Realtor lists decades-old West End condo at $995,983 for one bedroom unit (508 sq ft): Policy-induced land speculation?

Robert Moore listing imageHow 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?

Grandview-Woodland and other neighbourhoods should beware the dynamics here. A new community plan with huge increases in density can drive spectacular levels of land speculation.

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.

See “Real Estate Boom Projected For Vancouver’s West End: A new community plan unlocks value—and development potential —in one of Vancouver’s most storied (and storeyed) neighbourhoods (Margo Harper, Business in Vancouver, June 17, 2014).
http://www.bcbusiness.ca/real-estate/real-estate-boom-projected-for-vancouvers-west-end
Their are unconfirmed rumours that predatory developers, primarily one that starts with a “W,” have been chasing owners in this building and its vicinity for weeks. Realtors are reportedly approaching strata unit owners aggressively encouraging them to list their units.

1040 Pacific Street location, credit Google Maps, July 2016Besides 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.

But imagine the disruption for the community, and for long-time or even recently new residents who just want to stay put and live where they are.
*****************
 Listing, as of 21-Jul-2016
603 – 1040 PACIFIC Street Vancouver V6E 4C1 :
West End VW
$995,983
Prop. Type: Residential Attached
MLS® Num: R2085820
Status:Active
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms:1
Year Built:1982
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. Potentials are endless and it’s one of the very last parcels left with ocean view potentials still adjacent to the Burrard corridor. RENTALS ARE ALLOWED so BUY NOW to HOLD and RENT AND RE-ZONE LATER or HOLD AND SELL to DEVELOPER down the road. Priced based on Land Value potential, unlike just any condo downtown, perfect for those sophisticated investors w/ good calculation skills or those with a desire to rezone and thrive and still have a piece of the City’s Ocean Corridor! call agent for more details!
General Info:
Property Type:Residential Attached
Dwelling Type:Apartment/CondoHome
Style:Get info
Year built:1982 (Age: 34)
Total area: 508 sq. ft.
***********
Here is another story about realtors apparently getting upon the bandwagon, fanning the flames of speculation.
RELATED READING – Strata Property Act
Lower Mainland condo owners selling whole buildings to developers (by Frances Bula in The Globe and Mail, 26-Feb-2016)
Change to Strata Property Act paving the way for old condo buyouts (Global TV, Justin McElroy, 13-Dec-2016)

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