Monday, March 21, 2011

A Frightening Satellite Tour Of America's Foreclosure Wastelands

Although in my last post I said I was hanging up my Realtor shingle I find the following blog post I did on my personal blog site should be posted here as well, to both inform and enlighten those of you contemplating either buying or selling property in the near future. Caveat emptor.

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Gus Lubin

RealtyTrac is out with the total foreclosure numbers for 2010. On the whole things are getting worse.

72 percent of major metro areas saw an increase in foreclosure volume. Although some of the worst hit areas in Nevada, California and Florida improved from 2009, the foreclosure rate in these areas remains shockingly high. If not for some foreclosure suspensions due to the robosigning scandal, these numbers would have been higher.

For a frightening way to visualize the foreclosure crisis, we're borrowing a Google maps technique described by Barry Ritholtz.

Click here for a satellite tour of the foreclosure crisis >

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Note: If the above 'reality check' isn't scary enough for Canadians knowing as we do how dependent we are on the states for buying our exports (especially Alberta) i.e. if they aren't buying then we ain't spending... or as it has been said, "when they sneeze, we catch the cold", the following story makes the case that the national home price decline has further to run... possibly as much as 15%-20%, before real prices reach the long-run trend and a level more in-line with fundamentals. What's even more mind boggling is that in real terms, home prices today are comparable to 120 years ago.

Home prices falling to level of 1890s

With all the above in mind, I find it both strange and disturbing how almost nightly the evening news has story after story about how great both our economy and the housing market are here in Canada? When in fact, many believe as I do that it is nothing more than government initiated propaganda and that in all likelihood we will soon be heading into another recession). With respect to our housing market, pundits and many indicators alike show we are living within a housing bubble that could soon burst, resulting in major price reductions, as we have seen and continue to see happening with our neighbours down south.

Who's fooling who when we continue to see internet news stories coming from our financial institutions, such as this one...

Canadian home prices to rise modestly: Scotiabank

UPDATE: March 29, 2011
U.S. Housing Prices Fell Again in January for the sixth month in a row.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Realtor® John Prince, calls it quits

Well folks, the downturn in our economy and especially in the real estate industry has finally caught up to me here in the Crowsnest Pass, and has forced me to not renew my real estate license for this year, and to leave my brokerage as a result.

Therefore this will be my last post. Although, I will leave this blog up for reference purposes for people interested in what I've had to say over the years about the 'beautiful' Crowsnest Pass, its people, and local real estate market. Hopefully, in the near future, I will be able to come back to it with updates and continue on as I have before.

In the meantime, I need to find something else to make a living. In this regard, I am looking for a position as a manager for a small company or in the Hospitality/Tourism industry, where I first started my working career.

My résumé can be found here.


John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, Century 21 'The Professionals'. Serving the Crowsnest and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at: johnprince@shaw.ca

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Housing prices due to fall, says think-tank

yourhome.ca
Tony Wong
BUSINESS REPORTER

Canada’s major metropolitan housing markets are looking awfully bubbly and are due to burst, says a report released Tuesday.

The report, entitled Canada’s Housing Bubble: An Accident Waiting to Happen, by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, looks at prices in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal and Ottawa.

It concludes that housing price appreciation is frothy in comparison to historic values.

“I think at best you will see stagnation in housing prices or some kind of correction, and at worst you will see the bubble bursting,” said David Macdonald, an economist and research associate at the centre.

Housing bubbles emerge when prices increase more rapidly than inflation, household incomes and economic growth. That has been the case for Canada over the last run-up in prices, according to the report.

Macdonald said this bubble is different than others, because for the first time it is spreading beyond Toronto and Vancouver.

“Canada is experiencing for the first time in 30 years a synchronized housing bubble across the six largest residential markets,” he said.

Major banks have reached conclusions similar to those of the left-of-centre think tank. The Toronto Dominion Bank has estimated that average prices are 10 to 15 per cent too high, while the CIBC has said prices are 14 per cent overvalued.

