Category Archives: Greater Fool

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.

Free to choose

Andrew gets ready to read my blog

Andrew gets ready to read my blog

I have been repeatedly harassed with threatening and abusive comments from a guy named Andrew(also using numerous other names). He was the subject of my previous post. He continually posts derogatory comments about me on Garth Turner’s GreaterFool.ca. I am posting the latest of his diatribes here, with my replies, with the purpose of giving insight into the behavior and mindset of a fanatical Garth Turner minion and control freak(I’ve sanitized some language to make it family-friendly):

Andrew says: You clearly get your information from real industry industry only sources, which are hardly the most reliable information sources out there, but you cling to the “stats” as some kind of gospel truth. 

Can you suggest a more reliable source for information? I was the first realtor in Calgary to post daily statistics in order to show transparency, but more so, to give buyers and sellers relevant data. Buying or selling real estate entails huge financial consequences. That’s why I felt it was necessary to give the people of Calgary better, more complete, timely information. No one is forced to log in and read here. Everyone can decide for themselves who has the most credibility. I never had any intention of exposing the charlatans like Garth Turner until he and other bubble bloggers started to post misleading, inaccurate information. As a matter of fact, back in the early days of Garth’s blog, I posted his dire warnings verbatim on my blog. Garth may have misjudged the consequences when he started making personal attacks against me. 

Your diatribes are a reinforcement of the old saying, “no good deed goes unpunished.” When you use the word “gospel,” it creeps me out, and tells me you are possessed by religious fanaticism.

Directions to Andrew's house

Directions to Andrew’s house

Andrew says: You are not the bearer of the truth of any kind, for there is no single truth
because every man defines their own.

Very good. Please heed that. Live and let live.

Andrew says: Because you blog, you put your views out in a public forum, and you are therefore leaving yourself open to critical evaluation of your message. You  mock and criticize credentialed industry sources because they simply see this situation differently than you and if you engage in this, you will get as good as you give.  

Control freak symptom #1: “You are very dominating, and want every small thing to be done as per your thinking.” 

Fair enough. Because Garth Turner blogs, and puts his views in a public forum, he is leaving himself open to critical evaluation of his message. He deletes dissenting comments, and my blog is a forum to present some of the views which he will not publish. Fine and dandy. His track record is relevant because it allows readers to make decisions with all the facts. When Garth Turner has been consistently incorrect about Calgary real estate prices for six years, I believe this is something that a buyer or seller would be interested in, especially in light of the fact that CREB has been unerringly accurate. His criticism of real estate boards wears thin after six years of being wrong. 

Andrew says: The best remedy for you if can’t handle criticism is to stop blogging.

Symptom #2: “You want everyone to listen only to what you say.”

I welcome constructive criticism and am always eager to learn the error of my ways. There’s no shame in admitting a mistake. In fact it builds credibility. Why do bubble bloggers always try to silence me? What are you scared of hearing? The truth?  Garth Turner’s blog advocates “lining up and shooting realtors,” reminiscent of burning witches who dared to question the authorities. I’ve had bubble bloggers threaten to “cut my arms and legs off, or better yet, kill me.” Accurate information seems to be threatening to you. I’ve never advocated for any blog to be shut down as I’m a believer in the free exchange of ideas, and readers have enough intelligence to sort out the wheat from the chaff. I might be crazy but I’m not violent.

Don't gambleAndrew says: I’ll revisit the casino analogy one more time in hopes you will somehow get the picture.   A casino is set-up so that most people who enter will lose their money.  Sure many people enter and often find themselves winning money… for a time.  Invariably, as is human nature, they stay too long and find that not only have they lost their apparent “winnings”, they have lost everything they came with and in worst cases borrow money and lose that as well.

Symptom #3: “You know best so everyone has to abide by your opinion.”

This analogy is a symptom of your thinking that you know what is best for other people(aka control freakism). This is where a large difference in our philosophies is manifested. I believe that all adults have the freedom to make their own decisions, and have the responsibility to take the best course of action based on their priorities, finances, and needs. You are free to promote your philosophy. I believe in putting all the information in front of people and letting them decide for themselves.  You are free to promote your philosophy and you can choose to spend your days standing outside the casino, warning gamblers of their impending doom. In this country, we are able to co-exist with differing philosophies. I don’t force my views on anyone. People come to this blog and my website of their own free will. In Canada, you have the freedom and the right to be creative and prosper, or to be stupid and screw up. Free to choose, as Milton Friedman would say. 

