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The Globe And Mail newspaper took an in-depth look Friday at the real estate market in the Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo, as it caters to Vancouverites seeking solace from big city prices.
"There’s a new resort destination – it’s 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver and for less than half a million dollars, you get a two-bedroom, 1,100 square foot apartment with a waterfront view," writes the Globe's Kerry Gold.
"It’s the Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo, which has turned from a worn out and empty mill town into the kind of cozy seaside city where restaurants are housed in heritage buildings and the ocean views are about as spectacular as it gets on the West Coast. In other words, it’s close to becoming a resort town, where Vancouverites in search of affordable waterfront property can go for a weekend getaway."
Gold tells readers about Dwayne Yaretz, who lives in Vancouver's Yaletown neighbourhood, and who bought a 1,250 square foot waterfront apartment in Nanaimo in 2005 for less than $500,000. He uses the two-bedroom property as a weekend getaway, accessible by a 20-minute seaplane flight, steps from his downtown office.
“That same property in Coal Harbour would easily cost $1,000 a square foot,” says Yaretz, who works in corporate finance. “My investment would be $1.2- or $1.4-million for a similar view. Quite frankly, the waterfront view is just as nice.”
Gold explains that, "for several years, the City of Nanaimo has been offering incentives to revitalize the economy of the downtown core, and it’s worked. There is the new Vancouver Island Conference Centre, restaurants in heritage buildings, a four-kilometre seawall, boutique stores moving in, and tourists and locals walking around the streets."