Affordable Vancouver Real Estate? Where's the Catch

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Vancouver, Strathcona is known for it's diversity – both in terms of the community and of the types of properties available for those searching for Vancouver real estate. It also has a distinct advantage, especially for young professionals and families looking to buy their first home; prices are very competitive. While Vancouver real estate prices continue to rise rapidly skywards, Strathcona real estate prices remain relatively reasonable. So what makes Strathcona so different and what should you consider before making the move to this relatively affordable Vancouver neighborhood?


Strathcona Community Profile


Traditionally, the culture of East Van has been defined by both its diversity and its working class origins. In Strathcona, this is as true as any part of East Van. The neighborhood has a very diverse range of real estate for sale; from heritage homes and buildings offering great options for young families to restore a family home at a great price to newly built condos for sale, which are most likely to attract young professionals and couples. The fact that Strathcona lies a few minutes east of the business core of Vancouver, the Downtown district only adds to the attraction for these groups, in particular. Chinatown, the bustling hub of Vancouver's Chinese community also lies partly within Strathcona and this fact adds a unique and attractive quality to the community as a whole.


Strathcona is a neighborhood that would characterize itself as populated by hardworking families from many different backgrounds and of different ages. The multicultural nature of the area – along perhaps with the lower prices – have also attracted many artists and performers, which has resulted in the art festival The Eastide Culture Crawl. Those looking to buy real estate in East Van should certainly take a close look at Strathcona as a realistic option. So with all this diversity, historic and architectural heritage (and probably some of the easiest and fastest transport links to downtown Vancouver) why the lower prices, and what's the pay-off?


The Neighbors


Strathcona is, indeed, located just next to Downtown Vancouver and in particular the north western boundary of Strathcona runs alongside the area of Downtown Eastside, a neighborhood with a “reputation”. In this case, it's not the sort of reputation that all Realtors will want you to know about! Downtown Eastside has been faced with numerous social problems over the years, including drugs, crime and poor housing. As with all city areas with a reputation, Downtown Eastide has also been plagued with bad press over the years – although plenty of coverage has also focused on the wider issues affecting the area.


Eastside and Strathcona, the Future


Downtown Eastsides' problems are closely linked to the lower-than-average prices in Strathcona. Eastside itself is certainly the cheapest Vancouver neighborhood, when it comes to real estate, and the area's problems have kept Strathcona prices low in turn. The sort of issues that Downtown Eastside faces are not going to disappear overnight and for those looking to buy homes in Strathcona, getting to grips with the challenges that the neighboring area is facing is essential. However, alongside numerous charities working with Eastside residents, the City of Vancouver is also working hard to address the issues and more information on the programs can be found on the city's website. Given the increasing attention being focused on addressing the social and housing problems that Eastside faces, plus that fact that elsewhere in Vancouver the only way for property prices seems to be up, Strathcona itself may offer those looking for realistically priced homes in Vancouver the last and best option!


Location, Location, Location


For those searching for homes in Vancouver, East Van neighborhoods have always had the reputation of offering great value. This is still true in Strathcona and, importantly, the area is seeing not only interest in real estate in the shape of traditional family homes but the recent Strathcona Village development – now underway and already sold out – gives a hint of the shape of things to come for the neighborhood. While some investors may remain uncertain about Strathcona, it's worth remembering the old phrase “location, location, location”.


Yes, Strathcona lies close to Downtown Eastside, but it's also a close neighbor to Gastown, which makes up the Downtown area proper along with Yaletown. Gastown itself has had a checkered history – having been a largely industrial site which suffered a long, slow painful decline for much of the 20th century. Only this century has a concerted effort by both the city authorities and innovative individuals transformed Gastown into one of the hippest, coolest and hottest (in property terms) neighborhoods in Vancouver. Like Strathcona, Gastown is directly next to the much maligned Downtown Eastside but demonstrates all the best outcomes of urban regeneration. With property prices ever increasing in Vancouver, Strathcona has plenty of signs that this reasonably priced real estate market has all the potential to become the next “must buy” real estate option for Vancouver home searchers.


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