Category Archives: Greater Fool

Where will Calgarians be buying holiday homes?

The iconic Three Sisters near Canmore, AB

The iconic Three Sisters near Canmore, AB

An article in the Invermere, BC newspaper touches on the subject of real estate values in resort communities such as Canmore and Invermere. The reporter sought input from me and the reknowned expert Garth Turner of GreaterFool.ca fame. Columbia Valley Pioneer “Real estate market in valley may not be stable expert warns.”

The market in Canmore has turned around remarkably in the past six months. Inventory is low, attractive homes are selling quickly, and Calgarians are buying them up. Prices are on the increase.

Calgary prices post-flood

It’s enlightening to look back and see what the experts were predicting about Calgary real estate immediately after last June’s flooding. One got it right, one got it wrong. Mike has the details on his blog http://calgaryrealestatereview.com/2014/06/08/june-1-7-2014-calgary-real-estate-statistics-trends/

Credibility

Eighteen months ago I posted “if inventory stays low, it will continue to put upward pressure on prices.”

Inventory has shrunk from 3500 to 2400 and the average price has increased from $468,000 to $548,000. Who do you listen to for advice about the housing market? I hope it isn’t bubble bloggers like Garth Turner who predicted Real estate prices in Calgary, Edmonton, Fort Mac at 50% of 2006 levels.” (That would have resulted in an average price of $200,000). Garth now pretends he never predicted a crash.  Or this guy from Garth Turner’s Greaterfool.ca on Sep 27, 2012:

“Calgary has peaked. Listings are ripening, prices are dropping. It’s obvious.”

For bad advice, you can’t get much worse than this advice from Andrew

“If you are thinking of buying in Calgary right now, don’t. Wait 9 to 12 months and then reconsider your options. By then you will see significantly lower prices. This will be the beginning of multi-year house price correction/crash…Wait at least 9 to 12 months and then reconsider your options. You will thank yourself.”

If you took his advice and waited for the “significantly lower prices,” your average Calgary house would cost you $88,000 more than in Sep 2012. But wait, Andrew wasn’t finished…

Garth owns real estate, yet he is telling you that house prices are about to enter a multi-year slide across Canada, including Caglary.

Andrew signs off with this gem…

Hi Bob, Garth’s message right. Your message wrong. Please listen.

On my blog, Andrew left this comment on April 23, 2013:

“Calgary real estate is trending down, and no matter how much fairy dust you sprinkle on it that’s where it’s going.”

Don’t let the greater fools scare you from making a wise choice for yourself. Equip yourself with all the relevant information and follow the trends. Better yet, read credible real estate blogs which will show you the trends before they actually start. Experience, integrity, and facts will always win out over scaremongering. A reader of Garth’s blog felt compelled to relate the following personal experience in Sep 2012:

We’ve been renting in Calgary since we moved back 2.5 years ago. Last weekend we made a lowball offer on a house in Willow Park that was on the market for several months and reduced from $575k to $499k. Thank goodness the negotiations did not go through – happily signed a lease for another year and continuing to diversify investments for the future…

I wonder if he’s still reading Garth’s blog, now that his rent has increased and the $499k house is now $599k. How many people have shortchanged themselves by following Garth Turner’s sketchy advice?

False prophets of doom: Garth Turner and Ross Kay

Trust me1After reading this, you could be forgiven for thinking the headline should have been False “profits” of doom.

Garth Turner’s been wrong about the Calgary housing market for six years. When asked about previous predictions which have not panned out, he either denies that he ever made them, despite hard evidence of the written word(HIS written word), or he shrugs it off and blames his readers for being gullible enough to believe him. His blunders have been well-documented on this blog. My blog stats show the most-read blog post this year has been Garth Turner’s track record speaks for itself.

Trust me4He can get away with spouting poorly investigated pronouncements because of his entertaining writing style, and the unquestioning audience who believe him to be the housing-crash messiah.

Turner praises Ross Kay who makes unsubstantiated claims about Calgary real estate data. I’ve repeatedly asked Ross Kay for the infamous list of 317 sales which he claims were double-counted. He will not provide his data. He will not give his methodology. He finally got perturbed by my requests and sent me this final email: “This will be the last communication on this topic.”

Trust me2The onus isn’t on CREB. Kay is the one making accusations, therefore he should provide the 317 “private sales” to start with.  How convenient that he won’t, right?  He claims on his website that he’s not restricted by CREA or other regulations. He won’t provide the evidence because then he’d be giving his accusers evidence that he’s full of crap.


