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Issue 25 – January 2015

GREATER (METRO) VANCOUVER
JAN 2015 QTLY UPPER-TIER REAL ESTATE UPDATE #24

LUXURY JUST GROWS AND GROWS

As the North American economy improves, so our city’s luxury sector has continued its ‘onward and upward’ march. In a single more academic and economically acceptable word, Demand is strengthening.

Upper Tier activity continues without pause; prices continuing rising and new buyers arrive on our shores. Based on the past quarter’s results and current inventory levels, we at Homes of Provenance again believe this year too will show increased activity in all categories of luxury residence in Vancouver. Again, worthy of note is the upcoming Chinese New Year, being celebrated on February 19th this year. This is also referred to as the Spring Festival or the Lunar Year. We have not experienced a delay to the 49th day of the Calendar Year since 1996. There has been a marked rise in properties purchased on and around this event in past years and 2014 was no exception. Our discussion with various Real Estate practitioners involved with the representation of clients in the East and West Side of Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby and North Vancouver reveals that this year will see a continuation of this trend. A significant part of the conversation in our first six months we believe. There are many who talk of plans for the arrival of flights from mainland China bringing numerous folk intent on the acquisition of residential property. Not, we are trying to say, that this has been the major cause, but this joins the factors like the immigration/investment of numerous “players” desiring upscale accommodation in our fair and benign location. Not that this has been the major cause, but this joins the factors like the immigration (international and intranational)/investment of numerous “players” desiring upscale accommodation in our fair and benign location. Again the shortage of inventory of suitable homes will spark “bidding wars” for the more desirable offerings and reduced marketing times for many others. While we believe this period is significant, it is not the only factor fuelling the upper tier market.

Based too on the experience over 2014, many practitioners believe that we will see elevated demand for strata offerings. This demand, while including a significant Asian group, also comprises buyers from the Middle East and parts of Europe. Some presenters at the Leaders In Luxury, Institute for Luxury Home Marketing Conference held last year October 27-29 in Denver, Colorado spoke at length of the increasing demand from off -shore buyers focusing on the West Coast of North America (California northward to coastal British Columbia). A good number of Institute members across Canada with a preponderance of Vancouver area attendees. Yes, off-shore is a serious component of our upper tier market but not, let us stress, the major portion. More later. Now the 4th and final quarter 2014 figures from the R/ E Board’s database.

Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2014- 412 listings sold vs. 2013 – 387 sold (an increase of 7%). Highest sale $14.69 MM (’13) vs. $18.5 MM (’13). This property – at 1638 Angus Drive , Shaughnessy sold in Nov’14 after 92 days on the market, originally listed at $17.888 MM, 8 bed/8 bth, it is a 15,187 sq. ft. totally refurbished 1917 First Shaughnessy character home on over an acre of secure property. Tax assessed (2014) at $14.051MM. Massive basement and indoor swimming pool. An unique property and a distinctive home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes, [$1MM and above] 2014 – 66 units sold vs. 2013 – 51 sold (an increase of 1%). Highest sale $3.773MM (’14) vs. $2.1 MM (’13). This property at1169 W Cordova St (One Harbour Green) Coal Harbour’s Golden Mile, sold in Dec’14 after 90 days on the market. Tax assessed (2014) at $3,773MM. A stunning 2 level view town home 3bd/3bth and 2,600 sq. ft. of living space. A luxurious offering in a community of exceptional homes.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2014 – 121 units vs. 2013 – 80 sold (up 51%). Highest sale $16.2MM (’14) vs. $4.7MM (’13). This is the 30th Floor (2 level) 3 bed/5 bth apartment – 6,018 sq. ft at Two Harbour Green 1139 W Cordova St. A premier Penthouse with a Panoramic, unobstructed 360 deg view. Listed originally at $18.68MM, it sold in Nov’14 after 75 days on the market. Tax assessed at $13.315MM (2014). Another exceptional Coal

Harbour ….home of provenance!

Here are the current inventory (listings) figures:

Detached ($2MM and up) 1002 – Highest $25.8MM * – 60 at $10MM plus
Attached ($1MM and up) 108 – Highest $35MM** – 8 at $3MM plus
Apts ($1MM and up) 279 – Highest $15.8 MM*** – 15 at $5MM plus

* 4749 Belmont Ave. 77yr old home, 5bd, 3bth- 3,700 sq ft.
Almost 1.2 acre lot could accommodate close to 30,000sf mansion with spectacular ocean views to Vancouver Island.

