The Value of a Vancouver View
BC Assessment 2014 valuations have been released and the results for Vancouver are frightening. The average detached west side home is now valued at $1.8 million, while the east side is sitting just under the $1 million dollar mark. Keep in mind that these astronomical housing valuations are happening in a market with some of the lowest incomes in Canada. According to Andy Yan, the average Metro Vancouver bachelor degree holder earned only $42,000 in 2011, $9,000 lower than the national average and by far the lowest of Canada’s 10 largest cities. Meanwhile, the Globe & Mail reported that Lululemon founder’s new “mansion” on Point Grey Road has been assessed at $57.6 million, making it BC’s most expensive residential property.
Buried within the latest assessment data is a wealth of interesting information that reveals how BC Assessment (and presumably the local property market) values location. In the chart below, I have stripped out all the building values and focused only on land values for a 2 km stretch along Tolmie Street from West 16th Avenue down to Spanish Banks Beach (NW Marine Drive). Tolmie Street runs north from Pacific Spirit Regional Park through a residential neighbourhood that begins to slope towards the ocean at about West 7th. 4th, 10th, and 16th Avenues are major arterials running east to west through the neighbourhood, with West 10th being the local shopping hub. The recorded land values seem to reflect these features; residential near to arterials is less desirable, while views and proximity to the water are more desirable. The blip on West 10th is likely a result of the redevelopment potential along this street, and other small anomalies appear to be caused by topographical changes that give some streets better views than others.
So what is the price tag for the classic Vancouver mountain view? If you can settle for a moderate view, a standard 33 x 122 lot will cost you only $250,000 more than the base price of $1.7 million. But if you want the premium view on a lot north of West 4th, expect to spend an extra $900,000 to $1.9 million. That is, of course, assuming you can find a lot that small. For that much money I think I would recommend buying a nice Vancouver landscape painting instead.