High prices but single family homes in Chilliwack a relative bargain

At $232 per-square foot, local detached homes a fraction of cities to the west

As Chilliwack home prices continue to rise there is yet more evidence that the city is the last bastion of affordability in the Lower Mainland.

While the average price of a home in the Chilliwack and district board area is up more than 20 per cent year over year, nearly 60 per cent in two years, and nearly 90 per cent since 2010, the price-per-square foot is as low as it can get in the region.

READ MORE: Chilliwack single family home prices up 58 per cent in two years

A new study conducted by Century 21 Canada found Chilliwack’s $232 per square foot for a detached house compares to $554.47 in White Rock/Surrey, $588.11 in Burnaby and $718.75 in East Vancouver.

Then there is West Vancouver at $816.61 per-square-foot for a detached house, downtown Vancouver at $962.75, and the west side of Vancouver at $1,210.

Those three latter communities aren’t just high for the Lower Mainland, they are three of the four highest per-square-foot rates in Canada. Toronto came in at number three at $818.86 and nearby Oakville, Ont. was fifth at $627.33.

The five least expensive cities are Windsor, Ont. ($94.64/sq.ft), Moncton, N.B. ($99.84), Halifax, N.S. ($130.70), St. John’s Nfld. ($166.67), and Charlottetown, PEI ($175).

As for other communities in B.C., Chilliwack’s $232 is below Vernon at $331, Kelowna at $324 and even Fort St. John at $236.50.

Part of what the data shows is that the price of a home isn’t the whole story, and buyers in Chilliwack are paying more and more for houses but getting larger houses.

The same goes for West Vancouver, which is typically know as the most expensive community. What the price-per-square foot data shows is that it’s actually costlier on the west side of Vancouver.

“The West Side and West Vancouver are both known to be expensive neighbourhoods,” said Brian Rushton, executive vice-president of Century 21 Canada. “However, homes in West Vancouver are typically larger and when you break the numbers down on a per-square-foot basis, it’s actually the west side that’s more expensive.”

The sky-high prices elsewhere point to further interest in Chilliwack and its single family homes. The demand is real as evidenced by another “banner month” for sales in September.

READ MORE: Another ‘banner’ month for Chilliwack real estate sales

In Chilliwack, there is plenty of room for even higher prices although the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) makes modest predictions.

For the relatively small CADREB region, BCREA forecasts the average price for the year for all residential properties to be $458,000, a 15.1 per cent increase over $397,911 in 2016. The forecast for 2018 is for a more modest 5.2 per cent increase to $482,000 in 2018.


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