Who Rules Vancouver’s Real Estate Game?

The city’s stratospheric housing prices are a bust for some while a boon for others.

Aging boomers have got to be the biggest beneficiaries of Vancouver’s ongoing property bonanza. This past July, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported an 11 percent increase in property prices over last, and the number of sales had increased by a whopping 30 percent. Who’s better poised to cash out than the boomers who bought into the market 30-plus years ago?Their vast wealth has shaped the retirement market in a variety of ways. Some are taking their millions and upsizing with bigger houses in far cheaper locales, such as the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. The more urban boomers are downsizing in style, with the purchase of a high-end downtown condo or a contemporary townhome in West Vancouver. They’re also starting to look to North Vancouver, where there’s slightly more luxury-bang for their buck.And for retirees who are really looking ahead, there’s the aging-in-place concept, which has driven retirement projects around the Lower Mainland to offer a spectrum of luxury services from in-house movie theatres, yoga classes, educational seminars, and gourmet organic diets to later-stage nursing care. It’s not for the budget-oriented senior, mind you. Monthly rentals can easily run $4,000 to $10,000 and beyond, and that doesn’t include the add-on costs like field trips.With nursing homes on the host list, demand for seniors’ housing is going to spike. Seniors want luxury more than ever before, and developers are filling the void.

SPECIALTY: Located on West 41st Avenue across from Oakridge Centre, this newish facility features a chauffeur-driven Bentley and an on-call nurse. The contemporary complex includes landscaped terraces, extra elevators, club rooms, and state-of-the-art security.UNITS 91TENURE Monthly rentalLegacyseniorliving.comPhoto CreditL Erich Saide

SPECIALTY: This North Vancouver property targets the mid-market senior with self-contained apartments, bistro, theatre, fitness centre, communal garden, three meals a day, and round-the-clock care. Live independently or with assistance.UNITS 128TENURE Monthly rentalEdgemontseniorliving.comPHOTO CREDIT: Ray Letkeman Architects Inc.

SPECIALTY: Concert Properties’ Tapestry communities are for seniors who don’t feel like seniors. Their Tapestry at Wesbrook Village, at UBC, includes spa treatments, a fitness program, and gourmet cuisine. Think boutique hotel for the affluent. UNITS 200TENURE Monthly rental and strata ownershipDiscovertapestry.comPhoto Credit: Concert Properties

SPECIALTY: Aimed at wealthy West Vancouverites, this complex at 22nd Street and Marine Drive includes chauffeured transportation, dining hall with maître d’, use of a grand piano, housekeeping, spa, massage room, beauty parlour, and temperature-controlled wine storage.UNITS 129TENURE Monthly rentalParcliving.caPhoto Credit: Stu Ross Photography

Not everyone is settling in the Lower Mainland. When it’s time to cash out, where will you go? Here are a few options:

$1.2 million4-bedroom equestrian castleFor the price of a bungalow on the East Side, you can get a castle in France—with horses. Who wouldn’t want to spend their golden years where Van Gogh was most inspired? Nimes Airport is a half-hour drive away and the French Riviera a short distance, too. Frenchestateagents.com

$202,8453-bedroom cottage It’s a cottage, surrounded by charming Irish countryside, outside tiny Ballycullane. There’s a church, a pub, and beaches close by. For that price in Vancouver, you’d end up living in a 500-square-foot studio near Surrey Central Station. Myhome.ie

$909,4843-bedroom beachfront condo Cash out of your West Side house, buy this beachfront condo in Mexico, and pocket some serious change. It’s got ensuite baths, a walk-in marble shower, and a custom-furniture package. And no kidnappings! Blog.mexi-go.ca