Downtown westend condo market tracking

Recently we posted an updated spreadsheet compiled by YLTNboomerang that tracks downtown waterfront townhouse listings and price changes (here’s the original post).  Monterey just wrote in that he’s doing the same thing for downtown westend condos listed under $650k and he’s made that data available to all of us here in this excel spreadsheet.

click here to download the xls document

Here’s Monterey’s comments on this data:

First, I want to thank fellow blogger YLTNBoomerang who inspired me to create this list.  I live in the west end, and am interested in a two bedroom apartment.  I don’t want to buy something and spend the rest of my life paying it off, so I have been looking at price ranges that I would consider affordable.  $500K tops, plus a little cushion to follow the imminent downward trend, and my upper monitoring range is $650K.

Apologies if this is too low for some of you.  If you load the spreadsheet, don’t get freaked out if Excel warns you about macros.  No, the spreadsheet is not infected.  If you want, you can enable or not the macros, it won’t affect the spreadsheet in any way.  If you’re curious, I was attempting to automate the data gathering in the hopes of presenting a finished product to everyone here.  Ideally  you would have been able to supply the URL from the MLS site for the region you were interested in tracking, all you had to do was run the macro once a day to create the spreadsheet.  I stopped because I think my ADD kicked in and decided it would take more time to develop the scripts to do that work than it would for me to run through it each day.  But hey, if there are any developers out there who want to take a crack at it, be my guest!!

Here’s some commentary on the more extreme examples ou there in the marketplace…
1) V718784 – Apt #601 listed Jul 6 for 429K.  Same building V734316 – Apt #501.  Two items of note here: Typically a floor above fetches $2000 more; I’m always suspcious of units that are stacked one above the other for sale at the same time.  Tells me that possibly that corner or side is leaky.  V734316 I figure is in denial that the special assessment is going to hurt a lot.  So he finally caves in, and tries to list at the same price as the guy above him.  But the problem is, you’d think if V718784 wanted to really get out fast, the price would be lower than (moderately respectable) $487/sqft.  But since the lowest priced unit on the list at $357/sqft hasn’t moved in almost 2 months, maybe these two sellers should shoot for $300/sqft?

2) V712796 – A motivated Seller!  Well, perhaps desperate.  First listed on May 31 for $469,900, and after four price reductions, still on the market today at $445,000.  I take it back.  This seller is greedy and absolutely refuses to GIVE it away.  The real kicker?  The place is empty.  That, or those are photo’s from when the owner bought it before moving a tenant in there!  I figure I’ll be watching this one all the way down to about $256K (a generous $350/sqft).

3) V735829 – Brand new listing: 825sqft for a pricy 498,800, which works out to an above average $604/sqft.  Hm.  Oh, look, same building 8 floors below him sold after 44 days on the market at a listing price of $499K.  And THAT person only sold after dropping from $518K.  Is this proof in the assertion that prices in Vancouver are dropping?  I dunno, I’m just a analytical sort, not an economist.

4) V716758 – An interesting story on this one.  When I started on May 6, this one was listed at $499,900 and disappeared the next day.  No idea how long it had been listed.  It re-appeared on Jun 18 at 519K.  Classic case of “Hmph, not selling at this price, I’ll mark the price up and people will have to get in before they can’t afford it anymore!”  That didn’t last long.  A month later, a price reduction to original listing price.  Must not have had any nibbles because three weeks later there’s another 10K price drop.  Any takers?  Anyone?  $578/sqft, c’mon, it’s a good price!  Dropped another 30K mid-september and is now priced at the lower end of the $/sqft range.  Not gonna move till it hits $350/sqft I bet.

5) The Barclay – Wow.  What can I say here?  The developer is either brain-dead, stubborn beyond all hell, or just plain unimaginably greedy.  Has been on my radar since the day I started, and all of their units have not sold.  In fact, they raised the prices on their townhomes $36K back in the end of May.  What was already a pricy $680/sqft, jumped to an eyewatering $723/sqft.  MOST EXPENSIVE square footage in the west-end!  For a reno’d wood-frame ex-apartment building?  No.  Sorry.  If anyone gets a haircut, I wish it most on this developer.  Nay, I wish a long painful wretched existance in financial purgatory where he can be looked up in disdain by the tennants whom he probably forced into some equally despicable Hollyburn apartment.  I vote this complex most likely to suffer a “mysterious fire” soon.  Hopefully in the next 3 months — right around Christmas time when the poor sods who are living there now can get sympathetic help from strangers.

