Since 2016 municipalities in Greater Vancouver have seen a lot of change when it comes to real estate. The region has witnessed a multitude of developments, market fluctuations, and policy adjustments that have shaped the housing landscape.

James and Denny summarize Greater Vancouver’s real estate transformation from 2016 -2023 and go over the neighbourhoods that have seen the most change.

This episode will focus on real estate changes from 2016 to today and include stats from North Van, Whistler, Squamish, West Van, New Westminster, Langley and Maple Ridge. 

Watch and listen to the Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast below and follow us on Spotify, iTunes & YouTube.

Read the Transcript Here

James: I like it. 

Denny: Start with, so I want to start with something that I knew had a crazy run through COVID. So that is Maple Ridge single family homes. 

Maple Ridge single family homes, the median sale price in 2016. So this is the second half of 2016, taking data from August to the end of December of 2016. The median sale price for Maple Ridge single family home $754,000. Fast forward to the peak of our market, “the peak” because a lot of product types today might be more expensive, but the peak in early 2022 median single family home price $1.525 so that is almost exactly double in five years, six years. 

Fast forward to the low point looking backwards of the end of 2022 median sale price in Maple Ridge average $1.197. That was a 22% drop in a nine month period. 

James: Wow.

Denny: Keep in mind remember we’ve done podcasts on this too but as COVID hit the majority of home buyers and sellers they were moving out of the city for more space. A lot of people working from home. We didn’t really know how long this COVID thing was gonna last and how long lockdowns are gonna last than working from home. So a lot of people were moving out of the city, out of Vancouver, out of Burnaby, to get more space and they were going to areas like Maple Ridge, like Langley, like Abbotsford, like Chilliwack. 

Maple Ridge saw this crazy spike and it came back down pretty quickly as interest rates rose but down 22% through 2022.

James: And then that’s a sample of the sales that happened last year. You may not be it’s probably close to the true number but it may not be exact. I think the biggest thing that happened from the start of COVID to the end is at the beginning of COVID there was a big discount for the further away from the city you got. And that discount the further out, kind of just diminished you know? It, the discount for being further out, didn’t become much of a discount. 

Denny: Totally. 

James: Maple Ridge. Just looking at the real estate board stats Maple Ridge is one of the strongest performing markets for single family homes in the last decade. Second place to Squamish in the last decade, the home price index. So the typical benchmark house in that market went up 160% or 170.4% in 10 years and it was also one of the markets that came off a little bit more than others in the last year. So in the last year it’s come down 12.4% 

And but it’s also on a resurgence, it’s bounced back a little bit last year. For the last 12 months it’s down well with the prices today are down 12.4% from where they were four months ago, but they’re up 6.4% from where they were in November and December from your data. Which kind of, if I do 6.4 plus 1.4 that’s 19 almost two which is close to your 21.

Denny: Pretty close. 

James: So yeah, Maple Ridge. What do you think the future of Maple Ridge? Do you expect it to be aligned with the market, outperform the market, underperform the market?

Denny: I don’t know if this is gonna be a popular opinion. But my guess is that areas closer to the city see more activity and a bigger increase in the next five years than the outskirts do.

I think the outskirts have seen a huge jump. And even if you look at the median sale price in the last, so in the last few months, from April 1 to today, the median sale price in Maple Ridge is $1.354. So that has come back up about $150,000 comparatively to the bottom of 2022.

James: So I guess you think like Maple Ridge versus say Vancouver East, over the next five years, if you were to bet Vancouver East, single family will outperform Maple Ridge single family. 

Denny: Yeah.

James: Yeah. I agree with that. I also think both markets could outperform the market. 

Denny: Totally. 

James: Those are two pretty good markets for different reasons. But yeah, I don’t I don’t think Maple Ridge is gonna get much less desirable but I don’t think they’re gonna, I do think that discount for being further out will start showing his colors a bit more. East Van will be a more expensive relative to it.

Denny: Talking about Maple Ridge, I wanted to quickly mention townhomes because Maple Ridge in the areas that I looked was the highest performance, it was the best performer. So you look at 2016 the median sale price of a townhouse in Maple Ridge $402,000 And that peaked at the end of 2020 or sorry at the beginning of 2022 to March 2022. The average median sale price of a townhouse in Maple Ridge $929K.

James: So what was 2016?

Denny:  $402K

James: $402K to $929K

Denny: Wow, it’s like 2. Like 150% almost.

