experts: real estate column Thursday, August 09, 2007

Summer's Warmth Permits No Price Cooling

With the recent burst of warmer and sunnier weather we are seeing a continuing parallel boost in year over year prices.

By Alan  Skinner

With the recent burst of warmer and sunnier weather we are seeing a continuing parallel boost in year over year prices. One of our well respected local analysts, Helmut Pastrick, chief economist of the BC Credit Union Central, admitted recently (Vancouver Sun, Aug 3rd) that he had “thought we would see some moderation [in sales] as those higher mortgage rates took effect.” He continued that sales “have exceeded my expectations” and that he was adjusting his Lower Mainland housing forecast upward. NB - July for Greater Vancouver recorded some 41.8% more sales than the same time last year! This is of significance.

Brian Naphtali, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and a fellow Re/Max associate broker of mine, recalled that while sales had slowed last November through the early part of 2007, “[Buyers] may have been anticipating price corrections, and it became apparent that wasn’t happening, so people got tired of waiting.” Yes, the long awaited slow down is proving to be slow in coming and is apparently not deterring buyers as forecast. While the numbers of sales continue apace, it is interesting to see that the gradually rising Vancouver-wide inventories are not, as yet, any real “braking mechanism”. Is this stretching our supply/demand model? Not, I guess, if there are sufficient new “demanders” to continue to take up that slack.

I’m reminded of an article Ozzie Jurock wrote almost 2 years ago called “24 Major Reasons why the Vancouver Real Estate Market will remain strong for years.” I’ll mention several of these reasons although the full set is, I’m sure, available in the archives on his site. No specific order – Vancouver is land-locked west (water), south (the US), north (mountains), east (agricultural land); continuing migration; B.C. ports expanding; high B.C. university enrollment [we’re contributing one body to that expansion in 3 weeks time!]; record breaking home sales; B.C. businesses most optimistic; generally older and wealthier population and the next generation of inheritors; shift from east to west inter-provincial migration; Olympic construction and infrastructure/jobs. Any reason to “not” be bullish as to the future?

Now, the specific North Shore figures (N/Van first). It continues to be clear that 2007 is on an upward price trend. The YTD (year-to-date) figure comparison shows mixed levels of sales from last year (but generally a little higher). Detached average prices +10% and inventory is down by 2%. Average prices up 12% (t/hse) and up by 15% (apartments). Inventory (t/hse) 6% lower than ’06 and (apt) up from ’06 by 13% (still a higher proportion of new construction). Inventory in North Van is the one place which seems to be shrinking and in two cases (thse/apt) lower than last year at this time. This will in all likelihood cause a gently continuing rise in prices to be maintained.

In West Vancouver, detached number of sales up 5%. Average price up 14% and inventory only 2% higher than ’06. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are down 31% from 2006; average price change up 19% based on 37 sales YTD. Active listings now up 29% over last year. Apartments reflect 3% fewer sales from ’06; with average price 6% lower (aberration owing to some inordinately large sales early last year) and active listings 6% lower. North Shore demand still healthy with inventory mixed and definitely not sufficient for a balanced market.

Again, visit my website to see and “hear” the new developments. I continue my commitment to keep you ... www.OnTopOfTheMarket.ca. 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 getting the e-mail version of this “update” - send a request now toalanskinner@shaw.ca and you’ll be assured receipt; phone me at (604) 988-7368 or visitwww.OnTopOfTheMarket.ca




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Recent Articles by this columnist:

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All articles by Alan  Skinner

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