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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Couple of Outrageous Examples...

It's not only the Calgary real estate market that is insane - Vancouver is pretty crazy too. A couple of quick examples...

A Calgary listing for $189,000, in an admittedly sub-prime (read: sketchy) area of the city. Land value only? Except that Calgary has no natural boundaries and just keeps expanding and expanding and expanding...

This one really had me scatching my head...I even checked MLS in Vancouver for accuracy. Seems that listing is no longer valid, but I did find this one listed for $1,149,000. Pure insanity. A 9-bedroom French chateau on 30 acres, or 2000 sq ft "Old timer" in Marpole, Vancouver West. Lest you think the French property is a hoax, check out a whole lot of similar chateaux here.

The inmates really are running the insane asylum.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Calgary Enters Fall...Hang onto Yer Hats!

That title is meant to be a double entendre. Seasonally, we are entering fall, no doubt about it. There is a crispness in the air that was lacking just a week ago. But we're also entering another fall. Seems to me a real estate fall is just around the corner too. The signs are there for those who care to read the tea leaves. Jayman Builders is laying off 40 employees, and the Gateway Midtown condo project is being "suspended" while it's just a big hole in the ground. I've heard the term "right-sizing" not "down-sizing" being bandied about. Give me a break. Whatever you call it, those people who lost their jobs, lost their jobs!

Now, I've been a bear about the Calgary real estate market since it took off in a fit of irrational exhuberance in 2006-07. It had to come back down to earth. The fundamentals dictated that. Those fundamentals include if first-time buyers cannot enter the market, the entire market cramps up. Well, we've got bad cramps right now. But people are greedy and still believe they deserve their pot of gold for a 1940s, 1950s, 1960s fixer-upper.

For those who think Calgary is immune because "we have oil", think about this: the market was just as cramped up and just as bottlenecked when oil was at $140/barrel as it was when oil was $100/barrel. Fundamentals, people. How much money people can afford to pay for housing on a monthly basis - that's the only indicator that really, truly matters.

We need to get over ourselves. We're not special. We're not unique. This is happening all over the world. And we're not London, NYC or Paris. We're a small-ish prairie city striving hard to be more than we are.

Calgary needs a good dose of reality, and methinks it is just around the corner.

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's August already? How did that happen?

OK. Best intentions and all that. I disappeared again. But in my defence, I have been very busy. One trip to Ottawa and one trip to Spain since my last post. And another upcoming trip to Ontario is on the horizon. Not to mention work - ah yes, WORK! Lots of it, and it's hard to get motivated to do it in the summer. And now the Olympics are on, which is one more huge distraction for Bast. Days of golf have occurred, as have dinners out with business associates scheming to take over the world one Commonwealth country at a time. Beware my friends in the UK and Australia - we may be coming to a virtual office near you in the future...

So I am back, and will hopefully live to post (more regularly) another day. But I've said that before and failed miserably. You really can't trust me, you know. But then again, what's trust got to do with it (with veiled apologies to Tina Turner)?