experts: real estate column Friday, December 05, 2003

'03 soon to be '04 - So what's changing?

Guess what? ....Economists agree ... average prices have gone up!

By Alan  Skinner

Guess what? ....Economists agree ... average prices have gone up! Yes folks, the 20/20 hindsight (supported by the facts) leads to a resounding consensus. Why does this surprise us? Low supply (now a 2 year phenomenon) coupled with persistent demand will tend to do that. And, .... sorry Economists, just a gentle ribbing, we know you can take it.

Overall, in both segments (North and West) of our Northshore market we are standing at about 3/4 of the inventory evident at this time last year. Demand, however, does not appear to be diminishing what does this auger for 2004?

Actual figures - (for fun and enlightenment I've included Dec '02 vs. '01 average price increases in brackets) North Van average prices are all up over last year at this time. Detached +17% (+9%), attached +13% (+7.4%) and apartments +14% (+7%) - roughly double '02! Inventory is down detached -16%, attached -37% and apartments -33%. Number of sales, 11 mths to date, mixed detached -2%, attached -8.5% and apartments +13%.

And what of West Van? average prices are largely up detached +16%, attached -20% (small sample) and apartments +10%. Inventory is mixed detached -30%, attached -6% and apartments +53% (could this aberration mean inflated expectations by sellers misread demand?). Numbers of sales to date all mixed detached +1%, attached -8% and apartments -1%.

Advice from the "Dear Alan" column: If you are an eager buyer ...hang in there and keep close to an experienced Realtor ... remember, the market decides value. If you are a willing seller ... seek out an experienced Realtor ... their advice will prove invaluable.

Now, as the Season approaches embrace your families, give some extra cheer to strangers in need and resolve to improve your life (and thereby that of those around you). Stay safe and keep warm in your abodes ... 'til 2004 ....

Please join the group subscribing to the e-mail version of this "update" (or forward to a friend who may wish to) - send a request now to northshore@canada.com and you'll be assured receipt; phone me at (604) 988-7368 or visit www.AlanSkinner.com

Your questions regarding the market, your decisions, contemplations, opinions of my musings, are all welcomed via that medium (or by phone) hey, pop-in and say "Hi" to me at an open house I'd love to see you.




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