Two top-producing agents give their expert advice on how to find up-and-coming neighbourhoods to buy in
It’s not always easy identifying the right neighbourhoods in which to purchase a property. Ideally, someone wants to get into an area that has potential for growth, that will continue to improve and, in turn, will create a positive return on investment. Having a nose for up-and-coming areas is a skill that can take a long time to develop. We had a chance to speak with Mike Rampf and Shawn Anderson, top-producing real estate advisors at international luxury brokerage Engel & Völkers, and co-founders of VANCITY Living, on how to identify the right neighbourhoods in which to buy a home.
Q: Based on your experience around the city, what would you consider the most lucrative Vancouver neighbourhoods to buy in today?
Mike:Let’s start with condo living. If you're going to buy a condo and that's the market that you want to get into, I would say South East False Creek is a good place to look. There are some really great buildings on Quebec Street that are selling between $900 per square foot all the way up to $1,500+ per square foot, for a renovated larger unit. On one side of those buildings you've got the Olympic Village as well as Concert Properties’ new development and on the other side, Concord Pacific’s large land holdings that will build out and complete the area. Additionally, Saint Paul's hospital will begin construction just off Main/Prior streets within the next few years, and the viaducts will be coming down. I believe there will be a lot of growth in that neighbourhood, which is great for buyers to keep in mind now. It has all the signs of being a slightly undervalued area with some huge potential room for growth in the future.
Q: How about for detached homes?
Shawn: For detached homes, duplexes and townhouses, I'd probably look in areas that are going to get a spinoff from the redevelopment that's going on in the False Creek flats/South East False Creek. So, you’re going to look at Grandview, Mount Pleasant and Strathcona. These neighbourhoods are close to the city core, but still have single-family homes or duplex housing. Grandview Woodland just had a new community plan about a year ago, which from a mixed density perspective in my mind, is great. The city is moving East and we’ll see a lot of exciting housing trends and neighbourhood renewals follow suit.
Q: What are some key factors that you look at when deciding where to invest? What do you recommend new home buyers to do to spot these up-and-coming areas?
Mike: You need to look at what's happening in the area. What is the city planning on doing? Are they changing traffic routes? Building a hospital? It’s always a good idea to see what types of businesses start popping up in cities, because business create jobs and jobs create local wealth and housing needs.
A perfect example is Gastown. I remember showing buyers properties in Gastown looking at $200 a square foot. It was a run-down area, but you could see that there were some really high-end restaurants coming in, and luxury furniture stores where you could buy a couch for $20,000. It was clear to see that this area was going to clean up, and the cost per square foot was definitely going to increase. Now you can buy condos for $1,200+ per square foot in Gastown. It's looking at where you can tell things are starting to evolve. That can give you some good opportunities to get into a market that is undervalued and about to increase.
Shawn:I think you've got to watch where the city is moving, and what's changing, be ahead of the curve, follow the city’s planning process as it happens. I find a great indicator of improving neighbourhoods is by looking at where the newest, coolest coffee shops and restaurants are opening. If those are popping up, that's probably where the city's moving.