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November 17, 2017 | The Choice

Yesterday we mocked Mills here on this righteous blog. Today we commiserate. We feel your pain, moisters. You get all schooled up and brimming with expectations, then what happens? Yep. Reality. It blows. Never before have so many people between 20 and 35 lived with their parents at home. Estimates vary, but in Canada the […]

November 16, 2017 | Careful

I admit it. She’s winsome. Eye candy. Made for YouTube. The woman fits right in with the other babes and hulks that Toronto’s hip Stomp Realty likes to employ as agents. But April Brockman is more than just a talented, vid-friendly presenter. She’s a one-woman marketing frenzy. Rising from her roots in Wasaga Beach, she did four […]

November 15, 2017 | The Evaders

Bandit went into the gulag last week. Actually it was home boarding and the family taking him in for a few days in Toronto has a very fetching bitch. Bandit looked far too happy when we went to get him. Notable was the proprietor’s insistence that the fee to look after our pampered canine be […]

November 14, 2017 | The apologist

On a day when Venezuela decided to shaft bondholders and global commodities choked, the Bank of Commerce announced next year will be Party Time for real estate in Toronto and Vancouver. Huh? Has the bank officially embraced weed, nine months early? After housing’s excess and remorse in 2017, with big new issues looming next year, […]

November 13, 2017 | Evolution

Oh my. On the weekend, when I paused this blog to mark Remembrance Day and mentioned a poppy-selling old soldier I’d encountered, several moisters were wounded in the crossfire. My sin was mentioning that the wrinkled warrior was standing amidst a swirl of people obsessed with their phones. They were, said I, Millennials. Which they […]

November 12, 2017 | The Unfunded

It may be sometime before Christmas when the 16,921 members of the Sears Canada pension plan, mostly retired, discover how scrooged they are. Things don’t look cool. The company’s in liquidation and the dirt-cheap prices shoppers were hoping to vultch in the doomed stores aren’t there. Without big sales, Sears won’t be able to top […]

November 10, 2017 | Lest We

Morning rush. An old soldier stood by one of the concourse elevator banks in the bowels of the office tower where I sometimes hang out. Millennials blurred past the odd figure in his blue blazer, chest covered in medals, beret, ancient cloudy eyes. All had more time for their iPhones than a human anachronism with […]

November 9, 2017 | Mush

Unless I have mush for brains, or enjoy recreational flogging, this will be the last blog for a while on why young people can’t afford to buy or rent houses in Van or T.O. It’s not because armies of 1%ers scoop and hoard those places, keeping the condos dark and the houses vacant. No evidence […]

November 8, 2017 | Too Late

So the assault on the right to own property, which you don’t have, entered a new phase this week. First Vancouver, then Toronto. Not only does government strictly control rents. Now it seeks to control property owners. This should probably alarm you. “The city will not sit on the sidelines,” thundered YVR mayor Gregor Roberston […]

November 7, 2017 | In the Beginning

In an underwhelming weekend post that actually hurt to read, I detailed why people don’t invest. At least, not enough of them. They can’t bring themselves to trust anyone with their money. They fear paying fees to get help. And markets freak them out. As a piteous result, 70% own houses with epic debt while […]

November 6, 2017 | Disorderly

Seven months ago nobody thought mortgage rates in Canada would ever go up, or house prices down. B20? That sounded like some wicked drink, opiod derivative or Bombardier product. And on March 3rd, when the local real estate board announced 32.5% year/year increase in real estate sale prices the story was obvious: way more demand […]

November 5, 2017 | What We Fear

Investing is hard. It’s scary. Buying a house, in contrast, is easy. It’s mainstream. No wonder 70% of people (and almost 80% of Boomers) have real estate, while less than 10% of own stocks and only 7% have maxed their TFSAs. It’s also no coincidence the savings rate has dropped and debt has exploded at […]

