Congratulations, we’ve made it to the end of the biggest real estate rollercoaster year of the decade. In Metro Vancouver, real estate prices, after an astonishing seven-year run, finally hit the breaking point. The market is now seven months into a vicious downturn. The experts said it couldn’t happen, that the fundamentals were too strong, that this time it was different. In 2008, the market gave its answer…with a vengeance.
It would be wrong to end 2008 without some kind of recap of the year that was. Last night, I cracked a few beers and went over my files. I quickly realized that the best way to capture the irrational exuberance was to quote it. With lots of material and no scientific method, I let the booze and my sense of humour guide me.
And so here it is, my list of the year’s best quotes in Vancouver real estate:
10.) “We’re really bulletproof for our lifetimes and beyond.” –Realtor Alan Skinner, on the strength of North Vancouver’s housing market, August 15.
9.) “I’m not moving if I have to get arrested, do a hunger strike, or phone CTV news.” –Re/Max agent Holly Wood, on demanding her sales commission cheque from developer Holborn, October 29.
8.) “You’re talking about $100-million dollars. I’m not saying what’s going on.” –Mayoral candidate Peter Ladner, in response to questions about the secret Olympic Village loan, November 7.
7.) “It’s a private site, I own it. It’s a private enterprise. I don’t think I have an obligation to disclose what my private business plans are to you.” –Developer Simon Lim, on the halt of construction at the Ritz-Carlton Vancouver, October 29.
6.) “We’re at a time when everybody is looking for fundamentals and nobody has better fundamentals than downtown, for the investor or the homeowner.” –Bob Rennie, Rennie Marketing Systems, October 3.
5.) “The realtor who sold it to us phoned us up and told us the unit was on fire. We were happy. We thought we’re going to be able to get out. It cost me $308,000. In two years is it going to be worth $200,000? A $150,000?” –Claus Sandhack, Surrey Quattro Condo Buyer, October 20.
4.) “If you’re holding off because ‘Why should I buy now if it’s going to drop 20 per cent next year?’ I think that’s a bit of a gamble. A person’s well within their right to do that, obviously, but just bear in mind the general view is there will still be a price increase this year and another next year.” –Helmut Pastrick, Economist, Credit Union Central of B.C., May 11.
3.) “There is no indication, at this point, of any kind of substantial decline in prices.” –Cameron Muir, Economist, B.C. Real Estate Association, July 11.
2.) “I do not accept this conclusion, not at all.” –Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on Merrill Lynch’s forecast of a Canadian real estate meltdown, September 24.
1.) “The Lower Mainland doesn’t appear likely to become a less expensive place to buy a home anytime soon.” –The Vancouver Sun, Editorial, April 19.
Like any top ten list, this list is best looked at as a celebration and remembrance than a definitive ranking. I know I’ve skipped many brilliant, jaw-dropping quotes. Like how could I come up with a list with no reference to the Sun’s “15 Myths” article? And only one from Cameron Muir? Where’s Tsur Somerville? The omissions are endless.
The one thing I’m certain about is my number one pick. It is the ultimate indictment of the Vancouver Sun — a beautiful, succinct declaration of their allegiance to the condo hype ideology. Bob Rennie couldn’t have said it better himself.
It’s been a hell of a year, dear readers. I hope this blog has been as much fun for you as it has for me. Please take the opportunity share your thoughts in the comments. All the best for 2009.
Photo credit: Ecstaticist