Why Price per square foot is misleading

Steve Saretsky -

Why price per square foot is misleading.

Stop obsessing over price per square foot. You’re getting it all wrong!

I see it everyday, people asking me what’s the average price per square foot. It doesn’t matter.

I know immediately i’ve just ticked off a few fellow Realtors. Before you get too upset let me explain. Price per square footage matters, yes it’s something to look at when buying or selling but only if used very specifically, like very specifically.

What I mean is; every condo building in Vancouver is different. Some are tall, some are small, some have pools and gyms and some don’t. Factor in location, some near the water, while others are located on busy streets with no views. So when a prospective buyer or another Realtor comes to one of my listings and says “Your listing is over priced the price per square foot in downtown Vancouver is X. X times Y equals over priced.”

Not everything is a numbers game. Pricing condos is not math, it’s not science, it’s an art. There are variables to consider and factor in such as view, what floor it’s on, area, location, amenities, building age and condition. You can’t generalize an area, such as all of Downtown Vancouver and come up with one number and then apply it to every single building or unit. Surely a top floor penthouse will have a drastically different price per square foot than a unit on the bottom floor. Surely any unit in the Shangri La will have a much higher price per square foot than any other building. How about a newly built Telus Gardens and comparing it to a 20 year old building on the East side of Downtown. Its like comparing apples to oranges. So when you get that price from the Real Estate Board and it says price per square foot for Downtown Vancouver is $738, just know that’s averaging a very generic number.

If you’re going to use price per square foot to determine home values, keep it building to building, or at least compare it with similar buildings. Know that the 20th floor corner unit is going to be worth more than the 9th floor unit wedged between two noisy neighbours. Its time we stop romanticizing about price per square foot when determining what’s a good deal vs what’s a bad deal.


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