victoria

a simple man said...

15% of Canadians want to retire here - that is a lot of people. We need to get much, much bigger and densify immediately.

Paula said...

The title of that article in the Times Colonist is misleading ... it's not 15% of Canadians - it's 15% of baby boomers, which number around 4.5 million, so that works out to approx 675,000 people - possibly arriving over a 20 year period. Also, the survey was done of 800 "across the country," including people living in Victoria now. BMO's other reports say that people are delaying their retirement beyond 65.

In any case, with a net migration of younger families out of BC, and a possible increase of affluent baby boomers into BC, that may explain why high-end homes continue to sell while mid- to low-end is flattening.

MD80 said...

Marko says "I think people want too much...just my opinion."

Yes, yes...sacrificing the good things in life like a family pet and sports for the kids are are a worthwhile exchange for living in Victoria or Vancouver!! Those things just cost too much and that family should be ashamed for wanting such frivolous things in life. Where are their priorities? Sheesh!!

Chris said...

15%, that's nothing!

A poll of Canadians aged 45 to 64 conducted by Environics Research for TD Waterhouse was even more mind-boggling: 32 per cent said they expected a lottery win to support them post-retirement

I feel a super tramp song coming on “you know you are a dreamer, well can you put your hands in your head, oh no..”

Just Janice said...

Marko - your comment:
"so.....the first family wants a nice house, a backyard, a dog, and for their son to play hockey. Isn't hockey like 10k/year? Never have owned a dog but they can't be cheap either.

I think people want too much...just my opinion."

I think your comment made me thow up just a little...how is wanting what your parents were able to have after you have worked harder wanting "too much"? I'm sorry but you're coming off as arrogant, immature, obnoxious and ignorant.

May life instill in you the lessons your masters degree and experience to date have failed to teach in such a way that you look upon who you now are with great distaste and remorse.

Leo S said...

Actually I agree with Marko on that one (shock).

Complaining about the fact that you can't afford everything you want is not going to solve anything. The market is what the market is. If that means you can't afford what your parents could, then such is life. Since when are we entitled to have an ever increasing (or even constant) quality of life?

Phil said...

You CAN have hockey, pets, vacations and some extra spending money every month. How?

Rent.

NewVicResident said...

I also agree with Marko and think that Just Janice might be a little too optimistic about the future. The Baby Boomers (who I assume are Just Janice's parents referred to) essentially lived their lives economically borrowing from the current workforce. If Just Janice wants to maintain that lifestyle (while working harder) she's going to need to extend that credit another generation down the line. The current economic situation is a little bit of a ponzi scheme, where returns on investments are taken out of the capital of the investment bit-by-bit. Eventually the underlying asset is so devalued that it can't support the illusion of generating a return. EI is an example, payments were made out of the revenue collected but as payments increase and revenue stagnates or collapses there simply isn't going to be the ability to continue the program with the same level of burden on the employed.

Just Janice said...

Really? Is that the Canada you really want to live in? The one where only the rich can have their kids play hockey and know the joy of pet ownership? The one where only the rich can have a nice house (Marko didn't specify rent vs. own, he just said nice house)?

We live in a time when most families have two incomes, higher levels of education, working more hours and are barely making ends meet...and when they want a nice house, a pet, a kid (heaven forbid they want more than 2!), participation in sports and maybe to retire before they die - they are wanting too much?!?!?

I'm sorry but I cannot agree with Marko.

Leo S said...

Really? Is that the Canada you really want to live in?

No. But part of the reason we're in this mess (record indebtedness) is because people have been living above their means. Yes it would be nice if everyone could have all that, but perhaps it is not possible.

More importantly, besides being angry about it, what can be done to reverse the state of affairs?

Just Janice said...

Leo - it's too easy to say we're here because people overextended themselves - they only play with the rules they're given.

We're here because somebody thought it would be a good idea to lower downpayment requirements and extend mortgage terms while enacting no countervailing policy to prevent such loose money from being abused. Those loose provisions might be fine for a primary residence with fairly strict rules about taking equity out of the home in the form of a HELOC...not so great to be applied generally. If every adult was only allowed one primary residence under the 'loose' rules and they could not take out any equity until they at least had 50% equity - the world would be a very different place.

