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Water’s Edge: Metro Vancouver’s most extravagant oceanfront properties

Lori Culbert, Vancouver Sun, May 15, 2016

Does it seem like cranes and dump trucks are constantly on seaside streets, as bigger, newer homes are built on the water?

Seventy-nine new homes have been built on the oceanfront in Metro Vancouver during the past five years, the most (24) in West Vancouver, according to a spreadsheet of waterfront properties provided to The Sun by Landcor Data Corp,

The colour-coded map below shows the location of the newly built houses along the Pacific Ocean from Lions Bay to South Surrey. Hover over the dots for more information about size, value and other interesting details.

The dump trucks and cranes have been at work at even more homes: those that have undergone massive renovations. Almost 870 seaside homes have been renovated, with the most activity in West Van (306) and Delta (122).

Landcor used data from B.C. Assessment, which judges the extent of a renovation by shaving years off a home’s original build date. (So, for example, if a home built in 1950 is deemed to have undergone a renovation that makes if 25 years younger, the “effective” build date becomes 1975.)

Half of the renovations at seaside homes were relatively small, shaving 12 or fewer years off their original build date. But 65 homes received such massive renos that they were listed as 50 to 93 years younger than their original build date: those extensive renos took place mainly in West Van (25), Vancouver (13) and Delta (9).

So, besides giving you a nice view, what else does an oceanfront property do for you? Well, it sure increases your mortgage payments.

When you compare the average price of a waterfront home to the benchmark price (provided by real estate associations) for homes in the same neighbourhood, the premium you pay to be on the ocean ranges from a low of 31 per cent in Richmond to 137 per cent in North Vancouver to a high of 226 per cent in Vancouver.

If you are paying that much extra money, what does it get you? In many cases, some pretty fancy houses.

There is a seaside house in North Vancouver with 14 bathrooms and 10 bedrooms. There are four oceanfront houses with four separate garages. There are 232 with pools.

The colour-coded map below shows the fanciest oceanfront houses, from Lions Bay to South Surrey. Hover over the dots for more information about bedrooms, bathrooms, size and value.

In an effort to define our oceanfront, The Sun asked for help from Landcor, a New Westminster-based firm that specializes in analyzing real estate data. Landcor matched B.C. Assessment data with other shoreline data sets to create a spreadsheet of 9,518 oceanfront properties between Lions Bay and South Surrey. Landcor excluded all addresses that were separated from the coast by another property, a road or railway (with the exception of the BNSF Railway in White Rock.) The Sun then analyzed that data to produce the maps and graphics for this series.