Main Difference

Main Detached

Not so many years ago there was a perception held by those who would aspire to the delights of Kitsilano, that Main street south of Kingsway was a ‘sketchy’ place to live. In those days Pattison had a huge car lot at 18th and Main across from Palm Dairies. Memory serves that the majority of offerings amounted to second hand stores whose product offerings might have the night before, resided in places like Kitsilano. One long lasting business that has been spinning yarn since 1939 is Birkeland Bros. Wool. Another old timer who has fed the community at Main and 13th since 1948 is Bert’s Restaurant.

By contrast, Main is today a vibrant community boasting as many coffee shops as Kitsilano and as many diverse eateries and businesses.

It’s been interesting to watch the change as Main grew into a destination place for young couples who want proximity to the city core and neighbourhood amenities close at hand.

For detached properties in the Main Street neighbourhood covering the period from June 20, 2010 to August 18, 2010.


Total Listings increased from June/July’s 30 to July/Aug’s 34.


Sales as seen in many neighbourhoods decreased from June/July’s 4 to July/Aug’s 3.

Expired, Reductions, Increases, Days on Market

Main and 25th – 1912, CVA SGN 1021

  • June/July had 3 listing mandates expire whereas July/Aug had 6 suggesting that buyers are being selective.
  • Price reductions were the same for both periods at 14.
  • There were no price increase in both periods.
  • The number of days it took to sell a home increased from 12 days June/July to 18 in July/Aug.

Average and Median Prices

  • June/July’s Average Ask price of $796,250 decreased July/Aug at $749,000.
  • The Median Ask price in June/July was $759,000 but it too dropped to $749,000 in July/Aug.
  • The Average Sold price in the June/July was $790,500 dropping to $748,666 in July/Aug.
  • The Median Sold price in June/July recorded $767,500. In the July/Aug this price declined to $740,000.


The Main street neighbourhood, though relatively steady, is at this time continuing its slow decline. Yet there are two examples of from each period that counter the proposition of a declining market. For some time now I have been spouting off about a problem I see within this market. Admittedly, my view may be somewhat myopic. Still, my premise seems to bear fruit. Contended is that there is a lot of product on the market that appears to be a last gasp effort. That gasp is taken by sellers who believe buyers are gullible or worse, a story of last chance opportunity to gain fabulous riches has been spun by the Realtor® – I can’t decide which. Maybe it is both! Suspect is that there are some sellers who in a ‘normal’ market wouldn’t stand a chance of achieving the price they are asking. It seems that formula isn’t working in this market either. Equally suspicious is that there are some Realtors® who will take a listing at any price, throw it on MLS® and pray that a fool will appear. In contrast, here are a couple of examples of support to my extended premise that buyers are not fools and remain prepared to lay down their hard earned cash if the house they are buying delivers value.

The contrasting contention is simply that pretty houses that have been properly renovated offer a proposition of comfort, durability, appeal, and utility vis a vis new kitchens, floors, appliances, structural and mechanical updates that add value to their street appeal. These homes quickly attracts buyers who are in some cases are prepared to pay more than asking – even in this market.


Sold in 7 Days

4563 John Street – 31 X 102.6 foot lot, 1,815 square feet. Asking $819,000 — Sold $840,000.

The Realtors® description asked that you “Be one of the few to live on this saught after stretch of John st. Steps away from Main shops, cafes & restaurants, you will find a charming tree lined street. Sit on your steps amnd chat with your neighbours while you watch the kids play. This 100 year old charactor home has been painstakingly restored and updated throughout (renovated kitchen with S/S appliances, renovated bath with heated floor and clawfoot tub, new doors and windows, custom woodwork in living room and dining room, no knob & tube, professional exterior paint). It boasts three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a mortgage helping studio suite. With a short commute to downtown you’ll have extra time to relax on your spacious deck or putter in the west facing garden.”

Sold in 13 Days

304 E 37th – 32 x 122.7, 2345 sq ft, 2 bedroom, 2 bath. Asking $799,000 — Sold $836,000.

The Realtors® describes this home as a “Classic 1930’s 1.5 storey character home. Oak floors, wood-burning fireplace with built-ins, formal dining & bright kitchen with eating area. 1 Bdrm on Main and Master Bdrm up. Wonderful “COACHHOUSE” with gas fireplace, 3 pce Bath and Murphy Bed. Bright sunny South corner lot, just half block to Cartier Park. Unfinished basement with 7 – 7’8″ height.”

Best Priced

301 Woodstock – 33 x 126 lot, 2,300 sq.ft., 7 bedrooms 4 baths. Asking $899,000 — DOM 76.

Well… that’s what the Realtor® says yet it hasn’t sold in 76 days. It’s only 22 years old has 2,300 sq ft of living space and appears to be in good condition. With 7 bedrooms, 4 baths and as the Realtor® points out it’s a “money machine” that draws $4,870/month from both suites.

The Realtor® says it is the “BEST PRICED HOME ON MAIN ST AREA! Corner Lot Gorgeous Vancouver Special w/Mountain views! Fully reno’d w/hardwood floors, granite counter, S/S Appliances, new flooring kit/bath. 2 suites: 3 bdrm +Den up, 4 bdrm down. Money Machine: Both suites rented @ $4,870/mo! Deep lot w/double garage. One block East of trendy Main St-a prime location. Huge Sundeck w/ Mountain views for BBQ summer time. Wood burning fireplace, Water heated, New Skylights, Jetted Tub & much more to list on this BEAUTIFUL Van Special.”


Even though a home may have ‘technically’ have all the right stuff it may not sell. What we see and how a home makes us feel often is the reason a home sells. Think about this for a second or two and share your perspective.

The question – why hasn’t this home sold?

About Larry Yatkowsky

Larry is a recognized real estate expert. A veteran professional, his experienced counsel leads Vancouverites in his west side community to place their trust in a man passionate about his work. Uncompromising ethics bring a balanced approach to realizing your real estate dreams.

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*Disclaimer: Statistics Courtesy REBGV. While believed to be accurate they are not guaranteed.
**Numbers provided may vary as they are dynamically posted by the REBGV.

Reader Comments:

specialfx3000 Says:
August 23rd, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Very interesting post Larry. Vancouverites are definitely in love with the renovated ‘character’ homes and paying top dollars for them.

“clawfoot tub” over “money machine”.

anon Says:
August 23rd, 2010 at 3:13 pm

One block from a graveyard and busy 41st Ave – no thanks.

August 23rd, 2010 at 5:50 pm

was that “A – NON” opinion?

John1 Says:
August 24th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I think anon got it – Asians are very superstitious and probably pass on this one because of the proximity to the graveyard. That’s a huge number of prospective buyers that will pass on it right away. And that graveyard isn’t going anywhere, so future value will be affected as well.

“Main street south of Kingsway was a ‘sketchy’ place to live”

And Main street, north of Kingsway??

August 24th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

agreed – tough to get past that aspect of life
north of kingsway – ummm doubly sketchy?

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