Out of Touch Politicians and Vancouver Demolition Disincentives

According to Vancouver Councilor Heather Deal, adding $4,800 to the cost of demolishing a house in Vancouver may slow the high rate of homes being demolished to make way for new construction. This was reported by CBC News in an article on June 5, 2014:

Knocking down a small home with a backhoe costs as little as $12,000, and the deconstruction ban could increase the cost by at least 40 per cent, she says. Coun. Deal says part of the aim is to make people think twice about knocking down an older home simply to replace it. “It’s the sort of thing people should budget for if they choose to disregard the value inherent in that building,” says Deal.

If anyone thinks that that this nominal extra cost will deter owner-occupiers and developers from “deconstructing” pre-1940 homes and building new than they are not familiar with the Vancouver real estate market reality. If developers stand to make tens or hundreds of thousands, what difference will this really make?

House being deconstructed

The good news is that more materials would be diverted from the landfill and either recycled or reused if this motion gets passed by council. I would go a step further and levy a fee on property owners who demolish houses that are still viable and use that revenue generated for affordable housing projects. I know, not very likely to happen.

Rize Alliance Development – Public Hearing for Mount Pleasant Tower Proposal

Figure A shows a rendering submitted by the developer. Figure B shows the virtual model created by the City. Figure C shows a rendering created by RAMP. Image courtesy of Openfile.ca

One of the most divisive proposed developments in Vancouver in a long time is currently being considered by Vancouver city council. The Rize Alliance Properties development at Kingsway and Broadway promises to radically change the area where Kingsway, Main and Broadway meet. An article from BC Business is in support of this development and offers some insight into the issues. The original development proposal was more aggressive at 26 stories but has since been scaled back to 19 stories following public opposition. Notice in the renderings above how the building height differs depending on which party it was created by and their particular interest. The rendering closest to reality is likely the one created by the City.

It seems to me that this location is an ideal place to increase density since it’s well-located close to public transportation along the Broadway corridor and is a walk or quick bus ride to two Skytrain lines. The anti-development types are unlikely to be satisfied with any proposal put forward but many Mount Pleasant residents are watching this one closely to see what the City will allow.

I welcome any questions you may have about selling or buying.
Feel free to comment here or contact me directly.

Building permits way up in Vancouver

This just in: Canada-wide building permits are up but Vancouver seems to be the only bright spot for housing starts in BC. This explains why every block in this city seems to have several construction projects underway. Developers are clearly not anticipating any slowdown in the Vancouver market for new homes.

How to Improve Housing Options in Metro Vancouver

First post of 2012 so it seems fitting to start with a list of ideas on how to increase housing options. This article appeared recently in the Vancouver Sun and the writer makes a number of useful, if perhaps optimistic, suggestions on how home ownership might be made more attainable in Metro Vancouver.

The simplest suggestion mentioned to implement would be encouraging and allowing higher density (innovative design and more compact units). This would increase opportunities for people to remain in urban areas without breaking the bank. The main hurdle here seems to be nearby neighbors who fear their property values will fall as a result of additional density being built close by.

Another idea presented relates to having municipalities reduce the charges and fees (development cost charges) they assess for granting building permits as this is a major cost. One would hope that savings here would trickle down to property buyers.

Finally, higher density developments should first be considered near good public transit and the requirements for minimum number of parking spaces per property should be abandoned in some instances.

So that’s the wish list. Do I think any of these are likely to happen any time soon? No, but dreams are healthy.

I welcome any questions you may have about selling or buying.
Feel free to comment here or contact me directly.

The Condo Walk-through – Deficiency Hunting

I recently accompanied a client on their substantially completed new construction condo walk-through. This took place about two weeks before the buyer was to take possession of the new two bedroom condo in the Fraser area of Vancouver. Now I consider attending these inspections a part of my job as a full service REALTOR® but this one was scheduled for 7AM! This is not known as peak performance timing for most REALTORS®.

Nevertheless, I made my way to the building on time to meet my client and we then proceeded to wait for the developer’s representative who ended up being about 10 minutes late. On these outings I use a detailed checklist of potential problems to look for (see image for a sample).

These usually go pretty smoothly and this one was no exception except for some minor surprises. The best part of this inspection was when the developer’s representative opened the door to the laundry area and it was empty. The washer and dryer that were to be included as per the buyer’s contract were nowhere to be found.

Make sure your REALTOR® attends the walk-through inspection with you so they can provide expertise on what to be on the lookout for and to fully protect your interests.

I welcome any questions you may have about selling or buying.
Feel free to comment here or contact me directly.