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Water’s Edge: Small and cheap(er) seaside properties in Metro Vancouver

Lori Culbert, Vancouver Sun, May 13, 2016

If you don’t mind the border crossing, the place you should buy oceanfront property near Vancouver is, of course, Point Roberts.

There is a four-bedroom, two-bathroom, waterfront house for sale on the American peninsula for $658,000 US. Even with the low Canadian dollar, that’s a relative bargain ($825,230 Cdn) for this 1,792-square-foot home built in 1974 on a 0.23 acre lot.

We searched our database of 8,000 oceanfront properties between Lions Bay and White Rock and found a property on O’Hara Lane in Surrey that is the same size with four bedrooms, one less bathroom and a slightly smaller lot. Since this older house has been renovated, B.C. Assessment now considers it the equivalent to being built in 1974 — same year as the Point Roberts house.
But all the similarities end there. The Surrey home’s most recent assessment value is nearly $2 million.

Don’t despair. There are some smaller and cheap(er) seaside properties in Metro Vancouver. We analyzed our spreadsheet of oceanfront homes, their values and sizes — provided to The Sun by Landcor Data Corp — and found a few options.

There are nearly 500 seaside homes assessed at under half a million dollars: Most (453) are condos in Vancouver; there are 29 townhouses or duplexes in Richmond or Vancouver; and Passage Island off the coast of West Vancouver has 10 detached homes right on the water.

Below is a colour-coded map of the 500 oceanfront homes you might be able to afford. Hover over a dot for more information about the home’s size, location, value and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. (To move the map around, under the arrow menu choose the cross with the pointy ends then click on the map and slide your mouse left or right, up or down.)

Sometimes, but not always, the smaller the home, the smaller the mortgage papers.

We found 18 oceanfront detached houses under 1,000 square feet spread out among several municipalities including Delta, Lions Bay and West Vancouver. However, their average assessed value was still $1.4 million.

And there were 215 condos in Vancouver and another 50 in West Vancouver under 600 square feet.

Below is the location of the small residential homes on the water (many of the small condos are in the same buildings, so their dots overlap on the map).

Other small things on the ocean: The tiniest restaurant (300-square-foot lot) is in West Vancouver’s Whytecliff Park and the smallest business is a kayak rental place on 500 square feet in Port Moody.

Tomorrow we will wrap up this series with maps showing other fun facts about oceanfront life: Which cities have the most waterfront homes with pools? Multi-car garages? Renovations?

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.