Vancouver councillor Melissa De Genova and realtor David Hutchinson share the same concern about a city hall policy to densify single-family lots.
In previous interviews with the Straight, De Genova and Hutchinson expressed doubts whether the introduction of duplexes or two side-by-side homes in these prized properties produces more affordable homes.
They suggest to the contrary.
To illustrate the point, there are examples of single-detached homes being redeveloped into duplexes, with each unit eventually selling for more than the original price of the old residence.
Here’s one more.
A property at 3781 West 27th Avenue was sold on March 4, 2020 for $2,350,000.
“Builder alert!” declared the listing for the Dunbar area home.
On October 15, 2021, presale listings came on the market for each of the two duplex units that have yet to be built on the West Side of the city.
Each half duplex was listed for $2,898,000 or 23.3 percent more than the $2,350,000 sold price of the old home.
One listing stayed on the market for 18 days.
On November 2, one of the duplex units with the old address of 3781 West 27th Avenue sold at its asking price of $2,898,000.
The other half duplex, which will have a new address of 3783 West 27th Avenue, is still waiting for a buyer.
If this one sells for the same price, this means that the entire duplex project would have earned a combined $5,796,000.
That would be 146 percent more than the $2,350,000 purchase price of the old home.
The new Dunbar duplex is expected to be completed in the winter of 2022.
In a new interview, Hutchinson recalled one person asking him a rhetorical question.
“Who on Earth could actually believe that the solution to the housing crisis is less density?” the individual asked the Sutton Group-West Coast Realty agent.
Hutchinson mused that this “seems to make sense”.
“In every situation, whether it’s the Cambie Corridor, West End, or Metrotown in Burnaby, density has pushed up prices, and pushed locals and long-term residents out of neighbourhoods,” Hutchinson said.
Referring to the Broadway subway under construction in Vancouver, the property agent noted that “billions are being spent on a transit line, which will in turn result in more density”.
“And once again, none of this will be affordable,” Hutchinson said. “But it will be profitable for many developers and investors.”
The Sutton Group-West Coast agent continued, “Older buildings will be torn down for newer buildings displacing long-term residents, who will not be able to afford the new builds.”
Hutchinson repeats the same question, “So who on Earth could actually believe that the solution to the housing crisis is less density?”
Answering his own question, Hutchinson said, “Who couldn’t? Just look at all the examples around you.”