The State of Gastown Real Estate
Vancouver’s livability and international appeal as well as low interest rates across BC continue to make properties in Gastown and other parts of the city a hot commodity.
The average time downtown properties spent on the market in June was 22 days, according to SnapStats data provided by Scott Regamble, a Sotheby’s Canada real estate agent specializing in downtown and east Vancouver properties. In May the average was 24 days. In June properties sold at 98.9 percent of their list price, while in May the percentage was 96.9 percent.
After chatting with a number of real estate agents in the area, I have put together some area profiles and predictions for the future.
With its rich architectural heritage, Gastown is appealing to “artistic” buyers – people who like unique spaces, lofts, and live/work areas. Although some parts of Gastown are still under transition, the overall prices can be high.
Gastown has undergone a gentrification in recent years, as up-scale restaurants and shops have moved in. Development is expected to continue in Gastown with the possible redo of the neighbourhood’s cobblestone streets.
However, the city has plans for social housing in a seven-block stretch on Hastings between Gastown’s Carrall Street and Heatley Street in Strathcona. This plan, which calls for 50 to 60 percent low income housing, could turn parts of Gastown into a rental-only zone with a maximum of 40 percent of the units available for rent at market value. As a result, investors might become less interested in the area.
Located southeast of Gastown, Strathcona appeals to single buyers, first-time homebuyers, and real estate investors. Currently there is a heavy industrial and commercial presence but zoning is likely to shift towards residential. The transition may be similar to what took place in False Creek and Yaletown with many new developments popping up in the area.
Many real estate professional are predicting Strathcona could be Vancouver’s hot new area. Strathcona has beautiful views and close proximity to the water, downtown, the North Shore, and Highway 1. This is an area that is currently affordable and could be a good investment for someone willing to wait out the transition.
This area in Vancouver’s northeastern corner offers young families single detached homes with mortgage helpers. East Hastings Street has its share of rundown buildings and other eyesores, but this is changing with an influx of small businesses and condo developments.
SnapStats data reflects this surge of renewed interest. The data for June for Hastings East shows that detached houses had a 27.27 percent sales ratio (2.7 out of ten houses sold), while condos and attached townhouses had a 23.08 percent sales ratio.
Each of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods offers a different set of considerations for buyers. Ultimately, the right neighbourhood and property will depend on each individual buyer’s needs, budget and lifestyle.
Words by Atrina Kouroshnia
Photo by Leo Texier
Atrina is an independently licensed mortgage broker in the province of British Columbia. She specializes in helping first-time home buyers invest in their future through the purchase of their first home. Atrina works to find solutions that best suit her client’s needs and lifestyle.