Home Equity Assistance

100% Home Equity Assistance in CFIRP

Treasury Board Secretariat continues to delay Military Families (TBS BS)

with one comment

In November 2014, the TBS received a report which they requested, in order to assess the housing market in Edmonton CMA and Bon Accord, Alberta between Jun 2007-May 2010. These are the dates that I lived in Bon Accord. This report was funded by your tax dollars.

Below is my response to this “market analysis” which has been provided to TBS.

05 December 2014

REPRESENTATION – MAJOR MARCUS BRAUER

CONTINUING HOME EQUITY ASSISTANCE DENIAL APPROACHING YEAR 5

Good afternoon Mr XXXXXXX:

  1. As requested, please find below an initial analysis[1] of the Residential Market Conditions (hereafter the “report”) (prepared for PWGSC by XXXXXX) on 21 November 2014.
  1. The report by XXXXXX, should have no impact on the decision of declaring Bon Accord a depressed market. As stated in the CFIRP (2009) the Market Analysis to be assessed is to be provided by the CF Member and the realtor. Further, the Federal Court of Canada has stated that:
  • “The applicant’s situation seems to me to be precisely the type of problem the CFIRP Directive was meant to remedy as indicated in the views expressed by the Grievance Board and the CDS. As interpreted by TBS, however, “CF members are subject to […] absorbing an equity loss” upon “relocation akin to a “forced relocation””. This cannot be what the Government of Canada intended for its military personnel”[2];
  •  “I find that the TBS decision was unreasonable in the sense that it was not justified and was outside the range of acceptable outcomes defensible in light of the facts and the law”[3].
  1. The report is found to be, at best, inconclusive and at worst –intentionally misleading. Significant problems include the intentional MLS data being manipulated to get the results in the report. This is reminiscent to the findings of the Federal Court Judge Justice Mosely, who reviewed the previous TBS market analysis for Bon Accord as follows:
  • “In my view, TBS relied on irrelevant, post-dated and unsubstantiated information”. 
  1. The purpose of the report as stated by PWGSC in the Statement of Work[4] (SOW) was not the same as the author’s objective[5]. As below, the report did not provide any conclusions nor conduct the study with the same objective as required by PWGSC:
  • From SOW: “The stated objective of the study (in the SOW) is a third-party assessment of the market conditions in order to establish if a given location can be considered a “depressed market”[6];
  • Report states “The objective of this study is to determine whether or not Depressed Market conditions were experienced during the study period. A Depressed Market is said to exist where there has been a decline in residential Market Values of twenty percent or more”; and
  • The criteria provided to the author (Report Addendum A)[7] contains the requirements for a depressed market survey. These criteria are markedly different than the criteria listed in the 2009 CFIRP and therefore set the author up for failure in achieving the stated objective(s).

Terminology

  1. Throughout the report, there was inconsistent use of terminology. This is one of the major dis-satisfiers with the overall 2009 HEA policy. Specifically:
  • “Edmonton CMA” is used interchangeably with the terms “Edmonton Region”, “full Edmonton CMA”, “Edmonton CMA Universe” although they have different meanings and geographic areas depending on the data (Statistics Canada and EREB[8] do not have overlapping geographic areas for CMA). Further, the geographic area for Edm CMA has changed according to StatsCan;
  • Variance: Variance is defined as: “A measure of overall variation in a set of data that represents the average squared difference between each value in the data set and the mean of all values”. The report appears to use the term to describe “difference”;
  • Sale price: Also used is “adjusted sale price” which is not defined, and implies that the data has been changed in some respect;
  • Significant (i.e. statistical significance): Refers to a statistical test result that leads to the rejection of the implicit or explicit hypothesis of independence between two or more variables. The author indiscriminately uses the term significant to imply “trustworthy, or of significant importance”;
  • Days on Market, Marketing time: are used interchangeably without being defined; and
  • Note that the author uses “Market Values”, which, according to CFIRP 2009 is defined as: “The value of a[9] residence at the time of its sale.”

