Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29 Market Update

MLS numbers update 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.

April 2013April 2012 
Wk 1Wk 2Wk 3Wk 4
Uncond. Sales116
258
410
556
586
New Listings345
662
983
1287
1470
Active Listings4323
4417
4488
4555
 4638
Sales to New Listings
 34%
39%
42%
43%
 40%
Sales Projection510
567
601
611
Months of Inventory
7.9

Looks like sales will edge out April 2012, and possibly come in a bit lower on inventory as well (barring any end of month jumps, although I haven't noticed those recently).  SFH average at $631,000 while the median sits at $540,000.

In other news, 4 out of 10 mortgage holders say that adding $20/month to their mortgage payment would impact their finances (whatever that means).

How can we make the most expensive areas of the country even more expensive more affordable?  Just lend more in the core!

90 comments:

caveat emptor said...

There's a certain logic to those "location efficient mortgages". Living centrally and getting by with one or no car can be a huge $ savings, which is one of the arguments for paying more to live close to amenities in the first place.

Still I question anything which allows/encourages people to go even further in debt.

Chris said...

I've always found "LEM"mings to be profitable ;)

patriotz said...

Want some logic?

There are essentially a fixed number of family suitable properties in the core. If you allow people to borrow more to buy them, that means their prices will go up. That is the only thing this scheme will accomplish.

In any case, I don't see how lenders can relax qualifying beyond CMHC standards anyway. For uninsured mortgages yes, but I don't think that's very relevant to the buying cohort in question.

What this reminds me of more than any thing else is the "affordability" (aka toxic) mortgages introduced during the US bubble.

koozdra said...

Location efficient mortgages take advantage of the fact that you have more disposable income to service a larger debt.

I would suggest the Voluntary Childlessness Mortgage.

We all know that children are a major expense that gets in the way of servicing a mortgage.

If you don't have children and are willing undergo a vasectomy (or the female equivalent) the bank would be willing to give you an extra 20% on your approval amount.

Act now! For a limited time the bank is willing to pay for the surgery.

Leo S said...

Logical next step: The banks start garnishing your wages so you don't see the money at all. In exchange you get to borrow more!

Alexandrahere said...

Good Monday morning all. Here are my stats for the week of 22-28 April, 2013:

SFH in the areas of Vic,OB,Esq,SE&SW with a min. of two beds and 2 baths, and priced between $375K and $775K

Sold: 23
Avg sale price: $556K
Med sale price: $538K

Twelve of the 23 had secondary suites in place and 7 sold for below BC Assessment.

No homes sold in the SE areas of Gordon Head, Mount Doug and Lambrick Park.

In comparison with last year for the week of 23-29 April, 2012:

Sold 26
Avg sale price: $589K
Med sale price: $570K

Stats for apartments and townhomes last week in pretty much the same areas including downtown, with a min of 2 beds and 2 baths and priced between $248K & $550K:

Apartments:
Sold: 7
Avg sale price: $364K
Med sale price: $355K

Three of the 7 went for below BC assessment.

Townhomes:
Sold: 10
Avg sale price: $466K
Med sale price: $504K

Five of the ten went for below BC assessment.

Townhome sales have picked up.

koozdra said...

Short sellers are unaware just how farcical the Canadian banking system is. Our banks have nothing to worry about as long as the government has enough money to cover any losses they take from insured loans.

Does the government have enough money to cover those losses?

It is not your right to know citizen.

Short interest in Canada’s banks at highest level since Lehman collapse

CS said...

I would suggest the Voluntary Childlessness Mortgage.

No need for that. Just sign here and your children will be consigned to indentured servitude until the mortgage and all interest arrears have been paid.

CS said...

The thing is, when prices reach a ridiculous level, the only thing that will prevent a crash is to push prices to an even more ridiculous level.

Since a crash now means a Trudeau administration in 2015, we can be confident that the Harper administration will continue to deliver the financing necessary to in sure that prices continue to rise.

It will be fun to watch as the "value" of my somewhat dilapidated OB bung accumulates additional zeroes.

CS said...

For those who think their money is safer in the bank than in real estate, here's an article by Matthias Chang that explains that your money in the bank isn't even yours any longer, which is why the Cyprus solution to banking failures is not altogether inconceivable even in what we consider to be a civilized country such as our own.

patriotz said...

