Do you know your Market Speed?

Market Speed August 2015

What's This Month's Market Speed?

Inflammatory Vancouver Sun Story Stirs Up West Van Residents

I have written many times in this newsletter about how the “news” can make a REALTOR®’s ’ job harder than it already is. In my experience, reporters tend to report on the extreme and take “the story”, assuming there even is one, to a different level all-together, adding fuel to the already volatile public opinion. These last several weeks news has centered around Vancouver’s inflated real estate market. For good reason.

There is no doubt our market is overactive and I totally agree there are more extremes to call upon these days, but to understand and accurately portray the picture, one must also look at the 75% or so of listings that are NOT selling – what of them? If one only reads real estate news reported by people only interested in reporting the abnormalities, then how is that different from the likes of the National Enquirer? AND even scarier is the inaccurate information being reported as fact, which leaves the public with a twisted and distorted picture.

I strongly feel, if the Sun wants to comment on a highly charged subject, they have a responsibility to get the facts right. The following story for example did arouse feelings in many - for me, it was anger and frustration.

It began with an e-mail from my mother, she likes to keep me in the know when it comes to real estate market…She sent me the following Vancouver Sun story
I thanked her along with a comment, “You know mom, and this stuff just makes my job harder”. She responds with “At least it’s good you know about it”. I respond “Believe me, I know about, I’m in the thick of it”.

[More]

The Numbers supplied by REBGV

PDF download:

Court Ordered Sales

Court Ordered Sales

Darn, for the most part this month people seem to be paying their bills and getting along with each other. Here are the court ordered sales – only 3. The Mount Pleasant home on E 14th the best deal of the bunch priced only 20,000 above assessed. It looks like a labour of love that got away on the owners. The other 2…no great deals there. If you are interested in receiving info on court ordered sales as soon as they are listed drop me a line.

 

What's a property worth? Property assessment notices are here.

Property owners throughout BC received their 2012 assessment notice the first week of January from BC Assessment (BCA). This notice is BC Assessment's estimate of a property's value as of July 1, 2012, and for new construction or substantially renovated homes, the physical condition as of October 31, 2012. We know the market has taken a downward turn since this date. So keep this in mind when you receive your assessment. Here are some of the changes in the values reported by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

BC Assessment vs. Market Value

BCA's assessment and the market value determined by a REALTOR® may be different. Why? Both BCA assessors and REALTORS® calculate market value by analyzing sales of comparable homes within a local market, and look at factors that affect value such as size of home, view, location - on a busy or quiet street, number of bedrooms, construction quality, floor level, and garage or parking stalls.

Where every lot and every home on a street are typically the same, both BCA's value and a REALTOR's® value will be similar during stable market conditions. Differences occur in neighbourhoods where lots have been rezoned or are different shapes and sizes, where architecture and views are unique, and where owners have made changes that BCA hasn't yet taken into account.

Differences also occur during market instability when prices rise or fall during the six-month period between July 1 and January 1 of the following year. (as we see right now)

The deadline to appeal an assessment is January 31, 2013

Property owners who disagree with their assessment should do their homework by visiting www.bcassessment.ca and then e-valueBC to compare their assessment with those of their neighbours. Each year, typically less than 2% of all BC property owners appeal their assessment. Property owners should first contact their local assessment office and talk to staff who can make adjustments if there is an obvious error, for example if BCA included a complete renovation, when it was merely a spruce-up.

Area assessors' phone numbers

Property owners who decide to appeal must complete a Notice of Complaint (Appeal) form and file it by January 31, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. For information, visit www.bcassessment.ca and select Property Assessment Review Process. Then select Property Assessment Complaint Process - Step-By-Step Guide.

Two potential results from appealing your assessment If a property assessment decreases, property taxes may potentially also decrease. BCA determines the assessed value of a property for tax purposes. The taxing authorities - both local and provincial governments - set tax rates each spring according budget requirements.

