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As much information as we can get for now on Olympic village prices

February 17th, 2011 · 32 Comments

This is what was handed out at the news conference launching the new sales effort today (with a couple of comparisons with previous sales that I’ve dug out).

BRIDGE BUILDING

Studio: 349,500 – $354,900

1 Bedroom $369,900 – $389,900

1 Bedroom plus $350,900 – $570,900

2 Bedroom $729,900 – $749,900

2 Bedroom plus $510,900 – $1,669,900

3 Bedroom plus: $1,099,900 – $1,919,900

Penthouses: $1,249,900 – $1,769,900

Luxury Collection $2,799,900 – $4,100,900

KAYAK BUILDING

Studio $339,900 – $379,900

1 Bedroom $329,900 – $499,900 (A 575 square foot one-bedroom sold there for $481,000 last year)

1 Bedroom plus: $329,900 – $599,900 (A 630 square foot one bedroom/den unit in this building was assessed at $483,000 as of last July)

2 Bedroom: $499,900 – $549,900

2 Bedroom plus: $469,900 – $1,799,900

3 Bedroom plus $1,275,900 – $1,900,900

Penthouses: $639,900 – $739,900

Luxury Collection: $2,150,900 – $3,599,900

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Anna

    Any word on when rental info/prices will be out?

  • Frances Bula

    @Anna. I haven’t heard anything on that front at all yet. But while I was scouring the Internet yesterday, I did see a few Olympic village condos advertised for rent by previous purchasers. The only one with a price was $1,400 a month for about a 630 square foot place.

  • John

    I have heard that someone bought a 485 sq ft unit for for close to $330,000. Sales have been going on by Rennie Staff for the past week for Rennie’s own staff’s clients…these are not the 31 earlier buyers…but before today’s public sales…

  • http://www.nofuncity.org ThinkOutsideABox

    Sight unseen, I can see how these prices will attract buyers.

  • Morry

    If Michael Geller weighs in, or for that matter any one who cares to comment, what does this fire sale of condos do to the rest of the Condo market ?

    A friend reports that there are currently many many condos on the market. And that there hundreds if not thousands of empty ones.

    And finally my dental hygienist was telling me that they are now looking for a new condo to rent as the prices are dropping. She signed a lease just prior to the Olympics and now she can get a better and bigger condo and save 200-250 per month…. Yale town area.

  • Bill Lee

    And this is the end of the Lunar New Year fortnight when all accounts : gains or losses are settled and business can begin again.

    Anyone seen the adverts in Chinese media, here or Hong Kong, or Beijing. The latter has a new rule that you can only buy two apartments, not more. And the former has new rule about preventing apartment flipping. So Vancouver might be a somewhat better market for the naive.

  • The Fourth Horseman

    Yes, Vancouver needs to copy Beijing rules on condo situ!

    They are frantically trying to keep a lid on speculation. Bubble, anyone? A friend who is building a factory in Shanghai area tells me that condos there are going up by 20%—a month. Beijing is freaking.

    This is nothing more than flipping.

    Yet here, our realtors and developers think its perfectly OK to see local people locked out of the market as homes sit empty and buyers wait to sell to another investor. We are typically short-sighted and too slow to move on this situation.

    How about you pay a penalty (more property sales tax?) if you sell within a year? How about if you buy more than 1 home/condo, you pay more?

    The single family market is where the worst of this is being felt. If you think it’s tough in the condo market, how about being outbid by $1,000,000 over list for a single family home?

    The developers have always said that it’ll squelch sales if restrictions are put on that discourage property speculation (flipping).

    Well, they are doing it in China and now, speculators are coming here to play this market. I don’t blame them. I blame our own too powerful developer lobby and our weak, spineless governments.

  • http://www.gellersworldtravel.blogspot.com Michael Geller

    The above comments raise a few questions that I will attempt to address.

    Firstly Morrie, I would not call this a fire sale. While prices are reduced an average of 30%, as I and others have been noting for the past few years, the original prices were much too high given the location, building and unit designs and general standard of finish. In the past, I did not recommend to anyone that they buy at the Olympic Village at the listed prices.

    However, I do think the reductions bring the project in line with the overall Vancouver market. That being said, I am not advising everyone to rush out and buy. If your intention is to buy and flip, I don’t think this is very wise. There may be some units where a substantial gain could be achieved over a relatively short period, but I don’t see across the board gains for flippers.

