Vancouver's West End - 2 Quarters Down - 2 To Go...

Welcome back.  Real Estate - Vancouver - buy or sell - interest rates - economy - HST - predictions - bond yeilds - should I stay or should I go - seems to never stop, does it.  According to one source today - Capital Economics - they are again predicting we are just about to burst another bubble regarding the real estate market in Canada.  Of course this is a broad statement encompassing the entire country.  I do think they made that same call about 2 years ago as well - but no one in the Vancouver area listened.  We gained in both 2009 and 2010 on many fronts.  Just ask the folks in Kerrisdale or West Vancouver how the market for detached homes ignited in the past 3 months.

The West End has been a steady market to date - thanks to its diversity.  June will no doubt show a decrese in activity - which is normal for this time of year.  School nearing the summer break - holidays being planned - yes its summer finally.  To date we have had 27 sales in the area - ranging from $172,000 to $1,598,000 - all within 6 blocks of each other.  Looking back - January produced 53 sales, February showing 64, March in at 55, April consistant at 60 sales and May with 40 sales. 

Vancouver is of course known for the many areas in the city that vary substancially within walking distance of most landmarks.  Coal Harbour, Gastown, Chinatown, Yaletown, False Creek, the West End and English Bay to Stanley Park - are very similar to a Formula One racetrack - all on the same circut but every turn presents something differant.  There is nothing better or no better way to see the downtown areas, then hopping on a bike and spending the day cruising either the many bike friendly routes or finding your very own.  Need a break from the bustle - Stanley Park is at your back and call for peace and calm. 

I am currently working with several buyers in the area.  Yes, everyone has the same question - where will the market be in 6 months or one year.  I could answer that - but like many politicians - I would be forced to "answer" the question in two ways -  either several statements strewn together not answering anything at all (but still smiling) or - not answer it at all.  Quite frankly - there is no real answer.  I do find it funny that we are in a situation on most fronts - home and abroad - that has everyone treading in unknown waters.  If you do find a realtor who can answer that question with confindence - get him or her to put it on paper. 

So I strike out in the world of opinions.  When superstar economic strategists are missing the targets - i don't have a prayer in predicting the future.  For those that saw the Fall of 2008 coming - no one was heard or listened to - it could never happen.  All I can tell you is that for the last 3 years - depending on agencies or sources - we have heard warnings about the real estate "bubble" about to burst in Canada.  Could happen - might happen - should happen - considering the economic forecasts and house hold debt hitting record highs.  But keep in mind where we are - Vancouver.  Immigration is on the rise which drives home sales and rental requirements, investors now looking for "solid" investment in properties vice rolling the dice on the stock markets are flocking to the city - one of the most beautiful in the world with solid governent and banking system, baby boomers entering retirement mode and downsizing, selling off bigger homes now that the family has grown and looking for maintenance free living in the condo market - it goes on and on - leaving us in our very own "bubble" if I can use that term.  Having lived in every geographic region of the country - I have to think hard and long of a better place to settle - but everyone has their own motives.  By the way the real estate market continues to roll on a solid foundation - it seems I am not the only one that feels this way.

Buying a home ?  Simple - find the one that best suits YOUR needs (not your realtor's), buy for the long term, take advantage of the interest rates that would make our parents weep compared to 25 years ago and get on with life !  The days of purchasing and selling in 2-5 years at a grandiose return have had their day - on most fronts.  Detached homes are another story.  Don't be in a hurry and if you are working with a realtor that presents a property as the "only" option you have and  "you better get this one right now !" - I wish you luck.

Selling a home ?  Same idea.  You can either go fishing for a price - which can work out if you are sitting on something unique - or place your home on the market at a fair but agressive price to see what the response will be.  If you don't interview at least 3 realtors - you lose.  If you do talk to a realtor and during the listing presentation - they simply sit and nod their head agreeing with everything you are saying - well, I will leave you to form your own conclusions on motive.  To this day, I cannot understand for one minute - viewing a home on the MLS system and after 40 days on the market - there is still only one photo of the home posted.  Your paying for a SERVICE - ensure you are getting the best you deserve. This isn't a game - it involves your money and much emotion.  Ensure you work with someone who keeps YOUR interest at the forefront.  Sorry for the small rant - but its a bit of a chore covering for questionalble service on the part of others.  

Happy Canada Day !  Be sure to get out and about on July 1st and celebrate this great country and this fantastic city.  See you on the bikes... !

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