experts: real estate column Monday, June 10, 2002

Ho, Hum! It's the Predictability That Gets Annoying

Falling prices are not a strong likelihood on our beloved North Shore for the foreseeable future.

By Alan  Skinner

It's easy to become blasť and talk of "same old, same old", so I'll digress for a moment and talk trends and cycles. In most endeavours there is some level of cyclical predictability. Good economy, higher sales; March/April, higher demand for tax advice; Summertime, new barbeques and lawn furniture - and so on. It is the intensity of these "ups and downs" that oft takes us by surprise. It shouldn't though. Were we diligent followers of supply determinants and demand stimulants, we'd probably hit it "bang on" much of the time. The human emotions relating to optimism and pessimism usually cloud our collective reasoning. "Lets not be too optimistic" (sound familiar?) ≠ more familiar anyway than "Lets not be too pessimistic"!!

We do believe in cycles and we do expect all "good" bubbles to burst. I must get the question, at least every other day, "Yes, but when do you think prices will start to fall again?" ....and you know what? .... Iím becoming more and more of the opinion (based on the essentials of demand and supply) that "falling prices" are not a strong likelihood on our beloved North Shore for the foreseeable future. Yes, we will "plateau" sometime ≠ next Nov ?, May 2003, July 2004 - who knows? ....but, to get a better idea, keep an eye on the supply factors and the demand ones or keep in touch with someone who does.

Oh, yes, by the way, things are continuing to show vibrant performance on our North Shore. You want some proof ?! O.K., O.K.

North Van detached sales (# of units) is up 23% year over year. Average prices up 5% and inventory down 11%. Townhome sales up 55%; average prices up 6% and inventory down 48%. Apartment sales up 97%, average prices up 12% and inventory down 28%. Just a comment on townhomes; with only 66 units on the market (May 31/2002) and a strong evident demand, now could be the time to proceed with those thoughts you have been having of selling. Yes, some new product is underway, but remember there are severe physical limitations on the total inventory in this category. Talking new construction, I was involved last week in the sale of a home in the Capilano corridor (to a builder), which will be demolished to rebuild and has taken place at the "groundbreaking" (please excuse the pun) price of over $400,000 ≠ who says we are not in a new era?

West Van detached sales are up 47% with virtually no change in average prices since last year. Inventory has crept up and stands at only 2% below May 2001 levels. Like North Van, townhome demand is strong with 61% more sales and average prices up by 4%. Inventory here is down by 28% at only 47 units. Apartment sales are up 45% with average prices rising by 18% and inventory at 85% of last year at this time.

Will the onset of Summer herald a cooling ? I believe not; although it would be nice to sneak a week off here or there.

Please don't let my facetious headline be an indication of any malaise on the part of this commentator ≠ I'm ecstatically busy.

I remain currently available to represent select sellers and buyers. Please feel free to "interview" me by visiting 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 youíll be assured receipt.




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Recent Articles by this columnist:

Keeping Realtors Honest
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Resistance to change and compliance delay
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Yes, it's official - demand is rising
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