Friday, March 21, 2014

Urban Contemporary Living in Clark County

I wrote a blog post on another real estate blog of mine about view properties in Downtown Vancouver ("Enjoy the View - The Urban Contemporary View is Alive and Well in the 'Couv'". It got me thinking about what a great value opportunity we have in this market for urban condos.

A quick local history lesson will help illuminate our fantastic opportunity here in America's Vancouver. Lovable former Mayor of Vancouver, Royce Pollard led the city on a quest to renew the urban Downtown core of Vancouver that was in derelict condition. Although the epic recession of 2009 delayed some of the development, the Downtown was truly rejuvenated by these efforts and a tremendous live/work walk-able urban environment was successfully created. It is most notably present in the area surrounding Esther Short Park.

In the mid 2000s and until the real estate market crash in '09 the area was booming and some urban condos on the upper floors of the taller projects were fetching seven figures. But the crash was hard on the condo market. Condos all over the city are still a great value. The downtown core offers modern amenities in buildings that are less than 15 years old across virtually all price ranges. There are listings starting as low as $129,000 for units that front the park! For the more luxury minded buyers there are fabulously decorated units with Brazilian cherry, travertine and marble, granite, etc; available in the $400-$600k range. These units are often large, often exceeding 2000 square feet and are perched up high enough to provide amazing panoramic views of the Vancouver Urban core, the Columbia River, West Hills of Portland and even Downtown Portland's prominent buildings.

This is a true value proposition. Vancouver's Downtown does not get as much attention down in Portland as their own urban contemporary projects in the Pearl District or the South Waterfront. This keeps Vancouver priced well and there are many advantages to our Downtown. The 'Couv' is busy enough to give a city buzz, but not so much as to keep you awake all night. Most of the Esther Short Park area is very walk-able with nary a need to drive. Furthermore, the upcoming waterfront redevelopment will bring national spotlight attention on our impressive modern urban environment in the Downtown area. That should help boost values in the recovering economy.

I mentioned in the linked post above, that young singles with entry level income can often qualify to buy the less expensive Downtown condos. It is often young people that enjoy the vibrancy of a downtown scene and they are routinely priced out of that experience either as a renter or owner. Right now that may not be the case. This current situation in the Downtown Vancouver area is likely a fleeting opportunity. As the price of single family detached housing continues its robust upward movement, pressure will mount on the condo market and this low price opportunity will evaporate.

For buyers that fancy the urban scene; Downtown Vancouver is worth a look.

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