The tax rate is used to determine the amount of property tax that must be paid, based on the assessed value of a property. The tax rate applies to each $1,000 of net taxable value. The formula for calculating taxes on property is:

Tax Rate x Assessed Value / 1,000 If the tax rate for residential property is 4.01, taxes of $4.01 are charged on every $1,000 of assessed value. Residential property valued at $1,000,000 will have property taxes of $4,010 ($4.01 x $1,000,000/1,000).

Be aware that potential buyers of your home will view this as your property being worth less. Yes they will even if it's so far off. Buyers feel better when the tax assessment is higher - it's just the way the mind works, so something to consider.

 

New features on the BCA website at www.bcassessment.ca include:

  • Assessment roll total value by area and property class.
  • Provincial median sale price to November 2012 for single family residential and for strata residential.
  • Photos (thumbnail size) for some properties from communities where BCA has been working on its Property Photo Update initiative.
  • Top 200 Valued Residential Properties in all of BC.
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in Vancouver Sea to Sky assessment region (Includes Vancouver, North Vancouver City & District, West Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Bowen Island, Sunshine Coast).
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in North Fraser assessment region (Includes Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore, Belcarra).
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in the Fraser Valley assessment region (Includes Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows).
  • Top 100 Valued Residential Properties in the Richmond/Delta assessment regiona (Includes Ladner and Tsawwassen).

Visit www.bcassessment.ca and select e-valueBC to view and compare the assessed value of any BC property.

 

Happy Festivus!

Prepare for gridlock, line ups and snarly drivers within a 1 km radius of Park Royal – 'tis the season, as the holidays approach. This is time of year the real estate agents secretly head to Maui to recoup for the next round. Or is it? Staying in town to sell real estate this year could prove to be worthwhile!

We experienced extra ordinary sales in October 2014 – 16.6 % higher than the 10 year average due to strong demand from home buyers. Generally speaking (because there is no across the board truths when the topic is real estate!) sales are up as are prices and we are predominately in a sellers’ market.

This is true of North Vancouver, East Vancouver and in pockets of the Westside. In actual fact the worst performer is again - West Vancouver – the *sales to listing ratio. It looks like this:

Rate   Area Sale to List
1 Eastside Detached 37%
2 North Van Detached 32%
3 Downtown Detached 29%
4 Westside Detached 18%
5 West Van Detached 16%

 

*The number of sales relative to the number of new listings generally over 20% is considered a sellers’ market

High End Sales get higher -The continued increase in high end sales of luxury homes sends the average price up significantly for Greater Vancouver. Sales such as these top 5 on the MLS this year (there was a private sale of a condo for $25 million not on this list):

 

Note - the lowest sales are coming from North Vancouver, hence the very active market we are experiencing there with strong demand for any properties priced up to $1 million.
Overall it’s been an incredible year for real estate and a banner year for Andrews Group. ?

The nagging question is always what’s next? Predictions are (from Cameron Muir of the BC Real Estate Association – yes he is an industry guy, but he’s very good).  We will continue to see strong sales through to mid 2015, at which time, the long awaited, much anticipated hike in interest rates is expected to occur.  However the change is not to have a negative effect on prices, but more a precursor to a reduced number of sales resulting in a leveling out of home prices. 

We continue to see a high demand for building lots.  There are more and more entrants into this field of the market.  We don’t have facts, but we are willing to guess the number of speculative home builders has increased two fold in the last 5 years as many of the foreign buyers/investors enter into the fray.  This results in increased pressure on demand and a dwindling supply of this product.  Therefore the cost of a good building lot has increased more so than the cost of the average “reasonable” resale home.

Builder’s must make a profit, so the high cost of land and the ever increasing cost of building has put the price of a new home to new heights.  Recent sales of this type of product in the most desirable of neighborhoods in North Van are pushing the ceiling.  Just look at the numbers - 13 sales in 2014 over 2.5 million in and around the Edgemont area alone. 

The highest was 4.5 million for 2988 Brookridge, but this was a particularly outstanding property on 1 full acre a stone’s throw from the village.  More to the point was a (pre) sale of 3.3 million for 4259 Lions – a new home on an 11,000 sq. ft lot with a floor area of 6,000 sq. ft. (a pre-sale!!!)

