Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What I am most thankful for...

My blogging has been fairly sporadic these past few weeks. This time of year is always insane. I am trying to stay calm, but it's never easy. When I get worked up, my left eye starts to twitch....it's been working overtime these past few days:o) Does eye twitching burn calories?;o)
I have lots of projects to share with you soon....just don't have the time to share now, at least not in the detail that I want to share them. 
I painted the kitchen the other day...comfort gray, same as the living room. I feel so happy when I see these two rooms right now. I purchased some new-to-me chairs for the kitchen table(more on those later). They are so cute and they ALL fit under the table. 
My next project in the kitchen will be to put up board and batten under the bar.
I have only two barstool"s" right now. I really need four since the space at my bar allows for it...I FINALLY found someone who carries the bar stools to match mine...CSNStores.com. You have no idea how excited I am  that they have them:o) Can't wait to order them!!
That's another thing to add to the list AFTER Thanksgiving.
I am really looking forward to this holiday. I am truly thankful for all that I have right now. This time last year, we were in the throws of every sickness imaginable. We were sick for 5 solid months with no breaks. Someone was always sick. The kids were so pitiful that their hair started to fall out. So this year, I am most thankful for the health of my family.
This will probably be the ONLY time I have a picture of my children's faces on this blog...ya know, for privacy purposes:o)

I am also thankful for my WONDERFUL husband. He is one of the most patient men, even though he says he's not. For him to put up with me for almost 8 years, he's Superman:o) He puts up with all of my quirks, all my weirdness, and all of my obsessions. He just sits back and shakes his head and smiles. We are a team. I am the captain and he's the co-captain..hahaha, just kidding. He is a true leader and a great leader at that, a wonderful husband and father. Our children adore him as do I...even though I don't always show it:o) I love this man so much...
Here's a pic of me and my handsome prince
He even let me get away with buying our 4th Christmas tree off of Craigslist...but when he saw it, he said WOW, so I know he likes it even though he didn't want me to get it:o)
I really can't wait to share it with you...it's awesome!!
I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and please take the time to reflect on what you are truly thankful for...and make sure you let them know you are;o)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A quick review...


Sorry about the sparsity of posts, but I have been very busy with work and there hasn't been much to say about the RE market.

In fact I have been making good money at work, enough in the last month for the down-payment on the median house! The only problem is the house is here.

Oh well. Rather be here than there.

So the time has come for some introspection. Have us bears been dead wrong? Well for a number of years we were - truth be told. Then we were VERY right late 2008 and early 2009, as the financial system in the US and Europe collapsed due to the RE bubble bursting.

However our drop was very short-lived. This was due to 'emergency' 0% rates and actions by our Federal Government to put in place the same things that collapsed the US:

1) Very long mortgages
2) Very lax lending
3) Pumping up the CMHC (read Freddie and Fannie)
4) Keeping rates too low for too long

Our local economy was also saved from the catastrophe going on the US, by a resurgent China which brought buyers for all things Canadian (thank goodness) from Lumber to Oil to Uranium to...well RE.

We have, as discussed on Larry's blog, many wealthy people in this city and a lot of them make their money right here. People for who $2.5 Million for a home makes perfect sense.

So we bounced back and our bounce has now faltered. Sales are way down, but then so are listings so that we are in a bit of a stalemate and sellers who can't get their price are pulling their stuff off the market and some buyers are giving up and offering good bids.

There has certainly been an up-swing in the market recently, though I would have to say that this up-swing is mostly in the sought after areas. The further you get from down-town Vancouver the more of a buyer's market it is. Take a look at the price reductions in the OK for an example.

In some areas things are sizzling and some speculators took advantage of the slow down in Summer to buy and are now trying to flip it immediately. One for a $200K profit in one month!

Of course we have no laws to restrict flipping or to penalize it.

So a speculator can buy, leave empty and then wait for a desperate buyer to come along or just leave it empty. After selling they will pay tax at capital gains levels - assuming they declare it and do in fact submit a tax return. This will be after deducting agents fees, any 'costs' , and interest and management fees etc. In comparison joe-blow working in a factory making something will be paying a higher rate of tax with very little deductions.

