Country: CA   |   City: Vancouver  

This is Fisher Manse in Detroit. It is being touted (and bafflingly scoffed at) for being the city of Detroit’s priciest listing at $1.5million – up from the previous listing price of $1.2million.

Oh boy. I will start with this, the fact that the price for a 15 bedroom Estate mansion ‘jumped’ to 1.5million is laughable and simultaneously, tragically sad to anyone living in cities boasting astronomical prices for single homes and condos. A happy day for a Vancouver BC resident, for example, is finding a one bedroom over 500sq ft for less than $400,000 or under $1000/month in rent. So, for Detroit, a city once boasting a robust and thriving economy, the phrase ‘how the mighty have fallen’ is says it all as we see estates become decrepit and contents are unceremoniously sold. $1.5 may be a ‘jump’ to some but for the grandeur and authenticity of Fisher Manse, it might just be a steal for a buyer who can see the long term potential in this diamond through the dusty exterior. By no means is this an easy argument to make to a buyer, however, it is inarguably beautiful.

Also, a very good counter argument is that this is a comparison of apples to oranges. There is a plethora of price comparisons for homes across North America and beyond displaying multi acre mansions for the same price as tiny tear downs in thriving metropolises which is an unfair comparison by any measure. However, it is a good reminder of the pitfalls of an economy that becomes dependent on fragile business and investment.

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For more pictures check out ‘Detroit’s Priciest Listing’ here.

Tear Down Trend

May 15th, 2014

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Vancouver. Love it or hate it. Live in it or leave it. It comes with the draw of beauty, glamour, world renowned parks & ski resorts as well as the drawback of the price to call it home.

The West Coast city is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country. But, the talk that was usually about the homes themselves or condos with incredible views, is now turning to homes selling over asking price for the property value – not the home itself. Perfectly good homes that for one person can be called a ‘character’ home, is a quick bull doze away from being perfect to others. It seems as though it’s become ‘en vogue’ to look for an expensive home, then top the price to make the next day’s headlines read ’tear down sells for record breaking price’.

Most recently, a four-bedroom house in a notably prestigious neighbourhood, built in 1934 & said to be perfectly sound is being torn down because it’s ‘not big enough’. That’s fair enough, buying property is, after all, the ticket to creating a dream home, rather than a condo that is restrictive per se. However, it is bewildering to local ‘Vancouverites’ in the market, to read of a $3,038,000 property, go for $190,000 higher than its listed price – within 24 hours of it being listed nonetheless. Good for those involved, not so great for the already inflated real estate market in the city.

Prior to this latest home, a 50 year old West Vancouver mansion was selling for a the ‘bargain’ price of $38-million. It was however a teardown, on the expectation a buyer would divide its substantial waterfront lot into three parcels.

In entertainment the say ‘no press is bad press’ but in real estate, the higher tear down homes sell for, the higher the property values go, the worse off buyers who are knocked out of the competition for not having more than asking price are going to be. It seems never ending for Vancouver at this time, and it’s enticing more buyers to come in with full willingness to pay whatever it takes – driving prices up over all.

While most likely not taking the industry by storm and replacing brick and mortar in this life time, 3D printing has extended into building houses!

“According to DUS Architects, the Dutch company behind the project, these innocuous black objects are stage one of what will eventually be the world’s first 3D printed house.
It is made using a “KamerMaker” machine, a giant, custom-made version of a desktop 3D printer that produces a material 10 times thicker than normal.
The finished structure will take the shape of a 13-room canal house made from scores of separate but interlocking components (like the three currently on show).

“These rooms will be structural entities on their own. We will then place them on top of each other to make a house,” explained DUS Architects co-founder and director, Martine de Wit.
“Originally, we had the small printers in our office and we were printing scale models with them. Then we thought why not print it (the full house) right away,” she added.”

The opportunity to do pretty fantastic things with 3D printers is growing rapidly and it’s an exciting time to follow what will come of it. To find out more about this particular project, click here.

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This Needs no introduction or explanation. Life in Canada simply varies greatly from coast to coast by the square foot.

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World Housing Initiative

February 19th, 2014

Often times we hear of very note worthy causes that take the internet by storm, now one comes from a less expected source.

World Housing, a Vancouver based real estate firm has started a project that might just make a positive difference in the world for those living in developing nations.

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After speaking with the founder of TOMS Shoes on a plane ride, the two founders of ‘World Housing’, Peter Dupuis & Sid Landolt, realized they too can give back using the TOMS one-for-one model.

According to their website:
World Housing is the world’s first one-for-one real estate gifting model. Our founding purpose is to create sustainable social change by building and gifting homes to qualified, deserving families that live and sustain themselves around Third World garbage dump communities. For every condominium sold at a certified World Housing project a contribution is made by the developer to build a home for a dump dweller family. Our homes are built in partnership with a qualified NGO-Builder in our micro home building factory that trains and employs local youth.

Though some might laud this as a marketing ploy, it is nonetheless attempting to make waves in an otherwise straightforward market of buy and sell, develop, build and profit.

It’s certainly an initiative that is exceptional in its potential to transform lives that otherwise have little hope of living with a real roof overhead and the wish is that World Housing creates positive change in real estate.

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