experts: real estate column Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Negativity and Our "Natural" Predisposition

Picked as the number one most liveable city in the world, but Vancouverites can't seem to take a compliment.

By Alan  Skinner

Well, the recurring story of Vancouver’s topping a list of (this time) “world’s most livable cities*” has been reported in the past few weeks. Woopee, I guess we should be “happy?”, “proud?”, “excited?” or .... ? Not according to a Vancouver Sun article headed as follows “Our city No. 1 again, but will it last?” This recurring inclination of so many to say “O.K – but…” and then trot out all the negatives they can dredge up is indeed disappointing to say the least. It seems to many to be “positively un-Canadian” to smile, be quietly excited and say, “wow are we fortunate?” Instead, we hear comments like “we’re not the best, but we’re far from the worst” and following that, from the same commentator, “this is not telling us we’re the best city in every respect”. The thrust of the article seemed to be, that, because we are so “appealing” we are attracting too many immigrants and that would inevitably cause us to drop in the rankings. Yes, we need to manage the challenges of housing for our inhabitants and provide intelligent transportation solutions, but this is every urban centre’s challenge. A discussion of this knee jerk “yeah, but…” phenomena caused a humorist in our group to say that this is akin to someone applauding a married couple for their happy marriage to which the one spouse replies, “yes, it’s great, but will it last?” Everything worthwhile under the sun needs to be worked at in order to keep it in top form; why just assume that the challenge is, or will be too great? Let’s smile graciously and say “thanks, we intend to keep it this way”. I’m with Vancouver’s Mayor, Sam Sullivan, who was quoted at the end of the same article as saying that he “credits the people living in Vancouver – and their strong social and environmental ethic – for the city’s top ranking”.

Now, (how strange) we look at the continuing effect of the demand created by this desirability, specifically as it applies to our portion of this paradise, the North Shore – North Van first; clearly continues to show 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 +12% and inventory is now down by 12%. Average prices up 11% (t/hse) and up by 15% (apartments). Inventory (t/hse) 1% lower than ’06 and (apt) up from ’06 by 5%. North Van is the one place where inventory seems lower than last year. That gentle rise in prices will likely be maintained.

In West Vancouver, detached number of sales up 4%. Average price up 12% and inventory 2% higher than ’06. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are down 21% from 2006; average price change up 19% based on 44 sales YTD. Active listings now up 5% over last year. Apartments reflect 3% fewer sales from ’06; with average price 1% lower (possibly an aberration owing to some inordinately large sales early last year) and active listings now 10% higher. North Shore demand still healthy with inventory mixed and again not enough for a balanced market as the rhetoric of early 2007 would have had us believe. Important note: Interest rates are not evidencing the promised rises!

*The Economist Intelligence Unit

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.

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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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