Winter 2009 Market Update – Vancouver Real Estate

December 2, 2009

Winter 2009 Market Update

House Market

Like the condo market, the detached housing market on the Westside of
Vancouver has continued strongly in the second half of 2009. With even
less inventory, prices have bounced back significantly and there are now
some examples of homes selling for more than what they would have
achieved just prior to the correction in 2008. Assuming the prices do
not continue to push too hard, I am extremely hopeful that 2010 will
bring some long awaited stability to the market. Inventory levels will
inevitably increase in the spring as usual but I am confident that
demand will keep pace. A significant rise in interest rates could take
some of the confidence out of buyers but there are few predicting such a
rise in the
coming months. New construction starts are few and far between so once
again the pressure will be firmly on the resale market to keep up with
demand. I don’t believe this is a market that has been overly inflated
by the lead up to the Olympics and therefore it is equally unlikely to
be affected negatively afterwards. The unqiue nature of the geography
will continue to limit supply and attract
demand from both local and international buyers regardless.

Condo Market

The second half of 2009 has once again exceeded many people’s expectations. Inventory levels have remained low and a steady flow of buyers attracted by low interest rates have continued to jump back in. Prices have firmed up and in some areas increased, if not significantly. Of course I think we would all love to see this kind of strong, stable market continue through 2010 and many sources, including CMHC and CREA are predicting this. However, the condo market in and around Downtown and False Creek will be under more scrutiny before, during and after the 2010 Oympics in February than almost any other market in North America. Bob Rennie believes that any post Olympic blip that might have occurred will not now be necessary, due to the sharp correction a year ago already having accounted for that (ie there is no longer a bubble to burst). My sense is to agree with this but as usual tempered with extreme caution by entering the market intelligently and buying property which is unique and well positioned enough to thrive even if the more generic mass products tarts to falter. The success of the Woodwards project in Gastown is a perfect testament to this.