6) Last, but not least… MASS EXODUS FROM THE PALLISADES!  17 units so far went up for grabs at 1200 and 1288 Alberni street.  10 units available still!  Priced in the mid $500/sqft to $650/sqft.  I wonder what disaster has befallen this specuvestor infested pair of buildings.  After being featured in TV movies, you’d think that would make it immune to price drops.  No, my friends, the greed is well at hand in this asian-inspired building (1288…Good luck building!).  Most investors are slowly dropping their prices.  I like the example of V735627: Started out at $599K in May, and here we are in September asking $499K now.  This seller is obviously chasing the market down… AND their translator hasn’t told him that potential buyers have to be made aware of any special assessments.  C’est la vie!  I predict the Pallisades, which is a fairly high quality building, to plateau around $375/sqft for 4 or 5 years after the market stops freefalling.

There are other interesting stories in the data if you are willing to look.  Keep an eye on the SqFt tab as that will tell you the history of each address in the Westend since the start of this project if you check out the notes in the various columns.  The price/sqft column is auto-formatted to indicate if a listed price is above (orange) or below (light green) the average price/sqft for all those properties that are not sold (s).  (r) indicates a relist.  This tab also lists other data: median price/sqft, min/max price/sqft, etc.  Did you know that the average size of a 2 bedroom place in the west end is 898 sq/ft?

The SOLD tab lists all those properties I’ve assumed have sold, and have therefore removed from the ForSale tabs.  If a property comes back on the market, I can reconstruct the price history from the SqFt tab and put it back int he ForSale tab.  Makes for very interesting snap-shot view of price/listings movement for a single property if you zoom out and look at the entire spreadsheet!

I’m uncertain if I can continue this project.  On Oct 2 the MLS website will be moving over to their google-maps based version.  I like it because you are no longer restricted to a artificial boundary, but on the other hand, it makes this list invalid because I can’t focus on the WE anymore.  In any event, the evidence is clear: the prices they are a’coming DOWN DOWN DOWN baby.

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Thanks for reposting the spreadsheet Pope.

Monterey, thanks for sharing this info with us. I live in the West End and have been keeping my eye on prices.

The Barclay is a hideous brown turd that stinks up the West End.



We have the fourth largest exports period so it's hardly surprising that we have the fourth largest exports to the US.

I think it's more relevant what percentage of our total export is to the US. Which is about 60% which is actually quite low as far as Canada goes but not really low enough for anyone to realistically say we're entirely "de-coupled" from the US economy.


Hey "Dosh thinks Vancouver is New York!":

Most of our exports go to the US. On top of that, it looks like BC is the fourth largest exporter to the US in the country.

Does that qualify as a magic-deflector shield, in your mind?

As for "cultural center"… ahem, cough, gag… John, is that you?

Dosh thinks Vancouve

20 Dosh Says:

February 11th, 2008 at 10:36 am

wonder what happens if the U.S. drags Canada into a recession.

Not going to happen. IF the US goes into recession it might have an effect back east, but Vancouver is different, our customers are all over the world and we’re not manufacturing widgets. We are a cultural center like New York or London as much as some of the bears here hate to hear that.


Wow, TSX is getting killed on some downgrades by Merril today… currently down 697pts. We'll see where it ends the day. I don't remember a time of such prolonged volatility before. What will tomorrow bring?

Deja Dosh

11 dosh Says:

August 2nd, 2007 at 2:07 pm

whats with the obsession with the US market? last i checked we were in a different country. i know we do some trading with them, but geez, lets get real!

Current score: 0


All my investments grow in value.

OK you don't sound like some

fly-by-night operator so I'll ask

you for some advice.

I have a significant amount of frequent flyer points accumulated. Should I be cashing these in or holding for the longer term.

