April 15, 2017

Doomed To Repeat The Fed’s Mistake

A report from the Gulf News. “It used to be that every year at this resurrectionary season — the blossom out, the sunshine warmer, the grass greener — a thought would rise from the tomb where it had lain buried since the previous autumn: should we live elsewhere? Perhaps all that reading Country Life did was to enchant us with reflections of our notional wealth: that our house, staring across the street at equally ordinary houses, could — thanks to exorbitant London property prices — be exchanged for a yellow-stone 18th-century villa surrounded by ancient oaks and apple orchards in Gloucestershire.”

“Perhaps that was all there was to it — a luxurious daydream. Retirement is an ancient idea. In the words of Sir Roger Gale, the Conservative MP and pension campaigner, the victims include ‘a lot of very elderly, very frail people… [who] have sunk all their disposable income into their properties.’ They are trapped. They cannot sell their homes at the price they paid for them, and they can’t afford the inflated house prices or rents in Britain. A state pension, down in value by 10 per cent since June last year for those in the Eurozone, is what they must survive on. Only the meanest bigot could obtain Schadenfreude from such a pitiful situation, but those of us who stayed put — nervous at the prospect of losing our friends and, in a sense, our lives by moving elsewhere in our sixties — we at least can feel thankful for our wisdom.”

From The Australian. “Perth homeowners are ‘taking very big hits’ in a falling local real estate market that the West Australian Chamber of Commerce warns may get even worse under a national housing affordability package favoured by the Turnbull government. Perth real estate agent Willie Porteous said WA was in a uniquely dire situation. The iron ore-rich state now has the title of mortgage default capital of ­Australia. ‘People can still sell, but they are taking some very big hits,’ he said.”

“The real estate collapse in Perth has reached all price brackets. Mr Porteous said that four years ago he took offers of $9.25 million then $9.5m to the owners of a home in Perth’s dress circle western suburbs but they turned the offers down because they were holding out for $10.75m. Last week, they sold for $6.5m. ‘We had a patch like this in 1983, then again in 88, 89 and 90 but never as bad as this,’ he said.”

“In the southeastern Perth ­suburb of Beckenham, where modest property prices climbed during the construction phase of the resource sector boom, Tina Paramor is preparing to sell in a market that has plunged 20 per cent in the past two years. The 35-year-old’s first foray into the investment property market was a neat three-­bedroom, one-bathroom townhouse close to shops and public transport.”

“The saleswoman for a Perth industrial equipment supplier paid $320,000 for the property ­almost two years ago then invested in a kitchen renovation, but her real estate agent, Charlie ­Bellow, predicts Ms Paramor could lose more than $50,000 counting stamp duty. ‘I am hoping I can break even,’ she said. ‘It won’t put me off ­investing, though this hasn’t been the greatest experience.’”

“Mr Bellow says three years ago in the same area, the median house price was $450,000 and he was clearing about 70 per cent of houses at auction. ‘Some of the properties I was selling were going for over $120,000 above the reserve,’ he said. Now, he said, it was ‘quite regular’ to encounter sellers who would be making a loss.”

From Global News in Canada. “If you’re looking to break the ice at your next Toronto cocktail party, just mention real estate. Every day brings fresh headlines like this: ‘Toronto home prices soar 33.2 per cent year over year.’ The average price of a Toronto home jumped from $688,000 to $917,000 over that period. That’s 11.7 times the median family income in the city.”

“Naturally, this state of affairs brings with it the usual calls to ‘do something about it.’ But the cure could be worse than the disease — partly because we have no idea what the disease really is, or how we got it. Are foreign investors to blame? Domestic investors? Immigrants? The Ontario Municipal Board? NIMBYism? The Green Belt? Low interest rates?”

From Canadian TV. “Vacant homes are such an issue in Vancouver that the city has implemented a tax in effort to encourage owners to rent unused spaces. But it seems that the problem is not contained by the city’s borders. Recent census data shows there are thousands of unoccupied residences in the suburbs. Last year, 66,719 homes in Metro Vancouver were deemed ‘non-resident’ occupied, according to Statistics Canada. Research has shown most of those homes identified by that term are actually empty.”

