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March 10, 2017 | Balls

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.

All set for today’s reason to be happy you don’t live in Toronto?

Here it is! 18 Mitchell Avenue, almost near the epicentre of the fading trendy area of Queen West, where all the cool stores are closing because they can’t afford the rent, as a result of morons buying houses like 18 Mitchell for insane amounts.

So it started life as a bung, before growing a cancerous red rump thing out the back. A semi, too. Half a house. Just 25 feet across. No parking. Barely habitable. Dirt basement. On a trashy street just up from a truck depot. “This place,” says blog dog Nick, “is downright horrible.”

The manicured outside:

The kitchen, all appliances included (so the buyer can pay to dispose of them):

The master bedroom suite:

Bathroom spa area:

The realtor’s effusive description – which managed to get this listing sold, sold, sold in less than a week:

An Incredible Opportunity To Own A 3-Bdrm Home On A Premium/Rare, Extra Wide Lot In The Heart Of Queen West – One Of The Most Dynamic & Sought-After Toronto Neighbourhoods. Live-In, Invest, Add-On, Or Renovate With Your Personal Touches. Expand Sq Footage With Basement Renovation. Spacious Interior With Interesting Layout. Great Potential To Make Your Mark & Design Your Dream Home Or Income Property. A Blank Canvas With Plenty Of Upside. **** EXTRAS **** Steps To Trinity Bellwoods Park, Queen West Boutiques & Unrivalled Culinary Destinations. Gas Range, Fridge, 2 Washer & Dryers. Property & All Inclusions Being Sold In “”As Is’ Condition. Open House Sat/Sun 2-4Pm

Here’s a tour of the inside. Link

So, it was listed for an unbelievable $999,000 (the same seller had briefly tried it at $799,000 in the fall) and sold with multiple offers for $1,175,000. Now, the chances of this having been snapped up by a house-horny millionaire dude from Hangzhou are, well, slim. More likely the buyer was a first-time buyer (after all, this is an entry-level price) infected with the deadly FOMO virus, or some deluded speculator thinking he can build a cool new house, forgetting this is Siamesed to another piece of crap. Whatever. To normal people little stories like this add up to the same thing. Risk. The best highway in the GTA is one with Queen West in the rear view.

The main and immediate threat remains the rising cost of money. Friday’s boffo job stats sealed the lips of anyone arguing interest rates are not about to swell. They are. On Wednesday. The US economy is being transfused with Trump testo, while the Canadian employment scene has taken a jolt higher. No doubt now that the Fed will add a quarter point to its key rate next week, nor that other hikes will follow in 2017. Analysts were expecting 190,000 new hires in February, and the number came in at 235,000. For the last three months it’s averaged 209,000, with the American jobless rate down to 4.7%. That’s considered full employment. Even more significant – people are earning more. Average wages up 2.8%, way ahead of recent annual gains.

And Canada? Good here, too. Over 15,300 new positions last month with unemployment at a two-year low. Sadly, however, wages are stuck in the ditch – up just 1.1% year/year for permanent workers, which is just half the current inflation rate. Compared to the cost of living, Canadians are going backwards. Compared to Toronto real estate, they’re buried.

So what happens now?

Rising American rates will keep bond yields up, flowing through into higher Canadian mortgage rates. As Trump throws gas on the US economy, the central bank will toss more quarter points onto the chart. At some point, facing a slumping loonie, rising dollar-caused inflation and a decent jobs situation, the Bank of Canada will follow. In the last six months, Canada has created more new employees than at any time since 2007. Governor Poloz will soon run out of excuses, leaving his boss, T2, holding the bag.

Concurrent with this playing out is political action. Ontario looks ready to bring in a foreign buyer’s tax, even though the best available stats show 95% of all deals are between locals. It’s politics. It plays to the deplorables. Blaming (or taxing) others is always a political win. But as in BC, such an action amid stressed and abnormal conditions (lack of supply, rampant speculation and – especially – extreme pricing) is a market killer. And we’ve already heard Ottawa is pondering new measures to douse the animal spirits unleashed amid the cougars, vixens, weasels and studs of the GTA.

Meanwhile all this pathetic blog wants to do is take the seller of 18 Mitchell out for a scotch. You know why.

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March 10th, 2017

Posted In: The Greater Fool

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