experts: real estate column Thursday, July 09, 2009

Where Has All The Inventory Gone?

As with the anti-war song of the 60's, the next line could well be 'Gone to buyers, everyone'.

By Alan  Skinner

As with the anti-war song of the 60’s, the next line could well be “Gone to buyers, everyone”. Well, we know that “everyone” of the listings isn’t sold yet, but the reduction of units from June 30, 2008 to June 30, 2009 is certainly the result of sales to willing buyers. The actual number of units available on the North Shore was 1,768 for ‘08 - at June 30 ’09 1,311. A drop of approximately 26%! This, good people, is significant.

A quick comment on inventory as it applies to “homes for sale”. I watch the “expired” and “cancelled” listings fairly closely. I don’t however keep figures on these, nor could I say with conviction that “x % of all the inventory at a given time will expire or be cancelled”. If we concede that inventory has a “core” of listings that will not sell in a current cycle it is tantamount to saying the 1,311 current unit on the market is more likely 1,200 or 1,100 or ….? Some “sellers” do not fall into the category of “willing sellers” as their expectations are clearly above the market demand offerings of the “willing buyer”. In our supply vs. demand model we know that a combination of falling supply and increasing (or even consistent) demand must lead to increasing prices.

On the “wither demand” question, I am not going to discuss this in any depth this Update but will comment further next month. I will say that I believe demand is currently healthy and will maintain that strength.

An interesting aside is the resurgence of sales in the upper end of the market. For this I have looked at collective North Shore detached home sales of listings over $1,500,000 occurring in the 1st four months of ’09 vs. those occurring in the last two months (May/June). The actual figures are - total sales Jan – April (4 mths) 63 vs. total sales May– June (2 mths) 55 Once more a strong indication of a return of confidence.

Now to the YTD 2009 [first six months] vs. 2008 figures for our North Shore. North Van detached homes sold are down by less than 1% from last year, attached (t/homes) are now up by 13% and apartments down by 9% from ‘08. Detached average prices down 8% and inventory June 30th, down by 37%. Average prices down 9% (t/hse) and down by 16% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 29% lower than ‘08 and (apt) down from ‘08 by 28%. As mentioned above, all N/Van inventory is lower than last year. Demand and the general level of sales are clearly increasing month by month.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD has dropped, as of June 30th by 10% from ‘08. Average price down 21% and inventory June 30th down 20% from ‘08. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold has dropped to 11 vs. 31 units last year; average price down 29%. Active listings are down from ‘08 by 20%. Apartments sold reflect an 8% drop YTD vs ‘08; with average price down 20% and active listings up 28% from end of June ‘08.

Overall North Shore demand maintains its improving trend and with all inventories continuing to drop month over month, the seller continues to have a better chance of selling.

Again, visit my website to see and “hear” the new developments. Continue my commitment to keep you... www.OnTopOfTheMarket.ca - 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 toalanskinner@shaw.ca and you’ll be assured receipt; phone me at (604) 988-7368 or visit www.OnTopOfTheMarket.ca




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