Saturday, July 21, 2012

Wilfully blind, voluntarily ignorant?

Two days ago we told you about an article in BC Business Magazine that heralded "The Real Estate Mania is Over."

The article observed.:
History shows that Vancouver has always been a real estate boom-and-bust city. Now that the most recent mania appears to be over, with sales falling and prices threatening to follow, there's no reason to think that's going to change.
They told us...
Fear and worry are rampant in Vancouver these days: the mighty real estate market is struggling. Whether it is in a tailspin or due for a monstrous crash is the subject of endless dinner conversations, office cooler chats and online messages.
But ultimately BC Business Magazine dismisses the inevitable crash saying:
Was this a massive bubble? Slightly. When prices rise that much, we’re nudging bubble territory. But bubbles imply resulting crashes, and I don’t believe we’re going to have one. Of course, prices will drop a bit, but an American-style catastrophe isn’t going to happen.
All the evidence and the author concludes 'I don't believe we're going to have a crash'?

There's a moral here.

The doubters will only believe it's a bubble if we have a crushing crash.

Until the crash occurs, no manner of charts, theories, or tales of congruent circumstances (leading to this very outcome in other countries) will convince them until prices actually collapse. To them... real estate always goes up.  It may have 'little pull backs', but it always goes up.


Nothing personifies this wilful blindness like realtor Mary Cleaver. Introduced to us yesterday via Garth Turner's blog, Mary is one of those who have swallowed the Kool-aid in pitcher sized gulps.

For your enjoyment pleasure, two videos from Ms. Cleaver.

The first is from January 2012 and Mary explains why buying real estate is far better than the stock market:

Next, our pixacious airhead attempts to counter the 'housing crash' stories on CBC's National back in May by insisting Vancouver isn't in an overheated market. From the youtube video description:
Contrary to general statements made regarding the real estate market in Canada, the Vancouver housing market is far from over-heated. April stats tell a story of lots of inventory and fewer sales than in both March of this year and April of 2011. With the exception of parts of East Vancouver, much of the city is in a balanced market and trending toward a buyer's market. Buyers find themselves with plenty to choose from, time to make a good selection, prices in many areas stable or even lower than in the last year or two, and historically low interest rates. For Greater Vancouver statistics for April, go to For more information and to contact Mary, go to
And now the video...

As I said, until the crash occurs no manner of charts, theories, or tales of congruent circumstances will convince people like Mary of what is coming until they see, with their own eyes, prices actually collapse.

And when they do, you can bet all Mary will be able to muster is: Who could have known?

Maybe we need to do our own youtube or car cam video to explain it to her?


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  1. Holy crow, she comes across as d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-e. Mary Cleaver must surely epitomize real estates last stand as she furiously bangs out the message she wants to get across while trying to allay legitimate fears of the correction currently in progress.

    I am guessing Mary is up to her neck in high leverage debt just like a lot of realtors who could not help but taste the product they sell.

    But is she also daft? "All markets are local she insists".....yes we get that part Mary. Just using the word "local" is not garlic against the vampire of all bubbles though. Sorry dear, but you do not get any more cred by just invoking the "local" mantra as if that some how makes Vancouver special. Nor does it confer special expertise on you as a realtor any more than it automatically makes a used car salesman a trusted source for technical data on vehicle manufacturing.

    See dear, Beirut is local too. So are Juarez and Fukishima and Damascus. Good grief girl, if there is no bubble (in one of the most bubbly cities on planet earth) then nobody will ever know what a bubble is.

    But to suggest getting into the market is a good idea because bubbles can only be know "after the fact" just seems a little risky where investment advice is concerned. Especially given the strength of the recent downturn.

    I am not sure if this expression of opinion from Mary makes a better reason to insist realtors take more courses before acquiring a license or it is justification to review standards of ethics the industry practices.

    Maybe a bit of both is a good idea.

  2. Never take advice from a professional (the word is used loosely in the case of REaltors, Mortgage brokers and Financial Planners) about their profession since their livelihood depends on the health of the profession. In their case it is not just DENIAL but outright DECEPTION since they are the first to see the signs of pending doom in their profession. It is in their vested interest to keep inflating the bubble as long as possible.

  3. Newsflash. Mary Cleaver has closed her Youtube account. I guess she does not want to be famous on this blog after all.

    Did anyone keep a copy? We really need to archive more of this material before it vanishes from the historical record for good.

    1. Well I been reading the GF site. Seems Mary received some abusive posts to her blog and closed it down as an outcome of too much negative attention. That is very unfortunate. Some of the bears are not in any mood to be festive about being right I suppose. Maybe they got lost on their way to Zero Hedge.

  4. Another difference between owning stocks and real estate... I can sell my shares in 20 seconds and pay $9.95 for the transaction.

    Try that with your townhouse.

  5. Mary, Mary, you are quite contrary... how does your garden grow?

  6. Still have not hit 20,000 listings.

    1. I would have made a better guess if money was involved (that is my feeble excuse for being soooooooo wrong!

      September will see a big bounce though. especially now that so many people are seeing the light.

  7. You need to understand, Mary believes every word she says on these videos