Money isn't "in" the bank in the first place. A bank deposit is an IOU from the bank. In the case of insured deposits, that IOU is guaranteed by the Federal government.

If anyone is concerned that they won't get their insured deposits back, note that even in Cyprus insured deposits were honoured, and they don't have the power to print their own money.

CS said...

A bank deposit is an IOU from the bank. In the case of insured deposits, that IOU is guaranteed by the Federal government.


Correct. Which is why some little old ladies are said to have an account for $100K in each bank down the high street.

Reuters reports:

"Cypriot lender Bank of Cyprus said on Sunday it had carried out a conversion of uninsured cash deposits in the bank into equity...

The process, ... made depositors in the bank pay for its recapitalization, after the institution was hit by massive losses from its exposure to debt-crippled Greece.

Bank of Cyprus, the island's largest bank, said it had converted 37.5 percent of deposits exceeding 100,000 euros into "class A" shares, with an additional 22.5 percent held as a buffer for possible conversion in the future."

Total uninsured losses by depositors may amount to 35 billion Euros. Quite a lot for a small place with only a million inhabitants, notwithstanding that some of them are Russian.

Hey Russian gangsters, why not put your money in our super-safe Canadian banks? It will help finance our property market, which is in need of a boost right now.

Marko said...

Some huge sales coming in today....4.4 million, 2.4 million, 2 million

Anon said...

Marko:

If you can give some colour around the high end sales.

What is the profile of people who buy a $4m home?

It need not be these homes. Just generally...Successful small business owner? Doctor / Lawyer? Offshore? New residenr?

Thanks

DavidL said...

^ Russian gangsters?!

Leo S said...

Realtors? :)

koozdra said...

Not sure if this is sarcastic or not.

Five Reasons Why You Don't Need To Worry About A Canadian Housing Bubble

Marko said...

It need not be these homes. Just generally...Successful small business owner? Doctor / Lawyer? Offshore? New residenr?

Mix of offshore investment, Alberta, and local business people.

30 sales over a million this month. 16 buyers are from Victoria, 14 are out of town/offshore.

Chris said...

Call it the cowboy skew. The NDP will give them a surprise ride for their money.

CALGARY — Luxury home sales in Calgary posted the strongest percentage increase of all major markets across Canada in the first quarter of 2013, with a substantial 50 per cent hike over year-ago levels

CS said...

30 sales over a million this month.

Plenty at that price still available: MOI = 9.0.

Remember all you need to purchase a million dollar home is a down payment of $50K and an average family income to service the loan.

So hurry and purchase now or be priced out until the crash of '15, when you wouldn't want to buy even if you could. (But a crash then will booby trap the Trudeau Libs good, should they happen to get in.)

koozdra said...

We don't have to wait till 2015. The crash is happening right now.

This is the classic bull trap. Prices decline and the fools rush in.

Almost as absurd as calling the bottom of the market in 2012.

Ernie Fallows said...

LOL @ Koozdra. Can't wait to cash in and buy that first home eh?

koozdra said...

"Can't wait to cash in and buy that first home eh?"

I can wait. Buying now is committing financial suicide.

Choose your decade to be a renter. This decade or the decade after you declare bankruptcy.

Leo S said...

Remember all you need to purchase a million dollar home is a down payment of $50K and an average family income to service the loan.

Not anymore. Million dollar homes are not eligible for CMHC insurance anymore. You're going to need at least 200,000 down.

koozdra said...

"A tremendous investment!"

322659


"218-1620 McKenzie Ave
Surrey, BC V3X 2X2"

What is this? $408,880?

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=13118502&PidKey=1536941650

caveat emptor said...

This blog started at the beginning of 2007 in reaction to excessively high house prices. How would someone who bought then be faring now? My sense is that if they bought a SFH in the core they'd probably be doing OK.

House value would be up slightly. They would have renewed in 2012 at lower rates than they started with in 07 and they would have paid off somewhere in the range of 13 to 5% of their principal assuming they amortized over a range from 25 to 40 years.

patriotz said...

Not anymore. Million dollar homes are not eligible for CMHC insurance anymore.

