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This just in from Business in Vancouver:

BIV 2

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Single-family lots in East Vancouver are gradually densifying through city bylaws that allow legal suites and laneway houses, but builders say the ever-increasing cost of Vancouver real estate is making it harder to find properties and turn a profit. …

Properties increase in value by around $900,000 when a builder tears down an older bungalow and replaces it with a larger house with a legal basement suite and a laneway house. 

The trend pushes the price of the built-out property into the $2.4 million range, the kind of hefty price tag once reserved for Vancouver’s west side.  …

The rapid price acceleration, combined with the City of Vancouver’s lengthy permitting process, has led to another layer of deal-making: it’s common for builders to buy a house, tear it down and begin the permitting process. 

They then sell the lot with the permits in place, but not yet paid for, to another builder. Selling the lot with the new house not yet started allows the second builder to avoid paying GST on a new home. …

The densification trend is largely not happening on the west side, Atwal said, characterizing buyers in neighbourhoods like Dunbar as wealthy people who would rather use the garage to house an expensive car than build a laneway house.

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More intriguing details here.