I’m back, my sister’s now a Mrs. and the salmon was delicious.

I found and wanted to share a couple of interesting bits from June 28’s The Vancouver Sun that I read on my flight north.

One was a graph originally made by the chief economist for BMO Capital Markets, a huge bank in Canada. The hypothesis behind the graph: Is the Canadian housing market just two years behind its U.S. counterpart? Here’s that graph, if you want to see it. The pattern is quite striking, and the slowdown in home sales hints that Canada could be on a similar downward trajectory as the United States, according to the economist who compiled the chart.

I turned the page of the paper and read an interesting story about the housing market in my hometown, Victoria, B.C.

Headline: “Victoria real estate market gets ‘back to normal’ as industry sees signs housing boom is over.”

A whole lot of the quotes sounded similar to the ones I heard from people two years ago when San Diego’s market was beginning to teeter.

“We are definitely seeing a shift in the marketplace, although it’s certainly not a time for panic,” said Victoria Real Estate Board president Tony Joe. “For people hoping home values will be plummeting any time in the future, I don’t think that’s going to be happening any time soon.” …

“We’re also looking over the last five or six years and what we’re finding is things are just coming back to normal,” he said.

Here’s a snippet from the first housing market story I wrote for voiceofsandiego.org in July 2006:

John Karevoll, a housing analyst with DataQuick Information Services, said the market is returning to normal.

“I don’t think things are as grim as some say they are,” he said.

I’d like to point out, though, that whenever one person says the market is returning to “normal,” there’s likely somebody else (or many somebodies else) who think the market’s headed for slump.

From North County real estate broker Jim Klinge in that story:

“It’s anything but normal, if you ask me,” Klinge said.

And here’s what Chris Thornberg, then an economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast, added in that 2006 story:

Thornberg attributes the “everything’s fine” response from the realty industry to the “bunker mode” mentality that comes in circumstances like these.

“People are loathe to realize losses in homes,” Thornberg said. “They don’t want to talk about it, to think about it.”

And now, of course, with prices down nearly 30 percent from the peak, we’ve had little else to talk or think about. I’ll keep checking on the Victoria and Vancouver markets and track how closely they mirror the slowdown here.


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