It was full steam ahead for North Shore real estate in May, and the entire region remains favourable to sellers across detached and attached homes.
Single family inventory only shrunk by one house in May, but remains over 100 fewer than last year at this time. Sales shrank by 20 to 147, a fairly insignificant decrease given that the sales to active ratio is still 59%, a very strong sellers’ market. The most active price band remains in the “entry level” of $800-900k and $1M-1.25M, where many builders are purchasing lots to redevelop and young families are looking to find project homes or opportunities with mortgage helper suites. This tranche of the market is still extremely competitive, with 84% of homes selling (52 listings; 44 sales). Buyers looking to pick up a home in North Van should keep a keen eye on places like Deep Cove, Hamilton, Norgate, Princess Park, and Westlynn, where activity is more subdued than the Lynn Valley, Edgemont and Lonsdale areas.
The condo and townhouse market accelerated ever so slightly in May, with 169 sales on 472 listings (36%). This is a tremendous change since May 2014, when there were 129 sales on 639 listings (20%). It appears as though buyers are pouring into this part of the market, partially given rising rental costs; young singles and couples want to own condos, and families are trying to build equity on their way from condo to house by jumping into duplexes and larger townhomes, of which there is limited supply.
On the new development front, Onni’s CentreView project in central Lonsdale is selling well; the Residences at Lynn Valley by Bosa is slated to begin sales this summer, and the Marine Drive Village proposal at Cap Road and Marine is still up in the air. Otherwise, there is Polygon’s Cates Landing off Dollarton, their West Quay at Waterfront Park, the Pinnacle Trophy off Lonsdale Quay, and a few others by various developers scattered about. The City of North Vancouver is encouraging densification in the form of townhomes and duplexes, and we’re bound to see more and more of this type of housing in the Lonsdale Corridor. The District is considerably tighter with higher density projects (efforts like Grosvenor Edgemont take considerable public consultation and a long time to push through), but single family home development is rampant across the Shore, and proposals arrive daily at city hall. I expect this to continue, as people in West and East Vancouver are still waking up to the fact that the entire North Shore is a perfectly wonderful place to call home, with a considerably more pleasant commute than from many of the eastern or southern suburbs. Not to mention our kick-ass evening and weekend lifestyle!
Activity stayed steady in West Vancouver’s detached home market through May as well, with a balanced ratio of 21%. Listings are typically well over 500 at this time, and they’re languishing slightly lower at 454 currently, with 97 sales last month. The “entry-level” price point of $900k-1.25M is again the most active, and believe it or not, there were nine sales under $1.25M in West Van last month (you can still find those homes there, unlike on the West Side of Vancouver!).
The $2-2.5M range is the seller’s sweet spot in West Van, with 86% of those homes selling. Everybody is comfortable buying in this range, because it represents good value as development lots in West Van, or a great transfer of equity from a tear-down on the West Side into something with upside or that’s already turnkey at a lower price than where they came from.
Surprisingly, attached sales activity increased greatly in West Van this month, with the sales ratio jumping up to 33% from 20%. Buyers are starved for 2 and 3 bedroom units in West Van, as the supply is very limited, particularly when looking for buildings that allow pets or rentals, or don’t need a significant overhaul.
And so as we roll toward summer, we would normally be expecting a considerable slowing in the marketplace. This year, however, may be different. With inventory down across all areas, and buyers apparently as keen as ever, I’m not sure we’ll get the usual summer lull. Put simply, unlike the past couple of summers, if you’re thinking of selling right now, it’s wouldn’t be a bad idea.
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