Something Seemed Different in 2013

Happy New Year!  I’m just looking at the Sales figure for the 2013 and it breaks down as follows:

West Vancouver Detached Homes  – 760 sales with an average price of $1,941,333
West Vancouver Attached Homes  –  219 sales with an average sale price of $826,520

North Vancouver Detached Homes – 1,091 sales with an average price of $974,043
North Vancouver Attached Homes  –  1,080 sales with an average price of $435,929

For me, the single most interesting feature of the 2013 detached home sales figures was the number of sales that took place during what is normally the most quiet time of year for real estate activity. Generally speaking, sales volumes typically increase as    the weather gets warmer.  January is normally a slow month but as each month passes, volumes increase with the May – June period typically recording the highest monthly sales volumes of the year. The summer months will often be very quiet with sales volume increasing again in the September – October period followed by a decrease in November and December. Christmas is very often as slow as July – August.

2013 was different. Everything began normally with only 38 West Vancouver detached sales in January. Sales steadily increased until June when we registered 74 sales which would normally be one of the strongest periods of the year.  Time for the summer “sleepy” period and some well deserved time off!! Not this year, however.  Instead of a dramatic decrease in July and August volumes we experienced an increase. July saw 77 sales followed by an equally impressive 75 for August. By comparison, July & August 2012 sales were 46 and 24 respectively.  2013 continued to buck the usual trend by staying strong right through to the end of the year.  In fact, November tied for second best month of the year with 77 sales. The single biggest month of 2013 was October with 78 sales.

Why have we seen such a dramatic change in the West Vancouver market?  Well it’s no secret that the Mainland Chinese buyers have been fueling this market for the past several years. While many non-Chinese buyers tend to think of other things (such as vacations) during the summer and Christmas it appears that many Chinese buyers do not. I first noticed it while I was running an open house over the recent Canada day long weekend.  I didn’t expect much of a turn out especially as the sun was out and it was a glorious day but, much to my surprise, I had approx. 15 groups come through most of whom were Chinese.  I spoke with a Chinese client of mine later that week and she suggested that I actually increase my advertising budget over the summer as I would likely be busy. At the time I didn’t believe her but he was absolutely correct.  Later that year she asked me to write an offer on Christmas Eve…..