Wednesday, May 13, 2015

And so it goes

The HouseHuntVictoria blog has moved to

Well after a brief burst this spring with more regular updates, it looks like we're back to irregular and late updates.    This has forced the issue for me somewhat of whether I realistically will maintain this blog going forward.   There are a number of changes I'd like to make to the blog as a whole, but unfortunately without ownership of it I can only post articles.  In the spring I tried to contact HouseHuntVictoria several times about transferring ownership, but he is either not monitoring the email anymore or has moved on permanently.

So as Adam Carolla says, in the end you have to ask a question about any activity you're doing:

"Does it make you money or does it make you happy?"
(and if the answer is no, move the f**k on)  

This blog has never made me any money, but it has certainly been a rewarding experience in other ways over the years.   It helped me tremendously with understanding the factors influencing the direction of the market, and has given me the information I needed to make a decision on whether to buy and when.   However I feel I've reached a point where I've analyzed the market every which way I can think of with the public data that is available.  All that would be left to do going forward is parrot Marko's and VREB's updates, while many new happiness or money generating activities compete for my time.   So with that I'm unfortunately going to bow out formally from posting further articles.   While I will miss the discussion here, I'm hoping that some of it will continue in other forums such as VibrantVictoria, where I will likely occasionally post updates on market trends as the fancy strikes.

I would like to thank the many commenters on this blog that have contributed information or stimulating debate.  I would have quit years ago if it wasn't for the discussion here.  Thanks especially to Marko for the inside track information and regular updates, Just Jack for the detailed analyses of submarkets and humour, our chief halibut and investment god dasmo, the always sensible DavidL, Koozdra for providing me all the regional data, as well as caveat emptor, patriotz, CS, totoro, Double Agent, Roger, and many many others.    Most of all thanks to HHV for letting me post all this time.  I've learned a huge amount from you all.

Here's a graph for the road.



Just Jack said...


Just Jack's wife

dasmo said...

So long and thanks for all the graphs! Best of luck to all here. I will also miss the debate and berating :-)

DavidL said...


Thanks for keeping this blog alive as long as you did! Perhaps someone else is willing to take the reins? If so, I suggest modernizing the format, using WordPress or a similar solution. (Sorry Google, but you have not been maintaining Blogger for years now.)

totoro victoria said...

Thanks for all the posts Leo.

mooselessness said...

Oh, I am so sad to hear the site will be closing. Leo's graphs were a draw, but it was the comments that brought me back every day.

I do hope the community manages to move somewhere else.

kabloona said...

Thanks for all your hard work. Will definitely miss it....

caveat emptor said...

I will miss the site, your posts and a lot of thought-provoking comments. But I can totally understand your decision when other things are calling and especially now that you have a young one.

Thanks for your work keeping this going and best wishes!

reasonfirst said...

Cheers Leo.

Does anybody think it's interesting that this graph is clearly indicating a sellers market but Teranet not so much....

Supernova said...

Cheers to Leo and the whole cast of characters that made this a great blog to keep coming back to. I hope someone steps in to fill the void!

Leo S said...

Does anybody think it's interesting that this graph is clearly indicating a sellers market

Yeah in the last couple months you could describe it as a sellers market. Also the median price jumped. Could be a fluke, could be a trend. Like you said we haven't seen this mirrored in the Teranet. However with the market activity I would imagine it soon will be reflected there.

Introvert said...

R.I.P., House Hunt Victoria.


For eight long years the majority of its contributors predicted a housing market crash. It never came.

Leo S said...

But I can totally understand your decision when other things are calling

What we would need is almost an automated system for posting regular updates with the weekly stats and monthly numbers. Also a way to drive submissions from readers about stories related to real estate in the news.

DavidL said...

@Leo S

Am I correct that the biggest issue with maintaining this blog in its current form is that you cannot assign someone else as the editor? (Of course, there is the time commitment being the sole editor.)

If there is enough interest, I would be willing to set up a WordPress site that would allow multiple editors and/or authors (see: I expect that if the "burden" of updating the blog were shared between three of four editors, we could keep the concept of "House Hunt Victoria" alive. Thoughts? Any volunteers for editors?

News said...

"R.I.P., House Hunt Victoria.


For eight long years the majority of its contributors predicted a housing market crash. It never came."

Eight long years of the loosest credit lending in the world's history and record low emergency interest rates. Good things ALWAYS come to an end. R.I.P. Victoria House Bubble.

