Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Evolution of a Dunbar house

This old-fashioned house with stained-glass windows, white picket fence and a witch-hazel tree in the corner once occupied the lot at the end of my block. This was what I saw every time I walked up the street to shop on Dunbar.

This was the side view, with its old-time garage, and a garden full of flowers and  greenery. The old man who lived here moved  to a seniors' residence and his house was sold last spring.

This is the excavator at work this fall, demolishing the house and all the greenery except for a holly and laburnum tree in one small section at the front. (Photo by John Denniston)

The lot all flattened and ready for construction.

This is the corner where the witch hazel once stood. It's been replaced by the pole for the power connection during construction. 

The foundation for the new house shows it will likely be the same size or a bit bigger than the new yellow one beside it. 
The B.C. government's 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers of Greater Vancouver real estate is supposed to have slowed down the red-hot market in the city, but there is no evidence of that in the Dunbar area. Here, houses are being snapped up just as fast and demolished as enthusiastically as ever, as far as I can see.

According to a CBC report earlier this month, the number of houses being sold in Greater Vancouver is dropping, as are prices -- a teeny-tiny bit -- since the tax came in last summer. But this applies to the whole region, not specifically my area, which has long been a bulls' eye for foreign buyers.

(The Greater Vancouver Real Estate board said in the CBC report that the number of homes sold in Greater Vancouver in December dropped more than 22 per cent compared to the previous month, and nearly 40 per cent when compared to the previous year. However, crazy-high prices haven't fallen much. The benchmark price of all residential homes dropped 2.2 per cent in the last six months, but prices are still nearly 18 per cent higher than in December 2015.)

In my area, I see new "for sale" and "sold" signs every day, and the demolition crews are as busy as ever. I get a graphic reminder of this every time I walk up my back alley, where the old-time house on the corner has been demolished, along with all its greenery. I miss the witch-hazel that used to scent the whole neighbourhood at this time of year: It has been replaced by a power pole for the new construction.

Two other big new houses already built on our block have featured three-car garages like this. I expect this is what will eventually replace the picket fence and the witch-hazel on the corner lot.
 I passed this house on my walk today -- another old-time place will soon be gone. 

The reason I photographed it is that it has a witch-hazel, now in bloom. No doubt it will disappear just as quickly as the one on my block.

1 comment:

  1. I think you should become the "saviour of witch hazels"...they seem to transplant well. You could find other gardens if you don't have room.