In contrast, last year (2013) there were only 4 sales in the same area over 2.5 million.  The top seller last year was a property at 3197 Bewicke in Delbrook.  This property was on a 14,000 sq.ft lot and was 7,300 sq ft of house.

 

So one can clearly see the increase from one year to the next! Just 4 days ago 4130 Lions was listed at 3,488,000 (double 8’s to cross out the deathly 4). This price for 6,000 sq. ft new home on a 10,000 sq. ft lot is really breaking the ceiling.

There are better bargains to be had west of Bayridge in West Vancouver, this area is overlooked while the feeding frenzy takes place in certain pools of properties on the North Shore.

Despite the many naysayers of early 2014, the Vancouver market continues to defy all odds and common sense – which is about the only thing you can say is consistent about this market. We at Andrews Group continue to keep a watchful eye and remain busy throughout the holiday season……well one of us is going away.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and Aloha till next year..?

Where you live does matter...

Welcome back to the (rising?) fall market 2014 – It’s been a very busy summer for Andrews Group and so apologies for being so behind with our Marketbrief! Our business is rocking and rolling and our team has expanded once again. In addition to the 3 of us licensed Realtors, (Brenden, Dana & Elaine) and our full time marketing expert (Ian) we have added a new administration manager to keep us in organized and in line – Lori Brandstrom. Lori is a long time North Shore resident and active member of the community. Her talents round out our team and she was an immediate fit into our culture of dedication to providing the highest level of service with integrity. Welcome Lori!

Undoubtedly one of the most common question we hear is “How is the market doing?”. In this article we answer that question, show the best and the worst, but with one caveat, this is not the whole picture.

As you can NEVER get the whole picture from the 'news' or from your friend who know as a banker in Alberta who just spoke with their friend who just moved to Vancouver, or seeing a bunch of for sale signs in your neighbourhood. There is always so much more going on in each specific area, you would really need to talk to us if you want more accuracy. The following is a general look which provides you with much more information than what the news media provides, but even then, it’s more complicated than these numbers. However that being said, you can clearly see some of the trends. For example:

Shining stars – North Van and Eastside – both areas have done amazing. How do we calculate? A common indicator of strong market is the “Sales to listing” ratio. This number indicates what % of the listings are actually selling. It’s usually a surprise to sellers to consider that listing their home may not bring about a sale. As a matter of fact it’s more likely NOT to bring about a sale. This is usually a tough nut to swallow, but for example, the North Vancouver market is HOT right now. The sales to list ratio in the summer for North Van was 37% for Detached Homes. Right behind it was the Eastside with 36%.

Here is the rule: Sellers Market = 21% or greater - Balanced Market = 15 – 20% - Buyers Market = 14% or less Here is the formula: Sales for the Month ÷ Active Listings = % of Homes Selling.

As you can see, even in the best market in the city, there is a 63% chance of not selling.(we're talking selling, not giving it away.

The worst performer was West Vancouver with 13% - which means you have an 87% chance of NOT SELLING. 2nd worst performer is the Westside with 17%. All stats are misleading of course. To really understand what this means in a given market one has to break it down to neighbourhood. North Vancouver has 35 neighbourhoods contributing to those stats. Eastside has only 16. Westside has 19 and West Vancouver has 35 (which includes all the way to Lions Bay).

Because of this, the sales ratio per neighbourhood in a given area can vary widely. For example Norgate in North Vancouver had a 100% sales ratio because this neighbourhood is a very small pocket of comparably inexpensive homes. In the period sampled there were only 2 homes listed and both sold, but Princess Park, a popular area of more expensive homes had only 1 out of 5 listings sell, putting its sales ratio at 20%.Both fall under the North Van Area Statistic. The overall picture does not tell the whole story. If you had a home in North Van listed, and didn't’t sell, chances are you probably not happy with your Realtor® and are feeling left behind. The fact is some houses are just harder to sell than others. It’s worth mentioning those reason.

