When I started this blog, I was interested in individual properties - namely 2 bedroom 2 bathroom condos priced under $250,000 and 3 bedroom 2 bath (minimum) single family homes with suites priced under $425,000. I'd chart sales, listings and watch individual properties. Units sold quickly, usually under 30 days, and usually sold for close to asking price, sometimes more, sometimes less, but usually not too surprising.
As time went on and it became clear to my wife and I that we'd be waiting and not buying in this market at that time, my market tracking morphed from individual neighbourhoods and unit-types to a more market-wide approach. I think there's some validity now that the market has turned and is headed down to start tracking individual property types in individual neighbourhoods. We're still not buying anytime soon, but I think we need to more closely watch what a three or four bed two or three bath house in Gordon Head (or insert your neighbourhood here etc) is priced at and sold at for the remainder of this year if we're to get a better understanding of the market shifts.
If we're going to do this right (and one of the reasons why I picked the Gordon Head neighbourhood to profile) we'll need to have a decent sample size of similar product. Back when it was a new neighbourhood, many Victorians would have said Gordon Head was "cookie cutter." We now call them Gordon Head Boxes. The houses aren't really the same, but they're similar enough that we can get a good sampling for our market tracking exercise.
Take this listing for example: MLS® number 282024. It's a standard 4 bed 3 bath Gordon Head Box without a suite, likely why it's priced ($568K) below the neighbourhood average. It's likely slightly bigger than it's competition at 2300 square feet, but a few hundred square feet can easily be eaten up in poor layout, so I won't be too quick to judge this one without having stepped inside it. It's been on the market for 18 days and hasn't had a price reduction or accepted offer yet.
Here's another example: MLS® number 279093. Again we have a 4 bed 3 bath Gordon Head Box, doesn't have a suite, is a few hundred square feet smaller than it's competition but has the same 7000ish square foot lot. It's priced at $599,000 today, but it was originally priced at $629,000 and has been on the market for 79 days.
Both of these homes are priced above assessment, but within eight to ten per cent. It will be interesting to see if they sell, what they sell for, or when the owners decide to not sell and take them off the market.
Here's one just like those two that sold recently: MLS® number 279899. After 30 days on the market and one price reduction, this property, not too unlike the above examples, originally listed for $585,000 sold for $560,000, almost 11% over the BC Assessment value. For this neighbourhood and this property type in today's market conditions, this one sold fast and for agent's-commission-close-to-asking. If I were the old owners of this house, I'd be happy with the deal I got.
Here's another relative comparison with an entirely different outcome: Originally listed at $590,000, MLS® number 279060 took one drastic price reduction to $550,000 and 55 days on the market to finally sell at $533,500, 10% below original list and about 1.3% below assessed value. It's bigger than any of the other houses in our comparison and it has a two-bedroom suite. I chose to highlight this one because it's the polar opposite of the previous sale and I think it's a good indicator of many sales to come for this property type in this neighbourhood.
So what do you think? Can we glean any market tracking insights by comparing similar properties within the same neighbourhood? Can we use this kind of analysis to better judge market conditions or is this isolated sub-set just too small to get a true sense of market activity and value?