By Ozzie Jurock
This is an expanded version of the article which appeared in The Vancouver Sun on July 28, 2001
A city needs to have vision: Knowing where to place the bricks (and bucks) depends on an intangible: nurturing brains and luring in the bodies.
A developer needs to plan: Knowing what kind of bricks (and how many bucks) and that depends on a specific: What kind of building are the brains attracted to?
To expand a home into an investment - a buyer needs to know where the brains, bodies and bucks are going to keep growing. If seed pearls are to grow, they must also be nurtured in the right waters. And Vancouver has many an Oyster bed to harvest.
Vancouver's condo market took it on the chin, in the last few years - spooking buyers. Yet, of the 13,145 units sold in the first half of 2001 some 46% were condos, some 54% or 7,126 units were detached homes. In stark contract to Calgary and Edmonton, where condo buyers represent only some 19% and 22%. Clearly, the YUPPIES (Young urban pros) and the DINKS (dual income no kids) and the DINS (dual income no sex) crowd in Vancouver likes the condo lifestyle. The brand new OPAL (Older person active lifestyle) is also in there swinging; reversing the ' trend for the out-of-town- with the trend to down-aging into roller blades and treadmill.
While statistics show that in the past the single family home outperformed (in terms of price appreciation) the condo, that trend may well change in the future. The demand in the city for condos will remain strong:
In the last two months we've seen 1 bedroom units sell for as low as $95,000 in Yaletown and bring rents of $1,100 - clearly an investors dream.
And many of the new buildings offer substantial value - in a (hopefully) leak-free environment - when compared to other city centres in canada and elsewhere.
We like Coal Harbour where a number of projects are under development. There is a powerful demand for upscale condos on the water. Some units ARE selling for $450 - $500 per sq. foot.
We like all of West Vancouver (nothing much new coming on). Buildings such as the Edgewater which sold out immediately despite the average price of $1.6 M, and is now drawing resale prices of over $3.0 M!)
We like anything west of Denman as well as south Granville, both areas that have a lot to offer the urban dweller and really have no new land available.
We like all of downtown, which we consider substantially undervalued. We like Yaletown and the overall ambiance of restaurants, shopping nightlife and a high tech work environment.
Developers for the most part are moving away from building smaller units but the demand for them is still there. As a result we should see steady price increases for this market segment.
So, if you follow some basic principles, and you are not drawn to get to the Cariboo where the deer and the Germans roam, downtown may well be the best place for you to grow your pearls.
Things to Remember:
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