experts: real estate column Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yes We Are Seeing A Build Up Of Inventory

Talk of an impending "buyers' market" in various geographical locations is prevalent and, yes, the "bubble" word is being used in national and some regional press discussion.

By Alan  Skinner

The above is a statistical fact despite a significant year over year rise in the number of units sold so far this year vs. those sold in the same period last year. Talk of an impending "buyers' market" in various geographical locations is prevalent and, yes, the "bubble" word is being used in national and some regional press discussion. Remember that real estate "performance" is regionally determined and all markets do not move in lock step. Just as we must resist aggregation on a city wide basis, it is more important to avoid doing so on a province wide and country wide basis if we are to come to grips with "what is happening here ?" and "how do we personally deal with it?" Dealing with it depends on the potential buyer or seller wanting or needing to deal with it now. By this I mean buying or selling a home. I stress the word home as the greater proportion of participants in North Shore real estate are those owning or contemplating acquiring their own dwelling. I coined the word "re-homing" some years ago and feel it defines the majority of buyers and sellers (and actually includes 1st time buyers if you think about it). As folks' housing needs change (new relationships/ offspring/ empty nesting/ retirement etc) the type of accommodation needed often changes. That is the driver of "re-homing". What delays that process may well be economic factors (employment issues/ interest rate levels/ affordability etc). These delayers may lead to the oft quoted "pent up demand" but, because it is 'pent up' it does not mean it is destroyed. It actually becomes the driving force behind the next growth cycle. We must not, however, believe "growth cycle" to be synonymous with rocketing home values. "Growth" in number of transactions (re-homing occurrences) is a product of confidence from the demand side of the equation and may be coupled with realism in expectations by those wishing to sell their current homes. It seems that we have been trained to think of cycles only in terms of average price. A healthier approach would be to think in terms of activity and not price. Alas we are constrained by the inevitable questions – "am I paying more than I should?" - and "am I receiving less than I could get?" How do we break free of this mind control or is it simply an inevitability of our monetarily controlled lives? Philosophical or what!!

Now the April 2010 YTD figures for our North Shore. North Van detached homes sold are up by 41% from the same period of the previous year, attached (t/hses) up by 58% and apartments up by 41% from '09. Detached average prices up 18% and inventory Apr 30th, up by 23%. Average prices up 19% (t/hse) and up 20% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 19% lower than '09 and (apt) up 22% from '09. N/Van inventory other than attached (down 32 units) is higher than 2009. Demand still appears strong and, as we see a significant number of new listings coming on the market, this should soften sale prices.

In West Van, detached number of sales is up by 74% from '09. Average price up by 19% and inventory Apr 30th down 1% from '09. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are up from 2009 to 26 vs 4 units; average price up 94%. Active listings are up from Apr 30th (59 vs. 43). Apartments reflect 55 sold vs. 36 during '09 – a 55% increase; with average price 32% higher than '09 and active listings up 4% from Apr 30th 09.

Overall North Shore demand continues to be fair with inventory, on average climbing from this time in 2009.

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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