Thursday, May 31, 2012

That's Gold Jerry! Gold!

The Internet can be a wonderful thing.

Ideas can be shared and, as realtors have found, it's a fabulous way to spread your message to intended clients.

But sometimes it can make you look foolish. Bloggers know this all to well.

Make a prediction that's wrong... and people can go back and bring it up for years to come.

Give investment advice that is wrong... and people will hold it against you for years.

One of our faithful readers, pipewrench, responded to our post and shared a link he had come across from a Whistler realtor from February 2010.

A realtor named Lillian was boldly (and publicly) wagging her finger in admonishment at potential buyers who might be sitting on the fence about a real estate purchase in Whistler.

She said:
"For people expecting the real estate prices in Whistler to drop after the Olympics, I’m afraid you’re going to be sorely disappointed...The message is, if you’re waiting for prices to drop before purchasing property in Whistler, you may be too late. The time to buy is now."
Ah yes, the'buy now or forever be priced out'mantra.

On full display then as it is now, despite the fact the realtor acknowledges that (at the time of the posting) the Whistler market was "already 15-25% lower than previous prices in 2007" and that "current prices in Whistler are down to 2001 levels."

It came, of course, during a series of articles talking about how real estate prices had collapsed post-Games at other Olympic venues.

Realtors, naturally, told you it was different here.

It's a relevant theme to touch on because as we noted on May 18th, the local real estate cabel has been attempting to dissuading people locally from believing all the negative mainstream media articles about a looming real estate crash and that buyers shouldn't be expecting a significant correction in our local housing market.

As Tsur Sommerville said:
"To expect across-the-board 10%, 15%, 20% drop in house prices, I think that being rather, er, hopeful, for a buyer to expect that."

For real estate bear blogs who are watching the current Whistler Real Estate market crash hard... the 2010 posting is pure gold.

Here you had a realtor telling you in Feb. 2010 that "with a high level of inquiries and good prices, Whistler is considered good value in the resort market."

Whistler was over priced then. And it's over priced now - hype notwithstanding.

The same goes for real estate in Greater Vancouver.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a screenshot of the blog post (click on image to enlarge):

Now... I would love to link directly to the post so you can go and see it for yourself.  But I can't.

A curious thing has happened since pipewrench posted the link in the comments section last Monday.

Another faithful reader, Makaya, picked up on pipewrench's comment and reposted it over at the excellent real estate discussion site, Vancouver Condo Info.  

VCI seized on it's newsworthiness and, under the heading Whistler's Nasty Collapse, made it yesterday's main story.

However, about 8 hours after the post, VCI's readers suddenly came up on a dead link... the embarrassing article had been removed. Clearly some realtors were unhappy with all the embarrassing attention.

But not so fast.  

VCI contributor, patriotz, quickly accessed Google cache and retrieved the article.  Another contributor, The Ant, collected screenshots and posted the content of the article for posterity.
Real Estate Value In Whistler Best In 9 Year
Posted by: Lilian Feb, 2010

For people expecting the real estate prices in Whistler to drop after the Olympics, I’m afraid you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

According to George Klimock from The Whistler Real Estate Company, property prices in Whistler today are already 15-25% lower than previous prices in 2007. In fact, current prices in Whistler are down to 2001 levels.

With a high level of inquiries and good prices, Whistler is considered to good value in the resort market, with, for example, a 2 bedroom condo is now listed at $ 519,000 as opposed to the more expensive $ 630,000 a few years earlier.

According to the 2010 Whistler Report from Landcor Corp,the average price of a condominium has started to climb recently, back to the $400,000 mark, first established in 2002. Since 2008, the condominium market has flattened. But, new ownership types, including quarter share ownership, have been introduced into the market, increasing affordability. This likely has helped to keep assessed values stable at or close to the $400,000 level. Townhouses in Whistler, typically priced between condominiums and single detached units, ranged from $650,000 to $750,000 from 2001 to 2007, but dropped below $600,000 during the recession.

Those looking to step into the Whistler market for the first time under the notion of a lower price, may be disappointed. Whistler homeowners receive good cash flow from renting their properties out most of the year and as such are not as motivated to sell as homeowners in other areas. Whistler is considered to be near the bottom end of pricing when compared to other resorts such as Sun Valley and Aspen, with price adjustments as low as they were in 2001-2002.

“The mistake many people make when they look at prices of property in Whistler is to compare [prices] with the price of properties in their city. You can’t compare Whistler to Vancouver because Whistler is a destination resort, designed for people to own secondary and vacation properties, not their primary residences. In order to get an accurate picture of what prices are like for resorts, you have to look at other resorts like Sun Valley, Park City and Aspen. In fact, Whistler is currently less expensive than Sun Valley and Aspen and Park City is higher priced.Whistler is currently a good buy for resort property,” says Klimock.

Klimock predicts that the current sales volume in Whistler will continue throughout the year with a fairly active winter season. He believes the Olympics will be good exposure for the resort, but through the long term rather than the land rush that occurred in 2002 because speculative buying due to the Olympics has been virtually non-existent. The market will take 6 to 8 months to increase in sales, with more destination travelers arriving to the resort in March and April; after the Olympics, but prices may increase after next year.

Ultimately, Klimock believes that sales volume in Whistler will gradually increase, but Olympic success is a non-issue. “Buyers are still interested in Whistler, with or without the Olympics. As a world-class resort, Whistler has unparalleled world access and is in close proximity to a major city, Vancouver. No other resort in North America can claim that. Having the Olympics is great marketing for Whistler, but I don’t think it would have any major effect on prices or the amount of people buying.”

The message is, if you’re waiting for prices to drop before purchasing property in Whistler, you may be too late. The time to buy is now.
Kudo's to the blogging community for their quick action.

And to paraphrase that famous line from the Seinfeld episode, all I can say is... That's Gold pipewrench! Gold!


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Please read disclaimer at bottom of blog.


  1. So, a prediction finally came true. Will wonders... ...V

  2. Yeah recommending luxury resort real estate in the middle of a global financial crisis. RE agents like this are scum.

  3. Really "Scum"?
    A bit much don't you think. They are sales people and not financial advisors.
    If an overweight person walks into a cupcake shop is the shopkeeper "scum" for suggesting a cupcake. I am not a realtor nor do I support the ridiculous pricing and the market but I really don't understand statements such as yours. Buy or don't buy. Calling someone "scum" shows your true colors.

    1. In this clip from Freakonomics, authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner discuss how incentives influence behavior and ask the question: Does your real estate agent really have your best interest in mind?

  4. Scum is scum and a realturd is a realturd.

  5. hedgeyness

    William Black, Associate Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and author of, "The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One"

    Interesting video's on how the system is trying to suppress information.

  6. I don't understand your total listing. When new listing are 258 and sold are 64 then how come inventory change become -2. I guess price change does not matter in these listings. Do you mean many listing expired or taken out.

  7. Yes... that is what is happening.

    Some are expired listings from 3 months ago (perhaps they will realist later with the same realtor, a different realtor or hold off relishing).

    Some are listings that have been cancelled, possibly to be relished days later with a different price (and they appear on many sites as a 'new' listing).

    I don't have numbers re: cancelled vs expired, so can't post those numbers.

  8. Realtors are made to look stupid yet again... they compare themselves to other professions, but in reality they are like used car salesmen and nothing more.

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