Well OK, $999,999.99 homes.

koozdra said...

Caveat may I derive you meaning to be:

The crash has not materialized therefore it won't ever materialize.

CS said...

This blog started at the beginning of 2007 in reaction to excessively high house prices.

So the timing was good. It anticipated the nose-dive of 2009, although it failed to anticipate the $125 billion added to the national debt in 2009 that turned a nose-dive into a rocket assisted return to excessively high prices.

Political action is always a wild card that cannot be modeled or rationally anticipated, except on Macchiavellian principles, which are apparently unknown to economists.

Such political consideration suggests that we'll have a combination of jawboning by the BofC to discourage hyper-irrational exuberance in the housing market, without any action to set off a general price collapse until after the Federal election.

But many other factors may come into play. Which is why the future is always interesting. It's rarely what you expected.

Leo S said...

How would someone who bought then be faring now?

That all depends. What did they buy? What could they have rented for? When are they thinking of upgrading?

Someone who bought a SFH that they have no intention of selling is probably doing alright.
Someone who bought a condo that they now want to offload to upgrade probably would have been far better off renting.
All depends on the property and what they would have paid in rent.

DavidL said...

CBC News: Canadians not following through on debt paydown resolutions
Canadians may say they’re serious about tackling their debt loads, but a national survey finds that many weren’t able to translate that desire into meaningful debt reduction.

caveat emptor said...

"The crash has not materialized therefore it won't ever materialize."

That's not my meaning at all. I was just looking back with 20/20 hindsight. If you had asked me in 2008 I would have expected house prices to fall farther and faster than they in fact have.

I don't actually know whether a "crash" will materialize and neither of course do you even though you speak with great certainty. My expectation however is for house prices to decline further in real (and probably nominal) price terms

caveat emptor said...

"My predictions were correct except for the hugely important factors that I overlooked, which completely invalidated my predictions"

People claiming that their pre-2008 predictions of a Canadian national housing crash were correct are basically saying the above, which I find laughable.

In 2008 I believed housing was going to fall harder and faster than it did. "I was wrong" - 3 very difficult words for some to say.**

** And no if it falls hard 5 or 6 or 7 years later that doesn't really count as right.

dasmo said...

"My predictions were correct except for the hugely important factors that I overlooked, which completely invalidated my predictions" Now that is classic....

koozdra said...

The "Canadian mortgage holder" will be declared too big to fail just like our bastions of industry.

The government can just go into the lending business directly where they control the rate charged to the consumer.

Having trouble paying off your mortgage? no problem.

Instead of declaring bankruptcy and foreclosure the government will issue you a loan directly at a fixed guaranteed rate. Say, 1%.

This avenue will only be available to people that are on the brink to "help them out".

There.. the future is bright again.

patriotz said...

And no if it falls hard 5 or 6 or 7 years later that doesn't really count as right.

Why not? Does someone who bought at the peak lose less money if the decline is slower or comes later? Does someone waiting to buy lose money if he waits longer?

caveat emptor said...

Why not?

If someone explicitly included a seven or ten year window in their prediction then I'd cut them some slack. But any Canadian real estate crash prediction in 2007 that said "now" or "soon" or "about to" or "next year" was WRONG

There is actually a big difference between:
"A giant asteroid will hit the Earth in the next two years" (extremely unlikely) and "A giant asteroid will hit the earth sometime" (almost guaranteed)

caveat emptor said...

"Does someone waiting to buy lose money if he waits longer?"

No, but she loses five years of whatever benefits she derives from owning a house.

That is irrelevant if renting is just as good as or better than owning for the individual in question.

But if you actually have a preference for owning over renting you have just sacrificed in the hope of saving money in the future.

patriotz said...

No, but she loses five years of whatever benefits she derives from owning a house.

The only objective benefit of owning is the discount, if any, from the cost of renting.

If you want to put subjective preferences first you can argue for buying at any price at any time.

The evidence from the US is that these subjective preferences go away very quickly once people catch on that they bought the property for more than it would sell for today.

Leo S said...

Well there is two ways to think about the rightness or wrongness of predictions.
Either you look at the prediction itself, like "house prices will be substantially lower by next year". Certainly back when I started thinking about the housing market, I expected prices to decline more quickly, so I was certainly wrong on that front.

