Friday, October 28, 2011

Out of Town for a Few days

I will back to examine the October numbers with you.

After a bearish start to October we have seen some recent strength in the sales. No surprise with the huge run-up in the markets and sentiment. The TSE and our RE sales seem to be very highly correlated at present.

Of course it wasn't helped by Carney's slap in the face of savers. No interest hikes for a long time. And have you noticed he has quit talking about over-indebted Canadians and the RE market. Seems like all these Central Bankers know is to fix one bursting bubble by blowing up another one.

And Carney is regarded s one of the best Central bankers in the world and may be moving to a take over an International bank regulatory body. The rationale being that our banks have survived the crisis so well. That's because we haven't had our crisis yet! ...and when we do, the risk has already been moved to the tax-payer's balance sheet via the CMHC.

So what are we going to get from the October number- trick or treat. I had though we were headed for lower numbers and stated that I thought we would be flat YOY for one of the indices. Hard to read if that will happen or I was too optimistic (bearishly optimistic).

Sales have firmed up in the second half of the month and as Larry Yatter's figures have shown, we have a mixed picture. Coquitlam has less sales, huge MOI and yet the average and median prices have gone up! I suspect due a change in the mix of sales.

On the other hand Richmond has less sales, the MOI is up but much less than Coquitlam and yet prices are down significantly. North Van also has stronger MOI and sales have been fairly steady but the prices are also down quite a bit.

So the final numbers could show anything. I will be watching for the HPI particularly to see what that shows. Clearly this Fall is weaker than last and the price trajectory has moved down.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

MOI quickie

SFH Based on the last month of sales and current listings:

Sunshine Coast 18.2

Richmond 13!!

North Vancouver 4!

New West 5.2

Squamish 13.6

Vancouver West 9.89!

Coquitlam 7

Maple Ridge 12.86!!

Surrey 12.5

Abbotsford 16.64

South Surrey White Rock 9.85

West Vancouver 6.84

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sorry guys too busy to post the MOIs

Will try and get to that in the next few days.

We are seeing a little bump up in sales. Why? Who knows.. But we have had a dip in the 5 year rates and then recently another run-up in the stock-market which seems to be highly correlated with the RE frenzy.

As stocks go up, people feel richer and more confident while others cash out of stock options and banks feel more macho about lending.

Anyway we have had a small blip up in the list/sale ratio over the last week or so, which has coincided perfectly with the stock run-up, lets see how far this has to run.

We are still seeing Governments around the world committed 100% to keeping rates so low, well below inflation, that savers get punished and speculators which are never-to-be-reigned-in saved.

For now it is a wait and see. This fall was very different from last fall. Listings kept coming and sales dwindled, we will have to see if this is a temporary set-back or whether we are off to the races again.

Watching China suggests things are not so hot. There stock market is down 22% from a year ago, though an agreement this week in Europe may change all that.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Where are we

Thanks for the responses. We do seem to be on the down-slope of the curve below, somewhere around denial and anxiety (BTW I agree denial should probably come before anxiety)

We are certainly in a flat market at best in most parts of Vancouver and the Fraser valley. Many areas are well into 7-8 MOI and by definition into a buyer's market. However how soon price drops follow depends on many things that we need to keep an eye on:

1) China is primary amongst these. Not only are the Chinese the big money buyers in many areas (yes they are) but our dependence on resources also makes their financial situation doubly important for our housing market. They stumble and we fall.

2) Interest rates. Super low. No sign yet of any of the irresponsible Central banks that got us into this mess allowing long or short rates up. In fact the US Central bank is even buying it's own long bonds to keep rates low. BTW- They started talking about doing this late September. Do you think they may have Wall Street insiders know a little sooner??

No wonder people are marching in the streets, the current system reeks of corruption.

Anyway back to rates- no increase on the horizon. On the contrary if Europe falters, then US and Canadian bonds will be seen as a safe-haven and rise. Only if things get REALLY bad and banks can't borrow and therefore can't lend will we see pressure on mortgages. I would not bank on this happening ;)

3) Government policy. After a series of catastrophic policy decisions (IMVHO) helped pump up RE, turning the virtuous Canadian economy into a borrow and spend US-wannabe, I cannot forecast what these bozos will do next. The C-team in Ottawa seems to have remembered their fiscal Conservatism a little now, but I would not put it past them to give way if housing drops and reach for the CMHC-pedal again. Pumping up the CMHC is the way Government increases debt and liabilities for us all, without it showing up on the country's balance sheet. Meanwhile they can pretend to be holding the line on the deficit (which is already 'structural' according to the Auditor General).

