British Columbia

Vancouver quiz asks: 'Crack shack or mansion?'

Vancouver teacher Petr Pospisil and his girlfriend, Ola Rogula, put together the website Crack Shack or Mansion, where players look at photos of a run-down house and guess whether it's a hot property or a drug den.

The creator of a tongue-in-cheek web quiz aimed at highlighting Vancouver's roaring real estate market says it's had 150,000 visits since it was posted Tuesday.

Vancouver teacher Petr Pospisil and his girlfriend, Ola Rogula, put together "Crack Shack or Mansion," where players look at photos of a run-down house and guess whether it's a hot property or a drug den.

"Within a few hours, it had 20,000 views," Pospisil said in an interview Saturday.

Pospisil got the idea after watching the average price of a single-detached house in Metro Vancouver creep toward $1 million, then looking at home listings online to see what that money buys.

"If you didn't know they were in Vancouver, you could think they were in Detroit or Chicago," he said. "They were run-down places.

"I was studying the States a lot and what happened with their real estate market. Just watching what was happening in Vancouver was a little bit scary."

While prices continue to go up, critics warn an expected increase in mortgage interest rates could burst Vancouver's bubble market.

Pospisil selected photos from Vancouver listings — some with asking prices of more than $1 million — and mixed them in with shots of suspected crack houses in Canada and the United States he found on Google to make up the 16-part quiz.

Vancouverites get most of the answers right.

"I think it's struck a nerve with a lot of people who are really frustrated," Pospisil said. "If they don't want to take a 40-year mortgage and indebt themselves for life, they really can't own a place in this city."

But outsiders, especially Americans, simply can't believe a neglected-looking bungalow can be worth so much.

"Either the site is a joke, or the Vancouver real estate market is really [screwed] up," says a comment on one site that posted the quiz. "With few exceptions, those houses would be candidates for a tear-down in Raleigh, Charlotte, or Austin."

"I got 12 right out of 16," another says. "I could not believe the terrible houses selling for a million dollars. And the one historic building that is just my taste is a crack house!"

Despite the quiz's popularity on the web, there are no plans for a followup.

"I thought about taking the heat off Vancouver a little bit and showing some of the other bubble areas in the world, like Australia," Pospisil said.

"But I did a bit of searching and really found that Vancouver's the most extreme example. A million dollars even in Australia will buy you a pretty nice place."

now