‘First-time buyers going farther afield’

Friday, March 31st, 2006

No slowdown in demand showing across region

Ashley Ford

It is no surprise record-high house prices are forcing buyers further afield, but there is no lessening in first-time buying demand, says Peter Simpson, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Homebuilders Association.

“While I certainly agree with the numbers that show buyers flocking to places like Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission and Squamish for more reasonably-priced housing, there is also clear evidence that first-time-buyer interest is as intense as ever,” he said yesterday.

There is an intense and growing level of both condominium and single-family housing activity going on in these areas with more affordable prices being the magnet, Simpson says.

“I see this trend continuing with buyers going farther afield to acquire an affordable home, but despite this I foresee little change in demand across the region in the immediate future.”

Simpson said the fact the association’s annual seminar for first-time buyers is already practically full “simply proves to us there is no slowdown in first-time-buyer demand.”

The seminar, April 4 in the Guildford Sheraton Hotel, attracts some of the top real-estate professionals, who dole out free advice to potential buyers. It has already attracted over 700 registrants and that response is a strong as it was a year ago, Simpson says.

Speakers include Cameron Muir, senior market analyst, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp.; Ken Cameron, chief executive officer, Homeowner Protection Office; Jason Neziol, regional director, Genworth Financial Canada.

Also participating are Bill Niblett, residential mortgages manager, TD Canada Trust; Gregory van Popta, associate, McQuarrie Hunter Barristers and Solicitors; Rick Valouche, president, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver; and Tom Reeves, director of home warranty operations, Lombard General Insurance Co. of Canada.

Another key indicator of market strength will come this weekend when a rare three-acre waterfront building site with 63 metres of Fraser River frontage in Fort Langley is auctioned off to the highest bidder.

It is one of the last undeveloped, premium building sites in Fort Langley.

The land, assessed at $582,000, is expected to sell in a matter of minutes. “Selling homes by auction is a growing real-estate trend. We expect the property to sell very quickly,” said Dan Bouchard, founding partner of Vancouver’s Able Auctions, who is handling the sale.

© The Vancouver Province 2006

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