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Own ½ A Vancouver Special, Get All The Benefit!

Looking for the best deal and investment possibility in Vancouver? Want to own a home and land,  but only have a down payment for a Condo or townhouse? Consider instead buying a Vancouver Special, with a partner.

Once you look past the exterior, Vancouver Specials turn out to be one of Vancouver’s great housing gems.  Built primarily in the 1970s, Vancouver Specials usually have two full height suites of between 900-1200 sq ft each, two or three bedrooms per floor.  They are characterized by their low-pitched roofs and porches on the front of the houses. Vancouver Specials are much sought after by renters who appreciate the full height ceilings on the lower level. These homes are ubiquitous in much of East Vancouver and Burnaby, and due to their aesthetic reputation a good deal can often be found.

Designed as an ideal home for a single family, with the benefit of a mortgage helper, Vancouver specials are an great alternative to strata living.  Whereas a 900 sq ft condo in East Vancouver may cost $400,000 and a 1200 sq ft townhouse or ½ duplex $600,000 ( $450 – $500/sq ft), a 2200 sq ft Vancouver Special can net you two 1200 sq ft dwellings for around $850,000 (less than $400/sq ft) and there are no strata fees. Plus you get a yard, garage, only have 1 partner, and more. Purchase a Vancouver Special with a friend or another family and make your money go farther!

Your partner can either be another family/friend or an investor!

Due to the lower price per square foot as compared to condos, co-investing in a Vancouver Special can be a strong investment for your partner. These investments can be cash positive from day one and return over 7% annually to the investor, even in a flat market.

So whether your co-purchaser will be living in the home or investing, consider a Vancouver Special as an appealing and affordable housing choice in Metro Vancouver.

Interested, but don’t have a partner who you might purchase with?

I can help bring you together with another like minded buyer. Be in touch for more information.


Historically collaborative purchases have taken two forms. Co-ops where groups of people purchase land or property together, and co-investment from friends and family. While co-ops have proven to have a number of economic challenges, they still present an opportunity for groups of interested home owners especially those interested in new developments in alternative living.

More exciting in my opinion is the opportunities for cooperative purchase of a single family home shared between 2 people or families. Vancouver is replete with homes like the famous Vancouver Special which provides for two full high suites between 900 – 1200 sq ft. These homes are often priced up to 20% / sq ft below comparable condos, duplexes and townhouses, plus you don’t have any pesky strata payments.  Effectively form your own duplex and save up to $100,000 each.

Co-investment continues to be a viable option for people in Vancouver looking to get into the market for the first time. Many people’s investments today are only paying 1-4%, I can show you how you can offer your investor 7.6% returns based on today’s interest rates.  By leveraging your co-investment you can get more space for less money and own a home, instead of a condo.

Your social network is your greatest asset, put it to work for you to create the home, community and future you are seeking.


When I bought my first property in Vancouver, people asked  me, why are you buying a house, shouldn’t you first buy a condo? My response was simple but confused everyone.

“I can’t afford a condo, I can only afford a house.”

For me, the issue was not down payment, fortunately I had that, the problem was that I had just moved back to Vancouver and had no job.

The great trick in the Vancouver housing market, especially for first time home owners and young families, is to skip condos, townhouses and 1/2 duplexes, and look for single family homes with 3 suites in them.  Forget mortgage helpers, think mortgage payers.

And the math is simple: (Numbers based on East Vancouver, (Feb 2013)

Rent – 2 bedroom condo = approx. $1500/ month, $0 Saved on mortgage

Own – 2 bedroom condo = approx $1900/ month, $600 Saved on mortgage

Own – 4 bedroom Home with 2 rental units

= approx $1400*/ month, $1000 saved on mortgage

(*$3400/ month - $2000/month rental income)

Pay less, save more, get more!

Owning a home, you will pay less month to month, you will save more when your mortgage is up for renewal, you can get more space, plus of course more independence, more potential for appreciation…

Of course, you do need that pesky down payment!

Contact Noam for help making your next home work for you.

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