experts: real estate column Friday, June 10, 2005

Are We There Yet?

The assertion by some that "prices must have peaked" may be as prevalent as the cult of rising property values...

By Alan  Skinner

As prevalent as the cult of rising property values, is the assertion by some that "prices must have peaked" (or the more extreme version) "the bubble is about to burst!" It never ceases to intrigue me that the larger percentage of the "bubble prophets" don't own their own real estate and while they considered it for some years, never took the plunge. In addition, those postulating the "peaked" theory who do own property are not clamouring to sell and thereby avoid the feared "drop back". Enough emotional, gut feel theorizing! Classical supply and demand are all we need. Is there still significant desire to own on the N/Shore? - Yes! Is there enough inventory to satisfy the demand? No! Are there still multiple competitive offers for residential offerings? Yes! [This scribe was personally involved in 2 out of 3 deals involving multiple offers since my last update]. Thus, in answer to the headline above "No we are not there yet". This now begs the question of "Where is There?" or, I propose, the more important philosophical one, "What do we want There to look like?" Regrettably, we are not going there now! That discussion would require, at minimum, some bottles of good wine and a weekend retreat.

And so to the YTD figures. Number of N/Van detached sales was down 8% from the same period last year. Average prices +10% and inventory down 19% over last year (a serious lack of supply?). On the attached (t/home) front, sales numbers up (11%) while apartment sales show increased growth to 13%. Average prices up 7% (t/hse) and 15% (apt). Inventories at +1%(t/hse) and -29%(apt). Demand here (buyers) remains strong and inventory is now dropping markedly (watch this!).

W/Van detached continues its YTD drop in number of sales (-12%); average price continues its gradual rise at +4% and inventory now 17% below 2004! The condo picture remains mixed attached (t/hses) down 25% in number of sales; average prices remain strong (up 52%). Active listings 44 vs 33 last year (+33%). Apartments with 105 sold vs. 74 last year (+41%); in the same vein average prices up 55% and active listings now at 90 vs 41 (2004). NB 223 new listings (almost are new construction) in the 1st 5 mths of '05 vs only 99 same period '04. The strength of these trends is now becoming evident.

This month's moral: Don't take as gospel all that you see in writing (even this!) or hear. But do read & listen and question!

Remember that OnTopOfTheMarket.ca is the place to visit for North Shore R/E information. This work in progress strives to be the "go to" site for North Shore Real Estate analysis. A jumping off point for FULL market listing information, it offers a no obligation estimate of value for your personal Real Estate assets. Please use it and continue your valuable feedback. 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.OnTopOfTheMarket.ca

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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