** 268 Beach Cres. at the Erikson, Yaletown 3bd/4bth, 2 lvl, 12′
4,427 s/f On the Seawall facing False Creek. 2 spacious patios. 4 car garg.

*** #901 277 Thurlow St 5,189 sf – 5bd/6bth, Three Harbour Green.

Call 604-626-2526/e-mail HOP for info or to view any of these.

Note: We place little store on “asking” prices, as the true measure of a market is “sale” price. We include these as they are clearly of interest. It underlines the fact that unique properties are challenging to price and, in certain markets, very few may sell.

Please visit our website for new developments. We continue our promise to keep you up to date on Vancouver’s HomesOfProvenance.com – 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 info@HomesOfProvenance.com and you’ll be assured receipt; phone us at (604) 626-2526 or visit www.HomesOfProvenance.com

…..and now a New York Times ‘anecdote’ to provide perspective….

Blockbuster penthouse sale breaks $100 million price barrier in NYC

One57_from_Columbus_Circle,_May_2014New York City residential property sales bounced as high as $88 million in the past several years, but as of late December 2014, the sale of a penthouse encompassing the 89th and 90th floors of the new One57 tower has closed for $100.5 million, setting a new record for the most expensive residence ever sold in New York City.

The buyers name remains a mystery since the purchase was made in the name of a limited liability company, P89-90, LLC. Of the apartments sold in the building to date, reports are that more than half are in the names of Trusts or LLCs for privacy’s sake. While the property sets a record for NYC, at least three other U.S. properties have sold for more than $100 million in the past year.

The nearly 11,000 square foot duplex unit boasts the longest south to north city views ever offered by a NYC condominium and includes outstanding views of Central Park and other landmarks. The distinctive blue building was designed by Atelier Christian de Poirtzamparc, the Pritzker-prize-winning French firm. The building sponsor is Extell Development Company.

One57 is among several high rises to break ground on “Billionaires’ Row,” where the tall new towers cast shadows over Central Park. A group led by investor Bill Ackman is reported to have paid at least $90 million for another duplex on the 75th and 76th floors of the building, but the sale has not yet been recorded.

NY Times: $100.4 Million Sale at One57

Courtesy W Moore – Institute for Luxury Home Marketing

Issue 24 – October 2014

GREATER (METRO) VANCOUVER

OCT 2014 QTLY UPPER-TIER REAL ESTATE UPDATE #24

OUR RECENT PREOCCUPATION WITH AFFORDABILITY

When contemplating a regular series of articles on a subject such as the “upper tier” of our city’s residential real estate, we at Homes of Provenance address a variety of issues. One that may be regarded as “the elephant in the room” could well be affordability. The past six months or so has seen a definite escalation in articles and discussion on this topic. Possibly brought about by our impending municipal elections.

Let’s raise the spotlight then. Homes of Provenance has used a somewhat arbitrary measure of ‘upper tier’ as including detached homes of $2MM or more; attached (t/homes or duplexes) and apartments of $1MM or more. Clearly, these parameters define a class of housing that would be unaffordable by a large percentage of those in Metro Vancouver who currently are, or aspire to become, home owners. Other than those who ascribe to a more socialistic viewpoint, most of this group accept the fact that, for limited financial resources and/or lower earnings, they cannot or should not venture into the “upper tier”. Supply and Demand factors set the ‘cannot or should not’ aspect of affordability at each level of the pricing spectrum. A recent Vancouver Sun columnist has suggested that it may be realistic to “….consider that your home doesn’t have to be a house, and that it doesn’t hurt to start small and think big”. That columnist, Shelly Fralic, has expressed her frustration thus. “So for the love of God, people, stop complaining about the price of housing in Vancouver. Market forces, not your, mayor or mom, determine the cost of housing. Just ask home buyers in New York, Paris and London.”

The demand for our city’s upper tier real estate remains strong as we see in the 3rd quarter 2014 figures from the Greater Vancouver R/ E Board’s database.

Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2014 – 423 listings sold vs. 2013 – 374 sold (increase of 13 %). Highest sale $14.35MM (’14) vs. $15.19 MM (’13). This property, high end, gated, Shaughnessy home – at 1431 Laurier Ave, sold in Aug’14 after 85 days on the market, originally listed at $16.89 MM, 6 bed/8 bth, a 9,000 sq. ft. home on an approx 20,000 sq. ft. lot. Exceptional quality – Italian marble, granite and H/W. 6 car Parking incl 3 car garage. Spectacular kitchen/ home theatre/ rec room and Gym.Tax assessed at $10.893MM. Incredible dwelling and a most distinctive home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes, [$1MM and above] 2014 – 79 units sold vs. 2013 – 95 sold. Highest sale $3.675MM (’14) vs. $4.724MM (’13). This property At 2748 Highgrove Pl in Whitby Estates

(The Terraces at Highgrove) sold in Sept’14 after 158 days on the market. Over 3200 sq ft it is a new, spectacular view townhome (3bed/3 bth) with stunning architectural features. Tax Assessment awaited, originally listed at $3.898MM.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2014 – 137 units vs. 2013 – 116 sold (up 18%). Highest sale $11.65MM (’14) vs. $9.75MM (’13) This is a 22nd Floor 3 bed/5 bth sub-PH – 5,100 sq. ft. in the sought after One Harbour Green (2200 1169 W Cordova St). Panoramic views of city, water, mountains and park. This “full flr” apt has 24hr Concierge and full slate of facilities. Listed originally at $13.28MM, it sold in Sept’14 after 19 days on the market. Tax assessed at $9.4 MM.

Here are the current inventory (listed property) figures:

Detached ($2MM and up) 1505 – Highest $25.8MM * – 67 at $10MM

plus

Attached ($1MM and up) 184 – Highest $5.95MM** – 19 at $3MM plus

Apts ($1MM and up) 413 – Highest $18.68 MM*** – 13 at $5MM plus

* 4749 Belmont Av, Pt Grey. 5bd/3bth, 3700 s/f 1937 (1 – 4 bldg lots?)

** 1233 W.Cordova 3bd/3bth, 2 lvl, 2580 s/f TH 17

*** 3000-1139 W.Cordova 6018 sf P/H – 3bd/5bth

Call 604-626-2526/e-mail HOP for info or to view any of these.

Note: We place little store on “asking” prices, as the true measure of a market is “sale” price. We include these as they are clearly of interest. It underlines the fact that unique properties are challenging to price and, in certain markets, very few may sell.

Please visit our website for new developments. We continue our promise to keep you up to date on Vancouver’s HomesOfProvenance.com – 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 info@HomesOfProvenance.com and you’ll be assured receipt; phone us at (604) 626-2526 or visit www.HomesOfProvenance.com

Issue 23 – July 2014

GREATER (METRO) VANCOUVER

JUL 2014 QTLY UPPER-TIER REAL ESTATE UPDATE #23

VANCOUVER BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS

It is difficult to find an article that touches on higher priced property that doesn’t use the term ‘luxury’ as in luxury real estate, luxury homes or luxury living. We at Homes of Provenance prefer not to use this qualitative adjective. A small aside here is the fact of flawed English usage. The correct usage being ‘luxurious’, the tendency of American English being to contract words by omitting the extension. As an example, consider the common use of ‘come quick’ when ‘come quickly’ would be the correct usage. Luxury (whatever this may be) is a subjective term and in this context, carries with it the implication that all other properties, other than the ones thus defined, are therefore inferior (or lesser) commodities. We spoke to a number of folk, some in the real estate industry and others who were not and found a consensus that luxury implied most of the following – higher priced residences, personal wealth of those owning these, quality components and workmanship and a sense of desirability exceeding other residences in the housing stock. The unfortunate part of many comments was that they tended to imply a sense of the “lifestyles of the rich and famous”.

A single definition of luxury was hard to come by. A tendency for the possessions of the wealthy being highly desired by many, seems to prevail. It seems to us of more significance to focus on a concept of quality and utility rather than merely what the residence costs. Unjustifiable extravagance as one might see in a10,000 sq foot home for two persons, no offspring and little intention to entertain may diminish it’s appeal. Useful in this discussion is the overall value of the property based on the individual components and how they are prized i.e. their demand. The list contains the following items – location, view, size, living accommodation, proximity to amenities, privacy and an elevated pride of ownership. To the extent that these are generally prized (in demand) will determine the price the buyer is willing to pay.

