experts: real estate column Wednesday, January 08, 2003

A year of healthy, sustained growth

Welcome to our newly born year; may it be one with positive happenings on our side of the inlet and beyond our shores.

By Alan  Skinner

Welcome to our newly born year; may it be one with positive happenings on our side of the inlet and beyond our shores.

How does one sum up our 2002 North Shore "real estate wise"? Well, above average demand and a steadily dwindling supply come most readily to mind. These two factors explain performance/results more succinctly than any long winded analysis ...but here goes - just kidding!

In North Van, values have reconfirmed the positive gain with average prices for detached, townhouses and apartments up 2002 over 2001 by 9%, 7.3% and 6% respectively. Actual numbers of sales for Dec are less than Nov based largely on a poor supply of inventory. The overall year is, of course, up, namely, detached +7%, townhomes +16.5& and apartment sales showing a very significant 48% increase. It is, however, the inventory figures which, as alluded to above, tell the most cogent story. Detached down by 38%; townhomes by 58% and apartments by 48%. - roughly half of the Dec '01 level!

In West Van we see a similar inventory trend although not as marked in detached (-9%). Townhome (-40%) and apartment (-36%) inventories contributed significantly to the "01/02" average price increases - townhomes (+7%) and apartments (+21%). Again the detached (not surprisingly) having a virtually unchanged average price (less than $900 to be precise - '01 $733,063 vs '02 $733,945) and this, as I have said before, attributable in part to the high number of higher priced homes which changed hands in 2001.

Stupidly, last month, I said that I might attempt some predictions ... so here goes. N/Van prices will continue to rise (not sharply) based on the scarcity of homes for sale. This may be tempered, probably after mid year, by interest rate increases (affecting new buyers most markedly). Our US neighbour will more than likely need to do some "economy tweaking" once they, hopefully, abandon/(complete?) their warmongering and navel gazing. W/Van, a less dramatic increase in condo (townhome & apartments) values generally, but nonetheless good demand in this segment. Overall though, I believe North Shore results will remain solid with continuing demand and again, the pace of the arrival of supply (listings) the strongest determinant of the number of homes changing hands. The one thing that I am sure of is that being a homeowner on the North Shore is certainly a positive thing for 2003 and becoming one is a worthy goal for many. Happy New Year!

After my most successful year ever (all 2002 listings sold out by Dec 23/02), I'm ready, willing and able to assist Buyers and Sellers dealing with property on the North Shore. My strong suggestion is for folk to "interview" me by visiting my website (www.AlanSkinner.com) - then call for a face-to-face meeting at (604-988-7368) - or pop into one of my open houses - I look forward to meeting you.




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