Motives To Bear In Mind


Bearish prognostications on real estate is based on reasoned and sound logical analysis.  But that’s the nature of rhetoric.  There’s little doubt that bears are intelligent creatures with the ability to create devastatingly cogent arguments against almost anything (including being a bear).

Now, there is a topic that doesn’t often surface on many Vancouver real estate blogs, and that’s the motivations of bears. Their group-think have attempted to persuade us since about 2005, beginning with the appearance of the Vancouver Housing Blog.  Given the recent strength of the market, those on the sidelines pondering the “correctness” of bear forecasts have been side-swiped!   Some have even been demanding apologies from the bears for their “malfeasance”.  I think the anomie is somewhat misplaced but if I had been a bear following word for word what the bear experts were saying, I’d be rightly pissed about hesitating these past 5 years!  I’m not saying the bears are wrong, but I’m not saying they’re right either.  It isn’t that simple.  When looking for informed analysis on the Internet, we must consider just really how valuable is someone else’s two cents.  We must look deeper at what they’re really saying.

Crouching Bear, Hidden Motives

  1. Do as I say, not as I do.  Many bears will post some economic or financial news and say the sky is falling.  Why?  Partly this is to assuage any fear and uncertainty they face.  Being a bear or a bull is inherently speculative.  So finding confirmatory news soundbites is soothing to bears and bulls alike.  But there is a deeper incentive at work here.  They want to convince enough people so that the demand would decrease and prices along with it.  But why?  Bears’ goal: to hide the fact they’re bulls wearing bear disguises!  They really want to buy, for if not, why do they bother to comment at all?
  2. Calling people names.  Here are a few: shill, realtard, specuvestor, sheeple, lemming, immigrant, criminal etc.  They want to ensure that people know that they’re the most rational and level-headed individuals around because their understanding of the mechanisms driving the Vancouver market is more sophisticated than everyone else.  But let’s call this name calling for what it really is: bullyingBears’ goal: to instill fear and discredit those who bought or those contemplating buying.  What did the bulls do to deserve this?
  3. Necessary Illusions. Many bears have claimed that an independent voice is needed to fight the one-sided news coverage.  Fair enough.  The Internet does democratize access to information.  But then how do the bears justify selectively picking out news soundbites that fit their bearish worldview?  The flip side of a one-sided bias is another one-sided bias.  That said, there is the occasional insightful debate at or Rob Chipman’s blog.  However most of the bear commentators are doing a real disservice to those trying to make the biggest decision of their lives.  Bears’ goal:  to confuse by presenting their bias as balance.  Where are the blogs that find common ground?
  4. Moral Suasion. I’ve never understood the moralizing against market participants.  Those “flippers” or “pumpers” are somehow responsible for making bears’ lives miserable.  Everyone faces tradeoffs.  Some people really value their housing and will do whatever they can to get it.  Everyone else is free to choose to do the same.  There is no conspiracy against the bears.  AND, there’s nothing wrong with being a renter!  If there’s any kind of inferiority-superiority complex at play, it’s the renter-who-wants-to-own that’s rousing the lynch mob.  Bears’ goal: to display moral superiority.
  5. Being emotional. I really hate how some commentators point to emotional sentiment as something negative.  What’s with all the mysognistic BS about their partners’ “nesting” instincts?  Antonio Damasio has shown that reason relies on both the right and left hemispheres:  the implication is that one can’t make rational decisions without emotions; the cold calculating hyper-rational investor is just a Hollywood caricature.  Is there a Dragon’s Den of Vulcans?  Have guts to use your gut.  I think this just shows how some bears are mere amateurs when it comes to decision making.  Bears’ goal: to conflate emotionality with irrationality and wrong-headedness.  (And possibly to justify chauvinism against the female gender.)
  6. Investment Savvy (or lack thereof). Often used to brand bulls who are supposedly praying for capital gains.  Take Rob Chipman’s advice:  don’t treat your principal residence like an investment.  In other words, don’t reduce your home life to a metric.  There’s more to investment returns than pure monetary considerations.  As they say, home is where the heart isBears’ goal: to make you feel shitty about having a home.

Anyways that’s all I have to say for now.  I’m sure you clever bears will trample on my horse dung.  Maybe now there is an incentive to uncover this blogs’ insidiously mysterious hidden motivations?


8 responses to “Motives To Bear In Mind

  1. I know I know.. I’m casting a wide net with the above post, but it’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Some of you bears (such as The Pope and Jesse) seem like reasonable folk and actually make a real substantive contribution to the discussion. I’m just targetting you nastier ones. You know who you are.

  2. Pingback: Friday Free-for-all! | Vancouver Condo Info

  3. So, your attempted deconstruction of all the Bear arguments amounts to a bunch of fallacies? Maybe we are biased, but so are you, one side will be right and the other wrong, obviously bias does not prove the correctness or incorrectness of an argument. Likewise, you attack bears who use personal attacks by using personal attacks? That makes sense in your world? Why not attack the arguments instead of the people, it’s more constructive and you just might learn something if you tried to fight logic with logic.

    Points to think about;

    Studies around the world using historical analysis have shown that rent/price ratios and income/price ratios have certain ranges in “stable” markets, when those stable numbers double without reason the market inevitably returns to the baseline, it is currently well over double in Vancouver, please explain how this can go on forever, or are we at a unique time/place in the history of man (please explain what is so unique if that is your answer).

  4. Of course bears want to buy, they just want to buy at a reasonable price. I do hope to own a home one day, but I would rather not put myself into 25 years of payments that are much higher than my rent in order to get it.

    Also I dont see how “specuvestor” is an insulting word. It is just a combination of the word speculator and investor. Anyone who buys a place and doesnt plan on living in it is an investor (unless it is a vacation property or something he/she is getting another use out of). A speculator buys places with the expectation it will rise in value so it can be sold for a profit. This word just combines these two types of people.

    And the emotion thing. The most rational decisions are generally made when emotion is not present. Fear, love, sadness, anger etc. all make people do things that they may not have done with a clear head.

  5. A classic case of “the pot calling the kettle black”!

  6. Kettle, pot… enough said.

  7. None of these arguments actually deal with the fundamentals. The motivations are irrelevant if the rationality is there.

  8. wow. this has nothing to do with facts, just blah.
    you do realize that while you’re typing up this BS listings are piling up like crazy (despite strong sales), you better get to work selling condos to idiots that don’t care about facts and economics – just like you 😉

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