Can The Media Make The Market?

Can The Media Make The Market

Before I launch into the “state of the North Shore union” commentary, I want to talk about certain media’s propensity to “create” news by highlighting the horror of the “worst case scenario”

best case scenarios are never used – no mouth-dropping effect – only “logical” skepticism!  To illustrate this I’ll use the Cover page of MacLeans’ magazine, which, at time of writing is dated almost exactly six months ago (March 2/09)  – an article . First the headline – “House Prices – The Good News – The Bad News”.  Incidentally, the other secondary ‘headlines’ on this cover were “One Tough Mother. The Spectacular Rise of  M.I.A.” (the Grammy nominated, hip-hop, garage rock, politico singer) and also “Face It Quebec: France is just not that into you”. Typical “new genre /new age” headlines for our metamorphosing “wannabe edgy” ‘official (?) magazine’ of Canada.

So, to continue, MacLeans’ “good news” in a sentence was, “Canadian real estate will soon be much more affordable”. The “bad news” was the ominous proposal, that, “The value of your home is about to drop another 20%”.  Wow, great magazine selling rhetoric! The first issue the magazine buyer faces, turning to the article (described incidentally as a “SPECIAL REPORT” – all caps) is that the author cites as evidence for his proposal, one buyer’s “devastating” story. Space is limited so I’ll only quote the first paragraph in full – “There are still people out there who don’t believe Canada is about to be hit by a devastating housing crisis, but…(name omitted)… isn’t one of them. For him the crisis has already arrived.” The following one and a half columns proceed to describe this unfortunate buyer of a (to be built) $1,500,000 penthouse condo in Yaletown. To bind both parties to this contract, the buyer advanced an $80,000 deposit. After this contract was confirmed (although how long after, is not stated) he put his current home on the market and after lowering the price “again and again”, (a total of $120,000 below the original asking price) had been unable to find a buyer. It would be interesting to know if this buyer had representation from a Realtor (or legal advice) or if he chose to buy directly from the Developer’s agent with limited (or no) representation (advice).

While the article is ‘riveting reading’ in its entirety we’ll move on. (use above URL links or get access via September Update at and follow the link in the article). Of greatest significance here is the amazing inaccuracy of these predictions for us here in Vancouver (which incidentally was the “poster child” of the article). Since Mar/09 when this was published, Greater Vancouver values which had already dropped some 20 – 30% have likely bounced back to within about 10% of the “high point”. As I’ve said in previous updates, the best deals were to be had in the Jan – March time frame and these are becoming like “hen’s teeth” with the dramatic drop in overall inventory and rampant sales figures of the past few months.

So, you be the judge as to MacLeans’ dramatic mileage six months ago and the actual evolving scenario based on the sales, average prices and inventory picture below.

Overall North Shore demand maintains its strengthening trend and all inventories continue to drop month over month. Note – if this demand continues, prices will edge up further.

Again, visit my website to see and “hear” the new developments.  I 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

September 09 Numbers

September 09 Numbers

The YTD 2009 [first eight months] vs. corresponding 2008 figures for the North Shore.

North Van detached homes sold are now up by 11% from last year; attached (t/homes) are up by 27% and apartments up by 7% from ‘08. Detached average prices down 11% and inventory Aug 31st, down by 29%. Average prices down 6% (t/hse) and down by 12% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 38% lower than ‘08 and (apt) down from ‘08 by 15%.  Again, as at last report, all N/Van inventory is way lower than the preceding year. Demand is maintaining strength and the general level of sales continues to increase month by month.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD is now up from ‘08, as of Aug 31st by 11% (the second consecutive month in about a year). Average price down 17% and inventory Aug 31st down 26% from ‘08. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold have dropped to 27 vs. 44 units last year; average price down 11%.  Active listings are down from ‘08 by 8%.  Apartments sold now reflect a 3% increase YTD vs. ’08 (109 vs. 105); with average price down 17% and active listings now down 27% from end of Aug ‘08.

Overall North Shore demand maintains its strengthening trend and all inventories continue to drop month over month. Note – if this demand continues, prices will edge up further.

Again, visit my website to see and “hear” the new developments.  I 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


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


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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