experts: real estate column Thursday, December 07, 2006

Consistency and the Cookie Cutter Approach

I have often railed against the blurring of local conditions by an aggregation with larger areas (Vancouver wide, Province wide and the worst one Country wide).

By Alan  Skinner

A flyer delivered to our home, and probably many of your homes too, this past week reinforced again for me two factors, inconsistency and the disservice of the "cookie-cutter" approach. I have often railed against the blurring of local conditions by an aggregation with larger areas (Vancouver wide, Province wide and the worst one Country wide). This flyer headlined a Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver press release postulating that this "greater" market "...Moves Towards Balance". It contained a quote which read "we’re finally seeing an increase in inventory and that is great news for buyers ..." (Hold this thought!) There was, sadly, no reference to the fact that the latter part of ‘05 saw some of the lowest inventories in years, so the slightly higher (read 10 to 15% on average) inventory is a baby step in the right direction and NOT by any means strong (or any real) evidence that balance is imminent.

Fast forward to the next article featured in the flyer; under a 'Ask the Realtor' heading – the question "Should I take my home off the market during the holidays?" – is a good one. The response, a strong recommendation not to. The most "persuasive" argument given (if it were consistent with market facts) was, and I quote "With reduced inventories and motivated buyers, you’ll have more MLS members working for you...". The inconsistency with the REBGV quote is glaring. What is of far more concern, however, is the "cookie-cutter" nature of this advice. Say demand were down (traditional at this time of the year) and say a certain geographic location, because of reduced daylight, snow etc were perceived as less desirable, surely a case might be made for not continuing to market over this period. Couple this with the differing "needs" to sell of the individual owners and you get a persuasive argument for a case by case analysis rather than ‘one size fits all’ advice. Talk to a Realtor who obtains all the facts of YOUR situation before you make a decision regarding your most valuable asset.

Now information on OUR North Shore? Number of N/Van detached sales is 4% lower than 2005 YTD. Average prices +15% and inventory up 12% over last year. On the attached (t/hse) front, sales numbers down 9% while apt sales were down 12%. Average prices up 17% (t/hse) and up by 14% for apartments. "Leveling off" continues but all prices markedly up over last year. Inventory (t/hse) up from ‘05, by 13%, and (apt) up from ’05 by 22%.

In W/Van, detached unchanged as to number of sales 05/06 YTD. Average price +19% YTD and inventory now at 15% higher than ‘05. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are up 1% YTD over 2005; average price change up 3%. Active listings down 17% from last year. Apts reflect 12% fewer sold vs. ‘05; with average prices up 37% and active listings 25% lower at 77 units. The NorthShore maintains healthy (though seasonally gentler) demand and inventory certainly not at all high enough to approximate a balanced market.

Thanks to all of you who asked for the "The When & Where Check List" to assist with the creation of an action plan for downsizing/moving. Remember to E-mail me at and I’ll be only too happy to forward a copy to you. 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.

The recent snow which has blanketed our homes is an early reminder of the Season we are approaching. May it be a warm one with our families and friends close by or affectionately in mind - often the easier part - but don’t forget providing warmth and cheer to strangers. Adeste Fidelis is important but Good King Wenceslas is a great message!

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

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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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