Monthly Archive for February, 2009

Vancouver Condo Speculators

This long Maclenas article, “The shocking truth about the value of your home,” about the housing crash in Canada is mostly just more of the same, except for an especially long story about one Riaz Kassam. He’s been in every newspaper, just do a google search. He was also featured in the Globe & Mail on February 19th, 2009: “Bad timing exacts a heavy price.” (The Globe article also profiled Lou Skoda, the now-infamous 79-year old living on a fixed income who also bought a pre-sale that he can’t afford).

I’m not sure if I should feel bad for these people or not. On the one hand, these people will probably go completely belly up, as in bankrupt. Some were told by real estate agents, real estate companies, economists, and anyone else who had an interest in seeing the market continue to rise, that real estate prices would continue to go up for the forseable future. On the other hand, these people are the reason that housing prices are so expensive and unaffordable right now for everyone else. These people bought homes they couldn’t afford, based on the ridiculous assumption that the price of the previous residence would only increase, and the price of their new presale condo would only increase as well.

Before you feel too bad for Riaz Kassam, realize that he owns at least 4 downtown condos, which he rents out (so why does the media call him a computer analyst when clearly he’s more like a full-time landlord/condo-flipper?) and he recently tried selling a BMW online for $97,500.00. According to the Macleans article, he’s learned his lesson: “Kassam has learned that you shouldn’t always believe what you read in the papers and what the economists say on TV.”

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“It is very hard, if not impossible, to justify active management”

This article from the New York Times, “The Index Funds Win Again,” talks about a study done by Mark Kritzman, president and chief executive of Windham Capital Management of Boston, which shows once again that index funds are incredibly hard, if not impossible, to beat. I found the link at the Canadian Capitalist and couldn’t resist re-posting it here.

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