“But the problem is spreading, a Simon Fraser University city program director says. In Surrey, there were 11,195 homes deemed non-resident occupied in the 2016 census. There were 5,829 in Burnaby, 4,021 in Richmond, and 3,068 in Coquitlam. Some municipalities saw dramatic increases last year: 27 per cent in North Vancouver, 35 per cent in White Rock and 79 per cent in Delta. White Rock and North Vancouver are among the suburbs with the highest percentages of non-resident occupied homes.”

The Vancouver Sun. “The City of Vancouver is finally admitting that they cannot build their way out of the housing affordability crisis. The supply myth has been driving ever-escalating amounts of market housing, but affordability is getting worse, not better. The city now says that ‘we have plenty of supply — what we need is the right supply.’”

“The problem is that they don’t seem to know what the right supply is, other than it needs to be affordable. And they do not know how to achieve that affordability. So it still falls back to the same old doctrine.”

“By engaging with limited interest groups and insiders, the city has set emerging directions before broader public input. This is putting the cart before the horse. The focus of the emerging directions is of course reflecting that feedback, which is — the same old response — more supply. But none of the income levels identified as needing housing options will likely be able to afford the proposed new housing options.”

“Cambie Corridor condos are abundant, but they are not affordable. Pre-sales advertise starting at $1.55 million for a two bedroom plus den and $2.15 million for a 2 bedroom and den. And many units are vacant as recently confirmed by the 2016 census.”

“The industry must be pleased that the same supply myth continues to be applied even though the city admits it doesn’t work. More expensive market supply will not make things more affordable. It will, in fact, continue to intensify the affordability crisis as millennials are demo-victed from their older housing and priced out of Vancouver. How many more times will the city do the same things expecting different results?”

The Business News Network. “Gluskin Sheff Chief Economist David Rosenberg is taking Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz to task for staying on the sidelines and not hiking interest rates. In an interview on BNN, Rosenberg said there’s nothing wrong with prudent caution, but Poloz is going overboard by not aligning monetary policy to the current level of growth.”

“‘Let’s face facts: you don’t have to be the biggest bull in the world, and I certainly am not, to see that nominal GDP growth in Canada is between three and four per cent. I mean, that’s not strong, but it doesn’t warrant a 0.5 per cent policy rate,’ he said. ‘You have measures of inflation between one and a half and two per cent, and the bank is keeping the overnight rate at 0.5, and saying it’s going to keep it there until probably early next year at the earliest?’”

“Rosenberg said the low benchmark rate is aggravating housing conditions, which he has characterized as a bubble in Toronto. ‘As long as you keep [nominal] rates negative for this long, and it’s already been eight years, it fosters bubbles in other parts of the economy. Housing is usually a principal candidate,’ he said. ‘Just go back to when the [U.S. Federal Reserve] kept real rates negative for so long in the last cycle, and look what happened to their housing market.’”

“Rosenberg said the Bank of Canada may be doomed to repeat the Fed’s mistake if it chooses not to take action. ‘There’s a risk for the Bank of Canada here, in my opinion, of ultimately moving rates up too little, too late, much like the Fed did,’ he said. ‘We have a Taylor Rule for Canada which measures where the policy rates should be. [It’s] nowhere near 0.5 per cent. At a minimum, it should be 2.5 per cent right now. When you have a central banker talking about speculative excess in the housing market, you’ve got to start looking in your own backyard because part of that excess is leverage, and part of that leverage is being deployed because real rates are as negative as they are.’”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-04-15 09:58:24

‘the victims include ‘a lot of very elderly, very frail people… [who] have sunk all their disposable income into their properties.’ They are trapped. They cannot sell their homes at the price they paid for them, and they can’t afford the inflated house prices or rents in Britain. A state pension, down in value by 10 per cent since June last year for those in the Eurozone, is what they must survive on. Only the meanest bigot could obtain Schadenfreude from such a pitiful situation’

I’ve got out my tiny violin Sir Roger.

