experts: real estate column Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Are We In The 'Spin' Cycle?

To sum up, what we are experiencing is that Buyers are cautious and wannabe Sellers are likely regretting not having put their properties on the market 3 or more months ago.

By Alan  Skinner

My talk of cycles in last month’s Update sparked some response and comments which again put me in mind of the Blood, Sweat and Tears hit “Spinning Wheel”. The oft postulated “what goes up must come down” like the pendulum is believed by some to imply the Physics law of an equal and opposite reaction. Far from it here on the ‘sunny(?)’ North Shore. To explain my viewpoint we need only to revisit the tenets of Supply and Demand. A quick aside here – I do wish that the popular press and various other commentators would let go of the notion - rising average prices, GOOD – flat or any decline in prices, BAD. The stages of the cycle are natural and all should be accepted as normal parts of healthy markets. I guess that drama is more exciting when selling a position. Back then to “boring” supply and demand. Supply, as in number of properties for sale at any given time, is certainly up markedly on our North Shore (N/Van particularly with all categories over double the number of units offered at the end of June 2007 – from 106% to 125% to quote June 2008 figures). Keep in perspective though the fact that June ’07 was unduly low and was down from May ’07. Fact, however, is we have a “good selection” of homes for sale now. Demand on the other hand has apparently reduced; the evidence being (again N/Van figures) the June ’08 fact of, in all categories, between 40 – 44% fewer sales vs. June ’07. I use the term “apparently” as I see a fair level of interested buyer activity in the market despite the obvious drop in number of offers being made.

The cautious nature of the “interested buyer” is not surprising but does not necessarily indicate that that group have “all packed their tents and headed off for protracted summer holidays”. In the same vein, I believe that we on the North Shore are not yet truly into the “buyers’ market” quoted in the official press release of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. This we cannot really claim until (and if) prices moderate somewhat and average prices show some reduction. This we have not yet seen – see stats following. To sum up, what we are experiencing is that Buyers are cautious and wannabe Sellers are likely regretting not having put their properties on the market 3 or more months ago. Indeed, we can bet that many of the unsuccessful Sellers who listed in the 1st quarter of the year regret they listed at the price they did.

Now the ‘first half’ 2008 figures vs. ’07’s ‘first half’ - North Van detached homes sold down 20% from last year, attached (t/homes) down 16% and apartments down by 19% from ‘07. Detached average prices +16% and inventory now up by 112%. Average prices up 10% (t/hse) and up by 15% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 106% higher than ‘07 and (apt) up from ‘07 by 125% - both of these continue to be affected by slower absorption of new construction. While there is still evident demand, this will lead to a tempering of sales prices – continuing of the plateauing.

In West Van, detached number of sales has dropped by 19% from ‘07. Average price up 8% and inventory now up 73% over ‘07. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are even with 2007 at 33; average price down 8% YTD. Active listings are now 29% over last year. Apartments reflect 85 sold vs. 110 by June ‘07; with average price up 14% from ‘07 and active listings up 8% from ‘07. North Shore demand is still evident with inventory continuing to climb – more so in North Van.

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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