4) The US. We are still very dependant on the US - for 70% of our exports in fact. So any re-recession will also hit us and you can expect Carney to remove the 1% he gave to savers. More money will have to be transferred from the prudent savers to the reckless speculators.

5) Watch the stock-market. Lo and behold the market went up and we got a bounce in Vancouver sales the last few days. It is an odd correlation. I suspect it is multi-factorial..there is a feel-good, we are all wealthy attitude, there is the insiders who cash out stock options, and of course there are the Chinese who sell hundreds of Millions of stock and diversify to whatever and where-ever they can.

Can I forecast all of these. Nope. Not even one of them. And they will move in opposite directions. If Europe starts defaulting, expect a number of things- long interest rates here to drop, short interest rates to be cut, the USD to rally, commodities to drop, China to drop, and our market to drop!

So what will be the net effect? ...ummm

Anyway we will be watching the inventory numbers and I will have some MOI up mid-week for you all to look at -including the Fraser Valley. Glad to be rid of Adsense. I am sure it works for some, but it sure didn't work for me!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Some Court ordered Sales

Ex-Grow Op

Whistler- but how much do you need to spend to be able to live in it?

$200/foot suite

$160/foot suite

$200/foot suite in Whiterock.

$110/foot suite in Maple Ridge

If I remember correctly, at the depth of the 2008/9 crash, before ZIRP and CMHC was put on steroids suites in Surrey and surrounds sold for $100-150/foot. We are almost back there, considering these are asking prices.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Time to stick that neck out even further...

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
So here it is my call for October's numbers...

We have already OK and Fraser Valley prices flat YOY..

We need a drop of $48,000 in the average SFH price to get there in Vancouver..

I think we are going to get pretty close when we get the October numbers.

I suspect something will have reached ground zero. One of the measures (average, median or benchmark) of one of the sub-units. Eg Condos or Attached or SFH.

I did pretty good calling for a substantial drop for SFH for September, lets see if I am lucky twice in a row.

Why do I say this? Just by looking at the numbers..

1) The drop in listings at month end was less than usual.

2) Sales have not picked up and price changes are matching or beating sales.

3) Sales have not picked up even though mortgage rates at the long end have come down.

4) The MSM is talking 'correction'.

5) Flaherty just said no new stimulus unless it gets really bad.

Here is the ironic thing- the last go around they would have been fine with just letting Carney punish savers and reward speculators with his zero interest rate. However it was just too tempting to step on the housing accelerator pedal. Result = big bubble. That pedal is too risky now when we are already travelling at 100 MPH.

6) China- our cash buyers have issues of their own. Hard to get a read on how things are going there. It is so large that anyone reporting in one major city may miss what is happening somewhere else. What is clear is that 10% growth is gone for now. Their scope of purchases are narrowing in any case to just a few areas.

7) The stock-market has been on a downward trajectory. RE and the TSX have tended to mirror each other. The TSX has dropped 20%+

8) The RE price graph has cracked. We have had a parabolic run-up which peaked in May, and prices have come down. This has a psychological effect on both buyers and sellers.

9) The domestic growth drivers are tepid at best. Governments are not in spend mode, the Olympics build out is over, the world economy is weakening affecting commodities which have taken a beating (look at copper) and tourism (which is down).

Adding all the above together it seems to me that we have more weakness ahead. If you can think of more reasons, or reasons why it won't please pipe up!

All this assumes there are no major external shocks in the world economy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quick OK RAW DATA...


Not sure how reliable the average and median prices are. I have tended to ignore them in the past since they show such huge fluctuations month to month due to the small sample size. Sales and MOI are the most important indicators IMO.

Central OKANAGAN. Where the action is! Sales up from last year. Prices mixed compared with August and flat YOY. see for yourselves. Higher averages, lower median suggesting the upper end buyers are still active. MOI = 14.

