Vancouver's famous Hobbit House is still waiting for its first human inhabitants in several years.
Its distinctive storybook-cottage style, thought by some to emulate the dwellings of author J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional humanlike inhabitants of Middle Earth, has enchanted passersby and neighbours at 587 West King Edward Avenue since it was built in 1942.
Although it went on the market in late June this year for $2,698,000, there have been no takers for the renovated 2,907-square-foot home on its 50-by-130-foot lot.
Today, the enchanting three-bedroom house with 12-foot ground-floor vaulted ceilings and its distinguishing flowing cedar-shingle roof—one of three Vancouver homes designed in the same style by architect Ross Lort—is listed at $2,498,000, a $200,000 reduction in price from four months ago.
The home, sometimes known as the James Residence (after original owner William H. James), was also listed in May 2013 at $2,860,000. It sold for $2.25 million in October of that year.
In 2014, the structure survived a demolition scare and was included in a successful rezoning application that included its preservation and an extensive townhouse development on several adjacent properties.
Its restoration—which involved moving the structure back and adding several hundred square feet of floor space—later included an expensive, labourious, months-long replacement of its hand-cut cedar-shingle roof in the summer of 2017 after leaks were discovered in the traditional-style "thatched" and curved crown.
The Hobbit House originally received a Vancouver Heritage Register "B" evaluation back in 1986, which meant it had "significant" value as a representation of "the best examples of a style or type of building" but could still be demolished for purposes of property redevelopment.
The home received a Vancouver Heritage Award of Honour in 2017, which means it "demonstrates an outstanding contribution to heritage conservation". Specifically, the city cited the "thoughtful restoration" of the "one-of-a-kind...beloved city landmark".
The latest B.C. Assessment listing for the property describes the house as a "strata townhouse" with three bedrooms and three baths and a 2020 value of $2,486,000 (previous year's assessment: $2,807,000). The assessment page notes that there is "no sales history for the last 3 full calendar years" for that address.More