- the source for market opinions


February 21, 2019 | Sad

My, my. In Canada, you say? Political assassination? Eyebrows flew when our top civil servant (Privy Council head Michael Wernick) told MPs on Thursday he thinks somebody could be offed during the coming election campaign. “I worry about the rising tide of incitements to violence when people use terms like ‘treason’ and ‘traitor’ in open […]

February 20, 2019 | Painful

This is ridiculous. Seriously. Four posts on RRSPs? I must be losing it. However, my mailbox is brimming. The masses cry for direction. So before we move on from this deadly topic, here are some answers. “I have around 1,000 ounces of silver bullion,” says George. “Am I able to somehow put that sliver into […]

February 19, 2019 | The Finale

  Once upon a time my father was a high school principal. He always drove white Buicks, had a legendary moustache and eventually made $10,000 a year. Huge deal or, as a child, I would not have been informed of the achievement. In the early 1950s my parents bought a house in the Toronto burbs […]

February 18, 2019 | ‘My Greatest Fear’

It’s been over 12 years since Ottawa did a pivot and taxed income trusts. It was a shock. Actually, a betrayal. In the election campaign a year earlier the Harperites promised the sweet tax treatment of income flowing from these vehicles would never be changed. Then, boom, the hammer fell. Hardest hit were those investors […]

February 17, 2019 | The winners

The top federal tax rate in the US is 37% and doesn’t click in until income soars past $500,000. In Canada, combined with provincial tax, folks making over $220,000 pay up to 54%. Of course some states (California, NY, for example) have high state taxes so ‘wealthy’ people in fact give over half their income […]

February 15, 2019 | The Fraud

Five years ago this pathetic blog prattled on about the Frankenumbers realtors were churning out. Monthly, for example, the Toronto cartel would quietly revise old stats to eliminate deals that didn’t close, without public disclosure. Realtors would double or triple-list a home (ie. on multiple boards) and sales stats would plump as a result. Published […]

February 14, 2019 | Choices

Diversion 101. When politicians want you to stop looking at something, they find a shiny new thing in the other direction. Get ready. So Canada’s big engineering firm, SNC Lavalin, is quite the outfit. Fraud and bribery scandals in India. Ditto in Libya. Senior executives charged and on trial. And a massive corruption investigation over […]

February 13, 2019 | The Fallacy Brothers

Drew and Jonathan Scott are interesting. Born in Alberta, moved to LA. Serial entrepreneurs, risk-takers, entertainers. They’ve done everything from manage a bikini store and been mall cops to flipping houses, recording country music, selling a cruise tour and of course, creating the Property Brothers TV franchise wherein they appear as a realtor and a […]

February 11, 2019 | Farewell

How could anyone forget that look? As a crusading daily newspaper columnist decades ago I, of course, knew everything. To stem runaway deficits all the feds needed do was economize, prioritize and take tough choices. Let enterprise be free. Stand down. Govern lightly. How hard was that? And don’t tax consumption. Daily I pounded Ottawa. […]

February 10, 2019 | Milk the Rich

How much tax is too much? How much is too little? What’s fair? Rumour has it a certain orange-topped US president will try to win re-election by proposing a big personal tax cut for the middle class. Some of his wild-eyed opponents go the opposite route. The top personal rate, they cry, should be 70%. […]

February 8, 2019 | Vulnerable

And just when you thought the central bank would chicken out on interest rates… Well, forget it. With the latest jobs stats there’s no way the cost of money’s going down in 2019. Economists expected 5,000 new hires in January. We got 66,800. More people joined the labour force (103,700) that in any other month […]

February 7, 2019 | Kaput

Being a full-service blog, we don’t just titillate and split like a flirty beagle in heat. Nope, you also get follow-ups. Here are some things you should know… Gerry Cotten did, in fact, croak. The sole guy in charge of storing the Bitcoin for 115,000 clients of his ill-fated Canadian-based Quadriga exchange was admitted to […]

