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April 19, 2021 | The Shadow

Budget Day. This won’t take long, despite the fact the doc ran more than 720 pages and took two years to arrive. The feds are addicted to spending. No wonder grey Bay Streeter Bill Morneau couldn’t hack it any more. Chrystia and Justin are taking deficit and debt to levels nobody ever thought possible. The […]

April 18, 2021 | Bringing up Baby

When people have babies they’re swimming in expectations, obligations and hormones. Those are the prime days of vulnerability. The insurance guys descend, prey on emotion and walk off with nice commissions on needless policies. Realtors have a field day selling people debt and deeds even though the kid would be a happy renter. But perhaps […]

April 16, 2021 | To The Core

Just three more sleeps before B-Day. Will Chrystia and Justin drop the hammer on housing? Nibble around the edges? Throw gas on the flames? The debate has been raging. Some bankers (RBC, BMO) are literally begging for a govy intervention to save people from themselves. Other financial heavyweights (TD, Scotia) argue things will self-correct, especially […]

April 15, 2021 | Suck it Up

When not doing my day job, I moderate comments on this blog and try not to throw up. It’s a challenge. Here’s a recent example. April 14, 2021. The beginning of the end. When two of the largest banks, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, report earnings on the same day. Between these two banks, […]

April 14, 2021 | Mill Day

Enough clucking from the wrinklies in steerage about their fat real estate gains, dividend torrents, thirsty underwear and dangerous conservative urgings. Welcome to Millennial Wednesday here at GreaterFool. Today let’s muse on some of the things the kids are worried about, which means the oldies can spend this valuable time washing their Def Leppard T-shirts […]

April 13, 2021 | Patience

How do you possibly buy a house when bidding against maniacs? Or sell to one? This is perplexing. Stressful. Extreme times have brought extreme conditions and high emotions. “Here you are having to put your life’s one big decision of buying a home in 10 minutes of viewing time,” says a freaked-out buyer in Burnaby. […]

April 12, 2021 | Froth

We talk much about the real estate bubble. It’s real. And dangerous. Fueled by emotional buyers, greed and fear. What about a financial bubble? Is that real? Also a looming risk? Lately equity markets have been at record levels. The Dow. The S&P. The tech-heavy Nasdaq, even Bay Street. New York markets are up more […]

April 11, 2021 | Sheepless

There will be no capital gains tax inclusion rate increase in the budget next Monday. No creeping tax on realized home equity, either. And no wealth or inheritance tax. That’s the will of the Liberal grassroots, as expressed in the policy conference just completed. Add to that comments by the federal housing minister (‘no capital […]

April 9, 2021 | Is that it?

Was that just a first warning shot over the realtors’ bow? Or the only volley? Yesterday the federal bank cop upped the stress test rate, effective June 1st. Now anyone seeking an uninsured home loan has to prove the ability to carry payments at (a) the market rate +2%, or (b) at 5.25%, whichever hurts […]

April 8, 2021 | The Haves

Up or down? Better or worse? Should we party or turtle? The numbers seem bewildering. Seven in ten own real estate, which is going insane. The personal savings rate has not been this high since I had black chest hair (thick, manly, be envious). Stock markets and financial assets are galloping. Portfolios plumping. The US […]

April 6, 2021 | Too Much, Too Fast

A survey by Merrill has found that 70% of Americans now own equities. Stocks. Funds. ETFs. Financial assets. The typical 401k (equivalent to our RRSP) is stuffed with liquid, publicly-traded, negotiable investment assets. And here? In 1991, 64% of us owned real estate. By 2016 that grew to 67.8%. And it has now touched 70%. […]

April 5, 2021 | Exit Strategy

Louis, sadly, came here and read Friday’s blog post. What a drag You might recall that the topic was the tsunami of wrinklies currently being unleashed upon our nation. Over the next decade and beyond, this rabble of aging Hippies, disco freaks, deaf former heavy-metal fans and people who actually remember dial-up Internet and cars […]

April 4, 2021 | The Melt-up Melt Down?

