Monthly Archives: January 2013

Issue 17 – January 2013




There was a comment made last quarter of the “year coasting to a quiet close” and, yes, was it quiet! This quarter’s Update (the first edition of 2013) addresses a comparison of the last quarter’s results for 2012 vs. the same period for 2011. It’s always an interesting exercise comparing how successive years finish off.

We’ll get to these momentarily; firstly a comment on our headline and its possible “dark side”. With a subscription to MacLean’s magazine we see an advance copy thereof (digital download). Behold the first issue of 2013 (this is the Jan 14th edition, loaded to iPad on Jan 4th). One has to suppose that ‘publication date’ is a flexible concept 😉 ! We urge all “balance minded” folk to read it and make their own judgement accordingly. Here we go – the front cover (accompanying a picture representing an alternative concept of ‘prices going through the roof’) sports the headline “Inside the Great Real Estate Crash of 2013”. The article on page 44 shows a lurid photograph of flames surrounding a high-rise building and in block capitals the legend CRASH AND BURN. In an arena where opinion is fairly evenly spread between the “we’re doomed” believers and the “logically it is a correction” brigade, the only ‘economists’ quoted are those who would likely appreciate the author, Chris Sorensen’s rhetoric and the graphics used. Yes, we acknowledge the journalistically provocative style adopted by this publication (commencing about 4/5 years ago) and it is understood the nature of “debate” necessitates opening with a “speaking for the motion” piece.

While not wanting to question every comment raised, we’ll address one statement made. It refers to the three months of ‘falling housing starts’ as a bad thing and an indicator of impending Real Estate Armageddon (our hyperbole – apologies) .Why could it not be seen as a likely indication that builders and developers are making intelligent business decisions? … a logical response to the signs in the market. I do believe that this journalistic piece will be seen as a ‘poke’ to make the Canadian homeowner and those currently renting, question the pros and cons of being in or being out.

Now the final quarter 2012 figures extracted from the REBGV database.

Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2012 – 180 listings sold vs. 2011 – 267 sold (a decrease of 33%). Highest sale $8,388 MM (’12) vs. $14.68 MM (’11). This property – at 1688, Acadia Rd, Vancouver, sold in Oct ’12 after 48 days on the market, originally listed at $11.9MM, 7 bed/8 bth, it is a 9,916 sq ft structure on a 21,053 sq ft, W facing property– A 17 year old University area home, tax assessed at $8,006MM. A good example of a home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes, [$1MM and above] 2012 – 44 units sold vs. 2011 – 52 sold (a decrease of 15 %). Highest sale $5.34MM (’12) vs. $3.3MM (’11). This property, on Bellevue Ave in Dundarave Ave, W/Van, which sold in Oct ’12 after 22 days on the market, was originally listed at $5.98MM. Hollingsworth designed, panoramic ocean and city views 2bd/4bth and 4,371 sq ft of living space. A spectacular 23 yr old waterfront townhome (tax assessed at $4.98MM) – on a 10,000+ sq ft lot.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2012 – 70 units vs. 2011 – 82 sold (a decrease of 17%). Highest sale $5.3MM (’12) vs. $7.2MM (’11). This is a previously unoccupied (no HST) 22nd Floor 2 bed/3 bth apartment (NE facing) corner unit, 2630 sq. ft. unit in Three Harbour Green with 24/7 concierge. Unobstructed views, indoor swimming pool and more. Listed originally at $5.8MM, it sold in Oct ’12 after 33 days on the market.

Here again are the current inventory (listings) figures:

Detached ($2MM and up) 998 – Highest $37.9MM * – 37 at $10MM plus
Attached ($1MM and up) 107 – Highest $8.5MM** – 5 at $3MM plus
Apts ($1MM and up) 308 – Highest $28.8MM*** – 2 at $20MM plus

* W/front, view West Van estate marketed as 3way subdividable ppty
** 8243 sq. ft. fully restored Shaughnessy half duplex – 3437 Osler St
*** Penthouse 1 at Fairmont Pacific Rim 3bd/4bth, 2 lvl 6434 sq.ft. over 510 days on market

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: in this market segment, the number of detached listings has risen by over 21% (year over year). Attached up by 16% and apt 8%. Just a note here; these inventory figures are as at Dec 31st of both years and a sizeable number “expire” by Jan 1st. Thus far (first two weeks) this year many of those which came off the market have not been relisted for sale. Many are resisting chasing a declining market in this phase of the cycle.

It will be of interest to see where sales activity in the upper tier moves during the first quarter of this year. It is questionable we’ll see an increase, in this quarter.

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

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