Research validity

  1. Throughout the report, the most basic conventions of research or analysis were not evident. These can lead to issues with interpretation, verification or duplication of the calculations or results. It certainly affects the credibility of the conclusions. Some of the gross errors include:
  •      None of the diagrams, tables, charts or datum labelled;
  •      the majority of charts and diagrams show only year (assume annual averages),
  • some diagrams do not include the report’s mandated dates at all[10] (i.e. 2007 and 2010 not represented;
  • the report’s data sources were not referenced in any diagrams, tables, charts or addenda;
  • data supposedly from MLS was only provided for Bon Accord, not Edm CMA;
  • boundaries of CMA’s and their sub-components change often[11]. MLS data does not make the same changes and is therefore, not representative of reflecting the housing market of a CMA;
  • Statistics from government agencies were not referenced, nor were source  data tables or dates obtained provided[12];
  • The report and the 2009 CFIRP (TBS) have different definitions of depressed market: “Depressed Market is said to exist where there has been a decline in residential Market Values of twenty percent or more”[13]. Vs.: “Depressed market, as established by Treasury Board Secretariat, is defined as a community where the housing market has dropped more than 20%.” The author and the TBS are using different definitions of “Depressed Market”[14];
  • comparisons do not measure “like against like”[15]. By not using similar house types, the Edm CMA “Total Residential Market” data[16] includes duplexes and townhouses.  One report cannot satisfy the market assessment unless it analyses the market(s) for each style of house, as required by CFIRP and the applicant//realtor to provide to DCBA/TBS. CFIRP 2009 states that “similar type homes” are to be compared for HEA calculations[17];
  • throughout the document, there are many direct relationships stated without any proof of cause and effect. The cause and effect must be either demonstrated, or referenced. Otherwise it is solely an unqualified opinion.
  • the report identifies the geographical area of the Edm CMA incorrectly according to Statistics Canada[18];
  • MLS data does not use the same geographical boundaries as the EREB or the CMA, therefore the CMA conclusions are ineffective;
  • throughout the report, different criteria were used to assess the % loss. These included average price per sq ft, sold price per sq m and average sale price. No standard unit of measure is used within the report to identify a change in price;
  •  Annual sale values are used throughout the report. As the SOR requires Jun 2007-May 2010 information, no annual data will capture changes over these timeframes (i.e. Jun 2007 market compared to May 2010 market); and
  • multiple errors, omissions, mis-calculations and misclassifications are identified within the notes of the attached PDF file;

Efficacy of the Report

  1. While the report did not achieve the objectives outlined in the SOW, it did attempt to provide a “market analysis” of Edmonton CMA and Bon Accord. There were serious issues with the methods and analysis used by the author:
  • the report did not use the same methodology for both Edm CMA and Bon Accord Market Analysis, although the author (incorrectly[19]) attempted to draw conclusions by comparing the two distinct geographical areas[20];
  • the report included only data from Bon Accord, and not Edm CMA;

Bon Accord analysis:

  • the report excluded some MLS data from the Bon Accord Analysis;
  • the missing Bon Accord MLS data was not presented,
  • rationale for removing the MLS data from Bon Accord was not identified;
  • The impact on the “missing data” was not identified not stated;
  • The report did not identify the number of homes sold during the Jun 07-May 10 timeframe, a definite indicator of a depressed market. In the Bon Accord community, there was only one BLEVL type homes sold, which represents 100% of the market between those two dates. Note also that the FCC identified that “30 houses had sold in Bon Accord in 2007 and 40 in 2008, only 6 had been sold as of May 2010”
  •  the Edm CMA “Total Residential Market” data[21] includes duplexes and townhouses, whereas the Bon Accord data does not;

Edm CMA analysis: Much of the Edm CMA analysis is captured in comments on the attached PDF file and is beyond the scope of this report;

  •  Generally accepted research principles conduct research in a specific order to minimize error or influence of the author. This sequence is for the investigator to: Follow the objective, develop indicators, measure, study and conclude. This report appears to deny there are depressed markets, provide measures then manipulate the MLS data. It never achieves it’s secondary stated outcome of “identifying five benchmarks of the real estate market”[22].

Conclusions

  1. The TBS is to base their decision on the Market Analysis provided by the CAF and his/her realtor to determine a depressed market[23] in accordance with the CFIRP. Conducting an additional analysis only demonstrates the desire to limit/deny applications for HEA. As noted in the initial HEA application, the Community of Bon Accord’s housing market was calculated by a realtor (as specified in the CFIRP).
  1. The realtor identified that the Bon Accord housing market fell by 23.11% (undisputed by TBS in Federal Court). This evidence was un-contradicted in the FCC between Jun 2007 and May 2010.
  1. A 47 page report which self identifies its conclusions as “speculative”, “interpretive”, “not guaranteed for accuracy” speak towards its validity. When conclusions are drawn from an analysis which is self stated as statistically insignificant, those results should not be relied upon. Specifically: “It (average home sale prices in Bon Accord) does not represent the variance from June 2007-May 2010 as there is insufficient sales in the Town of Bon Accord to draw a statistically relevant conclusion”, goes on to conclude in the report summary that “depressed market conditions” were not experienced in the Edmonton CMA or the Town of Bon Accord”[24].

SUMMARY

  1. The report compiled for the TBS is not valid and it should not be relied upon to make any determination on market conditions.
  • The report identifies that it has different objectives and criteria than requested in the Statement of Work;
  • As the 20% criteria was proven in the initial 2010 application, uncontested in Federal Court and deemed not necessary in the only two successful HEA cases in Canada[25] [26], it is unclear why another report was commissioned where it cannot be used in making the decision of a depressed market;
  1. By using the MLS data provided in the report, and using all of the homes of similar type (BLEVL) bought between Jun 2007 and May 2010, with a sample size of 100% of the Bon Accord market, bought in those months, the housing market fell by 21.7%. This statistic is in agreement with the Royal Lepage assessment provided in the initial application date 10 May 2010, which found the Bon Accord housing market to have gone down by 23.11%. This report provides multiple percentages, but does not provide one percentage of housing market decrease for Bon Accord as requested in the SOW.

