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10 things that will happen in Canadian real estate in 2012
January 1, 2012 10:55 AM   Subscribe

Garth Turner, former Member of Parliament and current entertaining, curmudgeonly, and well-informed Greater Fool blogger about Canadian real estate -- and the world economy generally -- gives his predictions for 2012. The main one, IMO, is the one that he talks about relentlessly in his postings: "Most people won't get it."
posted by anothermug (30 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Republicans will be seen as hair-shirts bent on doing the right thing for the future even if it grinds up today.

Seen so by whom -- Canadians?
posted by escabeche at 10:58 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like this guy.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:02 AM on January 1, 2012


You had me right at member of Parliment.
posted by timsteil at 11:04 AM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


And stop reading this blog. It’s depraved.

I like this guy.2
posted by infini at 11:11 AM on January 1, 2012


Last year the Toronto stock market gave up 11% but investors with balanced portfolios lost nothing.

Hmm ya, some REALLY sophisticated analysis going on here... I find his ideas fascinating and plan to subscribe to his blog.
posted by Yowser at 11:15 AM on January 1, 2012


Ah, I see he was a member of the Conservative party. This explains his well-informed and nuanced world view.
posted by Yowser at 11:16 AM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I see he has both a Bachelors AND a Masters in English... clearly the man with a plan when it comes to Economics and Finance.
posted by Yowser at 11:17 AM on January 1, 2012


If I hadn't been able to look at pictures of the man, I would have imagined this written by an oh-so-cool Van hipster barely out of his parents house in Surrey. Real estate is the new porn. Got it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:30 AM on January 1, 2012


Real estate is the new porn. Got it.

Have you been to Vancouver lately? That's not really hyperbole.
posted by philip-random at 11:35 AM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Predict the future by saying what is already happening will happen! Genius!!
posted by srboisvert at 11:39 AM on January 1, 2012


Real estate is the new porn. Got it.

Have you been to Vancouver lately? That's not really hyperbole.


No, but I recently looked at some house listings there on-line, and now I'm getting millions of pop-ups and my computer runs really slow.
posted by escabeche at 11:46 AM on January 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


Listen Garth: I just want a place to live. A place that isn't owned by a slumlord who isn't going to maintain the building until it crumbles or a speculator who will evict me once the investment toggles into the black. A place to live. That's all! You're right: renting does give me more freedom but there is ZERO security in renting. None. Your landlord can come along at any moment and give you the heave-ho, even if I'm 65 and collecting wrinkle money from OAS and have no other options. It's great that you've been saying for years that the market is going to crumble (I have your book!) and leave all us condo owners with a fat load of nothing except debt and ulcers and whatnot but all I want is a place to live that I can fix if I need to or change if I want or just not be paying the same amount of money to someone else's mortgage.
posted by monkeymike at 11:47 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Over time Vancouver and its flatland burbs turned into a moist version of Mississauga

Vancouver proper is nothing like Mississauga. Neither are Burnaby and New Westminster.

Now the region’s unlivable for average families

For people with average income who insist on owning instead or renting, you mean.
posted by fatehunter at 11:59 AM on January 1, 2012


House prices will fall.

Noone could have seen that sage advice coming.
posted by Twang at 11:59 AM on January 1, 2012


And I see he has both a Bachelors AND a Masters in English... clearly the man with a plan when it comes to Economics and Finance.

Hey, at least he's a champ when it comes to Not Randomly Capitalizing Words.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:15 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Most people won't get it."

The fact that his blog's title "The Greater Fool" is NOT wryly ironic, but literal?
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:19 PM on January 1, 2012


I would take issue with "in Vancouver, real estate is the new porn." However, I have heard of a very attractive Vancouver actress who is totally unafraid to strip for a role (any role)... who was making a better living at her day job as a real estate agent.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:20 PM on January 1, 2012


After reading his shallow opinions on Vancouver and its real estate I have issues with describing Grant Turner as either entertaining or well-informed. I will give him curmudgeonly, he does that well.

I'm not getting the Mississauga thing either. I'm not aware of a North American city that doesn't develop similar suburbs once it gets to a certain size - either it keeps growing and acquires a big-box retail/no transit belt in the new areas or it is contracting with limited new construction. Does Mississauga make Old Toronto less of a thing?
posted by N-stoff at 12:23 PM on January 1, 2012


His New Year's predictions for 2011

lower condo prices in Toronto. Tears in Vancouver. And millions of house-horny people wondering what the hell they were thinking last year... If you’ve been thinking about dumping your real estate, do it now. Today. You’ll thank me in June [2011].

