North Vancouver Housing Market on Fire

(February 04, 2015 , posted in North Vancouver)

North Vancouver has been on the radar for many Buyers and Investors for quite some time now. It doesn't  take an expert to recognize that as you drive through the streets of our neighbourhoods, old houses are coming down and new ones are going up.  But what is interesting right now is that those old houses are selling for more than they ever have. 

The median price of a single family home in North Vancouver shot up to $1,042,600 by the end of last year. That’s almost a 10-per-cent increase in one year and a 21-per-cent increase in five years, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. 

It may be still be Winter, but Buyers are out in full force. House that are priced well are selling very fast. Many of the Realtors I have spoken with over the past few weeks are amazed by this activity, but I feel we have been on the brink of this swell for quite some time. 

The condo development in the lower and central Lonsdale areas has caused quite an influx of people, businesses, restaurants and shops over the past few years. People are realizing that North Vancouver is not an island remote from city life. North Vancouver is perfectly situated to live an incredible lifestyle whether you work in downtown Vancouver, Burnaby, the Tri-Cities or on the shore itself.  The highway is easily accessible from Lynn Valley, Upper Lonsdale, Edgemont, Capilano and many other popular detached home neighbourhoods. Good transit, great schools, cozy villages, plenty of parks and proximity to hiking trails and skiing make North Vancouver ideal for those living an active family lifestyle. 

The hot spot is Lynn Valley, where old houses on big lots are being snapped up over asking. This month, a house at 3035 Chaucer Ave. was listed for $975,000 and sold for $1.06-million. The 47-year-old, 2,100-square-foot house with a gazebo, mature trees and mountain view sits on a 57-by-167-foot lot. A house at 1836 Burrill Ave. was listed at $788,000 and sold this week for $850,000. The 2,030-square-foot house sits in a quiet cul-de-sac on a 33-by-120-foot lot. The same day both of these houses were listed, my phone rang non-stop from clients asking me what I thought these properties would sell for. The demand is high and the inventory is there but limited on the low end of the market. In general, inventory is low in North Vancouver, which is why good houses are going for over asking.

A large part of the hopping North Vancouver market appears to be driven by Vancouverites who’ve been priced out of the trendy east side and who've come to see the many benefits of the north shore. The benchmark price of a Greater Vancouver house reached a record high of $1,002,200 this month, as reported by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. (The benchmark price is an average that excludes the high-end luxury market.) It means a shack on a lot that’s 25 feet wide on the city’s east side can command more than $1-million. Meanwhile, North Vancouver has the trees, the mountains, the trails, and the walkability and livability factor that makes for great neighbourhoods and healthy lifestyle. The one downside for commuters are the bridges, which at times are often congested, but sea bus access to downtown makes a great alternative to sitting in bridge traffic. 

Ultimately, whenever you are buying real estate, there are always going to be compromises that have to be made. While bridge traffic isn't ideal, there are ways to get creative and if you can adopt irregular work hours or work from home part-time, which I see a lot of on the north shore, it makes commuting way less of a hurdle to overcome. When there is no traffic (which is honestly most of the day before and after rush hours), I can get from my home in North Van to East Van in 10 minutes, Downtown in 15 and over to the Westside in 25 minutes. 

In some ways the market has flipped around in the past several years. It used to be that North Vancouver was more expensive than the east side, so young families would go east. Parts of East Vancouver gentrified and neighbourhoods have become highly attractive for people who want walkable urban living, with boutique shops and restaurants but of course, prices shot up as demand in those areas rose. Now, as North Vancouver has evolved its community plan to include similar walkability with village development and transit expansion, it is the draw because if you want a house with a yard on a quiet street, it is, for the time being, more bang for your buck.

None of this surprises any of us who live here but it's always great to bring someone through a listing in North Vancouver who has been house shopping elsewhere and see their reactions. Especially if there is one of the many outstanding city and / or mountain views on the property. 

North Vancouver offers a huge variety of property type and lot size that vary extensively from area to area. The options are very exciting for growing families, young couples and Investors and while Lynn Valley is a hot spot for old houses on large lots, Edgemont is stimulated by the high-end market where a house that may have sold for $800,000 in 2011, is now selling for $1.4M+++.  Builders have been active for the past several years snapping up the large lots with old houses in the Edgemont area and now we are seeing the luxury homes that were built and coming back onto the market are commanding a whole lot more. 

But deals are still available and can be found. There is a lot more to North Vancouver than we usually hear about and the secret is getting out...

 Either way, if you live in North Vancouver and are thinking of selling, now is a great time to do so as with anything, we never know how long a hot trend like this will last. While I don't foresee an end to this hot market for all the reasons listed above, other factors that influence our economy and housing market can take effect at any time and slow thing right down again. Please get in touch if you would like to sell or simply if you are curious and would like to know the current value of your home:

Alternatively, if you are looking at moving to North Vancouver and want to get into the market, please give me a call to discuss your many options. North Vancouver is my home and without a doubt, an excellent investment for any portfolio at this time. An unparalleled lifestyle and a bright future make North Van an outstanding place to call home!