Friday, April 5, 2013

Who ya gonna trust?

The blog buzzbuzzhome is running an online poll asking "Who is the most trustworthy expert on Vancouver's real estate market?"

This follows a similar poll done on Toronto's market.

BuzzBuzzHome (BBH) promotes itself as a blog
focused on cataloguing all new residential developments in North America, connecting purchasers directly with sellers, and providing social tools that enable collaboration amongst purchasers and industry experts.
They have graciously added this blog to the list of options to vote for in their poll. In describing each entry, here is how our blog is summarized (click on image to enlarge):

BBH notes notes that we are "an outspoken critic of Vancouver's housing market and the way much of the media covers it. This anonymous blogger was the first person to question the authenticity of two 'condo buyers' who turned out to be employees of MAC Marketing."

The MAC Marketing Solutions scandal (we call it MAC-gate) certainly propelled our daily musings into the mainstream.

But it must be noted that the MAC misrepresentation was first spotted by the local online community and then dissected on local blogs, message boards and comment sections.

Sharp eyed contributors noticed that a Google search of one of the women named in the media stories turned up her Facebook and LinkedIn pages – both since deleted – which stated she actually worked at MAC.

This blog merely took that information, wove it together, and presented it in several readable posts.

When people ask "who is the Rainforest Whisperer or Village Whisperer," there is no single answer.

As in the MAC-gate episode, we merely act as a clearing house for the information presented on such excellent venues as Vancouver Condo Info, the Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive, Vancouver Price Drop, Real Estate Talks - British Columbia, YVR Housing Analysis, Vancouver RE and then some, Canada Watchdog, as well as statistical information from various realtors like Paul Boenisch, Larry Yatkowsky, and Arnold Shuchat.

From these and other sources, this blog tries to bring you the information that you aren't getting in the mainstream press about real estate and economic policy.

Yes, we have a definite bearish outlook on the immediate future for real estate in our fair city. It's an outlook borne of an understanding that our housing bubble has been inflated by a government economic policy that has driven housing values into the stratosphere by making extraordinary levels of credit available to home buyers. That excess credit can't continue forever.  And it's unwinding is going to hurt everyone, whether they own real estate or not.

We aren't anti-real estate.  Nor are we anti-realtor.

As part of our efforts we skeptically examine and, where necessary, attack the flaccid institution that journalism has become, particularly as it relates to real estate.

We are criticized for remaining anonymous. But as the fabulous financial blog Zerohedge notes,
anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. it thus exemplifies the purpose behind the bill of rights, and of the first amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation - and their ideas from suppression - at the hand of an intolerant society.
Though often maligned (typically by those frustrated by an inability to engage in ad hominem attacks) anonymous speech has a long and storied history in Canada and the United States.

Anonymous speech has been used by in the US by the likes of Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) to criticize common ignorance, and perhaps most famously by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay (aka Publius) to write the federalist papers.

Local industry heavyweights like Bob Rennie rail against this anonymity, as you can see from this passage from a Rennie speech to the Urban Development Institute May 17th, 2012:
I do have a huge concern over what Tracie McTavish, the president of our company calls, your “Keyboard Courage”, referring to what is becoming a dangerous and apparently acceptable practice which is, negative market commentary that is nothing but speculation.

Speculation made by spineless, signature‐less, individuals on a blog, on a blog that in most cases has less than 500 followers.

Then the next thing you know, the mainstream media picks up on the negative as fact and all of a sudden, it’s breaking news and our industry spends the next 6 months attempting to dispel the rumors and sound bites.
You can understand Bob Rennie's frustration. He can't influence the anonymous blogger or buy them out like he has done with others.

Nor can he divert attention from the issue at hand by attacking the messenger instead of focusing on the message.

As Zerohedge observes, "the right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct. but political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse."

This blog strives to present a cornucopia of information related to real estate that isn't filtered by the marketing arm of the industry's professional associations.

