experts: real estate column Thursday, April 10, 2003

It's a cold spring for house hunters

Here on the North Shore we are suffering from a particular malady - no, it has nothing to do with respiratory ailments; it has everything to do with a gross lack of supply.

By Alan  Skinner

Here on the North Shore we are suffering from a particular malady - no, it has nothing to do with respiratory ailments; it has everything to do with a gross lack of supply. Forgive my use of "gross" to describe a "lack", but I am sure that there are numerous serious potential buyers out there who find the situation "gross" (in the unpleasant sense).

In every one of the three housing segments in both North and West Van "active listings" are down - in some cases, dramatically - but I'll get to those in a minute. The two reasons supply shrinks (a) fewer listings coming on and (b) the "dratted" things selling too quickly, have been evident for a good number of months. To cite a few examples: the number of N/Van detached houses listed during the first 3 months of '02 stood at 534 - this year 80 fewer or 454 have come on (that's 15% less). N/Van attached is more dramatic - 105 vs. 174 or only 60% of '02. N/Van apartments 331 vs. 397 (down 17%). All of W/van is similarly down, but not as markedly (between 7 and 28%). Combine this, as I said, with speedier sales of those coming on and it's no wonder we can't "keep our shelves stocked".

It is not surprising therefore, that numbers of sales are down in both locations (the one exception is W/Van apartments which, at 44 sold are identical to '02).

The full figures - N/Van detached sales YTD, down 16%, attached (townhomes/duplexes) down 32% and apartments down 13%. March 31/03 inventory (supply) is down by - detached 18%, attached 56% and apartments 51%. So.... what of average prices here? You guessed it (low supply, healthy demand) all up - detached by 16%, attached by 1% and apartments by 4%.

W/Van detached sales (YTD) down 7%, attached down 7% and apartments equal at 44 units. March 31/03 inventory is down too - detached 9%, attached 36% and apartments 45%. Average price figures are mixed (but don't forget our samples are much smaller, therefore less reliable). Detached up 9%, attached down 21% and apartments down 5%.

Predictions for the future (short term)? Continued low supply, not much, if any, abating in the demand (interest rates remain low and stable) and, yes, particularly in North Van, gently rising prices. It is this commentator's fervent wish (I'm not alone) that the supply increase and that home seekers have their needs fulfilled.

I remain 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 ( - 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.

Please join the group subscribing to the e-mail version of this "update" - send a request now to and you'll be assured receipt.

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Recent Articles by this columnist:

Keeping Realtors Honest
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How well do we stack up?
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Resistance to change and compliance delay
Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Of urban planning and municipal wisdom
Thursday, April 17, 2014

Yes, it's official - demand is rising
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

All articles by Alan  Skinner

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