Andrew's only friend

Andrew’s only friend

Andrew says: This real estate market is not much different.  It is clearly in its last throes of prosperity, and those who stay too long  are at serious risk of losing their gains or what is most likely, become underwater when they cannot find buyers for the price they originally paid. There is no need for predictions, like the casino, this is a foregone conclusion.

Symptom #4: “You try to control the behavior of everyone.”

You are advocating that people sell their real estate. What would you say to the people who are buying it? If the sellers are guaranteed to profit, do you not have any empathy for the buyers who will see their values drop? You can’t have it both ways. Garth Turner was saying six years ago that Calgary homes would drop in average price to $200,000(They are now at $500,000+). What would you say to the person who waited and inconvenienced their lives believing this? Please give me your irrefutable evidence that “this is a foregone conclusion.” People buy and sell houses for a myriad of reasons; changing jobs, marriage, divorce, needing a bigger house for the kids, wanting a place where you can have pets, desiring a different neighbourhood. Are you advocating that people put their life on hold because the value of their real estate might drop? You are an example of someone whose life is controlled by money, and are solely looking at a house as an investment.

Andrew has a warning for all realtors(and gamblers)

Andrew has a warning for all realtors(and gamblers)

Andrew says: In this real estate climate there will be a (very) few winners, some who break even, but many will lose.  So the only message moving forward regarding real estate should be sell if you can and diversify. Wait, if you are thinking of buying and definitely take what realtors say with a huge grain of salt, because their sole reason for existence is to sell real estate.  Once that transaction is completed the relationship ends, pretty fast friends don’t you think?

Symptom #5: “You keep interfering with other people, and try to correct and direct them in everything they do.”

It’s presumptuous(and completely wrong) of you to suggest that my clients are “fast friends.” You know nothing about my relationship with clients. It is neither appropriate nor advisable to become intimate with clients, and I will not compromise my ability to perform my fiduciary duty with considerable care, attention, and most of all, objectivity. I remain in contact with numerous former clients. I was recently invited for dinner at Charlene and Lionel’s house which they purchased when prices were at their lowest. They looked at homes for two years. They are thankful for my advice when I suggested some of the homes they were considering were not appropriate, or were in poor locations. The value of their property has risen by $300,000. Imagine if they had listened to you or Garth. Many clients have taken the time to leave comments such as this from Judy and Allan: “We have already recommended Bob to several friends for his expertise, common sense and easy-going demeanor. We will continue to do so.”

Andrew's latest billboard

Andrew’s latest billboard

Andrew says: I’ll repeat, it doesn’t matter when the crash or melt or whatever you want to call it occurs. For this reason any kind of correction, nevermind
a crash is going to crush a lot of people financially. Not you or any other
real estate agents pixie dust wishes is going to prevent this from happening.

Congratulations on realizing that you nor I have any control over the market. This was one of your rare lucid moments. I post the statistics regardless of dropping or increasing prices, and have for 7 years. 

Andrew says: Almost no one comments on your blog.

If no one is reading my blog, why are you so bent about it? You undermine yourself. In any event, more does not necessarily mean right. I can give you many examples of charismatic leaders who, in retrospect, were very disastrous and fatal for their followers. 

Andrew says: As for skiing, you are wrong again.  This world has many climates and if you so choose, you can go skiing somewhere in the world anytime of year, not to mention other types of skiing known as water skiing.  So find a way.  Stop.  go skiing.

Symptom #6: “Anything that doesn’t level up with your expectations disturbs you, leaving you with major disappointment, anger and frustration.”

Bizarre. Telling me to go skiing in the middle of summer is another of your “control freak” attitudes. It’s a well known fact that come October, I will leave real estate behind and go to my other job. No amount of cajoling or whining from you will make me diverge from that.

