I had occassion to go out to UBC today, and made my route along 16th Avenue. I did not see a lot of "For Sale" signs (west of Cambie), and the few that I did see, had "SOLD" plastered on them. That struck me as interesting - as I have been seeing an ever-increasing number of signs up east of Main St., and most just sit, and sit, even with "Price Reduced" as an incentive. It seems as if the low high-end on the West Side is still selling, while the lower stratum on the East Side, are not.
Intrigued by this, I did an MLS search of Arbutus, Dunbar and the University Lands. Arbutus has nothing under $1 million, Dunbar has 2 under $1 million (in the high 800K's), and the University Lands has none under $1.1 million.
This place in Arbutus (W. 22nd Ave.) is a cool $1.089 million. A 33x120 lot with a "tear-down"? (and the realtor cannot even be bothered to take a decent photo' for that kind of money...)
So, I thought I'd look for comparables on the East Side, and found this place. (at least the agent looked through his view-finder)
Dang near identical houses on more-or-less the same sized lot, but the second house is in East Van., in Killarney - one of the more "desirable" areas in East Van. The East Van. house is larger by 100 sq' to boot, but is priced at $535K - a bit less than half the price of the Arbutus house. How can travelling 40 blocks west make a shitey shotgun shack "worth" twice as much money?
Something else that I have taken note of, is that most of the blurbs from the East Side tell about how much the house can pull in with rent. This is further indication that this market is all about speculation - never mind "a great house in a great neighbourhood, great for raising your young family". So houses are just another commodity, and as such, are just as prone to boom and bust.
Incidentally, the Killarny blurb says Easily rentable for $1,700 or more for month. Yeah, right. I'd pay $1200 on a good day, but even at $1700 - you would not come close to positive cash flow.
What a disconnect.