4 in 5 half-duplexes sold for more than the single detached houses they replaced

By Rohana Rezel

The Vancouver City Council approved a plan to allow duplexes in all Vancouver neighbourhoods in the dying days of Vision Vancouver’s term in office. Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision councillors sold the Making Room1 proposal as a plan to improve affordability by increasing density.

I looked at the real estate data for half-duplexes that were sold since Making Room was approved and compared their prices with the prices of the single detached homes they replaced. Out of the 87 sales, 72 half-duplexes, or 82%, sold for more than what the detached house it replaced cost. In one case, each half of the duplex cost double what the single detached house it replaced cost.

In other words, in more than four in five cases, duplex buyers are getting half the land area a single detached house would have provided them while paying more than what the detached house would’ve cost them.

Address Detached Price 1/2 Duplex Price 1/2 Duplex price as % of SFH Price
1225 PARK DRIVE $1,718,000 $1,680,000 98
531 E 17TH AVENUE $1,220,000 $1,359,000 111
3045 E 59TH AVENUE $1,795,000 $1,618,100 90
2941 W 15TH AVENUE $1,850,000 $2,184,000 118
4189 MILLER STREET $1,130,100 $885,714 78
3340 E 24TH AVENUE $1,100,000 $1,305,000 119
2150 VENABLES STREET $1,650,000 $1,530,000 93
2122 VENABLES STREET $1,470,000 $1,530,000 104
3360 PARKER STREET $830,000 $995,000 120
2948 E 25TH AVENUE $1,340,000 $1,500,000 112
3203 E 29TH AVENUE $1,160,000 $1,200,000 103
765 E 39TH AVENUE $1,160,000 $1,514,000 131
1356 E 11TH AVENUE $1,315,000 $1,468,000 112
4620 GOTHARD STREET $1,100,000 $1,170,000 106
5865 BATTISON STREET $1,030,000 $1,160,000 113
2056 KITCHENER STREET $1,330,000 $1,495,000 112
2842 E 43RD AVENUE $1,249,000 $1,447,620 116
6559 INVERNESS STREET $1,255,000 $1,125,710 90
250 E 54TH AVENUE $1,165,000 $1,148,570 99
2135 E 2ND AVENUE $1,330,000 $1,460,000 110
2215 E 52ND AVENUE $1,270,000 $1,299,000 102
3002 GRAVELEY STREET $1,100,000 $1,220,000 111
2317 NAPIER STREET $1,485,000 $1,580,000 106
1655 E 11TH AVENUE $1,290,000 $1,610,000 125
747 E 60TH AVENUE $1,040,000 $1,276,190 123
2940 HORLEY STREET $1,000,000 $1,300,000 130
5212 HOY STREET $1,030,000 $1,162,000 113
2061 E 36TH AVENUE $900,000 $1,276,000 142
3214 VIMY CRESCENT $1,240,000 $1,316,000 106
3071 CLARK DRIVE $1,700,000 $1,650,000 97
1910 E 19TH AVENUE $1,705,000 $1,388,000 81
904 E 37TH AVENUE $1,075,390 $1,458,000 136
1790 CHARLES STREET $2,700,000 $1,269,000 47
2848 W 23RD AVENUE $2,350,000 $2,428,570 103
2535 E 16TH AVENUE $1,455,000 $1,598,890 110
1125 PARK DRIVE $1,670,000 $1,850,000 111
3346 E 8TH AVENUE $995,000 $1,265,000 127
959 E 13TH AVENUE $1,498,000 $1,870,000 125
4334 PRINCE EDWARD STREET $1,265,000 $1,638,200 130
3437 E 24TH AVENUE $1,125,000 $1,535,000 136
2123 WILLIAM STREET $1,455,000 $1,689,000 116
2281 E 2ND AVENUE $1,420,000 $1,565,000 110
2979 E 7TH AVENUE $1,260,000 $1,380,000 110
3586 TRINITY STREET $1,310,000 $1,542,860 118
2660 OXFORD STREET $1,310,000 $1,510,000 115
2161 E 28TH AVENUE $1,360,000 $1,500,000 110
1236 E 19TH AVENUE $1,500,000 $1,950,000 130
7312 VICTORIA DRIVE $1,500,000 $1,900,000 127
1932 RUPERT STREET $1,049,000 $1,298,000 124
2476 E PENDER STREET $1,500,000 $1,435,000 96
2045 E 51ST AVENUE $1,275,000 $1,470,000 115
2475 E 2ND AVENUE $1,330,000 $1,650,000 124
3588 FALAISE AVENUE $1,343,000 $1,659,000 124
476 E 49TH AVENUE $1,238,000 $1,350,000 109
2071 E 6TH AVENUE $2,875,000 $1,850,000 64
4080 RUPERT STREET $1,016,500 $1,313,800 129
2827 E 27TH AVENUE $1,625,000 $1,144,000 70
1697 E 22ND AVENUE $1,930,000 $1,490,000 77
2797 PARKER STREET $1,180,000 $1,489,900 126
3238 E PENDER STREET $1,270,000 $1,585,000 125
3781 W 27TH AVENUE $2,350,000 $2,898,000 123
333 E 64TH AVENUE $1,218,000 $1,388,000 114
2027 E 44TH AVENUE $1,205,000 $1,333,330 111
3530 W 43RD AVENUE $3,750,000 $1,788,000 48
656 E 13TH AVENUE $1,705,000 $1,535,000 90
330 E 50TH AVENUE $1,743,800 $1,900,000 109
2560 E 8TH AVENUE $1,580,000 $1,985,000 126
2976 E 42ND AVENUE $1,557,000 $1,750,000 112
3446 PANDORA STREET $1,050,000 $1,571,430 150
3247 E 2ND AVENUE $1,360,000 $1,648,000 121
2180 RENFREW STREET $1,025,000 $1,640,000 160
6295 DOMAN STREET $1,551,000 $1,928,000 124
6350 CHESTER STREET $1,330,000 $1,670,000 126
7283 RUPERT STREET $1,777,780 $2,165,000 122
6343 YEW STREET $1,800,000 $2,138,000 119
5755 PRINCE ALBERT STREET $1,652,000 $1,989,000 120
3178 GRAVELEY STREET $1,500,000 $2,000,000 133
531 E 18TH AVENUE $1,449,000 $1,588,000 110
2507 E 17TH AVENUE $1,525,000 $2,000,000 131
2755 ALMA STREET $1,615,000 $2,184,000 135
4493 PRINCE ALBERT STREET $930,000 $1,858,000 200
3345 W 11TH AVENUE $2,820,000 $3,350,000 119
3439 FRANKLIN STREET $1,200,000 $1,699,000 142
3540 OXFORD STREET $1,265,000 $1,410,000 111
473 E KING EDWARD AVENUE $1,135,000 $1,618,000 143
2678 W 11TH AVENUE $2,240,000 $2,950,000 132
5882 TYNE STREET $1,275,000 $1,456,000 114

