experts: real estate column Thursday, January 13, 2005

Could 2005 Possibly Outdo Last Year?

2004 is done! The results are in ... and ... yes, it was a banner one.

By Alan  Skinner

2004 is done! The results are in ... and ... yes, it was a banner one. As always, the master of understatement. I will now depart from my usual format for this "update" and give the results up-front.

The '04 numbers­ N/Van average prices up over '03 ­ detached +16%, attached +15% and apartments +19%. Inventory, all up:­ detached 31%, attached 144% and apartments 68%. Number of sales for the year:­ detached -11%, attached -8% and apartments -8%.

W/Van ­ all average prices are up ­ detached +26%, attached +17% and apartments +38%. Inventory: ­ detached +4%, attached +25% and apartments +34%. Numbers of sales for the year down:­ detached -7%, attached -1% and apartments -9%.

A recap of the main elements of the scorecard ... all average prices are up year over year; for N/Van between 15 and 19%. Fewer sales; between 8 and 11% less in each category and, yes, a lot more properties unsold -­ inventory up - ­ from approximately an extra 1/3 rd in detached homes and 2˝ times as many townhomes. W/Van, average prices rose dramatically from between 17 to 38% depending on the category. Number of sales down in all segments from 1 to 9% and all inventories up between 4 and 34%.

What does this show?

1) Real Estate on the North Shore is more highly desired '04 vs '03.
2) Less property changed hands '04 vs '03.
3) More supply is evident end of '04 than '03.

What will happen next?
Answer: Who can tell definitively?

Question: Why do you always answer a question with a question?
Answer: Why not?

Enough silliness!

Obviously the unknown (and most telling) factor as we head into 2005 is the level of demand. A prediction ­ educated or?!! Demand will rise (has only been temporarily dormant ­ read timid). How soon before it will rise?? In relative terms - soon. In months? 3 -­ 6??

One thing I am sure of though is that "bullish" sellers MUST moderate any unrealistic expectations, and, borrowing from Dickens for a moment; while many of us have "great expectations" of the long range performance of North Shore real estate, it is my belief that 2005 will return us to a period of "realistic expectations".

A word of caution ... those buyers holding off waiting for a retreat in prices, I fear that by mid-year those ranks will hold some disappointed "if onlys".

All in all ­ we are in a temporary lull which will not last. Happy New Year!

P.S. If you have any questions on your 2005 Property Assessments, pse call.

Please join the group subscribing to the e-mail version of this "update" - send a request now to and you'll be assured receipt; phone me at (604) 988-7368 or visit

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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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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