Unashamed House Porn: Seattle Vs Vancouver

3018 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy, Redmond, WA
5,040 sqft SFH; 17,859 sqft lot (0.41 acres)
Built 1991
“110′ of preeminent, level waterfront”, “Terrific privacy, with front row expansive lake, mountain and coastline views from nearly every room.” Sammamish Lake. Pool and hot-tub.
Zillow estimate value $3.34M
Listed for sale Aug 2010 $3.925M
Price reduced May 2011
Current asking price $2.85M

[hat-tip to Jeff Murdock for this example. Jeff adds “Biking distance to Microsoft”(2.1 miles)]

Vancouver comparison:

4411 W 11th; 4,696 sqft SFH; 63×121 lot (7,623 sqft; 0.175 acres)
(Backs onto alleyway behind 10th Avenue stores.)
Listed 9 Oct 2010 $2,980,000;
Price change 6 Dec 2010 $2,890,000
Sold 15 Feb 2011 $2,830,000

54 responses to “Unashamed House Porn: Seattle Vs Vancouver

  1. Its easier for Chinese to immigrate to Canada.

  2. move along nothing to look at here, there is no bubble in Vancouver it will keep rising forever 🙂 I can’t wait to get into a bidding war for a crack shack!

  3. ahahahahahaha…snort. bwahahahahahaha. oh goodness.

  4. Actually, initially I thought this may have been a bit of an unfair comparison, thinking the Redmond property may have been more comparable with, say, West Vancouver rather than Vancouver Westside.
    So, for comparison did a Google Earth search, looking at commute to downtown centre. Guess what? Google Earth puts UBC as 21 minutes from Vancouver downtown (fair estimate), and the Redmond property at 21 minutes from Seattle downtown!

  5. I prefer dirty second rate houses. Less shame.

  6. Stop! Stop! I can’t take it! I’m a Seattlite in a Prarie Canadian city and just took my evening walk outside past a bunch of one-story ranch houses that cost over 1 million. These houses are ok, but something I would identify with a middle or lower-middle class household. .

    And this isn’t even Vancouver. I’m so confused.

    • I would rather live in Birmingham than the prairies. At least the airfare to nicer places is affordable. God help you.

  7. “I thought this may have been a bit of an unfair comparison, thinking the Redmond property may have been more comparable with, say, West Vancouver rather than Vancouver Westside.”

    Nah – they’re commuting into the Microsoft campus in Redmond and shopping in Bellevue — Eastsiders. People working at Amazon & Adobe are more downtowners/Lake Union types.

    • Agreed. I have no particular affinity to Microsoft, I just wanted to point out that this is not a crazy mansion in some undesirable location. It’s in a nice area, and local salaries can indeed afford it.

      • oh yes. And in terms of house porn – check out the mansions on Bainbridge Island — waterfront, Mt. views, and many that cost less then the above Vancouver house. 25 minute ferry ride into the heart of downtown. After Washington Mutual went down in the crash, a bunch of executives & upper-level employees who lived on the Island lost their houses. (Considering WA MU’s role in the housing bubble, I guess it’s only fair they, also, lost their houses.)

  8. People in Vancouver are too poor for that house

    The problem with owning a $2.85 million house like the one in Redmond is that you need an extravagant income with which to furnish it, which no one in Vancouver has!

  9. bow chicka bow bow

  10. Immigrants are buying Canadian citizenship with their home…how much is that worth? I’d say the Vancouver buyers are getting the much better deal, with the Seattle buyer getting all the gravy but none of the meat

    • And why can’t US do the same thing as some people have suggested as a method to get rid of excess housing supply and stablize the housing price there?

      If you mean Vancouver buyers get a better deal because CRA doesn’t crack down on non-reporting of world wide income, abuse of social welfare system, and don’t ask don’t tell don’t deport policy with regard to corruption money then yes, Vancouver buyer gets a better deal. However how does that improve the livelihood and society for all the lawbiding tax paying citizens like me? Or does people like me doesn’t count?

      • you don’t count because you are being traitorous to the motherland! how dare you blaspheme against the harmonious middle kingdom and the glory of the mandate of heaven held by the happy-fun-times communist party??

        don’t get all squeamish on us now

    • So you’re saying that:
      (Canadian Citizenship cost) + (Vancouver SFH cost)
      is less than
      (US Citizenship cost) + (Seattle SFH cost)
      so living in Vancouver is a better deal?

      So, if (US Citizenship cost) – (Canadian Citizenship cost) > $1m, then this justifies Vancouver SFH costing $1m more than Seattle SFH?

      • US is not easy to “buy” citizenship like Canada is. With Canadian citizenship comes cheap medical care and education. The Canadian deal is the easiest and best choice. Isn’t this obvious by the demand for Canadian real estate?

    • “Immigrants are buying Canadian citizenship with their home”

      No they’re not because they don’t have to buy that particular house. Save the “shame in renting” spiel, it does Chinese immigrants a disservice, even if it proves my point.