In Canada RE speculation which causes public harm is not a big deal. Our politicians couldn't care less. In fact they don't care about speculation at all! Eg....

1) Look at gas prices. How come all gas companies sell within a few cents of each other. Their oil comes from 100 different sources- some have cheap locked in contracts with producers- others are buying on the spot market. Yet they all sell at the same price..huh!

How is that possible? Wheat prices go up and down, yet bakers will sell similar bread for different prices, why don't oil companies. Why are they allowed to set such close prices.

2) Media. The government has allowed a few monsters like Global to gobble up all newspapers and lots of TV stations and that's OK. Would it be ok if Jim Pattison owned 80% of the supermarkets in town or Shopper's owned 80% of the pharmacies...of course not.

Canada is the speculators best friend and no where is this best demonstrated than the laissez faire attitude we have to RE speculation.

..........

Back to the market. Is this a little breather before we head up again or are we about to change course. This one is hard to call.

The Bank of Canada stopped with the rate hikes at the first whiff of 'double dip' in the US and Carney went back into his bunker- though still whining about Canadian debt levels (but doing zero about it except whining) and the US Fed is back to buying it's own debt..huh!? Yup that's right buying it's debt, and the Chinese are caught between worrying about over-heating and worrying over the youth who may not be happy if their material aspirations are not met.

All these will play out into RE.

In 2007 I know we would get a big correction.
It came late 2008/early 2009.

In Spring 2009 I mentioned that with 15% drops and with 30% lower carrying costs we may have had the 40% drop I was anticipating and some people would probably start buying.
They did and the market went ramping up again.

We have now accounted completely for the drop in interest rates, so that RE is just as unaffordable as 2007.

Frankly speaking I have no idea what will happen next. Maybe we get a commodity superboom which drives prices. Maybe natural gas prices shoot up and eradicate our Provincial deficit, or maybe we just stagnate here until the rest of the world recovers and off we go again.

Or maybe we change course....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another Ornament and a Tree


I made this ornament as a door prize for the Homemakers' Holiday Bonanza last Saturday. The Bonanza was a lot of fun. And Santa Claus gave us a little talk. 
The idea for this ornament came from Miss Mustard Seed. She is amazing in all that she creates:o)
I used the same hymnal sheet music that I used on the Sheet Music Wreath. I just cut the paper down a bit to make it ornament size. The picture of the girl in the center of the ornament is from The Graphics Fairy. If you guys haven't checked out her blog, you are really missing out. She has some great free printables!! I hated to give this ornament away b/c I thought it was so pretty...oh well...I guess that means I have to make more:o)
Here is one of the trees that I put up. This one is in S.R.'s room. Since her room is butterfly themed, her tree is loaded down with butterflies:o)
Nice and spark-ly, and EXTREMELY PINK. She loves it, I love it, even the men of the house love it:o)

I have been working on a few projects at the house...non-Christmas:o) Looking forward to sharing them with you when I get them completed. We are also making a few changes in the kitchen...nothing too drastic, but enough to make me smile:o) Have a great Wednesday everyone.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Be careful what you wish for...


We are a Trillion in mortgage debt. We are at the lowest, ever, on record interest rates (except for five months ago) and everyone including the banks and THE bank (BoC) are telling us we are in dangerous waters which such nationally elevated house prices.

'So lets get started already' I hear the bears say. But I say again...it may not be pretty. The US is in the 51st month of it's housing slump.


