Vancouver Courier Letter Of The Week – “My husband has an excellent job in finance with a great salary we continue to rent little bungalows on the West Side that sell for ridiculous prices. Sadly Vancouver has become our enemy rather than our friend. Every day we discuss leaving.”

‘reality check’, in a comment on these pages, pointed us to the following letter in the Vancouver Courier, with the remark:
“There is a nice whiney letter in yesterday Courier, VREAA, stating how a poor family of 3 who deserves to live on the west side is looking at leaving the province. BOO HOO. I thought you’d enjoy reading it.”

Letter of the week
Vancouver Courier APRIL 6, 2012

“To the editor:

Re: “Vancouver realtors cater to wealthy offshore Chinese as middle class gets squeezed,”, April 3.

It’s about time that this major problem be discussed. My husband and I are increasingly frustrated with what is going on in the city and although my husband has an excellent job in finance with a great salary we continue to rent little bungalows on the West Side that sell for ridiculous prices ($2 million or more) to Chinese investor class citizens.

We watch our previous rentals get torn down so that another huge empty house can take its place. It’s heartbreaking and the fact that we have a daughter who is two years old makes the situation more frustrating because we can’t provide a stable situation-a small house, near a good school in a safe neighbourhood. We watch as our trust-fund friends buy on the East Side paying crazy prices to live in houses that need a lot of work in less than perfect neighbourhoods.

We are on our own financially, so sadly Vancouver has become our enemy rather than our friend. Every day we discuss leaving. Our job search in other parts of the nation continues because we are getting the message loud and clear- Vancouver doesn’t want us here.

Sad but true.

Rebecca Kovacs, Vancouver”

98 responses to “Vancouver Courier Letter Of The Week – “My husband has an excellent job in finance with a great salary we continue to rent little bungalows on the West Side that sell for ridiculous prices. Sadly Vancouver has become our enemy rather than our friend. Every day we discuss leaving.”

  1. Vesta/Epte&S.O…. and, of course, IllustriousEd… this is for you…

    ‘Nem’ is a (insert those two ugly words YVR PropertyPurveyors normatively used to entice the uninitiated)… specialist in Anomie/AnomicStrain…

    Ask yourself, apart from 孝 (OK, and a marriage that had ‘flushed’ combined with proximity to ‘The Few & The Proud’ of a now sadly diminished former BandOfBrothers)… why on Earth would I leave the Metropole to return to the land of CrustyC… and look forward to it?

    Revealed…. because ‘we’ don’t have the luxury of LargeHadronColliders to RevealTheTruth (or TRIUMF, which – believe or not – is a pretty cool piece ‘o kit even if the McKenzie brothers are running it) .

    ‘We’ have to go where the pols, historical contingency & ViciousCircumstance create our experiments for us.

    I truly wish it weren’t so.

    RANT off.

    ThankYou, DearReaders… it disheartens me so, to see what happened to the ‘burg ‘o me youth…

    On the brighter side… TheEnding… really is up to you… all of you.

    • Aldus Huxtable

      I always loved that Gil Scott-Heron classic, No Knock and Whitey On The Moon were favourites. However, may I counter with our 90s update on The Revolution…

      • That was awesome Aldus! Loved it. Never seen it before. TV, soda and unlimited bags of Cheetos. That is about all it has taken to turn the whole damn continent into a bunch of freaking Zombies. No wonder we still have bubbles developing in the modern educated world of instant information. At least a hundred years ago we could blame lack of education or quality analysis for the phenomenon. But now nobody has an excuse. Humans can’t think through all the media trash that is filling up their sorry heads.

    • whether from near or far, we are all seized with the same sense of anxiety. not unlike the observers of this little drama

      ps. more importantly, when are you posting porn again?

    • Thanks for all your wonderful links, Nem, not to mention your poetic posts!

    • BONUS HolidayWeekEndTreat….