It is hoped that these musings might stimulate further thought as to the nature of ‘luxury’. We do know that an abundance of wealth appears to lead to what many would consider “extravagance in acquisition”. Is this increased luxury?

The demand for our city’s upper tier real estate is certainly evident as we see in the 2nd quarter 2014 figures from the greater Vancouver R/ E Board’s database.

Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2014 – 446 listings sold vs. 2013 – 385 sold (increase of 16 %). Highest sale $15.1MM (’14) vs. $16 MM (’13). This property, high end, gated, waterfront home – at 2696 Bellevue Ave, Dundarave, sold in Jun’14 after 17 days on the market, originally listed at $16.8 MM, 5 bed/6 bth, a 6,811 sq. ft. home on a 13,778 sq. ft. lot. Exceptional quality with covered outdoor Summer dining and sitting area. 6 car Motor Court with 3 car garage. Tax assessed at $11.854MM. Unique and a most distinctive home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes, [$1MM and above] 2014 – 83 units sold vs. 2013 – 86 sold. Highest sale $3.05MM (’14) vs. $4.75MM (’13). This property TH21 1281 W Cordova St in Coal Harbour

(Callisto) sold in May’14 after 5 days on the market, it is the premier NW townhome in the complex and is located on the prime 1/2 mile of Vancouver’s waterfront and Coal Harbour Seawall. Superbly renovated 3bed/3 bth with exceptional patio and deck space. Private elevator to all levels including the private 2 car garage. Amenities include indoor pool, exercise room, media room and 24 hr concierge. 3 level, 3bd/3bth and 2,473 sq. ft. of living space. Tax Assessed $2,738, originally listed at $3.25MM.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2014 – 136 units vs. 2013 – 86 sold (up 58%). Highest sale $10,8MM (’14) vs. $25MM (’13) [ highest ever – Fairmont Pacific Rim] This is a 35th Floor 4 bed/5 bth apartment – 5,256 sq. ft. also in the sought after Callisto building (1281 W Cordova St). 360 panoramic views of city and water. Listed originally at $14,980MM, it sold in May’14 after 455 days on the market. Tax assessed at $9,111MM.

Here are the current inventory (listed property) figures:

Detached ($2MM and up) 1375 – Highest $25.8MM * – 33 at $10MM plus
Attached ($1MM and up) 179 – Highest $35MM** – 16 at $3MM plus
Apts ($1MM and up) 413 – Highest $22.3MM*** – 17 at $5MM plus

* 4749 Belmont Av, Pt Grey. 5bd/3bth, 3700 s/f 1937 (1 – 4 bldg lots?)
** 3838 Cypress St. 5bd/7bth, 3 lvl, 12,216 s/f SL1 &2 combined, early
1900’s Heritage ‘A’ gem, Lt. Gov. Hamber’s Res “Greencroft Estate”

*** 3 Harbour Green 8,008sf P/H – 4bd/6bth, approx 3000sf patio/dk/rftop

Call 604-626-2526/e-mail HOP for info or to view any of these.

Note: We place little store on “asking” prices, as the true measure of a market is “sale” price. We include these as they are clearly of interest. It underlines the fact that unique properties are challenging to price and, in certain markets, very few may sell.

Please visit our website for new developments. We continue our promise to keep you up to date on Vancouver’s HomesOfProvenance.com – 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 info@HomesOfProvenance.com and you’ll be assured receipt; phone us at (604) 626-2526 or visit www.HomesOfProvenance.com

Issue 21 – January 2014

GREATER (METRO) VANCOUVER

JAN 2014 QTLY UPPER-TIER REAL ESTATE UPDATE #21

A MOMENTOUS YEAR IN THIS LUXURY MARKET

Despite a less than stellar period in both International and North American economies, our city’s luxury sector has, in a significant way, “come of age” [“When History is made – PT 1 and 2]. See ISSUES 19 and 20 on the HOP website. International buyers from various locations have been more than evident and active investors.

Upper Tier activity continues without pause and, based on the past quarter’s results and current inventory levels, we at Homes of Provenance believe that 2014 will show increased activity in all categories of luxury residence in Vancouver. An item worthy of note is the upcoming Chinese New Year, being celebrated on January 31st this year. There has been a marked rise in properties purchased on and around this event in past years. Our discussion with various Real Estate practitioners involved with the representation of clients in the West Side of Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond and North Vancouver reveals that this year will likely be no exception. There are many who talk of plans for the arrival of flights from mainland China bringing numerous folk intent on the acquisition of residential property. A perceived shortage of inventory of suitable homes is felt, by some, to likely spark “bidding wars” for the more desirable offerings. The past year has given us some evidence of the ‘desirable’ targets as including larger detached residences (specifically those with views), older homes on both larger and view lots suitable for rebuild.