Andrew says: That’s why message is so wrong and that’s why I post comments on this blog. Your message is dangerous financially to a lot of people. So I’m not going to stop criticizing until you stop blogging because you are the loudest voice with the worst message… we can hash this out like real men. Real men don’t hide behind delete.

Symptom #7: “Control freaks can go to the extent of physically hurting someone”

Above, you said no one comments, yet you say I have the loudest voice? Which is it? You give me a lot more credit than I deserve. Your persistence is admirable, but it begs the question, why are you scared to give your contact information? Do you not want to stand behind what you write on the internet? Do you continue to have malicious intent, as you have previously suggested? I have had repeated threats and abuse from you, and I want to ensure the safety of myself and my family. Being willing to identify yourself would lend more credibility to what you say and would probably help you control your destructive impulses. Real men don’t hide behind anonymity. Cowards do.

Andrew says: Go skiing. Soon. (Submitted on 2013/08/11 at 4:11 pm)

Andrew says: Marketing on the backs of flood victims. Disgusting. I think you really need a sale. good luck. Or Better still, Stop. go skiing. (Submitted on 2013/07/20 at 8:32 pm)

Andrew says:

The main reason I have come back to comment here is your disgusting attempt, like other Calgary realtors, to capitalize on the tragic Calgary flooding situation as a marketing opportunity. Disgusting. (Submitted on 2013/07/20 at 3:27 pm)

I have barely mentioned the flood situation, except to express concern for the victims. You are the one who chose to use the name “CalgaryFloodBoom.” I have taken some time off this summer to care-give, therefore your words are misguided and wrong.

I would have absolutely no issue talking to you face to face (Submitted on 2013/07/20 at 2:38 pm).

Sales falling are they Blob,? Here’s my prediction: I see some tough times ahead for you I’m afraid. Remedy for you? Stop. Go skiing (Submitted on 2013/07/20 at 10:56 am)

How would that remedy falling sales? Duh! (BTW, sales are up this year). 

Note to Bob, The best thing for you to do is give up and go skiing early. (Submitted on 2013/07/19 at 9:40 am)

Andrew is wildly(or is that wild-eyed?) enthusiastic about my blog. On no less than 15 occasions yesterday, he took time out from reading the GreaterFool.ca to read here. He is undoubtedly excited and aroused by real estate, but Andrew, we don’t cater to the house-horny here. That’s a term coined by Garth Turner and used frequently on that blog. You fit the description. The fact that you live in Edmonton and are so wound up about a Calgary real estate blog tells me that you have a severe case of Control freakism. I don’t expect you to read it, however, because control freaks rarely know that they are one.

Symptom #8: “You think people should live their lives according to your whims and fancies.”  

I believe people should be Free to Choose

The end isn't near

Terminally obsessed

Bubble bloggers hate accurate statistics

Bubble bloggers hate accurate statistics

On the subject of crazed, attention-seeking bubble bloggers, there’s a troll who frequently leaves nasty, sometimes threatening comments on this blog but you never see them. He is too much of a coward to leave an authentic email address where he can be contacted, so his comments automatically go in the trash. I know that publishing one of his comments will no doubt titillate and arouse him, but this is an example of a zealous Garth follower gone terminal. I’ve reluctantly indulged the miscreant by publishing  this comment.

Garth Turner has no problem giving him space however, and he posts there under the name CalgaryFloodBoom. His modus operandi is that he’ll leave a comment on Garth’s blog which refers to me in some derogatory way, then he spends the remainder of the day checking my blog, hoping for a reaction(up to 18 times a day, which breaks squidly’s record of 17).

Last year, he had grand plans of starting his own blog with an anonymous IP address so he could post malicious, defamatory statements without being traced.  I guess he realized that he can be traced regardless, and  didn’t want to end up like others who are being sued for defamation, so his proposed blog appears to have been all talk and no action.

The troll logs in from the University of Alberta and occasionally from the Edmonton Public Library. It’s unfortunate that taxpayers are funding this creep’s troubling and threatening behavior. It’s discouraging that Garth is so willing to encourage him. It shouldn’t surprise anyone, however, since Garth Turner approves comments that condone violence, such as the following:

Garth comment

“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

Garth Turner’s track record speaks for itself

Does Garth really drive a Harley? Can we believe anything he says?

