The housing stock in the Dunbar area of Vancouver has undergone significant change in the past five years. Originally a working class neighbourhood with many quite modest homes surrounded by lovely gardens, it is now a neighbourhood that 99% of the people working in Vancouver cannot afford because the replacement homes are built to the maximum footprint and cost millions. Greenspace has been reduced. Included on this website are photos of many (not all) of the disappeared houses.
View Teardowns in the Dunbar area of Vancouver, BC in a larger map

Demolitions West of the Dunbar Community Centre

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Giants Marching In

An article entitled "Giants Marching In" in the Seattle Times of November 27, 2015 states that between 2012 and 2014, over 1,500 small houses were demolished to make way for larger ones in King County. Although this situation sounds similar to ours in Vancouver, there are differences, the number of the demolitions being one.

From the article:
I talked about this with Ballard-based real-estate agent Greg Stamolis, who works with spec builders both in acquiring properties for teardown and later selling the new home when it’s completed.
I asked Stamolis to profile the typical buyer, but other than having good incomes, he says it’s a little hard to generalize. Many are recent arrivals who’ve moved to the area for work, but it’s also common for buyers to already live in the neighborhood, only in a smaller property that they feel no longer meets their needs. Rather than undergo a complete remodel of their present house, they decide to purchase a larger new one.

Stamolis, who is a Seattle native and a Ballard resident, acknowledges these new houses are not always welcome additions to the block: “It can be hard for people who live in these older neighborhoods to see this kind of rapid change. When you have a 1920s neat, older bungalow, and then it’s torn down for a 3,000-square-foot house, it’s always an adjustment for the neighborhood. It kind of breaks the character of the neighborhood, which I understand. And it’s a disruption, because construction takes six months.”
But once the dust settles, he says, it doesn’t take long for things to go back to normal.
“After people meet the new neighbor, they are more comfortable. Very quickly, they become part of the neighborhood.”

The entire article is available here. The photos show that, in general, the state of the older small home being demolished in Seattle is in huge contrast to that of the well-kept and renovated house in Vancouver that is trashed.
Like Vancouver, Seattle is a city that attracts people who want to live there. Also like Vancouver, there are not enough "starter" houses. However, there are a few, at prices that would astound Vancouver residents. Here is an example of a "starter" in the Rainer Valley section of Seattle; the photos are taken six months apart. The run-down house had an extreme renovation, a significant part of it a do-it-yourself project by the intrepid owners.

And they made raised beds for vegetables!

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