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We hope and pray that this Spring edition of Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Limited’s (Fifth Avenue), The Fifth Dimension, finds you and yours in good health. The tone and message of this edition has been unexpectedly shaped by the global pandemic we are experiencing. Thankfully our staff is healthy, while some do have extended family members in recovery. Thus, the personal experiences made this hit closer to home even more.
It is debatable if the unprecedented circumstances of 2020 could have been foreseen. Regardless a swan of some sort is right before us. That being said, we have spoken numerous of times over the years about the under lying strength of the Metro Vancouver new multifamily market and that it would take such a “Swan”, predictable or unpredictable external crisis /global crisis to de-rail it.
At the conclusion of last year we projected 10,000 to 11,000 sales for 2020. This would have been a 25+ percent increase from last year. We stated, “If this were probable the year will need to be lead off with 2,500 to 3,000 units sold in the First Quarter”. We were on track for that and then COVID-19 and terms like “outbreak”, “social distancing”, “physical distancing”, etc. became part of our daily lexicon. Meanwhile unsung heroes emerged such as calming influences like Dr. Bonnie Henry and the countless first responders and front line essential service workers who press on to get us through this to whatever is next.
We were also quoted at that time as saying “…there are likely to be ups and downs in 2020. It seems many things in life in the 2020s are simply going to be more volatile.” That seems more prophetic now than imagined or intended so we threw out all our past projections for 2020. Regardless, I for one, will not bet against the strength of the underlying fundamentals of this market area. This market rebounded from 2008 faster than nearly any other major world market. Of course, this is not 2008, it is has far broader implications. Regardless, while fully and personally aware of the profound socio-economic havoc this has created for all – and for many who will need help long after this passes – I choose to remain hopeful about the future.
Looking ahead, from an impersonal perspective, one could purport that we are metaphorically in a childhood game of snakes and ladders. The advance up the board in late 2019 and early 2020 has been severely thwarted by a sudden downward slide. In my estimation, after a Second Quarter that will likely deliver just a third of the number of sales otherwise projected signs of meaningful absorption recovery in the Third and Fourth Quarter of 2020 can be foreseen. Of course; this view is tempered by what actually conspires in terms of a) relaxation of certain policies with respect to non-essential businesses and social gatherings and b) the avoidance of viral rebound this Fall. Time will tell; time will heal and re-store.
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