Monthly Archives: January 2010

Issue 5 – January 2010




A discussion of the figures for two of the most interesting years we have experienced in the past twenty. Back to back, we have had (’08) – a strong start with a dismal finish vs. (’09) – a dismal start with a strong finish. Talk about cycles, and, yes, we hear our faithful readers say, “they do go on about cycles!” For that, no apologies are made – what are cycles but the road map (or graph) of the vagaries of supply and demand. As we have discussed before, the market can only be said to be returning when the upper end shows a healthy year over year increase. Entry level real estate, as we know is where the beginning of the up cycle starts.

By now you will likely have looked at your 2010 tax assessment? What does it mean? How does that figure relate to the current market value? Does it cause us concern? Do we care? Remember that the assessment for tax purposes is designed to provide an estimate for relative taxation equity.  It has never claimed infallibility and that is why the B.C. Assessment Authority permits (encourages?) property owners to appeal if they disagree with the estimate. More to the point – what is our real estate worth? (what is our net worth?) Depending on our age / planning horizon – how important is this January 2010 valuation?  Is it the Province’s estimate that decides the value of our homes or do we trust the market place to give us a fair price for our valued assets? All the tax authority can do is cause us to be charged a modicum more or less in property tax for the years we own that property but it has no say in what we sell our property for and what that ‘willing buyer’ will pay.

A quick note on an important issue. Mortgage rates will rise as 2010 progresses. Assess your own exposure to this factor. If you have variable (floating) rate financing you may be well advised to lock in with a fixed rate on all (or part) of what is owed. Speak to your lender or get the advice of a good financial broker soon and don’t delay this until July 2010 imposes larger carrying costs and avoidable extra expense.

Now to some facts regarding the upper end Vancouver market ’09 vs. ’08.

Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2009 – 590 listings sold vs 2008 – 382 sold (a rise of 54%). Highest sale $15,2MM (’09) vs. $11,5MM (’08). This property (on Belmont Avenue, a Point Grey estate)  sold a month ago (late Nov ’09 after 118 days on the market, listed at $18MM. 7 bed/8 bth a 11,345 sq ft home on over 2/3 acre – circular drive way, elevator, marble floors and spectacular view terraces. Truly a home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes [$1MM and above] 2009 – 171 listings sold vs 2008 – 107 sold (a rise of 60%). Highest sale $3.88MM (’09) vs. $3.85MM (’08). This property (on Point Grey road) is a highly desirable 3 bed/3 full bathroom ½ duplex on the Golden Mile waterfront.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2009 – 363 listings vs. 2008 – 262 sold (a rise of 39%). Highest sale was $6.5MM (’09) vs. $6.5MM (’08) A coincidence? Well, yes, but in actual fact – the property concerned is the same unit sold in 2007 and again in 2008 – 28th floor in the Shaw Tower (W. Cordova St) – an impressive view dwelling (4 bed/5 bathroom – 4 ensuites) at 4007 sq ft on Coal Harbour with garaging for 6 vehicles.

Wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year are certainly in order at this time, as is our belief that we must engage in more positive thinking for a more positive (Olympic) year!

Again, visit the Homes of Provenance website to see the new developments.  We continue our commitment to keep you up to date in the “higher end” market – the “go to” site for Metro Vancouver Real Estate analysis and jumping off point for market listing information in the higher range.

To join the group getting the e-mail version of this “update” – send a request now to and you’ll be assured receipt; phone us at (604) 626-2526 or visit