Speculation comes home to Granville

Real-estate prices jump despite city denying density increase in work


Real-estate speculation that tripled home values on Cambie Street in Vancouver late last year has spread to Granville Street.

But while the city has a plan for increased density on Cambie, there is no such grand design for Granville.

Director of city planning Brent Toderian said Tuesday that scooping up pricey properties on Granville and expecting to make a big profit with higher density is risky.

"We've told people to be careful not to overpay along the Cambie corridor," said Toderian.

"I'd say it's even greater speculation along Granville because, unlike Cambie, we have no policy [for increased density] in place for Granville."

Toderian added developers on Cambie have to factor in city-dictated conditions such as 20 per cent of the housing must be avail-able for renters.

Late last year, 10 lots on Cambie south of 41st were sold for $3.4 mil-lion each. The lots, each with an old house, sold for triple their assessed value.

Eight lots along Granville are currently up for sale for a cool $30 mil-lion.

The asking prices for the lots that are south of 41st Avenue are more than twice their assessed values, with total assessed values of $13.25 million.

Seven lots are being sold for $3.6 million each, while a larger one is going for $4.1 million.

"They are in a row so we expect a developer to pick them all up," said Karson Tse of Bowmac Realty.

Tse said the properties have been on the market for 95 days, as of Jan. 9, adding that it took him only a few weeks to convince the owners to sell their homes, including two who bought in 2011 and stand to double their money.

The Granville half-block for sale didn't surprise Tsur Somerville, director of the University of B.C.'s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate.

"Somebody's gambling that they're going to get a rezoning with the appropriate density without too large CACs [community amenity contributions] to make it work financially," he said.

"It's part of the natural evolution of a city with a growing population and rising house prices."

There will eventually be a city plan for Granville, according to Toderian.



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