      Nem’s personal experience of the ‘TimeHonouredInsitution’ of HolyMatrimony… a 43 second précis Bachelors everywhere are encouraged to view prior to…. ‘Choosing’.

  2. The answer, alas, won’t make anyone happy. One wonders, does Lady Christy read… the “papers”?

    • What a gem… been ages!… True in all aspects (right down to the blotters on the conference table)… Say what you like about Page3Girls but there’s no denying (in their GloryDays) they SingleHandedly kept a lot of BC pulp mills working 3 shifts… Such unwarranted hubris, Rupert’s BannerHeadline “It’s The Sun Wot Won It.”… When any InkStainedWretch could have told you, “It’s The T*ts Wot Won It.” (or at least shifted enough copies of TheSun for the ‘editorial’ to, via percutaneous absorption, permeate the ‘readership’)…

      Accordingly, a special treat is in order! ‘Naughtically’Themed in TheSpirit of Page3Girls!… and of particular interest to StrategicAnalysts who always wondered how the Brits managed to flog those sorry old ‘boats’ – aka VictoriaClass DieselElectric HunterKillers to Canada…

      Now you know.*

  3. Pretty much agree with the letter. Those bungalows were well built back then, and its too bad they get torn down without much foresight.

  4. Some would say they have a sense of entitlement to want to have stable housing in a nice area.

    How foolish of them to believe that a professional couple who pay tax, raise a kid and are playing a part in this community deserve to live in a reasonable area!

    Empty housing should be punitively taxed.

    • That is actually a very good idea Fish. Empty housing should be taxed much higher than occupied homes because it diminishes the city on so many levels by representing an absence of people who might otherwise be there to consume, work and contribute. Empty homes are a liability for the retail sector, a negative for all levels of government where taxation inputs are concerned and even a security concern in neighborhoods where empty homes can become squatter shacks and targets of thieves. For those in the enviable position to buy homes in Vancouver and then leave the lights on while they make all their contributions and earn incomes overseas, there should be a special tax that applies unless they make that home available as a rental. This would go a long way to reducing the stress of demands for housing in Vancouver while imposing a fair levy on the absentee-owner class who actually represent a strain on city services and budgets by eliminating rental space from the inventory. Not everything is about simply paying the usual property taxes. Healthy cities need people to populate them if the business sector and retailers are to survive, if civic centers and parks are to be utilized efficiently, if public venues are get customers. Imagine for a second if every single home in Vancouver were empty. Would the argument that residential taxes are being paid in full hold any value at all? Of course not. Even a kid can appreciate that an empty city is a dead city. The money therefore becomes meaningless. My contention is that it is within the powers of the City of Vancouver to act in preventing the city being hollowed out by absentee home owners. That is also one of their responsibilities.

    • reality check

      Define a reasonable area. Oh yeah right. I forgot that the only reasonable area is the west side of Vancouver. Silly me

    • How do you even begin to enforce that? There’re no smell from grow ops, there’s no cars on blocks… 😀

  5. CanuckDownUnder

    On the plus side there will be lots of work available for quality tradespeople once the bubble bursts and all these shitty new McMansions need to be torn down.

    Any guesses on what the average lifespan of these new houses will be?During the peak of the Alberta boom there was a street corner in downtown Calgary where homeless people (sorry, “transients”) would line up in the morning for a day of casual labour if you needed the help. It was all very civilised, they even had a self-enforced minimum wage. But yeah, these were the people slapping together properties as quick as they could be put up.

  6. West side: a safe neighbourhood with good schools
    East side: less than perfect neighbourhoods.
    anything outside COV: undesirable (I feel like a 2nd class citizen now)

  7. Trust fund friends. That’s the problem. Happiness is always won and lost in relative terms. Vancouver makes it easy to lose. Tip 2: avoid the obvious teardown candidates, perhaps a longtime landlord. Expand search area a bit.

    I had friends that rented a Westside teardown that was, well, torn down. It was sad, and sweet, and they knew it complete. “locational obsolescence”.