Does Garth really drive a Harley? Can we believe anything he says?

The tone of the  comments on Garth Turner’s GreaterFool.ca has taken a pronounced turn. Many readers(and many more whose comments were deleted by Garth) of his blog have finally realized the emperor has no clothes. His long-awaited, much-anticipated housing crash didn’t occur. Garth now denies that he ever predicted a crash, despite writing a book entitled “After the Crash.” The peasants are becoming restless with the never-ending promises of ultra-low house prices. Promises which never become Garth’s fabled houseageddon. Some recent comments which would have been anathema a few years ago…

If your financial advice was half as good as your writing, I’d be buying a nice place in calgary for 360k, not 500k.

I want prices to fall, but its not falling at this point. It’s not as bad as Garth makes it seems. 

Spin it any way you like, over 8,000 sales in July for the GTA is a strong month and hardly an indicator of a collapsing housing market. 

The truth is that individuals who have been waiting on the sidelines for this event to occur have unfortunately lost an opportunity this time out.

Why is it when anyone posts an opposing view here that they get attacked, called names and chant delete him, delete him? 5 years and waiting for the big collapse maybe a tad frustrating? 

If anything, guys like Garth and Peter Schiff that keep calling for crashes just cause others to lose money by waiting for ever.

I’ve been waiting since 2006 for this mythical crash. Maybe in 2053?

Garth there are no signs that real estate is going down at this time in toronto…..after all these mortgage changes it still has held up…..if it is harder to buy now then why after one year has there not been serious cracks in the market…

And the wait continues and the predictions continue to be incorrect. 

When will prices be at the same point of when this blog started?

The resiliency of the market has stunned many experts over the past few years – I believe the best advice is to just to get on with your life, and view “Nostradamus type predictions” as “for entertainment purposes only”.

Remember when Garth was selling survival gear and squirrel recipes? Now pretending it never happened: http://shop.xurbia.ca/

Garth’s realtorhate is running at a fever pitch. He now has a knee-jerk reaction to any commenter who disagrees with him. In adition to accusing them of being a realtor, he also calls them liars. Lashing out, making assumptions that are insulting and judgemental, could be a sign that he’s losing his grip.

Turner is a harsh critic of the media, but he forgets that at one time, he was quite happy to take money for advertising which today would be classified as “advertorials.”

  • Paying for time:
  • Wendy Mesley of CBC: I just wanted to ask you one question about how many financial links there can be to people on your show before it starts to get sticky.       Garth Turner: I’ll only answer that by way of saying that, ah, because we’re not the CBC and we don’t get money given to us, that we have to run a business for which revenues are generated and the bulk of the revenues are generated by selling sponsorships and advertising and what we call billboards.

His yearly predictions have been notoriously incorrect, with real estate boards across the country coming through year after year with more accurate forecasts. A pattern of making incorrect predictions.

Okay, so no crash. How about a correction and slow melt? Well, maybe lowering the amortization from 40 to 25 years should do it. Requiring a 5% down payment will most certainly bring it on. Sorry. Finally, a new silver bullet comes to the rescue. Monday’s announcement of a cap on CMHC guarantees will prove to be the catalyst. Garth hopes.

Turner is obviously feeling the heat. He had the misfortune of getting into a twitter battle with Calgary’s(maybe even Canada’s) top real estate stats guy, one person who Garth should never tangle with, because he will always come out looking second-best:  http://calgaryrealestatereview.com/2013/08/05/garth-turner-attacks-media-reporting-real-estate/

  1. You entirely miss the point. The culprit is the media reporting. Your blog post attacking me is weird.

  2. @garthturner Not you, your tactics. Always spinning, cherry-picking, massaging stats. Schtick is wearing thin & people seeing through you

  3. @MikeFotiou Mike: No smart person builds business by tearing down others. Your blog post will make no difference to me, quite a bit to you.

  4. @garthturner People want and deserve the truth. Your credibility outside your echo-chamber blog is waning. Was just some friendly advice.

  5. @MikeFotiou You, sir, are no judge of my credibility.

  6. @garthturner You’re absolutely right, my apologies. Your track record speaks for itself.