Christmas Ornament Week-Day 3

Today I have two ornaments to share with you. The first being super easy. 
This ornament is nothing more than a feather boa wrapped around a Styrofoam ball, with a little hot glue here and there. I had one feather boa on hand and purchased one more. I got them from Hobby Lobby and if you  use your 40% off coupon, you can get them pretty cheap. I made 4, and the main reason I wanted these was to use them as filler for the tree. They are nice and fluffy and fill a lot of space.
This next ornament was great in theory, but in practice....it was extremely painful. I burned my fingers so many times!! I had planned on making the twine go all the way to the bottom, but after the blisters left on 2 fingers occurred, I decided to just glitter the bottom. There will only be one of these ornaments hanging on my tree:o) 
I gotta hurry up and get that tree b/c the ornaments are starting to pile up in the office:o) The hubs isn't really thrilled about the prospect of owning 4 trees....oh well:o)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas Ornament Week-Day 2

Here is another Dollar Tree Find. Don't you just love the Dollar Tree? You can do so many crafts with what they have available. This particular ornament started out as a tea light holder.
I am not a tea light kinda girl, but I thought that the front would make a perfect ornament. I bought 3. For some reason, when I buy ornaments, I purchase them in 3's...dunno why. Anyway, I used some sort of wire cutters and cut the wire off. I had to be super careful not to shatter the glass. 
I then tied off some twine at the top and voila, instant ornament. You would never know that this ornament came from the Dollar Tree except for the fact that I just told you;o)
Participating in:


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Parity and then some...

Well folks we are now worth more than a US peso.

Despite our hand-wringing and angst over our $ 1 Trillion mortgage debt and super-pumped housing, despite our own Central Banker telling us we are in for hard time, the world doesn't care.

We are oil and wheat and uranium and that's what the Chinese want - along with Westside houses :)

And so our Loonie gets bid up, and rates cannot rise anymore or it will blast up even more, and destroy what's left of our manufacturing out East. Well, as long as Alberta is happy - that's all that matters.

Meanwhile the US fed, which makes Carney look positively responsible, has decided to let the government issue bonds and then buy them up- otherwise known as a ponzi scheme- which is why gold is soaring. Greenspan and Bernanke have together managed to distort financial markets and the economy for 30 years.

How do these relate to housing- this is the 'and then some'. Everything relates to housing, from the price of commodities to a boom in a country of one billion souls the other side of the world.

Christmas Ornament Week-Day 1

It has begun.....I have started decorating for Christmas. Crazy...I know. But I have my reasons. The main one being that I need to help my mother put hers up and she has only slightly less than I do:o) I have 3 trees, and I am about to get one more. I set up S.R.'s tree yesterday and it is so cute. I will share pics of it soon. She LURVES it;o) I put E's tree up as well, but his is lacking a key element....ornaments! Once I get the new tree, it will need ornaments as well. Ornaments can get expensive, so this year I am making them. 
Today's ornament is super easy, super fast, and most importantly, SUPER CHEAP. These frames came from the Dollar Tree.
I flipped them over and popped the backs off of them.
I went to the The Graphics Fairy, and searched the Christmas tab and found the pictures I wanted to print off. I copied and pasted into word and resized the pictures to fit the frames. Afterwards, I glued some twine on the back to hang the ornament.
Easy Peasy and cute to boot;o) I love these ornaments. I think they look a little fancy, but they are so inexpensive to make!
The rest of the week I will be sharing more ornaments that I have made, so stay tuned....I may share a tree or two by the end of the week;o)
Happy Tuesday to all!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ok numbers

Briefly in MOI, days to sell and List/sales since those are the only useful stats I can pull out of the package the Real Estate board puts out:

Central OK:

MOI 17.25
List/Sales 36%
Days to sell 110

North OK:

MOI 22.4
List/Sales 30%
Days to sell 122

Shuswap:

MOI 36+
List/Sales 30%
days to sell 198

What's up in the Shuswap region?


