Category Archives: Open Topic

The Little Mountain that Couldn’t

Apparently Vancouver has an affordable housing problem.

For buyers housing affordability is at a new low despite our problems with construction quality.

And lately we’re seeing more news stories about more families leaving BC due to the high cost of living.

So are we building more affordable housing?  Well, we’re trying I guess, but if you live in Vancouver you may have noticed a big vacant spot for homes just up Main street near Queen Elizabeth Park.

Several years ago the housing units at Little Mountain were torn down to make way for a new higher density housing development.

So why has nothing happened over those years?

According to Michael Geller it’s developer inexperience.

“The developer … doesn’t fully understand how to do business here,” Geller said in a phone interview.

Four years ago, BC Housing started moving the 224 residents of a social housing project into other subsidized homes. Now, only four residents remain in one building on the 6.2-hectare site by Queen Elizabeth Park and bounded by 37th and 33rd avenues and Main Street.

In June, a city report said there was a blueprint for Holborn Properties to redevelop the site with as many as 1,800 units in stepped towers up to 12 storeys, most buildings being four to 10 storeys in height. The province has committed to replacing all 224 social housing units plus another 10 for aboriginal residents. Most of the buildings at Little Mountain were demolished in 2009.

Geller also referred to the years of delays Holborn has faced in building a proposed 64-storey hotel and residential tower at West Georgia and Thurlow.

“If one wonders why this one is taking so long, one might also wonder why the same developer’s project on West Georgia took so long — although I see construction is finally underway,” he said.

“All of these things are symptoms of the lack of experience with high-profile, highly complex undertakings.”

So apparently we sold that land to a developer that doesn’t know how to get things done and to make matters worse, they bought it for an undisclosed sum right before the mini market crash of 2008.  If prices keep falling as they are now is anything going to get built there?

And if it does get built how much responsibility will the city end up taking for falling profit margins or ‘developer inexperience’? Are we looking at the potential for another Olympic Village scenario?

Friday Free-for-all!

It’s that time of the week again so lets do our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend!  Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

Inventory starts to climb sharply
‘Vancouver condo crisis’ to hit Calgary?
Pillar of sand and fog
Statscan warned on RE bubble
Selling like a couch on craigslist
Only see a bubble in retrospect?
Digital Domain sinking fast
Rates stay low, good or bad?
Genworth: Don’t wait to buy Toronto
Immigration crackdown causes fraud?
Canadian exports collapse

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

Will this be a better week for sellers?

Good monday to you all!

As we head into another week it will be interesting to see if the current dismal sales trend holds.

VHB puts it into perspective:

If we get another week like last week, we will be on pace for sub-2008 September sales. Pause and think about that. In the middle of the biggest financial crisis in 75 years, more houses were sold than now. Wow.

Wow indeed.

So let’s look short term – what do you think?  Will this week reverse the trend that kicked off the month or are we going to see more of the same?

Friday Free-for-all!

It’s that time of the week again, lets do our regular end of the week news roundup and open topic discussion thread for the weekend!

Here are a few links to kick off the chat:

Doors shutting on first time buyers
How many realtors is enough?
Vancouver RE plunges
Families leave BC
Housing affordability?
Moodys warn on Canadian debt
Sales/list Sept 2010-2011
Great new source for data
Toronto sales drop 12.5%
Kleptocrats flee china

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!