Top 5 reasons in order of importance.

ugly

If your house suffers from one of these ailments, you will have to be very patient and you will also have to price it accordingly and even then may still have to be patient. Remember the ratio…even in a hot market without any of top 5 issues, your chances of selling are not great. These are the facts.

But lets look at the areas and their performance this summer:

Detached Homes Attached Homes
North Van:    37%   18%
West Van:    13%   13%
Eastside:      36%   30%
Westside:     17%   20%
Downtown:   25%

 

Top Performing Neighbourhoods (detached) Worse Performing Neighbourhoods (detached)
North Van:     Pemberton Heights Lynnmour
West Van:      Olde Caulfield Ambleside/Dundarave
Eastside:        Fraser Mt. Pleasant
Westside:       Dunbar Oakridge

** In choosing the top and worse performers, we had to use our opinion. We chose neighbourhoods with a more average number of sales. Example North Van – Pemberton Heights had 100% sales which was 9 homes out of 9 listings and Lynnmour had only 1 sale out of 11 listings. For more details, just e-mail us and we’ll send you all the stats!

So as you can see, it’s not a just a simple question of how is the market? Or believing what Global TV reports on the evening news, or for what’s in the Vancouver Sun for that matter. Almost always, the news media takes the highs and lows and reports it as the news. They don’t mention the details, or even the real situation. They are just filling up time and providing fodder for your next coffee break. IF you want real stats, that pertain to you give us a call! If you want we can tell you why your home didn't’t sell, but you may not want to hear it.?

 

 

Buy a whole 55 acre BC town 80 km north of Whistler

Imagine owning a whole town for less than a home on the North Shore! Crazy!

 

 


 

Cypress Challenge raised over $415,000 for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Andrews Group participated in the 7th annual Cypress Hill Climb challenge bike race this last August 16th to help raise awareness and funds for this worthy cause. The event was the brainchild of Geoff and Myriam Glotman in response to losing Myriam’s mother Betty Ergas to Pancreatic Cancer. We raised over $12,000 for this event with Ian and Elaine and Lori (our new admin assistant) racing the gruelling 14 km up hill to the top. Many thanks to our friends and clients for their support. We would not have been successful without you!! ? click here to learn more about this worthy cause.


 

The Acquisition of Land

Changing Landscapes

Two weeks ago, Andrews Group listed a home in South Granville. More accurately the area is closer to Kerrisdale than South Granville, but MLS categorizes it as such.  

Quiet tree lined streets, well groomed laurels, mature rhodos, and a luxury car or two in most every driveway; this district has always been desirable with the well to do.  As early as 1905 families were attracted to and settled in the area.  A charming neighborhood quickly developed with a mix of bungalows and upper scale family homes, many with character of an era gone by.

Kerrisdale

Prestige, central location, (smack in the middle between downtown and the airport) great community with good schools, an elegant mix of shops and restaurants attracts keen interest from the real estate market. It’s a highly desirable spot and the price of a typical home here is exceedingly high.  A classic home in this area resembles the picture below and sells for around 3 million dollars.

 

Welcome to the 80's

In the 1980’s Vancouver experienced an influx of foreign buyers, mostly from Hong Kong, in search of status wielding properties, these buyers were not ones for older homes.  During this period, many homes on the desired west side were purchased and torn down.  In their place massive homes utilizing the maximum possible square footage for the property, were built.  Though there was some outcry, not much has really been done and the typical home being built in the 80’s looked like this:

The 80’s, not the best decade for taste, I should know (I had the clothes and hair style to prove it), and a somewhat hideous style of home was being built by most developers - not so classic or classy.  Case in point, this home doesn’t conjure up the same “Leave it to Beaver” feeling many us equate with a neighborhood of character does it?  Where is the charm?  In that semi-circle?  Unfortunately many of these were built – it’s called progress and development and neighborhoods change.  

