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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Health issued an overdose alert on Jan. 21, 2021 after an increase in overdoses over the past week in Chilliwack associated with a “greeny-blue/turquoise down substance.” (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fraser Health issues drug overdose alert in Chilliwack

Alert comes after increase in overdoses associated with ‘greeny-blue/turquoise down substance’

ds
Mission potbellied-pig sanctuary mourns death of beloved old hog named Roscoe

14-year-old, 800-pound pig was ‘quite a character,’ said owner Janice Gillett

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission schools

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA holds a webinar on Jan. 26 titled Staying Safe Online.
‘Staying Safe Online’ is subject of Fraser Valley webinar

Session on Tuesday, Jan. 26 is hosted by non-profit Circles of Support and Accountability

A door is boarded up following a fire at Pho Xuan restaurant on Yale Road on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
UPDATE: Early morning fire at vacant Chilliwack restaurant was deliberately set

Fire erupted north of the Yale Road overpass at Pho Xuan, which was permanently closed

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Post-COVID-19 recovery clinic in Surrey, at Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. (Photo: Fraser Health)
Surrey to host 1 of 3 post-COVID recovery clinics in Lower Mainland

The Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre is located at 9750 140th Street

Most Read