Vancouver’s YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) movement strongly supported the Making Room proposal. Vancouver’s leading YIMBY group Abundant Housing Vancouver even ran a letter writing campaign2 in support and many of the groups members and adjacent spoke in favour of the motion at the council3.

While opponents to the proposal representing diverse backgrounds and from all walks of life vastly outnumbered supporters, the Vision-dominated council jammed the motion through ignoring popular opposition.

The councillors who were elected at the municipal elections held in October 2018 allowed the duplex option to remain in place on a trial basis for a year and asked City of Vancouver staff to come back and report on the success, or otherwise, of the plan.

“The duplex option provides a lower-cost home ownership opportunity in low density neighbourhoods and provides more total housing units than one-family dwellings within the same permitted floor area,” the staff reported in January 20204. “ Further, the duplex option is a small but important step towards addressing the climate emergency, providing a more sustainable, lower emission housing choice in low density neighbourhoods.”

The data, however, contradict City of Vancouver staff’s conclusion that the duplexes provide a “lower-cost home ownership opportunity”.

An expert panel commissioned by the Government of British Columbia confirmed what many of us housing advocates have been saying for a long time: transnational criminals use Vancouver’s real estate market to launder money5. As I correctly predicted in 2018, in a market awash with dirty money, increasing density will do nothing to improve affordability. In fact, as the data show, increasing density without addressing toxic demand only leads to further erosion of affordability.

Contact the Author

You can reach Rohana Rezel at [email protected] You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook and Github.

  1. https://council.vancouver.ca/20180619/documents/rr1b.pdf
  2. https://www.abundanthousingvancouver.com/making_room_letter
  3. https://council.vancouver.ca/20180918/documents/phea20180918min.pdf
  4. https://council.vancouver.ca/20200226/documents/cfsc3.pdf
  5. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019FIN0051-000914

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