The rather unprepossessing house on a 112 x 33 foot lot at 1637 Victoria has just come onto the market and, without unduly picking on a single transaction, the recent history of this property provides a reflection of the meaningless bubble that Grandview real estate has become.
In April last year (2015), this property was listed for $888,000. It sold in May for $1,050,001. Now, structurally and cosmetically unchanged, it is listed for $1,349,900. It will no doubt sell, and the flippers will make their $300,000 profit on just 8 months financing.
None of this rise in price — from $888,000 to $1,349,900, or 52% in nine months — has anything to do with the actual need for housing. Nothing new has been created here, nothing improved; just the price jacked up. This is pure speculative capitalism: rent your million dollars out for nine months and get a bonus 30% return for doing nothing more than sign a few papers. The financiers, their PR shills and a compliant media play up the market so any genuinely speculative risk is nominal.
They know that this particular house isn’t very attractive. In its present condition, it will not attract the kind of price they want. So they push the idea of demolishing a perfectly decent structure with the potential of providing three affordable rental units, and building a duplex unit in its place, each half of which will sell for a million or so. These capitalist lackeys are all about ROI and profit and lifestyles of the rich and dubious. They don’t give a damn that these are people’s homes and futures that they are fucking with.
Second houses, cottages, lake property — these used to be the “investment” side of real estate for those with a bit of spare cash, not people’s everyday homes. My parents and grandparents, and no doubt yours too, considered the purchase of a house as a means to raise and enjoy a family in an affordable and safe environment. It never crossed their minds that they were missing out on an investment ready to be sold on at the first sign of a fat check book. Today, I believe, the first question a potential buyer asks is “Can I afford it?” swiftly followed by “Can I make money on it?”
No room for sentiment today.
Angelo Papas’ tailoring shop opened at 1044 Commercial in 1966. In 1975, they moved to 1501 Commercial and have been a prominent fixture on that corner for the last forty years. But things are changing.
EVO MEDI Society has applied to the City for a change of use at that storefront from “retail” to “Medical Marijuana-Related”. The proposed use is within the allowable “conditional uses” for the current zoning; it just needs the Director of Planning’s approval. Whether it meets the terms of the new City guidelines on dispensaries (distance from another dispensary, distance from schools, etc) is unclear to me.
Residents and neighbours have until January 22 to submit their comments on this proposal, application number DE419315. Comments can be by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by letter to City of Vancouver, Planning and Development Services, Development Review Branch, 453 W. 12th Ave., Vancouver V5Y 1V4.