Monthly Archives: January 2012

Issue 13 – January 2012




The activity in this segment continues to increase year over year. And, yes, as we have seen in the recent press on inflating assessed values, the prices of the top properties sold in Metro Vancouver have risen at an impressive rate. We are seeing this in both number of sales and gross dollars expended. Those participating in this arena have been joined by a large number of immigrating buyers (investors?) primarily from the Far East (especially mainland China) and others from Europe. The first waves that Vancouver noted in the past 2 to 3 years have grown to be a significant force in this upper tier of residential real estate. For a major world city, repeatedly rated by non-Canadians as among the top places to live on this planet, many Vancouverites seem loath to accept that our current prices represent relatively good value for money to these foreign buyers. This coming year will be a telling one – is the evident slow down over the past month or so the foreshadowing of a downturn in this segment? We believe not just yet. The upcoming quarter to quarter analysis will certainly be something to follow with interest.

We penned a discussion of the Property Tax Assessment a few years ago and will repeat it here with some minor updating as it is the time of year that we again look at our new (2012) tax assessment. Does it mean much? How does that figure tie in with today’s value? Does it in fact bear comparison to current market value at all? Don’t forget that the assessment is for taxation purposes and is designed to provide an estimate for relative taxation equity. It does not claim infallibility. The B.C. Assessment Authority permits and does not discourage property owners from contesting the assessment if they disagree with it. More to the point – what is our real estate worth? (what is our net worth?) Depending on one’s age / planning horizon – how important is this 2011 valuation? It is the tax authority’s mid-year 2011estimate. Is it what decides the value of our homes or do we trust the market place to give us a fair price for our valued assets? All these figures can do is cause us to be charged a modicum more or less in property tax for the years we own the property but it has no say in what we sell our property for and what that ‘willing buyer’ will pay.
Now to some of the facts regarding the upper tier Vancouver market ’11 vs. ’10. Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2011 – 1687 listings sold vs 2010 – 870 sold (a rise of 94%). Highest sale $17,5MM (’11) vs. $15,2MM (’10). This property – Belmont Ave, Pt.Grey sold in Mar ’11 after 32 days on the market, originally listed at $19.8MM. 6 bed/8 bth it is a 9,785 sq ft structure on a serene, park-like lot – A splendid, Point Grey view mansion with a 741 sq ft courtyard. Again a home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes [$1MM and above] 2011 – 318 listings sold vs 2010 – 233 sold (a rise of 36%). Highest sale $7.138MM (’11) vs. $7MM (’10). This property at 3838 Cypress St which sold in Jan ’11 after 24 days on the market was listed at $7.588MM. A spectacular and unique 5bd/7bth Shaughnessy townhome on the Heritage “A” list, formerly the estate of Eric Hamber, B.C. Lt. Governor, with 7530 sq ft of living space. An amazing home of provenance.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2011 –541 listings sold vs. 2010 – 469 sold (a rise of 15%). Highest sale was $10.1MM (’11) vs. $5.8MM (’10). This is an ultimately luxurious 40th floor Shaw Tower (the entire floor – 7450 sq.ft.) 7 bed/7 bth apartment with panoramic 360 degree breathtaking views and 8 parking (incl 3 car private garage). Listed at $15.5MM, it sold in Sept ’11 after 123 days on the market. Its Tax Assessed value when sold was $12.345MM.

Here again are the current inventory (listings) figures:

Detached ($2MM and +, 778) – Highest $39.9MM * – 33 at $10MM +
Attached ($1MM and +, 102) – Highest $5.888MM** – 4 at $3MM +
Apt ($1MM and +, 303) – Highest $28.8MM – 4@ $10MM +/20@ $5MM *3 separate homes on 5+ acre West Van estate (Chartwell)
**2474 sq ft /2 level at the Erickson, Yaletown
***6434 sq ft /2 level – Penthouse #1 Fairmont Pacific Rim

Note: We do not place too much store on “asking” prices, as the only true measure of a market is a “sale” price. These are however included because they are obviously of interest. It does underline the fact that unique properties are often challenging to price and that, in certain markets very few of these offerings are sold.

We extend our wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year – may 2012 be a good year for the return of some stability to our economic environment and a more peaceful community of nations. Goodwill to all persons.

Again, visit the Homes of Provenance website to see the new developments. We continue our commitment to keep you up to date in the upper tier market – the “go to” site for Metro Vancouver Real Estate analysis and jumping off point for market listing information in the higher range.

To join the group getting the e-mail version of this “update” – send a request now to and you’ll be assured receipt; phone us at (604) 626-2526 or visit www.