Shift Happens – Profit from it


It’s that time of year – change is upon us.  We are still glowing from what has to be one of the best summers on record – day after day of beautiful sunny, warm weather, topped off equally exceptionally evenings comfortable enough to enjoy the gorgeous outdoors while the sun set, only to wake up to another stunner the next day!  It was outstanding and we are little sad to see it ending. 

With the change of the weather, comes a hunkering down and back to work/school attitude and also a fall real estate market.  Coincidentally the summer’s market was also exceptional as sales actually picked up and turned around from a one of the poorer performing years to actually one of the best summers on record…

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential sales actually increased in July by 11.6% over June and though as seasonally expected August sales were 14.7% lower than July’s performance, sales last August were 52.5% higher than August 2012’s sales! It was a busy summer for real estate. 

Demand certainly seems to have picked up and those of us on the street and can feel in the increase in the activity of our business compared to early this year.  The sales-to-active-listings ratio is currently at 15.7% - a ratio that is more consistent with balanced market conditions.  However we (and the REBGV) do not expect to see rising prices.  Currently the MLS Home price index show a 1.3% decline in August 2013 compared to August 2012 – but a 2.3% increase since January of this year. 

Take a look at the recent listings and sales graphs (link here) and you will note how sales have turned around so far in the 2nd half of the year.  Do note however that listing counts remain high.  As of this writing a slew of new listings started hitting the market directly after the long weekend.   This will continue and we have to hope for an increase in buying activity to along with that.  We at Andrews Group remain optimistic that there is pent up demand from earlier in the year.  There are people that must buy and sell real estate.  Those that buy for living or need their own home either because they live here or are moving here, those that need to downsize, upsize, change neighborhoods or what have you.  These folks will be buying and selling.  Interest rates remain low with an ever threat looming over them causing buyers to want to lock in now while the getting is still good. 

Where the best buys are:

  1. Anywhere the foreign market has not been looking.  In our opinion the most popular markets are likely NOT the best deals – look where the masses have overlooked for great properties.  The upswing on these may take a little more time, but they will be good long term investments.
  2. Overpriced listings – there are lots of them on the market right now.  We can search for properties where the cumulative days on the market is the longest or expired listings that didn’t sell.  Most of these folks are motivated sellers and that’s where a deal can be made.
  3. Anything with a view.  It never ceases to amaze us the value of a view.  From an investment perspective the return on these are always worth paying a little more for upfront.
  4. Scout out properties with latent value.  Is there a view behind those trees? Is there potential for increased density and so redevelopment.  Properties that not currently at their highest or best use have the best potential. Understand the Official Community Plan – look for long term investment in properties along busy corridors.

Crazy Listings! – this make us shake our heads


The moral of this story -  Hard to say who is at fault in all these cases – the seller or the realtor?  Did the realtor give them a fair and thorough evaluation? Was the seller completely out to lunch (we have seen our share of these too) Recognizing at times that can be more difficult than others…but seriously these prices are way off and have a tendency to throw everything else off along with them and in the end, net the seller with less than they could have had if they had been realistic to begin with.  Along with a lot less time and trouble to reach the end result.

  1. Lot purchased in 2008 for 1.3 million – a new home built and currently assessed at 4 million.  List price$13,888,000 – for Sentinel Hill

  1. Purchased in a poor market in 2009 for 2.8 million – renovated (not so nice, but ok) assessed at 5.6 million. Listed at $12,800,000 – honestly could they not be happy with 6 million?

  1. Purchased in 2011 for 1.64million – new home built (likely just under 2 million).  Assessed at 3.128 million.  This was originally listed at $10,888,000!  and now reduced to $8,900,000

With this kind of craziness it’s tough perhaps for some sellers to be realistic. 

Here are a couple of examples of HOW OFF THE MARK one can be:

  1. This home in North Vancouver was listed in July 2010 for $17,900,000!!  Now reduced more than 60% off the original asking price to $6,500,000.  It is assessed at 6,130,000. 

  1. This Point Grey home was listed in July 2011 for $14,980,000.  Sold in January 2013 for 40% off the original asking price for $8,800,000 .  Selling under the assessed which is 10 million.


Personal Note

I came across the little poem which I found so brilliantly pertinent and I think you will too:

I am your constant companion.

I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.

Half of the things you do you might as well turn
over to me and I will do them – quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed – you must be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of great people,
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine though
I work with the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a person.

You may run me for profit or run me for ruin -
it makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me, and
I will place the world at your feet.

Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?

I am Habit.