Home prices in Richmond have reached a new high, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports.

Over the past year, the price for detached homes in the Vancouver suburb has climbed 20 per cent, or about $215,000, the board said.

The median price for a detached home in the Garden City is now hovering just above the $1-million mark, up from $885,000 just six months ago and $879,000 one year ago.

Patsy Hui, a Richmond real estate agent, said although it is "such a lovely place," it's not the inherent beauty of Richmond that's driving prices: It's the investors.

"All kinds of people, but mostly people originated from mainland China," Hui said. The prices may seem high to us, she added, but present a "real deal from a world point of view."

One home that sold last year for $1.2 million brought $1.73 million this year, Hui said.

Ivan Krpan, who makes custom-built homes in Richmond, says more than 80 per cent of his clients are from mainland China and that most buy older houses and knock them down.

"On the old house there's no HST [harmonized sales tax], so all they would have to pay for is the actual construction of the home," he said

Krpan said the surge in demand is pushing people who have lived in Richmond for years into neighbouring communities.

"It became very attractive for them to make some extra money on the properties, on the values and move to the Valley, to White Rock and south Surrey," he said.

On the flipside, very few former Richmond residents are getting back into the local market.

"It has become too expensive for ordinary people that live and work in this community," Krpan said.

With files from CBC's Deborah Goble