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One-quarter of detached Vancouver homes could be torn down by 2030: study

A man walks past a teardown home in east Vancouver on Feb. 3, 2015.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

An architecture professor at the University of British Columbia says about a quarter of detached homes in Vancouver could be torn down in just over a decade.

Joseph Dahmen has created a tool that forecasts how many homes could be demolished in the city by 2030 – victims of the recent surge in property values.

Dahmen's tool estimates what he calls relative building value, which is how much a home is worth relative to the value of the land it sits on.

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His research finds older homes have lower values when compared with land prices, and a falling relative home value means it stands a greater chance of being razed and replaced.

Given the recent, rapid rise of Vancouver real estate values, half the single-family homes in the city already have relative values below 7.5 per cent, which Dahmen and fellow number crunchers say creates a more than 50/50 chance the house will face the wrecking ball.

They say that by 2030, if relatives values continue to plummet, 25 per cent of all single-family homes could be replaced with houses that maximize size.

"It's not clear how that will help affordability," says fellow researcher and mathematician Jens von Bergmann in a release.

"We should ask ourselves how to replace these teardowns with more units of ground-oriented, family-friendly homes on each lot."

Dahmen and von Bergmann developed the teardown predictor tool using municipal data and B.C. Assessment records on detached homes bought and sold in Vancouver between 2005 and 2015.

A news release from the University of British Columbia says the two compared land value, building value and lot size with variables such as whether the property had been torn down a couple of years before or after the sale.

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A new real estate report from Royal LePage analyzing trends in the last quarter of 2016 suggests that the GTA will become the hottest housing market in the country in 2017, surpassing Vancouver.
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