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#41 G-Man


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Posted 16 January 2008 - 01:12 PM

^ I agree with your points on the arts scene and all that but I question your notion that property tax is lower in Canada, I think that we pay far higher residential tax. See the article on the VV front page by Yule Heibel.

#42 jklymak

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 01:54 PM

Ah, you may be right wrt to Seattle - I misread the Victoria website. If the business rate is really 2.4%, that is quite prohibitive, and I agree that we are not competitive at that rate. If I'm reading King county's site correctly Seattle is at 1.3%. Though with all the levies etc, it is not at all clear that is correct. Vancouver's is 2.5% though...

So I agree with Ms.B, lowering the commercial and business tax rate would make some sense.

#43 spanky123

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 01:41 PM

I have said it before but it is worth repeating. The 2.9% unemployment rate is not a sign that Victoria has a robust economy. It is more a funtion of the fact that demographics have changed and there are fewer working age people in Victoria as a percentage of the population then there was ten years ago (statscan). Real wage growth in Victoria has been flat to negative which is a far better indication of the economic health of the region.

It is not that Victoria is marketing itself as a retirement destination as much as it is that most of the new developments and infrastructure are targeting that sector because it is the most profitable. Your average 2 parent 2 kid working family making $55K a year isn't going to be able to afford a $500K condo downtown so they are not going to come here (and if they already live here they will likely move unless mommy and daddy give them the family house).

I am very worried about the impact of a serious drop in tourism and condo sales due to the weakening world economy. Has Victoria put all of its eggs into two baskets? Before anyone jumps to point out the tech economy I would remind them that about 40% of Viatec's Victoria revenue and employee growth figures comes from 5 companies. 1 has just sold and will no doubt be leaving town, 1 is struggling and may or may not even be around next year and the other 3 are flat to declining due to the high Canadian dollar.

#44 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 04:03 PM

^ Can't say I disagree with any of the above. In terms of wages, Victoria is woeful, particularly relative to the cost of housing. And the high tech industry is small, even if it is generating more revenue -- but the companies are mostly small.

Re. the 5 companies: is Aspreva the one that just sold? Do you think they'll leave town? That is a problem here -- successful companies get bought and then leave. As for the struggling one -- which? I can think of Abebooks & Carmanah as getting dinged because of the high Cdn$, but they're not tanking, are they?

Resilience, diversification -- we need more of that.

I was amused to hear that the BC Innovation Council has gotten out of promoting biotech and is now promoting "green/ ecological" companies -- I wonder what the point of running from post to post is.

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#45 spanky123

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 06:25 PM

Aspreva just sold. Party line is that office stays in Victoria. We will see.
Carmanah is now a penny stock.

Check the Business Examiner for a list of the tech public companies in Victoria and I think that you would be hard pressed to find one that is doing well right now.

The Innovation Council relies on Government funding to keep going. I suspect that they will say or promote whatever they need to to keep the juice flowing!

#46 aastra

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 02:19 PM

It is a source of satisfaction that while no undue real estate "boom" has landed in Victoria, at the same time a strong, healthy advance in property has been obtained, the increase of values in many cases 400 to 500 per cent, and the volume of business has been most satisfactory to our merchants, she enjoys the proud position of being the "gem" of this western portion of the Dominion of Canada.

Increases in value of 400 to 500 per cent, and yet there was no boom!


#47 Holden West

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:23 PM

Attention Business Editors:
British Columbia's stressed housing affordability should start to improve, says RBC

VANCOUVER, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - Retaining its title as the least affordable
province in Canada in which to purchase a home, British Columbia's housing
affordability is expected to improve modestly in 2008, according to a new
housing report issued today by RBC Economics.

"B.C.'s housing market moved into uncharted territory last year as
affordability deteriorated to its worst levels since we started tracking
conditions back in 1985," said Derek Holt, assistant chief economist, RBC. "We expect affordability rates to see some modest improvements in 2008 as the province's housing market reached a peak stress point late last year."

The RBC Affordability measure for British Columbia, which captures the
proportion of pretax household income needed to service the costs of owning a home in the province, deteriorated across all housing segments as the detached bungalow moved to 67 per cent, the standard two-story home to 71 per cent, the standard townhouse to 50 per cent and the standard condo to 36 per cent. Slower demand, coupled with a downward trend in the sales-to-listing ratio, has helped ease some of the upward pressures on B.C. home prices. As a result, price gains have started to level off, dropping from 18 per cent in 2006 to 12 per cent last year. An even softer rate of eight per cent is expected for 2008.

In Vancouver, affordability deteriorated across all housing segments in
2007, but the pace slowed significantly mid-year. The combination of more
modest house price growth and improved income growth helped restrain the
affordability deterioration. The city's housing market remains robust, with
annual price growth around 12 per cent and the sales-to-listing ratio skewed
towards sellers. However, with an increased supply of homes on the market
helping to moderate price gains, Vancouver should see some affordability
relief later in the year.

