It’s all a mirage

From a lexicon of housing bubble jargon, courtesy of the Irvine Housing Blog, a term whose definition has a familiar ring:

· MIRAGE (Moneyed Immigrants, Rich Ancestors, Generous Expatriates): Acronym to lampoon the bulls’ argument that housing demand is being supported by cash-rich immigrants, wealthy parents and transplants from other states.

February’s Toronto Life features a classic article of the genre:

Agent Shaun Hsu says that half his sales over the past year have been to foreign buyers. Others, particularly at the high-end firms, say that Iranians are their single biggest client group these days. Michael Kalles, president of Harvey Kalles, estimates they’ve had about 100 Iranian clients buy over the past three years.

100 in 3 years? That’s the magic buffer of the Toronto housing market?

Of course, there’s ample warning from the beginning that the story has to be taken with a box worth of salt, given the ludicrous subhead:

Why hasn’t Toronto’s housing market tanked like London’s or New York’s? Just take a look at who’s buying

Several problems here, which barely need to be highlighted, but humour me:

– New York’s market hasn’t tanked; prices are easing in London, not plummeting;
– Both those cities have a far greater number of wealthy foreign residents/buyers than Toronto, as well as much larger pools of rich locals.

If it’s not a MIRAGE, maybe MYOPIA?