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thanksgiving Center for Wreath

I hope that you all had a wonderful Halloween. We had a blast! The days leading up to that fabulous time were MISERABLE! We all had a nasty stomach bug. I thought I was DYING! Ya know, when you are sick, the house always goes to pieces, especially when mothers are sick. So I have been spending the past few days trying to get the house back in order. In the midst of doing that, I had to get a Thanksgiving center plate in the middle of the wreath. The Halloween one had to go:o)
I got some scrapbook paper that was more "fall-ish" this time. I found the turkey over at The Graphics Fairy. If you haven't been to her site....you need to. It is amazing all the FREE printables she has there. I used some Mod Podge on the feathers and glittered him up.
For the banner, I just used my sticky dots to hold the paper in place and cut the edges to make it look like ribbon. The hubs thought it was cut, but asked, "Who's "Hankfu"? Yeeeeeah....the 'T' and the 'L' kinda got a little squished...but you get the idea;o)
I just want all of you to know that I am really fighting the urge to do some Christmas decorating. I love decorating this time of year. I am really trying to stay focused on Thanksgiving though. 
I have 3 trees and reeeeeeally want one more for the living room. I could use one of the 3 in my living room, but they are the skinny trees and I want one with a little more girth to it:o) So since I am dead set on getting another tree, I will have to adorn it with fabulousness....I can't buy fabulousness(since I have to buy a tree), so I am making fabulousness....well at least I think so:o) I have been spending nap time these past few days making Christmas ornaments. I have been going THRU some hot glue sticks:o) 
I burnt the fool out of my fingers yesterday. Oh it was soo painful. I even got a little blister:o( I'll share the ornaments with you guys very soon. 
I had to do at least one Thanksgiving post though:o)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

HPI

Over-all

October 2010 $579,349

September 2010 $577,174

SFH

October 2010 $796,883

September 2010 $790,992

Apartment:

October 2010 $390,074

September 2010 $388,373

Attached

October 2010 $487,530

September 2010 $490,385

Quick comments. Not much solace here for the bears. The rate of increase YOY has declined from over 6% to 4.6%. Attached down a tad, apartments up a tad (I had expected down, but there was a late October buying spurt despite a famous agent's whining) and SFH up nearly $6k.

Over-all HPI up 0.5%.

Sales down 39%.

I have to concede we are in a flat and balanced market. The good news is buyers should not feel stress to jump in and over-bid with sales down so much and lower interest rates here for a while (despite Carney's yacking- he cant raise rates much more) though I do expect long rates to drift up. If you have to buy, I would look at product that has been on the market for a while, where there has already been a price reduction and where the seller's have a good reason/need to sell.

The good news is there are robust lists tonight and much fewer sales. Lets hope the month continues like that.

Monday, November 1, 2010

We finally got....

....there

We have reached the twilight zone for housing in our fair city with the average SFH hitting and surpassing a cool Million.

Even Sydney Australia comes no-where near us- they are in at over $600K.

Well what do we make of this? Nothing. Median and average depends on what is being sold. If a jeweller is only selling high end diamonds then his average sales are up, even if his total sales are down.

That's where we are at in Vancouver. Lower sales, but still lots of heavy hitters coming to the bid. However even the rich are bargaining. Two homes sold in West Van tonight. Both sold for $800-900K off original asking which is a 25% drop from list price.

Anyway lets wait for the HPI. My guess is stable SFH and lower Condo.

Stubborn prices in Vancouver, which is a good thing. Once again I do NOT want a crash. Remember what happened with the last crash in 2008:

1) People started losing their jobs quickly

2) Flaherty and Carney pissed their pants and threw everything at housing. Even though they are talking tough now- do not for one minute fool yourselves. If housing took a big dive, the screams to ..'Do something! Anything!' would be deafening.

Just look at how Bob Rennie complained that the HST hurting sales. He certainly didn't pull any punches talking about the Premier:

“He’s the sh*ttiest salesman in the country,” Rennie said bluntly to a roomful of Kelowna developers convened to get tips on how to reposition their projects in a topsy-turvy economy.

“He’s done a horrible job of selling the public on the HST. We’re in sh*t and he’s hurting the economy.”

Multiply that reaction by 1000!

So I am happy we don't have a redux of Summer 2008. However I would like to see some signs that our City's (and Canada's) bubbly house prices are coming off the steam so people can buy with-out risking Their financial future and Our financial future too (thanks to the CMHC and back-stops for the banks)