experts: real estate column Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mixed But Healthy Markets On The North Shore

Demand is healthy with inventory mixed and not nearly enough for a balanced market.

By Alan  Skinner

Those attempting to interpret the state of the North and West Van markets could be excused from deducing that, on the surface, there appears to be a move toward a higher degree of balance but I believe that would be erroneous, or at least, premature. Slightly lower or “leveling” buying (actual sales recorded) does not necessarily mean lower demand; rather, slower decision making. Supply, while improving somewhat (N/Van particularly) is still far too low to indicate a “balancing” market.

Sellers’ Tip: Irrespective of your residing in a sub-area with a surplus of unsold inventory or one with lower than usual supply, the trick to a successful sale in 2007 remains the same. Price your home right for the market. Correctly prepare it for sale and make certain that the listing receives superior market exposure. Overpricing will unlikely earn you brownie points in the current market. Buyers have been swamped by negative press on the housing market; they are cautious and won't pay a penny over what they perceive is market value.

Sellers often wonder whether it's worth it to spend money fixing a home up for sale. Not only is it worth it, but it can be critical to selling at the highest price possible, particularly in sub-areas where the inventory is high. If your home has a dated décor it makes sense to invest in replacing items such as outmoded light fixtures, floor coverings and paint colours. Correct “deferred maintenance”, or discount your price accordingly.

Imagine that you're the buyer and have a choice between a home that you can move into without lifting a finger and one that needs a complete overhaul. Most buyers won't even consider the house that needs a facelift and if they do, only at a significant discount.

Buyers’ Tip: It is quite natural, especially in the early going of your search, to want as much information of what is for sale as possible. Many buyers want to formulate their wish list on their own and then decide on an experienced professional to help them take it from there. I am happy to say that I have subscribed to a mechanism/facility to assist with this. On my website, there is a button (front page top toolbar) entitled MLS (Multiple Listing System) which enables the user to access the entire selection of listings with an extremely easy-to-use search engine. Just try it and see. Those results which are provided with your search can be short listed and, with the provision of the MLS # (e.g. V635258) via the “contact us” function, you will receive the full information usually only available from a Realtor (by return e-mail!). Try it, it is available at no cost to you!

Now, the figures. Overall, Feb was a more buoyant month than the prior year. Now with 2 months under our belts the YTD (year-to-date) figure comparison becomes a little more meaningful. Number of N/Van detached sales equal to ’06.. Average prices +10% and inventory 7% higher at Feb 28 this year, than last year. On the attached (t/hse and apt) front, sales numbers same as ’06 (t/hse) and up 25% (apt). Average prices up 14% (t/hse) and up by 13% for apartments. Inventory (t/hse) equal to ’06, and (apt) up from ’06 by 48%. This apt inventory includes 24 more brand new units than YTD in’06.

In W/Van, detached number of sales down 19%. Average price down 3% and inventory now at 5% higher than ’06. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are down 27% over 2006; average price change up 58% based on a mere 8 sales YTD. Active listings down 38% from last year. Apartments reflect 21% more sales vs. ’06; with average price up 16% (23 units sold) and active listings 21% lower. The North Shore demand is healthy with inventory mixed and not nearly enough for a balanced market.

Again, visit my website to see and “hear” the new developments. I continue my commitment to keep you…. This work in progress strives to be the “go to” site for North Shore Real Estate analysis and jumping off point for FULL market listing information.

To join the group subscribing to the e-mail version of this “update” - send a request now (or from the website) 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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