The 10.5-nautical-mile BC Ferries ride between West Vancouver and Gibsons on the bucolic Sunshine Coast equates to an average house price difference of more than $150,000 per nautical mile.
In West Vancouver the average house sells for just over $2 million, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. But step off the ferry on the Sunshine Coast 35 minutes later and a homebuyer is back in time when the average house sold for less than $350,000.
The average detached house price across all of the Greater Vancouver is now $1,026,300, the Board reports, while it is $349,100 on the Sunshine Coast – an average house price not seen in Greater Vancouver since 1989.
Most Sunshine Coast realtors contacted by BIV regarding the price gap noted it is no coincidence that the flattening of house prices coincides with soaring ferry fares. In 2006, for instance, it cost $46.75 for a car with two passengers to board the Langdale ferry. The same trip will cost $84.27 when another fare increase comes into effect April 1.
Overall ridership on BC Ferries has plunged in the past decade, despite a growing economy and a larger provincial population.
But Sunshine Coast realtors say that the ferry ride is worth it. Jon McRae, an agent with Royal LePage Sussex in Gibsons estimates that the difference in house prices would pay for a lifetime of ferry fares for a daily commuter to Metro Vancouver.