experts: real estate column Monday, March 08, 2004

Owners Happy - Wannabe Owners Not

Joy ... and sadness on the North Shore

By Alan  Skinner

Should we be happy for current owners of real estate on the North Shore? I guess so; but this may be a difficult and selfless act for those aspiring to own a home. This came home (no pun intended) to me last evening when I firstly presented an offer on a townhome for a family on a restricted budget alongside three other would-be owners. Highest bid, no conditions takes the auction - my beloved clients will have to continue looking. Twenty minutes later I am talking to another family client who is ecstatic about the fact that their North Van purchase of 1998 has likely appreciated by 60 to 70%. Joy ... and sadness.

I received some great feedback on my "Interest Rates and The Price of Plums" of last month - thank you. While I continue to believe that lower rates will generally prevail in the short and medium term, I caution folk to at least consider some of the 5, 7, and 10 year lock-in rates which are about the lowest ever. If the enticing short terms are your preference, just make sure that you, your mortgage broker or your lender are on top of the warning signs of increases and able to act quickly to lock in when necessary.

No surprises in our figures for the North Shore (only continued frustration for buyers) - here goes: North Van average prices continue to climb - detached +16%, attached +22% and apartments +23%. Inventory is down - detached -33%, attached -15% and apartments -51%! Number of sales for the year, mixed - detached -5%, attached +15% and apartments +12% (yes, these condos are certainly flavour of the moment).

West Van - all average prices continue to be up - detached +22%, attached +27% and apartments +16%. Inventory mixed - detached -36%, attached -12% and apartments +28%. Numbers of sales for the year slightly mixed - detached - 4%, attached + 8% and apartments - 8 %. Remember with these stats, we are always comparing the "year to date" from last year, to this year. Inventory figures are as at the last day of the month.

Please join the group subscribing to the e-mail version of this "update" - 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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