Go Canada go… As Metro Vancouver welcomes the world for the 2010 Olympic Games, local company Raicon Development is doing its part – by sponsoring Canadian skeleton athletes.“We wish all our Canadian athletes the very best.” Read more ›› p.6 Photo courtesy of VANOC
February 11, 2010
Prices on the rise in Metro Vancouver Housing supply and demand reaching a balance TRICIA LESLIE
Township of Langley Mayor Rick Green says the region offers an interesting urban/rural mix for residents, from its heritage to its world-class facilities. Rob Newell photo
Appealing lifestyle and location Neighbouring communities offer plenty to homebuyers TRICIA LESLIE It is a region rich with agricultural and pioneer history; an area that has been home to First Nations tribes, farmers, fur traders, explorers and gold hunters during the past hundreds – even thousands – of years. Both the Township of Langley and the
Cloverdale area of Surrey, two neighbouring communities that border each other within Metro Vancouver, are attracting new homebuyers daily as the entire region flourishes and grows. Cloverdale, part of Surrey’s 465,000 population, is home to the City of Surrey’s official museum and several other heritage sites, while its picturesque downtown ‘main street’ is well-known from its many appearances on TV (including Smallville). Home to the birthplace of B.C. – the historic fur trade post, Fort Langley – the
Township of Langley is immediately east of the Cloverdale part of Surrey, and extends south from the Fraser River to the U.S. border and east, to Abbotsford’s boundaries (the City of Langley is a separate entity located adjacent to the township). While the township’s population currently sits around 100,000, Mayor Rick Green says many more are expected. “In the next 15 years, the regional growth strategy for the area shows we’ll have 70 per CONTINUED ON P.2
January was a busy month in the Metro Vancouver housing market, according to local realty associations. The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, which represents the industry in Surrey, North Delta, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford and Mission, reports an active preOlympic market in the valley. The region experienced a return to typical home sale levels and an early surge in new listings last Jake Moldowan month, says the FVREB, with 981 sales recorded in January – an increase of 152 per cent compared to the month last year, when only 389 sales were processed. There was also a 46.8 per cent increase in new listings: 2,941 compared to 2,003 during Paul Penner January 2009. “Compared to last January, the market has returned to balance,” says FVREB president Paul Penner. “Consumers continue to take advantage of the affordability created by lower interest rates.” On a month-to-month basis, sales decreased by 22 per cent in January compared to December, while new inventory more than doubled, going from 1,453 new listings in December to 2,941 in January. This increased overall inventory by CONTINUED ON P.2
2 • New Local Home | February 11, 2010
Olympics may be prime house hunting time CONTINUED FROM P.1
14 per cent in one month, Penner notes. “If I were house-hunting right now, I’d be pretty excited. There is more selection and potentially less competition over the next few weeks,” he says. “Some buyers will put their house-hunting on hold during the Olympics, creating an advantage for those who don’t want to wait.” Residential prices continue to recover, but still remain three per cent lower than spring 2008, the FVREB reports. In January, the price for the three main residential property types combined was $446,671 compared to $460,682 in May 2008. And in just one year, the benchmark price for detached homes in the Fraser Valley increased by 10.8 per cent, from $452,145 in January 2009 to $500,931 last month. The same holds true in Vancouver, where the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports the benchmark price for all residential properties in the region rose 17.2 per cent to $573,241 from $489,007 in January 2009. Diverse selection and low interest rates continue to drive demand in the Greater Vancouver market, says the REBGV, “If I were with residential house sales totalling 1,923 last month hunting – an increase of right now, 152.4 per cent I’d be pretty compared to January 2009, excited. 762 sales There is more when were recorded, selection and but a 23.5 per cent decline from potentially December’s 2,515 less sales. competition “Although over the next home prices in region have few weeks.” the largely returned to their previous peaks, we still see a significant number of first-time and move-up buyers in the market,” says REBGV president-elect Jake Moldowan, crediting low rates and the variety of home options available. “There is also closer alignment between supply and demand in today’s housing market. At 18 per cent, the sales-to-active listings ratio in January is approximately 10 per cent lower than we’ve seen in our market over the past six months.” New home listings (all types) in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,147 last month, a 39.1 per cent increase compared to the same time last year. “Looking ahead, it’s difficult to know exactly what the Olympic effect will be on our market in February, although I think it’s fair to say it should be a quieter period for homebuyers and sellers and so, in fact, may be a good time for motivated buyers to search for properties,” Moldowan says. – for the full reports, visit www.rebgv.org and www.fvreb.bc.ca
