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No Olympic gold in sight for real-estate speculators


Blog by The Schacter Team | September 2nd, 2009


 

Next year's Olympics won't cause the real-estate market to dramatically rise or fall, but B.C. will see a gradual total increase in house sales of six per cent in 2010, according to one real-estate company.

The recent uptick in the real-estate market -- housing sales have doubled in some B.C. regions -- has less to do with the coming Olympics than with pent-up demand from the downturn, coupled with low interest rates, said realtor John Geha, president of Coldwell Banker.

"We can't put too much emphasis on that [the Olympics causing a surge in real estate]," he said.

He said the Games is a chance to showcase the province to the world as a clean, safe, friendly, uncrowded place close to the mountains and the ocean, with relatively stable prices, but he said it won't help those hoping to flip properties.

"We can use it [the Olympics] as a marketing tool," he said. "It's not a rush to make a quick profit."

He said this year's increase in sales, which have kept prices from falling more than one per cent year-to-date, is due to twenty-something first-timers buying in, as well as 35- to 45-year-olds who held off during the last boom.

And offshore investors are eyeing B.C., said Geha. "There is still a lot of money coming in from the U.S., the Pacific Rim and Europe," he said. "We're opening up a new office that will be mainly Chinese because of the tremendous amount of interest coming from China."

Geha dismissed a suggestion last week from analysts, including senior economist Michael Gregory of BMO Capital Markets, that the market will cool once the pent-up demand is filled, especially without job growth.

Geha, on a cross-country media trip, said the news stories can influence the market."We're not saying everything's rosy, but we are happy with the way the marketing is performing," he said.

slazaruk@theprovince.com

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