experts: real estate column Thursday, April 05, 2001

A POSITIVE 1ST Q? - & ECONOMICS 101

If last year was the year of the West Van dragon; the 1st Q of this one is North Van's chance to strut (or maybe catch up a little).

By Alan  Skinner

If last year was the year of the West Van dragon; the 1st Q of this one is North Van's chance to strut (or maybe catch up a little). While both jurisdictions' apartments still languish, N/Van did at least show some gains.

N/Van detached and townhomes both evidence lower inventories than last year (down 7% and 10% respectfully). Average prices show little change (+1% and -3%). 17% more detached homes have sold here this 1st Q compared to 1st Q of 2000. A significant 45 townhome units sold in March rocketing the YTD townhome numbers to 91% higher than last year.

W/Van?s 1st Q detached sales numbers were down 10% and inventory up 8% over last year. Average prices are marginally down (detached), however the "thin" numbers of townhomes precludes meaningful comment on average prices. A comment on apartments is pertinent here - no new apartments have been listed/sold or held over in inventory so far this year! Last year 5 had been sold by this time with, wait for it, an average price per unit of $1,032,300. I won't insult you by discussing the % change in average prices this Q. I also hope I won't insult when I say it was obviously less!

A fact that I can share though is that, as of yesterday (Apr 2 - no fooling), the lowest priced apartment listing in W/Van was $156,000 - I have today submitted to the Board (MLS) one listed at $114,800 (rented at $735pm). Pop quiz : - how will the sale of this one affect YTD average figures for W/Van?

In a conversation this last week with a longstanding client of mine, a comment was made regarding my "continual reference to number of sales (per month/YTD) ... surely" he said, "this statistic is only of interest to Realtors?"

A fair observation (as I do emphasize numbers sold); and I answer thus: the only way I can see to provide even a crude analysis is via the supply/demand economic model. Supply i.e. inventory (listings) is evident (a number) and its trend measurable (higher/lower/equal to last month/year). I believe that the demand side can only be gauged by the actual number of buyers "buying" (monthly/YTD). Sure, a good, full time realtor has a "gut feel" for demand (how many folk came through my open house/asked to view my listings), but this "activity" doesn't say demand the way a "sold" sign does. More sales + declining inventory = firmer (increasing?) prices. Less sales + growing inventory = softer (falling?) prices.

Please invite any friends/colleagues to join the group subscribing to the e-mail version of this update by sending a request to northshore@canada.com. Please forward this to anyone you think may enjoy receiving this newsletter.

Please don't hesitate to call/e-mail with any questions on local real estate, whether buying, selling or just looking at future options.

Alan is the host of "The Real Estate Show" (a Media Mentors' production) heard Sunday between 2 and 3 pm on CFUN - AM 1410 - Listen in - Phone in with your questions!




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Recent Articles by this columnist:

Keeping Realtors Honest
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Resistance to change and compliance delay
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All articles by Alan  Skinner

Related Links:

http://www.alanskinner.com/

http://www.cfun.com/realestateshow.htm

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