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Holy ground: Churches in Vancouver don't come cheap

Congregations looking to buy a new place of worship are losing faith in Vancouver's hot real estate market.

'To buy a church in Vancouver right now you have to spend at least $2 million'

It will cost $2 million to procure a church or mosque in Vancouver in today's hot real estate market. (CBC)

Congregations looking to buy a place of worship are losing faith in Vancouver's hot real estate market. 

"To buy a church in Vancouver right now you have to spend at least $2 million," said Leonardo di Francesco, with Church Realtors.

He has been selling places of worship for the past 20 years.

He says it's a seller's market right now with very few options out there for those looking to build a church, temple, mosque or synagogue in Metro Vancouver. 

"It is really hard to find large places," he said, "We have some churches that will spend $15 million on the Vancouver West Side, but we can't find anything. It is very, very difficult right now," he said. 

di Francesco believes some owners are holding on to their properties because the market is so hot right now. 

"About 15 years ago, we'd have six or seven churches on the market on at one time. Now they're for sale but not as many," he said.

Even when a suitable space is found, it is much more complicated to close the deal, he says. 

"Selling a church is not like selling a house," he said, "When you sell a church you have board members, you have pastors."

"The congregation has to vote and then a decision is made," he said. 

The need for more and larger churches could be because of new immigrant groups moving to the city, says di Francesco. 

This historic church in Burnaby sold for $6 million. It dates back to 1895 and is 20,000 sq. feet. It has been renovated and restored back to the original. (churchrealtors.com)

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled Tough to buy a place of worship in Vancouver with the CBC's Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

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