  8. Btw I’m not so sure about the safe n’hood and good schools. That, after all, is realtorspeak. Been to any block BBQs or school Christmas concerts? Me neither, but if that’s the basis, one should check. Theives have figured out that the easy money is on the west side, I’d rather fly under the radar somewhere else. Fewer corupt middle ranking party bribees outside of the bizarro west side too.

  9. I’m still going with my visceral reaction: boo hoo. One good tern…

  10. Jesse — (Vesta here — still trying to liberate my moniker.)
    1). You wrote in another thread about this letter that the writer must consider renting “substandard.” I don’t think that’s what she’s saying necessarily. I think she may be talking about renting bungalows and being turfed out because they’re being sold and torn down (so, yes, big empty houses can get put up. I’ve lived next to this phenomenon for 6 years now, so please nobody tell me I’m mistaken). Having that kind of instability in your rental situation is obviously unsettling for anyone, and doubtless especially difficult if you have children. I know one family from Taiwan (with 4 children) who were forced to move 3 times within a few years because of the specuvestor frenzies.
    2). This Taiwanese wanted to be on the West Side so their gifted daughters could attend a particular arts program in a West Side school. Maybe this woman who wrote in to the Courier wanted a particular school for her own child and that’s why she didn’t want to move to the East Side.

    • Vesta, I understand the frustration with long-term tenures. I could argue, from that point of view, rents are decidedly higher than the short-term fare. This person could, for a price, try to secure a longer-term tenured accommodation. The desire for ownership seems to me to be implied from these comments but agree was never made explicit.

    • reality check

      No she is an obnoxious bitch who thinks that the only decent place to live in the entire lower mainland is the west side and you morons are buying into her sob story.

      • We certainly don’t want to paint everyone with the same brush, but restrictions on obnoxious ownership sounds like a winner.

        If I were obnoxious, and found other obnoxious people sitting on their laurels having bought when prices were lower, it would undoubtedly smart a little.

        A Brazilian business leader I heard once claimed that to keep his employees happy he had to give them 3 things: interesting work, enough money to take money off the table and (as a corollary) enough money to fall in line with what their peers are making. The same can be said about housing; it is becoming more and more inhumane when one is faced with such a stark disparity in one’s circle. Rich people problems!

      • Some of us Morons were born there.

  11. reality check

    Hey Rebecca, Let me help you pack your bags so that your upscale family can move somewhere deserving of them.

    • Be careful what you wish for. Compared to Van East there’s just so many better places to live and raise/educate your family for a fraction of the price. I’d say Rebecca and family are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of families leaving the supposed BPOE. It’s good to read that some others still have common sense enough to recognize true value.


  13. hahahahahaha ….funny replies. the way i read the article is not that she is a snob who thinks she deserves better. she seems to be frustrated with the fact that people that don’t live here are buying entire neighbourhoods up , tearing down the houses and replacing them with homes that are never lived in. she doesn’t say anything about wanting to buy. she seems to be angry with the government for allowing this to happen and that being a renter is becoming difficult. i am a renter and i see the same issues with my searches-

    • “she seems to be frustrated with the fact that people that don’t live here are buying entire neighbourhoods up , tearing down the houses and replacing them with homes that are never lived in.”
      C’mon, really?

      • thats what i see here. have you walked through the area 16th ave west up to 33rd ave west and arbutus up to dunbar? i lived in that area and saw exactly that . go for a walk and see for yourself……..30% empty homes at least. i watched the neighbourhood bought up torn down and replaced with huge eye sores that have never been lived in yet were bought and sold 3 and four times over a 5 year period. this is the epicentre of the problem.

      • trafalgar park are has been torn down and has been rebuilt with these large homes that are never lived in – owned and flipped by people that don’t live here. i lived near here for 9 years . i saw some of the same houses listed and sold up to 5 times…2 within blocks of me. we have a real problem and people simply don’t believe it has happened and continues to happen. bm

      • What’s that? They tore down Trafalgar park?