Dave said...

Thanks for everything Leo.

Over the years I've looked up to you both financially speaking (being responsible and educated) and how you handle yourself here on the blog (dealing with BS and trolls).

I don't think I've completed my financial education so I hope DavidL can continue the spirit of HHV somewhere else - I'll be there!


Curly Fry said...


Just Jack's wife"

Haha.. One last chuckle!! (Thanks JJ.)

I agree - it has all been discussed.

Vibrant Victoria has a pretty good format & I would be happy to see future discussions move there!

DavidL said...

Okay ... I got bored and "whipped" this together in about 20 minutes:

If others are willing to "sign up" as editors/authors, I think that we can make a go of it. Volunteers?

Just Jack said...

I certainly can help.

Introvert said...

We've all learned a lot from Leo over the years--for example, that a landlord responsible for one or two suites works just as hard as a nurse or a teacher. Gems like that don't come along everyday!

Leo S said...

@introvert Well I'll miss your straw men arguments that's for sure!

Happy to contribute to a new blog if others do. Just done with feeling guilty if dasmo has to click Load more. :)

totoro victoria said...

I'll help.

CS said...

@ Intro:

For eight long years the majority of its contributors predicted a housing market crash. It never came.

So as a logical successor how about:

2016: Housing Crash Victoria

totoro victoria said...

But with the caveat that I am sorely lacking in graphing department.

CS said...

But HHVictoria 2.0 looks good too.

Leo S said...

@DavidL. How does one sign up?

Katyusha said...

Thanks Leo for keeping HHV going for so long.

And thanks to DavidL for picking up the torch. You don't want me as an editor, but I'll definitely be a follower ;)

HachiRoku said...

Yes the new 2.0 is looking good (Thanks DavidL)...I'm lurking everyday and appreciate all contributors.

I have learned tons through HHV...enough to hold off buying a house until I am darn good and ready...meanwhile we're socking money away like Scrooge. ;)

DavidL said...

Fantastic! I'm glad there is some interest in keeping the blog alive with House Hunt Victoria v2.0 at

I'm going away over the long weekend, and will set aside some time to add widgets, updated graphics, etc. to the new site next week.

The new blog is based on WordPress, so to add a comment - you should be able to log in with a WordPress, Twitter, Facebook or Google account. (In other words, your current Blogger credential will likely work.) For now, comments require approval before they are visible to all users. I'm definitely going to try to change that setting!

Leo S, Just Jack and others who may want to be an "author", please create a WordPress account and post to the current introduction topic, indicating that you are willing to contribute content. That way, I can view your account details and promote you from "Follower" to "Author".

Numbers Hack said...

1.0 lots of fun
2.0 looks even better
Thanks LEO and DavidL, you need to turn off the approvals for postings!

DavidL said...

On v 2.0, I've changed the settings so that only the first posting from an individual requires approval. This will avoid spam, etc. I can turn off this feature if needed...

Tim Mitchell said...

Thanks DavidL! Things are looking snazzy over at even with all our dishes and lamps still in boxes.

Just Jack said...

Our stable to increasing prices are reflective of low inventory. So why are there not more houses for sale?

The demographics of our city suggest that retirees are not willing to move from their homes. Once they retire very few will sell their home and move to a new area be it Langford or Jamaica. They are reluctant to leave families and friends.

And a paid off home certainly alleviates the fear of being penniless. These retirees may choose to live at the poverty line but they'll never fear being penniless.

And it costs money to move. A lot of money these days with property purchase taxes, commission, GST, movers and upgrading/renovating the new place. Costs that may easily reach into the $30,000 to $50,000 range for an average home these days.

Succinctly put, fear and greed are keeping boomers from listing their homes.

And that fear and greed keeps them from making decisions that are not in their best interest. You can show a retiree that they don't have to live at the poverty line by downsizing or moving to a less costly area. But they won't do it. They'll not heat their home, forego dental work and food in order to keep their home.

Victoria - house rich and income poor.

Just Jack said...

There are some creative people trying to "help" first time buyers. It used to be called "creative financing" today it's called synergy.

"Syracuse, NY -- A Syracuse appraiser will be sentenced to 5 years' probation after he admitted his role in a $1 million scheme to defraud families and banks during the Great Recession.