November 3, 2017 | Pretty Bad

A final few words on the numbers released this week by real estate boards. Increasingly, they are suspect. Perhaps not deliberately, but misleading nonetheless. Experiences on the ground are showing a different reality than that which appears behind the paywall at the Globe & Mail, for example. Markets are not recovering. They are floundering or, at […]

November 2, 2017 | Bad News

On the same day the real estate regulator crashed a GTA Re/Max franchise and froze buyer trust accounts after discovering ‘irregularities”, and buyers in a major downtown condo project learned it was going paws-up, we have new numbers. Hot from the trembling fingers of industry leaders. Here are the facts: Sales of all kinds of […]

November 1, 2017 | The Prelude

  Plus ça change, baby. That’s what sexy French people say when they remind you that the more things look different in the world, the more they’re actually the same. When it comes in assets, money and financial security, it’s worth remembering. Like Kardashians, investment fads come and go. People, being people, always fall for […]

October 31, 2017 | Spooky

On Halloween it’s okay to pretend you’re someone else. What a relief that must be to most little beavers whose real lives are pooched. Tell me, how did we get to be so educated, and still be so dumb? “My sister and new husband, 28 and 31 years years old, are both full time teachers,” […]

October 30, 2017 | The Wait

When I was twentysomething, before there was Google, proper underwear or safe food and LBJ was napalming jungles, nobody my age trusted the government. Politicians started wars, rewarded cronies, were remote and unaccountable. They deserved to be protested against. So we did. I was even in a riot once. Thrilling. Today the kids seem to […]

October 29, 2017 | Do It

When the feds proposed whacking the self-employed with a menu of tax hits over the summer, lots of people cheered. Many were here. The comment section, way down in the hold with the rats and spiders, exploded with anti-entrepreneur, anti-doctor, anti-small biz emotion. Overwhelmingly the sentiment was that regular working, ‘honest’, salaried deplorables can’t deduct […]

October 27, 2017 | Trick or Treat

Utterly discouraged, Ted bailed on YVR. He also has a wife issue. ‘She doesn’t want to rent anymore and she doesn’t want to get priced out again on Vancouver “Island (our new home) like we did in Vancouver,” he says. “Further complicating things, my dad passed away and my Mum needs to move in with […]

October 26, 2017 | The Cull

Matthew has a question. “First, the obligatory grovel,” he says, ensuring that he gets a response. “Love your blog, been reading it for a few years now. (blah blah lol).” Hmm. A soupcon of disrespect is detected, but let’s carry on. “My mortgage is eligible for early renewal with RBC. The [email protected] is offering 5 year fixed […]

October 25, 2017 | The Love Asset

Over 40% of marriages in this strange country end in tears. Half the couples say it was because of money. That’s a little better than in the States, where 57% of relationship implosions are attributed to sour finances. Yikes. Now with debt at fevered levels and so many people stretching to own houses, this ain’t […]

October 24, 2017 | The Block

John and Arthur were the first ones to email me notes in the morning. That was followed by a text from Tony, then a Tweet from Garrett at one of the big banks. And so it went. Different locations, various devices, differing connections, same message. “I was at the Algonquin Park visitor center on Sunday,” […]

October 23, 2017 | Us & them

This week (Wednesday afternoon) the feds’ economic update will crow about a lower-than-forecast budget shortfall, take credit for more jobs and growth and outline further ways to eat the rich. It will not promise to lower taxes, balance the budget or give you a pony. And it may be one of Bill Morneau’s last times […]

October 22, 2017 | Dream On

Another big week for poor Bill. More on that in a minute. First, the B20 bomber and the much-misunderstood stress test. Will this new level of federal intervention in the horny housing market really make a difference? Critics, doubters and scared realtors are bravely saying, no. People will just go to credit unions, they say. […]

October 20, 2017 | No Escape

No Bank of Canada rate increase next week. Phew. Talk about hammers and flies. With B20 taking flight, effectively adding a full 2% to mortgage rates, the housing market is already in for serious diddling. Plus, events of the next 10 weeks might make everything worse Why is the central bank suddenly putting on the […]

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