When people vote for the Rainforest Village in that BBH poll, they are voting their appreciation for the efforts of the local online community, voting their appreciation for those who contribute to those local blogs, message boards and comment sections.

We are, indeed, a collection of Whispering Villagers.


Click 'comments' below to contribute to this post.

Please read disclaimer at bottom of blog.


  1. C'mon Wispy
    Lift your burqa

    1. I think it's a niqab, more coverage

  2. "Who ya gonna trust?"
    Man, it ain't even close...lmao.
    Well done Whisperers, your voice is heard. ;-)

  3. protect unpopular individuals from retaliation... (?)

    C'mon, you're the most popular real estate source in Vancouver...


    Then the next thing you know, the mainstream media picks up on the negative as fact and all of a sudden, it’s breaking news and our industry spends the next 6 months attempting to dispel the rumors and sound bites.


    Then the next thing you know, [our bought and paid for] mainstream [lackeys, a.k.a. media] pick up on the negative as fact [despite our threats] and all of a sudden, it’s breaking news and our industry spends [lots of money over] the next 6 months [buying advertising in the Georgia Straight, Global TV and the Vancouver Sun] attempting to [bribe and] dispel the [true] rumors and [insightful] sound bites [so that the Advertising Divisions have leverage over Editorial so the latter only broadcast/publish positive stories].

  5. Looks like you ran away with this vote...

  6. 592 votes vs. 8 for Cam Muir... Not all is lost in the village, there's still hope!


  7. Thank you for your efforts

  8. 605 votes at 11:59 pm (86%) Whisper away!

  9. Good that you owned up to your sources. I still remember when your standard MO was to plagiarize other people's content as your own. Eventually after calling you out on it, you quoted sources and then recently actually started adding value. It's now actually fun to read your synopses because they aren't just everyone else's links. Admitting that you start at VCI and then take their observations forward was a smart thing to do.

    However, if VCI was listed on that vote along with the dog, my vote goes to VCI, hands down. Keep up the good work.

    1. While I don't like Ray's tone, as a long time reader I agree that this blog has improved significantly over time. Like everything, the more you do it, the better you get. Looks like you've made a niche of your own in the Vancouver Housing Blogosphere. Congrats!

  10. scooby snack for yah!! way to go!!!

  11. Thanks for everything you do. Your blog is a daily "must" read.

  12. Love your work! I would publish my name but the kids messed up my google account!


  13. I just love the fact that more and more folks start to open up to the idea that.....they have been fed a steady diet of b.s. about real eastate. Fact always was : it's not for everybody, and it's not always best time to buy.Now we have to face the reality and it's like in the song : " the party is over so get a f...out"...if you holding all your investments in RE. It's that simple.For some may be too late as is.

  14. l would have to agree with one of the previous comments.

    "Thanks for everything you do. Your blog is a daily "must" read."

  15. voted...Whispers by a landslide. Congrats!

  16. I always vote for the "underDOG"!

  17. not a feng shui expertApril 7, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    88% voted for...

    Well, they voted for the excellent content and not necessarily the anonymous personality behind it.

    Just who is this Rainforest Whisperer anyways? ;)

    So many good sources, and that's only for local real estate - never mind trying to keep up with a wacky world economy with sites like Zero Hedge.

    I have too much reading to get through *sigh*

  18. I come to this blog to read interesting facts about real estate, but you are kidding yourself if you think you are some sort of unfiltered independent thinker. You quote Zerohedge. You have graphs of gold and silver. Whats next, you are going to tell us about Bitcoins? Please stick to the facts that you report very well.

    "The only thing a non-conformist hates more than a conformist is another non-conformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing level of non-conformity"

  19. not a feng shui expertApril 10, 2013 at 12:34 AM

    Why not also bring up the things Zero Hedge mentions as well as real estate? One very likely financial imbalance affects us locally while the other affects us on a global level.

    The facts from a very knowledgeable financial columnist writing for a leading, non-tabloid, fairly right-wing and pro-business British newspaper: