The Significant Lull Of Late Summer

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There were NO increases in the YTD sales figures for ANY West Van home classification, and Yes the general price levels ARE showing a significant “leveling off”. Only North Van shows a modicum of stability.

I’ll hark back to my “whither sales and prices” discussion in a moment. 4/5 weeks ago we believed, and I quote, “clearly in the Condo market, both on the North Shore and also the majority of Greater Vancouver – supply is definitely no-where near satisfying demand”. Since then, when we saw that to be true, recent activity, or more precisely, a period of low activity has prevailed. This is nothing more than a Supply/Demand imbalance, otherwise known as a new cycle. So, is this where our market starts to subside? Not exactly, and what is meant by that is that “We are now in a lacklustre phase”.

In the same sense as the old saying “One swallow doth not a Summer make” it is also a truism that one ‘lack of lustre’ does not presage a Bubble Burst. We’ve been here before folks… the pre-Back to School four weeks with its last ‘run to the cottage’, last visit to grandma on Vancouver Island and the “Chicken Little type” last Bubble hurrah. Give it a further 4-5 weeks and we will experience a return to the demand uptick. Families again in the rehousing mode, first time buyers competing for their first homes and pre retirees looking for their long awaited, empty-nester castle.

September 2017 Numbers

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So, now to the figures for the 1st 7/12th of 2017, and the move solidly into the year’s back-haul. North Van detached homes sold are down 29% – 672 vs. 957 during last year, attached (t/hses) down 25% from 2016 and apartments down 19%. The detached median price up 35% and apts up 26%. Inventory (thses) down 9% from 2016 and (apt) down 2% from 2016.

In West Van, detached number of sales for 2017 is down by 7% from 2016. Median price of what has sold is down 10% from last year and inventory now up 5% from 2016. On the condo side, attached (t/hses) sold during 2017 are down 16% from 2016. Active listings at 9 as at month end are unchanged from 2016. Apartments sales reflect a 41% decrease by July 2017 vs. 2016 – Median price unavailable for both att and apts during July – (both being under 20 units). However the YTD median price sold, up by 24% over the 7mth period. Inventory of (apts) down 38%.

Intervention And Not ’29 VS 28′ Days Is The Main Cause Of This Feb’s Drop From 2016

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Whether you are from the Keynesian School, Adam Smith’s teachings or ascribe to a Milton Friedman persuasion is an individual choice. What can be said with some conviction is that our market forces have clearly been tweaked by a somewhat overdue market manipulation by government. Before I’m again berated and categorized as a ‘Satan’ by anyone misunderstanding my narrative, I want to say that the politically charged July/August 2016 decision did miss the target somewhat. Partial evidence being the about face, proposed exemption of foreign buyers with work permits. More evidence may come in the form of some pending class action lawsuits. Time will tell.
What is desperately needed is some evidence of a more affordable buyer market climate for younger Canadians (1st, 2nd time buyers) many young families. Discouraging well heeled non Canadians from using our more pricey residential Real Estate assets for their personal international investments is only part of the solution. Don’t get me wrong. I firmly agree with having buyers who are not Canadian conform to a different set of rules. We hear the term “too little, too late” but, as I heard one commentator say, we have a situation of “too late, too excessive”. The real problem here is the total disregard of those who, like some former directors of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver were advocating a less punitive solution a number of years ago. Maybe something of the nature of an 8-10% tax and or a mor appropriate treatment of profits of non-resident investors. I heard mention of a 40/50% tax of those windfall profits. An introduction of such tax measures, say 10 years ago could have saved a lot of pain and suffering AND the extreme climb of Real Estate prices which the past several years forced upon us.
To view the UTD ‘Average Price Graph’, I have included the Board’s March News Release. Go to Page 9. The other data may also be of interest. Click here http://rem.ax/2ndYCN2 or copy into your browser. The illusion that average sales prices are dropping because fewer “expensive” homes are selling is by no means proof of any success on the affordability front.