A Vancouver View Property: Dreams crushed

What on earth could be more desirable than a Vancouver view property?  I have lain in bed many starry nights, and many, many cloudy nights dreaming about a modern glass house, on a cliff in Point Grey, with a view over Vancouver’s English Bay and the North Shore Mountains.  Oh, bittersweet dreams, a view lot in Vancouver is not within my financial means.

It all started after I lost my first dream home of a 1910 mansion on a huge grassy, flat, tree-lined property in south west Kerrisdale.  I had just started my house search again when I saw a beautiful white home with an incredible spiral staircase that wound up through four levels of cliff side home.  The house was on a 33 x 167 foot property, on the high side of the street, in the 3800 block of  West 3rd Avenue.  It had incredible, close up, ocean views from every level.  It had been on the market for 175 days, and, oh my gosh, it was in my price range!  Where had I been?  I lay in bed, half awake, dreaming about that house all night long.  Next day… dreams gone.  My husband called to inform me that the house was sold, with subjects.  The realtor would call us if the subjects weren’t removed.  We called her back three days later.  Deal done.

So now the search for a view property began in earnest. Vancouver  is actually quite a hilly city.  There are two major view districts and several minor view areas.  The premier view region in Vancouver is the Point Grey area along 2nd and 3rd Avenues in the 4500 and 4600 blocks .  Properties and houses here are very pricey.  The lots are long and narrow, typically 33x 167 feet, running north/south. The views of English Bay, downtown Vancouver, and the north shore mountains are spectacular and breathtaking.  A view lot, with a teardown house, sells for approximately $4 million.  A lot with a well kept house dated anywhere from the 80′s to the early 2000′s lists for $5-6 million.  A brand new, deluxe, view house lists for $7-8 million.

The second major view area in Vancouver is MacKenzie Heights.  There are two long streets, Puget Drive and Quesnel Drive, that run northwest along a cliff edge from West 33rd Avenue to West 16th Avenue.  Homes  perched along the cliff edges of Quesnel and Puget  have amazing “city lights” views across the valley of the whole west side of Vancouver.  At night the vista out of one’s window is a sparkling sea of street lights, house lights, and the lights of the towers of Vancouver’s West End and Yaletown, all crowned by the glowing lights of the gondolas on Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour Mountains.

We missed the first two view properties we were interested in but my husband soon found another one.  The house was a teardown; but we could possibly afford to build on the site.  I, foolishly, didn’t hop out of bed and go look at it right away.  Three days later it was sold for $2.84 million.   After that we went knocking on doors on the street we wanted to buy on.  We found a few prospects but we weren’t persistent enough.  The elderly owner of one fabulous property sold to another buyer in a private sale for $2.85 million.  (see teardown #3, Mr Clapham’s house).  We still had hope.  We even held off bidding on two other building lots that we liked because of our dreams of purchasing a view lot.  We had plans for a ‘Belle Epoque’ house on the cliff edge, with an elevator, for the days when we were two old to climb the stairs to our bedroom.

On January 3, 2012  the new Vancouver property tax assessments were released.  Oh, great sadness. All the lots that we had entertained foolish hopes of purchasing  were now assessed at a million dollars more than the year before.  And, sure enough,  Mr. Clapham’s $2.85 million home that sold in the first week of January 2012 was re-listed for $3.95 million at the end of March and sold for $3.59 million in the first week of April.

My dreams of a cliff-side view lot crushed, I am now looking for a lot on the flats by the beach!