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Metro Vancouver’s deflated housing market hasn’t put an end to blockbuster land deals.

“We’re seeing some exceptionally large transactions closing,” Paul Richter, director of commercial research for real estate consultancy Altus Group, tells Livabl.

In the first quarter of 2018 alone, residential land deals totalled $1.1 billion, largely a result of redevelopment intentions, according to Altus Group’s Western Canada market update, published this month.

For many in Vancouver, condos are the last affordable type of housing and so developers are shelling out big money on sites that can support more density — even as condo sales currently plummet.

“I don’t anticipate the condo market to continue any downward trajectory or to continue slowing down,” says Richter.

Based on Altus Group’s list of the five biggest residential land transactions from the second quarter, some developers may be banking on that.

8831–8671 Cambie Road/3540–3480 Sexsmith Road
Price: $147,285,000

RCG Group sold the 12.3-acre Richmond site, which is made up of several smaller parcels of land, to Polygon Group in May. Altus Group expects the site will be redeveloped, but no application has been submitted as of yet.

1640–1650 Alberni Street
Price: $130,000,000

When seller Hollyburn Properties Limited parted with this land in April, it was already home to the 14-storey, 66-unit Brockton House apartments, which date back to 1969. But the property is designated for development up to a height of 385 feet. That likely explains developer Landa Global Properties Ltd.’s interest.

1063–1075 Barclay Street
Price: $113,206,508

Westbank and Bosa Properties tried scooping up the 36 condos and four townhouses on the site. Any redevelopment plans between the two fell by the wayside, though, so they decided to sell everything together. The sale to Grand World Holding Ltd. was completed after the holdout owners of two condo units settled out of court.

1633 Capilano Road/2010 Marine Drive
Price: $97,500,000

Rendering: District of North Vancouver

The Grouse Inn motel looks set for condos. Just months before Pacific Gate Investments Ltd. dealt this property to a numbered BC corporation, the District of North Vancouver approved its proposal for a mixed-use development, including 258 residential units across two towers reaching heights of 19 and 23 storeys, respectively.

5720–5800 Minoru Boulevard
Price: $59,800,000

Vancouver Soho Holding Ltd. purchased the land fronting Minoru Boulevard in July 2013 for a total of $36 million. 5720–5800 encompasses several low-rise buildings. The buyer is Thind Properties Ltd., a Burnaby-based builder.

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