Ross Kay will sell you the “interpretation” of this “secret” data, but not the data itself

What the heck is Ross Kay’s motivation for being interested in the Calgary real estate market? How does he come up with his data? He has no direct access to the database, so where does he get his information? He boasts that it’s triple-verified. By who? Kay has not come through with any evidence to back his claims, but wait, could this be his reason, as he states on his website: “The only accurate interpretation of this data can come from RossKay.com.”  Translation: he’ll sell you the “interpretation” of the real data, but you will never actually see the hard numbers or the methodology. Anyone can make up numbers, but I would have to give him full marks for entrepreneurship and actually attempting to sell them.

Ross Kay is unburdened by data, evidence, or transparency

Ross Kay criticizes the credibility of CREB, yet he will not disclose his data. Ross Kay claims on his website that he is an advocate of open and full disclosure. How does he justify that dissonance?

Turner has a history of creating frankenumbers and questionable data, so it should be no surprise that he’s in bed with Ross Kay.

Ross Kay states on his website: RossKay.com is independent of any and all fiduciary duties related to MLS® data allowing for full independence, open and full disclosure and finally data review that is statistically valid.

Ross Kay, let’s have the open and full disclosure.

“So we project 60 to 90 days from May 19th that MLS sales will be reported that will reveal the market died on May 19th.”

Garth Turner and Ross Kay

Garth Turner and Ross Kay

Garth “I didn’t say crash” Turner has been discredited numerous times because of his hallucinatory predictions, followed up by self-inflicted amnesia. He’s admitted that if he can’t find a source for his theories, he simply makes up his own data. He’s now hitched his wagon to Ross Kay, a fortune-teller with startling revelations.

I’d never heard of Ross Kay until Garth publicized this sensational prediction, but being endorsed by Garth Turner is a warning sign of sketchy and unreliable data. I wouldn’t have given Kay a second thought, except he’s also accusing CREB of double-reporting sales. We analysed this in my previous post and have shown there is no evidence for Ross Kay’s claims. Waiting on Ross Kay’s open and full disclosure. I’ve asked Kay numerous tmes to produce the evidence, but he has gone silent.

Let’s now look at Ross Kay’s prediction that the market died on May 19, 2013 and see how it relates to Calgary’s data four months later. (Ross was sure it would manifest itself within 60 – 90 days, so we’ve given him a couple extra months for good measure).

The following blog post was written by Garth Turner on May 29, 2013 on the Greaterfool.ca http://www.greaterfool.ca/2013/05/29/a-downward-spiral/ :

The day it died (by Garth Turner, GreaterFool.ca)

In 2008, GTA realtor Ross Kay invented an ‘engagement index’ to statistically chart house horniness. For five years he’s been diligently amassing data, filtering and weighting it, and watching in fascination as 60 to 90 days later changes in his index appeared as official published real estate data.

His track record (he says): 100%.

Hours ago he released what he considers ‘drastic’ results, in a warning to his clients. “Over the course of the last 9 weeks, our index has revealed a downward spiraling real estate marketplace, with results that will not reveal themselves in MLS sales data until finally reported by Organized Real Estate Associations,” he wrote on his site. (This has been removed from his site – Bob)

In a note to me, he adds:

“On May 19th, 2013 we recorded the lowest value of Canadian consumer engagement in real estate since 2010.  What is scary here is that on April 8th 2012, we reached an all time high engagement value.  The May 19th numbers for 2013 represent about a 72% decline over that peak number.   This massive decline raises grave concerns not being reported in newspapers across the country.

“So we project 60 to 90 days from May 19th that MLS sales will be reported that will reveal the market died on May 19th. Our numbers have not been wrong since 2008. So as it turns out the peak of the real estate market in Canada was April 8th 2012, as posted here on Greater Fool.  Peak pricing was established and as recorded MLS sales prices now show, anyone who bought in competition around that date paid too much.”

Is this credible? Obviously we’ll find out in a couple of months…

******
How did Ross Kay’s prediction play out in Calgary? Was Ross Kay 100% correct? 50% correct? or dead wrong?

September 2013 price is up 9.2% compared to last year.

September sales are up 20% compared to last year.

Inventory, which you would expect to increase in a dead market, is down 20%.

Would there be bidding wars during a dead market? 18% of homes were sold for list price or higher in Sep.

Not exactly the sign of a dead market.

Waiting on Ross Kay’s open and full disclosure

ross-kay

Ross Kay

Ross Kay has made some claims, unsubstantiated, that CREB has engaged in double-reporting of sales. His allegations came to light in a recent blog posting on GreaterFool.ca., a blog written by Garth Turner.

I’ll be the first one to call out CREB if they have inconsistencies in their reporting. My first and foremost goal is to provide accurate statistics to my readers and clients.

Says Kay: “If CREB removes the 317 private sales in August not similarly counted last August, total sales are really up 14.24%, not 27.5%. And removing private sales from listing means there are only 6,447 active listings now – a 28.17% decrease.”