        You got to be kidding me. Is that how far the city has fallen? Do they remove parks and make room for housing development? I was kind of shocked last week when another blogger here told me the school for the blind was rezoned for housing. Really shocked. The Armouries too.

        What’s next? Class of 75 Kits Grads sleeping in cardboard shelters in Stanley Park while a bunch of Billionaires try to shoot the black squirrels and barbeque the Geese?

      • “…torn down and has been rebuilt with these large homes that are never lived in – owned and flipped by people that don’t live here”.

        I’ve never seen a new home erected that is not lived in.
        Maybe it is happening but I haven’t witnessed it.
        I need something more than a biased renter statement. These claims are meant to be sensational and often just serve to promote hatred and ill will. I’d start believing if posters start listing addresses of these homes they claim to be sure are not occupied.

      • formula1 -> There definitely are new homes sitting empty on the westside.
        But, if you’ve never seen them, fair to ask for addresses.
        Specific addresses, anybody?

      • vreaa,
        fyi, there are two vacant detached in my neighbourhood. Neither are new homes. Typically these are older homes are in teardown condition and awaiting redevelopment. I’ve never seen one of these vacant holding properties sold as is without a new home having been erected on it before resale.

      • Can I butt in here? This whole concept of “tear-downs” is honest to God ridiculous. Most city homes built in the last century prior to this decade are more than capable of serving their owners as housing well into the future.

        I don’t know why it bothers me as much as it does. A lot of these homes were beautiful. They were put up by craftsmen using the best quality of materials. Hardwood floors, stained glass, knot free joists and beams……the list goes on.

        But because they were sometimes small or have a moldy roof we trash the damn things instead of appreciating just how well they wer constructed.

      • Farmer,
        e-mail me at
        I’ll give you the addresses of the two teardowns in my locale. I think you’ll come ’round to calling them teardowns after you see them. They are not serviceable.

      • Thanks anyway, Formula. There is no need to see them. The point here is that if the land values had not escalated to such extreme levels, that normal families would still occupy many of the so-called tear-downs and they would be maintaining them as homes.

        With such high current land values it is easy to appreciate why maintaining properties is a waste of time and money. Why living in these places and keeping them up is a dead loss.

        Let me put it another way. Say you are a home-owner who is trying to unload an older house. You paid 300k in 1998 but the property is now worth two million. The house is old (but not obsolete). The neighbors vacant lot then sells for 2.1 million…….and you think…….and then you think a bit more…….

        Should I really renovate the kitchen or bath? Does this piece of crap really need a new roof? Why fix the leaky basement or cracked walks?? The new guy is just going to give it the wrecking ball anyway. It is not even good environmental practice to waste good resources when everything is going to the dump anyway…now is it?

        It is easy to see why after 20 years of steadily rising prices that Vancouver homes are not worth squat when speculators only want the land. So nobody does repairs anymore. You cannot tell a crack shack from a mansion. And that is why Vancouver is not a family friendly city either.

        The place has been destroyed by two decades of speculation.

  14. rebecca kovacs

    Thanks Jody! It would be great to be in a situation where we could afford a house in East Vancouver. Each time we have had to move rentals the charming niches of residential areas within East Vancouver are in our search – I REALLY like the East Side. But, for whatever reason, (there are many things to consider when you are renting a house) our decisions have landed us on the West Side. What I am seeing, repeatedly are 1950’s homes, within walking distance on quiet streets to elementary schools, being plowed down with no regard of landscape, nature, heritage, recycling, reclaiming etc. to be filled with what? A big new empty house and consequently a loss in housing for those of us who don’t own. Using the term “trust-fund friend” was my way of making sure that I was being understood; you need a hell of a lot of money behind you to buy in Vancouver proper, which might be just a whole lot of empty new buildings soon anyhow….