In municipalities with an official Heritage Register, buildings are categorized based on their historical importance, such as Vancouver’s A, B, and C classes, or North Vancouver’s Primary, Secondary, and Supplemental classes.  These classifications reflect the building’s level of protection against future alteration or demolition. In most municipalities, homes in the highest heritage category cannot be altered without municipal approval, but many nice homes exhibiting some character of the period don’t fall into heritage status and are open season for builders.  Such was the home we listed.

Multiple Offers

Our little old semi character home was extremely desirable, not only was it on a great street and on the right side of the street, but it also carried an authentic 8 at the end of its address.  It’s notable that every other home in that block now also ends with 8 – an option available at the city of Vancouver for a mere $200 for a lifetime of wealth coming your way.  The same option can be purchased in West Vancouver for $1,000…

Of course, acting for the sellers, it was our strategic plan to build up as much interest as possible.  We limited access and advertised in the Chinese Real Estate weekly, Real Estate Weekly, Outlook, MLS.ca, REW.ca, andrewsgroup.ca, elaineandrews.com, Craigslist, and a 7000 pc mailout as well - massing tension in the buyers.  The calls, e-mails and texts grew each hour as we grew closer to the day of reckoning.  The agent’s open and the public open were well attended.

Groups of buyers, whole families of 2 to 8 politely toured through and inspected the offering, taking additional pictures, conversing in foreign languages and walking the property.   Those with interest made enquires of the sellers expectations.  We kept track of all attentive parties and kept them apprised as time went on.  When the actual day arrived, the interest had grown into a frenzy of communications. 

The Day of Execution

On the day, anticipation and pressure was high for both buyers and seller.  We received over 50 texts and 65 phone calls about this property on that day alone– it was insanity.  Two buyers came directly to us to write offers because they thought they were hedging their bets by going through the listing realtor (always love that). Offers were at 5:30 on a Monday evening.  We arrived at 5:15pm with 2 offers already in hand, 2 sent on e-mail en-route to the house.  Outside the home was a parade of black SUV’s, Mercedes and BMW’s lined along both sides of the street with agents and a few buyers talking amongst themselves in heavy discussion about the item up for bids.  The games had begun.

The Seller

Inside the house was Margret, our lovley owner of the home, along with her children and their spouses, anxiously waiting.   Margret looked all of 90 pounds, fit, well dressed and sharp as a tack.  She had paid $27,500 for this home and it was home for the last 50 years.  She wasn’t sure where she was going to go and hesitated selling because of it, but she knew the home had outgrown her and her family encouraged she move to something more suitable, closer in and safe. It was perhaps beyond time.

The Presentations

And so it began, ahead of schedule, why keep everyone waiting?  It was difficult to manage the order of presenters because we weren’t sure who was there first or in what order others were arriving.  A particularly zealous realtor, who had been in constant contact, was anxious to be first and so initiated the process.  A somewhat young agent, well-dressed, very polite; her clients, new to Canada, were a family of three and were waiting outside. 

It’s wise to have the client available in a multiple offer.  Should any changes need to be agreed upon, it can be dealt with right there.  Our first agent beamed about the creditworthiness of her clients and reverently covered the details of her offer to the attentive sellers seated around the table - including Margret.  The offer was strong, over asking and there was a deposit cheque, but she had subjects.  

Though this first offer had promise, expectations were high and we had 12 more to review.   One after another each agent sat down and presented the terms of their offers, some very professional and prepared, others looked like they had just finished a walk with the dog, then popped in last minute with an offer.  One of them brought his client right to the table and wrote in the dates and details through agreement with us.  Four agents brought bank drafts to show they indeed had the deposit, most were subject free, most were close to or over asking, but each was different and we kept the best on top.

Some offered that Margret could stay in the house for little or no rent for a period of time, one suggested she pay market rent at $5,000 per month.  It was difficult for Margret to imagine paying $5,000 a month when she had paid $27,500 for the property to begin with.  We tried to explain this to the agent since financially his was one of the best, but he would only reduce it to $3,500.  