Based too on the experience over 2013, other practitioners believe that we will see elevated demand for the more desirable strata offerings. This demand, while including a significant Asian group, also comprises buyers from the Middle East and parts of Europe. Some presenters at the Leaders In Luxury, Institute for Luxury Home Marketing Conference held in November in Seattle, spoke at length of the increasing demand from off -shore buyers focusing on the West Coast of North America (California northward to coastal British Columbia). A good number of Institute members across Canada with a preponderance of Vancouver area attendees. Yes, a serious level of demand for our city’s real estate and an active market in its upper tier. There is significant belief that this demand is growing.

Now the 4th and final quarter 2013 figures from the R/ E Board’s database.

Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2013 – 387 listings sold vs. 2012 – 182 sold (an increase of 112%). Highest sale $8.5 MM (’13) vs. $8.388 MM (’12). This property – at 1589 Matthews Ave, Shaughnessy sold in Dec’13 after 265 days on the market, originally listed at $9.988 MM, 5 bed/8 bth, it is a 5,260 sq. ft. rebuilt 1937 First Shaughnessy character home on over 20,000 sq. ft. secure property. Tax assessed at $9.729MM. A unique property and a distinctive home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes, [$1MM and above] 2013 – 51 units sold vs. 2012 – 48 sold (an increase of 6 %). Highest sale $2.1MM (’13) vs. $5.388 MM (’12). This property on West Vista Court (Edenshaw development) in West Van’s Upper Caulfield sold in Dec’13 after 43 days on the market. One of the most stunning view properties on the bluff at Edenshaw. 3bd/3bth and 2,940 sq. ft. of living space. A luxurious offering in a refined community of exceptional homes.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2013 – 80 units vs. 2012 – 70 sold (up 14%). Highest sale $4.7MM (’13) vs. $5.3MM (’12). This is the entire16th Floor 3 bed/3 bth apartment – 3,358 sq. ft. in the sought after Tudor Manor Heritage rebuild at 1311 Beach Avenue. Magnificently renovated with marble, high end hardwood and an impressive chef’s kitchen. Panoramic, unobstructed 360 deg view. Listed originally at $5.1MM, it sold in Dec’13 after 209 days on the market. Tax assessed at $3.683MM. Another home marketed by RE/MAX Metro Vancouver Properties.

Here are the current inventory (listings) figures:

Detached ($2MM and up) 981 – Highest $22.8MM * – 37 at $10MM plus
Attached ($1MM and up) 111 – Highest $35MM** – 8 at $3MM plus
Apts ($1MM and up) 301 – Highest $22.3 MM*** – 16 at $5MM plus

* 5050 Happy Valley Lane. 2yr, 7bd, 8bth- 12,988 sq ft. custom blt estate
(2.3 acre lot), Caulfield W/Van. European style mansion, Lighthouse Park.
** 3838 Cypress St. 5bd/7bth, 3 lvl, 12,216 s/f SL1 &2 combined, early
1900’s Heritage ‘A’ gem, Lt. Gov. Hamber’s Res “Greencroft Estate”
*** 3 Harbour Green 8,008sf P/H – 4bd/6bth, approx 3000sf patio/dk/rftop

Call 604-626-2526/e-mail HOP for info or to view any of these.

Note: We place little store on “asking” prices, as the true measure of a market is “sale” price. We include these as they are clearly of interest. It underlines the fact that unique properties are challenging to price and, in certain markets, very few may sell.

Please visit our website for new developments. We continue our promise to keep you up to date on Vancouver’s HomesOfProvenance.com – 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 info@HomesOfProvenance.com and you’ll be assured receipt; phone us at (604) 626-2526 or visit www.HomesOfProvenance.com

Issue 9 – January 2011

GREATER (METRO) VANCOUVER

JAN 2011 QTLY UPPER-TIER REAL ESTATE UPDATE

THE BEGINNING OF A GROWING TREND?

