Monthly Archives: July 2014

Issue 23 – July 2014




It is difficult to find an article that touches on higher priced property that doesn’t use the term ‘luxury’ as in luxury real estate, luxury homes or luxury living. We at Homes of Provenance prefer not to use this qualitative adjective. A small aside here is the fact of flawed English usage. The correct usage being ‘luxurious’, the tendency of American English being to contract words by omitting the extension. As an example, consider the common use of ‘come quick’ when ‘come quickly’ would be the correct usage. Luxury (whatever this may be) is a subjective term and in this context, carries with it the implication that all other properties, other than the ones thus defined, are therefore inferior (or lesser) commodities. We spoke to a number of folk, some in the real estate industry and others who were not and found a consensus that luxury implied most of the following – higher priced residences, personal wealth of those owning these, quality components and workmanship and a sense of desirability exceeding other residences in the housing stock. The unfortunate part of many comments was that they tended to imply a sense of the “lifestyles of the rich and famous”.

A single definition of luxury was hard to come by. A tendency for the possessions of the wealthy being highly desired by many, seems to prevail. It seems to us of more significance to focus on a concept of quality and utility rather than merely what the residence costs. Unjustifiable extravagance as one might see in a10,000 sq foot home for two persons, no offspring and little intention to entertain may diminish it’s appeal. Useful in this discussion is the overall value of the property based on the individual components and how they are prized i.e. their demand. The list contains the following items – location, view, size, living accommodation, proximity to amenities, privacy and an elevated pride of ownership. To the extent that these are generally prized (in demand) will determine the price the buyer is willing to pay.

It is hoped that these musings might stimulate further thought as to the nature of ‘luxury’. We do know that an abundance of wealth appears to lead to what many would consider “extravagance in acquisition”. Is this increased luxury?

The demand for our city’s upper tier real estate is certainly evident as we see in the 2nd quarter 2014 figures from the greater Vancouver R/ E Board’s database.

Detached homes sold [$2MM and above] 2014 – 446 listings sold vs. 2013 – 385 sold (increase of 16 %). Highest sale $15.1MM (’14) vs. $16 MM (’13). This property, high end, gated, waterfront home – at 2696 Bellevue Ave, Dundarave, sold in Jun’14 after 17 days on the market, originally listed at $16.8 MM, 5 bed/6 bth, a 6,811 sq. ft. home on a 13,778 sq. ft. lot. Exceptional quality with covered outdoor Summer dining and sitting area. 6 car Motor Court with 3 car garage. Tax assessed at $11.854MM. Unique and a most distinctive home of provenance.

Attached homes, those best described as townhomes and duplexes, [$1MM and above] 2014 – 83 units sold vs. 2013 – 86 sold. Highest sale $3.05MM (’14) vs. $4.75MM (’13). This property TH21 1281 W Cordova St in Coal Harbour

(Callisto) sold in May’14 after 5 days on the market, it is the premier NW townhome in the complex and is located on the prime 1/2 mile of Vancouver’s waterfront and Coal Harbour Seawall. Superbly renovated 3bed/3 bth with exceptional patio and deck space. Private elevator to all levels including the private 2 car garage. Amenities include indoor pool, exercise room, media room and 24 hr concierge. 3 level, 3bd/3bth and 2,473 sq. ft. of living space. Tax Assessed $2,738, originally listed at $3.25MM.

Apartments [$1MM and above] 2014 – 136 units vs. 2013 – 86 sold (up 58%). Highest sale $10,8MM (’14) vs. $25MM (’13) [ highest ever – Fairmont Pacific Rim] This is a 35th Floor 4 bed/5 bth apartment – 5,256 sq. ft. also in the sought after Callisto building (1281 W Cordova St). 360 panoramic views of city and water. Listed originally at $14,980MM, it sold in May’14 after 455 days on the market. Tax assessed at $9,111MM.

Here are the current inventory (listed property) figures:

Detached ($2MM and up) 1375 – Highest $25.8MM * – 33 at $10MM plus
Attached ($1MM and up) 179 – Highest $35MM** – 16 at $3MM plus
Apts ($1MM and up) 413 – Highest $22.3MM*** – 17 at $5MM plus

* 4749 Belmont Av, Pt Grey. 5bd/3bth, 3700 s/f 1937 (1 – 4 bldg lots?)
** 3838 Cypress St. 5bd/7bth, 3 lvl, 12,216 s/f SL1 &2 combined, early
1900’s Heritage ‘A’ gem, Lt. Gov. Hamber’s Res “Greencroft Estate”

*** 3 Harbour Green 8,008sf P/H – 4bd/6bth, approx 3000sf patio/dk/rftop

Call 604-626-2526/e-mail HOP for info or to view any of these.

Note: We place little store on “asking” prices, as the true measure of a market is “sale” price. We include these as they are clearly of interest. It underlines the fact that unique properties are challenging to price and, in certain markets, very few may sell.

Please visit our website for new developments. We continue our promise to keep you up to date on Vancouver’s – the “go to” site for Upper Tier Real Estate analysis and jumping off point for market offering information.

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