Monthly Archives: July 2012

Summer break

Summer is here in all its glory, so I’m taking a break from blogging for a while. That is, unless something dramatic happens in the Calgary housing market, but I don’t see anything earth-shaking to be imminent. The raw data at SFH stats and Condo stats will continue to be updated as time permits.

Market update July 1-15

Although the mortgage rules changed on July 9, this past week(July 9- 15) would have been the period where a lot of the last-gasp deals were finalized and showed up on the books. The 30-day sales-to-new-listings ratio today is at 77%, the highest it’s been in July since 2005, but I wouldn’t read much into it.  I attribute it to the fact that a preoccupation with Stampede prevented people from listing their homes, while at the same time, a flurry of sales which were conceived 10-15 days ago were being finalized. I’d expect to see a lot of new listings in the coming weeks, with not so brisk a pace of sales. Compared to last year only, sales were up 37% this past week, while new listings were down 10%.

I’ve long maintained that average prices are a poor indicator of the housing market. Here’s a story that goes a little further  Average house prices don’t tell the whole story.

Sucking and blowing

Have you noticed something missing from the bubble blogs over the past few days? Conspicuous by its absence?

When sales are robust and prices are climbing, it’s a daily occurrence to hear that the real estate board’s stats are unreliable. An untrustworthy source of information. You know, cooking the books.

Now that sales and prices are declining( a normal occurrence in summer), we never hear mention of it. Suddenly, the real estate board’s numbers are infallible. Impeccable, trustworthy, and incapable of error.

Sucking and blowing, both at the same time.

It’s football season – again

Three times the mortgage rules have been tightened with little change in sales or prices in the Calgary market. Three times the blog dawgs were in a feeding frenzy for a few days. Three times they lined up to make the kick. Three times Lucy pulled the ball away.

For a fourth time, they’ve all lined up. What will be the result this time?

Go Stampeders!!(except when you play the ‘Riders :) )

Examples of the trustworthy stats

A zealot from, ironically with the name Questioning Calgary Stats left an anecdotal comment today: “Some comments on this blog provide examples of people who bought in Calgary in 2008, 2009, etc. and can only sell for a loss today.”

Let’s look at the facts. Over the past three days, 25 homes have sold which were puchased originally in 2008 – 2009. A total of 16 sold for more than the purchase price, or 64%. Not surprisingly, it appears that only the losers go to

Bidding wars update

Over the past three days, 11% of homes sold for list price or higher. A tear-down in Rideau Park sold in one day for $30,100 over list. Selling price was $880,000.

Note to Garth Turner – I actually like you

Welcome to everyone who has clicked over from Garth Turner, the man of the glib tongue and bawdy humour, has a posting today, implying that I hate him.  :(  I’ll take this unexpected opportunity to give you some insight into Garth Turner’s character, and explain why I think he’s a likable fellow.

You are unethical. -Garth

Garth Turner sounds very indignant and full of righteous anger. He said the above to a commenter on his blog(comment #46 Market Bull on 06.17.12 at 7:54 pm).

Let me relate a true story of my dealings with Garth Turner, and you can decide for yourself if he has a right to call anyone unethical.

One of Garth’s favourite sayings is “grow some skin”

Three times I have politely asked Garth to remove defamatory comments from his blog that referred to me.  Being a busy man with lots on his plate, I assumed that in a moment of absent-mindedness he let a comment slip by, and would be willing to delete it. The third time it happened, Garth sent me this email:

Will you sue me if I don’t remove it? I think you need to grow a little more skin, Bob.

That’s pretty rich from a guy who sent me this email when he wanted a comment removed from my blog(the one and only time):

Garth Turner said: The following comment was published on your blog. It is false, fabricated and deliberately intended to discredit me. By publishing this comment about my personal actions you are endorsing and validating it. This will serve as notice of my intent to pursue action against you if it is not removed by midnight EDT, April 11. Furthermore you will apologize on your blog for having posted any and all comments which defame me. Failure to do so will result in remedial action being taken. Sincerely, Garth Turner (416)XXXXXXXX

I also asked Garth to give me some reassurance that he would be more diligent in moderating the defamatory comments, seeing as how there seems to be a consistent number of comments slipping by his delete button. He ignored my request.

