“We’ve already seen Surrey city centre develop into a centre of its own, but everything out towards Chilliwack, what we call the Fraser Valley … everyone out there will start to look to Surrey as their downtown,” says Peter Kinch, an investor and mortgage broker.
“Everyone on the other side of the river will look at Vancouver as their downtown. It’s going to create a Mississauga/Toronto thing – a centre in and of itself. Each will become two separate and independent metropolises.”
The latest figures from the Real Estate Board of Vancouver, published Monday, showed that sales activity in metro Vancouver was booming in June, registering a 28.4 per cent increase compared to June 2014.
The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board also released new figures this week, showing that sales volumes for June were the highest for the month since 2005 and the fourth busiest month ever for the region.
Investors and buyers who are finding Vancouver purchases too difficult to cash flow or afford are also moving out towards the Tri-Cities of Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody, which are serviced by a new extension to the Evergreen line of Vancouver’s Light Transit Rail.
“As the population continues to grow in Vancouver proper and the prices get more and more unaffordable, people will be pushed further and further out, looking for affordability,” says Kinch. “But they will balance affordability with, how far can I afford to go without crossing that river?”
There are currently three bridges crossing the river, two that charge a toll, and a third that is slated for reconstruction. “Certain families and individuals will only go so far without passing the river, paying a toll,” says Kinch.
“You will decide you’re living on one side or the other. The benefactors will be New Westminster and the Tri-Cities, because that’s as far as you can go without crossing the bridge.”
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As property prices in Vancouver continue to rise and investors look outside the city for cash-flow opportunities, one expert expects the West Coast to see a renewed focus on one metropolis outside the hot city.