Blog Roller

The Dirt on the Real Estate Bubble

Vancouver Housing Blogger's favourite sources. First in a new Tyee series.

By  Vancouver Housing Blogger 26 Jan 2007 | TheTyee.ca
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[Editor's note: The Tyee has long had the largest blog directory in B.C. Today, we're rollin' out a new feature fresh from the bloggosphere: every month, we'll be asking a star blogger to share with us the handful of blogs he or she can't live without.

As the anonymous Vancouver Housing Blogger just won first place in the Business Blog and Local Blog categories at this year's Canadian Blog Awards, and just recently captured Best Regional Blog in the North American Real Estate Blogging Awards, and as our story about him and the B.C. housing bubble was one of the most popular stories in recent months, we invited him to be the first and were delighted when he accepted. We have others in mind for the months ahead, but also hope you'll send us an e-mail suggesting online scribes whose secret blogroll favourites you'd like to know. And we also hope you'll post your own must-read blogs in the comments section below.]

I blog about the real estate market here in Vancouver, covering all the ups and downs. Lots of "ups" in the last few years, but signs are starting to tilt to the "down" side. To keep abreast of developments, I frequent many housing and real estate related blogs. Some are indispensable, and their absence would leave me feeling empty and under informed.

My suggestions? Read these five sites daily and you'll soon be a smug housing bubblesphere know-it-all who can join the rest of us watching the biggest economic story of the decade, as the great big real estate keg party dwindles down to the last few drunk frat boys and finally settles into a nasty lingering hangover. And we get to watch it unfold slowly -- but predictably -- every day on our computer screens.

First and foremost is The Housing Bubble Blog, run by Ben Jones of Arizona. He basically aggregates stories about the housing bubble, mostly focusing on the U.S. He posts several times a day, every day of the week. The guy is a machine. From his posts and his many informed commenters, I can keep abreast of housing-related news and on-the-street views from coast to coast and around the world.

Beyond Ben Jones, three other sites I rely on heavily give me good data, good analysis, or both. Calculated Risk is the best of these, focusing on the macroeconomic scene. There are frequent posts relating housing to the big picture.

Piggington blogs and crunches numbers with gusto about the San Diego housing market, which was one of the first in the U.S. to start turning down -- prices for comparable units are already down about 10 per cent from the peak in sunny S.D. As Piggington says, "In God we trust; everybody else bring the data."

Finally, local realtor Rob Chipman provides daily summaries of housing transactions statistics in Vancouver that give me the pulse of the local market. Things have been slow over the holidays, but I'll be watching Chipman's blog to see if listings begin to flood the market this spring as we head into the big real estate season.

That makes four. For my fifth and final indispensable read, I'll have to go with AFB, otherwise known as Housing Bubble Casualty, written by ex-mortgage industry insider SoCalMtgGuy (Southern California Mortgage Guy, that is). His site really made clear to me how much influence voodoo mortgage financing was driving the U.S. housing bubble, and the serious implications the coming unwinding of said financing has for the world economy in the next few years. Most famously, he also coined the acronym "FB" (for f@cked borrower) to describe someone who will soon succumb to his or her debt. He isn't posting much these days, as he got out of the mortgage business when the getting was good. But, he still has a great insider's perspective when he does post.

The Vancouver Housing Blogger blogs pseudonymously at the Vancouver Housing Blog. The VHB won first place in the Business Blog and Local Blog categories at this year's Canadian Blog Awards, and just recently captured Best Regional Blog in the North American Real Estate Blogging Awards.

What do you consider to be must-read blogs? Post them in the comments section, below.  [Tyee]

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