News / Vancouver

$725,000 for one-bedroom condo at Joyce Station raises red flags

But developer says “astronomical price” presale listings and information about overseas sales are incorrect.

A rendering of a 30-storey condo building to be built near Joyce Station.

Westbank

A rendering of a 30-storey condo building to be built near Joyce Station.

The developer of a 30-storey condo tower at Joyce Station says the shockingly high price of some of the unit presales, and information published about overseas sales, are not representative of the project.

“We were targeting end-user families for this building,” said Michael Braun, a Westbank executive, about the family-focused project where 65 per cent of the units are two or three bedrooms in the diverse and working-class East Vancouver neighbourhood of Joyce Collingwood.

“We were looking for people who were interested in buying to raise their families in this building.”

When realtor Steve Saretsky called the Joyce project sales centre to ask about presales prices, he was told a 439 square foot one-bedroom on the top floor costs $725,000; a 501 square foot one-bedroom on the third floor costs $735,000; and a 771 square foot two-bedroom on the 14th floor costs $950,000. The outspoken realtor put the information up on Twitter.

Those prices break down to nearly $1,500 square feet, which Saretsky believes would set a new record for condo presales prices.

“To me the prices are pretty astronomical,” Saretsky told Metro. “You can buy into the (very high-end) Shangri-La, which is 8 years old, in prime, downtown Vancouver for $1300 a foot.”

Developers use presales to raise financing to build. The buyer purchases a contract to buy when the building is complete, usually at between five to 15 per cent of the price.

But Braun countered that Saretsky’s information is not correct. He said a one-bedroom condo on the third floor would have started at $399,000, the two-bedrooms started in the $400,000 range and three-bedrooms started at $800,000. Top floor suites were more expensive, heading into the “low one millions.”

Often what’s left over after several weeks of sales are the most expensive units, Braun explained. He said the presales were released in stages, opening to people from the Joyce Collingwood neighbourhood first on June 7, then to the Lower Mainland two days later. At that point the building had almost completely sold out to local buyers, said Braun.

However, a June 22 article posted on a Singaporean real estate site, theedgeproperty.com, says that 40 of the suites in the 256-unit building have been reserved for Singapore buyers, and that one-bedroom apartments start at $715,825.

“Singapore will be the second stop following the development’s global launch in Vancouver, China, Hong Kong and Taipei on June 17 and 18,” the post reads. “So far, 85% of the units have been sold.”

The information in the post is incorrect, Jill Killeen of Killeen Communications told Metro via email.

“Apparently a real estate broker in Singapore has put out this information, presenting themselves as a Westbank representative. This is not accurate, rather a sales tactic. We have requested they correct their narrative.”

A June 22 post from a Singaporean real estate site touting the Joyce development.

A June 22 post from a Singaporean real estate site touting the Joyce development.

Justin Fung of the group Housing Action for Local Taxpayers said it was concerning that there appears to have been one price for locals and another for overseas buyers for this project, because ultimately that will push up the price of homes in Vancouver.

“This is supposed to be transit-oriented development, the supply the city needs to bring affordability to the city,” he said. “I’m not sure who can afford a 1.2 million condo at Joyce Station.

“Ultimately what we’re looking for is family-friendly homes that are truly affordable, when we’re looking at what percentage of local income should go toward paying for a home.”

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