Market Buoyancy And The Inevitable Backlash

I start this Update with 2 quotes by Sherry Cooper former Chief Economist of Bank of Montreal (another former – BMO my former employer –  25 yrs ago!). Now chief economist at Dominion Lending Centres, Canada’s largest private mortgage lending firm. Affiliate of RE/MAX Metro Vancouver Group – my current employer.

“You know, any time anyone talks about having a bubble, it’s Vancouver and Toronto they talk about. Frankly, for the last 20 years, there’s been talk that Vancouver real estate was a bubble. What we have seen is the continued inflow of capital and people, and very strong residential markets.”

“Vancouver is a beautiful city, which is hardly because of just the natural beauty of the city, but also because it hasn’t been ruined. In Toronto, you could argue the waterfront has been ruined because of the development years ago of great big ugly condos that block the view for the rest of the city. The development at the waterfront [in Vancouver], as well as the backdrop of the mountains, is very special. That attracts tourists. That attracts a lot of visitors to the city as well as those who want to invest in real estate and who want to build businesses here.”

Full  – a highly experienced and respected commentator.

Of the various proponents of the “Vancouver bubble” myth there are a few interesting subgroups. During my (almost) 1/4 century in the real estate profession I have bumped into representatives of these. There is the group who sold their Westside/Eastside/North or Southside residence over the years (possibly persuaded by each of the past two or three decades version of “bubble theorist”) most of whom made some level of profit, many a sizeable one. These folk either downsized or exited the market and can be seen to strongly favour the “impending crash” theory as they would then be able to re-enter the market. A little like the short seller in the stock market who prays for the boon of a slide. Other subgroups include the “flight to gold” types who often quote the wartime stories of ancestors who liquidated all manner of assets in favour of the higher  value, but portable ones. When these investment (or disinvestment) decisions turn sour, wishful thinking in the form of “I know the market will plummet” proliferates. All I can say (Skinner’s stuck record) is when high demand continues in the short, medium and longer term, the value of the commodity must rise. Couple this with a rising scarcity (sounds like an oxymoron – but isn’t) and the only calming factor has to be increased densification. Also an emotional topic.


June 2015 Podcast

North Shore Real Estate Radio

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June 2015 Numbers

And now, the figures for the first five months of 2015 in comparison to those of 2014. North Van detached homes sold are up 23% from last year, attached (t/hses) up from last year by 56% and apartments up 48%. The detached median price is up 19% and inventory is unchanged from 2014. Median prices up 2% (t/hses) and up 8% for (apts). Inventory (t/hses) up 12% from May 31st 2014 and (apt) unchanged from last year for the same date.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD for May 31st 2015 is up by 20% from last year at that time. Median price of what has sold is up 10% from last year and inventory now up 13% from May 31st 2014. On the condo side – attached (t/hses) sold by May 31st 2015 are up from 2014 at 53 vs. 32 units. Active listings are up 16% year over year at (79 vs. 68). Apartments reflect 89 sold in 2015 vs. 67 in 2014 with median price down 1% and active listings down 1% from May 31st 2014.

Something That Absolutely Needs To Be Correct


Pricing your home correctly is critical to a successful sale as it will help you sell for the highest price, in the shortest time.

Figuring out the best listing price involves comparing similar homes that have recently sold while taking past, present and future local market trends into account.

It is normal to have your own personal opinion of what your home’s worth, but it’s important to be realistic and unbiased.  In the end, the market will determine your home’s true value.

There’s always a flurry of activity when a new property is listed on the market but if the price is too high, it will quickly become stale and there won’t be any incentive for buyers to make a swift, strong offer.  Worse yet, buyers may well start to wonder what’s wrong with it.

Overpricing your property will also help your competition as buyers will see other homes in your area as much better deals since they’re less expensive.  If your home is priced at fair market value, those same buyers will consider your home more seriously.

Having your property sit on the market is also inconvenient as you’ll constantly have to keep it in a show-ready state.  Furthermore, carrying costs such as mortgage interest, insurance, taxes and utilities will quickly add up if you allowed yourself to get stuck owning two homes at once.

Pricing a home is part art and part science.  Market factors such as the economy, time of year and interest rates can all make a huge difference.  Your home only gets one chance to make a great first impression so it’s critical to enlist the services of a professional to help you get things done properly from start to finish. An experienced Realtor has seen property marketing done the right way and many homes marketed in the wrong way. It is that experience that is of most value to you.