“We have a high
Local children make use of the playground at the Langley Events Centre, despite overcast skies. Below, Clayton Village is a growing residential neighbourhood in Cloverdale that borders the Willoughby area of Langley. Rob Newell photos
quality of life”
Off the front: “You are
into a rural community just five minutes away from any one of our urban (centres).” Rick Green, mayor CONTINUED FROM P.1
cent more people than we do now,” Green says. “As a community, 80 per cent of our land base is in the ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve), so there’s significant pressure on us to figure out how that growth will happen.” The township is working with its counterparts throughout Metro Vancouver on a regional growth strategy, Green says, and is also part of a Livability Accord with Surrey, Abbotsford and Coquitlam that helps ensure growth will happen with as little impact to residents as possible. Tourism and culture are strong in both Cloverdale and Dianne Watts Langley, but Green and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts both want to see better transit service provided to the region. At a recent Vancouver Regional Construction Association breakfast, Watts spoke about the need for better transportation services south of the Fraser River. “Looking around the region, it’s important we work closely with our counterparts on transportation. That’s one of the things the city will continue to fight for – we’ve got 465,000 people and four stops on SkyTrain – when you look at that, we’re definitely underserved,” Watts says. “What we’re looking for in the future is to use existing rail lines and having at-rate rail, and that’s a significant departure from where the provincial government sees things.” Green agrees, and notes he is part of a task
force to bring the old, inter-urban rail system to life with new solutions for today’s commuter. “It’s a matter of finding balance ... you want people to live, work and play in the same community, but that isn’t always possible,” Green says. “Today, 65 per cent of people in (the Township of) Langley work outside its borders.” He and his family moved to the township from Delta 14 years ago, and keep their equestrian interests alive with a five-acre hobby farm. Both Cloverdale and the township offer residents the use of hundreds of parks, nature trails, sports fields and recreational amenities, as well as schools, hospitals, events centres, restaurants and other businesses. Along 200 Street near Willowbrook Shopping Centre, both Cloverdale and Langley residents can take advantage of the vast variety of shops, banks, grocery stores, professional
Living Cloverdale Langley
offices (i.e. doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, etc) and several ‘big box’ stores, including Home Depot. “Really, it’s the quality of life,” Green says, talking about why people choose to live in the area. “You are into a rural community just five minutes away from any one of our urban communities,” he says, and notes that, like Surrey, the Township of Langley has distinct neighbourhoods within its borders, such as Brookswood and Murrayville. Plus, he loves celebrating Douglas Day every year, where pioneers are recognized and celebrated. “To be a pioneer, you must be at least 70 years old and have lived in the community for 60 years,” Green says. “We have 235 pioneers registered, and at least 175 show up at every Douglas Day. I CONTINUED ON P.4
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New Local Home | February 11, 2010 • 3
Vancouver’s Builder of Choice since 1980. Visit a Polygon community to find the home that’s right for you.
4 • New Local Home | February 11, 2010
‘It’s very livable here’
A lifestyle for every family CONTINUED FROM P.2
think that speaks a lot to the community.” Watts, who notes that Surrey is growing by about 1,000 people per month, attends area parks, arts centres and events regularly, and says the city “is a great place to raise kids.” Hundreds of new homes are going up in both communities, especially along the 200 Street corridor that is the boundary between them; on the Cloverdale side, the Clayton area is growing fast. Some have questioned whether too many homes are being built in the area, but Watts notes the community has won more than one award because of the sustainability factor: more density means better sustainability, and parks, shops and services are all within walking distance. The challenge, she says, is moving smoothly toward a sustainable lifestyle. Green agrees sustainability is key, which is why Langley, Surrey and other Metro Vancouver cities are focusing so much on smart regional growth. Overall, he welcome new residents to the township, and hopes they grow to love Langley as much as he does. “We have a very interesting urban/rural mix; we’re right in the centre of the Fraser valley,” Green notes. “We have a high quality of life, an excellent school system, world-class facilities ... It’s very livable here.”
