Municipal tax rates

We here in Greater Victoria have the… unique pleasure of not actually living in one contiguous city, but in one of 13 different municipalities.   This has the great benefit of every region reinventing the wheel and not working together.  One of the main ways that all this hand wringing is funded is through property taxes.  Some municipalities like Saanich and Victoria are fairly open with this data, while others like Oak Bay think it’s improper to discuss these kinds of financial matters with plebes present and don’t post it on their websites.

However I recently stumbled on the DataBC website, and one of the resources it has are all the municipal tax rates in BC.   Given that outside of the mortgage itself and perhaps maintenance, property taxes are one of the biggest expenses of home ownership, it’s worth looking at how the different regions compare.  I’ve extracted out our little corner of the province and here it is.

MunicipalitiesTax Rate ($/$1000 value)Representative House ValueResidential Taxes
Victoria7.1137 $566,834 $4,032
Oak Bay6.2827 $891,962 $5,604
View Royal5.8939 $543,446 $3,203
Saanich6.5635 $592,500 $3,889
Central Saanich6.6015 $543,668 $3,589
North Saanich4.8643 $692,435 $3,368
Sidney6.3977 $474,010 $3,033
Esquimalt7.99559 $471,106 $3,767
Colwood6.8131 $456,627 $3,111
Langford6.1814 $423,188 $2,616
Highlands5.8375 $525,191 $3,066
Metchosin5.4691 $535,629 $2,929
Sooke7.1104 $352,825 $2,509

From a rate perspective, Esquimalt residents will pay the highest tax rate, but due to the high property values in Oak Bay the total bill on a representative house will be highest there.   Keep in mind that most people will also receive at least the basic homeowner grant which takes off $570 from these numbers.   The exemption was recently raised to $1.2 million from $800k.

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248 thoughts on “Municipal tax rates

  1. I’m with Vicinvestor. Buy what you can afford and go long. Then you at least don’t need precision to your timing. Diversification is also key. Borrowing 250k to invest in a single stock is totally insane. I mean inane….

  2. these types of text messages are getting to be demoralizing…..

    “Hi Marko, just letting you know my xxxxxxxx seller is working with another offer. 12 offers received and 4 were unconditional. Thank you for your efforts…..xxxxx”

  3. I don’t think Bears were wrong they just didn’t know what they were looking for to prove it. Between 2008 and early 2015, markets looked nominally flat but inflation and interest rates worked together to decrease real prices by over 20% and improved affordability by over 30% in Victoria. Although you couldn’t see it in nominal prices, a 30% decline over 7 years created all kinds of buying opportunities. It may not be seen as a dramatic media worthy crash, but deals can materialize out of slow burns in prices as well. Those just take longer and people are generally worse at identifying opportunities that accrue a couple % per year.

    I used to be only metrics focused, and every metric based on interpretations of historical and current information has said don’t buy since about 2002. Lucky for me, before Vancouver came to town I stopped rationalizing not buying based on historical metrics and came to appreciate the rules of the then current game and why people in Victoria bought houses and I changed the things I paid attention to: interest rates & affordability. The catalyst for me was 18 months ago when Poloz announced how terrible the economy was doing and not only announced no increases in interest rates but cut the rates 0.25%. Over night, people stopped talking about interest rate increases. The relative interest rate security combined with the decrease in real prices was all I needed. I bought a house I can easily afford 14 months ago.

    I don’t think that residential real estate should be a game but complaining about the rules of the game is no way to win. Either work to change the rules or play by them, or both. Your choice, but there is no third way of winning, where the rules change just for you because your numbers say they should.

    Now people from Van have decided moving here is a good idea, for whatever reason. Paying 200k + over ask for a house may look nuts to you and I but it is perfectly rational if you won the house lottery in Vancouver, made $1,000,000 on a now $2,000,000 house and can get the same house in Victoria with the $1,000,000 in equity you got for free and can pay off your mortgage at 40 and work part time to afford everything else in life. The extra money on a bid is much less meaningful to you because unless you are Christy Clark, you are aware that you didn’t earn it. All you want to make sure of is that you get the house you want. Hence the overbidding to attempt to guarantee a successful offer. It only takes the expectation of one of these bidders to be in each crowd of buyers to ensure the price ends up higher then a rational person might pay and I am sure listing realtors are “mentioning” to buying realtors that “Vancouver is in the house” on as many listings as they can, whether they are or aren’t.

    So now that the prevailing view is that some Chinese made Vancouverites rich and now some Vancouverites are making Victorians rich. The rules have changed again and people are panicking because they were training for a game played under the old interest rate/ affordability rules, but still want to win. I don’t know what my move would be today but unless the government steps in and says folks with RE gains driven by offshore capital can’t buy in Victoria, I would think that demand will keep going for a while. These things don’t start over night and they don’t end that way either. Combine the increasing mobility of today’s upwardly mobile workforce with the potential impact on demand once the awesome houses bought in the last 3 months start showing up on the Van to Vic buyers shack owning Vancouverite friends Facebook and Instagram pages, I would only expect this kind of Van/Vic demand to increase in prime spots in the city.

    I don’t mean to add fuel to the fire, but it’s probably only just getting started anyways – a house comparable to a $1,200,000 house in Oak Bay is $3-4,000,000 in Vancouver/ Dunbar (a comparable area in my opinion). So it might be a good idea to buy now, but only time will tell.

    Going forward, unless the government sorts out the flow of untaxed capital into Canadian residential real estate markets, metrics based on historical measures will continue to be meaningless. Price/income measures because foreign capital doesn’t buy with income and price/rent because foreign capital isn’t in it for shelter – they are in it for security of capital and speculation purposes and they bid against other investors, not renters. If Vancouver profits from this and wants Victoria, I would expect demand to continue.

  4. Should not the estate pay capital gains tax on the sale of the deceased parent’s property?

    A somewhat broad based estate tax (say x% of everything in the estate above a certain threshold) would probably be better than killing off the primary residence exemption at death, unless of course the plan was to totally kill the primary exemption for everyone

  5. “Our kids stand to inherit a bitchload of money from us some day.”

    That “transfer of wealth” idea is often promoted by banks & gov’t but often it’s not true.

    It depends on if you have 1 kid or several, if your kids have spouses and if they get divorced, and agreements between your kids.

    Simplest idea is if you leave your house to 1 kid and they have a local job, live in the house permanently, never get divorced, great, they don’t have a mortgage.

    But if you leave your house to several kids, it gets complicated. Each kid’s “wealth” is only relative to the proportion of the estate they get and the value of houses on the market, eg., if homes average $1.5M and each kid gets $750k, they still have to deal with a $750k mortgage, whereas you might have only had a $200k mortgage.

    I have seen this with my European relatives – exploding real estate values in some areas, but hard to transfer that wealth into more than the land, and then the most they use it for is for weekend cottage use. (There’s also inevitable family disputes)

    Any company that promotes the idea that it’s “good” for real estate values to go beyond the reach of an average working person is selling snake oil.

  6. JustJack: If you are predicting a market crash, you must state some sort of endpoint: time + severity. For example, you & Hawk probably predicted a Vancouver housing crash in 2008. Look where we are now. You were wrong. I was wrong. Basically, you are giving into your cognitive biases. You say crash, then the market goes up so you justify your wrong prediction by saying it was ‘external factors’, QE, HAM, etc. Well I guess you should have considered all those factors & predicted a housing boom!

    All I am saying is that stock gurus & market forecasters are either delusional or lying. Be honest, invest for the long term, and don’t be overly negative (or positive).

  7. VicInvestor1983 what kind of timing are you looking for?

    Do you want someone to say on Thursday at 3:00 buy or are you wanting to know when the indicators are showing when it is in your favor to purchase?

  8. Psycho-vert, you just have a hard time understanding the difference between an opinion and a prediction.

    I know of no bull prediction that said prices will be XX by XX date that have come true.

    You just cast stones at others because you lack the courage to make a personal stand. I’d call you a body part, but they all have purposes.

  9. @JustJack & Hawk: you both make zero sense. You say you know how to time the market, but your predictions have been wrong over and over and over and over and over again.

    Here is the truth: NO ONE can time the market. Not you, not me, and not Warren Buffet. Buy what you can afford and plan to hold for the long term.

    As for your newsletter Hawk, I will quote Malcolm Forbes: “The only way to make money with a newsletter is by selling one.”

    And, Hawk, regarding your friend’s misfortunes of pouring all his $$ into an oil company, that’s just simple poor financial planning. He wasn’t diversified and that’s all. If you are so smart, Hawk, why don’t you tell us your predictions for the TSX & oil by end 2016.

  10. That brings up an interesting point.

    Should not the estate pay capital gains tax on the sale of the deceased parent’s property?
    Many other countries have inheritance tax. Now that the Trudeau generation is in power and the Baby Boomers are being ousted maybe the transfer of wealth should be taxed. The idea that you didn’t pay capital gains tax on your principle dwelling was so that you could buy another home. Obviously if you’re dead that ain’t going to be happening.

    Paying capital gains tax on the sale of the home would transfer a lot of money to the state. After all was it not the state that created the wealth in the first place? Recycling the wealth.

  11. Let’s face it, the Bulls have been equally as wrong as the Bears in predicting the magnitude of what is happening in the market today.

    Now you’re drawing false equivalencies. “We’ve all been so wrong!”

    No. The people who’ve been saying over the weeks, months, and years that prices will have to drop because of x, y, or z have thus far been shown to be completely wrong.

    The people who’ve been saying “Maybe prices won’t go up that much” have sort of been wrong, but at least their guesses were heading in the correct fucking direction.

    You’re something else, Just Jack! You really are.

  12. Groupthink is such a dangerous thing when bubbles are reaching their max. Buddy of mine borrowed a quarter million against his house to buy a hot oil stock when oil was hitting $140. He lost it all and has spent the last 7 years paying it all back to his dad who saved him from going under.

    I asked him why he did it, he was super smart and market savvy.What influenced his thinking to take such a bonehead chance ? Because oil was going to $200 and the super smart posters on the stock chat boards produced numbers in depth to prove it. He was going to be rich 10 times over. There was no doubt. This was a $20 stock not some penny stock and backed by the Bank of Scotland who also went under. It was a no brainer they said…..until it wasn’t.

    He rode it all the way down til well under $2. It went to zero.

    He hated the markets, his life , and I was seriously concerned for his well being. All because of groupthink. I see the same on this board. Tread carefully.

  13. Real estate is complex and dynamic, it can’t be boiled down to what someone said six, five or a year ago didn’t occur. Because things change.

    How fitting that a person who’s been wrong about nearly everything for a period of YEARS argues that we can’t look at what someone said in the past.

    Not sure how owning and having a basement dweller can be sadder than living in an apartment. Or how either of them are sad at all.

    It makes me so sad when I deposit the rent cheque in my bank account each and every month.

  14. I don’t think it’s relevant to give a date and time when a crash may occur. Too many events can happen that can change that answer. But once it is written then some odd duck will pull it out of an archive and out of context to discredit the commentator.

    Let’s face it, the Bulls have been equally as wrong as the Bears in predicting the magnitude of what is happening in the market today.

  15. I’d rather that housing appreciated based on local forces tied to local currency as I don’t see that this will play out well for our kids. I’d rather not be a house-made millionaire at the next generation’s expense.

    It’s different for me. I would rather be a house-made millionaire; it’s one of the paths to millionairedom that involves the least amount of work.

    As for the next generation, it will be fine! Our kids stand to inherit a bitchload of money from us some day. And many of us will also be in a position to help them out financially before we croak.

  16. Foreclosures are always occurring. You only notice more when the market softens as most home owners can’t sell or refinance the property before the bank gets conduct of sale.

    And if the market became a burst bubble, then most of the properties that would be selling would be foreclosures which would drive market values lower and lower.

    What’s different this time is that prices are so high that to de-leverage any investment takes a huge amount of capital. That’s why I think most home sellers will simply walk away from the property. There is no way that they can dig themselves out from the debt.

    The key is to develop a strategy if you’re likely to be in foreclosure in the future. That is tough information to get because it is pretty dicey for a professional to guide a person into the best way to go bankrupt. But there are ways to strategically go bankrupt and still keep your wealth.

  17. Living in Golden Head. I think the Chinese buy here because the Chinese buy here. Plus it’s the most like a super nice Van neighbourhood of all our hoods.

  18. Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:30am:

    Apr Apr
    2016 2015
    Net Unconditional Sales: 367 840
    New Listings: 502 1,413
    Active Listings: 2,600 3,945

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

  19. @ Hawk:
    “I’m sure a few bus loads of HVM bought back at market peaks in 81 and 94 but no one tracked it. It’s still irrelevant today but makes for good paid media pump.

    This is a global event which will end with a global credit crisis. It only took 8% of distressed US owners to tank the market 30% plus.”

    Can you enlighten all of us with the following:
    -date & magnitude of the next global market crash
    -date & severity of the next Canadian R/E crash
    -your current investing strategy while you wait for the ‘big’ one

    Thanks,

  20. Bang on Jack. Most don’t get the banks will not be your friends when the shit truly hits the fan. 2008 was a flesh wound and bankers got bailed out by Harper. Good luck with Justin, he’s already going after bank share holders to support the next crash. He knows the inevitable.

