I am trying to buy a house, on a property, on the west side of Vancouver. In most places when people think about ‘buying a house’ they dream about the home they are going to live in. If one’s budget is small, one might dream about a pretty little bungalow on a small lot, with a back patio, and kitchen garden. An individual with a larger budget may conjure up images of a smart fifties modern house, with a flat roof and large windows, or a stately symmetrical Edwardian, with cross hall dining and living rooms. One envisions the entrance, the staircase, and what kind of renovation the kitchen and bathrooms will need. Is the dining room big enough for holiday dinners? Is there a deck for summer parties? How is the light in the back yard? What kind of garden can be grown?
The average middle income individual, or couple, in Vancouver who is thinking about buying a home surely starts out with these same dreams of the house that will be just right for them. When I told my girlfriend in Saskatoon that we were looking for a home in Vancouver she asked, “Have you got the feeling yet?” In repsonse to my puzzled expression, she went on, “Have you walked into the house that you knew was the one for you, the moment you crossed the threshold?” I stared in disbelief. I had already been in dozens of homes and looked at hundreds online. I hadn’t got that feeling yet, and I knew why. Sadly, and very shamefully, I knew that the only houses on the west side of Vancouver that could make me feel that way were probably selling for $3,888,000 or more.
In Vancouver, on the west side, the dream of buying one’s own perfect home, small or large, is quickly dashed, and smashed, and torn to bits. Unless one has a huge bank account, one probably won’t be purchasing much of a house, a home, or a property. For a couple million dollars one can find a small, rundown house on an unpretentious 40-50 foot lot, in a modest area of the city. If the price is less than $2.6 million the house is probably not worth keeping and the property is most likely being sold as a building lot. Within a few months of the sale, the small and tired old house on the lot will be gone, and within a year, or so, a brand new, up-to-date, twin peaked stucco, or shingled, 3700-4700 sq ft house, with a high ceiling basement, a gorgeous kitchen, and many lovely bathrooms will be on the market in it’s place. Now it will be listed on the Vancouver MLS for $3.8 – $4.8 million. A 33 foot lot provides a slightly more affordable option, with lot prices of $1.3-$1.8 million, and a 2700-2900 sq ft new home price in the $2.8-$3.3 million range.
This web-site is about what I’ve learned about Vancouver house and property values, and the Vancouver west side real estate market, while searching for a new home on the west side of Vancouver. What I’ve really learned is that land in Vancouver is valuable, and that people want a home that reflects the value of the property it sits on. All over Vancouver, small and tired, or large and outdated homes are being torn down to build larger, more modern homes that better match the price of the land under them.