The Housing Affordability measure, which RBC has compiled since 1985, is
based on the costs of owning a detached bungalow, a reasonable property
benchmark for the housing market. Alternative housing types are also presented including a standard two-storey home, a standard townhouse and a standard condo. The higher the reading, the more costly it is to afford a home. For example, an Affordability reading of 50 per cent means that homeownership costs, including mortgage payments, utilities and property taxes, take up 50 per cent of a typical household's monthly pre-tax income.

The report also looked at mortgage carrying costs relative to incomes for
a broader sampling of cities across the country, including Victoria. For these
smaller cities, RBC has used a narrower measure of housing affordability that
only takes mortgage payments relative to income into account.

RBC's Affordability measures for a detached bungalow for Canada's largest
cities are as follows: Vancouver, 72 per cent, Calgary, 46 per cent, Toronto,
46 per cent, Montreal, 37 per cent and Ottawa, 32 per cent.

Highlights from across Canada:

- Alberta: Many prospective homebuyers were priced out of the market
last year as housing affordability conditions eroded, pushing markets
into unsustainable territory. With a softer influx of migrants, the
housing market is poised for a significant slowdown and improved

- Saskatchewan: Housing affordability deteriorated sharply across all
home segments last year as a sudden influx of migrants strained
existing housing capacity. In 2008, housing affordability conditions
are expected to stabilize.

- Manitoba: The province's housing market is still running at full
tilt. Affordability should improve as rising costs start to weigh on
demand and help rebalance the market in 2008.

- Ontario: Income growth is expected to cool amidst toughening economic
conditions in the province. On balance, our affordability forecast in
2008 points to overall improving conditions as mortgage rates drift
lower and price gains moderate even further.

- Quebec: Housing affordability continued to deteriorate last year.
Stable and modest price gains combined with some mortgage rate relief
this year should translate into an overall improvement in
affordability conditions across all four home segments in 2008.

- Atlantic region: Strong house price gains and rising mortgage rates
chipped away at affordability conditions in 2007. In 2008, Atlantic
Canada is expected to move onto a softer growth trajectory as housing
construction activity gears down.

The full RBC Housing Affordability report is available online, as of
8 a.m. E.S.T. today at www.rbc.com/economics/market/pdf/house.pdf.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#48 gumgum

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 09:21 AM

Victoria still 'undervalued' in coastal terms: developer
Andrew A. Duffy, Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2008

The sub-prime mortgage crisis that has contributed to an economic slowdown in the United States is unlikely to be experienced north of the border, according to developer Ken Mariash.

Speaking to an Urban Development Institute luncheon yesterday, Mariash, who is building the massive $1.2-billion Bayview condominium project on the Songhees -- one of the largest in the province, credited the Canadian banking system for maintaining the housing and development sector as a strong economic engine.

Mariash said the U.S. system features thousands of lenders and hundreds of thousands of mortgage brokers, which he argued leads down the path to 100 per cent financing -- and trouble.
Bayview developer Ken Mariash addresses an Urban Development Institute luncheon, reminding the building sector that despite a cooling economy Victoria's real estate climate is still healthy.View Larger Image View Larger Image
Bayview developer Ken Mariash addresses an Urban Development Institute luncheon, reminding the building sector that despite a cooling economy Victoria's real estate climate is still healthy.

He also pointed out the Canadian system tends to be much more conservative and does not tend to finance any more than 75 per cent of a home's appraised value.

Mariash had an ally in Tom Siemens, regional vice-president of RBC Royal Bank.

During a rundown of the Canadian economic outlook, Siemens pointed out the sub-prime mortgage crisis is simply a case of people who didn't warrant the mortgage in the first place defaulting on their obligations.

He said the delinquency rate in the U.S. has hit 20 per cent while in Canada that number is less than five per cent.

Both men told a standing-room-only crowd that while Canada will miss that storm, there is a cooling of the economy in the wind.

"But Victoria, I think, is going to be stable," said Mariash, of the development side of the equation.

"It won't be the same we have seen over the last three or four years."

Mariash still sees plenty of opportunity in Victoria, a market he argues is not oversupplied with new development and is just now coming into its own.

"I think Victoria is probably underpriced," he said during an interview, noting in Vancouver you would pay $1,500 per square foot for a glimpse of water while in Victoria you're looking at $700.

"I don't see Vancouver as being worth twice Victoria."

He believes there are as many as three million Canadians who want a window on the west coast.

And while the pace will slow here over the next year or so, he thinks many of them will find Victoria.

"If I'm sitting in Calgary or Winnipeg and I want a place to go that is a little warmer and get away from 40-below weather, I have choice ... I can go to Vancouver and battle for road space or go to Victoria and for $700 a square foot space. Frankly I say Victoria is undervalued."


© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008


#49 Nparker

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 12:33 PM

Exceptionally optimistic. I wonder what the developers of the Radius think of this story?

#50 Mike K.

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 04:10 PM

They're probably hoping their customers won't jump ship for Mariash's project.

