Wednesday, February 19, 2014

If Vancouver is the Most Expensive City in North America - What is the Alternative?

As I flew away from YVR this month, for an all too brief vacation, I snapped the picture below not realizing that Vancouver would soon be known as the most expensive city in North America.  Had I known, I would have likely taken a couple more photographs.

Vancouver © Stephen Mullock

The "Economist" Intelligence Unit, has just released its annual review of cities based on the 2013 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey and Vancouver jumped into the top spot ahead of New York City!
This survey is built on a bundle of 160 items that people buy for their everyday life.

This steep climb has been attributed to a number of items including investment from China.  

I predict,  that as the Canadian dollar loses strength against its American currency counterpart this ranking will be corrected in a years time and New York will once again head the chart. The federal government decision to end the Investor Immigrant Program will also help to soften prices in 2014. Still, it provides Vancouver residents with one more achievement however dubious.

It does signal that Vancouver remains an international destination and is increasingly becoming one of the most influential cities in the world.  It does have a great location on the Pacific Rim and one of the best harbours in the world.  All that is lacking now, is a stronger post secondary system and a serious research and development culture.

It should be pointed out that Vancouver is still only 21st globally but that was up 16 places from its 37th ranking a year ago.  Tokyo holds onto the top position as it has done for most of the last couple of decades.

One alternative to the high cost of Vancouver is to leave the GVRD and locate your company and family east of the new Port Mann Bridge.  There is a big if not huge housing price differential as shall be illustrated and Vancouver is not so far away.  Weather is pretty much the same, in fact, in may be better, Chilliwack was ranked as having the "warmest year round temperature" in Canada" as noted in a recent MacLean's article.

Most locations within the Fraser Valley can be accessed by car within 1 to 2 hours. Vancouver sights, sports, entertainment and shopping, are truly only a quick trip away, have a look at some numbers.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association in its' January 2014 Housing Forecast Update predicted that the average housing cost in BC will be $547,300 in 2014.

What sort of detached house will sort of money buy you in Vancouver?  I had to look.

Well that didn't take very long - there are ZERO detached houses for sale in East and West Vancouver for that amount.

If the cash from the most "affordable" house in the City of Vancouver was used to purchase a property in the Chilliwack real estate market, what would it buy?

The "cheapest" detached City of Vancouver house, if you wish to call it that, on a non-leasehold lot is offered for sale (as of February 18, 2014) for $628,000. It  provides 700 square feet of living on a 3,547 square foot lot. More details on this property at 3447 Williams Street, Vancouver can be found at this property detail link it is being marketed by RE/MAX Select Realty.

Vancouver House for Sale $628,000

Vancouver House Prices


Chilliwack House Prices

Chilliwack House for Sale $629,900

Well, to start the pictures are a lot sharper out in the eastern Fraser Valley and apparently so are the prices.

The Chilliwack property shown above offers 3,032 square feet of living on a half acre lot of 23,958 square feet with an in-ground swimming pool!  While the pictures tell the tale more details, on this property located at 46489 Hope River Road, Chilliwack, can be found at this property detail link it is being marketed by RE/MAX Nyda Realty.  If you would like an appointment to view this property give me a call I would be happy to set one up.

This price differential is not a surprise to me, as each month I look at the Chilliwack* Real Estate market and provide my own real estate market analysis. The goal of this real estate analysis is to be of assistance to all my clients both sellers and buyers and up to date local knowledge is essential to the task.

By the way, this past month, January 2014, the average Chilliwack* single family detached home was $344,000 or almost half the price of the cheapest house in Vancouver!

Imagine living here....

Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

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