I posted this last night:

147 Stockbridge Ave, Atherton, CA 94027
6 beds 8 baths 11,706 sqft

For Sale
Zestimate®: $19,549,074

10/03/16 Price change $18,950,000-13.7%
05/02/16 Listed for sale $21,950,000+399%
05/02/14 Sold $4,400,000


Nobody bats an eye. Of course, we all watch flipping shows, right? Lick of paint, new custom door, viola! Sixteen million Yellen bucks coming up, right after the commercial.

There shouldn’t be TV flipping shows. It’s not a natural state of affairs. And listening to the REIC tell us “oh, we aren’t building enough” is nuts. It’s just an excuse not to do what really needs to be done which is pop the lending part of the bubble. We’ll see it pop eventually, but just how high up will we go before it all gets like NYC or Miami Beach?

Comment by rms
2017-04-15 10:58:32

Why do these places have so many pillows?

Comment by nolookpass13
2017-04-16 08:59:02

More comfy sitting on a pillow after being butt hurt.

Comment by 2banana
2017-04-15 12:02:53

How did property taxes go DOWN when the tax appraised price went from $322K to $4.7M????

Comment by elmer goo
2017-04-15 21:25:31

With prop 13 you can transfer your tax rate one time…if older than 55. It’s prop 90.

Comment by Jingle Male
2017-04-16 05:28:44

Zillow is just behind on their data. The property taxes are currently $88,000/year in 2016 based on an assessed value of $7,750,000.

The $4,000,000 purchase was a tear down. There is a new house constructed on the property. If and when it sells for $18,000,000, the new taxes will be about $200,000/year.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-04-16 06:52:36

Like I said, lick of paint, new door. So they bought it, torn it down, got plans approved and built it in two years? I thought Californians couldn’t build anything? No matter, they can’t sell it and add them to the pile of defaulters dead ahead.

‘Hamptons estate home completed in May 2016′


Something doesn’t smell right.

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Comment by Jingle Male
2017-04-16 09:08:14

There is no question the deal seems a bit bubblicious. You know this drill better than anyone: Builders keep building what sells until it doesn’t sell anymore. It is possible the builder may get stucco given the softening of the high end market on the peninsula.

It is hard to find for sale properties in Atherton. The former owners of this place bought it in 1993. In 2011, they obtained a reverse mortgage for $900,000 (due in 2077!)…probably so the widow could keep living there until she died. A turnover rate of once every 20 years is typical.

Comment by SuzeB
2017-04-15 17:58:46

But, wait. Elderly, frail people, you would think, have been in their homes for quite a long time. So you would think they be able to make quite a profit by selling their home at today’s inflated prices….unless they sunk all of their disposable income by taking out home equity loans? Did they get in over their heads in the last 8 years?

Then again, if they sold their homes, where would they go? With a 91 year old mother still in the home she has lived in for 60 years, I can relate….few of the options are appealing, or affordable.

As for “flipping” shows, I have never seen one nor do I plan to. I don’t have cable TV. I still have a “flip” phone. Yes, I am a Luddite and flippin’ proud of it. ;-)

Comment by elmer goo
2017-04-15 21:30:10

Mom and dad’s neighbor’s house in inland Oceanside sold in 2 days, multiple offers. Way over zillow’s inflated zestimate. 650k.

Comment by Mr. Banker
Comment by rms
2017-04-15 11:00:02

Isn’t that where Stuart Little lived?

Comment by 2banana
2017-04-15 12:33:05

Should have taken the $1M…

What did she prove?

Comment by scdave
2017-04-15 13:11:55

She proved that she could not be bought.

Comment by 2banana
2017-04-15 13:18:08

She showed them!

Now her run down house, surrounded by a mall on three sides, rents rooms to low income folks…

But she showed them she could not be bought!

I could see if this was a natural preserve or a historical landmark or religious shrine or something…

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Comment by scdave
2017-04-15 14:32:14

She did not care about the money then and does not care now. Hard for you to grasp that eh.

Comment by 2banana
2017-04-15 15:14:27

You are right. She is dead and had to depend on near strangers for care…

Comment by scdave
2017-04-15 16:12:18

She is dead and had to depend on near strangers for care ??

What no one knew was that Edith had an unexpected friend on the project.