September 2011


Sales 65 New Listings 180 Current Inventory 878 Sell/Inv. Ratio 7.40% Days to Sell 107 Average Price $256,189 Median Price $212,500


Sales 40 New Listings 96 Current Inventory 540 Sell/Inv. Ratio 7.41% Days to Sell 127 Average Price $328,331 Median Price $303,646


Sales 11 New Listings 44 Current Inventory 643 Sell/Inv. Ratio 1.71% Days to Sell 226 Average Price $185,036 Median Price $175,000


Sales 145 New Listings 362 Current Inventory 1,590 Sell/Inv. Ratio 9.12% Days to Sell 88 Average Price $517,864 Median Price $427,000

Ratio of Sales vs Inventory 7.15%

August 2011


Sales 63 New Listings 151 Current Inventory 934 Sell/Inv. Ratio 6.75% Days to Sell 117 Average Price $243,307 Median Price $237,000


Sales 39 New Listings 98 Current Inventory 546 Sell/Inv. Ratio 7.14% Days to Sell 118 Average Price $355,573 Median Price $350,000


Sales 17 New Listings 50 Current Inventory 117 Sell/Inv. Ratio 14.53% Days to Sell 167 Average Price $241,294 Median Price $189,900


Sales 132 New Listings 357 Current Inventory 1,709 Sell/Inv. Ratio 7.72% Days to Sell 85 Average Price $470,138 Median Price $431,935

Ratio of Sales vs Inventory 7.59%

September 2011


Sales 37 New Listings 158 Current Inventory 988 Sell/Inv. Ratio 3.74% Days to Sell 105 Average Price $234,800 Median Price $218,000


Sales 33 New Listings 87 Current Inventory 493 Sell/Inv. Ratio 6.69% Days to Sell 109 Average Price $341,088 Median Price $332,000


Sales 5 New Listings 71 Current Inventory 613 Sell/Inv. Ratio 0.82% Days to Sell 92 Average Price $217,180 Median Price $195,000


Sales 117 New Listings 392 Current Inventory 1,666 Sell/Inv. Ratio 7.02% Days to Sell 92 Average Price $466,382 Median Price $425,000

Ratio of Sales vs Inventory 5.11%


Sales down. Prices mixed YOY. MOI = 21

September 2011

Sales 10 New Listings 16 Current Inventory 158 Sell/Inv. Ratio 6.33% Days to Sell 277 Average Price $155,250 Median Price $148,000


Sales 10 New Listings 40 Current Inventory 250 Sell/Inv. Ratio 4.00% Days to Sell 143 Average Price $232,640 Median Price $246,250


Sales 8 New Listings 44 Current Inventory 327 Sell/Inv. Ratio 2.45% Days to Sell 118 Average Price $171,613 Median Price $170,000


Sales 46 New Listings 134 Current Inventory 816 Sell/Inv. Ratio 5.64% Days to Sell 119 Average Price $401,684 Median Price $363,500

Ratio of Sales vs Inventory 4.77%

September 2010

Sales 9 New Listings 22 Current Inventory 187 Sell/Inv. Ratio 4.81% Days to Sell 138 Average Price $157,322 Median Price $164,500


Sales 15 New Listings 39 Current Inventory 227 Sell/Inv. Ratio 6.61% Days to Sell 119 Average Price $302,467 Median Price $295,000


Sales 11 New Listings 33 Current Inventory 394 Sell/Inv. Ratio 2.79% Days to Sell 161 Average Price $151,800 Median Price $155,000


Sales 69 New Listings 135 Current Inventory 743 Sell/Inv. Ratio 9.29% Days to Sell 110 Average Price $385,819 Median Price $348,000

Ratio of Sales vs Inventory 6.71%

Shuswap/ Revelstoke- sales up a bit prices mostly down YOY. MOI = 20

September 2011


Sales 3 New Listings 3 Current Inventory 66 Sell/Inv. Ratio 4.55% Days to Sell 155 Average Price $233,000 Median Price $173,000


Sales 9 New Listings 9 Current Inventory 96 Sell/Inv. Ratio 9.38% Days to Sell 158 Average Price $314,011 Median Price $333,000


Sales 10 New Listings 15 Current Inventory 301 Sell/Inv. Ratio 3.32% Days to Sell 311 Average Price $199,690 Median Price $75,000


Sales 24 New Listings 69 Current Inventory 446 Sell/Inv. Ratio 5.38% Days to Sell 113 Average Price $315,003 Median Price $297,500

Ratio of Sales vs Inventory 5.06%

September 2010


Sales 2 New Listings 9 Current Inventory 61 Sell/Inv. Ratio 3.28% Days to Sell 59 Average Price $184,000 Median Price $184,000


Sales 2 New Listings 3 Current Inventory 100 Sell/Inv. Ratio 2.00% Days to Sell 112 Average Price $350,625 Median Price $350,625


Sales 8 New Listings 29 Current Inventory 28 Sell/Inv. Ratio 28.57% Days to Sell 65 Average Price $596,375 Median Price $140,000


Sales 19 New Listings 55 Current Inventory 407 Sell/Inv. Ratio 4.67% Days to Sell 126 Average Price $330,868 Median Price $337,000

Ratio of Sales vs Inventory 5.20%

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

REBGV Numbers out (and more)

Slightly increased sales. Much higher inventory.

