While most Vancouver property values rose an average of 11% last year, many in East Vancouver rose several times that amount – 3,431% to be exact, according to BC Assessment figures released earlier this year. this month.
The not-so-average valuation change is for a not-so-average property.
Easily mistaken for someone’s neglected driveway, 1916 William St. is just nine feet wide and 60 feet long, a fraction of the size of most lots in its Grandview-Woodlands neighborhood.
In 2021, BC Assessment set the value of the small lot at $4,900. But according to the 2022 valuation, he is now worth $173,000.
“When the valuation came up…I thought, what’s going on,” said Bryn Davidson, co-owner of Lanefab, the company that owns the land.
“The balance sheet is totally disconnected from any reality insofar as [any development] the city currently allows it. I think it’s just such a weird duck that it was probably someone throwing a dart at a board on the wall and seeing where it was hitting.”
BC Assessment’s assistant assessor for the Fraser Valley region said details specific to 1916 William Street cannot be discussed until April, when the assessment appeal period is over.
Bryan Murao said sales activity drives changes in valuations, and wild price swings make it difficult for appraisers, especially when it comes to weird and outlier properties.
The tiny William Street lot sold in July 2020 for $88,000 and was sold back to Lanefab for almost two and a half times the price – $210,000 – 11 months later.
“What we don’t necessarily do is assess the potential for speculative development if it’s based on very low percentage odds,” Murao said.
“One-off situations that might require special council approval or development waiver permits…create a lot of uncertainty where you have less than a 50% chance the property will actually develop into something.”
Davidson said his company bought the property hoping to design and build it using its expertise in small spaces.
But so far, city officials say it can only be developed if combined with one of the much larger lots on either side.
Last year, the city ordered the removal of a portable office module the company was building on the site. The property is now used as storage space.
Davidson said he was considering a bunch of ideas for the future of 1916 William St.
He’s spoken to the people who are redeveloping the property to the west to see if they have any interest there. He said he would also consider selling to the city to develop a pocket park.
“We considered doing some kind of public art project. I don’t know, I feel like it’s a chance to do something interesting, but maybe if someone has ideas, we could entertain them.”