Buying a piece of the City of Vancouver - either for newcomers or locals seeking to put down roots - is extremely daunting. Yes, this could be true of anywhere, depending on your circumstances, but in the second largest real estate market in the country, the price of housing - not to mention the cost of living - is a major hurdle. Ever since the market hyper sky-rocketed in the 2010s, many people have been completely priced out of Vancouver, including double income families that once would have had the pick of residences in the tonier neighbourhoods. In this new century, Vancouver has become the luxury city du jour, elevated by its life-affirming amenities, scenic vistas, and exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities. Part of the reason for the rise to international status as one of the most livable cities in the world could also be its relatively newfound status as the Hollywood of the North and the resulting boost to Vancouver's micro-economy.
However, over the past year and a half, the city's real estate market - like many global hot spots - has been slowly in decline. Thanks to a few government interventions intended to cool the once hot property market (including foreign buyers taxes), along with rising interest rates, and the recent federal mortgage “stress test” rule, the Vancouver real estate market has shall I say, "settled down". The city is attracting fewer international property investors, luxury homebuyers, and wealthy jetsetters looking for another coastal home base. To talk numbers, only 348 detached homes sold in Metro Vancouver in December 2018, compared to 617 in December 2017. Prices fell too, about 7.8 percent year over year, closing out 2018 with an average home price of $1.47M. And as for Vancouver's highest-end housing, in November 2018 the Huffington Post reported that Vancouver Luxury Housing Market Dropped From World’s Hottest.
Though housing prices are still prohibitive for most, if you're flush with cash and you've always dreamt of waking up on the West Coast, now may be the opportune moment to lock down that dream home! Speaking of dream homes, one property making headlines is an eco-friendly modern manse in Vancouver's coveted neighbourhood of Shaughnessy that has recently become slightly more affordable (though we use the term loosely). Daniel Frankel, a brewery & gastropub magnate, put his ultra-hip eco-friendly home up for sale in September 2018; given the price of this prime neighbourhood, the property's architectural excellence, and the added cost of living as greenly as possible, the home's $12.9M price tag was fairly reasonable. A little jolting, perhaps, but basically par for the course when it comes to tony Shaughnessy. Given the perks of living at this address, I'm kinda sorta baffled as to why it went unclaimed for 5 months, but a recent re-list and price reduction may remedy that! The price had been reduced from around $12.9M to just over $11.7M, which amounts to a cool $1.2M discount!
With so many of the luxury homes in this chi-chi Vancouver neighbourhood being extravagant mansions built to emulate historically lavish architecture with opulent detailing, this strikingly modern house feels incredibly refreshing. In contrast to the sprawling lawns and manicured gardens of many of his neighbours, Frankel's home - located at 1098 Wolfe Avenue - feels almost tucked into the bush, caressed and protected by the lush tree canopy. The 18,000-square-foot sloping lot is one of a kind, and the outdoor terraces offer fabulous city and mountain views.
Take a look!
Built between 2006 and 2008, the five-bed-plus-den, six-bathroom home has 5,766 square feet of living space on three levels. The first level is mostly open concept, as is typical of modernist architecture. I love the linearity, amazing proportions, natural materials, and intelligent space plan!
And look at all the natural light cascading down the stairwell! Love!
It'd certainly be peaceful working from that desk - imagine the view!
Even the lower level is fantastical with its recreation and outdoor spaces:
This home truly spells comfortable, functional family living & entertaining!! Designed by Clinton Cuddington and Measured Architecture, a Vancouver-based studio practice focused on modern design, interiors, and landscapes, they're gold star reputation in delivering exceptional public and private environments which are stimulating to occupy and fundamental to their surroundings, can be seen in this stellar property.
Measured Architecture likes to work with and around key natural elements, preserving and re-using resources. Here's the story of this house from start to finish! It was even featured in this "Hot house: a paradigm of in-your-face modernism". The praises this project for its unapologetic modern sensibility, including "rectilinear massing, minimal decoration, interflowing spaces, naked yellow cedar, and concrete." It was the inaugural portfolio piece for Measured Architecture.
Any homebuyers in this neighbourhood - and in the city at large - will appreciate the 'sustainable green theme' in this real estate offering. Vancouver is reknown for being a bastion of sustainable living and forward-thinking environmentalism. (How could you not be, with such scenic views of nature surrounding you daily?!) From its "Greenest City" initiative to its title as one of the most liveable cities in the world, it doesn't get any greener than Vancouver! But as anyone who has attempted to improve their eco-awareness or reduce their carbon footprint knows, it can be an expensive endeavor and likely adds a premium to property prices.
This eco-modern masterpiece was certainly built with sustainable practices on the brain! Here are just a few of the green features:
- an enormous green roof which absorbs rainwater provides insulation (reducing heating/cooling costs), and even creates a habitat for wildlife!
- a bamboo garden that treats greywater
- sky lighting (saves on electricity consumption)
- geothermal heating system
Regardless of whether or not the price reduction brings immediate interest, I've no doubt that this home will find the right buyer. After all, features like this are in high demand, especially in Vancouver. And the new list price is not an unrealistic figure, as the latest BC Assessment valued the property in July 2018 at $9,587,000 (nearly $800K lower than the 2017 assessment of $10,309,000.)
Here's a video tour of the property by the real estate agent handling its sale: Faith Wilson Group, Christie's International Real Estate:
(*All of the pictures are the property of the Faith Wilson Group as well)
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~ Posted by Steven Fudge, the purveyor of houseporn.ca and proprietor of Urbaneer, a division of Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage.
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*Some informtation sourced from https://www.vancourier.com/real-estate/brewery-founder-s-ultra-cool-eco-house-relisted-at-1-2m-off-photos-1.23649704Vancouver Courier article