experts: real estate column Monday, April 11, 2011

A Markedly More Active Market

In spite of world ills and economic trials we are seeing an increasing demand for our North Shore homes.

By Alan  Skinner

In spite of world ills and economic trials we are seeing an increasing demand for our North Shore homes. Or, should that comment be revised to read "as a result of ..." (in the place of 'in spite of')? There may well be a good argument for that position!

The past three days (a contributing reason for the slight delay in completion of this month's missive) has seen your scribe's involvement in no less than 14 offers presented on three listings [a N/V detached, a W/V detached and a N/V condo]. Yes, I can personally attest to being in the "eye of the storm" demand-wise. Simultaneously exhilarating, bewildering and exhausting. As a practitioner, I am not complaining, but, as my peers will confirm - a little more even flow of "busy" would be more appealing. Our buying and selling clients would, I am sure, agree.

On the subject of "busy", and stress in general, I am going to do something I generally do not do, and that is to share a small (and personal) secret to stress relief. It involves a (likely insane) decision, on the part of my better half and I, to commit to running our first full marathon. We've around 19 half marathons under our collective belts but this will be our first 42.2 K. To put the cherry (or maybe another fruit) on top we have chosen to do this in the village of … New York. That will be November 6th 2011. Five Burroughs, numerous bridges, 45,000+ competitors and many prayers for good weather. Oh, and did I mention that it will be run on my birthday. More proof for the old adage "Insanity is hereditary - you get it from your kids".

Enough of that; a more germane matter than increase in age is this past week's rise in interest rates. Most fixed rates saw an approximate 0.3% increase and floating rates will likely follow at a (similar?) factor. The effect of this move on the Real Estate market will be felt more by the entry level buyer who could see their mortgage level cut back, leading to a lower level of affordability. In the higher reaches, ‘move up' buyers and those with more significant equity levels in existing properties, this should have lesser effect. Again, if affordability is an issue, talk to your lender/mortgage broker about ‘locking-in' your interest rate.

Now for the 2011 year to date [1st Qtr] results for our North Shore. North Van detached homes sold are up by 36% from the previous year, attached (t/hses) up 3% and apartments up 20% from 2010. Detached - of the 276 sold this first quarter, average price is even with Q1 '10, and inventory Mar 31st, up by 5% (but shrinking from last month). Average prices up 2% (t/hses) and down 7% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 14% higher than Mar 31st '10 and (apt) down 2% from 2010. N/Van overall inventory at Mar 31st '11 continues to be a little higher than 2010 and N/Van now a significant, 24% higher in total number of sales '10 to '11(624 vs. 504).

In West Van, detached number of sales for 2011 is up by 83% from last year. Average price up by 22% and inventory Mar 31st down by 13% from last year. On the condo side - sales of attached (t/hses) stand pat at 19 vs. 19 units; average price down 27%. Active listings down from Mar 31st '10 (29 vs. 48). Apartments sold are up 23% over 2010; with average price 23% higher than '10 and active listings down 9% from Mar 31st '10. Overall markedly lower inventory and strong demand, especially at the upper end price-wise.

Yes, the first quarter results under our belt, helps - and, with more months, more clarity.

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 those wishing to get 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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