That Year Is Past, Long Live The New Year!

Those who have read the past few editions of this monthly Update will see no surprises in our 2013 twelve month results, so may as well move on.  Just kidding – I’m only trying to show off a) the consistency of market trends or b) demonstrate the fact that we are not currently undergoing any reversal of direction but are keeping the course we have been identifying based on the strengthening results of the past months. Yes, cycles are alive and well and doing what cycles do!

Unlike clock pendulums (should that be pendula?  – I think not), we have times when the pendulum seems to be traveling through a ½ cycle on steroids or at other times at a theatrical “slo-mo” pace. The fact we need to grasp is that, whether the pace/intensity suits our personal plans or wishes, the model is still working and is obedient to our collective demands and divestment wishes. The embarrassing (?) thing is that, despite our belief/pride in our “uniqueness” we are more inclined to make collective decisions as a group/pack (?)

Why be embarrassed? We are only exhibiting our need to be in a ‘comfort zone’. Not an evil aspiration at all. We eschew uncertainty and do so by seeking out others whose decisions parallel those goals we want to achieve.  We don’t seem to be too annoyed when the goal that we are seeking is shared by that group and causes the “winner” to pay 2%, 5%, 10% or more than we would have had to pay a year, 6 months ago or, maybe, say, on December 12th 2013. If this type of comment in any way offends, remember there is always the “safety” of the group that says – ‘OK, I’ll wait for the return to the bottom of the trough we have recently left’. The history of the past 20, 25, 40 or 50 years should be somewhat persuasive as to that likelihood. Our propensity (need) for immigrant attraction coupled with the wishes of our offspring will see to that, despite a deluded yearning by those craving a return to “the good old days”. Rather than that craving, let’s focus our yearning on, for example – education, ethical behaviour and decency. (Click here for graph of market trends)

An excellent report released in December 2013 (see addresses the anticipated rise in consumer confidence and is well worth reading. 

January 2014 Podcast

North Shore Real Estate Radio

On an ongoing basis I pledge both my continued personalized service and a commitment to my reduced  business ecological “footprint”. A significant part is the radio (podcast) library which I’m continually 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 and 1-800-665-1455.

Click on the “Podcast” Icon in the top right of this article to listen now.

North Vancouver Real Estate

January 2014 Numbers

And now to our final figures for 2013 and a comparison with 2012. North Van detached homes sold are up 18% from last year, attached (t/hses) up from last year by 15% and apartments up 2%. The detached average price almost unchanged and inventory now down by 20% from 2012. Average prices down 1% (t/hses) and up 3% for (apts). Inventory (t/hses) 91 vs. 94 (down 3%) from Dec 31st 2012 and (apt) up 6% from last year for the same date.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD for 2013 is now up by 26% from Dec 31st 2012. Average price of what has sold is almost identical to last year and inventory now down by 8% from Dec 31st 2012. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold 2013 are now up by 40% from 2012 at 90 vs. 64 units with a 5% drop in average price. Active listings are down year over year from Dec 31st 2012 by 29% (31 vs. 44). Apartments reflect 159 sold in 2013 vs. 159 in 2012 (NC); with average price up 3% from Dec 31st 2012 and active listings now 4% down from Dec 31st 2012.

West Vancouver and North Vancouver continue with solid sales performance in all home types and we do see this progressing for 2014. Inventory is generally down, in some cases quite dramatically. Thus we should see existing demand causing that reduced inventory to shrink further – proviso: that we do not see a major increase in new listings.   ‘SnapStats’ (what price ranges are selling and which are not) continues to be 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.

RE/MAX Housing Market Outlook Report 2014

Canadian homebuyers remain undaunted in 2013, as housing sales and average price approach five-year high

Major residential real estate markets poised for further growth in 2014

Kelowna, BC (December 2013) — Canadian consumers remained remarkably steadfast in their determination to achieve homeownership in 2013, fuelling residential real estate sales and average price nationally to a five-year high, despite a spotty regional performance. Improved economic performance on both a national and global stage, combined with historically low interest rates and rising consumer confidence, should spark greater strength in 2014, with housing sales and values expected to further appreciate, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.