    I’m sure a few bus loads of HVM bought back at market peaks in 81 and 94 but no one tracked it. It’s still irrelevant today but makes for good paid media pump.

    This is a global event which will end with a global credit crisis. It only took 8% of distressed US owners to tank the market 30% plus.

  21. @JustJack: true that. We have developed a debt-loving culture. And, no Hawk, I’m not contradicting myself. Unlike you, I have balanced views & can see both sides of the story.

    I have a family member in Vancouver who has become a multi-millionaire using leverage in R/E. He lives a life of poverty & never enjoys himself, but he has bought over 30 properties with insane amounts of leverage. When I talk to him, he laughs at me & my conservative mindset. His investment strategy has paid off handsomely but many, including me, he is irresponsible & severely under diversified.

  22. In our culture, we measure things with the common denominator of a dollar. And with the assumption that the more an item costs the better the item. Why else would someone pay $2,000,000 for a water front home over a similar home in Gordon Head for $750,000.

    The assumption is that waterfront is more expensive because there is greater demand. But that is not entirely accurate. The supply of waterfront or lack of supply has a substantial impact on the price and not that one is substantially “worth” more than the other.

    The current argument is that prices have increased in some areas because of greater demand. That a small group of out of town purchasers have brought the Wisdom of Solomon to our little city and shown us how under valued our city has been for so long.

    Personally, I think that is bullshit.

    The problem is ourselves, we are hoarding real estate on a scale never seen in the history of mankind because the low interest rate allows us to do so at very little cost per hundred thousand dollars. It’s about leveraging ourselves to the extreme. So that no couple under under 40 should owe less than a million.

    Especially if most of the debt is in real estate. In our culture that has now become “good debt” because good debt builds equity. Bad debt is borrowing for a depreciating asset.

    Good debt has moved to the extreme when it comes to investment properties for the public. Where it is acceptable to have a monthly shortfall on an investment property because there is the hope of a big bonus when the property is sold. The general public are not experienced investors they are just simply following the herd. And that applies to all colors, races and places of origin.

    A lot of discussion centers around terms such as a correction and a bubble. If the market corrects the mortgage on your investments is still a good debt because you can sell the property at a profit or break even.

    If the market ends in a bubble, then you can’t sell your property and your mortgage has now become bad debt. Then if interest rates begin to rise you’re just waiting for the Grim Reaper to descend on you a renewal time to tell you to be out of your house in 30 days.

    For some it might be difficult to understand the concept that you can’t sell your property. What actually happens is the bank won’t let you sell your property. They are not going to take a loss until they have bled you dry. No short sales in Canada while you still have a bent nickel to your name.

    Unfortunately this isn’t like the states. At least there you can sell your blood to pay your mortgage.

  23. Great posts Jack and Vicbot. This blog is clearly the best one out there.

    If one always have to have a burr under their ass because they don’t like articles or charts showing credit cycles are coming to a natural end or debt levels are blowing off chart tops that the same blew up the US ages ago, then why bother posting. Go mow your lawn,or play with your kids…..or write the guy who produced the chart and tell him he’s wrong.

    As Jack said, one’s opinion is based on what they see at a particular moment. What I see now is more dangerous than 19% interest rates. 77% mortgage debt proves it. Home equity is a paper game not a guarantee.

    When the market does crash or major correct, I’m sure the bulls will be saying they called that too.

  24. It is not about a viewpoint that supports 300k over asking. It is about a viewpoint that is not all one way or the other. A viewpoint that reflects what has happened and is happening. Right now I have no way of evaluating the impact of foreign ownership and the spin off effect of Vancouverites selling out and moving here on the local market. The anecdotal evidence points to a possible issue and the government rules don’t appear to be reasonable.

    Debt is an issue in Canada. How much of one I’m not sure as it depends on the source of the debt and the purposes to which it is put. You need to have a lot of home equity paid off in order to access a HELOC. If you are using a HELOC to invest I don’t think this is always bad debt or a huge risk. If you are using credit cards and buying consumer goods that depreciate and paying credit card interest to pay it off then there is a problem.

    As it turns out, in Canada indebted households have gotten considerably richer in spite of their greater debt load. Of the $1.3 trillion of debt owed by Canadians in 2012, an even trillion dollars (77 per cent) was mortgage debt. If the housing market crashes it will have to go pretty far to hit the HELOC 65% level where someone owes more than they have in equity. A bigger risk is a rise in rates that impacts repayment ability or having to sell after recently buying during a downturn. If things go as they have in the past most homeowners will be just fine.

    http://business.financialpost.com/investing/outlook-2016/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-canadian-household-debt-should-we-be-worried

    Not sure how owning and having a basement dweller can be sadder than living in an apartment. Or how either of them are sad at all.

  25. Totoro, I think you don’t grasp the point of this blog. From what you have written it seems that you don’t want people to have an opinion unless it is the mainstream or backed by published facts.

    Sometimes there isn’t any evidence of what the root cause of the price increases might be. Remember when this blog was the first to write about CMHC. Before the numbers of how much liability Canadians were backing became known. Or how about off shore investing and the lack of transparency in the Vancouver market. You read it here first. Or even AirBnbs. They were brought up on this blog before cities were addressing the issue.

    What’s great about this blog is that people with different backgrounds are looking at the issue of real estate in different and new ways that have never been done before. In my opinion, when it comes to analytics this blog is better than the Sauder School of Business. Because some of us are not worried about what our peers say and are willing to discuss the issues before they become public knowledge. Something that established economists that work for the real estate industry are very reluctant to do. And it isn’t about whether you are right or wrong because your position or prediction isn’t born by some arbitrary date set by someone else. Real estate is complex and dynamic, it can’t be boiled down to what someone said six, five or a year ago didn’t occur. Because things change.

    For most of last year I was posting on the shortage of supply and how it should be manifesting itself in a rise in prices and that if something was to happen it would show up in the spring market. Well guess what – the shit hit the fan this year.

    Now I’m looking at how sustainable this unprecedented and lopsided increase in prices may be for Victoria. Is the price increase a shift in demand or just a temporary shortage in supply? Will what is happening in Victoria, Oak Bay and Saanich East ripple out, like a wave, to the Western Communities as prices become too expensive in some of the core areas or will demand fizzle out?

    So do you want this blog to be a collection of newspaper articles or do you want it to be one of ideas?

    In a way, I think this is a Canadian thing of being worried to present new ideas. I also work with them damn Yankees and while their myopic view of the world irritates me, they have no fear in presenting fresh ideas. They are not afraid of being wrong. I’ve sent out the same question about market conditions to a Canadian site and an American site. The yank’s site is buzzing with comments and the Canadian site is sending the question on to the head of the standards board to get a ruling – it has been over a week now.

    And when I get a reply it will be well crafted verbiage without a clear answer. Oh! Canada!

    .

  26. I also find Hawk’s posts informative, just like I find most posts on this board. If I wanted to read something overly saccharine and timid, I’d read a VREB press release.

    They are data points – and it’s important to have opinions on both sides of the housing issue. You don’t have to agree with them. Some posters might focus on the positive side, some on the negative, and that’s what makes this site interesting and educational.

    eg., homeowners in Victoria need earthquake insurance, so all the earthquake info was relevant (and interesting!), then Michael’s post of the map made me laugh because that’s the one I used when I purchased property (I also used a Victoria soil type map), and then chuckled again at the irony of Brooke St being in the red area RIGHT after our discussion. It was also funny when Vic&Van mentioned Golden Head being desirable since it’s on a hill, because it’s probably true.

    Also just because real estate is more pricey near the water, doesn’t mean that your average homeowner should take the same risks as a person with $2M of playmoney that’s easy for them to lose. (if or when you have liquefaction or a tsunami, the bottom line is there’s damage, and the damaging waves in Port Alberni were only 2-3 meters)

    It’s also ironic that both the term “HAM” and “HVM” (Hot Vancouver Money) has been used on this board, but there was no concern about HVM. Also if I had talked about bad Italian drivers, there wouldn’t have been a complaint (and the millionaires going to Vancouver aren’t typically coming from Italy). I guess if you travel on a champagne and caviar diet with Butlers and Bond girls, you are better insulated from the realities of the road 🙂

    Have a good day.

  27. Good post Jack. Agreed, looking out of the core when the time comes. Having some space is worth the extra short drive. Was in Oak Bay yesterday and driving down side streets has become a joke with vehicles wall to wall with no room for error. Everyone must have a basement dweller. Such a sad existence.

  28. Totoro, incorrect again. What viewpoint supports $150K to $300k over asking ? You’re ignoring the obvious signs of when a market blows up. But you’ve never experienced one so you wouldn’t know.

    You’re inside the bubble trying to play neutral but putting down government produced charts on debt loads that every economist in the world says it spells trouble in any market. Meanwhile you quote Stats Can as if you work for them while saying there is no debt problem. Eyes wide shut.

    Vicinvestor,
    You’re a lost cause.

  29. Saanich West

    A little bit country and a little bit city (rock n’ roll)

    There is considerable diversity when it comes to housing in Saanich West. One can find the least costly homes in the city around the industrial/Commercial areas of Burnside and Tillicum to some very very nice acreage in the Granville and Elk Lake areas. There is also a choice of water front from Portage Inlet, Craigflower Creek to the Saanich Inlet. The type of acreage can be rocky and heavily treed to cleared rolling pasture land with apple trees and honey bees. Still some of the old standards left here where it is crass to speak about what you earn or what you own. An area where you buy to appreciate the neighborhood and not for the appreciation in your pocket book. If you’re looking for acreage Saanich West is the place you want to be, close enough to the city and also far enough away from the city too.

    And the prices for real estate are going to vary accordingly, In order to write about what is the typical asking price requires clarification on what type of property you may be looking at purchasing.

    For analysis purposes let’s limit the lot size to under 10,000 square feet. Anymore and you get acreage and possible sub-dividable land. That also restricts most of the sales between Uptown and east of Wilkinson Road. And between the Gorge and the Pat Bay Highway.

    In March there were 37 house sales that matched the above parameter. The median price was $560,000 that range from $355,000 for a old ranch style home on a 180 feet deep lot that took 32 days to sell to a high of $944,000 for a 4,500 square foot heritage home overlooking the Gorge that took 117 days to sell.

    The typical or median home was a circa 1955 1,800 finished square feet on a 7,200 square foot lot with a median exposure of 11 days on the market. About 43 percent of the sales last month sold over asking price. 8 percent of the sales sold over 10 percent of asking. No homes sold for more than 20 percent over asking.

    The typical home this March was selling at 117% of its assessed value. Which is an increase from the March before when the typical (using the same assessment year as last month) was selling at 109% of its assessed value. The median price in 2015 was $512,000. 80 percent of the buyers this March indicated Victoria as their home.

    Personally i enjoy Saanich West, especially the Granville hood more so than the inner city hoods including Oak Bay. Because it has “elbow room” where you don’t have to be packed in like a can of sardines. The streets are clean, repaired and in some areas not littered with tenant cars parked along the street. Easy to get around, except for Wilkinson Road. Nice size lots with lots of trees and a feeling of the country.

    https://youtu.be/wlR0KElxxVg

  30. Yes, especially the seasonally appropriate one that looked like a Christmas tree. Of course, you could always head over to Garth’s bog where she is still regularly posting these.

    Only in the last week has she admitted prices are up at all using a single data point I believe, stating:

    That house prices in Victoria are only 6% higher than in 2008, despite all of the strong stimulus that’s been in effect since then, means that locals are tapped out and that household finances and the local economy are too weak to produce higher prices (even with abnormally low rates)… PRICES COULD BEGIN FALLING AGAIN IN VICTORIA AS EARLY AS THE END OF THIS MONTH

  31. I often do point out the imbalance on the other side too. For a while we had the oak bay multiple personality over the top plural poster whose story seemed pretty unbelievable and I pointed that out multiple times. And others.

    Anyone who predicts an imminent huge increase or decrease in the market is guessing imo. However, those who have been pointing to an imminent decline/crash for multiple years have, objectively, been proven wrong. Good to point out risk but you need to look at all the facts before you present a theory as a certainty.

    I am concerned about the huge price increases that may be impacted by global investors even though I benefit from them. I’d rather that housing appreciated based on local forces tied to local currency as I don’t see that this will play out well for our kids. I’d rather not be a house-made millionaire at the next generation’s expense.

    And that is correct. You post only facts that support your viewpoint. Try looking at all the facts to test your viewpoint, including the ones that don’t support your views. Doesn’t it make you question your views when the market doesn’t do what you confidently predict year after year?

  32. @Hawk: you cheery pick the articles that fit your viewpoint. You claim market timing works, even though there is no empirical evidence of such. You trash BC & Victoria even though we are rated as one of the top places in the world to live in. You are an extremist, not a realist. You don’t see shades of grey or color, but black & white.

