2014 Vancouver City-Wide Property Values

Last week the City of Vancouver was named the second most expensive city in the world - again. Sadly, this study only evaluated the median cost of single family homes in Metro Vancouver relative to average income. This is hardly a comprehensive portrait of housing affordability. In the same week, I was excited to see Andrew Yan's latest annual map of single-family property values in Vancouver. However, given the fact that only 33% of dwellings in the city of Vancouver are single family homes, this year I wanted to know more.

Over the past two years, I have utilized BC Assessment data extensively for many urban planning projects completed by Golder's  Sustainable Communities Group (formerly HB Lanarc). Given my somewhat specialized expertise mapping this complicated data, I felt compelled to visualize the Open Data on land values with a fresh perspective.

Below is my map of total property values for every parcel in the City of Vancouver. Note that the values for strata properties are shown as the aggregate value of all properties. Additionally, I have not shown the value of land within parks. Finally, the 'million-dollar line' is clearly visible at Ontario Street. I know this is a lot to absorb but I hope you will find many interesting nuggets of insight on this new city-wide map. For example you can see there is a light-red rectangular area around Shaugnessy where all parcels are over $2,000,000, except along the arterial roadways where parcels are less expensive.

As a professional cartographer, it is also my moral duty to standardize the property values by parcel size to control for the fact that many west-side properties have larger lots. This calculation is the total assessed value of each parcel, divided by the total area of each parcel in sq. m. This important analysis reveals a very different visual story - the light-red rectangle in Shaugnessy is no longer obvious after the data are adjusted.

You can also compare these two maps by looking at the animaged GIF image below:

To understand how land uses and population patterns are related to property values, I encourage you to also review the city-wide zoning map and population density maps. Please note the zoning map shows aggregated categories not actual zoning codes, as there are over 500 specific zones within the City of Vancouver. Additionally, the chart below shows the average value per sq. m. for land within each of the zoning categories.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact me. As a local leader in spatial analysis and cartography, Golder would be happy to assist you in developing custom applications using these data. For example mapping 2013-2014 property value changes may reveal several surprising local trends, despite the fact there was an average appreciation of only 2% on average last year. The ratio of land value and improvement values could also be evaluated to identify specific parcels that may be most suitable for redevelopment.

I hope this map fuels a conversation about economic facts so that we can create a healthier, more inclusive city. Please ask any questions that come time mind using the form below or subscribe to my blog to receive updates in the future.