Know it all.
Citified.ca is Victoria's most comprehensive research resource for new-build homes and commercial spaces.

#51 gumgum

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 08:20 AM

Region's real estate shows signs of cooling
Strong sales to start the year defy national trend, but listings are growing
Carla Wilson, Times Colonist
Published: Wednesday, April 02, 2008

#52 gumgum

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 08:35 AM

Apartments: Sales triple 2006 figures
2007's 'huge year' sparked by tight supply, hot demand
Andrew A. Duffy, Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, April 03, 2008

#53 gumgum

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 07:41 AM

Greater Victoria housing prices steady
Developer and builder says the levelling off is due to inventory
Carla Wilson, Times Colonist; With files from Canwest News Service
Published: Saturday, April 12, 2008

#54 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 04:10 PM

From yesterday's Vancouver Sun:
15 Real Estate Myths and Realities: The List
Lower Mainlanders are said to be savvy about property. Read on to see how your knowledge stacks up
Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, April 26, 2008
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#55 gumgum

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:29 AM

Real estate remains hot
Average price sets record at $630,295
Carla Wilson, Times Colonist
Published: Friday, May 02, 2008

#56 G-Man


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Posted 02 May 2008 - 07:46 PM

Geez the guys on the Real estate bust site are going to lose it.

#57 Caramia

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:21 PM

I bit of a softening would be OK in my books. This market is a bit excessive.

#58 aastra

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:28 PM

G-man made me do it. I went and read some more of those silly real estate blogs. I nominate this thread here as one of the most unbelievably cynical things I've ever read on the internet. It ends up practically consuming itself in a madness of self absorbed negativity:


Victoria sucks, Victoria sucks, Victoria sucks. The worst city in the world.

And yet they stay!!! GET A CLUE.

#59 aastra

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:40 PM

My favourite is the guy who's expecting price drops of 75% or more. Can you imagine if a $450K condo in Victoria was suddenly selling for $135K? Heck, can you imagine if a $450K condo in Victoria was suddenly selling for $225K?

These real estate cynics seem to think that nobody would bother to buy a killer house or condo if the prices were to drop significantly. I don't understand that mindset. Mike K. made the point one time that the thinking in the prairies is different in this regard. Something to do with the boom-or-bust experience over there, wasn't that it?

Here's a beauty:

I meant to say that there is not a single gym downtown... isn't that something for a city with world-class status. What about our famous opera house and orchestra? Where are they? What about the zoo? And all those world class museums? What our world famous subway system?

According to this ranking of "world class" cities:


Victoria doesn't even exist. And Vancouver is at par with Detroit.

We are delusional here in Victoria thinking we are such a hot tourist destination. That is all BS. There is nothing to do here besides butchard gardens. Tourist go where there things to do. The only so called tourists that come here are people from Vancouver who come for day trips (and fill downtown) or BC government workers who stay at hotels.

If in fact we were truly a tourist destination we would have monster hotels with brands such as Hilton, Intercontinental, Radisson, etc and we would have direct flights (on real planes not the turbo prop play plane that flies to Seattle) to major US cities such as Chicago, LA, Dallas, etc. The flight to SF (on baby regional jet) recently announced that is to start flying in June will no doubt be cancelled very early just like the flight we had for a few months to Salt Lake City (Delta hub). Why, because we are NOT a tourist destination, we have not corporate HQs (or jobs) here and no business travel, and above all we are CHEAP.

Apparently it was such an important point that he had to make it again:

Anybody watched the National on CBC Newsworld tonight? Victoria's little secret = the worst place on Earth. The report centered on the fact that we have the highest per capita junkies and homeless. Coupled with the fact that we have no professional sports or other "world class" amenities, we are truly the worst place on Earth. Why, we are not even on the radar according to classifications of world cities (we are worse than Detroit).

And then again:

Time to leave this city. Let crazies like sitting pretty stay. This city can only get worse, it will one day be Canada's Detroit. You will one day be able to pick up a house here for $10k or $20k like in downtown Detroit.

We're out of this city.. my wife has been once too many hounded by the vermin in this city.. even when we vacationed in New York City we did not see this concentration of addicts and social psychopaths. We will never, never return here.

(I'm pretty sure the property values won't drop too much in his absence...)

Another treasure:

And tourists come to Victoria for our world famous shopping, you know like Value Village. Big tourist attraction.

A gem:

Tourists also come here for our professional sports: CFL, NHL, NBA, etc.

So THAT'S why Winnipeg and Edmonton always rank above Victoria in Conde Nast's poll: CFL football.

#60 aastra

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:18 PM

I bit of a softening would be OK in my books. This market is a bit excessive.

No doubt. It's crazy. But I'll never get over how these real estate bloggers keep wishing for the reversal, year after year, even as things go up and up and up. And you just know when things FINALLY turn around, they'll claim they called it. It's like saying the Maple Leafs are going to win the Stanley Cup. You can be wrong for 40 years and counting, but when they finally do win it you can say you called it. Insight. Experience. Stupidity.

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