*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Tuesday 31 July 2012

Reposting: Unload your Toronto condo. Fast!

Just over a year ago I said the Canadian housing bubble was going to pop, but my mortgaged-up-the-ass friends told me it wouldn't. We have not bought in, and thank god. Even now we have several times the average net-worth for our age (shows how little Canadians save), and far more fluidity. Soon our idiot-friends will have a bigger mortgage than their house is worth.  Oh, and my profession is recession-proof; their's aren't.  Now the burst has begun, and summer of 2017 I see 50% off Vancouver's peak, and 30% off Toronto's.

How did I predict this? Easy:
- I have seen two fifteen year boom/bust cycles in Canadian housing already
- interest has never been cheaper, and when it becomes expensive these people can't carry their mortgages
- uhh... the American one went down just a few years ago and has not hit bottom yet, since banks are trying to hold inventory
- double/triple? dip recession
- recessions in the US, Europe, China..
- there is no more money left to squeeze from the middle-class
- get out when people say, 'but it's a reasonable price for Manhattan', in Toronto!
- get out when people say, 'but it's different here!'
- get out when people say, 'you're throwing your money away on rent!' (Like you can't throw it away on interest, property taxes, maintenance, renovations or condo-fees)
- get out when people say, 'buy now or you'll never get in!'

Especially the last one.  There are rent/mortgage calculators you can find online to see if you should buy-in or wait: WAIT!  Rents are reasonable in Toronto; real-estate still isn't.  You'll do far better to rent and invest for now, financially, and have far more flexibility (should you lose your sales job in a recession, for example).  Now we just wait to buy some moron's house...

Originally posted: Thursday, 3 February, 2011
Another business article from Toronto is telling you condo purchase is not a disaster.  First, consider the source: a business article.  Never mind that a crash has to come, even if you do not believe this economy will precipitate a crash: I have seen three housing bubbles in my forty years, so I shouldn't expect to see another three before I die?

Even in a stable economy, here are reasons from the article that you should never buy a condo:
In the GTA, the average asking price for newly built condos rose by 8 per cent to $530 in the fourth quarter of 2010, from $493 in the fourth quarter of 2009. [The price of a small house!]

In the former city of Toronto, new construction averaged $643 per square foot. In the downtown core, it was a lofty $723 per square foot.

Resale condominium pricing... with existing units selling for $374 per square foot on average in the GTA. In the city of Toronto it was $487, and in the downtown core it hit $518. [A loss of fifty to twenty-five percent for the seller!  However, that's per square foot, since the newer ones are smaller they will be even less attractive and the loss should be considerably more.]

The new construction market is typically supported by investors, while resale condos have a higher end-user component. [The very definition of a 'bubble'.]

Foreign investors looking to the relative safe haven of Canada have also piled into the condo market. Many of the investors are from Asia and the Middle East. [Get your money out now!  They will.]
On a related note, though this article tries to cheerlead the housing market, it sure sounds like the market is getting flooded by new housing.  But this article is more telling: too many people in Ontario are up to their eyeballs in debt.  I certainly did not predict the Toronto boom would last this long, but if 'value' has doubled in a decade, it should make the 'correction' that much more harsh.  Good thing I want to buy in in three years.

Saturday 28 July 2012

Road biking is boring

Rode 95km today. I think I've decided road biking is boring. Maybe I have had too much stimulus dodging traffic on a fixed-gear. Maybe I am getting sick of the godawful noise and stench of cars, and that my life relies upon the attention, IQ and goodwill of the common driver. Maybe I do not find the idea of going home to Ontario to 80km limit roads people drive 110km, which do not have paved shoulders. Well, saves me the cost of replacing my road bike in Canada.

We're meant to think road biking is experienced like the picture here.
But there are a few things wrong with the picture:
- more men than women ride
- most of us do not live near the Dolomites, or similar
- have the time to ride in it
- much less fly out to it
- and where are all the fucking cars?

No, here is where I get to ride in Tokyo.

But I shouldn't complain, because here is where I get to ride in Toronto.

I'm still well into commuting by bike, which will need a new fixed-gear in Toronto, and I am still going to keep a toe into road biking in Japan: Fuji 100km circle ride in September, some mountain rides and a brevet or two.  I am well finished with any notion of distance road biking in Ontario:
- few paved shoulders
- fuckwit drivers
- straight paved roads
- safer 'rail trails' are dead straight and without hills
- uninteresting scenery
- 'roadies' are dicks

To go along with my 'breeder-bike', I will just get two more when I go home:
-the fixed gear for commuting through eight-months of the year, and unglazed days of the winter:

- the Krampus for the winter four months, and the trails in and out of the city for all twelve.

