Surrey Tops List of B.C.’s Best Towns to Invest In

Century Group’s planned 50-storey mixed-use tower will be in Surrey City Centre

Cities in the Fraser Valley and Peace River region dominate a new survey on B.C.’s top towns for real estate investment

A survey released last week by Langley-based research company, Real Estate Investment Network, ranks Surrey as B.C.’s top city for real estate investment over the next decade. The survey places Fraser Valley communities Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows tied for the number two spot, with Fort St. John rounding out the top 3.

Intended to provide insight into the province’s best locations for properties that provide cash flow, the survey looks for high-growth commercial and residential real estate markets, and concludes that several municipalities have room to grow, despite current high prices in Vancouver.

Here’s a run down of the top ten:

1. Surrey

Century Group’s planned 50-storey mixed-use tower in Surrey City Centre / Century Group

B.C.’s second biggest city topped the list for fourth year in a row. The city is expected to house 250,000 more residents over next three decades and has been the major beneficiary of the Gateway Program, which has shortened commute times and improved transportation logistics.

2. Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows 

The Golden Ears Bridge / Bilfinger

Previously hampered by poor transportation which kept prices north of the Fraser low, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows benefit from the Golden Ears Bridge between Langley and Maple Ridge and the new Port Mann Bridge, which have vastly improved connections with Vancouver.

3. Fort St. John

City Hall / City of Fort St. John

High wages and labour demand have compounded housing supply problems, causing rents to rise and demand for rental to skyrocket. The “Fort McMurray” of B.C., according to the report, Fort St. John is a good bet for residential real estate investors.

4. Dawson Creek

Beginning of the Alaska Highways / Wikimedia Commons

An energy sector hub for the Peace River region, Dawson Creek is home to oil and gas projects that are already affecting residential sales and rentals. The report concludes that high consumer confidence and job growth have made it an appealing location for investors.

5. Kamloops

Thompson Rivers University School of Trades and Technology / Thomspon Rivers University

A popular vacation destination and transportation hub for the Southern Interior, Kamloops benefits from low residential real estate prices.Thompson Rivers University is also a driver or migration, according the report.

6. Abbotsford

Abbotsford International Airport/Abbotsford International Airport

Favourable housing prices and a rural lifestyle within the city are highlighted in the report. Abbotsford has seen a rise in commercial, retail and industrial development with a new high-tech park and mega shopping mall in the works. But the city is still hampered by its reputation as a tough place to do business, with unyielding planning policies and cropping zoning bylaws, according to the report.

7. Kelowna

Image Credit:  Kelowna’s skyline /Simon-Tourist

A regional hub for central B.C., the city is attracting more small- to medium-sized businesses which have made it less dependent on recreation and retirees, according to the report. Researchers speculate that improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway, the expansion of the RapidBus system and the city’s two post-secondary institutions will continue to draw younger residents.

8. Chilliwack

Image Credit:  Chilliwack Lake / James Wheeler

Making its debut on list, Chilliwack has low property values, and risk for investors in revitalizing areas have made it a gamble for real estate buyers. But the payoff is high according to the report; and as the city provides redevelopment incentives and the Trans-Canada Highway widening making westbound commutes more palatable, its long term prospects are sunny.

9. Prince George

Prince George skyline / Destination BC

A junction for rail, road, and air transportion, Prince George is the supply hub for $35 billion in projects under development in the North. But the report concludes that high tenant turnover and the city’s boom-and-bust economic cycles still make it a gamble for investors.

10. Langley

Fort Langely CN Rail Station / Tourism Langley

Close to the U.S. and a big beneficiary of the new Port Mann Bridge, Langley can expect its population to grow to 197,000 by 2026. However, the report concludes that high real estate prices make it less palatable for investors than cheaper areas in the Fraser Valley.