    If you want to buy and rent out your unit, I would also be cautious. There is a lot of rental product in the area, and I suspect that the rents achieved may be less than what other new condos rent for elsewhere in Yaletown and Coal Harbour. It should be remembered that the city is renting out 126 units (how can we forget?) and there receiver is recommending that up to 124 condominiums be held back by the city and rented. (I sure hope this doesn’t happen…as a taxpayer, I worry this could be a very expensive proposition….just to fill up the units.)

    However, I am recommending the project to those friends and contacts who like the prospects of this new, comprehensively planned community and want to live there. Some of these friends are downsizing from a house. To them, I say study the plans carefully. Some are very good, with generous living areas and outdoor spaces. But many are downright wierd, with tiny second bedrooms that are inexcusable…also enclosed balconies of questionable value that are included in the floor area calculation.

    In many instances, the effective habitable area feels less than the calculated area.

    Many of the units have ‘flex spaces’ that could serve as an office, which is a good idea. However, many have little or no storage area.

    At some point in the future we need to further explore why Millennium, the Design team and Rennie allowed such terrible interior layout decisions to get built, but that’s a question for another day.

    What I can say is that the new pricing does reflect the fact that these are not always very good plans. Let me repeat that…if the plans were better, the prices would be higher…it’s as simple as that. So I would say, don’t put off a purchase because of some of the unusual details….just accept the fact you are paying less…like buying an expensive shirt on sale because the pattern didn’t line up the way it was supposed to.)

    That being said, some of the larger suites are very good value, and future buyers can likely move some interior partitions to make the layouts more furnishable….that’s what I’d be doing if I bought some of the 2,000 sf plus units, which are now much more appropriately priced.

    Now as for the discussion re: taxing speculators and those who keep units empty, I am reminded of the discussion of three years ago leading up to the November 2008 election…you can even find many conversations on this blog from that period.

    While there is no doubt that there are hundreds, or perhaps thousands of units that remain ‘dark’, I do not think there are 10’s of thousands,. And even if there are more than we would like, let’s look at whether these units are really harming the city and country.

    For one thing, the owners are paying full property taxes and not placing any demands on services. Secondly, if they do sell and make a capital gain, that is taxed.

    I am the first to admit that there are some segments of the Vancouver real estate market that seem to be ‘going crazy’ at the moment as a result of many Mainland Chinese buyers…but I think we need to be very cautious about introducing legislation like that which is found in many places around the world that restrict real estate purchases to residents, or place other restrictions on the number of units in a building that can be purchased by non-residents, as occurs on the Gold Coast of Australia.

    Let’s continue this discussion another time

    Finally, for those of you who might be interested in what are the important lessons to be learned from the planning and development of the Olympic Village, I hope you will join Nancy Knight of UBC, Doug McArthur of SFU, Geoff Meggs, Frances Bula and me this coming Tuesday night, at 7pm at the SFU Segal building at Pender and Granville for a discussion cohosted by SFU, ThinkCity and the Planning Institute of BC.

    Below is a link to register. There is a modest registration charge (although I can assure you that the speakers are not being paid!) and I am anticipating a very thoughtful and worthwhile discussion. To my mind, the real questions are whether this experience suggests Vancouver should get out of the land development business, or conversely whether other municiapalities that have either created new development corporations, or are contemplating such, should get into the business.

    What should happen to the next phases of SEFC? Should we continue to mix 80% market housing with 20% low income social housing? Should we make the housing for the lowest income people the most sustainable housing? These are the questions I intend to address.
    I hope many of you will come.

    As a bonus, for those of you who are considering a purchase of an OV unit, after the session, I will happily review and critique (at no charge) any Olympic Village floor plans you are considering, and might want to bring along!

    http://www.sfu.ca/pamr/media_releases/media_releases_archives/sfu-dissects-olympic-village-performance.html

    here’s the ThinkCity link: http://www.thinkcity.ca/events

  • Bike

    “I blame our own too powerful developer lobby and our weak, spineless governments.”

    +1

    My friends and I have been saying that for years now. Our Politicians are primed and bent over.

  • lookingjust

    Just biked through the OV (as I do about every 3rd day). The hype is certainly working, there are a lot of people wandering around, at least looking.
    I am very knowledgable on local condo prices and somewhat agree with Michael on the new prices – they have gone from ridiculously overpriced to “close” to market value. However if you compare them to nearby buildings (Citygate complex and those being built around 1st and Cambie), they’re still a bit high – $600-900 / sq ft vs $500-750 / sq ft for similar sized condos. And that is for the condos in OV that mostly are in the backside buildings and lower down – thus no view at all of anything except your neighbouring building (which are very close to you if you are on the unusually narrow east-west streets). So they are certainly no “fire sale”.