    Maybe you need some reading material:
    https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00457X8JO/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1
    https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004R1Q2EG/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1
    https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/B00LIV4N94/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1460393934&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=Mistakes+investors+make&dpPl=1&dpID=517i1SguNnL&ref=plSrch

  33. Totoro,
    No its you that is confused and your bizarre interpretations of my clear opinions. You did say it but I’m not obsessed like others to hunt down old posts like a stalker.

    I post factual up to date articles with data that supports my view point and is what the financial markets monitor. It’s only extreme negative in your eyes because you own 3 places and have major risk in the game should a crash happen which is at a higher chance now than ever.

    When markets correct hard they take 10 years or more to recover, history proves that. There are no good deals near the core so I wait it out, no sweat for me.

    BTW, I don’t see you taking to task the extreme bulls ever for their “imbalanced” excessive posting. Funny how that is.

    Glad I avoid Home Depot, looks like Introvert wasn’t happy in the paint department the other day. 😉

  34. @Hawk, I will say that you are needed here. You do provide a balance with your one sided extreme bearness to the one sided extreme bullness on here so never think you are unwelcome even if you like to insult me all the time 😉

  35. Crazy thing is, after the offer in October, prices in our hood have gone crazy. The last bunch of comparable with assessments in the low 500s have sold for 750 to 850 – within 5 days of listing.

    I’m seeing this in Gordon Head too. I’m always very conservative when considering how much my house might sell for at a given time. For the last year I’ve been saying to myself, Oh probably in the low $600s somewhere. But in looking at some of the recent sales of comparable properties in the area, it appears more likely that my home is in the $700’s.

    But house prices are just musings I have when I’m outside watering the plants; I don’t plan to sell for the next 20 years or so. I love where I’m located, so buy and hold.

  36. I said we are thinking of selling one place to buy another – not saving 125k – maybe that was someone else. And we are thinking of doing this. Our friends just sold in three days at over ask – only two open houses needed. A much less painless selling process than previous years. Seems like a good time to sell if you have been considering it.

    And lets talk about this need to label people and places: HAM, bears, bulls, Asian drivers… Do we really need black and white categories to make sense of the world? What happens to grey and what happens to simple observation?

    I personally think there is just the deal of the day when you are ready to buy. Yesterday’s deal has past, tomorrow’s is uncertain. No-one here predicted the current run up in prices. Many people have been waiting for a crash to buy and now wish they hadn’t. It might not be the right time for you to buy and renting is a fine choice. Renting can be a good long-term choice. And, at the end of the day, you don’t live forever so make a decision.

    You are not winning anything by the market rising or falling. It is only you that profits or loses by your choices and it is not a competition. The time you buy is far less important than the time you sell imo. Don’t buy and sell at a loss – hard to recover from.

    I’m a bit confused by your statement. Are you saying you did not post that you were renting and saving lots of money by doing so plus all the money you would spend at Home Depot if you were an owner?

    FWIW I don’t care what you or anyone chooses to do, I just find the constant negative perspective on the market imbalanced – as a constant overly positive perspective would be. You have to be ignoring a lot of data to keep posting the sky is falling when the market starts to rise. It does remind me of the consistently wrong Garth Turner Maybe one day he will be right but it won’t get rid of the years of bad housing predictions. He’s lost all credibility with me.

  37. Marko, everyone with big cash(or big credit) doesn’t translate into brain cells, as you’ve always stated.

    Totoro, your vivid imagination is as bad as dasmo’s. Never said anything of the sort. I do recall you saying once that every time you save $125K you are going to buy a house but you never did and now your turning bear and selling.

    Is this a bull’s blog only Totoro ? A differing opinion isn’t allowed because it doesn’t align with your opinions ? May I won’t buy in Victoria ever, maybe I will. What does it matter to you ? It’s a discussion board , not a cult, though some days it seems that way.

    LeoM , you should write the government and tell them to quit wasting their time and our tax money with tsunami alert systems as it’s all BS, as only half of Fairfield will be wiped out, and not your place. 😉

  38. If anyone cared about earthquake risk old crappy houses in Oak Bay wouldn’t be going for such huge cash. Safest bet would be new rancher building in Langford on rock, but I don’t see people flocking to that.

  39. Hawk; you are exaggerating the negatives again, this time about tsunami risks for Victoria.
    The truth is Victoria is shielded by the Olympic Peninsula from any major tsunami and the maximum wave height will be 4 metres, but probably only two meters from an 8.5 subduction quake, so you could sit in your lawn chair on the cliffs at Dallas Road and watch the tsunami pass by as it swamps Clover Point, but because the subduction quake will lift Vancouver Island up by 2 metres, even Clover Point might stay dry as the tsunami passes by. On the other hand, the three minutes of intense shaking will destroy 50% of Victoria, so the little wave will be the least of our worries. I wouldn’t want to be living in a basement suite in the Fairfield Swamp along May St or Chapman St or Oxford St during the liquefaction event.

  40. I’ve always declared all rental income as I typically have a pre-sale or two coming down the pipe and the only way I’ll qualify for the mortgage is with proof of income 🙂

  41. Why wouldn’t you not declare rental income especially if you have a mortgage? Aside from the ethical issues, the legal issues and the risk of getting caught, there are plenty of write offs to be had against rent. You can depreciate a portion of the property resulting in a tax deferment. You can write off maintenance costs, management fees/costs etc. If you sell for a loss, you can carry forward the losses against capital gains for a certain period. If you have a real loser of a year with a tenant smashing up things, your write offs might extend beyond your rental income and into your non-rental income such as salary.

  42. I’m probably the only person in Victoria who declares his/her rental income, but I sleep great at night.

    You are not the only one – pretty sure you are not in the minority either. Really foolish not to declare rental income given the penalties and interest charged and the fact the CRA would have access to all your banking information. Why on earth would you take the risk? If you have a small amount of equity the chances are you won’t owe much anyway. If you aren’t declaring it take an internet stranger’s advice and report your rental income properly. Save you a whole load of trouble later.

    Earthquakes are definitely a threat. I think the risk doesn’t feel real enough for most people right now despite all the data and calculations. Certainly hasn’t affected prices in Fairfield. California either and they experienced a 7.3 earthquake with fatalities and bridge collapses in 1992.

    Hawk, I think why Dasmo believes you sold and are currently renting is because you’ve stated both these things before and said how happy you are to be a renter saving boatloads of cash every month.

    Maybe you have no intention of ever buying again. If so, why spend so much time discussing how the market is certain to collapse? As no one can predict this accurately, as demonstrated by recent events, it seems you are talking about a hope or an extremely strong belief in your own views which appears out of line with your lack of a crystal ball.

  43. Leo S / admin – yes, I am back a bit off and on to follow the insanity going on in the market. After years of waiting for the right place, we needed to move in the fall.

    Here is how it went. Had a nit – picky landlady for a bunch of years, but we’re paying 1200 for an upper two bedroom apartment a half block from the water in Fairfield. She was reasonable, but would do things like decide to rebuild the entry stairs when we were on vacation, returning to a house with renos and no stairs.

    Then she sold to a new landlord who was hell on earth. As soon as we met him we knew we had to move for our safety. Loud late night parties, removal of privileges, arguments for no reason with my wife, issues with kids… Within 2 months, all three sets of tenants left, including us. One only gave two weeks notice, and the landlord the finger as she drove away in a friends jacked up Langford truck.

    Putting aside my rationale economics bent and knowledge that the market was overpriced to fundamentals, and happy that a family health issue that prevented 2 full incomes was resolved, we set a 3 month time line and price for purchase, narrowed our search area, engaged a realtor. Within a week we had an accepted offer in place for a character house in Fernwood, with a close date of early December. In great shape, well renod inside, a bit of work to do on the outside.

    Inspection showed the best electrical panel the inspector had seen, a possible water issue in the basement (one that when queried the sellor said there never had been a water entry or seep issue, which turned out to be incorrect but minor a week after we moved in) and a few other minor issues and the deal closed. Due to increasing landlord issues we moved up our possession date. The look on our landlords face was precious when the moving truck rolled up 3 weeks earlier than he thought we’d be moving. Hendra moving was absolutely excellent.

    We bought in the high 500s on a house now assessed in the 530s. A bit higher than my liking, but easily carried by our income and a boarder.

    Crazy thing is, after the offer in October, prices in our hood have gone crazy. The last bunch of comparable with assessments in the low 500s have sold for 750 to 850 – within 5 days of listing. For the love of a narcissist aggressive landlord with woman issues, we have now an extra 150 to 250 k buffer on price drops.

    So much for economic rationality, the animal spirits are at the trough and partying hard.

    not sure how much I’ll contribute in the future – too much immature trolling and baiting by bears and bulls for my liking. Good stats, data and arguments about why things are happening the way they are might have me taking part a bit.

    Anyone have recommendations on a window company?

  44. It isn’t because they “like” BC it’s because we have zero money laundering laws enforcement and our government is weak ass with the only country in G7 with no housing policy.

    So why aren’t the Chinese buying up Saskatchewan? Or all the other provinces?

    The fact of the matter is they do like B.C. and more precisely the Lower Mainland.

  45. Earthquake insurance is fine but the reality is you will be in limbo for years before you see any money.

    At first blush, I would agree with you. But I wonder if the federal government wouldn’t bail out homeowners and/or insurance companies somehow in order to get repairs/rebuilds going a bit faster. It’s tough to predict (of course).

  46. What we need is an eBay platform for houses. Template your offer. After the winning bid has been set everyone gets 5 min to raise and we go again.

  47. “Perhaps if you live in the Fairfield liquefaction zones, but I’d be more concerned about a 9-9.5 from the N American fault as far as total damage & injuries it would cause in the region.

    For buyers, avoid ‘orange & red areas’ (high hazard) like Fairfield. Grey areas are best as they’re higher up on bedrock (low hazard).
    http://www.empr.gov.bc.ca/Mining/Geoscience/SurficialGeology/VictoriaEarthquakeMaps/Documents/composite_new.pdf

    I looked at the maps and it seems that Fairfield is a high danger zone. On the other hand, Uplands, Ten Mile Point (but not Cadboro Bay Village) and, yes, “Golden Head” look to be the most stable.

    Maybe that’s why the Chinese are buying in “Golden Head”.

  48. So another anecdote for the bears. We got 12 rental applications last weekend for our unit. I couldn’t believe the quality of tenants too. Way better than a year ago. And this is the slow time in the rental market.

  49. This seems backwards. Can’t you outsource the offer prep to an assistant or does that have to be done by a realtor?

    I guess I could outsource conditional offer prep but the unconditional stuff it really has to be me putting it together….can’t afford a mistake on one of those.

    Interesting in a market that is twice as busy. I guess the money is in listings.

    Listings it is but I haven’t been able to really switch over to listings quickly enough. I am at 29 sold listing YTD and 8 represented buyers (but have consumed 80% of my time). Better ratio would be 35 to 2, for example. Issue is I can easily deny people emailing me wanting to help them buy property, but when I sell listings and those sellers want me to help them buy a subsequent house what do I say….”thanks for the commission on the sale but now you are on your own?” So I’ve ended up with a ton of buyers as a result of everything selling. In previous years half the listings didn’t sell and once a person sold buying was a piece of cake so it was a total non-issue.

    I have a new realtor at Fair Realty helping me with showings but people still always want my opinion if they like something, not sure of what value, if any, my opinion is when the market is completely irrational but just the way it is.

    I love it when people email me, “what do you think about this home in priced at 699k,” well if I had any clue as to what it will actually sell for in the range of 699k to 850k maybe I could give you an opinion 🙂

  50. Justin might have finally grown a pair and will take on the foreign and local tax scammers.

    Now that could get interesting. Government intervention is always the big wildcard.

  51. Well, it sounds like you sold your house at what you thought was the top with hopes you would buy back in at a lower price. You didn’t deny it so I assumed that was it. Why else would you be pumping a crash?

  52. Shorting what ? As I said dasmo, your brainless assumptions are getting lame. Are you the guy who swims in the outfall at Dallas Rd rain or shine ?

  53. Was thinking that myself of you Mike. The fact you need partners to be able to buy old rooming houses with “transitory” tenants in bad parts of town tells me you’re very new at the game, and haven’t built up your own credit rating yet. Beginners luck can be fleeting.

  54. Trying to time the housing market in your mid to late 50’s? Crazy…. Should have simply held. Especially with your primary residence. Shorting is always more dangerous since the downside is infinite….

  55. When I was a young lad getting ready for school one morning here in 64 the house shook so f’ing hard…

    I’d be surprised if you’re older than 20-something, but I do enjoy how your antics are reaching new levels each month 🙂

  56. If it’s not an earthquake it’s wildfires, drought, floods, hurricanes etc etc. There is nowhere to hide!!!! Be prepared and enjoy this fantastic weather!!!

  57. Justin might have finally grown a pair and will take on the foreign and local tax scammers.

    “Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier is slated to make an announcement Monday in Ottawa on new initiatives to combat tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of last week’s Panama Papers data leak on offshore banking activity.”

    Agreed LeoS, the insurance companies may go under before they ever pay out. The damage would be beyond belief with so many ancient buildings not earthquake proofed.

