experts: real estate column Friday, June 09, 2006

Solutions - Can We Handle Them?

At some point we will need to 'bite the bullet', ie. increased density, secondary suites, more multi-unit buildings and so on.

By Alan  Skinner

Firstly, a big thank you to all who provided comments on last month’s “affordability/increased density” discussion and especially M.K. for a more “in-depth” analysis from the renters’ perspective. The consensus seemed to indicate about 85% receptivity to considering some increase in density to 15% opposed. This, I must stress is not a scientific survey! It seems that even with those proposing consideration, the issue of quality of life for ourselves and families/friends is where we will need much discussion.

A Vancouver Sun article last week also considered affordability and densification and the columnist made a comment on resistance to higher densification – his words “The answer lies in selfishness”. Maybe? – I pose this question, as a “citizen” of the North Shore, a parent and a property owner - Is it wrong for us to expect the same world (or better??) for our children? I personally think “selfish” is a bit harsh, but I do have some thoughts regarding whether we have come to expect too much. By definition there is always a generation moving on and a new one arriving on the scene. The attitude which may sum up the “resistance” could well be – “for me the status quo and then for the next generation ... bring it on”. For those with well established offspring (read older) or no offspring – it may be an easier decision.

One thing is certain though; there must be some planning for increased numbers and this must include factors such as increased density, secondary suites, more multi-unit buildings and so on. At some point there will be a need for some “bullet biting”.

Well, whether it’s density, mass or volume, here are the current, actual North Shore figures! Number of N/Van detached sales is up 7%. Average prices +17% and inventory still up 4% over last year. On the attached (t/hse) front, sales numbers down 11% while apt sales were down 24%. Average prices up 21% (t/hse) and up by 14% for apartments. All prices clearly up. Inventory (t/hse) down from ‘05, by 11% and (apt) up from ’05 by 21%. Demand (buyers) continues to be healthy.

W/Van detached up in number of sales (+11%); average price +29% YTD and inventory stands at 12% lower than 2005. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are up 51% YTD over 2005; average price change up 1%. Active listings down 59% from last year! Apts reflect 18% fewer sold vs. ‘05; with average prices up 38% and active listings now at 101 compared to 90 in ‘05. The North Shore maintains its sales pattern and its upward price curve for ‘06. Month over month this year, though, the rate of increase is slowing.

A final thanks to those kind souls who assisted me while I was tending the phones on the Global T.V. “B.C. Children’s Hospital Telethon from 10 – 11pm last Sat night. I was most pleased to be the Re/Max North Shore representative. On behalf of my fellow Re/Max Childrens’ Hospital supporters – thank you for being part of the $13mm raised!

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. Please use it and continue your valuable feedback.

To 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

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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