Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Vancouver Top City for Quality of Life in Canada
VIENNA - Vienna is the best city in the world to live while war-torn Baghdad is the worst, a survey said Wednesday, putting Europe at the top of the rankings with Asia and Africa trailing.
The Austrian capital "retains the top spot as the city with the world's best quality of living," British consultancy firm Mercer said in its 2010 Quality of Living Survey.
Swiss cities Zurich and Geneva followed in second and third places respectively, while Vancouver and Auckland in New Zealand were joint fourth.
For its annual survey, Mercer assessed the quality of living in 221 cities worldwide, measuring them against New York with an index score of 100 points as the base city.
Vienna, which also took the number one spot last year, scored a total 108.6 points, while Baghdad scored the lowest with just 14.7 points.
European cities continued to dominate the top 25 cities in the survey, Mercer said, while Canadian cities also had a strong showing.
Among cities in Britain, London ranked number 39, Birmingham 55 and Glasgow 57.
In the United States, the highest ranking entry was Honolulu in 31st place, followed by San Francisco in 32nd.
Singapore was the top-scoring Asian city in 28th place, followed by Tokyo in 40th.
Baghdad ranked 221st, remaining at the bottom of the list. It was followed by Bangui in the Central African Republic, N'Djamena in Chad, Khartoum in Sudan and Tbilisi in Georgia.
Mercer also awarded cities eco rankings based on water availability and drinkability, waste removal, quality of sewage systems, air pollution and traffic congestion.
Calgary in Canada came top of this list, followed by Honolulu in second place and Ottawa and Helsinki in joint third place.
Port-au-Prince in Haiti ranked at the bottom of this table, Mercer said.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The Power of the Third Party Endorsement
I have come to the conclusion that people just like the words, Twitter, and Tweet. Even those who have no idea about the social media revolution taking place know about Twitter. The name recognition aside, this cute little bird is actually leading the pack in the power of third party endorsements as the new way to navigate through choices and options.
Let's face it, if you want to hire a plumber you can look through the yellow pages and pick out the one that has the best ad, or you can google to find the best website. The third option is to ask your social media network group about their experiences in finding a good plumber. Which has the most power? For most people the endorsment from a third party will carry the greatest weight in making a choice like finding a good plumber, or finding a great real estate agent in a given neighbourhood.
Some pundants are annoucing the death of the search engine and the corporate website in their enthusiasm to embrace the power of social media like facebook and twitter. While it is a bit like those who predicted the death of radio when TV came in, there is no disputing that the internet landscape has forever changed with the growing interactivity available via social media tools.
Within the real estate industry the changes are coming fast and furious. Today it is necessary for an agent to be well versed enough in social media to have a facebook page and a youtube account to keep in contact with their clients and contacts. Many are engaged in blogging, sharing photos, and posting tweets in an effort to remain visible and available for their clients, Our website allows links to the agents individual websites, as well as links to twitter, linkedin, and facebook.
Passive use of the internet is becoming passionate use of the internet. This trend will help the cream rise to the top as people search out advise, experience, and opinions from their third party network friends.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The View from the Roller Coaster
I recently watched an interesting visualization of the median house price index for Greater Vancouver over the last 40 years. The animation places the viewer in the seat of a roller coaster as it climbs and drops relative to the housing market. Apart from being very entertaining to watch, it also clearly demonstrates how quickly the environment can change in the Greater Vancouver housing market.
Following market trends is only accurate in the past tense. One cannot truly understand the direction the market will take until the change is in motion. Presently in Vancouver there seems to be a shift occurring. Reviewing the MLS statistics, and the RE/MAX numbers it appears that the listing inventory is rising faster than the housing demand. Listings are up, but sales seem to be slowing down. This is happening despite the fact that the charter banks have warned that they will be raising their interest rates by summer.
The fear that house prices have risen beyond what the market will bear may be slowing down the buying frenzy of the last few years. The price of a condo in Vancouver is reaching the unaffordability level for the average citizen. The price of properties in this wonderful city have reached a level more than ten times the average wage of a Vancouverite. Those who caught the roller coaster at the bottom of the climb have done very well over the last 7 years in this market.
Once the HST effect has flowed through the local economy, the question of affordability will come into a clearer focus. Vancouver has always been higher priced than its neigbouring provinces because of it's desirability as a location. The recent olympics have proven to be a magnet for some international tech companies as well as those well-heeled enough to own properties internationally.
The desire to own property on Canada's west coast might be slamming against the reality that those without a seat on the roller coaster could be in for a long wait to buy a ticket.