experts: real estate column Thursday, October 11, 2007

Markets Steady - A Time To Plan For Future Changes?

We hear the term 'timing is everything' and I'm sure we believe it, but, alas, oft times we fail to make the effort to ensure that we take advantage of that 'timing'.

By Alan  Skinner

Again the “empty nest” discussion has resurfaced. Probably fueled to some extent by recent graduations / impending graduations or just the fact that so many of our North Shore homeowners are Baby Boomers. The program I developed is tailored to address the exercise (and yes, it is an exercise that warrants much thought and careful planning). Simply put, it is the process of taking existing Real Estate and converting it into the desired next home (sometimes, retirement dwelling) and ideally, maximizing proceeds and minimizing outlay. Regular readers of this column will recognize this topic, but I make no apology – I truly enjoy the cut and thrust of sales and purchases but love the role of “Renesting” Advisor!

We hear the term “timing is everything” and I’m sure we believe it, but, alas, oft times we fail to make the effort to ensure that we take advantage of that “timing”. In our busy, personal lives too, we often allow action-time to arrive, making these decisions in what is likely a less that optimal manner and moment. Think about the tax and estate planning we know we should be doing! This “shelter” part of the equation isn’t rocket science and can actually be most enjoyable. Truth is, that with our “busyness” we often just don’t really know where to start. To help in creating a “road map” I have developed a series of checklists designed to simplify the process and act as an aide memoir. I’ve been told by some that it is helpful in getting ducks, kids, parents, pets, jobs etc in a row.

The first part of the exercise is “The When & Where Check List”. This is really a memory jogger which highlights the many necessary considerations – our present family position, financial situation, employment and so on, and enables a considered creation of the action plan (or plans) necessary. E-mail me at and I’ll be only too happy to forward a copy to you (I have done this in “word™” format for ease of customizing and printing). I will also attach the “New Home Checklist”.

While many favour a “do it yourself” approach, I enjoy popping around to discuss the process with folks over a cup of coffee [glass of wine ;)]. Some parts of the process are pretty standard but what I have learned is that, with our different situations, some “customization” is invariably necessary. Just call and set up a time.

Now to look at the ongoing effect of the demand created by our (North Shore) desirability. North Van first; continuing evidence that 2007 is year over year maintaining the uncanny 11% plus price trend. The YTD (year-to-date) figure comparison shows level to increasing number of sales from last year – detached roughly level and attached (townhomes) up 7% and apartments up 11%. Detached average prices +11% and inventory is now down by 5%. Average prices up 11% (t/hse) and up by 15% (apartments). Inventory (t/hse) 1% lower than ’06 and (apt) up from ’06 by 16%.

In West Vancouver, detached number of sales up 5%. Average price up 12% and inventory on a par with ’06. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are down 24% from 2006; average price change up 28% based on 47 sales YTD. Active listings now up 33% over last year. Apartments reflect 1% increase in sales from ’06; with average price equal to last year and active listings now 4% 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. Interest rates are remaining steady with (some) rumours of possible decreases. We shall follow this with interest.

A Happy and Family Filled Thanksgiving to All!

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 getting 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 Feel free to forward to a friend!

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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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