experts: real estate column Monday, December 05, 2011

Mistletoe, Snowmen and Cycles

Yes, balance (and a modicum of price relief) has returned to our North Shore although nothing stays the same in markets.

By Alan  Skinner

Yes, balance (and a modicum of price relief) has returned to our North Shore although nothing stays the same in markets. I speak again of cycles and the reversal they can bring. Consider a line from my NS Update of Dec 2001 (exactly a decade ago ouch, does this imply we are becoming more mature??) "W/Van has not, in truth, had a bad year, but it pales in comparison to the N/Van figures". Certainly not 2011's epitaph!

Our 2011 pattern is set and Dec is unlikely to bring any surprise. Each period has differing influencers and we can possibly sum up this year's more significant ones as: foreign investors, HST concerns, shrinkage of our investment nest eggs, world-wide economic issues, and some Canadian political readjustment. I'm sure we all have opinions as to other factors with some significance to ourselves personally. All these pluses and minuses act like many waves (some we may consider tidal) buffeting and directing our national and individual economic fortunes. My belief is that we as Canadians may feel that we have fared poorly, but relative to the majority of countries on this planet we have not had the disruptive year experienced by many. 2012 who knows? I am optimistic that our local microcosm will return to a stability we have come to rely on (but not the rampant real estate market of the past decade).

What I have been aware of during the past year or so is the relatively high number of folk heading into the "empty nester" downsizing phase. No, not that many are "retiring", but many are planning their next "short to medium term" lives and specifically their "re-homing" needs.

With this in mind and, in response to a call from an existing client a few weeks ago, I have dusted off (updated) the various check lists I have prepared over the past years. I remember an update a while ago which I entitled "The When and Where Exercise" which spoke to these "re-homing" plans. There are 4 lists in all, entitled (hopefully self explanatory) as follows i)The When and Where Exercise ii) New Home Checklist iii) Action Plans and {the slightly premature} iv) Moving Checklist. Please feel at liberty to call (604-626-2526) or e-mail (alanskinner@shaw.ca) to request a copy of all (or any) of these. They are in Word format for ease of printing. I know this is a busy time of year, so diarize to do so in the New Year if need be. Better still, call for a consultation at my office, or I'd be happy to pop over and meet with you.

Now to our North Shore 2011 and our 11 month picture. North Van detached homes sold are up by 27% from the previous year, attached (t/hses) sold up 10% and apartments now up 2% from 2010. Detached - average price is 8% higher than this time '10 and inventory Nov 30th, 2011 down by 2%. Average prices up 6% (t/hses) and down 1% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 16% lower than Nov 30th, 2010 and (apt) up 8% from 2010. N/Van overall inventory at Nov 30th, 2011 is rising, and is now 1% higher than 2010 and again N/Van, 14% higher in total number of sales '10 to '11 (2044 vs. 2340).

In West Van, detached number of sales for 2011 is up by 69% from last year. Average price up by 15% and inventory Nov 30th, 2011 up 1% from last year. On the condo side - sales of attached (t/hses) are lower at 60 vs. 77 units; average price down 7%. Active listings down from Nov 30th, 2010 (31 vs. 35). Apartments sold are up 25% over 2010; with average price 18% higher than '10 and active listings down 28% from Nov 30th, 2010. Overall lower inventory with acceptable demand remaining in the upper end, price-wise.

Well the music we are hearing in the malls provides a clue to the Season we are entering. May it be a warm one with our families and friends close by or affectionately in mind - often the easier part - but don't forget providing warmth and cheer to strangers. Adeste Fidelis is important but Good King Wenceslas is the message we should carry in our hearts! ... 'til 2012.

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 those wishing to get 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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