Yeah, that’s a lot and we’re comparing 2016 now, it wasn’t Maple Ridge wasn’t the market that got a lot of benefits from that market but 2016 prices compared to 2014 prices, there was a big jump there. So if you went back to 2014 it’d be even lower probably in the threes, you know?

Denny: I do think Maple Ridge saw the 2016-17 jump happen later.

James: Right, yeah.

Denny: Right. I think it was kind of like moved its way out into, the into the valley and into Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge but Vancouver saw a big jump from 2014 to 16. And then it was like the Tri Cities and saw that jump like late 2016 early 2017 and Maple Ridge and Langley saw like into 2017.

James: The trickle down. In the Real Estate Board stats Maple Ridge was up there, townhouses were up there as one of the better performing markets but they were not the best they were. They were: Whistler, Squamish and Sunshine Coast beat them out. 

So basically Sea to Sky or the coast, but in terms of all the other markets in the Lower Mainland, Maple Ridge was one of the strongest performing markets in the last decade. It went up, a townhouse in Maple Ridge went up 176.8%.

All right what’s next market Denny? How about me? Take my turn. Let’s go with New Westminster.

Houses at the beginning or the peak of 2016 New West, sorry, I meant  North Vancouver. 

North Vancouver, in 2016. The median price for a detached home in North Van was $1.712 million. This is round, call it this time of 2016. In 2020, it backtracked it went from $1.712 to $1.635 for the very beginning of COVID, slight backtrack and then in today’s market, which is actually I would say in line with last spring, for North Vancouver detached homes, $2.2 million.

So from 2016 to today it’s up 28.5%.  2016 was $1.712 today is $2.2. million. 2.2 million, 1975, 2,500 square foot two level home, some updates. Nice quiet street, probably a 7,000 square foot lot. That’s it $2.2 million house in most of North Van right now.

Denny: Interesting, hey? Like North Van is such a desirable area and it has been for such a long time but you look at 2016 to today, and the price has gone up what is that? 30 ish percent? 

James: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Denny: Versus you look at Maple Ridge. 2016 single family, median sale price. $754 today $1.354. That is almost double.

James: Oh, yeah. Yeah. And Squamish, I have next which is just as good today, which is even more extreme. But like North Vancouver is one of the, to me, it’s one of the markets, I’d say. I mean, the Real Estate Board home price index says it’s up down 4% In the last 12 months, but when I see that, I see some examples of it maybe being down 4% I see some examples where houses that are selling today are getting the same price they would have last spring. 

Most markets are five to 10, maybe 15% off last spring’s prices last March of 2022’s prices but North Vancouver I think is one of the markets and right up with those spring prices. 

Now keep in mind in spring, March 2020 was a crazy wild market. And a lot of the sale prices were arguably lucky sale prices. It’s hard to recreate some of the sale prices when you don’t have 12 offers. So there is some luck there but North Van detached homes are pretty much right in line with the peak.

Squamish was one of the most extreme markets I could see. 2016 a few pioneers were moving out there, it was still an amazing place to live but far under the radar for house prices. So the house, in 2016 detached home price is $885,500. At the beginning of COVID It went up to $1.175 and today $1,597,500. That is the median house price in Squamish. It’s up 80% since 2016. 

So Squamish was really $885,500 2016 very low price point to nearly $1.6  in 2023 today. Squamish is probably one of the highest performing markets anywhere in BC. And it sometimes gets beat out by Whistler, but yeah, Squamish is a hotspot and I think 100 years from now it’s gonna be one of the nicest cities to live in when you look at that, that downtown plan and right now they speak to the outdoor enthusiast, but in 100 years, I think they’re gonna speak to everybody. It’s a pretty beautiful place.

On the less extreme, you’re gonna go to Yaletown. So Squamish went up 80% since 2016, Yaletown underperformed the market since 2016, 2016 I just isolated one bedrooms in Yaletown, I thought that would be a better sample to go from. So a one bedroom in Yaletown 

Denny: I isolated two bedrooms, so it will be interesting to compare them.

James: In Yaletown? Okay! One bedroom in Yaletown in 2016 was $619K. At the very start of COVID, early COVID 2020 it was $698 so went up $80 grand, that’s about 12-13% or something like that. And then 2023 $750K So from seven years ago, 2016 $619K to today $750K is a 21.1% increase.

