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Vancouver vs Seattle

By September 30, 2009

Eric has a question I have no idea how to answer. Hopefully one of you has some insight!

Hey Matt,

I regularly read your blog, and since you work in real estate and are Canadian I was interested in your perspective on Vancouver condo price trends versus Seattle. It seems like a good topic for your blog.

My boyfriend lives in Vancouver, so I’m there every-other-weekend, and I’m shocked by the huge number of condos compared to Seattle and its suburbs. Everyone knows that Vancouver has tons of condos, but what surprised me the most was to see a dozen 30+ story condo towers in Port Moody and Coquitlam. Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, and New Westminster all have tons of huge condo towers along the Sky Train lines.

Even more surprising, I can’t find a single condo auction and it looks like condo prices are only 5% lower than the peak last year.

It doesn’t look like there is a Case-Shiller type index for Vancouver, so the best that I could find is the attached chart of median selling prices (as of June 30) [pdf] and this blog post.

My guess is that the huge amount of monetary stimulus worldwide and the upcoming Olympics are the main reasons prices are so close to the peak. Do you have any friends or college classmates who bought condos in Vancouver? It would be interesting to get the perspective of someone who owns a condo in Vancouver, since it’s hard to get a feel for the market just by reading newspaper articles.


Eric K