    Also – it is amazing that I’ve only once seen reference to the absolutely outrageous monthly strata fees set for these condos. >$500/mth for an 820 sq ft condo for example – that’s probably double what you’d see for a new building condo of that size anywhere else. And it is common for the initial monthly fees to be set quite low to attract buyers. Usually by year 4-5 the strata councils have been forced to raise the fees considerably to reflect the true costs of the buildings, so I’d expect these already too high fees to climb even more in a few years – something to consider and another nail in the coffin of desirability for these units in my opinion.

  • http://members.shaw.ca/rogerkemble/4.down.town/athletes.village/athletes.village.html Roger Kemble

    Michael @ #3

    What’s all the fuss about this too small second bedroom?

    We do it all the time and call it a den . . .

  • Deacon Blue

    I’ll give you the skinny…

    If you are looking at a unit that has a water view, fine. If you are looking at a unit that has a view on the perimeter of the block (preferably the square, a street, or an open space), fine.

    However, if you are looking at a unit that opens to the middle or the inside of the OV blocks… Be leery about how close to your neighbours your windows and balconies are.

  • http://members.shaw.ca/rogerkemble/4.down.town/athletes.village/athletes.village.html Roger Kemble

    Deacon Blue #11

    Be leery about how close to your neighbours your windows and balconies are.

    I am sure every Bula blog-istas vacations regularly on La Côte d’Azur or my happy hunting grounds de pequeña hermosa rinconadas en Americana Sur.

    They seem not to have noticed, though, their OV complaints describe the very attributes they find attractive elsewhere: “take-me-to-the-Kasbah” narrow streets, ventana-á-ventana peeking, shady lanes, exploring plazas big and small and tiny rooms that beat the vacuum.

    And at that I am gob-smacked even at the lowered prices.

    We are living a foggy myth. Good heaven’s Michael @ #8 As a bonus, for those of you who are considering a purchase of an OV unit, after the session, I will happily review and critique (at no charge) any Olympic Village floor plans you are considering, and might want to bring along!” Are you not presuming? You have the financial moxie, verdad, and architectonic know-how. But do you have multi-language fluency?

    There are, in the city, scores of empty suites, only off-shore speculators can afford, belying the persistent myth: “world class” . . . “paradise and snow capped Lions!

    Vancouverites must drive to Agassiz to find a half decent place to bring up the kids and, Deacon B they cannot see the Lions there.

    When off-shore money dries up it’ll be a whoops-whoops moment for the city that’s for sure!

    Give me San Telmo all the way . . .

  • http://members.shaw.ca/urbanismo/thu.future/vancouver.failed.html Roger Kemble

    PS Michael

    Your generous offer to advise prospective OV purchases, after the show, is laudatory but I wonder if that calibre of buyer or renter needs help.

    If you really want to help Vancouver families to find affordable accommodation suitable for their families I suggest you stand on the Mary Hill By-pass with a big placard . . .

    Affordable housing and the lack thereof has been a festering sore in the city for a decade, need I say, or more: other than gimmickry, no one seems able to beard the lion . . .

  • http://www.gellersworldtravel.blogspot.com Michael Geller

    Roger, you are right….potential buyers do not need my advice since one of the advantages of buying at the Olympic Village is that one can go and actually stand in a suite before buying.

    This is a great advantage over a pre-sale purchase. That being said, it is often difficult to imagine where you will put furniture when you are walking through suites, feeling a bit of pressure since there are so many other people walking through too.

    I also recommend that potential buyers try and visit the suite they are interested at different times of the day and in the evening. This way you can check whether there is a bright street light blocking an otherwise wonderful night view. I would expect that the Village at False Creek sales team will be prepared to accommodate such requests, especially for the larger, more expensive suites.

  • rmac

    Michael Geller – My husband and I did, if fact, ask a sales rep what would be going in on the empty lot directly west of the most expensive building. The reply – ask the city. It turns out a school of undetermined height is to be constructed there but the sales people do their best to feign ignorance of that fact.