We're here because somebody thought that giving tax cuts was smart while the economic sun was shining. What if instead of constant tax cuts over the last 25 years taxes had remained stable? Would our social programs (healthcare, education and pensions) be better funded and more stable?

We're here because wages have stagnated and declined in real terms. What if wage gains actually kept pace with inflation over the last 25 years?

Saying we should just 'want less' is a bit of a cop out in my opinion.

Homebase said...

Is the media trying to call it a buyers market to try and fire up sales?

I was recently thinking of buying a condo, but thankfully changed my mind =)

Alexandrahere said...

I kind of agree with Janice. Let me get this right. Marko thinks young adults (age 28-36?) today want too much? How can you really assess that Marko? I mean, you let the tax payers somewhat pay for your education, you are not married and I presume don't have children, you don't have a pet, you live in your parents basement and when you have a down month selling real estate you can always have first dibs at working in construction at your parent's construction business. How can you possibly know what it is like for a honest working couple with a child having little or no family support, wanting nothing more than a decent place to live and a companion pet that they will dearly cherish the memory of for their entire life? I do agree about the hockey though, there are other forms of sports/activities that are cheaper or free to participate in. To me this is simply deserving the basics in life in exchange for hard work....they are hardly being filled with the sense of entitlement that so many of their peers seem to accept as their right these days.

beagle said...

I was raised in Victoria during the 70s. We had 2 dogs, four kids, all played hockey, had new houses on 1 tradesman income,times have sure changed in good old Vic. Finally gave up on the city and cashed out last March, looking to relocate. Meanwhile we are taking a year off working and just traveling thanks to the people that wanted our modest little house that bad!

pod_x said...

Marko said...

so.....the first family wants a nice house, a backyard, a dog, and for their son to play hockey. Isn't hockey like 10k/year? Never have owned a dog but they can't be cheap either.

I think people want too much...just my opinion.


But in years not so far past, that's exactly what families had: a house, backyard for bbqs, a dog and kids playing hockey. I don't think that's wanting too much.

Sweetrealtor said...

It's getting hot in here!

I agree with both Marko and Just Janice. We do want too much. But wanting a house, a pet, and to be able to enroll your kids in sports is not wanting too much. I think these are the "basics" that we should all be able to afford.

It is incredibly unfortunate that inflation has surpassed wages to the point that, even with two incomes, the average family can't afford the basics - a house, 2.2 kids, and a pet. Of course, we can obtain the debt to get these things.

Craig said...

One of the biggest impacts on disposable income for our generation is taxes. The day in the calendar year in which we stop working to pay our tax bill currently falls in mid-June.

In 1961, it was in April, which means we are working an extra two months to pay for the increase in taxes.

DavidL said...

It's not dogs, BBQs or even the hockey that cost to much - it's the cost of housing.

This is why (for most) renting makes more financial sense that owning, and why the price of real estate is and will continue to go down. Real estate is only worth what other people are willing to pay. If the asking price is considered too much, the price must be lowered in order to sell.

Just Janice said...

Craig - it depends what report you read - the Fraser Institute, the Taxpayer's Federation, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, etc. Generally speaking, over the last several years taxes have fallen, particularly for those who are the most 'well-off'.

Craig said...

Some provinces saw minor reduction in the last few years but these are tiny adjustments in a trend that sees us working 17% more to pay for the higher tax bill.

People were discussing why earlier generations had more income. This is one significant reason.

jesse said...

"Generally speaking, over the last several years taxes have fallen, particularly for those who are the most 'well-off'."

Was at a party with a few doctors. Subject always turns to one of: sailing, skiing, investments, or taxes. This time, though, it was all sailing and skiing, nary a mention of taxes. That's when I clued in that tax rates may have swung a bit too far in favour of the high end of the pay scale. :)

Alexandrahere said...