Canada has only had three bubbles. Toronto experienced a large bubble in 1989, while Vancouver had two burst in 1981 and 1994.

Macdonald said a full-blown crash can still be avoided if mortgage rates do not ratchet up quickly and if government puts more stringent requirements on lending.

He said legislation could be introduced to return mortgage lending to 2006 criteria, where purchasers had to put 10 per cent down for a 25-year amortization. Although the federal government already put tighter restrictions in place earlier this year, buyers still have the option of putting 5 per cent down and can take a 35-year amortization on homes.

“Consumers should also play a part by not buying more house than they can afford,” says Macdonald.

The report says the last bubbles were triggered by interest rates moving up by just one per cent above the two-year rolling average.

“It doesn’t take much for consumers to take pause, especially those who are used to seeing such low rates,” said Macdonald. “You also have a lot of consumers, particularly outside Toronto and Vancouver, who have no memory of what a bubble is like or the aftermath.”

Low mortgage rates, access to easy credit and net immigration have also contributed to price pressures, said Macdonald.

Between 1980 to 2000, the historical price range for housing stood at between $50,000 and $80,000 in inflation-adjusted 1980 dollars. But within a brief five-year period from 2001 to 2006, major housing markets shot to well above that $80,000 average, according to the report.

“The comfort level isn’t there as affordability erodes,” said Macdonald.

Housing prices have stayed in a narrow range of 3 to 4 times income in the 20 years before 2000. The problem is, says Macdonald, is that housing prices adjusted for income today are anywhere from 4.7 to 11.3 times annual income in the six major areas.

Not everyone agrees with the findings of the report.

Toronto economist Will Dunning says that the market cycle is in a cyclical downturn – not a bubble.

“It is quite possible that the next phase of the cycle will be a partial reversal of the price gains of maybe 5 to 10 per cent, but this is not a post bubble collapse,” says Dunning.

“It is the operation of a functioning market in which the vast majority of buyers are making decisions based on their real needs, not the mindset normally associated with bubbles.”

Despite their differences, all analysts seem to agree that prices could fall.

Macdonald gives three scenarios in which prices might drop. The first is similar to what happened in Vancouver in 1994, a market correction through price deflation.

In that scenario, Toronto prices would decline by 9 per cent from an average of $420,000 to $382,000.

In the second scenario, the bubble would burst more slowly, similar to the 1989 Toronto bubble. In that case, prices would decline by 21 per cent from $420,000 to $330,000 over a five-year period.

In the worst scenario, a bubble would form similar to the United States and prices would fall rapidly. In that case Toronto prices would drop 20 per cent over three years to $335,000. The price drop would be slightly less than in scenario two, but happen more rapidly.

“Bringing house prices down just enough to moderate expectations but not so much as to cause a panic is a delicate balance,” says the report.

“Government policy makers, the Bank of Canada, as well as rate setters at the big banks need to work together to steer the Canadian market to a soft landing. The alternative is not acceptable.”


Comment: These days buyers are far and in between due in large part to fears of a major correction in pricing. Until this straightens itself out we will continue down this road of stagnation and decline. The sadness is the real estate sector has typically been the one to lead the way in any economic recovery, so it does not look good for us as a country for some time to come. Confidence must be restored, and when it is we will have a return to normalcy. But what is normal? And when will the market and people feel normal again, is the big question?


John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, Century 21 'The Professionals'. Serving the Crowsnest and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at: johnprince@shaw.ca

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spirit of the Crowsnest: The story of union in the coal towns of the Crowsnest Pass


Next Year Country

Alberta Federation of Labour


The first booklet in the Project 2012 series is the “Spirit of the Crowsnest”. It tells the stories of miners and their families in the Crowsnest Pass.

The miners of the Pass were crucial to the birth and growth of the Alberta labour movement. Miners were faced with conditions of hardship and economic insecurity, which produced radical responses. Their struggles resulted in some of the most fundamental gains for Alberta labour, including workers’ compensation and a basic union right to be recognized in the workplace.

