The Biggest Real Estate Bubble Of All Time Just Did The Impossible

Tyler Durden's picture

One month ago, we said that "the Vancouver housing bubble Is back, and it's (almost) bigger than ever."

Fast forward to today, when we can scrap the almost part: according to the latest data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, nearly a year after British Columbia implemented a 15% property tax targeting foreign buyers, in May the biggest real estate bubble of all time did the impossible and in a testament to the persistence of Chinese oligarchs, criminals, money launderers and pretty much anyone who is desperate to park their cash as far away as possible, after a modest drop following last summer's tax the Vancouver housing bubble has bounced right back to new all time highs, as prices of detached, attached houses and apartment all surged to new record highs.

According to the Real Estate Board, the breakdown in prices by category was as follows:

  • For condominiums, the benchmark price was C$571,300 last month, a 17.8% jump over the past 12 months and 3.1% more than April 2017.
  • The benchmark price of an attached unit was C$715,400, 13.1% more than a year ago, and a 1.9% increase compared to April 2017.
  • The benchmark price for detached properties was $1,561,000, an 3.1% increase over the last 12 months and a 2.9% increase compared to April 2017.

The only thing that did fall in May was the number of actual transactions, as residential property sales in the region totaled 4,364 in May 2017, a decrease of 8.5% from the 4,769 sales in May 2016, an all-time record.

In other words, all that the 15% surtax achieved was to drastically slowdown the rate of transactions (or perhaps home flipping). Meanwhile, as sellers held out to find more aggressive buyers, they were in luck as the new wave of buyers has emerged, and undeterred by the 15% premium, they have been slowly but surely lifting all available offers.

While there is little we can add to this month's update that we didn't already say a month ago, below we again put Canada's housing market, and bubble, in perspective with some of our favorite charts, first showing total Canadian household debt compared to the US. Most of this is in the form of mortgages.

Next, despite Canada's low rates, the debt service ratio of an average Canadian household is nearly 40% higher than when compared to the US.

And finally, the punchline: indexed home prices in Canada compared to the US. This needs to commentary.

In retrospect, perhaps Canada was lucky that the attempt to deflate the Vancouver housing bubble failed, had it succeeded and spread across the nation leading to a historic crash and collapse in collateral values and widespread defaults, the "mean-reversion" outcome would have been devastating for the Canadian banking sector. Which of course, is not to say that Canada's problem has been fixed, but at least for the time being, the can has been kicked once again, courtesy of Chinese buyers who would rather park their cash in Canada than at home.

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Croesus's picture

The CCP knows SHTF is coming(and what that means for them)...trying to get money out of China while the gettin's good.

BurningFuld's picture

Everyone LOVES Canada!!!

Paul Kersey's picture

China has an unregulated $8.5 trillion shadow banking system. There's more than enough money so that the oligarchs can continue to buy enough Vancouver real estate to inflate prices years into the future. Wish they would get interested in my city. I'd be dumping my real estate holdings like there was no tomorrow. After all, these Chinese are willing to pay millions for crack shakes in B.C.

Ignatius's picture

A house is worth what a banker will lend (Michael Hudson) and what a sucker will pay (P.T. Barnum).

strannick's picture

Who cares how indebted Canadians are, it's the Chinese buying

pitz's picture

Then Canadian sellers should be becoming less indebted.  They're not.  Hence, its not the Chinese buying, its Canadians buying, using money borrowed mostly from other Canadians.  Other Canadians who probably sold their RE, as not many other assets these days are actually saleable for significant money.  A classic speculative credit bubble.

Pinto Currency's picture

The Toronto market is going bananas too. Chinese are not huge component there.

pitz's picture

Toronto's market is falling badly at the moment.  2013 was the high water mark.

Déjà view's picture

Hop Sing purchased Ponderosa spread down Lake Tahoe way...
Loan officer asked Sing about 'collateral'...
Hop replied...there is gold in them thar hills!
Real 'Bonanza'!

Chuck-Norris's picture

Well, the real estate in London will definitely go down

Especially now that you can't count on the cops to watch you ass

Eyewitnesses Say Community Police Fled from Scene of Terror Attack at London’s Borough Market

asteroids's picture

Did the Chinese buy with 100% cash or did they go to a Canadian bank and finance? One way they convert fake Yuan to fake Cdn and get kinda fucked, the other way the Cdn tax payer pays when things implode.

