Jane Seyd in the North Shore News  describes the unusual policy of allowing local people to buy into a new condo project that will be built by Westbank developers on land owned by Sewell’s Marina in North Vancouver.  Responding to concerns about affordability and attainability of units by local people, Westbank reconfigured their marketing strategy for Sewell’s Landing which had already included an open house in Hong Kong before being offered on the local market. They pulled their permits from the District of West Vancouver and relaunched the three to eleven storey 159-unit condo complex in six buildings with an unusual requirement.

That requirement meant “condos be marketed to local residents first, and that would-be buyers sign a declaration that they or their family members intended to live in the units. So far, about half the units in the project have been sold to people in the Metro Vancouver area.”

People will question the affordability of a project to locals located on Horsehoe Bay, Westbank marketed only to local residents for one month last year. The next month the project’s marketing extended to North Vancouver residents, and in January to all Metro Vancouver. After February of this year the project was open to buyers from any jurisdiction, but the “buyers must still sign a declaration that they or a family member intend to live in the unit.”

Enforcing the declaration may be difficult.  “West Vancouver Councillor Mary-Ann Booth said she felt Westbank did make an effort to address concerns that the project not end up merely as a luxury investment vehicle for foreigners.”  With prices working out to an average of over $875 dollars per square foot on the units, the pricing may be for an international market. “If you set international prices, it doesn’t matter how long you give people to buy”.