experts: real estate column Thursday, January 12, 2012

Optimism, Pessimism or Canadianism

Whatever one's personal frame of mind, we can probably agree that the outlook of the majority does likely influence outcomes.

By Alan  Skinner

Well, whatever one's personal frame of mind, we can probably agree that the outlook of the majority does likely influence outcomes. To believe that the "world economy" happens and we just have to accept it as inevitably our lot, in my mind would negate the existence of the spirit of the citizenry of this, the planet's most phenomenal nation. Grandiose or what? Yes, I acknowledge that it is totally Canadian to apologize for, or clarify what one has just proposed and also, that the hyperbole evident above is bordering on sacrilege ;). No, I don't espouse blindly moving forward despite any external realities or implications but we can by our attitude, modify the impact of the elements we don't like and soften an assumed inevitability. The alternative would be akin to giving up each time we don't get our own way or throwing in every hand we are dealt that is not a Royal Flush.

By way of illustration I mention a prevalent Mayan calendar prompted pseudoscientific "movement" which postulates possible problems (alliteration!) for "civilization as we know it" toward the latter part of this year (including its likely demise!) This triumph of crackpot astrology over astronomy equates with the more lunatic fringes of the Y2K calamity and absorbs human energy which should more positively be devoted to the betterment of our communal existence. Whatever one's calendar preference, Mayan, Gregorian, Julian or simply "social", I do believe that our sense of perspective, humour and balance promotes a uniquely Canadian ability to avoid bigoted and selfish solutions and a strong inclination to bring about a better future for ourselves and our fellow citizens.

2011 Real Estate on the N/Shore emerged from the gate as a confident and vibrant interaction of buyers and sellers. This saw a modification around mid year as sales decreased with inventory building up in most sub sections; the main exception being West Van detached homes which experienced a notably strong year. Offshore demand (which the Vancouver Westside saw in spades) being the main contributor. 2012 - who knows at what pace the tides/cycles may change; but one thing is certain, they will change. I remain optimistic that our N/Shore will return to the stability we have come to value but we will not see anything like the rampant real estate market of the past while. Roll on 2012, the first stage in a stabilizing future.

Thanks to all those who requested "The When and Where Exercise" package of "checklists" for their "re-homing" plans. These four - i)The When and Where Exercise ii) New Home Checklist iii) Action Plan iv) Moving Checklist. If you missed these [Word format] call (604-626-2526) or e-mail ( to get a copy of any or all of these. The time may be right to call for a consultation - at my office, or I'll pop over and visit you.

At last, the North Shore 2011 full picture. North Van detached homes sold are up by 26 % from the last year, attached (t/hses) sold - up 11% and apartments up 3% from 2010. Detached - average price is 8% higher than 2010 and inventory Dec 31st, 2011 unchanged from 2010. Average prices up 6% (t/hses) and down 1% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 19% lower than Dec 31st, 2010 and (apt) up 3% from 2010. N/Van overall inventory at Dec 31st, 2011 is now 1% lower than 2010 and again N/Van, 15% higher in total number of sales '10 to '11 (2153 vs. 2472).

In West Van, detached number of sales for 2011 is up by 62% from last year. Average price up by 15% and inventory Dec 31st, 2011 up 8% from last year. On the condo side - sales of attached (t/hses) are lower at 60 vs. 79 units; average price down 6%. Active listings up from Dec 31st, 2010 (28 vs. 25). Apartments sold are up 22% over 2010; with average price 17% higher than '10 and active listings down 20% from Dec 31st, 2010. Overall marginally higher inventory with slightly softer demand evident.

And now my chance to convey to you my wishes for the year which has just begun - may all find a new level of peace and the necessary prosperity we seek to enable us to continue the nurturing of our families and provide some help to fellow citizens in need. A toast to an increased confidence in the future and more smiles given by us and evident on the faces of those whose lot we are attempting to improve. Whatever the secret we must strive to attain it.

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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