May 2005 18

Musings from the Marketplace

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To quote 19th century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli: There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics. We have this week been bombarded with statistics. RE/MAX released a report reviewing the increase in prices and unit sales in various parts of Canada comparing 1995 stats and 2005 stats. Vancouver with an average sale price of $395,390 is the most expensive housing market in Canada. According to the report Vancouver prices rose only 19.1% in the past 10 years, however, they did not mention that 1995 was a high point in the past 10 years and that in 1996-2001 prices in Vancouver were lower due to economic and social pressures.

In the later 1990s BC was in the heyday of the NDP government and the business sector of the economy had contracted. Also there was a change in net immigration. In that period BC was losing population to Alberta and Ontario. Also the surge of immigration from Hong Kong that resulted after Expo 86 and the fears of China's takeover of the British Colony reversed direction. In many cases Canadian citizenship had been acquired and with the dip in the BC economy and the assurances of China's hands off policy there was security to be found and money to be made in returning home.

In 2001 with a change of government, a rising trade with China, increased immigration from Asia, the rest of Canada and the world, BC became an economic leader again with ensuing pressure on housing prices across the province but particularly in Vancouver. According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver the average sale price for a detached house in Vancouver in the first quarter of 2005 is $563,908 so even the vaunted average price is a statistic!

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