experts: real estate column Friday, October 15, 2004

On John Lennon and the Real Estate Market

A less frenetic "seller's" market and a return to normalcy.

By Alan  Skinner

As I write this, my wife and I are heading by ferry to Victoria to join in the running of the 2004 Victoria Half Marathon. Pam, engrossed in the Globe and Mail, has just remarked on an article which states that John Lennon would have been 64 today - a poignant reminder of the lyrics he co-wrote with Paul McCartney some 40 years ago. Despite the fact that John Lennon is no longer with us, this does reinforce the passing of time, the annual event that tacks another year on to our most basic score card. Just like that inexorable fact, increasing demand and supply will ensure the continued upward trend of our desirable North Shore real estate inventory ... and, yes, the value continues to be reflected in that rising graph.

Now, an aside, if I may, on statistics; specifically a minor change in one that I have been using in my "updates" for the past 4 years or so - average price. The Real Estate Board has recently adopted a new, web based Multiple Listing System - MLXchange, and with its advent we are seeing a revamping of the statistical reporting system. I shall be using the Median price (or the middle price) as the indicator of the "average" from now on. All of these "average" indicators have "plusses and minuses" and these generally relate to the number of activities in the sample (in our case, sales). With smaller numbers e.g. 3 sales of a specific category such as townhouses in say W/van in one month we could see a meaningless distortion - imagine one selling for $810K, one for $800K and one for $325K; the median would be $800K, hardly a true indication of "middle value". As I always use "number of sales year-to-date", this should not adversely affect our search for middle value and our goal of tracking the "trend" of the market.

Now, the figures - N/Van median prices (YTD) up over last year - detached +18%, attached +19% and apartments +21%. Inventory, staying up - detached +11%, attached +70% and apartments +12%. Number of sales for the YTD - detached -12%, attached -11% and apartments -7.5%.

W/Van - all median prices are up - detached +24%, attached +33% and apartments +34%. Inventory - detached +9%, attached (N/C) and apartments (N/C). Numbers of sales for the year also down - detached -6%, attached -1% and apartments -3%. Not as marked as N/Van but this overall drop in sales does confirm the less frenetic "seller's" market and a return to normalcy.

The higher prices - still evidence of our healthy real estate.

.... 'til next time - "will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?"

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.

Please feel free to forward this to others who may wish to receive a monthly copy of this "update" - they may send a request to northshore@canada.com and will be assured receipt; phone Alan at (604) 988-7368 or visit www.AlanSkinner.com




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