Pinto Currency's picture

Many Chinese buyers have departed from the Vancouver market and the bubble prices are back again. The bubble has limits and it will fail.

rent slave's picture

Is that why the Jews won't let us bet on sports?Or are they just afraid of me?

Quantum Bunk's picture

Yo Pitz. Its me again. Your ally on this. 

But check this out. ZeroHedge used one of my Tweets for this headline. Look here:


cool eh

subversion's picture

Bullshit. I do business in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton and the Chinese are buying most of the real estate. I have watched them take over most of Vancouver (which is now called Hongcouver). The few friends I have left in real estate have told me they have taken over everywhere and only deal with Chinese realtors now.

They park their money and let it rot or let 2-4 Chinese families live in it for a "fee". None of them have a real address in Canada and they have priced homes out of Canadians hands. I know many families that would love to buy, but the banks have told them they need an income of $300,000-$400,000 / year and 20% down.

The real problem is the Chinese 50-cent army that trolls the internet spewing lies and calling everyone racist all while they buy up the homes and businesses in Canada. Do you know how much of Fort. Mac's oil industry is owned by China? Look it up. They didn't just buy one company....they have shares in every other company as well. Already there are many jobs that require mandarin Chinese as a spoken language and soon it will be Chinese workers only as Truedough gives them everything they ask for.

Automatic Choke's picture

beats tulips..... tulips won't keep the rain off your head.   course, after the crash, you're just as broke either way.....

Pinto Currency's picture

There would be no real estate bubble without the Bank of Canada's 0% interest rates for the past 8 years.

Kotzbomber747's picture

@Automatic Choke

Tulips you can eat, the Dutch did so in the final year of WW2 when Zee Germans robbed all their food to give to their soldiers.

meditate_vigorously's picture

So they are competing with the Jews for world domination via finance?

new game's picture

cronny kill mafia jewlery style vs deception.

gee! ill place my bet right now. jew to win...

1033eruth's picture

Popped your bubble, didn't it dope?  Funny thing as a Nazi, that's the only thing you can think about - Jews.  Jews being responsible for any thing YOU don't like in the world.  Anybody that becomes successful in this world is by default, a Jew.

Well, donut, its about time you realized that its a big world.  

I make this comment based on my frustration of the quantity of Nazis that dwell here on ZH and attribute EVERYTHING negative, to the Jew which of course is just stupid crazy.  

JFK's picture

You're giving him/her/they too much credit. Nazis, while the most morally depraved, reviled and positively inhuman organization of the 20th century, were smart. Nazis were organized. Nazis were ruthless.

This loser sits at home in a basement apartment jerking off to photos of Brad Pitt in Fight Club and collecting unemployment insurance.

It's utterly pathetic than the moderators don't have the guts to censor hateful comments here. Wake up Zero Hedge.

golden kafir's picture

yup here is a picture of the richmond night market and this is the future....
funny how pitz never posts on any other story and claims not to live in bc (snicker)

pitz's picture

I've never denied that people of Chinese ethnicity are a growing group in the lower Mainland.  There has been immigration, and the Canadians of Chinese ethnicity population appears to reproduce at a rate a bit faster than Canadians of European ancestry.  Although as time goes on, the rates are converging, and Chinese-ancestry Canadians will increasingly join European-ancestry Canadians in demographic decline. 

I personally think its wonderful that they are able to maintain some of their culture when come to Canada or live in Canada for a few generations.  Sure beats turning into trailer trash and eating at McDonalds. 

I don't live in BC, but I am in the GTA and GVR frequently. 

Quantum Bunk's picture

No you are out to lunch. Its mostly local speculators. With the banks playing along. I should know.

Endgame Napoleon's picture

It is probably just the two high-earner couples who concentrate high-paying jobs in fewer households, decreasing the middle class in Western countries, but expanding the palace-buying market, not by much. Most people cannot even afford an apartment unless they have spousal income, monthiy payments from an ex spouse due to reproduction inside marriage or welfare/taxfare due to out-of-wedlock reproduction. The wages of one breadwinner from most of today's churn jobs will not cover basic bills, including housing, not without the womb-productivity rewards. But the two high-earner couples are living like an aristocracy based on power marriages.

TheRideNeverEnds's picture

Canadians should have bought the dip.

Oh well, they can still BTFATH, as we all know by now, prices are only going higher, forever. That 2br 1ba built in 1976 and never remodeled may SEEM expensive @2.3 million but in a few years when it's valued over 10 you will wish you'd have bought down here by the bottom.

pitz's picture

Too bad none of that money is showing up in Vancouver.  It might actually create economic activity there other than a RE bubble funded entirely by locals and the banks. 

pitz's picture

Not really.  You can barely even give Canadian dollars away these days. 


