Hot, Hotter, Hottest?

Hot Hotter Hottest

Could there be a theory emerging, following our record breaking heat wave, that the real estate market in B.C. (and particularly Vancouver) is emulating this weather pattern? If you harbour any scepticism …read the current statistics below!

A short diversion if I may – as close as I get to a “rant”; do I rant? You be the judge.  The Vancouver Sun reported a few days ago, rather flamboyantly and, I feel, a little misleadingly, with this headline  –  “…markets race to record July home sales”  reporting an “89% increase over same time last year”. Reporting the number of sales in the “month that started the slowdown in 2008” vs. the “month this year with the lowest inventory of homes for sale for over a year” does distort the picture somewhat – but, what an attention grabber!  Exaggerated by the unleashing of significant ‘pent-up demand’ and, just because the months happen to both be ‘Julys’ – an anomaly occurs.

It’s a little like saying ‘the 12th of July 2008 reported 4 sales and the 12th of July 2009 reported 8 sales, therefore the market is twice as buoyant’. A better and more reasoned comparison is Jan – July 2009 vs. Jan – July 2008, thereby smoothing out the spikes and troughs – be they daily stats or single (unusual) months.  It seems news is created with one “bite sized chunk” being compared to another “bite sized chunk” as is repeatedly the case with TSX business reports. You know; the type that report “market dips dramatically” [a 219 pt drop in the Index on Wednesday] and the Thursday headline blaring “stock market rebounds well” [a 196 pt rise in the index]. Wouldn’t, at a minimum, weekly reports on direction and magnitude be a little less theatrical and maybe a calmer way of considering the facts? Do we, the buying public, require this sort of reporting as a necessary ingredient to persuade us to buy the newspaper? Ah, the ‘journalism’ vs. ‘headline impact’ debate continues.

Now, having made an argument for the ‘calm’ approach to information dissemination, I will say that, yes, the real estate market, including ours on the North Shore, is showing an undeniable improvement from late 08/early 09. My belief is that, if we lost say 20/25% (in average property value) in the worst parts of the late ’08 downturn, we have likely regained 50% of that and are gradually approaching 10% off the late 2007 position. I said last month I’d comment on the “whither demand” question and, while this is the more enigmatic partner in the supply/demand waltz, I believe there is very little reason for demand to deteriorate at a greater rate than the current slippage in supply.

Thus, it is likely that the interplay between the two ‘partners’ will cause current price levels to be maintained and it is as likely that a very gradual price increase will emerge in the more desirable segments of the market. The higher end (luxury) market will in all probability take a little longer – maybe a couple of years or more – to regain its pre-downturn levels. Increases are evident but not to quite the same extent as the lower and middle price points.

August 09 Numbers

August 09 Numbers

Now to the YTD 2009 [first seven months] vs. corresponding 2008 figures for the North Shore. North Van detached homes sold are now up by 5% from last year (1st time in about 9 months); attached (t/homes) are up by 21% and apartments down by less than 1% from ‘08. Detached average prices down 12% and inventory July 31st, down by 36%. Average prices down 7% (t/hse) and down by 13% (apts).
Inventory (t/hse) a significant 51% lower than ‘08 and (apt) down from ‘08 by 26%.  As mentioned above, all N/Van inventory is way lower than last year. Demand is maintaining strength and the general level of sales is increasing month by month.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD is now marginally up from ‘08, as of July 31st by 1% (also a 1st for some 10 months). Average price down 20% and inventory July 31st down 29% from ‘08. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold has dropped to 19 vs. 39 units last year; average price down 10%.  Active listings are down from ‘08 by 18%.  Apartments sold reflect less than a 1% drop YTD vs. ’08 (95 vs. 96); with average price down 14% and active listings now down 23% from end of July ‘08.

Overall North Shore demand maintains its strengthening trend and with all inventories continuing to drop month over month, sellers have improved chances of success.

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



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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

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North Vancouver Real Estate


8 Costly Mistakes When Selling Your Home

8 Costy Mistakes When Selling Your Home

8 Costly Mistakes when selling your home.
Basing asking price on needs or emotion rather than market value. Often sellers base their pricing on how much they paid for or invested in their home. This can be an expensive mistake. Ifyour home is not priced competitively, buyers will reject it in favour of other larger or better homes for the same price. At the same time, the buyers who should be looking at your house will not see it because it is priced over their heads. The result is increased market time, and even when the price is eventually lowered, the buyers are wary because “nobody wants to buy a house that nobody else wants”. The result is low offers and an unwillingness to negotiate. Every seller wants to realize as much money as possible from the sale, but a listing priced too high often eventually sells for less than it might have.Failing to “Showcase” the home. A property that is not clean or well maintained is a red flag for the buyer. It is an indication that there may be hidden defects that will result in increased cost of ownership. Sellers who fail to make necessary repairs, who don’t spruce up the house inside and out, and fail to keep it clean and neat, chase away buyers as fast as Realtors can bring them. Buyers are poor judges of the cost of repairs, and always build in a large margin for error when offering on such a property. Sellers are always better off doing the work themselves ahead of time.Over-improving the home prior to selling. Sellers often unwittingly spend thousands of dollars doing the wrong upgrades to their home prior to attempting to sell in the mistaken belief that they will recoup this cost. If you are upgrading your home for your personal enjoyment – fine. But if you are thinking of selling, you should be aware that only certain upgrades are cost effective. Always consult with your Realtor BEFORE committing to upgrading your home.

Choosing the wrong Realtor or choosing for the wrong reasons. Many homeowners list with the agent who tells them the highest price. You need to choose an experienced agent with the best marketing plan to sell your home. In the real estate business, an agent with many successfully closed transactions usually costs the same as someone who is inexperienced. That experience could mean a higher price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, and with a minimum amount of hassles.

Using the “Hard Sell” during showings. Buying a home is an emotional decision. Buyers like to “try on” a house and see if it is comfortable for them. It is difficult for them to do this if you follow them around pointing out every improvement that you made. Good Realtors let the buyers discover the home on their own, pointing out only features they are sure are important to them. Many sales are lost by overselling. If buyers think they are paying for features that are not particularly important to them personally, they will reject the home in favour of a less expensive home without the features.

Failing to take the first offer seriously.Often sellers believe that the first offer received will be one of many to come. There is a tendency not to take it seriously, and to hold out for a higher price. This is especially true if the offer comes in soon after the home is placed on the market. Experienced Realtors know that more often than not the first buyer ends up being the best buyer, and many, many sellers have had to accept far less money than the initial offer later in the selling process. The home is most saleable early in the marketing period, and the amount buyers are willing to pay diminishes with the length of time a property has been on the market. Many sellers would give anything to find that prospective buyer who made the first, and ONLY, offer.

Not knowingyour rights and obligations.The contract you sign to sell your property is a complex and legally binding document. An improperly written contract can allow the purchaser to void the sale, or cost you thousands of unnecessary dollars. Have an experienced Realtor who knows the “ins and outs” fully explain the contract you are about to sign, or retain a lawyer to review it before acceptance.

Failure to effectively market the property.Good marketing opens the door that exposes the property to the marketplace. It means distinguishing your home from hundreds of others on the market. It also means selling the benefits, as well as the features. The two most obvious marketing tools (open houses and print advertising) are only moderately effective. Just 1% of homes are sold at open houses, and advertising studies show that only 3% of people purchased their home because they called on a print ad! Agents use these tools to attract future prospects, not to sell the house. The right Realtor will employ a wide variety of marketing activities, emphasizing the ones believed to work best for your home.

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