experts: real estate column Wednesday, July 17, 2013

North Shore development? Too fast/too slow

The North Shore's desirability is fuelling development

By Alan  Skinner

Last quarter there were a number of Real Estate articles in the Vancouver Sun, the North Shore News and The Globe and Mail - addressing growth and development in our neck of the woods. A quote... "Nestled between the mountains and the sea, the North Shore's desirability is fuelling development, according to Geller" - 'A lot of people who might never have considered living on the North Shore in the past, I think that they're now viewing it quite differently and much more positively ' (Michael Geller, the developer behind the recently unveiled coach houses and duplexes at Hollyburn Mews on Esquimalt Avenue in West Vancouver . He is also the force behind the highly successful Univercity at Burnaby's SFU).

A further comment comes from Mark Stephenson, vice-president at Informa Canada - "Whether they're developing it now or in two years or five years or seven years, they see the North Shore as a very good opportunity for growth and the demand's there," Stephenson says, discussing developers like Onni and GWL.

For Stephenson, the approval of Onni's Safeway site proposal and the District of North Vancouver's decision to OK three highrises at the Seylynn development display a demand for new housing.

"These big players, these big developers . . . they've been in this game a long time and they're very, very good at what they do, so they can read the market, they can read the trends, and they know an opportunity when they see one," Stephenson says.

This is an excellent article addressing both sides of the challenges and recapping the three North Shore municipalities' approach to future development (the Supply side in response to the future Demand). Remember folks that we elect the councils that make these decisions. My read is that those elected are carrying out this mandate in a realistic and intelligent way.

Read more:

Again to our 'Year to Date' figures for 2013. We now have the first half year figures 2013 vs. 2012. These will certainly be of greater help in defining our current year. North Van detached homes sold, down 2% from last year, attached (t/hses) down 3% and apartments down by 23% from 2012. Detached average prices down 2% and inventory now up by 12% from 2012. Average prices down 5% (t/hses) and up 1% for (apts). Inventory (t/hses) 2% higher than June 30th 2012 and (apt) down from the same date by 4%. The numbers here now reflect the activity over 6 months and figures are becoming more meaningful.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD for 2013 has dropped by 12% from June 30th 2012. Average price of what has sold is down by 3% and inventory up 14% over June 30th 2012. On the condo side - attached (t/hses) sold 2013 are down 28% from 2012 at 36 vs. 50 units with an increase of 9% in average price. Active listings are up year over year from June 30th 2012 by 1% (56 vs. 55). Apartments reflect 79 sold in 2013 vs. 96 (down 17%) by June 30th 2012; with average price up 6% from June 30th 2012 and active listings up 12% from June 30th 2012.

Overall North Shore demand has been moving up a little month over month this year with overall inventory still higher than last year (exception - N/V apts at 4% lower). I continue using average YTD prices which is now becoming more meaningful as we get more months' stats to compare.

'SnapStats' (what price ranges are selling and which are not) is being very well received. I'm now forwarding the past 12 month trend for not only N and W/Van but ALL available metro neighbourhoods, as many requested. If any locations are not of interest, please ignore those areas.

So, visit my website to see and "hear" the new developments. I continue my commitment to keep you ... - the "go to" site for N/S R/Estate analysis and jump-off point for FULL market information.

Join those wishing to get the e-mail version of the "update" and SnapStats - send a request to; phone (604) 988-7368 or visit and you'll be added.

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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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