Feel free to download the booklet and pass on the web address so that others can learn about the fascinating history of the Crowsnest Pass.
Download here.


John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, Century 21 'The Professionals'. Serving the Crowsnest and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at: johnprince@shaw.ca Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mayoral candidate announces intentions

Crowsnest Promoter - PRESS RELEASE
Pass Herald - PRESS RELEASE

0John Prince has already served one term as Municipal Councillor and is presently seeking election to the Mayor’s chair.

He and his wife Diane of 40 years have lived in the Crowsnest Pass for over 16 years and have developed a strong sense of community. They both are actively involved as volunteers in many organizations throughout the Pass.

With over 20 years in the Hotel and Airline industries, Mr. Prince has a wealth of knowledge and management experience in Hospitality and Tourism, gained from having worked and lived in three provinces. As well, he is a graduate of British Columbia Institute of Technology (B.C.I.T.) – Hospitality, Tourism & Business Administration. He and his wife have also been owner managers of several small businesses in the retail sector. At present, he is a Realtor® with CENTURY 21.

Service to the community and a passion for politics along with a firm belief that there's no point "just complaining about things, you have to do something about them" is why Mr. Prince is running for Mayor.

"As a community, we are at a crossroads in time", he says. "New leadership, with vision and a plan to take us forward is what is needed here, at this time. Some people think as a community we have hit rock bottom. I say, if that is the case then we can only go up from here. In this regard, I believe the sky is the limit as far as this municipality’s potential is concerned. Tear down the firewalls that have held this community back and get ready to embrace the world, I say. We really can be all we can be if people here are ready to believe in themselves again. My job will be to bring people and this community together again in a common effort to instil that spirit of 'Mountain Freedom' in God's country, here in the 'beautiful' Crowsnest Pass."

It’s time! It’s time for a new voice with fresh ideas. It’s time for change!

http://www.johnprince.ca/election2010


John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, Century 21 'The Professionals'. Serving the Crowsnest and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at: johnprince@shaw.ca

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Friday, July 16, 2010

CROWSNEST PASS - OPEN HOUSE

OPEN HOUSE

SATURDAY, JULY 17, 2010 * 1-5 pm

1 - 2:30 pm

1806-82 Street, Coleman

Located just off Hwy. #3 in a quiet cul-de-sac - close to Coleman's business area- this well-built, attractive, three bedroom bi-level has a lovely mountain view to the east. A well designed kitchen with large countertop workspace looks out to a unique, terraced, back garden - the levels of which rise to the top of the sloped, well-treed lot. This beautiful property won't last long !! $249,900.00

3 - 5 pm
2722-216 Street, Bellevue


Great spacious 1700+ square foot family home in 'beautiful' Bellevue. This large one and a half storey older home has been extensively upgraded, with two additions and a 26'x40' garage/workshop. Upgrades to electrical, plumbing, roofing, siding, windows, insulation & much more. 2010 - new kitchen with oak cabinets, stainless steel appliances - fridge, steam & self cleaning convention stove, microwave and dishwasher. Spacious living room with wood stove, four bedrooms including a huge master bedroom on the main floor with Ensuite and a walk-in closet to die for. This home is an absolute must see! $299,000.00


John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, Century 21 'The Professionals'. Serving the Crowsnest and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at: johnprince@shaw.ca

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Crowsnest Pass Mountain Getaway

$249,900 (Reduced)

Located just off Hwy. #3 in a quiet cul-de-sac - close to Coleman's business area- this well-built, attractive, three bedroom bi-level has a lovely mountain view to the east. A well designed kitchen with large countertop workspace looks out to a unique, terraced, back garden - the levels of which rise to the top of the sloped, well-treed lot. This beautiful property won't last long !! C3428014

John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, Century 21 'The Professionals'. Serving the Crowsnest and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at: johnprince@shaw.ca

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