  • http://www.gellersworldtravel.blogspot.com Michael Geller

    Rmac, here’s a link to what appears to be the latest official development plan for the area which provides some additional information on what is currently planned, including building heights, etc. http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/bylaws/odp/SEFC.pdf

  • The Fourth Horseman

    Michael,

    Vis-a-vis capital gains taxes paid on property by offshore NON LANDED immigrants, and property taxes paid here.

    First, what is the rate of taxation on capital gains for a property? Second if held by a non resident OR non landed immigrant OR non citizen , does it differ from what a landed immigrant or citizen with investor (2nd, non residential) property would pay?

    But here’s the other scenario: This does not apply to new landed immigrants. What if you are a landed immigrant here, perhaps even just for security and convenience—and who would argue with that–but you pay little or no income tax (and no business tax) because your busineses are overseas?

    My underastanding is that if you are from another country, where you have established businesses, you DO NOT have to pay in two jurisdaictions. Obviously one would choose the lowest taxed jurisdiction in which to pay tax, if any, correct?

    Yet, come retirement time if you are now a landed immigrant or citizen in Canada, you will be using the Canada pension plan, possibly the OAP plan (depending on what your income in Camnada shows) .

    If I as a Canadian citizen, somehow got dual American citizenship (I don’t know if they have something called “landed immigrant down there) , for instance, kept biz in Canada but lived down in the States full time, would I be subject to any American income tax? I believe that they are pretty picky about income tax for full time or even part time American citizenship holders re: income tax.

    I don’t know what the immigration situ is now with new citizens—if one came in on the business classification, people had to put up $500,000, I think, INTO a business here—and I believe that there were major loopholes in that.

    Isn’t it possible that even as a landed immigrant or new citizen, drawing your income in another jurisdiction, that you could ONLY be responsible to pay property tax here? Yet enjoy all the benefits of the health and education systems?

    If we are asking people to “pay” their way into Canad under that classification, it would be better to take some of that money and put it in the pension and health and education schemes, to my thinking. This of course is just one classification. What about ohers who come in under “family”

    If wealthy immigrants are:

    – paying little or no personal income tax
    –are not setting up businesses that can be taxed
    –are paying taxes offshore only—and perhaps staying oversees for work, so no buying of big HSTable services and products here,
    —and buying and selling a property a few times a year (but always being able to claim it as “primary residential”),
    —or even a few homes that are investor
    —because buying and selling amongst immigrants, which IS what is happening at the single family res level, because they cannot flip any longer in China, creating an even hotter single family res market

    —at prices that can easily exceed $1,000, ooo over asking…effectively knocking out locals who DO pay income tax, work here, etc., etc…

    … do you not foreseee some serious consequences for the local housing market, and the social system, at large?

  • http://www.gellersworldtravel.blogspot.com Michael Geller

    Fourth Horseman, I suspect there are a number of accountants and tax lawyers who follow this blog who can more approporiately answer many of your questions. I’ll wait for them to respond…

  • Morry

    @ The Fourth Horseman ;
    You have raised many good questions and scenarios. Would love to have the answers.

    Are we creating a real tragedy in local housing and pricing locals to the far suburbs?

    Is it good to fuel speculative condo purchases with the end being a Flip?

  • The Fourth Horseman

    Thanks you, Michael.

    This is a thorny issue with global implcations…not just for Vancouver.

    http://tinyurl.com/5wpstjq

  • The Fourth Horseman

    Sorry about my spelling, folks. A little light on some keys it appears…

  • http://www.gellersworldtravel.blogspot.com Michael Geller

    Morry et al…when I was young, ordinary people bought homes to live in, and rich people bought apartments to rent out.

    I would like to suggest that this changed in the 80’s when Marty Atkins and Stan Kates started their imaginative pre-sale condo programs in Toronto. The first project I can remember was the Polo Club on Bay Street, and when the TV evening news showed photos of people lined up outside, it was the birth of a new phenomenon.

    Priority Registration created a false sense of urgency….one day I’ll write about all the ‘tricks’ Stan and Marty used to create sales. But many of the purchasers had to act so quickly, they ended up treating their purchases as investments, rather than a place to live. Indeed, many subsequent projects were designed and marketed as investments, rather than homes.

    Years later, Bob Rennie and Dan Ulinder started to successfully market small condominiums in large projects in Vancouver…a project on Howe Street was one of the first.

    Eventually this grew into the wide spread program we have today with far too many units purchased by investors intending to flip, or rent out until the prices appreciate, rather than live in the units.

    I sometimes feel pre-sale marketing is a bit like a ‘chain letter opportunity’…those who get in early on may do well; those who get in near the end may lose out.

