Is 2021 the Year of the Townhouse?
Townhouse supply is low, and demand is high. This is a Realtor’s opinion on townhouse trends, and things you should know.
What is a townhouse?
Townhouses typically have a small footprint, multi-level units, shared walls with neighbours, and a separate entry. Often 3 bedrooms or more, and found in higher density neighborhoods.
Who wants them?
Townhouses are very popular with young families because they are more affordable than a house, and many have 3+ bedrooms, which is ideal for families with kids. For many, townhouses are the next step up from a condo. For some, such as empty nesters, townhouses are the next step down from a house.
What are some things to consider when buying a townhouse?
Age & Size – Old or new? Small or big? Older townhouses often come with more space inside and yard space outside but watch rising maintenance expenses for upgrading items such as: exterior siding, windows, roofs, plumbing, etc. Newer townhouses often have smaller footprints, are vertically stacked (on 3 levels), and many are narrow with a tandem garage. Closer to the city, you’ll find more density with stacked townhouses, which have neighbouring units at the sides, below and even above, and underground parking. Depending on the age and location, some townhouses are more like a house, and others are more like a condo.
Strata Fees & Insurance – In the days of rising insurance costs, a large townhouse could be left with an astronomical strata fee if it were associated with a tower or complex that has high maintenance and insurance costs. Townhouses at the base of condo towers, are treated like large condos (with a higher unit entitlement) and are responsible for a higher portion of the building maintenance costs. These high strata fees can devalue townhouses as many buyers are turned off by them. Townhouse only complexes typically have much lower strata fees due to less (or no) expenses from; elevators, heating common areas, insurance, and amenities.
Why are we talking about townhouses? Because they’re hot and the demand is growing!
Here are some of the latest Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board statistics for December 2020:
The ‘Home Price Index’ for a typical townhouse in the Lower Mainland is up +5.9% over the last 12 months. For the markets we often sell in (Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam and New Westminster) townhouse prices are up between +4.0 – 6.5% over the last year. North Vancouver was the leader on the list, with a +9.2% gain over the last year.
Median Sale Prices (December 2020):
Burnaby Townhouses – $812,000
Coquitlam Townhouses – $839,000
Port Coquitlam Townhouses – $647,000
Maple Ridge/ Pitt Meadows Townhouses – $585,000
North Vancouver Townhouses – $1,099,500
East Vancouver Townhouses – $1,188,000
Fall Sales Ratios were ridiculously high!
A ‘sales ratio’ represents the number of sales in a given month over the number of active listings, as a ratio. A 20% sales ratio indicates 1 out of 5 listings are selling in a given month. If a 20% or higher sales ratio is sustained in an area for a long period of time, it typically leads to upward pressure on prices. Here were some sales ratios from November & December 2020 for Townhouse:
Burnaby 71% & 119%, Coquitlam 80% & 131%, New Westminster 117% & 169%, Port Moody 136% & 211% (Nov & Dec sale ratio %)
Where are townhouses selling?
Let’s look at the number of townhouses that sold this fall:
October, November, December (Total # of Sales)
Burnaby – 214
Coquitlam – 212
Maple Ridge/PM – 217
Vancouver East – 200
North Vancouver – 143
New Westminster – 70
Port Moody – 69
Tri-Cities (Coq, PoCo, PoMo) – 368
Which townhouse complexes should I consider?
There are many great townhouse complexes throughout the lower mainland and we can’t cover them all. From a Realtor’s opinion, here are a few options to consider:
Looking for a large townhouse?
Consider ‘Tree Tops’ on Heritage Mountain. Located at 101 Parkside Dr, Port Moody, townhouses in this complex range from 1600sf to 3500sf. Built in the early 1990s, these Duplex style townhouses offer some of the largest floor plans for townhouses in Port Moody. Currently, prices in this complex range from $800,000 to $1,400,000.
‘Indigo’ at 100 Klahanie Dr, Port Moody. Built by Polygon in 2005, and centrally location in Port Moody Centre, this townhouse complex is loaded with young families and kids, and has excellent amenities with an outdoor pool at the Canoe Club. Indigo contains mostly 3 bedroom townhouses in the 1300 to 2000 sf range. Current prices in this complex range from $900,000 – $1,100,000.
‘Quest’ at 2200 Panorama Dr, Port Moody. Located up the mountain in ‘Heritage Woods’ and built in 2005, Quest is surrounded by nature and trails, and is a great option for young families that want the feeling of being away from the city. Quest contains a mix of 3 and 4 bedroom townhouses in the 1400 to 2400 sf range. Current prices in the complex range from $800,000 – $1,000,000.
Lesser known townhouses with good value
Brookside Dr, Port Moody – Keep an eye out for these 1970s built, well maintained townhouses that offer more space at a lower price, and are in a great location in ‘Port Moody Centre’ steps from the skytrain and all amenities that Port Moody has to offer.
Falcon Dr, Coquitlam – The 1100 block of Falcon Dr has a few complexes of 1980s built townhouses that offer more space at a lower price, and are close to all perks of Port Moody, including the future Coronation Park master planned community. Townhouses on Falcon Drive are mostly 3 bedrooms, and are currently priced in the $600,000 – $850,000 range.
What about Port Coquitlam?
‘Fremont Blue’ and ‘Fremont Indigo’ built by Mosaic around 2015 are a great option to consider. Keep an eye out for these townhouses on ‘Ranger Lane’ in Port Coquitlam, just steps to the PoCo Trail along the Fraser River. Mostly 3 bedrooms in the 1200 to 1700 sf range, and currently priced in the $700,000 – 900,000 range.
Some other townhouse complexes worth mentioning:
Osprey Village & Nature’s Walk – Offer some of the best options for townhouses in Pitt Meadows
Portside – New townhouse development in Queensborough built by Anthem and expected to complete in 2021. Offer gorgeous waterfront townhouses fronting on the Fraser River.