Late last spring, realtor David Hutchinson pointed to a “new phenomenon” in Vancouver’s housing market.
It’s about homes on the traditionally more affordable East Side of the city getting to be as expensive as those on the affluent West Side.
It seems that in a number of cases, the line dividing the two sides of the city has “blurred”, Hutchinson, a realtor for almost two decades and agent with Sutton Group-West Coast Realty, told the Straight in June this year.
The long-time realtor was reminded of the phenomenon when he drove across Vancouver this weekend.
“As I traveled Saturday through the leafy, tree-lined streets of Vancouver West to the beaches, one can understand the high cost of housing in those neighbourhoods,” Hutchinson related to the Straight on Sunday (September 26).
From there, he went downtown and then through Gastown, proceeded to the East Side of Vancouver, past a busy beer garden at the Parallel 49 Brewing Company and a pop-up concert near Commercial Drive.
Hutchinson then made his way through the quiet streets of the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood and proceeded south to Killarney, where residential lots are often bigger than the usual 33-foot lots.
From there, he pushed down to the new River District, where a complete community is taking shape.
“I realized that every neighbourhood in Vancouver has its own quality and experiences, and that translates into value for different people,” Hutchinson noted.
“But wherever you see that value, the borders between these neighbourhoods are certainly getting blurred in price,” he added.
A scan of recent sales provided by Hutchinson could illustrate what is happening.
On September 8, an East Side property at 6676 Doman Street sold for $2,828,000.
The Killarney area home sits on a 34-foot lot, which was about half of a 55-foot lot at 3857 West 10th Avenue.
The said West Side property sold on August 26 for less or $2,750,000 to be exact.
Take note that this 3857 West 10th Avenue residence is located in the highly desirable Point Grey neighbourhood of the city.
“The once great divide between East and West is narrowing,” Hutchinson said.
Another example is 3578 Monmouth Avenue on the East Side neighbourhood of Collingwood.
The property sold on September 3 for $2,750,000.
That’s $540,000 more than the sold price of a West Side property at 6457 Ontario Street.
The West Side home in the Oakridge neighbourhood of the city went on September 1 for $2,210,000.
“With increasing home prices on the East side, the gap is turning into a thin, fine line,” Hutchinson said.
Still, the conventional split between East and West holds true generally.
In its latest report, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) noted that the benchmark price of a detached home on the East Side of Vancouver increased to $1,689,700 in August 2021.
Meanwhile, a typical detached home on the West Side of the city in the same month was $3,462,200.
Based on year-over-year increases, prices of single-family homes on the East Side grew at a slightly higher rate of 12.4 percent compared to 12.2 percent on the West Side.
Another example of an East Side home selling for more is 4184 Slocan Street.
The Renfrew Heights residence sits on a 60-foot lot, and it went to a new owner on September 18 for $2,613,000.
Meanwhile, a West Side property in the Southlands neighbourhood sold for less even though it has a bigger lot with a frontage of 65.99 feet.
The said West Side home sold on September 1 for $2,465,500.
“With still relatively more affordable prices and close-knit neighbourhoods, the East Side of Vancouver continues to attract families, where they can get a little more bang for their buck, and grow some tomatoes and figs in their backyards, or make some wine in their basements, all to share with their neighbours,” Hutchinson said.
“But with the prices between East and West starting to tighten, one has to wonder where this is all going,” Hutchinson added.