  58. Leo, is earthquake risk the primary driver of this impulse?

    Not primary but it’s a factor. I’m not overly concerned but I’m also not hinging my future on real estate investments. Earthquake insurance is fine but the reality is you will be in limbo for years before you see any money.

  59. Introvert,

    Chinese investors are fleeing their country like rats on a ship. Their economy is tanking and currency devaluing lIke a runaway train and don’t like the new anti-corruption laws China has brought in.

    It isn’t because they “like” BC it’s because we have zero money laundering laws enforcement and our government is weak ass with the only country in G7 with no housing policy.

  60. Mike ,

    Your ignorance of earthquakes surmounts your comical arrow chart drawing. When I was a young lad getting ready for school one morning here in 64 the house shook so f’ing hard I swore it was coming off the foundation. It lasted a good 20 seconds and has stuck with me ever since. It wasnt a swayer or mild rattler like many since, it was an intense shaker down to your core.

    To downplay the reality of what could hit here again but ten times stronger is your most ignorant post of all. You’ve obviously never experienced one, just like a true real estste crash.

    Laugh it off all you want Vicinvestor, you obviously are clueless and have no earthquake emergency bag or water ready to go.

    BTW, when the tsunami comes past Fairfield Rd it will flow downhill into the gully where Brook St is and fill up like a swimming pool.

  61. Worst case is a 7-7.5 shallow earthquake nearly right beneath us

    Perhaps if you live in the Fairfield liquefaction zones, but I’d be more concerned about a 9-9.5 from the N American fault as far as total damage & injuries it would cause in the region.

    For buyers, avoid ‘orange & red areas’ (high hazard) like Fairfield. Grey areas are best as they’re higher up on bedrock (low hazard).
    http://www.empr.gov.bc.ca/Mining/Geoscience/SurficialGeology/VictoriaEarthquakeMaps/Documents/composite_new.pdf

  62. Earthquake danger is not for Victoria alone, all on the west coast, from AK for CA, are in danger. Buy house at high elev., buy house on rock, and buy house earthquake insurance, and built an earthquake-protected shed stocked with generator and food/water/first-aid supplies, thus how we handle the risk.

    Chinese investors buying up Vancouver don’t seem to mind the earthquake risk. That may tell you something. Or not.

    Also, house prices are higher than average all along the populated regions of the west coast of North America, so earthquake risk seems not to be much of a factor in valuation.

    freedom_2008 is right, the earthquake kit is a must-have. It’s a bitch to organize, buy and set up, but it’s just smart insurance. Water might be the most important consideration after a big earthquake: it’s likely that water lines leading to homes and neighbourhoods will rupture and those who are caught unprepared will be trying to boil water they collected from a culvert.

  63. Also if you do have a “curious” neighbour, he/she might even tell CRA to make sure that you pay tax on the rental income, even when no rule is broken.

    I’m probably the only person in Victoria who declares his/her rental income, but I sleep great at night.

  64. Earthquake danger is not for Victoria alone, all on the west coast, from AK for CA, are in danger. Buy house at high elev., buy house on rock, and buy house earthquake insurance, and built an earthquake-protected shed stocked with generator and food/water/first-aid supplies, thus how we handle the risk.

  65. Is there a similar threshold in Victoria?

    Why not give the city a call to find out (if you worry about possible complains from the neighbours)?

    Not only we have 13 governments managing different areas of GV, there are also different rules in each neighbourhood (like in Broadmead) and each Strata council. If one wants to run trouble free short term rental, best to check with the government body of your location/area.

    Also if you do have a “curious” neighbour, he/she might even tell CRA to make sure that you pay tax on the rental income, even when no rule is broken.

  66. Michael – the Cascadia megathrust earthquake is not the worst case earthquake for Victoria in terms of damage. Worst case is a 7-7.5 shallow earthquake nearly right beneath us

  67. Hawk on prediction. “My predictions were correct except for unforeseen factors.” Kind of like that stock I bought was a winner except the company declared bankruptcy. Are Hawk and info the same person?

  68. Our long term plan is likely to cash out and get out of Victoria.

    Leo, is earthquake risk the primary driver of this impulse? Where are you thinking you might move?

  69. Apologies, I didn’t know they named the fault ‘Devil’s Mountain’… speaking of which is a real ‘yawner’ as far as the size of quake it can produce.

    “This fault is about 125 km long from Washington to Victoria, which would be an earthquake, potentially, in the magnitude of 6.5, 7 perhaps even 7.5 if the entire fault zone ruptured at once,” said John Cassidy, head of Earthquake Seismology at Natural Resources Canada.
    Unlike the so-called ‘Big One,’ which will originate from the fault zone where the North American and Juan de Fuca plates meet, the Devil’s Mountain Faults lie entirely on the North American plate, which usually generates smaller, shallower, crustal earthquakes.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/earthquake-possible-along-new-fault-zone-near-victoria-say-scientists-1.3481547

    As far as the ‘Big One’ there’s only 12% chance in next 50 years, and I would only worry if you’re on the west side of our island or maybe The Empress?

    But experts say there is a 12% probability a Cascadia megathrust earthquake will hit in the next 50 years.

  70. My parents were here during the 1964 Alaska earthquake, when they received warning notices saying they had to evacuate their home in Victoria and go to higher around due to the tsunami. They didn’t take it seriously until they saw how it devastated Port Alberni, and killed people from Alaska to California. I felt a lot of tremors growing up, to the point where I can closely guess the size of each one.

    That’s why my parents always warned me to buy “on higher ground,” and to this day, tell me, “remember to pick us up when the next one happens.” A lot of people never feel comfortable living close to the water.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/This+Week+History+Huge+earthquake+tsunami+that+devastated+Port+Alberni+with+video/9675358/story.html

  71. The earthquake risk is definitely a factor for buying here. Our long term plan is likely to cash out and get out of Victoria. When the big one hits it’s going to be a heck of a lot worse than Christchurch. No one is going to be paying attention to Victoria when the entire west coast is devastated. Just another reason not to sink all your investments into real estate that is at a good chance of being destroyed.

    This isn’t exactly a remote probability. Estimates range from 10-50% chance of a huge one in the next 50 years.

  72. Expect a crack down on non owner occupied operations that are not zoned for transient occupation.

    This is what I expect to be imminent as well. Everyone is free to rent out rooms in their own place, but once you start running what is essentially a distributed hotel that needs some regulation.

  73. I literally had to reject everyone for showing properties today as Sundays seem to be the same thing every weekend. Write up a bunch of offers, make sure they are delivered by 5 pm

    This seems backwards. Can’t you outsource the offer prep to an assistant or does that have to be done by a realtor?

    making less per hour than I was in 2013/2014

    Interesting in a market that is twice as busy. I guess the money is in listings.

  74. My favorite was when he combined Tsunamis, Earthquakes, and I believe Devils…if I’m not mistaken. The bears simply jump from one FUD to another to try and scare people out of their homes… rates, recession, earthquakes, elections…
    Until recently they were completely confident we were headed into recession this year and that ousting Harper for Justin in October would crash the market.

  75. Any spring prediction was based on US raising interest rates several times…

    Chances are we’re eventually heading into a period where nominal rates & prices rise together for a few years – unless of course it’s different this time.

    Note how our prices went ballistic after the Fed raised in December. I stated how I cashed in a bunch of US bonds in Jan and converted back to CAD to buy more Canadian assets. Think of the billions of dollars doing the same and you’ll begin to understand what’s in part igniting our real estate.

  76. Prices are nowhere close to North Van.

    1.6 mil gets you a 1960s box with a decent lot.

    This house was prime Fairfield with a beautiful new build.

    Build cost prob $900k, lot was $750. Not much profit honestly.

    Have you seen the cost to build new or reno these days?

  77. “@Halibut: I think we should just ignore Hawk’s posts. Some of the stuff that is posted is comical. Earthquakes? Seriously?”

    Ignorance is rampant here. Guess you bought in Fairfield, first place to go when the tsunami hits along with James Bay. Ever heard of a tsunami ?

    If I’m going to blow $1.7 million on an average box in an over rated hood I would check the odds of earthquake and tsunami. It’s called using your brain.

  78. @ dasmo and freedom_2008

    Thanks for your thoughts re: Airbnb

    Here’s another question. Our investment property is under R1-B zoning. What is the minimum rental period that would enable us to comply with the zoning bylaws?

    As an example, in Vancouver you can rent out your furnished property for one month periods without breaking any bylaws. Any shorter than that, and it becomes an ‘illegal’ short term rental.

    Is there a similar threshold in Victoria?

  79. BnB is a legal thing in most zones but requires owner to live there. Expect a crack down on non owner occupied operations that are not zoned for transient occupation.

  80. @Halibut: I think we should just ignore Hawk’s posts. Some of the stuff that is posted is comical. Earthquakes? Seriously?

    And since when did Fairfield area become an “average hood”. What a joke.

  81. Man, some posters here are verging on hysteria.

    The argument for renters is: Who do you rent from? An owner of course. So do you want the market to crash so hard your landlord is underwater and or the economy is so bad that the owner of your building has to liquidate or your 9-5 is eliminated?

    The wish for the world to burn is the mind state of someone who made a lot of bad choices or is uneducated in the ways of the world (aka can’t predict any market period, no one can).

  82. “Very average hood. Guess they missed the news on the Devil’s Mountain Fault line, only a stone’s throw away.”

    Are you serious?

    First of all, we all know the likelihood of an earthquake in Victoria. Why in the world would someone who’s buying a house in Victoria think, “well, there’s that fault line out there, better not buy on Brooke Street”

    Second, to each his own I suppose, but what is wrong with that location?

  83. “That is a lot of money for 1418 Brooke Street.”

    Very average hood. Guess they missed the news on the Devil’s Mountain Fault line, only a stone’s throw away.

    Devil’s Mountain Fault: the frightening implications for Victoria

    “The occurrence of this active fault poses the real possibility of an earthquake, similar to the devastating 2011 Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake, occurring near the city of Victoria.”

    http://focusonline.ca/node/1062

  84. “Wrote an offer 10k above asking on a house without any offers, seller replied and said they want 100k above ask, not 10k.”

    What an arrogant prick. Everyone now thinks they automatically win the $100K lottery. Such a sick mentality created in a short window of time.

  85. That is a lot of money for 1418 Brooke Street. I can see why tearing down and rebuilding becomes financially viable in certain neighbourhoods when you get more back than the process could possibly cost. In the past when I’ve looked at this option the ROI was negative. It was better to buy and remodel.

  86. I own a place here that I am considering putting on to Airbnb. Should I go for it? Or should I rent it out long term and wait for the regulatory picture to become more clear?

    If you want to try it and if there is no clear regulation now, why wait? Short term rental is totally under your control: who and when to rent, and how much to charge. You can also stop it at anytime, either when you are tired of the daily operation or when the new rule stops you.

    There was news recently about Airbnb cracking down in Tofino, but the definition of legal or illegal there is just if the owner paid the $375 licence fee or not, big deal. And who knows what each of our 13 governments will do here in Great Victoria?

    I don’t see how can a renter uses the rental as an Airbnb legally, besides BC total max 14 days per year guest stay rule, don’t they need landlord permission even doing a sublet?

    One of our neighbours has been doing some renos recently. When was asked, he said they plan to open an Airbnb in their suite. But they also added a separate BC Hydro meter for the suite, you probably only need to do that for a legal suite. So their plan is probably do Airbnb in the summer months and student rental for the other 8, a very good and practical plan.

  87. Ash,

    So your prediction is to infinity and beyond like every other bull on here who draws charts with arrows to the sky ? I foolishly believed the Fed saying they were raising rates ad nausuem after cancelling QE. Many others did too, it may delay the inevitable, but doesn’t mean it won’t happen. As I posted last night, the easy credit market is in it’s last inning or two, just a matter of when.

    Vicinvestor, because I had success several times, it doesn’t mean squat because I don’t own now ? Did you buy oil stocks at $140 oil ?

  88. @Ash: exactly. What Hawk doesn’t realize is the macro & microeconomic complexities that make future predictions very difficult, esp for the retail investor.

    @ Mark Juras: yeah that sounds pretty expensive. Prices are approaching listings in North Vancpuver.

  89. You’re right hawk. Your prediction failed because of external factors outside of your control (US interest rates). Have you learned anything at all from this?

  90. This weekend has been probably the most ridiculous weekend YTD. Wrote an offer on a house that had 15 offers, my clients lost out as the house went 200k+ over ask. Wrote an offer on a house that had 11 offers, my clients lost out. Wrote an offer 10k above asking on a house without any offers, seller replied and said they want 100k above ask, not 10k. Wrote on two condos, both ended up in bidding wars, one client lost out but other client got his.

    3 more offers to write today, two will be unconditional. Will be really lucky if one gets accepted.

    I literally had to reject everyone for showing properties today as Sundays seem to be the same thing every weekend. Write up a bunch of offers, make sure they are delivered by 5 pm, wait for phone calls 6-8 pm to hear the my clients didn’t get it 🙂

    Definitively the least enjoyable time in my 6 year real state career and making less per hour than I was in 2013/2014 (I wasn’t wasting the vast majority with unsuccessful offers – sometimes my clients are doing pre-inspections, etc., so a lot of time can go into an unsuccessful offer).