22. Considering the history of this matter and the length of time I been attempting to obtain a remedy, I would ask that this matter be dealt with expediently. As the TBS has confirmed through providing 100% HEA in Temiscaming, QC and Yarmouth, NS without a market analysis confirming 20% loss, and considering that the 20% factor is not the only factor to be considered, I would ask that this application for entitlements be dealt with post-haste in order for me to attempt to regain some of my life, career and family. Of note, I contacted the members who won their HEA application in Temiscaming and Yarmouth, and they both were terrified that they were contacted, and advised that they were told they cannot talk about it.  I may be reached at the number below if you require any clarification/information.

“e-signed”

Marcus Brauer

Major

25 Wheatstone Heights, Dartmouth

Nova Scotia, B2Y 4E1

(902) 466-4339

Appendix: e-copy of Report with notes

cc: CAF Ombudsman’s Office

cc: Hon Robert Chisholm

cc: Undisclosed recipients (4)

[1] The foundation of my review is based on a masters level courses obtained in 2010-2012. Managerial Epidemiology (HESA 5320.03), is “designed for health administrators, not researchers. The course has three components: assessing the health status of a population using existing data; using Epi-Info for statistical analysis of associations (relative risk, odds ratio, chi-square test, confidence intervals, Mantel-Haenszel analysis, multiple logistic regression); and clinical guideline monitoring. Throughout the course, recurring themes are: understanding the meaning of numbers, assessing validity, and ascertaining causation, including the concepts of confounding and effect modification”. Further my masters level thesis was an 10 year trend analysis of blue cross payments by the Canadian Forces, which involved many hundreds of thousands of calculations. I have significant experience in assessing research and conducting analysis of data. Several courses in research methodology and master level statistics courses as well.

[2] FCC decision para 64 at http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/fct/doc/2014/2014fc488/2014fc488.pdf

[3] FCC decision para 68 at http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/fct/doc/2014/2014fc488/2014fc488.pdf

[4] As found in the Reports Statement of Work, pp.41

[5] As noted in an email from PWGSC (3 Dec 2014) “In this instance, the report you reference was a low dollar value sole source contract,  as an update of previous work to specifically address the Bon Accord market in the context of an earlier study of the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) Edmonton market.  This original work was contracted after competitive bids were solicited from qualified suppliers. Details of the deliverables required and the original statement of work for the CMA Edmonton study were included in the addenda of the report.”

[6] Note: This report is supposed to be provided by the CF Member and their realtor (Royal Lepage) which was provided in the initial application.

[7] Report p 43

[8] Confirmed with EREB and MLS

[9] “A” implying singular.

[10] Report pp.6

[11] As evidenced by Statscan in their 2011 report at http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/92f0009x/92f0009x2011001-eng.pdf

[12] In accordance with the Materials on the Statistics Canada website were produced and/or compiled by Statistics Canada for the purpose of providing Canadians with access to information about the programs and services offered by the Government of Canada. The information is being used against Canadians by the Government. Not being used for the purpose for which it was gathered, nor is it being referenced.

[13] Report

[14] 2009 CFIRP

[15] B.A. is a town, while the Edm CMA remains poorly defined. Even if the Edm CMA was defined (using either MLS, EREB or Statscan geographical boundaries), it is akin to making a comparison between your spleen (Bon Accord) and your body (Edm CMA).

[16] Report pp.16

[17] CFIRP 2009 s. 8.2.13 para 4(b)

[18] Edmonton CMA is currently contains the following areas: http://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p3VD.pl?Function=getVD&TVD=117159&CVD=117161&CPV=835&CST=01012011&CLV=2&MLV=3

[19] As determined in the FCC decision “It appears that no consideration was given to the differences between Edmonton, a major urban centre with a diversified economy and population of about 1 million and Bon Accord, a small town linked to the oil industry”.

[20] Edm CMA had no adjustments of MLS data due to physical characteristics of the properties, while Bon Accord had the selling prices in 2010 greatly manipulated (adjusted sale price) for that same reason. (report pp.21). This had an impact on the calculation.

[21] Report pp.16

[22] Report pp 1

[23] CFIRP 2009

[24] Report pp.32

[25] FCC decision para 65 at http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/fct/doc/2014/2014fc488/2014fc488.pdf

[26] “The declarations in these that the standard required in this instance – a decline in the housing market of greater than 20% – was not required in those cases”  two cases contained no finding that the entire housing market had declined by 20% or more. Rather they dealt with the general economic conditions in both communities and the personal circumstances of the individuals concerned. Thus it appears

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  1. tnccpsc

    Like

    CurtisFat

    April 8, 2017 at 20:40


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