Welcome back and a Happy New Year to you all !
Right to the point - we had a "surprising" year according to most. This of course is the time of year everyone takes a little stock and those that dare - how soon we forget - start with the prediction phase of our real estate calendar. I always wish them luck but am a firm believer the local Vancouver area does buck most national and regional trends. Proof as they say is always in the pudding - and our cup runneth over.
The West End had a solid year in 2011. One of the most unique and varied urban areas in Canada [if it were a city in Saskatchewan, it would be the third largest in the province based on residental numbers] produced 569 sales according to the MLS system. The lowest priced sale was a lesehold studio at 1250 Burnaby Street selling for $170,000. The highest recorded was at the incredible Cinq Terre on Beach Avenue at $5,400,000. These two homes are a 5 minute walk from each other ! Yes the beauty of the West End - everyone gets to play.
Breaking the sales down a bit further - there were 104 sales under the $300,000 mark. No doubt all studio and/or one bedroom floor plans in both freehold, leasehold and cooperative buildings. The most active price range was the $300 - 399,0000 amount at 151 sales. This of course is perfect for those who have taken advantage of the record low interest rates and once calculated is at times at par with current rental rates for the area of similar size properties.
Between $400,000 - 500,000 there were 104 sales and 148 homes changed hands above the $500k mark to $1 million. Impressive during a supposed softening of the market - is 60 homes over $1 million have new owners.
So what will 2012 bring ? I just have to go back to the start of 2011 and adopt the same position when asked the same question. There are no guarentees. I can only quote CMHC stating they too were surprised by how well the Vancouver real estate market faired in 2011.
It did so for two main reasons - interest rates and migration - both from abroad and within the country. There were hints and "predictions" thoughout the year that interest rates would begin to creep up as the economy showed signs of recovery. Not so - being joined at the hip with much larger economies - Canada can only watch and feel the affect of the United States and Europe. Not a pretty sight and the horizon is lacking a sunny outlook. CMHC reports 30,000 new jobs were created last year in the lower mainland - this of course translates directly to housing and the rising demand. The same is expected for this year as well. Will interest rates go up ? Not sure but you can bet if the economy remains stalled - or worse - its a safe bet to say no. More migration creates more common need's - creates more jobs - creates more demand for both rental, home purchase and commercial space - which creates more jobs - etc.
Is buying in Vancouver a risk ? With the amount of migration, investors now turning their stock options into property, low interest rates, best banking system in the world and oh yes - one of consistanty top ten places to live on earth - I encourage most to arrive at their own conclusions.
It is very important you do work with someone who knows the market, knows your area of interest and has your interests as their number one priority. Contact me anytime for a chat - on selling, buying and/or timing and area to do so. Thanks for reading.