experts: real estate column Tuesday, March 06, 2012

As we 'leap', tax deharmonizes and we get an incentive as well as a day!

The "certainty" that has been lacking is definitely returning and, if this interest persists, we may well be climbing out of the trough of our most recent "down cycle".

By Alan  Skinner

The B.C. Government has, at last, announced the so-called "transition rules" for the dismantling of the HST and the developers (remember them – the guys with lots of unsold condo inventory) appear to be pleased with the announcements. Coupled with this was the somewhat unexpected release of an upcoming $10,000 rebate to first time, new home buyers. Do remember though that this rebate will need to receive legislative assent to come into force. This is however felt to be a “rubber stamp” issue and formal ratification should be forthcoming in the next few weeks. These moves have made many of our local "pent-up demanders" sit up and take notice. The increase in visits to the pre-sale display centres has been described by some as dramatic. The "certainty" that has been lacking is definitely returning and, if this interest persists, we may well be climbing out of the trough of our most recent ‘down cycle’. Would it be too early to say that, by the end of this Fall, the seeming glut of newly built, and being built, condos will be all but spoken for? I wonder.

As an aside I want to share with you the news (maybe you’ve heard rumours?) that, something we haven’t seen for some six to nine months, is back. I speak, of course, of the “multiple offers” phenomenon. Many, if not all, of my office colleagues have been on at least one side of such a transaction of late. I know that in my case we were ‘lucky’ to have six other participants and to come in second! Ah, yes, the lot of the “bridesmaid”. With lessening inventory and much of that on the market a while (potentially priced above the expectations of the buyer), I believe that the attractive and appropriately priced items will lead to further “multiple offers”.

And now to the unfolding North Shore results. North Van detached homes sold are up ‘year to date’ by 1% from this time last year, attached (t/hses) sold – down 13% and apartments up 9% from 2011. Detached - average price is 7% higher than 2011 and inventory Feb 29th, 2012 unchanged from 2011 [Feb 28th in that case ;) ]. Average prices up 15% (t/hses) and up 4% (apts). Inventory (t/hses) down marginally from Feb 28th, 2011 and (apt) up 13% from 2011. N/Van overall inventory at Feb 29th, 2012 is only 3% higher than 2011 and all units in N/Van, almost identical in total sales '11 vs '12. Remember that with added months, the YTD stats make better sense.

In West Van, detached number of sales to date 2012 is down by 22% from last year. Average price up by 24% and inventory Feb 29th, 2012 up 10% from last year. On the condo side - sales of attached (t/hses) are up, at 13 vs. 8 units; average price change is negligible. Active listings from Feb 28th, 2011 (34 vs. 36). Apartments sold are virtually unchanged over 2011 (27 vs. 26), with average price 22% lower than ’11 (remember the small sample) and active listings down 2% from Feb 28th, 2011 (96 vs. 98). Overall marginally higher inventory with slightly softer demand evident – particularly detached properties.

Again, the caution relative to “small sample sizes” - the more important message to consider is, which way is inventory trending and also which way are number of sales trending for each market segment? Future months will reveal more and more relevant YTD statistics. ‘Til next month.

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

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