‘mjw’ writes, in two e-mails to VREAA, 5 & 6 Oct 2011 –
..“What happened to us this past weekend offers a glimpse at the ridiculous game being played out on the westside.
..My wife and I are both profs at UBC, mid 40’s and have been trying to “upgrade” from a duplex on the westside to a SFH in Kits in order to get more space for our family, while retaining a good school district and a short commute. I wrote a post on VREAA a few months ago [12 May 2011] indicating that we are applying for academic jobs elsewhere in Canada. However, finding comparable work for two senior academics is a challenging enterprise, and takes much time to sort out. To make a senior hire in academics is often a long process, and the department needs to know that the candidate is serious on accepting if an offer can be generated. Fortunately, my wife and I are both at the top of our professions and we have been “head-hunted” a few times since 2000, but on those occasions had decided to stay in Vancouver. Fortunately, we both have interviews at U.Alberta in November, and we are pretty confident that this is where we will end up.
….In the interim, we continue to look off and on in Kits with the idea that if we are able to find something decent around the 1.5M price range we might just suck it up and try to buy it…
….In this light, this past weekend we went to the open house at 2655 Waterloo street [MLS number V912486] advertised at the magic number 1.488M…
….If you look tonight [5 Oct 2011] you will still see this as the advertised price. It was an okay house, not great by any means, no dining room, a 10 times 11 master, nanny suite rather than a basement suite, low ceilings etc…. The presenting realtor was so obnoxious that I was worried that my wife might launch at him during the open. The house was significantly less desirable than 1.6M homes that have sold in our neighborhood since last spring that we have seen in (and were unsuccessful in getting during a bidding war).
….Anyways, we made an offer in the low 1.5M’s, and were one of 3 offers presented this past Monday at 1pm. I have a sense from what our realtor told us that we were the highest bidder.
….Got a call from our realtor on Monday evening saying that they were rejecting all offers, as they really wanted a price of 1.698M (which is simply 210,000 more than the price of 1.488M advertised on the weekend of October 2nd). You can see the new listing and the new price on the realtor Julia Lau’s website (scroll down to 2655 Waterloo street listing).
….On Monday evening the listing realtor contacts our realtor and asks “are we interested in purchasing at 1.698M?”…. My first thought was that someone clearly has transposed some digits?… surely this is a joke?… Anyways, it is no joke, this is precisely the game being played here…. and perhaps is being played out in many other “transactions” on the west side…. A complete waste of everyone’s time (writing offers, visiting open houses etc…)…
….After this fiasco this past week we are completely done. I phoned U.Alberta today and told them that we will take the jobs if they offer them to us.
I don’t know if this is normal procedure; advertising one week at 1.488M, and then the next week at 1.698M… but this to me is a clear sign that there is rampant speculation and that buying bricks and mortar has turned into an auction…. In our view this city is being rapidly ruined…..
….“Renting a SFH on the westside is very unstable; places are being flipped like burgers; there would be little stability with regards to schools for the kid. I have watched my graduate student have to move 4 times in the past two years owing to the fact that his basement rental (shared with another student) is in a house that is being flipped. The overwhelming feeling is that at this stage of our lives it should not be so difficult. We will have an easy go in any other place in Canada…..
….I think that some sort of activism is needed to highlight and make people aware of the game that is being played out. If this type of behavior receives more “press”, hopefully individuals will choose to boycott the system until some sanity returns. I do hope that some maverick decides to run for city councilor who can really communicate the difficulty faced by so many families. I think it would resonate with so many people…..”
A remarkable story.
The loss to Vancouver of two bright professionals, and their family.
One example of the misallocation of human capital caused by the speculative mania in housing. It is crippling our city.
Only the most blasé RE bull will be able to read stories like the one above without feeling concern for the health of our community.