I’ve repeatedly asked Ross Kay for a list of the 317 sales. Crickets.

Ross Kay is an advocate of open and full disclosure. I say, bring it on!

ComFree, one of the largest FSBO brokerages that lists on MLS, weighs in. “CREB has included ComFree MLS® listings in its sales stats since we became a brokerage in 2012. And those listings that are only featured on ComFree.com (and do not include an MLS® listing) are not included in CREB’s stats and are not counted as “private sales…In August of 2012 our brokerage was already offering MLS® listings on REALTOR.ca to our sellers. So that certainly does not account for the rise in listings on REALTOR.ca in August 2013!” Calgary Real Estate Review

CREB has released this statement: One outspoken critic of organized real estate recently wrote a blog in which he questioned the integrity of the data at some real estate boards in Canada, including CREB®’s. CREB® would like to assure you that there is no significant double-reporting of sales in our MLS® System, nor is there any distortion of data involving the reporting of so-called “private sales”, as the blog’s author referred to them. “There is no such thing as a ‘private sale’ in the MLS® System – all sales are recorded and treated equally,” says Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB®’s chief economist.

Ross Kay states on his website, “RossKay.com is independent of any and all fiduciary duties related to MLS® data allowing for full independence, open and full disclosure and finally data review that is statistically valid.”

Kay initially returned my emails but stopped when I asked him directly for his “317.”

“When pressed for hard numbers, he doesn’t respond”

The methodology by which Ross Kay has invented his secret frankenumbers is, as far as I can tell, known only to him. He’s  all too happy and quick to dish out vague allegations but when pressed for hard numbers, he doesn’t respond. He’s critical of CREB’s data, yet won’t disclose his method of collecting data, or the data itself. The media has been giving him a free ride with no hard questions.

As Garth said in the title of his blog posting, “Who can you trust?

My emails to Ross Kay requesting the info are reprinted below:

Oct 1: Are you going to provide this information so we can see what we’re missing?  I’ll take you at your word that it is for anyone to read. My readers are waiting. I’d rather that I have all the information so I can provide to my readers a proper and well-informed comment.  

 Sep 30, 2013: It’s easy to solve this issue. Could you send me a copy of the audit so we can all comment intelligently on it? It would be enlightening to know what we are overlooking.

Sep 28: You can put this controversy to rest by furnishing MLS numbers or addresses of the supposed 317 “private” sales that sold in Calgary for August. There’s nothing to hide, and there is no proprietary information if it’s already on MLS.

Image

Market update Sep 1 – 13, 2013

Inventory vs sales and price2

What were they predicting?

Jan 14, 2013 MacLean’s Magazine headline: “Inside the Great Real Estate Crash of 2013. The sudden cooling in Canada’s housing sector seemingly struck without warning.” WTH? Sales up 37%, price up 12%, is not exactly a sudden cooling. Overheated would be more accurate. MacLean’s Crash and Burn

Jan 2013 Ben Rabidoux, analyst, from the MacLean’s story: “The demand for oversized homes is expected to fall.” Calgary has already set a record in 2013 for the most million dollar homes sold in one year. Luxury home market breaks annual sales record

April 2013, Garth Turner of GreaterFool.ca blurted out this forecast: “The beginning of the end in Cowtown.” End of what, inventory? Garth has the audacity to say in this post “realtors lie.” If Garth can misconstrue realtors’ accurate predictions into lies, what does that make Garth? When bulls croak 

Two years ago, Garth  ejaculated: “That the Calgary market will crack is a given. It’s different here, until it isn’t. Which is soon.” So far, his crack has resulted in the median price being up $40,000. What did he mean by soon?

Dec 20, 2008, Garth said he “expects housing prices will plunge another 30 per cent next year –  on top of the 11 per cent drop so far this year.”  http://www.ctvnews.ca/garth-turner-says-hard-times-have-just-begun-for-canada-1.353465#ixzz2fpRqGVha

Garth Turner chuckles: “Too bad.”

In a recent article in the Financial Post Magazine, Garth Turner of the GreaterFool.ca doesn’t show much empathy for the people he misled with his predictions…

Garth questions other people’s integrity but has no problem posting outright lies on his blog

Garth questions other people’s integrity but has no problem posting outright lies on his blog

Housing permabear, blogger and former MP Garth Turner thinks “those people that are waiting for a U.S.-style cataclysmic dump are never going to see it.” He admits he was unsure in 2008 “because the world was pretty wonky.” But Turner sounded awfully sure when he told Ottawa Citizen readers on Mar. 27, 2008, to look closely at the “real estate disaster now in full flower to our south” because “it’s coming here.” What about all those readers who think he mistimed the market? “Well, too bad,” he says, then chuckles…”