We continue to live in interesting times. We again see ourselves comparing two years in which we have seen some ebb and flow in sales or to put it in economic terms “oscillating cycles”. Ah, yes, cycles again; we make no apologies for the discussion of the configuration of the road map resulting from the forces of supply and demand. The market is clearly experiencing resurgence as the upper end again shows a healthy year over year increase. We are seeing this in both number of sales and gross dollars expended. Those participating in this arena have been joined by a goodly number of immigrating buyers largely from the Far East (especially China) and also from Europe. It is our belief that we have as yet experienced only a small first wave of what will prove to be a continuing and significant force in this Upper Tier of residential real estate. For a major world city, repeatedly rated by non-Canadians as in the top places to live on this planet, many of our fellow Vancouverites seem to be the last to accept that our current prices represent excellent value for money to foreign buyers.

It is the time of year that we again look at our new (2011) tax assessment. Do they mean much? How does that figure relate to the current market value? Does this figure bear any comparison to current market value? Don’t forget that the assessment for tax purposes is designed to provide an estimate for relative taxation equity.  It does not claim infallibility. The B.C. Assessment Authority permits (encourages?) property owners to contest the assessment if they disagree with it. More to the point – what is our real estate worth? (what is our net worth?) Depending on one’s age / planning horizon – how important is this 2011 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.

Now to some of the facts regarding the upper end Vancouver market ’10 vs. ’09.  Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2010 – 870 listings sold vs 2009 – 596 sold (a rise of 46%).  Highest sale $17,5MM (’10) vs. $15,2MM (’09). This property (on Osler Street, a Shaughnessy estate)  sold late Oct ’10 after 366 days on the market, listed at $22MM. 7 bed/8 bth a 18,633 sq ft home on 1.12 acres of park like property – exceptionally well appointed home with circular drive way, chef’s dream kitchen and enumerable lifestyle amenities. By renowned architect Ernest Collins this home also boasts a 2 bedroom nanny suite. Truly a home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes [$1MM and above] 2010 – 233 listings sold vs 2009 – 175 sold (a rise of 33%). Highest sale $7MM (’10) vs. $3.88MM (’09). This property (on Point Grey road – actually 2 blks from the previous year’s top selling attached home) is a highly desirable 3 bed/3 bathroom ½ duplex on the Golden Mile waterfront. Over 3400 sq ft with unobstructed waterfront views.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2010 – 469 listings vs. 2009 – 371 sold (a rise of 26%). Highest sale were two units both $5.8MM (’10) vs. $6.5MM (’09)  the properties concerned are 25th floor in Two Harbour Green (W. Cordova St) – an impressive view dwelling (3 bed/4 bathroom) 3600 sq ft on Coal Harbour. A N/W corner highly luxurious unit with panoramic views. The other, a 51st floor Shangri La, 4470 sq ft, 2 level “estate”. 3 bed/ 4 bathroom plus office, mega unit with breathtaking views.

We extend our wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year – may we see lower tensions in the strife torn Middle East. Good will to all persons.

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 value” 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 info@HomesOfProvenance.com and you’ll be assured receipt; phone us at (604) 626-2526 or visit www. HomesOfProvenance.com

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

Issue 6 – April 2010

GREATER (METRO) VANCOUVER

APR 2010 QTLY UPPER-TIER REAL ESTATE UPDATE

ARE WE BACK TO A STRONG MARKET?

We have on a few occasions commented on the real estate market being considered strong only when the upper tier reflects price strength (or an increase). This would seem to be the case at the moment in Greater Vancouver considering the 2010 1st quarter figures (see below).

We have heard from many geographic segments within Greater Vancouver that this is a good time to sell (well, better than this time last year anyway). If this is true, does this automatically imply that now is therefore a bad time to buy? Only if one believes that market values are turning and will start moving down.  This will only happen if buyers collectively retreat from making the decision to buy. Our belief is that the demand for “re-housing” will not drop with any significance in the short term. This belief is based on a few factors. Firstly, the fact that numerous property seekers have pre-approved mortgages at rates below those seen in the new “rate sheets” of the major lenders. These mortgages have to be drawn down before their terms expire – anything from 30 – 90 days.