    • “I’d say the Vancouver buyers are getting the much better deal, with the Seattle buyer getting all the gravy but none of the meat”

      Bubbles & crazytown housing prices make things rather unpleasant. I hope Seattle deleverages from the bubble and then stays calm — growing at a reasonable 3 to 5% per year.

      (I’ve gotta say, as a Pacific Northwesterner, I feel for Vancouverites who want to live in a sane, stable city.)

  11. My coworker, a Chinese from Taiwan (comes from a wealthy family), told me that it is easier to immigrate to Canada than into the US. I asked him that specific question – why is it that so many Chinese are immigrating to BC, when the US is so much cheaper, bigger (in terms of big cities, non the size of the entire country), and wealthier…

    • Immigrants from China:
      Canada: 25,000
      US: 50,000

      2:1 odds if you apply to both countries you’re going to the US. Maybe the process takes longer and is more expensive but the numbers are the numbers. Oh and apparently Rich Asians(TM) are buying multi-million-dollar penthouses in New York City too.

      • Yes, but there is 32 million Canadians and ten times more Americans. Calculate what impact 25,000 Chinese immigrants has to 32 million Canadians and what 50 thou Chinese has to 320 million Americans!

      • That’s not the point. Your friend’s claim was that it was “easier” to immigrate to Canada than the US. On an absolute basis that is simply not the case — a larger % of Chinese nationals immigrate to the US than Canada in any given year.

      • One more thing, Jesse, PLEASE do not compare NY City to Vancouver. Vancouver is special, yes, but nothing like NYC.

      • I see what you are saying, Jesse. But please bear with me, it IS easier to immigrate to Canada, as I am an immigrant and I know the pains of immigration to USA, and how easier it was to immigrate to Canada. (Somehow I thought that since I come from Europe, ti would not be so complicated. ) So, if I tell you it was easier for me to come here, and my Chinese coworker said the same thing, there must be some truth in it.

      • If it was 250 thousand (LOL) Chinese immigrants each year allowed into the US, I would say, yes, becoming landed immigrant in Canada is not easier than getting the GC in the States. Why the US Immigration will not allow that many Chinese to immigrate, well, that is something I do not know, and will not speculate.

      • Again, I don’t discount that the application is easier with fewer strings. I am stating that from a previous immigrant’s perspective it will obviously be true that Canada was easier to immigrate to, but for the prospective Chinese immigrant, the US is actually easier.

        Confused yet ? 😉

      • @Teddybear I know I’m beating a dead horse but just for clarity for other readers:

        A Chinese man, I’ll call him Jie, want to emigrate from China to North America. Jie applies to Canada and the US, along with millions of his countrymen. Based on the intake numbers alone, absent any other details, if Jie is immigrating to NA, he is 2:1 immigrating to the US. Assume he does immigrate to the US; from his perspective, it will have been easier to get into the US, and 2/3rds of his fellow Chinese immigrants to North America will agree with him.

        This is irrespective of the simplicity of the immigration process. From Jie’s POV, while the Canadian application process may be streamlined and faster, it was harder for him to get accepted.

      • jesse -> You’re leaving out an important variable: the denominator… how many are applying to the Canada and US respectively?… bet you (my guess) at least twice as many apply to the US each year than to Canada… thus, for US (number accepted)/(number applying) is less than same for Canada…. thus Canada is ‘easier’ to get into than the US…
        [may be incorrect; stand ready to be contradicted with actual data..]

      • Jeff Murdock

        Some hard data regarding Jesse’s claims.

        US permanent residents from China in 2009: 60,896
        See page 15 of http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/yearbook/2009/ois_yb_2009.pdf

        Canada permanent residents from China in 2008: at least 25460
        (This includes only those settling in BC, Ontario and Quebec. I’ll assume all other provinces are negligible)

        BC permanent residents from China in 2008: 9914

        Click to access imm08t4a.pdf

        Ontario permanent residents from China in 2008: 12726
        See page 9 of

        Click to access oi_stats_perms.pdf

        Quebec permanent residents from China in 2008: 2820
        See page 6 of

        Click to access BulletinStatistique-2008trimestre4-ImmigrationQuebec.pdf

        It seems Citizenship and Immigration Canada released detailed statistics on immigrants, including their country of origin, up to 1996 but not since then. The total number of Canadian permanent residents from China+HK in 1996: 47,482.
        See page 12 of

        Click to access mp22-1_1996.pdf

      • “Immigrants from China:
        Canada: 25,000
        US: 50,000”

        even if this stat were true it would likely mean one city in Canada takes the majority of Chinese immigrants while the US spreads the number among several different cities – some larger than Vancouver.

      • @vreaa: “how many are applying to the Canada and US respectively?”

