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The lure of smaller centres outside Vancouver is, and always has been, affordability, realtors say

Derek Love is gearing up for another busy year selling real estate in suburban Vancouver.

After a brief lull in business in the latter half of 2012, when properties lingered on the market a little longer than usual and prices stalled, activity is once again starting to pick up.

“We’ve noticed, in the month of December, a lot more confidence. We are getting calls for from all different types of buyers who are eager and asking questions about homes we’ve had for sale for six months,” said Love, who’s worked for 20 years primarily in the Tri-Cities for the family-run firm Coldwell Banker Love Realty.

The slow times don’t worry him too much.

The allure of places like Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody is, and has always been, affordability.

Where property prices in some areas of Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby climbed by as much as 30 per cent last year, prices in the Tri-Cities and New Westminster stayed the course.

“We didn’t really have that big increase,” said Love, noting $600,000 to $800,000 will still buy “a really good family home — well kept, basement suite, nice yard, quiet street.”Vancouver CMHC Report

Now that the 2013 assessments are out, that slow and steady pace is once again reflected in the numbers.

According to B.C. Assessment, the total change in assessed property values, as of July 1, 2012, was about five per cent in Coquitlam, Surrey and New Westminster.

Changes were more notable in Vancouver, which rose just two per cent this year, and Richmond, which dipped 0.64 per cent.

The total change includes assessed values of existing properties, new construction, and other factors such as renovations and rezoning.

Katrina Amurao, a realtor with Re/Max 2000 Realty, said the stability in Surrey’s market is driven largely by an equally strong demand for and supply of single-family homes.

“There are a lot of them and they are selling,” she said.

Amurao said the average price of a single-family home in Surrey in December 2012 was $560,000 — a figure virtually unchanged from twelve months earlier.

“The prices here have not necessarily been jumping the way they did in Vancouver,” she said.


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