I’ve been told that I talk a lot.
Are you surprised to hear that?
In high school, a teacher sarcastically said, “He’s not loud. It’s just that his voice carries.”
That was kind. And although he was being sarcastic, I’ve adopted that as a saying in life when people ask me to pipe-down.
In our new offices here at 103 Vanderhoof Avenue, my voice certainly carries a lot more than it did when we were at 290 Merton Street. At the old office, my team basically had the basement to ourselves. There was one other long-time agent down there with us, but he’s just as loud and outspoken as I am. Then there were a couple of rookies-turned-sophomores, but they didn’t have much of a leg to stand on to tell us to simmer down.
Here at 103 Vanderhoof Avenue, our office is massive but all on a single ground-level, and it’s very open concept. So if I happen to be going on an expletive-laden diatribe about the level of intelligence of the average Toronto real estate agent, it’s not uncommon to hear an office door, or two, or three, slam close.
So if I’m going to spew off on a rant today and instruct people to stop talking, I’m aware that this is a little bit of a black pot-and-kettle situation.
However, it’s not going to stop me. Not when I have two people in my crosshairs who both need to shut their yaps.
Wow, what a great guy. So humble, soft-spoken, easy to work with, and so well-liked by his peers at CMHC and within associated industries too!
The President and CEO of the Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation for a 5-year term, beginning on January 1st, 2014, announced in January of 2020 that he would be stepping down from the position when his term ended on December 31st.
From the moment Mr. Siddall made this announcement the people shouting “good riddance” spoke louder and louder.
I believe that only one out of one-hundred Canadians, at best, have ever heard of Evan Siddall. And I believe that maybe, at best, one out of ten-thousand can explain what he did, or didn’t do, while at the helm of CMHC. And that’s what’s so frustrating about his epic failures: that they’ll never really get their fair notice.
It wasn’t just Mr. Siddall’s brash style of governing that was the issue, or his snotty, sarcastic, holier-than-thou way of dealing with critics, the media, and lending “partners” either. It’s the fact that he really didn’t accomplish that which he was put in charge of doing: putting forth a realistic national housing strategy.
A couple of the readers commented on Friday’s blog post about Mr. Siddall’s tenure, and Appraiser pointed us to another essential real-estate-related blog, RateSpy by Robert McLister. Many of you already have this bookmarked and read daily, or follow Rob on Twitter. Rob had a piece on March 3rd and wrote this about Evan Siddall:
Unfortunately, Siddall also failed in important ways, like building consensus in the market and upholding CMHC’s obligation to enhance lender competition. The housing and mortgage industries never felt like they were on the same team as him. His sometimes insulting, argumentative and very-public statements about real estate and lending professionals, while occasionally grounded in truth, hurt CMHC’s reputation. You simply cannot solve the most pressing housing crisis of our time without inspiring all stakeholders with a common goal. Evan’s approach is a key reason the agency took a market share hit.
Siddall also failed at marshalling enough resources to address one of housing’s most pressing issues: inadequate housing supply for middle-class Canadians. A supply fix requires massive coordination at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. CMHC is Canada’s housing agency. The obligation to satisfy the affordable home purchase demands of all Canadians, not just low-income Canadians, falls in CMHC’s lap. Yet, Evan leaves his post amid chronically tight housing inventory (and yes, inventories were tight before COVID as well). On that count, the country is no further ahead today than when he took office.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Mr. Siddall had a Trump-esque way of governing that I honestly feel is misplaced in 2021. I don’t favour politicians in general. I hate their non-answers to questions. I despise the way they talk with their upward-crescendos and iambic pentameter, dumbing down everything they say to the general public and always talking about what’s “best” for the citizens. But I also don’t think that publicly-elected officials should speak without a filter, let alone in a combative and confrontational fashion, the way Donald Trump did for four years, and the way that Evan Siddall had a habit of doing. Just as Mr. Trump had no problem using Twitter as an outlet for his rants, Mr. Siddall wasn’t above taking to social media to address his critics or the media, often shaming them in the process.
My biggest problem with Evan Siddall, and there are many to choose from, is that he said this in 2019:
“Our ‘dream of home ownership’ is static and regressive. We need to call out the glorification of home ownership for the regressive canard that it is.”
And he did this, why, exactly?
As the head of CMHC, is he in any position to be making statements like this?
Mr. Siddall blamed Canada’s housing woes on “a real estate industry drunk on its excess.”
