‘Bob’ sent the following note and images to VREAA by e-mail, 14 Oct 2010 - “I’m a Vancouverite who recently had a chance to spend time in New York City. The five boroughs have a total population of 8.4 million and a population density of 10,630/km2. The New York metropolitan area has a population of 19 million and an approximately gross metropolitan product of $1.13 trillion (2005). By comparison, our entire nation, the whole of Canada, has a GDP of about $1.3 trillion (2009).
While walking about the city, my wife and I found ourselves looking at photos posted in an upscale realtor window (housing ‘porn’, as some people call it), advertising Upper East-side apartments and condos. Desensitized to high prices by the Vancouver real estate market, we were pretty surprised to see the kind of thing you can get in Manhattan for your buck.
For instance, to give some examples that come up after an internet search (in these cases all by Sotheby’s) – this 1 BR in a very prime area, ‘close to Fifth Avenue, located on New York’s Museum Mile next to Central Park’, ask $950K:
Or this 900 squ.ft 1BR, 10.5ft ceilings, at 45 East 66th Street, (on Madison Ave, one block from Central park), ask $895K:
Or this smaller 1BR at 345 East 77th Street, ask $399K:
Later, looking to get an early dinner, we asked a respectable looking fellow for restaurant advice. Me: “Excuse me, do you know this neighbourhood?”, He: “I should do, I’m a realtor.” After he gave us advice regarding where to eat (good advice, it turned out), we asked him about the market. He told us about apartments nearby in the Upper Eastside that were selling in the $600K range. (Looking around the web, for instance at these recent Corcoran sales, it seems properties below $1Million are selling in the $500-$900/squ.ft range, with lots in the $625-$700/squ.ft price range). Perhaps your readers with more experience of the Vancouver condo market can offer opinions on how these prices compare with ours. They seemed like good value by Vancouver standards to me. [Recent sales from prior link saved for the archives here. - ed.] On top of this, it looks like the US property market is about to take yet another step down.
I’m not going to try to list all the appeals of NYC. Anybody who hasn’t seen the place should visit. It is indisputably one of the greatest cities in the world. On this note, I stumbled across two things that led me to consider Vancouver, and BC, and our much discussed ‘Greatest Place On Earth’ theme -
The first was from an ad for a iPhone app that allows you to identify activities of interest around you in NYC. I was struck by the modesty of the claim -
The second was a painting by artist David Shrigley, seen at the Anton Kern Gallery in Chelsea, NYC. For the record, I love Vancouver, and love living here, but seeing this painting in NYC did make me chuckle. A teasing contrast to ‘Greatest Place On Earth’ and ‘Everything Is Going To Be Alright’ -