Barry Martin, the construction project manager, knocked on her door one day, and he and Edith soon became good friends.

Maybe the lack of friends that would do this for you is why you cannot understand

Comment by 2banana
2017-04-15 17:15:18

A guy knocks on your door and short time later he is taking care of you on your death bed?

I can’t figure out if you are naive or just a few beers short of a six pack

Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-04-15 11:00:03

“Mr Porteous said that four years ago he took offers of $9.25 million then $9.5m to the owners of a home in Perth’s dress circle western suburbs but they turned the offers down because they were holding out for $10.75m. Last week, they sold for $6.5m.”

I absolutely LOVE these kinds of stories, where greed costs people dearly - in this case $3 million.

Comment by 2banana
2017-04-15 12:04:19


Comment by Ben Jones
2017-04-15 12:27:27

‘I absolutely LOVE these kinds of stories’

The one guy says you are a bigot. You must hate dumb people who lose their a$$ gambling with borrowed money, or something.

Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-04-15 12:45:39

A bitter snowflake called me a bigot? Figures…

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2017-04-15 11:49:53

Not just in Great Britain where people are stuck, an article that shows how inflated homes and rents has reduced both geographical and social mobility in this country:


Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-04-15 12:49:31

This doesn’t square with the REALTWHORES mantra that Everycity, USA is experiencing a mass influx of new, wealthy residents.

Comment by 2banana
2017-04-15 11:59:02

As tax day approaches…

Ponder how all government programs massively grow so far beyond their original intentions and promises of the politicians that pushed for them…

104 Years of the Income Tax: Then and Now

As Americans finish yet another tax filing season, let’s take a look at the 104-year history of the income tax:

In 1913 the top marginal income tax bracket was 7% — today it is 39.6%.

In 1913 the marginal income tax bracket range was 1% - 7%. Today the range is 10% - 39.6%.

In 1913 there were 400 pages in the tax code. Today there are 74,608 pages in the code.

In 1913 the family standard deduction was $98,425.45 in today’s dollars. The family standard deduction now is just $12,600.

When the income tax started in 1913, only 358,000 Americans had to file a 1040. Today 148,606,578 Americans file 1040s.

Read more: http://www.atr.org/104-years-income-tax-then-and-now#ixzz4eLVZng8r

Comment by MightyMike
2017-04-15 19:38:38

Life was miserable in 1913 compared to today. Among other things, taxes have funded a lot of medical research.

Comment by Race Bannon
2017-04-15 20:32:38


Manassas Park County, VA Housing Prices Crater 9% YoY


Comment by rms
2017-04-15 22:29:38

Warfare became expensive in the industrial age as armored vehicles and aircraft were introduced. Taxes.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-04-15 12:24:19

‘predicts Ms Paramor could lose more than $50,000 counting stamp duty. ‘I am hoping I can break even,’ she said. ‘It won’t put me off ­investing’

God hates a quitter Tina. You get right back up on that horse and buy!

Comment by 2banana
2017-04-15 12:26:45

Gotta be in it to win it

Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-04-15 12:47:16

She’s a casino owner’s wet dream.

Comment by Financial Moralizer
2017-04-15 14:46:32

They are going to build another massive new city in China. The
author of this article believes it will solve the housing bubbles in other cities.


Comment by Financial Moralizer
2017-04-15 15:35:39

I don’t know that much about China, but didn’t they already build a bunch of those “ghost cities”, and that didn’t seem to help. Well, ya got to hand it to China, imo. They don’t mess around with building things. Go big or go home.

Comment by Financial Moralizer
2017-04-15 16:12:58

I think, the difference is this new city is supposedly going to be a “2nd capital”, very close to Beijing. So maybe not as much like some hastily-constructed “ghost town” farther away.

Comment by Jingle Male
2017-04-16 05:48:49

Yes, Ordos, located in inner Mongolia is about 750 kilometers west from Bejing. Xiongan is about 100 kilometers south.

The Chinese are learning: Location, location, location!

Comment by sod
2017-04-15 14:49:57

Guess I gotta keep renting:

Lack of supply and continued demand will push up home prices about 5 percent nationally over the next 12 months, according to property information service CoreLogic.

