Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thurs Post #2: Global says "Sales have dropped profoundly, but prices only slightly down." Other media starting to question these 'statistics'

No matter how you dress the statistics, the reality of what is going on in our real estate can no longer be  ignored.

And Global is out with another story conveying how bad it is:

"Last month sales of detached homes, townhouses and condos were down 30% from the same month last year. September sales were also well below historical averages in the Greater Vancouver area. And although prices aren't falling at the same pace, sellers are learning it takes patience.
Look around and you'll see a lot of for sale signs in Greater Vancouver's suddenly very cold real estate market. It's a buyer's market with far too few buyers and far too many sellers. In fact sales have dropped so profoundly, they're almost 42% below the 10 year average... 
Home sales last month fell a big 32% from a year ago. They're even down 8% from August and August was already gone into the record books as the 2nd lowest sales month in 14 years...
To put it simply, just six months ago for every 100 properties on the market 19 would sell in a reasonable time frame. Last month that dropped to just 8."
The silver lining for the industry is prices.

And they are quick to provide stats showing that prices are holding firm, stats which Global relayed to viewers:
"While sales have been dropping the same can't be said about prices, at least not to the same extent. Benchmark prices for a detached home in the Lower Mainland actually climbed, but only by half a percentage point. Townhouse prices declined by 2.7% and apartments were down 0.5%. And if you look at the five year trend you can see real estate prices in Greater Vancouver peaked in May this year and are now headed lower."
Of course these are the Industry provided stats.

The picture they paint is of a market holding firm.

But now even some in the the media are starting to question this data.

In yesterday's Financial Post, reporters are starting to question the methods used to derive the low price decline figures.

Headlined 'As Canada's housing market slows, industry tries to paint positive picture', the Post takes direct aim at that 'funny' numbers.
Organized real estate is unable, it seems, to admit the glory days may be behind it.
The Post takes aim at the latest outrageous twisting of statistics, this time from the Toronto Real Estate Board.
This month’s gem comes from the Toronto Real Estate Board: It complained September didn’t have enough working days — too many weekends. 
I always thought people bought homes on weekends, but it seems the transactions are registered during the week. 
“The number of transactions was down 21% in comparison to September 2011,” said TREB in a release. “However, it is important to note that there were two fewer working days in September 2012.” 
This logic has produced a new measure from TREB: Sales were down only 12.5% — not the actual 21% — from a year ago on a “working-day basis.”
Presto-change-o and a 21% decline becomes only 12.5%.

Have you ever seen any real estate board reduce sales increases because some months had more working days in them?

Of course not. And the mere fact a real estate board would even attempt such nonsense shows you the level of panic permeating the Industry right now.

And the manipulation doesn't end there. As the Post notes:
Vancouver’s real estate board likes to tout what it calls the MLS HPI (home price index) composite benchmark price for all residential properties. It was down 0.8% to $606,100 in September from a year ago and off 2.3% over the past three months. 
Doesn’t sound too bad. 
But when you pull out actual sales data, you find year-over-year prices in August in Canada’s most expensive housing market were off 6.9%. For the first two-thirds of the year, prices fell 7.3%. 
The decline is happening; it’s the severity that seems to be under dispute.
And the Industry will do all it can to mask that decline for as long as possible. For once seller's truly appreciate what is going on, prices won't be so sticky anymore.

Kudos to the Financial Post for finally starting to point out what is actually happening with prices instead of serving as an avenue to re-broadcast press releases from the various real estate boards.

Journalism needs to start scratching the surface and informing Canadians on what is really going on in real estate and how it is about to impact the economy.

I wonder how long it will be before a local reporter finally starts to take notice of these shenanagains?


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  1. The guy being interviewed says "people don't have to sell"? Some people do, and that will be the catalyst for falling prices. These guys seem to think it's all a big game.

  2. Hey whisperer, the article you mention was published in the Financial Post, not the Globe and Mail.


  3. The RE cartel is not happy.
    Its just a matter of time untill the truth comes out, the real unbaked numbers.
    Wait and see what happens when the Chinese and Canadian Gov look into where much of the purchase money for many houses came from.
    Kids owning million dollar+ houses whose father was a tradesmen,Com party member.
    The Chinese are aware that there are suspect transactions sitting in off shore RE.
    Do you know how hard it is to make a million dollars in a communist country?
    Many laundromats, many auctions.

  4. The Global TV RE pumpers are at it again, desperate to keep the pleasing picture of a so-called "healthy market" alive. "Prices absolutely have not dropped".

    Sellers can sit on high prices in their listings all they want. It just shows however that they are unmotivated to sell. With an MoI around the GVRD of 8 - 24 months depending on locality and asset, if prices remain where they are sales will just continue to tank and listings soar until prices are forced to cave in and meet free market forces. In a buyers market as they said, buyers have all the power. Plenty to choose from, nothing to get desperate about since it can only collapse at this point.

  5. According to Globals line of reckoning the markets gonna be awesome when it hits 30k.

    I guess its true, the bigger the better.