Realtors using the B-word in public.

No, not blogger, bakery or bunion. I’m talking about a very dirty B-word when it comes to the BC market: Bubble. I’m talking about Realtors (not including Rob Chipman) using the word bubble or referring to the possibility of a downside for the market here.. Whether their purpose is to deny the existence of a Vancouver housing bubble, entertain the possibility or sound warning bells (hey, it could happen). It’s interesting to see how Realtors phrase any reference to a Vancouver real estate bubble and the idea that prices won’t keep rising like they have:

Duncan Browns market update May 2006:

My best guess is that this intense pressure on prices will force buyers to back off a little which could take the heat out of the market for a few months, while it adjusts. This kind of minor correction could be exactly what the market needs in order to sustain itself over the long term and prevent those infamous “bubbles” from bursting!

Jacob Krause blog entry March 2006:

Buyers putting up 5 per cent of the price of a home and mortgaging 95 per cent are doing the same things as stock market junkies snapping up securities on margin. The only way they make money is if the asset rises in value, and quickly. So far the 5 per cent-down crowd have done very well, since their extreme leveraging has paid off in a rising market. But if housing prices move in the opposite direction, their tiny little bit of equity can evaporate in a week or two, leaving them with nothing but a sea of debt. Oh yeah, and a home they “own.”

Tom Everitts anti bubble tirade September 2006:

I’ve been involved with this ‘bubble’ argument for so long, it is inevitable that the naysayers will be right one day. One day….but not now, nosiree…not a chance folks. Once again, during the lull that was August, everyone started throwing the ‘bubble’ word around again. ‘Ohhh, it’s coming this time’. ‘Ohhhh, all those people shouldn’t have bought’….’Ohhh, blah, blah, blah’.

So thats three random remarks made recently by Realtors in Vancouver.. Seen any other interesting remarks from people involved in the day-to-day business of selling homes here? If you’re looking for a place to buy is this a topic that comes up for conversation between yourself and your realtor?

Sales tactics for a sagging market.

Looking to sell a house or condo in a slowing market, but having trouble getting potential buyers in to look at your place? You might try Value Range Marketing a real estate marketing technique in which agents list a price range instead of a fixed price for a property.

“There are still plenty of skeptics and some outright opponents to Value Range Marketing (VRM), and the marketing technique represents just a tiny share of all U.S. property listings. But Lund said VRM is attracting a lot of attention with the slowing housing market.

He rattled off a list of market areas from which real estate professionals have contacted him in the past month about using VRM, among them: Vancouver, Canada; Golden, Colo.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Ogden, Utah; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Staten Island, N.Y.”

I’m surprised to hear that this would work at all in a slowing market – I can imagine in a sellers market that giving a price range for a property may get more offers, but in a slowing market? Why would anyone offer anything over the lowest range listed?

“It’s the bigger net theory of fishing. It opens up the marketplace to more people looking at the property,” he said. Also, in a market that is subject to major swings in pricing, VRM can reduce the likelihood for price reductions, he said. “When market conditions are changing the way that they are, if you put a fixed price in it might only be valid for that day.”

I’m still skeptical – if prices are dropping in a market I’m not sure how giving a price range would eliminate price reductions, but if you’re feeling desperate give it a try!

Home sales and prices still dropping across the US

This article on MSNBC looks at the stats for home sales across the USA, with the subtitle “year-over-year median sales price drops by the largest amount on record.”

“Housing, which had set sales records for both new and existing homes for five consecutive years, has been rapidly loosing altitude this year, as consumers were battered by rising mortgage rates, soaring energy prices and a slowing economy.

However, economists with the Realtors said they believed the housing decline could be hitting bottom.

“The worst is behind us as far as a market correction — this is likely the trough for sales,” said David Lereah, the Realtors’ chief economist. “When consumers recognize that home sales are stabilizing, we’ll see the buyers who’ve been on the sidelines get back into the market.”

However, analysts said that the weakness in housing could last for several more months with a real upturn in sales not occurring until next spring.”

10 Vancouver west-side house price reductions

So whats happening on the west side sfh market? Here’s ten random price drops in that market, similar to the condo price drops, these are mostly listings that are over 90 days old, price drops from $50,000 – $250,000. Go get your bargains now and keep those prices from slumping!

1125 W 43RD AV– Original: $2,280,000 | Asking: $2,080,000
Home Theatre handpainted with florescent mural

1092 W 42ND– Original: $1,980,000 | Asking: $1,880,000
Walking distance to Osler and Eric Hamber School

6318 GRANVILLE ST– Original: $1,450,000 | Asking: $1,200,000
Great central location close to the airport, downtown & UBC.

2047 W 14TH AV– Original: $1,180,000 | Asking: $1,080,000
Strata with 3 legal suites.

4599 W 5TH AV– Original: $2,150,000 | Asking: $1,850,000
Here you have a hot tub, mini bar & a sound system. Come see!

7529 OAK ST– Original: $998,000 | Asking: $899,000
The house is livable and in good condition.

1025 W 43RD AV– Original: $1,798,000 | Asking: $1,688,000
“Priced to sell.”

1593 W 64TH AV– Original: $749,900 | Asking: $699,900
close to all amenities.

209 W 64TH AV– Original: $850,000 | Asking: $798,000
“Close to school, bus, shopping, airport!

3760 W 17TH ST– Original: $839,000 | Asking: $775,000
Small Cute Bungalow in need of your decorating ideas.