    • “Using the term “trust-fund friend” was my way of making sure that I was being understood; you need a hell of a lot of money behind you to buy in Vancouver proper, which might be just a whole lot of empty new buildings soon anyhow….” – So you lied about having trust-fund friends for effect? What else about the letter is embellishment?

      • BM – your copy and paste and incorrect interpretation method is so obviously coming from a desperate need to attack and/or defend. Give us a break with your silly questions.

  15. would be nice to see some real numbers….how many vacant houses are we really talking about – besides the anecdotes.

    • go for a walk through the neighbourhood i told you about..16th to 33rd / arbutus to dunbar or macdonald to make it really obvious. i am not exaggerating one bit. there you will find 4 or 5 per block that sit empty…new homes are empty not old homes…i lived there , i saw it- go see for yourself. not only do they sit empty but they are being bought and sold many times ( flipped ) and still never lived in. has nothing to do with being a renter…the facts are the facts. no they didn’t tear down the park….just all the homes in the neighbourhood. no kids playing in the yards…nothing. I’m being told one of our cites reporters is doing a piece on the specific issue….stay tuned. but go for a walk and see for yourself.

      • Track whether flyers and community papers are picked up a day or two after they’re delivered. That would give a sense of who opens the front door on a routine basis.

        A few dozen people could deliver bright coloured flyers to doors and check back later. Easy peasy!

      • Looking forward to it. Keep us posted bubleman. This madness has ripped the heart and soul out of the city. I don’t know a single person who is pleased about what is happening. Even the ones that I know who made good money (all of them) are acknowledging that the spirit of the Vancouver they knew as children is long gone. When your home and neighborhood are turned into a casino there is no refuge except to depart for happier lands but you can never get that home town feel back again. It is really lost for good. Sorry to say.

      • I still am not seeing any specific addresses posted.

      • All you want is a few addresses of empty houses? Maybe the locals can make an effort. I don’t live there anymore so I can’t help but I constantly hear about houses and condos without tenants or owners. If nobody comes through then I guess you win, Formula.

      • I take the sientific approach Farmer – when I see it I believe it. Too many people here claiming to see a monkey with three heads. Give me the location and I’ll go check out the monkey myself.

      • I am on your side this time, Formula. If this is all just a bunch of talk and Red Herrings then we should drop it and move on. Even I find it frustrating.

      • Just look at the sales history on some of the current listings! It doesn’t matter if someone picks up the mail from these empty homes or not. What kind of neighbourhood is full of homes that have sold every year for the last seven years! It’s pretty obvious that this situation doesn’t describe a real neighbourhood where you’d want to raise a family – more like a futures pit on the Nymex. Farmer nailed this one with his description of speculation ripping the heart and soul out of the city.

  16. vamcouverbubbleman

    i will get u many of them- there are so many in that area…i will just do one street from arbutus to macdonald to give you an idea-

    • Thanks Bubbleman. It is up to the citizen sleuths to bring the information to light. It seems to me that one of the biggest failures of the local bureaucracy and City is the lack of oversight on property ownership and residency. The idea of shifting the responsibility off to other levels of government is a pretty thin, flimsy excuse to avoid dealing with a growing problem. Nobody is collecting hard data that might permit a real analysis of the problems the city faces. The sad old refrain that it is racist to even ask just sickens me. I really don’t give a flying F%$& what any of the namby-pamby bleeding hearts and do-gooders think anymore. There are very legitimate concerns being expressed here on this site and elsewhere every single day now. They cannot be ignored anymore. That is not racism and for anyone who suggests it implies an attempt to close down the discussion of a topic that needs some gutsier respondents to address. When did we all turn into such weak limp-wristed prisses anyway that we cannot speak our minds even on legitimate topics without fearing stepping on the toes of others who are harming our interests? It is so much bullsh@t.

      • Seems I am mixing threads here by responding to two at once. The other is the discussion of racism mentioned earlier. It just burns me up how the racism card gets played to shut down every important discussion. Smoke may just be coming out my ears right now. We all know the city is having problems. What we don’t have is good information on why it is so bad and so that should be the starting point to a real debate. Until locals demand those kinds of details we won’t have anything more than anecdotes and vague resentments. Not that any of it will matter soon. The bubble has popped and everyone is going down with the ship this time.

