Shawn Brown is one of Vancouvers top performing realtors, having sold over $250 million in real estate. We sat down with him in the Pilot studio to chat outlook, insight and trends. Oh, and some great advice for new realtors coming into the profession.
1. What are your forecasts for the next 6 months, 12 months and 5 years in your area?
I work primarily downtown, or in the areas immediately surrounding downtown.
Currently, there is strong demand, and shortage of supply. Over the next 6 months, I anticipate that this will continue, though spring should bring additional supply. Though, renewed buyer confidence will also spur additional demand at the same time. By year end, I anticipate that the market will have been strong with respect to sales volume - exceeding 10-year-averages. I also anticipate that prices will increase a few percent. My 5 year forecast is that we will see significant appreciation from where we are now.
The key reasons for this are:
1. Population growth. The region is set to see between 30-40,000 new people annually for years to come.
2. We are seeing a record-shattering amount of new triple-A office tower development downtown, which means an increase in new and higher paying jobs.
3. We are also seeing constant improvements to infrastructure and city amenities. Land downtown is most spoken for, so the city will be expanding outward, activating new areas of town.
2. What are some of the most common misconceptions about the real estate market in your area?
That there is a bubble. There isn't.
1. This has been claimed for 2-3 decades and anytime the market slows, the media begins writing about things are plummeting and every time, the cycle is fairly gentle and bounces back fairly soon after.
2) that people's desire for more affordable housing will beat supply & demand. Ultimately, it will not. Supply and demand has, and will continue to, truly govern prices. Because the city is renown and recognized for being one of the most livable cities in the world, it will continue to attract new demand, and the city is not that big, especially the most sought after areas.
3) that spring is the best time to sell. That holds true more so for suburban areas, much less so for metropolitan areas. Specific supply and demand conditions for the property type, area, and price point in question should shed the best light on if now is a good time to sell.
3. What developments are happening in your area that are important for the long term potential?
Most agents who would answer this question in my area would list several residential developments.
My answer is going to be commercial: the most important developments in the works are the modern, triple-A office towers downtown and the new St. Pauls near Chinatown/Strathcona. False Creek Flats as well. Our downtown is so concentrated with residential towers, but we need to increase our average salaries and providing the spaced needed to employ professionals is so key for Vancouver maturing in a sustainable way.
4. What segment of the housing market is most susceptible to government influence and what should buyers watch out for?
We have already seen the answer to this question: the luxury segment. It was targeted by the governments for a few reasons, and it has taken a beating. I do think we should be fine for quite some time to come, though, and that buying these luxury properties now when they have come down in price a lot would be getting actually pretty good value - one a $/sqft basis compared to the entry level stuff - in many cases.
5. What would you prefer potential buyers do in advance of contacting you to begin the home buying process?
Nowadays, I see more and more people who are self-employed or who have jobs where bonuses etc are key to their income. This, combined with ever-tightening financing rules, means financing is so key. Before even looking, getting a firm pre- approval, ie one where all documentation has been submitted and reviewed, is extremely important. Especially given how competitive the market is for good product. Buyers must be well-positioned to act fast, and to be able to submit very strong offers.
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