to Hwy 1
Living Cloverdale Langley
70th Ave. 68th Ave. 10
Clayton and Willoughby residents alike are within walking distance to many shops and businesses, like the Save-On Foods near 200th Street in Langley (above left). Above right, the Cloverdale Kwantlen campus’ colourful front entrance shines against a blue sky. Rob Newell photos
New Local Home | February 11, 2010 â€˘ 5
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6 • New Local Home | February 11, 2010
Raicon gives support to skeleton athletes MAGGIE CALLOWAY Some may wonder what a local development company has in common with three young athletes whose sport, skeleton, requires them to throw themselves onto a small sled, then ride down a frozen track at terrifying speeds during which they experience forces up to 5Gs, all while lying facedown. Like many athletes, Canadians Jamie Landry, John Montgomery and Darla Deschamps sacrifice a lot while training to qualify for the top races in the world. Expenses are high for such things as gear, training and travel to international events. But through a series of serendipitous connections – the kind where someone knew someone who knew the athletes, who were in need of financial backing – a partnership was born with Raicon Development. “People are always saying they want our Canadian athletes to win more medals but if we don’t support them in many ways, including financially, they are not going to be able to afford to spend the kind of time training excellence requires, nor are they able to travel to international events to compete,” says Jas Jhajj, project co-ordinator for Raicon Development. Raicon primarily sponsors Jamie Landry and partially sponsor both John Montgomery and Darla Deschamps, Jhajj notes.
Canadian skeleton athletes are receiving sponsorship from a local development company. Photo courtesy of VANOC
“Unlike a lot of Olympic sports, these athletes are not a formal team. They train as individuals and hopefully, qualify for the Olympics, then come together under the Canadian flag,” she says. This collaboration of athletes and developer
may be not so unconventional after all: athletes push to constantly improve and compete against others who are equally determined, while Raicon is a company constantly striving to achieve excellence. Jhajj says Raicon and its team of equally
committed employees are thrilled to be part of the 2010 Olympics. “Being involved with the skeleton athletes has made these Olympic Games very personal to all of us at Raicon Development and we wish all our Canadian athletes the very best.”
Camping out is not a downtown phenomenon Lining up for new homes is hot as ever, as homebuyers hunt TRICIA LESLIE Lining up and camping out for homes? In other housing markets that are still weathering the economic downturn storm, that may seem like fantasy. In downtown Vancouver, it is expected. But Vancouver isn’t the only Metro Vancouver neighbourhood that is experiencing lineups and campouts as brandnew homes are released to the market. More than 20 groups of potential homebuyers camped out overnight over the weekend in Richmond, waiting for the grand opening event at Polygon Homes’ Cambridge Park project, a collection of townhomes in the Alexandra Gardens neighbourhood. In North Delta, at Polygon’s Sunstone community, the lineup started last Thursday, and 10-12 groups camped out Friday night, to be the first to get a crack at Spyglass – Polygon’s latest townhome addition to that community. “It went really well. We sold 25 out of the 28 homes we released,” Polygon vice-president of marketing Goldie Alam says of the busy weekend. “We were happy the weather co-operated with us.” Spyglass homes are part of the Sunstone community in North Delta, where a grand opening was just held for a 12,000-squarefoot amenities clubhouse. At Cambridge Park, more than 60 of the contemporary apartment residences sold, just over the weekend. “Out lineup started at noon on Friday,” says
Home HUNTING Potential homebuyers were eager to get first pick at Polygon Homes’ latest project in Richmond – Cambridge Park – over the weekend. Several camped out overnight for the grand opening on Saturday. At another Polygon project in North Delta, Spyglass (at Sunstone) also saw campers and lineups; 25 out of the 28 homes released were sold. Adam Loewen photos
Cambridge Park sales manager May Kam. “By the evening, over 12 groups showed up. By midnight, there were 22 groups and they stayed overnight, and more people arrived Saturday morning in anticipation of the open-
ing at noon.” The traffic remained steady throughout the weekend, Kam says, calling it a “great success.” Polygon is used to people lining up – last fall, its Burnaby highrise, Luma, sold 75 per
cent of its homes, just on grand opening weekend. Another builder, Quantum Properties, experienced overnight campers in Port Coquitlam in December, as they wanted to be among the first at the Pearl grand opening.
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New Local Home | February 11, 2010 â€˘ 7
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