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Affordable housing in Victoria


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#61 G-Man

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 05:59 PM

I know it is not the only option but by simply increasing the stock of housing in general then there will be more units available for first time buyers. People that live in older buildings will move into newer ones and their older unit goes on the market.

Also many people buy condos and than rent them out another often missed source of lower income housing.

Yes we need some stand alone housing projects but we also need to make it easier to increase the stock.

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#62 D.L.

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 06:10 PM

Number Six I am constantly looking at the low end of the Victoria real estate market. It would be nice if there were more low price units available.

The best I have seen recently is a bachelor on Cloverdale for $85,000. That's an affordable price in my opinion. It sold after about a month on the market. Here's the link - http://www.aprilprin... ... num=218904

There's a similar unit in the same building for $110,000, I don't know what makes the price so much more - http://www.aprilprin... ... num=221072

I would be interested in seeing more units like this on the market, something under $100,000. Not everyone wants fancy finishings, they just need a room they can buy to live in and build equity.

#63 Number Six

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:00 PM

Thanks for the links Dylan ... I hadn't seen any freehold condo's for sale for under $100K in Victoria for a few years.

I did a search on Fairfield and James Bay, where there are a lot of 60's condo's and I found 9 properties listed under $200K. 1 was a care-a-minimum, 1 was a float home, 6 were leaseholds and 1 was a freehold.

I wish I was more optimistic about the future of affordability in Victoria but I'm afraid I'm not. The current wave of development is doing nothing to directly address the problem.

#64 D.L.

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:04 PM

What's the difference between leasehold and freehold?

In the mid 1990s there was a four storey building put up on North Park street that was advertising itself as the cheapest condos in the city. I think a forumer here actually lives in the building. That is a far cry from today where each new development is outdoing the last one in price. I haven't seen any units in that building listed on MLS, I would like to see what the prices are now and compared to other low price range buildings in the city.

#65 m0nkyman

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:54 PM

What's the difference between leasehold and freehold?

It's dependant on whether the condominium association owns the land the condo is built on or not.
How much would you spend on a property when you know that in 99 years it will revert to the land owners when the lease ends? How about in 75 years?

#66 Number Six

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:05 PM

When you buy a leasehold condo you are only buying the right to live there and not the land or even a piece of it (as in a strata).

Most leases run for 99 years. The leaseholder could be the city or it could be privately held. In theory when the lease runs out the leaseholder could knock down the building and you walk away with nothing. This means that as the lease gets nearer to expiring your asset will begin to lose value.

The benefit's are that you can effectively get into the market for a bit cheaper than buying a freehold (the discount is around 20% in Fairfield at the moment). It also gives you a bit more price certainty than rent (as rents will continue to rise). The downside is that your asset will eventually lose value and also that maintenance fees are often quite high. One I enquired about was well over $400/month (but did include the property taxes).

#67 G-Man

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:06 PM

Are there many leasehold properties in Vic?

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#68 D.L.

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:43 PM

Number Six I did the search on MLS like you said (Fairfield + James Bay, < $200,000) but only one property indicated it was leasehold, not six. Is there another way to see if a property is leasehold?

#69 Number Six

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 09:01 PM

I'm pretty sure that 4 or 5 of those properties are in the exact same building (Villa Royale). There was one other that looked like such a good deal that I rang the realtor :P , turns out it was a leasehold too.

I'm not sure how many leaseholds there are in Victoria ... there's at least two large buildings in Fairfiled and I'm pretty sure one or two of the tall towers in James Bay are as well.

BTW, after finishing my first "affordability" rant earlier this evening I saw a tv show about a first-timer trying to buy his first place in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There are a lot of tall towers going up in S.P and it's common practice to sell condo's unfinished. So when you move in you have the basics in place but no appliances, cupboards, flooring, paint on the walls, etc. I think this is a fantastic idea ... let the owner finish the unit at the level and rate that they can afford.

#70 D.L.

