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South Surrey State of the Market Report 2021

Here is Frontline Real Estate Service’s annual State of the Market Report on residential development in South Surrey. Included in the report, you will find an analysis of land sales activity and a summary of the current development applications in the area. There is also an update on the development status of each neighbourhood in South Surrey, which we monitor closely as a neighbourhood’s “timeline to development” is a primary driver of land prices.

StaTe of the Development Land Market in South Surrey

South Surrey has always been one of the most desirable places to live in the Fraser Valley, commanding premium pricing over most areas. Like other higher-end segments of the housing market, the pandemic had an outsized impact. As a result, the market recovery that began in late 2020 across most of the Fraser Valley took a few extra months to show up in South Surrey. Once it did though, it was on fire!

Shortly after, the residential development land market followed suit as developers scrambled to purchase what small amount of developable land was available. By April, the market plateaued and has been relatively flat since. It’s a strong market, but the frenzy is over.

What Does This Mean to the Future of South Surrey?

The development land market continues to build momentum as the total dollar value of transactions in the last 12 months is 44% greater than the preceding 12 months and the total number of sales has more than doubled that of the previous 12 months. Interestingly, the value of the average transaction is 37% lower than that of the previous year, which is curious until you learn that almost 40% of the recent transactions were in Grandview area 5; an area that is predominately made up of relatively small 1 acre parcels historically purchased by investors comfortable with the 5-10+ year development timeline in the neighbourhood.

The increased activity in South Surrey shows the true sentiment of the market; it has picked up steam and will likely continue this trajectory, following closely behind the other municipalities ahead of it. We can anticipate more sales and upward pressure on land values over the next year, especially considering how many transactions went firm in the past 4-6 months that have yet to close and become public information.

Total Land Sales Volume ($) in South Surrey

South Surrey Development applications

As we have done in previous years, we have mapped the areas with the highest concentration of development applications on the below map. Sunnyside Heights remains the area with the highest quantity of in-stream applications, including 9 new applications received since the beginning of 2020 equating to more than 300 new homes in those applications alone.

HOT SPOT
Sunnyside Heights

36 significant* applications for residential development.
2,073 homes proposed over 116 acres:
87.5% Townhouse
3.0% Apartment
9.5% Single Family

HOT SPOT
North Grandview Heights

10 significant* applications for residential development.
359 homes proposed over 140 acres:
3.0% Townhouse
97.0% Single Family

* A “significant” application is any application with greater than 5 units/lots

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT STATUS OF EACH NEIGHBOURHOOD IN South Surrey

Sunnyside Heights – Grandview Area 2

This area remains the hotspot for development with 37 development applications bringing over 2,000 new homes to the area.

Dart’s Hill – Grandview Area 3

The draft land use plan for Darts Hill, previously known as Grandview Area 3, has made some significant strides in the last year. The Stage 1 Plan was approved in the summer of 2019, and in May of this year the final stage 2 plan was approved. This is due, in part, to the confirmation of the neighbourhood’s new school at 20 Avenue and 173 Street. The neighbourhood plan’s final approval is putting upward pressure on land values, as the timeline to development is becoming more clear.

Redwood Heights – Grandview Area 4

Since our last report, many major milestones have been achieved, including approval and subdivision of the area’s new school, approval of the Redwood Heights Plan and submission of the first (of many) new development applications. This has renewed developer interest in the area, despite the timeline to development remaining somewhat unknown until major servicing hurdles are resolved.

Orchard Grove – Grandview Area 5a

Orchard Grove is a flurry of construction as the remaining projects are built. There are only a few applications remaining to be developed before the area is fully built out.

Grandview Area 5

Without even rumours of a neighbourhood plan in the making, development remains many years away in Area 5. While builders may not be interested, there is plenty of interest from more patient investors who are open to purchasing long term development land.

North Grandview Heights

Despite a handful of large single family applications, development activity has been minimal over the past 12-18 months. This was partially due to the drop in home values that made the development of luxury homes (predominantly what is under application) a precarious venture. This is changing with the market “turning back on” earlier this year.

King George Highway Corridor

Activity has been minimal recently; however, we should see a couple new residential projects come to market soon.

Highway 99 Corridor

This corridor remained mostly unchanged since our last report with minimal activity or progress on existing applications.

Douglas

Construction has continued throughout this neighbourhood and the new school, Douglas Elementary School, is now open. Only a few development applications remain unbuilt in this area.

Semiahmoo Town Centre

Last year saw approval of the much-anticipated stage 1 plan, bringing new, increased densities to the area. Stage 2 and the neighbourhood’s engineering study are next. Since our last report, a few new development applications have been received containing approximately 180 new dwellings.

Rosemary Heights Central

Future development will be contained to the central portion along 156 Street, which includes a handful of small subdivision applications. These will likely come to market soon, now that demand has returned for luxury single family homes.

Rosemary Heights West & Morgan Heights

These neighbourhoods are substantially built out.

SOURCES

In creating this report, we consult City of Surrey planning staff, survey multiple land transaction reporting systems (Commercial Edge, MLS) and analyze municipal development data to bring you the most relevant information. If you have any questions about this report or Surrey’s development land market, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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Mike Harrison

Personal Real Estate Corporation

Partner
Residential Development Land
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