experts: real estate column Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Beware What You Say Or Thought You Said

The pairing off of willing sellers and willing buyers was far more plentiful in '07 than thus far in '08.

By Alan  Skinner

In mid-August I was interviewed by a reporter from the North Shore News. The interview was published Friday August 15th. I received a few e-mails and a number of comments from clients and peers, mostly positive but one I would not repeat in full, from a West Van home owner who said, and I’ll paraphrase gently “you’ve got it all wrong”. My opinion that “the North Shore is as close as we (in Vancouver) could come to a ‘bulletproofed’ market” and “the investment in our real estate was a most sound one during our life time and beyond” was condensed to read “we’re really bullet proofed for our lifetimes and beyond”. This earned the comment “You'll be selling used cars soon with that kind of rubbish” – ouch. My offer, in reply to that e-mail communication, to explain the misquotation has obviously fallen on deaf ears. Ah, well, the anonymity of the critic.

A commentator in the US said last week of their market that it has become “a combination between a beauty contest and a price war”. A fair comment which could well apply in Canada too and somewhat echoes my last month’s message “to sell one must stage the property and price it to compete”.

I’ll address my usual “supply vs. demand” comments in a more basic way this month (although I won’t omit the usual N/Van – W/Van synopsis in closing). I’m addressing the number of actual sales (8 mth – year to date) of all residential units and end of August inventory ’07 vs. ’08.

W/Van first – total sales (’07) 746 vs. (‘08) 536 – down 28%.
Units for sale Aug 31/07 – 425 vs. Aug 31/08 – 687 up by 62%.

N/Van – total sales (’07) 1975 vs. (’08) 1491 – down 25%. Units for sale Aug 31/07 – 425 vs. Aug 31/08 – 860 up by 102% (more than double).

This tells us that the pairing off of willing sellers and willing buyers was far more plentiful in ’07 than thus far in ’08. It also appears that there are lots (high inventory) of willing sellers today but, at the prices asked, not nearly as many willing buyers (diminished sales).

Now, note particularly the average price changes below in both locations YTD.

Here are the eight month 2008 figures vs. 2007 - North Van detached homes sold down 22% from last year, attached (t/homes) down 25% and apartments down by 27% from ‘07. Detached average prices +13% and inventory now up by 97%. Average prices up 8% (t/hse) and up by 12% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 86% higher than ‘07 and (apt) up from ‘07 by 114% - both of these continue to be affected by slower absorption of new construction. While there is still demand, continuing high inventory will maintain a tempering of sales prices – continuing of the plateauing.

In West Van, detached number of sales has dropped by 30% from ‘07. Average price up 7% and inventory now up 71% over ‘07. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are equal to 2007 at 44 units; average price down 12% YTD. Active listings are now up 36% over last year (49 vs. 36). Apartments reflect 105 sold vs. 145 by Aug ‘07; with average price up 11% from ‘07 and active listings up 39% from ‘07. Overall North Shore demand is still evident with inventory higher tan 2007, but, note that it has dropped from last month by 4 – 11% (W/Van) and by 15 – 16% (N/Van). I will continue to track this trend as it may well have significance in our Supply/Demand view of our world.

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 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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Alan Skinner

North Shore News

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