I'll sell both the fixed gear and the road bike in Japan.  I'd planned to keep the road bike here, but in summer when I'd visit it's too hot even to ride.  Selling both I should get the cost of the fixed-gear in Canada.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Canadians mealy-mouthed?

No, because more often they are straightforward hypocrites.
There have been a string of drug/gang-related shootings in Toronto, and those gangs are primarily Caribbean, and most often Jamaican, but YOU MUST NOT VOICE THE LAST TWO ITEMS in Canada.  Except I did, on Facebook.

I thought I was fair about it.  I made sure to point out that most Jamaicans in Toronto, and even most I have met in person, have not committed crimes, have criminal-records or connections.  I even quoted this:
Studies across North America now are demonstrating that immigrant communities actually have lower levels of criminality and lower levels of gang membership than people born in North America.
- Scot Wortley, a University of Toronto criminologist and gang expert
But in Canada, if you mention race, neutrally or positively too, YOU MUST BE RACIST!  So, my Facebook 'friend' got up a big wind of liberal self-satisfaction, and got close to using the r-word on me, but did not have the guts, of course.  To which I replied:
Crime rates are not consistent in all communities, however 'community' gets defined. I think it is irresponsible not to address it; just as it is irresponsible to address it in the way it too often is: 'all x people are...' You know as well as I do that many people hold the latter view. Avoiding the topic entirely in the misguided, and cowardly, 'politically-correct' way, in no way stops people talking among themselves to paint an entire group with the same brush, so avoidance achieves nothing positive. Don't have the study to hand, but there was an interesting one on the fear response to images of different people: every group, including black men, had the highest fear response to images of black men. That is a problem. It's not from experience I would wager, but from media images. Anyone but Morgan Freeman get casted as a self-controlled and cerebral character?
According to him, I am the "only one who brought race into the discussion", which to a liberal Canadian counts as racism, and only because they don't want to deal with their own racism: I've blocked him from Facebook as too stupid.  I have no fear of an honest discussion of race and racism, because when you use good science, you find out that races differ more internally than externally, which is a longer way to say that 'race' doesn't exist in a biological sense: it is a social construct.  Now since it is a social construct, and these kids shooting each other come from one community, maybe we should be addressing the causes in that subset of that group of people.  No?  Guess we'll just have to let more brown children get shot, because you and our media won't get as worked up as you do about the fair-skinned ones.  I think their lives are equal, but I'm the racist, not you who doesn't think so...  This is confusing.

Oh, and they've just decided to dramatically ramp-up gun searches and security at this summer's Toronto 'Caribbana', but nobody will admit it has to do with the Scarborough shooting, or the fact there's been a shooting at at 'Caribbana' most every year.  No, if you give reasons for a dramatic change in policy, you'd be racist, even if you are of the same race...  More confused.

I am not afraid of the process in any honest discussion on race, because I am honest enough to know how much or little racist I am, that such would be my flaws, and when I should discipline my reactions to people.  I guess I am not as afraid as the other guy of confronting my demons...  Then again, I am not an Asian-Canadian who made sure to marry white (which his parents could accept), not black or brown, and live on the 'right side' of Roncesvalles where the 'good schools' are, without the social housing and the other kind of people.

Addendum: the stupid, it hurts on this comment thread, too.

Kawasaki W800

Is this not the most beautiful fucking thing you have seen putting a motor between your legs?
"I'll be in my bunk."

I'm not even into motorbikes, nor likely to get one, but this I want.  Yeah, you can call it a rip-off on older style, but then Kawasaki itself did make bikes like this, not just Triumph.  I'd already chosen this online as the bike I'd get, if I had the coin, reason to stay in Japan*, and the commuting and touring need.  On the weekend I saw the W650 on the highway in Gunma, and as beautiful as that was, the 800 is the better bike#.  I don't know from bikes, but this is: a perfect Japan bike (commutes and rides short to medium), and a bike a middle-aged man would look great on without any questions about what he might be compensating for.

This is what a bike should look like, not a wanking crotch-rocket
habitual-criminal's ride
nor grandpa's couch.

* I'd never buy a motorbike for Ontario: season's too short, the other drivers too terrible, the scenery uninteresting.
# If you think this is too small a bike your dick's smaller than mine, you're a lot fatter to boot, plus overestimate the engine needs of touring Japan (and your location too, probably).

Saturday 21 July 2012

Surly Krumpus

Tempted by the Moonlander, but truth is the Krumpus probably best fulfills my snow commute and trail needs.

Monday 9 July 2012

Japanese Nuclear Incident Reporting: do Fuck Off

If you live in Japan, you must read this for yourself.  In short, none of the news told the truth, because everybody in 'Japan Inc.' is involved in a 'circle-jerk'.  If you want, read my posts on Fukushima.  Thank god for the Internet for news, even if you have to sift out the crazies.