Available Info, Facts And Opinions

Available Info Facts And Opinions

Another month – and more numbers to consider and analyze – good news? (yes, Feb more sales than Jan) – bad news? – (unstable prices) unless you are a buyer? – it got me thinking about how information is interpreted and how news is presented.

A columnist for the Vancouver Sun recently made an impassioned plea on behalf of the newspaper industry proposing that democracy, government accountability and other fundamental tenets of life are threatened by its potential (likely?) demise. I admit that I meandered through a range of opinions from thoughts of protectionism, elitism, through government funding, online right wing opinion, online left wing opinion, special interest positions masquerading as news and so on. I am finally encouraged by the view (my son’s as it happens) that people are bright enough to sift through the rhetoric, partisan viewpoints, contradictory statements and eliminate the nonsense and seek out the sense.

Bottom line – read a variety of commentaries, including those that may question/ be at variance with one’s own knee jerk beliefs and then form an opinion. Even then that opinion should be written in “play doh”!

Now onward to tirades on the economy, unemployment, value of our investments (including real estate) – same logic applies. Opinion is just opinion but underlying hard data needs to be sought out and thought through. Ask – “where does this originate?”/ “am I being shown half an argument?” Do remember always that in commodity markets (real estate included) the most important features are supply (how many homes for sale) and demand (how many willing buyers). Transaction price stability (or the lack thereof) is set by this relationship.

An example of the ‘whole picture’ argument would be to highlight the full number of listings available in a given geographic market and not just the fact that there are “less new listings in the first two months of this year than last” as appeared in the Sun earlier this month. We need Full supply, Full demand and Full current data to formulate an understanding of current conditions and postulate any opinion of future direction.

March 09 Numbers

Now the YTD 2mth 2009 vs. 2008 picture on our North Shore [1/6th of a year is still ‘skinny stats’] –

North Van detached homes sold down by 54% from last year, attached (t/homes) down 68% and apartments down by 60% from ‘08 Detached average prices -26% and inventory Feb 28th, up by 66%. Average prices down 20% (t/hse) and down by 24% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 111% higher than ‘08 and (apt) up from ‘08 by 6%. These high inventory figures coupled with the low demand will continue to keep sales prices down.


In West Van, detached number of sales YTD has dropped, Feb28 by 50% from ‘08. Average price down 18% and inventory Feb28 up 28% over ‘08. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold dropped to 1 vs 7 units last year; average price down 28% – the average price of the 7 sold last year was $946,700 vs the single $675,000 sale to date in ‘09. Active listings are down from ‘08 (33 vs. 44).  Apartments reflect 68% drop YTD vs ‘08; with average price up 13% (nothing intelligent to be concluded here as obviously some high priced units changed hands!) and active listings up 65% from ‘08. Overall North Shore demand continues to be slow with inventory higher on average than this time last year. It is clear that the small sample – few sales – precludes any serious conclusions.


Again, visit my website to see and “hear” the new developments.  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 the group getting the e-mail version of this “update” – send a request now toalanskinner@shaw.ca and you’ll be assured receipt; phone me at (604) 988-7368 or visit www.OnTopOfTheMarket.ca




North Shore Real Estate Radio

This year I pledge to continue my personalized service and further reduce my business ecological “footprint”. A new initiative is the radio (podcast) library which I am creating.

All North Vancouver Real Estate “Updates”, reports and information articles, checklists etc. will be archived on my website and available for download or desktop listening 24/7. You can access the information you seek when the spirit moves and not when someone pushes yet another flyer into your mailbox. I am most excited about these developments. Input as to the topics for “programming” you feel would be of interest is strongly sought. Please e-mail This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call me 604 988-7368

Click on the “Launch Podcast Player” Icon in the top right of this website to listen now

North Vancouver Real Estate


Selecting Your Real Estate Agent

Selecting Your Real Estate Agent

Selecting Your Real Estate Agent. The Agent brings the market to you. The market decides the price.

The right Agent is the one who knows the market and can get you the best price possible – not the one who promises you the highest price just to get you to list with them!
Many of the same questions, hesitations and strategies connected with seeking out professional assistance in any field – whether you’re looking for a doctor, dentist, lawyer or accountant – come into play when you’re selecting a real estate agent.

Some people find an agent through a family member or friend. This is often a reliable approach. However, you might not always find the most compatible assistance this way. In a transaction as important and intensive as buying and selling a home, that can be critical.

A referral from a family member or friend doesn’t guarantee a perfect match. Just think of something as simple as a movie or restaurant recommendation. Your close friends rave about a new Chinese food place downtown – so you check it out. Could this possibly be the same restaurant they were describing? Mediocre service. No chopsticks. Bland flavors. It’s the same restaurant. Same cook. Same waiters. Just different perceptions.

Regardless of how you get an agent’s name, it might be worth interviewing at least a couple before you make a final decision – or at least arming yourself with some criteria to go over with any agent who has been recommended to you.

A few things to look for:

If you’re looking for an agent to list your home, be wary of anyone who suggests they can get an unreasonably high sales price. An agent might use a high listing price to secure a contract, only to seek a lower price later, after little traffic is generated at the initial price level.

Meanwhile, you’ve lost what can be the most critical time period in selling a home – the first weeks immediately after it’s listed.

Check on experience and productivity. As with most professions, experience pays in real estate.Experienced agents know the market and the marketing process. They’ll have the best chance of quickly and smoothly helping you to buy or sell your home.

The number of transactions an agent is handling monthly or yearly is going to give you an indication of how committed the agent is to the profession. Is the agent a part-timer who’s just dabbling in real estate sales – or is the agent a full-time professional whose livelihood depends entirely on an ability to successfully and repeatedly close real estate transactions?

Does the agent know the market ?

Is the agent part of a national network? This can be especially important if you’re selling in one city in preparation of moving to another. Your selling agent can refer you to a professional,compatible agent in your destination city – and keep in close contact with that agent so both your selling and buying efforts are closely coordinated. It is no secret that Re/Max sells more North Shore property than any other realty company; many of those buyers coming directly from Re/Max agents in other geographic locations.

And a final point: Does the agent seem primarily interested in sharing expertise and market knowledge in an honest and straightforward manner? Or does the agent seem more interested in telling you what you want to hear ? Or worse still are they getting you to sign up with them just to pass you off to an assistant who will deal with the “trivia” of actually selling your home ? The worst time to secure the services of a “yes-man” or an agent who seems to have too many irons in the fire is when you’re entering a transaction involving something as important as your home. You need straightforward, reliable information – even if it’s not necessarily flattering – regarding the home you’re selling – or very encouraging regarding a home you think you might want to buy.

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