Here it is.

"Those sales also rank as the third lowest total for September over the last 10 years."

"Consistent increases in property listings and fewer home sales over the summer months has helped move the Greater Vancouver housing market into the upper end of a buyers’ market."

"“Our sales-to-active-listing ratio currently sits at 14 per cent, which is the lowest it’s been this year. Generally analysts say that a buyer’s market takes shape when the ratio dips to about 12 to 14%, or lower, for a sustained period of time,” Setticasi said."

Benchmark Attached and Aprtments 4-5% above last year. Detached still 13% over last year.

MOI= 7.2

My take. We peaked in May 2011. We are in a different environment now. More later.

BTW - Jesse has just put up some outstanding graphs on the state on the housing market. Look at the MOI graph in particular. We were heading down in 2010. we are heading UP now.

PS - Here is Fraser Valley

“This is the third month in a row based on the 10‐year average where
we’ve seen lower sales combined with a higher influx of new listings.”

Benchmark up from last year. SFH + 4.5% Attached + 1.8% Apartment + 1.6%

It wont take much to send those numbers down into negative YOY.

The average price for SFH and Attached are already -ve YOY by 0.8% and 1.5%

The Median price for apartments are -ve YOY by 1.1%.

MOI = 8.7...growl..

So depending on what you want to follow- Average, median or benchmark..the stats show the three categories to be up or down marginally year on year. ie Flat.

The next month's stats will establish the trend.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A few things to ponder while we wait for the official numbers and the FVREB stats

Wandering around the internet I found some good reads.

We are now apparently more expensive than London and New York. Except in those cities the high end homes are Brownstone or Granite edifices that have stood solidly for over 100 years. Here we have particle-board Mansions that sell for Millions

Even local realtors are getting tired of the speculative bubble unless they are directly suckling at breast of the speculators.

Leading real estate professionals reacted today to yesterday's news that home prices in Vancouver now exceed New York and London's. One realtor said he believes that buyers from Mainland China have pushed the local buyers out of the market. Each cited homes bought and traded like stocks and bonds and investment properties sitting empty, but some see the Chinese home rush as a bonus to Vancouver, while another sees it as a liability.

"Many people who buy here aren't buying because they're moving here," said Hasman. "They're buying on speculation or to park money here ... There have been cases where people come and purchase five or six houses. No one needs five to six houses unless you're speculating.

And this blog illustrates an excellent example of the above.

How about we all send a link to the first article to our Political representatives. I like the line about 'No one needs five to six houses...etc'

Add your own commentary. Eg the the effect of this unfettered access to our RE market is having on you personally. How unfair it is that we are one of the few places that do not restrict speculators access to housing stock. How it puts pressure of those living here due to unaffordable prices AND empty houses -and will cause a crisis when the bubble finally pops.

It will take you 5 minutes:

Here is the list of MLAs and their e-mail addresses.

Here is the same for MPs.

Lets make this an issue! The real estate industry- developers, Realtors, mortgage industry and speculators are a very powerful lobby. Let's push back a little.


MUCHO kudos to Larry again for being out with the numbers so fast.

That's a 5% drop in the average price from last month and a 10% drop in the SFH average from the high-water mark in May of this year.

Guess I got it right this time. I did say that May was going to be the high point or I was heading out of here and then I said 12 days ago that I thought we would have a significant drop in September.

Hey, I have to blow my own trumpet a little, being a RE bear has not been easy, seeing your well thought out arguments steam-rollered by abrupt changes in policy, lax lending or off-shore money.

I said the September numbers would be crucial. With more inventory coming onto the market rather than leaving, with the trajectory of the stock market being down rather than up and with China wobbling economically, we had very different dynamics from last year.

Average condo prices are down 6% from the high-water mark. After the huge run up of recent years, these numbers do not sound too dramatic, but they are a good start and remember statistics dictates that the same % move down shaves off more $$ than the same % move up added.

Just to give you some perspective, in October 2010 the SFH Average price from Larry's stats was $1,058,000. SO we need to lose another $ 46K to go negative YOY.

Fingers tightly crossed. We CAN do it.

Enjoy the weekend