Secondly, a one-time phenomenon (until the next one-time phenomenon 😉 ) – that of the July 1st introduction of the HST. New construction in the upper end will be impacted. The rebate rules (for those who would like the text of the November 19, 2009 Ministry of Finance statement please visit http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2009-2013/2009FIN0017-000647.pdf ) do lessen the “increased 7%”. HST on a $1mm unit would be $43,750 higher [$70,000 – 26,250]; a $2mm unit $113,250 higher [$140,000 – 26,250]. Remember that the property developer (builder) will now be claiming, as an input tax credit, all the 7% (PST portion of the HST) that they have paid in the construction of the property for sale and will thus have a lesser cost of construction equivalent from, say, 40% to 70% of the PST portion (7%) of the tax that they would formerly have passed on to the end purchaser. They now have the flexibility to pass on some or all of this saving in the way of a reduced unit price to the buyer.

Will this double whammy, tax and rate increase, mean the end of civilization as we know it? Again, an opinion – no. The “Chicken Little” reaction is not called for, although, obviously these incremental economic factors have, at least initially, some effect on prices and activity. Affordability does impact demand and will almost certainly put the brakes on the recent round of housing price inflation evident in the general (lower level) real estate market.

The tax impact of this collecting of PST – 7% on hitherto exempt items, is, in the case of “new” real estate really a “wealth tax” (or in economic parlance a form of progressive taxation) impacting those who can afford the higher priced new dwellings harder than those not able to afford these luxury items.

Now the first quarter 2010 figures extracted from the REBGV database upon which we have based these comments.

Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2010 – 190 listings sold vs. 2009 – 72 sold (an increase of 164%). Highest sale $10.06MM (’10) vs. $4.7MM (’09). This property – on West 2nd Avenue, sold in Feb ’10 after 535 days on the market, originally listed at $12.88MM. 7 bed/8 bth it is an 11,646 sq ft structure on a 100 x 338 mature park-like lot – An elegant 15 yr old Point Grey mansion. Truly a home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes [$1MM and above] 2010 – 64 units sold vs. 2009 – 14 sold (an increase of 357%). Highest sale $3.89MM (’10) vs. $3.18MM (’09). This property on Homer Mews which sold in Mar ’10 after 14 days on the market was listed at $4.25MM. A luxury Arthur Ericksen designed [The Ericksen] view, waterfront home on False Creek. 3bd/3bth  townhome with 2500 sq ft of living space.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2010 – 112 units vs. 2009 – 36 sold (an increase of 211%). Highest sale was $5.35MM (’10) vs. $5.4MM (’09). This West Cordova property [Two Harbour Green] is a 3 bed/3 bth Coal Harbour 2400 sq ft. unit with an unbelievable outlook.

Wither the direction of this “upper” market, post June? Let’s see how things unfold and if this strength persists.

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

Issue 5 – January 2010

GREATER (METRO) VANCOUVER

JAN 2010 QTLY UPPER-TIER REAL ESTATE UPDATE

STRONGER SALES WITH RETURNING CONFIDENCE

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 info@HomesOfProvenance.com and you’ll be assured receipt; phone us at (604) 626-2526 or visit www.HomesOfProvenance.com

Issue 4 – October 2009

GREATER (METRO) VANCOUVER

OCT 2009 QTLY UPPER-TIER REAL ESTATE UPDATE

THE BAROMETER OF THE MARKET?

It is a widely held opinion that a market cycle starts its upward turn when the entry level buyer starts to buy. This “return of confidence” as it is often more colloquially termed is noted firstly in an increase in the number of lower priced property transactions and then followed by an increase in the price level of that lower end.

This gradual return of confidence on the part of these buyers seems to be passed on to those at higher price levels (in some part due to the ability of the “sellers” in these transactions now being able to buy). It is generally the upper range homes that languish a little longer and appear to lag the media reported “comeback”. Here in Greater Vancouver the lag related to our recent cycle, does, however appear to have been of a relatively short duration. The change in activity level and higher price points (since mid 2008) is evident if one looks at the numbers included in the past four or so quarterly reports. It appears that we are currently in a relatively stable phase “upper market-wise”. What remains a truism is that appropriately priced properties do sell more readily. We are not by any means in the type of sellers’ market evident in the late 2008/early 2009 time frame.

An interesting discussion took place some weeks ago. It centered on the notion that the “luxury market” (a term we find offensive on various levels) should be somewhat impervious to economic conditions. This position appears to imply that those who can afford housing at the upper market level are blind to market forces (indeed cavalier to the changes taking place around them). The concept being – ‘I can afford therefore I buy’. The facts indicate otherwise. Look at those same numbers shown in the past year or so and a lessening of activity is certainly evident. It seems there are two points being overlooked. Firstly, intelligent human beings are cautious by nature and secondly, this market is driven partially by those who either become able to acquire such property and those who (maybe very quickly) become unable to retain such ownership. Some are too ready to categorize segments of markets.

