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January 29, 2016 | Nutso nation

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.


The beater house below was listed this week for $2.3 million in Vancouver – in a nice hood, of course, but seriously…

Here’s us how realtor Andrea Kavanagh is flogging it:

Prime Point Grey location. This property is set mid block with mountains view. Quiet & private, 33×122′ property, cherry blossom tree lined street, 1/2 storey home with some improvements & a self contained basement suite. Excellent location within walking distance to Lord Byng Secondary, Jules Quesnel, Queen Elizabeth Elementary, West Point Grey Academy & 10th Avenue shops. Pacific Spirit Park & UBC also close by.

The house has 800 feet on the main level and 500 upstairs. No parking. Built in 1930, frame construction. The mold is free. And the basement suite is “unauthorized.” But it does have some features: “Clothes Washer/Dryer/Fridge/Stove/DW.” So, obviously it’s a tear-down, which begs the question of why any rich person would spend more than two million bucks to get a lot that’s a mere 33 feet across? How are you supposed to build a look-at-me mansion on that?

NUTS modified

“I’m a realtor in Vancouver on maternity leave,” says Nancy. “I don’t want to speak ill of my chosen industry but this kind of thing is just funny when you look at the state of the property and the price tag attached and then think, where are all of the young families going to live? I’m sure it will sell in a few days for more than the asking price.”

So gander back at the map posted here yesterday. The old $1 million dividing line between West (nice) and East (the poor people) has recently become a $2 million demarcation. And there’s no more poignant example in Canada of what house horniness will do to an entire region than this.

The big story is not stupidity in Point Grey or the Westside in general, but the ascent of prices well past the seven-figure mark in all parts of YVR. Supremely ugly, mass-produced, four-decade-old ‘Vancouver Specials’ routinely fetch over a million – which is why BC residents have (on average) a negative savings rate, epic debt levels and are forced to suffer basements full of pasty, rent-paying strangers.

We shouldn’t be surprised more BCers are now tuning to payday loans, according to a new study by Vancity (which is part of the problem). Those lining up to get advances with usurious rates are said to be more highly educated, employed and using this emergency cash to pay for food and utility bills – life’s essentials. The increase in the use of loan sharks is up 58%, and half of those folks say they need the cash for “essentials.” Of course, no readers of this pathetic blog have been spotted.

This is what happens when real estate turns from desire, to cult, to dependency and disease. The advice stands. You are a fool to buy in. A genius to sell out.

By the way, the shack above is open for inspection Tuesday at 10 am. Don’t forget your chequebook.

$ $ $

Well, this was inevitable.

Two months ago T2 gave a mandate letter to Poor Bill Morneau, the finance guy, asking him to make this a priority: “ensuring that Canadian-Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC) status is not used to reduce personal income tax obligations for high-income earners.” This means when the budget arrives (I’m hearing March 22) you can expect an attack on small businesses aimed at trying to turn entrepreneurs into employees. It’s likely that things like income-splitting with family members will be targeted and the tax rate raised on investment capital left within a corp. This will be the second assault on higher income-earners who operate through corporations, the first being the creation of a special soak-the-rich tax bracket which itself has prompted a new love affair with accountants and tax avoidance guides.

Anyway, it’s open season now on doctors. Of the meagre ranks of 260,000 high-income earners in Canada (over $220,000) roughly a third are medical people, and a big whack of them have professional corporations. Many also have employees, significant expenses and no pensions. And lots are mobile – now eying a less hostile tax environment south of the border.

The Canadian Medical Association is pissed, as you might imagine. Through it, the docs are lobbying Morneau not to be a knob and treat them the same as other, more worthless, wealthy people like financial advisors.

“As small business owners, physicians have responsibilities such as pay and benefits for employees, as well as our own pension and health benefits,” says the CMA to its members this week. “Unlike most small business owners, however, we do not have the ability to pass on increased costs of business such as changes to the tax framework governing our practices. It would be critical therefore, that any changes considered by the federal government also contemplate the implications on those who rely on these instruments to operate their businesses and plan their careers and retirements.”

As we already know, the T2 crew’s extra taxes on the successful will not cover the lost revenue on an $8-per-week tax cut for five million other people. This will cost everyone an extra $1.4 billion in deficit financing (today’s deficits are tomorrow’s taxes, after all). Likewise, hoovering a few thousand medical people at a time when new residents in many communities (like mine) have zero access to a family physician seems, ah, dumb. It costs taxpayers over $300,000 to educate a single MD.

What’s the goal? Keeping docs, or class warfare? Rhetorical question. They’ve already chosen.

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January 29th, 2016

Posted In: The Greater Fool

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