      • Bingo. My sentiments exactly.

    • bubbleman ->
      Please post some specific addresses when you get a chance. (To prove to formula1 that what he thinks are “three headed monkeys” are actually one headed monkeys, and not that rare at all.)

  17. I AM “gathering data” on empty houses. I agree with West Coast Woman’s proposal a few threads back that there should be a database of these. Just so we know even more about the obscenity of land and house-hoarding here.

    Let’s just start with one example very near me, 6176 Balsam Street. Met the owner back in October, when the house (a new build) was finally being finished. Thought I’d introduce myself to someone I thought was my new neighbour. He looked all of 19. Language difficulties (I don’t speak Mandarin) precluded much of a chat, but he seemed pleasant enough.

    His huge new house has been vacant since then. Not for sale, not rented, not occupied, nothing. A couple who lives nearby in a character house told me every so often a kid comes in and leaves pizza boxes strewn around. Otherwise the house is shut up tight and dark.

    This same couple said when they had had to do some repairs/upgrades at their house, the City building-permit-inspection guys came out THREE TIMES to ensure compliance, because, the young couple said, they weren’t working with a contractor already known at City Hall.

    In the meantime, they tell me, this kid who built what they refer to as “The Mausoleum” at 6176 is pulling some maneuver to try to avoid HST. I don’t know how leaving the house empty gets him off paying the HST, but maybe someone who reads this blog would like to phone up Revenue Canada and ask them how this works.

    Because of course phoning City Hall to complain about this will get you squat.

    Two doors down, at 6208 Balsam, is another new home that has been vacant since it was finished months ago. No For Sale sign, no renters, no nothing. There are other newer homes on this block I suspect are empty as well.

    And these are just the houses I can see from my own rental!

    But let me just finish by saying a few things here:
    1). Statistics are a fairly new discipline. There are a lot of knowledgeable people who contribute to this blog who have given us the benefit of posting and analyzing very helpful statistics.

    2). But if statistics were absolutely everything, history, literature, eyewitness reporting, visual art, etc., would have counted for nothing as ways of conveying information and truth for all these thousands of years.

    Only someone blind and deaf or otherwise invested in the status quo would deny what is happening here. I’ve lived in Kerrisdale 20 years. What posters are describing here is true. Houses are being torn down, new ones are going up, and many of the new ones are unoccupied. As a recent commenter’s statistics showed, a lot of places have also been bought and are back on the market within two years.

    Rebecca Kovacs was also writing about the destabilizing of the rental market. This was exactly my experience. Anyone else post to this blog who has tried to find a longterm rental in the past year?

    Formula 1, maybe there’s a disinformation job waiting for you at the North Korea Propaganda Office. I bet they want people to know THEIR country is the BPOE. You seem like just the kind of person who could flog it.

    • Nice post, Vesta!

    • The HST trick is an old one, occupy it with intent of living in it, then sell it after getting the grant. They will have paid HST on the construction.

      I share the concern in general for unoccupied properties. There are cities around the world where unoccupied large houses are a major problem and they leave legacies lasting decades.

      If it makes you feel any better, Vesta, I found, in the SE Asian properties that sat vacant, most were bought with the intention of occupying a larger family but due to the advent of 1st world sensibilities most children would rather not live in compounds with their parents, instead seeking separate accommodations. The large houses sit empty, a dream now gone, by the older generations hoping for coalescence of family. The sheen eventually rubs off.

      In the meantime the City moves on. Not to get to philosophical, but the future is not the past. If one wants a vibrant neighbourhood some very tough introspection is long overdue, and circling the wagons is probably not the most effective defence.

      • Jesse, fascinating info above about the family-compound-avoidance issue; thanks.

