experts: real estate column Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 has arrived - is it "too much with us"?

I am inclined to believe that we will see higher activity (more sales) on the North Shore overall in calendar 2011.

By Alan  Skinner

I will avoid the philosophical discussion of whether this is the beginning of a new decade or the 2nd year; who cares? I like to think of changes as renewal and therefore I will, with your permission, regard it as a fresh decade.

Anyway, one thing we can agree upon is that 2010 is part of history, mine and yours. A good part for you too, I hope. Highlights the 2010 Winter Olympics and, yes, a relaxation of our Metro Vancouver real estate market this is a healthy thing. Excessive acceleration or deceleration are in their own way, both destabilizing events and to be avoided if within one's ability to avoid. Is anything truly within our power? On a personal level, I propose that our actions (and specifically our reactions) are. May we all resolve - i) to be more thoughtful in our relationships with others and ii) moderate our need for collecting possessions as we strive for a life balance and calmer (less stressed) lives. Eloquently stated over 203 years ago by the poet Wordsworth, thus "The world is too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers" [see full poem below] - We may well be, as he cites, 'out of tune'. Is it indeed time to become 'less forlorn'?

Now some comments on the Real Estate market during 2010. I alluded last month to the fact of a busier 1st half and a quieter 2nd half. This has been witnessed by many others in the media and among my local Realtor fraternity. I read a report today citing the belief that this pattern will likely repeat itself for the current year. Possibly, but I am inclined to believe that we will see higher activity (more sales) on the North Shore overall in calendar 2011. At this point I would direct you to an article in the Vancouver Sun written by the experienced and insightful Bob Ransford, a regular commentator under the by-line 'Real Estate Matters'. Predictions he may avoid but I believe him to be a thoughtful prognosticator. The full story is worth the read. I reiterate my view the "holding off" by buyers in the 2nd half of '10 will be regretted by many as Sept to Dec 2010 was likely the time frame on our North Shore to have negotiated that super buy. Rates near their lowest, too! More on the direction of 2011 in the next Update. All I'll say as to the year is that it is starting off strongly.

A quick aside on the recent property assessment figures. Remember that an assessment for tax purposes is designed to provide an estimate for relative taxation equity. It has never claimed infallibility and that is why the B.C. Assessment Authority permits (invites?) property owners to appeal if disagreeing with the estimate. Call/e-mail me if you'd like to discuss yours.

At last, December 2010 YTD figures for our North Shore the full year, or could that be 'The Full Mounty'? - oh, so baaad! North Van detached homes sold are off by 15% from the previous year, attached (t/hses) down 22% and apartments down 15%. Detached average prices up 6% and inventory Dec 31st, up by 15%. Average prices up 5% (t/hses) and up 7% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 24% higher than Dec'09 and (apt) up 38% from Dec'09. N/Van inventory at Dec 31st '10 continues to be significantly higher than 2009. The newsworthy item is the, almost, 20% decline in number of sales '09 to '10 vs W/Van (see below) approx 5% increase. Do not forget that N/Van usually outweighs W/Van in sales in the order of about 2.5: 1.

In West Van, detached number of sales for 2010 is up by 1% from last year. Average price up by 17% and inventory Dec 31st down by 1% from Dec'09. On the condo side attached (t/hses) sold are up to 79 vs. 54 units; average price up 23%. Active listings down from Dec 31st (25 vs. 38). Apartments reflect 170 sold vs. 165 during '09; with average price 10% higher than '09 and active listings down 4% from Dec 31st, 09.

To all the faithful readers of my monthly musings, thank you for your interest and support and a heartfelt wish for a prosperous and rewarding New Year. May it be all that you wish for you and your family.

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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