I do feel a lot of that increase, like there was some dark moments for downtown condos, and I don’t think this data shows all of it, you know, even though 2020 there was periods in 2020, where there was just oversaturation of one bedrooms in certain buildings that would normally have one listing or two had like eight to 10. And there were moments where just not many people were buying them. So they’re, even though my data shows I think the data from 2016 today being up 21% is pretty accurate. Maybe the range is 18 to 25% or something like that, but there was moments in COVID where it felt like there was no one buying. 

And yeah, I think that was one of the most opportunistic markets during the early days and COVID. Today, they’re coming back. When you look at the next five years, I think a one bedroom in Yaletown will probably outperform the condo market, maybe not outperform townhouses and detached homes in other markets but in terms of condos my guess is condos in Yaletown are gonna go up. I don’t think that the what we’re seeing sell is not even close to the replacement value. The cost of a new one bedroom in Yaletown is my guess $1,400 a foot and up when you consider land value. And I just don’t, I could see trend to the urban centers and Yaletown getting the benefits of that.

Denny: If you look at the new buildings and like newer buildings in Yaletown, it’s going to be hard to find new construction. If you’re looking at a pre sale that’s gonna be less than $2,000 bucks a foot.

James: I said $1,400 and they’re not selling for that. 

Denny: Well, purchase price. You were talking about costs I think.

James: Yeah, you’re right. A lot of the, well, a lot of the newer developments are we getting real out there.

Denny: Yeah. Two bedrooms are quite interesting. And this is kind of like my dark horse of where I think over the next decade this could see a real run in prices because the last seven years has been pretty disappointing to be honest. 

Yaletown is a area where there’s a lot of 20 to 30 year old buildings. So you get larger floorplans you get these like 1000 to 1400 square foot, two bedroom units. So the two bedroom median sale price 2016 $1.15 million. Today $1.2 million. So that’s a 4.3% increase over the last seven years. 

Yaletown saw a jump between 2014 and 16. So if you go back to 2014, the median sale price for a two bedroom in Yaletown was $807K. So, from 2014-2016 it went from $807K to $1.15. But the last seven years is only gone from $1.15 to $1.2.

James: That’s, that’s not a lot of gain, well behind inflation. The cost of those structures have gone up in value compared you know, this is I mean, there’s an argument there that picking up a few Yaletown condos or Vancouver condos today will be a good investment. I mean may not make you cash flow today but will go up in value likely. 

Like I think there’s a, I, would you guessed that a two bedroom in Yaletown or a one bedroom doesn’t matter, where do you think that will perform compared to condos across Lower Mainland? Youthink it will it outperform the market perform? In line with the market? Underperformed the market over the next five years?

Denny: I think it’ll slightly outperform. I think it’ll be areas like Brentwood who is building a ton of new stuff. And it’s all new and small. Yaletown is unique that it’s a little bit older, large and you’re on the water. I think that is forever going to be a desirable.

James: Yeah.

Denny: Being downtown on the water with the best restaurants in the city. Yes, in the last few years, we’ve seen people moving away from that but I think it’s only a matter of time until that’s the most desirable place in the city again.

James: We have banned foreign buyers, there’s a lot of outside investment that’s not coming to the city that if they ever lifted that wall and opened the floodgates Yaletown and Vancouver proper is going to get the most rewards from that. And we saw signs of it in 2016. And then they put that 15% tax that turned into a 20% tax but turned into a ban. So it’s only locals now. What else do you see Denny?

Denny: My other low performer Kerrisdale single family. Kerrisdale single family median sale price in 2016 $3.558. Median sale price at the peak of the market which was March 2022 $3.538 same price, essentially. And today median salary is $3.856. So in that seven years it’s gone up 8.3%. Again, Kerrisdale is similar Yaletown 

James: Do you say…that’s three point what was the 2016 price again?

Denny:  $3.5 

James: And what was the today price? 

Denny: $3.85 

James: Okay, I don’t think that, I think their percentage lift is off there. I think it’s .6%, not 6% or whatever you said. It’s a very small, I think you said it’s a it’s a very tiny that’s like that’s not much of a lift, or maybe I’m wrong. We’re doing some math here, folks, for those that are listening.

Denny: Yeah. 8% 

James: That’s an 8% gain? 

Denny: That’s 300 thousand. $300k out of $3.5 million.

James: Yeah, I’m sorry. I didn’t see the numbers. I thought you were in the same. Ignore me.  Ignore me.

