Photo: Leeann Cafferata/Flickr

Vancouver’s West Side takes the top spot for most expensive neighbourhood across the nation with an average price-per-square foot (PPSF) of $1,210, according to Century 21 Canada.

The real estate company published a nationwide study Monday comparing the priciest neighbourhoods in Canada based on the PPSF for a typical home. Compared to 20 years ago in 1997, the PPSF of a detached home in Vancouver West side soared 400 per cent from $242.

Coming in second and third place for the priciest neighbourhoods in Canada are downtown Vancouver and downtown Toronto with PPSFs of $962.75 and $818.68, respectively.

“Certainly, the Greater Toronto market and the Vancouver market are the ones that get all the attention, whether it’s the overall price, the average price, the typical price, the benchmark price or the square footage price, it just continues to grow,” Brian Rushton, Century 21 Canada’s Executive Vice-President tells BuzzBuzzNews.

Century 21 compiled the data by asking its franchisees in major cities and towns to identify the average PPSF for a typical home. To calculate this figure, some franchisees used the average price or benchmark price and tracked average square footage in sales from January 1st to June 30th, 2017. Century 21 has completed this study twice before, in 1997 and 2006.

Along with Vancouver West Side and downtown Vancouver, five other Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods rounded out the top 10 list based on PPSF, including: West Vancouver ($816.61), Vancouver East Side ($718.75), North Vancouver ($625.75), Richmond ($614.20) and Burnaby ($588.11).

Rushton says he’s not surprised Metro Vancouver dominated the list because all of the markets are geographically close to each other, which resulted in a PPSF “overflow.” He adds that many markets which were not hot spots historically to buy are now in demand.

“At one particular point, the Vancouver East Side, wasn’t necessarily the most attractive place to invest in real estate but it certainly is today, for the most part,” says Rushton.

As most of the country’s priciest real estate markets lie in Metro Vancouver, it’s no shock the region is struggling with extremely poor housing affordability.

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In an effort to cool the region’s sky-rocketing real estate prices, the BC government implemented a foreign-buyer tax for Metro Vancouver in August 2016. Activity eased immediately following the levy but started to rebound early this year and home prices remain out of reach for many buyers.

“The locals just can’t keep up with that pace. We’ve really forced the locals in a lot of cases to move outside the city, as far away as Abbotsford and Chilliwack and other areas to be able to afford homeownership,” says Rushton.

Coming in 18th place is Victoria with a PPSF of $424.53 for a detached home, a 238 per cent increase from $125.48 in 1997.

Rounding out the top 10 list of Canada’s priciest neighbourhoods were areas in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe, including Oakville and Richmond Hill with a PPSF of $627.33 and $585.31, respectively. According to Century 21, over the last 20 years the PPSF growth in Oakville has surpassed any other area in the country, increasing by 493 per cent.

The only provinces in the study to see a drop in the average PPSF in the last decade were Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

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