February 6, 2019 | Nowhere To Hide

In the GTA, where six million souls toil, dwell and freeze, there’s no speculation tax. No empty-houses tax. No higher property tax for the property-rich. The lower-than-BC foreign buyer tax has had zero market impact. There are no politicians lobbying for more taxes on real estate. Nobody got elected promising to gut homeowners or crash […]

February 5, 2019 | The Landing

My, my. Imagine telling the house-horny masses in Vancouver two years ago that this was coming: Overall sales tumbling 40% The better part of two years’ worth of inventory sitting, waiting for buyers New listings overwhelming the market – up 244% in a month. Prices in the best hood in town down 14% Of 100 […]

February 4, 2019 | Kleptocurrency

“I was one of the lucky few,” says Ian, “who made a significant amount of money from Bitcoin.  I thought I would share a story with you about the process of getting money out of that system.” You bet. Ian’s story is compelling. Getting lucky on a speculative flyer like Bitcoin is one thing. Actually prying […]

February 3, 2019 | Just Watch

Dick and Jane (not their real names) want to buy a SFH in 416. It costs $1,145,892 (the average). With land transfer tax, but not counting other closing costs, the actual price is $1,184,677. D&J have no choice but to cough up a 20% downpayment, since no lender will provide them with CMHC insurance on […]

February 1, 2019 | Brrrrr

January property sales fell 23% in Victoria. In Calgary they were 16% lower, where the median house price toppled 5.6%. Word from Edmonton is dire. Montreal seems stable. In Halifax, where it’s yet to snow this winter, the average detached house has jumped 17% while DOM is down 15%. Yes, all real estate is local. […]

January 31, 2019 | Us & them

Politicians. Used to be one, of course. Learned a lot. (a) You’re most popular on the day of your election. After that it’s a steady fade. (b) People rarely vote for you. They vote against the other guy. (c) Talk about ‘us’ and ‘them’ a lot. It always works. (d) Tell people what they want […]

January 30, 2019 | The Desperate

Nobody actually knows how many families are being driven into the rapacious arms of the sub-primers. But it sounds like lots. And what a price they’re paying. For example, a report out of Calgary this week cites 6,000 applications being made to a single MIC (mortgage investment corporation), with people desperate to borrow funds at […]

January 29, 2019 | The Longs & The Shorts

Apparently a lot of people think Canadian real estate will collapse. When she blows, they believe, it’ll be an event similar to the US housing bust. Swept away, or grievously wounded, will be banks, credit unions and half of Bay Street. This is based on real, and scary, facts. Households owe more than $2 trillion, […]

January 28, 2019 | Bitbrains Revisited

Investing isn’t gambling. The sooner you learn that, the happier you’ll be. Especially if you’re a young cowboy Alpha male with a discount trading account. Or a hipster crypto fanatic with a loaded credit card. There’s a big world full of sharks out there ready to eat you up. This week’s example is Bitcoin, which […]

January 27, 2019 | The Unwinding

Financial markets have done well lately, proving those who sold last month may have taken losses for nothing. Looks like there’s more to come. Simple reason. Trump. He just had a tough week. Trump pandered to Rocket Man Kim but now there’s evidence North Korea lied about blowing up its missile sites. Satellites just found […]

January 25, 2019 | All Stress, All The Time

When the feds imposed the mortgage stress test, realtors and housing bulls scoffed. Yet more tinkering, they cried. Won’t matter! Well, it did. In 2018 prices dropped nationally for the first time in memory. Sales have cratered in most cities, and the sales mix has altered drastically. Cheap properties have been pushed higher by increased […]

January 24, 2019 | Not Fake

Earlier this week a poll claimed 46% of Canadians are less than $200 from financial insolvency at the end of each month. Some critics scoffed. Fake news, they said. One cell bill from oblivion? Absurd. But there was more. The Ipsos survey results included this: a third of respondents said they routinely cannot pay monthly […]

January 23, 2019 | The Campaign

Elections are exciting, especially when you’re in one. Scary, too. In my life I have won and lost. You can pretty much sum up the entire candidate experience in one night. When you win, the hall is packed that evening with supporters and brand new friends. When you lose, it’s almost empty. People love to […]

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