Soaring sales in Metro Vancouver’s single-family home market are also driving higher assessments in a few, select pockets of condominiums. In recent years, condo prices have been described as flat as a board, and while 2016 assessed values released earlier this week for the most part showed much more modest gains compared to the hot numbers in the single-family home market, there were a few outliers.
In Vancouver, condos in the MLS-defined neighbourhood of Coal Harbour, for example, posted an average assessment of $1.45 million, for a 12-per-cent increase over the past year. In West Vancouver, condos at Cypress Park Estates also reached $1.45 million, for an eight-per-cent gain.
Other neighbourhoods with higher average assessments for condos include Hawthorne in Delta, with a nine-per-cent increase to $300,000, as well as Canyon Springs in Coquitlam, with a 10-per-cent increase to $260,000. Compared to single-family homes, there is a far greater supply of new condos and townhouses. They are more affordable for a larger proportion of buyers so, naturally, their prices are not spiking in the same way, says Michael Ferreira, managing principal at Urban Analytics.
Some 95 per cent of all new housing in Metro Vancouver is strata-owned condos or townhouses at a time when affordable single-family homes close to the city seem a dying breed. Despite this, says Ferreira, “In certain areas, we’ve seen fairly significant increases in assessed value (for condos).” What these places all have in common, says Ferreira and others, are new developments catering to single-family home sellers flush with cash from frenzied activity in that market. They want to downsize but remain in their neighbourhoods. “Cashing out of these (homes) is leaving buyers with more money to afford larger, newer condos,” says Ferreira. “In a lot of (areas), there hasn’t been a lot of (condo) development in a while.”
In North Vancouver’s Roche Point, where average assessments for condos rose 10 per cent, buyers have been after a new development, says realtor Charlie Mackenzie. “Older stuff has declined in value, but it’s the new condos that have impacted higher prices.” That location is also very close to Polygon’s new Cates Landing, a set of townhomes and apartment residences along Deep Cove designed for “downsizers who want to stay local.”
Ferreira goes through the list of other areas where there were higher average assessments for condos: “In Coal Harbour, it’s unique because there are both local empty nesters as well as international second-home owners. “The Cambie Corridor is also driven by empty nesters downsizing out of homes. Mount Pleasant, South East False Creek. Downtown. Then, you have the West End. I was just talking to an appraiser yesterday and I said, ‘I think we’ve seen our last new condo tower going for under $1,000 a square foot. It has matured. It’s an established neighbourhood. There is a repurposing of old sites into new and fancy condos.”
The Vancouver Sun