experts: real estate column Thursday, November 08, 2001

North Shore Real Estate Update - Back in Lotus Land

Despite world events, North Shore real estate demand is up

By Alan  Skinner

In the past 10 days I have spent time in Montreal (at the annual Canadian Real Estate Association conference) and in Chicago (at the annual National Association of Realtor's conference approx. 24,000 attendees). A lot of discussion centred on the tragic events of Sept 11th (I was fortunate to hear an excellent speech from Tom Brokaw of NBC News on the "new world we now live in"). The impact of this and the war on terrorism, anthrax, and the state of markets in general, were obviously being weighed up against the effect on real estate and specifically purchase and sale activity since that date. I heard opinions from attendees from Australia, the U.K., Spain, South Africa and of course other parts of Canada and the U.S. Some were cautious but the greater part was optimistic as to the medium and longer term (after some initial slowing down in the Big Apple and a similar effect in Chicago).

With all this buzzing around in my head, I returned to our local October "results" with some minor trepidation. Would that first "full month" show a withdrawal of confidence (read "demand")? The first clue that this was not the case was the Vancouver Sun headline "MLS reports best October in five years for home sales" and while that reflects the entire picture in Greater Vancouver, the local figures bore out the same story strongly for North Van and almost as true in West Van (bar a few soft spots).

The number of N/Van detached homes sold year over year are up by 21% and up a significant 27% - Oct/00 to Oct/01. Inventory is down 17% and now (largely as a result, I believe, of falling inventory) average sale prices are up (Oct/Oct) by 5%. In both "condo" categories (townhouse and apartment) unit sales are up 48% and 40% respectively; with corresponding inventory drops of 20% and 22%. Year to date average prices are still lower than 2000 but apartments sold in October of this year averaged 17% higher than the previous October possibly a sign of a strengthening market in this previously more depressed category.

W/Van, as I hinted at the beginning, is not as markedly buoyant but nonetheless healthy. Inventories down in all but detached (up 18 units but still under 500 homes). Average prices remain as before with a similar positive movement in apartments (up 14% Oct/00 to Oct/01).

Despite having missed Halloween in my travels, I am happy to be back in the most desirable place to live. God bless the North Shore and, yes, where is a beaver I can hug! Thank you for all the positive calls, comments and e-mails I received regarding last month's Update - they are appreciated.

Please join the group subscribing to the e-mail version of this "update" - send a request now to and you'll be assured receipt, or phone me at (604) 988-7368 for your monthly fax copy.

Please don't hesitate to call/e-mail with any questions on local real estate, whether buying, selling or just looking at future options.

Alan is the host of "The Real Estate Show" (a Media Mentors' production) - Listen in - Phone in with your questions!

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