Subtle Headline / Photo Combo

From above the fold on today’s Seattle Times front page:

Flush Canadians
Click to view pdf

How soon do you suppose we can expect an article explicitly making the claim that is subtly implied by this headline / photo combo? Let’s play “predict the headline.” Here’s my guess: Soaring Loonie Strengthens Seattle Real Estate. Of course, the real story will be (is) the declining dollar and the sagging market. But hey, the Times has never let reality get in the way of an uplifting puff piece before. Why start now?

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    nitsuj says:

    LOL – I just saw that headline and came immediately to your site to see if anything was posted. Classic.

  2. 2
    on topic says:

    Housing Affordability at All Time Highs

    (for Chinese investors bringing cash to the table)

    because our interest rates will be too high for loans to be payable, our currency will be in the crapper, and the Chinese save their money when they see a recession coming.

    note: this is not racist, it is merely repetition of observations on the state of the market in China today

  3. 3
    Grvetti says:


    This great! What no one realizes is that the Canadian Loonie is fairly stable with regard to world markets (compared to the Euro, Yen, Gold) but its the US $ that’s tanked!!

    So with inflation increasing, housing prices stagnating, what does it mean when a Canadian comes to buy real estate?… yep, Washington State housing is really worth way less on the world stage than it was a year or so ago, effective home prices here are dropping with the dollar.

  4. 4
    Alan says:

    What is the YOY change in KC median price in Canadian dollars?

    I’ll probably calculate this myself, but maybe someone will beat me to it.

  5. 5
    Alan says:

    The USD has had a 10% YOY drop against the CAD. Take the YOY gain of a property and subtract 10% and you get the “real” YOY gain.

  6. 6
    melonleftcoast says:

    Just thought I’d chime in on this since I experienced it first hand.

    I was visiting in-laws in interior BC this summer and I was completely floored when I went to buy my toddler some pull-ups: the same package of pull-ups that I pay $17.99 for in the US cost $37.99 in BC… plus the 14% sales tax! This was in August when the C$ was about .95 to the US$.

    I was reading articles in the newspapers up there where politicians were encouraging Canadians to shop south of the border because Canadian retailers had not passed on the savings (the retailers claim inventory was purchased before the US dollar tanked). Even after paying duty at the border, Canadians are saving 40% or more than what they would have paid for the same products in Canada.

    I’d imagine eventually the Canadian retailers will adjust their prices, but that doesn’t change how the tourism industry up there will suffer when Americans do the math and their “affordable” Canadian weekend turns out to be a lot more than they want to spend.

  7. 7
    on topic says:

    sure, but changing your money to CAD is an investment.

    so, why not compare the YOY price change for Seattle homes against other investments.

    what is the YOY price change in Seattle homes vs oil? more importantly, who cares?

    it is not as if large numbers of europeans or canadians are going to start moving to the US so they can start paying for medical care and buy a bigger house.

    insofar as our currency dropping value relative to virtually every other currency leads to greater inflation, this is a concern.

    but why look at the CAD for that? it seems that looking at inflation numbers would be more direct.

  8. 8
    Alan says:

    Comparing to CAD is a metric of inflation. When you look at an investment, you really want to measure your performance with respect to inflation. In comparison to the CAD, the USD has seen 10% inflation over the past year.

    The good news is that if you took out a 100% loan a year ago, then you effectively got a 10% back-dated discount on your house.

  9. 9
    monzie says:

    This Canadian in Washington is not feeling flush. My 30-year condominum in Seattle requires three special assessments for a new roof and siding. My unit’s market value is down until both are completed – and by then the market value will be even less no matter what, in the face of competition with all the new, granite-counter units now built and in constuction. I don’t complain about the dollar at or around par…for years before the 1960s that was usual.

  10. 10


    Its called exports and that equates to income in Canada. Ask Europe and China, they’ve been trying to keep their currecies artificially lower for decades to sell us their manufatured goods.

    I can imagine a shift to American glueboard from Canadian gluboard if the dollar keeps sinking….Canadian natural gas will go up and guess what….Americans will turn their thermostats down or switch to electricity….

    There’s a curse to high currency rates and China knows it the best. We theoretically stop buying their stuff and they lay off their people. Their income plummets too.

  11. 11
    wreckingbull says:

    I experienced the same shock as melonleftcoast when I plopped a case of Molson down on the counter and was asked to cough up $52 CDN.

    Too bad for me, as I really enjoy the Gulf Islands… I guess the moral to the story is bring your own beer, eh?

  12. 12
    betamax says:

    As a Canadian, I’m appalled at how the majority of my countrymen (& countrywomen?) are excited about the prospect of buying cheaper trinkets in Washington, without considering how the change affects the 85% of our exports that go to the US, plus tourism and film/TV production. We’ll be in recession by this time next year.

  13. 13
    curioser says:

    So other than comparing to other real goods such as oil, gold, foreign currency, what would be our metric for inflation? Surely you don’t have faith in the Hedonistically adjusted inflation numbers created by our Fed?

  14. 14
    jesse says:

    That’s funny. Up here in Vancouver we are talking about “Rich Americans jump into Vancouver housing market before Canadian dollar rises more”

    I think y’all got it backwards

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