One of my recent posts, Mid-year update elicited a warning from Garth, coming only a few days after suggesting I needed to grow some skin.  It was very cryptic, something about “governing myself accordingly,” and I asked for clarification but received no reply. I can only assume that he was gnashing his teeth over a photo which I re-posted from his blog and my suggestion that his predictions could have been made by a monkey.

Photo from the

Rather than argue against my ideas or predictions, Garth Turner has attacked me personally. Many times in the past, he has taken my statements out of context in order to whip his followers into a frenzy, even going so far as to allow(and presumably endorsing and validating) comments that encourage his blog dawgs to report me to CREB. For what, I don’t know. Transparency? Reporting factual information? Holding him accountable? One of his fawning sycophants actually left a comment saying that he had reported me to CREB. I wish CREB had notified me what the complaint was about.

It’s open season on me and other realtors on his blog with nasty insults and defamatory comments, yet if I dare hold him accountable, he gets his shorts in a knot. If Garth wants me to govern myself according to his standards, I’ll take a pass, as I really don’t want to lower my standards to a level where insults and personal attacks are the order of the day.

 Garth says today on his post: “And some area realtors hate me .”

Garth seems to find it difficult to accept that we’re all subject to scrutiny. Resorting to personal attacks is the last refuge of someone who has no valid argument, and saying to the nutbars and doomers* in his sandbox that I hate him is childish and an example of the thin skin he so deplores in others. Addressing the issues would be the method which is usually employed by grown-ups.

My advice: get over yourself. Learn some humility. It will bring more peace, and less angst, my friend. As for the photos you post, I’ll let this comment from your own blog be the best advice: “You end up losing credibility and looking like a creepy old undersexed man.”  What was that you were saying about moral decay?

For the record, Garth, I like you. You make realtors look like geniuses A pattern of making incorrect predictions.

*Among other names, Garth has called his loyal followers nutbars, doomers, zealots, nihilists, misogynists, wackos and pissed-off renters. These are the people who are attracted by his superior intelligence and exceptional genes.

Market update July 1-7

If previous years’ patterns hold true, July should be the month where sales and prices start to drop. It’s already evident from the statistics when compared to the last few months, as single family home sales for the first week of July were the slowest start to a month since March, but compared to the past three years, the market is still vibrant.

Rents will be going up

(aka “Be careful what you wish for”)

“We recently moved into a new rental. The search was brutal. We went to numerous open houses and met numerous landlords and they all had plenty of people to choose from and even though we’re desirable renters it’s largely a first come first serve situation and involves a lot of luck…wow it was shocking how many renters and how few properties are out there.”

Two stories were on the CBC’s Eyeopener this morning about the difficulty in finding rental accommodation in Calgary.

“…101 people viewed the one bedroom beltline apartment Gonzalez had his eye on. Fifty people filled out applications and, after two interviews and a stringent screening process, Gonzalez landed the suite — a gruelling process he’s never been through before.”

Darren Paddock, the co-owner of, advises renters to find ways to help them stand out from their competitors because properties are going fast. He says “These people are getting a number of applicants in two to three days time…It’s really hot, we’ve never seen it like this before.”

Paddock also says an influx of workers and tighter mortgage rules are to blame.

Once again, we see the law of unintended consequences rear its ugly head. With the new mortgage rules making it more difficult to buy a house, people turn to renting, with the result of higher rents and a shortage of accommodation.

What happens next? Investors start finding it more attractive to buy houses/apartments and rent them out. The increase in demand for investment property will in turn put upward pressure on prices.

The vacancy rate in Calgary is already at a very low 1.9% and is predicted to tighten even further to 1.5% by 2013.

Read more Calgary renters struggle to find vacancies

A Calgary Herald article back in February was warning of a coming rental crunch:

Research at the University of Calgary noted that from 2000 to 2008, an  average of less than two per cent of all new dwellings constructed in Calgary  were intended for rental accommodation.

It also pointed out that from 2001 to 2009, Calgary lost about 7,500  apartment units to condo conversions. The “lack of rental housing construction  meant that the condominium conversions contributed to a 19 per cent loss in the  absolute number of rental housing units between 2001 and 2009,” the report  said.

Read more: Falling vacancy rates raise fears of rental crunch