experts: real estate column Wednesday, August 09, 2006

To Wait Or Not To Wait - Is That The Question?

Do buyers have a few more weeks of "opportunity"? Should sellers wait until September?

By Alan  Skinner

Maybe it is just a coincidence that the Bard comes to Vancouver in mid-summer, and this too coincides with the yearly slowdown in number of sales. I guess that we, as a group, are a little more distracted during this period than "prior to" or "post". An opportunity for buyers? I believe that it may well be. Consider the property that is listed just as (or shortly after) this "distracted" period begins. If we have been used to seeing sales occurring in the first 2-3 weeks, it is possible that a 3 to 5 week "lack of success" may make the seller more amenable and lead to a mini "buyers’ market". Do we then, as buyers, have a few more weeks of "opportunity"? Does this also mean that sellers, who do not have to sell, should wait for post Sept 1? BTW, your scribe may have added to the malaise as this is being penned on a return flight from San Francisco after 4 days away. I guess cousins will get married.

The bigger discussion (argument) regarding waiting (or not) is clearly the conviction as to the strengthening or softening of prices – or as we all know, the extent of supply and the power of demand. Current supply (see figures below) is clearly on the rise and demand may well be temporarily distracted. Will refocused demand (buyers) be likely to absorb the extra inventory and permit price levels to be maintained (or grow)? What I believe is that (ignoring the minor peaks and valleys) North Shore demand will continue to be strong in the medium term; and, yes, supply will once again settle down. Prices in our North Shore hamlet? Stable (plateauing) to gently rising as 2006 draws to a close. Those who read last month’s update will probably be of the opinion that Shakespeare is featuring too prominently. This too shall abate once the Bard leaves the beach and our mid summer nights supply us with cooler dreams!

To the score sheet again - Number of N/Van detached sales is up 1% (year over year) – note, July/06 down 21% vs July/05. Average prices +16% and inventory now up 8% over last year (still climbing). On the attached (t/hse) front, sales numbers down 13% while apt sales were down 17%. Average prices up 19% (t/hse) and up by 14% for apartments. While there is some leveling off, all prices clearly up over last year. Inventory (t/hse) up from ‘05, by 35% and (apt) up from ’05 by 41%. A temporary (?) lull in our otherwise strong 2006 pattern of demand.

W/Van detached no change in number of sales 05/06 YTD. Average price +24% YTD and inventory stands at 5% higher than 2005. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are up 20% YTD over 2005; average price change up 4%. Active listings down 35% from last year (small sample – the only contrarian). Apts reflect 12% fewer sold vs. ‘05; with average prices up 44% and active listings now at 93 compared to 81 in ’05 (+14%). The North Shore maintains its sales pattern and its rising prices for ‘06. Month over month this year, though, the rate of increase is slowing.

Oh yes, and may the balance of your summer be just As You Like It!

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.

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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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