        But who’s circling wagons here? (Not me.) Who’s being shut out now? As I mentioned in a post some time ago, the street where I used to live had a very healthy (I’d say vibrant) demographic mix of professionals, tradespeople, owners, renters, retirees, students, etc. But this part of the city is becoming both economically homogenous and an almost eerie ghost-town.

        Of course the future’s not the past. My question is, what kind of future is Vancouver planning for? Who’s at the wheel here? As far as I can tell, nobody.

        I know you and I both agree that high taxes for scarce land (e.g. on the West Side) might shake things up a little more. This slouching toward the New Monaco stuff — which is where I see Vancouver heading — is what I can’t stand.

      • “But this part of the city is becoming both economically homogenous and an almost eerie ghost-town”

        I get it, it sucks, at some point one has to make the call whether living there is worth the fight. Certainly worth a shot I suppose but ultimately there are great neighbourhoods around that are not as you are describing.

        My “circling the wagons” comment is not geared towards you (I think I know you well enough now lol) but taking to task neighbourhood plans that have explicitly stated no new density, or including density in a way that does not allow the demographic mix you cite. That’s what I mean by introspection: a neighbourhood on one hand limits supply through years of careful and strategic planning and variance decisions, produces an affluent and expensive enclave desired by affluent people, then on the other hand laments the neighbourhood is being ruined when the affluent who move in are cut of a different cloth. It’s either one or the other; the city is increasing its density and the problem will only become more acute in the decades ahead.

        And it is worth mentioning that many of the affluent moving in, even if only temporary residents, have a different view of what a neighbourhood should be. It’s not for me to pass judgement on this style but it is a definite clash. From that perspective, whether the property is occupied or vacant won’t make much of a difference if all you see is the car leaving in the morning and coming back in the evening. That’s part of why I see the occupancy thing is a bit of a wild goose chase. It doesn’t solve the problem that the Canadian/European definition of a neighbourhood is not the only path available.

  18. vancouverbubbleman

    here is a list for you all- i walked arbutus to macdonald from 19th ave. west to 22nd ave. west. i lived in this hood and have for 8years-some of these below have been bought and sold 3,4 and 5 times in the last 6 years. one day there will be 50 listings for sale , the next week there will be 20 listed and none will have sold- they are being pulled and placed for sale to manipulate the market in this particular area. i have been obsessed with watching this for years-odd i know but i hate how the city is being destroyed. there are more than this-this is just 4 streets….. a side note…i have watched these houses for years and they all have gardeners to keep grounds looking good so don’t think they are occupied because the lawn is mowed. bubbleman

    macdonald to arbutus

    19th ave
    2789 2788 2765 2745
    2642 2519 2505 2483 2450 2448 2402
    2403 2395 2365 2356 2325 2315 2265

    20th ave
    2203 2206. 2255 2286 2285 2299 2396 2408 2411 2417 2475 2718 2730 2715 2755 2772

    21st ave.
    2749 2690 2683 2471 2428 2335 2369 2396 2386 2375 2225 2193 2151

    22nd ave.
    2118 ,2128 2328 2345 2376 2375 2457 2491 2663 2677 2749

    • bubbleman -> Wow!
      Thanks for the diligent fieldwork.
      We have to allow that you may be wrong on some of these (I’m sure you’d agree; there may be some very private hermits living in the basements).
      But, if even just half of these homes are sitting empty, those are very powerful numbers.
      We were aware of the phenomenon (and know of examples), but if your observations are accurate, we’d underestimated its extent.

    • Interesting work. If you can be more scientific about how you list these you might have something that will be usable. Worth a thought on your method and we can “review” it. You might be onto something.

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      f1 can you please go to every address and knock to confirm these are empty.


    • what is your clues that these addresses are unoccupied? Lights off? MIddle of the afternoon might have something to do with this.
      When I have some time one evening I’ll go knock on some doors.

