As the cost of borrowing rises, and homebuyers see their budgets shrink, home prices have softened in recent months in Canada’s largest urban markets. Metro Vancouver was no exception in June, as sales plunged 16.2% from May, leading to a 2.2% decline in the benchmark price to $1,235,900, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports.
But that doesn’t mean it’s time for savvy investors and end users to overlook the west coast city; on the contrary, Vancouver’s market fundamentals are as strong as ever, offering a strong value proposition over the long-term horizon — especially in premium-quality developments that strive to provide residents with an exceptional quality of life.
“The trend in Vancouver, you can’t bet against it over time. And although the market is normalizing, it’s coming off an incredible peak, it’s still above where it was,” Bob Styan, Senior Vice President of BakerWest, a Vancouver-based real estate company specializing in pre-construction sales and marketing services, tells STOREYS.“You’re going to do fine over the long run — and we have a solid appreciation of up to 6 to 8 to 10% cycle after cycle — and real estate ownership is a great hedge against inflation which is another big conversation that’s out there.
”Styan, a 30-year veteran of the Vancouver real estate market, says the current trend reflects “coming down into a normal market” following the powerful pandemic-induced run-up in prices seen over the last two years. Buyers are now enjoying improved balance — and greater choice — in what has always been a traditionally tight market.
“You have to compare it to other world-class cities and not just look at it as Vancouver; it’s always been a tremendous opportunity, no matter where you’re from, to own here,” he says. “It’s a yo-yo on an elevator, I like to say; it’s only going to go up. If you look at the trend from the last [cycle], prices could potentially double over the next 10-15 years again, that’s where I think it’s going to go.
”The reality, says Styan, is that the Vancouver market continues to be underpinned by classic supply and demand dynamics; he points to the 100,000 people projected to move to the province within the next year alone, compared to just 3,000 rental units in the pipeline. For those seeking the greatest value in the city, the old adage applies: location and transit remain king.
The Cambie Corridor, in particular, has been of interest, given the enormous investment the city is pouring into its revitalization; $450M is slated over the next decade alone, with major project sites set to double the population and add over 30,000 new homes over 30 years, making it the largest growth area outside of the city’s Downtown.
The neighborhood’s convenient proximity to the SkyTrain Canada Line, many parks, and burgeoning Oakridge transit and retail hub development are indeed making it a hot draw for prospective buyers.
Another commodity urban buyers are clamoring for: peace and quiet.
That’s just one of the many attributes attracting buyers to local developments, such as W63 Mansion, a boutique four-story collection of suites on one of South Cambie’s highly-coveted cherry tree-lined streets. With just 29 units, the building — developed by Hansen Pacific and designed by the renowned Andrew Cheung Architects, who also did the interior design for the project — offers residents a slew of premium amenities, including superior sound-proofing technology, Bosch kitchen appliances, and a Nest smart home system complete with keyless suite access, door lock, learning thermostat, and video doorbell.
“Most of our purchasers are going to be homeowners and end users, not just investors, so they want to be close to all the shopping, all the conveniences, but they want to go home to a quiet place,” says Cher Lin, Sales Director at BakerWest.
She adds that the homes’ close proximity to all the amenities and shopping of Marine Gateway (the first stage of the Cambie Corridor development), along with Vancouver’s downtown and City Centre, align with busy buyers’ post-pandemic ideals.
“If you’re choosing the location for school, we’re in one of the best school catchments for high school, and we’re close to UBC,” she says. “And, if you need to work anywhere… that hub is why people choose it, it’s so convenient. It’s 20 – 25 minutes to every [Metro Vancouver] city, and to people, time is so precious now; no one wants to sit in traffic anymore.