The Globe's Real Estate Beat offers news and analysis on the Canadian housing market. Read more on The Globe's housing page.
The price of admission to enter an elite club in Vancouver is going through the roof. To make the top 1 per cent in the city's market for single-family detached houses, a property needs to be assessed at more than $5.58-million.
Vancouver is well known for its pricey real estate. The median price for detached homes was $1,069,000 on July 1, 2013, based on assessed values for houses within the City of Vancouver.
Andrew Yan, an urban planner with Bing Thom Architects, crunched the numbers supplied by BC Assessment, the provincial Crown corporation that provides valuations on behalf of B.C. municipalities, and found the rich are getting richer, at least for their abode.
He found that to claim bragging rights to be a member of the 1-per-cent club, a Vancouver property needs to be valued at $5,586,000 or higher. The most expensive homes, he found, have enjoyed the highest increases in assessed value over a five-year period. Comparing assessments conducted in 2013 with those in 2008, the value of homes in the 1-per-cent bracket has soared an average of 65.4 per cent from $3,377,000 in 2008.
Prices have jumped sharply for luxury homes due to increased demand from well-heeled buyers from other provinces and abroad, combined with a relatively limited number of listings for detached properties in a city where developers are increasingly focused on building condos and townhouses. Over the past three years, prices have been flat for condos and townhouses in Greater Vancouver, including the suburbs.
But within the City of Vancouver, detached homes assessed last year at $3,278,000 or higher qualify for being among the top 5 per cent, up 63.8 per cent from the threshold of $2,001,000 in 2008.
Getting to the upper crust's top 10 per cent means having a home valued at $2,601,000 or higher, up 60.4 per cent from $1,621,900 in 2008. To make it into the top-33rd percentile out of a total of about 67,800 detached houses, a homeowner needs to have a property valuation of at least $1,484,000. Assessed values in the top-33rd percentile climbed an average of 46 per cent during the five-year period.
A Globe and Mail review of the data reveals that Lululemon Athletica Inc. founder Chip Wilson's waterfront mansion is No. 1 on the latest assessment list, topping the B.C. charts at $54.2-million. In the previous assessment, as the home was being built, the value was $35.2-million
The next three highest assessed values are all homes located along Belmont Avenue in the upscale Point Grey neighbourhood on Vancouver's west side.
A property registered to Pisonii (PTC) Ltd. is the runner-up at $46-million in the 2013 assessment, followed by the $28.6-million residence of philanthropist Nezhat Khosrowshahi and her husband, Future Shop founder Hassan Khosrowshahi. He is chairman of Persis Holdings Ltd. and serves on the board of the Bank of Canada. Fourth overall is the $25.6-million property owned by real estate developer Joseph Segal and his wife Rosalie, a philanthropist.
Other prominent owners include Vancouver entrepreneur Jacqueline Cohen, whose waterfront home in the Kitsilano neighbourhood is assessed at $24.2-million – enough to place No. 9 in the list of B.C.'s highest valued residential properties.
Mr. Yan's data shows 4,360 detached properties were valued at $3-million or higher in his latest compilation. But owning a million-dollar home in Vancouver is increasingly run-of-the-mill, statistically speaking. He notes that 37,425 homes, or 55.2 per cent of the total detached properties on the assessment rolls, were pegged as being worth at least $1-million in mid-2013, up from 22,908 or 33.8 per cent in mid-2008.
Many first-time buyers look at townhouses and condos when entering the local market. Last month's home price index for Greater Vancouver townhouses reached $474,900, up 3.9 per cent from a year earlier, while condo prices have climbed 3.6 per cent to $379,200 over the past year.