History of the Vancouver Real Estate Board

Great video overview of the history of the Vancouver Real Estate Board, one of Vancouver’s oldest organizations.

History on a Wordless Wednesday: Science World, Then and Now

False Creek by Main Street in 1908.  This is the general area where we now have Science World, below.
False Creek by Main Street in 1908. This is the general area where we now have Science World, below.

Image 1 by Leedman, courtesy of the Vancouver Public Library Archives. Image 2 by bulliver.

History Repeats Itself

Thoughts sparked from a recent article in the Tyee.

When I was in my twenties the real estate market was out of reach too. Interest rates were on average 11% and there were very few programs in place (ie 5% down etc) to enable the young to get in. Now we have historically low interest rates and programs to help first timers get in – not necessarily in Shaughnessy but in areas like New West etc.

Many now HAVE to live in Yaletown with rents at $1500+ when this same money could be used to buy a $200k condo in the ‘burbs ($1200 a month + maintenance and taxes for 100% financing) or condos in so-called less desireable areas.

The reality is Vancouver has matured and our economy has attracted attention in the world market and now we are actually cheap in relation to many markets in the world. Our lifestyle offers beautiful scenery, world class resorts of sea, and mountains and a relatively safe place to live and bring up families, hence the tremendous increase in migration here and attention from these far flung economies first from Hong Kong then China, Korea and the Middle East and elsewhere.

I just spoke with someone who is in Monte Carlo. She saw a basic one bedroom advertised with no balcony for $1.6m. The same suite would be $350,000 in Vancouver. For the large suite she is staying in her friends pay $12k per month. On a world scale our prices are not high especially when the quality of life, in a G8 country, plus our location is factored in.

We cannot turn back the clock, the boomers are not to blame, and did not do this on their own. It is a reality of the world economy and situation.

In the late 70’s a home on the West Side was on average starting at $75k – who could afford that on $3 per hour and with banks reluctant to lend and no government programs to assist?

On the news we hear of tsunamis, pirates on the high seas stealing oil tankers, roaring inflation and so forth. The reality is that in most parts of the civilized world it is far more unaffordable to be able to buy anything, yet here in some cases we consider it a birthright without wanting to work and strive for it.

Is it a birthright to live in Vancouver? Are people hoping to take advantage of the earlier hard work of others and want to take it over without sweat and toil? Since the early days of Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey and Langley have arrived. With new fast trains and better transportation generally, affordable condos and homes in New Westminster, Surrey, Abbotsford have emerged… all within less than one hour from downtown. As these areas come of age they become centres in themselves and become more and more desireable.

I saw this when I grew up in England. We never grew up thinking we could afford Mayfair or Belgravia, these were the stomping grounds of the super rich, instead we looked to the suburban areas.

I think as always there is still plenty of opportunity. Markets rise and fall but ultimately over history, Vancouver and surrounding areas prices continue to rise at an average 10% per annum (I believe this is documented). There are periods of high inflation and cooling off periods.

I would suggest young people look to emerging markets and save their money. Work hard as I did, to “take a shot” and buy and work 2 jobs and 60+ hours a week to make the payments, and when the markets turn around and rise again they will be profiting from the rise. This is inevitable and their children will be saying the same thing 25 years from now from their acreages in the Fraser Valley or Princeton!

Schadenfreude: “Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others”. This is rather unfortunate… are these people taking pleasure from those that have mortgaged themselves and strived to achieve when they are losing their fortunes… These are some of my thoughts after reading  this opinion piece in the Tyee.

Vancouver Attracts Overseas Investors Prior to 2010 Olympics

The overseas investor finds Vancouver to be particularly attractive to purchase an investment property for many reasons. Vancouver is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics which will bring many visitors to our lovely city as well  many foreigners think about the possibility of owning property here. No one has a crystal ball to predict property prices in Vancouver but we know that after Expo 86 we had a huge influx of overseas investors which drove up prices. We getting many inquires every week in regards to the 2010 Olympics from the overseas investors. Many investors are seriously thinking about owning property in Vancouver prior to 2010. This is an excellent idea, as it will enable you to own property in one of the most beautiful and desirable cities to live in the world.

At Downtown Suites we can manage your property for you prior while you reside overseas and if you  visit during the Olympics you can choose to take possession of your suite.  Many individuals are thinking about retirment in Vancouver within the next 10 years or so. It is an idea that many worldly individuals dream about and it is a great idea for many reasons. Our economy is very strong and the price points in Vancouver are still considered reasonable compared to other world-class cities.

For those who have never visited our city, Vancouver is located along the West Coast of British Columbia and many of our downtown neighbourhoods are surrounded by water located along the seawall. As well we have beautiful breathtaking mountain views from many of the downtown locations. We have so many attractive neighbourhoods which  are desirable including; Downtown, Westend, Yaletown, Kitsilano, and West Side.

At Downtown Suites we can assist you in all aspects of purchasing  the perfect investment property.  We will help you to narrow down your search parameters including price point, square footage, location, amenities, view and other factors that may be important to you. In fact we can assist you with the sales transaction remotely. If you are a qualified purchaser we assist with all of the documentation and paper work by email and fax.

Once we have found the perfect property for you we will make the purchase as simple as possible for you from beginning to end. We take a personal interest in our clients and will look out for your interests  from negotiating the right price point for you, presenting the offer, and ultimatley  closing the deal. We have a team of professionals with whom we work closely including Mortgage Specialists, Lawyers, Notaries, and Home Inspectors.