Read more in the Financial Post Why real estate doomsayers continue to be wrong

Read even more  Garth Turner’s track record speaks for itself

Garth Turner – milking the gullible

Garth Frankenturner

Garth Turner misleads his readers about Calgary

On my blog statistics page, I can see what words are used for searching. Top of the list today…

garth turner is wrong
calgary housing market
calgary house market
calgary housing price
garth turner
bob’s real estate blog
calgary property prices
calgarly real estate market
garth turner fraud

free web stats

Free to choose part 2

I came across a reader comment from one year ago when the Financial Post posted an article about the mortgage rule changes(reducing amortization from 30 to 25 years). Mortgage changes may be too late. After reading comments such as this,

This government is responsible for the comming housing collapse.

one intelligent person posted the following:

Everyone’s so quick to blame the gov’t.  No one these days seems to want to be accountable for their own actions.  Yes, the Bank of Canada sets the interest rates, but is it the government’s fault if someone who can’t afford a mortgage still goes to the bank to get one?  Did the gov’t drag that person or couple there kicking and screaming against their will??  If mortgage costs and other related housing costs are going to take up 3/4 of their income and they STILL go in to apply for a mortgage, is that the government’s fault?  No, it’s people’s own stupidity that does them in far too often, but they point the finger at everyone else.  Paying for trips with credit cards at 20%+ rates, spending like drunken sailors and then 3 years later finding out that they’re in up to their eyeballs.  Then they say “it’s not our fault, it’s the bank’s, the government’s”.  People need to wake up and live within their means and NOT rely on someone else to tell them how to do so!

Who is responsible for your decisions? The bank? The teacher? The news reporter? When and where did personal responsibility disappear? Why is there such a victim mentality prevalent on bubble blogs like GreaterFool.ca? By blaming someone else, we absolve ourselves of the responsibility we have to make wise choices. Then when government steps in and makes those choices for us, we complain about it.

“Good news like strong home sales is potentially bad”

Skeletons2Anyone who’s followed the forecasts of the well-educated economists,  the pundits like Garth Turner, crazed attention-seeking bubble bloggers, or lowly realtors, the housing market predictions have been a comedy of errors(except for the realtors). Most would excel at being contortionists. Reversing direction so many times has produced dizziness and clouded analysis(see quote on blog header from Calgary Rip-off).

Porter: Strong sales means we’re drunk

The graveyard of bubble blogs

The graveyard of bubble blogs

All the bases are now covered. After reading for eons from guys like Garth Turner that the precursor to a crash is lower sales combined with higher prices, we now have Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter taking the opposite view, saying strong sales are bad news. “Canadians are already drunk on housing, so imbibing more means the inevitable hangover will be all that much worse.”

Madani: Persistent, consistent, and always wrong

“It’s astonishing to me that people are not picking up on this. If you see volumes crash and prices still rising, you shouldn’t be thinking everything is fine, you should see that as a warning sign.” David Madani from Capital Economics has been predicting a 25% drop in prices every year for as long as I can remember, and true to form, he’s back with the same prediction. I won’t be too hard on him, however, since he’s a Bugs Bunny fan. “Homebuilders are having a Wile E. Coyote moment” as when the perpetually ill-starred cartoon character realizes he has overshot the cliff and looks down to see nothing but air under his feet.

lucy-footballGarth Turner: I didn’t say crash

If Garth were a cartoon character, it would have to be Charlie Brown. He’s been ready to kick the football many times, only to have it pulled away at the last second, time and time again. Every year, some new development is the harbinger of the long-awaited crash: Higher interest rates. 35-year amortizations. Mandatory 5% down payments. 30-year amortizations. Unemployment. 25-year amortizations. Lack of first-time buyers. Now, this year, the silver bullet is the recent capping of CMHC guarantees. For six years he’s been lining up in anticipation of a big score, but rather than kicking the ball through the goal posts, he’s tripped at the line of scrimmage.

Most predictions could have been made by a monkey(Photo from the GreaterFool.ca)

Most predictions could have been made by a monkey(Photo from the GreaterFool.ca)

His futility has resulted in him saying that he never wanted to kick the ball in the first place. When confronted with the truth, he blames the victims for listening to him: “it was your decision.” Never one to be encumbered by facts, he has managed to keep a loyal following with his fantastic writing ability, sexual connotations, and lewd pictures. If nothing else, he knows that sex sells, understands herd mentality, and that people easily forget. In other words, he’s another Smoking Man but with good grammar and spelling, but not as intelligent. Cult followers have a difficult time thinking for themselves, but they should pay attention to these 10 warning signs. For example, #4  “Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies.” Yikes.

From the Calgary Herald: Canadians appear to be drunk on housing and approaching a hangover