The RE/MAX Canadian Housing Market Outlook 2014 examined trends and developments in 25 major markets across the country. The report found that the number of homes sold is expected to match or exceed 2012 levels in almost two-thirds of markets (15/25) in 2013, led by strong activity in British Columbia, including Vancouver (up 10 per cent) and Kelowna (10 per cent). Ninety-two per cent (23/25) of markets are set to experience average price increases by year-end 2013, with Hamilton-Burlington the country’s frontrunner at 7.5 per cent, followed by Barrie and District at seven per cent, Calgary and St. John’s at six per cent, and Greater Vancouver, Winnipeg and the Greater Toronto Area at five per cent. The forecast for 2014 shows the upward trend gaining momentum, with values expected to climb yet again in 92 per cent (23/25) of centres, led by Greater Toronto at six per cent. Strength and stability are forecast to characterize Canadian real estate in 2014, with sales estimates on par or above year-ago levels in all markets examined, led by Kelowna (10 per cent) and Calgary (nine per cent).

Nationally, an estimated 466,000 homes will change hands in 2013, an increase of three per cent over the 453,372 sales recorded in 2012. Canadian home sales are expected to climb two per cent to 475,000 units by year-end 2014. The average price of a Canadian home is forecast to appreciate four per cent to $380,000 in 2013, up from $363,740 in 2012. Values are expected to continue to escalate in 2014, rising three per cent to $390,000 by year end.

“It was quite a turnaround in Canadian real estate markets after a softer start to the year,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “Following an initial period of adjustment, first-time buyers pushed forward with delayed intentions, stimulating activity at all price points. With renewed momentum and enthusiasm in place, resale housing is once again poised for growth in 2014.”

Regional disparities surfaced early in 2013, according to the RE/MAX Report, and were evident throughout the year. Alberta started the year with a bang, with both major markets bucking the national downward trending in sales. Homebuying activity in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario kicked into high gear in July, with most centres expected to move ahead of 2012 levels by year end, led by Greater Vancouver, Kelowna, Victoria (six per cent), Windsor-Essex (six per cent), Edmonton (five per cent) and Hamilton-Burlington (five percent). Yet, performance in Quebec and Atlantic Canada is forecast to fall short of 2012 levels. More consistent performance is expected in 2014, especially given economic projections for the East Coast and Quebec. Both regions should rebound in the new year, led by Halifax-Dartmouth (five per cent), Moncton (three per cent), Greater Montreal (two per cent) and Quebec City (two per cent).

“Inventory was vital in maintaining market stability in 2013,” says Gurinder Sandhu, Executive Vice President, Regional Director, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “A run-up in inventory at the outset of the year, amid weaker demand, could have changed the outcome to what ended up being another relatively healthy year of real estate activity. Instead, we saw modest price growth and rising sales levels, particularly in the second half. Another positive performance is projected for 2014, with average price forecast to break records in many markets.”

Although there are several factors that are expected to contribute to rising housing values on a national basis, one of the most pressing is build out. Nowhere is that more obvious than in Vancouver, where the mountains and the ocean have prevented further growth, and the Greater Toronto Area, where the greenbelt has stymied future development. As such, the availability of low-rise homes relative to the population is expected to contract, placing further pressure on prices. Vertical growth and its affordable price point is representative of the future.

“We’re definitely seeing a greater commitment to higher density at a municipal level,” says Ash. “In fact, the trend already underway in Vancouver and Toronto, has gained serious momentum in smaller markets where cities are moving to infuse vibrancy into the urban core through mixed-use residential/commercial/retail development. The level of investment is substantial—dovetailing with revitalization efforts currently underway.”

Solid underpinnings continue to support healthy levels of real estate activity from coast to coast. Buyers appear to be realistic in their pursuits, and after several rounds of mortgage tightening, many are coming to the table better qualified, with larger downpayments and readjusted expectations. Imposed restrictions have had the desired effect. A sound framework is now in place to support steady and sustainable growth over the next several years. Existing inventory levels remain crucial to Canadian housing markets moving forward. The tightening currently demonstrated at entry-level price points—as more first-time buyers make their way back into the market—could translate into further price hikes down the road.

“Canadian homebuyers remain savvy, with a long-term mindset that bodes well for stability,” says Sylvain Dansereau, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX Quebec. “Yet, they also value progress, and we expect that to translate again in 2014. Equity gains should continue to result in tangible leaps to larger homes or better neighbourhoods, as well as a growing wave of renovation and revitalization. Stock market performance is also expected to bolster homebuying activity, as paper wealth is converted to material wealth.”

View the full report