There are 43 homes on East Broadway between Nanaimo and Rupert Street currently for sale for well over their assessed value – some as high as $3.4 million for a 33-foot lot.
It’s all because a group of residents are trying to put together a land assembly deal.
“The realtor told me I could get $3.4 million,” Rose Bautista, one of the homeowners, said. Her home is listed at over $2 million above its assessed value.
Another homeowner, Barbara Alexandris, has owned her home for 30 years but says if the right offer came she would sell.
“I love the house… But you get me good money and I’ll help my kids and sell the house,” Alexandris said.
But Michael Geller, a Vancouver planner and architect, says there is no way a developer could build affordable rental housing – what Vancouver so desperately needs – with a land value that high.
“Just the cost of the land alone for a one-bedroom apartment would be $200,000, then you add in the cost of construction.”
He says no developer interested in creating affordable housing would be interested in buying these properties.
“These are 33-foot lots in this location, and people are trying to sell them for more than 33-foot lots in Dunbar, one of the best neighbourhoods in Canada,” Geller said.
More importantly, the area is only zoned for building rental housing or ownership condominiums priced at 20 per cent below market value.
“So far to the best of my knowledge, no one has built condominiums at 20 per cent below market value.”
Geller believes the realtors are trying to target a foreign buyer who is looking for land to develop and may not be familiar with the city policies.
“The realtors are encouraging the owners to band together, offer their properties for sale, and then they’re hoping to find some buyer who isn’t as familiar with the economics of developing in Vancouver who will buy these properties and hold them, hoping that some time in the future there will be a zoning change where they’ll be able to do something else with the properties,” Geller said.
He calls anyone who would pay these prices for the homes on East Broadway “a fool”, but even if someone does snap them up, Geller says there won’t be any development on this stretch of East Broadway for several years because of zoning.
–With files from Kristen Robinson