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Real Estate Reality Check

I have a column in lovmag magazine. This is my article for the Fall 2011 edition.

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Apparently our 'holy' real estate market is about to take a plunge, according to the current stats and trends. I hope those stats and trends have all the accuracy of a Harold Camping prediction of the Apocalypse, and suspect that I am not in for long term disappointment. According to local media reports, there have been both positive and negative trends in the market over the past few months. Alas, the final outcome will probably tell a similar story: no heavenly growth over the coming year, nor fire and brimstone. Given past events in Canada’s, the United States’ and other property markets around the globe, these times of tribulation usually start out as predictions, the prophecy self-fulfilling itself through a frenzy of buyers and sellers. In the past, owners have tied their own nooses. It’s human nature, and I have had the misfortune to witness it. People feed off media, hype and other people's energy, getting caught up in the fervour of what is going on around them. Remember though, that quiet meditation and deep breaths are the way to enlightenment. HAVE FAITH 1. Be wise, be careful. Make your own educated decision. Based on last year’s sales, there has been a 14 percent increase, yet 7.3 percent below last year’s mark on listings of property. 2. Be sure of what you are about to do before you do it. Like anything business related, investing (or divesting, in the case of you sellers out there) is a gamble, whether it be a 'secure' investment or not, it always comes with a certain amount of risk. 3. There is currently a lot of foreign investment in our market. People are excited to buy a piece of everything Vancouver has to offer and money is often no object, which plays a part in driving prices up. Will this foreign investment ever wane, causing a correction in the Vancouver market? There is no denying the possibility. 4. With every push there is a pull. You might notice prices decreasing, which in theory could light a fire in the purchase market. It’s the old quantity versus quality trait alive and well with regard to transactions and price. Interest rates will also come into play, as higher rates can have a cooling effect. Indeed, any number of factors could cause our local market to level out for a period of time. 5. What we need to remember is that this is Vancouver. Dip or no dip, correction or no correction, we live in a beautiful, liveable city that will continue to attract buyers who are ready to duke it out with their pocketbooks over a finite number of properties. Ty Campbell Real Estate Representative Sotheby’s International Realty Canada tycampbell@live.com


The West End - Vancouver's Original Downtown Diva

I have a column in lovmag magazine. This is my article for the Summer 2011 edition.

download article courtesy of lovmag

 

Is Vancouver's gaybourhood going through a straight phase, or is it awakening from its slumbers? This is typical of the questions I get asked about the area long considered our city's gay epicentre-the West End. Often imitated but never duplicated, the venerable neighbourhood is in the midst of a rebirth, re-emerging as the area to see and be seen-in. Nestled between Coal Harbour and English Bay on the edge of world famous Stanley Park, the West End boasts beautiful buildings old and new, and an eclectic assortment of shops and restaurants. Despite its recent mainstream appeal, it's the original diva of Vancouver's neighbourhoods-and knocking this queen off her podium will take a lot more than throwing marbles on a runway! Every neighbourhood has its character, and the West End is no different. My nickname for this splendid location by the sea is the Wild West because once the sun goes down people here know how to party. This is, after all, home to one of the largest parties in North America, Vancouver's Pride parade, as well as some of the city's hottest clubs and bars. Investing in the West End is kind of like going on safari; if you love ' wildlife' and can afford the price, it's a great adventure. If you try to cut corners searching for a spot in an area unfamiliar to you, however, it can be a risky situation and you may very well get eaten alive. A Realtor should be your guide along the way, allowing you to enjoy one of the most valuable investments in your life. A small rule of thumb for property junkies out there:the area makes the prices;the prices do not make the area. There is a lot of old money in the West End and a large population of senior and gay residents keep it clean and weli-maintained. Property prices vary, but even the most modestly priced homes can stretch the average person's budget. The West End sits within one of Canada's highest priced markets, and like the rest of Vancouver the justification for the price tag is a beautiful, natural, urban setting combined with a scarcity of land. So how do you go about making a purchase? Well, there are a few ways. If you're single, try partnering with someone you trust in order to secure a mortgage and down payment. This will allow you to buy a two bedroom,which has a higher resale value. You can sell the property and use your portion of the profit to buy your own property. If the partnership agreement is strong there is minimal risk involved, but always consult with a lawyer before entering into a legally binding contract. If you can afford to buy a two bedroom home,but want to offset costs,get a room mate to take one of the rooms and pay half the mortgage. When the time is right and the market is strong, you can sell at a higher price and use the equity to purchase another place (roommate free) or perhaps a bigger property outside the city. A sceptical friend recently asked, Hlf it's that easy, why wouldn't everyone do it? The short answer is not everyone wants to be a homeowner. Owning your own home requires hard work and dedication. Buying property in a volatile housing market comes with a certain amount of risk, as we witnessed when the market crashed and the real estate bubble burst a few years ago. If you are careful, however, it is a calculated risk with potential benefits and rewards. If you would like to purchase your own home, do your homework. Make a list of risks and rewards,and pros and cons,and make sure you are fully prepared for the responsibility; you are in it for the long run after all! Consult with a Realtor to discuss your best way into this active market; it's a game of strategy and if you know what you are doing it's a great game to play. With Vancouver being such a diverse, open, cultured city, I am almost certain that there are going to be other beautiful areas vying to give ourWest End diva a run for her money. But she will always be the original gaybourhood of Vancouver. And honey, don't you forget it. - Ty Campbell, Real Estate Representative @ Sotheby's International Realty Canada tcampbell@sothebysrealty.ca