experts: real estate column Monday, December 12, 2005

Grinding To A Halt!

Grouse Grind, that is, not the real estate market...

By Alan  Skinner

No, no, no, I am by no means making any reference to the real estate market.

I am simply bemoaning the fact that, because the Grouse Grind is now officially closed down by the GVRD, I have been forced to curtail this activity and stay in a holding pattern at a total of 214 completed, until the warmth of 2006 enables a reopening. Alternative activity? Well this A.M. I did do a 9 km run in Stanley Park and next week intend to give snowshoeing a whirl. Must be able to justify that Festive feasting!!

The market, on the other hand continues to "barrel on", with stories of multiple offer sales still reported here and there. North Vancouver has been particularly active despite the prevalent "Oh, but it must quieten down for the Christmas season" - rhetoric. An interesting statistic is that N/Van has seen an additional (almost) $100,000,000 spent on detached homes alone YTD vs. last year. Although it didn't happen this way, think of the impact as equivalent to an additional 100 $1mm homes being sold in the past 11 months. A sobering thought!

This leads to the much quoted topic of late - that of affordability. A few salient points i) very few local "first time" buyers (read younger) can afford homes in our area. ii) more and more of those who can, are coming from locations further a-field (including other provinces and countries). iii) our local buyers must adjust their expectations to acquire smaller/less expensive (lower end) housing if they wish to remain here or move to lower cost areas. I am not, here, going to embark on a sociological discussion of the "goods and evils" of this transition. Some things must for reasons of practicality, be accepted. I will add though before leaving "affordability" - a topic which could easily fill months of "think tank" agendas - that it is most evident that there are multitudes of buyers who CAN afford North Shore real estate at current and (likely higher) future prices. These are sobering considerations as, even the current owners of our property stock are inextricably linked to the family, friends and acquaintances who would love to abide on the North Shore. Remember that "love to abide" is nothing more than a flowery term for that oft repeated term - demand.

These are the last figures I shall provide in 2005. January 2006 Update will include the full recap of this momentous year. Here we go - Number of N/Van detached sales exceeds the same period last year by 2%. Average prices +11% and inventory 14% lower than last year. On the attached (t/hse) front, sales numbers up 25% while apartment sales show increased growth of 7%. Average prices up 12% (t/hse) and 18% (apt). Inventories at -24% (t/hse) and -31% (apt). Demand (buyers) remains strong with inventory still well below '04 in all segments. Let's hope '06 leaves the starting gate with a good crop of new listings to help satisfy this demand.

W/Van detached maintains its YTD drop in number of sales (-2%); average price remains up +11% and inventory stands at 20% lower than 2004. The condo picture remains mixed - attached (t/hses) down 14% in number of sales; average prices up 26%. Active listings now 34 compared with last year's at 50 units. Apartments show 213 sold vs. 167 last year (+27%); with average prices up 6% and active listings now at 104 vs. 56 (2004) reflecting still more new building activity. The North Shore "busy" has not abated!

Now, as we approach the Season, it is once again the time to embrace our families, give thanks for our good fortune and some extra cheer to strangers in need. Thanks to all my friends, colleagues, clients and acquaintances for your support, feedback and for reading my monthly missives! To all, stay safe and keep warm in your abodes...'til 2006.....

Remember that 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 also offers a "no obligation" estimate of value for your personal Real Estate. Please use it and continue your valuable feedback.

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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