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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - From the desk of AMALIA LIAPIS

 About 3 weeks ago I noticed a change in the Vancouver market – things went relatively quiet.

Looking forward into the summer I predict the general market will continue that trend.  What that means is that there will continue to be moderate activity overall.  The properties that are receiving the most amount of attention are homes on the East Side of Vancouver in the $1,000,000 range (and yes this is considered good value). Any property; house, townhome or apartment that is on waterfront (or with a great view) and priced well is getting immediate attention.  Vancouver West homes from $3,000,000 and up are selling steadily.  But it all comes down to price so if the property has any shortcomings then an adjustment in price will be needed to gain a buyers interest.

World activities have had an effect on the real estate markets as well. Recent manufacturing data out of China indicates that the economy is still contracting, however at a slower rate than previously expected.  The political problems in Europe continue to surface as seen in the resignation of the Dutch cabinet over night & the weekend’s French election result. These events together with some weaker economic data saw the European markets tumble & Bond rates rose. The sovereignty risk rose in Greece, Spain & Italy when government control was weakened through political unrest. The Dutch problem arose last week when Fitch said it would put Holland (AAA) on ratings review if the government failed to take action to cut their budget deficit & stop their debt from rising. Now Holland will head to elections, earlier than expected, after 7 weeks of negotiations among the ruling coalition parties on budget cuts of Euro 14billion collapsed on Saturday. The Dutch economy is feeling the pinch including a housing market slump. Sounds familiar. Greece, Ireland & Spain revisited? Italy & Portugal?

Most European countries are living well above their means, especially those with pensions, welfare & unemployment benefits. Those earning incomes don’t want earn less through paying more tax in order to help keep these benefit payments at the same level. Who is going to pay? There is no short term fix & so far the decisions made amount to just kicking a can down the road. The debt remains as long as the will to reduce it to manageable levels falls into the political too hard basket. One step at a time, Europe will unravel. The first step could come from the French as they desert their president Nicolsas Sarkozy for a socialist government who would not cooperate with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in keeping Europe afloat. Sarkozy & Merkel have been the glue to keep the Euro together as most other leaders have only been interested in their own problems.

US reporting season continues & this is going well but not standout unless you are one of the favored Tech companies like Apple & Microsoft. GE & McDonalds were also better than expected. Investors have been disappointed with some of the Banks & some of the guidance given for future quarters. Despite its debt worries, the US market has outperformed the ASX thanks to QE1 & QE2.

Overall it’s the worry about Europe that keeps the US market on its toes. Everybody seems to be watching someone in today’s market & just shows what a small world we live in.