How big of a factor is speculation in Vancouver? To what extent are the City of Vancouver’s community plans, and dramatic increases in density having the perverse effect of destroying housing and affordability?
Here is one current case to examine — a realtor selling a 508 sq ft one-bedroom apartment in 34-year-old 1982 West End strata condo, for the astounding asking price of $995,983, or $1,961 a square foot. The location is near the Burrard Bridge and Vancouver Aquatic Centre.
The listing (see below for link and excerpts) says:
“ATTENTION ALL INVESTORS! BUILDERS! DEVELOPERS! Land Assembly Opportunity for this building, very likely to happen very soon, potential to rezone the site to CD-1 and FSR of 6-8 at the discretion of the city’s director of planning.”
This price can only be justified by the potential for huge profits. In the West End, the Vision-dominated city council unleashed the beasts of speculation when it approved the West End Community Plan in November 2013.
Besides the perverse effect of the West End Plan, another factor at play here may be that recent changes to the provincial Strata Act by the B.C. Liberals have reduced the bar of owner consent to sell an entire strata building. Now only 80% of owners need to approve a sale of the building. This enables predatory developers and speculator to manipulate and tempt just enough owners to get their votes and force the sale of the entire strata building. These dynamics reduce housing security for all strata owners.
In this case, perhaps secret discussions between City and a developer have already reached some kind of agreement in principle on what the City will permit to be built here.
West End VW
Prop. Type: Residential Attached
MLS® Num: R2085820
Year built:1982 (Age: 34)
Total area: 508 sq. ft.