Denny: Glad we got that clarified. But Kerrisdale similar Yaletown that saw the big jump from 2014 to 16. So the 2014 median sale price $2.41 and in 2016 $3.55, that’s where they saw the big jump and whatever that is, that’s like a 60% increase in two years.

James: Do you recall some shadow flipping headlines back then?

Denny: Oh, yeah!

James: Yeah. That’s what happens with a jump that much. What I mean by shadow flipping, there’s just some, some agents doing some things they shouldn’t have been doing where when you buy a house at say two and a half million and you have a six month or five month closing and it goes up to $600,000. In that time, you end up with basically making a lot of money without owning a home. And back then people could assign that contract to someone else, and keep that lift without even buying the house. 

Now we’ve changed the paperwork and that can’t be done or it can’t be done without disclosing it. But that was, that was a wild headline back then and it only happens in outrageously climbing markets.

Denny: Totally. I bet if you look at West Vancouver, we mentioned it is something that hasn’t performed super well in the last seven years. I bet if you look at 2014 to 2016 they saw a big jump there. That is kind of subsided in the last 7 years.

James: Yeah, I guess just on West Van, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, Whistler there were some of the highest performing markets over the last decade. You know, I think let’s call it Squamish and Whistler had north of 200% gains in prices and a lot of property types over the last decade, and I think West Van’s number was 50 or 60% gain. So they really, they climbed early and they haven’t been you know the popular spot to be lately.

But, there is an argument like I don’t know how many people want to live out by Caulfield or Horseshoe Bay. There’s a bit of a commute there. But I could see Ambleside in the areas that are a little more connected, start going on more of a run now. And I think right now the market is pretty hot out there. It’s just, it’s not what it used to be in terms of outperforming the rest of the market. 

I don’t know if we will see a world where West Van will outperform the market in the next five to 10 years. But if it did my guess it would be detached homes in maybe the next five years. But I’d be surprised if it outperforms the market. I just don’t think there’s that many wealthy people.

Denny: We’ll just like glaze over a few other areas. So New West single family from 2016 to today up to 67%. New West two bedroom condos from 2016 to today up 56%. Langley and Maple Ridge is what saw the big gains so Maple Ridge was up 80%. Langley single family from 2016 to today 82%. Langley townhomes up 92% from 2016 to today.

James: The value of a townhouse, we didn’t do this one, but I bet you the value of an old townhouse has gone up considerably as well. 10 years ago, seven years ago, new was more on the credit that was on the criteria of most townhome buyers and today it’s more about space and age isn’t as important. 

You know, it’s been a volatile market I think all in all that the notes of this is the last seven years have been wild. And there’s been some areas like Maple Ridge, Squamish that have completely outperformed the market, that you’ve made a ton of money if you bought in those markets in those areas. A Yaletown condo, not so much but in the next five to 10 years, there is an argument to say that the Yaletown condo might make a comeback.

Denny: If you were to predict the next five to 10 years. What do you think is the Maple Ridge and Squamish in the next five to 10 years? Do you go farther out? Is it somewhere on the island? Is it Pemberton or is it Yaletown condo?

James: I mean, if I were going for pure percentage gain, I’d have to go to an area that’s cheaper that like I’d be going into Nanaimo, or Courtney or Comox or mid, mid up Island. That would be my guess if we’re opening up the area but if the guess was in the Lower Mainland, you know, I’m just gonna say East Van. I don’t know, even though we’ve seen some great moments from the suburbs communities. I’m gonna bet on urbanization in the next five years and I’m gonna say East Van will be the top performing market in the next five. 

Denny: Ok, I like it.

James: Are you going to add your thoughts or are we going to call it out?

Denny: I like East Van. I still think PoCo is super undervalued comparatively to its neighbor of Coquitlam. The house price in PoCo is 20-25% less for the exact same house as you get in Coquitlam. And arguably in a lot of PoCo comparatively to a lot of Coquitlam is better to commute from.

James: Yeah, highway access. Yeah.

Denny: Poco is a very progressive municipality that has a lot, a lot of development going on, a lot more amenities coming in, a lot more businesses coming in. And I think people start seeing that in the next decade. 

James: Why I definitely think the data is going to show housing prices getting higher because more newer homes are being built out there at a higher price point. 

Denny: Yeah.

James:  But you’re also just talking about a new house, a 2020 build home today. In five years that 2020 built home will still be outperforming the market.

Denny:  I think so.

James: Yeah. PoCo’s a good bet. I agree. Let’s call it. Let’s call it at that.