  91. Here’s a question for Leo, Marko or anyone else on here that is familiar with short term rentals.

    I read a few days ago that the City is going to release a report into possible regulations for Airbnb/VRBO. What do you think their options would be?

    If they decide to strictly interpret zoning laws then I guess the entire Airbnb industry here gets shut down. Or do they follow San Francisco’s lead and limit Airbnb to owner-occupied units.

    Background: I own a place here that I am considering putting on to Airbnb. Should I go for it? Or should I rent it out long term and wait for the regulatory picture to become more clear?

  92. There is no code of ethics in the real estste industry. They are like a bunch of sleazy Howe St brokers flogging their penny stocks. No respect for the clients , just lining their pockets.

    But the consumer is willing to line the pockets????? I just can’t wrap my head around these arguments that realtors make too much, etc.

    Only in the last 5 days I’ve had 4 mere postings sell (three at asking or above asking, one sold for $140,000 more than what the seller was asking for you usedvictoria). All four saved at minimum 10k, two saved close to 20k in commission.

    When I ask people how they found me?

    “Ohhh, I googled mere posting Victoria.” Hmmmm, doesn’t seem like rocket science to me.

    It’s kind of like paying someone $5,000 to build a wordpress website when you can buy a nice $49 template, do a bit of work, and have an excellent website for 1/100 of the cost.

    People call and pay realtors massive amounts of money on their own accord when there are a ton of options available in the OPEN MARKETPLACE.

  93. Ash , I won’t dial back anything thanks. Any spring prediction was based on US raising interest rates several times by now after backing out for 2 years of promises. They raise once and the global stock markets crash.

    Did you predict buyers would lose their minds paying 100k to 300k over ? No one on here did.

    Dasmo you and others keep saying you know my life situation 10 years ago. You know absolutely nothing.

  94. If this set up continues expect prices to continue higher. All this talk of local income/employment was pointed out in Vancouver years ago and it made absolutely no difference – the numbers are just even more off the charts now.

    I, for one, hope my house skyrockets in value à la Vancouver. Early retirement!

    Much more helpful than any of the snarky comments coming from Introvert.

    I consider my snarky comments to be helpful.

  95. Market timing by selling your house in the hopes you can buy back in later for lower? Oops. Just like shorting a stock you may need to consider covering.

  96. @Hawk: As i’ve repeatedly said, I generally agree that Canadian households are overextended & R/E prices have decoupled from fundamentals. However, you claim that you have successfully market-timed several times in your life. While anything is possible (by mere chance & coincidence), successful long-term consistent market timing is nearly impossible. This is backed up by numerous empirical studies.

    Regarding your statement of “First you say academics say it can’t be done, now you say everyone can time it”. I never said “everyone can time it”. I maintain that no one can time the market. You are not a market timer if you call for a crash for 10 years & then there is a crash on the 10th year. A true timer should be able to call the crash a few months or at most a year prior to the event.

    I believe in the following:
    -a well diversified financial plan including R/E, stocks, fixed income in a low fee structure
    -buying what you can afford
    -no market timing
    -long term investing

    Cheers,

  97. Hawk, he didn’t say anyone can time. But I think you know that.

    You bring a lot of good info to the discussion, lots that we otherwise wouldn’t hear. But your credibility wanes when you assert your forecasts to be a sure thing, like…”the end is in sight within the next year”. Last year you were saying Spring 2016.

    I think a good rule of thumb for the blog should be, once you’ve been completely wrong for say 12 months, is time to dial it back a bit.

  98. Vicinvestor, I am timing it as we speak, what’s your problem ? First you say academics say it can’t be done, now you say everyone can time it. Speaking out of both sides of your mouth.

    Could you have predicted a trillion dollars of illegal foreign money flooding out of China as their country collapses the past few years ? Some things are unpredictable, but the end result always has a strong feel to it, which is why the end is in sight within the next year.

    Just look at the chart, 40 years of easy credit lending in the last 10 years. So much for conservative Canadian banks,it’s a bad joke. Game over.

    Canada’s Credit Cycle Has Never Been This Desynchronized From the United States

    A rapid private debt binge is nearly over, Macquarie says.

    “Canada has entered the very late innings of its super-charged private sector credit cycle, one that has completely decoupled from that of its largest trading partner, according to Macquarie Analyst David Doyle.

    “Canada’s private sector nonfinancial debt to GDP ratio (includes household debt and non-financial business debt) has skyrocketed since 2005, rising by over 60 percentage points,” he wrote. “This is a greater magnitude of increase than occurred for the forty years prior (1965 to 2005).”

    “While credit growth is poised to serve as a continued tailwind to activity south of the border, the analyst expects that Canada’s credit frenzy will soon be over.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-19/canada-s-credit-cycle-has-never-been-this-desynchronized-from-the-united-states

  99. @Hawk: if you’re such a successful market timer, why haven’t you timed the BC R/E market properly? Anyone who calls for a crash will eventually get it right as there is usually a bear market every 7-10 years.

  100. “You’re trusting a REALTOR® with your most valuable possession: your property. REALTORS® take this responsibility very seriously. Here’s what a REALTOR® promises:
    Your REALTOR® is highly trained
    Your REALTOR® is continuously trained
    Your REALTOR® does everything by the book
    Your REALTOR® is an ethical businessperson”

    I think the issue is no matter how well intentioned, you just can’t expect to keep out the bad apples in an industry where money can be made and the barrier to entry is so low.
    Heck I’m thinking of getting my license as well, just think of all that beautiful data just waiting to be properly analyzed.

  101. Vicinvestor , jealousy won’t get you anywhere. Sell your condo ASAP before the whip comes down. Tip from a successful market timer, several times. 😉

  102. There is no code of ethics in the real estste industry. They are like a bunch of sleazy Howe St brokers flogging their penny stocks. No respect for the clients , just lining their pockets. Sales is all that matters , this isn’t an isolated case. More will come out.

    As per the BC government, when Clark hires Rennie and his clowns to guide the government while lining up dinners with Christy at $20K a pop you know this province is going to blow up big when the inevitable ends.

    The liberals have no ethics either, just look at how many conflict of interest investigations are in the process. Beautiful BC has some major dirt running the show.

  103. I like this from the article “, we agents have to keep travelling around and wasting time. We would keep burning the gas and no one will reimburse you for that. Our company will not reimburse you.” ya… You wouldn’t want to work for that 50k would you….

  104. Vicbot: Instead of waiting for authorities to do something, as Ross Kay puts it in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvFtTOrNb5E, all it would take for the prices to collapse is for the first-time buyers to stop buying for six months. Hope blogs like this and other social media would raise awareness and people come to reason. I guess, if that’s true, six months is a shorter wait period than any other measure would take to work.

  105. @Marko, yes agree with your examples of middle class screwing the middle class (and as business owners, my family has seen it all), and you’re offering fair deals, saving people money, and offering people a great, honest service.

    But my concern is the widespread corruption screwing the middle class on a different scale, which isn’t the fault of the consumer or ethical businesspeople – it’s the fault of authorities not taxing foreign capital or regulating unethical real estate companies, banks giving out multiple mortgages, and developers over-building tiny condos that are often left empty.

    eg., Globe & Mail articles on New Coast Realty (Vancouver), and the couple who bought 2 homes in Vancouver with cash and then got a mortgage with RBC that was used to buy a 3rd home in the US. Who’s going to pay that money back? There’s also the illegal real estate wholesalers and assignment clauses, and millions of $ pouring into Vision Vancouver’s election campaigns so developers can buy SFH home lots and replace them with highrise condos the size of parking spaces, which are then sold directly to foreign investors (sometimes 7 condos at a time).

    It’s good to be aware of what’s going on a global scale, because you can make better decisions about where you want to park your money, where there’s risk, and who your competitors are in this market. It also allows Victoria to make better decisions about development and try to prevent some of the things that have happened in Vancouver.

  106. What we need is a centrally managed real estate market so for renters who should have paid more attention in school can get a house for free. It’s the fair way to go.

  107. A friend of mine suggested that it is much cheaper to buy from builder when the house is still just a hole in the ground and wait for seven months or so for the house to be built than buy a house that has been lived in for few years. The difference can be in the 100k-200k for a 500k total price range. Any thoughts on that? Thanks.

  108. It’s a sad analogy of what’s happening in real estate in BC. Instead of people getting rich from designing a better electric car, or better medical testing, or better communication systems, they’re getting rich by screwing the middle class.

    When it comes purely to the discussion of real estate (not middle class getting screwing over in other facets of life which I don’t disagree with) my personal observations are the middle class screws middle class in real estate. People for the most part buy on emotion; rather than what actually makes sense for them financially and long term.

    Want to sell a house in a neighborhood such as Oak Bay where the majority of properties are selling over asking in days…sure, let’s call Bob realtor that drives a Jag and pay him 40k to carefully orchestrate listing a house on Thursday morning and helping us review offers Sunday night. Makes total sense right?

    Then let’s go buy something else and we’ll use a mortgage broker because they are completely “free.”

    A had a young couple call me a month ago to sell and investment property they had. There did a mere posting, offered $10,000 (instead of 3%+1.5%balance which would have been around 15k) to cooperating agents, listed it on a Thursday, sold it Sunday night $76,000 above asking. Saved approximately 20k in total in commissions. The average middle class person that owns no investment properties doesn’t approach things like that which is why I say middle class screws middle class.

    I could go on with a lot of examples I see every day in terms of people making really bad real estate decisions. Don’t blame the developers, blame the consumer in my opinion.

  109. @Hawk I don’t want anything with the market….. I observe and respond. In fact the booming market hurts my build as the trades will be busier…. I also don’t like hyper inflation in our RE market. It’s not healthy…. This won’t stop me from pointing out that you have blinders on….

  110. I do care that those of us who want a house as our primary residence are compromised by people playing the status game (or even the financial game). A free market is fine for purses, but not for houses.

    What is your definition of a primary residence. A condo in Langford or a 2,500 sq/ft home on a tree lined property in Maplewood with a south facing yard? Throw in an updated kitchen and ensuite.

    As I’ve said before as the population grows not everyone can live in Oak Bay working 36 hours per week with flex Fridays spending quality time with their kids at Willows beach. Either move to Happy Valley, work 70 hours a week, be lucky enough to inherit, get more education, start your own business, or some other combination. Having lived in a 500 sq/ft condo for a year (happily) and then a 785 sq/ft condo for three years (very happily) I don’t think you need a SFH home to be happy (let alone basic functions of life) and I don’t think it should be market controlled so everyone can afford a SFH.

    and for the record I just can’t stand the majority of argument for SFHs such as “my dog.” No one forced you to buy a dog..????

    A $359,900 home in Happy Valley is still miles ahead of the what the average person across the global lives in.

  111. @Chris: than you re: your comments about Hawk. He thinks the market can be timed & he has done it! Forget all the academic studies that say otherwise.

  112. 302-1035 Southgate sells for 287k, asking 239k. Have not seen anything like that in the older condo market to date, especially with 40+ Age restriction and shared laundry.

  113. Just wanted to pipe in to JJ who said the blog only seems to care about OB, Saanich East and Victoria that I’d be interested in the stats for Saanich West as well. Thanks.

  114. Yes great to see the stats.

    Per other posts, I think the reason why BC has been so slow to respond is because our politicians (local and provincial) have been “bought” by real estate developers, and the Expo 86 “invitations to the world” snowballed into so much unrestricted foreign investment that the politicians are too embarrassed to stop it.

    They should start by regulating the real estate industry (great article Hawk from G&M) and putting restrictions on foreign capital like all other countries in the world do including the US.

    But those same politicians are in it for themselves – they want to “leave a legacy” and have security in old age, never mind the millions of middle class who won’t have that security at all.

    It would be good to start a watchdog group that exposes this, like the Globe & Mail has done, but a group of “taxpayers” (?) that generate more pressure through calls, publicity, and election-time exposure to the problems.

    To see how bizarre these excesses have become, check out this Richmond real estate developer:
    http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2016/04/vancouver-millionaires-under-40-group/

    He started a Meetup group with this description: “Do you drive the nicest car in your friends group? Ever wonder why all your friends are broke as a joke?”

    It’s a sad analogy of what’s happening in real estate in BC. Instead of people getting rich from designing a better electric car, or better medical testing, or better communication systems, they’re getting rich by screwing the middle class.

    Real estate buying/selling and development has, in a lot of cases, become out of control and unethical (per G&M article), which causes locals to get stuck paying the majority of our tax bills for social programs (while schools are closing due to lack of students, and medical wait times are gettting inhumane due to lack of funding).

    As Ben Rickert said in The Big Short:
    “If we’re right, people lose homes. People lose jobs. People lose retirement savings, people lose pensions. You know what I hate about f*king banking? It reduces people to numbers. Here’s a number – every 1% unemployment goes up, 40,000 people die, did you know that?”