The other way to look at it is what actions result from your prediction. Based on valuations and expectations of future decline, we decided to rent these last 3-4 years. Looking back at what happened in the market in that period, would we have made a different decision? No.

Renting was definitely the right choice for us, at least until we moved to a rental house last fall. If we would have bought a condo 4 years ago, we would be looking at losing lots of money now that we want more space.
This year will decide whether it was a good choice to wait or whether we should have bought last fall. If the market declines YoY, then the choice to wait more will have been correct (since costs between rent/buy are similar for us).

caveat emptor said...

"The only objective benefit of owning is the discount, if any, from the cost of renting."

I'd suggest that anyone who actually believes that statement should steer clear of home-ownership. Because if you don't value the non-monetary benefits of home-ownership then there is nothing to counter-balance the very real non-monetary COSTS of homeownership. The biggest non-monetary costs are time spent on maintenance and reduced flexibility to move for better employment.

In addition the discount or premium can only be guessed at since it involves something unpredictable called the future.

caveat emptor said...

Leo

I agree. Anyone like you who looked at the market a few years back and decided to wait based on the RE market being overvalued is further ahead now then they would have been if they had pulled the trigger.

OTOH there used to be regular posters here counseling selling your house and profiting from the coming crash. Someone who did that in 2007 is still waiting to profit. Decent idea if you had a good reason to sell anyhow. Lousy idea if you sold a place you liked and was well within your means.

DavidL said...

One things that most homeowners disregard is the additional costs incurred with ownership. My "average" Saanich SFH costs about $450/month for "TIM": property Taxes, house Insurance and basic Maintenance (walls, flooring, roof and electrical/plumbing fixtures). An owner renting a house will pay about $700/month to cover increased property taxes (no homeowner deduction), increased insurance and higher maintenance (increased wear and tear by renters).

Leo S said...

>> OTOH there used to be regular posters here counseling selling your house and profiting from the coming crash. Someone who did that in 2007 is still waiting to profit. Decent idea if you had a good reason to sell anyhow. Lousy idea if you sold a place you liked and was well within your means.

Agreed. One of the reasons I'm not a big fan of Garth Turner. It's one thing for predictions to be not quite right like everyone else's but all this time he has been advising people to sell their places to protect from imminent declines or imminent rising interest rates. Prognostication is fun, but using what amounts to an educated guess to advise people while presenting yourself as an expert isn't very ethical.

Also, something that was brought up on VV. you don't win anything until you act on your predictions. If you predict prices will collapse and they do, you better buy in at those lower prices. Until you do the prediction is meaningless. For example, some posters on the Seattle Bubble blog continued to be convinced of further declines even after Seattle hit bottom. Now it's pretty clear that the recovery there is sustainable and they've missed te good buying opportunities.

Marko said...

One things that most homeowners disregard is the additional costs incurred with ownership. My "average" Saanich SFH costs about $450/month for "TIM": property Taxes, house Insurance and basic Maintenance (walls, flooring, roof and electrical/plumbing fixtures). An owner renting a house will pay about $700/month to cover increased property taxes (no homeowner deduction), increased insurance and higher maintenance (increased wear and tear by renters).

Would rather pay the extra per month than risk receiving two months notice at the worst possible time.

Also, landlords aren't prone to coming in and putting in a brand new kitchen. There is quite a bit of utility derived from carrying out improvements on your own property.

Leo S said...

>> One things that most homeowners disregard is the additional costs incurred with ownership. My "average" Saanich SFH costs about $450/month for "TIM"

You should talk to Totoro and Introvert. they apparently know the magic trick to make maintaining a house and renting a suite take essentially no money or time.

Marko said...

Someone who bought a condo that they now want to offload to upgrade probably would have been far better off renting.
All depends on the property and what they would have paid in rent.


I've represented quite a number of young couples in the last two years that broke even or lost money on their condo and then upgraded to a single family home. A lot of them ended up with large income increases in the 3-4 years they owned a condo. A number of them renovated older condos and took experiences away from that. A few served on strata councils and realized they wouldn't ever buy into one again, etc.

