House price rise has left Fraser Valley condos, townhomes behind

Real estate analysts see market growth driven by population gains

CMHC senior market analyst Robyn Adamache and Real Estate Investment Network senior analyst Don Campbell were among the speakers at the Urban Development Institute's Fraser Valley forecast forum Thursday.

CMHC senior market analyst Robyn Adamache and Real Estate Investment Network senior analyst Don Campbell were among the speakers at the Urban Development Institute's Fraser Valley forecast forum Thursday.

Real estate watchers say condos and townhomes in the Fraser Valley have been left in the dust by rising house prices, a fact largely lost in the public debate about the lack of housing affordability in Vancouver.

“You don’t need a million to live in the Fraser Valley,” Real Estate Investment Network senior analyst Don Campbell told a forum in Surrey Thursday hosted by the Urban Development Institute, referring to the social media hashtag #donthave1million used to protest prices in Vancouver.

He was one of several speakers who pointed to the different market dynamics in the Valley and particularly the widening gap between the prices of detached houses and either townhouses or condos.

“It’s really the detached house market that’s moving prices,” said Robyn Adamache, senior market analyst with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

She said that while Fraser Valley single family house prices have climbed 15 per cent since 2008 – a relatively sedate annual rate of less than three per cent – Valley townhouse prices are actually down five per cent over the same period and condo prices are down 14 per cent.

“For townhomes and apartments, prices are still below the previous peak and haven’t recovered since the financial crisis,” Adamache said.

As a result of the two-track market, she said, buying a detached house instead of a townhome now costs roughly $300,000 more in the Valley, compared to $200,000 more in 2009.

She said the gap between the cost of an apartment and a house in the Valley has widened from $300,000 to $400,000 over the same period.

Adamache predicted the hot housing market of this spring will moderate heading into the fall and price gains will be closer to two to three per cent in 2016.

A growing population will continue to power the real estate market forward, she said, citing estimates that 8,500 new households are being formed each year in the Fraser Valley, with nearly 3,000 of them in Surrey and about 1,000 in Langley.

Between now and 2031, an extra 500,000 residents are expected – the equivalent of dropping another Surrey into the Valley.

Prices of detached houses in the Fraser Valley are also expected to be bolstered by the flight eastward of new families who want the yard with white picket fence but can’t afford it near Vancouver, Central 1 Credit Unon senior economist Bryan Yu said.

He and other speakers noted millennials are now about as numerous as baby boomers in the region and their home buying preferences are expected to increasingly influence prices and shape what developers build.

Speakers said they saw no evidence of speculators driving the market.

Scott Brown, president of Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing, said 95 per cent of the 600 multi-family units his firm sold in the Fraser Valley last year were to people intending to live in them – not investors or absentee owners.

“This is not a false demand of investment, where if interest rates go up or something like that the whole market just crashes – these are people who are buying and moving in.”

He said townhouses are increasingly accepted as a more affordable mainstream housing option replacing the detached house.

The influence of Chinese buyers is on the rise, Brown said, more so in particular pockets rather than the entire region.

He said he’s noticed strong Chinese buying in areas of South Surrey and Maple Ridge that are close to good high schools.

“South Surrey really behaves to me more like the west side of Vancouver than it does the Fraser Valley.”

Brown predicted that eventually all real estate firms in the region will need at least one Mandarin-speaking staff member.

As for the effect on real estate of the outcome of Metro Vancouver’s transit referendum, Brown said developers in the Valley should “keep building” because Surrey will proceed with its light rail network even if there’s a No vote.

Campbell stressed the importance of transit and dense lifestyle neighbourhoods to millennials.

A unit commands at least 15 per cent higher prices or rents if it’s within 800 metres of a transit station, he said.

Chart courtesy of CMHC’s Robyn Adamache; Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

Just Posted

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

Surrey Libraries will host a series of free contests and programs for teenagers this summer. (Malin Jordan photo)
Surrey Libraries offering series of free summer programs for teens

Writing contests, virtual programs scheduled throughout summer

Emergency crews responded to a large truck fire under the Alex Fraser Bridge around 8:20 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Christine Tobias/Twitter photo)
Dog dies in truck fire under Alex Fraser Bridge

No people were injured in blaze that consumed two semi-trucks around 8:20 p.m. on Thursday, June 17

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey ranks eighth in Top-10 list of cities of the future in the Americas

This is according to the Financial Times’ fDi Magazine, a bi-monthly publication out of London, England with a circulation of 15,488

After weeks only being allowed to play against their fellow White Rock Tritons, teammates Cam Wright (left) and Chase Marshall (right) finally got to play other competition this week, when their respective teams faced off against the North Delta Blue Jays. (Aaron Hinks photo)
Multi-team schedule ‘what we’ve been waiting for,’ says White Rock Tritons general manager

BC Premier Baseball League releases summer schedule that includes games between associations

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. The website for a Broadway theatre showing "Springsteen on Broadway" said it would only allow guests "fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine" — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
No Springsteen for you: AstraZeneca not good enough to qualify for Broadway ticket

Victoria area mayor among those unable to attend New York entertainment due to COVID-19 restriction

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

Audrey Inouye (right) with her two sons Kiyoshi McMillan (left) and Kaito McMillian drop off her milk to hospital volunteer Sylvia Hendel at a human milk depot on October 11, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Fraser Health appeals for breast milk after unexplained drop in donations

Give your breast milk and save newborn lives, the health authority is encouraging mothers

The BC Ferries’ website is down for the second time in one week from what they say is likely an overwhelming increase in web traffic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Surging web traffic crashes BC Ferries’ site again

Website down for second time this week

Most Read