Mr. Siddall was brash and outspoken in a position where I feel, as a Canadian and a taxpayer, he shouldn’t be.
He should stop talking, hunker down, and get to work.
In the end, he left behind a legacy of nothingness. Very little by the way of accomplishments, in my opinion. He filled the role, sat at the desk, and stamped the papers that needed stamping. But did he bring any value-add to the role? Nope.
Instead, he made predictions on the way out of office which would prove to be incredibly untrue. And while I don’t fault him being wrong, I do fault him for offering his predictions on the market because he has absolutely no business doing so!
Last week, this article ran in The Globe And Mail:
But did he offer any sort of apology?
And if you dig deeper, did he really take any responsibility for his actions?
Here’s his Tweet:
When I was in Grade-6, my friend Ed Christie and I were mouthing off to our gym teacher and we were sent to the principal’s office. Mr. Gault scolded us, and as he had a habit of doing, he asked us what we actually did. I told Mr. Gault, “I was calling Mr. Clutterbuck names.”
And what did Ed say?
“I was only repeating what Dave said.”
Mr. Siddall is a grown man, and he’s no better than my 11-year-old friend, Ed.
“At the time, I felt responsible to share what my colleagues were predicting.”
Oh, I see. It’s not your fault, you were merely sharing their predictions.
What an incredible asshole this man is. What a disgusting piece of work.
Mr. Siddall’s actions had consequences, you know:
Mr. Siddall is now out of public office and is merely a citizen like the rest of us.
So what is my message to Evan Siddall:
Stop talking. Just shut it. We don’t want to hear it.
The second “shut up” I have today is for somebody quoted in a “shut out” article from last week:
You can’t see me in my office right now, but I’m actually stretching. I’m working out all the muscles necessary for what I’m about to write, including my wrists and fingers for some fast typing, my arms for when I punch the air out of frustration or glee, my neck and shoulders for when I look to the Heavens for answers, and my back, for when I eventually pat myself on it…
There are so many problems with this article that I almost don’t know where to begin.
So, why not begin at the beginning?
In a hot housing market, it means nothing that you have a household income of more than $200,000 and a down payment of $450,000.
This is the first line in the article, and it’s already incendiary.
It doesn’t “mean nothing” that somebody has a household income of more than $200,000 and a down payment of $450,000, but rather it means nothing to the individual described in the article, with his particular search criteria, for the house he’s looking for, and of course, for the amount of money that he wants to spend.
Oh, “Greg.” I can’t imagine how much time you’ve spent reading the 300+ comments on this Globe & Mail article. And if your attitude and entitlement that’s displayed in this article is any indication, I wouldn’t be surprised to see you fighting the other internet-dwellers in the comments section.
“We knew the market was heated, but we had no idea what we were in for. It’s infuriating, to be honest”
Because you can’t afford what you want?
Because you’re looking to make a $450,000 down payment on a $1,200,000 house, thereby making a personal choice not to max-out your borrowing power? Hey, to each, their own. But there’s too much of this “one-size-fits-all” nonsense in the article whereby there’s one right way of doing anything.
It’s infuriating that other people want the same thing that you do?
Stop talking, Greg. You sound childish.
When Greg says, “We had no idea what we were in for,” I can tell you from experience that people like this do have an idea what they’re in for, but rather, they just don’t want to accept it.
Remember my blog from earlier this year, where I said, “Acceptance is the first step?” So many buyers like Greg think that they’re special; that they’re a delicate, unique snowflake, when in fact they are simply one of many people who have a $450,000 down payment and a combined income of $200,000.
But this story gets better and better:
Add Greg and his partner to the list of young adults doing all the right things and finding home ownership is out of reach. The two could hardly be in a better position to buy, and not just because of their strong household income. Greg sold a condo he’d owned for five years in mid-2019 and made a decent profit that will help fund a down payment on the new home.
I want you to read all of that, but for now, pay attention to the bolded part.
So basically, you’re juggling knives at Yonge & Dundas square while a crowd of onlookers watches, but when one of those blades lands in your hand, knife-end first, you blame………..who? Or what? You blame the onlookers? You blame the square?
Greg, it’s your fault and nobody else’s! So stop talking. Just stop.
Greg entered into a little something called a “market.” A market is made up of buyers and sellers, a given product or service, and an exchange or medium. The buyers and sellers, via the exchange, determine supply and demand. And supply and demand determine price.
Greg sold his condo in 2019.
So, Greg was in the market, and then Greg was out of the market.
But the market continued to rise!