  115. Thanks for the useful info Jack. Much more helpful than any of the snarky comments coming from Introvert.

  116. How about a snap shot of the core detached housing market for the first week of April.

    125 new listings
    82 sales
    That a new listings to sales ratio of 1.5:1

    1 back on the market
    14 cancelled listings
    1 inactive listing
    4 expired listings

    71 percent of house sales in the core for the first week sold at or above asking price.
    20 percent of house sales sold at or 10% above asking price.
    4 percent of house sales sold at or 20% above asking price.

    89 percent of house sales sold at or over their BC assessed value
    76 percent sold for more than 10 percent of their assessed value
    58 percent sold for more than 20 percent
    35 percent for more than 30 percent
    14 percent for more than 40 percent
    The median sales to assessment ratio is up from 112% this time last year to 124%
    71 percent of buyers indicated they were from Victoria which is down from 74% for the first week in April last year

    Those buyers that indicated Vancouver quadrupled from 2 to 8

    3 purchases over a million dollars indicated Vancouver and 13 indicated Victoria as their origin.

    House sales are up from 35 to 82 in the core for the first week of April.

  117. “We already had a few years of Mclean’s putting burning houses on their cover with huge HOUSE CRASH COMING headlines…. This market is going up before it goes down….”

    Greenspan used the words “irrational exuberance” a couple of years before the dot com blow up. I’d say McCleans was on target. No one here predicted rates were going down to where they were. Based on what we knew then with oil screaming to $100 plus and Canada oozing in prosperity, rates had no where to go but up.

    Now that Canada is bucking the trend and everyone was wrong about a recession, the rates will be going up at some point this year. Forget about negative rates, the bottom is in.

    dasmo wants the market to climb high enough to give him time to build. Better get that hammer out dude, this could blow up at anytime if Justin implements new foreign investment rules.

  118. Interesting to read Hawk’s comments exuding such confidence in his view and of course hearing about the many brilliant investment moves he’s made in the past (exiting Nortel perfectly).I shared this bearish view of real estate (while living in Vancouver) way back between 2006 & 2009. I have a chart from the REBV (2008) that looks as it does today – years of straight up appreciation. I gave up trying to time the market (and on Vancouver) and bought a modest house in Fairfield for $500k in April 2009. I’ve continued to watch the market in both Vancouver and Victoria and now believe if we continue to welcome 300k high net worth immigrants per year with unfettered access to real estate this insanity will continue. I find it interesting how Canadian’s put restrictions in place to protect our industries from foreign competition (dairy, etc.) but feel it’s ok to commoditize our housing.and open it up to anyone in the world who would like to take part. Local can’t compete unless they are in the game and have ended up with a lot of equity to participate. If this set up continues expect prices to continue higher. All this talk of local income/employment was pointed out in Vancouver years ago and it made absolutely no difference – the numbers are just even more off the charts now.

  119. I’m with you on the headline using the word discriminate – completely inappropriate. I’m not with you on your choice of headline. I think a more accurate headline would be “Current Foreign Ownership Rules Affecting Housing Affordability?”. What we really need are some good stats to know this. I feel annoyed when I read that this information is not currently collected.

    Canada has foreign obligations but these do not extend to permitting unrestricted foreign ownership. It is not a matter of discrimination at all, but of reasonable policy implementation. Canada owes a duty to its citizens to act in their best interests – don’t see how the current rules do this.

    Without reasonable policies in place it is my opinion that discriminatory attitudes towards foreign investors from Asia will actually increase as resentment about the impact of foreign ownership grows. I’m not sure why BC is so slow to react to this matter as the more I read about the situation the more I think if I was living in mainland China or Hong Kong I would be making it a priority to buy a house in Canada, the US or Australia. This is a reasonable choice given the social and economic conditions in these countries and the investment policies and relative safety of the systems in these countries.

    I don’t take issue with immigration and subsequent purchase of homes in Canada – except perhaps where the income earner is a non-resident and not paying taxes here – haven’t looked into this enough to really have a firm opinion. We want people with money and business acumen to set up here. I do take issue with non-residents living and paying income taxes abroad while treating homes as a pure investment which is likely impacting prices here in Canada. There needs to be some reasonable restriction on this practice imo.

    And, fwiw, I don’t believe this is a wide scale issue of criminals and money laundering. It appears to me that investing in Canadian real estate is simply a very good choice for many foreign nationals given the availability of financing and the ROI. If such an opportunity existed for Canadians they would be jumping on it too – more as the details became readily available online.

  120. @ totoro- the article you posted uses the word “discriminate” in the headline. I interpreted that to mean discrimination is something bad that we don’t do. To me anyways, this is more support for what I said last week- unrestrained tolerance.

    If the headline read “residential real estate rules for Canada don’t favor Canadians” folks might be better anchored by the headline.

    Maybe it’s just me but I want people from outside Canada to see articles for Victoria, see how great it is and then when they try to buy residential real estate here, find out they can’t, because it’s for the people who work and pay taxes here, not for the uber capitalists of the world from “not Canada” looking for another profitable feather in their cap.

    Come here in your yacht, see the city, spend your money in our shores, hotels and restaurants but unless you pay Canadian taxes on your worldwide income, you are not a welcome participant in our residential real estate market.

    I know I’m not the only one but it seems that many are excited to see Victoria go the way of Vancouver buried in Chinese money and disenfranchised locals.

    I think the concept was suggested last week but didn’t get much traction- what can Victoria do to prevent it from happening?

  121. I’d agree that the internet has had an impact. This blog too – the chitter chatter index of HHV is related to market activity and the information here probably has been influential for a lot of buyers.

    I don’t think housing should be uncoupled from market forces. Seems likely to lead to some unintended consequences impacting retirement security and the economy in general. It might be better to identify what specific factors are contributing to increases like those that have occurred in Vancouver and Toronto, and now perhaps in Victoria. I can’t tell yet if this is catching up for the long flat period here or a trend that will affect the next generation in a manner that we should try to prevent.

    I am concerned about foreign buyers if BC lenders will provide mortgages with 35% down and proof of one year of expenses in the bank. This, imo, creates an unfair advantage to those who are earning in an economy with higher currency/cost of living than Canada.

    I have looked into investing in a few foreign countries and they certainly don’t have those types of lending rules. You generally need a higher down payment and proof of income earned in their country. Most often the only foreigners qualifying for a mortgage are those married to a person from that country. Otherwise you need to have cash, usually withdrawn from a Heloc in Canada and you need to pay additional taxes and fees.

    Can you imagine how many Canadians would own a home in Mexico if financing was so simple and the ownership system as secure as in Canada? And the effect this would have on prices in resort towns in Mexico?

    This article sets out some ways this is managed elsewhere (including PEI which I presume was impacted negatively by US buyers): http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/real-estate-rules-don-t-discriminate-against-foreigners-1.1216517

  122. We already had a few years of Mclean’s putting burning houses on their cover with huge HOUSE CRASH COMING headlines…. This market is going up before it goes down….

  123. “Hawk might end-up being the soothsayer, but not for the reasons he repeats daily, but because the blogs will report the opposite too… ‘today XYZ house sold after 120 days on the market for 20,30, or 40% less than it sold for during the crazy months of 2016’.”

    I’ve said that many times on here LeoM, when the headlines scream prices are dropping, sales have stalled, or declined, etc, we will see a major shift. In the end that may be the final catalyst, but the insanity has to run it’s course first with a buyer pool that runs out of credit, and the hot foreign money needs to start showing signs it’s declining and heading somewhere else.

    The media is much faster these days as well, except in Victoria where paid advertisers run the show.

    For now, the loonies are running the asylum and the blow off top chart shows it.

  124. More shady agents exposed. Is the new future of real estate ? Screw the client and flip it?

    INVESTIGATION

    Tricks of the trade: Inside a B.C. real estate firm that has home sellers crying foul

    “One tip he drops casually is how to persuade clients – by lying to them – that the best offer they will get is the first one.”

    “The Globe obtained an audio recording of Mr. Wu’s training session, held in Burnaby, B.C., on Oct. 14, 2015. It reveals the company owner teaching agents techniques to persuade clients to sell quickly, for less than their home could be worth.”

    “You must print out the lowest prices in the neighbourhood to show to the homeowner,” he says during the session. (The Globe translated the recording, and had it reviewed by a second Mandarin speaker who works in the real-estate industry.) “It is very critical to print out low sale prices in the neighbourhood.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/inside-a-fast-growing-bc-firm-that-has-home-sellers-crying-foul/article29578417/

  125. Rents are still reasonably supportive of prices at these levels. The investment property I bought is a higher end rental and it has a 4.5% gross yield. I’m sure that lower end rentals are seeing much higher yields than that.

    A potential game-changer might might regulation of Airbnb businesses (as seen in Tofino), which would increase the vacancy rate. However, who knows if that will ever happen..

  126. Ignore my previous comment re: sales slowing down. I seem to have misread by PCS. Still tons of sales showing up.

  127. @SweetHome I like your Hermes Birkin bag analogy. I’m reading a study recently completed on real estate investing in the US and contagion leading up to the 2007 collapse. It’s trying to determine the cause of someone entering into speculative real estate investing which is considered a real estate purchase other than principal residence. Some of the findings are that someone who enters into speculative real estate investing was influenced by the proximity of a close neighbour who also had entered into this type of investing. Taking your earlier post into consideration I think your ‘blog theory’ has merit. We have become virtual neighbours – hanging around others who are speculating and this will influence some of our behaviours. Just by reading this blog we are ‘at risk’ (the term used by the researchers) of becoming real estate investors. So this is goodbye-I don’t want to become an investor in RE! Kidding – at least about the goodbye. Time for a virtual garage sale!

  128. I was talking to someone about my house hunt today, and an analogy between local real estate and the Hermes Birkin bag came into my mind. For those who don’t know, the bag is currently in fashion as a symbol of wealth due to its high price (US$11,550 to US$150,000) and use by celebrities. The bags are distributed to Hermès boutiques on unpredictable schedules and in limited quantities, creating artificial scarcity and exclusivity.

    There seems to be this aspect to our real estate market, with people wanting a property not as a necessity, but to add to their acquisitions. The more scarce and expensive it becomes, the more they want it. People overpay for Birkin bags because of the hype, and they appear to be doing so for real estate as well (with hype fuelled by the internet, as discussed in previous posts).

    I don’t care if someone wants to overpay for a Hermes bag because that doesn’t impact me finding a perfectly good one by another brand for under $100. I do care that those of us who want a house as our primary residence are compromised by people playing the status game (or even the financial game). A free market is fine for purses, but not for houses.

  129. @LeoM “It just occurred to me that all these ‘ house hunting blogs’ might be the root cause the recent insanity in the global housing market.”

    I think we can widen it to the influence of the internet in general. Something I believe Marko stated a while back was how thousands of people have online access to listing information the instant the agent enters it into the system.

    For comparison, my mom was a real estate agent in the 80s, and I remember looking through her listing books that she would get weekly with a small black-and-white photo of each house for sale. Clients learned of listings through their agents, or driving by a house and seeing the sign, or reading an ad in the newspaper. No wonder it took more than a month for a house to sell!

  130. Why are Vancouverites selling and leaving ? Because they see the top. Victoria is at a top as well because affordability hits home here much deeper in a government town where wages aren’t sky high and corporations aren’t aplenty paying humongous wages. Tech has its limits and is a shaky industry by any standards no matter how much the media pumps it.

    A 30 % drop in Van will crush Victoria even more. Totally different economic make up. A few Vancouverites has never had any serious impact before and is just another media driven short term phenom.

    They also all can’t get jobs here and commuting is not a reality for most especially with kids involved. Easy to say when you just loaded up to the hilt but not reality in a city with average wage of $85K.

    Employment growth has declined last two months and unemployment rate inched up when it should be falling. Looks like a topping out process to me.

  131. I need a cliche; ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ will do…

    It just occurred to me that all these ‘ house hunting blogs’ might be the root cause the recent insanity in the global housing market. The ‘Chit-Chat’ index is off the scale, the number of wanna be house owners is being fed by all the internet blogs. Information is instant. The ‘investor’ with deep pockets buying several places in a month, the new Canadian resident buying seven condos.

    For the past 50 years my experience has been the local newspapers reporting old news about RE sales and price increases. Now we get hourly updates on which property just sold for $100,000 or $200,000 over asking; even junkers on busy street corners are getting premium prices…and we all hear about it within a few hours.

    Hawk might end-up being the soothsayer, but not for the reasons he repeats daily, but because the blogs will report the opposite too… ‘today XYZ house sold after 120 days on the market for 20,30, or 40% less than it sold for during the crazy months of 2016’.

    It’s all pure entertainment for those of us in the sidelines.

  132. Over the years this blog has morphed from a sharing of House Hunting tips to an investment blog. It’s not just this blog, people everywhere, on similar blogs, are engaged in discussions/debates using investing lingo to express their position about their local real estate market.

    Following in that trend; here is a frequently quoted comment from Baron Rothschild: “I made my fortune by selling too early” and here is a web page with cautionary investment advice based on Rothschild’s quote. The parallels to today’s real estate market are obvious.

    http://www.hussmanfunds.com/wmc/wmc070212.htm

  133. For me, the most important dynamic in Victoria is the buyers coming from Vancouver. I’m one of them, and I’ve seen several others already. It doesn’t take many to tip the balance in a thin market.

