1930s ‘knockdown’ listed for $2.4-million typical in Vancouver’s pricey housing market

It’s missing a few shingles, the bathroom wall shows some rot and it needs a paint job, but a tiny home in a tony Vancouver neighbourhood has been listed for nearly $2.4-million – a price experts say sums up the state of the city’s housing market.

The new listing by the Kavanagh Group features photographs of the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house built in 1930.

The description posted online Thursday lauds a mid-block home in the Point Grey neighbourhood, with a mountain view on a cherry-blossom tree-lined street. The lot is about 10 metres wide.

But a veteran real estate agent not connected with the listing called it a “knockdown.”

“It’s not unusual, that price point, for its lot value. Whether the home was 40 years or 80 years old, doesn’t really matter,” said Ken Wyder, with Remax Select Properties, who has sold homes in the area for 15 years.

“The house is incidental. It’s a small part of the equation.”

The listing agents said they were hired to market and sell the property, and would not be giving interviews.

Housing affordability has been a hot-button issue in Vancouver and the surrounding region in recent years as bidding wars have erupted and property values skyrocketed. The average selling price for a single-family detached house in the City of Vancouver was $2.53-million in November, 2015, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

The scorching conditions prompted British Columbia Premier Christy Clark to hint last week her government will also address housing relief for first-time home buyers when it delivers its budget next month.

Wyder said there are still hundreds of similar homes on the city’s west side, and about 90 per cent of those are selling for property value alone.

The price is typical in the extremely volatile market that is changing weekly, he added.

An open house is planned for next Tuesday. Wyder said when he sold a similar home a couple weeks ago, most offers came without buyers doing anything other than driving by the lot.

“This property will likely bring in multiple offers over $2.5-million.”

Thomas Davidoff, a housing economist at the Sauder School of Business, agreed the public should disregard the run-down home and understand the buyer will be paying for the dirt.

“A home builder knocks down what’s already there and builds a tricked-out luxury mansion and sells it to some rich guy,” said the associate professor to describe the situation.

He cited the low Canadian dollar and said it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize money from overseas may be playing a role in hiking the prices.

Davidoff recently joined a group of real estate experts to propose a 1.5-per-cent tax on vacant residential properties, called the Housing Affordability Fund. Its goal is to generate up to $90-million in surcharges from vacant homeowners.

“The good news is this is a really attractive city, people really want the land here,” he said.

But such prices are beyond the reach of a huge fraction of people who live and work in the city, he said.

The benefits of the housing demand are not being distributed properly, which is why the group has proposed changing the tax code.

The new listing generated buzz and complaints of “crazy” and “insane” on social media on Friday.

“A $2-million bill for a not great house? You see it and you’re like, ‘My god, if that’s what a piece of garbage goes for,“’ Davidoff said. “That’s very dispiriting to people, for sure.”

With a file from Globe staff.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

10 Replies to “1930s ‘knockdown’ listed for $2.4-million typical in Vancouver’s pricey housing market”

  1. The city government is powerless to do anything about this situation. The real power is with the provincial government, but we should not expect much action from them given who they govern for, which is not the regular folks.
    Other jurisdictions around the world have passed regulations to curb similar situations, but not here, too many people are benefiting from this madness, while it last.
    Another question is whether this is dirty money finding refuge in Canada. The banks probably know.
    Another question is whether the immigrant investors program started by the Mulroney government many years ago should be changed or canceled.

  2. its sanchopaco you are indeed absolutely right as to this being a typical size Vancouver lot with a good view. Besides the 2400 sq. foot home, a lane home of over 800 sq feet could also be built with the eventual selling of a new home and lane home in the $3.5 to $3.8 million range.

  3. what is a “tony neighborhood”? a little Italian community? anyways… this is just ridiculous. it’s like the house version of the emperors new clothes.

  4. Time to curb speculation in Vancouver. 2 M$ for what looks like a shack … I don’t think so. And I do not care how nice Vancouver is I for one refuse to be robbed for living there.

  5. B-o-o-t-It is time for us to take some action on foreign owners who (in part) are driving up the cost of housing. Our Country has no obligation to be the “safe haven” for overseas investments.

    The State of Florida taxes foreign owners at a higher rate than residents for this very purpose, and because they don’t pay any income tax to support the Nation’s services it provides.

    So lets get on with it – lets do something to discourage vacant foreign ownership.

  6. What’s also dispiriting, besides the obviously crazy price someone will pay for real estate, is that a sweet little house with some character, fitting the lot proportionally as it was meant to do and in need of some restoration is considered “incidental” to the property, a “knockdown”, “garbage”. I wonder at the values and esthetic sensibilities of some.

  7. In Vancouver we have long since passed the point where the price of a house is at all relevant.It could cost $ 2 million or 20 million, but either way the prices are totally unaffordable for the vast majority of us.It would never have come so far except that it plays into the hands of the provincial and especially the civic governments.

  8. What average working Canadian will ever be able to relocate and live in Vancouver? Will Vancouver ever attract outsiders to police it’s streets, to teach it’s kids, to pick up garbage, to tend to their sick in hospitals? Where will these working people come from if they cannot afford to live in Vancouver? Will these working stiffs live in tents? It’s like an ecological system gone wrong. There will be no biodiversity in this city. The only fresh blood in the workforce will come from rich Chinese home buyers and possibly the children of parents who have owned a home in Vancouver for years and are now Lotto 6/49 winners. As a Chinese city, Vancouver seems fine, but as a Canadian city, I see a future of instability and dysfunction. The current city and provincial leaders are apparently content to do nothing about this. Very shortsighted and cowardly in my view. All Canadians should be outraged. I am resigned to the conclusion that Vancouver, being out of my reach and my children’s reach, is no longer a Canadian city. It is reserved for the 1% ers in Canada and Chinese criminals looking for off-shore security for their ill-gotten wealth. And our politicians are happy to oblige.

  9. Let me ““The good news is this is a really attractive city, people really want the land here,” he said.”

    It’s even worse than that. If the sterile, cold, unemotional land, the 1% offshore elite, desire and covet is bad enough, what they really want is the ability to make a simple unemotional financial transaction to launder in $ millions of cash or gold from suspicious or bribed sources into a solid asset that can be scrubbed and turned into clean US dollars or speculate with and make more untaxed money as non-residents off the gullible easily manipulated Canadians. The elite couldn’t care less about the people, community or heritage of the area they are destroying. If things get tough in Vancouver in the future they’ll simple abandon it and move on to where money can be made easier. It’s just a simple cold financial transaction and nothing more for the wealthy elite. And Canadians want this to form their hollowed out shell of a community?

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