The Winners And The Losers








Well, numbers of sales are certainly well up on the NShore compared with last year. Median prices up in all categories in NVan and for detached in WVan – t/homes and apartments here are more erratic (small sample size). What does this really mean? Obviously the demand for all categories continues to be strong. As we go deeper into May, we are seeing that continue and many Realtors report multiple offers with North Van seeing a higher proportion of these. My last two deals (a purchase and a sale) were in this category. As all Realtors will tell you we know which side of these transactions we prefer to be on!

Let’s talk about competing offers and specifically the phenomenon of many buyers paying over the asking price. There are numerous reasons for this. We look first at the listing price, agreed upon by the seller and their Realtor. Is this truly representative of the likely market value? Or is it significantly below that figure? In a nutshell, with the strong demand for homes (and likely a lower than average inventory) this will invariably lead to one buyer out of the group of possible buyers, paying, say 5%, 10% or even more over the asking price. A recent situation on the North Shore, saw a figure of over $300,000 being paid for a home listed below the $1,000,000 level. I was asked by a friend/ past client if this was a record. My answer was a record for what? The highest discrepancy between an asking and a sale price would be a record but how meaningful is this concept? Does it denote a better home than the one across the street that sold for, say $1,250,000 with a listing price of $1,275,000? Impossible to say. The saddest outcome of a 14 offer competition is the 13 wannabe buyers who are disappointed/ devastated(?) by losing out on what they may feel to be a dream home. You’ll notice I had not even mentioned the 13 “bridesmaid” Realtors ;).


May 2015 Numbers

And now, the figures for the first four months of 2015 in comparison to those of 2014. North Van detached homes sold are up 30% from last year, attached (t/hses) up from last year by 65% and apartments up 52%. The detached median price is up 15% and inventory is up by 1% from 2014. Median prices unchanged/marginally up (t/hses) and up 6% for (apts). Inventory (t/hses) up 18% from April 30th 2014 and (apt) up 5% from last year for the same date.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD for April 30th 2015 is up by 58% from last year at that time. Median price of what has sold is up 10% from last year and inventory now up 18% from April 30th 2014. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold by April 30th 2015 are up from 2014 at 37 vs. 24 units. Active listings are up 17% year over year at (63 vs. 54). Apartments reflect 62 sold in 2015 vs. 51 in 2014 with median price down 11% and active listings down 12% from April 30th 2014.


Buying Your First Home – The Benefits Of Being Flexible

First time home buyers share a common dilemma. On one hand, most of them are on a tight budget and have limited resources. On the other hand, they have big dreams about the ideal house they would like to have.

It’s okay to have a wish list of features that you want in a home. In fact, it’s a very good idea. It will make your shopping much easier, and you will increase the chances of finding a property you like.

However in most cases the ideal dream home is far beyond the reach of many buyers, at least price wise. Even if their real estate agent is able to find a property with most of the features the buyer wants to have, the property may not be in the right neighbourhood or price range.

Getting into a starter home

You need to be flexible when choosing your first home. And if you’re not flexible with your wish list, you may miss out on some otherwise ideal opportunities. The perfect home, at the right price, may not exist on the market, but a property that meets most of your criteria probably does. Remember, the word ‘compromise’ need not imply failure but can indicate intelligent balance.

Unless you are status conscious, your first home doesn’t necessarily have to be your dream home. You could settle for a starter home, which you can afford with a small down payment and easy mortgage instalments.

Keep in mind that a less-than-perfect property can potentially be improved. If the house doesn’t have a spacious kitchen, you may be able to expand the kitchen area – perhaps by adding a pantry in an adjacent room. There are plenty of lower-priced houses out there in need of repair, with some “Do-It-Yourself” projects you can add more value to the house. Be careful not to buy a place where the cost of repairs will eat up any profits you might make when you sell.

In just a few years you will build enough equity in your starter home to make it easier for you to sell and move into to your dream home.

Buying your first home is an exciting process. After all, your home could be the largest asset you’ll ever own. Being able to finance most of its cost will take a load off your back in the future.