Large Townhomes: A Desirable Alternative

The below is an excerpt from Peter Mitham’s article Tech sector demand keeps Vancouver office market clicking, the article was originally published in Business in Vancouver on Aug. 9, 2016.

Woodland Park townhomes by Infinity Properties
Woodland Park townhomes by Infinity Properties

Prices pump townhomes

Fraser Valley brokerage Frontline Real Estate Services Ltd. reports that rising prices for detached homes have made larger townhomes a desirable alternative kind of housing south of the Fraser.

Townhomes have enjoyed attention as a means of providing family housing and facilitating densification without overwhelming neighbourhood streetscapes, but in areas such as South Surrey and Langley they’ve become the upscale home for priced-out buyers.

“There are all these people who could have paid $1.1 million for a single-family home, but now can’t buy one so now they’re looking for a big townhouse,” explained Mike Harrison, who handles land and investment sales for Frontline.

Harrison said the buyers are willing to pay top dollar for larger townhouses, because even an $850,000 residence is $250,000 cheaper than many detached homes.

The result is that the spread in pricing between small townhomes (less than 1,200 square feet) and larger units (2,400 square feet and greater) has narrowed. While smaller units used to cost as much as $75 a square foot more than a larger unit, both are now selling for something in the range of $300 per square foot.

Since buyers of larger units are as a group distinct from those seeking smaller units, Harrison doesn’t anticipate a similar escalation in the pricing of smaller units. They’ll remain the preserve of buyers who are seeking premises larger than an apartment or are downsizing from larger units.

“The bigger ones are an alternative to a single-family [home], not often an alternative to a smaller townhouse,” Harrison said. “It’s a different buyer group.”

Justin Mitchell

Personal Real Estate Corporation

Founding Partner
Residential Development Land
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