experts: real estate column Monday, March 07, 2005

Takin' It All For Granted - So What?

Real estate investments are growing in value and will continue to do so ... and, know what? I don't believe this is some sort of misplaced optimism. Far from it.

By Alan  Skinner

While I could wax philosophical and revisit a pet topic of how we NorthShorers don't really appreciate the life and blessings afforded us here, I instead allude to the somewhat deep-rooted belief that our R/E investments here are growing in value and will continue to do so...and, know what? I don't believe this is some sort of misplaced optimism. Far from it.

Having received, earlier this year, our Assessment notices, we invariably speculate - what could I sell it for? A point of caution here - most people (we human beings) have a gut feeling as to what our homes are worth (or what we would like to believe they are worth). When a comment such as "average prices may be up 5-10%" is made, there is so often a tendency to take the 10% figure and add it to the previously believed value. Compound this with the "guesstimate" of what it was worth last year. I say "guesstimate" respectfully as there is no truly reliable way of knowing what it was worth last March (unless it actually sold last March!)

I went back in my data base of some 7 years of "updates" and sought out this quote - "I was involved last week in the sale of a home in the Capilano corridor (to a builder), which will be demolished to rebuild, and has taken place at the "groundbreaking" (please excuse the pun) price of over $400,000 - who says we are not in a new era?" - when was this written? - May '02, almost 3 years ago. My point is that, I am sure, as a Realtor, I am not alone in currently searching for older property in this same area for clients wanting to demolish and build - the upper limit - low to mid $600's. Yes, so much is taken for granted. A word of caution: do not extrapolate this to infer that the entire North Shore is up 50% in 3 years.

Now the figures. N/Van detached sales for the year to date are down 16% from the same period last year. Average prices +9% and inventory up 28% over this time last year. On the condo side (t/houses and apartments) sales numbers up (25% and 4% respectively). Average prices up 3% and 18% resp. and inventory up 68% and 101% resp. The demand will need to be sustained to handle this inventory - I believe this demand is up to it - especially on the condo side.

W/Van detached is a little less pronounced with a 26% drop in number of sales; average price at +3% and inventory only 8% above 2004. # of sales will pick up here. The condo picture is mixed -but please remember my caution regarding limited transactions in T/home sales -61% (5 units vs. 13 last yr); average prices appear to be rocketing - same distortion - over $1mm vs. $600's last year. Let's hold our applause. Active listings 39 vs. 28 last year (+39%). Apartment sales up by 34%, average prices up 23% and active listings at 50 vs. 49 last year. Interpretation - stable.

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

Any questions regarding the market, decisions, contemplations, opinions of my musings, are welcomed via e-mail (or 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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