Most people simply want a roof over their heads.
Others with deep pockets look for something extra that may seem somewhat abstract to some.
They want views, and they’re willing to pay more.
“What's in a view?” longtime Vancouver realtor David Hutchinson asked.
Well, it seems that it means a lot.
“In Vancouver we are spoilt. We love the views. Many people that leave Vancouver come back and say they missed the mountains,” Hutchinson told the Straight.
But how do you put a cost on a view?
“I had a client once, the house was overpriced, and whenever I brought up a price reduction, the seller would say, ‘But what about the view?’,” Hutchinson related.
In Vancouver, there are detached homes, townhouses, and condos that feature wonderful views, and the Sutton Group-West Coast Realty agent noted that they “all come with a price tag”.
What is the premium for a view?
Hutchinson noted that it can be tricky to peg a standard price.
He cited by way of example the pricing of outdoor patios, where one can soak in view.
Let’s say there’s a 1,000-square-foot condo priced at $1,000 a square foot. The condo unit has an 800-square-foot patio. How much is the patio?
“One realtor once told me that he prices it at half the price of the square foot price of the interior space, so $500 per square foot in this case,” Hutchinson said.
Again, how do you price a view?
“Some buyers will insist on a view, and will sacrifice a smaller home for expansive space that a view can sometimes give,” Hutchinson said.
The Sutton Group-West Coast Realty agent once had a retired client, who sold his home in Langley, and bought a condo in New Westminster.
“He asked me, ‘Do you know why I wanted a condo here?’ I said ‘no’, and he told me he wanted a view of the Fraser River. It's a working river, he said. There is always something to see,” Hutchinson recalled.
There is one thing to consider though, the realtor pointed out.
“It rains a lot in Vancouver, and that expensive view can disappear for the much of the year,” Hutchinson said.
That's why it's always easier to sell on sunny days, he said.
“It's like a completely different city during summer” Hutchinson said.
There are areas in Vancouver that offer a lot of views.
One is False Creek.
“Why do people like False Creek? Because you get the water and view of the city from just across the water. When you're in the city, you don't get a view of the city, but from False Creek you get the full view of the city, water and mountains,” Hutchinson said.
“Yaletown has great views, and you pay for them,” Hutchinson said.
He once had a client who loved Yaletown, and the proximity to shops, parks and restaurants.
“I showed him many condos, but he insisted on facing west. He wanted the sunset view,” Hutchinson said.
The Sutton Group-West Coast Realty agent noted that in the downtown peninsula, Coal Harbour has “always been the preferred view destination, especially for those new to the city”.
“The views of the water and mountains always impress them. In Yaletown and West End, there are some very lovely water views, but Coal Harbour gets the ocean views with the backdrop of the mountains. It's a picture-perfect postcard,” Hutchinson said.
So for those new to Vancouver and who came from places without the mountain ranges, Coal Harbour properties are “sold”.
“In my opinion, that is why Coal Harbour can demand an extra 10 percent in pricing compared to Yaletown,” Hutchinson said.