“I just visited Manhattan for a week, and happened to snap some real estate ads on both the Upper West and Upper East sides of the island. Compare to Vancouver. It simply doesn’t compute.”



“I just visited Manhattan for a week, and happened to snap some real estate ads on both the Upper West and Upper East sides of the island (both very affluent areas). Compare these prices for these apartments, located in the heart of the one of the world’s most important metropolises with all the employment opportunities that go along with it…. to how far one’s money goes in Burnaby, Downtown, etc. It simply doesn’t compute.”
– from ‘L’, via e-mail to VREAA, 8 Apr 2013

52 responses to ““I just visited Manhattan for a week, and happened to snap some real estate ads on both the Upper West and Upper East sides of the island. Compare to Vancouver. It simply doesn’t compute.”

  1. 4SlicesofCheese

    And they are targeting HAM, Vancouverites have this delusion that every single person that leaves China is ending up here.

  2. Ralph Cramdown

    I don’t know that HAM would get into a co-op. Not our kind of people, don’t you know.

  3. I was looking at housing in NYC. There you can rent and still be a first class citizen. Here the vast majority of renters are in either poorly maintained rental buildings or dealing with amateur landlords. Here there’s no such thing as a rental agent to help you find a place. You can actually rent a place as nice as a condo in Manhattan.

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      Same as most European cities, I guess you can say the stigma of renting here could be justified, majority of rentals are illegal suites.

  4. I love the fact that you think that visiting a place for a week (how were the Broadway shows?), and snapping photos of listings in a window somehow makes you an expert on NYC real estate…and that those listings can therefore be directly compared to the Vancouver market.

    How big are these places? Exactly what streets are they on? (because, both the upper west side and the upper east side can refer to a bunch of different neighbourhoods) What sort of condition are they in? I’ve lived in both neighbourhoods and here’s my experience…
    1) I rented my 600 sq ft ‘1 bedroom’ on the upper east side (78th street) for about $2000 per month. It was on a sixth floor walk up.
    2) I also rented a1200 square foot 2 bedroom on the upper west side (101st and Manhattan) for $2600 per month….the bodega on the ground floor had been shut down for a year because of drug deals taking place. All the food had been left in the store, which meant there was a serious rat problem in the building. I was worried about my girlfriend walking unaccompanied from the subway.

    How does that stack up with you reference to “both very affluent areas”???

    And as for the reference to HAM….here’s a thought – maybe the realtor is marketing to the large Chinese population that actually lives in NYC.

    C’mon people – I know it makes us all feel good to point out the absurdities of the Vancouver market, but let’s try and least compare apples to apples…not apples to elephants.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      So, are you saying that properties in Vancouver are not over priced?

      • He is saying it overpriced but the value is there.

      • It’s overpriced but still a bargain compared to NYC. Difference is in NYC people actually make money. For example, I as a high income earner in Vancouver of over 300k a year would be considered middle class in Manhattan. Properties are still way more expensive dollar for dollar in NYC. In Vancouver, it’s just more unaffordable due to the lower incomes.

      • nom nom non

        I think this sounds like ‘Testy’ just wanted everyone to know that he/she lived in NYC for a spell… Well, I for one am impressed at how worldly Testy is, anyone else?

    • UpperWestSide?

      There’s only one place you need ever consider…

      [NoteToEd: Best of all are the impromptu stairwell Cello recitals… it’s so close to the Julliard! Sorry I’ve been such a slacker lately… I’ve been preoccupied writing memos about Kimchi and CircularErrorProbable. On the BrighterSide they at least decided to keep the LGM-30G in the box this month. That’s something… PS – there is absolutely no truth to the persistent rumors that Glenn Hughes faked his death and resurfaced in Toronto as a financial advisor and real estate blogger.]

  5. Yes, yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. *sigh*

    Oh wait – if you actually read my post, you’ll see I said nothing of the sort!
    I pointed out that the OP is making a ridiculous, unsupported by any facts comparison.

    It would be interesting to see a real comparison, based in fact, not on this scenario….”Random Vancouverite walks past a random realtor in NYC and snapped a photo of some property that is for sale somewhere in Manhattan. He doesn’t know anything about the realtor, the properties, the location of the properties, or the NYC market in general, but hey, why would that stop him/her making a direct comparison to the Vancouver market???

    Now that I’ve spelled it out (again), can you follow me?