The average woman these days they say have 20 pairs of shoes/boots/sandals. I have more than that and pretty well every woman I know does. 30 years ago I would say the avg woman had 6 pairs and 50 years ago 3 pairs. People walked more then too.

The average family now probably has 2 cars.....50 years ago one and if you lived in a small town, no car.

40 years ago most families had one TV, one radio, one car, one phone and took one holiday every three years or so.

Infants in the 60's had maybe three little outfits and one coat to wear at any stage of growing. Now they have 20, 30, 40.... you name it and much of it they don't ever wear. They drank out of glass bottles that were sterilized each day. Disposable diapers really didn't become the norm until the 80's. A fortunate child had perhaps five toys at any given time. Now most children have rooms, garages and yards full of them.

Our needs now have become truly blurred with our wants and most of us can't differentiate between the two.

mln said...

I agree with DavidL. You can have the backyard, dog, and kids on a modest salary and still live in Victoria.

The problem is that most people equate "living in Victoria" with "owning in Victoria".

AB said...

A big difference between those wishing to own a house in Victoria now and those who wished to do so (and were generally able to do so) a generation ago is that Victoria has since then become filled up.

Lot prices have gone from $8000 in Oak Bay in the early 70's to around 80 times as much today. But construction costs have not gone up more than about six- or eight-fold.

So the solution for those who want a house, not a box in the sky, is to move somewhere less crowded -- the Western communities, up island, or Newfoundland.

We experienced the same dilemma in the 1980's when I contemplated the offer of a job in downtown Toronto. We drove around looking at houses. Hey, Forest Hills is nice, so is Rosedale. But prices started at $600K, whereas our Oak Bay house was worth on $140K. All we could find anywhere near downtown for $140K was a Victorian row house on Jane Street with a 12 and 1/2 foot frontage and a front door opening directly onto the sidewalk. We decided not to move.

Marko said...

Looks like I offended some people.

Well, my parents left a war torn country in the 1990s and came to Canada with a few hundred dollars to a foreign language. At one point I didn't see my father for 2 years (he was in Victoria, I and my mom were stuck in Croatia trying to sort out the paperwork). We rented the biggest dump in Fernwood and over the course of the first two years both my parents worked 6 day weeks so they could scrap together enough money to put a downpayment on a dumpy house in Fernwood.

My father went from being a naval architect to working as a stone mason and my mother went from being an accountant to a housekeeper.

There was no hockey for me, just delivering flyers on weekends and then mixing mortar and carry rocks for my father, often in the rain.

I lived for 15 years with my parents in 807 sq/ft top floor, 2 bedrooms, and 1 bathroom bungalow in Fernwood. Never had a problem with it - I thought it was adequate.

Should an average family of four be able to afford a 1,200 sq/ft home with a smaller yard, one car, one TV, and kids playing soccer? Sure, I think that is reasonable. A strong middle class is what makes Canada such a great place to live.

What people want is a 2,000 sq/ft home, preferably in good location, plus a double car garage, large yard, 2 cars, 3 vacations, 3 TVs, 2 computers, 2 Ipads, 2 Iphones, and they want to work 35 hours a week, with a cat and a dog. I really don't think this is sustainable for the average family.

"How can you possibly know what it is like for a honest working couple with a child having little or no family support, wanting nothing more than a decent place to live and a companion pet that they will dearly cherish the memory of for their entire life?"

Going forward I am going to ignor ridicolous comments like this but for now: At 20 years old I was working 12 hour nightshifts in ICUs running life support ventilators, running to cardiac and respiratory arrests, intubating people (sticking breathing tubes in them), inserting artlines - look it up....a few years ago I remember working a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thrusday night, waking up after 3 hours sleep on the Friday, heading over to Vancouver to get to my UBC masters courses and than sitting through 20 hours of lectures..coming back on a Sunday night and Monday morning being on a construction site helping my father tile a bathroom. I think I understand the concept of honest work better than most people. Thanks.

Nancy said...

Look at what this Jack Ass had to say ... He is the President of the Victoria RE Board and he says property will never go down here. The only place in the world. Wow!


http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_south/victorianews/news/131066118.html