    Vancouver has gone seriously bubbly and may well see a drop in prices. The problem is that even a 30% drop in Vancouver prices is unlikely to stem the flow of families moving to the Island. Lower mainland prices are now so far out of reach of most families, that the tide of families heading this way is unlikely to stop. That’s why I have purchased an investment property here as well as my primary residence. I’m willing to bet on this trend myself.

  134. AG, the song is almost over, the drunks will stagger home, and many will be road kill along the way. The catalyst always comes out of the blue. Time is on the bears side now.

    Credit cycle is in the 9th inning. The pumpers thinking this is just the beginning need to see a shrink. Let us know when Soros says he’s buying Victoria up.

  135. @Hawk

    Here’s a quote from George Soros:
    “When I see a bubble forming, I rush in to buy, adding fuel to the fire. That is not irrational.”

    Everyone knows that this is a bubble. Everyone knows that the underlying cause is low interest rates (which is in turn the main driver of foreign capital inflows). However, no one knows when it will end.

    In the (albeit much less credible) words of Chuck Prince, “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.”

  136. Jack, this crowd is a carbon copy of the dot com’ers that kept pumping Nortel was going to $200 when I was selling at the top at half that. It’s a new world, didn’t you know? Auctions determine true value and economics are for kids.

  137. I’ve read of journalists saying they have first hand accounts they are giving out mortgsges against ghost city condos. When this bubble pops it’s going to be so fricking ugly. Conservative Canadian banks is the biggest joke ever.

  138. Just an anecdote from the craziness that is Vancouver. My coworker (in Vancouver) just renewed his mortgage at the Green Bank and was chatting with the mortgage broker. Broker told him he has been crazy busy, he just had a women come in from Mainland China and took out 7 mortgages for the 7 condo units that she bought, all in the same building near Metrotown. My coworker asked how this was possible, as most foreign investors pay cash, the banker replied no, as long as they put 35% down and prove that they have enough money in the bank to cover one year of property taxes and strata fees Canadian banks will give them a mortgage. Don’t worry though no HAM driving the Vancouver market.

  139. Psycho-vert are you back again. Shouldn’t you be boiling a rabbit in someone’s kitchen. You proved nothing with your post except that you have an ability to make a list from past posts and that you’re a cyber-stalker.

    “Cyberstalking is a crime in which the attacker harasses a victim using electronic communication, such as e-mail or instant messaging (IM), or messages posted to a Web site or a discussion group. A cyberstalker relies upon the anonymity afforded by the Internet to allow them to stalk their victim without being detected.”

  140. Everyone, click back to the previous thread (“A March of Records”) to see a few of Just Jack’s prognosticatory gems I unearthed from the past.

    Think of those when JJ is analyzing today.

  141. Michael, you’re just twisting what I say. Shallow and dysfunctional is really easy to understand. We have not been in a market like this for the last decade. You’re just trying to paint over a decade of changing market dynamics with one statement.

    I can’t control the market or anticipate how the government will intervene. All I can do is call it as I see it given the information available at that time. If you don’t like the analysis, then put forward your own ideas but just taking pot shots at other people isn’t analysis.

    There is now some preliminary data that is showing that listings are increasing faster than demand. I don’t know if that will continue but the Law of Demand says that that will be the eventual outcome. Supply and Demand will move to being in balance. If you know of any economist who says different, I’d like to know who they are.

  142. Jack, it looks like you’ve used the “shallow and dysfunctional” every year all the way back into last decade. All I’m suggesting is maybe you should come up with a new FUD.

  143. Before Victoria goes anywhere near the way of Vancouver in unaffordability, one thing we can do is watch municipal elections closely, actively vote, and check the background on who we elect – who are they answering to, who are they getting funds from?

    Take Mayor Gregor Robertson – real estate developers fund over half of his Vision Vancouver’s election budgets, eg., in 2011 over $1M. Here he is with Bob Rennie:
    http://themainlander.com/2014/03/07/bob-rennies-25000-lunch-why-vancouver-is-unaffordable/

    Then there’s Tsur Sommerville, a UBC professor who said that $1M-over-asking bungalow was “under priced.” Until this year, he used to argue vehemently against any sort of negative influence foreign capital had in Vancouver’s affordability …

    … until it became obvious that he was incorrect (as BBC, The Economist, and any world-class news service have proven), as investigated by The Tyee and South China Morning Post …

    http://thetyee.ca/News/2015/03/18/Tsur-Somerville-Observer-Or-Player/

    “his Centre for Urban Economics is sponsored by the real estate industry. And his job is to prepare people to join that industry … Somerville’s musings have sometimes veered into fantastical territory …Somerville’s preferred affordability solutions? More development. Cut lots in half to build more homes. Density. But whatever you do, don’t try to reduce demand or the flow of foreign money into Vancouver …

    “Somerville may not have conducted peer-reviewed research on what drives Vancouver’s prices, but others have. Notable has been UBC’s Dr. David Ley, holder of the Canadian Research Chair in Geography, whose 2010 book Millionaire Migrants provides extensive peer-reviewed data that shows an ‘unusually decisive correlation’ between immigration and house prices in Vancouver. In case you were wondering: Ley says he receives no funding from the real estate industry.”

    The real estate industry has a lot of money to influence politicians and argue against the facts of where the demand is being driven from (and how that demand ripples down into the many different types of homes, cities, smaller towns). They want to hold onto the money they’re making as long as possible because it’s their form of “survival”. Instinct for survival is pretty powerful.

  144. JJ what is happening is very simple. After 8 years of zippo. People are pulling the plug and buying for numerous reasons. Those reasons should continue. The sales in March were at records levels. I guarantee you that for the rest of the year we will not get over 3000 available houses. The only thing inventory is causing is less sales since there is not enough quality.

  145. Michael, if you look at what happen to prices in the core for houses after my September 2013 post, prices did flatten most of the year after March. The skewing did show the end of rising prices experienced the years before. But as I clearly wrote the risk is higher and corrections are associated with higher risk. It doesn’t mean the market will bust the next day.

    Most people understand that if there is a 75% chance that it will rain tomorrow that does not mean that it is a certainty that it will rain tomorrow. What it means is that it is more likely to rain than if here was only a 10 percent chance.

    Month Sale Price, Median
    Mar $574,750
    Apr $610,000
    May $551,250
    Jun $585,000
    Jul $570,000
    Aug $556,100
    Sep $575,000
    Oct $579,500
    Nov $555,500
    Dec $571,750

    What is substantially different from 2013 to today is the low level of inventory, ratios and auctions that are happening daily in the core. That makes estimating what any individual property would likely sell for extremely challenging. Which may be a reason why so many estate agents are not able to reasonably determine list prices.

  146. Nice pictures but the house is not in good shape. Take a drive past and you’ll see. It would need a massive amount of investment to fix it.

    That video montage doesn’t show any outdoor space – with good reason, because there is none.

    Whoever bought that place has just purchased a huge money pit.

  147. Denman small lot was sold to a developer from Langford, prime lot, honestly great price for the location.

    Instead of blanket statements wrapped in glazed over negativity, maybe look closer at the reality of each transaction.

    The market is strong and healthy, prices are well within local market conditions. You can still buy a house in the core areas for under 400k.

  148. @ Just Jack

    You’re talking about 3615 Cadboro Bay Rd, right?

    That sold for under assessment because the assessment is totally wrong. Its a huge lot but very steep and almost completely unusable. The house is in very bad shape.

    That house sat on the market for over 3 months without anyone touching it. The fact that it sold for over asking is, to me, quite incredible. It’s a sign of a hot market, not a shallow one.

    You also mentioned the rancher on Denman. I’m pretty sure that was sold to a developer, given that the rest of the block is apartment buildings.

    If you’re trying to characterize the market as irrational, you can’t just leave out the most important information!

  149. Glad to see there is some pushback and proof against the constant posting and noise from certain posters pushing their FUD agenda.

  150. A home in Uplands sold almost a hundred grand over asking price at $1,620,000. Originally listed at $3.5 million in 2011

    Hard to believe that a foreclosure could happen in one of the better hoods in Oak Bay and that it would sell for under assessed value.

    Yet this is what happens in a shallow market.

    Odd things like a small rancher on Denman selling at $500,000 and the following day a similar rancher on a lot twice as large sells at $550,000 in the more desirable area of James Bay. The difference in location is much more than $50,000.

    The more dysfunctional the market becomes the more erratic are the sale prices,

  151. The more shallow and dysfunctional a market becomes the higher the risk of a correction.

    Just curious, does a shallow and dysfunctional market also signal a high risk of an incredible multi-year rally? 🙂

    September 4, 2013 at 3:39 PM
    Just Jack said…
    This skewing affect that you have noticed since March, could be very important in showing what happens when a real estate market becomes shallow and dysfunctional – possibly a pre-bust indicator?

  152. Since it appears that most of the people on this blog have little interest in condos, the Westshore or the Peninsula I thought I would just concentrate on houses in the core in the three hottest areas. The only problem with this myopic look at the market is that the numbers are so low

    Here is the first week of data in April

    Victoria proper had 15 new listings
    12 sales
    5 price reductions
    2 cancelled
    2 expired

    Saanich East had 53 new listings
    34 sales
    2 price reductions
    7 cancelled
    1 inactive
    1 expired

    Oak Bay had 13 new listings
    11 sales
    1 price increase
    2 price reductions
    2 cancelled

    At this time it seems that new listings are just keeping up with demand in Victoria and Oak Bay. In Saanich East the new listings are just beginning to exceed demand with inventory starting to increase. Victoria and Oak Bay still remain the most shallow and dysfunctional markets for detached homes in the core for the first quarter of the year. The more shallow and dysfunctional a market becomes the higher the risk of a correction. Mortgage lending in these areas would also be riskier so I would expect prudent lenders to exercise more caution with loan applications originating outside of the branch.

  153. I think I would be smiling like this too if I was making over a 100k for selling a piece of dirt, a shack, and a gas stove! ?w=400&h=400

  154. Stike a pose, we’re in Vogue.

    http://www.vogue.com/13423997/victoria-british-columbia-weekend-getaway-travel-guide/

    Victoria is one of Canada’s sunniest cities… influx of creative, entrepreneurial types, largely driven across the Strait of Georgia by Vancouver’s skyrocketing real estate prices. Vancouver’s loss is Victoria’s gain: Today the city has about 900 tech companies and counting—it’s becoming known as Tectoria—and lots of gorgeous old brick warehouses, which now house stylish indie boutiques stocked full of local designs along with great bars, bakeries, and restaurants.

  155. These last couple of days I’m starting to see lots of new inventory but fewer sales in the 600-900k price range. Like 2-3 sales/ day rather than 6-8 that I’m used to seeing. Anyone else seeing this?

  156. My pet peeve is mathematical errors. There is nothing “exact” about 0.01%. That is only one significant figure. In other words the least exact you can be while still specifying a number.
    Can I plz haz my OCD prize now.

  157. Not sure either but not a lot of inventory in Vic West to compare too… Anyway, my sale is a done deal so this is a posthumous exercise.

  158. The link was to a house that I might say is the closest comparable.

    Gotcha. I thought that was your place. Not sure about a new build being comparable but OK.

  159. It’s not grammatical errors that bring out the OCD in me, but superfluous verbiage, for example, “actually” and “that exist” — also pseudo-exactitude, as in “0.01% of all grammatical errors.”

    It’s a reasonable critique, CS. But you’re critiquing style. I prefer to critique grammar, whose errors stem from lack of understanding.

  160. Michael, I had an inquiry last week from a couple that wanted to sue the vendor for reneging on the contract to purchase. The vendor thought they undersold the property as it was listed for only 3 days.

    I also expect an increase in law suits when market prices fall as inventory returns to normal. To be sued, by the purchaser, is something any agent conducting an auction should be concerned about. Good business practices should mean that the agent have the property appraised after the auction. And that appraisal should be kept for the next seven years. Cheap insurance.

  161. “So much for that idea. Everyone’s an opportunist.” What do you mean? This is what I did.
    The link was to a house that I might say is the closest comparable. It’s a newish build but my house can have a decent suite in it with some relatively minor work.

  162. I’m Happy because it is facilitating an excellent lot purchase that has much better Feng Shui. I think the storm last month knocking down the maple tree in the back yard and it hitting the power lines and catching on fire was a sign I did the right thing. Good thing I built a super strong fence so that was a minor repair…. Re-Mortgaging was the other plan but I’m not supper comfortable with a mountain of debt and more landlord responsibilities. I do know the value will be more after the bridge and when or if the round house is completed. But, one of my favourite sayings is a bird in hand is worth two in the bush….

  163. selling to people I like who love the house

    So much for that idea. Everyone’s an opportunist.

    Why does it say 1998 build and you say old house? Wrong link?

  164. I think there will be alot of seller remorse this year… it wouldn’t surprise me if we see articles like Van, where sellers are trying to sue others because they decided to sell and are looking to lay blame elsewhere. Not saying you’re experiencing it Dasmo, as you seem happy with your sale, but I bet some are like Katyusha, etc.

