Global housing crisis? What crisis? Vancouver asks

Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:48am EST
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By Nicole Mordant

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - When Bob Stark bid on a loft apartment in a trendy Vancouver neighborhood in June this year, he wasn't expecting competition.

House prices in the traditionally expensive West Coast city had dipped because of the recession and a friend had recently bought a house nearby for a good price.

The first showing of the 1,150-square-foot water-view apartment opened at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday and Stark was there with his real estate agent. So were three other couples.

An hour after the show-day opened, the first offer was in. By the time Stark put in his bid three hours later, there were already three offers on the table.

"It was nerve-racking. You don't have time to think," the 35-year-old marketing executive said about having to make a snap decision to either up his offer or walk away.

He raised his bid and won the log cabin-like suite he had fallen in love with for C$15,000 over the C$600,000 ($566,000) asking price.

Vancouver, a postcard-pretty city on the Pacific Coast has long been Canada's most expensive housing market.

A 2,200 square-foot, four-bedroom home on one of its leafy streets would have cost on average an eye-popping $1.17 million this year, according to international real estate firm Coldwell Banker.   Continued...

<p>Downtown Vancouver is seen from Burnaby, British Columbia, April 28, 2008. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>