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Vancouver College Kids Are Living In Gigantic Mansions For $800 A Month Because Of A Housing Crisis

BloombergIsaiah Boodhoo, 22, thought it was a “complete hoax” when he saw a rental listing on Facebook for a bedroom in a Vancouver mansion for only C$1,100 ($825) a month.

It turned out the glass chandeliers, luxurious blue drapes, steam room and billiards table were for real. The nine-bedroom home, dubbed “The Castle” by the 14 students who share the property, is apparently owned by an Afghani pop artist, according to Boodhoo.

“Honestly, I would stay here for as long as I could,” he said, sitting on a white couch while sipping from a Slurpee cup. “$1,000 bucks for all this?”

Others may also soon find themselves as lucky as more mansion owners in the city turn to renting to avoid a new tax on empty homes. In the new world of Vancouver’s housing market, where Chinese investors are decamping and low-ball offers are the norm, students can find themselves living in the lap of luxury.

Little real estate lesson for today to keep you up on current events from around the globe: in Vancouver, the housing market is down 8.5%, and the government just instituted a new “empty home” tax which basically crushes people (mostly Chinese investors) who bought houses in BC but don’t live there so they don’t pay BC taxes.  They’re trying to sell, but it’s close to impossible with no credible offers coming in.

Lisa Sun paces around the Vancouver mansion she’s been hired to sell by its wealthy Chinese-Canadian owner. The family’s had it with the new taxes and what it sees as increasing hostility to Asian capital. Sun reckons that early last year the home would have easily sold for about C$8.5 million—holes in the wall and all.

Today, the 28-year-old realtor isn’t sure she’ll get a credible offer for the 8,343 square-foot mansion. These days a pool, wine cellar, and home theater on a prime lot aren’t enough to clinch a deal, even in West Vancouver, where opulent homes carved out of steep slopes overlook the ocean. Sun needs a “stager” to empty the house and brighten it up with new furniture, a modern chandelier, and lick of paint.

So what’s the solution? Fill the house to avoid the tax.

Who’s looking for affordable housing in an area that has close to 0% vacancy?

College kids.

And THAT’S how you end up as a Slurpee-drinking music major living in an 8 million dollar mansion with a pool and home theater for 800 bucks a month.

“You have houses that are worth C$4 million renting for C$4,500,” said Steve Saretsky, a Vancouver realtor whose popular real estate blog was pointing out cracks in the market even as benchmark prices peaked last year.

“Everyday I come home from school and I see just the tips of the castle, and I’m just like, that’s my house,” said Boodhoo, who’s looking forward to the pool in the backyard. It should be filled by June.

…For his part, Boodhoo, not only has he scored luxury digs, he’s cut his commute time to his classes in music production to about 18 minutes from two hours.

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I know you’re picturing your college dorms, apartments and houses right now.  I can only speak for myself, but mine didn’t have a wine cellar.  My memory is pretty shitty but I don’t remember any glass chandeliers either.  That’s on me for being a 2005 student in Atlanta and not a 2019 student in Canada.  You live and you learn.


(via Bloomberg)