experts: real estate column Thursday, June 22, 2000


Rather than trotting off to Calgary and buying at the peak of the market take another look downtown.

By Ozzie Jurock

To subscribers to Jurock’s Real Estate Investor we wrote in February 1999 and the following months, that we felt that ‘resale’ units in downtown were great value.

Thus units (say at around 800 sq. feet on Howe Street), that previously (in 1993-1995) sold for as high as $165,000 plus GST, were selling in resale as low as $130,000. Other units (on Seymour) sold for as low as $115,000. Even, larger units that had brought over $300,000 were re-selling as low as $200,000. We simply thought it was prudent to “Make the most money on the day you buy...”. Today, there is almost nothing available under $160,000 (yes, we’re in the money!)

Now, if that is true last year, it even is more true today. Currently construction downtown runs at some 50% behind previous year’s highs. (Comparing to some previous year’s starts we are as much as 75% off!) With more people interested in buying, the “downtown glut” is really an illusion. Give it 9 months and it will become apparent to everybody.

Yes, generally we prefer single family homes as an investment, but in Vancouver where 50% of the market consists of condominium sales, the market is much deeper as in say Edmonton, where only 15% of sales take place in the condo sector and thus - more people trading means prices will rise. They'll rise for a number of reasons:
a) Not much new product coming in
b) World class downtown with fabulous walks through to the Creek (when everything is finished on the Concord site)
c) More people wanting to live downtown
d) More condo living than at any time in the past
e) Lifestyle
f) Prices at 7 year lows.

So, rather than trotting off to Calgary and buying at the peak of the market take another look downtown. Particularly, look at units in the resale sector in the Yaletown, downtown (Hornby North), Pacific Boulevard with easy walking distance to the water. Oh, and DO read those Strata council minutes! Oh, and do not buy over the garage, beside the elevator, under or over a health club and do read the section on How to buy a condo on Your Member’s Only section.

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