I ask because I really don't want to bail on the original investment. TIA

Mold City

costs also go beyond just the price of land and construction

Right, there's marketing to be considered as well. Because who in their right mind would pay $600 a square foot for a tiny concrete box without slick ads filled with glowing copy about 'lifestyle' and glossy photos of coffee?


Iorem, I didn't say that, Alan did. I am the one who pointed out that his number was out to lunch.

Development costs also go beyond just the price of land and construction cost.

lorem ipsum

Downtown highrise condo construction costs are about double Dave's guess of $150, at about $310/ft2:

The problem with pulling numbers out of your ass is they tend to smell like bullshit.


I don't buy depreciating assets. All my investments grow in value. I strategically buy vehicles and condos which I know are in demand or will be in the future. It's worked very well. I have tons of HELOCS and the credit card offers continue to arrive in the mail daily.


dbcooper (nice handle by the way)

John is a joker, he's just being intentionally ironic. Just ignore him.


Businesses buy depreciating assets with borrowed money all the time. Including real estate of course. In fact, all physical assets (except land) depreciate.

The issue is not whether the asset depreciates, but whether the yield net of depreciation exceeds financing costs.



you are buying depreciating assets with borrowed money? could you explain your mindset please?


Hey John, did you get your Ferrari yet? I think I saw you driving a silver one on Royal Oak in Burnaby last night.

Man, you should definitely put a pillow under your butt – you seemed like you can't see crap over the dashboard…


Did anyone else go to the PHN private client conference at the westin last night?

During their presentation they showed a 1.18 million unrenovated tear down in Vancouver and compared it to a renovated castle in Normandy France that was $7,000 less.

It amused the crowd which John will be pleased to know included many rich asians!


This is why I focus on downtown condos only. Surrey has an arson problem. Rich asians know this and stay away as well. I've got a line on a ferrari so I might be getting one of those with one of my HELOCS. Got a new credit card today too.

dave satv rob, it th

I know some of you were looking forward to the debates, but sadly I must inform you, the major networks have all preempted the broadcasts for a special round table discussion of two world leading authorities on housing.

Aaron Best and Rob Chipman will be debating several Yale and Princeton, professors on the mythological housing bubble.

This is a government sponsored effort to offset the recent cant touted by Robert Shiller through the Canadian media in his recent visit to Canada.


Monterey "Aren’t fire-walls usually made of concrete? In a 100% wood structure, wouldn’t you have fire-walls basically the first thing you put up after the foundation"

In wood frame construction firewalls are made of double ply fireguard drywall each side of wood studs, so they are not really finished (fire proof) until the units are ready for interior painting. At that time any penetrations of the firewall (pipes etc) would finally be sealed.


Quattro development up in smoke this morning. I think it was the last phase of it, trying to find some details.

Also – TSX down 451 pts early.


What's a little freaky to me is that I am here predicting the Barclay will suffer the same fate as Quattro. I certainly hope nobody gets hurt or suffers hardship in Barclay… afterall that reno is partially occupied. I really wonder if perhaps it's the builder setting the place ablaze. I mean, he's nearing construction complete status, realizes the bottom has dropped out of the market and is perhaps worried that the assignments might get dropped. Does he take the insurance money, and hope he can rebuild for even LESS in this market environment so that he can profit on the re-build too? Probably, not, but lets ask another question. Aren't fire-walls usually made of concrete? In a 100% wood structure, wouldn't you have fire-walls basically the first thing you put up after the foundation? I'm (obviously) not a construction… Read more »

Patiently Waiting

This is such a disgusting act. What if firefighters or construction workers had died?

Whoever did this deserves to be publicly humiliated and jailed for years on end. Here's to their capture.


I can understsand 1 apartment burning down, but how does the 2nd one "conveniently" catch fire?

Besides that, somebody tried to set another fire to the same building earlier on Monday:

"This is the second blaze at this location in the past two days.

On Monday afternoon, a smaller fire, which officials called "suspicious," was set on the first level of what appears to be the same four-storey Quattro building at 13789 107A Ave."

It's obviously a deliberate arson.