    That’s why its maybe not such a terrible thing when investors do lose out on pre-sale purchases…it’s sad of course for those affected, like some of the early investors at the Olympic Village….but maybe a necessary reality in the overall scheme of things.

    Hopefully these high profile losses will encourage people to start to look at real estate as a place to live, not a slot machine that may offer a big payout.

    That being said, I see there were people lined up to buy in Burnaby over the weekend. I wonder how many of them think there’s a big payout down the road…to those who paid $600 a foot, as reported in the paper, I’d say don’t spend your anticipated profits just yet.

  • Higgins

    Michael I disagree. Totally.
    You said:
    ‘I sometimes feel pre-sale marketing is a bit like a ‘chain letter opportunity’…those who get in early on may do well; those who get in near the end may lose out.”
    I would call that a Ponzi scheme, a multilevel marketing racket. With a Bernie Maddoff outcome.

  • http://www.gellersworldtravel.blogspot.com Michael Geller

    Higgins, we are not necessarily disagreeing…just look at some projects where pre-sale contracts were flippped a couple of times before the receivers came in…

  • The Fourth Horseman

    Thank you, Michael.

  • Bill Lee

    On taxation of flipped condos… From Richmond Noise http://preview.tinyurl.com/4a4vr4k

    [ CRA representative ] said the purchases must make reasonable inquiry as the residency of the vendor prior to releasing any funds.

    Under section 116 of the Income Tax Act, when a non-resident disposes of taxable Canadian property, the purchaser “is required to withhold 25 per cent of the purchase price…until such time as a certificate of compliance is obtained by the non-resident vendor.”

    The non-resident vendor is required to notify Canada Revenue of the disposition either prior to the sale or 10 days after the disposition date.

    The final buyer could be on the hook for paying the capital gains tax should the middle-man default.

    And on the weekend, Shanghai, Harbin, and China’s largest city, Chongqing added in the no more than two homes can be owned by any purchaser.
    Beijing has also added history of 5 year taxes paid in Beijing to lessen ‘outside’ speculation

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/6j235gh

    and http://tinyurl.com/4jkzxcr

  • The Fourth Horseman

    Thank you, Bill.

    Would be interesting to hear how real estate agents are handling this…

    I wonder what a “reasonable inquiry” about residency is…

    :-)

  • Ron

    Rmac, here’s a link to what appears to be the latest official development plan for the area which provides some additional information on what is currently planned, including building heights, etc. http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/bylaws/odp/SEFC.pdf

    Remember the plans can change – so remember, it’s not certain unless it has been built.

    ****

    If you are looking at a unit that has a water view, fine. If you are looking at a unit that has a view on the perimeter of the block (preferably the square, a street, or an open space), fine.

    However, if you are looking at a unit that opens to the middle or the inside of the OV blocks… Be leery about how close to your neighbours your windows and balconies are.

    The built form is quite different from downtown south/Yaletown. They’re midrise blocks that are set close together (and look into each other) – not like the tower and podium form across the water that provides more expansive views.

    Walking down the narrow streets feels both European and oppressive.

    If you face the courtyard you could be living in Burnaby for all you know…(and where’s the fun in that?)

  • Ron

    Would be interesting to hear how real estate agents are handling this…

    It’s you lawyer would would handle this – not the real estate agent. Too cheap to hire a lawyer? Then you could pay the price.

  • Tim B

    I think the city is big enough to find buyers interested in all of the units at the RIGHT PRICE. I personally like the OV area but prefer to be right in Yaletown. The OV does have killer views in many units but my view of Yaletown and False Creek is pretty spectacular too and I’m that much closer to downtown which I prefer.

    My large 1br is worth about 500k. Crazy, I know, but I’m glad I got into owning my own home 20yrs ago and bought that tiny 1br in the West End that my friends all thought was over-priced at $95,000 (worth around 325k now). My lesson learned is buy your own home but keep a reasonable budget. You probably can’t afford that view condo or west side house first (or second) time out but be patient.

    Trouble is too many people want instant gratification. Maybe you should buy that discounted vacation property in Phoenix or Palm Springs and just keep renting in Vancouver.

  • Morry

    no more than two homes can be owned by any purchaser.
    Beijing has also added history of 5 year taxes paid in Beijing to lessen ‘outside’ speculation

    A perfectly reasonable solution. Should be applied here in BC “toute de suite” !