Vancouver Teardown Map

Playing with Assessment Data

Jens von Bergmann

2 minute read

There has been lots of talk about old homes being torn down and replaced in Vancouver. The likeliest targets are houses of relatively low value sitting on expensive land. So how many teardown candidates are there in Vancouver, and where in Vancouver are they located?

To answer this we use data from Vancouver’s open data catalogue to build an interactive map to explore the low end of the building stock. More specifically, we set a somewhat arbitrary ratio of (assessed) house value to total (assessed) property value (house + land) of 5% and label everything below that a “teardown candidate”.

The short answer is that almost one in three properties in Vancouver fall into this category. And they are distributed quite evenly across all of Vancouver with some areas like downtown looking a little better.

On the level of the individual property the “teardown candidate” designation might be unfair and somewhat inflammatory. By our above definition, a million dollar house sitting on a 20 million dollar property is a “teardown candidate”. In some cases BC Assessment may have failed to properly account for recent renovations resulting in the building being undervalued and more likely to show up as a “teardown candidate”. And of course not every “teardown candidate” will be torn down, other options may be preferable. Depending on circumstance extensive renovations may be the better option, and the pervasiveness of “teardown candidates” suggest that many people in Vancouver are happy living in a house that is worth less than 5% of the overall assessed value of the property.

To aid a more individualized look at properties we included the address, the assessed land and improvement values, the tax levy (CoV just added this information a couple of days ago), zoning information, the land area and the relative land value. To display this information just hover your mouse over a property (or touch it on your mobile device). Opening a second browser with a map with satellite imagery (or Apple maps) can provide additional context.

Take a look at the map and explore for yourself. You will need a reasonably fast computer and modern browser to enjoy the map, it contains lots of data and may feel quite slow on mobile devices.

Full screen view

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