In Metro Vancouver, The Vancouver Sun is the authority of truth. For better or for worse, their coverage of real estate sets the boundaries of the everyday opinion. I know this not because of any survey or analysis. It comes from a simple test. The test is to ask my father his opinion and see how it compares to what’s in the Sun.
On Friday, I got the call. “Yes, the boom cycle is definitely over.” It was dad telling me what he had come to know. Sure enough, the Sun had made the call too. Right there on the front page, above the fold. It wasn’t in the headline, but down below near the graph. For the headline, the editors used kid gloves. (Really, a double-digit price decline is a “dip”? Gosh, I’d hate to see a crash.)
I should be clear that the Sun did not decide dad’s opinion, much like it doesn’t decide mine and doesn’t decide yours. What it does do is set the limits of debate. For 88 months since the start of the boom, the Sun’s examination of real estate hasn’t made much room for critical perspectives. Blogs like mine and others have flourished because of their omissions. I take no joy in this circumstance. That this is a successful blog is comment on the range of opinion that’s been missing from the Sun to the detriment of the public.
So here we are. The boom is over, and it’s not a fringe idea anymore. Remember this edition of the Sun: October 24, 2008. Cherish the moment while you can. Smile but don’t get too excited. The mess is as real as it’s always been. We will not escape unscathed.