So much for that. Well, maybe he's right this year. Who knows. My Ouija board is only telling me "NESTSALOOPFHUCG." Unless that's an anagram, Turner's advice isn't the most unhelpful thing I've read so far this year.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:29 PM on January 1, 2012


Yeah. He does seem to predict the same things all the time, doesn't he?
posted by howfar at 1:38 PM on January 1, 2012


renting does give me more freedom but there is ZERO security in renting. None.

That's how I've felt renting outside of Quebec.
posted by furtive at 1:56 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Turner's quite right about most of the things he talks about -- he's not always right about details or timing, but nobody except my wife always is -- but if you're not reading his site and you're interested in the real estate (and larger economic) situation in Canada at all, you're doing yourself a major disservice.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:23 PM on January 1, 2012


Turner's a windbag, and he plays up a pretty caustic personality to comedic effect on this blog (mostly intended). He does play up his former brief stint as the Treasury minister and its pretty clear that his blogging doesn't do any harms to his book sales or consulting fees. But, something something you shall know someone by the company he keeps and so on, some of the commentators on his posts make the average youtube comment look lucid and reserved by comparison.
posted by bumpkin at 6:22 PM on January 1, 2012


And I see he has both a Bachelors AND a Masters in English... clearly the man with a plan when it comes to Economics and Finance.

Yeah, because economists have done such a bang-up job since the Friedman school became ascendant.
posted by rodgerd at 11:24 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you always make generalizations or is that an axe you're grinding away on in the background?

There are still plenty of good Keynesians left so settle, Gretel.
posted by Talez at 11:38 PM on January 1, 2012


I agree that Canadian real estate doomsaying is just as tired as Canadian real estate speculation, but Turner is way more right than wrong, to his credit. And there are many reasons to be particularly antsy about real estate in 2012. While it doesn't seem there will be any slowing of the international demand for high-end real estate investment, thanks to continuing international deflation, stock market shenanigans, and general Europanic, I'm happy to predict that local buyers are going to continue to flee the market entirely, with major consequences.

The CMHC is predicting much slower growth in 2012, which itself is alarming for a market facing the prospect of steadily increasing interest rates. Given that the rent:buy ratio is already totally out of whack in Vancouver, borrowing big to buy is an increasingly bad deal; consider that this is a market where people take out a 400k mortgage to buy an apartment.

Krugman put it simply back in 2005: Bubbles end when people stop believing that big capital gains are a sure thing. And that's exactly why a minor correction, or even a significant slowdown in gains, can pop them entirely.

Anyway, we have two potential buyers looking at our place tomorrow...
posted by mek at 12:45 AM on January 2, 2012


My Ouija board is only telling me "NESTSALOOPFHUCG." Unless that's an anagram, Turner's advice isn't the most unhelpful thing I've read so far this year. -- jstyutk

That's pretty clearly POL FACES GUNSHOT, which sounds like a hopeful vision of the future to me. Better than Turner's ideal, anyway.

(Hm. Then again, maybe it's actually an even bleaker haiku about life in downtown Vancouver: GELCAPS, FUTON, HOS.)
posted by rokusan at 4:34 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


We bought a crappy house in Toronto, backing onto a park, in 1989 (the last Canadian real estate peak - ahem). We always had a long game in mind, and we now have a very nice house, just about paid-for, and our area's been attracting more attention from 1st-time buyers.

Over the last year I've had some ideas about selling in this hot market, renting for a bit while the market implodes around us, then scooping up another house at a lower price. Instant wealth!

Yes the house is our largest single investment but we also have some retirement savings.

As it happens, the house is near-perfect for us (cos we made it so), we happen to like the area, and it's still decently close to work and the lake. And we can easily afford to live here for several more years.

As Garth tells it, we're schmucks for not actively planning to sell in this hot market. Maybe he can tell us when the NEXT one is, and we'll promise to get it right for then.
posted by Artful Codger at 6:47 AM on January 2, 2012


As Garth tells it, we're schmucks for not actively planning to sell in this hot market.

Not at all. In fact he's said the exact opposite many times, particularly for the kinds of reasons you mention -- you bought it when houses were cheap as chips, you're happy where you are, and you don't have property-lust.

But if you want to sell, or need to, he does hammer the drum (and has been for a while) that it's almost past time to do so, if you bought in the last 8 years or so.

There's a lot of mischaracterization of what Turner says, and yes, like most of the internet, his comments threads are a hive of scum and villainy (and stupidity), but if you think there's even a kernel of truth in what he has to say (and has been saying for years), it's worthwhile to read back through his older posts and get a feeling for his main arguments.

This is a good, less jocular and conversational site in the same vein that is worth reading to balance out the Garthiness a bit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:32 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that website, stavros.
posted by storybored at 8:28 PM on January 2, 2012


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