Opinions Are Highly Susceptible To Misinterpretation

_AC_9286I will continue to offer my opinion on the direction of the market as we move on in newly minted 2018. In early  2017 I opined that the, then NDP Opposition Critic on Housing, David Eby had proposed some excellent ideas to deal with BC’s (and Metro Van specifically) evident housing challenges. Having read the comments in depth, I offered my thoughts in an Update. A hotly worded email hit my inbox a day later with strong accusations along the line that “you obviously weren’t in BC when these ‘people’ previously ran our province” and that he would “tell his family etc to never deal with the likes of this obvious ‘supporter’ of that party. Despite these ‘risks’ I plan to continue ‘leading with my chin’. Market opinion to follow.

It is usually at or around this time yearly that EVERYONE looks at their own “business” plan to find tweaks or major changes they feel will enhance future results. Unlike scholars [elem/middle/high school] or those in other ventures – unemployed snr’s, preschoolers, college or other academic line – it is largely the same process but with a greater variety of non-monetary rewards. I posit 2 ideas.

Take Stu; his big sister’s basement suite tenant, wrestling with the challenge of growth in his own ‘carjacking’ enterprise [since Sept 3, 2017 – one Mini, one VW and the plum… a 2014 silver Nissan Sentra! How to improve outcomes ‘17/‘18; number, quality-wise in the current fiscal period. As the ‘Pres’ and an entrepreneur he has plans to make (While trying to ‘keep ahead of the Law’)

Take Sister Cherie (Heart-Wings Outreach) who’s program, a mere 7 months old helped 3 High School dropouts, a single mom with a 16 mo old, 5 juvenile Vancouverites with return to stable housing and in two cases, to their parents. In 2018 (with help of retired aunt Jo) HWO aims to help 25 folk & set up a funding program to add to the $37M inheritance from grandpa’s will.

These possible, with in 1 case, a legal venture are an attempt to illustrate the variety of things we embark upon and the wide range of actions we can choose from. Do note that my emphasis here is on the practice of improvement (self and business) and not merely what Real Estate practitioners believe they do, far from it. Among the two/three hundred or more Realtors on our North Shore there are likely 50 – 100 different approaches to branding for results. Remember, the ‘box’ (same old/same old) exists so many practitioners can adopt their unique slant on what they personally offer.

Now would seem a fair time to consider personal tweaks or major adjustments that may assist in the furthering goals you’ve set for your unique venture. An aside: I personally have an intense dislike of the term Resolutions. Ask many Cynic that surround us and you’ll receive comments along the lines of ‘inevitable breaking/or forgetting’. Hence ‘Resolutions’ be gone and, if it can be replaced, try tweaks and rejigging or whatever you will.

Now for an opinion. By Mar/Apr/Jun – unlikely before – our demand-side (Buyers) will forego the hesitancy of 2017 and more sales (of detached homes will transpire) often at prices below those we saw in mid 2017.

January 2018 Numbers

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The YTD figures covers all months of 2017 I always find this 1st Update has a significant place in the year’s ‘collection’.

North Van detached homes sold are down 15% (1048 vs 1242 last year) on a YTD basis, attached (t/hses) down 10% from last year and apartments down 1%. The detached median price is up 5% and inventory now up 89% from 2016. Median prices (t/hses) up 17% and up 29% for (apts). Inventory (t/hses) up 22% from Dec 31st 2016 and (apt) up 54% from last year for the same date.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD for Dec 31st 2017 is down by 39% from last year at that time. Median price of what has sold is down 2% from last year and inventory now up 40% from Dec 31st 2016. On the condo side, attached (t/hses) sold by Dec 31st 2017 are down 7% from 2016. Active attached (t/hses) listings at 3 are down from 9 on Dec 31st 2016. Apartment sales are unchanged 2017 vs. 2016 at 10 units – median price for (apts) sold are also unchanged for this period. Inventory (apts) up 58% over Dec 31st 2016.

The Current Frustration Of Buyers And Sellers

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We could easily add a “sub headline” to this month’s Update which would be the same title, but with ‘buyers and sellers’ replaced by Greater Vancouver Realtors! I’m the first to admit that our crystal instruments are, of late, taking on a significantly more opaque (maybe foggy?) haze. Clearly, experienced R/E practitioners may admit to some ‘blow to our collective pride’ by not being able to answer our clients’ queries in a more definitive and authoritative fashion.

While on the topic of ‘headlines’ the REBGV entitled its news release “Metro Vancouver continues to experience above-average demand and below-average supply”. Interpret this correctly – “average” is the aggregation of sub-sectors. Remember that each of these is unique in things like geographic location, price point, size, accommodation,‘walk score’ etc.

Roll on the return of being able to speak of the probable ‘direction of the market’ , as in …. “Jennifer and Peter it seems you should wait a couple of months before buying/selling”  or, conversely “Aman and Terrise don’t delay, buy now! …cause taxes/interest rates are likely to climb”. I don’t keep a tab on this statistic, BUT I can’t remember how many 1st time buyers have not heeded the advice to “act now” (lots though). The phrase “I’m waiting for the prices to drop” rings repeatedly in my ears. Alas the ‘investor buyer’ has been a major influence of late on the ability for first timers to be able to afford to own their first home.

December 2017 Numbers

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Now to the YTD figures as we embark upon the final month of 2017 and with  Christmas a mere few weeks away.  North Van detached homes sold are down 18% (978 vs 1194 last year) on a YTD basis, attached (t/hses) down 12% from last year and apartments down 2%. The detached median price is up 5% and inventory now up 62% from 2016. Median prices (t/hses) up 17% and up 29% for (apts). Inventory (t/hses) up 63% from Nov 30th 2016 and (apt) up 79% from last year for the same date.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD for Nov 30th 2017 is down by 40% from last year at that time. Median price of what has sold is down 3% from last year and inventory now up 41% from Nov 30th 2016. On the condo side, attached (t/hses) sold by Nov 30th 2017 are up125% from 2016. Active attached (Thse) listings at 7 are up from 4 on Nov 30th 2016. Apartment sales are unchanged 2017 vs. 2016 – median price for (apts) sold are also unchanged for this period. Inventory (apts) up 113% over Nov 30th 2016.