Real Estate as Contact Sport

This is the first post from a new blog by Sebastian Albrecht entitled "Real Estate" which will be featured in the City section on our new site.

by Sebastian Albrecht

The Vancouver real estate market has once again become a contact sport. Consider yourself forewarned.

With just over 3000 active listings in the City of Vancouver we haven’t seen inventory levels this low since February 2008 (for much of last year we had over 5500 active listings). While supply is dropping, demand has been picking up. The result is that competition for homes is intense.

Of course, not all Vancouverites are ecstatic. Those of us that don’t own property yet might not be feeling so chipper. For first-time buyers this real estate market has become incredibly challenging.

Of the last 20 sales reported to the REBGV (as of 1am Friday, September 4th 2009) 13 of them had sold over the asking price. That’s right, 65% of the most recent sales sold in multiple offers. Not all of them were significantly over. Some were $10,000 or $20,000, but many were large. The biggest leap was for 4345 John St that sold for $199,000 over the asking price of $886,000.

Surprised? So am I.

Most of us know that real estate is cyclical. We just went through a period of correction (from the spring of 2008 to the spring of 2009) in the market. We knew that at some point that downward trend would reverse. However, everyone that I talk to is shocked at just how quickly and violently that reversal has taken hold.

I sold a property this past week. My sellers were lucky enough to get multiple offers, six in fact. Just about every realtor that presented an offer had tried, and lost, with their buyers on a number of previous offers.

One potential buyer had already made seven unsuccessful offers on other properties. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t win this one either. My clients were honestly heartbroken over the decision.

Despite all the hard work and stress, my clients were ecstatic when it was all over. Their home ended up selling $34,000 over the asking price (up approximately 8%).

In the end, they couldn’t stop smiling...and neither could I. It had all paid off for them. I think that we might have even hugged.

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