Andreas Nystrom


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We all know that buying a house in Vancouver can be expensive but do we really know how expensive it can be compared to other places in the world such as Beverly Hills or France?


For $4.899 million you could buy a tear down house in a fantastic location in Vancouver BC or you could buy a massive Mediterranean mansion in Beverly Hills. Caught your attention yet?


Pricey Pads pointed out this shocking comparison earlier this year, and it only continues to prove that people living in Vancouver can be wealthy with real estate but truly cash poor.


This house is listed in West Vancouver, 20th Avenue, Vancouver for $4.899 million:




This 3,300 square foot, 2-storey house was built in 1949 with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms on a 0.29 acre lot, and looks to be a tear down due to its age and the more than likelihood for developers to build a newer and better house on the land instead.



For $4.7 million on 13810 Bulholland Drive, Beverly Hills, California you could own this Mediterranean mansion for $199,000 less than the Vancouver house! This mansion has 15,000 of square feet floor space and was built in 1993 on a 0.46 acre lot. It contains a total of 7 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, and large outdoor and resort style grounds perfect for any Beverly Hills party.


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A house was listed in Shaughnessy on February 5 for $5.99 million and had 10 prospective buyers all bidding at once, but it didn’t end there. The house was later sold on February 17 for $8.01 million only 12 days after it was originally listed. That’s a total of $2.9 million more than requested.


This three-storey Tudor mansion located on 1383 West 32nd Avenue in Shaughnessy was built in 1937 and is a magnificent older house with a total of 4,410 square footage, and sitting on a 16,502 square foot lot. It contains four bedrooms, three bathrooms, an elevator, kitchen, recreational room, private patio, and secluded swimming pool and garden.


In the city the demand for detached dwellings has increased greatly over the last few years while the supply has dwindled. Also this spring a 2,154 square foot house in the Main Street and King Edward Avenue area of Vancouver was sold for almost $1.6 million. A total of $567,260 over the originally asking price.


In a recent House Price Survey found that the prices for a two-storey detached home in Vancouver has increased by 10.6 percent over the last year to the price of $1.267 million.


What where all wondering now is how long will this housing price spike last?


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New housing is being installed in Eastside Vancouver but this type of housing hasn’t been seen there before.  Instead of brand new condos or small new houses we now see shipping containers being recycled in to three story housing units for lower income communities across Canada.


These houses are feared to be cold and uncomfortable to live in but this is far from the truth.  These houses are built from 12 containers made in three story buildings and finished inside and out to look and feel like any normal house.  With a private bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, in-suite washer and dryer these ocean homes are ones to treasure.  As said by Marnie Crassweller a resident of one of these new housing units, “I find it to be a beautiful suite.” 


These housing units only take 12 of the millions of decommissioned containers that are discarded after 5-10 years of shipping life.  Such a model could provide thousands of people a place to live comfortably while also recycling resources we already have. 


Janice Abbott, a CEO of Atira Property Management Inc., a social housing agency describes building with the containers to be similar to “building with Lego blocks.”  It’s a fast, economical and green way to build homes as Janice Abbott says that they use the containers as “exoskeletons or substructures.”  Then the houses are finished to be stylish and affordable.


This project in Vancouver was finished in 2013 and is to be Canada’s first approach at recycling old shipping containers in to houses that are needed all across Canada in lower income locations such as in British Columbia, Alberta and Nunavut.  More housing units are planned to be built in Eastside Vancouver as the first houses were so successful.


Not everyone is as exuberant as some at the prospect of this type of housing though.  A civic issues expert and former Vancouver councilor Gordon Price, who now directs the City Program at Simon Fraser University seems apprehensive that building houses using containers will save as much money as thought.  He states that “it’s certainly not a revolutionary solution,” as one such problem is still the cost of land.


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Everyone knows that there are vacant homes everywhere, but in such a demanding real estate marketing like Vancouver it's hard to imagine homes lying vacant and in disrepair.


Foreign owners were mostly blamed for these homes. Many suspect that they have been purchased and left to gain property value over time part of a real estate investment strategy.


Many have cried out to crack down on this type of investment strategy but as the City of Vancouver is learning quickly, the problem does not lie within their control.


The larger issue is quite complex and involves foreign ownership policies that require provincial or federal action. The City cannot control foreign ownership or investment. 


There are at least 10 main reasons why homes sit empty today:

  1. Development Application
  2. Property is been sold or rented
  3. Property is empty for renovations
  4. Property Flipping
  5. Domestic Investment Property
  6. International Investment Property
  7. Probate
  8. Hoteling
  9. Sabbatical/Snowbirds
  10. Medical Care
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