Greg caught that blade knife-end first, and when he cut his hand, he acted like it was somehow unfair.
Imagine somebody buying shares of Zoom at $200, then selling at $350, then complaining when it went up to $450?
Greg tried to time the market, and Greg was WRONG!
Of course, I’m assuming Greg was timing the market. There could be another reason: that he’s conservative. Maybe Greg didn’t understand what a bridge loan was, or didn’t want to take one on. But that simply makes Greg stupid. At least, more stupid than he was to try to time the market in 2019, fail, and then complain about rising house prices…
The quote above also reads, “Add Greg and his partner to the list of young adults doing all the right things and finding home ownership is out of reach.” That’s misleading since Greg did not do all the right things, ie. he tried to time the market and was wrong. Did I mention that?
The quote continues, “The two could hardly be in a better position to buy, and not just because of their strong household income. Greg sold a condo he’d owned for five years in mid-2019 and made a decent profit that will help fund a down payment on the new home.” But once again, this is like congratulating the field goal kicker after botching a 32-yarder, since we know that he’s NOT in a better position to buy, having effed up his attempt at timing the market.
Hey, do you know what would have been “doing all the right things,” and would have “put him in a better position to buy?” Ummm, maybe buying a house and selling the condo at the same time?
Yeah, it’s what most people do. That is, people who don’t think they’re smart and try to time the market.
It’s so sad that everybody can’t afford a centre-hall plan in Rosedale, isn’t it? The only difference is: only a handful go crying to the media.
Greg also can’t seem to grasp the basics of pricing and offer nights in the Toronto market, which even a week-old TRB reader understands:
One time when Greg and his partner went through this process, they decided to put in a bid on a home listed at $999,999 that was 21 per cent more than the asking price. The house went for 35 per cent over asking.
Oooooh, 21%, wow!
Hey – if that house had been under-listed even more, then Greg’s bid would have been, like 30% over ask. And if that house had been priced at $0.00, then Greg’s bid would have been infinity over ask.
All this quote tells me is that Greg has no clue what houses are worth, and he’s one of the idiots making dummy bids that I write about in my blog. Maybe if Greg read TRB, or bought Appraiser, Chris, Kyle, or Condodweller a coffee, they would explain how all of this works…
Greg would have bid on a fourth house, but a bully bid took it off the market before he could act.
Imagine……that……..that thing……that thing that happens all the time, constantly, which is not unique, or unusual? How in the WORLD was Greg supposed to see that coming?
So unfair. Poor Greg. His fingers were hurting that day and he couldn’t Google “bully offer.”
Now we dive into that river made of Greg’s tears:
A sensible buyer makes an offer conditional on mortgage financing and a home inspection, but not in a hot housing market like the one Greg is battling. “You talk to any agents and they’ll tell you zero conditions,” he said. “Your offer won’t even be looked at if you have conditions because sellers have 10, 15 offers.”
Here’s where I have to take the author, Rob Carrick, to task, and not just “Greg.”
I know Rob and I’ve worked with him in the past. In a society devoid of financial literacy, Rob has written countless columns that are aimed at helping those uninformed souls learn what I only wish they were taught in school. I can’t possibly say enough good things about Rob and the content he puts out, however, that doesn’t mean I agree with everything in this column.
Case in point: “a sensible buyer makes an offer conditional on mortgage financing and a home inspection.”
This isn’t “sensible,” across-the-board. What is sensible for one person may not be for another. If it’s sensible for Greg to pay $1,200,000 for a house, maybe because he has put a different value on the home, or can afford less than another buyer – one who does not infer that it’s not sensible for somebody else to pay $1,220,000 for the same house?
But the best part is saved for last, folks.
I’ve been around long enough to know how this story ends:
Still, he and his partner are pausing their search for now.
Of course they are!
This ending wrote itself as soon as I read that Greg sold his condo in 2019.
I can’t tell you how many people enter a market, don’t like what they see, and then convince themselves “This market is going to crash.”
When that girl breaks up with you, what do you say? “I didn’t like her anyway.”
If you told me that Greg was a 15-year-old boy, I’d believe it. Except that even 15-year-old boys don’t complain this much.
Greg, stop talking.
I know you don’t know me, and I’m sure that your name is Jimmy, but Jimmy, listen, you just gotta stop talking.
The only excuse you have for all of this, is if Evan Siddall is your real estate agent.
Otherwise, stop talking.
No, wait: either way, stop talking. And tell Evan to do the same.
Happy Friday, folks! 🙂