  19. Tell it like it is, Vancouverbubbleman! Thanks for the hard (to stomach) numbers!

    • Good work, Bubbleman. That is a lot of empty houses in a small area. Not like it is all of them either I am sure. I had plenty of friends up in that area years ago. Mostly gone now. I cringe at the idea of even driving through for a look. It might ruin my past party memories.

  20. vancouverbubbleman

    i took pictures of the kind of “tear downs” that are being taken down and pictures of the kind that is replacing them…. just not sure how to post. the streets are dead in there- no kids playing. some of the houses are beginning to mold and sink – just built within the last 5 years!!! its so sad and depressing..just 10 years ago it was a middle class hood with nice homes for 500k now they are all pieces of crapola and are “listing” for $3.5 -5 million.

  21. vancouverbubbleman

    i sent some pictures- they are examples of what has being torn down on a massive scale and what is replacing them. these are not pictures of empty homes..there was only one empty old house that i made note of….all the empty ones were built in the last 6 years. BM

  22. Jesse, you wrote: “… produces an affluent and expensive enclave desired by affluent people, then on the other hand laments the neighbourhood is being ruined when the affluent who move in are cut of a different cloth. It’s either one or the other; the city is increasing its density and the problem will only become more acute in the decades ahead.” Trenchant and insightful. Thanks for the clarification and expansion. (I hadn’t meant to sound defensive earlier, just felt like arguing with what I thought you were saying.)

    The really serious economic-demographic changes I’m witnessing have happened quite recently, with the zoning that allowed for basement suites (ironically meant to increase the demographic mix, I guess, but what it’s meant in reality is larger luxury houses with fewer inhabitants per square foot), and the growth of the speculative mania.

    Very interesting point you made too about differing definitions of “neighbourhood.” The atomization I perceive feels alienating, isolating, and painful. Good to hear from you that there are many places around town that are different. Quite frankly, I didn’t find the West Side of Vancouver the warmest place when it was mostly Caucasian. But how to get Vancouverites to mingle now? I wish I knew. We had some nice block parties on my old street….

    • ” I didn’t find the West Side of Vancouver the warmest place when it was mostly Caucasian”

      Me too, a good friend of mine grew up in a neighbourhood where the kids on the block were rarely outside, usually being shuttled off to lessons of some sort. A different lifestyle; sometime what one thinks one want isn’t what is practical.

      Good comments there, as always.

  23. vancouverbubbleman

    West side has been ruined – its souless . My fear is unless people stand up and make their feelings known – this city is done for. I refuse to just sit back, have a glass of red……as cam good would say…….and watch the destruction . The peple are in charge, not the developers, realtors and politicians.

    • What do you suggest the people do?

      • vamcouverbubbleman

        i suggest people stand up for this city and let the politicians know that they want change. if we just sit back and do nothing it will get much worse. politicians work for us not the other way around.

    • Not to put too fine a point on it, but what’s with the obsession with Van West? It’s not like the relevant world stops east of Oak Street (even though that is honest to goodness what some people think).

  24. Oak Street? Whoa. Easy there Jesse. Surely you meant to say Arbutus. Please step away from the map and put down the permanent marker.Phew. That was way to close, man.

  25. vamcouverbubbleman

    im just pointing out empty houses near where i rent is all. i have no obsession with the west. im sure there are 1000’s of empty condos downtown and soon the houses that sell for 1 million around Nanaimo street will be bought and torn down only to sit empty as well. i really didnt want this to seem like im a west side lover-that was not intended to be the point. over and out. BM

    • BM this is more a comment in general, you just happen to be the nearest target. I’ve visited this blog for a while, and most of the comments are geared towards certain neighbourhoods, often affluent. I could probably count the comments about Port Coquitlam on one hand.

      Just an observation, your straw polling method is probably the best we have for looking at occupancy rates.

  26. Pingback: West-Side Street Level Analysis – “I walked Arbutus to Macdonald from 19th to 22nd Ave. These homes are empty. Some have been bought and sold 3, 4 and 5 times in the last 6 years.” | Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive

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