Look out below

This began in Vancouver (as this blog reported) four months ago. Now the average SFH is off more than 12%, on its way to thirty. It began in Toronto in the last three weeks with detached homes. It’s in full flower with condos. garth turner

We rent.

Which is good because in my leafy suburb of Victoria I walk my doodle through perfect lawns and rhodos ebullient and watch the for sale signs rise like spring mushrooms, last their appointed 90 days and disappear without change of occupants.

Real estate chat is, I fear, dull when you have no skin in the game: no rapture on the way up, no dispair when you are losing 10K a month in capital on top of the taxes and maintenance. Blessedly, Susan seems able to nest without actually owning the land she plants up with vegetables. The boys can fire their Airsoft guns fully aware we are renters, not owners. Our view is no less delightful because it is on a two year lease.

As Garth points out, leading edge boomers are coming to the endgame for their houses. The kids are in university or holding down that barista job. Having three empty bedrooms is only an invitation for boomerangs. And so they sell.

On the Dog Walk Index (DWI for short.) the house for sale are all owned by people in their late fifties to mid sixties. The eighty year olds bought in 1970 or inherited and can’t imagine living anywhere else – who can blame them?

Victoria’s market firmed up a bit last month – lots of 600-800k houses sold. But the bigger houses just sit. Because who in their right mind wants to lock down 1.5m plus at this stage in the market?

One of the interesting things about renting is that only the very rudest people ask. I am happy to tell them; but I am also happy to cross them off my Christmas Party list.

I suspect that, assuming our lease is renewed (and it almost certainly will be) in about three years we will look quite clever having missed the up and avoided the down. And we all sleep very, very, soundly under our rented roof.

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