“Home prices continue to grow at a torrid pace so far in 2017, and these gains are likely to continue well into the future,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

“Home prices are at peak levels in many major markets and the appreciation is being driven by a number of dynamics – high demand, stronger employment, lean supplies and affordability – that will continue to play out in the coming years,” Martell said.

Comment by SuzeB
2017-04-15 18:03:11

Egads. Same here. Do we have to wait until 2020 or is this R.E. hyperbole?

Comment by sod
2017-04-15 18:52:17

Don’t ask me, I pulled all my money out of the stock market at DOW 17,500!!

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-04-15 15:24:08

Santa Clara County, CA Rental Rates Crater 6% YoY


Comment by Ben Jones
2017-04-15 15:31:37

‘With household debt at the highest level in at least two decades, the Bank of Canada is unlikely to use higher rates to cool the housing market because of the ripple effect it would have on the rest of the economy, according to Capital Economics’ Jonathan Loynes.’

“The Bank of Canada confessed this week that speculation is partly responsible for the recent upswing in house prices, but doesn’t believe that higher interest rates are a solution to the problem,” Loynes wrote in a note. “While the Bank of Canada is well aware of the potential risks housing imbalances pose to financial stability, it believes that new mortgage financing rules will mitigate the recent rise in highly indebted households. Raising interest rates in the near term would obviously make it even more difficult for already heavily indebted households to service those debts, putting the entire economic recovery in jeopardy.”

“Moreover, the Bank still doesn’t believe and won’t say publicly that there is a housing bubble,” Loynes wrote. “That said, it’s unrealistic to ever expect any central banker to admit to a bubble.”

Greenspan did.

Comment by 2banana
2017-04-15 16:11:51

Is that what is called “painted yourself into a corner?”

Comment by Financial Moralizer
2017-04-15 16:37:39

I was looking for information on Japan, and ran across this interesting bit about their new-home market, which is their biggest.


“Uniqueness of the New Home Market in Japan

One of the most conspicuous characteristics of the new home market in Japan is that newly-built homes lose value quickly and are rarely used longer than 20 to 25 years before being demolished.”

“Because everyone expects new residences to lose value so rapidly (due to the lack of a secondhand market, among other reasons), for many years developers have had little incentive to build houses that would retain quality in the long term.”

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2017-04-15 17:03:39

I thought those Japanese houses were all built out of paper and stuff. No sheet, my collective Godzilla movie watching years convinced me that they were like that. But yes, I have read that the houses are built to not have a long life for reasons I forget now.

Comment by Financial Moralizer
2017-04-15 17:08:17

“As a result of this policy, combined with post-WWII demographic trends and (some would argue) a cultural preference for “new” things over “old” things, the overwhelming majority of residential sales in Japan are in the new home sector. ”

I think I like that idea of looking at housing. Build for today, expect it to lose value like a car or anything else, tear it down in 20 years and make a new one. Who wants to live in some old 50 year craphouse anyway? We like new things.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2017-04-15 17:18:14

If they had that mindset in the US, could you imagine how cheap houses would become ? Why finance a place for 30 years when you intend to leave it in 20? etc. They would become more a commodity with a driven off the lot depreciation hit.

Comment by Race Bannon
2017-04-15 17:53:14

“They would become more a commodity with a driven off the lot depreciation hit.”

Precisely what they are.

Comment by Financial Moralizer
2017-04-15 19:00:28

Maybe the reason they don’t build long-term, permanent structures like we do, is because they ran out of usable land? So to keep the builders busy, they just rebuild the same lots over and over.

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Comment by elmer goo
2017-04-15 21:54:00

In Vietnam, housing lasts about 30 years. Brick and concrete. Average house costs less than 15k to build.

Comment by sod
2017-04-15 18:39:50

The house I once “owned” was built in 1996, we basically had to gut it and remodel in 2012 when we sold it. So you need to be able to afford a complete remodel and replacement of most major appliances and the roof at the halfway point of a 30 year mortgage. 30 year mortgages shouldn’t exist. That would do more to control prices than anything else.

Comment by Aqius
2017-04-15 21:58:49

hey sod, I see your 1996 & raise you a house from 1972.

