Monthly Archives: October 2010

Issue 8 – October 2010

GREATER (METRO) VANCOUVER

OCT 2010 QTLY UPPER-TIER REAL ESTATE UPDATE

YES, THE DEMAND IS STILL STRONG?

We are indebted to the most recent Re/Max report [Market Trends – Fall 2010] concerning “year-to-date” [YTD] (up to Aug/2010) comparison of numbers of sales in some 19 Canadian markets and sub-markets. They report thus on the Vancouver condition – “The market for high-end properties is also robust. So far this year, 1,356 sales occurred – priced in excess of $1.5 million- compared to 940 properties in 2009. Wealthy Chinese immigrants are driving luxury sales, bolstered by China’s strong economy, and this phenomenon is expected to continue into 2011”. They agree that the overall property market here has been ‘dampened’ by the introduction of the HST “and the confusion that followed”. The realization by purchasers that the HST applies only to new construction is proving “a boon to the resale market”. They conclude their report with this statement “…average price is poised to set a new record in the Greater Vancouver Area in 2010”.

In their database, they track too (using various unique ‘Upper End Price Point’ for 19 markets) the YTD change 2010 vs. 2009 across Canada. Not surprisingly, these ‘price points’ range from as low as $350,000 for Saint John up to $1,500,000 for Greater Vancouver. The number of actual sales YTD in all 19 cases have increased by a minimum of 20% [Montreal] to a high of 193% [Sudbury]. In comparison Gr. Toronto reflects 52.4% and Gr. Vancouver 44.3%. Remember that small markets need a relatively smaller number of sales to yield what appears as impressive growth e.g. Sudbury 15 (’09) and 44 (’10).  There is evidence too, that the majority of markets are seeing a drop in inventory in the higher end.

This brings us back to a favoured concept – supply and demand. In the upper tier, it appears that players are less constrained by the oft touted argument of affordability. This, of course, is a valid consideration when one talks of ‘first time buyers’ without much in the way of down payment and little or no equity from the sale of a former residence. Demand at the upper end is usually backed by significant equity and often by substantial other financial assets. The other contributor buoying this demand is the relatively low cost of borrowed money. Also consider that the “retired” group display a higher degree of urgency regarding these retirement/recreational needs than those younger folk embarking on acquiring starter and subsequent housing. Yes, demand is certainly evident in this more mature sector and patience less of a virtue.

Now the third quarter 2010 figures extracted from the REBGV database.

Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2010 – 170 listings sold vs. 2009 – 186 sold (a decrease of 5%). Highest sale $8.2 MM (’10) vs. $14.8MM (’09). This property – on Bellevue Av (WV), sold in Sep ’10 after 186 days on the market, originally listed at $11.995MM. 6 bed/7 bth, it is a 6,744 sq ft structure on a 14,564 sq ft, gated, S facing property – A four year old beachfront mansion.  Indeed a home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes [$1MM and above] 2010 – 48 units sold vs. 2009 – 69 sold (a decrease of 30%). Highest sale $2.85MM (’10) vs. $3.389MM (’09). This property is on The Crescent, in Shaughnessy which sold in Sept ’10 after 146 days on the market was listed at $2.99MM (originally listed at $3.28MM). One of 4 units in this gated complex with a view, 4bd/4bth unit with 3,950 sq ft of living space.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2010 – 96 units vs. 2009 – 114 sold (a decrease of 16%). Highest sale $4.35MM (’10) vs. $6.5MM (’09). This is an ultimately luxurious 2nd floor (the entire floor) 3 bed/4 bth apartment with floor to ceiling windows on the water’s edge. Listed at $4,589MM, it sold in July ’10 after 48 days on the market.

Here again are the current inventory (listings) figures:

Detached ($2MM and up 714) – Highest $39MM * – 20 at $10MM plus Attached   ($1MM and up143) – Highest $3.888MM – 4 at $3MM plus Apartments ($1MM and up 434) – Highest $12.888MM – 2 at $10MM plus *3 homes on 5+ acre West Van estate (Chartwell)

Note: We do not place too much store on “asking” prices, as the only true measure of a market is a “sale” price. These are however included because they are obviously of interest.  It does underline the fact that unique properties are often challenging to price and, that, in certain markets very few of these offerings are sold. Note that number of listings all categories have dropped (from 3 to 10%).

It will be of significant interest to see if sales activity in the upper tier is maintained during the final quarter of this year.

Again, visit the website to see the new developments.  We continue our commitment to keep you up to date on Vancouver’s … www.HomesOfProvenance.com – the “go to” site for Upper Tier Real Estate analysis and jumping off point for market listing information.

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