A newly-built, farmland mega mansion, owned by a shell company, has driven a 26.6-acre lot it sits on from an assessed value of $88,000 to $8.3 million, underscoring the impact such large homes are having on prices in Richmond’s Agricultural Land Reserve.
The home, located at 11400 No. 2 Road, is owned by 11400 Development Ltd. that was registered in B.C. in 2015.
Richmond resident and member of Richmond FarmWatch Laura Gillanders said the lot is one of many that have propelled in value in the past year.
“One by one, each of these farms is being taken out of production, making sure it is never farmed by a farmer who can live on that land” said Gillanders.
“It goes to show these mansions are not being built for farming,” she added.
Richmond city council has grappled with the issue of house sizes on and off for more than a year now.
On Feb. 23, 2017, City of Richmond staff issued the11400 No. 2 Road building permit, which was one of dozens quickly processed after a motion put forth by Couns. Carol Day and Harold Steves to temporarily limit houses to 7,500 square feet was rejected a month earlier. A month after the permit was issued, however, council changed its tune by voting 8-1 for a moratorium, with objections from Coun. Alexa Loo.
Soon thereafter, council, save for Day and Steves, implemented a bylaw for 10,764-square-foot homes on lots greater than two acres. It is now going back for public consultation with new options to be presented to the public.
“We’re going to lose a lot of properties in the meantime. There will probably be a rush to build 11,000-square-foot homes,” said Gillanders.
Steves has argued that speculation has put agricultural land under the worse threat it has ever been since the Agricultural Land Reserve was created in 1973.
Transparency International, a non-government organization, has reported how Metro Vancouver real estate is a prime target for speculation due to Canada’s weak laws surrounding beneficial ownership via numbered companies.
The home at 11400 No. 2 Road is still under construction. According to BC Assessment, once it is complete, it will be among the top-10 most-expensive properties in Richmond. BC Assessment also delisted the property from farm class.
Gillanders said the land could be leased to a farmer but there are many obstacles to doing so, in an already competitive market place.
Richmond FarmWatch is calling on the immediate implementation of the 15 per cent foreign buyers’ tax on the ALR in Metro Vancouver.