Burnaby the third most-expensive real estate in Canada: study

A Coldwell Banker Real Estate study shows that Canada’s top three markets for an average home are in Metro Vancouver, with Burnaby at number three. - Wanda Chow/NEWSLEADER
A Coldwell Banker Real Estate study shows that Canada’s top three markets for an average home are in Metro Vancouver, with Burnaby at number three.
— image credit: Wanda Chow/NEWSLEADER

Burnaby is the third-most expensive market in Canada to buy a home after Vancouver and Richmond, according to a study by Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

The study looked at Coldwell Banker’s average listing prices of four-bedroom, two-bathroom properties on its company website between January and June of this year.

In Burnaby, the average price for the company’s listings was $917,968, after Vancouver’s $1.87 million and Richmond’s $1.18 million.

Burnaby was well ahead of fourth place, Oakville, Ont. at $745,000. The most affordable city in the study was Windsor, Ont., with an average listing price of $170,991.

Arthur Ng, manager of Coldwell Banker Westburn Realty, said Burnaby’s popularity with home buyers is due to its proximity to Vancouver and its central location yet being relatively more affordable.

“I think people are realizing, I only have so much money and I don’t want to be out in the boonies,” Ng said.

Richmond’s market is more influenced by Asian buyers, specifically those from overseas.

But Ng said those buyers aren’t just investors and speculators.

“That’s what the misconception is. I wouldn’t call it an investment ... Their kids are going to school [here] so they buy properties for them and they have plans to retire here, and many of them have come to retire here.”

Ng said many overseas Asian buyers have bought here and set down roots, planting their families, attracted by the stability of Canada, but with the breadwinners sometimes continuing to work back in their home countries.

They often settle in Richmond because they feel at home with its many Asian shops and restaurants.

“Of course the prices now are so high there so that’s why now they’re coming to Burnaby,” which has its own share of Asian shops and services, said Ng.

In recent months, after the study period, Ng said his company’s Burnaby list prices (as opposed to sale prices) have dropped by five to eight per cent.

“People are realizing that, the market’s slowing down, if I need to sell I need to adjust my price in order to get some activity on it,” Ng said.

“But by no means are we seeing a fire sale.”

As for whether prices will drop further, he believes that’s unlikely since most people are living in or renting out their homes.

In the United States, people are scrambling to sell to get out of the market after becoming victims of too much speculation, he said.

“But no one here sells their principal residence for no reason just because the market is bad.”

Prospective buyers who have been holding off waiting for prices to drop further are starting to see there are no drastic reductions likely and are jumping back into the market while interest rates are still low.

“We’re seeing a bit of a turnaround already now.”

In 2008 and 2009, local real estate prices dropped by 20 to 25 per cent “but it came back like wildfire within nine months. That was a global collapse, we’re not in a global collapse now.”

Ng predicts prices will continue to go up, but more gradually than in the past when 10 to 20 per cent jumps were common. Instead, in the next few years he sees prices rising two to five per cent annually.

Those larger increases simply weren’t sustainable, he said, but the Lower Mainland continues to be an attractive place to live, drawing upwards of 60,000 new people to B.C. each year which helps fuel the local housing market.

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