Steven Essig pleaded guilty to a felony today for participating in the scheme with Fabius real estate agent Theresa Sanders. They, along with others, would buy dilapidated homes from the government, inflate their worth and then entice inexperienced homebuyers to sign rent-to-own agreements, said the state Attorney General's Office.

Based on the inflated home values, the ring secured refinanced mortgages from lenders, who wired money believing they were paying off old mortgages. Instead, the money went to accounts controlled by the ring."


It's rare for an appraiser to be sued for fraud. Not because appraisers are more honest than the next guy or gal. It's because the Errors and Omission insurance companies will not pay if fraud is involved. Most wronged people and their lawyers will not sue if damages can't be awarded.

Just Jack said...

"The Bank of Montreal has settled with all but a handful of the 160 parties it sued in connection with a sprawling case of alleged mortgage fraud in Alberta, CBC News has learned.

The bank first detected a problem in 2006, when bank officials detected "irregularities" in some mortgages. Forensic accountants were hired to review the transactions, and the bank ultimately sued hundreds of people in connection with the alleged fraud.

BMO says hundreds of people, mostly new immigrants, were recruited to apply for about $70 million in falsely inflated mortgages involving more than 200 properties between 2006 and 2007. BMO contended the alleged fraud was carried out by 325 people, including mortgage brokers, appraisers, realtors, bank employees and lawyers. "

source CBC news

And just for your information, back when this story originally hit the news BMO was the only bank in Canada to have a mortgage fraud division. At that time the division comprised one retired RCMP officer.

Just Jack said...

Mortgage fraud did not evolve during the most recent real estate boom, but has grown as a byproduct. Several factors have contributed to its growth:

Opportunities presented by rising markets: Real estate values in recent years have led some individuals to attempt purchases without adequate resources to pay for the investment. Hoping for continuing increases in property values, investors have speculated on real estate, and some have falsified applications to obtain multiple properties.

Depersonalization of the process for buying real estate: Lenders have been accessed without the requirement to meet anyone in person or to have an established business relationship. Money and title documents have been transferred electronically, and property appraisals have been based on computer models.

Easier access to information about properties and homeowners: Electronic access to the land registry system has made it easier to access information about registered real property, creating opportunities for new forms of mortgage and identity fraud.

Increased competition and increased pressure to close deals: More lenders and increased competition significantly reduced barriers to borrowing money. Credit standards were frequently lowered, and documentation requirements were either relaxed or not inspected when transactions were occurring at a frenzied pace. Traditional safeguards, such as hiring a lawyer, were sometimes seen as hindering the speed and cost-effectiveness of closing a deal.

Increasing sophistication and boldness of fraudsters: Fraudsters jumped at these opportunities, in many cases initiating multiple fraudulent activities, hoping that loan irregularities would be lost in the volume or hidden by a profitable sale on the collateral. The electronic age has facilitated information sharing among fraudsters with the result that illegal activities adapt almost as fast as methods designed to prevent and detect them.

S0-----------how big is the problem in Canada?

In the Billions.

Just Jack said...

Did you know that people with a Reverse Mortgage can have their homes foreclosed on! The idea of a reverse mortgage is not to ever make a payment again. So how can this happen?

In the USA, reverse mortgages have been getting some negative media attention. This is because, as of last year, around 30,000 of these loans have fallen into default. This means that around 5% of borrowers are at risk of losing their homes unless they can get their loans back into good standing. While the number of actual foreclosures is unknown–and likely very small–, this threat is scaring some seniors away from these loans.

In the past several years, there has been a rise in reverse mortgage defaults. While these loans eliminate seniors’ mortgage payments, borrowers are obligated to keep up with their insurance payments and property taxes. Seniors must also maintain the structural integrity of their home and keep the home from falling into disrepair. However, it is usually taxes and insurance payments that get seniors into the most trouble. If these expenses go unpaid, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will label the loan as being in “technical” default. If the loan is not brought out of default, lenders have the right to foreclose on the home and eventually evict the homeowners.

DavidL said...

@Just Jack

Very interesting articles and analysis. Do you feel like posting at HHV2?

Just Jack said...

I'm off to the other site now.

Death said...

A crash is just around the corner... any minute now. Ha ha ha ha another god damned bear has capitulated. The pattern never fails. Once a bear finally fixes their income problem they buy

Dustin said...

God Bless. Leo has done a fantastic job. All the best in your new post HHV life.

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