Squamish and Vancouver housing trends diverge, but just for a little while

Latest BC Assessment figures also reveal priciest properties in town

At first glance, the latest BC Assessment numbers seem to suggest that Squamish’s real estate market is no longer tied the Lower Mainland — but things aren’t quite as they seem.

Assessments show average prices for Squamish’s single-family detached homes rose while several communities in or around the Lower Mainland fell.

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It’s a peculiarity given that many believe the town’s house prices hit peaks and valleys in lockstep with the big city’s market as a result of their close proximity.

However, a professor from UBC says that in reality, Squamish’s real estate prices took a dive as well, but BC Assessment made its home valuations just before the drop hit town.

“If two roller coasters go up, and then go down, but one starts going up before the other, and starts going down before the other, depending on where you look at the change, one could be going down and one could be going up,” said professor Tsur Somerville.

“But if you look over a long enough period, they’re both going up and down, basically, together.

According to BC Assessment’s valuations — which were made on July 1 — for single-family homes, Squamish’s neighbours to the south experienced a drop in price.

The cost of a house in Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver (not the district), West Vancouver and Lions Bay took a hit.

Prices for houses in the first two communities dropped by four per cent; prices in West Vancouver plummeted by 12 per cent and costs in Lions Bay sunk by five per cent.

The average price for a house in Vancouver lowered to $1.75 million this year, down from $1.83 million last year.

Squamish, on the other hand, seemed to experience the opposite, with a six per cent increase during that same period. This brought the average value of a house to $927,000, up from $875,000 during July 1 the previous year.

To the north, Whistler’s valuations jumped by 11 per cent.

Judging by the numbers, it would seem Squamish’s market began to separate from its neighbours to the south.

However Somerville says this hasn’t been the case.

“Lower Mainland single-family [homes] sort of started increasing before other segments did and then started turning down before other segments did,” he said.

“The other segments are following that pattern — they’re just happening at a slightly different timeline, and that happens to interact unusually with when the assessments are done.”

Indeed, looking at the November 2018 figures posted by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the price of a Squamish single family detached home dropped by 2.4 per cent in comparison with the same time in 2017.

Squamish isn’t alone in the Sea to Sky when it comes to a price decrease for single-family homes, in this case. The same figures also show a 2.2 per cent price decrease for Whistler in comparison with November 2017.

With respect to strata residential properties, such as condos, the latest BC Assessment figures show that as of July 1, Squamish’s prices increased by more than its southern neighbours.

Strata homes in town increased by an average of 19 per cent, bringing the average price to $583,500, up from $492,000.

On the other hand, properties in Vancouver, North Vancouver (both the city and the district), and West Vancouver increased by six per cent, seven per cent and six per cent, respectively.

“Condo owners are going to see a larger increase in their property taxes than single family home owners will,” Somerville said.

Who wants to be (assessed as) a millionaire?

As part of BC Assessment’s latest data dump, a list of the Top 500 most expensive B.C. residential properties were released.

No houses in Squamish made it onto the list.

The winner this year, as with last, is Chip Wilson’s Kitsilano mansion.

Ringing in at $73.1 million, the roof over the Lululemon founder’s head beat every other home, but it was still not immune to real estate price drops.

Last year it was valued at $78.8 million.

At The Chief’s request, BC Assessment also compiled a list of the most expensive properties in Squamish.

The Top 3 priciest Squamish houses are:

41601 Brennan Road — $4.33 million

40813 Government Road — $3.36 million

60001 Squamish Valley Road — $3.33 million

The top three houses last year remain the most expensive as of the 2019 BC Assessment valuations. The Number 1 slot still belongs to 41601 Brennan Road, though its value has slightly dipped. Last year it was valued at $4.02 million.

The property in second place, 40813 Government Road, still has the same value, while the bronze medallist — 60001 Squamish Valley Road — had a minor increase. It was previously assessed at $3.22 million.

The Top 10 priciest properties in Squamish overall are:

*38050 Loggers Lane (The Sirocco development) — $40.7 million

*1500 Highway 99 (Waterfront Landing development) — $38.4 million

*40238 Glenalder Place (Garibaldi Shopping Centre) — $35.1 million

*1339 Pemberton Avenue (Chieftain Centre Mall) — $24.4 million

*37500 Third Avenue (Squamish Terminals) — $23.7 million

*1200 Hunter Place (Squamish Station Shopping Centre) — $21.7 million

*1201 Commercial Way (Solterra Business Park) — $19.7 million

*Woodfibre site — $19.5 million

*37881 Cleveland Avenue (The Main) — $19.07 million

*39210 Discovery Way (Walmart) — $18.6 million

This year, several newcomers have made it on the Top 10.

Of note, after being completely absent from the list last year, the Sirocco development has shot to the top, ousting the Garibaldi Shopping Centre as the most valued property in Squamish.

The shopping centre has now dropped to third place.

In second is another new face. The Waterfront Landing development takes silver after being absent last year.

The Chieftain Centre Mall was bumped down to fourth from third. Squamish Terminals also lost some footing, and is now at fifth whereas it was previously at second.

Squamish Station Shopping Centre is also taking a position further down the queue at sixth — last year it was fourth.

The next case of zero to hero is the Solterra Business Park. Previously absent from the list, it’s now claimed seventh.

Woodfibre’s rank has slid since last year. It’s at eighth, down from fifth.

Newcomer The Main has taken ninth, previously the domain of the 39101 Queens Way self-storage facility, while Walmart has slid down to tenth.

One thing to note is that these property values in general have risen, so falling down in rankings doesn’t mean something is worth less.

Rather, it generally means something of greater value has been assessed this time around.

For example, the Garibaldi Shopping Centre is worth $35.1 million this year, up from $31.6 million last year.

Yet, it was bumped down to third place this assessment because Waterfront Landing and The Sirocco development both jumped greatly in value.

Check out the value of your home here: https://www.bcassessment.ca/

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@ Copyright Squamish Chief

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