Welcome to Richmond
With the Strait of Georgia to the west and branches of the Fraser River surrounding the city on all other sides, Richmond is a collection of islands. YVR sits on the imaginatively-named Sea Island, while the majority of the city-proper is on the much more fabulous sounding Lulu Island, named in 1862 after a popular showgirl who had bought property there. More fun facts, Lulu Island is the largest island in the Fraser River estuary, and actually the second-most populous island in BC, after Vancouver Island.
Richmond can be divided into three key areas, the airport to the north, Richmond Central (where most people live) in the middle and Steveston to the south. The Skytrain connects both the airport and Richmond Central to downtown Vancouver, with condo towers rising up around key stations. Further south and west, expect more single family homes, townhomes and low-rise towers. Don’t expect homes with basements, though, thanks to the high groundwater table in the area.
As in other parts of Greater Vancouver, Richmond is seeing a building boom. But it hasn’t been all good news for buyers. In some cases, developers started projects and then pulled out, causing buyers to lose their deposits.
According to Lim, this shouldn’t put homeseekers off from purchasing in the area. "There are a lot of big developers in Richmond, and that makes Richmond strong,” he says. “They will complete their projects, so you have to go with a developer you know."
Find out more about what it’s like to live in Richmond.
$215000 - $4800000
New homes planned
$1300 - $9000
The 2010 Winter Olympics unlocked development opportunities for a number of Lower Mainland communities. On the northern edge of Lulu Island, just south of the airport, the Richmond Olympic Oval came to life, bringing tens-of-thousands of speed-skating spectators to the area. Today, the Oval serves as the heart of the Brighouse neighbourhood, offering sports enthusiasts activities both on and off the ice.
Luxury condos are on the rise here, many with waterfront locations or at least aquatic views. In the master-planned River Green development by ASPAC Developments, a 20-year vision will see numerous towers creating space for thousands of residents.
“You get to enjoy luxury amenities and lifestyle,” Lim explains, “and yet you're only a 15 minute walk from Lansdowne Skytrain station, 20 minutes to Richmond Centre. So you're walking distance to everything."
Brighouse is easily Richmond’s most bougie neighbourhood, so probably isn’t the top choice for first-time buyers. For that, Lim takes us south to Central Richmond.
Drive into Central Richmond and you’ll notice a great many cranes dotting the skyline. Building is booming here as more people seek a central location with access to great restaurants, shopping and parks.
The pre-sale market is significant here, with many one and two-bedroom condos sold before they’re close to completion. But more development is on the horizon, so homeseekers should keep an ear to the ground for the latest opportunities.
According to Lim, Central Richmond is a great place for first-time buyers, investors and young families.
"You have a ton of restaurants nearby, you're walking distance to grocery stores,” he says. “Plus you have really good school catchments, IB programs and Richmond Secondary. Those are all the things a family wants."
Our final stop in Richmond takes us to the quaint fishing village of Steveston. Located on the southwest tip of Lulu Island, Steveston was originally home to a significant population of Japanese-Canadians who arrived in the late 1800s to develop a salmon fishery in the area. Sadly, the Japanese internment during World War II forced many people to leave, but their impact on the neighbourhood remains to this day.
An active fishing industry still operates out of Steveston. People travel from all over the Lower Mainland to pick up fresh seafood sold by vendors on Fisherman’s Wharf. For those who prefer their fish already cooked and battered, there are a number of top-notch fish and chip shops along the waterfront.
Lim says Steveston is a great place to raise a family. He should know - he and his family live here.
“It doesn't even feel like Richmond,” he says, “but you have the convenience of everything in Richmond being close by. The place where I live, all the neighbours know each other.”
If you’re looking to make Steveston home, there is a mix of properties on offer, from condos and townhomes to single-family options.
Vancity Experts Real Estate Group
Vincent Lim has watched Richmond grow and change since he was a child. He was born in the city and spent most of his life here, except for a few years of his childhood when his family temporarily moved to Asia.
Before making the move into real estate, he worked in the financial sector. He quickly discovered the banking industry wasn’t for him, however, and started exploring his options.
"Real estate was the only thing that came up,” he laughs. “There was no Plan B."
That certainly worked out for his clients, many of whom leave glowing reviews for Lim. Since 2017, he’s been in the top 10 percent of Greater Vancouver realtors each year.
I was seven years in the banking industry and I didn't want another 10 years to pass by, climbing the corporate ladder and living a life of regret.
Vancity Experts Real Estate Group
Agent’s Pick: Luxury condos in Brighouse
River Green development
When Lim describes the River Green development as ‘Coal Harbour elevated’, you know it must be worth a look.
We stop at a showroom in this master-planned community near the Richmond Olympic Oval to explore the luxury condos already on offer, as well as the towers to come over the next two decades.
Richmond oh Richmond. The first community I ever laid eyes on when I landed in BC. Sure it was short lived as we drove into downtown Vancouver but you’ll always have that title in my heart. Since then I’ve visited you less frequently, to go to my mechanic, or get some amazing food at the night market. (Also full disclosure: the George Cross outfit ....not my idea, please don’t share it with my family in Ireland).
You hear a lot of stereotypes about Richmond, not all of them great, but the Richmond that Vince showed me was diverse, exciting and community-focused. A place building amenities for its residents to share and bond over with great food and so much culture to unpack. Up until now Richmond has never seemed that appealing to me - I always aligned it with just ‘the airport’ - but now that I’ve seen what else this bustling city has to offer, you can be certain I’ll be visiting more frequently. I mean, I still have to check out that dumpling trail!