Downtown Vancouver condos command top premium in Canada

Friday, April 30th, 2004



Century 21 looked at what $1 million would buy in major cities. For the Vancouver area it found a two-bedroom condo downtown with a view or an eight-bedroom house in Surrey.

CREDIT: Vancouver Sun files

People in Canada‘s luxury housing market are paying a premium of more than $500 per square foot to live in downtown Vancouver, compared with an average of only $205 among four other major cities, according to a survey released Thursday by Century 21.

In the study, Canadian brokers from the international real estate firm scoured Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton to find the best deals for an executive home in the $1 million range, looking both at exclusive inner-city and suburban locations.

The most dramatic variations turned up in Greater Vancouver — which already boasts the country’s highest residential property prices — where purchasers could choose between a two-bedroom, 1,760-square-foot downtown waterfront condominium for $1.175 million, or a 6,600-square-foot, eight-bedroom house in Surrey for $999,000.

The downtown condo, attractive because of its urban conveniences, costs $671 per square foot, compared with the Surrey home’s $150 — among the best dollar values in the country — a difference of $521.

“The much larger differential for the Vancouver property is probably attributable to the premium that investors are willing to pay for the big West Coast view — that water and mountain vista that isn’t available in any other Canadian centre,” said Don Lawby, president of Vancouver-based Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership.

For the survey, Century 21 brokers selected representative executive homes located within 30 minutes of a city’s downtown core, based on the home’s neighbourhood, amenities and square footage. Premiums were calculated by subtracting the per-square-foot value of the commuter home from the per-square-foot value of the downtown residence.

The $1.175-million downtown Vancouver property chosen was located close to the library, theatre, General Motors Place and Robson Street shopping. The condo unit offers a spacious layout on two levels, with views of the North Shore mountains and Vancouver harbour.

Along with secured entry, this home has marble and hardwood flooring, rooftop deck, gourmet kitchen, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, gas cook top and gas fireplace.

The $999,000 Surrey home is in Panorama Ridge, one of the city’s finer areas, located about 30 minutes to an hour’s driving distance to downtown Vancouver, depending on traffic.

This residence offers eight bedrooms and five bathrooms, including a rental suite as a mortgage helper.

Among Canada’s other four major cities surveyed, the per-square-foot differential between a centrally-located property and a suburban home is $351 in Toronto, $179 in Montreal, $172 in Calgary, and $118 in Edmonton.

For executives who don’t mind commuting from an out-of-the-way location, Century 21 found a 22-room, 7,100-square-foot Tudor-style mansion, situated on a double lot in the prestigious Brighton area, on the North River in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Features include formal living and dining rooms, two fireplaces, large pool, a built-in gymnasium and solarium with water views. The price: $800,000, or just $115 per square foot.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

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