experts: real estate column Friday, August 20, 2010

The Pulse Is Quickening?

Discussion with my colleagues confirms this recent increase in buyer interest.

By Alan  Skinner

Last month’s Update dwelled on cycles, and, it made me think, as I started writing this (August) one, that, exactly 6 months ago, to the day, many of us were weathering a cooler (and occasionally damper) cycle as the 2010 Olympics kicked off in Vancouver and Whistler. A six month cycle that spanned a temperature range from near 0° C to mid 30°’s in the Fraser Valley. If only, I thought, property sales and prices would be as predictable as our usually repetitious annual range of temperature. Guess that would make life too simple!

So what of the above headline suggesting a faster heartbeat?

Discussion with my colleagues confirms this recent increase in buyer interest (the precursor to actual Demand) especially on well priced N/Shore homes. A good example of this is a listing of mine which has now sold with no less than 4 offers over a one week period. This home was listed approximately 4 months ago.

“Wannabe” buyers, some with preapproved mortgage rates, are now combing the slowly decreasing number of offered listings and finding prospective new dwellings in the appropriately priced group and making offers. Folks, here on the North Shore we have now seen the best “deals” and these are soon going to fade from the landscape.

A most important statistic (the supply side of the equation) which I have been following fanatically is, of course, the inventory of different classes of N/Van and W/Van property. We are now at a listings level with all categories – (W/Van detached excluded) that we were at in the week of Apr 19 -26. W/Van detached is mimicking May 10 -17. Those dates represented the “growing inventory” and today, with the “shrinking inventory”, W/Van is approximately 10% off the June peaks and N/Van approximately 25% lower. The strengthening demand (especially in North Van) will slow down the price softening we experienced over the past 3 months.

Now the July 2010 YTD figures for our North Shore. North Van detached homes sold are off by 3% from the same period of the previous year, attached (t/hses) down 12% from '09 and apartments even with '09. Detached average prices up 11% and inventory July 31st, up by 40%. Average prices up 10% (t/hses) and up 12% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 66% higher than '09 and (apt) up 27% from '09. N/Van inventory at July 31st is still significantly higher than 2009 (but dropping month over month).

In West Van, detached number of sales is up by 16% from '09. Average price up by 21% and inventory July 31st up by 36% from '09. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold are up from 2009 to 50 vs 19 units; average price up 46%. Active listings down from July 31st (43 vs. 45). Apartments reflect 100 sold vs. 95 during '09 – a 5% increase; with average price 16% higher than '09 and active listings up 34% from July 31st 09.

I believe there is still a window for buyers who recognize this period as an opportunity for better “deals” than we will likely see later in the year. We will however continue enjoying our warm summer!

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




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