Planning on buying a home this month? Don’t. You’ll probably pay too much. Real estate analysts, economists, aficionados, experts and key players are now all expecting the same. Bubble, meet prick. The federal budget on Monday the 19th will either set up a blow to the housing market to be delivered by CMHC, or do […]

April 2, 2021 | The Time Bomb

Soon we get a budget. Don’t expect pretty. Red ink to the horizon. All will blame Covid. Fine. We get it. Pandemics are rare and hideously costly. But they also pass, as this one will. However some things don’t pass, and are far more consequential. Like age. Currently Canada is sliding into a demographic crapstorm […]

April 1, 2021 | Game-Changer

Just in time for spring showers, spring flowers and puppies (at four grand a piece), we have new lockdowns. Covid ain’t giving it up. BC is shuttered. The crazy Kelowna ski hill kids are all fired. Ontario hears the bad news today. ICUs are full. Public health officials are scary. Schools going remote again. Every […]

March 31, 2021 | Blindly

Ride with me to a medium-sized city east of Toronto. My sidekick and I have something to share. He’s a lawyer. A real estate guy, handling deals for a decade now. After reading yesterday’s post about blind auctions and the effect they have on property values, he offers this experience. Single family ranch home in […]

March 30, 2021 | The Ladder

The rating agency Fitch periodically parses our silly housing market. The report it produces goes to institutions dealing with residential mortgage loans collateralizing covered bond programs and residential mortgage-backed securities. That’s probably not you. But here’s the interesting conclusion: Fitch’s Sustainable Home Price is derived by benchmarking the current local home price against the sustainable […]

March 29, 2021 | Varmints

Blog doggess Sue borrowed a bunch of money against her home from her bank. The one with the Penguins. She knows the drill. Get a HELOC. Invest the proceeds in non-registered financial assets. Make interest-only payments. Then deduct every dollar from taxable income. All good. Especially when the loan is so damn cheap – the […]

March 28, 2021 | Rad

Three weeks out from the maiden Chrystia budget, the stats are toe-curling. The virus may be vanquished by the end of 2021 but the legacy will live on. In other words, hide your money. From April of 2019 until the end of that year Ottawa spent $10.6 billion more than it took in. That’s called […]

March 26, 2021 | ‘We are Watching’

For the past nine months he’s been chronicling the bizarre housing in his neck of the woods on IG. “It’s crazy,” he says. “Each day I posted listings that were either insanely overpriced, missing photos, photos that were poor quality, houses that were messes, interesting features like stripper poles, etc.” Apparently that’s an appealing feature […]

March 25, 2021 | The Guardian

Are the bankers worried? One of them – a big poohbah at the nation’s largest lender – says it’s time to reconsider tax-free house gains. Gulp. Heresy. The country’s dominant real estate board has reacted in unvarnished disgust. And from the trenches, here’s the report of one of our own – slogging daily to hand […]

March 24, 2021 | Giving it up

How craven has the world become? Reflect on these words from a Blog Dog currently on contract with one of the Big Banks. Working in any capacity that supports mortgage applications these days is similar to an all night shift in a Bangladesh garment factory..  The frenzy you detail on the blog each day is […]

March 22, 2021 | The Illusion

In speaking with Evan and Barb on Monday it was clear. Nobody is spared from this. They’re both 40, live in a rented flat (a nice one, leafy street, decent hood, Yorkipoo) and have interesting jobs. WFH and virtual these days, of course. “But the before times were good,” she says. ”They’ll come back.” Savings […]

March 21, 2021 | The Gift

A row house on a leafy street an hour (by car) west of the urban core sold last week with a flurry of offers and for hundreds more than asking. Yawn. Old news. This crazed behaviour is everywhere. But it’s still interesting a decidedly middle-class home with no new renos increased 50% in 24 months, […]

March 19, 2021 | Wrinklies

Abdullah (“call me Ab, please”) has a problem. His folks. Like a lot of GenXers these days. It’s complex dealing with wrinklies, especially in a world where up is down, safe is risk and the virus is neverendum. The cost of living is galloping higher. Incomes are not. Health care is under siege. Getting old […]

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