  6. Umm, I have some experience of New York City too. You don’t get the verdant streets of Vancouver in New York, obviously, or the clean air, or the peace and quiet — all things Vancouver very much has going for it — but in terms of culture, diversity, and vibrancy, I believe you get more bang for your real estate buck when it comes to condos. And when it comes to SFHs in suburbs anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes away from midtown NYC on the bus or train, there really is no comparison between what you can get
    near New York and what you get in the Lower Mainland. None. Vancouver housing prices will have to fall by a lot more to equal the value of those near New York.

    Due to guns, some New York neighbourhoods are definitely less safe than Vancouver, and certain kinds of crime are probably worse overall, but for a major metropolis, New York’s definitely a lot safer than it used to be, for whatever that’s worth. Testy, when did you last live on West 101st? I’m living about 10 blocks south of there right now and I walk home by myself from the gym at 11 o’clock at night. I’m four foot eleven and female.

    • [NoteToEpteEtAl: Kudos! For NYC… being ‘short’ is a bonus. Just ask any of my favourite Gurkhas. NoteToEd: It’s MillersTime in America.]

      • Not exactly my attitude….

      • I know, Epte… that was a parody employed primarily for literary effect – specifically, “America, F**k Yeah!” and… as it happens.. it’s also something of an in joke amongst ‘TeamAmericaWorldPoilice’. I can’t resist those… because, occasionally, they also read VREAA.

  7. And the worst rat problem I’ve encountered was actually in the Kerrisdale/Dunbar neighbourhoods, due to all the construction. Many of our neighbours have had rat problems in the last decade. The exterminator said Dunbar is famous for its rats!

    Forgot to mention that one can also find very nice condos in the Manhattan boroughs apparently that would still rate as bargains compared to some of the places you could get in Vancouver.

    It partly depends on what you’re looking for. Clean air and streets? Vancouver is still way overpriced, but can definitely boast about these things.

  8. @ El Ninja – yes, yes, you’re so wise. that must be what I am. read my posts again and tell me my observations about the OP are incorrect.
    @ Epte on the other hand, has a lot more credibility, and if she’s done the real estate hunt in NYC, that would indicate that she knows what she’s talking about. BTW – I lived on 101st and Manhattan – a block or so west of the park. About 5 years ago.

    But just remind me again….why is a discussion of NYC real estate relevant to the Vancouver market? Am I missing an exodus of Vancouverites to the Big Apple to take advantage of better value there?

    • “why is a discussion of NYC real estate relevant to the Vancouver market”

      It really shouldn’t be as there are no comparisons between the two cities. However tell that to downtown Realtors who sometimes justify prices because of the “Manattenization” of Vancouver. Some people in Vancouver actually believe Vancouver is becoming a city on par with New York, so the high real estate values are justified on that level. I’m not making this up, some people believe this.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Who is OP?
      And by the way, you sure are testy.

    • I, too, once lived in Manhattan, testy. And I agree with you that the Upper East Side is not all top-notch. My apartment building there stank and had mice. But, short of performing an exhaustive city-to-city comparison (are you willing do one for us?), this is a perfectly valid anecdote.

  9. Aren’t NY/Van average and median incomes pretty similar?

    • Depends on what we’re comparing. Manhattan? Or all the boroughs? Often when people say New York they mean Manhattan, especially for advertising purposes.

    • … But for the middle income range, well – my family could currently afford to purchase a suitable dwelling in Queens.

    • Median Household Income 2009:
      Manhattan: $66,618
      Vancouver: $67,550

  10. Okay, first of all this is an “anecdote” archive. L has offered an anecdote. L has not proclaimed him/herself a NYC real estate expert. And it’s low trying to discredit L simply because L is a tourist. L saw NYC RE ads and shared photos of them plus a few personal thoughts on how those prices and hoods compare to Van.

    I have always appreciated that this is a place where people can discuss issues and disagree generally without attacking each other personally. Why all the hate lately? Is the moon transiting Jupiter in retrograde or something?

  11. @terminalcitygirl – I’ll unreservedly offer my apologies for the snarkiness in my comments. Too much coffee today.
    But I still firmly believe my original point has merit. A discussion of the ridiculousness of Vancouver real estate is a critical one for our society – and I just don’t think the OP’s contribution to that discussion is a reasonable one to offer up. That’s directed at the post, not the person.
    Or should we just not worry about letting the facts stand in the way of a good story?

  12. wages are probably triple in New York compared to low wage Vancouver…
    and career opportunities ..WOW you’re career can go anywhere in New York……while Vancouver is a complete Dead End city

    but hey Vancouver has a CFL team..New York doesnt have a CFL team

    • Tedeastside, wages are similar. Somebody already posted some stats. As for “opportunities” that’s already factored in to aggregate incomes.

