experts: real estate column Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It's What You See or Think You See

North Van continues its uncanny year over year 11% plus price trend.

By Alan  Skinner

An interesting headline that incidentally refers to headlines in general. I guess this is also an indictment of the need for headlines to grab attention and then clarify what is meant within the article itself when it is read. But, what if it is not read? Possibly a mistaken comprehension of the subject; or am I being paranoid?

This thought was prompted by the headline of a recent Vancouver Sun article which read – “B.C. house price increases to drop next year by half”. The salient words are likely “house”, “price” and “drop” and may quite likely imply at a cursory glance that prices are dropping. Upon a full perusal the fact of the predicted “rate of increase” being halved became evident. This referred to B.C. wide average prices and was made by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Remember that I always warn that one needs to know “which” market is being discussed. In this case, however, I think it is a fair comment and may well apply equally to our North Shore and in fact to many parts of the Lower Mainland. This is excellent news and reflects appropriate market forces at work. The figures given are that 2007 growth is predicted to be 12.1% (over 2006) and that 2008 at 6% (over 2007). The piece continues with good comment on housing “starts” (new homes being built) dropping to just over 33,000 in 2008 vs. just over 36,000 in 2007. Again, a healthy market reaction to demand.

So, at the risk of sounding repetitious, the need to a) know which market (or sub-market) is being reported on and b) to read the whole thing, is paramount to being able to put the message in context and see if it “jives” with what one thinks is a likely outcome. I feel that this is a sound prediction and, as I have said, a healthy reaction of a healthy market.

Now to consider the actual results in our North Shore. 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 down marginally and attached (townhomes) up 3% and apartments up 10%. Detached average prices +11% and inventory is now down by 28%. Average prices up 11% (t/hse) and up by 14% (apartments). Inventory (t/hse) 7% lower than '06 and (apt) down from ’06 by 13%. Overall inventory is lower in all categories.

In West Vancouver, detached number of sales up 1%. Average price up 13% and inventory down 7% over ’06. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are down 24% from 2006; average price change up 28% based on 52 sales YTD. Active listings now up 24% over last year – or based on the average number selling each month this year, almost a 5 month supply of townhomes. Apartments reflect 3% increase in sales from ’06; with average price staying almost equal to last year and active listings now up 4% over ‘06. North Shore demand is still healthy with inventory lagging a little (except W/Van condos). Thanks to all those requesting the checklists referred to in last month’s Update.

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 be added to the group getting the e-mail version of this “update” - send a request now to alanskinner@shaw.ca and you’ll be assured receipt; phone me at (604) 988-7368 or visit www.OnTopOfTheMarket.ca. Feel free to forward to a friend!




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