We are a fully licensed Property Management and Real Estate company that will professionally  manage your property for you in all aspects including: advertising and finding a qualified tenant, collecting rents, managing tenants, maintenance issues which may arise. Please refer to our website for additional information on our Property Management and Real Estate Services www. downtownsuites.com.

I am a  members of the Vancouver Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and Specialize in the Downtown Vancouver Real Estate Market. Specializing in working with overseas investors and tenant occupied properties. If you have any questions in regards to the acquisition or sale of an investment property in the Vancouver area or have any questions please do not hesistate to contact me directly.

Victoria Farrell

Victoria Farrell

Sales Associate

Downtown Suites Ltd

History includes Hawaiians in Coal Harbour

Isabella J. Mori sent us this interesting article on some of Coal Harbour’s history:In 1859, British Royal Navy Captain Richards of the H.M. “Plumper” surveying vessel reported to Governor Douglas that Francis Brockton, his chief engineer, had found coal seams in the sandstone around Stanley Park.

And that’s how the name Coal Harbour came about.

The coal turned out to be of low quality and uneconomical to exploit but it, together with the lumber mills in and around Burrard Inlet, made the area interesting enough to be settled by non-Natives.

Of course this seafood rich area with its mild climate had already been inhabited by the Coast Salish, who are reported to have come from Asia somewhere around 12000 BCE. Earliest archaeological evidence of dwellings go back to the middle ages, 400 years before the Spanish first visited Vancouver.

Once the Pacific West started booming in the latter part of the 1800s, immigrants came from all over the world. An immigrant group that is lesser known are Hawaiians who, together with other non-Caucasian immigrants such as African Americans and people coming up from the West Indies, were referred to as “Kanakas”. A few Hawaiian families, earlier employed in the fur trade, settled at a ranch right in Coal Harbour, shortly after Captain Richards had given it that name in 1860. That ranch was called “Kanaka Ranch.”

The Hawaiian families grew fruit and vegetables, they fished and hunted, and they made coke from the local coal. This they sold to Hastings Mill, located near Gastown. The children trekked daily along a shore path to school at the Mill.

The story of these families is quite interesting. Jean Barman tells it in Stanley Park’s Secret: The Forgotten Families of Whoi Whoi, Kanaka Ranch, and Brockton Point, a book that won a 2006 City of Vancouver Book Award.

The book is replete with fascinating historical photographs that show neat cottages and float homes, picket fences and pocket gardens, and lots of healthy children. More soberly, the book also reveals Vancouver’s unwelcoming stance towards non-Anglo families at that point in history.

As history rolled on, thankfully, Canada evolved to the fascinating and so much more inclusive multicultural society that we have today.

Next time I go for a stroll around coal harbour, when I get to a quiet little spot, I’ll imagine the children from Kanaka Ranch laughing and playing by the water, and offer them my thanks for playing their not always easy part in the growth of this beautiful city.

Thanks for the article, Isabella.

Stanley Park: “Tennis Anyone?”

Coal Harbour originally received its name from the coal that was discovered lining the harbour shores. It was natural in the early days for the railway to take its trains to this location for this primary resource. However, coal is no longer the focus of this area and the CP Rail tracks have been removed to make way for this extraordinary aspect of Vancouver’s growth as a world city. Now instead of coal acquisition, we see the beauty of the area, the recreational potential and the prestigious residential housing towers of this truly 21st century development.

Easily accessed by bike paths and within walking distance is the grand and venerable Stanley Park, Vancouver’s landmark 1,000 acre playground. Networked with walking, cycling and roller-blading paths, it is surrounded by the famous seawall, which was first begun in 1918, now encircling the park at 8.8 Km. and connecting to the city from both north and south entrances.

Stanley Park has been THE popular destination for Vancouverites and tourists for over a century. In fact, by 1913, the Park had become a popular tourist destination with 50,000 weekly visitors walking to the park for its cool mature cedars, beaches and natural beauty, which we still enjoy today.

Development of Vancouver’s West End drove the creation of the recreational areas in Stanley Park at the beginning of the last century. Now Coal Harbour’s densification and planned development is situated on the other side of the jewel that is Stanley Park, and now Coal Harbour residents also have easy access to this remarkable area of Vancouver’s living history.

It takes no time to zip over to the cool refreshment of this park’s natural beauty. Its combination of planned gardens with lush West Coast forest trails that open out to beaches and wide views is practically right next door for any Coal Harbour resident. Morning tennis anyone? Pitch and putt?

Unlike the original visitors to Stanley Park, you don’t need to bring a picnic. There are great restaurants at the park, and I’m including their websites here just for your information. the Sequoia Grill at the Teahouse on Ferguson Point recently updated from the Ferguson Point Teahouse – a truly incredible location, the Fish House  exquisite and very well reviewed, the Prospect Point Cafe“ looking across to North and West Vancouver, and the Rose Garden Tea House  a lovely place to stop for full high tea.

The recreational cycle paths connecting to the seawall also connect to the rest of the city’s network of bike paths and greenways. From a home in Coal Harbour you not only have walking access to Vancouver downtown, Gastown and the seabus/skytrain terminal, but recreational cycle routes take you to many of the city’s best locations.