Agents revolved in and out of the door, introductions and presentations carried on.  There was continual interruption of my  phone ringing with calls to check on status and texts were jingling even more frequently.  These calls could not be ignored as each was potentially an integral part of the process.  To say it was hectic would not aptly describe the scene – it was madness. After a while Margret grew tired of the procession and began asking everyone if they wanted anything while she mulled about in the kitchen sorting out nuts and cookies.  She seemed a little bored, but the family was enjoying this and the tension turned to excitement as the money grew.

Almost 5 Hours Later

Emotions were high on both sides of the table.  It became clear there were 5 of 13 offers serious enough to give each of the agents the option to sweeten their deal. And theydid, as subjects were removed, prices went higher, and possession became more acceptable.  Considering this was a multiple offer situation to begin with, it never ceases to amaze us how much more room is still available.  If someone really wants a property, they can usually dig a little deeper and find a little more – in this case that was from $75,000 to $200,000 more. The offer process had turned into an auction with each agent outbidding the other.  Everyone on their phones negotiating with their buyers or consulting them on the street, vying for the top spot.  All of us were on low battery with our cell phones and were scrambled to recharge into anything.- there are few plugs in old houses!

Settling on the Best of the Best

The 5 best contenders were whittled down to 3, the 3 played against each other. In the end we settled on the highest bid with the best odds of completion, and the best terms for our client. $300,000 over the asking price, no subjects, a deposit cheque for $600,000, closing in 3 weeks and the ability for our client to stay up to 4 months at no cost to her. 

Final signatures were signed, offer accepted and the deal was done.  It took almost 5 hours.  The winner of the bids?  A buyer from  China who has never even stepped foot in Vancouver…

Through our sales process we knocked on a few doors in the neighborhood.  The older residents were sad to hear Margret was leaving. “It will be bought and torn down” they said, some of them asked us if the house would stay, but sadly it will not.  It will become another 5 to 7 million dollar mansion in 2014 style. This neighborhood will continue down its path of change for better or worse.  

Multiple Offer Facts:

  1. Just because you have multiple offers does not mean you will get a no subject, over-asking offer. You will still get anything and everything in an offer.
  2. Pricing your home below market does not guarantee multiple offers. There are no offers till you have a written offer in hand – talk is cheap.
  3. You don’t have to accept any of the offers on your home if they are not agreeable to you – even if it was over asking with no subjects.
  4. Some buyers will pull out because of the multiple offer situation – the competition is not for everyone and you can lose a good buyer.
  5. Having a cheque along with the offer is most comforting – buyer’s remorse is likely to kick in the next day.


The Numbers

The graph is growing as we are already ¼ way into the year.  Looking at the sales we can see we were off to a good start, but it has been little slower the last 6 weeks on the NorthShore.  This is not the case with the Westside, where the number of sales has been edging upward.  However note how many properties in North Van are going over the asking amount!  Many of these properties are in the $1 million range as buyer are putting pressure on this end of the market. 

Days on the market are also reducing as we are clearly into the spring time and activity level is high. 

Of course the number of listings continues to increase and we will likely see this till around mid/late June. 


The Graphs

The graphs show us a picture of the last 4 years of listing and sales in both West and North Vancouver.  It’s one of the easiest way to see how the year is stacking up.

WV listings are creeping up, and have leveled as discussed above in the The Numbers spreadsheet, but we can see they are remaining below 2013 which was a year with a lot of supply. 

WV sales started out well, had been dipping a bit and now a sharp rise, big change from last year.  We are hopeful this will continue in the upcoming weeks as activity feels like it has improved now the long spring break is over!

NV listings are also on the rise and reaching up to 2013 as well and though sale prices have been strong, actual sales have leveled at last years number. 

 


 

Court Ordered Sales

Chesterfield - interesting alternative to apartment living with 800 sq. ft for $599,000 in an almost new home.

W 19th- listed 9% below assessed value in a great central Westside location

Norvan - purchased for $340,000 in 2008 in Sechelt on the struggling Sunshine Coast

Ontario - listed at only 76% of assessed value, owner lives at Angus Drive?  and acquired the property in 1992

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