experts: real estate column Wednesday, January 09, 2002

North Shore Real Estate Update: Well That Was a Year That Was!

It was a stellar year for sales in both North and West Vancouver

By Alan  Skinner

Happy 2002 ­ seems like we just keep on going! I guess we're now truly initiated into the 2K's, even though last September managed to upstage all other events since the dawn of this millennium (and then some). May this year bring you and yours and our world a modicum of peace and happiness.

From the macrocosm to our dearly beloved microcosm ­ our North Shore. A quick recap. Yes, as we emphasized in December, sales-wise it has been a stellar year with both North and West Van performing well, however North Van certainly had "its year in the sun" with total sales 2001/2000 rocketing by 36% (from 1783 to 2419) compared to West Van (from 917 to 921). At this point I would like to digress to emphasize a danger in reading headlines. A recent Vancouver Sun one went thus ­ "Real estate sales rocket, prices on rise." This referred to greater Vancouver of course and it compared Dec'00 with Dec'01. Both the number of sales (increase of 83%) and prices are up, year over year. The average increase in prices is however in the 3 to 3.6% range and the real danger in interpretation lies, I feel, in the proximity of the words "…rocket, prices…". Again I emphasize (my hobby horse) that we will only see prices "rocket" if demand truly outstrips supply i.e. if the number of homes being put up for sale does not increase with some significance. Inventories in all categories in North Van are well down. Detached ­22%, townhomes ­24% and apartments ­20%. W/Van too shows detached ­6%, townhomes ­20% and apartments ­24%.

The North Shore December figures are well up, in line with those of Greater Vancouver. N/Van 109('00) vs 180('01) and W/Van 44('00) vs 61('01) as are the average prices for the month. Bear in mind we are comparing a poor December with a buoyant one. We need to see this continue into the 1st Q of 2002 to have proof of a trend. I believe that this will be the case, lower interest rates and a general rise in confidence being dominant factors.

Predictions for 2002? In line with the comment in the last paragraph, I believe sales numbers will remain strong into 2002 and, yes, prices will rise; in some specific cases by up to 8/10% but probably 4/5% on average over the year. Lock in your interest rates unless you are nimble enough to be able to ride the variable (floating) rate bronco and know just when to get off.

I continue to be here to assist my clients with personalized and experienced service. I am currently available to represent select sellers and buyers, after a bonanza year which has seen nearly all of my listings sold or imminently awaiting subject removal. Please feel free to "interview" me with a visit to my website (www.AlanSkinner.com); then call for a face to face meeting at (604-988-7368). I look forward to meeting you.

Please join the group subscribing to the e-mail version of this "update" - send a request now to northshore@canada.com 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.




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