experts: real estate column Thursday, September 12, 2013

My take - we have reached the turning point

With positive stats being reported at both the North Shore and the overall (Greater Vancouver) levels, I believe we are coming to the end of a turnaround summer.

By Alan  Skinner

With positive stats being reported at both the North Shore and the overall (Greater Vancouver) levels, I believe we are coming to the end of a turnaround summer.

I'd like to highlight a quote made a day or so back, by this year's REBGV President, Sandra Wyant - "People entering the market should not confuse stronger sales activity with rising prices. Home prices have been quite stable and consistent for much of this year." The core of this message is the status of our current market and I wholly concur.

Well, what does that mean to buyers and sellers? To buyers - with shrinking inventories and some evidence of an uptrend in mortgage rates, a message to acquire the new home before the inevitable (albeit gradual) rise in prices. To sellers - take advantage of the growing demand, or, if you wish to, and have the luxury of time on your side, gamble on the upcoming stronger market for that same increase in prices. Where this "gamble" is not advisable, is if you're planning to move up (buy a more expensive home). Remember that any price shift in the market in percentage terms will mean that the gap between what you net on your sale in the future and the price you'll be paying will be higher in actual dollars. (e.g. sell today at $800,000 and buy in this same market at $1,000,000 = $200k injection of cash on hand or debt vs. waiting for a 10% increase in the market would (at 10%) mean a gap of $220k. Yes, we seem to have reached that turning point with sales increasing and inventories subsiding. The pent-up demand of the last year and its slow recovery in the first half of 2013 are establishing a more balanced market. The relative "bargains" of the past six to twelve months have all but disappeared and prices will begin to rise.

Get the advice of an experienced Realtor as to the relative demand for homes in your present location vs. that in your target location.

Again to our 'Year to Date' figures for 2013. We now have 8 month's figures 2013 vs. 2012. These are starting to more clearly define our current year. North Van detached homes sold are up 9% from last year, attached (t/hses), up from last year by 10% and apartments down by 12% from 2012. Detached average prices down 2% and inventory now down by 8% from 2012. Average prices down 4% (t/hses) and up 2% for (apts). Inventory (t/hses) 121 vs. 122 (N/C) from Aug 31st 2012 and (apt) N/C from the same date.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD for 2013 is now UP by 7% from Aug 31st 2012. Average price of what has sold is down by 3% and inventory up only 4% over Aug 31st 2012. On the condo side - attached (t/hses) sold 2013 are now up by 7% from 2012 at 60 vs. 56 units with virtually no change in average price. Active listings are down year over year from Aug 31st 2012 by 14% (47 vs. 55). Apartments reflect 107 sold in 2013 vs. 119 (down 10%) from Aug 31st 2012; with average price up 10% from Aug 31st 2012 and active listings up 18% from Aug 31st 2012.

As mentioned last month, overall the Vancouver aggregate figures appear more positive than West Vancouver, with North Vancouver keeping closer to Vancouver. W/Van's performance is not surprising coming off 2012's stellar year. I continue using average YTD prices which are more meaningful as we have now passed the 2/3rd way mark.

'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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