I stripped it down to cement & wallboards. poured bottles of bleach all over the floors & let it brew for a week in this 2000 sq ft 2-story house, because my pack rat eccentric father in law HID CASH ENVELOPES FULL OF HUNDREDS IN BILLS around all the junk, so I couldn’t hire a cleaning crew!!

took almost 300 trips to the dump, often twice a day in a beater dodge truck to empty this hoarder nightmare. still have the receipts.

to add some color to the story, I had russian women driving by out front in new mercedes during probate (public records) licking their chops in full makeup /big smiles asking if “I vant to zell? vant to zell!?”

now it’s gypsies at the door lowballing for that “leetle truck (Mazda) out front.” they love japanese brands.

speaking of which I’ve noticed the Harbour Freight Store in Citrus Heights turns a blind eye to the daily thriving “body repair shop” in their parking lot by said mentioned.

bada bing

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Comment by rms
2017-04-15 22:34:44

“30 year mortgages shouldn’t exist.”

+1 Indeed. I wish Bethany McLean could buy in to this thought.

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Comment by leydan
2017-04-15 18:58:53

Isn’t that pretty much the idea behind manufactured homes/trailers? Put one down on a plot of land, then eventually it gets too old and you demolish it and put another one down. It’s somewhat unfortunate there’s such a stigma around living in them, as they can be quite nice.

Comment by Financial Moralizer
2017-04-15 19:33:52

This is way off-topic, but if you want to see a pretty intense video of today’s full on street battle in Berkeley (warning, it is violent).


Comment by SW
2017-04-15 21:54:32


Comment by new attitude
2017-04-15 21:58:09

Both sides yelling “racists”


Divided States of America, by stock in Depends.

Comment by palmetto
2017-04-16 08:57:01

“Divided States of America”

Oooh, ya know that’s SUCH a catchy little phrase coined by da ADM (agenda driven media). Like it’s something new! Since when has the US never been divided? The US was born of division. Over its history, there have been many scuffles, clashes, riots and conflicts in many parts of the country. The difference now is that the visuals are more readily available.

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Comment by redmondjp
2017-04-16 23:16:18

You said it! I just got back from a vacation in the San Juan Islands north of Seattle. I visited both the ‘English Camp’ and the ‘American Camp’ on San Juan Island.

It seems that nobody could decide whether those islands were in America or Canada, so both British and American armies had camps set up there. They didn’t work it out until 1882 or thereabouts, after which both camps were abandoned and taken over by farmers/ranchers.

And our politicians no longer settle disputes by having duels. So there’s that. I like to think of that as progress. So I laugh when people say that we’ve never been so divided. Civil war, anybody???

Comment by rms
2017-04-15 22:42:45

The economic tide isn’t lifting all boats.

Comment by palmetto
2017-04-16 08:09:25

Here’s a shot of one of the anti-fa guys getting a wedgie.


Comment by Financial Moralizer
2017-04-16 09:15:01

I’m guessing a lot of these antifa kids will decide their Soros paychecks aren’t worth getting their faces smashed in.

Comment by phony scandals
2017-04-15 21:59:16

Such A Night - Dr. John


Dr. John - Right Place Wrong Time


Comment by azdude
2017-04-16 05:27:22

headed down to walmart this morning to get handyman supplies.

Comment by phony scandals
2017-04-16 08:10:09

Movin’ to Montana soon
Gonna be a Dental Floss tycoon (yes I am)


Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-04-16 06:23:43

Mountain View, CA Rental Rates Crater 8% YoY


Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
Comment by phony scandals
2017-04-16 08:38:34

“He just grinned and shook my hand, “no” was all he said”

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2017-04-16 08:41:17

“Oil City”

Comment by resistance
2017-04-16 21:50:19

“Naturally, this state of affairs brings with it the usual calls to ‘do something about it.’ But the cure could be worse than the disease — partly because we have no idea what the disease really is, or how we got it. Are foreign investors to blame? Domestic investors? Immigrants? The Ontario Municipal Board? NIMBYism? The Green Belt? Low interest rates?”

He names them both right up front… 100% complicit in the fraud.

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