While the microcosm of our North Shore has moved in generally the same direction as the overall Vancouver macrocosm, the inventory levels here are generally higher. This is not surprising considering the significant drop in overall sales year to date 2012 vs 2011. West Van in particular, with aggregate sales down 41% from last year (47% drop in the detached sector). North Van sits at 16% fewer sales this year to date. This may give an appearance that NV is more “resilient” but we must bear in mind that WV had near record sales during the first 9 months of 2011. Much of that demand has faltered thus far this year. I am in total agreement with the REBGV press release which states “People appear to be cautious about making significant financial decisions right now. While our local economy appears to be quite robust, there may be some concern about the impact of international markets.” I do differ a touch on the claim of concern regarding “…some tightening of mortgage regulations”. This I believe is less of a factor here on the North Shore.
Well, it’s all very well to look at the month after month results (which are clearly painting a picture of lower sales and lots of inventory) but almost all commentators are astutely avoiding predictions as to the medium or long term. I have however heard a few off-the-cuff predictions along the lines of …“It’ll get worse before it gets any better” …and “You think this is bad – wait ‘til next year!”. With this void of positive prognostication in mind, I am going to go out on a limb and state what I believe is in store in the medium term. A foolhardy endeavour you may say. While cautious gloom may be the safe position to take, I cannot help, after following our North Shore for over 20 years ( and penning these updates for some 14 years) that we are mere months away from seeing a leveling and witnessing a return of confidence here on the North Shore. The deferred (or pent-up) demand will drive this renewal of confidence. As we bid summer farewell I predict that late September results, through October and beyond will evidence more strength sales-wise. Always happy to “lead with the chin”!
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Now again the summary of our North Shore results. North Van detached homes sold are down ‘year to date’ by 19% from this time last year, attached (t/hses) sold – down 14% and apartments down 6% from 2011. Detached – average price is 6% higher than 2011 and inventory July 31st, 2012 up 31% from 2011. Average prices up 5% (t/hses) and up 1% (apts). Inventory (t/hses) up 13% from July 31st, 2011 and (apt) up 12% from 2011. N/Van overall inventory at July 31st, 2012 is up 19% over 2011 and all categories in N/Van, down 16% in total sales ’12 vs. ’11.
In West Van, detached number of sales to date 2012 is down by 47% from last year. Average price up by 9% and inventory July 31st, 2012 up 16% from last year. On the condo side – sales of attached (t/hses) are up, at 52 vs. 43 units; average price is now 20% higher. Active listings as at July 31st, 2012 (55 vs. 27). Apartments sold are down from 2011 (113 vs. 146), with average price 16% lower than’ 11 (remember the small sample size) and active listings up 7% from July 31st, 2011(106 vs. 99). Overall 19% higher inventory with softer demand evident – particularly detached properties. Some 41% fewer units sold YTD vs. 2011 (595 vs. 1007).
An exciting recent addition (for those who relish actual results – number of homes sold, average price and inventory). I will be happy to forward the past 12 month trend for both N and W/Van. Just fire off an e-mail to me asking for ‘SnapStats’ – address below. If you are interested in what price ranges are selling and which are not, you will love this!
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North Vancouver Real Estate
A few comments on a much touted topic of late – that of affordability. A few salient points i) very few local “first time” buyers (read younger) can afford homes in our area. ii) more and more of those buyers who can, are coming from locations further a-field (including other provinces and countries). iii) our local buyers are having to adjust their expectations to acquire smaller/less expensive (lower end) housing if they wish to remain here or move to lower cost areas. I am not wanting to enter into a sociological discussion of the “goods and evils” of this transition. Some things must for reasons of practicality, be accepted. We cannot “move forward” if we continually refuse the truisms which dictate our lives. Change is inevitable. I will add though – and this is a topic which could easily fill months of “think tank” agendas – that it is most evident that there are multitudes of buyers who CAN afford North Shore real estate at current and (likely higher) future prices. These are sobering considerations as, even the current owners of our property stock are inextricably linked to the family, friends and acquaintances who would love to reside on the North Shore. Remember that “love to reside” is nothing more than a flowery term for that oft repeated term – demand. A twist on this topic… how do we “create” supply? What social goods (and potential evils) will result? Idle thoughts to stimulate thoughts which will hopefully be more constructive.