By Ozzie Jurock
This article appeared in The Vancouver Sun on September 8, 2001
We are contrary creatures. We say one thing...and then promptly do the opposite. We bemoan the lack of "service" ... and then blithely drive past the local friendly corner store and into the endless Costco or Canadian Superstore canyons o' goods. "But gee, I'm saving money," we argue. So, we load up 27 years' supply of pink toilet paper (grunt, grunt), into our hulking Rambo-approved off-road vehicle (which will never see a mud splatter in its life but does cost more than a Cadillac) and then, to celebrate our frugality, we'll pull up to Starbucks and drop six bucks on a "no-fat, double decaffinated latte with an almond biscotti on the side, please." (In other words, 6 bucks for coffee and a cookie.)
Little wonder the marketers are going mad. Yep, we are different, we pre-, post- and current baby boomers. What actions we will take, where, how and in what type of home will we likely strive to live, these are the questions to which today's savvy real estate investor must have answers - before he/she makes that investment. Yet, the longer I am in this real estate advice business the more the questions stay the same:
In a down market: "Will the market ever recover?
In a flat market: "When will the market recover?
In a good market: "When will it turn down?"
Every year for 30 years: "I wish I bought 10 years ago."
The one comment I also get often, that makes me chuckle: "Ozzie, next time you see a great deal where I can make a quick dollar, call me." Sure I will, I won't tell my brother or my children nor buy it myself, I will tell YOU - who I don't know!
There seems to be a deep seated need to follow a guru. Let's face it. Gurus can only select wheat from the chaff, they can explain, but in life you do not get what you want ... you get what you negotiate.
ALL good deals are created - not advertised - , between a willing seller and a willing buyer usually with an innovative professional Realtor ... and that means work. Alas, that's what we do not want to hear.
We want certainty, guarantees - the easy buck. The guaranteed forecast. Well, here is a no guarantee but a promise: "Values will rise in many areas of the Lower Mainland and fall in other areas ... " Values rise where people will want to live in an area, of low vacancies and good future growth. We need those 'ducks in a row'. Well, let's look at some facts.
Fact: The industrial vacancy rate In Vancouver is still at a 20 year low 2%. Fact: Office vacancy rates are under 6% (and yes, even with part of Yale town suffering of the .com crunch), but still of 50 North American markets Vancouver sports the 9th lowest rate and the 47th lowest per sq. foot rental value. Fact: Residential vacancy rates are at under 1% for most areas. Fact: The unemployment rate hovers around a 23 year low. Fact: According to master demographer David Baxter (who will speak at this week's "What to do in 2002" Jurock Landrush conference (call 683-3870 for tickets): "In the next 10 years, the population of Vancouver will increase by 457,000 people ... in order to accommodate them Vancouver will require about 218,000 more dwellings".
Add to this that the New Consumer (moi and thou) is most concerned with living longer and healthier. We cram ourselves with oat bran; we devour lettuce and spinach by the bale. We worship our physical being. "My body is my Temple," we insist ... All that means, we will live longer too AND are likely to stay longer in our homes. Thus - with Vancouver's real estate sales up in August by some 47% ... ALL, our ducks ARE in a row. Buy carefully, buy within your means, but don't worry ... Real estate will do well in YOUR future ... particularly in the Lower Mainland.
Ozzie Jurock is the publisher of Jurock's Real Estate Insider an independent real estate advisory service. His 8th annual fall conference will be held September 15, 2001 at the Renaissance hotel. For info call 604-683-3870 or e-mail email@example.com
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