British Columbia

Where to buy in a cooling housing market? New Westminster is a good bet, report says

Uptown New Westminster tops real estate analysis for second year in a row. Developers say it's cheaper and quicker to build in the Royal City.

Uptown New Westminster tops real estate analysis for second year in a row

Perdip Moore, construction project manager, stands in a new laneway home he's building in Uptown New Westminster. This is the hottest geographical area in Greater Vancouver to buy, according to the publication MoneySense's annual analysis. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Vancouver has long been the hot market for home buyers, but some in the industry suggest looking outside the city for investment potential.

An analysis of real estate markets across Greater Vancouver by financial publication MoneySense puts the neighbourhood of Uptown in New Westminster, B.C., at the top of its rankings.

Average prices for a detached home aren't as high as areas nearby, says writer and analyst Romana King.

"There's been a lot of development to [New Westminsters's] downtown core — it's mostly condos and townhomes, but what that does is that increases the value of the single family homes in that community," explains King.

In addition to prices, the analysis took into consideration factors such appreciation relative to neighbouring communities, long-term potential and reviews from real estate agents.

Uptown is bordered by Eighth Avenue to Royal Avenue and Fifth to Eighth streets.

The area is home to a large mall, the city's main library and many restaurants that line the streets.

This malls sits at the heart of Uptown New Westminster where homes are still relatively affordable. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Those amenities have transformed New Westminster from a sleepy "bedroom community" to a place where residents can live, work and play, she says.

Coming in second on the list is the Lynnmour area in North Vancouver and number three was Sea Island, adjacent to the Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond 

Vancouver has been bumped far down the list because prices have already risen so much that it's out of reach for many.

Cheaper to build

Developer Perdip Moore has primarily built homes in Vancouver, but after working with the City of New Westminster  to build a laneway home, he's keen to build more in the region.

"They've been actively involved even through the construction process and fine tuning their guidelines  ... so it's been really nice working with them," he says.

Lower lot prices, limited red tape and an open door policy with city hall have led to faster construction, he says, which has translated into approximately $50 per square foot in savings for buyers.

Building a new home in New Westminster runs about $225 dollars a square foot, whereas it's closer to $300 in Vancouver.

"That adds up real quickly," he says.

Still around $1M

Those who call the area home say they already knew their community was a gem. 

"In a way, I don't want to say that because I don't want hordes of people moving here," laughed Maria Andoff, an Uptown homeowner of 30 years.

While she knows other communities are pricier, she still wouldn't call the neighbourhood affordable

Houses still hover around $800,000 to $900,000, she said.

"Like that's a lot," she says.

If you can afford it though, she says it's a neighbourhood waiting to be discovered.

About the Author

Lien Yeung

@LienYeung

Lien Yeung hosts CBC Vancouver News Weekends. As a multimedia reporter, she has covered stories locally and nationally from coast to coast on television, radio and social media. You can reach her on Instagram or Twitter @LienYeung or via email at lien.yeung@cbc.ca.

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