So the other day, I wrote a short piece for The Province about a fixer-upper home in Vancouver being listed for $2.4 million. Actually, that’s probably being generous. I don’t think anyone is going to bother fixing one nail on this house, unless you call using a bulldozer a form of home renovation. So let’s just assume it’s a $2.4 million teardown.
I was both pleased and saddened that within hours the story had become the most-read thing I’ve ever written. By a long shot. It will likely remain the most-read thing I’ve written in my life — the numbers on it are pretty crazy. I’m a bestseller at schadenfreude house porn!
Perhaps the real nutty thing about all this is $2.4 million isn’t really that much to pay for a house — or the land it sits on — in Vancouver. The day after I wrote this, The Province published another story about a $6 million house someone bought and planned on tearing down to make way for a new home.
What is going on in Vancouver, you may ask? I certainly ask myself that every day. Well, the story “Follow the money” by my colleagues Sam Cooper and Dan Fumano point to some of the explanations. It’s an almost unbelievable tale of corrupt real estate agents, shady investors, secret money transfers — and people being gunned down.
Most of us living in Vancouver are used to being priced out of our own homes. (I actually live in the suburb of Langley, because I couldn’t afford a port-a-potty in Vancouver.) We make bitter jokes, sigh curses about being a world-class city and get on with trying to pay the rent/mortgage. But it wasn’t always this way. And it doesn’t have to be this way.
I strongly advise checking out these stories to see what an absurd shell city Vancouver has become. And to learn what happens when the unchecked forces of globalization decide to visit your city.