        Well all else equal we don’t know. Suffice it to say, regardless the application volumes, if I were a Chinese national betting on where I’d end up, I’d take the odds on good ol’ US of A.

      • My good friend Jie found a country called Elbonia where they accept only two immigrants per year, but not many people thought they could get in and never bothered applying, which was no more than texting “12345” to the Elbonian leader. They only received 10 applicants, one being Jie.

        Jie got accepted and is now chief Chinese Relations Officer in the Elbonian government. Was it easy for Jie to get in? You betcha. But ask the other 1.2 Billion Chinese nationals, it’s damn near impossible, only 2 applicants per year.

      • Looks like we could redefine the question, using two ways of defining ‘easier’: ‘relative ease’ and ‘absolute ease’.
        But, regardless, it seems we’re all agreed that it is not difficult to immigrate to Canada.

  12. “My coworker, a Chinese from Taiwan (comes from a wealthy family), told me that it is easier to immigrate to Canada than into the US.”

    1) oh yes, it is much easier to immigrate to Canada then to the U.S. Due to a new law, I don’t even have to choice to extend my work visa, but MUST apply for permanent residency, which btw is a huge pain. Within 4 years, if those on a work visa don’t get permanent residency, you are required to leave the country for 4 years. Why Canada changed this policy, I have no idea. Maybe Canada is trying to encourage people to settle in Canada? Anways, I’m eligible for citizenship after just 3 years of living in the country, and the process for citizenship looks easier then permanent residency.

    But, applying for Canadian residency is much, much easier and less of a pain then applying for a US green card. But in the US workers can reapply for a skilled work visa without having to get a green card.

    2) I think there’s a misunderstanding of why y’all don’t notice the numbers of Asians living in the USA. It’s the size of the country (300million vs. 35 million.) There are more Chinese living in NYC then there are people in Metro Vancouver.

    And if you live in mainland China — Seattle isn’t the first west coast American city you might think of. SF and LA are more likely — bigger cities, more economic opportunity & larger Asian populations.

  13. oops – not just NYC proper but NYC Metro area. (Typo – I didn’t mean Metro vancouver but Vancouver city.)

    “The New York metropolitan area contains the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, enumerating 659,596 individuals as of the 2008 American Community Survey Census statistical data,[63] including at least 6 Chinatowns, comprising the original Manhattan Chinatown, two in Queens (the Flushing Chinatown and the Elmhurst Chinatown), two in Brooklyn (the Sunset Park Chinatown and the Avenue U Chinatown), and one in Edison, New Jersey, not to mention fledgling ethnic Chinese enclaves emerging throughout the New York metropolitan area.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_New_York_City

  14. I know exactly why Vancouver housing is so expensive, it is is the best place for criminals to break into offices. I just got back from a business trip only to discover that my office along with 10 other offices in the business center I am in were broken into. Ah I love vancouver, it is the best place on earth, oh real estate is going to moon here.

  15. Another Seattle vs Vancouver smackdown: this time at a lower $1.8m price point.

    http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=10971224
    – “Land value only”
    – 50×110 lot = 0.126 acres

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3355-134th-Ave-NE-Bellevue-WA-98005/48788011_zpid/#8
    – 4763 sqft house
    – 0.86 acres
    – Pool, cabana, hot tub, tennis court
    – Outdoor fire place and fire pit

    I think I’m going to start going to these open houses and handing out printouts of the Seattle properties at the same price point.

  16. Another Seattle vs Vancouver smackdown: this time at a lower $1m price point.

    http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11002406
    – $989k
    – 1416 sqft house
    – 16.5×122 lot = 0.046 acres
    – “Ocean View” (binoculars not included)

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2217-W-Lake-Sammamish-Pkwy-SE-Bellevue-WA-98008/2125662932_zpid/
    – $949k
    – 3700 sqft house
    – 0.31 acres
    – huge windows and massive deck overlooking Lake Sammamish

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/12342-NE-26th-Pl-Bellevue-WA-98005/48715837_zpid/
    – $1,090k
    – 3600 sqft house
    – 1.68 acres
    – views of Mt Rainier (supposedly)

    • Jeff! stop this, please… it’s agonizing. Genuinely painful.

      Even more remarkable to realize that the Seattle homes likely have about another 20% of downside ahead.
      Had to laugh when the photo of the tennis court came up (we in Van could get a house onto that… plus basement plus laneway).

  17. Dennis Virvilis

    The houses in Vancouver are meant for families living and working in the city, not for someone investment portfolio or back up plan just incase the political situation changes in their home country. It’s time for Vancouver to institute strict rules on who can buy homes and how many they can own. I don’t think steep property taxes on offshore investors will affect their buying.

    These insane property prices are killing Vancouver’s long term economic prospects as people with the skills necessary to grow our economy are either leaving to live in affordable cities or just won’t come here as they won’t have a standard of living even close to what they may have in other cities.

  18. People, vote with your feet. End the madness.

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