Vancouver - home to Chinese laundry money since The Hong Kong Panic of 1997.

847328_3527's picture

Same with Calgary and the Banff area. Lots of HK'ers. Calgary also has a massive muslim population. Even their mayor is a muslim.

Son of Loki's picture

Vancouver realtors are very creative the way they offer Cinese their RE options.

They can chose 1 condo form column A and 1 house from column B.

However, soon after closing on those they soon are hungry for more RE.

Déjà view's picture

Also turning Canesestan...f**king eh...
Glad at least Vlad has everything under control! Eddie/Russia...wise choice!

besnook's picture

home to chinese laundry money since the 1800s when they laundered clothes for money.

pitz's picture

Chinese got their big start in BC in the 1800s working on the CPR and even in the salmon canneries of Northern BC (if you tour them,  such as at the North Pacific Cannery at Port Edwards, you'll even see a machine called an "iron chink" which ostensibly was used to replace Chinese workers in the fish gutting process!).  Thousands gave their lives.  How they're treated as a significant ethnic community these days with longer-term ties to Canada than most living Canadians (even white Canadians) is nothing short of absolutely disgraceful.

golden kafir's picture

i knew it, pitz is chinese.

besnook's picture

china has always colonized with money and people, never with military might.....and canada is an easy, very strategic place to colonize.

j0nx's picture

Housing ain't crashing again folks. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The only way it crashes again like it did in 2007 is if there is a war or other catastrophe and then it won't matter anyway. Gov has hands FIRMLY on the control levers now.

NewNeo's picture

Spot on Sir! If people saw how much capital flight was occuring they would be more than a little concerned. Mackzie Instute had some research where 80 billion left China Dec 2015. By June 2016 the figure was around 200 billion per month.  The majority of that is going into hard assets like houses in Canada, U.S. Australia and Britan. Australia for example has property prices around 16 times the average yearly income. House prices should be around 3-4 times the average yearly income.... so you can imagine its going to be a very hard landing indeed!

The Real Tony's picture

Great real estate market in Vancouver and Toronto. Most trying to get a mortgage today go to the shadow lenders where mortgages start at seven percent. The big 5 banks today and in the future have mostly given up giving a mortgage to anyone who isn't Chinese. The end result is the Chinese will own everything and rent to the local Canadians. People will start to move to deserted wastelands in Canada to retire.

pitz's picture

If you dislike the Chinese, it should thrill you that they're buying (in the opinion of the brainwashed masses, but not me) at the peak of the market. 


However, I personally believe Chinese are far smarter than that with their money.  We're talking about an ethnicity that has such an innane and keen sense of value that they wouldn't be caught dead overpaying for Vancouver RE.  If anything, its other ethnicities, particularly from "the subcontinent", that want to "blame China" for speculation that is really of their own origins.  "landlord families" are heavy participants in Vancouver/Toronto's RE market, gobbling up units with as much subprime credit as they can lay their hands on.


Here, have a view at a line-up at a condo developer's sales office in Toronto recently.  Note the distinct lack of "Chinese" people:


Watch that a few times, play a game of "spot the Chinaman", and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.  Its not Chinese people, its not even people of Chinese ethnicity behind Canada's RE bubble.  There is no "Chinese" money to any meaningful extent. 

I_rikey_lice's picture

Pitz, you are full of shit once again. I have lived in Vancouver my whole life and the real estate bubble is 100% caused by foreign money, mainly Chinese. 

PS Chinese are the stupidest motherfuckers in the world when it comes to investing. If it goes up in price the Chinese will keep buying and bidding it up until it crashes. Doesn't matter if it is real estate or cryptos, they will chase every mania and bubble out there.


Fundies's picture

Sydney and Melbourne are the same. The Govt. loves it....struggling first home buyers and renters have been slaughtered.

Nexus789's picture

Will be a interesting to watch when it finally goes pop. The property sprukers are starting to panic as it looks like a slowing economy and other factors are beginning to kick in. 

pitz's picture

"stupidest motherfuckers" don't manage to create one of the most prolific export capacities in the world.  "stupidest motherfuckers" don't manage to lift themselves out squalor and build entire cities in the time that it takes typical Canadian politician dipshits to do "environmental assessments" and "aboriginal consultations" on relatively trivial projects.  Okay, you don't like "Chinese", we get it, but there's no evidence in support of your position.