  165. “Edit: maybe development but what do you put on such a small lot?” It’s zoned multi family so expect this to be raised straight up so two homes will exist here.

  166. Just under 5. No realtor or conditions so that’s what ended up in my jeans. I priced it out at around $520 and subtracted realtor fees, no hassle sale value, and selling to people I like who love the house and aren’t going to destroy it. The no hassle was key since there are some things that still need doing like perimeter drains, exterior paint is now 13 years old (White Knight did a great job so it’s still holding up). Plus it has all original windows which is great but some would not like that. Some knob and tube left…. Old house stuff. There are also neighbour issues. Plus the assessment is at $380… But the sale happened before reports of crazy town over bidding with no inspections etc!

  167. @ Intro:

    I actually correct 0.01% of all grammatical errors that exist on this site.

    It’s not grammatical errors that bring out the OCD in me, but superfluous verbiage, for example, “actually” and “that exist” — also pseudo-exactitude, as in “0.01% of all grammatical errors.”

  168. Denman is a brilliant example of marketing and staging. Micro home on a micro lot sandwiched between apartments. But it’s nicely staged, has boatloads of charm to make up for the lack of utility, down to the white picket fence. Capitalizes on the trendy micro home thing and on everyone’s list as one of the cheapest homes in the city. $100k over ask.

    Edit: maybe development but what do you put on such a small lot?

  169. No there is an animal spirit that commented earlier on this post. Someone by that name used to provide a lot of analysis on the old blog

  170. Bman, don’t you know that’s not a house but a potential exciting and successful AirBnB business!

  171. 1261 Denman St — Over-payment of the day?

    Assessed: $281,000
    Asked: $399,000
    Sold: $500,000

    One level living on a 2500 sq ft lot. The views from the patio are incredible.

  172. Am I “Animal Spirit”? If so, I never left – I’ve just been busy with tax season. I read every comment, but sometimes the comments I want to reply to are so far back in the conversation it would break the flow to refer to them.

  173. Amphion is a brand new house — there aren’t too many of those around. It was a nicely laid out 4-bed so probably a family bought it.

  174. 1277 Persimmon close was listed for $689k last weekend and already has a sold sign on it. Anyone know what it went for?

  175. 1507 – 728 Yates St V8W 0C6 1bed 1bath asks for 464000….This one bedroom unit is currently used as a very successful Airbnb that is always booked. It will be interesting to find out the final sold price on this one…this is kinda of how crazy the condo market is…..now…

  176. Oh hey, Animal Spirit is back. Heard you bought a house too. So all the old timers either leave or stay long enough to buy a house.

  177. Went to the open house for 2979 Austin last weekend. Was surprised that this wasn’t a reno because it looks like an old house from the outside. (The realtor kept repeating that it was a new build that was purposefully meant to emulate the homes in the area.)

    https://www.realtor.ca/Residential/Single-Family/16766330/2979-Austin-Ave-Victoria-British-Columbia-V9A2K9

    I think this house will see a price reduction. The house next door just sold for $700k (ask $649k) but it has 3 bedrooms upstairs and a more functional suite in the basement. The new house has only 2 bedrooms upstairs as the realtor said the builder chose to go with a powder room instead of a small 3rd bedroom. This seems ridiculous as the door to the main bathroom was like 6 feet away. I expressed doubt that a 3rd bedroom would have even fit anywhere in the layout, as the powder room did not have a window. I also chuckled that the realtor pointed out that there was no apparent room for a stove in the suite kitchen. Because there were no appliances, I hadn’t even noticed until he mentioned it, but then we started checking the walls and inside the cabinets to see if there was a stove plug hidden anywhere… nope! We all stood there and scratched our heads thinking ‘where would the stove go?’ until the realtor heard more people coming in the house upstairs and ran off.

    So now I’m thinking, if you are going to build a BRAND NEW house on an 8000 sq ft lot, why not take advantage of that and make the house bigger?? Because it’s not really a new house. Looking at google street view, this is essentially a reno that I guess was extensive enough to “qualify” as a new build.

  178. @CS – that property in Esquimalt is actually assessed at $1,043,100 when you add both lots together. However, I still think they are out to lunch with the asking price. Location is not OB, GH or Fairfield, and there is no suite. To compare, 948 Old Esquimalt Rd is a similar house/style/age/size and it sold for $710k Oct 2014 after being on the market for $849k-$899k IIRC.

  179. I just haven’t let it become my white whale here on HHV.

    I haven’t either. I actually correct 0.01% of all grammatical errors that exist on this site.

  180. I wonder if the BC real estate investigation will come out with complete data or just an industry white wash. Cash sales would be most telling.

    “Cash deals accounted for 53 percent of all Miami-Dade home sales in 2015 — double the national average — and 90 percent of new construction sales, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.”

    Does BC government or FINTRAC track shell buyers like the US ?

    “The U.S. Treasury Department is so concerned about criminals laundering dirty money through Miami-Dade County real estate that in March it started tracking the kind of transaction most vulnerable to manipulation: shell companies buying homes for at least $1 million using cash.”

  181. Good find Vicbot. This follow up article makes one wonder if the article I posted from Bloomberg a week back of a potential condo crash was due to the money launderers having a heads up on this Panama Papers expose.

    I can only imagine the fallout when the Vancouver dumping ground is uncovered. There could be much more than just HAM involved here.

    Miami’s Luxury Condo Boom Could Be Doomed by Data Leak Showing Mass Corruption

    “The fallout from that report is just picking up steam today. But experts say the leak could have very real repercussions in Miami-Dade County: The info might just be the final straw that ends the latest boom cycle in the Magic City. ”

    http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/miamis-luxury-condo-boom-could-be-doomed-by-data-leak-showing-mass-corruption-8365964

  182. @ Animal Spirit, Fernwood sold for $802k (ask $750k)

    Related to the Panama Papers, fresh from BBC & Miami Herald, here are 2 articles about how hidden offshore money has been “driving up real estate prices worldwide” and “crowding locals out of hot housing markets …”

    (trend was for Russian flight capital to go to New York, Chinese to California, and South American to Miami but it could go anywhere)

    At least the US Gov’t started an investigation into New York & Miami in January.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-35957228
    “This massive flow of money is driving up real estate prices worldwide. According to juwai.com, a real estate broker that connects mainland Chinese clients with foreign sellers, Chinese buyers spent more than $52bn on foreign property last year … draining the country’s foreign reserves. It is a shift that could destabilise the entire Chinese economy.”

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/real-estate-news/article69248462.html
    Jack McCabe, an analyst who studies the booming local housing market, said, “Flight capital from other countries fuels Miami’s economy. It revived the construction, real-estate and tourism industries after the Great Recession … No one wants to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. …

    “But I think many people believe it could be a sizable portion of the new condominium market in Miami … Even though developers and real-estate professionals suspect many of these units are bought with illegal funds, they realize their projects may not be successful without that support.”

  183. But why it [low MOI] suddenly manifests globally, simultaneously, remains a mystery.

    Who wants to go deeper into debt by moving up the property ladder, when interest rates have nowhere to go but up? Is that not a sufficiently compelling reason for a universal reaction?

  184. Municipalities are responsible to their ratepayers, not the general public and rates are communicated in local news and notices to ratepayers.

    I understand that it’s still 1983 in Oak Bay, but in the rest of the world people look for information on the web. 🙂

  185. Is the lid off the can ? This should be interesting to see if the money laundering in Vancouver is blown wide open.

    Vancouver linked to Panamanian company at centre of global furor

    “According to B.C. Corporate Registry records, the Melville Street address in downtown Vancouver for Corporate House Equity Inc., listing Fred Sharp as sole director, is the same address listed for the Vancouver operation of Mossack Fonseca listed on the Hong Kong website. Corporate House is also listed in online directories at the same address.”

    http://www.theprovince.com/business/local+business/vancouver+linked+panamanian+company+centre+global/11832475/story.html

  186. “Holy moly you took that joke really seriously.”

    As I said earlier, zero sense of humor.

    “The Wall Street Journal recently published an article with a simple explanation for the current phenomenon. It’s not the definitive explanation, but it poses a rationale to explain the mindset of buyers and sellers. But why it suddenly manifests globally, simultaneously, remains a mystery.”

    So it will all end with a global real estate crash. Cool. The more the merrier. 😉

  187. I’m not defending any lack of transparency. I just don’t see a material lack of transparency given the public availability of the budget, including taxation revenues. Municipalities are responsible to their ratepayers, not the general public and rates are communicated in local news and notices to ratepayers.

    I do agree they could do better in managing the website. I just don’t believe it is deliberate or a conspiracy as I have dealt with municipal governments and my take on it is that they have no coherent strategy to frustrate researchers – just long-term employees, no corporate mandate and generally low expertise in technology. This means that they are often slow to change how they do things as their revenues don’t depend on creating a product or service. And there is little incentive for Oak Bay in particular to court new businesses or homeowners by promoting their low tax rates – it is already a desirable location with little room to expand and rate payers who don’t always support change.

    And no, I’m not a public servant or a municipal contractor. I would find the model frustrating.

  188. Introvert
    April 5, 2016 at 9:29 pm
    Meanwhile, this was the scene in Langhole this evening. A vehicle committed suicide by self-immolation, probably because it was severely depressed due to living in Langhole:

    https://twitter.com/CTVNewsCheryl/status/717566989468741632

    Traffic was delayed. But people there are used to that.

    Actually that was a bus of homeless people from Alberta that were bound for Victoria’s world famous tent city. Apparently there are plans for a second settlement on the lawns of the Parliament buildings, but yeah Langford is a hole….Victoria is nice as long as you don’t have to go down town. Victoria’s population is set to explode, but don’t worry it won’t drive up home prices. You better buy your tent now soon to be sold out.

    http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/tent-city-at-victoria-courthouse-can-stay-for-now-judge-rules-1.2224201

  189. “More likely that the rate is not requested often…”
    IMO – All governments, charities and publicly traded businesses need to make their information that is key to their business model readily accessible. Tax rates are key for municipal governments. Why defend a lack of transparency when Oak Bay could do better?

  190. Rates are set annually in bylaws. Often municipalities publish the most frequently requested bylaws and this is not one of them. Rate changes are communicated by press releases that then become part of local news articles which set out the bottom line impact of such changes via percent increase or decrease and impact on average tax bill. Rate information is also on tax notices. There is, imo, no issue of information hiding or superiority in not publishing a rate annually on the website. More likely that the rate is not requested often and updates to the website are not done frequently. If people called in requesting that the rate be published maybe they would do it but it is difficult for the average person to apply rates without understanding the grants and other fees collected. Most taxpayers are concerned about what the bill will be.

  191. Reminds me of this bit from Hitchhikers guide:

    MISTER PROSSER: The plans were on display.
    ARTHUR DENT: It’s not exactly a noted social venue is it? And even if you had popped in on the off chance that some raving bureaucrat wanted to knock your house down, the plans weren’t immediately obvious to the eye were they?
    MISTER PROSSER: That depends where you were looking.
    ARTHUR DENT: I eventually had to go down to the cellar!
    MISTER PROSSER: That’s the display department.
    ARTHUR DENT: With a torch!
    MISTER PROSSER: The lights, had… probably gone.
    ARTHUR DENT: So had the stairs!
    MISTER PROSSER: Well you found the notice didn’t you?
    ARTHUR DENT: Yes. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard”.

  192. Every municipality sets rates based on a budget and there are limits on what tax revenues can be used for. Victoria’s rates are higher partly because of higher infrastructure costs – the more curb and gutters and thing like bridges you have the more expensive it gets. Aging sewers and water mains are really expensive to replace. North Saanich has lower density, newer sewer and water funded in part by connection fees and it has the airport and ferries for which they get a grant in lieu of taxes of about 1.3 million with little additional infrastructure cost. And lots of roads without curb and gutter.

  193. The oak bay website is hiding nothing. Every municipality is bound by the community charter and has to enact a financial bylaw which is public information and clearly included on the oak bay website. Try searching for the oak bay financial plan bylaw and you’ll get property tax revenues and a line item budget.

  194. There is also a column in the data that adds in user fees and charges. However I can’t see how it is calculated or estimated so I didn’t include it above. maybe that is supposed to take into account the differences in services and costs for stuff like garbage?

  195. Very interesting numbers and good info. Thanks Leo.

    Looks like North Saanich has the lowest tax rate, but 2nd highest house value. Maybe the city services (e.g. parks, tennis courts, swimming pools) there are not as good as in other municipalities? Maybe we should also have services info for each city to really compare and justify the tax rates, if possible?

  196. I keep repeating this, low MOI is a global phenomenon; it’s not just a situation in Victoria, Vancouver,and a couple other Canadian cities; its worldwide, especially in desireable coastal cities like Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Boston, San Jose, Seattle, Shanghai, Mumbai, all of southern England, it’s the same story; low inventory and rapidly escalating prices.

    The Wall Street Journal recently published an article with a simple explanation for the current phenomenon. It’s not the definitive explanation, but it poses a rationale to explain the mindset of buyers and sellers. But why it suddenly manifests globally, simultaneously, remains a mystery.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/widening-u-s-home-price-gap-makes-trading-up-harder-1458505659

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