Saturday, October 7, 2017

Is the bubble bursting?

I loved this old-style house on the corner of my block, and was devastated when it was sold more than a year ago. Price tag: $3.3 million. All photos by John Denniston.

It suffered the usual fate, and neighbours suffered through months of demolition and construction noise.

The final product, which has a cold feeling to me, may have come on the market at the wrong time. Price tag:  $7.1 million

I won’t pretend to be unbiased about the house at the end of my block. It was an English-style cottage with leaded glass windows, a white picket fence, a cozy garage and a pretty garden. When it was sold more than a year ago, it was torn down, as most such houses are in Vancouver these days.

 Now, after many months of excavating, hammering, sawing, concrete-pouring and paving, it is a high modern rectangle that shuns the street with unfriendly windows, a high fence instead of greenery and a big three-car garage that looms over the alley.

When I learned it was for sale for $7.1 million, I was stunned. The original property sold for $3.3 million, so if the builder gets anywhere near asking, what a windfall!

On Friday, The Vancouver Sun’s Douglas Todd, who watches the property chaos in Vancouver with an eagle eye, wrote that Mainland China’s current crackdown on the money that’s been pouring out of the country – much of it into foreign real estate -- is starting to affect Vancouver prices. Especially in areas like mine that have been particularly attractive to Mainland Chinese buyers.

So that $7.1 million price tag for the unfriendly new house on the corner may be a trifle optimistic. If it is, I can’t say I’ll be sorry.

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