Vancouver’s best real estate quotes

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

29 Responses to “Vancouver’s best real estate quotes”

  1. islander Says:

    The Vancouver Sun, like all newspapers, is not in the truth-telling business. it is in the ad-selling business.

  2. buff_butler Says:

    #4 cracked me up. I had never seen it. Yes you gambled by not spending money… lol … by that logic there should be laws against not buying vancouver real estate 😛

  3. condohype Says:

    BB, I tell ya, it felt like Christmas when I came across Pastrick’s Gamble Theory. It really is something else. Totally a product of the boom years. It’s a gamble NOT to buy!? It is beyond bizarre.

  4. Larry Yatkowsky Says:

    the things we say come to bite our ass another day.

    ps: you keep good files. remind me to never ask you to write my obituary :>)

  5. mk-kids Says:

    What a year! Loads of material to pick from the shysters, oops, I meant hypesters… Happy to see that “bulletproof” comment chosen. I hope Alan Skinner is wearing his flak jacket…

    Thanks for all the laughs this year CH, you are a gem! Wishing you the very best of everything in 2009!

  6. SurreyJoe Says:

    No quote from Jennifer Podmore Russell? Here’s one from November 11, 2008 in the Vancouver Sun. At this point the market had peaked about 6 months earlier and prices were declining by the day.

    “We haven’t seen any dramatic declines in value,” added Podmore. “Those who have to sell immediately are selling for a discount. That’s where prices are coming off. But most people are adopting a wait-and-see [attitude] and they’re getting their price.

    “We’re seeing a market that’s not a buyer’s or a seller’s market.”

  7. Happy Renter in North Vancouver Says:

    Thanks for the timeless quotes… I think the Internet (especially Youtube) is the best invention ever… it preserves stupid comments forever…

  8. dingus Says:

    The obligatory 15 Myths quote:

    “Real estate prices in Greater Vancouver can’t keep going up, they’re too high already. — Myth”

    Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun, April 26, 2008.

    And God bless the internet for permitting these steaming turds to be pushed back under the noses of them what made ’em. Happy 2009!

  9. blueskies Says:


    #6 real howler…. talk about infamy

    keep up the good work i will be following you in the new year.

  10. Van-zee Says:

    Here is my favorite Vancouver real estate skit from 08.

  11. condohype Says:

    Van-zee, I had to watch the clip twice because I thought it was a spoof. “My name’s Ian Watt and you can always email me, unless you’re a renter!” How charming.

    For the record, anyone can email me so long as you’re not Ian Watt.

  12. Carioca Canuck Says:

    The comments on that video are hilarious !!!!

    I love the Draggle77 guy……….

    “I wanna sell the condo you put me into when you told me that the 2010 Olympics would make property values here rise to the sugar plum fairies coated donut heaven.”

  13. jesse Says:

    Ian Watt starring as “Ian the Bitter Realtor” in the much acclaimed screen production of “Bitter Realtor is Bitter”

  14. mohican Says:

    The date of #1 probably marks the absolute top of the Vancouver Real Estate market for the current cycle. It will be a very long time (10+ years) before we see those values (adjusted for inflation) again.

    Cheers and happy new year everybody!

  15. fgah Says:

    I don’t think it could the same hight as Dec 07 in 10 yrs

  16. Derrin Says:

    I have to say #5 would sum up the 2008 and beyond Lower Mainland Real Estate Experience.
    Funny Stuff!

  17. sluggo Says:

    Anybody recall Sam Dimou (aka Silverman on RET) saying that the odds of Vancouver prices dropping by 15% were less than an asteroid wiping out Manhatten?

  18. mk-kids Says:

    Clearly Ian Watt is drunk. Holy F@#K, he can’t be sober or serious! Careful Ian, that grade 10 diploma is showing…

  19. mk-kids Says:

    Oops, that was supposed to be grade 12 diploma… Clearly this champagne is going to my head. Ah well, it’s new years, what can I say…

  20. The Urban Dweller Says:

    Stephen Harper is a genius that quote made me spit out my beer. Happy New Year Condohype!!

  21. anon Says:

    Methinks Ian Watt is getting a bit testy. His only possible sales strategy now is the snobbery of ownership vs. renting because people have finally realized it makes no financial sense WHATSOEVER to pay a mortgage payment PLUS fees PLUS upkeep higher than what a place would rent for.

    Ian, you need to go into music “business” management where, as horrific as it is, there’s STILL more money to be made than in real estate in the next three decades.

  22. jesse Says:

    What gets me with Watt is how slimeball his tone is. This is the same desperate pitch made, after the marketing and smooth sales hype falls short, as the mark is leaving the showroom never to return. It reeks of desperation and blind malice, showing these types for who they are.

    The faint hope is to trigger an emotional defense and the potential buyer’s desire to make the salesman happy again by returning to the table. More often than not backfires and instead leaves a fetid bitter taste in the mouth. Ian’s adoption of W2.0 sales techniques is a rare glimpse into the shadow side of “the sale”.

  23. Rob Bennie Says:

    You missed the best quote from Bob Rennie. It was March 1, 2008 and in B.C. Business. It went like this:

    “Who’s the speculator?… The guy who buys or the guy who doesn’t? To not buy – provided you are able – because you think the market is about to go down, that’s speculation. It’s sheer speculation.”

  24. Noz Says:

    How come they all say the same thing “provided you are able”…but somehow that doesn’t factor into the actual purchase?

    Seriously….who’s “able” in Vancouver to buy a $500K condo or $1MM home with a $40K average income?

    Are people in Canada as math deficient as people in the US?

  25. jack-me Says:

    One thing is for sure, The British Columbian Media is not one bit fair.
    It doesnt portray the true true picture. When it did started telling the public that house prices were on the decline in September ,october It got shot at by the big guys who control the council. They had vested interest in large propertys which were loosing money with this truthful bad publicity.
    After all how much should a house cost in Vancouver, I’d say 200K for building and about 150K for Land max 350K, so why are thry selling for 650-800K (the rest is just hot air which has hyped up the basic price of 350K)

  26. RossK Says:

    For just a second there I thought that the tag-line to #5 said Suzie Quattro.

    A second later my disappointment was palpable.



  27. K-Money Says:

    Thanks for the quotes; it was a pleasant to read. Any chance you could do 10 best quotes against buying in Vancouver real estate? Ian Watt, most potential buyers are renters. Way to piss-off any future clients you could have had. Realtors are getting desperate and it shows.

    Buyers determine the prices of RE not the sellers as it’s showing in the Vancouver market right now. For years people told us bears that we where in denial and knew nothing about economics. My, my, how the tables have turned.

    There must be a God to let me live long enough to see days like this!

  28. blueskies Says:

    For years people told us bears that we where in denial and knew nothing about economics. My, my, how the tables have turned.

    basically the bears were always right but you can’t time
    the market so patience and forbearance is required

    our time in the sun has arrived and not a minute too soon!

  29. Michelle Says:

    Despite the omissions, the number one quote from the Vancouver Sun is a brilliant way to end that list. Very cutting 🙂

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