First-time homebuyers Kristine and Tom Rajkowski felt sheer joy last week as they moved into the Surrey community of Clayton Heights.
“We’re ecstatic,” says Kristine, surrounded by moving boxes. “This morning, we were jumping up and down. We’re homeowners, we couldn’t believe it.”
The Rajkowskis, both in their early ’30s, paid $617,000 for a 3,275-square-foot detached house built in 2009.A few months ago, the Rajkowskis were feeling anything but ecstatic. They loved Clayton Heights but had trouble finding the right property.There always seemed to be someone ahead of them for homes within their financial reach.
“Every time we saw a house we liked in this area there was already an offer on it,” Kristine says. “It was a little frustrating.”Wondering where B.C.’s housing hot spots will be over the next few years?
As Surrey residents, the Rajkowskis are living in what experts say is the Lower Mainland’s hottest real-estate market.Communities such as Clayton Heights, Cloverdale and Fleetwood are hot and expected to stay hot in the near future as buyers seek affordable housing near family-friendly services.
Other areas expected to see brisk demand from buyers over the next few years are Burnaby’s Brentwood, the Tri-Cities and Fraser Valley communities of Langley, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Abbotsford.
In Vancouver, urbanites who prize city living are pushing up demand in the Main Street, Outer Hastings and East Vancouver’s Cedar Cottage neighbourhoods, says Tsur Somerville, director of the University of B.C.’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate.
SKYTRAIN A BIG ATTRACTION
“Gentrification or new developments can change people’s perceptions in ways that make some areas ‘hotter’ than others,” Somerville says.
Homeowners near a SkyTrain station or a new stop on the Evergreen Line that is now under construction will get the best of both worlds: high demand and faster-than-average price climbs, experts say.
But the first doesn’t necessarily translate into the second in the land-constrained Lower Mainland, real-estate watchers say.
Communities where demand is high may find price increases tempered if there are relatively large chunks of undeveloped land in the area.
And areas where demand is cooler — such as Vancouver’s West Side and West Vancouver — may see faster price appreciation because they’re “built out” — you can’t squash more houses in there.
“There’s a difference between where demand will go versus where price gains will be the highest because of things such as land constraints,” says Bryan Yu, regional economist with Central 1 Credit Union.
Using land for multi-family developments also maintains an area’s affordability for buyers, Yu says. But condo price appreciation will generally be less than it is for detached properties as condos comprise an increasing share of the Lower Mainland’s housing mix, Yu says.
“Prices of ground-oriented properties in the long term are expected to rise at a stronger pace than for condominiums,” Yu says.
SURREY NO. 1
Lower Mainland communities claim five spots on the Real Estate Investment Network’s latest list of Top 10 B.C. investment towns: Surrey ranks as No. 1, followed by Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows tied at No. 2, Abbotsford at No. 6, Chilliwack at No. 8 and Langley at No. 10.
Source:The Province Newspaper