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G W North

494 condos sold dt. Vancouver, one dev., one day

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Downtown living has become so popular in Canada, that in Vancouver, 494 condo units were sold IN A SINGLE DEVELOPMENT, IN JUST ONE DAY. People lining up overnight on the sidewalk so that they can buy a unit as soon as they go on sale (before they sell out) has become an increasingly frequent occurence in downtown Vancouver and downtown Toronto. Entire high-rise condo towers have sold out in a single weekend, or in a few cases, even in a single day.

What I love most about this is that almost all these new condo buildings have ground-floor retail/restaurant space, and the fact that these thousands of new condo units means ever more pedestrian traffic day and night.

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Going, going, gone!

New record set when 494 Yaletown condos snapped up in one day

Lena Sin

The Province

February 29, 2004

Just when home buyers thought real -estate demand couldn't get any higher, the market decided to take another hike up Mount Everest.

Just ask Babak Shahbazi, who slept next to about 150 other prospective buyers on Georgia Street Friday night so he could be among the first to purchase a Yaletown Park condo.

"We weren't planning on coming last night," said the 36-year-old realtor, who was vying for a one-bedroom suite that won't even be completed until December 2006. "We were driving by and saw everyone lining up and then said, 'OK, we have to do it.'"

By 7 p.m. yesterday, 494 of the 608 units were sold, totalling $123 million in sales, said project marketer Bob Rennie, who had pizza delivered at midnight to those waiting on the street.

"This is crazy," said Rennie, known as Vancouver's "Condo King," who sold $274 million worth of property last year -- the North American record. "It's absolutely the most [i've sold in a day], maybe the most in the city."

Andy Paterson, 54, who was first in line on Friday at 1 p.m., was glowing 21 hours later when he finally bought a two-bedroom suite, which were priced between $269,900 and $399,900.

"It's just that I've seen property go up in Europe and people seem to think it's not going to get any higher here but it's going to," said the longshoreman, who immigrated from Britain in 1971.

The situation in the Interior is similar, said Mike Cadieux of Prudential Kelowna Properties.

"We don't really have adequate supply for the number of buyers that are out there. Inventory is low in all the neighbourhoods and, of course, the buyers are out there because the cost of money is really cheap," he said. "It's getting stupid out there, prices are going up because of it."

Dale Quist, also of Prudential Kelowna Properties, said property near Big White is being snapped up by people from around the globe.

"It's extremely active up there," he said. "We have a shortage of listings and, of course, that's forcing the prices up."

And with new mortgage rules to come into effect tomorrow, demand is expected to surge even more. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is now allowing buyers to source the five-per-cent downpayment from credit cards, lines of credit or personal loans rather than their savings.

"It will free up an enormous amount of first-time buyers", said Sheila Francis of Re/Max. "The pressure is really on the market . . . People are just waiting for new listings to come up but we've got very few listings."

Mortgage broker Debbie Twitchell said the change is expected to benefit those who have a steady income but can't accumulate a downpayment quickly because their money is tied up in paying rent. While low interest rates have been tempting prospective buyers (the Bank of Canada is expected to cut rates again this week), high demand has also been making bidding wars common practice.

"Last year, easily 50 per cent of [my clients] just fizzled out, they just gave up," said Maggie Chandler of Chandler Realty Ltd. "They couldn't handle what they had to do to be successful so they just stepped out and said 'Well, I'll wait until things settle down.' But unfortunately when things settle down, the prices are going to be way higher."

Many buyers are wondering if the prices will go down soon, but Ward McAllister, president of the Urban Development Institute, predicts demand will keep rising because of resumed confidence in the economy, a growing population and a lack of supply.

"You look at all those cranes and condos being built and they're predominantly pre-sold," he said.

For demand to equal supply, there needs to be a six-month standing inventory. "But right now, there's less than two weeks of inventory," said Ward.

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People were lining up overnight for condos in downtown Minneapolis last summer. It's crazy how well these two cities' downtown areas are doing. Obviously Vancouver is doing better, but Minneapolis doing very well compared to most cities throughout the United States.

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It's amazing to see how fast these condos sell in places like Vancouver, Minneapolis, & San Diego.

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I'm not sure if Seattle will ever be the same. They still have a large glut of unsold condos that were built in the 1990s. Downtown Seattle still needs to improve in several areas before it will be considered a desirable area to live in for many people. Until it does so, I think it's going to remain more of a niche place to live that appeals to a relatively limited group of people. I did an extensive exploration of downtown Seattle last summer, which I documented with hundreds of pictures. If you go into Seattle|Neighborhoods, and select to show all posts "from the beginning", you can see this.

BTW TC, do you have any numbers on how many condos have been sold in one day/weekend/week in any Minneapolis developments recently.

What's really amazing about what this article discusses, is that these people were sleeping on the streets overnight in Canada in February just to be in line to buy a condo.

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I'm not sure if Seattle will ever be the same. They still have a large glut of unsold condos that were built in the 1990s. Downtown Seattle still needs to improve in several areas before it will be considered a desirable area to live in for many people. Until it does so, I think it's going to remain more of a niche place to live that appeals to a relatively limited group of people. I did an extensive exploration of downtown Seattle last summer, which I documented with hundreds of pictures. If you go into Seattle|Neighborhoods, and select to show all posts "from the beginning", you can see this.

BTW TC, do you have any numbers on how many condos have been sold in one day/weekend/week in any Minneapolis developments recently.

What's really amazing about what this article discusses, is that these people were sleeping on the streets overnight in Canada in February just to be in line to buy a condo.

Seattle is trying to do something like that. Mayor Nickles or what ever his name is said that Vancouver is a good model to look at and that he plans to double downtown and the sorroundings pop. to at least 66,000.

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Seattle could end up like a mini Vancouver. I doubt we will see high rise residential construction numbers like Vancouver's in Seattle any time soon, although it may happen many years down the road. When Seattle runs out of space to sprawl that's when downtown residential towers will rise in significant numbers.

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What is the height limit in Seattle right now anyway? I know Vancouver has had a strict height limit for many years, although there are a few new buildings the city council has let rise above the limit.

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In an average year, about a dozen new residential skyscrapers are completed in downtown Vancouver:

vch2004_052.jpg

vch2004_049.jpg

vch2004_048.jpg

vch2004_046.jpg

vch2003_560.jpg

Look at 1982, and how many fewer residential highrises there were:

vch1982_073.jpg

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Yes it did. I dont know what the height limit is though.

I believe that the height limits were re-done a couple of years ago, and that buildings of 600 feet (it might even be 650 feet) are permitted in some parts of downtown now. In fact, I believe a 600 footer is currently under construction in downtown Vancouver.

The tallest existing buildings are around 500 feet.

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I dont know what the height limit in Seattle is is what I meant to say. But I didnt know that Vancouvers Height limit was 600. Whats the height limit in Montreal?

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I believe that the height limits were re-done a couple of years ago, and that buildings of 600 feet (it might even be 650 feet) are permitted in some parts of downtown now. In fact, I believe a 600 footer is currently under construction in downtown Vancouver.

The tallest existing buildings are around 500 feet.

I read somewhere not long ago on the city of Vancouver website that the height limit was like 450 feet. Did they really redo them & the site is just out of date? Or are they just allowing certain buildings to rise above the height limit? Whatever the case may be, the city really needs to lift all height restrictions downtown :).

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Lifting all height restrictions would be bad because it would block mountain views from the south shore of False Creek. Downtown Vancouver isn't about height anyways, it's about density and sheer number of highrises. I think a few 600 footers at the North End of downtown Van. more than enough.

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