Downtown condo project sells 50 units before sales centre opens

Tuesday, December 28th, 2004

Buyers and sellers rang up $26 billion in 11 months this year

Derrick Penner

British Columbians bought and sold more real estate in 2004 than ever before, ringing up an incredible $26 billion in transactions during the year’s first 11 months.

It was a year marked by explosive growth and dramatic bidding wars that pushed up prices to record levels.

Greater Vancouver‘s real estate market next year is predicted to look a bit like that in 2004, but with less of the frenzy and a moderate appreciation in prices.

Carol Frketich, regional economist for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, predicts that the province as a whole will see 32,400 new housing starts in 2005, which is an improvement on 2004, but only by a small amount.

“The factors that will continue to support real estate [sales] and new housing construction still look very strong,” Frketich said.

“I’m saying the fundamentals are still there for growth, though it will be slower than we’ve seen in the last three years.”

She added that population increases, strong employment growth and corresponding improvement in consumer confidence will help keep demand buoyant, as will low interest rates.

“Growth is going to slow, definitely, depending on how quickly interest rates rise and depending on the impact of a higher Canadian dollar on the economy in B.C.,” Frketich said.

She added that prices and affordability of land will make multiple-unit projects — apartment towers, townhouses and row housing — a bigger share of Greater Vancouver’s market.

“We’re getting a response from the building community and developers to produce products that are more affordable,” Frketich said.

Developers are also responding to the lifestyle demands of people who choose to live in the city and want specific amenities, whether it is environmentally friendly construction or access to convenient transportation.

“People’s preferences change over time,” Frketich said.

“We’re seeing projects going up where they have no parking spaces, or green marketing around them.”

The single-family home — the detached house on its own lot with a yard and bit of a lawn — she added, is still the preferred housing type, but “condominium living has its appeal.”

Frketich said both interprovincial and international immigration contribute to that appeal for condominium living.

Relative wealth has also driven demand for more recreational property in the province, whether it is in the Kootenays or on Vancouver Island.

Frketich said a number of Albertans have found their way to the Comox Valley, north of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, drawn by golf and easy access via a direct WestJet flight from Calgary to Comox.

“If you talk to people from Alberta, they love that you can golf all year round, and the [fact that the valley is] only an hour flight — direct — is very appealing.”


The value of residential units sold in B.C. up to the end of November 2004 has passed the dollar volume for all of 2003 thanks to rising prices.

Jan. to Nov. 2004

British Columbia

$26.13 billion dollars

90,456 units

Greater Vancouver

$13.35 billion dollars

37,760 units

Fraser Valley

$4.76 billion dollars

16,218 units


British Columbia

$24.21 billion dollars

93,211 units

Greater Vancouver

$12.85 billion dollars

39,022 units

Fraser Valley

$4.47 billion dollars

17,199 units


British Columbia

$19.75 billion dollars

82,725 units

Greater Vancouver

$10.52 billion dollars

34,909 units

Fraser Valley

$3.68 billion dollars

15,217 units

Source: MLS, Vancouver Sun

© The Vancouver Sun 2004


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