Rock bottom real estate price? House for $1, but must be moved

Here’s a twist to all those stories we’ve heard about high housing prices on the West Coast. A Duncan developer is asking $1 for his five-bedroom, 1940s-era character home.

The catch? It doesn’t come with any land. And whoever buys it has to move it.

Duncan developer Alan Jackson, owner of South Island Fireplace Ltd., bought the property two years ago for its development potential. It sits on two lots already zoned for multi-family use.

He’s aiming to start building an eightunit rental development on the site in May to have it ready for tenants by the end of September. That means the twostorey, 2,400-square-foot house at 462 Ypres St. in Duncan has to go.

Since posting an advertisement online on UsedCowichan.com several weeks ago, Jackson has received about 60 inquiries.

Those have been whittled down to three or four "deserving" families, he said.

Jackson will meet with potential owners to see who is best suited and able to take the house.

Excavation and foundation work on a new site, plus the cost to move the house, could total about $40,000, Jackson said. It would cost him about $15,000 to demolish it.

Jackson bought the property and two others after selling another company he owned. He decided to create new rental housing, something the city is keen to see developed.

Previously owned by the province, the house had been used as a group home for young people. It went through substantial upgrading and has sprinklers throughout, he said.

Original fir floors are in place, as is large-dimension lumber, and a number of character features.

"This house has good bones," Jackson said. "It would be an absolute shame not to recycle this house … It could live on for the next 100 years."

It also comes with all its appliances. "I want it to go to a good family lock, stock and barrel."

This isn’t the first time that houses have been offered for practically nothing in order to save them.

Last month, Boston Bar in the Fraser Canyon offered two historic houses, on a 5,000-square-foot lot, at $1 each. Whoever gets them, however, has to be willing to fix them up, but doesn’t have to move them.

Victoria’s Rockland area is home to a restored two-storey apartment that was moved from the corner of Richmond Avenue and Oak Bay Avenue in 2012.

Mike Sweet, of Black Horse Contracting, and Harry Newton, of Newtco Realty, paid $1 for the 1880s-circa building known as Richmond Court and created a four-or five-suite apartment.