Now to the facts regarding the upper end Vancouver market 3rd Quarter’09 vs. 3rd Quarter’08.

Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2008 – 46 listings sold vs. 2009 – 170 sold (an increase of 270%). Highest sale $14.8MM (’09) vs. $9.5MM (’08). This property – on Pt Grey Road, sold in July ’09 after 116 days on the market, originally listed at $15MM. 7 bed/7 bth it is an 8,838 sq ft structure on an 80 x 230 waterfront lot – 2 upgradable duplexes or a rebuild. A location of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes [$1MM and above] 2008 – 23 units sold vs. 2009 – 57 sold (an increase of 148%). Highest sale $3.46MM (’09) vs. $3.85MM (’08). This property on Bellevue Ave, Dundarave WV which sold in Sept ’09 after 22 days on the market was listed at $3.465MM. A stunning Hollingsworth designed home on W/Van seawall. 2bd/3bth with 4021 sq ft of living and some unfinished space.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2008 – 52 units vs. 2009 – 100 sold (an increase of 92%). Highest sale was $6.5MM (’09) vs. $5.35MM (’08). This West Cordova property in the highly desirable Shaw Tower is a 4 bed/5 bth Coal Harbour double unit of over 4000 sq ft.

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

Issue 3 – July 2009

GREATER (METRO) VANCOUVER

JUL 2009 QTLY UPPER TIER REAL ESTATE UPDATE

THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE UNFOLDS

With half of 2009 under our belts and a strong surge locally during May and June, we are seeing a healthier and more confident market emerging in Greater Vancouver. Our recent interest rate discussion was a call to action to many who had been sitting on the sidelines and rewarded those who obtained financing pre-approvals and rate guarantees. So, announcements by the majority of lenders (banks, credit unions and trust companies) in the early days of June that all were increasing their mortgage interest rates – anything from 0.15% to 0.35% depending on the “lock in” term involved – had no negative effect on them. Further gradual increases may come over the next few weeks, so, if you have not obtained a “rate guarantee”, do so – remember, it costs nothing other than your time and does not commit you to having to draw down any mortgage. Some might call it “free insurance”.

We believe that the most significant occurrence in the past few months (notably during June) is the shrinking of supply (i.e. inventory) of homes for sale. Simple refresher – if demand stays healthy (or grows) and supply diminishes – prices will increase. We are seeing some of that with a steady rise in the average prices. For example the YTD average prices for detached properties in Vancouver show this trend in the last few months of this year – [Feb $749k; Mar $773k; Apr $825k and May $824k.] Yes, granted that certainly, fewer units are selling than this time last year but they are changing hands at an increasing price level. Prediction: this summer will be relatively more active (sales wise) than the average summer. We are seeing a number of examples of the unsuccessful seller of mid to latter ’08 re-listing this year and meeting with success.

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

Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2008 – 499 listings sold vs 2009 – 382 sold (a drop of 23%). Highest sale $11,5MM (’09) vs $10,5MM (’08). This property (on Celtic Avenue in Southlands, sold in June ’09 after 386 days on the market, listed at $16.8MM. 8 bed/8 bth a 14,056 sq ft home on over 3 acres – swimming pools, tennis court, stables, waterfalls and a private lake. Truly a home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes [$1MM and above] 2008 – 184 listings sold vs 2009 – 107 sold (a drop of 42%). Highest sale $3.85MM (’09) vs $4.3MM (’08). This property (on Bellevue Avenue in Dundarave) is a highly desirable 2 bed/3 bth waterfront ½ duplex designed by Russell Hollingsworth.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2008 – 411 listings vs 2009 – 262 sold (a drop of 36%). Highest sale was $6.5MM (’09) vs $5.1MM (’08). Two tied at this price – one 25th floor in the Columbus (Marinaside Crescent) and the other 28th floor in the Shaw Tower (W. Cordova St) – both impressive view dwellings, the first (6bd/7 bth) at 6330 sq ft comprising 3 storeys and the second (4 bd/5 bth) at 4007 sq ft – 4 ensuites on Coal Harbour!

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