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 09:06 PM

I saw that show too. The guy bought a brand-new two floor unit for $53,000 and spent another $11,000 finishing it.

#71 Number Six

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 09:15 PM

Yep. Hmmm ... I could work from Sao Paulo :idea:

Vibrant Sao Paulo anyone?

#72 Holden West

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 11:06 PM

My ultra-secret [url=http://www.zhangzhung.net/pics/victoria/darth-violin-2.jpg:d7be9]insider source[/url:d7be9] says there is a proposal floating around for a basic condo building in downtown with prices starting well below $200,000 and that the developer is committed to an affordable market price project. I'd like to see that become a reality.
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#73 D.L.

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 04:44 AM

Sounds good. I wonder how large the building is? Four floors or 10?

#74 Caramia

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 07:31 AM

I love that Darth Violin guy.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
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#75 Holden West

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 09:22 AM

Sounds good. I wonder how large the building is? Four floors or 10?


closer to 10.
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#76 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 09:34 AM

Increasing the supply of housing would help keep prices down. As most people on this forum are well aware, there's been much underbuilding lately because of height restrictions.

Corazon should have been 20 floors instead of 12
The Wave should have been 20 floors instead of 13
Juliet should have been 20 floors instead of 14
Cook & Johnson should be 20 floors instead of 10

If they were, that would have added 31 floors of living space to the downtown area. Assuming just 6 units per floor = 186 more units. Assuming 1.5 people per unit = 279 more people living in the downtown area.

and that's just from 4 recent developments around downtown, there are others like those townhouses in James Bay which will probably end up costing over $800,000 because the land is so valuable and they're only building a few units there even though there are bigger buildings on both sides of the property.

Victoria has been underbuilding and restricting supply, especially in certain areas where more height would have been perfectly acceptable because it's expected in those areas, like downtown and Harris Green.

#77 G-Man

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 09:43 AM

You got it Ox!

This was a point pounded home at the Falls Hearing and it need to be said over and over again until council and planning dept gets it.

Constricting supply raises prices.

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#78 gumgum

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 10:46 AM

I can really sympathise with people whom are having trouble finding housing within their budget, these people are paying for years and years of underbuilding.
I can also understand the level of frustration there is for all new development, and their higher price tag.
But as others have pointed out on this forum, these fancy new condo's will one day be the everypersons condo, as other newer, fancier condo towers are built.

Developers have to cover their costs - allow them to build higher, as Ox said, and prices will reflect the increase of supply - simple economics.
People whom want to see Victoria remain within the realm of the "small-town" feel and want to demonise the highrise are either not thinking of the big picture, living in the past, or are selfish - or all of the above.

#79 Number Six

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 10:58 AM

I agree with Ox, G-Man and gumgum ... increasing supply will lower costs however I would also like to see a developer identify first-time homeowners as a target market, for either an entire building or part of it.

From what G-Man said it sounds like this might be happening with at least one development. But hopefully everyone can agree that the buildings proposed in the last few years have gone after the affluent end of the market.

And the city and developers need to be more creative and try approaches adopted in other cities, ie. allowing buyers to purchase a shell and finish a unit at their own cost and pace.

I guess it means having a real vision and as someone else said in another thread, we need to start telling developers what we want rather than what they can't do.

#80 mikedw

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 02:20 PM

The killer with all of the skyscraper ideas is the "old town" limit. If available property falls inside of that perimeter, we're replacing old and too squat with new and too squat. The projects outside of that region have to conform to a lesser degree-- if not in legislated limits at least in style limitations.
We're on an island, we've run out of ways to build out and we need to build up as much as is practical.
I like the theory of the Thrifty Food/apartment buildings in James Bay: retail on the first level and housing above. I still miss the grocery store on Fort St. giving you a chance to work and live downtown (I guess upper Yates lives up to that role).
By insulating the residential floors from the ground traffic with levels of retail and office there can be a semblance of peace and quiet. I'd go one step further: several levels of sub-surface parking and maybe even stuff like long-term storage down there too.

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