experts: real estate column Thursday, April 12, 2012

Less homes selling with inventory steady

You would think that our 1st quarter North Shore sales must be down because of high snowfall - but the snow in the area has not been excessive. Could it be the cooler temperatures, the wind and the rain?

By Alan  Skinner

You would think that our 1st quarter North Shore sales must be down because of high snowfall - but the snow in the area has not been excessive. Could it be the cooler temperatures, the wind and the rain? Not guilty, it is just (as always) market forces. One thing we are not party to is the general build-up of inventory seen at the aggregated Greater Vancouver level (REGBV statistics) as, at present we are seeing year over year, nearly equivalent listing counts. NV + WV listings approximate 1500 on Mar 31st of this and last year (Oh, alright we are actually 4 units apart!)

This reemphasizes the fact that real estate results are specific to sub areas and general Vancouver press statements reflect the aggregation and seldom local conditions. Therefore, beware conclusions drawn using B.C.-wide stats and eventually (when they are tallied) the national stats put out by the Canadian Real Estate Association. Not because they are not accurate but because they hardly ever reflect our local conditions (or downtown Halifax, Kelowna or Chicoutimi for that matter).And now to our North Shore results. North Van detached homes sold are down 'year to date' by 3% from this time last year, attached (t/hses) sold – down 10% and apartments down 4% from 2011. Detached - average price is 8% higher than 2011 and inventory Mar 31st, 2012 down 7% from 2011. Average prices up 9% (t/hses) and up 7% (apts). Inventory (t/hses) down 22% from Mar 31st, 2011 and (apt) up 18% from 2011. N/Van overall inventory at Mar 31st, 2012 is marginally higher than 2011 (almost identical) and all categories in N/Van, down 13% in total sales '12 vs. '11. Again, remember that with added months, the YTD stats will make better sense.

In West Van, detached number of sales to date 2012 is down by 36% from last year. Average price up by 21% and inventory Mar 31st, 2012 up 15% from last year. On the condo side - sales of attached (t/hses) are up, at 22 vs. 19 units; average price is now 32% higher. Active listings from Mar 31st, 2011(42 vs. 29). Apartments sold are down from 2011 (52 vs. 44), with average price 11% lower than’ 11 (remember the small sample size) and active listings up 1% from Mar 31st, 2011(111 vs. 109). Overall marginally lower inventory with softer demand evident – particularly detached properties.

At the risk of being repetitive, I stress 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. Roll on April and, oh yes, trust you had a good Easter break!

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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