experts: real estate column Saturday, November 19, 2011

Yes, Sales Are Dipping Down

Like Greater Vancouver, the North Shore is also trending toward the lower end of a balanced market. Our only exception seems to be the detached properties in West Van at the higher end pricewise.

By Alan  Skinner

Like Greater Vancouver, the North Shore is also trending toward the lower end of a balanced market. Our only exception seems to be the detached properties in West Van at the higher end pricewise.

So, where are we going and where will we be as 2012 matures? My 2 cents on this question (remember, I'm talking N/Shore here) addresses these two segments i) new construction and ii) resale dwellings. In the case of the former, I am somewhat pessimistic as to the speed of absorption of the current inventory of newly completed items (especially apartments) and the recently emerging "pre-sale" offerings. The painfully slow demise of the HST is wreaking havoc on short term demand and decision making. I have some sympathy for developers caught in this time warp where the HST must be charged (until it is officially withdrawn) and the input tax credits for actual expenditure until that date can be offset against any profit made, but will cease (the provincial component) when HST is no more. Is this the impetus behind an apparent stampede to finish construction despite the evident hiatus in sales?

And what of resale properties? These are not significantly affected by the HST (although commission costs are). Thus "normal" supply and demand factors apply. The indecision of the current economy (local and world-wide) factors significantly. This has of late led to a reduction of sales activity and a measure of pent-up demand. It is my belief that we will see some relief in these weak turnover levels as we move into the spring of 2012. Other economic markets, as confidence renews (?), will need to move in the same direction to truly evidence sales recovery.

The only short term silver lining here would appear to be the economic fact that those who are impatient to sell coupled with those who have the conviction to buy, will create a relatively short "strong buyers' market" and significant deals for the selective buyer.

Now to our North Shore 2011 and our 10 month picture. North Van detached homes sold are up by 30% from the previous year, attached (t/hses) sold up 4% and apartments now up 1% from 2010. Detached - average price is 7% higher than this time '10 and inventory Oct 31st, 2011 down by 6%. Average prices up 4% (t/hses) and down 1% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 2% lower than Oct 31st, 2010 and (apt) up 23% from 2010. N/Van overall inventory at Oct 31st, 2011 is rising, and is now higher (18%) than 2010 and again N/Van, 14% higher in total number of sales '10 to '11 (1876 vs. 2130).

In West Van, detached number of sales for 2011 is up by 77% from last year. Average price up by 14% and inventory Oct 31st, 2011 identical to last year. On the condo side - sales of attached (t/hses) are lower at 52 vs. 66 units; average price down 11%. Active listings down from Oct 31st, 2010 (40 vs. 45). Apartments sold are up 30% over 2010; with average price 18% higher than '10 and active listings down 18% from Oct 31st, 2010. Overall lower inventory and continued demand remains in the upper end, price-wise.

...Oh, and yes, by the way, on a personal note, Pam and I completed the New York Marathon last week...

Again, visit my website to see and "hear" the new developments. I continue my commitment to keep you ... http://www.OnTopOfTheMarket.ca - 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 toalanskinner@shaw.ca and you'll be assured receipt; phone me at (604) 988-7368 or visit http://www.OnTopOfTheMarket.ca




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