      • tedeastside

        are you comparing opportunities in New York with Vancouver
        because New York and Vancouver are on different planets,

        you can be anything you want in New York, in Vancouver your choices are drug dealer, scammer/house flipper

  13. Testy, to be fair, when I peered again at the prices in the photographed ads above, the ones for the Upper West Side do look a little low for current RE in what’s considered the nicest parts.

    I take your point that in some ways it’s hard to compare RE prices in two such different cities.

    On the other hand, I think what many here see as the absurdity of high RE prices in Vancouver is only heightened by the fact that in an expensive “world capital” — a headquarters for some major businesses, with incredible cultural offerings and (in many fields) extremely high salaries (New York) — here in New York you can buy a decent (if small — Manhattan is CROWDED) condo for not much more than you can in Vancouver — a city that is much smaller, quieter, more remote, not a major continental centre of business or culture etc. (Vancouver).

    Many people in New York complain about high RE prices too, justifiably I think (many people feel priced out of Manhattan), but then again, many people who aren’t high-paid lawyers can still find decent condos to buy in the boroughs (15-45 minute subway rides away). Is this the case in Vancouver? Among other things, I’d be terrified to buy a condo in Vancouver, given what’s happened with the leaky-condo scandal.

    For all Vancouver’s virtues, I think people there are asking, how on earth did RE get this absurdly high? (Many convincing arguments have been put forth on this blog.) When they see what you can get in New York and environs, it seems all the crazier.

    Rents ARE higher in Manhattan than in Vancouver. I think if rents in Vancouver were higher than they currently are, the city would be on its way to watching many more of its denizens leave than already have.

  14. Apology accepted testy – and hey, you’re handle is an apt one so we are fairly warned 😉

    I am a big fan of facts myself, and good stories. And I don’t think vreaa has ever censored anecdotes according to their “reasonableness” – there have been many, many unreasonable stories shared on this blog over the years. Thats part of the fun. I appreciate your sharing your experience living in NYC. And Epte’s and L’s as a visitor. I don’t think its a red herring to discuss Vancouvers RE ridiculousness in comparison/context to NYC and Paris and such, I think such comparisons are made all the time since Van and media started branding us a “world class city.” L provided photos of current prices on NYC abodes; we can compare those with similiar units in Van and discuss how useful the comparison is or not. It was the slamming of L simpy for being a tourist to undermine his/her credibility that I objected to.

    Ok, enough from me. I enjoy being a silent observer so much better.

  15. rent_vancouver

    Hi everyone,
    I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog, and I’m glad to see there are many others like me who eschew real estate and prefer to rent. My wife and I are in that camp. Currently, we are looking to upgrade our rental from a small 1-bedroom, downtown apartment to something larger (a detached or 2+den apartment >1,000 sf) and within good distance of rapid transit (or at least what qualifies as transit in the rainforest). Unfortunately, the Vancouver rental stock is absolutely atrocious (at least compared to what I was used to in Toronto). Just browsing Craigslist or Kijiji becomes depressing – a large number of “garden” (re: basement) suites, or just places in serious need of some TLC. It just seems like every landlord is looking for someone to pay 100% of their mortgage on a crappy place through rental income (so much for their faith in real estate appreciation, eh?). Where do you guys look to find good rentals in the city? Do you use an agent? Any blogs you can recommend for people like us to share our thoughts on the rental market?

    Thanks in advance for the advice.

    • We’ll headline this comment for discussion.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      First advice, lose your attitude.
      Plenty of good rentals available in the GVA.

      • rent_vancouver

        Thanks vreaa – appreciate it! I’d find the conversation very informative, and maybe others would as well. My wife and I moved from TO to Vancouver about a year ago, so our perceptions of the Vancouver rental market are pretty uninformed. Another challenge for us is finding a place that will except our small dog – our own doing, but she’s part of our family. Love to hear how others are fairing in their rental hunt.

  16. Vancouver has the greediest landlords on earth, Vancouver isnt a very pleasant place to live,
    if Vancouver Landlords dont get their salivating dream price they wont rent places out

  17. Pingback: Advice Regarding Renting In Vancouver, Please – “Unfortunately, the Vancouver rental stock is absolutely atrocious. It just seems like every landlord is looking for someone to pay 100% of their mortgage on a crappy place through rental income.

  18. Hymie Garshman

    There should be more rentals coming up very soon.
    Vancouver is far too expensive and the jobs are leaving too.

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