Numbers wise probably better off renting; however, you can take experiences away from owning, including breaking even or taking a loss.

Marko said...

renting a suite take essentially no money or time.

$1,000 per month is a piece of cake to make otherwise and doesn't require time?

Huge fan of rental income here. The more variety of income you can pile on (personal income, dividends, rental, etc.) the better in my opinion.

Leo S said...

Numbers wise probably better off renting; however, you can take experiences away from owning, including breaking even or taking a loss.

Sounds like one of those "building character" type experiences. I don't have to do every stupid thing under the sun to know I shouldn't do it.

$1,000 per month is a piece of cake to make otherwise and doesn't require time?

Huh? Who's saying that?

Marko said...

Huh? Who's saying that?

Just saying. Everything revenue generating requires a bit of time effort; however, I do know that take my tenants cheque to the bank every month is a lot easier than working with some of my clients.

Leo S said...

Everything revenue generating requires a bit of time effort

That's my point. Some of the owners here like to pretend that rental income is an exception to this rule.

a simple man said...

House on my block in OB now six months without a renter.

Landlord doesn't feel that renting is so easy right now.

dasmo said...

I haven't had any problems. Perhaps they have overpriced it or are very picky about who is going to rent it. They obviously don't need the money....

koozdra said...

"House on my block in OB now six months without a renter."

Their very own holding property.

dasmo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a simple man said...

I think it is a bit overpriced, but not grossly so. Also, they have had some renters want the house, but the landlord did not feel comfortable renting to them for one reason or another.

Marko said...

House on my block in OB now six months without a renter.

Landlord doesn't feel that renting is so easy right now.


Price too high plus landlord lacking common sense. If you can't rent it in a few weeks you need to quickly adjust the price. If your price is too high and you lose one month it offsets the higher rent right away.

Rented out my condo in 2 days - tons of interest.

Marko said...

That's my point. Some of the owners here like to pretend that rental income is an exception to this rule.

Then you have those that make out renting a suite to be a money losing venture and in addition your privacy is compromised because you are living with someone under the same roof :)

Introvert said...

You should talk to Totoro and Introvert. they apparently know the magic trick to make maintaining a house and renting a suite take essentially no money or time.
---------------------------
Some of the owners here like to pretend that rental income is an exception to this rule.


On the first point, it isn't magic; it's (1) buying a house with a finished suite that is in good condition to begin with, and (2) taking great care to avoid (to the extent possible) suite-abusing tenants. These are my "magic tricks"; I don't want to speak for totoro.

On the second point, rental income does require a bit of time and effort--just not anywhere near the time and effort that my job does.

Job: 7.5 hours of work per day.
Suite: 7.5 hours or work per year.

But, yes, one does have to be comfortable with someone living in one's basement. It's not for everyone. But it's working for me (and for my bank account).

Leo S said...

>> your privacy is compromised because you are living with someone under the same roof :)

Which is unarguably true

koozdra said...

$999,900

Properties priced like this are funny.

If the property was a hundred dollars more and you had fifty thousand dollars and you went to the bank you would be laughed out of the building.

Bank: We cannot take a risk like that. That down payment is way too small.

Now the property is priced under one million. You go to the bank with fifty thousand dollars and suddenly, according to the government, all the risk is gone. The bank manager that would have laughed in your face suddenly is washing your feet and asking you if you would like an accompanying line of credit.

What a difference one hundred dollars can make.

Keep borrowing Canadians. It helps the economy.

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=13118431&PidKey=-778024005

totoro victoria said...

If you cannot rent your place within the first week of the month you are priced too high. Marko is right, one month of vacancy will offset a year of reduced rent.
Our vacancy rates are very low in Victoria.

Speaking of vacancy rates, I was in Terrace recently and it is booming. Hotels full full full - even the crappy ones. It has been like this for the last year. House prices here and in Kitimat are rising because of Alcan, natural gas, pipeline, transmission line. http://www.vancouversun.com/business/bc2035/Kitimat+attracts+attention+next+potential+boom+town/8139955/story.html

patriotz said...

Well I guess Kitimat has nowhere to go but up - it's the Detroit of BC with a 25% population loss over the last 20 years and a large % of empty dwellings.

