Category Archives: Motivations

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.

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My readers are intelligent enough to make their own decisions

I’d like to thank Sean W for his insightful, accurate, and intelligent comment from the previous post.  It makes total sense if all you are concerned about is your “investment.”

We’ve been through it before on my blog, but maybe it’s time to reiterate. People buy homes for reasons other than investment, and are willing to pay a premium to do so. There are freedoms, options, and opportunities which come with home ownership. Is renting better than buying? There is no “right” way, only “different” ways, based on your priorities in life.

Sean said, “Eventually what Garths saying will come true in Calgary.. its just basic economics. Its not that different here.”

For those who are new to this blog, I’ve been saying that since Feb 2007, long before Garth ever started his blog. The key word in Sean’s comment is “eventually.” When is that, exactly? There are numerous blogs where you can get conjecture, speculation, possibility, and wishful thinking. I report the statistics as they are today, not what they might be in two years, but I point out trends that show which way the market in Calgary is going.

I also give my readers credit for having the intelligence to make up their own minds based on the information available, of which there is plenty, and on their personal situation and priorities. I’m not about to force-feed anything to anyone.

If you are desperately hoping for a crash, that’s fine with me. If you are praying for increased prices, that’s also fine. I don’t have a preference. My goal is to give information upon which you can make an intelligent decision.

Way back in ancient history, 2006, when I started my website, there was very little relevant information available to the public. CREB had a ticker that showed the average price. I had an inkling that buyers and sellers were hungry for more, especially trends. Much of what I started in 2006 is now commonly accepted as vital information, and people would protest loudly if it wasn’t available. My website was the first to…

  • give daily updates on market activity.
  • advocate the use of median prices as more accurate than average prices
  • show months of inventory(aka absorption rate)
  • show sales price per sq ft
  • show the number and list price of pending sales
  • give the number of sales over list price
  • give the number of price reductions

I’m happy to say that CREB has improved and upgraded their stats to a point where they are the best in the country, but some details are still missing. I continue to point out features of the market  which are unique, such as the trend among first-time buyers. My colleague, Mike Fotiou, at http://www.findcalgary.ca/, has taken the statistics to a new level and has details which would satisfy any statistics nerd.

As always, though, there are people who can’t tell the difference between information and advocacy. Shooting the messenger is a common occurrence among those who don’t agree with the direction of the market. It brings to mind the saying, “no good deed shall go unpunished.”

I’ve yet to understand what motivates a few control freaks who have the burning desire to analyse my personal beliefs and motivations, yet they know nothing about me. Other cowardly bloggers have gone so far as to post defamatory comments and outright lies about me, under the guise of anonymity. It’s discouraging to know they are among us.

To this day, I continue to receive threatening, insulting, profane comments from those who can’t seem to accept accurate information if it doesn’t uphold their own agendas. When I point out the incorrrect predictions of the so-called experts, they get apoplectic, rather than examining their own beliefs. Garth Turner even threatened to sue me.

I do know that 99% of my readers are thoughtful, aware, and well-equipped to make their own decisions about real estate. I base that on the excellent clients who come to me from my website and blog.

As always, I appreciate and welcome respectful comments which analyse the housing market, not me.