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At $ 289K, Vancouver’s most affordable property is also the city’s smallest

At $ 289K, Vancouver’s most affordable property is also the city’s smallest

As Vancouver real estate prices rise higher and higher in the stratosphere, there is a parcel of residential land for sale in the city that stands out for its affordability.

That’s because 1912 William Street is literally a patch: nine feet wide in the front, 60 feet deep, and easily mistaken for a muddy driveway belonging to the neighbor next door.

Listed at $ 289,000, the Narrow Strip near Commercial Drive in East Vancouver comes with “not yet approved and not yet rejected” development plans for a small, three-story, 425-square-foot house.

Sutton Group West’s listing agent Christian Chiappetta said he received five times more calls for the small lot than he received for regular property.

“The response has been pretty huge,” he said. “There is a popular movement for tiny houses … and while, of course, it’s not for everyone, it’s an eccentric curiosity for a lot of people.”

Architectural model for the development of a small house at 1912, rue William. (Christian Chiappetta / Sutton West Coast)

According to Chiappetta, the seller has experience in developing small homes, although whether the city will grant the zoning variances and permits necessary to continue remains a major question.

The small lot last sold for $ 88,000 in July 2020, around the same time that BC Assessment assessed its value at just $ 4,900.

The figure of $ 4,900 reflects low development potential, said Bryan Murao, BC Assessment’s assistant assessor.

“There aren’t a lot of properties in Vancouver, or really anywhere, with this level of minimal frontage,” Murao said. “I think this raises a lot of questions about what you can actually do with this property.”

Mystery of history

At CBC’s request, Murao examined the 1912 provenance on William Street. What he discovered is a mystery to history that dates back 110 years.

“Because [the lot] was recorded in 1909, there’s not a lot of context to go with it, ”he said. first place.”

The Assistant Appraiser from British Columbia says the assessed value of 1912 William Street represents its low potential for development. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

What the records show is that in 1909 four narrow lots at the corner of William and Victoria Drive were consolidated and then subdivided into two large lots and the smaller lot in question. Murao said the little one may have been cut with the intention of converting it to a track at a later date.

However, given that 1912 William is not the only particular land in the neighborhood, it is possible that there is a more colorful explanation.

The history of the game of poker

A few blocks away, a similar strip of land lies awkwardly annexed to the backyard at 916 Victoria Drive.

When current owners Madeline Paris and Doug Wood bought the property, the seller explained that a previous owner won the finger of the land and the garage sitting on it in a game of poker in the 1930s or 1940s.

The owners of 916 Victoria Drive were told that the extra finger of protruding dirt from their backyard was won in a game of poker. (BC Assessment)

The couple said there was no reason to doubt the story.

“To imagine that the original plan allowed an attached garage is, as Shawn Wallace would say, ‘inconceivable’,” said Wood.

Years ago, Paris said she was approached twice by an elderly neighbor who lived behind them, asking to buy the garage. But the conversations ended when he insisted on speaking to the man of the house.

“He came to the front door… asking if my husband was home,” she said. “I said, no you can talk to me and that was it.”

It is not known if poker played a role in the creation of 1912 William Street, but it is equally undeniable that the current real estate bet that it represents.

But if the development plans are approved and the unit is built, someone will have a sizable story to go with their tiny home.

Studio units in the area cost $ 600,000

And, Chiappetta is quick to point out, it will all come competitively – even after construction costs – given that studios in the area that don’t include a piece of land will cost $ 600,000.

“You can imagine where the values ​​lie for something as unique as this would be,” he said.

“I’m sure if you had asked nine out of ten people who were going to live in a smaller space if they would rather live in a studio or a small house … a lot of people would probably choose this property.”

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