As for all these talked about projects, short term and long term jobs are different things. Assuming they happen in the first place.

Leo S said...

62% of first time buyers putting down less than 10%

Leo S said...

Prepare for hyperventilating VREB release.

Marko said...

Wednesday May 1, 2013 7:55am:

April April
2013 2012
Net Unconditional Sales: 615 586
New Listings: 1,408 1,470
Active Listings: 4,585 4,638

Please Note
Left Column: stats for the entire month from this year
Right Column: stats for the entire month from last year

koozdra said...

Great series on CBC about the "geniuses" guiding our boats through our troubled economic waters.

We can trust these men.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/04/30/f-rfa-macdonald-monarchs-money-secrecy.html?cmp=rss

koozdra said...

From Patriotz on VCI:

It's a Canadian this time.

"Mr. Friedberg, one of Canada’s foremost currency and commodities experts.."

Another hedge fund manager bets against Canada's big banks

totoro victoria said...

Yes, Kitimat had over 40% vacancy rate at one point. And who knows if the projects will go, but I suspect something will. Even the NDP have changed their tune on this.

Terrace sure is hopping with resource tech and worker types. Flight was full,as usual. Probably a better place to be a landlord than most in BC right now.

dasmo said...

I guess they are running out of spin material. Even they are getting tired of "the crash is coming". Now it's spinning investor activity? Non-news....

koozdra said...

"I guess they are running out of spin material."

It seems that they have hit on an interesting trend. Articles about "the crash" are getting the most hits.

I wonder why that is?

koozdra said...

"Sale collapsed bring us an offer! ... all offers subject to court approval"

I wonder if this is a case of a judge rejecting an offer because it was below "market value".

Judge: I can't accept an offer of $300,000. Back to the market. Someone will buy it, soon...

koozdra said...

oops

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12594072&PidKey=-1403945191

dasmo said...

"Articles about "the crash" are getting the most hits.

I wonder why that is?"

Isn't it obvious?

totoro victoria said...

Magic Landlord Tricks

1. well-maintained place to start
2. lease rather than month to month for good qualified tenants
3. application and reference checks
4. electronic bank transfer for rent
5. plumber/electrician/handyperson on hand just in case
6. great soundproofing
7. great location
8. give extras like garden area or free wifi
9. sprinkle with pixie dust

Introvert said...

It seems that they have hit on an interesting trend. Articles about "the crash" are getting the most hits.

I wonder why that is?


Because koozdra and info read them over and over and over again.

Introvert said...

8. give extras like garden area or free wifi

I know many landlords offer free Wi-Fi, but I've always considered it to be a bit risky. If the tenant is doing something illegal on the Web, using the landlord's Internet connection, this can be problematic.

koozdra said...

"Offer Collapsed - Back on the market!"

Is this a feature of the property? Why would you want to advertise that the offer collapsed?

Come try your luck at buying this extremely overpriced junker.

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=13123987&PidKey=-1202943981

totoro victoria said...

Yes, you are probably right about the wifi. I do it in one of my places anyway. It is password protected. I doubt the elderly retired librarian tenant is up to anything, but you never know.

Introvert said...

I doubt the elderly retired librarian tenant is up to anything, but you never know.

It's usually the ones you least expect :)

a simple man said...

I find it is usually the ones I most suspect.

caveat emptor said...

extremely overpriced junker.

It looks quite cute from the outside (I walk by it frequently). However it is 1/2 million for a cottage (by today's housing standards). And as a building lot it is overpriced I think. Any water view would be a limited to a glimpse down the street.

totoro victoria said...

Well, she has been accidently calling me with her cell phone and I get to listen to her boiling her water for tea. Who knows what she could do with all those internet buttons.

totoro victoria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

"elderly retired librarian tenant"

Smart lady to rent. She must read a lot ;)

koozdra said...

High house prices are bad for the economy and make people take on ever increasing amounts of debt.

Home owner response

totoro victoria said...

She just bought. She rented for the winter while she looked for a place she liked. Moves June 1.

Timing the market was not on her radar - relocating and finding the right spot was top priority. I think when you're seventy plus focus shifts.

Leo S said...

I think when you're seventy plus focus shifts.

That gives me some time to keep arguing here then.

LeoM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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