$37.9M West Vancouver tear-down is country's priciest home
What does $37.9 million look like?
Well, the elderly owners of the most expensive residential real estate listing in the country are hoping some wealthy buyer will agree it looks like their West Vancouver waterfront home.
Seaside Mansion on the Pointe at 3810 Marine Drive has been listed before. In 2011, its asking price was $30 million.
But when it came back on the market last year and its listing was renewed just days ago, the price tag surprised even some experienced West Van realtors. Especially given that the house is widely considered a tear-down in real-estate circles, suggesting the original 1964 structure is ripe for replacement.
George Tsavdaris, one of two RE/MAX realtors tasked with selling the home, agreed.
"It's in its original condition, if you can understand that," Tsavdaris said, explaining that the home's elderly occupants haven't managed to keep up with its maintenance recently.
In fact, 3810 Marine Drive has for years been a thorn in the side of some neighbourhood residents, drawing complaints about garbage strewn around the property and derelict cars in the driveway. The property's owners are routinely cited by West Vancouver District for contravening the municipality's Good Neighbour Bylaw for unsightly and nuisance premises.
But Tsavdaris's colleague, Laura McLaren, told The Outlook the real value of 3810 Marine Drive is not in the home, but in the ground — and the sea.
"It's the last piece of flat waterfront," McLaren said, specifying that where most Marine Drive properties slope sharply into the water, the majority of this one is near-perfectly level.
The large 34,000-square-foot lot is also unique in that it has the potential to be subdivided into three 11,000-square-foot estates, each with space enough for its own 8,000-square-foot home and a driveway onto Marine Drive. And that's precisely the metric that the realtors used to arrive at the $37.9-million figure; accounting for three separate lots at $10 million apiece, plus the existing single-story home which, despite its tear-down tag, is nevertheless valued at $7.9 million.
At four bedrooms and three bathrooms, the 5,000-square-foot semi-custom home could be considered modest for the West Bay neighbourhood. But contrast its worth today with what the home's original owner paid for it and a picture emerges of just how lucrative West Van real estate has become.
A quick search of the West Vancouver Archives reveals that when Kenneth Hamilton White built the home in 1964, the land was then valued at $25,670 and the new house at $13,950, for a total property value of $39,620.
White was apparently a merchant shipping magnate who built the home on the bay to affirm — quite literally — that his ship had indeed come in.
"It was built at that particular point," Tsavdaris said, "to allow him to view his ships as they traveled through the inlet to the docks."
The land's value actually dipped in 1965 while the home's value held firm, leaving the property's total assessed worth at just $31,950 — where it would stagnate until 1968. It was then that the neighbourhood's property values really began to climb and haven't really slowed since. Today's asking price of $37.9 million is more than 1,000 times what the same home commanded just 45 years ago.
"Who's going to buy this house?" Tsavdaris asked rhetorically. "A king of China will buy this house, or a Bollywood movie star will buy this house."
More likely, a developer will buy the house and subdivide the property into three separate estates. In fact, there has already been some movement on it.
"We've had offers on it but unfortunately they haven't come up to the price that's wanted by the seller," Tsavdaris said. "All the offers we've had have been from developers to build three monster homes there. But we're hoping to find that one candidate from Bollywood or from China that would want to keep it as one property."
In 2011, the most expensive residential property listed in the country was another West Vancouver estate — 2190 Camelot Rd. — with a price tag of $39.9 million. That 5.44 acre property is now being turned into a 12-lot subdivision of multi-million-dollar estates.