experts: real estate column Tuesday, May 06, 2003

We only know the past...

North Shore average prices up; volume down

By Alan  Skinner

With four months of 2003 under our belts, it is now patently evident that, compared with the same period last year a) average prices are generally up b) the number of housing units changing hands is markedly down and c) the available inventory is way down (Apr 30/03 vs. '02) .... and, yes, I'm going to add a d) [although this is not demonstrable statistically] - the demand on the part of buyers is markedly up. The caveat here is, however, that the demand is "demanding" (or should I say discerning). Clearly, the potential buyers are saying - "I'm not going to decimate my wish list and pay too much for something that doesn't come close to my needs - I'll wait". Hence, for example, 404 N/Van units remain in "inventory" as at April 30/03 (although this is a fraction of the 717 units evident Apr 30/02 - 56 % to be precise). W/Van a little less painful at 77%. The demand here seems to be less vigorous.

A comment on generalities is probably pertinent at this point. The Vancouver Sun, by way of illustration, publishes statistics provided to them by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. These aggregations and averages provide then the ability to make generalized statements of the type "Greater Vancouver average price for condo apartments has increased by (say) 4.8% year over year". This says nothing of a possibly weak showing in ,say Mount Pleasant at 1.5% increase vs., say, the possibly astounding Kerrisdale figure of 16.8% [ Note how carefully I'm avoiding North Shore examples - even hypothetically!]. It is therefore apparently easy to "prove the generality wrong" by citing a specific example of, say a West Van suburb outperforming a specific North Van suburb although the N/Van market may be outperforming the W/Van one in general.

Now, with respect, I submit actual figures for the numbers buffs - N/Van detached sales YTD, down 17%, attached (townhomes/duplexes) down 33% and apartments down 14%. April 30/03 inventory (supply) is down by - detached 29%, attached 37% and apartments 55%. --- average prices? - detached up by 16%, attached up 11% and apartments up 7%.

W/Van detached sales (YTD) down 13%, attached down 20% and apartments down 6%. Apr 30/03 inventory is down too - detached 18%, attached 28% and apartments 61%. Average price figures are mixed (again don't forget our samples are much smaller, therefore less reliable) - detached up 9%, attached down 27% and apartments up 3%.

Wouldn't it be great to be off this "low Supply / high Demand" roller coaster?

I remain ready, willing and able to assist Buyers and Sellers dealing with property on the North Shore. My strong suggestion is for you 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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