experts: real estate column Thursday, May 12, 2011

Still Busy But Less Frantic

It is clear that our North Shore retains its enviable position as a highly sought-after residential locale.

By Alan  Skinner

The one exception to this headline would be Realtors dealing with the high demand group of buyers arriving monthly from outside Canada and those Realtors marketing many of the type of properties the first group seek. Nevertheless it is clear that our N/Shore retains its enviable position as a highly sought-after residential locale. I believe, as do some colleagues, that we on this side of the water are beneficiaries of demand from many buyers unprepared to keep pace with the (still advancing) "high octane" Westside.

Often when in advancing (price wise) times, the twin questions of "the right time to buy" and its corollary "... to sell" inevitably rear their Janus-like heads. I continue to hear "sell in spring" based largely on the "floral" argument. If, and I propose this hypothetically, the greater proportion of 2011's 'wannabe' sellers did market their homes in Spring, we might see up to, say, 80% of the area's offerings appearing in 15 25% of the calendar year. If, and I believe this to have some validity, the demand side (wannabe buyers) exhibit a more even approach to timing of buying, then this possible mismatch may at times negatively affect the success of either group.

The only correct (?) /logical answer to the 'when to sell' conundrum must be "When buyers (demand side) are out in high numbers" and/or "When homes for sale (supply side) are less plentiful". To get optimal advice as to timing, the advice of an experienced, professional Realtor is invaluable. Do remember that buyers are not "trained" to look only to buy in the spring! Sellers may do well to question the "sell in spring" adage.

On a related note, and likely the best advice you will encounter in this update, are these few concepts. Start early in the "let's sell" phase decluttering your present dwelling- (the word 'purge' is often used here too). Box up your seasonal clothing/other items you'll need only after the passage of the next 6 months and consider moving most of this offsite. Room by room clear out works best and a garage sale can be a good friend. Also, fix wear and tear damaged items. Replace the broken. Fresh paint where necessary. Employ the eyes you will be using when you are in the buying phase a "stager" and even your Realtor can help with an objective viewing of your home. Once you are well into the above, have the timing discussion with your Realtor.

I leave you with a recent "Dilbert cartoon strip" item which illustrates the dangers of misreading/misemploying stats [Always question data]. The 'pointy haired boss' (Dilbert's nemesis) tells him to use data from various data bases to "size the market" Dilbert's assertion is that these data are wrong. Boss : 'can't you average them?' Dilbert : 'sure, I can multiply them too.' Bad or misinterpreted data leads to poor conclusions. My oft quoted "danger of small 'sample size' " to whit

Now for the 2011 year to date, 4 month results for our North Shore. North Van detached homes sold are up by 26% from the previous year, attached (t/hses) no change and apartments up 1% from 2010. Detached of the 424 sold thus far this year, average price is 3% higher than this time '10, and inventory Apr 30th '11, down by 15% (but up from last month). Average prices up 1% (t/hses) and down 4% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 21% higher than Apr 30th '10 and (apt) up 6% from 2010. N/Van overall inventory at Apr 30th '11 is now a little lower than 2010 and N/Van, 12% higher in total number of sales '10 to '11(873 vs. 780).

In West Van, detached number of sales for 2011 is up by 73% from last year. Average price up by 17% and inventory Apr 30th '11down by 15% from last year. On the condo side sales of attached (t/hses) are lower at 23 vs. 26 units; average price down 26%. Active listings down from Apr 30th '10 (31 vs. 59). Apartments sold are up 48% over 2010; with average price 9% higher than '10 and active listings down 29% from Apr 30th '10. Overall markedly lower inventory and strong demand, especially at the upper end price-wise.

Yes, dramatic sales growth in W/Van with shrinking inventory and N/Van, higher sales with slightly reduced inventory.

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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