experts: real estate column Friday, November 13, 2009

Winners, Losers and Come-Ons?

Having been involved in no less than three 'multiple offer' transactions on behalf of seller and buyer clients in the past week, I began reflecting on the stress it places on all those participating.

By Alan  Skinner

Having been involved in no less than three “multiple offer” transactions on behalf of seller and buyer clients in the past week, I began reflecting on the stress it places on all those participating. Certain “entry level” price ranges tend to attract high demand and, where the presence of a suite (“mortgage helper”) is important to the buyer, it is not unusual to have 30 or 40 sets of folk visiting the offering. This can (and often does) lead to anything from 3 to up to 10 offers being presented to the seller. Exciting for the seller; nerve wracking for the buyer group. One “winner” is accepted and a selection of “bridesmaids” emerge. Offers typically range from just below the asking price to, say, 2 to 8% above asking price with a variety of conditions (inspection, mortgage approval) proposed, all the way to the brave (maybe foolhardy) souls who propose “no conditions” (subjects). It is not unusual, too, to find all but one offeror rather unhappy and, on occasion, the “lucky” buyer unhappy, believing they have overpaid.

Some criticism is often levied at the establishment of the “asking price”, when, with the benefit of hindsight, a final sale price emerges at a level way higher than that at which the home was offered for sale. At the risk of incurring the wrath of certain colleagues I will pose the question – do we as Realtor® advisors have an obligation to discourage our selling clients from severely under pricing the property listed for sale? I believe we do. There is however an argument to be made that this aberration is brought about by the market when a high level of demand exists. I wrote last month (October) about the desire for balance (stability) in the market and, to this I would add a desire for calming “unruly markets”.

Last month I made a recommendation regarding “rate guarantees. Rates, while still relatively stable, saw about a 0.3% increase in the fixed term offerings in the past week. If you missed doing it last month I strongly recommend obtaining this “guarantee” as well as a financing “pre-approval”. Most financial institutions will provide these for up to 90 days. Your banker or mortgage broker will help with this.

The YTD 2009 [first ten months] vs. corresponding 2008 figures for the North Shore. North Van detached homes sold are now up by 25% from last year; attached (t/homes) are up by 39% and apartments up by 25% from those sold in ‘08. Detached average prices down 8% and inventory October 31st, down by 45%. Average prices down 4% (t/hse) and down by 8% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 53% lower than ‘08 and (apt) down from ‘08 by 27%. Still we see that all N/Van inventory is way lower than the preceding year. Demand is maintaining strength and the general level of sales continues its month by month increase.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD is again up from ‘08, as of Oct 31st by 36% (the fourth consecutive month in about a year). Average price down 14% and inventory Oct 31st down 26% from ‘08. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold stand at 45 vs. 45 units last year; average price down 9%. Active listings are down from ‘08 at 40 vs. 44. Apartments sold now reflect a 12% increase YTD vs. ’08 (140 vs. 124); with average price down 15% and active listings now down 36% from end of Oct ‘08.

Overall the North Shore is seeing a continued drop in inventory and this trend is not in lock step with the general one evident in Greater Vancouver where inventories are recently showing a varied pattern of increases. Our prices still appear to have upward potential? Some slowdown in actual sales will likely occur as we head toward the holiday season.

Again, visit my website to see and “hear” the new developments. I continue my commitment to keep you... - 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

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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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