It is often of immense interest to me to participate in, or merely “listen in on”, conversations with, or among, fellow Realtors. The past two months seem to have been rife with a greater divergence of opinion as to the direction of the local market than the preceding few quarters. More negative thought abounds – let me postulate that it has grown from, say the usual 10% “bleak” to between 15% on occasion (possibly exacerbated by the darkening afternoons 😉 ) to a figure trending above 20%.
Let me say here that this seems somewhat unusual for a creature such as the perennially optimistic Realtor. And what seems further out of sync is the data-demonstrated fact that sales this past October when compared with 2013 are ‘year to date’ roughly 15% higher! Couple this with the significantly lower inventory (property offered for sale) at the end of Oct this year vs the same time 2013 (approximating 10% lower!). This is, I believe a pretty sure case of the supply/demand theory working as it should and market forces behaving appropriately. I still believe emphatically in the existence of cycles, however DO NOT believe that now is the beginning of a down cycle. We will likely encounter a marginally quieter Nov/Dec which is a seasonal norm. I believe that, come the first quarter of 2015 we shall see an ongoing buoyancy. Please trust me though, to be one of the first to acknowledge when I believe a cyclical trend is starting to change. Of the highest importance is always the magnitude of the change. Any impending (mini) correction would be just that.
A thought here – despite the lower than average inventory – a current Nov/Dec hesitancy to pin down a home WILL work in favour of those prepared to offer especially on properties that are languishing on the market. Too many believe that the spring increase in offerings will work in their favour. We are experiencing a “minor” buyers’ market but this shall pass!
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And now to our October figures for 2014 in comparison to 2013. North Van detached homes sold are up 15% from last year, attached (t/hses) up from last year by 6% and apartments up 21%. The detached average price is up 8% and inventory is down by 23% from 2013. Average prices up 1% (t/hses) and up 2% for (apts). Inventory (t/hses) 110 vs.127, down from Oct 31st 2013 and (apt) down 2% from last year for the same date.
In West Van, detached number of sales YTD for 2014 is up by 11% from Oct 31st 2013. Average price of what has sold is up 8% from last year and inventory now down 9% from Oct 31st 2013. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold 2014 are down from 2013 at 66 vs. 78 units with a 3% decrease in average price. Active listings are down year over year from Oct 31st 2013 by 10% (41 vs. 46). Apartments reflect 161 sold in 2014 vs. 139 in 2013 with average price down 2% from Oct 31st 2013 and active listings down 11% from Oct 31st 2013. Both jurisdictions continue evidencing healthy demand. Inventory continues to be decidedly lower.
No matter what you’ve read, no matter what your friends have told you and no matter what real estate industry detractors say, seriously consider having your Agent do a Public Open House.
Detractors will say that Agents only do Open Houses to pick up new clients and that it’s not about selling your house. While there is certainly an element of that, it is not necessarily the primary focus.
The other concern, often expressed, is that only ‘nosey neighbours’ are going to show up. Who the heck wants their neighbours walking into their house just to see how one lives? I MOST CERTAINLY DO!
Nosey Neighbours tell their friends and relatives about homes in their area. “Hi Cousin Paul. You know how you’ve been looking to get into this neighbourhood? Well a house down the street isavailable, I went to the open house and it’s gorgeous. You should go take a look, they’re open again tomorrow – BTW here is the Realtor’s number/e-mail address”.
The bottom line is this, open houses are important because:
– Weekends are when most house hunters are out looking. They often spend the week researching on the internet and the weekend visiting homes.
– Open house signs attract attention, and that’s important to get people talking
– You can maximize exposure by having multiple people through the house in a short period of time
– Other busy Realtors are appreciative of your agent holding one as they can simply send their clients through the open of a colleague they trust.
All of these factors together are key and increase the chance your home will sell in the first few weeks.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Have Open Houses and get your house SOLD!!! And with an experienced Realtor that will be more assured.